The Natural Divisional Layouts Found in the Scriptures (King James Version)
The layouts of the Bible are a pattern of the order in which God deals with mankind. We see the Bible starting with "In the Beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth." in Genesis and ending with a New Heaven and a New Earth in which the Lord Jesus Christ reigns forever. What happens throughout history in getting from point a to point b is laid out in a very logical order shown below. I am also using the order as found in the Bible today and not the order found in a Jewish Bible. The reason for that is to follow how the Bible is divided as we live today and in today's time frame where we look forward to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for his saints at the Rapture.
The Five Books of Moses
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
These first five books deal mainly with the creation of the Heaven and the Earth. The creation of the Heavens. The creation of mankind and the calling out of Abram to become God's Chosen People. In Genesis, the messianic line and blessing is shown over and over again to be through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Exodus through Deuteronomy deals with Israel coming out of bondage in Egypt and wandering through the wilderness prior to returning to the land God has chosen for them. In their wanderings, Israel is given the plans for the temple in the wilderness and the laws and customs for their sacrificial offerings and day to day living. One of the main laws given to Moses was the ten commandments which is followed by almost all countries today as a foundation for rule of law.
Israel growing into an empire. The split into two main kingdoms and the carrying away into Babylon.
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, I & II Chronicles
The next logical step in the order of the Bible is the continuation of the coverage of the History of Israel. They enter into and conquer the land which God has chosen for them. These books then focus on the rise of Israel as a dominant kingdom in the Middle East. The historical record of Israel choosing Saul to reign over them instead of the Lord is given. The calling out of David to be the King from which the messianic line would come is also portrayed. God then shows the nation going into apostasy and dividing into two kingdoms, the northern and southern tribes. It ends with Israel being carried away to Babylon.
Israel in Captivity and Return to the Homeland.
Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther.
The next three books of the Bible deal with Israel in captivity in Babylon and its longing to return to their homeland. This captivity was to last seventy years. Ezra deals with Israel returning to Jerusalem and the reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Nehemiah gives specific accounts of the rebuilding of the temple and the reestablishing the moral and ceremonial laws given to Israel under Moses. Esther gives the record of Israel being saved from the wrath of Haman while in captivity. From this comes the feast of Purim.
Israel (Job in type) going through the suffering in the tribulation. Crying out to the Lord,
Accepting the Messiah and being restored at the end of the tribulation.
Job, Psalm, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.
We now come to the books known also as the poetic books. The book of Job has 42 chapters. This would be equivalent of 42 months or three and half years. It portrays Job having everything stripped from him at the beginning and then being afflicted. Satan is allowed to take possessions and kinsman away from Job while not taking his life. During this time Job calls out to the Lord and is chastised by his friends . Job finally realizes the righteousness of God and sees himself as unclean and unworthy. This is a picture of what will happen to Israel during the last half of the seven year tribulation period. Israel will see the abomination of desolation take place in the temple and flee into the wilderness. They will lose all of their possessions and be afflicted by the Antichrist. Israel then returns to the Lord and are saved at the end of the tribulation by the triumphant return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The book of Psalms are songs that will be sung during times of affliction. Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are for giving wisdom during the times of affliction. Today many Christians also receive wisdom and understanding from these books. The Song of Solomon is a picture of Israel being restored at the end of the tribulation period.
The Major Prophetical Books
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel
The major prophetical books deal with the nation Israel and the Messiah. They encompasses prophecies concerning Israel going into captivity into Babylon and major prophesies after the Babylonian captivity. One of the most studied books of the major prophets is the book of Daniel. Daniel gives the time of Israel after the Babylonian captivity to be 70 weeks with each week being seven years in real time. As we follow the seventy weeks given to Israel one finds the seventieth week has not occurred yet. There is still a seventieth week in the future. This seventieth week translates to seven years. We know the seven years left are going to be the tribulation period that soon will come Those people who teach replacement theology saying that God is all through with Israel have to ignore the numerous prophetical passages dealing with Israel, the tribulation period to come and the Millennial Temple. The Lord Jesus Christ will reign in Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus Christ will return to save Israel at the second coming in the battle of Armageddon.
