Welcome to The Berean Call podcast. I’m T. A. McMahon, TBC’s Executive Director. We’re currently re-airing a discussion I had with Dave Hunt in 2003 featuring his book Countdown to the Second Coming.
In this program, I ask Dave to give a brief timeline of the events presented in the Bible.
As one reads the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, it becomes clear that it’s not a series of random information, but a history that has a beginning and an ending of this temporal earth with critically important events in between.
Its history has been prophesied well before the events have taken place thus far, and will take place in the future. That includes tremendous content that lies ahead for all those who read the Scriptures, and so thanks for joining Dave and me as we discuss what God has revealed in His Word.
Tom: In this first segment of our program, we’ve been discussing Dave Hunt’s book Countdown to the Second Coming, and currently we’re concluding chapter 3.
Dave, now, having said that, I’m going to digress—but I think it’s a good digression. Last week, for the sake of our listeners who were intrigued but clueless about biblical prophecy, you went over some major events on the Bible’s prophetic calendar.
Now, I really thought that was helpful. I know I appreciate being reminded of what’s on the Bible’s calendar. So, since we only covered a few things last week, I thought we’d go over, really, the whole enchilada today. What I want to do—and I know you’ll go along with this, but you just come in and…
Dave: I’m not really into enchiladas, Tom…
Tom: No, you’re not. Okay, but you’re into this, what we’re going to be dealing with. So if it’s okay with you, what I did was I made a chronological list of key biblical events, and so as I present them, if you’ll just add a brief commentary where you think additional information might be helpful. Now, I think we can get through all of this in—what do we have? Well, now we have about 20-some minutes, okay?
Dave: Tom, that’s impossible…
Tom: Well, let’s go for it. Let’s see what happens, and if we come up a little short, we’ll pick it up next time.
All right, one of the values, I think, of this exercise is to inform people who are unaware that the Bible—it really presents God’s plan for humanity: past, present, and future. And I think it’s important to know. Some people pick up the Bible—they start reading a little here, read a little there—and they don’t understand a lot of it because they don’t have the sense of where it’s going, and God has laid that out for us.
All right, to begin with—key events: the Creation in Genesis. It’s all laid out.
Dave: In 30 seconds you want me to cover the Creation?
Tom: Well, just…
Dave: Tom, it was in six literal days God did it. There is no other way you could explain the fact that the universe exists. It hasn’t been here forever. We know that, or the sun would have burned out by now, and all the other stars. There was a beginning of the universe. All the scientists agree to that now. The Bible starts out that way: “In the beginning…” Energy had a beginning. Everything had a beginning. Someone must have been there who had no beginning. That’s God.
Tom: Right. And as God is creating, verse after verse: “It is good; it is good.” Whatever He is creating is good. At the end of Genesis 1: “It is very good.” But then a problem came about. The Fall.
Dave: And He created—in that creation was man. “Made in His image,” it said—that is, in the moral and spiritual image of God, to reflect His love, His kindness, His goodness.
Tom: Mm-hmm. And He laid out one commandment for them.
Dave: Well, actually, Tom, He gave a commandment before that: Genesis 1. You are referring to the commandment of Genesis 2 not to eat of this particular tree. But before that, He said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” And that is a commandment which homosexuals and lesbians, they thumb their nose at God for that. And if everyone adopted their way of life it would be the end of the human race that God created, because they don’t procreate.
Tom: What was the point of the commandment? “Don’t do this….”
Dave: “Don’t eat of this tree.” Well, I don’t think there was any magic power to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but it would be disobedience to do what God told you not to do. That is sin. That separated man from God. And, indeed, he did change from innocence to understanding: things are right and things are wrong. But he didn’t have the power to do what was right and to refrain from what was wrong.
Tom: So the penalty was death—spiritual death—separation from God spiritually but also physical death was just began.
Dave: He was cast out of the Garden.
Tom: And man had no hope. There was no way man could come back, do something, correct something, and so on, that was the penalty—infinite…
Dave: Absolutely. Irrevocable. God cannot go back on His Word.
Tom: Right. Right. But God didn’t leave man just for that. There was a promise in Genesis:3:15: the promise of a Redeemer.
Dave: Mm-hmm. The seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head. The serpent would bruise His heel. But a deadly wound would be delivered to the serpent—to his head—by the seed of the woman—not the woman. The Catholic Church has claimed that the woman did it, and as you know, we have the “miraculous medal”—“Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal”—and she’s standing with her heel on the serpent’s head, Satan’s head. That is not what the Bible says.
