A Transcript Of The Video Study

This is the 23rd study in the series, and it is my purpose to review with you what we have covered so far in our reading of the first nine books of the Old Testament. As I have just mentioned, we have completed the first nine books of the Old Testament. Now, when I say the first nine books, I am referring to their chronological order. We have read the books of Genesis, Job, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges and Ruth. This happens to be a combined total of 278 chapters, and they have taken approximately 16 hours to read. In other words, we have read just over 20% of the Bible. This is a milestone. You should feel a real sense of satisfaction having completed so much of the Bible. But not only a sense of satisfaction, I hope your journey through the scriptures has been to the edification of your soul; I hope you have found the words of the Lord to be sweeter than honey and the honeycomb; I hope you have received such joy and benefit from the reading of these books, that you have more of a desire for the Word of God than gold, yea, than much fine gold.

Now, for this review of the first nine books of the Old Testament, I would like to highlight three things. First, the time period covered by all nine books is a total of 2,850 years; Second, the emphasis of each book has been on the people, not the events; Third, God’s masterplan for the ages is the administration of His grace to the two groupings of the human race. Let’s begin with,

First, the time period covered by all nine books is a total of 2,850 years.

The book of Genesis records the largest block of this history, beginning in 4004 BC and running through to 1635 BC, covering a span of 2,369 years. Just stop for a minute to consider the significance of this number—2,369 years. That is Two thirds of the entire history of the Old Testament. We then come to the book of Job, which of course, fits within the time period of Genesis. The book of Exodus picks up where Genesis leaves off, beginning in 1635 BC and running through to 1491 BC, covering a span of 145 years. The book of Leviticus fits within the time period of Exodus. We then come to the book of Numbers, which begins in 1491 BC and runs through to 1452 BC, covering a span of 39 years. The book of Deuteronomy fits within the time period of Numbers. We then come to the book of Joshua, beginning in 1451 BC and running through to 1426 BC, covering a span of 25 years. And then, there is the book of Judges, which begins in 1426 BC and runs through to 1155 BC, covering a span of 271 years. We then have the book of Ruth, which fits within the time period of the Judges.

Now, as I’ve said, the grand total of time covered by the content of these books is 2,850 years. Do you know, that is just over 80% of the entire history of the Old Testament Scriptures—eighty percent! From a historic standpoint, if you have read these first nine books of the Bible, then you have completed four-fifths of Old Testament history. Ah, my dear friends, let us thank the Lord for bringing us so far in our journey through the Bible.

This brings me to highlight something else in our review of the first nine books of the Bible:

Second, the emphasis of each book has been on the people, not the events.

I think you will agree with me, the emphasis in each book has not been on the events which unfolded throughout the course of history, but rather, the men and women who lived during those times in history. Now, it has been my purpose throughout this series of studies, to align each book of the Bible with the Framework of Sovereign Grace. The entire human race is divided into two groups—those who have been set apart as special objects of God’s love (the elect); and those who have been set aside as objects of less love (the non-elect). Henceforth, when reading about the men and women recorded in the first nine books of the Bible, every person belongs to one or the other of these two groups.

According to my calculation, there are around 71,770 people referenced in the first nine books of the Bible. Among this number are 176 elect, 380 non-elect and 71,215 of whom insufficient information is given to know on which side they belong. Among the elect are men and women such as Adam, Eve, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Jospeh, Job, Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Othniel, Barak, Deborah, Gideon, Samson, Ruth, Naomi and Boaz. They were all set apart by the electing love of the Father, saved by the redeeming grace of God the Son and regenerated by the effectual power of the Holy Spirit. There is only one gospel, and therefore one way God saves His people from their sins and delivers them from wrath and judgment, and it is according to the terms and promises of the gracious covenant. On the other hand, this special grace of God unto salvation has not been extended to the non-elect, for it has pleased the Father to leave them in their sins and to fit them to destruction. Among the non-elect are men and women such as Cain, Lamech, Adah, Zillah, Nimrod, Ishmael, Esau, both Egyptian Pharaoh’s recorded in the book of Exodus, Nadab, Abihu, Shelomith’s son, Achan and Balaam.

