March 1st, 2017
The Descendants of Ham:
The Semites and the Division during Peleg’s Days
From the line of Shem comes Israel, the Lawgiver Moses, all the Prophets, Priests and Kings of Israel (north and south). So, the Bible is really a history of the Semitic people (Jews and Arabs) through ONE family, Arphaxad, the son of Shem (See Appendix 14 – Noah, Shem and Abraham Are Contemporaries). The Arabs come from Abraham’s marriage to Hagar (son Ishmael) and descendants of Esau (Edomites). While all the descendants of Shem are mentioned in Genesis 10, most families other than Arphaxad’s are not mentioned throughout the Old Testament. In the very next chapter (Genesis 11), the family of Arphaxad is traced all the way to Abraham. Of all the descendants of Shem in Genesis 10, Peleg is a descendant of whom something is said (See Appendix 15 – What Happened in the Days of Peleg?). The Bible deals with the family of Adam/Arphaxad/Abraham, so let’s review what we know about this family.
“And through your offspring all nations on the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 22:18).
The Creation of Adam
Since nobody was around when the first man and woman appeared, it seems to me it takes greater faith to believe all humans evolved from amoebas and apes than it does Adam and Eve were created by God in His image (see Genesis 1:27).
The Flood of Noah
The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 is a stunning study on the world's population growth, as well as a key that unlocks the door to different cultures that cover the globe. The population of the world can only be what it is today if population growth began from scratch in 2400 B.C. Otherwise, the world's population by the scientific rate of growth would have our world population in the trillions (instead of 7 billion).
The Call of Abram
The Creator of the world is calling Abram to Himself to "make of him a great nation" (Genesis 12:2), through whom "all the peoples of the earth will be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). This call begins the nation called Israel, through whom the Messiah - who would bless all peoples of the earth - would come.
The Call of Moses
When the Israelites left Egypt in the 15th century B.C., God made a covenant with them at Mt. Sinai. This conditional covenant of Law was a promise that IF Israel obeyed God, THEN Israel would be blessed by God. But IF Israel violated their conditions of the covenant, THEN Israel would experience the wrath of God. We call this covenant "the Old Covenant."
The Kingdom of Israel
When God allowed Israel to have a king, it was the beginning of a decline that eventually led to a complete divorce of God from national Israel because Israel "broke the covenant with God" (Jeremiah 3:8). Saul (1051-1011 B.C.) - David (101 - 971 B.C.) - Solomon (971 - 931 B.C.).
The Division of the Kingdom of Israel
When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam wished to continue the heavy taxes his father had imposed to build the Temple. Ten tribes of Israel rebelled and started their own kingdom with another son of Solomon named Jeroboam. This split in Israel led to two nations. The 10 tribes formed a northern kingdom they called Israel. Two tribes - Judah and Benjamin - remained in the south and formed the southern kingdom called Judah.
The Fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel
The northern kingdom of Israel never followed God in covenant relationship. Their nineteen kings were all evil. Stories like that of King Ahab and Jezebel reveal how lost the people of Israel and their leaders were. Prophets like Elijah, Hosea, and others came to northern Israel and spoke to the people and kings on behalf of God. In 722 B.C. Assyria conquered the northern kingdom, took the Israeli men into captivity (Nineveh was Assyria's capital), and brought in pagan men they'd captured in other nations and forced them to intermarry with the Israeli women. The descendants of these "mixed marriages" were the Samaritans, considered "half-breeds" by the Jews of Jesus day.
The Fall of the Southern Kingdom
After the fall of the northern kingdom, the southern kingdom (Judah), composed of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, would be the only families of Israel remaining. Of course, the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Jesus) was to come from Judah, and the Messiah would "reign over the house of David forever." King David was from the tribe of Benjamin. So the promise God originally made to Abraham that through him "all the nations of the earth would be blessed" was still in effect. However, the people of Judah began to go the way of their northern brothers. Prophets like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others began to warn Judah that they too would perish if they didn't repent and return to God. The world's second empire, the Babylonians, conquered the Assyrians, and in a series of three increasingly severe attacks on Jerusalem (609, 597 and 586 B.C.), Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, eventually destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem, and took the Jews (the abbreviation for the people of Judah) into captivity.
The Close of the Old Testament
The Birth of Christ
The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ
The Destruction of the Jewish Temple and the End of the Old Covenant
The time between the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (A.D. 30) to the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans (A.D. 70) is what the Bible calls "the last days." It's the last days of the Old Covenant, not the last days of the world. In fact, during this time of transition (40 years), the good news of what Christ came to do went to "the Jews first, then the Gentile" (Romans 1:16). Daniel prophesied the end of the nation of Israel (Daniel 9:24-27). "The last days" of the Old Covenant are times between A.D. 30 and A.D. 70 - the beginning of a New Agreement between God and the world.