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The Old Testament Part 2 #1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 30, 2020 1:00 am

The Old Testament Part 2 #1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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October 30, 2020 1:00 am

The Old Testament is many things: prophecy, history, law, and wisdom literature. Let’s continue our jet-plane flyover of the Old Testament, and we’ll focus on the time period when Israel was taken into captivity with their temple destroyed.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The Old Testament is many things, prophecy, history, law, and wisdom literature. Today we continue our jet plane flyover of the Old Testament and we'll focus on the time period when Israel was taken into captivity, its temple destroyed.

Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, was the captivity of Israel a judgment from God? Yes, Dave, it really was a judgment from God, but we need to think carefully about that word judgment. In my new book entitled pandemics, plagues and natural disasters, what is God saying to us? I have an entire chapter on whether or not natural disasters are judgments and how we should interpret them. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. And I need to tell you that today's the last day that we are making this offer. Here's what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And now we go to the scriptures where we discuss the captivity, God's judgment on Israel and what that should mean for us. The Bible is a very remarkable book, simple because we believe its promises and there are those favorite passages that we love to read, but it's also very complex. If you have a Bible before you, notice the table of contents.

You can turn to that table of contents right now. The first five books of the Old Testament are the books of law, then you have historical books, you have wisdom literature, such as Psalms and Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, and then as you continue, you have all of the prophets and you must keep in mind that these prophets and these books are not all chronological. They are not in chronological order. Now the Bible has a remarkable unity. In fact, I'm going to be stressing that in the next message on this series to show you that these 66 books written by 40 different authors provide a unity that in many respects is breathtaking. But at the same time, if we don't understand its chronology, we don't know where all the books fit. And that's why we've prepared a chart for you and I want you to take the chart right now and open it, because this gives you the historical timeline of the Bible.

It is indeed the drama of redemption. And if you're watching this today online, I need to tell you that I've been told that there is an online version, an electronic version of this chart on our website. As you look at this chart, you can see that there are some books that move history forward. They are by and large the red books, and then there are those that support the story or those who go on at the very same time concurrently.

For example, First and Second Kings, First and Second Chronicles cover essentially the same history, but from a different point of view. What I've encouraged you to do is to read the Bible through five chapters a day so that if you miss a day or two, you'll be caught up because actually four chapters a day you could read the Bible through. And some of you might like to, first of all, just read the historical narrative as you trace its journey and then later on come and read its supporting material. But it is so important for you to read it. Last time I spoke to you about the fact that I believe that there are parts of the Bible that you should skim, and I suggested that unless you want to camp on the book of Leviticus and understand it well, skim the book of Leviticus. This past week I read the first 10 chapters of Numbers with all of those lists of people who are going back and all of the things that they took, and I have to confess I scanned most of it. Always looking for things that the Holy Spirit might reveal to me, you say, well, isn't all the Bible so rich?

Of course it's rich. If you stopped to study the book of Leviticus, you could be there all year and be blessed. But you're not going to read the whole Bible through if you stop and you think about or you analyze every single chapter.

Remember the difference between seeing Washington DC by car and seeing it by plane. Now the word of God is going to change you. That's why we're all reading it together. It's going to change you because the word of God converts us. It says in the book of James, by his own will, he begat us by the word of truth. The word of God and the spirit of God combined together to give us the life of God. The word of God cleanses us. Now you're clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. The word of God grows us as newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word that ye might grow thereby.

Now this has been my experience and it's the experience of others. If you neglect the Bible, you will not miss it in your life. You'll be able to go on without reading it day after day, come to church on Sunday, learn something about it. It will be there on the shelf and you will not miss it. If you begin to read it, if you begin to meditate on it and to study it and think about it, you will discover soon that you can't live without it. If you miss it, something will be missing. You see, the more we read it, the more we love it.

And we must love God's word. Well, today it's going to continue the same series. We began last time and if you didn't get, if you weren't here last time, I suggest you get the CD. Listen to it with a chart that you have before you and then you'll be able to see these books in context because today we are going to jump basically almost to two-thirds of the chart and I'm going to tell you about the nation Israel which was in captivity.

But I do need to just recap briefly. Remember the story of redemption is that God said to the serpent that there will be the seed of the woman that will crush the serpent's head. The whole story of the Old Testament is the outworking of that promise. We know that it comes through Abraham. After Abraham, there comes of course Joseph who goes into the land of Egypt.

Israel is in the land of Egypt. And then they come out and then they come back into the land under Joshua and they want a king. And the first king that they want is Saul and he turns out to be a disappointment. David is especially loved by God and because of that love God says David the seed is going to come through you.

I'm going to give you a son who is going to reign over your throne forever and that's fulfilled in Jesus. After David comes Solomon and Solomon is noted for his great temple. This is the first temple period in Israel's history. Marvelous structure, lots of gold because Solomon loved grandeur and greatness. And Solomon dies and he gives the kingdom to one of his sons by the name of Rehoboam.

