From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/13:

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/13:

Today Zechariah tells the people who have returned to Judah that their current situation is only temporary. He says the day will come when the Lord will destroy their oppressors and He will bring forth the promised King, the Messiah, who will rule Israel and the nations. Many commentators believe that the destruction of Israel’s enemies from the north occurred under the reign of Alexander the Great, the king of the ancient Greek kingdom. However, the Lord speaks of a coming King who is quite the opposite of the conqueror Alexander the Great. When King Jesus arrives on the scene, he isn’t going to ride into Jerusalem as a conquering general on a stallion. He is going to ride into Jerusalem on a donkey as a King of peace. Zechariah speaks of this triumphal entry -“Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.’”

Jesus will partly fulfill this prophecy when He triumphantly rides into Jerusalem on a donkey (Matthew 21:1-11). A week later He will be crucified, and three days later He will defeat death by His resurrection, providing salvation for those who put their trust in Him. Jesus isn’t coming as the conquering king the Jews are expecting, who would take down the Roman Empire. However, one day He is coming back as the conquering King who will defeat all evil for good. Jesus will fulfill this prophecy during His second coming when the entire world will be under His authority. 

Zechariah uses the image of shepherds to describe Judah’s unfaithful leaders. Since the leaders of Judah abused their power, the Lord is going to remove them and provide a new shepherd for His flock. The Lord will have compassion on His people who were once scattered like a sheep without a shepherd – “I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside; for I am the Lord their God, and I will hear them.” The Lord is beginning this process of restoration during the Return Era as the Jews are returning to Judah from exile. However, the restoration will ultimately extend beyond Judah to include Northern Israel which was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC. 

Zechariah pretends to be a shepherd tending to a flock doomed to the slaughter, representing how the Lord removed His protection over His people in the past and allowed their enemies to oppress them because of their rebellion. Eventually Zechariah becomes impatient with the flock and the flock begins to detest him, so he resigns from his position as shepherd. Zechariah receives a small payment of thirty pieces of silver, the price of a slave, which he rejects by throwing it to a potter who works in the house of the Lord. Then the flock is handed over to worthless shepherds who will not care for them.

Zechariah’s acting as a shepherd is symbolic of what will happen when Jesus Christ arrives on the scene as the Good Shepherd. Jesus will be rejected and betrayed for the pitiful price of thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 27:3-10, John 10:25-27). However, the Lord promises to ultimately judge the worthless shepherds who lead the people astray – “Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; his arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded.”

The remaining chapters in the Book of Zechariah, chapters 12-14, focus on the hope for the house of David and the Lord’s future plans to lead them to repentance and to cleanse them from their sins – “The Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”

The Son of God, Jesus, is coming as the final Sacrifice. His head will be pierced with thorns, His hands and feet will be pierced with nails, and His side will be pierced with a spear. When the people realize that they crucified their Savior, they will mourn, which will lead them to repentance. As Charles Spurgeon says, “A great mistake is very common among all classes of men – it is currently believed that we are first of all to mourn for our sins, and then to look by faith to our Lord Jesus Christ. Most persons who have any concern about their souls, but are not as yet enlightened by the Spirit of God, think that there is a degree of tenderness of conscience, and of hatred of sin, which they are to obtain somehow or other, and then they will be permitted and authorized to look to Jesus Christ. Now you will perceive that this is not according to the Scripture, for, according to the text before us men first look upon Him whom they have pierced, and then, but not till then, they mourn for their sin.”

The Lord says He is going to strike the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, as the final atoning Sacrifice for the sins of His people; and when He does, the people will scatter. This will be a time of great tribulation and testing where many people will die. However, the end result is the Lord refining His people through the trials where they will be united as one – “They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

The Book of Zechariah ends with a warning that terrible days are ahead for Jerusalem, but in the end the Lord will fight for His people. Then all the nations will come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord in the glory of the Messiah’s Kingdom during the millennium, and memorial sacrifices will be made as the people look back on the perfect work of salvation that Jesus Christ completed on the cross and by His resurrection.  

Tomorrow there is a dedication to the new temple and we meet a lady named Esther, so keep reading. (Zechariah 9:1-14:21)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/12:

Today we read the eighth vision that Zechariah received in one night. Zechariah sees four chariots roaming the earth, similar to what he saw in the first vision, bringing the series of visions together. The vision illustrates the judgment upon the enemies of God so His people will have rest.  