So it would be the Messiah. But the Messiah would be virgin-born—the seed of the woman, not the seed of the woman and the man.
Tom: Again, in Genesis, we have God giving us an illustration of the covering that man needed. By giving them the skins—by covering Adam and Eve in the skins of an animal—pointing to Christ. It would be His blood would cover us. His death, burial, and resurrection.
Dave: We have a big to-do being made right now by the defenders of animal rights, and they are up in arms about people that would clothe themselves with furs. Well, God clothed man with fur—animal skin. He was the first one who did it. Animal rights—animals are to be subservient to man. They’re for man’s benefit, for man’s use, and this is what the Bible says.
Tom: Not abuse…
Dave: Not abuse, but use, right.
Tom: So we have the promise of a Redeemer.
Dave: And, Tom, killing the animals—blood was shed. Life had to be taken. And, of course, those who are concerned about animal abuse would be very concerned, because all through the Old Testament we had the sacrifice of the lamb, of the bullock, of the goat, even of doves, and so forth, showing that the penalty is death.
There is no redemption except through the shedding of blood, and animal blood was shed to begin with. And that was a picture of the Lamb of God—looking forward to Christ, who would come, who would be God manifest in the flesh, who would Himself pay the infinite penalty. Animals couldn’t pay that. It was a picture. But He would pay the infinite penalty prescribed by His own righteous law against sin.
Tom: Right. So without the shedding of blood, Hebrews tells us, there is no remission of sin. All of these things, all of these sacrifices, as you said, pointed to Christ.
Dave, then, historically, we have the Flood. What’s that about?
Dave: Well, God looked down upon man, and He saw that the imagination of his heart was only evil continually. God says, “I shouldn’t have even created these creatures.”
Sometimes I say that to God: “Why in the world did you create us? We are so evil, and the imagination of our hearts is evil. The heart, Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”
And yet, there was one man, Noah, who found grace in the eyes of God. And Noah was given the opportunity to build an ark and to ride out the flood and to repopulate the earth with his three sons and their wives and his wife. And, again, it’s a picture of God’s judgment; and yet, the ark would be a picture of Christ, the refuge. We run to Him for refuge.
And Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ.” So we die in Him. He shelters us in His death and brings us through into resurrection.
Tom: So, we have worldwide rebellion; God deals with it through the flood. But now He has a covenant with Noah, and things are going to get great now, right? What about the rebellion at Babel?
Dave: Well, He puts a rainbow in the sky, first of all. And there are even some evangelical Christians today who say the flood wasn’t worldwide—Hugh Ross says it was about 22 feet deep. You wonder why God had to bring in, you know, two of each kind of animals to repopulate the earth! It does say all the mountains—the highest mountains were covered. And it says everything that had breath died. So this was the flood.
But He gave us a rainbow, and of course, if it was a local flood, then you and I have never seen a rainbow, because that would be over there in the area of Mesopotamia where the flood was. And furthermore, if it was a local flood, Peter likens it to God’s judgment coming upon this earth. He says, “As the world that then was was destroyed by water, so the one that we live in now will be destroyed by fire.” But I wouldn’t be concerned about it. Since that was a local flood, it’ll be a local fire.
No! We take the Bible for what it says, and as you were pointing out to us, Tom, that the Bible lays it all out step by step. We come to the Tower of Babel. It says—not just a tower— “Let us build us a city and a tower.” The city is the government. The tower is the religion, a tower that will reach to heaven. It’s a picture of all human religion. By our own works, by our own effort, we will climb our way into heaven.
And at that time, the world government—because this was the whole world now; they were all united—the world government and the world religion were one. And that moves us forward to the Antichrist, Revelation 13. Revelation 17: This woman riding this beast, her name is…
Tom: We’re going to get to that, Dave…
Dave: Okay. “Her name is Mystery Babylon.” But we have a picture of that up into the future.
And, Tom, if I dare say, and I remember…I’ll never forget an ad—a Lockheed ad in Scientific American. They had a picture of the Tower of Babel, and they said, “Through our technology, we are [these are their words!] undoing the Babel effect.” And at Babel, God said, “Whatever they imagine, they can do. And their imagination is evil, so we’re going to confound their languages and scatter them.” And Lockheed said, “We’re going to unite all mankind and we’re going to have them all speaking one language,” which, of course, you can do it through computers. Amazing! Man is still in rebellion, and he’s going to undo what God did.
