There are many different stories of God in this world and many different versions of God.
But I believe in a very specific God. The God of the Jews, the God of the bible.
His name is Yahweh.
The story of Yahweh is one very cohesive story.
Read why gaining a basic understanding of the story is what really matters and is the key that turns on the engine of life.
Jesus is all that matters to you and to me, and I will tell you why. He is the hero and the focus of the story of Yahweh.
Let your understanding of the story come from looking at the narrative as a whole. Understand the 10,000 foot view, and then the details will come to life.
Once the basic over-all account is told, the bible can become very real to you.
Focus on the hero of the story and see how his thread runs through it from Genesis to Revelation.
Where to Start
The article below is going to tell you the complete story of Yahweh (as best as I can do, with a short amount of words!).
The bible was created as a 6-act play. All thanks to this goes to Missio Dei Communities. external link They have really encapsulated this story vision, and have played a part in helping me to put this into words.
I created the below graphic from their promotional material. Visit their site for wonderful inspiration on this important topic.
The True Story of the World
You Can Trust the Bible
Know that the writings of the bible are the most trusted historical writings in the history of mankind. Google Search
Contrast this to the number-one question people have regarding the authenticity of the bible:
It has been said that the Bible has been translated “so many times” that it has become corrupted through stages of translating.
That might have validity if the translations were being made from other translations. But all translations are made directly from original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic source texts. These efforts are based on thousands of available ancient manuscripts.
The authenticity of the old testament, for example, was verified with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. Among the writings discovered was the Isaiah Scroll, which was 1000 years older than previously known copies of the book of Isaiah.
The historicity of the New Testament. external link A must-read.
The Intention of the Authors
The bottom line to the story is that each author of the bible speaks to the central point that Yahweh wants our hearts and he wants us to live with him forever.
In other words, it was the intentions of each author, and those responsible for assembling the book we now know as the bible, to convey this central message.
In the beginning, in the book of Genesis, God, the Father, our creator (who is separate from our space and time) spent a series of time creating the earth. The bible says the earth was created in 7 days.
Whether or not anyone believes in a literal seven day period is immaterial to the thrust of the story.
You may want to remember the number 7, though, because that is important to God as your read more of the details of his story.
After God created the world, we find out something very significant. The text says, “Let US create man in OUR image (capitalization mine).” We understand that God is a multiple-person God.
God the Father, God the Son, and the God the Holy Spirit are three Gods in one – the Triune God. article here
Each of these individual parts of God are significant to the story.
After God created the world, he created a man in his image. Man was made to tend the garden that God created for the man to live. And God created a woman from the man.
He told the man that they could eat from whatever tree they wished, except for one: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told the man that if he ate from that tree, that he would surely die.
So, we see that from the beginning God gave mankind the power of free will; he gave mankind the power of choice. It is clear that God wants for us to choose to continue to live with him – God wants our hearts.
Then the serpent came along and tricked the woman and man into eating that very fruit. The serpent said, “God knows that you will NOT surely die, but that your eyes will be opened and you’ll be just like God: you’ll know of good and of evil.”
So the man and woman made the choice to eat the fruit. And they immediately saw that they were naked.
The Curse and the Promise
Yahweh gave his admonishment to all three – the serpent, the woman and the man – each separately. But it is during his statement to the serpent that we hear God’s plan to restore the relationship with man and woman!
Since the serpent was the deceiver, God told that the serpent that he was cursed to crawl on his belly and eat dust for the rest of his life. The serpent had tricked them into disobeying God.
God told the serpent that his treachery would be allowed to continue but that an offspring of the woman would crush his head in the future (the promise), even though the serpent had struck the heel of the offspring.
When God confronted the man and woman, he told them of the consequences for their actions. Among them were how man would have to till the ground in hard labor all of his days. Another was that the woman would have great pains in childbirth.
Yahweh banished them from the garden to begin their life of toil, pain and a life of living with deception.
When we get to the New Testament, notice how the actions and words of our hero, Jesus, ties together Yahweh's plans of setting things right again. What he does is to bring a new agreement between man and Yahweh.
It has always been clear from the beginning: God granted free will to you and me. It is ONLY through the power of choice that we can have communion and be reunited with him.
He has always yearned for us to choose him. Throughout the remainder of the bible, you'll see how he continues to pursue our hearts.
Wickedness Enters the World
Much sin spread over the known world, because the serpent was allowed to continually deceive mankind.
(‘Sin’ as translated from Hebrew and Greek means ‘to miss the mark‘ Google Search, the same as in archery. It is not always meant to point out your wrong doings or thinking, but rather how we have strayed from the original plan.)