The Minor Prophetical Books
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
The minor prophetical books also deal with Israel throughout her history. These books are only called the minor prophetical books because of their brief prophetical statements found in the passages themselves. The prophecies that are in them are most often more specific to an individual event rather than a long time frame as in the major prophets. Although one might think of the minor prophetical books as not being very significant, nothing could be further from the truth. They deal with the birth place of the Messiah, a description of the Antichrist, a restoration after two thousand years etc. While the events prophesied are brief in nature and are very specific to an individual event, they are also just as important. One example is that we know the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem. (see Micah 5:2) While this deals with a specific event and not the whole nation Israel, it is a very important prophecy that points to Jesus Christ as the Messiah. The path of the second advent which is the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to defeat the devil at Armageddon is given in Joel. A description of the Antichrist as the idol shepherd is given in Zechariah. Both the major and minor prophetical books work together in dealing with prophecy. We now come to the next division in the Bible. That is the section called the gospels and the announcement of the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven being at hand.
The Gospel Books. The Announcement of the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven at Hand. The Lord Jesus Christ our Lamb Sacrifice and our Paschal Lamb.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
The four Gospels have a specific pattern to them. The Book of Matthew presents the Lord Jesus Christ as a King so the kingly line through David is given. the Book of Mark presents the Lord Jesus Christ as a servant, and thus no birth record is even given in Mark. The Book of Luke deals with the Lord Jesus Christ as a man and thus you have a complete story of his birth and also Mary is shown to give birth while still being a virgin. The Book of John presents the Lord Jesus Christ being God manifested in the flesh and thus it starts out "In the beginning".
When Jesus shows up a large division occurs. The time frame of scripture in the Old Testament goes from the existing time frame in the Bible to being recorded history. The prophetical statement in Micah 5:2 concerning the birth of the Messiah goes from a prophetic event to a historic event.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2
The prophetical event of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ is now fulfilled. It is now a historical event. The prophecies concerning the Messiah coming are now fulfilled and portrayed in the Gospels. Another great example of these divisions, going from prophetical to historical is found in Luke concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Luke 4:17-19
What is not read from the passage in Isaiah 61 is "and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; The Lord Jesus Christ stopped before the day of vengeance because the first part of the passage is fulfilled with the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and the part not read will be fulfilled at his second coming. It was this division that Israel completely missed. With hind sight we can see the division easily because of where we are in history today. Throughout the Bible there are major divisions from which a time of prophetical events goes from being prophetical to historical.
Jesus Christ is the paschal lamb at the first coming and a conquering king at the second coming. When Jesus shows up two kingdoms are at hand.
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:15
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 4:17
Both the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are at hand. The Kingdom of God is that kingdom where one is born again into and the Kingdom of Heaven is the promised physical kingdom where Jesus will rule from Jerusalem. The problem that Israel had was that they had to accept the Messiah to get the Kingdoms and they failed at both aspects. They rejected the Messiah and crucified him. Jesus fulfills the prophecies concerning his crucifixion and being the lamb sacrifice for us and raises from the dead to prove he is the Victorious Messiah of Sin and Death. Jesus Christ takes our sins and places it on the cross with him and dies for our sins.
This brings us to the next division which is found in Acts.
The rejection by Israel of the Kingdom. Transitional time -- The Kingdom delayed and Paul sent to the Gentiles.
