THE LAST PERIOD OF BIBLE HISTORY
Babylonian Captivity to the book of Revelation
The fifth and last period of Bible history extends from 587 B.C. to the last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation in the New Testament. This time period extends from 587 B.C. to 96 A.D., embracing some 683 years, according to Usher's chronology. Many important events occurred in this time period. It was the most important period of Biblical history, and it was the most important period of world history. This was the period of world Empires on earth: The Babylonian Empire, 612-539 B.C.; The Persian Empire , 539-331 B.C.; The Greek Empire of Alexander the Great, 331-323 B.C.; and the Roman Empire of the Caesars, 44 B.C. to 476 A.D. All of these world Empires had a part to play in God's eternal purpose to bring His Son into this world to taste death for every man and establish a universal religion for mankind.
The city of Jerusalem was completely destroyed twice during this period. In addition, God's chosen nation was sentenced to 70 years of slavery in Babylonia. After serving their punishment, they returned to Jerusalem and built the second temple. The most important event of this period was the coming of Israel's Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, the Savior of the world. His thirty three years on earth were carefully documented by four different writers. In this time period, the Messianic kingdom of Christ was established on earth, which ushered in the Christian age of the world, which. is the final period of world history. Last of all in this time period, the days of inspiration came to an end, miracles ceased, and God's divine revelation to man was completed forever.
This time period begins in 587 B.C., with Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, sweeping down the Jordan valley with his army to attack Jerusalem. He broke the walls down to the ground, destroyed the city and the temple built by Solomon. For seventy years the Jews were under Babylonian authority, Jerusalem was desolated and their sacred temple in ruins. Why seventy years? Every seventh year was a sabbatical year, and God commanded the land to rest and not be planted every seventh year. From the time of King Saul to the Babylonian captivity are numbered about 490 years, and not one time did Israel let the land rest. God put them in Babylon for those seventy disobedient years. During those years there were 70 Sabbatical years they failed to observe. The captivity lasted 70 years, and during that time the land of Israel rested.(Leviticus 26:33-35). Israel thought that law was too inconvenient and too difficult to obey. It taught them and us that God does not forget any of His laws
About 536 B.C. their captivity ended, and the Persian Empire allowed Israel to return to Palestine in the days Ezra and Nehemiah. The temple of Solomon had stood for some four hundred years and was the crowning glory of Jerusalem. With a small population, little money and much opposition, the second temple was erected and the walls rebuilt. In grandeur and glory, the second temple could not be compared to Solomon's temple. Some of the old people who had seen the first temple looked upon this one and wept because of its inferiority.
With the passing of two hundred years, a very important person appeared in this time period. The Persian empire ceased to be, and in 330 B.C. Alexander the Great of Greece swept over the world like the flash of a comet across the sky and subdued the nations of all the earth He was the first world conqueror, and one of the most remarkable men in history. He became king at 20 and at the age of 33 he ruled the world. This man is mentioned in Daniel's prophecies, and unknown to himself he played an important part in God's plan to save the human race. In all the countries he conquered he brought Greek culture, Greek ideas, and the Greek language. When Jesus made His appearance on earth, the Greek language was spoken all over the world, thanks to Alexander. This made it possible for gospel preachers to proclaim the gospel in all parts of the world for all spoke the Greek language. This great General and King helped to make the spread of Christianity possible 400 years after his time. The New Testament was written in the Greek language which was the most universally spoken and written language in the world. God does move in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.
Alexander the Great made his appearance in that period of time between the Old Testament and New Testament that often is called the blank page of the Bible because no inspired books belong to that period.. Leaving this intertestamental period, the 400 year period between Malachi in the Old Testament and Matthew in the New Testament, the next important event is the rise of the fourth world empire of Rome. The Roman Empire extends from 44 B.C. to 476 A.D. The first Caesar was Julius Caesar and the second one was Augustus Caesar He became the Roman Emperor in 27 B.C. and died in 14 A.D. Those are very important dates. In the New Testament the birth of Jesus is dated in the reign of Augustus Caesar(Luke 2:1). Paul said in Galatians 4:4, “But when the fulness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman born under the law.” The fulness of the time was when the prophecies were to be fulfilled
and Jesus was to be born and God was to make His entrance into the world. That time period was the fifth period of Bible history and more specifically between 27 B.C. and 14 A.D. We also know that Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod the Great, the Roman Ruler of Palestine from 37 B.C.- 4 B. C., for he tried to kill Jesus at the time of his birth. According to Roman historical records Herod died four years before the time our calendar assigns to the birth of Christ. If that be so, Jesus was born several years before the time our calendar says he was. Because of this fact, we are told there is a four to six year mistake in our present calendar, but Western Civilization decided to ignore this mistake and not correct our calendar, even though it off a few years. To change it would change the date of birthdays and dates of all important events for the past 2,000 years. The most accurate information places the time of Christ's birth between 40 B.C. and 4-6 B.C. That is as close as we can get, but it's close enough..