Because he confuses and continues to deceive us even today, we have a broken world where many of us make poor decisions based upon faulty information.
Yahweh has designed a path for you and me to navigate this broken world: accepting Jesus. More on that to come.
Yahweh wants our hearts and he wants us to live with him forever.
Our First Glimmer of Hope
God uses a man named Abraham in the book of Genesis Chapter 12. All of our future promises begin here, and we see just how much God has called this man to a life of following God.
Yahweh promises Abraham to be the father of a mighty nation.
The entire story of Abraham is given to us in Genesis chapters 12-25. He shows Abraham that he must have faith and act on that faith in order to be right with God.
Faith. The power of choice to decide on the promise.
God then makes a promise with Abraham that the seed of the nations and God’s chosen people will come through him. This is an important part of the promise. This set an example for how we are to become right again with him.
Rules and Regulations
The first five books of the bible tell about rules that God gave mankind. God brought forth rules for living, worshiping and living in community.
Because of our disobedience – because we have the knowledge of good and evil – he knew full well that we wouldn’t be able to keep all of the rules. Yet, the people that followed God strove to keep the rules the best they could.
Among these rules and rituals are animal sacrifices to atone for sin against God.
The real reason Yahweh put forth all these rules was to point to us that it is impossible to keep them all. The rules were put in place to point to us that we need a hero, a savior, in order to honor God.
This is one of the reasons Jesus was sent to us! See ‘Jesus Redeems’.
Yahweh Uses Ordinary People
The stories in the bible are all about how Yahweh uses many individuals, all broken people like you and me, to tell of his ways and his righteous rules for living.
These people all exhibit major weakness of some sort or another, just like you and me today.
But God uses these people, anyway. He uses broken people to tell others that it’s still possible to make the choice of following his ways.
Yahweh wants our hearts and he wants us to live with him forever.
There are many stories of how God chose to use the most unlikely and sinful people to further his cause. For example, there was young boy named David, who became King of the people.
David was said to be a man after God’s heart, a generous and a fair man. Yet there are stories in the bible about him actually committing horrible acts against people. God still told him that he would use him.
And these stories tell you that he can use you, too. Today.
Yahweh Uses Prophets
God uses prophets such as Isaiah to tell the people about how a savior will come forth that will one day set things back to the way they were originally.
Isaiah 11: 1-3
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
(‘a shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse’ refers to the family tree from which the savior will come. The book of Matthew in the New Testament chapter 1 verse 1 gives this lineage of Jesus in detail.)
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
(Note: the archaic meaning of the word ‘fear’ used here means to respect, understand and revere God. The way the human church has managed the word ‘fear’ is to use it in the modern English sense to generate ‘fire and brimstone’ to make sure there were butts in the seats on Sunday.)
Glimpses of the Holy Spirit
Throughout the Old Testament, there are stories about how the Holy Spirit would come and be with a person for a time and stories about how the Holy Spirit of God came to do certain work through a person.
The Spirit’s work in the Old Testament is a temporary indwelling.
The Spirit “came upon” such Old Testament people as Saul when he was made king, and also David when he was chosen as king.
In the book of Judges, we see the Spirit “coming upon” the various judges whom God raised up to deliver Israel from their oppressors.
The Holy Spirit came upon these individuals for specific tasks. The indwelling was a sign of God’s favor upon that individual.
If God’s favor left an individual, the Spirit would depart, as it did Saul when he was no longer king.
The Spirit “coming upon” an individual didn’t always indicate that person’s spiritual condition, or whether or not they had any awe of the Lord (e.g., Saul, Samson, and many of the judges).
Once the task was completed, the Spirit presumably departed from that person.
There would be a time in the future when Yahweh would promise that the Holy Spirit would live within us forever.
We were given a massive list of rules and behavioral expectations only because we rebelled against God’s original design of living in harmony with him forever.
These laws and guidelines are a way to show us the only way that we can be right with holy God – because we chose to understand the difference between good and evil.
The laws were a consequence of our rebellion.
The truth is this – we can never live up to these expectations. God knew this and used it simply to point out that we need a savior in order to mend our relationship.
As we read with the curse of the serpent, God lovingly showed how he intended to make it right.
He did so by sending his one and only Son, Jesus, who told us that all we need to do to be reunited with God is to believe in Jesus and that our faith alone would save us.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger or thirst.”
Jesus came for one major purpose article here: to share with us a new covenant between mankind and Yahweh. The new agreement is what the New Testament is all about.
