Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation, was born about 2000 B.C., in southern Babylon, in or near Ur of the Chaldeans. Babylon was filled with idolatry. Joshua tells us that Terah, Abraham’s father, served other gods (Joshua 24:2). In this idolatrous climate “the God of glory” (Acts 7:2), by His sovereign will, called Abraham to be the father of a chosen race, the Hebrew nation (Genesis 12:2; 21:12). God also promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations (Genesis 17:4, 5), and that his name would be great. After four thousand years his name is still great in a large number of nations, as well as among his descendants in all nations around the world.
The descendants of Ishmael, the descendants of Jacob, and the descendants of Esau all call him “Father Abraham” (Genesis 32:9). The apostle Paul told us that because he was “strengthened in faith” (Romans 4:20), he is “the father of all those who believe” (Romans 4:11). Hebrews, Muslims, and Christians all look to him as their spiritual father.
The Bible says four things about Abraham that were never spoken of any other man. He is called:
1) God’s friend by the Lord Himself (Isaiah 41:8).
2) The father of the Hebrew nation (John 8:53).
3) The “father of many nations” (Genesis 17:4, 5).
4) “The father of all those who believe” (Romans 4:11).
Millions of the world’s population trace their lineage, either physically, spiritually, or both, to our father Abraham.
God called Abraham and commanded him to:
1) leave his country
2) leave his family
3) leave his father’s house
4) go “by faith” into a land that the Lord would show him (Genesis 12:1; Hebrews 11:8-19).
The Lord also promised Abraham that He would:
1) make of him a great nation
2) bless him
3) make his name great
4) make him a blessing
5) bless those who bless him
6) curse those who curse him
7) through him bless all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:2, 3).
This last part of God’s promise began to be fulfilled in Christ at His first coming, but will not be completely fulfilled until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to this earth as “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14) to sit on the throne of His father David and reign in righteousness (Isaiah 9:6, 7; cf. Matthew 25:31-46).
34-1 From Ur of the Chaldeans to the Exodus (about 600 years)
There were six stages of Abraham’s journeys that show his growth in obedience to God’s will:
a) From Ur of the Chaldeans to Haran. His father, Terah and his nephew Lot traveled with him. He thus left his father’s house, but not his father (11:31, 32).
b) From Haran to Shechem, the center of Canaan. Terah died in Haran, but Lot continued on with Abraham, who thus had left his country but not his family. At Shechem the Lord appeared to Abraham and promised that He would give the land of Canaan to Abraham’s children. There Abraham built his first altar to the Lord (12:7).
c) From Shechem to Bethel (“house of God”). Here Abraham built his second altar and called upon the name of the Lord (12:8).
d) From Bethel to Egypt, because there was a famine in the land of Canaan. This was God’s way of testing Abraham’s faith. He failed the test by going into Egypt, in disobedience to God. He built no altar in Egypt or Babylonia. For Abraham to be out of Canaan was to be in disobedience, out of the will of God. Only in the perfect will of God can man truly worship the Lord (Romans 12:1, 2). It is better to endure trials, accepting God’s will, than to attempt our own limited solution (Genesis 12:10-20).
e) From Egypt back to Bethel. Abraham went back to the house of God, back to worshiping at the altar of God, and back to obeying the will of God. At Bethel Lot was separated from Abraham. For the first time since the Lord called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans, he fully obeyed the Lord. He was separated from his country and his family, and from his father and his father’s house (Genesis 13:1-18; cf. Romans 12:1, 2).
f) From Bethel to Hebron. Here he established roots, and Hebron became home. He made short journeys away, but always returned. Ten important events occurred in or near Hebron:
1) Ishmael, his first son, was born to Hagar, Sarah’s maid, in disregard of God’s intention to provide a son by Sarah (Genesis 16:1-16).
2) Isaac, his second son, was born to Sarah. God chose Isaac over Ishmael to be Abraham’s heir (Genesis 17:15-19; 21:1-8). This meant that the line of Christ would run through Isaac.
3) Isaac was presented for offering on an altar of sacrifice. This was Abraham’s greatest test of faith, and he did not fail (Genesis 22:1-14; Hebrews 11:17-19). Positive, unwavering, active, obedient faith always honors God, and God in turn honors that quality of faith. The lesson is wonderful: when you are tested, and there seems to be no way out, obey God and He will make a way.
4) Sarah died and was buried in Hebron (Genesis 23:1-20).
5) Isaac married Rebekah (Genesis 24:1-67).
6) Abraham married Keturah, who bore him six sons (Genesis 25:1-6).
7) Abraham, at 175 years of age, died and was buried beside Sarah (Genesis 25:7-11).
