The Big Picture
In a previous lesson we discussed the fact that anything we read, whether a newspaper, magazine, math textbook, or novel, each will be approached in a way suitable to its purpose, and our purpose for reading it.
Then we pointed out that different literary forms are found in the Bible and should be understood accordingly. Historical narratives in the Bible are different than the hymns of worship found in the Psalms. The dialog in the dramatic plays of Job and Song of Solomon express their themes differently than the wise sayings of the book of Proverbs.
The parables of Jesus are in a class by themselves. Parts of Daniel, Ezekiel, and all of the Revelation combine drama, supernatural signs and symbols in a way that grips the reader and compels him or her to probe much deeper than any monthly magazine is likely to do.
From the beginning of this effort, my heart has been for anyone following this series of teachings to become highly capable of learning the great truths of the Bible by personal study on their own. Most of could use some help and inspiration along the way, however.
Not only that, but a basic premise can make a difference as well. Many large and important universities in the world examine and teach courses on the Bible that in my view, miss the point altogether. Untold millions of people for thousands of years have understood that the Bible has been handed down to us by God Himself. I myself did not come to this conclusion lightly. And I would not want anyone else to either.
I would ask you to be open to this possibility. At least accept that the writers who put these words to writing believed themselves to be acting on God’s behalf. That is the only way they themselves can be understood, as individuals who believed in an almighty Creator God who has acted in human history.
At least two major traditions in the world believe that the Old Testament, that is the Hebrew Bible, is inspired by God — Judaism and Christianity. Christians believe that what they call the New Testament is equally inspired by God. You might have already realized that I take the position that both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament make up the entire Bible. I am also proceeding from the conviction that the Christian view of the Bible is the most complete and accurate one.
Judaism does not recognize Jesus as their promised Messiah, and many still look for him to come. Christianity believes that Jesus did come and fulfill the prophecies that were due for that time, but that the plan of God has continued to unfold from that time on. This basic concept is also one that works for some of the most influential Bible students of all time. Feel free to challenge it, but please, only after you have given it a fair hearing!
Sooooo…… Here is my outline of the Biblical story:
God Created a good universe, and human beings in His image to rule over it and care for it.
The First Man and Woman disobeyed Him, and brought ruin and decay into the picture
God’s original plan for man included Redemption through a future descendant, specifically The Seed of the Woman. (Genesis 3:15).
First God would call out a man who would trust in Him, and through this man Abraham, bring forth a great nation, Israel. Even though Israel was often unfaithful, He kept His promise to bring forth redemption through an Israelite woman, Mary. Through the Spirit of God, Mary became the mother of Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God.
After demonstrating His authority as the Son of God by His miracles and moral perfection, He subjected Himself to death on the Cross by the hands of the Roman and Jewish authorities.
Later His followers would realize that this was predetermined by God and foretold in prophecies throughout the Bible. His perfect life would result in not only forgiveness for Adams race, but the clearing of all guilt for those who trust in Him for their salvation. The proof of this fact would come in His resurrection from the dead, but also from His everlasting power to change the lives of those who love and trust in Him!
What is next? Well, while the specific details are yet to come, the consensus is that Jesus will ultimately fulfill the prophecies that both believing Jews and Christians anticipate: namely the restoration of the earth back to its original pristine glory, under His righteous reign!
This is the Good News of the Kingdom of God!
“Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not life up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.” (Micah 4:3)
Isaiah 11:9: “They will not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
It is my hope that we all will not only catch the vision of this great eternal purpose of God, but will also want to participate with Him in it. So let’s get into the details, the nuts and bolts, get the Word of God into your system! Let Him change the world today, by beginning His work in us!