When Heaven Went Silent

Most everyone is aware that the Old Testament ended with the prophet Malachi, and that he is typically placed at about 425 BC. By my own efforts, I think the actual year may well be 433 BC, but that’s not terribly important.

What is important is that God, in His faithfulness, did exactly as He had said He would do through His prophet Amos, about 760-750 BC, in chapter 8, and verses 11 and 12. “I will send a famine through the land– a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” More than 300 years before, God told Israel that He was going to go silent on them at some point in time… and with the end of Malachi’s ministry, He did!

When God was going to speak to, and through, Israel again, He said He would send a forerunner, and so, the story of the sending of this forerunner commences in Luke’s Gospel account, and chapter 1. The events that open the New Testament are believed to have actually commenced about 5, or maybe 4, BC. But, before we begin to read in the New Testament, we want to learn of what happened in the ancient world between Malachi and Luke. What took place during that approximate 428 years?

I give you an internet link: http://www.zianet.com/maxey/InterLst.htm

It appears to contain a great deal of reliable historical information about what the inter-testamental period was like, and even what it might have meant to the whole scheme and progress of God’s plan to bring Messiah into the world. I do not know the individual, Al Maxey, who created the material on this site, but I do believe it to be useful to our study for understanding all that was important to the advancement of the story, until we open our New Testaments, and begin to read of what God did next, to and through Israel.

Key to understanding the time of Jesus of Nazareth are those influences that primarily came by way of 1.) the Roman conquest of the known world, that resulted in the Pax Romana, or the peace of Rome. This created and allowed for a road and trade system that made it possible for Christian Apostles and evangelists to quickly spread the Gospel in that day. Another huge consideration was 2.) the incredibly wide acceptance of Koine Greek as the common trade launguage throughout the world at that time. Wherever the Word of God was taken, the people could understand the message. And, finally, 3.) the world religions of the time were quite corrupt and bereft of giving hope. But, the faithful Jews, who knew their scriptures, understood that God had made 7 Promises and Prophecies to them, and that 6 of those had been fulfilled and recorded in their scriptures. They knew, that from the time of their last prophet, Malachi, they were in their period of silence from heaven… and, so, they also knew, and put forth the hope, which much of the world of the time had been made aware of; that the God of the Jews had promised to send the Anointed One, the Messiah! The One who would bring them the hope of salvation, deliverance and the key idea of a perfect Kingdom in which all wrongs would be made right, and no more wrongs would exist again… a Utopia of Bliss!

We are about to commence our study of all the New Testament in a chronological reading manner, as we did thru all the Old Testament. It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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What the Old Testament is REALLY All About!

In the previous two posts, I was leading up to this one. You 1.) need to read the Bible chronologically, and 2.) know the very end of the story, in Revelation 21 and 22 well. Know that 3.) there is a 7-point outline that is comprised of the 7 Promises and Prophecies that God gave to the patriarchs and Moses. Note, also, how that the story plays out through 12 time periods, and that 6 of the promises and prophecies find their complete fulfillment in 10 of the time periods in the Old Testament. Understand further that there is absolutely no possible way that any one man, or conspiracy of men, could have ever first devised this plot, and then caused it to be carried out… No way! What becomes patently obvious is that only God could have first come up with this plan, revealed it, and then caused it to all work out just as He had foretold, over a span of more than 2,000 years! That’s our God!!!

He 1.) gave Abraham many descendants, saw that 2.) they went into slavery, but delivered them, then 3.) took them into and gave them their Promised Land, but that 4.) they became unfaithful to Him and broke their covenant with Him. He endured them for a long time, then 5.) removed them from their Promised Land, but then, later 6.) restored them once again back into their land. There was one more promise yet to be fulfilled, but first, He said there would be a period of silence from Him. From Malachi to the Gospel accounts of the New Testament, about 428 years passed with no word from heaven…

Then, in keeping with God’s Promise, Messiah came forth to be the Savior. Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ of God. Now, you can read all the story of the Old Testament, about all the many people in it, and how few were actually believing and faithful; and how that most were not! But, that’s only what was on the surface. That was what man could see, and was noting, and recorded for us. No, the real meaning and purpose inside of it all was this: God was secretly and quietly going about bringing forth Messiah into the world. He would bring Him to us by means of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah. He would come down that line, through David and Solomon, and, through all that time, all those years, all those many generations… God was bringing Messiah to us.

