FOUR MAJOR EVENTS IN BIBLE HISTORY THAT CHANGED GOD’S RELATIONSHIP WITH MEN AND MAN’S RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

 

Throughout the History of mankind there have been certain events that have precipitated a change in the relationship between God and men (and correspondingly between men and God); the following essay is a brief treatise of those events (that were recorded in the Holy Scriptures) and the changes that ensued.

 

According to the Holy Scriptures, at the very beginning of man’s existence, Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden in perfect harmony and fellowship with Almighty God. That perfect relationship was changed by SIN.

 

1. Adam’s (& Eve’s) transgression in the Garden of Eden (The Fall)

 

          a. Initiated by man’s failure to obey God (i.e. Disobedience to God’s words = SIN)

 

b. Resulted in: separation from God; (not the death of man’s spirit); the loss of fellowship with God; expulsion from the Garden of Eden; and a life filled with hardship, troubles, sickness, pain, sin, and death (for Adam & Eve and all of their descendants). 

 

2. Cain’s murder of his brother Abel (Until this event God dealt with just one family on earth)

 

          a. Initiated by Cain’s evil deed (i.e. the SIN or Murdering his brother)

 

b. Commenced a separation (or division) of all of mankind into two camps – between all those men who’s “works were evil” and who followed after “the way of Cain”; and the men who “call upon the name of the Lord” (the saints “of old”) and whose works were “righteous”. {Of whom Seth, Enoch, and Noah were examples - before the Flood; and Job & Abram were examples – after the Flood, but before Abram’s (i.e. Abraham’s) call.}

 

c. The Biblical Flood did not change mankind’s relationship with God (it remained the same as “b” above); however it did change the earth and the environment, and shortened the lifespan of man. God also changed certain requirements of man concerning eating blood (or flesh with blood in it) and murder.

 

          d. The confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel did not change mankind’s relationship with God; however it did change the relationship between men of different languages.

 

3. The Abrahamic Covenant (God chose Abraham and his descendants to be His chosen people”)

 

          a. Initiated by God - rooted in and founded upon God’s love. [Deuteronomy 7:6-8]

 

b. Altered the existing relationship between God and men by establishing a new, or substitute, separation (or division) of all of mankind into two camps between God’s “chosen people” (i.e.  Hebrews/Israelites/Jews) and the Gentiles. {Ordained by God Himself}

 

c. The establishment of The Law (the Mosaic Covenant) and the written Oracles of God (i.e. the Holy Scriptures) by God’s servant Moses did not change God’s relationship between Himself and all of mankind or with His people (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews). The instituting of The Mosaic Covenant simply codified the Laws and Ordinances God expected His people (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews) to follow and obey, and it established the Priesthood, the Tabernacle of God, and the specific form of worship that God required of all of His people (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews).

 

d. The establishment of The Kingdom of the nation of Israel (under the Davidic Covenant) did not change God’s relationship between Himself and all of mankind or with His people (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews); it instituted the form of government (a Theocracy) that God intends to use to rule, not only the Kingdom of Israel, but eventually the whole world. It also paved the way (under Solomon) for the establishment of the Israelites worship of God in The Temple (the Temple of God replacing the Tabernacle) although it did not change their requirements for the priesthood or their form of worship.

 

e. The division of the Kingdom (Israel = 10 Tribes and Judah = Judah & Benjamin); the eventual dissolution of the Kingdom - i.e. the captivity and dispersion of Israel first (approximately 721 B.C.), and then the captivity of Judah afterwards (approximately 135 years later – around 586 B.C.) and the subsequent destruction of the Temple; and the eventual return (to the land of Israel) of a remnant of the Israelites (under Ezra and Nehemiah); and the subsequent rebuilding of the Temple, did not change God’s relationship between Himself and all of mankind or with His people (i.e. Hebrews – Israelites - Jews); it simply set the stage for the “Four Hundred Years of Silence” (from the prophet Malachi to the prophet John the Baptist) and the introduction to the nation of Israel to her Messiah and King.

 

f. The first coming of Jesus Christ (heralded by the prophet John the Baptist – i.e. “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness” Isaiah 40:3) did not change God’s relationship between Himself and all of mankind or with His people (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews). During the Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry (in the Gospels) Christ presented Himself exclusively to the nation of Israel as their Messiah & King. He did not go to the Gentiles; nor did He preach or teach to the Gentiles; nor did He minister to the Gentiles (with the exception of the Roman Centurion’s servant and the Syrophenician woman’s daughter).

