Mysteries of the Kingdom

            in awe of scripture, viewing it through the lens of the kingship of Jesus





How the Old & New Testaments Fit Together (page 2)

OLD MARRIAGE OVERVIEW
    In the writings of the Old Marriage we can separate "the Law" from the other historical books. The "Law" is also called "Torah" or "the Pentateuch," meaning "five books." The Torah is the first five books in the Old Marriage. The Torah begins with the creation of the universe and ends with the death of Moses. It focuses primarily on how the family of a man named Jacob became a distinct nation, how they married God, and how they reached the land which became their home.

    After the Torah come twelve more historical books which report the history of Jacob's nation "Israel" from the time when they entered their homeland until they were conquered and deported into foreign nations. They can be viewed as 3 books before the kings of Israel, 6 books about the kings, and 3 more books after the kings:

Joshua - How Israel took control of their homeland.
Judges - The dark years between the death of Joshua and the first king of Israel.
Ruth - A love story which took place during the dark years of the judges.

1 & 2 Samuel - A story-driven history of the first two kings of Israel.
1 & 2 Kings - A story-driven history of the break up of Israel into the two nations and the history of the kings of both nations.
1 & 2 Chronicles - A data-driven retelling of the history of the world until the foreign captivity of Israel.

Ezra - The return of Israelites from captivity to their homeland.
Nehemiah - The rebuilding of Israel's capitol city after their captivity.
Esther - The survival of Israel in captivity.

    Next in the Old Marriage come the 5 poetic books which include the oldest book of the Bible (Job), followed by a songbook titled "Psalms," then a collection of wise sayings titled "Proverbs," next a philosophy piece titled "Ecclesiastes," and finally a book of romance titled Song of Solomon. After the poetic books come the prophets including five long books and twelve very short ones. The 5 long books of prophecy were written while Israel and Judah were rebelling against God and then while they were in captivity. The 12 short books of prophecy were written during the same years and also during the first few hundred years of their return to Israel's homeland.

NEW MARRIAGE OVERVIEW
    A gap of several hundred years lies between Malachi, the last book of the Old Marriage, and Matthew, the first book of the New Marriage. The New Marriage has 5 history books, 21 letters of instruction, and one book of prophecy.

    The five history books bear the titles "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke," "John," and "Acts." We have come to call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John "the gospels." The longer title for "Acts" is "The Acts of the Apostles." Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each recorded the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth whom they worshipped as divine, obeyed as King, and believed as a prophet. Eusebius of Caesarea wrote the first Church history work around AD400, in which he told us Matthew wrote the first "gospel" in Hebrew because Matthew served Jews and Christians in Jerusalem for years before going out into other nations.

    Eusebius reported that Mark wrote his brief gospel while working far away from Matthew. Eusebius reported from Papius the fact that Mark's gospel did not attempt to report events chronologically. As strange as that sounds to modern ears, chronology was not considered important to accuracy in those days. Mark worked initially in Rome with the Apostle Peter before establishing a strong Christian community in Alexandria, Egypt.

    Unlike Mark, Luke wrote with chronological detail. He wrote the life of Jesus and "The Acts of the Apostles." Luke's second book covered events up to and including Paul's first imprisonment in Rome under Emperor Nero. Notably, Eusebius said every time Paul referred to "my gospel," Paul was referring to Luke's gospel because Luke had journeyed and labored with him. Of the final gospel, Eusebius stated that the apostle John added his own gospel because the three previous ones failed to record events which took place prior to the captivity of John the Baptist.

    After the gospels and "Acts," we have letters from Paul, James, Peter, John and Jude to Christians in various places. While many Christians make theories about who wrote the letter addressed to "the Hebrews," Eusebius reported that the Paul unquestionably wrote it in Hebrew, withholding his name from the body of the text in deference to Jewish sensibilities since his own name was often tied to controversy among Jews. We find a difference in style in the letter to the Hebrews because Paul wrote to a different audience (ethnically Jewish Christians), wrote in a different language, and was translated into Greek by either Clement of Rome or Luke.

    The New Marriage section of the Bible closes with the only prophecy-centered book of the New Marriage, "The Revelation of John." John's Revelation opens with worship, then warnings to Christians, followed by horrific plagues on earth, then "the marriage of the Lamb" in heaven, next the return of Jesus to earth, then the great judgment of humanity, and the unveiling of the new city of Jerusalem.


   

                                         
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1. For the sake of simplicity, "the Bible" is treated in this article as the Protestant canon. For information regarding the Bible canons of Roman and Eastern forms of Christianity, <click here>.
"How the Old and New Testaments Fit Together" by Matthew Bryan was first published at www.matthewbryan.net on March 4th, 2015. All rights are reserved.