Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash
Happy New Year!
It helps us to split up time. We have a new month and a new year because it helps us to mark the passing of time. Our memories are helped by the framework of months and years. And our appreciation of longer history is helped by markers as well.
Our knowledge of English history is helped if we have a memory of the Kings and Queens which name the eras of history. We refer to Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, and we will probably learn to look back to a New Elizabethan Age. It is a way of providing virtual cupboards in our memory, in which we can more successfully store the events and people which matter most.
The same is true of the Bible. The Old Testament is largely a narrative which covers events over the two thousand years before Christ was born.
Question One: How do we start to grasp these events and the people involved in them? Answer: We find a framework to help us fit things together.
Question Two: What framework is best to use, if we want to understand the flow of time, and the meaning of what happened? Answer: We ought to use the framework the Bible itself gives us to use.
The first verses of the New Testament are a framework to help us understand the significance of the whole Old Testament. It is a list of names in an ordered pattern, down through the generations (a bit like a list of the Kings and Queens of England).
It starts with Abraham and follows through quite a few of the generations which followed him. Next it stops off at David and follows the line of kings who were several of the generations to follow him.
The next marker in the framework is The Exile, that is when the leading people of Judah (including their king) were taken to Babylon, returning to rebuild Jerusalem several decades later.
The final marker, and the reason for this stylised family tree, is the birth of Jesus Christ.
We are already helped by the splitting of time into B.C. and A.D. Let us also use the help offered in Matthew chapter one, to split the Old Testament times into four eras: pre-Abraham, Abraham to David, David to the Exile, and the Exile to Jesus’ birth. That will be the basis for our teaching mini-series for January.
Do you want to understand what the Old Testament is about? Come and hear the framework we are given to help us have a clear understanding of its eternal significance.
Yours in Christ,