History

The story of the Bible is the story of God’s work in the world. It is His (God’s) story, that is the fundamental and original understanding of history. It is only in the post-Enlightenment, modern, secular, humanistic world that God has been written out of history (His story). Historians since 18th Century tell us that history is the story of man, of humanity, and that to suggest God’s involvement in history amounts to a confusion of history with religion. But such an idea is a modern invention and is patently false.

It should be obvious that every fact of history must be interpreted in the light of God from a Christian perspective. But God is no less involved in the study of history from non-Christian perspective. If we believe that God exists, then all of history necessarily relates to Him. And if we believe that God does not exist, then all of history must deny Him. In either case, God plays a central role either as the central actor or as the central thing to avoid.

It is true that history can be written from a variety of perspectives, but again that does not mean that all historical perspectives are equal in validity or trustworthiness. It is incumbent upon Christians to understand the world and its history from the perspective of the Bible not just ancient history, but contemporary history, as well. That is what it means to be a Christian. So, to fail in this regard is to fail to be a Christian in any meaningful sense.

One of the unique things about the history of the Bible is that it has been written without providing a positive view of humanity or of Israel, God’s chosen people. The Old Testament is filled with the flaws and foibles of God’s chosen people. People are not prone to provide an unflattering view of themselves, yet that is precisely what we find in Scripture.

The adage of our day is that winners write the history of their exploits and in so doing portray themselves in a positive, favorable light. But that is not what we find in Scripture. The culmination of the Old Testament story is the threat of the destruction of Jerusalem, following in the pattern of its previous destructions. It was destroyed in 722 b.c. by Assyria, and again in 586 b.c. By the Babylonians.

The story of the New Testament is the story of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, come to earth to provide for the salvation of His people through His propitiation of His Father by dying for the sins of His people on the cross. In the face of His self-sacrifice for the benefit of His people, we find the Jewish establishment rejecting and denying that Jesus is the long-awaited Christ. The consequence of their denial is the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 by the Roman army, which throws the newly established Christian church into a world-wide mission on behalf of the resurrected Christ to gather His people for His return in glory.

The Bible is the story of how God uses the events of history to accomplish His will.

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