Rehoboam increases taxes rather than decreases them. So ten of the tribes revolt. So you have the kingdom split and you have the northern kingdom with its capital in Samaria and you have the southern kingdom with its capital in Jerusalem. Now this gets very confusing folks because the northern kingdom is referred to now as Israel. You say well isn't Israel the entire land? Don't we speak of Israel today?

Yes that's true. But in those days it was Israel and then you have Judah because it's the larger tribe in the south and it is through Judah you see that Jesus Christ is going to come. So that's why the prophets will prophesy either to Israel or to Judah. Most of them were to Judah. The only prophets that prophesied up north were actually Hosea and Amos. All the others prophesied to the southern kingdom. But there is so much idolatry because they don't want to go to Jerusalem to worship and so God sends the Assyrians in 722 and the Assyrians take all the northern 10 tribes captive and we never hear from them again. They are interspersed among the nations.

They are known as the 10 lost tribes. The southern kingdom continues for another 132 years and they fall into idolatry too. Jeremiah spends 40 years saying judgment is coming, judgment is coming.

There are false prophets that say oh it's wonderful, God is going to bless you, he's going to make you healthy, you don't have to deal with your sin. And suddenly you have the destruction of the temple. 350 years after it was built, Solomon's temple is destroyed because the Babylonians come to Jerusalem and the southern kingdom Judah is taken into captivity into Babylon. What an experience they have there. That's where the book of Daniel takes place.

Daniel is a marvelous example of how we have to live in a culture that is hostile to us because the Jews now find themselves living in a culture that is not disposed to their own viewpoint and their own religious rituals. And so that's where they are in captivity. And then after they are there, God decides of course to bring them back.

He brings them back. By the way, when Solomon's temple was destroyed, Josiah took the ark and he hid it in Solomon's house. The ark was never seen again. That is the ark of the covenant, that box where God said he would dwell upon it. Where did the ark go? Two rabbis said that they saw it and this is I believe a credible story. In one of the caverns under the temple area in Jerusalem.

It is almost certainly not in Ethiopia like all of the television specials seem to imply and want to believe. Solomon's temple is destroyed. That's the first temple period. The Jews are in Babylon 70 years.

God brings them back because he predicted that it would be 70 years. Babylon is off the map because Persia conquers Babylon. Cyrus, a king, raises up and he allows the Jews to go back to their land and they return in three different waves coming now back to their homeland 70 years later.

First of all, you have Zerubbabel. He comes and he builds his temple. Now this is the only passage I would like you to turn to and that is to the book of Ezra.

To the book of Ezra because Ezra is on hand when the second return takes place but he writes the book that has his own name and he tells us about the earlier experience of Zerubbabel and the temple. It says in chapter 3 verse 10 of the book of Ezra, and when the builders laid the foundations of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments came forward with trumpets and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with symbols to praise the Lord according to the directions of David, king of Israel, and they sang responsibly praising and giving thanks to the Lord for he is good as steadfast love endures forever toward Israel and all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord because the foundation of the Lord was laid. But many of the priests and Levites, heads of fathers houses, old men who had seen the first house wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid. Though many shouted aloud for joy so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people's weeping for the people shouted with a great shout and the sound was heard far away.