Acts is an interesting point in Biblical history. The events in Acts are presented in such a manner that hint at the fact that Israel could have accepted the Messiah after he resurrected and the 70th week would have started for Israel. Historically we know that Israel rejected God reigning over them when they picked Saul to be their king back in the Old Testament. (See 1 Samuel 8:7.) We also know that Israel rejected the Lord Jesus Christ when he came to them physically. (John 19 5,6)
In Acts we have the historical events of the early church described. After reading Acts chapter 6 and 7 one will see that Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit was speaking through Stephen while he was talking to the High Priest and the Jewish leaders. They rejected what Stephen told them concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was standing and it indicates an incident of great importance for he is sitting at all other times. I believe the seventieth week would have started if Israel accepted what Stephen told them and repented, There would have been some kind of peace treaty given between Israel and Rome and the the saints would have been raptured out at that time and the tribulation would follow. As we know from the Bible and from history, Israel rejected what Stephen had to say and stoned him. At this point the Lord brings in the hidden Church age that we have today and calls Saul out to be Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Israel is partially blinded at this time. God will again deal with Israel after the rapture of the saints of the Lord. Acts then becomes a transitional book from God dealing primarily with Israel and ending with God going to the Gentiles.
The Church Age -- The Pauline Epistles.
Note: The Church Age started prior to Romans. Romans through Philemon give us the Doctrine of the Chruch Age and the Age of Grace
Romans, I & II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon.
We now come to the present division in the Bible. We are in the period known as the Church age. I need to point one thing out of great importance. I am not a hyper dispensationalist. I believe all scripture applies to us today. I do not slice out just one area of scripture and say it only applies to us. I am simply taking the stand that what is being written in the Pauline Epistles is directly related to us today. The prophecies concerning the rapture are still future. The looking for the day of redemption is still future. The doctrinal passages in the Pauline Epistles is directly aimed at us today. The doctrines of Justification, Sanctification, Redemption, Imputation and numerous others are fully applied to us to day. We are in the Division of the Bible known commonly as the age of Grace.
Israel again at the forefront after the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. -- God chastising, protecting, and restoring Israel.
A lot of Tribulaiton period Doctrine is found in Hebrews through Jude.
Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, I & II & III John, Jude
The next major division in the Bible is yet to come. It will happen when the Lord Jesus Christ comes and raptures out his Bride, the Church. At that point the promises of the coming of the Lord for his saints will have passed from prophetical to historical. The Main Harvest part of the Rapture will be in the past and the tribulation period will be the present divisional period in the Bible. It is at this time that the major division in the Bible will not be the Old and New Testament as we commonly see it. The major division will be between the book of Philemon and the book of Hebrews. The division of the Bible will pass from the present church age of the Pauline Epistles to the Epistles found in Hebrews through Jude.
The first thing you will read at the new division in Hebrews is
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Hebrews 1:1,2
God is talking to the Hebrews which is Israel. The first two verses tells Israel that the person the prophets were speaking about is the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the first and following chapters of Hebrews, the Lord Jesus Christ is shown to be the true Messiah.
In James God is dealing directly with the tribes of Israel that are scattered throughout the world.
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. James 1:1
Peter deals with his being a servant of Jesus Christ and drives home that Jesus is the true Messiah
John continues with the theme that Jesus Christ is the true messiah. In 1 John 5:7 we have the greatest verse on the trinity of God. This verse is removed in all new versions by either using the last part of 1 John 5:6 and calling verse seven or taking the first part of 1 John 5:8 and calling it verse seven. 1 John 5:7 as found in the King James Bible is as follows.
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:7
One added note is that when this division takes place, there will still be some verses in the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles that are yet future. I am merely showing that the main division in the Bible during the tribulation period will be Hebrews - Jude. Revelation is a part of this division as well but is set aside due to its importance in unlocking the mysteries of prophecies found throughout the scriptures.
The Summation, Revelation, Millennial Reign and a New Heaven and a New Earth.
The last division is not a division as such. It really is a key to Biblical Prophecy. The book of Revelation opens up our understanding on the correct way to interpret prophecy. From this understanding comes the correct way to interpret the Book of Daniel. This in turn allows us to correctly interpret the book of Matthew on the kingdom parables.
The main divisions in Revelation are The church age in Revelation two - three. The tribulation period found in Revelation four through nineteen. Chapters 20 - 22 cover the Millennial reign, Satan's last attempt to overthrow God, The devil being cast into the lake of fire followed by the White Throne Judgment. It ends with a new Heaven and a New Earth where we are with the Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever.