By Zander Dell Raines




QUIZ-What Old Testament events do these pictures represent?-(Click pictures for answers.)

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.-Ephesians 6:13-17


When the Apostle Paul was describing our spiritual armor in this passage, he said that our sword is the word of God. The word of God is our major weapon against Satan, the enemy of our souls. You see how Jesus used his sword in the story of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness in....

and the devil said unto him, if thou be the son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, it is written, that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.-Luke 4:3-4

"It is written", this is how Jesus responded to Satan's attacks, and it is still the best way for us to respond to him today. The average Christian, however, has not studied enough of the Bible to know what is written. This is especially true concerning the Old Testament. While we are truly a New Testament church, if we do not study the Old Testament, then we have left off over one half of God's word and, in the words of an early saint of God, Bishop Ussher, "a half of a sword is a sorry sword indeed!".

All of Jesus' teachings were quoted directly from the Old Testament. The same is true for the teachings of the apostles, and all other New Testament writers. Many New Testament doctrines are misunderstood simply because we don't go back and study the references given concerning them in the Old Testament. The entire last book of the New Testament, Revelation, cannot begin to be understood without the scriptures it refers back to in the Old Testament. One of the greatest problems facing the church today is our lack of a thorough grounding in the teachings of the first half of the word of God. True faith in the first canon of the Holy Scriptures, on the other hand, can make a stupendous difference in the strength of one's faith.

God divided the Old Testament into six very distinct time periods. These periods are marked off by seven events that were each accomplished by the sovereign will of God. These events are the creation of the world, the flood of Noah, the exodus of Israel, the building of the temple in Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple, the proclamation of Cyrus, and the coming of the Messiah. These events were so important to God that he gives the day, month, and year in which all of these events, save the last one, occurred. However very few Christians, including a lot of Bible teachers, could tell you what any of these dates or time periods are. This is one of the major reasons that the body of Christ is in such sad shape today!


God's first great event in history is called the creation. The story of the creation begins in....

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.-Genesis 1:1

To determine just when the creation began, we need to drop down a few verses to the first reference in the scriptures to time as we know it.

And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.-Genesis 1:5

The event called the creation started on the first day of all of history. The Bible uses only numbers for the days and months until the time of Moses, when the months are given names. Before that time, God simply numbered the months, as we will see in more detail later on. Therefore the creation began on the first day of the first month of all time. God gives us the name of the first month using two verses. The first verse is....

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.-Leviticus 23:5

The first month is the month in which God directed the Jews to celebrate the passover. God gives us the name of this month in....

Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.-Deuteronomy 16:1

With this information, we now know that the creation of the universe began on the first day of the month of Abib. On the Christian calendar, the month of Abib falls in the spring around the month of March and April. God began his creation in the spring, a most appropriate time of year, don't you think!

The periods of time that span God's seven great events are very carefully counted out year by year in the Bible. God, in His infinite wisdom, had the Old Testament writers document all of the years from the creation of the universe to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The first of these periods begins at the creation and ends at the flood. The best name that I have found to describe this period appears in one of the most important of all Old Testament passages found in....

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise they head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.-Genesis 3:15

The seed is a term that refers to the line of humanity that begins with Adam and ends with Jesus. The word seed specifically points to Jesus Himself in most scriptural references. However in some cases it can refer to the ancestors of Jesus also, as we see in....

And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth; for God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.-Genesis 4:25

The period of time that we call the seed can be counted out by years in Genesis chapters 5 and 7. The details of the years given in these chapters are as follows:



Years to Next Event

The Creation-Adam created


Seth born


Enos born


Cainan born


Mahalaleel born


Jared born


Enoch born


Methuselah born


Lamech born


Noah born


From Creation to Flood        

1656 years



God's second great event is the flood of Noah. The flood occurs 1,656 years after the creation, and the date for the flood is given in....

In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.-Genesis 7:11

Please notice the precision with which God gives the date of this event. Why would He take so much time to give the exact day of the flood? To build up our faith, that's why! Also notice, as we mentioned earlier, that the months are numbered at this point in time, and are not given names yet. The name of the second month is given in....