Why are the old people weeping? Well they're remembering that Solomon's temple was so much greater than Zerubbabel's temple, the foundation was so small in comparison to Solomon that well might they weep. Interestingly the three prophets, and this is shown on your chart, it's all here on your chart, the three prophets who are prophesying during this time are Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. If you read Zechariah chapter 3 he recounts this incident because he is there and he's thinking about the disappointment of the people and he says not by might nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord and then it says do not despise the day of small things and so the prophet Zechariah encourages Zerubbabel and those who are weeping because they remember Solomon's great temple. So we have then the first return which is the rebuilding of the temple, the second return are some laws that were instituted by Ezekiel, some reforms, I keep saying Ezekiel of course I mean Ezra. Ezra brings on some reforms and then the third wave is when the temple is finished but the wall has not been built and Nehemiah comes back and he builds the wall and Nehemiah is famous for crying up to the Lord of Heaven, he brings a third group of people back from Babylon which is now Persia and he allows them to come back to the city and they against much opposition they build the wall around the temple that Zerubbabel had built. And in the book of Nehemiah Ezra continues to do his teaching, he was a scribe, he was a priest before God and interestingly it says that as he taught them there was an interpreter present. Why did they need an interpreter? Well you see after 70 years in Babylon they'd lost all the Hebrew they knew at least the children didn't know how to speak Hebrew they learned Aramaic which is a related language and so now they needed interpretation so that they would understand what was being said and so the Old Testament closes it closes with a little temple in Jerusalem with a wall built around it and with Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi being the last prophets and the Jews now a remnant are back a few of them are back in the land living in Jerusalem fighting off their enemies and you can see according to the chart now we have the intertestamental period the intertestamental period is of course the period between the testaments and is known as the 400 silent years because during those years God didn't speak there were no prophets the Jews simply existed decade after decade on and on they went. Now those of you who were raised with a Catholic background you know that the Catholic Bible has more books than the Protestant Bible and you may have wondered why that is many of the books which we as Protestants call the apocryphal arose during this period of the 400 silent years for example first and second Maccabees the time of the Maccabees the time when Antiochus Epiphanes also marches into Jerusalem and antagonizes the Jews and has a sow put on the altar all of that took place during this period of time now we think that the Apocrypha might have some good historical value but we do not accept that as scripture because the Apocrypha was never part of the Old Testament the Old Testament was written in Hebrew apart from a few chapters in Daniel which are in Aramaic and the Apocrypha is in Greek and there are other reasons as well as to why we don't accept it but keep in mind that the Bible that Jesus quoted when he was here on earth as he quoted the Old Testament that Bible had the very same content as our Old Testament today the books were in a different order but the content was the same so the Apocrypha was never accepted by Jesus or the apostles or quoted from as scripture but now the 400 years are over do you remember Esau remember Jacob and Esau they were twins and when they were in the womb of their mother God says two nations are in your womb and the older is going to serve the younger and then you think of Esau growing up of course and having antagonism with his twin brother Jacob and later on Esau goes in one direction and Jacob goes in another Esau and his descendants become known as Edomites and they live in what today is called Petra that some of us have had the opportunity of visiting and what you have in history all throughout the Old Testament is antagonism toward the Jews and especially toward the seed of the woman I have no doubt that Satan often thought to himself I wonder who is going to bear the Messiah and so he would try to work his wonders so that he would prevent the purpose of God from being accomplished as a matter of fact there were times in the Old Testament when it seemed as if the line that God had chosen was almost wiped out but God always kept a remnant and that line kept progressing throughout history until we get to Jesus but it was always attacked and the Edomites of course were part of that who antagonized Israel Israel wanted to go past them the Edomites didn't let them the Amalekites are descendants of the Edomites well it's interesting to discuss this history and to understand God's larger purposes just yesterday I received an email from a friend who said that he was witnessing on a street and he was talking about COVID and the need to get right with God and he said that one of the things that happened was person after person said if there is a God why doesn't he just remove this have you been asked that it's one of the many questions I answer in the book entitled pandemics plagues and natural disasters what is God saying to us how would you answer a person who has that kind of attitude I believe very deeply that this book is not only going to be informative but it's going to be comforting because it will stimulate us to faith to go on believing and to explain why it is not necessary for God to deliver us in order to prove his love all of these kinds of issues are dealt with and today is our last day when we are making this resource available pandemics plagues and natural disasters for a gift of any amount this book can be yours we'd love to send it to you here's what you do go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337 now because this is the last day I'm going to be giving you that contact information again remember it's pandemics plagues and natural disasters what is God saying to us thank you in advance for helping us go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337 it's time again for you to ask pastor lutzer a question you may have about the bible or the christian life pastor lutzer we have a question today from a listener is it safe to study the bible for yourself janine contacted us asking this our son feels that there are many different and wrong interpretations of the scriptures he says we shouldn't read or study the bible on our own but only corporately as a body when we gather together is this right not quite i believe it is very important to read and study the bible on your own when martin luther translated the bible into german he used the modern dialect that was used in those days and he says that the scrub woman who reads the scripture has a better chance of understanding it than those who approach it with a great deal of tradition now my point is simply this your son does have some truth in what he says if we think to ourselves that we can develop our own theology through our own bible study almost surely we will go astray the history of the christian church is filled with examples like that so we need the corporate teaching we need the bible teachers we need pastors and those who are equipped to be able to interpret the scriptures properly we need that to give us the guidelines but at the same time there's no substitute for meditating on the word of god day and night and that can only happen if you read the bible i end by reminding you that the book of revelation god says that he will especially bless those who read it and obey it and the book was read in those days someone stood up and read it to the congregation people didn't read they all didn't have manuscripts even if they could read so let us read read read study study but within the guidelines of those who have been gifted to teach us thank you janine for your question and thank you pastor lutzer for your answer if you'd like to hear your question answered you can just go to our website at and click on ask pastor lutzer or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 north la salle boulevard chicago illinois 60614 the nation israel had one reason for being to bring forth a messiah who would first die as a sacrifice for sin and later be raised to return one day as king over all the earth satan saw this as an existential threat next time on running to win the obstacles he tried to place in the path of the coming savior thanks for listening this is dave mccallister running to win is sponsored by the moody church
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-31 13:48:58 / 2024-01-31 13:57:23 / 8

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