So many of the people were rascals of incredibly poor character, but God used them all the same. One begat another, and so on, right down from Abraham, about 2100 BC, to Jesus of Nazareth. He was the reason for all the genealogical records. They prove God kept His promise, and they prove that Jesus was the Promise that God kept! The Kingdom, seen in Revelation 21 and 22 is God’s very own personal goal and purpose. Jesus, the Messiah, was God’s very own plan and program by which He would make it possible for anyone to get there, and to spend eternity with Him in it. It’s what the Old Testament is REALLY all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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THIS is What the Old Testament is About!

Please read the previous post first. The Bible is largely historical narrative, and needs to be ordered and read in a chronological fashion, that you might follow the story that it contains. It’s critically important that you know the end of the story, before you even begin it. Know Revelation 21:1 thru 22:5 thoroughly first! The twin reasons for that is, first, you will get confused and lost in the story if you have no idea how it is going to end. And, second, you will quickly realize that the story could never possibly get to the end described, if God didn’t bring it there Himself! That makes this to be His-story!

Next, I explain that the story itself is comprised of a distinct 7-point outline, that carries on through 12 time periods. The 7 points of the outline are 7 Promises and Prophecies uttered, 4 by God unto the Patriarchs, and 3 to Moses. I last said I would get to the specifics in this post, and now I will…

First, the reason for the story at all, is because of the events that took place in the Garden in Genesis 3. This is the record of The Fall of Man, when Adam disobeyed God, resulting in the sinful corruption of our human nature, and creating the need for our salvation. It was then and there that God promised to Adam that He would bring forth a Messiah to be our savior. So, God comes to Abraham at Genesis 12, and God’s story of man’s redemption begins. God promised and prophesied 4 things, which I present in the order in which they were fulfilled. God promised Abraham many descendants, his people’s enslavement and deliverance, a Promised Land of their own, and Messiah. To Moses, God promised and/or prophesied that Israel would be unfaithful, that He would expel them from their Promised Land, and that, later, He would restore them back into their land. The entire Old Testament record of ancient Israel revolves around the fulfillment of 6 of these 7 Promises and Prophecies.

Those 6 find their fulfillment in 9 of the 12 time periods. Many descendants were begotten of Abraham in the Patriarchal Period of Genesis 12:1 thru Exodus 1:7. Israel’s enslavement and deliverance took place during the Exodus Period of Exodus 1:8 thru Joshua 5:12. Israel’s taking of their Promised Land was during their Conquest Period of Joshua 5:13 thru Judges 2:9. Israel’s unfaithfulness commences with Judges 2:10, and continues right on thru II Chronicles 36:19, and through 3 time periods; those being the Judges Period, the United Kingdom Period, and the Divided Kingdom Period. Israel was then expelled from out of her Promised Land by God, as stated in II Chronicles 36:20, for a 70-year Expulsion Period. Israel was ultimately restored back into her Promised Land by God, as we can read in II Chronicles 36:22, and elsewhere.

Six promises and prophecies are fulfilled in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, and then came a 10th time period of silence from Heaven for a span of about 428 years, from Malachi to the opening of the Gospel accounts in the New Testament. Even this period of silence had been foretold by God unto Amos, in chapter 8, verses 11 and 12 of his book. With this understanding of the Old Testament, is becomes easy to see that God must exist, and that the Bible must truly be His Word, as there is no other rational explanation for this 2,000 year-old story that is inside! It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, Faith, Garden of Eden, God, God's promises, Israel, Messiah, Old Testament, Prophecy, Religion, Salvation, savior, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment

Just WHAT is the Old Testament About?