And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.-I Kings 6:1

The name of the second month is Zif. Therefore God's second great event, the flood of Noah, began on the 17th day of Zif. The name we will give the second Old Testament period is given in....

Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.-Genesis 10:1

This period tells the stories of the sons of Noah, and the sons of Abraham. The years of the period we call the sons are counted in the books of Genesis and Exodus and total as follows:



Years to Next Event

The Flood


Arphaxad born


Salah born


Eber born


Peleg born


Reu born


Serug born


Nahor born


Terah born


Abraham born


Abraham's covenant begins


From the Flood to the Exodus          

857 years



Throughout human history, two religious systems have competed for the souls of men. One is the bride called the church and the other is the whore called Mystery Babylon.

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters. With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.-Revelation 17:1-5

While much is known of the church, little is known of Mystery Babylon. The scriptures, however, have much to say about this hideous harlot. Its name tells us much in itself. It is a mysterious religious system that began in Babylon.

According to the Greek historian Herodotus, all pagan religions can be traced directly back to Babylon. Keep in mind that Herodotus said this 400 years before the birth of Jesus Christ! Just as God chose the city Jerusalem, which was originally called Salem meaning "peace" (Genesis 14:18-19), so it seems that Satan also chose the city of Babylon, which was first called Babel meaning "confusion" (Genesis 11:8-9). These two cities have been locked in mortal combat since the days of Genesis, and a simple glance at the Middle East today shows that this battle rages still.

Vast and myriad are the doctrines of Mystery Babylon. Indeed all false religious systems on the earth, in one facet or another, are based on her doctrines. Seven of these doctrines can be found in Genesis. The first 3 doctrines are to be found in Genesis 3:


1-"Yea, hath God said"-Questioning the word of God.

2-"Ye shall not surely die"-No final death and judgment.

3-"Ye shall be as gods"-Man can become God.

The 4th doctrine is found in Genesis 4.

4-"Cain brought the fruit of the ground"-Works salvation.

The next two started at the tower of Babel (Isaiah 47:12-13)

5-"sorceries"-All manner of white and black magic.

6-"pronosticators"-All manner of fortune telling.

The 7th is revealed to us by Jacob in Genesis 35:3-4.

7-"strange gods"-The worship of anything other than God.

Using these tools, and many others besides, Mystery Babylon has continually endeavored to enslave the world for Satan. Every pagan religion in the world will have some of these doctrines in their teachings in one form or another.


Although the first five books of the Bible, called the Torah or books of the law, were written by Moses, there was one book that may have been written earlier in time. Moses lived and wrote his books about 1500 BC. The book of Job may well have been written as early as 1800 BC.

One purpose of the Old Testament histories was so that the Jews could keep a count of the years from the creation to the coming of the Messiah. Job's name appears in this chronology....

And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron.-Genesis 46:13

Job was the grandson of Jacob, and a great-great-grandson of Abraham. Therefore Job would have lived around 1800 BC. This means that he lived 300 years before Moses. This explains why the book of Job makes no references to Jerusalem, Moses, David, or any other of the many Old Testament characters. He simply lived before they existed.

This may also explain several unusual references in the book of Job, such as an amazing creature called behemoth (Job 40-15-24). This text goes on to describe a monstrous animal with a huge stomach and a tail like a cedar tree. This is directly followed by another monster called leviathan (Job 41). What were these creatures?

For centuries scholars scoffed at the Bible because it mentioned these creatures that could no longer be found on the surface of the earth. Things continued this way right up until the 1800's. Then scientists began to dig up the bones of these monstrous lizards. They named this now extinct race of animals dinosaurs.

So it was that science had finally discovered the creatures that the word of God had described over 3,500 years ago. These creatures lived before the flood, were on Noah's ark, and died out shortly afterwards because they could not survive the cooler climate that prevailed on the earth after the flood, but they were still around for Job to see in 1800 BC. So the word of God rings true long after the scoffing scholars were long in their graves.

Anyone who has read the book of Job knows that it was written to show how faith in God will always see us through in life, whatever any scholars and experts may say to the contrary.  May we never forget this  most valuable lesson from the word of God.