8) Esau and Jacob were born to Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 25:24-26). The line of Christ was to run through Jacob (Genesis 27:1-40; Hebrews 12:16, 17).
9) To Jacob were born twelve sons, -from whom came the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 29:31-30:24).
10) Jacob’s family obeyed the Lord and departed for Egypt (Genesis 46:1-7). With him went his twelve sons and their families, seventy in all. In Egypt they and their offspring remained for 430 years (Exodus 12:40), most of it in slavery. But in Egypt God blessed them, and they became a great nation (Exodus 1:1-22).
34-2 From the Exodus to the Crossing of Jordan (40 years)
Begin this study by reading 1 Corinthians 10:1-15. The Hebrews originally were not a slave people. In fact, Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation, possessed great wealth (Genesis 13:2, 14-18). After the death of Joseph, however, “there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8). Fearing the children of Israel because they were multiplying rapidly, he enslaved them, and they remained slaves until God raised up Moses to deliver them from bondage (Exodus 1-3).
From Egypt to Canaan, in a period of forty years, the children of Israel made forty-two camps (Numbers 33:1-49). Let us look at some of the most important camps and consider some of the miracles, successes, and failures of this young nation. Led out by Moses, the children of Israel began their journey after observing the Passover (Exodus 12:1-28). The young and the old were in good health; “there was none feeble among His tribes” (Psalm 105:37).
1) The first three stages of their march took them from Ramses to Succoth, to Etham, and to the Red Sea. The Lord appeared to them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. This was the first miracle of their journey. The pillar led them for forty years by day and by night. (Exodus 13:21, 22; Numbers 14:14).
2) The next stage of their journey saw God open the Red Sea. Israel marched through on dry land, with walls of water on the right and on the left. Pharaoh’s army pursued Israel into the Red Sea. In the morning watch God “troubled the army of the Egyptians,” and “took off their chariot wheels” (Exodus 14:24-3 1). God stopped them and destroyed them.
3) The next stage of their march took them three days into the wilderness of Shur, and they came to the waters of Marah (bitter waters). They complained against Moses because they had no water to drink. God showed Moses a tree, and when he had it cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet (Exodus 15:22-26).
4) From Elim they journeyed to the wilderness of Sin. Because they missed the food of Egypt, they murmured against Moses and Aaron, God sent great flocks of quail in the evening and manna in the morning (Exodus 16:1-36; Numbers 11:31, 32). The manna continued for forty years, every day except the Sabbath.
5) The next stage of their march went as far as Rephidim, where once again they found no water. Here they accused Moses of bringing them into the wilderness to kill them with thirst. The Lord instructed Moses to move on to Horeb, and to take his rod and strike the rock (Exodus 17:1-7; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:4). The Lord gave them water from the rock. Then Amalek came and fought with Israel. As long as Moses held up his arms in prayer, Israel prevailed. This was Israel’s first war, and God gave them victory (Exodus 17:8-16).
6) The next stage of their march took them to the mountain of God, which is Sinai (Exodus 19:1-7). Here they camped for about one year (Exodus 18-40). Here a number of events took place:
a) Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought to him is Midianite wife and two sons (Exodus 18:1-12).
b) At Sinai God gave to Moses
i) the moral, civil, and ceremonial laws—a new covenant for Israel;
ii) the plan and direction for building the tabernacle;
iii) the order of the priesthood;
iv) the order of the camp and the march.
While Moses was on the mount of God for forty days receiving the law, the children of Israel persuaded Aaron to make an idol of gold, which would lead them out of the wilderness. This idolatry ended in the judgment of God upon the people (Exodus 32:1-35).
7) The next stage of their march took them to Kadesh Barnea. The Israelites had then spent two years of preparation in the wilderness. After one more test of their faith, they were ready to possess the Promised Land. Moses sent twelve spies to search out the land. They were gone forty days and returned with evidence of the fruitfulness of the land. But ten of the spies had no faith, and reported that the land would be impossible to conquer. The people turned on Moses and Aaron, and called for a captain to lead them back to Egypt (Numbers 14:1-39). God judged Israel because of their unbelief (Hebrews 3:7-12; Jude 5). All who were twenty years and over died during the next thirty-eight years in the wilderness—all except Caleb and Joshua, the two spies who did not sin through unbelief (Numbers 14:37, 38). The spies who brought the evil report of unbelief were the first to die. When Israel heard that judgment had come upon the ten spies, they tried to repent and take the land. Moses said, “Do not go up…for the Lord is not among you” (Numbers 14:39-45). They were presumptuous, went against the will of the Lord, and suffered bitter defeat. Thus began the premature deaths of over one million Israelites.