 

g. The nation of Israel’s leaders (political and religious) refused to believe Jesus’ preaching and teaching and eventually rejected their Messiah & King and had Him crucified. This vicious and cruel act still did not change God’s relationship between Himself and all of mankind or with His people (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews). This fact is very crucial to understanding what takes place in the Book of Acts (especially in the early Chapters). Remember what the Lord said on the cross in Luke 23:34:

            

 

                 Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.    

 

Did God the Father accept His Son’s final prayer for Israel? Did He forgive them? Did the Father give the nation of Israel (its leaders & people) another chance to believe on Him?

 

h. After the Lord Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, and before His ascension into Heaven, He distinctly commands His apostles to “not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father” [Acts 1:4-5] and on the day of Pentecost they are all filled with the Holy Spirit and they begin to preach a message of “repentance” and “reconciliation”, exclusively to the nation of Israel (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews), for having consented to the killing of their Messiah. So far, God’s relationship between Himself and all of mankind and with His people (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews) still has not changed.

 

 

i. All during the period of time from Acts Chapter Two through Acts Chapter Seven the apostles preach their message of “repentance” and “reconciliation” exclusively to the nation of Israel, and all during that time the leaders of the nation reject God’s offer of reconciliation [Acts Chapters 2-7]. Up to this point, God’s relationship between Himself and all of mankind and with His people (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews) still had not changed.

 

Soon after the stoning death of Stephen (at the hands of the leaders of the nation of IsraelActs 7:1-60), God begins to turn to the Gentiles. And by the end of the Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul’s declarative statement concerning the Jews and the Gentiles [Acts 28:23-29] makes it crystal clear that the exclusive relationship between God and His people (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews) has changed and His relationship with the Gentiles (who believed the Gospel and received Jesus Christ as their Saviour) has changed.

 

Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.
25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.  

 

4. The New Covenant: God turns to the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name [Acts 15:14]

 

a. This event (initiated and undertaken by God) was in response to the nation of Israel’s (especially its leaders) rejection of God the Father (in the Old Testament); and its rejection of God the Son (in the Four Gospels); and its rejection of God the Holy Spirit (Who was living in the Apostles) in the early Chapters of the Book of Acts.

 

          b. This New Covenant was initiated by God (and is rooted in and founded upon God’s love).

 

                John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

c. The New Covenant altered (temporarily) the existing relationship between God and the nation of Israel and established a distinct separation of all of mankind into three camps between the Jews; the Gentiles; and the church of God (God’s chosen people who have believed on His Name and have received Him as their personal Saviour), i.e. the body of Christ on earth, where there is neither Jew nor Gentile. [1Corinthians 10:32]

 

The three outstanding characteristics that all of God’s people (the saints throughout all the ages) in all of the circumstances and events listed above had in common are:

 

1. They BELIEVED in God and in His words [Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:6]

 

2. They trusted (i.e. had FAITH) in God and in His words [Psalms 18:30; 56:4; 119:42 Hebrews 11:1-40]

 

3. They endeavored to OBEY and to KEEP God’s WORDS [Psalms 119:101; Luke 8:15; Luke 11:28].

 

God’s people in the New Testament were commanded (and still are today) to: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:15]. In order for us to understand the momentous change that took place in the Book of Acts we must first understand the unique relationship the Lord Jesus Christ had with the nation of Israel (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews) and be able to rightly divide the events that took place in the Four Gospels according to the historical context in which they took place. And in order to understand the Lord’s ministry to the nation of Israel in the Gospels we must first understand the exclusive relationship the nation of Israel (i.e. Hebrews/Israelites/Jews) had with Almighty God because of God’s special relationship with Abraham (the “father” of the Jews); and we must be aware of the exclusive Covenant (& Promises) that God made with Abraham and his descendants.

 

Bible believing Christians should be aware of these four historical events that changed God’s relationship with man (and man’s relationship with God). If a Christian does not understand these things, and if we fail to discern between the Jew, the Gentile, and the church of God, there will be portions of the Scriptures that will not make any “sense” to us; and we might be tempted to change the holy words of God, or twist and wrest them, in order to make them “fit” our limited and imperfect understanding of the Holy Scriptures [1Corinthian 13:9-12]. We are not told to HARMONIZE “the word of truth”; we are commanded to RIGHTLY DIVIDE it.

 

Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.