Herod the Great deserves to be mentioned not only for his connection with the birth of Christ, but also for what he did for the temple in Jerusalem. He was one of the world's greatest builders. Despite his crimes and excesses, no one can doubt his reputation as a master builder. One of his most imposing achievements was in Jerusalem. To feed his passion for grandeur, to immortalize his name and to win the loyalty of his Jewish subjects, Herod rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem. Not satisfied with the temple mount that Solomon had built, he doubled its size. Every stone he laid there, some weighing several tons., had his own special design on each stone. It is said that Herod's temple surpassed that of Solomon, as Solomon's surpassed that temple Zerubbabel built when the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity. Herod's temple was simply the second temple rebuilt and beautified.
After the birth of Jesus, the next momentous event in this time period was the three and a half year ministry of Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God. During His preaching ministry, He represented the Godhead on this earth. During those precious years, He went about doing good, performing miracles, wonders and signs, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. During those precious years on earth, He was the brightness of God's glory and the express image of God's person. He lived His life as a Jew under the law of Moses, but He set forth in His teachings the principles of human conduct that would prevail in the new religion that He came to establish on this earth. It was at this time in the history of the world that God decided that He would no longer be satisfied with or accept animal sacrifices as used in the Jewish system of religion,
4 because the blood of animals cannot take away sin It was time for a change. So He sent the second person of the Godhead to this earth and gave him a physical body for the predetermined purpose of offering it as a sacrifice to God, one time for all time and shed His blood, not only for the Jews but for the sins of the whole world. He obeyed this command by going to the cross of Calvary, but being a Divine Being death could not hold H im; and He arose from the grave on the third day. Forty days later, He ascended to heaven and sat down on the right hand of God, and there He shall remain until all of His enemies on this earth are put under His feet.
The first century of our era was the last year of the fifth and final period of Bible history, and it was full of momentous events. The next great event was the establishment of David's kingdom on this earth. It was predicted by the prophets that the coming Messiah would sit on David's throne. The apostle Peter announced the fulfillment of this prophecy ten days after Jesus returned to heaven. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the apostles and Peter by the Spirit spoke these words in Jerusalem as recorded Acts 2:29-32, “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus has God raised up....Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear ”(Psalm 16: 8-11).
Peter distinctly said in the first gospel sermon that Jesus was raised from the death to sit on David's throne. Jesus, after He was raised, sat down on the right hand of the throne of God. This can only mean that David's throne has been moved to heaven, but David's kingdom is here on the earth. This was one of the great truths that convinced 3,000 Jews to become Christians in one day. The Church of Christ, the Church of God, also called the Kingdom of heaven make up David's kingdom on earth. The Christian religion was figuratively called David's kingdom because it brought back the glory days to Israel that existed in David's time. The Jews took the gospel to the Gentiles and brought them into David's kingdom. It spread eventually to Europe and from Europe it came to America. James the Lord's brother stated that the Christian
the Christian religion is a rebuilding, a restoration of the kingdom of David that had fallen down, and Christ is now rebuilding its ruins.(Acts 15: 14- 17). How tragic that most of the Jewish nation does not understand this, but be it known that their great David and Messiah of prophecy has come, and no other will ever come.
The closing event of te fifth period of Bible history was the destruction of Jerusalem and Herod's temple in 70 A.D. Jesus predicted this catastrophe that would come on Jerusalem in Matthew 24:1,2, “Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, `Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down..” This prophecy was most literally fulfilled. in just forty years. The Romans ploughed the Temple mount, and when they got through not a trace of Herod's temple was left. The orders of Titus, given with regret, for the total demolition of the walls and the city, were carried out with cruel exactness. Josephus, the Jewish historian of the fist century, verifies this fact by saying that passers-by would not have supposed that the place had ever been inhabited.. Today, on the site of the ancient temple stands the Mosque of Omar, a Moslem place of worship. It is considered perhaps the the very noblest specimen of building-art in Asia. It is the most prominent as well as the most beautiful building in the city of Jerusalem.
The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple was God's judgment on Israel for rejecting their Messiah and for rejecting the New Covenant which Jeremiah predicted that God would make with Israel.. Officially, the Jewish religion was nullified and came to an end when Jesus died on the cross. The word of God says that Christ nailed the law of Moses to the cross. However, most of the nation refused this teaching and continued to worship according to the law of Moses. The continued observance of the law of Moses was the first and one of the greatest problems of the New Testament church. The destruction of Jerusalem was another clear announcement from heaven that the Jewish religion had come to an end. and is no longer acceptable to God. With the writing of the book of Revelation by the apostle John, the fifth and final period of Bible history came to an end.