Then the Lord tells Zechariah to make an elaborate crown and place it on the head of Joshua, the high priest, and say, “Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the Lord; Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” 

It is unusual to crown a priest because priests are not kings and kings are not priests. However, the crowning of Joshua is a foreshadowing of the coming High Priest and King of all kings, Jesus Christ, whom the Lord is sending to redeem His people.

Nothing will stop the Lord’s plans, although many try, as we read about another attempt made to stop the rebuilding of the temple. Tattenai, “the governor of the region beyond the River,” and others ask the Jews, “‘Who has commanded you to build this temple and finish this wall?’ Then, accordingly, we told them the names of the men who were constructing this building.” So Tattenai writes a letter to King Darius to verify their response. 

When King Darius receives the letter, he retrieves the decree issued by King Cyrus allowing the Jews to return to rebuild Jerusalem. Therefore, he responds to Tattenai by saying, “Keep yourselves far from there. Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God on its site.” King Darius also tells Tattenai to pay the cost of rebuilding the temple from taxes on the region beyond the River and to give the Jews anything else that they need day by day without fail. “Then Tattenai, governor of the region beyond the River, Shethar-Boznai, and their companions diligently did according to what King Darius had sent.”

We end the reading with the people asking if they should still fast now that the exile is over and the temple is almost complete. The Lord tells the people that fasting for show or self-pity accomplishes nothing. The purpose of fasting is to bring humility and repentance which leads to righteousness. God promises to restore His people and to turn their fast into “joy and gladness and cheerful feasts” which will result in the multiplication of His people – “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”

The Lord is restoring His people through His plan of sending the Branch, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins and give us new life. The Lord desires for us to walk in the newness of life so that our lives will draw others into the fellowship of Christ. How wonderful for someone to look at your life and say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”  

Zechariah speaks more about the coming Savior tomorrow, so keep reading! (Zechariah 6:1-15, Ezra 5:3-6:13, Zechariah 7:1-8:23)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/11:

In October of 520 B.C., about sixty-six years after the original temple was destroyed, the Lord speaks to Haggai, telling him to encourage Zerubbabel the governor of Judah and Joshua the high priest to continue the rebuilding of the temple – “‘Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ says the Lord; ‘and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,’ says the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’”

The people were comparing the new temple with the splendor of the old temple. The Lord says, “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former.” And the glory will be greater, for Jesus Christ the Son of God will one day preach in this new temple. The Lord promises that “in this place I will give peace.” There will be no greater peace than the peace available through a relationship with Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who restores us to His Father and secures our eternal destiny.

God calls the people to consider their current situation since they resumed rebuilding the temple. Although it has been a rough road, the Lord says, “But from this day I will bless you.” The Lord promises an abundant harvest for His people who are now walking in obedience.

The Lord tells Zerubbabel, “I will take you, Zerubbabel My servant… and I will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you.” As a descendant of the last legitimate king of Judah, Jehoiachin, Zerubbabel is chosen by God to bring forth the Messiah through his lineage.

We also hear from Zechariah, a priest who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel. He works alongside Haggai, Zerubbabel, and Ezra, encouraging the people to complete the rebuilding and warning them of the consequences for neglecting the work of the Lord. Zechariah urges the people to repent and draw near to the Lord and the Lord will draw near to them.

We read seven of eight visions that God gave Zechariah in one night. The visions reveal God’s plans for Jerusalem, the temple, and the coming Messiah:

  1. The horseman among the myrtle trees – The horseman explains that the Lord sent them to walk to and fro throughout the earth, and they have found peace. The Lord promises to restore Jerusalem – “My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; the Lord will again comfort Zion, and will again choose Jerusalem.”
  2. The four horns and four craftsmen – The horns represent the four kingdoms that opposed Israel: Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and Medo-Persia. The craftsmen are coming to “cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it”, revealing that the Lord will defeat the enemies of Israel.
  3. The surveyor – Zechariah sees a man with a measuring line who tells him he is going to measure the city of Jerusalem. The Lord promises that Jerusalem will be revived – “‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”
  4. Cleansing for the High Priest – Joshua, the high priest, is standing before the Angel of the Lord in filthy clothes and Satan is there to oppose him. The Lord rebukes Satan and says to Joshua, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes… For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH. For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua: upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.’” This vision is symbolic of Israel being restored as a nation and predicts the arrival of the coming Messiah. Jesus Christ is the ultimate High Priest who is coming to die for us so that we too will be cleansed from our sins and washed white as snow before the Lord.
  5. The lampstand and two olive trees – The olive trees are symbolic of Zerubbabel the governor of Judah and Joshua the high priest; and the lampstand represents the temple of the Lord whose foundation is being laid once again by the people of God.
  6. A flying scroll – The scroll flying over the earth represents God’s judgment upon the unrepentant who walk in defiance to the Lord.
  7. A woman in a basket – A woman named Wickedness is sitting in a basket. The basket is sealed and two women carry the basket off to Babylon where the wickedness would be released and eventually destroyed. As illustrated in this vision, the Lord is restoring and cleansing His people from idolatry and evil so that they may faithfully serve Him. Through the cleansing by the blood of Jesus, our wickedness is also taken away; so when the Lord looks at those who have trusted in Christ as their Savior, He doesn’t see our righteousness but the righteousness of His Son Jesus. John, a disciple of Jesus, will have a similar vision during the End Time Era where the Religious Babylon, which represents all worldly and satanic idolatry, will be destroyed (Revelation 17).

Tomorrow another attempt is made to stop the rebuilding. However, no matter what man does, nothing can stop the plans and purposes of the Lord. Keep reading. (Haggai 2:1-9, Zechariah 1:1-6, Haggai 2:10-19, Ezra 5:2, Haggai 2:20-23, Zechariah 1:7-5:11)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/10:

It has been two years since the first wave of exiles returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. The rebuilding has stopped because of opposition from the people surrounding them. During this time, Daniel is in Babylon mourning for God’s people. At the end of his three weeks of mourning, he receives a vision – “Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.’ While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.’”

The angel tells Daniel about a spiritual warfare occurring in the heavenly realms. He says he would have been there sooner to encourage Daniel, but he was held up for twenty-one days by the evil prince of Persia until Michael, one of the chief angels, arrived and helped him. Daniel knows that we not only face earthly battles that we can see, but there is also much more going on behind the scenes that we can’t see. However, we can trust that the Lord is always fighting for His people, and His ultimate victory will come in His perfect timing.

“Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, ‘O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!’” After Daniel is strengthened by the Lord, the angel gives Daniel insight about future conflicts between the nations. Then the angel speaks of a final world dictator, the Antichrist – “he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done… yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”

“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

David Guzik from Enduring word explains this passage – “The Jewish people have known many a time of trouble through their history. From the horrors at the fall of Samaria and Jerusalem to the terrors wrought by Antiochus Epiphanes, to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, to the persecutions from the church during the Dark Ages, to the pogroms of Europe, to the 20th Century Holocaust, it often seems that all Israel’s history has been a time of trouble. Yet this time of trouble will be different. This will be a worse time of trouble than Israel has ever seen before.” And although there is going to be a great time of trouble, deliverance is assured for those who trust in Christ as their Savior.

We end the Book of Daniel with the Lord instructing Daniel to seal the words that were given to him in this book. Daniel doesn’t understand all that was revealed to him, so the Lord tells him not to worry about trying to figure it all out. God simply says to Daniel, “But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” And the same is true for me and you. We can’t begin to know all that the Lord is doing behind the scenes to accomplish His plans and purposes in His perfect timing. We must stay the course and focus on what God has specifically called us to do until the end, looking forward to the day that we will receive our eternal inheritance. 

Over in Judah, the Lord sends Haggai and Zechariah to encourage the people to continue rebuilding the temple. The Lord says he has sent a drought on the land because the people have neglected rebuilding His house while they rebuilt their own homes. “So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.”

Tomorrow the people continue rebuilding the temple as they are called to return to the Lord. Keep reading. (Daniel 10:1-12:13, Ezra 4:24-5:1, Haggai 1:1-15)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/9:

Just as the people went into captivity in three waves, they return from captivity in three waves. The first wave of people, led by Zerubbabel, a descendant of King Jehoiachin from King David’s bloodline, and Jeshua, the priest, return to rebuild the temple in 538 B.C. Eighty years later, Ezra will lead the second wave and return Bible literacy to the people. The third wave will be led by Nehemiah in 445 B.C. to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and establish a government with Nehemiah as governor.

