CHAPTER 1                                                                   LESSON 1


Please note that we use Alpha Omega Bible Program.  This is a copy from a few of the pages of the text.  This has been done in order for you to view the Bible program.


The Bible is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit and was written for us in two main divisions. The first contains thirty-nine books and is called the Old Testament. The second has twenty-seven books and is known as the New Testament. The term testament means covenant or agreement. The death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ brought the old covenant to an end and began the new agreement. He is the focal point of all history. Hebrews 1:1-2 states that God has spoken to us in these last days by His Son.

Studying this chapter, you will learn about the events between the Old Testament and the New Testament. You will see how the way was prepared for the coming of the Messiah and the spreading of the good news of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. A look at the political and religious situation will set the scene for the events that are shared in the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation. After you examine the inter-Testamental period, you will learn how the four Gospels were written. You will see how they relate to one another and to the rest of the New Testament. You will also realize that Acts,  the Epistles, and Revelation are really rooted in the facts which the Gospels record.

As you study the sequence of events in the New Testament, you will understand that the Bible is a living organism. Every part is vitally connected with every other part. The Holy Spirit, Who is the Author, made sure of this. The central subject of the whole Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ. Learning the names of the books of the New Testament, and how they fit into the time sequence, will give you a better grasp of the events of the first century. Studying about the authors will help you to appreciate the fact that God used ordinary men to pen the greatest Book the World has ever known. You will become aware that the Lord made sure that we would have a reliable written record so that we could believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and find abundant life in Him.

The last book of the Old Testament is Malachi. Between Malachi and the first book of the New Testament, Matthew, 400 years of history elapsed. The period between Malachi and Matthew has been called the inter-Testamental period, and also The Silent Years. The term silent is used because no words from any prophets of God were recorded as Scripture during this period. In Malachi 4:4-6 the prophet had warned the people that the next main event from God would be a ministry similar to that of Elijah. This prophecy was fulfilled at the beginning of the New Testament period in the person of John the Baptist (Matthew 11:7-15; 17:9-13).

The various empires that came into power during the inter-Testamental period had a great

effect on the Jews. Each new empire gained or fought for control of Palestine. The Gentile empires helped to mold Jewish life and thought. The attitudes and actions of the Jews during Christ's day were a result of the impact of the inter-Testamental period on their nation. The main empires during this time were the Persian, Grecian, and Roman, with Egyptian, Syrian, and Maccabean periods between the Grecian Empire and the Roman Empire. The religious literature of this period included the Apocrypha, the Pseudepigrapha, and the Septuagint. The conflicts which the Jews had with these empires helped to shape the religious groups within Judaism. The three main groups in Jesus' day were the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees.



Study these words to enhance your learning success in this section.


Containing or pertaining to revelation.


To surrender or give up one's principles.

denounce .

To condemn strongly as evil.


To profane or treat as not sacred.

The adoption of the Greek language and customs.

One who pretends to be what he is not.


The condition of being deathless or undying.

A divine influence upon human beings resulting in writing

Believing that there is only one God.

To afflict or harass constantly so as to injure or distress.

Believing in or worshiping many gods.



QUESTIONS # A  Place your answers in your Bible notebook.

1.  The last book of the Old Testament is _________, and ______________is the first book of the New Testament.

2.   Between the books of Malachi and Matthew, _______________ years of history elapsed, ___________ period.

3.  The period of the "Silent Years" is also called the ___________  period.

4.  John the Baptist had a ministry similar to that of __________ .


5.  Each major empire and power fought for control of the land of a ___________, where the  b.  ___________


6.  The three main empires in the silent period were the: a.  ___________, b. ___________, and c. _______.

7.  Other periods in between included the a. ________________ , b ________________, and c. ___________________.

8.  The three main religious groups in Jesus' day were the: a. _______, b. _______, and c. _______.



The Persian Empire, which existed during the time of Malachi, was followed by the Grecian Empire, which was divided into four segments following Alexander the Great's death. Following 323 B.C., Palestine was controlled by:

Egypt- 323-204 B.C.,

Syria -204165 B.C.,

Maccabeans- 165-63 B.C.    (Jewish independence)




The Persian Empire was in existence during the time of Malachi. This empire dates from

approximately 539 to 334 B.C. The Jewish people had just come out of the Babylonian captivity under which they had been taken captive to the land of Babylon for 70 years. This captivity had cured them of idol worship, and they now knew that Jehovah was the one true God. Two main groups of several thousand people returned to Palestine under Zerubbabel and Ezra during the Persian period. Many others decided to stay in the land where they had been captive. Under Persian rule the Jews were allowed to be governed by their high priest, who had to answer to the Persian rulers. The priest's office should have been used to give the people spiritual guidance. Instead, it became a much-sought-after political office. The violence connected with the priest's office caused the Persian government to send troops to occupy Jerusalem. They began to persecute the Jews and to impose fines on them. The Samaritans, Jews who had intermarried with Gentiles, meekly obeyed the Persian rulers and escaped persecution. The Jews hated the Samaritans for disobeying the law of Moses and compromising with the Persian rulers.



The Grecian Empire followed the Persian Empire (334-323 B.C.) as Alexander the Great became a world conqueror. He came to power at the age of twenty and reigned for twelve years until his sudden death.

When Alexander approached Jerusalem for battle, Jaddua, the high priest, went out to meet him.

With other priests and in full dress, he begged for mercy on behalf of Jerusalem. Alexander had had a previous dream in which he saw priests coming out to meet him in peace, so he spared the city. He even offered sacrifices to the God of the Hebrews, Jehovah.

The priests told Alexander about Old Testament prophecies concerning him (Daniel 8:5, 21). Afterwards, Alexander showed the Jews favor. He used them in his army and granted them equal rights with Greeks as first citizens in his cities. The influence of Alexander upon many of the Jews caused them to become Grecian or Hellenistic in attitude. This attitude met with opposition from the conservative nationalistic Jews.


Questions # B  Place all answers in your Bible notebook.

For questions numbers  9  - 12, choose from the list below

343                 70                    12                    539                 334                 20
323                 18


9.    The Persian Empire was in existence from a.  _____________    to   b.  __________ B.C.
10.  The Jewish people had been captive in the
land of Babylon for  ______ years.

11.  The Grecian Empire lasted from a. ______________ to    b. ________________ B.C.
12.  Alexander came to power at age a. ________ and reigned for b. ________ years/

Answer these questions in complete sentences.

13.   Why was the high priest's office important under the Persian Empire?


14.   Who were the Samaritans and why did the Jews hate them?

15.    Why did Alexander the Great spare
Jerusalem, and what favors did he show to the Jews?



The Egyptians came into control of Palestine after the death of Alexander the Great (323 to 204 B.C.). The Grecian Empire was divided among four of his generals. General Ptolemy Soter ruled over the southern section, known as Egypt. Judea was a part of this kingdom. The northern part came under control of the Seleucid dynasty. The Syrian nation arose from this sector. General Soter's son, Philadelphia, ruled after his father in the southern kingdom. During his reign the Jews who lived in Alexandria in Egypt wanted to preserve their heritage. They were losing the use of their Hebrew language because the business world of Egypt had forced the Jews to adopt their Greek language. The Hebrews had their Old Testament Scriptures translated into Greek by seventy scholars. This translation became known as the Septuagint, or LXX version. We will learn more about this translation later.

The Syrians to the north were now beginning to increase in power. Palestine became the battleground between the Syrian princes (Seleucids) and the Egyptian rulers (Ptolemies). When invading Judea, Ptolemy Philopator tried to desecrate the Temple by entering the Holy of Holies, the most sacred part. He retreated from the Temple in confusion, encountering Jewish opposition for his act. He returned persecution for their opposition. Eventually, Judea came under the control of Syria.



The Syrian Period (204-165 B.C.) was a period of constant persecution and martyrdom. Hellenistic (Grecian) Jews were fighting the conservative nationalistic Jews over the high priest's office. The political fighting in Jerusalem gave the Syrian ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes, a reason to invade the city. He hated the Jews; and, upon entering Jerusalem, he desecrated the Temple by sacrificing a pig on its altar. Later he erected a statue there to the heathen god, Jupiter Olympius.

Antiochus killed thousands of Jews and sold the women and children into slavery. He tried forcibly to make the Jews into pagans by cruel acts. He tore down the city walls and forbade sacrifices and circumcision, a sign to the Jews of their covenant relationship with Jehovah. He had them beaten with whips until many died. He tried to break their wills, but they resisted. The Samaritans again escaped persecution through compromise, gaining even more hatred from the Jews.

Finally, a priest by the name of Mattathias and his five sons rose in rebellion against Syrian bondage. After the father's death, the sons continued the struggle until eventual freedom was gained. The descendants of Mattathias became known as the Maccabees.



Questions # C  Place all answers in your Bible notebook.

16.  The Egyptian period ran from  _________B.C.
a. 539-334     b. 343-246                 c. 323-204                 d. 434-364                 e.  204-165

  The Greek Old Testament Scriptures became known as the

a. Ptolemy      b. Version                  c. Seleucid                 d. Grecian                  e.  Septuagint

  The Egyptian rulers were called

a. Generals    b. Ptolemies              c. Philopators            d. Syrians                   e.  Greeks

  The Syrian period dated from _________________ B.C.
a. 334-263     b. 413-287                 c. 324-264                 d. 204-165                 e.  214-163

  The Syrian ruler was _______________  Epiphanes.

a. Philopator b. Antiochus               c. Jupiter                    d. Mattathias             e. Olympius

21.  The descendants of Mattathias, the priest, were known as the ____________________
a. Syrians       b. Grecians                c. Seleucids               d. Romans                 e.  Maccabees


22.  Why and how did the Septuagint come into being?
23.  Why was Antiochus Epiphanes hated by the Jews?