01 November 2021 by Published in: Jared Smith, Bible Reading No comments yet

A Transcript Of The Video Study

A timeline is “a graphic representation of the passage of time.” The far left end represents the beginning of time, and the far right end represents the everlasting continuum of time, for, while time is part of God’s creative works and therefore has a beginning, yet God has decreed that time should have no end.

A timeline is one of the most helpful methods to view the entire course of history from a bird’s eye view. I should point out, this is a biblical timeline, not an Atheist timeline. A biblical timeline depicts history according to God’s revelation recorded in the Old and New Testament scriptures. Whereas an Atheist timeline depicts history according to the theory of the Big Bang and biological evolution. I point this out, because it’s important for you to understand that the biblical account of creation and its record of history is antithetical to the Atheist theory of the Big Bang and its fantasy of evolution. Creation and Evolution are two entirely different depictions of history. If you approach the Bible from an Atheistic view of history, then you will not rightly understand the scriptures.

Looking, then, at this biblical timeline, I would like to highlight several helpful divisions of history which will assist us in our reading of the Old and New Testaments.

This biblical timeline may be viewed as a single unit, having no divisions at all. Beginning with the creation of all things, which occurred in 4004 BC, and running through to the present—our current day, “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” This covers a time period of just over 6,000 years. Looking at history from this point of view, it is nothing other than the unfolding of God’s masterplan for the ages. History is truly, His-Story. The Lord God is of one mind, and whatsoever He pleases, that He does. History is the unfolding of God’s eternal decree. Henceforth, as a single unit of time, all things can be reduced to a single purpose within the eternal decree of God.

Having said this, there have been some major events to occur throughout the course of history. These events have been seen as markers which divide one period of time from another. Now, let me make it perfectly clear, I am not referring to the divisions of history according to the framework of Dispensationalism. I believe the teachings of Dispensationalism are a perversion of what the scriptures teach concerning God’s masterplan for the ages, and is largely responsible for propagating the false gospel which characterizes many Evangelical churches today. No, no, I don’t believe history should be divided into the timeframe of the Dispensationalists. But I do believe there are various divisions of history which are helpful to keep in mind when reading through the Bible.

For instance, there is a twofold division of history. From the Creation in 4004 BC, to the birth of Christ in 4 BC, we have the first division, covering a period of 4,000 years. The initials BC refer to “Before Christ”—and, the numbers count backwards, from 4004 BC to 4 BC, when Christ was born. Everything which occurred during this time period came to pass before Christ came into the world. The Old Testament books were written, and its history, prophesy and poetry recorded, during this time period. And then, from the birth of Christ to our current day, we have the second division, covering a period of just over 2,000 years. After Christ was born, the numbers count forward, from AD 1 to AD 2021. The initials AD refer to the Latin phrase, “Anno Domini”, meaning, “in the year of our Lord”. And so, everything which occurred during this period has come to pass after Christ came into the world. The New Testament books were written, and its history and teachings recorded and relevant, for this time period. This is the most basic division of history.

But there is another useful division—the division I learned growing up, when attending a secular school. It is a secular threefold division of history. From the Creation to the Fall of the Roman Empire around AD 500, we have the first division. This is called Ancient History, and it covers a period of 4,500 years. We often use the phrase, Ancient History, when, for instance, someone asks us about something that happened a long time ago, we may say, “Oh, that’s Ancient History!” Well, this is where that expression is derived. Then, from the Fall of the Roman Empire around AD 500 to the Protestant Reformation around AD 1500, we have the second division. This is called Medieval History, also known as the Dark Ages, and it covers a period of 1,000 years. Then, from the Protestant Reformation around AD 1500 to the Present, we have the third division. This is called Modern History, and it covers a period of just over 500 years. This is the secular threefold division of history.

There is one more division of history that is often overlooked, but it’s a division that I believe will prove the most helpful as we read through the Old and New Testament scriptures. It is the biblical threefold division of history. From the Creation to the Birth of Abraham around 2000 BC, we have the first division. This period of time covers 2,000 years of history. The people populating the earth were all Gentiles, and they are the focal point of biblical revelation during that time. The word Gentile refers to those who do not belong to the Jewish race. You see, the Jewish race had not yet been created by God during this first division of history. The Jewish race began with Abraham. Interestingly, these 2,000 years of history are recorded in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Then, from the birth of Abraham to the birth of Christ, we have the second division. This period of time also covers 2,000 years of history. Suddenly, the biblical record shifts its focus from the Gentiles, to the Jewish people. Between Genesis chapter 12 to the end of the Old Testament—Malachi chapter 4, the focus is on the Jewish people. Then, from the birth of Christ to our present day, we have the third division. This period of time also covers around 2,000 years of history. After Christ came into the world, accomplishing redemption for His people, the biblical record shifts its focus again, this time to the Jews and the Gentiles—to all races of people and nations of the earth. The New Testament scriptures—Matthew to the book of Revelation—were written during this time period, and its teachings and prophecies all relate to all generations now living. Yes, even the teachings and prophecy of the book of Revelation are addressed to believers living throughout the course of this time period. Of course, the Dispensationalists believe the teachings of the book of the Revelation are describing the time after Christ returns; but my dear friends, I believe the teachings of the book of the Revelation are describing the time period that now is—these 2,000 years of history, leading up to the return of Christ. Henceforth, as I have said, the entire New Testament scripture is written with this time period particularly in mind.

Now, I believe you will do yourself a great service, if, in addition to memorizing the books of the Old and New Testament scriptures, you also put to memory these major divisions of history, for it will give to you a historic context into which the writings of the Bible fit as you read through the Word of God. And, I want to press upon you the importance of this biblical threefold division of history, for as you will see in our upcoming studies, it is the key to understanding the historic context of the Old and New Testament scriptures.

Jared Smith



Comments

Comments are closed.

Copyright © 2019, The Association of Historic Baptists