Summary: The Bible story divides itself into Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian eras and this is very important to understanding and applying God’s word.

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The Bible Story (You Can Understand the Bible 2) II Tim. 2:15

INTRO.: The Bible was written by about 40 different authors over a span of about 15 centuries. The last book in the Bible was written 2 thousand years ago in a land most of us have never seen and a language we don’t speak. The Bible is the product of a culture completely foreign to us. It reveals things we would otherwise never know. How can we hope to understand such a book?

Yet, it is the Word of God to us. We need to understand it.

Today, I want to share with you what I think is the most important key to understanding God’s Word. The concept of how the Bible story divides itself into three eras of revelation.

They are the Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian ages. Let’s look at each a little more closely.

I. The first age of biblical history is the patriarchal age.

A. Called this because the father of the family served as prophet, priest, ruler.

1. This age includes the record of God’s establishment of the family. Gen. 2:18, 21-24

2. This age was from Adam to Moses.

3. We read this part of Bible history in Genesis and Job.

B. Religion was a family matter.

1. Record of the first offerings made by men is seen in Gen. 4:3-5

2. During this time, God spoke through men like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, etc.

3. Gen. 26:1-5 an example of God revealing His will through Isaac and expressing His approval of Isaac’s father.

C. The place of worship was generally an altar set up by the father of the family.

1. Noah provides an example. Gen. 8:20ff

2. Abraham’s offering of Isaac reinforces this lesson. Gen. 22

3. Men were learning the necessity of sacrifice. "The wages of sin is death."

4. This was a time of very dim light, the "starlight" age.

II. The second age of biblical history is the Mosaic or Jewish age.

A. Called this because during this time, God dealt with the Jewish nation and the Law of Moses was the standard.

1. This era extended from the giving of the Law of Moses to the day of Pentecost when the Church was born.

2. This history occupies the Bible from Exodus 20 to Acts 2, about 1500 years.

3. During this era, the nation of Israel was governed by the Law of Moses and the priesthood.

B. Religion was national during this period.

1. The Jews were God’s special people above all others. Exod. 19:5, 6 & Deut. 7:6-8

2. The Law of Moses was the constitution of the nation.

3. The sign of the covenant was circumcision of the males.

4. God’s ultimate intention was to raise up a people through whom He could send His Son into the world.

C. During this time, the Jews worshiped in the tabernacle and later, after the time of David, in the temple at Jerusalem.

1. Every adult Jewish male was expected to be in attendance at three annual feast days.

2. Animal sacrifices were made on the altar in the temple to atone for the sins of the people. They couldn’t actually take away sin. Heb. 10:4

3. God spoke through prophets to the nation. They added nothing to the Law, but called for obedience to it.

4. The last of these prophets was John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the coming of Jesus.

5. Jesus was born, lived, and died in this era. The reign of the Law ended when He nailed it to the cross. Col. 2:14

III. The third age is the Christian age or the age of the Holy Spirit. Eph. 1:10

A. So called because it begins with the preaching of the Gospel of Christ and coming of the Holy Spirit.

1. This event is recorded in Acts 2, the hub of the Bible.

2. For the first time, salvation is offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

3. God speaks to this age in the New Testament, inspired by His Spirit. It is there we learn about Jesus and His will for us. Heb. 1:1, 2

B. Religion now becomes worldwide. God says now "Whosoever will."

1. The apostles of Jesus are commissioned to go into all the world preaching the Gospel.

2. This fulfills many prophecies. I.e.: :The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.". Mic. 4:2

3. God dwells in His people, not in a tent or a temple. I Cor. 3:16 "Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?"

C. Now worship centers in the Church, the Body of Christ.

1. Animal sacrifice no longer required.

2. The Law has been nailed to the cross. Col. 2:14

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