This is a covenant in blood, which he freely gave for our sake.
The reason that we know that God is satisfied and that we are reunited with him is because of the sacrifice of the life of Jesus, who told us that he takes all of the burden of our defiance against God on his shoulders!
Jesus said that he would go before the throne of God on our behalf. Just as if I had never rebelled against God in the first place.
And Yahweh’s only requirement is to believe in Jesus. Believe in his death and sacrifice, burial and resurrection.
Yahweh wants our hearts and he wants us to live with him forever.
The Final Sacrifice
Do you remember the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament? The priests would sacrifice an animal again and again for the atonement of sins against God. Jesus came to be the final sacrifice.
Jesus came to be the once-for-all sacrifice to satisfy God. The ritual, the religion – man’s attempt to reach God – no longer matters because God has reached down to US in the form of his only Son, Jesus!
Do you remember at the beginning where I said that the bottom line of the story is that Yahweh wants our hearts and to live with us forever? Jesus and his sacrifice is the most important part of that.
When we re-dedicate our hearts to him of our own free will by accepting Jesus and his sacrifice, God’s kingdom is restored in our hearts.
The Curse of the Serpent is fulfilled
Can you see how the hero of the story has tied it all together?
Jesus destroyed the power of death over us (remember in Genesis when Eve said that they would surely die if they ate the fruit of that tree?) and gave us everlasting life with the Father.
The serpent struck the heel of the woman’s offspring, Jesus (his death, but it wasn’t permanent because Jesus did not stay dead!).
The head of the serpent has been crushed by the offspring of the woman, the heel of Jesus (his resurrection and his victory over the power of death).
Jesus came to us as an offspring of the woman (read the woman’s curse in Gen. 3). The virgin birth.
Do you believe Jesus when he said that your faith alone can save you?
The Permanent Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
Jesus also told us that unless he went away, that the Holy Spirit could not come. This was the second free gift, the gift that the Holy Spirit of God would be with you forever if you believe that Jesus came from God.
This is how the Spirit’s roles in the Old and New Testaments were different. The New Testament teaches the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers.
When we place our faith in Christ to restore our relationship with Yahweh, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us.
The Apostle Paul calls this permanent indwelling the “guarantee of our inheritance”.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Helper and tells us that we can do things greater than even he showed us while he was here with us on earth.
Do you believe that you can do mighty things because of the Holy Spirit of God? Do you know that you can begin to live your life to the full because of the Holy Spirit? Accept this free gift right now!
Just pray and tell Jesus that you accept his sacrifice and you want him to be the Lord of your life.
Let Jesus be your hero, just as he is in the story of God.
The Era of the Church
Jesus began the church of the redeemed. We read about it as he tasks his lead disciple, Peter. And Peter leads the Jewish community.
And Peter, a timid man before the death of Jesus, gained much strength and wisdom when he saw the risen Jesus.
As a matter of fact, the 11 disciples following Jesus all became more bold. History reveals that all but one of them were put to death external link as they became missionaries and defended the resurrection.
The one who was not put to death, John, son of Zebedee, die of old age while in exile on the island of Patmos.
He rose from the grave. Jesus made appearances to the disciples and others in a 40 day period. At some point during this time, Jesus anointed his followers with the gift of the holy spirit.
It was at this point that Peter began to preach and to build the church in Jerusalem.
The apostle Paul, a former Pharisee and Jesus hater – who actually attended the cloaks of those who stoned the Jesus follower named Stephen – was literally/figuratively knocked off his high horse (who knows if he was actually riding one) by Jesus.
Saul became Paul and used his zeal to spread the good news of Jesus to the non-Jewish world.
Life After the Apostles
The movement flourished throughout the Roman Empire in those first 200+ years. Peter, Paul and the other disciples who were missionaries started churches and spread the Good News from England to Africa and to Asia Minor.
The empire had no choice but to accept it. The leader of Rome at the time, Constantine, had a dream and reportedly accepted Christ. For better and for worse, the church grew massively.
Power-hungry humans took charge of the church and institutionalized it. They made it a part of the State government so they could control the people.
Sadly, those who wouldn’t accept Rome’s version of Christianity were either shunned or killed.
Make no mistake this is NOT how the church of Jesus was first established. The disciples began the first church as described in the book of Acts.
The State Church Brings About the ‘Dark Ages’
Don’t get me wrong, the Roman Catholic Church of today does wonderful acts of mercy. But the early RCC was full of power and hatred. Just about every greedy thing you might attribute to how humans might run the show happened.
