For your edification and understanding, I have created a chart showing the Bible rightly divided into “Time Past,” “But Now” and “Ages to Come,” the apostle Paul’s divisions from Ephesians chapter 2. The chart is available for you to download at . Please download the chart before you continue.
The chart timeline begins with Genesis and continues through the Book of Revelation. The books on the Chart are in the same order as your Bible, God’s timeline. Let us examine each section of the Chart in more detail beginning with the first section, Genesis to Malachi.
Genesis to Malachi.
Previously we learned the “middle wall of partition” between Jew and Gentile has been broken down during this present church age (Ephesians 2:14). There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile in the church. We are all “one new man” in Christ. For our “rightly dividing” study we must determine if the “middle wall of partition” between Jew (circumcision) and Gentile (uncircumcision) exists in the Old Testament. If it is present, when did it start? Does the “middle wall of partition” continue to the end of the Old Testament or does it stop at some point? This determination enables us to rightly divide the Old Testament determining the appropriate audience to whom God was speaking. Here is a bird’s eye view of the Old Testament.
- God created Adam and Eve in the Garden, but they disobeyed God and sinned.
- After the fall of Adam, mankind declined because of sin. God destroyed mankind – except for Noah and family – with a global flood.
- After Noah came the tower of Babel. Mankind was still in rebellion against God.
- In these early chapters of Genesis all were pagans. The entire world was Gentile.
- God made a covenant with Abraham. The covenant included blessings, a land, and a nation.
- The sign of this covenant was circumcision.
- From this point forward there would be a difference between the circumcision (Israel) and the uncircumcision (Gentiles).
- Isaac, Jacob and the 12 sons (tribes) followed.
- They go to Egypt in a famine. There they become a great nation, Israel.
- Moses led Israel in the Exodus from Egypt and was given the Law on Mt. Sinai.
- Later came King David, Solomon, and the first Temple.
- After many Kings of Israel and Judah comes captivity in Assyria and Babylon.
- The second Temple was built.
- The remainder of the Old Testament are the Prophets.
In Exodus, we read that God put a difference between the Jew and the Egyptian (Gentiles).
“And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it anymore. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” – Exodus 11:6-7 KJV
In Leviticus (the Law) God makes a clear distinction between the Jew and Gentile.
“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD [am] holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” – Leviticus 20:26 KJV
The “Middle Wall of Partition,” as Paul calls it, clearly exists between Israel and Gentile nations in the Old Testament. God established this “Middle Wall of Partition” with Abraham by the sign of circumcision. He confirmed the middle wall of partition through the Law given to Moses. Even a cursory reading of the Old Testament clearly reveals the separation of Jew and Gentile.
Answers to the basic “Right Division” questions concerning the Old Testament:
1. Who is speaking? The primary voice in the Old Testament is God speaking through the fathers and prophets of Israel.
2. Who is the intended audience? Israel, as they are the recipients of the promises of Abraham and the Law of Moses.
3. What is the timeframe of setting? God calling a people to himself from Abraham (Genesis 12) through the prophet Malachi.
Is the Body of Christ represented in the Old Testament?
The Church, the Body of Christ, is not embodied or symbolized in the Old Testament since the “middle wall of partition” is present. Anytime in scripture where a distinction exists between Jew and Gentile, the Body of Christ, the church, is not present. Therefore, Old Testament teachings, as valuable as they are, do not portend doctrine for the Body of Christ. However, we do study the Old Testament for historical and prophetic reasons and to understand the character and nature of God in His dealings with mankind. Without a modicum of understanding of the Old Testament, one will not understand the setting and message of the four gospels.
Instructions on how to live the Christian life under grace are not found in the Old Testament as it pertains to Israel under the Law of Moses, and we are not under the law. Many passages in the Old Testament speak to the greatness of God and are profitable for us, but the Old Testament is not the pattern for our Christian life and walk. Our pattern for life is found in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, as we are under grace, not the law of Moses.
We will continue in the next post with the Right Division of the Gospels.