I was in a sharing with a group of friends, we were sharing the fact that the books of the Old testaments were not listed according to chronological order. In fact they were divided into their categories.

1. Pentateuch is the first 5 books of the Old Testament, written by Moses
2. Historical Books are historical records of the Judges, Kings and the rebuilding of temples
3. Wisdom Books are the poetry and saying of the wise
4. Major and Minor prophets are not base on ranks, but base on the length of their books.

So I asked my friends how acquainted they are with old testament history and they told me that their are not too acquainted with it.

So I decided to use my skills as a Ex project manager to use MS Visio to create the following diagram.

The purpose of the diagram is to
1. Teach the 5 categories of Old testament books used by Christians. The Jews uses 3 categories (Lk 24:44), namely “The Law (Torah)” , “The Prophets (Nevim)” and “The Writings (Ketuvim)”. Which is very different from how Christians does it.

2. The provide the time line of the major time period of the Old testament until the birth of Christ

3. Link the old testament bible to the time period on the time line. Which will help readers to understand what the prophets are referring to in their prophecies.

At the same time, I have decided to put in a verse from that period that roughly summarise the entire period.

Pre-Flood Period

This is the period where Adam and Eve sinned, Cain killed Abel. Finally, sin has gotten a huge hold on the people, such that God decided not to strive with man anymore (Gen 6:3).

Sometimes when our world is filled with evilness, we asked ourselves why is God silent? Perhaps this chapter in Genesis that marks the start of the flood should serve as a warning to us.

God is often grieve when man sin, God is so grieve to the stage that he will have to judge that generation for their sins (Gen 6:5-7) That is when he saved Noah, and we moved to Patriarchal period.

Patriarchs Period

The Patriarchal period is mention in Stephens last sermon before he died (Acts 7:1-16). This is the time where God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans to move to the promise land. He allowed the chosen people to enter Egypt where they will became a great nation.

Slavery / Wilderness Period

The forefathers were living a good life in Egypt until a new king rose who did not know Joseph (Ex 1: 8-9). He started to enslave the population, where they called up to God and God raise Moses to deliver them. They travelled in the wilderness for 40 years before reaching Canaan. Ps 78 is a poetic version of this story complete with teachings for us.

Conquest of Canaan

After Moses died, Joshua became the leader of Israel, he helped them with the first conquest Canaan. A lot of their battles were fought with faith, as the tribes in Canaan are technologically more advance than the Israelites. When Joshua was about to die, he said a phrase that is often arched in my mind.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua (Jos 24:15)

Period of Judges

The period of Judges is the time where the people are not really with a leader. The people started to be contented with their lives and they did not chase the Canaanites from the land. They started to be influenced by that more advance and pagan culture.

When God started to punish the people, they begged God for help and God raises many judges, Gideon, Samson, Deborah, the last of these judges was prophet Samuel, when they wanted a king for themselves

It is a period of lawlessness, as the bible often use this phrase to describe that period.
“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25

The Kingdom Years

The kingdom years started with the first 3 kings of a united Israel, Saul, David and Solomon. When Solomon son Rehoboam answered the people with cruelty, the nations are broken into 2 Kingdom, the kingdom of Israel (10.5 tribes) lead by Jeroboam and the Kingdom of Judah (1.5 tribes) lead by Rehoboam

Jeroboam did not follow Gods instruction to lead the people in his law, and hence the entire Kingdom of Israel is full of idolatries and immorality. They were destroyed by the Assyrians.

The tribe of Judah did not fare any better, the last few kings were very evil, so much so that God has to judge the people by destroying his temple and bringing the good Jews into captivity.

God actually did not want a king to rule over his country. But yet he gave the king to them (Hosea 13:10-11)

I guess God was equally grieved by the peoples request and he decided not to contend with the people for that.

Babylonian Captivity

The Jews spent 70 years in captivity, God prophesied through Jeremiah that he will one day bring them back. (Jer 32:26-44)

Rebuilding Of Temple

When the Babylonian empire ended, King Cyrus of Persia was given Isaiah 45 to read, and he was moved to release the Jewish captives back to Israel. Where they rebuild the temple and the city. Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther all belongs to that period.

God also said that the new temple build by them is more glorious than the previous temple of Solomon, (Hag 2:9)

Alright, heres the diagram for a summary.

Old Testament Time Line and their link with the Bible

Lately, while I am staying in this foreign land, I suddenly got myself bombarded with many issues of life, and practical things that never come to my mind that I must worry about it at all…

Then I started to go before God and pleaded with him… saying.. I decided to leave my home and my country, because I felt that God has a special reason for me to leave… Suddenly I find myself trapped in all sorts of funny logistics problem, and I also find myself unable to fullfill what God wanted me to do..

I never said that it was God’s fault, but I am concern if I am not treading on the right path that God intended me to follow… So in my prayers, I asked God.. “O Lord, please show me the way to go, if the path I have taken isnt what you want me to, please let me know… as I am so afriad that I will end up losing both my oringinal purpose, and not fulfilling your will… Please just give me an indication of your will…. please Lord”

That morning, before I left for work, I was singing hymns to myself .. and I just suddenly flip to Hymn 96, which is amazing grace… Usually I would sing that in Chinese, but I just started to use my english hymn book that morning…. and Gods answer seems to be there… It was written on the 3rd and 4th stanza of the hymn… God is telling me

God has protected me through many dangers, toils and snares.. and this grace that brought me safe thus far… it will bring me safely home too… (As I was singing that, I recalled the many things that happened in my life, and how God had protected me, although I have lost my faith and stopped praying to him)

God has promised good to me, and in his word I must secure my hope… He will be my shield and portion … as long as life endures..

Suddenly, as I was singing that, I started to tear slightly, and I thank God for his indication…

Hence, I would like to share this hymn with all of you… This is written by John Newton… Intiailly he wasnt close to God, his youth is filled with religious confusion and a lack of moral self control and discipline. He joined the royal navy and he became a slave trader.. On his slave voyage, once there was a storm, and moments after he left the deck, the crewman who took over him was swept overboard. He started to realise his helplessness, and only the grace of God can save him. That was the begining of his journey of faith. He wrote this hymn base on 1 Chron 17:16-17 in the prayer of King David… This hymns is also remembered by both fractions in the American Civil war.

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

I found an interesting tune of this in youtube. This is sang in the Cherokee language
Lets hear it together