God's third great event was so earth-shattering that the second book of the Bible, Exodus, is named after it. The exodus of Israel from Egypt began to take place only after God passed through Egypt one night and killed the firstborn of every unbelieving household in the land. On this selfsame night, God instituted the passover ceremony to protect His followers and their firstborn. The date of this event, as we have already seen, is....

In the fourteenth day of the first month is the LORD's passover.-Leviticus 23:5

We already know that Abib is the first month of the year, therefore the exodus of Israel took place on the 14th day of Abib.

The third period we will give the same name as the seventh book of the Bible. The judges period began with Moses, the first judge of Israel, and ends with the first three kings of Israel, the first two of which were anointed by Samuel, the last judge of Israel. The total years of this period are given in....

And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD. - I Kings 6:1

If the construction of the temple began at the first of the 380th year after the exodus, then 479 years passed between the exodus and the temple. This can also be determined by counting the years in the books of Judges through I Kings. The totals are as follows:


Event Years to Next Event

The Exodus from Egypt 40

The Judges rule Israel 356

Saul rules Israel 40

David rules Israel 40

Solomon's rule of Israel begins 3

From the Exodus to Temple Building 479 years




It was during this period of time that the first five books of the Bible, called the law, were written. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, was written to show the history of man from the creation until when the children of Abraham entered Egypt. The second book, Exodus, is the story of Moses' own life and the freeing of God's people from Egypt. The reason for the third book is explained in the first verse of that book.

And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, - Leviticus 1:1

The rest of this book is taken up with the building of the tabernacle, and the laws of worship for the Jews while they were in the wilderness. The next book begins with similar words (Numbers 1:1).

The book of Numbers gives the account of the Jewish journeying in the wilderness of Sinai, along with laws of conduct and worship for the Jewish people. Notice that the reason for these books to be written was because the Lord had spoken to Moses, and these books are the written record of what God had said and done.

Deuteronomy is the last book written by Moses. It ends with his death and burial. Keep in mind that Moses had men, called Levites, who actually wrote down the words that Moses had dictated to them. This last book is called Deuteronomy for a good reason. This is a Jewish term that means the second law.

This was to be the governing laws for the nation of Israel once the people had inhabited the land. Notice, one last time, the reason that these books were written (Deuteronomy 1:1-3). As already mentioned, this book ends with the death of Moses who probably died around 1400 BC. Thus ends the books of the law.

There is a fascinating story concerning God's written word in Exodus 32-34. Here God actually writes out His word on two tables of stone. Then, before God's written word can be shared with the people of God, they are destroyed, not by a wicked, sinful man, but by a godly man named Moses. The problem we suddenly find ourselves up against here is that the original autographs of God's holy word are destroyed. This proves to be no problem at all for God, because He simply restored the original word Himself. The statement here is plain. What God has divinely written, God also divinely preserves. Whether His word is destroyed by godly or wicked men, He can always restore it, even if He must do it Himself. This is also the reason we believe that His word is still with us today, as He Himself has promised.


Following the books of the law, there is a group of 12 books that cover the history of the nation Israel. These are Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings, 1st and 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. The book of Joshua tells of the conquest of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. Judges covers the period when the Jews were ruled by a group of men called Judges, the most famous of which was Samson. Ruth is the story of a young woman who lived during the period of the judges.

1st and 2nd Samuel tells the story of Israel's prophet Samuel who was directed by God to anoint Israel's first two kings. The period during which the kings ruled Israel is covered by 1st and 2nd King, and 1st and 2nd Chronicles.

Keeping in mind that God's people are recording the years from the creation to the coming of the Messiah, the year that the temple is built is of major importance (I Kings 6:1). Israel, who started out as a humble, praying people, are here at the height of their power. Within a few short generations, these people have risen to the top of the heap, as far as the world is concerned. The children of these true believers are born into the lap of luxury. They grow soft, fat, and sinful. They are now primed for Satan's attack. Does this not sound familiar? Our own country had best stop and think, or we will one day face God's judgment as the country of Israel finally did (II Chronicles 36:17-20).

God would allow Israel to be held captive by their enemies for seventy years. At the end of that time, God's people, to a certain extent, were humbled, and God would allow them to return to their homeland, but they were never a sovereign nation again. There would always be a Gentile kingdom that ruled over them after that. It was Cyrus, king of Persia, who would finally grant them the freedom to return to their home (Ezra 1:2-3).