When the first wave returns, Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and Jeshua (Joshua), the High Priest, along with fellow priests and family, rebuild the altar on the same ground where it once stood in Jerusalem. Then they gather the people as one in Jerusalem and worship the Lord with offerings and by keeping the feasts as written in the law. Zerubbabel and Jeshua lead the people in rebuilding the temple, with the Levites appointed to oversee the work of the house of the Lord. When the foundation is laid, they sing praises to the Lord: “For He is good, for his mercy endures forever toward Israel.” There are mixed emotions in the crowd of people. The younger ones, who don’t remember the first temple or who were born in exile and never saw the first temple, are rejoicing with great joy. However, the older ones who remember the glory of the first temple and how the glory of the Lord departed are weeping because the new temple is not as magnificent as the one they remembered. 

While they are building, some men of the region come and try to discourage the people of Judah. “They troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purposes all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.” According to the ESV Study Bible, “Therefore, the opposition continued over a period of about 20 years, up to the completion of the temple in 516 B.C. The discouragement apparently involved turning local officials against the project. Even though the project actually had the full authority of King Cyrus behind it, local enemies would exploit the distance of Jerusalem from the imperial center to their own advantage.”

The people weeping over the foundation of the new temple are emotionally led by what they see instead of trusting the Lord and His plan as He is working behind the scenes. The people don’t know that one day the Messiah, who is coming as the final Sacrifice to take away the sins of the world, is going to preach in this very temple that they are building. The Lord will continue to urge the people to trust Him and walk with Him by faith until the work is complete, believing that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him. 

Tomorrow Daniel receives another vision over in Babylon, so keep reading. (Ezra 2:1-4:5, 1 Chronicles 3:19-24)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/23:

Today we finish the Return Era by hearing from Malachi and Joel; and we will briefly cover the Silent Era.

Malachi – Malachi addresses: 1) marriage, 2) the coming messenger and Messiah, 3) tithing and offerings, and 4) the coming judgment.

  1. Malachi calls marriage “The Lord’s holy institution which He loves.” He warns against intermarrying outside of the faith because this would lead the people away from the Lord. He also says that marriage is to be a lifetime commitment between a man and woman.
  2. Malachi speaks of the coming messenger and Messiah – “‘Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ says the Lord of hosts.” John the Baptist, the messenger, will come and announce the arrival of Jesus Christ, the Messiah (Luke 7:27).
  3. Malachi says the people have robbed God by not being generous with their tithing and offerings. The people should give to God willingly and with joy since all they possess is from the Lord anyway.
  4. Malachi concludes by saying,  “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” The Lord is sending Elijah (a reference to John the Baptist) to call the people to repentance before Jesus comes on the scene with His ministry. John the Baptist will come in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17) but “they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands” (Matthew 17:12). John the Baptist will be killed by man just as Jesus will have to suffer by the hands of man. Jesus will bring the world salvation through His death and resurrection; and He will return a second time bringing judgment upon the entire world. 

Joel – Scholars disagree on when Joel prophesied. Some place him earlier in the story, as a prophet to Judah during the Divided Kingdom Era, but Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible places him here, at the end of the Return Era.

Joel’s ministry is during a great locusts plague; however, Joel says that an even more horrific time is coming. “For the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as destruction from the Almighty.” Joel tells the people to turn their hearts (not just an outward act) to the Lord, for there they will find hope – “Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness… Then the Lord will be zealous for His land, and pity His people.” Joel says the Lord will pour out His Spirit on males and females, young and old, slave and free – “ I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…That whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Later in the story, Peter will quote Joel when this prophecy is fulfilled on Pentecost (Acts 2:14-21). Fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit will be poured upon the disciples of Jesus causing them to speak in foreign languages and enabling them to testify of Christ and the salvation only He can provide. 

Joel concludes by saying that the Lord will judge all the nations. “But the Lord will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So you shall know that I am the Lord your God, dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, and no aliens shall ever pass through her again… But Judah shall abide forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed, whom I had not acquitted; for the Lord dwells in Zion.”

Silent Era – From Chronological Bible Teaching 14-Era Booklet by Iva May, excerpt written by Stan May, PhD:

The last era before the coming of the Messiah claims the title, “Silent Era,” because the Hebrew canon closed after the writing and preaching of the prophet Malachi. For over 400 years, God did not speak to His people, either through the prophets or through other Scriptures; yet His silence did not equal inactivity. God providentially worked to prepare the way for the King through various empires that ruled even as He fulfilled the words of Amos 8:11.

History of the Silent Years (430 B.C.-4 B.C.)

