Table of ContentsNext Section

Bible Training
The Old Testiment

The Old Testament is the first part of a holy book called the Bible and consists of thirty-nine books. The Old Testament period covers about four thousand years, from Adam to the first coming of Jesus Christ. To understand this period, here is an historical review from the first book Genesis, to the last book Malachi.

Genesis (4000 B.C.)

In the first verse we are introduced to God who is called Elohim. God is systematically revealed over a period of time as God the Father, Jesus the Son of God and the Holy Spirit. He is a Tri-une God. The acts of Gods creation is described in chapters one and two.

God created the Universe, the Earth, the Garden of Eden, all creatures and Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were given charge over the whole Earth and were commanded to replenish and subdue it. In recent years, references to the creation story have been found in different forms, on tablets in the ruins of Babylon Nineveh, Nippur and Ashur.

The fall of Adam and Eve into sin

It was at this time that satan tempted Eve and Adam. They experienced a fall into sin and were banished from the Garden of Eden. Their children Cain and Abel were born and Cain committed the first murder by killing his brother Abel.

Enoch was born in Adams’ lineage and was a true man of God. He walked in a very close relationship with God and then was translated into Heaven. Man continued to multiply and inhabit the earth.

In rebellion to God man built the Tower of Babel. At that time the original language of man was pure Hebrew. As a result of mans rebellion, God caused this one language to be changed into many different languages.

In recent studies using computer programming, it has been confirmed that all languages lead back to pure Hebrew. Because of this division the various basic language groups of man were formed.

Noah (2000 B.C.)

Sin greatly multiplied upon the earth. God destroyed the earth with a flood but saved Noah and his family.

From this time to Abraham six city kingdoms and dynasties existed.

Abraham (1900 B.C.)

It is out of the Ur of the Chaldea’s, that Abraham, Sarah and Lot were called by God.

They traveled 600 miles northwest to Haran.

After the death of Terah his father, Abraham moved to Shechem. Then he moved to Bethel. Here Abraham and Lot were separated when Lot went on to live in the plain of Sodom. God destroyed Sodom because of its wickedness, but saved Lot and his two daughters.

Then Abrahams son Isaac was born. They continued living near Bethel in Canaan. He raised Isaac in the fear and ways of God.

At the command of God, he took his son Isaac to be sacrificed on Mt Moriah. This is where Jerusalem is today. God spared Isaac from being sacrificed and provided a ram in his place.

Abraham was old and when Isaac became of age and he sent his servant Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac. He found Rebeccah, they were married and she bore Isaac two sons, Jacob and Esau.

Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of soup.

Jacob was married to Leah and Rachel and they bore him twelve sons who were the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Joseph one of Jacob's sons, was sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt.

He experienced great persecution.

By Divine providence he was promoted by Pharaoh to be Governor over Egypt.

He became second only to Pharaoh.

Jacob and his family experienced a great famine in their land and all seventy members of the family went to Egypt for help.

Joseph received and forgave his brothers and took care of his father Jacob and his family.

Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy (1500 B.C.)

The children of Israel lived in Egypt for 400 years. (Gen 15:13, Acts 7:6) They multiplied and became a nation of about 2 million people. At this time a Pharaoh arose and he persecuted the Israelites.

God provided a deliverer called Moses to deliver them. Pharaoh had all the male children killed under the age of three months. The baby Moses was placed by his mother Jochebed in a basket of bulrushes in the Nile River for protection.

Moses was found and adopted by Pharaoh's daughter. He was raised in Pharaohs Palace in royalty and was destined for the Throne of Egypt. He then discovered that he was an Israelite and joined with his nation. In this process he killed an Egyptian and fled to the wilderness of Midian.

There he sojourned for 40 years where God met with him at the burning bush on Mt Sinai. God commanded him to go back to Egypt and deliver the Israelites from bondage. Moses returned to Egypt where he asked Pharaoh to set the Israelites free. Pharaoh rejected the request. With ten mighty plagues God forced the hand of Pharaoh and delivered the Israelites.

The night of deliverance they kept the Passover. They sacrificed a lamb and brushed its blood on their door posts and door mantel. The angel of death killed all the firstborn of the Egyptians.Pharaoh let the Israelites go and they departed from Egypt.

God opened the Red Sea before them and they passed through it to the other side. The Egyptian armies were destroyed as they tried to follow and recapture them.

From there Moses led the Israelites on to Mt Sinai.

There God gave Moses and Israel -

(Exodus 20:1-17, 21:1, 23:33, Leviticus 11:1, 27:34.)

Moses and the Israelites built the Tabernacle as God prescribed it.

(Exodus 35:1 - 40:38.)

Moses inducted Aaron as High Priest and instituted the Levitical Priesthood.

(Leviticus 6:1 - 8:36.)

Various feasts, offerings and sacrifices were also instituted.

(Leviticus 1:1 - 9:24, 23.1-44.)

God performed the most incredible miracles for Israel in the wilderness.

There He provided for, sustained and protected them. He gave them Manna and Quails to eat and water to drink. They were given the opportunity to enter the Promised Land shortly thereafter. They were disobedient and did not want to enter into the Promised Land.

God punished them and they had to journey in the wilderness for 40 years. At the end of this period, God translated Moses to Heaven and raised up a new leader in his place. His name was Joshua.

Joshua. (1450 B.C.)

Joshua led the Israelites over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. They marched seven days around the city of Jericho, blew their trumpets, its walls fell down and they conquered the city. They continued their march of victory until the whole Promised Land had been conquered and taken into possession. There were many noteworthy battles that took place. The one that stands out the most is where God commanded the sun to stand still allowing Israel to defeat their enemy.

Judges (1400 B.C.)

It was during the time of the Judges that Israel turned away from God.

The following Judges ruled over Israel for 40 years.


He was known for his great strength in defeating the Philistines. His spiritual backsliding was tragic, but his return to God spectacular. In his final moments, he pulled down the two pillars of the Philistine temple and killed thousands of Philistines.

Ruth (1320 B.C.)

Ruth was a Moabite and married one of Naomi's two sons, who were from Bethlehem. Her husband died and instead of returning to Moab she insisted on staying with her mother-in-law Naomi. It was then in her desperate situation that Boaz had compassion on her, took care of her, redeemed and married her. She was King David's great Grandmother and he was born of her lineage.

1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles (1170 - 600 B.C.)

Samuel was born to Hannah in a town called Ramah six miles north of Jerusalem. She had prayed earnestly for a child promising to give her child to God for service. Samuel was born and later given to the care of the High priest Eli.

He grew up and worked for God. He served as a Prophet, Priest and Judge of Israel. During his ministry, he crowned Saul and David as Kings of Israel.

King Saul.

Saul was crowned reigning as King over Israel for 40 years. After being disobedient to God, Israel was defeated in battle and the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines. Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in the battle.

King David.

While King Saul was alive, Samuel anointed David the youngest son of Jesse, to be King of Israel. David had a very close friendship with Jonathan, Saul's son. He married Saul’s daughter. Because of jealousy Saul persecuted and tried to kill David. David fled for his life and became a fugitive. A number of years after Saul's death, David was crowned King of Israel.

He was very popular in Israel for several reasons:
  1. He was talented and could play and sing psalms beautifully.

  2. He was very brave and in an historic moment defeated the giant Goliath.

  3. He was very successful in leading King Saul's armies in battle.

  4. He was a very loving and kind person.

David was a very successful King of Israel and achieved many notable things:
  1. He united Judah and Israel and established Jerusalem as her Capital.

  2. He defeated all of Israel's enemies.

  3. He retrieved the stolen Ark of the Covenant from the Philistines.

  4. He accumulated sufficient wealth to rebuild the Temple.

  5. He rebuilt the nation of Israel to great heights of glory.

  6. He wrote many of the Psalms that were sung in everyday Temple worship.

Unfortunately, David committed a grievous sin by committing adultery with Beth Sheba and then had her husband killed. He dearly loved her and married her and she bore him a son called Solomon. Later on, David also experienced a great emotional trauma when his son Absalom rebelled against him and was killed.

King Solomon.

From birth, Solomon was groomed for the Throne of David. His brother Adonijah plotted against Solomon while David was on his deathbed, but lost the bid for the throne. Solomon was crowned King and his 40 year reign became one of peace and prosperity. God allowed him to choose anything he desired and he chose wisdom.

So great was his wisdom that he became famous throughout the world. He wrote over 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs. He wrote the Biblical books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. He built the Temple in its magnificence.

When it was dedicated, Gods presence filled it and everyone was slain to the floor because of Gods glory. The nation of Israel experienced its greatest heights during his reign. At the height of her economical prosperity, 25 tons of gold were collected each year, valued at over $200 million today.

Solomon's army ruled with great power and his navy of merchant ships sailed throughout the known world. This era was a highlight in Jewish history. Unfortunately Solomon did not continue to serve God like his father David did. He married 700 wives of whom many were idolatrous and he had 300 concubines.

