Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Bible Overview

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
II Timothy 2:15

An Introduction to Genesis

A Bible Overview
Before we commence our study of Scripture, there are five things:

1.      I always welcome those who take time out of their busy schedules and join us.
I consider this no small thing.  I thank you for your time.

2.      Please know this is an independent Bible study.
I am not a pastor, priest, or minister.
Therefore, I don’t hold to any particular church group’s format or teaching.
I am only interested in promoting what the Bible says.
And that is what this Bible study is all about.
We will, during the course of our studies, come across Bible passages that are a mystery.  
These we shall leave where we found them and move on.
(See Deuteronomy 29:29)

3.      Throughout the course of this Bible study I am going to be drawing your attention to II Timothy 2:15 from time to time.  Paul, the apostle to the gentiles, wrote, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to (whom) God, a workman (laborer) who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  (NIV)
The word “dividing,” in the Greek is a carpentry word.  It means to cut straight.  
My father taught me at an early age to measure my work twice but cut only once.  
Surgeons are taught this basic but very important rule as well.
There are far fewer errors if this practice is utilized.
Why would Paul select this word?
Why does the “word of truth” need to be divided “rightly?”
And the answer is:

The LORD GOD has “divided” or separated the Jew and the Gentile from among His creation; and there exists in Scripture a Jewish agenda, if you will, and a Gentile agenda.  Therefore, we must learn to “divide” these two programs where it is applicable as well.  You’re going to learn where and when to do that here.

4.      I have been a Bible teacher for fifteen years.
I want you to know I still consider myself a student of the Word.
I do not believe that any person may claim to know all there is to know inside the cover of this book.  Why…because it is known, among other things, as the living Word.  

Every time I pick this book up I learn something new; or I see something in a different light.  That’s why it’s called the living word.  I don’t have all the answers.
The Bible doesn’t give us all the answers.  I’ll tell you that up front.
So beware of people who say they know it all.

I have sat in on and taught many Bible classes over the years.
I have heard the suggestions from the students in those classes as to what they felt should be taught from the Bible first and foremost.  The overwhelming majority of the votes go to the book of John.  The remaining votes are all over the place.  Well, I have a different viewpoint and here it is.  I believe in building from a firm foundation.
This would include a Bible education.

 When a home is being constructed for example, once the blueprint has been drawn up, the underground utilities are in place, etc, what’s next on the list?  The contractor goes to the building site and he puts up the roof right?  I doubt it.   

A concrete foundation is poured and from that firm base a home goes up according to code.  
 The home is built from a firm foundation.
Your Bible education must begin from a firm foundation as well.
And this is why I always start with the book Genesis.

The book of Genesis is literally the book of beginnings.  
Taken from the book’s famous first few words: “In the beginning…” the reader immediately understands that the origin and early history of mankind is its subject.

The information revealed in the book of beginnings is key to unlocking several “Biblical mysterious” the reader is going to encounter later on.  There is a NATURAL progression and/or ORDER of EVENTS as God has ordained them that will be missed should a person opt to skip over and around Bible books.  

God’s Time Line
Now we will look at some of the major events in Biblical history as God intended them way back in eternity past beginning with the creation of man.

You could call this God’s Master plan.
I do this to help you see the big picture.

Instead of viewing the Bible as a bunch of disjointed books joined together, this exercise will help you see the Bible as it is meant to be seen.  It’s a masterpiece.  It fits like a tailored-made suit.  Not one word, in the original work, is out of place.

To begin I place a single line in the middle of the white board starting at the left side and continuing on over to the right side of the board.
You can also use a sheet of plain white paper to practice on at home.

Now imagine the space before the line begins on the left as eternity past.
At the far right, after the line ends, this is eternity future.

The space between eternity past and eternity future will represent the history of mankind as God planned it from the creation of Adam to the end of the Lord Jesus Christ’s millennial reign.  As I stated earlier, I will insert some of the major Biblical happenings on this timeline, in order to help you see the big picture.
These dates are approximates.
I have rounded them off for ease of memory keeping.

4004 BC
Starting at the far left of the timeline, at the year 4004 BC, we the first major event in man’s history, the creation of Adam and Eve.
(Genesis 2)

The next significant date on this timeline is the Noahic Flood.

2400 BC
From the creation of Adam to Noah’s flood is about 1600 years.
During this time period, God dealt with His creation as one.
By this I mean God had no favored races among men.
There was no Jew or Gentile, for instance.
(Genesis 7)

During this time period, we find mankind rejecting God and His program of Salvation.
Man becomes more and more carnal in nature.  What does that mean?
The LORD God gave them over to their sinful thoughts and deeds.