Hardly a soul gets it. It’s not their fault. It’s not taught hardly anywhere anymore, if it ever was. The Old Testament is more than 75% of the entire Bible. It all exists for very important reasons.

First, the Bible is largely Historical Narrative. That means it is mostly the record of a story of real people, doing real things, at real times, in real places. But, our Bibles are not arranged in chronological order, so that you can follow the story. Is it any wonder you can’t get it? It’s necessary to re-order the contents of the Bible into a strict chronological order, so that it’s possible to follow the story when you read it.

Second, the story resolves at a clear and definitive ending place. The ending place is the last two chapters of the Bible, Revelation chapters 21 and 22. Expressly, Revelation 21:1 thru 22:5. Those 32 verses explain to us just what is God’s very own personal goal and purpose in the story. The 1,187 chapters leading up to those last two, relate to us all of God’s plan and program by which He is going to attain unto His goal. In one word, God’s goal is Kingdom! It has a name. It’s called the Holy City, new Jerusalem. His plan or program by which He’s going to get there can be distilled down to just one word, as well. God’s plan, by which He will get to His goal is: Messiah!

Third, bore down a little deeper, and we learn, when we read through the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible, chronologically, that the story contained there actually unfolds through a clearly delineated 7-point outline! That’s right, within the seeming disarray and disorderliness of the story, there’s the clear order of an outline of 7 distinguishable points. Now, the best part of this outline is that it consists of 7 Promises and Prophecies uttered by God in the beginning of the story. God pronounces 4 unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, beginning with Genesis 12:1. He meets with, and gives them to Abraham on 8 occasions, Isaac on 2, and unto Jacob 3 more times. He gives these to the patriarchs of Israel 13 times, and from then on, we read of Him as being called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! God gave His remaining 3 prophecies unto Moses. It is these 7 Promises and Prophecies, given by God, that become the 7-point outline of all the Bible Story!

Further, when you know the 7-points; these promises and prophecies, and you read through chronologically, looking for them, you readily see that each one is supernaturally and sovereignly fulfilled within a context of 12 discernible time periods! The Old Testament records for us the fulfillment of 6 of God’s Promises and Prophecies, through 9 of these Time Periods; whereas the New Testament is the final record of the fulfillment of the remaining Promise and Prophecy, as well as the remaining 3 time periods. Maybe it is merely coincidental that we find 7 Promises and Prophecies unfolding within a context of 12 Time Periods, but the numbers 7 and 12 play very prominent roles throughout Biblical numerology, and this just happens to fit as one more instance of that. Going to the specific details next; this order, with the Promises and Prophecies first being given, and then fulfilled by God, over a span of more than 2 millennia, with the actual characters of the story being almost entirely unaware and oblivious to what is really going on behind the scenes, is a primary evidence that God exists and that the Holy Bible is, indeed, His Word. It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

Posted in Bible, Faith, God, God's promises, Messiah, Old Testament, Prophecy, Scripture, Spirituality, wisdom, word of god | Leave a comment

Wrapping Up the Old Testament

Read 286.) I Chronicles 1:1 thru 4:23, and 287.) 4:24 thru 9:34. There are just these last two Old Testament/Hebrew Bible readings before we have completed it. They come from the Chronicles, and they comprise lists of genealogies going all the way back to Adam and the time of the creation, until the time of Israel’s restoration back into her Promised Land. What are these for? Why should anyone want to waste any of their time reading Jewish genealogies? That’s a very good question!