And Paul in Acts 17 said, “God has scattered man and He has separated the bounds of their habitations so that they should seek the Lord.”
Tom, the Bible is a fantastic book. It is so interwoven. All these themes are woven throughout the entire Scripture.
Tom: Yeah, Dave, the theologians like to use the word “teleological,” meaning that when you look at history, when you see things particularly in the Bible, there’s a plan, there’s a purpose, there’s a design here, and that’s what we’re trying to underscore.
After Babel, we have this man Abram, whom God raises up—the beginning of the Hebrew people. What about that?
Dave: Well, He calls him out of his country, from his family. He was living over there in the area of Babylon, in fact, and brought him to a land—“a land that I will show you….” By the way, it was never called Palestine until 135 AD when the Romans renamed it that in anger. This is the land of Canaan. And over and over it says, “Into the land of Canaan he came.” And God said, “I will give you all the land of Canaan, and to your descendants after you.”
So this has—you could say, the basic problem in the Middle East, there’s a quarrel over this land. Who are the descendants? Well, the Muslims say the Arabs are, through Ishmael. The Jews are the descendants through Isaac and Jacob. The Bible makes it very clear that Isaac was the son of promise; Ishmael was not.
But anyway, this is a land that was given to Abram and to his descendants, and it says, “forever, an everlasting covenant.” It cannot be broken.
Tom: The Promised Land, as the Bible refers to it. Before the descendants of Abram—Abraham—can possess the land, they go to Egypt.
Dave: Mm-hmm. If you study it, Tom, Abram—and then he became Abraham when Isaac was born—he and his descendants (not Ishmael, but Isaac) lived in Canaan for several hundred years, about 300 years before they went into Egypt. They went into Egypt—that would include Jacob…I’m sorry, Isaac and Jacob, Abraham’s descendants, lived in the land of Canaan for about 300 years before they went into Egypt. Why did they go to Egypt? Because there was a famine. But then they got stuck in Egypt because they became the slaves of Pharaoh.
Tom: Was this by chance, Dave? Or…didn’t God already say…?
Dave: God had already told Abram in Genesis 15 that “Your descendants will be in a strange land, and they will be enslaved there for 400 years.” The reason for that was because God was going to give them the land of Canaan. But the Canaanites were not yet wicked enough for God to be justified in doing that. Four hundred years later, they were so evil that God, in His holiness, was forced to exterminate these people. Actually, they were that bad. They were as bad as at the flood. And He used Israel to do it, and then He gave Israel this land.
Now, of course, Israel did not thoroughly wipe them out as they were supposed to …
Tom: Well, we’re a little bit ahead of ourselves.
Tom: We’re in Egypt now.
Dave: All right.
Tom: We have the Exodus from Egypt and we have the entrance into the Promised Land. That didn’t happen overnight.
Dave: Well, it’s…again, Tom, it’s amazing. And we can prove that it happened, because they’ve been keeping the Passover ever since. When you have an event that was witnessed by people and it was marked by a memorial from the very beginning—they did it last year, the year before, the year before, the year before—we know there was a day when they began doing it. You couldn’t say, “Well, we’ve been doing this forever.” No, what about the year before? So there was a day—a year—when they began keeping the Passover for the first time. And that marks the validity of this story of being brought out of Egypt in a miraculous way by God. And He took them through the Red Sea…
Tom: That was the long way around, wasn’t it, Dave?
Dave: Yes, it was, because He didn’t want to take them the short way or they would have run into some fighting, and He didn’t think they were quite ready for that. In fact, they weren’t. But they began to murmur and complain, and their unbelief was horrible. They heard God speak with an audible voice from Mt. Sinai, and they…
Tom: Well, they’d just passed through the Red Sea!
Tom: They saw miracles—some of the most astounding miracles in the Bible, they had witnessed!
Dave: Water out of a rock! And God speaks…
Tom: Manna from heaven…
Dave: Yes, every day. God speaks with an audible voice, and the first thing He says: “You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul,” and so forth. “And you will have no other gods before Me. You’ll not bow down to them.” And what do they do? They heard Him say that with an audible voice from Mt. Sinai, and while Moses is up there, that’s exactly what they do! They make a golden calf, and they say, “Oh, this is the God that brought you out of Egypt.” Tom, it’s unfathomable! But…
Tom: And it speaks to God’s love, His longsuffering, His mercy. You know, this tells us about God—the God of all creation.
