There are 4 main themes that interconnect the history of the Judeo-Christian worldview. The first is creation. In the beginning, God created time and the universe by His power, turning nothing into something (ex-nihilo). He created the stars, galaxies, fish, cucumbers, trees, giraffes, and his greatest work of all, humankind. God placed the man Adam and his wife Eve in the Garden of Eden, a perfect environment, and gave them the responsibility to tend the garden and take care of the animals.
Meanwhile, a mighty angel named Lucifer, who was once created perfect, rebelled against God because of pride and envy. He was cast out of heaven and took the form of a serpent. He tempted Eve to disobey God by eating something God told her not to do, for her protection, and when this happened, both the man and the woman felt shame and their relationship became fractured from God. This is often referred to as the second major theme of the Bible. The fall of Man, or as Christian scholars would say, original sin. This means that human beings are no longer born morally good, but are born with an evil inclination to disobey authority.
The struggle between good and evil continued in the first couple’s family. One of their sons, Cain, murdered his brother. Several generations later, the world was filled with such violence and defiance towards God, that the only man alive at the time, Noah, was extended grace. God revealed to Noah that He would send a great flood to bring judgment on the people, and so he told Noah to build an ark. After the flood, Noah and his family began to repopulate the earth.
Noah’s descendants birthed the start of Judaism by the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in 1900 BC. God promised to bless Abraham’s offspring and, through that seed, to bless all the nations of the Earth. Jacob, the youngest of the patriarchal Fathers, had twelve children, and the eleventh child, Joseph, ended up becoming a powerful force in Egypt for 400 years until the Pharaoh of Egypt, Ramses II, enslaved them. To rescue the Israelites, God raised up a prophet named Moses, from the tribe of Levi, to bring the people out of Israel out of Egypt and back to the land which had been promised to Abraham.
Once safely out of Egypt, the children of Israel camped at Mount Sinai, where God gave Moses the 10 commandments, which was the basis of their covenant. In addition to the moral code (Do not murder, steal) the law defined the role of the priest and offering of sacrifices to atone for sin. Atonement could only be made by the shedding of the blood of a spotless sacrifice. The law also detailed how to build the holy tabernacle, in which God’s presence would dwell and where He would meet with His people.
Over the next several years, Joshua led the people of God through various battles and they began to conquer many nations. However, they started to worship the gods around them and lost their identity. As a result, they no longer wanted God to be their king, but asked for a human king because they wanted to be like other nations. God granted their request, and Samuel anointed Saul as Israel’s first king. Saul was a disappointment, disobeyed God and was removed from power. God then chose David, of the tribe of Judah, to succeed Saul as King. God promised David that he would have a descendant who would reign on throne forever (the promised Messiah being Jesus Christ, God in the flesh).
David’s son Solomon reigned in Jerusalem around 950 BC, but civil war broke out, and the kingdom was divided. The northern kingdom was Israel and the southern Kingdom Judah. Israel continued to have wicked kings, and God brought the Assyrian nation upon Israel in judgment. After the northern kingdom was destroyed, the nation of Judah was overtaken by the Babylonian empire around 574 BC. This is during the time when the prophet Isaiah predicted a Suffering Servant who would suffer for the sins of His people and be glorified and sit on David’s throne. The prophet Micah predicted that this promised one would be born in Bethlehem.
The Jewish people were deported into Babylon for over 70 years, and after they fell to the Persian Empire, the Jews were released to return to Judah. The Jews returned home to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Malachi wrote the last book of Jewish history and prophesies that the Lord would come to His temple and that a future king would come into Jerusalem riding on a donkey.
This brings us to the 3rd theme of the Bible: redemption. The Old Testament is the story of God’s plan to bring redemption of man. The sacrificial system, the spotless lamb, the savior of the world, the one who would die for his own people, was about to arrive on the scene. The suffering servant of Isaiah, the Son of David, the Messiah of Daniel, and the humble king of Zechariah, all to be found in one person, Jesus Christ.
Jesus grew up as an observant Jew. He began his public ministry at the age of 30. John the Baptist had been preaching of the coming Messianic kingdom and baptizing those who believed his message and turned from their sins. People were following Jesus and calling him the Son of God, which was considered blasphemous because Jesus was equating himself as equal with God.
In his final trip to Jerusalem, Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples. That night, during a time of prayer, Judas betrayed him and Jesus was arrested and dragged through a series of mock trials. He was condemned to death by crucifixion by the Roman governor. At the moment of His death, there was a great earthquake. Jesus’ body was taken from the cross, laid in a nearby tomb, and on the third day, Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty.
The Jewish people realized that the sacrificial systems, the tabernacle, the priesthood, the atonement, the suffering servant, all of these prophecies were fulfilled in the God-Man, Jesus Christ: He is the ultimate lamb of God, He is the High Priest, He is the King of all, and He is the Savior of the World.
The final theme is restoration. It is when Christ will return and make all things right. We are living in the already-not yet eschatology. This means that Christianity is spreading, and the kingdom of God is growing, but the millennium, the thousand year reign of Christ, hasn’t yet occurred. We are waiting for the day when the Messiah will bring peace to the Earth and establish a new heaven and a new earth. Read this verse and meditate on this future day. We have this hope in Christ. God bless and share this good news with others!