| Queen Victoria once asked her prime minister if he could give her one verse that would prove the Bible was truly the word of God.
"Madam," replied Benjamin Disraeli, "I can give you one word: Jew."
Indeed, most of the ancient peoples have either vanished or been swallowed up by other cultures, but, despite every hardship the world could throw at them, against all odds, the Jews have survived -- because God has a covenant with them.
The Jews are God's chosen people -- not because they are better than the rest of us, but because He had a special purpose for them. They were chosen to be the receptacles of His Word and the people through whom the Messiah would come. This is why the Jews have had to toe the line when it comes to God's feasts and ceremonies, all of which were/are rehearsals of the First and Second Comings. And this is why God got so very angry when they strayed from His commandments. They were never given the freedom, as Christians were, to choose their own liturgy or decide how and where they would hold their services. God held the Jews to rigid obedience, so that the world would have His inerrant Word.
Perhaps because Christians were freer, we have drifted away from our Jewish roots. This is the cause of much of the "misinterpretation" of the Bible. We try to understand God's Word as we relate to it from our Western culture, but the Bible is not a western book. It is a Jewish book, written in an ancient Mid-East culture. For us to be able to fully understand it, we must learn how the Jews of those days understood it.
In Jewish thought, all books were understood to deal with the coming of the Messiah. Each book had an application for the day in which it was written as well as down through the centuries and in our own time.
Double reference prophecies are found every time it talks of the First Coming, but in a Second Coming sense. In other words, during the events leading to the Second Coming, the people are reflecting back on the First Coming.
In Jewish eschatology (study of future things), time started in the Garden of Eden. Time is a product of the Creation (see First Corinthians 2:7, Second Timothy 1:9 and Titus 1:2) and goes 7,000 years to eternity which is called the Olam Habah (the world to come). Hebrews 6:5 tells us we have tasted of the Olam Habah. The last 1,000 years is called the Ateed Lavoh (Day of the Lord). (Hebrew phrases have been transliterated into English)
The Rabbis taught that, just as Creation had seven "days" (though not 24 hour days), each day "equated" 1000 years (taken from Psalm 90:4 and also found in Second Peter 3:8-10), 6 "days" were for man to work and 1 (the seventh) for man to rest (menucha).
The first 6,000 years are called the Olam Hazay (present age or world). In Matthew 24:3, the disciples asked when the end of the Olam Hazay (present age - often incorrectly translated as end of the "world" causing much misunderstanding) would come and Jesus would return. NOTE: God is always in the Olam Habah (the Age to Come) since He is not under the constraints of time. The Olam Habah existed before Creation (it is the realm of God). Our goal is to get from the Olam Hazay to the Olam Habah. The Jews divided these 6,000 years into three eras: the first 2,000 years were the Age of Chaos; the second 2,000 years were the Age of the Torah (Law) and the current 2,000 years are the Yamote HaMaschiah (Days of the Messiah) when, they believe, their Messiah will come.
In the beginning, the earth was perfect and Man was immortal. When Adam and Eve sinned, they become mortal ("In that day, you will surely die." Genesis 2:17) when they chose to disobey God.
The earth was originally incorruptible, but sin caused it to become corruptible (decay in the earth). Both the earth and mankind are under the curse of sin. Sin cannot enter the presence of the Holy God.
But immediately God promised a Messiah. Messiah (Christ in Greek) means Anointed One. In ancient Israel, Kings, Priests and Prophets (Jesus is variously depicted as all three, only with top designation, e.g., King of Kings and High Priest) were anointed with oil. Anointed meant being empowered by God. The oil poured over their heads was symbolic of the Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit). The Holy Spirit is the Power of God, so Messiah was anointed (empowered) by God to turn the earth back to its original state. The Messiah is God (Yeshua - Jesus - means salvation), but He came down from eternity and divested Himself of His Divinity to become a man, to suffer and to die to pay the penalty for our sins (the wages of sin is death).
At the time of the First Coming, we entered into a period of time called the Yamote HaMashiach (Days of the Messiah). Yeshua (Jesus) came at the year 4,000. Everyone who believes in Yeshua (Jesus) has, by faith, entered into the Days of the Messiah.
Believers enter into the Olam Habah (World, or Age, to Come) at the beginning of the Millennium when they are removed from the earth prior to the Awesome Days. The Sabbath is a picture of the Millennium and just as the priests spent the first moments of the Sabbath cleansing the Temple, the Millennium will begin with the Yamin Nora'im - Days of Awe; also called the Time of Trouble or Jacob's Trouble which is synonymous with the Hevlay shel Mashiach [Birth pains of the Messiah] and other titles - Christians call it the Tribulation - which is a seven year period during which God will cleanse the world of sin (and during which, the word of God says, one-half of the people on earth will die). It will be the most terrible time this earth has ever experienced. There will be a one world government and one religion. The New Age Movement is preparing the way.
The Jews have two calendars. Rosh HaShanah (which means Head of the Year) is the first day of the civil calendar and has many names. One is Yom haDin (Day of Judgment). Rosh HaShanah is the major day of judgment and Yom Kipper is the minor day of Judgment. According to Jewish thought, Rosh HaShanah is the day of judgment for the gentiles and Yom Kippur is the day of judgment for the Jews. On Yom HaDin (on the final Rosh HaShanah) there will be three books opened: the Book of the Righteous (those who have put their belief and faith in Yeshua (Jesus); the Book of the Average people (also called Intermediates or Sinners); and the Book of the Rasheen (the evil ones, those totally beyond redemption). There is a fourth Rosh HaShanah book of God called the Book of Remembrance (Malachi 3:16), but it is not a book of Judgment. God is going to judge sinners during the Tribulation.
The Bible is about God's plan to bring mankind back to a sinless state. In short, it is a book about the Messiah and God's plan of salvation.