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An Outline of the Bible: I

A very simple (but overgeneralized) outline of the Bible:

I. The Nations . . Genesis 1-11
II. Israel Genesis . . 12-Acts 1
III. The Church Acts . . 2-Revelation 3
IV. Israel & the Nations . . Revelation 4-18
V. The Kingdom of God . . Revelation 19-22

Genesis 1-11 The Nations

These first 11 chapters of the Bible give us the beginning of the history of man: creation, the antediluvian world, Noah & the Flood, the Tower of Babel.

Genesis 12-Acts 1 Israel

The History of Israel begins actually at the end of Genesis 11 and continues through Acts 1. Israel's history begins with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob's 12 sons who become the 12 tribes of Israel. And the story of these first persons (in Israel's history) is told in Genesis, which ends with the family of Jacob (about 70 principal persons) going to Egypt.

Israel's history continues in Exodus with Israel multiplying into a nation of millions of persons. Israel spends about 400 years in Egypt, where the nation became slaves to the Egyptians. Then Moses is raised up to lead the nation out from bondage into the Wilderness.

In the wilderness Israel is given the law and a Tabernacle with sacrifices for sins. After a short time in the wilderness, Israel is invited to enter the promised land. However 10 of the 12 spies sent to spy out the land, come back and bad mouth the land. Israel rebells vs. the Lord and decides to return to Egypt. As a result, instead of entering the promised land, Israel is condemned by the Lord to wander in the wilderness until 40 years are complete and all the adult generation dies off (except for Joshua and Caleb).

At the end of Deuteronomy Moses dies, and Joshua becomes the new leader. After Joshua a succession of men act as rulers, the Judges. The last of the Judges is Samuel. When Samuel is old, the people demand a king, and Samuel complies and anoints Saul as the first king. After Saul, David becomes king and then Solomon. Saul, David, and Solomon are the only 3 kings of the entire nation of Israel. After Solomon dies, there is a rebellion by the northern tribes, who split off and form their own kingdom. The southern kingdom is called Judah and ruled by the House of David. The northern kingdom called Israel is ruled by a succession of kings and dynasties.

The northern kingdom ends about 721 BC when the Assyrians deport much of the population. The southern kingdom ends about 586 BC, when the army of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, deports much of the people and destroys the temple.

After about 70 years of captivity, the Persians (Medio-persians) become the dominant power and permit Israel to return to the land. Israel rebuild the temple and the City of Jerusalem in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. However, many Jews do not return to the land of Israel, but stay dispersed in the world.

The last prophet of the Old Testament is Malachi. And with Malachi there are no prophetic books written until New Testament times.

The Lord Jesus is born around 4 B.C. He preaches to the Jews in Israel: "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." The Jews do not repent and the promised Kingdom is not established on earth at this time. Instead, the Lord Jesus goes to the cross where He pays for our sins. He is raised on the third day. Soon after he ascends into Heaven (Acts 1).

While Genesis 12-Acts 2 largely concerns Israel, there are other groups addressed. One chapter in Genesis concerns the descendants of Esau, Jacob's brother. Job also concerns the land where Esau settled, Uz. Obadiah likewise addresses Selah, a city in or around the land where Esau settled. Nineveh, a city in Assyria is a major topic of the books of Jonah and Nahum.


II. The Church Acts 2-Revelation 3

In Acts 2 the coming of the Holy Spirit is recorded. With the baptism of the Holy Spirit the Church (the Body of Christ) is born, a new group distinct from Israel. After the letters to 7 churchs in Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3, the Church drops out of the picture.

Revelation 4-18

In Revelation 4-18, there is no mention of the Church by that name, but again we deal with Israel and the nations. It seems safe to infer that the Church is raptured before the events in Revelation 4-18 transpire. Probably the Church is pictured in Heaven in Revelation 4, after the Rapture.

Revelation 19-22 The Kingdom of God

Revelation 19 pictures for us the 2nd Coming of Christ to earth, where he sets up a Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20) followed by the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21) and the New Earth (Revelation 22). With Revelation 22 the Bible story ends.