Romans 1

28: And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things with are not proper,

29: being (what) filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,

30: slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

31: without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;

The next date on our timeline is about 200 years after the flood.
2200 BC
At 2200 BC we have the Tower of Babel.
Here is where man, for the first time in recorded history, set himself up to be god.  
That is what the Tower of Babel was all about.
It was a place of false worship.
(Genesis 11)

Noah was still alive to witness this idolatry and rebellion against God.
You have to wonder how he felt about it having experienced the world-wide flood and all that devastation…  Nimrod was the man behind this movement against God’s authority.  
It’s good for you to know too that Nimrod was the great, grandson of Noah.
Nimrod’s name means, “let us revolt.”  He was a tyrant and a despot.
Although he is pictured as a great hunter, he did not hunt animals.
He hunted the “souls of men.”

From this point of time in history man just goes deeper and deeper into idolatry.
Mans worship of man and mans worship of man-made objects knows no bounds.
And this brings us to the next date on our timeline.
2000 BC

At 2000 BC we are introduced to the man known as Abram (Abraham).
By this time, all of mankind has given in to Satan’s phony religions.
Mankind has forgotten the Creator God altogether and turned to idol worship instead.
And this would even include our man Abram.
The Bible says:
Joshua 24

2: “And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Tereh, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor, and they (did what) served other gods.”  (KJV)

So, from Adam to Abram or approximately some 2,000 plus years, God had given mankind the opportunity to have a “relationship” with Him.   

God demonstrated what must be done for this to be accomplished.  A blood sacrifice is required, although this is not written about in Genesis, it is certainly implied.
(See Genesis 3:21)
Adam knew this.  So did Eve.  Abel understood it too.
Cain knew it but rejected the truth of it.

That’s why his sacrifice of fruits and vegetables was rejected by God.  It was not a blood sacrifice.  Cain was a man who lacked faith; plain and simple.
(Genesis 4:3-7)

So for 2000 years we see mankind rejecting God.  
End of Act 1, if you will.
Begin Act 2.
(Thanks June)

God now chooses a man named Abram, from Ur, in the Chaldeans, and called him away from his family, and his home.   Why did Abram have to leave his family and his home?

Go back to Joshua 24:2.  Abram’s father was a worshipper of FALSE gods!
His whole family worshipped false gods…  The LORD God will have NONE of that!

So God offered to make him the father of a great nation, in a land all their own, and God promised to send the Redeemer to be their King, if he would only believe.
(Isaiah 9:6)

Without being able to experience any of this, Abram left all that he knew and understood and chose to believe in God’s promises.  This is the Abrahamic Covenant.
Note: A covenant relationship with God cannot be broken.

God’s grace once bestowed cannot be broken.

Abraham chose to be patient; and WAIT on God.
That was a big deal for Abram then, and it remains a big deal for us today.

But if life on earth has any meaning at all it must have affects that outlast it.

I must add that without understanding this critical covenant it is impossible to understand your Bible from here on out.  It can’t be done.  Mark my words on this. (Genesis 12)
1440 BC
Moses brings God’s people, the Israelites, out of slavery in Egypt.
God told Jacob to go down to Egypt and He would be with him there.
It would be in Egypt, after some time, the Israelites would become a nation.
(Genesis 46)

1500 BC
God gives Moses the Ten Commandments to then give to the Israelites.
(Exodus 20; Romans 3:1-2; Psalms 147:19-20)

1000 BC
David becomes King over all Israel.
(II Samuel 5)
964 BC
King Solomon completes God’s Temple in Jerusalem.
(I Kings 7)

586 BC
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon destroys Jerusalem and God’s Temple.
The Israelites are dispersed/taken into slavery/ into all parts of the then known world.
(II Kings 25)

445 BC
Nehemiah returns to Jerusalem with the permission of King Artaxerxes, not to rebuild God’s temple, but to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.  This hurried work took 52 days.  The small percentage of Jews who returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall worked with a tool in one hand and a sword in the other.  Israel’s enemies were not pleased to see them back in their land.  This date in Israel’s history is also significant in that it begins God’s countdown to the tribulation spoken of by Daniel the prophet.
(Read Nehemiah; Daniel 10: 25-27)

? AD
Jesus the Christ is born in Bethlehem.
Theologians are all over the place in regards to placing the date of Jesus’ birth.
God did not see fit to explicitly reveal the date.  We do know that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the King (Matt. 2: 1).  History informs us that this Herod died in 4 BC.
Jesus would have been born no later than 4 BC.  

We also learn from the Bible that a census was being taken at the time of Jesus' birth, in fact, Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem to be counted when Jesus was born (Luke 2: 1-7).
Quirinius, the Governor of Syria, conducted this census.
This is historically accurate.

The Bible is silent about Jesus’ early years as a child.
I choose not to speculate on the unknown.
If God chose to leave Jesus’ early years a mystery, then so be it.
We will go forward with what has been shown to us.