Ezra returned with the Jews to rebuild the city and the temple. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah cover the return of the nation Israel to their land and shows how God protected them there. On a whole, the story of the nation Israel is the story of every nation that has ever turned against God. It is also the story of every sinful person who has ever turned from God. This means that these books of the Old Testament should speak to us all in a very special way.

A very interesting story concerning this period is found in I Kings 13. A man of God is sent forth to call Israel back from idolatry. He uses the word of God in a very mighty way, even performing miracles. He is met by an older prophet of God who lies to the man of God, saying that the older prophet also had been given the word of God, although it contradicted what God had originally told the man of God. The man of  God trusts the older prophet, and his ministry and even his life is forfeit for turning from the word of God and following a man instead. The older prophet is very sorry once the man of God is dead, but it is too late. A man of God is dead, a great work of God is ended, and the nation is plunged even deeper in sin because a man trusted an older saint over the clear word of God. This should be a lesson to us all (Romans 3:4).



God's fourth great event is the building of the temple in Jerusalem. The date that the temple was begun is given in....

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place where David had prepared in the threshing floor of Onan the Jebusite. And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.-II Chronicles 3:1-2

Since we already know that the second month is Zif, then the temple construction began on the second day of Zif. Our fourth Old Testament period has the same name as the twelfth book of the Bible. The kings period covers the years extending from the building of the temple to its destruction. The counting the years in I and II Kings is as follows....



Years to Next Event

The Temple built-Solomon reigns


Rehoboam reigns


Abijah reigns


Asa reigns


Jehoshophat reigns


Jehoram reigns


Ahaziah reigns


Athaliah reigns


Joash reigns


Amaziah reigns


Uzziah reigns


Jotham reigns


Ahaz reigns


Hezekiah reigns


Manasseh reigns


Amon reigns


Josiah reigns


Jehoahaz reigns

(3 months)

Jehoichim reigns


Jehoichin reigns

(3 months)

Zedekiah reigns


From the Temple Building to Destruction

426 years


Our first question here should be how accurate are these dates. Professor Robert Dick Wilson with Princeton University, who did many years of study in this area, answers that question.

"Take the following case. There are twenty-nine ancient kings whose names are mentioned not only in the Bible, but also on monuments of their own time; many of them under their own supervision. There are one hundred and ninety-five consonants in these twenty-nine proper names. Yet we find that in the documents of the Hebrew Old Testament there are only two or three out of the entire hundred and ninety-five about which there can be any question of their being written in exactly the same way as they were inscribed on their own monuments. Some of these go back for two thousand years, some for four thousand; and are so written that every letter is clear and correct. This is surely a wonder.

"Compare this accuracy with that of other writings. I have been blamed for not referring to the classical writings more frequently in my book on Daniel. Here is the reason. Take the list made by the greatest scholar of his age, the librarian at Alexandria in 200 BC. He compiled a catalogue of the kings of Egypt, thirty-eight in all; of the entire number only three or four of them are recognizable. He also made a list of the kings of Assyria; in only one case can we tell who is meant; and that one is not spelt correctly. Or take Ptolemy, who drew up a register of eighteen of the kings of Babylon. Not one of them is properly spelt; you could not make them out at all if you did not know other sources to what he is referring. If any one talks against the Bible, ask him about the kings mentioned in it.

"There are twenty-nine kings of Egypt, Israel, Moab, Damascus, Tyre, Babylon, Assyria, and Persia referred to, and ten different countries among these twenty-nine; all of which are included in the Bible accounts and those of the monuments. Every one of these is given his right name in the Bible, his right country, and placed in the correct chronological order. Think what that means!"


Following the history of the nation Israel is a section of 5 books that are commonly called the books of poetry. These include Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. We have already discussed Job, so let us now turn to the other four books in this section of the Old Testament.

Psalms was written by King David and is a collection of wonderful hymns of praise to God. The last three books in this section were written by King David's son Solomon. Proverbs is a collection of wisdom. Ecclesaiastes shows the vanity of life. The Song of Solomon is a story of young love and paints a beautiful picture of the love between Christ and His church.