8) In the next stage of their march they circled Mount Seir for many days (Deuteronomy 2:1). Continuing their wilderness journey for thirty-eight more years, they made about twenty-three camps. The last station of their long forty-year march brought them to the plains of Moab, by the Jordan near Jericho (Numbers 33:47-49). Moses and Aaron also died in the wilderness because they sinned against the Lord (Numbers 20:1-13, 22-29; Deuteronomy 34:1-8). Joshua was chosen to lead Israel into the Promised Land. Just as God had opened the Red Sea to lead Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness, so after forty years He parted the waters of the Jordan to lead them out of the wilderness into the land of Canaan (Joshua 1-3).
34-3 From the Crossing of Jordan to the Babylonian Captivity (830 years)
This time in the history of Israel spans the period from the crossing of the Jordan under Joshua (about 1415 B.C.) to the Babylonian captivity under Zedekiah (586 B.C.), the last king of Judah. Joshua, under God, led Israel into Canaan and victory. Under Zedekiah, God drove them out in defeat (Jeremiah 21:1-9). There were five periods in the history of Israel from Joshua to Zedekiah:
1) From the crossing of the Jordan to the death of Joshua (Joshua 1-24). Joshua led Israel for twenty-six years. He followed Moses, “the servant of the Lord” (Joshua 1:1). This was no easy task, but Joshua proved himself equal to Moses in many ways. As a soldier, he was gifted in strategy, resourcefulness, and courage. He was strong in faith, wholeheartedly committed to God and His law. He conquered the land of Canaan and divided it among the tribes of Israel.
2) From the death of Joshua to the last judge (see the books of Judges and Ruth). For over three hundred years, the tribes of Israel were unorganized and scattered. Having little basic connection with each other, they lived as separate nations. Over and over we are told that “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord” (Judges 2:11). Because they did evil, the Lord would send ungodly nations to punish them. When they repented and returned to their God, He would raise up judges to deliver them. Their sins, successes, failures, and weaknesses are recorded in God’s Word. God never covers up evil in the life of His children. But when they repent and return to the Lord, He will forgive and cleanse them from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
The book of Judges ends with this statement, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). This was a dark age in the history of Israel.
3) From King Saul to the end of King Solomon’s reign we see the Hebrew nation under a united monarchy (1 Samuel 10-1 Kings 11). This period covers the reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon. It lasted about 120 years. During this time the Hebrew nation reached its pinnacle as a nation united under God. They became a great and powerful people economically, politically, socially, and religiously. At the beginning of this era, the Hebrew people occupied about 25,000 square miles. At the close of Solomon’s reign, they possessed about 50,000 square miles.
4) Samuel had warned the Hebrew nation, when they demanded a kin, saying, “Make us I king to judge us like all nations” (1 Samuel 8:1-22). They rejected the theocracy (the reign of the Lord) and demanded a monarchy. This was in disobedience to the revealed will of God. The Lord spoke to Samuel and said, “They have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). Everything Samuel prophesied in this chapter had come to pass, but the worst was yet to come. Under Rehoboam, the kingdom was divided; therefore, it could not stand (Matthew 12:25). This was the beginning of the end of Israel’s monarchy.
5) Jeroboam became king of Israel (the northern part of the nation). Rehoboam, king of Judah (the southern part), was ready to declare war on Israel, but the Lord stopped him (1 Kings 12:16-24).
Israel, the northern nation of ten tribes, lasted about 250 years and had nineteen kings. They were all guilty of idolatry. Israel, whose capital was Samaria, fell before the cruel, conquering Assyrians, who scattered the northern tribes (2 Kings 17:5, 6, 24; cf. Deuteronomy 28:63, 64). Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, brought an end to the kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C. During these years God raised up some great prophets in Israel.
Judah, the southern kingdom, with its capital at Jerusalem, lasted about 150 years after the fall of Israel. The demise of the kingdom of Judah was accomplished by Nebuchadnezzar, who conquered the nation in three invasions (606, 597, and 586 B.C.), destroying the temple and deporting the people to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:17-2 1).
34-4 From the Babylonian Captivity to the Crucifixion (over 600 years)
The books that cover the seventy years of captivity and the restoration of Judah and Benjamin are Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. There were approximately four hundred years between Malachi and the birth of Christ. These are often called the silent years, because no God-inspired prophet arose in Judah during that time. Zerubbabel led 42,360 from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi back to Jerusalem (after seventy years in Babylon) to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1, 2).