After his death, Israel was divided into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms.

Jeroboam his one son, became the King of Israel known as the Northern Kingdom.

Rehoboam his other son became the King of Judah, the Southern Kingdom.

There was continuous strife and war between these two Kingdoms.

The Northern Kingdom (933 to 721 B.C.)

After Jeroboam, 19 Kings followed him in succession. Most of these Kings were evil and idolatrous.

From 800 to 875 B.C. two great Prophets, Elijah and Elisha, were used of God to save Israel. Elijah was miraculously used to call fire from heaven on Mt Carmel upon the sacrifice, as a sign of God. He was later supernaturally translated into Heaven by a fiery chariot. His mantle fell on Elisha who did twice as many miracles as Elijah.

He multiplied the widow's oil and raised a boy from the dead. He healed Naaman the Leper. He had a Prophet school at Bethel, Jericho and Gilgal. The Assyrians destroyed this Kingdom, in 721 B.C.

The Southern Kingdom (933 to 586 B.C.)

After Rehoboam, 20 Kings followed him in succession. Of these Kings, 6 were good and 14 were evil. This Kingdom was destroyed in 606 B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar took the Jews captive to Babylon.

The Prophets

During the time of these two Kingdoms there were 15 Prophets. An apteryx (*) behind their name indicates that a Book of the Old Testament is named after them:

Joel (*)
Jonah (*)
Amos (*)
Hosea (*)
Isaiah (*)
Micah (*)
Zephaniah (*)
Nahum (*)
Jeremiah (*)
Habakkuk (*)
Obadiah (*)
Daniel (*)
Ezekiel (*)
875 - 850 B.C.
850 - 800
840 - 830
790 – 770
780 – 740
760 – 720
745 – 695
740 – 700
639 – 608
630 – 610
626 – 586
606 – 586
586 – 535
606 – 534
592 - 570

Ezra and Nehemiah

During this time, these two men were used by God. They were used to lead a remnant of the Jews back from Babylon to Israel. They brought about the restoration and the unification of Judah and Israel. In 538 a proclamation was given by King Cyrus to allow the Jews to return to their land.

Esther (478 - 420B.C.)

It was about this time that Esther a Jewess became Xerxes wife and Queen of Persia. Haman plotted against the Jews to have them all killed. With the help and advice of Mordecai she saved the Jews from the massacre. The Feast of Purim is held until this day to commemorate this event. Esther paved the way for the work of Ezra and Nehemiah in rebuilding Jerusalem.

There were three different groups who returned to Israel.

In 536 B.C. Zerubbabel returned with 42,360 Jews and their possessions to Jerusalem

In 457 B.C. Ezra returned with 1574 men. He was a Priest and returned to teach the Law of God and beautify the Temple.

In 444 B.C. Nehemiah returned as Governor, with an army escort from Artaxerxes, who was the stepson of Queen Esther. Nehemiah was sent to rebuild Jerusalem.

After rebuilding the Temple, they rebuilt the Gates and the Walls of Jerusalem. All twelve tribes of Israel were represented by the returning Jews. The 12 bullocks and he-goats were sacrificed on their behalf signify this.
(Ezra 2:70, 6:17, 8:35)

It was also during this restoration period, that God used the following prophets. A Book of the Old Testament is named after them.
520 - 516 B.C.
520 - 516 B.C.
450 - 400 B.C.

Continued Persian rule (430 - 332 B.C.)

Not much more is known of this period and for the most part it seemed to be quiet.

Greek rule (331 - 167 B.C.)

Alexander the Great ruled the world and after his death his four generals continued his reign. Things remained mainly peaceful for the Jews. Then Antiochus Epiphanies re-conquered Israel. He devastated Jerusalem, desecrated the Temple and killed the Jews. This brought about the Maccabean revolt.

Maccabean Rule (167 - 63 B.C.)

Mattathias a Priest, together with his five brave Sons, revolted and with great courage took back Jerusalem. The Temple was purified and re-dedicated. This was the origin of the Feast of Dedication that was kept each year thereafter. Judas his son re-established the High Priestly religious and civil authorities in Judea.

Roman rule (63 B.C - 70 A.D.)

During this time in 37 B.C., Herod the Great became King of Judea. To obtain Jewish favor he built a magnificent Temple in Jerusalem. It was during his reign that Jesus Christ the Son of God was born in Bethlehem of Judea.

This brought to a close, the era of the Old Testament.

Back to Top of PageTable of ContentsNext Section