Just as Daniel predicted (Daniel 2, 7), four major empires rose and fell. Nebuchadnezzar conquered the known world during Daniel’s day, but his empire lasted only about a century (626-539 b.c.) before it fell to the “Medes and the Persians” (Dan 5:28). The Persian Empire spread from Egypt to India and northward toward Greece; this empire survived for about two centuries, but eventually Alexander the Great defeated the Persians as he extended the third kingdom of Daniel—the Greek empire—into the world. His early death brought about a division of his territory, but not before the process of Hellenization influenced the known world. The universal use of the Greek language, the Greek standards of weight and measurement, and Greek coinage affected even Israel.

The Seleucids, successors of Alexander who eventually ruled Israel, succeeded in alienating the Jewish people, especially when the Syrian Antiochus IV Epiphanes offered a pig to the Olympian god Zeus in the Holy of Holies. His actions ignited the Maccabean revolt that resulted in a period of independence. This freedom survived until Rome—the fourth empire—sent her armies to capture Jerusalem and to establish Roman rule through governors granted power by the Emperor.

Trends of the Silent Years

Judaism changed dramatically during the silent years. The former idolatries that had driven the nation into exile were no longer tolerated. Chasidim (“separate ones”) began to demand purity and a return to God’s Word; they may have been the precursors of the Pharisees. Synagogues became the mainstay of spiritual life in the villages, though the Temple held priority in Jerusalem. Courts called Sanhedrin consisting of 23 wise men (an uneven number to guard against a tie) adjudicated in the smaller towns, and the great Sanhedrin (council of 70 plus the high priest) ruled over the nation in Jerusalem. The Jewish historian Josephus noted that the Sadducees and the Pharisees had existed since the time of the Maccabees.

The Pharisees devoted themselves to the Law, led in the synagogues, and seemed to have the support of the majority of the nation. They believed in angels (in fact, angelology—the study of angels and the resultant belief in their mediatorial work —became a major characteristic of Judaism4), resurrection, and the coming Messiah. The Sadducees allied themselves with the governing powers, ruled the Temple, accepted only the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, believed in neither angels nor spirits, and denied a future resurrection. The controversy between these two groups occasionally spilled out into the open, but always existed as a subtext for all that transpired in the nation. The Herodians were a Jewish political party allied with the family of Herod (four generations ruled in the land), usually siding with the Sadducees to protect Rome’s interests and to preserve Rome’s peace (and their position of authority).

The Mishna and the Talmud began to develop during this era as an extended commentary on the Hebrew Scriptures. These books increased the actual commands to which the people were subject; each interpreter added his accretions to the whole, and the resultant weight of the laws burdened the people with over 600 regulations for daily conduct.

Importance of the Silent Years

This tenth era prepared the way for the coming Messiah in several ways. After the Babylonian captivity, the Jews began to speak Aramaic; Hellenization brought a common language for the world, and the Jews of the Diaspora (those scattered throughout the world) spoke Greek. These linguistic changes relaxed the Jewish attitude toward the Scripture and necessitated the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into the Septuagint (LXX). The Septuagint (“Seventy”) supposedly was translated by 70 scholars in 70 days, hence the name.

Rome paved the way by building the Roman road system and establishing the Pax Romana, the Roman peace. Apostles and missionaries could travel unimpeded swiftly throughout the empire, preaching the good news in a language (Greek) that the common people could understand.

Judaism produced a “vast bulk of intertestamental literature,” but “divine guidance kept the right books within the compass of Scripture. Eventually and gradually, Judaism manifested itself in the ‘Three Pillars of Judaism’: the tripartite OT canon of Law, Prophets, and Writings; the synagogue, with its new, liturgical, and entirely nonsacrificial worship; and Rabbinism, which culminated in the Talmud and Midrash.” The religious minutiae of the law created an unbearable burden that convinced men of their failure but offered no hope for true freedom. The temple became a place of corruption and the synagogue became a place of condemnation.

These religious trends and cultural changes came not as accidents but rather under the providential hand of God to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. It is no wonder that Paul could write to the Galatians that Christ was born “in the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4).

That’s a wrap on the Old Testament. The Gospel Era starts tomorrow, so keep reading! ✝️

(Malachi 2:10-4:6 Joel 1:1-3:21)

#bibleliteracymovement #chronologicalbibleteaching

14 Eras:

Creation Era (Gen 1:1-11:26)✅

Patriarch Era (Gen 11:27-50:26 and Job)✅

Exodus Era (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) ✅

Conquest Era (Joshua) ✅

Judges Era (Judges, Ruth) ✅

Kingdom Era (1 & 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 1-9, 1 Kings 1-11, various Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon) ✅

Divided Kingdom Era (2 Chronicles 10-36, 1 Kings 11-22, 2 Kings, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and some of Jeremiah) ✅

Captivity Era (the rest of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) ✅

Return Era (Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) ✅

Silent Era (Inter-Testament period) ✅

Gospel Era (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) is up next!

Eras to follow:

Church, Missions, and End Time/New Beginning

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/22:

Today the people celebrate a dedication of the wall of Jerusalem with a parade led by two large thanksgiving choirs. “Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off.”

After serving as governor of Judah for twelve years, Nehemiah returns to Artaxerxes king of Babylon. Nehemiah says that when he was governor he did not demand the governor’s provisions as the other governors had done in the past because he didn’t want to place any more burden on the people. Nehemiah calls upon the Lord saying, “Remember me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.”

After some time away, Nehemiah is granted permission by King Artaxerxes to return to Judah where he discovers that the people have neglected the house of the Lord and the word of God. Nehemiah knows that the Lord gives His people instructions for their own good. So Nehemiah rebukes the rulers and the people for disobeying the word of God and he sets the house of the Lord back in order. He forces the people to honor the Sabbath and condemns the ones who intermarried with pagan nations. Nehemiah calls the people to remember what happened to King Solomon when he took pagan wives and concubines for himself – “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin. Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?”

We end the reading meeting the prophet Malachi who proclaims God’s love for Israel to the ones who have returned to Judah from exile. He reminds them that they were God’s chosen people by taking them back to the Patriarch Era, when the Lord chose Isaac’s son Jacob over Esau to receive His covenantal blessings and to work His plan of sending our Savior. Although Israel was punished for their disobedience, the Lord is restoring Israel and is committed to them, proving His love for them. God did not make the same covenant to Esau’s descendants, Edom, and they will be judged for their wickedness and not restored like Israel.

Malachi goes on to rebuke the priests who were accepting unworthy sacrifices. He tells them the Lord is worthy of their honor because He is their Father, Master, and King! Malachi tells the priests that their lives should be an example for the others. “‘For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the law from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have departed from the way; you have caused many to stumble at the law. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base before all the people, because you have not kept My ways but have shown partiality in the law.’”

Tomorrow we will finish reading the Old Testament, bringing an end to the Return Era… so keep reading! 

(Nehemiah 12:27-13:6a, Nehemiah 5:14-19, Nehemiah 13:6b-31, Malachi 1:1-2:9)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/21:

”Now the leaders of the people dwelt at Jerusalem; the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to dwell in Jerusalem, the holy city, and nine-tenths were to dwell in other cities. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem.” 

Choosing to live in Jerusalem is a sacrificial move which displays a love for the Lord and His people. The ones willing to live in Jerusalem are taking a risk with their lives since the city of Jerusalem is constantly under the evil plots and attacks by their enemies. They are also giving up the opportunity to harvest land by not being in the country. 

The priests, Levites, and the Nethinim are responsible for the care of the new temple. The priests are the descendants of Aaron; they perform the sacrifices and tend to the Holy Place in the temple. The Levites have various duties such as singers, musicians, teachers, guards, etc. The Nethinims are the temple assistants. Research suggests the Nethinim were likely non-Israelite captives that were spared but assigned to the work of the temple, such as the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:26-27) whom King David organized into a class of people to perform the work of the temple (Ezra 8:20). So the care of the second temple is structured in the same manner as King David did with the first temple.

We also see, once again, that the Lord always keeps His Word. Remember in the wilderness, as a result of the Balaam and Balak encounter, the Lord told Phinehas, Eleazar’s son, that his descendants would have a perpetual priesthood after Phinehas showed his zeal for the Lord by killing Zimri and Cozbi (Numbers 25). Today we see the Lord honored him – “And Phinehas the son of Eleazar had been the officer over them in the past; the Lord was with him.” And just as the Lord was with His people in the past, He will be the same God to them in the present.

Tomorrow there is a dedication for the wall of Jerusalem and Nehemiah returns back to Artaxerxes king of Babylon. Will Nehemiah remain in Babylon? Keep reading to find out.

(Nehemiah 11:1-12:26, 1 Chronicles 9:1-34)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/20:

Today the people observe the Feast of Tabernacles as described in the Book of the Law. “So the whole assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and sat under the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day the children of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God.”