The Jews had much opposition in building the temple. They stopped until the preaching of Haggai and Zechariah drove them back to the work (Haggai 1; Zechariah 1). The temple was completed and dedicated to the Lord in 516 B. C., seventy years after its destruction (Jeremiah 29:10). During the period from the Babylonian captivity to the Crucifixion, Daniel’s prophecy of the four Gentile kingdoms began to come to pass (Daniel 2; 7). The people of Judah, the descendants of Abraham, were taken captive by the Babylonian empire. They returned to Jerusalem, under the Persian Empire, and rebuilt the city and the temple. Then came the Greeks, followed by the Romans. Rome was in power during the time of Christ.
34-5 From the Crucifixion to the Fall of Jerusalem (about 40 years)
This prophecy was partially fulfilled in A.D. 70 when Titus led a Roman army in a siege against Jerusalem. They battered down its walls, sacked the city, destroyed the temple, and scattered the Hebrew people among all nations.
About fifteen hundred years before the fall of Jerusalem, under Titus, Moses prophesied the fall of Jerusalem, God’s curse on the land, and the scattering of the Jews among all nations (Deuteronomy 28:1-68). This unique prophecy falls into three detailed divisions:
1) God promised to bless Israel above all nations if they would diligently obey the Lord their God (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
2) God promised to curse them above all nations if they did not obey the Lord their God (Deuteronomy 28:15-61).
3) God promised to make them few in number and scatter them among all nations if they did not obey the Lord their God (Deuteronomy 28:61-68).
From the Exodus to the fall of Jerusalem, we see the longsuffering of God toward Israel (about fifteen hundred years). In A.D. 70 they reached the end of God’s forbearance when, just 40 years before the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, they rejected and crucified their Messiah, crying, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:15-25). On the cross Christ prayed for His tormentors (both Jews and Gentiles), “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Surely all of us are obliged to be broken with shame by these words. It was our sins that put Jesus on the cross.
34-6 From the Fall of Jerusalem to the Millennium (to date, over 1,900 years)
Three things must come to pass before the millennial kingdom is restored to Israel:
1) When the Hebrew people say, “Blessed is He [Christ] who comes in the name of the Lord!” (23:39). They must repent of their sins, return to the Lord, and accept Christ as their Messiah, as they certainly will do (Zechariah 12:10; 13:6; Romans 11:26, 27). About twenty-seven hundred years ago, God gave an open invitation to the nation Israel. It is valid today, and will be valid until Israel accepts Christ as her Messiah and is saved. God said, “ ‘Come no, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool’ ” (Isaiah 1:18).
2) When “the times of the Gentiles” are fulfilled (Luke 21:24; cf. Romans 11:25). “The times of the Gentiles” began with the captivity of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:11-21). It will end when Christ returns to earth and restores the kingdom to Israel. He will be the King and sit on the throne of His father David (Isaiah 9:6, 7).
3) “Till all these things take place” (Matthew 24:32-35). All prophecies pertaining to the Hebrew people, until the kingdom, must come to pass before God will restore the kingdom to Israel. The fig tree, in the parable, is unsaved Israel regathered into the land. When you see prophecy being fulfilled pertaining to Israel, you can know that the second coming of Christ is near, and that “this generation will by no means pass away till all these things [prophecies] take place” (Matthew 24:34). The word “generation” may refer to the race in its sinful unbelief, or more simply to the literal generation alive at the time these things begin to happen and following. The last prophecy to be fulfilled before Christ returns to earth is the seven years of Great Tribulation. It is called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Many prophecies that will come to pass during the Great Tribulation are found in Matthew 24:9-51 and in Revelation 4-19.
At the beginning of this period in the history of the Hebrew people, they were driven from their homeland and scattered among all the nations. Since A.D. 70 they have been without a country, without a temple, without a king, without a prophet, and without a Messiah. But they are not without God’s promise the He will, in the last days, “bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah…to the land” (Jeremiah 30:3). After World War I, the Jews began to return to Palestine in significant numbers; and in 1948, although small in number, they became a nation. In the last days the Lord will reestablish a remnant from all twelve tribes in the land of Israel (Hosea 3:4, 5).
34-7 From the Millennium to the New Heaven and the New Earth (1000 years)
(Isaiah 66:22, 23)
These are some of the prophecies pertaining to Israel that will come to pass during the millennial reign of Christ:
1) Satan, the accuser of the brethren (Israel) will be cast out of heaven in the middle of the seven-year Tribulation (Revelation 12:7-12), and at the beginning of the kingdom age will be imprisoned in the bottomless pit for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1, 3).
2) The Tribulation saints who willingly become martyrs for Christ and the gospel of the kingdom will be resurrected and will enter the kingdom with Christ (Revelation 20:4, 5).
