A Transcript Of The Video Study

In our previous study, we reviewed the first nine books of the Old Testament. They cover a total of 2,850 years, which means the remaining thirty books cover only 750 years. The main bulk of this history is recorded in three sets of double books —1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles.

Now, let me remind you, when I drew up this chronological chart of Bible books, it had to fit on an A4 sheet of paper. For that reason, the timeline zigzags on the page. Beginning with Genesis, the books follow a straight line to 2 Kings, under which we have the book of Psalms, Song of Solomon, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. But then, the timeline continues at the top of the page, following the divided kingdom of Israel and the prophets. Then the timeline continues with the exile and return of Judah.

Henceforth, this section of history may be divided into three parts: First, the United Kingdom of Israel; Second, the Divided Kingdom of Israel; Third, the Exile and Regathering Of Judah. Let’s begin with:

First, the United Kingdom of Israel.

The United Kingdom of Israel began in 1095 BC and ended in 975 BC, a total span of 120 years. The historic narrative of this time period is recorded in 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles. Israel’s United Kingdom was governed by three kings. The first king was Saul, whose reign lasted forty years, from 1095 BC to 1055 BC. His story is recorded in 1 Samuel. The second king was David, whose reign also lasted forty years, from 1055 BC to 1015 BC. His story is recorded in 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and the Psalms. The third king was Solomon, whose reign also lasted forty years, from 1015 BC to 975 BC. His story is recorded in 1 Kings, the Song of Solomon, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Henceforth, when reading these books in chronological order, we would begin with 1 and 2 Samuel, then the Psalms, then 1 Kings, then 1 Chronicles, then the Song of Solomon, then the book of Proverbs, then Ecclesiastes. This is the first main section of the last thirty books of the Old Testament—Israel’s United Kingdom period.

Second, the Divided Kingdom of Israel.

The Divided Kingdom of Israel began in 975 BC, just after the death of Solomon, and ended in 588 BC, when Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. This is a total span of 308 years. The historic narrative of this time period is recorded in 1 and 2 Kings, and 2 Chronicles. The United Kingdom was made up of the twelve tribes of Israel, however, when the kingdom divided, ten of the tribes lived in the north, and retained the name Israel, whereas two of the tribes gathered in the south and assumed the name Judah. The Northern Kingdom (Israel) had a total of 19 kings, and the capital was that of Samaria. This kingdom existed for 256 years, from 975 BC to 721 BC, until it was conquered and destroyed by the Assyrians. There were three prophets of particular note who were sent by God to minister to the Northern Kingdom—Jonah, Amos and Hosea. On the other hand, the Southern Kingdom (Judah) had a total of 20 kings, and the capital was that of Jerusalem. This kingdom existed for 308 years, from 975 BC to 588 BC, until it was conquered by the Babylonians. There were seven prophets of particular note who were sent by God to minister to the Southern Kingdom—Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Jeremiah (who also wrote Lamentations) and Habakkuk. This is the second main section of the last thirty books of the Old Testament—Israel’s Divided Kingdom period.

Third, the Exile and Regathering Of Judah.

After the kingdom of Judah had been conquered by the Babylonians, they were carried away into exile for 70 years. During that interval, God sent three prophets of particular note to minister to the people—Daniel, Ezekiel and Obadiah. After the exile, God orchestrated events which allowed the people of Judah to return to Jerusalem, where the temple was rebuilt and the nation reconstituted. The historic narrative of this time period is recorded in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, with Esther’s story fitting into the timeline of Ezra. God sent three prophets of particular note to minister to the people at this time—Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. This is the third main section of the last thirty books of the Old Testament—Judah’s Exile and Regathering.

And so, this is a basic preview of the remaining thirty books of the Old Testament. Need I say, we will discover in these books the same things we found in the first nine books? First, the focus will be on the people who lived during that time in history, rather than the events which unfolded throughout the course of history. And second, God’s masterplan for the ages is the dispensing, or administering, of His grace to the two groups of the human race—there is a common grace unto creation which is extended to the elect and the non-elect alike; but there is also a special grace unto salvation which is designed for and extended to the elect only. Now, I spent some time in our previous study explaining why this difference between the common and special grace of God is an important distinction to make. The Arminians and the Moderate-Calvinists have conflated these things, resulting in some horrendous teachings, such as duty faith and the free offer of the gospel. The High-Calvinists, on the other hand, rightly distinguish between the common and special grace of God, and are therefore not bogged down with the pernicious teachings as duty faith and the free offer. Now, what I did not set out in our previous study was the supportive evidence of Bible texts, and so, for the remainder of this study, I would like to consider some passages of scriptures which affirm this view of God’s masterplan for the ages.

I turn first to Paul’s argument recorded in Romans 9:21-23, upon which the entire framework of sovereign grace is based. Paul asks, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” It is clear from this analogy of a potter that God the Father has a twofold purpose for the members of the human race—one purpose for those He has set apart as special objects of His love, making them vessels unto honor, and another purpose for those He has set aside as objects of less love, making them vessels unto dishonor. As Solomon wrote in Proverbs 16:4: “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

Paul continues in Romans 9:22, “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” The objects of less love are recipients of God’s favor and good will insomuch that He is their Creator and Blesser, and all things therefore they enjoy is given them by the grace (favor and good will) of God. You see, this is a common grace of God unto creation. “But wait,” you say, “Aren’t the non-elect ultimately designed for destruction—how can you then say God has any degree of favor or good will towards them?” Well, God endures with much longsuffering the wickedness of the non-elect, granting them a stay of execution, allowing them to live on this earth, in this world, sometimes for many many years. Even as the rich man, from whose table Lazarus ate the crumbs, faired sumptuously every day, so this was a measure of common grace unto creation toward the non-elect. It was on this point the Lord Jesus Christ exhorted His disciples to love their enemies. He told them, in Matthew 5:44,45: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Do you see, my dear friends, the sun rising and the rain falling on the elect and the non-elect, is God’s common grace unto creation.