Now, each of these men and women—those belonging to God by electing love, and those belonging to God as objects of less love—each of these men and women were put on this earth by God and for God. God has prepared the elect unto glory, whereby His love and grace is magnified in Christ, whereas, He has fitted the non-elect to destruction, whereby His wrath and justice is magnified in the sinner. And, while these men and women lived on the earth, they all fulfilled the purpose for which the Lord God brought them into existence. I hope you can see that, my dear friends. God does not have a singular purpose for the human race, insomuch that the gospel has been designed for and is imposed upon or offered to every person throughout the course of history. No, no! Rather, He has a twofold purpose for the human race—the gospel, under the covenant of grace, has been designed for and will eventually be applied to the elect, whereas the law, under the covenant of works, has been designed for and is forever applied to the non-elect. To recognize this twofold purpose enables us to exercise longsuffering towards the unregenerate, recognizing that if they be numbered among the non-elect, then God is working out His purpose in their lives, just as He is working out His purpose unto salvation in the lives of His elect people.

My dear friends, if you can capture what it is I am attempting to highlight here, then you will detect its far reaching implications to the various branches of our lives. How often do we focus on the events, the circumstances, the happenings in life, while sidelining the people who are living through those events and circumstances? We are so easily shocked by the world’s events, such as the invasion of Ukraine, but we take very little notice of the men, women and children who are living through those events. We are quickly shaken by the news that one of friends has been diagnosed with cancer, but fail to empathize with our friend who is actually suffering from the cancer. We are easily discouraged and dismayed when things don’t go the way we would like for them to in our personal lives. We get so upset, so frustrated, so bent out of shape. But if only we were to step back from the problem (event/circumstance), gain some perspective on the grace of God unfolding in our lives, we would observe that all those things are working together for good, according to the will of God who works all things after His counsel. The events, the circumstances, the happenings in our lives are only the mechanisms set in motion by the Lord to do with His people that which seems good in His sight. I mean, iff the death of a saint is precious in the sight of the Lord, then is not the life of that saint while he/she travels as a pilgrim and stranger through this world, also precious in His sight? If the Father feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field, show He not much more feed and clothe His peculiar people? If the Father spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Ah, my dear brethren, I hope you see how the things written and preserved in the first nine books of the Bible were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. May it please the Lord to humble us under His mighty hand; to enable us to cast all our cares upon Him; to impart to our hearts the assurance that He will exalt us in due time—all because He cares for us; we are the apple of His eye. And so, just as the focal point in the Bible is set upon people, rather than events, let us make people the focal point of our lives, rather than the events unfolding around us. Let us make ourselves the focal point of attention—a sinner redeemed by the blood of Christ and indwelt by the Spirit of God—rather than the things that are happening to us and around us!

Well, this brings me to say one more thing in our review of these first nine books of the Bible:

Third, God’s masterplan for the ages is the administration of His grace to the two groupings of the human race.

Now, when I speak of grace, you may think of the overused definition given by preachers. They will tell you that grace is unmerited favor; grace is receiving that which we do not deserve. However, while these statements are perfectly true, yet they do not convey the fundamental meaning of the term. At the most basic level, grace is nothing other than favor and good will. That is the broadest meaning of the term. For instance, when you enter your neighbor’s house, and you’re greeted with a pair of slippers, and a glass of water and made to sit on the most comfortable chair, you leave that place thinking, “What a gracious host!” A gracious host—a host that has shown to you grace. What do you mean by that term? Well, you mean that host showed to you favor and good will. And you see, that is the basic meaning of the term when we speak of the grace of God. We are talking about His favor and good will towards His creatures. And indeed, God does have a favor and good will towards all His creatures. This is what we could call the common grace of God unto creation. The fact that God has brought something into existence is a demonstration of His favor and good will. The fact that God sustains those things which He brings into existence is another instance of His favor and good will. With reference to the human race, this common grace of God is without distinction, for He causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall upon the elect and the non-elect. Every member of the human race is a recipient of God’s common grace unto creation. Now, with particular reference to the non-elect, God exhibits His common grace towards them in a staggering way. Whereas He could destroy them at conception, for it is at that instant they are conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity, yet He grants them a stay of execution, enduring with much longsuffering these vessels of wrath fitted to destruction. He allows them to live many years upon the earth and to enjoy the manifold blessings of life, both of which they do not deserve, no, not even for a moment. Well, what is the Lord’s longsuffering towards the non-elect, but a demonstration of His common grace unto creation? However, this common grace unto creation has absolutely nothing to do with God’s special grace unto salvation. You see, God’s special grace unto salvation is designed by the Father only for the elect; it has been procured by the Son only for the elect; and, it is applied by the Spirit only to the elect. There is no sense whatsoever in which the special grace of God unto salvation is extended to any of the non-elect. I hope you see that, my dear friends. The special grace of God unto salvation begins with the Father’s electing love, and it is on the basis of His electing love that salvation is secured and guaranteed to sinners. The special grace of God unto salvation continues with the Son’s redeeming grace, whereby the Father freely justifies His elect people by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. And, the special grace of God unto salvation continues with the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, wherein He regenerates His elect people, uniting their souls to Christ, thereby making them alive unto God and fruitful in all the graces (or virtues) of Christ. This is a special and particular election, a special and particular redemption, a special and particular sanctification, provided for the objects of God’s special love and peculiar people.

