A very brief overview of the Bible

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. On the sixth day He created mankind in the form of Adam and Eve with all their needs provided for. However, Eve accepted an argument from Satan to go against God’s instruction of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it , then persuaded Adam to do the same. A decision for which they were expelled from the Garden of Eden, with penalties. In time, mankind became so wicked that God chose to flood the world and begin again with righteous Noah and his family. As the population grew, things were still not going in the right direction, as witnessed by the Tower of Babel incident, and so God chose to raise His own nation with Abraham as the patriarchal head of that nation. Abraham was promised that his descendants would inherit a land given by God and live there in peace and forever. He was also promised that in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed . These promises were repeated to Isaac and Jacob. Jacob was to be the father of the Hebrew tribes. Jacob’s eleventh son, Joseph, was hated by his brothers and sold into slavery, telling his father he had been killed by wild animals. God was with Joseph in all that he did, and through the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams and his advice on how to deal with seven years of famine in Egypt, Joseph was elevated to a position whereby he was able to save his family from the famine and give them a place to live in Goshen. Generations later, when the Hebrews had grown so much in numbers that a new Pharaoh saw them as a threat, they were put into slavery and newborn males killed at birth. Moses survived when his mother hid him in an ark and placed it by the riverside. There he was discovered by the Pharoah’s daughter who brought him up as her own. When an adult, after killing an Egyptian when defending a Hebrew, Moses fled Egypt and settled in Midian where he married one of the priest Jethro’s daughters and fathered a son. Later, whilst tending his father-in-law’s sheep, he is called by God through the ‘burning bush’ to take his brother Aaron and go and rescue Israel out of bondage. It took ten plagues to persuade Pharoah to let the Israelites go, the tenth of which was the death of all firstborn. Israel’s firstborn were protected by the daubing of a lamb’s blood on the house door lintel and posts. The exodus began and the Israelites headed for the Promised Land, but were thwarted by a bad report from twelve spies sent to check out the land. The people were persuaded by the report rather than trusting in God and were condemned to wander in the desert for forty years. When they finally reached the Promised Land, Moses was succeeded by Joshua and the invasion began with the successful battle of Jericho. When the invasion had been completed it hadn’t all gone to plan as, in time, the Israelites were influenced by non-Jewish inhabitants, inter-marrying and following some of their gods. Each time this happened, God raised a judge to deal with the situation and bring the Israelites back to Him. Sadly, this happened numerous times. The last judge was Samuel who also had a school for prophets. In his old age, Samuel made his two sons judges, but they were immoral and abused their position. Consequently, the people asked for a king to rule them. Saul was chosen and anointed by Samuel. At first Saul was a good king, but in time he twice acted contrary to God’s laws and then against His instruction to destroy Amalek, with the consequence that Samuel was told to anoint David in preparation to replace him. After defeating Goliath, the giant Philistine, and subsequent successes in battles, Saul became aware that David was blessed by God and David became his enemy. David spent much time effectively in exile until after some years, when Saul was defeated in battle against the Philistines and took his own life, he became king. David wanted to build a temple for God, but the privilege was given to his son Solomon. After asking God for wisdom to rule his people, Solomon was also given the promise of wealth. His wealth was built on trading but he also taxed the people heavily. When his son Rehoboam succeeded him, he refused to reduce the tax burden on the people and they rebelled. Jeroboam became king of the northern kingdom, referred to as Israel, whilst Rehoboam retained control of Judah and Benjamin, referred to as Judah. Israel’s kings were all sinful and succession by murder was not uncommon. Despite the efforts of prophets there was no improvement, so God allowed them to be conquered by the Assyrians. Judah was not much better, although all kings were of one dynasty, the line of David, and there were some kings who sought to bring about a reformation. Despite these kings, and again the warnings from prophets, Jerusalem was eventually besieged by the Babylonians and their exile began. Among the captives were young Daniel and his three companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego As the end of their seventy year captivity approached, Daniel was praying fervently for his people when the angel Gabriel appeared to him and gave him what we refer to as ‘Daniel’s 70 Weeks’ prophecy. This prophecy predicted Jesus’ triumphal entry at the end of the 69th week, and His death after the 69th week. The remaining 70th week is yet to happen. When Jesus came, the Jews rejected Him as their Messiah and were consequently set aside by Jesus until the End Times. This fulfilled the promise to Abraham that in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Meanwhile, Jesus’ ministry continued with the message to Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand . Along with this message was the promise from Jesus that anyone who believes on him will be saved and have eternal life. The authority of this message and promise was demonstrated in actions in the form of healings, exorcisms and miracles, all of which showed God’s sovereignty had come. These messages and supporting actions Jesus took throughout Galilee, then later in Judea and in and around Perea before going to Jerusalem for the last time where he was betrayed by Judas, tried and crucified. His resurrection on the third day, the subsequent appearances to his followers, then ascension to heaven, preceded the birth of the church when his followers received the Holy Spirit. Following Stephen, who was martyred, and a short recollection of Philip’s and Peter’s ministries, focus turned to Paul, initially known as Saul. Paul embarked on three missionary journeys throughout Asia Minor (now Turkey) and Greece, picking up Timothy and Luke during his second journey. When arriving at Jerusalem after his third journey, Paul was encouraged to go with four men in a purification process to show he was compliant with Moses’ law, but was later accused of taking Gentiles into the temple. This resulted in Paul’s imprisonment over a few years, the end of which was in Rome, after which we heard no more of Paul. At some time in the future, there will be a period when Jesus will unleash events, announced by the seals of a seven-seal scroll, that will precede judgements and the implementation of God’s wrath on mankind, including the battle of Armageddon. This will be a seven- year period of tribulation, the last half of which was referred to by Jesus during his first coming as the ‘great tribulation’. At some point Jesus will gather his saints in order that they do not have to face God’s wrath. After the seven years of tribulation, Jesus will reign and bring peace to the Earth for a thousand years, during which time Satan will be bound and his influence made ineffective. After the thousand years, Satan will be released to deceive the nations, recruiting supporters before the final battle between good and evil in which the loser will be Satan, his demons and human followers. There will then be a judgement of all of mankind with those whose name is written in the ‘book of life’ receiving the gift of eternal life in a new heaven and a new earth.