3) The judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46). These are people out of all the nations on the earth who will have lived through the Tribulation. These are divided into three groups:
a) Sheep. They are the saved from all nations (Revelation 7:9-17).
b) Goats. They are the ‘lost’ of all nations (Matthew 25:41).
c) Brethren. They are the saved Israel (Revelation 7:1-8).
4) Israel will become innumerable in the kingdom age (Genesis 22:17; Hebrews 11:12, 13).
5) Longevity will be restored during the Millennium (Isaiah 65:20).
6) At the end of the thousand years, Satan will be released from the bottomless pit, “and will go out to deceive the nations” (Revelation 20:7, 8), and shall raise a huge army of unbelievers to fight against the saints and the beloved city.During the thousand years, children will be born to those who enter the kingdom in their physical bodies (Matthew 25:34). They will be born in sin and will need to be saved by faith in Christ. Not all will believe, even under the perfect condition of the kingdom. Satan will deceive them, and God will destroy them with fire from heaven (Revelation 20:7-9).
7) Then will come the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1; 2 Peter 3:12, 13; Isaiah 65:17). God promised Abraham and his descendants the land forever (Genesis 13:14, 15). God will keep His promise to Abraham and give the land to his “descendants forever.” The history of Israel is without parallel. It is the only ancient civilization to have been utterly destroyed and yet to have been raised again to a place of prestige among the nations.
Master Outline 34 – The Birth and History of the Hebrew Nation
 When and where was Abraham, father of the Hebrew nation, born?
 Is Abraham’s name still great today? YES or NO. Explain.
 What four (4) things does the Bible say about Abraham that’s never spoken of another man?
 What were four (4) areas of Abraham’s call from God?
 What seven (7) things did the Lord promise Abraham?
 Has the prophecy that “all families of the earth would be blessed through Abraham” been completely fulfilled? YES or NO. Explain.
 From Ur of Chaldeans to the Exodus were how many years?
 What were the six (6) ages of Abraham’s growth in obedience to God’s will?
 What ten (10) important events happened in and around Hebron for Abraham?
 Positive unwavering active obedience always __________________ God, and God in turns
____________________ the quality of ____________________________.
 How many years from the Exodus to the crossing? (Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-15)
 List the five (5) “ALL’S” referred to in 1 Corinthians 10:1-15.
 What Spiritual rock did the children of Israel drink from?
 Were the Hebrew children always slaves?
 How many camps did the children of Israel make in forty years?
 What was the first miracle of their journey?
 Who took off the Egyptian’s chariot wheels?
 What was the issue for the second murmuring of the children of Israel?
 What was Israel’s first war?
 What four (4) things did God give Moses at Mt. Sinai?
 What did the children of Israel do that brought God’s judgment on them?
 How long had the children of Israel been in the wilderness when they reached Kadesh Barnea?
 What were two (2) spies’ names who did not sin through unbelief?
 Moses and ________________________ also died in the wilderness because they sinned against the Lord.
 Did God part the waters of the Jordan like He did the Red Sea? YES or NO. Explain.
 How many years are included from the crossing of the Jordan to the Babylonian Captivity? From what date to what date?
 Joshua under God led Israel into Canaan and ______________________, and under
Zedekiah, God drove them out in ____________________________.
 How many years did Joshua lead the children of Israel?
 How many years after Joshua were the children of Israel unorganized and scattered?
 The book of Judges ends with what statement?
 The reign of Saul, David, and Solomon covered how many years?
 Was this monarchy reign the pinnacle of the Hebrew nation? YES or NO. Explain.
 What’s the difference between “THEOCRACY” and “MONARCHY”?
 All the kings of the northern nations were guilty of what?
 How long did Judah the southern nation last?
 From the Babylonian Captivity to the crucifixion covered how many years?
 How many years existed between the Book of Malachi and the birth of Christ?
 The temple was rebuilt, completed and dedicated when?
 Does Rome being in power at the birth of Christ have correlation with Daniel’s prophecy of the four Gentile kingdoms in 2 Daniel? YES or NO. Explain.
 How many years passed between the Crucifixion and the Fall of Jerusalem?
 How many years before the fall of Jerusalem did Moses prophecy its destruction?
 What are three-fold divisions of Moses prophesy?
 Whose sins put Jesus on the Cross?
 What three (3) things must come to pass before the millennial kingdom is restored to Israel?
 Since when have the Hebrew people been without a country, temple, king or prophet?
 List seven (7) of the prophecies pertaining to Israel that will come to pass during the millennial (1000) year reign of Christ?