Henceforth, there is a common grace unto creation which extends to all creatures, including the non-elect, and there is a special grace unto salvation which extends only to the elect. And you see, the first nine books of the Bible demonstrate how God is administering His grace (common and special) to these two groups of the human race. And of course, that is precisely what God has done throughout the course of history, and what He continues to do today and will continue to do until Christ returns. This is the masterplan of God for the ages.

Now, I emphasis this point, because though it is a very simple concept, yet there seems to be so much confusion on the subject among various groups of professing Christians.

There is, for instance, the Arminians, who think of God’s common grace as actually containing the provision of salvation for the entire human race. They reject the notion of special grace, believing God has a universal and equal love for all members of the human race, and that He has universally provided salvation for every man and woman. That which secures the sinner’s salvation or guarantees the sinner’s damnation is his/her acceptance or rejection of God’s provision. This, of course, is not the teachings of Scripture.

There are then the Moderate-Calvinists, who think of God’s common grace as hypothetically containing the provision of salvation for the entire human race. They think there is an infinite virtue in the atoning blood of Christ, insomuch that the payment made by Christ at Calvary is sufficient to redeem and hypothetically capable to save the non-elect, but is efficient to save only those who believe. Of course, this is to make the efficacy of Christ’s blood dependent upon the faith of a sinner, which is ultimately a denial of a sinner’s justification based on the redemption that is in Christ Jesus alone. And so, like the Arminians, the Moderate-Calvinists say that which secures the salvation of the sinner is his/her acceptance of God’s provision, and that which damns the sinner is his/her rejection of God’s provision. But this is not the teachings of Scripture.

And you see, it is based on these false notions of a common grace of God unto SALVATION that the Arminians and the Moderate-Calvinists subscribe to the pernicious teachings of Duty-Faith and the Free-Offer. Ah, my dear friends, the Arminians and the Moderate-Calvinists have much in common to unite them. Their error is this: Rather than distinguishing between the common grace of God unto creation and His special grace unto salvation, they have conflated the common and special grace of God, resulting in much confusion and giving rise to several other serious errors (such as the doctrines of duty-faith and the free-offer).

But there is another group, the High(Hyper)-Calvinists, who think of God’s common grace and His special grace as two entirely separate dealings with the members of the human race. His purpose and dealings with those He has set aside as objects of less love (the non-elect) are recipients of God’s common grace unto creation, in relationship to God under the authority of the covenant of works, knowing Him only as Creator and Law-Giver. On the other hand, His purpose and dealings with those He has set apart as special objects of His love (the elect) are recipients of God’s special grace unto salvation, in relationship with God under the authority of the covenant of grace, knowing Him not only as Creator and Law-Giver, must also as Lord and Savior. Of course, so long as God’s elect people remain in an unregenerate condition, then they are the children of wrath, even as the non-elect, and are under the authority of the covenant of works. It is only after the Spirit of God conquers their hearts, uniting their souls to Christ, that they will be experientially delivered from the authority and curse of the covenant of works, and brought under the authority and blessings of the covenant of grace. And of course, it will be at that time the regenerate sinner is enabled to exercise saving faith in Christ and saving repentance from sin.

Well, my dear friends, this is the backdrop to God’s masterplan for the ages. And, I hope this review of the first nine books of the Bible has been helpful to you. I have shown you the time period covered by all nine books is a total of 2,850 years; the emphasis of each book has been on the people, rather than the events; and, God’s masterplan for the ages is the administration of His grace to two groups of the human race—the elect and the non-elect. In our next study, I will be giving a preview of the remaining thirty books of the Old Testament, and that will prepare us to restart our reading of the books of the Bible the week after. Before I close this study, I would like to give you just a little nudge. May I encourage you to begin making preparations in your weekly schedule to fit in the necessary time in order to continue reading the books of the Bible? I fear, since we have taken almost a two month break from reading the books of the Bible, that you may have fallen into old habits. I fear you will not be able to commit yourself to a weekly reading of the Bible because too many other things will crowd it out. Well, I am giving a two weeks notice in order that you might make the right preparations and reorder your priorities. Hey, until we meet again next week, may you know the blessings of the Lord!

Jared Smith



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