Jesus goes missing in Jerusalem at age 12.
After three days, Mary and Joseph find Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the teachers both listening to them and asking them questions.
(Luke 2:41-52)

The apostle Luke informs us Jesus began His ministry at 30 years of age.
(Luke 3:23)

? AD
Jesus’ Crucifixion
Once again, Bible scholars cannot agree on the exact year of this event.
Most will consent Jesus’ earthly ministry lasted 3.5 years.
The earliest year of His crucifixion would be at 29 AD and the latest 33 AD.

Jesus is resurrected from the dead.
Three days after His death and burial in the tomb Jesus is raised from the dead.

Jesus Ascends to Heaven.
Forty days after the Lord Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection from the grave, He ascended, or returned to His glory in heaven, from Mt. Zion, in view of many witnesses.
(Acts 1; Psalms 110)

Next important event on our timeline is the death of Stephen.
(Acts 7)

In my opinion, at the moment of Stephen’s martyrdom, by his fellow Jews, God ended Act 2.  
I believe this was God’s last attempt to reach the Jewish leaders with the truth about Jesus the Christ.  
When the Jewish religious leaders rejected Stephen and his Spirit-filled message, they in effect rejected God’s Son once again, and for the final time.  Therefore, God turned from His elect (the Jews), for an undetermined period of time, and focused His attention on the gentile nations thru the calling out of one man whose name is Saul; and this would be about the year: 37 AD
(Acts 9)

Today we understand this undetermined period of time to be the Age of Grace; or the Church Age, whichever you prefer.

On our timeline this appears as a set of parentheses following the date of Stephen’s martyrdom; with a question mark placed in the middle.  

Why place a question mark in the middle?

No one except God knows when this Age of Grace will end.

You may search the Bible but you will not find a hint of the Grace Age in it.
Jesus knew about it.  Sure He did; but He did not reveal it to anyone; and this includes the chosen twelve apostles.  This is one of God’s secrets.  
(See Deuteronomy 29:29; Acts 1:6-7).

If you read the book of Acts carefully, you’ll note the Gospel of the Kingdom fading from the scene and the Gospel of God’s Grace becoming foremost.

You’ll note the twelve apostles, in Jerusalem, who are not out in the world preaching and teaching, as so many would have you believe, are becoming less.

The apostle Paul and his message of salvation, based upon faith, and faith alone, in the gospel of grace becomes the main character of Acts and the predominant message of salvation to both Jew and Gentile.
(I Corinthians 15:1-4)

From here on all we have is a chronology of events; no dates.
Although the Bible gives us a pretty good idea of what’s coming at us;
it does not reveal when it’s going to happen.

Right after the last parenthesis the next event on the timeline is the rapture of the Body of Christ, or the Church-Age Saints.
(I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

And now we are in the tribulation years on our time line.

This is a 7 year period of time.
That’s it.

These seven years are divided at the mid-point.
This is how it should be shown on the timeline.

You have the first 3.5 years and the final 3.5 years.
Draw a line marking the mid-point of these tribulation years.
The final 3.5 years are known as the Great Tribulation.
(Matthew 24:15-22)

In the first 3.5 years we have:
The first item of the tribulation period is the inking of the peace covenant between the nation of Israel and its enemies.  The man who orchestrates this event is the anti-christ.

This signing event will kick start God’s final seven years of prophecy concerning the nation of Israel and the release of the Creator God’s creation from the stranglehold of Satan and the curse.
(See Romans 8:18:22)

Then there will be the appearance of God’s two witnesses.
These two men will speak out, “prophesy,” during the first 3.5 years.
(Revelation 11)

At the mid-point of the tribulation, the anti-christ will defile the Lord’s temple in some form or fashion; and then he will set himself up as the world’s ruler and its god.
(See Matthew 24:15; Daniel 9:27)

At the end of the Great Tribulation, the Lord Jesus Christ returns.
This may be depicted by drawing an arrow downward from the top of the paper, or whatever you’re drawing your time line on.

This is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Then the Lord Jesus Christ sets up His earthly Kingdom which has been spoken of and written about since Genesis chapter 12.  

This is a literal Kingdom on the earth.  It is not somewhere in outer space, etc.
It will last exactly 1,000 literal years.

At the end of this 1,000 year period of time, the Lord Jesus Christ will release Satan from the “abyss.”  Satan will be released and given the opportunity to “deceive” mankind once again.  Many will follow him, as before.

God will destroy these.  Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
(See Revelation 20)

The next event on the time line is the Great White Throne Judgment.
Every individual whose name is not found in the “book of life” will be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ at this time and he/she will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Then we enter into Eternity Future.
The Bible is silent about this.

I pray you find this Bible tool useful in your studies.

Copyright © 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

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