Chapter 1, verses 1 thru 27, very quickly take us thru the 1.) Creation or Origins Period of the Bible, which spans Genesis chapters 1 thru 11. Israel was always so very careful to record and maintain their history. Why do so many today say that portion of the Bible never happened, and was just myth, legend and ‘their traditions’? It is because they don’t believe; is the only simple answer to the question. They don’t believe, because they don’t want to believe. There is more than ample evidence to believe, but the implications of accepting the first 11 chapters of Genesis as actual history is more than so many are willing to deal with. The first 11 chapters means God created the universe. God made man. Man sinned and ‘fell’ in the Garden. Man’s nature was corrupted in the Garden, and became in desperate need of a Savior. It means that God promised to man a Savior in the Garden. It also means that God judges sin, and slays men for it, as He once did by means of a universal Flood. It all means God is the Creator, man is a sinner, God would send man a Savior, and God seriously judges sin! There are a lot of people who are not willing to accept these truths, and deal with them, as these people do not want to repent! Really!

From 1:28, we enter into the 2.) Patriarchal Period of Genesis 12:1 thru Exodus 1:7. Chapter 2 of our reading takes up with Jacob, or Israel, and the 22nd generation from Adam, and immediately goes to Judah’s line first, though he was not the firstborn. This was because the line to Messiah was to come through Judah. It advances very quickly right through the 3.) Exodus Period, with verse 5, and into the 4.) Conquest Period, by verse 7. Numerous generations are not included here. With verses 10 thru 12, we span the 5.) Period of the Judges, and commence the 6.) United Kingdom Period under David, beginning with verse 12, as Saul rose as king over Israel in the time of Jesse and David. Then, from chapter 3, we come back to David and his descendants, thru Solomon, ending the United Kingdom Period. The 7.) Dividend Kingdom Period begins with verse 10, with all the kings of Judah following, until the time of the 8.) Period of Exile out of their Promised Land, through verse 16. The remainder of chapter 3 traces out the royal line of David during the 9.) Restoration Period of Israel after her exile.

Most of the remainder of our reading gives us lists from among all the remaining 11 sons of Israel, beginning at 4:24 and Simeon, to end with Asher at 7:30-40. Israel’s first king, Saul, is given considerable attention with chapter 8; as are the lists of those who resettled Jerusalem at the time of her resettlement in chapter 9. The point? I’ll bring that next, as it’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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“Remember Me, O My God!”

Read 284.) Nehemiah 13:4 thru 13:31. Now, with the remainder of chapter 13, we come to the end of Nehemiah, and of his everlasting legacy. The story jumps to a singular affront where a chief priest had given over to a chief opponent of the Jews (see 2:19 and 4:7) a very important storeroom right at the temple! From the time clue of 13:6, we jump to 432 BC, and some 12 years after all the account of 1:1 thru 13:3, which commenced 445/444 BC, according to the time clues previously given in 1:1 and 2:1. Nehemiah must have returned back to Babylon 12 years after 13:3 at 432 BC, but had he received and read the prophecies of Malachi? A revival had been underway in 444 BC, but in the years that had passed, Israel had fallen right back into their old ways, once again. Malachi wrote of their failings, and it might be that Nehemiah read them and returned. First, I must state that he does not tell us this was so, but second, the issues he deals with when he gets back there are the very ones Malachi was commanded of God to write about!

The first had to do with issues pertaining to Israel’s priesthood; as Malachi had written in 1:6 thru 2:9 of his book. So, Nehemiah deals with problems pertaining to Israel’s priests, as we read in 13:4 thru 11 here. Next, Malachi wrote to tell of serious spiritual problems with the people, as we saw with 2:10 thru 16 and 4:6 thru 15, of his book; and, so we read that Nehemiah next deals with all the people. And, what were the complaints Malachi expressed? One was the matter of Israel robbing God of His tithe. So, we now read of Nehemiah correcting this fault among the people, commencing with 13:12. Next, the people were not observing the Sabbath, so we learn, beginning at 13:15, thru verse 22. Then, the thorny issue of marriage to foreign women arose again.

