God created man and placed him in a perfect environment; however, man rebelled against God and fell from what God intended him to be. God placed the world under a curse because of sin but immediately set in motion a plan to restore humanity and all creation to its original glory.
As part of His plan of redemption, God called Abraham out of Babylonia into Canaan (about 2000 B.C.). God promised Abraham, his son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob (also called Israel) that He would bless the world through a descendant of theirs. Israel’s family emigrated from Canaan to Egypt, where they grew to be a nation.
About 1400 B.C., God led Israel’s descendants out of Egypt under the direction of Moses and gave them the Promised Land, Canaan, as their own. Through Moses, God gave the people of Israel the Law and made a covenant (testament) with them. If they would remain faithful to God and not follow the idolatry of the surrounding nations, then they would prosper. If they forsook God and followed idols, then God would destroy their nation.
About 400 years later, during the reigns of David and his son Solomon, Israel was solidified into a great and powerful kingdom. God promised David and Solomon that a descendant of theirs would rule as an everlasting king.
After Solomon’s reign, the nation of Israel was divided. The ten tribes to the north were called “Israel,” and they lasted about 200 years before God judged them for their idolatry. Assyria took Israel captive about 721 B.C. The two tribes in the south were called “Judah,” and they lasted a little longer, but eventually they, too, turned from God. Babylon took them captive about 600 B.C.
About 70 years later, God graciously brought a remnant of the captives back into their own land. Jerusalem, the capital, was rebuilt about 444 B.C., and Israel once again established a national identity. Thus, the Old Testament closes.
The New Testament opens about 400 years later with the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. Jesus was the descendant promised to Abraham and David, the One to fulfill God’s plan to redeem (Restore mankind to all that would accept His Son, Jesus as their own personal Savior) and restore creation. Jesus faithfully completed His work—He died for sin and rose from the dead. The death of Christ is the basis for a new covenant (testament) with the world. All who have faith in Jesus will be saved from sin and live eternally.
After His resurrection, Jesus sent His disciples to spread the news everywhere of His life and His power to save. Jesus’ disciples went in every direction spreading the good news of Jesus and salvation. They traveled through Asia Minor, Greece, and all the Roman Empire. The New Testament closes with a prediction of Jesus’ return to judge the unbelieving world and free creation from the curse.