The last seventeen books of the Old Testament were all written by prophets who were called forth by God for various purposes. Beginning with Abel, the son of Adam (Matthew 23:34-35), God had prophets during every generation of man. However, these prophets either spoke their messages, like Enoch (Jude 1:14-16), or acted them out, like Noah (Matthew 24:37-42).

Beginning with Isaiah, God had his prophets write their messages down so that they would become part of the written word of God. Isaiah lived about 800 BC, a little over 200 years before Israel was taken into captivity. In Isaiah, God tells us the reason that He wanted his prophets to write down their messages.

Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:-Isaiah 30:8-9

In Isaiah's day, the worship of many false gods was rampant throughout Israel. It is at this time that God chooses to reveal to His people the one reason for His written word to be kept by His people (Isaiah 41:20-24). With utter contempt, God throws down the challenge to all of Israel's false gods. Once and for all, Jehovah makes it clear that all idols are false and powerless, and that only He is the true and living God! This discourse with Isaiah ends with the most scathing assault on all who would try to usurp God's place before His people (Isaiah 41:26-29).

Isaiah, who lived 200 years before the fact, was shown by God the details of Israel's fall, captivity, and even the name of the king who would be used by God to bring His people home again, over 100 years before that king would be born! (Isaiah 44:28) In spite of Isaiah's warnings, Israel would continue on its downward path to destruction. Our own nation today should take this message to heart! (Psalms 9:17)


By the year 600 BC, the destruction of the nation of Israel is imminent. The prophets Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah Micah, Habakkuk, and Nahum have all been sent forth to warn God's people, but the warnings have been totally ignored. Now Israel stands on the precipice of national disaster. The armies of Babylon surround Jerusalem and none is left to save them from God's judgment. The last of the pre-captivity prophets is now called forth.

The task that God set before Jeremiah had to be the saddest task that God had given to anyone that the Holy Spirit had ever moved upon. The book of Jeremiah is God's last cry to His people of their impending judgment. The book of Lamentations, also written by Jeremiah, is very true to its name. Imagine, if you can, what it would be like to walk the streets of Jerusalem after its conquest. The sorrow was unimaginable!

First, however, God shows Jeremiah just how far His people had fallen. God first gives him a task to perform (Jeremiah 36:1-3). Jeremiah did as he had been directed. He had his scribe Baruch deliver the writings to the king, Jehoiakim. The king's response to the word of God signals the death knell for the entire nation (Jeremiah 36:21-24). Here is the story of the Bible's first textual critic. What Jehoiakim did not like in the word of God, he simply removed.

That's the very same trick that Satan used in the garden of Eden! Only this time it's not the devil, but the king of God's chosen nation! God's judgment for this grievous sin is swift and terrible (Jeremiah 36:30-31). I can never read these passages without thinking of how so many Bible scholars have chopped up the word of God over the last century. How long before we are staring at the judgment of Jehoiakim in our own nation! God help us!!! The fulfillment of this judgment is also given in the Bible (II Chronicles 36:5-6).

While in their captivity, God sent forth the prophets of Daniel and Ezekiel to give forth His word. When they returned to their homeland Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and finally Malachi are sent by God to help Israel to rebuild their homeland, and to prepare the way for the coming of their blessed Messiah!

One closing note, here again we see a case where God's written word is destroyed by men, in this case ungodly men. Here we see, once again, that God is perfectly able to restore His written word when it is destroyed by man. One more time God lets us all know that His word endures forever. If man destroys the scriptures, as he has tried to do throughout history, God will simply restore whatever the Jehudi's of this world will try to destroy, bless His holy name!



The fifth great even on God's Old Testament timetable, the destruction of the temple, is the saddest of them all. God's people had turned away from Him until finally, being a just God, He had to let His judgment fall on the people of Israel. The details of this sad chain of events is documented in no less than four books of the Bible. These books are II Kings, II Chronicles, Jeremiah, and Lamentations. One of the best passages to summarize this event is given in....

Mine eye runneth down with rivers of water for the destruction of the daughter of my people.-Lamentations 3:48

This event was so overwhelming that it came to be known simply as the destruction. God did not want us to forget this day, so he gave the date in 3 different passages of scripture. One of these is....