It would seem that Nehemiah was a racist, or something, but, again, as I have explained each time this issue arises, it has everything to do with God’s promises, and what He was going to do for all the world through this one people group, Israel. In order for Israel to remain Israel, they must marry among the descendants of Jacob, renamed Israel by God, in order to maintain their ethnic identity and to be that people through whom God was going to bless all the world. And, how was God going to do that? Just as He had long before said: God was going to send His Anointed One, the Messiah, to be the savior of the world from out of a people of His own choosing and making, Israel. And, that particular Jew would be Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David and Solomon. He would be the fulfillment of all God’s promises and prophecies, given two millennia before, unto Abraham, as the One who would take away the sin of the world, and open the way of God’s salvation freely unto all who were willing, by simple faith, to enter in. This salvation can be yours today, if you will, but only, believe God, and receive Jesus, by faith, as your very own Savior and Lord. He will save you this very moment! This is what the Book is truly all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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God’s Last Word from Heaven!

Read 284.) Malachi 1:1 thru 4:6. We’re ever so close to completing the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. The prophet Malachi is the last of the 16 Bible prophets, before the prophesied period of silence from heaven. That silence would last until Luke chapter 1, and some 425 years later! Scholars place Malachi at right about 433 BC. What were God’s final words to Israel from Heaven, before He closed His lips to them for centuries?

God will reassure Israel of His love for them, but chastise them for their unfaithfulness to Him, once again, from the greatest to the least; from priests to the people. It is so sad. This has been pretty much all the story of Israel, right from their very beginning. But, it also serves to prove that the Bible is God’s Word, since NO people would ever write such a comprehensive indictment of themselves concerning all their ancient history for well more than 1,000 years! No people would ever do such a thing willingly. Yet, Israel did!

Chapter 1; God reaffirms His love for Israel with the first 5 verses, but then commences to make His case against that generation… beginning with their priests, and right on thru 2:9. Verse 11 of chapter 1, casts a brilliant ray of hope, however. One day, all the world will rightly honor the Lord. This may be Millennial in its reach, but certainly refers to how right the new world will be, by Revelation chapter 21, and the state of things for all eternity! From chapter 2, and verse 3, we read of an incredible humiliation of this priesthood… He’s going to cause what to be spread on their faces?!?!? Think on that for one moment! Then, from verse 10 of chapter 2, He speaks to all the people of the remnant nation restored to their Promised Land. First, the issue of marriage to foreign pagan women has arisen again. Recall Ezra chapters 9 and 10. A second issue was a new prevalence of unfaithfulness and divorce among the people.  The Lord is most displeased with them over it!

Chapter 3 opens with prophecy! Verse 1 goes right to the final day of the Tribulation, when Christ will return to spare a remnant Israel. This is Revelation chapter 19, beginning at verse 11 stuff. And, from verse 2, He goes right into that which will take place with the advent of the Millennium, and the start of Christ’s Kingdom upon the earth. He levels another charge, beginning with verse 6. Israel was robbing God by withholding their tithe from Him. It’s called ‘storehouse tithing,’ paying the first tenth unto God for the support of proper worship in His house! Give your tithe to the support of a true New Testament, Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching church! This IS God’s will concerning you in Christ Jesus. Verse 12 holds out another Millennial hope of promise. And, a fourth charge is leveled against Israel with verse 13. They speak evil of the Lord, when the true fault lies with those who are complaining. Verses 17 and 18 are Millennial, and with chapter 4, we have the Tribulation clearly in view with verse 1. Verses 2 and 3 go right back to the Millennium, when it should commence. But, God’s very last words are, like His very first ones to Israel were, that they should obey His Law; and that they await the forerunner, who will break heaven’s silence… but, not for another 450 more years, when John the Baptist cries out in the wilderness! Nehemiah must have read these words, as we’ll see what he does about them next. It’s what the Book is all about!

ForeverKingdom,
Harold F Crowell

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