So much death, destruction and power-grabbing went on in the name of Jesus for a thousand+ years.
Since the common person was not allowed to own a bible, and because of the oppression of the church, much education and advancement was stifled into part of the 18th Century.
And so began the rift between ‘anything’ about God and the common people.
Massive improvements and discoveries in science finally came, and there were those who challenged the church. Since the church frowned on all scientific discovery, a rift formed between the educated community and the church.
Members of science openly criticized the 7-day creation period as an unlikely timetable, and the church, of course, defended the Genesis account of the creation timetable as unquestionable (there is a difference between in saying that the bible is infallible and then saying it is inerrant. external link………. Let the reader understand).
This rift between science and the church, or anyone who believes in Yahweh, exists today. So much so, that people question the need for religion in the future. Watch this page for an upcoming article.
Jesus would have had no part in this debate.
Does that make sense?? Tell me your thoughts about this below.
The central question that is debated should always be, “What about the resurrection?” All other arguments are secondary to this.
The Flourishing Church of Today
Although it seems that Christianity is on the decline in the United States, it is actually growing rapidly external link throughout other parts of the world.
If Jesus did not actually rise from the grave, the movement would have died a swift death a long time ago.
The commission that Jesus gave us to spread the Good News to the corners of the earth is something that all believers are called to do.
Not that everyone is called to global missions, because there is a need for hope right in our own neighborhoods.
There is much hope in finding life to the full and our blessed assurance of life eternal to share. Our hearts are grateful as we share what we have learned.
Yahweh Restores the Kingdom
The Restoration of His Kingdom in our Hearts
Jesus had accomplished victory over death, and he created a way for a man or woman to restore the relationship with the Father. The kingdom of God is now restored in the hearts of those who believe.
Being reunited with the Father is the first step into the fullness of life. Because a believer receives the free gift of the Holy Spirit, the Helper, when we confess that Jesus is the Redeemer.
You can now tap into that unending stream of power to catapult yourself to a better life. Enjoy life to the full, as Yahweh designed for you, for your time on earth.
The formula was given to us when Jesus taught us how to regard God and each other in Matthew 22.
It doesn’t mean that everything is perfect in life going forward for the believer, it means that we believe in the promise of Yahweh that he will always be with us.
It means that we now believe that we have better tools for navigating life.
What it means is that we can find the perfect balance in life article here.
The Restoration of His Kingdom on Earth
Jesus vowed that he would come again. It became known as the Second Coming. So much hype has come and gone over the years from people predicting when and how.
Jesus clearly said that “No one knows the day or the hour”, yet people throughout history have tried to predict. And have obviously failed. Some have been crackpots, some have been honest and earnest people.
No matter, the words of Jesus stand. Don’t let your understanding of this come from the predictors but from the words of Jesus.
The Second Coming comes from the words of promise from Jesus as well as Paul in the New Testament. But the most famous accounts of the future come from an apocalyptic-style book of the bible written by John, son of Zebedee (it is currently believed) called Revelation.
The apostle John had visions about the end of our time on earth and how God’s physical kingdom would be restored.
Jesus says in that story in the book of Revelation, the final book of the bible, “No more tears and no more sorrow. The lion will lay down with the lamb.”
God’s physical kingdom will be re-made here on this earth. There will no longer be a broken world of soil tilling and childbirth pains!
And once again, because the head of the serpent has been crushed by the offspring of the woman, we get back into the lush garden!
This is why Jesus said that he is the narrow gate, the only way to God (he says ‘that leads to life’, and he is talking in context with the rest of his message in Matthew, which is about receiving the fullness of life through the restoration with the relationship with Yahweh).
The fullness of life also includes our hope of seeing a new earth with Jesus reigning for a thousand years.
The offspring of the woman, Jesus, is the path back to Yahweh, just exactly as God told us in Genesis 3!
Yahweh wants our hearts and he wants us to live with him forever.
It’s important to see that the Creator of the universe is calling for you, individually. Recognize this by understanding how the True Story of God is one cohesive story. You don’t have to try and memorize or know all of the aspects of the story, just realize Yahweh loves you and has been pursuing your heart.
Choose to give your heart to the sovereign God of the Universe.
Believe that Jesus sacrificed himself for you.
Accept the free gift of the Holy Spirit to help guide you through this life and to many victories so that you might enjoy living life to the full (article here).
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Religion says: ‘do’. Jesus says: ‘DONE’.
|About Steve |
A working guitarist, guitar designer, songwriter, worship leader and online entrepreneur who is passionate for telling others about the story of God.
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