And in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up.-Jeremiah 39:2

The name of the fourth month of the ancient Jewish calendar is Tammuz. Therefore the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple occurred on the 9th day of Tammuz. The fifth Old Testament period is named in....

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah, and it came to pass in the month Chisleu in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace, that Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.-Nehemiah 1:1-2

The number of the years from the destruction of the temple unto the proclamation of Cyrus, king of Persia, which is commonly called the captivity, is given in....

To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.-II Chronicles 36:21

Threescore and ten equals seventy. This verse shows us that it was seventy years during the captivity period. Thus our next chart of the Old Testament chronology becomes....




Years to Next Event

The captivity of Israel


From the Destruction to Cyrus' Decree

          70 years



The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem stopped the Old Testament sacrifice system as set down by God through Moses. The sixth event in God's Old Testament schedule allowed these sacrifices to begin again. This event is described in....

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it in writing saying, thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, the LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and He hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.-Ezra 1:1-2

The day that God, through the Persian king Cyrus, allowed the levitical sacrifice system to begin again is given in....

From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the LORD, but the foundation of the temple of the LORD was not yet laid.-Ezra 3:6

The name of the seventh month is given in....

And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto King Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.-I Kings 8:2

Therefore the day that God re-instituted the sacrifices by means of the proclamation of Cyrus, the sixth event of God's Old Testament calendar was the first day of Ethanim. The name that best describes the final Old Testament period is given in....

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.-Isaiah 60:3

Although the nation Israel was allowed to return to their homeland under the proclamation of Cyrus, it was never again a sovereign nation, but would continue to be ruled by successive Gentile kingdoms, as revealed in Daniel 2. Thus the best name for this period would be the Gentiles. Daniel was later given a vision that revealed the number of years that would climax the Old Testament period of time with the birth of the Messiah.

Using the figures given in the books of Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah; you can compute the total of these years. There are 512 years from the proclamation of Cyrus to the birth of the Messiah. This concludes the computation of the years for our final chart of the Old Testament period is....



Years to Next Event

Cyrus reigns


Darius reigns


Artaxerxes reigns


Artaxerxes decree


From the Decree to the Messiah

512 years


God's seventh event, the event that would close of the Old Testament period of history, the coming of the Messiah, was indeed the most important event of all time. This event is described in....

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.-Daniel 9:25

While God does not tell us the exact day of the Messiah's birth, we are fairly sure that it is not December 25. However we do know who the Messiah is. He is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and all the prophecies of the Old Testament point to Him as we are told in....

And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, see thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: Worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.-Revelation 19:10



The facts we have presented thus far are all fascinating, but if we are able to relate these dates to our current calendar years, we discover facts that are nothing less than astounding. To do this we need a reference point in time from which to begin these calculations.

For the purposes of this study we shall use the year of Jesus' birth as it is given in the Christian calendar, AD 1. The term AD is a Latin term, Anno Domini, and it means the year of the Lord and is itself taken from the words of Jesus himself in....

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought: as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and gave it again to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.-Luke 4:16-21

If the birth of Jesus Christ is set at AD 1, and the period of the Gentiles covers 512 years, then the proclamation of Cyrus was carried out on Ethanim 1, 512 BC. The captivity period lasted 70 years, so the destruction of the temple took place on Tammuz 9, 582 BC. The kings ruled for 426 years so the building of the temple began on Zif 2, 1008 BC. The judges led Israel for 479 years, therefore the exodus took place on Abib 14, 1487 BC.  The period called the sons covered 857 years, so the flood  of Noah began on Zif 17, 2344 BC. Finally the first Old Testament period, which we have called the seed, covered 1,656 years.  This means that the creation of the universe began on Abib 1, 4000 BC. Then entire Old Testament period lasted from 4000 BC to AD 1, a period of exactly 4,000 years from the creation to the Messiah. A chart detailing these calculations follows.



The Creation

Abib 1, 4000 BC

The Seed

2,656 years

The Flood

Zif 17, 2344 BC

The Sons

857 years

The Exodus

Abib 14, 1487 BC

The Judges

479 years

The Temple Building

Zif 2, 1008 BC

The Kings

426 years

The Temple Destruction

Tammuz 9, 582 BC

The Captivity

70 years

The Decree of Cyrus

Ethanim 1, 512 BC

The Gentiles

512 years

The Messiah

AD 1


Since the time of the creation of the Christian calendar, many scholars have come up with several different dates for the birth of Christ, that run anywhere from 2 BC to 12 BC or earlier. However for this study we will use the date as originally given to make the BC dates relate in the literal sense of the word.

For instance, the year of His birth is actually as it was given, thus making 7 years before His birth 7 BC, which literally means 7 years Before Christ. Thus is you prefer an earlier date for Jesus' birth, say 4 BC, you only need to add 4 to the date I will give making it 11 BC. In this way, you may adapt the BC years to whatever birthdate you prefer. In this way the master chart created here can be used to facilitate whatever study you may wish to pursue by adapting it with the whichever year you wish to use to base your Old Testament chronology upon.

The years of the Old Testament events are given clearly in the Bible if you use the original Hebrew texts. The Greek text of the Old Testament, commonly called the Septuagint or the LXX, have so tampered with these years that they have destroyed the delicate balance needed to facilitate this study. Thus the Hebrew Massoretic text, as it is commonly found in the Authorized King James Bible will be the source for this study.

Yes, you read it right the first time. Our physical universe was created only 4,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. This means that the known universe is only about 6,000 years old today. It is not 5 or 6 billion years old as the current theory of evolution teaches. While I do not have time to go into all the details now, I have worked closely for years with the Institute for Creation Research in El Cajon, California, and there are thousands of scientists who are deserting this theory because of the amount of scientific evidence that contradicts evolutionary teaching.

At the present time, many scientists are raising serious questions in the area of radiometric dating systems that give the ancient dates necessary for the evolution theory to even have a chance of possibility. I am personally convinced that the entire system of neo-Darwinian evolution will be overthrown in time. I say this in spite of my own evolutionary teaching received in the public school system here in America. I also say it in spite of the fact that I believed the theory myself for many years. I rest my belief in this area on one fact and one fact only. I believe that our earth is only 6,000 years old simply because God's word says so. That totally settles the matter for me.



Our final question concerning the Old Testament then becomes, since the originals of all the Old Testament books are long since gone, just how accurate can our current copies of these books be after over 1,000 years of copies being made. While we will get into this in more detail later on, for now let me leave you with some information uncovered in a fascinating archeological dig done in Israel just a few years ago.

"About three feet away from the shekels the first scroll was found. All the details of this discovery are sharp in my mind....a quick examination on the spot showed us immediately that here was a fragment from the Book of Psalms....It could not possibly be later than the year AD 73, the year Masada fell....perhaps twenty or thirty years earlier; and it is interesting that this section from the Book of Psalms, like the other Biblical scrolls which we found later, is almost exactly identical (except for a few minor changes here and there) to the text of the Biblical books which we use today....On the very first day of the second season, early in the afternoon, it fell to a young lad from a kibbutz in Western Galilee to discover in the western corner of the court in front of the large wall, fragments of a scroll scattered among the ruins....we could immediately identify them as several chapters from the Book of Leviticus....Within a few hours he (Chief Petty Officer Moshe Cohen, from the Israeli Navy)....found the remains of a scroll....we could immediately identify the writing as chapters from the Book of Ezekiel....It need hardly be added at this stage that these two scrolls, too, are virtually identical with the traditional Biblical texts."

There is one more thing that I need to address before we leave the first part of this study. We must learn more of the Old Testament for one very important reason. The Old Testament reveals to us the one man, out of all the people who have ever walked the earth, whom every man must know in order to be saved from their sins, and thus gain access to eternity with God. The Old Testament tells us of the God of heaven who is not only powerful enough to accomplish all the wonders of the Bible, but  all-knowing enough to give us not only the years, but also the month, and the day when each of these wonders took place. Now that's the kind of God that is worthy of worship!

He is the Lord of the creation.

He is the seed of the woman.

He is the master of the flood, and the only-begotten son.

He is the I am of the exodus, and the righteous judge of the earth.

He is the glory of the temple, and the king of kings.

He brings about the destruction of the wicked.

He ends the captivity of the righteous.

He brings the proclamation of our deliverance.

He brings salvation to the Gentiles.

He is the Messiah.

His name is Jesus Christ of Nazareth,

and that's what the Old Testament is all about!



Up to this point we have been discussing what happened to the Bible during the Old Testament period. Now let's talk about what happened after the close of the Old Testament period. It was the prophet Malachi who, around 400 BC, would give forth the last of the prophecies of the Old Testament. It is God's last appeal to His people to repent and believe and ends with the final sign of the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:1-6).

These are the last words that God would speak to His people until the coming of Jesus Christ. The nation that had been entrusted with the preserving of God's word would fall into the two traps that Satan had first laid out in the garden of Eden.

One group turns from God to idolatry, taking away from the word of God that was plainly in their midst. They would become the willing pawns of anyone who happened to be in power at the time.

The second group would become the legalistic fanatics that Jesus faced and finally was crucified by. As the intervening centuries passed from Malachi to Jesus, they added precept upon precept of man's traditions to the word of God. Let's be fair though. While God's people were missing the mark, they were a lot closer to God than anyone else in the world at that time.

The Old Testament books were collected at Jerusalem around 400 BC. These books would become the official Bible or canon of the Jewish faith. Canon means measuring rod, and these books were used to measure every facet of Jewish life. This set of books, written in the original Hebrew language, would later be called the Old Testament.

But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.- II Corinthians 3:14-15

Many years later, Pharaoh Ptolemy II of the Egypt would command that the Old Testament be translated into Greek. This translation was done, not in Jerusalem, but at the city of Alexandria in Egypt. During the translation process, thousands of changes were made in texts and several additional books were added to the original 39 book of the Jewish canon. For this reason, the orthodox Jews of Jerusalem would not accept these scriptures. This Greek translation became known as the Septuagint, or LXX, and was the beginning of what we now call the Alexandrian line of texts.

The Septuagint is simply a Greek translation of, not only the Hebrew Old Testament, but also several other works. In the case of the Old Testament there were over 6,000 changes made from the original Hebrew text. I am sure that the scholars working on the Septuagint were doing the best they could at the time in their own assumption. However when we read of the arduous lengths that the levitical priesthood went to so that the original Hebrew texts would be preserved, we are simply left in awe. They had a good reason to do this, in fact for they had been given this commission by none other than God Himself.

Neither must the children of Israel henceforth come nigh the tabernacle of the congregation, lest they bear sin, and die. But the Levites shall do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they shall bear their iniquity: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they have no inheritance.- Numbers 18:22-23

To state the question simply, what is more accurate, the original text, or a translation of that original? Now we all know that a copy can be less accurate than the original. We also know that a copy can be as faithful and as accurate as the original.

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.-Psalm 12:6-7

Indeed the fact that we have the word of God still with us today testifies to that fact. However, can anyone honestly say that a copy, regardless of how good it may be done, would ever be superior to the original, especially if that original is inspired by God?

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.-II Timothy 3:15-17

The Apostle Paul praised Timothy for he had been trained in the holy scriptures since his childhood. When Timothy was a child, there was no New Testament, so Paul is calling the old testament the "holy scriptures" around AD 60. The original autographs of the Old Testament were long since gone at this point in time. Is Paul referring to the Hebrew copies of the original text, or is he saying that the Greek translation, with all its changes, has somehow improved upon the Hebrew originals? The answer is obvious.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.-Matthew 5:18

Jesus himself, when referring to the preservation of the scriptures, also emphasized this fact. The jot and the tittle are both part of the Hebrew language. Thus Jesus shows here that the Hebrew Old Testament was still in use in His day. This is the reason that all New Testament writers quoted exclusively from the original Hebrew texts of the Old Testament. Why use a Greek translation when faithful copies of the original Hebrew are at hand? 

So it was that when the long-awaited Messiah finally did arrive, He was caught in a crossfire. On the one hand the strict legalism, and on the other extreme liberalism and outright unbelief. So it was that He was forced to seek out new bottles for the new wine of His gospel (Matthew 9:14-17). God help us all to avoid falling into either of these satanic traps, legalism or liberalism, both of which are brought about by adding to or taking away from the word of God!


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