Dave: Yeah, why did He choose these Jews? People get upset: “Why should they be the chosen people?” Well, there were responsibilities that came with that, and they were, in fact, a rebellious people—stubborn and unreprovable—and they are an example of who we are, of the way we are. And it shows the wonder of God’s grace and of His love and mercy. That gives all of us hope.
Tom: So we have Joshua, then, leading the Israelites into the land of Canaan. Now…
Dave: Well, Moses led them for 40 years in the wilderness, and up to the border, and then Joshua had to take them over. A reason for that would be because Moses gave the Law, and the Law can’t bring you into the Promised Land.
The Promised Land, by the way, is not heaven. The Promised Land is the Spirit-filled life—it’s the new life of a Christian. And there are enemies. There are no enemies in heaven, so the Promised Land can’t be a picture of heaven. But it is a picture of a life that the Christian is supposed to live on this earth in the midst of his enemies. Sadly, Israel…
Tom: But it’s not just a picture. This is not just symbolism here….
Dave: Oh, right. They were really doing it. They were living this. And so many examples, so many lessons to learn.
Tom: So, Dave, they’re in the Promised Land, so things are going to be great! I mean, there they are. They’ve arrived, no problems!
Dave: Yeah, but they have enemies to defeat in order to take this land. They have the wickedness of their own hearts to contend with. In fact, they began to worship other gods, like the heathen around them. I mean, the gods that can’t protect the heathen! Incredible. Jehovah defeats them. Yahweh defeats them, and then they follow these gods. They make gods like them. And God’s judgment has to come.
And then they want a king…I don’t know if I’m running ahead here…
Tom: No, that’s…
Dave: They want to be like the other nations. Like the other nations? I mean, God has done miracles for them! He is their King! And they turn their backs on Him and they want a king.
They get Saul—seems to be a great guy, but he disobeys God, and God has to replace him with David, who is a man after God’s own heart. Not perfect—he commits adultery and murder. Can you believe it? And yet, God forgives him. He repents, but Saul never repented when you’d point out his sin. He justifies himself.
And Israel becomes a great nation, with territory from the Sinai right up to the Euphrates River.
Tom: Mm-hmm. But in disobedience, year after year, century after century. God again—longsuffering, but at a point, He says…well, we have the split-up of the nation of Israel, the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. But I want to take us to 70 years captive in Babylon.
Dave: Well, as you said, Tom, He sends His prophets. He pleads with them: “Don’t do this abominable thing that I hate! I don’t want to pour out my judgment upon you.” And, of course, I can’t avoid mentioning Calvinism at this point, because the Calvinist says, “Oh, He caused them to do this. He predestined that they would go to hell, that they would disobey Him.”
We have a God who is pleading with people to repent, but they can’t repent unless He gives then irresistible grace? But He doesn’t give them the grace to repent even though He pleads with them to repent, and then He punishes them? No, that’s not the picture that you get. God does not want to do this. He does not want to punish them.
But the time comes when He can’t just keep saying, “Oh, you do that again, and you’re going to get in trouble!” like some parents do with their children, and then there are no consequences. They are led away captives into Babylon. They are there for 70 years, because when God brought them into their land, He said, “There’s not only a Sabbath every seventh day, there’s a Sabbath every seventh year. And you will not till the soil. You will forgive all debts owed to you by fellow Hebrews. You will let all Hebrew slaves go free.” And for 490 years they didn’t do that once! And God says, “You owe the land 70 years.”
And so He takes them into Babylon for 70 years.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, we have about a minute, and you were right—we weren’t going to get all the way through this. But it brings us up to: Why did God restore them from Babylon to—back to Israel, back to Jerusalem?
Dave: Well, there was repentance. Daniel 9, you read of his repentance for Israel. There was repentance on the part of others: Ezra and Nehemiah and so forth.
Tom: But He had also a purpose here, didn’t He?
Dave: Well, He had made a promise. He doesn’t go back on His promise. This was not conditional upon their performance, but God promised it. And He is continually trying to fulfill this through these people in spite of their waywardness and unbelief.
Tom: And of course, the restoration is for the coming Messiah. He has to be born in that area in Bethlehem. He has to go to the Cross, just outside Jerusalem.
Dave: Exactly, Tom. Excellent point.
Tom: We’re going to pick up with this next week.