The Feast of Tabernacles has been celebrated since the days of Joshua (1 Kings 8:2, 1 Kings 8:65-66, Ezra 3:4) but not with such zeal for God’s word. In the Conquest Era, when Joshua led the people in conquering the promised land, the people celebrated being settled into the land, much like the celebration in Jerusalem that Nehemiah is describing. The remnant has returned from captivity in Babylon and are celebrating their renewed life in their renewed homeland by worshipping the Lord, remembering His faithfulness to His people and repenting for their unfaithfulness.

“Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.” Then the Levites tell the people to “Stand up and bless the Lord your God forever and ever!” The Levites continue to exalt the Lord in prayer by retelling His magnificent story to the children of Israel, beginning with the Creation Era and continuing through to where they are at this point in the Return Era: 

  • Creation Era – “You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.”
  • Patriarch Era – “You are the Lord God, who chose Abram, and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and gave him the name Abraham; You found his heart faithful before You, and made a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, and the Girgashites— to give it to his descendants.”
  • Exodus Era – “You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heard their cry by the Red Sea. You showed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his servants, and against all the people of his land. For You knew that they acted proudly against them. So You made a name for Yourself, as it is this day. And You divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors You threw into the deep, as a stone into the mighty waters. Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the road which they should travel.” The Levites describe the Lord giving the people the law and providing food and water for them during their wilderness journeys. They remind the people of Israel’s rebellion against the Lord in the wilderness and how in spite of their disobedience, the Lord’s remained faithful – “Forty years You sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing; their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.”
  • Conquest Era – “You also multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and brought them into the land which You had told their fathers to go in and possess. So the people went in and possessed the land; You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hands, with their kings and the people of the land, that they might do with them as they wished.”
  • Judges Era – “Nevertheless they were disobedient and rebelled against You, cast Your law behind their backs… Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who oppressed them; and in the time of their trouble, when they cried to You, You heard from heaven; and according to Your abundant mercies You gave them deliverers who saved them from the hand of their enemies…And many times You delivered them according to Your mercies, and testified against them, that You might bring them back to Your law.”
  • Kingdom, Divided Kingdom, and Captivity Eras – “Yet for many years You had patience with them, and testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets. Yet they would not listen; therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; for You are God, gracious and merciful….From the days of the kings of Assyria until this day. However You are just in all that has befallen us; for You have dealt faithfully, but we have done wickedly.” Therefore, the Northern Kingdom was overthrown by the Assyrians and Southern Judah was overthrown by the Babylonians.
  • Return Era – “Here we are, servants today! And the land that You gave to our fathers, to eat its fruit and its bounty, here we are, servants in it! And it yields much increase to the kings you have set over us, because of our sins; also they have dominion over our bodies and our cattle at their pleasure; and we are in great distress. And because of all this, we make a sure covenant and write it; our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it.”

At this time, Israel is a province of the Persian Empire and they are under heavy taxes and oppression. Therefore, once again, they are calling out to the Lord to deliver them. This prayer is a prayer of deep repentance and deep dependence upon the Lord. The people pledge to be faithful to their God who has always been faithful to them.

Tomorrow, we will read about the Levites who will minister to the people and uphold the word of God. Keep reading.

(Nehemiah 8:13-10:39)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 9/19:

After the wall is complete, the Lord puts in Nehemiah’s heart a desire to register the people according to genealogy. God is ensuring that the ones who left their homes in Babylon to return to do the strenuous labor of rebuilding Jerusalem would not be forgotten. God is a personal God who cares for each person and the tasks they endure on this side of heaven. So Nehemiah finds a previously recorded genealogy, possibly the one made by Ezra (Ezra 2), and he records a census of the people. Currently the city of Jerusalem is large and the people are few; however, Nehemiah would like to see this newly restored city repopulated.

Now that the people are physically secure, Nehemiah and Ezra make sure that they are spiritually secure by gathering everyone in the open square and reading the Book of the Law to them – “So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.”

The Levites help the people understand what was written in the Book of the Law. “And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, ‘This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.’” The Levites encourage the people who are weeping over their sin to be joyful because of the renewed relationship with the Lord. “And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.”

The people rejoice because they finally understand what was written in the Book of the Law. See, it’s one thing to read or hear God’s Word, but reading or hearing God’s Word with understanding brings great joy and blessings! So keep reading! 

(Nehemiah 7:4-8:12)

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