And then, with particular reference to the elect, Paul continues in Romans 9:23: “And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory…”. Whereas God has fitted the non-elect to destruction, He has prepared the elect unto glory. Whereas God extends a common grace unto creation towards the non-elect, yet He extends a special grace unto salvation to the elect. He makes known the riches of His glory, not on the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, but on the vessels of mercy prepared unto glory. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 22:2: “The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.” The rich are those whom the Father has set apart as special objects of His love, choosing to redeem them by the blood of Christ and regenerate them by the effectual power of the Holy Spirit. The poor, on the other hand, are those whom the Father has set aside as objects of less love, choosing to leave them in their sins, and consigning them to judgment and condemnation. The rich and poor; the elect and non-elect—they meet together in the masterplan of God for the ages; He is the Maker of them all.

My dear friends, God has a twofold purpose for the members of the human race. His purpose for those He has set apart as special objects of His love is that they might be saved. Redemption, therefore, is special and particular for those people alone. The Arminians are wrong to think of God making a general provision for the entire human race; the Moderate-Calvinists are also wrong to think of God making a hypothetical provision for the non-elect. We believe the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement is in exact proportion to the efficiency of those who are redeemed thereby. The blood of Christ is called precious, because it is a scarce and limited payment Christ has made on behalf of those given to Him by the Father. To believe that Christ shed His precious blood to atone for the sins of those who are not actually redeemed by it, is to cheapen the value of Christ’s blood and diminish the power of its infinite virtue.

Now, there are a couple of statements in the New Testament which use the language of a common salvation, but it is always and only in application to God’s elect people. For instance, Paul wrote in Titus 1:4: ”To Titus, mine own son after the common faith.” The “common faith”—a common faith which belongs to all of God’s elect people who have been regenerated by the effectual power of the Holy Spirit. Again, in Jude 3: ”Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation…” The “common salvation”—a common salvation which has been delivered unto God’s elect people, the saints. Never does the Bible extend the special grace of God unto salvation to anyone other than those set apart as special objects of the Father’s love.

“But ah,” says someone, “What about that passage in Titus 2:11-14: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Does this not clearly state that the grace of God unto salvation has appeared to everyone, or is extended to everyone?

First, I would point out that Paul makes it clear the grace of God unto salvation has APPEARED to all men. This is quite different than the grace of God unto salvation being extended to everyone. To “appear” means to become visible. The grace of God unto salvation is made known (visible) when it is preached to all sinners. However, within the context of this passage, it is not referring to the gospel appearing to every person in the world, but rather, to all of God’s elect people. The grace of God that brings salvation appears (or is made visible) to all of God’s elect people when they are regenerated by the effectual power of the Holy Spirit. God then teaches His regenerate people to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. God teaches His regenerate people to look for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and their Savior Jesus Christ. In no sense does this passage suggest the grace of God unto salvation is extended to everyone by way of a free offer, or that the unregenerate are taught the gospel by the efforts of a preacher. Rather, it is God who regenerates His people and it is God who teaches His people, and this He does by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. God alone gives the increase to gospel labors of His preachers. It is for this reason Paul made it quite clear to the church at Corinth that they should not glory in men; they should not put the preacher on a pedestal; they should not give to the preacher credit which belongs only to God—Paul said, he may plant the seed of gospel truth, and another may water that seed, but he that plants and the other that waters is nothing, for it is God alone Who gives the increase of spiritual life and growth.

But second, I would point out that the grace of God unto salvation which appears to all of His elect people by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit is confirmed by the remainder of the text—the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ gave Himself for US (we who have been born again, the elect), that He might redeem US (we who have been born again, the elect) from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people (we who have been born again, the elect), zealous of good works. Don’t you see, my dear friends, Paul is speaking about the special grace of God unto salvation here, which is designed for and extended to only those set apart as special objects of the Father’s love.

And so, what is the conclusion to this matter? The masterplan of God for the ages is nothing other that His administration of grace (favor and good will) to the members of the human race. There is a common grace unto creation which is extended to the non-elect, and God’s purpose for the non-elect is confined to the covenant of works under which they are responsible to Him and are held accountable by Him. There is also a special grace unto salvation which is extended to the elect, and God’s purpose for them is made known to them when they are regenerated, and brought under the authority of the covenant of grace.

This twofold purpose, unfolding throughout the lives and testimonies of the men and women recorded in all sixty-six books of the Bible, are the same purposes which continue to unfold in the lives and testimonies of all men and women living on the earth today. And so, my dear friends, in light of this revelation of God’s masterplan for the ages, it is appropriate to search out diligently where you fit within this framework. If you are a sinner whose soul the Spirit of God has united to Christ, then these teachings should cause your heart to rejoice, with joy unspeakable, prompting you to show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness, into the marvelous light of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I pray, if we truly have been born again, that the Lord will cause us to know His grace in exactly that way!

Well, that brings us to the end of our preview for the last thirty books books of the Old Testament. Next week, I look forward introducing you to the book of 1 Samuel, after which you will be given the opportunity to resume your weekly Bible reading. I do hope you will make the necessary preparations to sort out your schedule and ensure sufficient time will be set aside for your journey through God’s Word. Until we meet again next week, I would like to wish upon you the richest blessings of the Lord!

Jared Smith



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