The New Testament World

The World of the New Testament

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Jeremiah 31:31 - "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant"


Ancient Assyrian Man with BeardThe New Testament and Bible History. God spoke to Jeremiah the prophet that he was going to establish a "new covenant." The prophet Jeremiah was known in the Bible as the weeping prophet. The king of Judah had thrown him into a dungeon, even deep in mire so that he sank, and then the princes of Judah threw him into a cistern and threatened him with death. They wanted him to shut up because of his message about the leaders of Israel leading the people astray and forsaking God. He predicted the coming of the Babylonians and wept over the destruction of the city and the Temple of Solomon. But God comforted Jeremiah and gave him a wonderful prophecy. God told Jeremiah that he was going to make a new covenant, not like the old covenant which they broke, but he was going to write his laws upon men's hearts so that they will want to serve him. It is no accident that the Bible contains a "New Testament."

The New Testament. The New Testament is about God's promise coming to pass. God came as the promised Messiah Jesus clothed in human flesh. He raised up a band of followers whom He would get to know, and they would get to know Him. they would watch Him and observe His mighty works, and his selfless love. His plan was to die for the sins of the world and then rise again, conquering death for all time, for anyone who would believe. His plan was to pass the baton onto His disciples, His apostles, and they would continue the great message and bring it to the ends of the earth. His followers were called His "church" and nothing on earth was going to be able to stop them. According to the New Testament their mission will not end until He returns again with His church to set up a kingdom which will never pass away.

The New Testament in the Bible. The Bible contains the "New Testament" which is the section that begins with Matthew and ends with Revelation in the Bible. The New Testament starts with the birth of John the Baptist and goes through the life of Jesus, his death burial and resurrection, the beginning of the church, the gospel message going into all the world, and ends with the book of Revelation were Jesus promises that He will come again quickly.

New Testament Times. The world was much different during the time of the New Testament, there was a Roman Empire  that ruled the world and even Israel. There was a Temple in Jerusalem, there were tax collectors, there were Pharisees and Sadducees. The Romans had built roads throughout the Roman Empire, and they divided the territories into provinces. There were strict laws in the Roman Empire, and Caesar, the Roman Emperor, was the main ruler of the world.

The New Testament Lands. The geographical areas mentioned in the New Testament goes from the land of Israel to the capital of the Roman Empire, Rome itself. The journeys of the apostles cover areas like Asia Minor, and Greece with all their cities. There are many cities and mountains and rivers and deserts mentioned in the Bible within this area known as the New Testament world.

The Roman Empire. During the time of the New Testament the Roman Empire was in power, and they ruled the world. Their boundaries were the British Channel and the Black Sea in the north, Africa and the Nile in the South, Euphrates River on the east, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west. Israel was a province of the Roman Empire and they had to pay taxes to Rome. Rome had placed Herod in charge of Israel, although they set up a procurator for making sure that the taxes were collected. There were Roman soldiers stationed throughout the empire, in Judea their headquarters was at Caesarea by the sea.

Herod the Great. Herod was the king of Judea when Jesus was born, and he was referred to as Herod the Great. He was a great builder and many of his monuments were famous in the ancient world. He built the Jerusalem Temple for the Jews, and he made the city of Jerusalem marvelous. He was also very quick-tempered, and when the wise men showed up looking for that "King of the Jews" Herod ordered the death of all the babies of Bethlehem two years old and younger. Herod died just after Christ was born.

Israel in the New Testament. The land of Israel was a very small territory on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. During New Testament times there were three main regions in Israel: Judea in the south, Samaria in the middle, and Galilee in the north.

Bethlehem. The ancient city of Bethlehem was located 5 miles to the southwest of Jerusalem in the hill country of Judea. Bethlehem means the house of bread in Hebrew, and it was the place where King David had originally lived. The ancient prophet Micah predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. When Caesar Augustus issued a decree for the whole world to be taxed, if forced Joseph and Mary to return from Nazareth in the north by the Sea of Galilee, all the way to their ancestral city which was Bethlehem in the south. Mary was near the time of childbirth and Joseph could not find a place for them, they gave birth to Jesus in a manger, a place of donkeys and other animals in Bethlehem.

Jerusalem. The city of Jerusalem has always been the heart of the land of Israel. During New Testament times Herod the great built Jerusalem into one of the wonders of the world. Herod's architectural abilities were astounding, and everything in Jerusalem was beautiful to behold. Within the city of Jerusalem was the great Temple, and upper city for the wealthy, a lower city for the common people, markets, a great theater, powerful towers, an aqueduct, monuments, and the powerful fortress of Antonia. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, symbolizing that His greatness was His humility. The sad thing is that Jerusalem's leaders did not recognize their Messiah, and because of this Jesus wept over the city and foresaw her coming doom which took place in 70 A.D.

The Nations in the New Testament. It is important take a brief look at the nations that existed during New Testament times. Let's follow the map above and look briefly at a few of the nations that existed during New Testament times. When the gospel began to spread, churches were born in various cities within these nations.

Asia Minor. In the time of the New Testament Asia Minor, also known as Asia, was a province of the Roman Empire. Some of the important cities in Asia Minor where churches were established were: Ephesus which was the capital of Asia, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Paul the Apostle was from Tarsus, a city of southeast Asia Minor.

Greece. During New Testament times the gospel had spread as far as Greece, and many churches were establish there. Some of the important cities were: Athens the capital, Corinth, and Thessalonica.

Rome. The Roman Empire ruled the world during the time of Jesus Christ and the New Testament. Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire, and all roads within the Empire led to the forum in ancient Rome. During the time of the New Testament some of the main emperors were Augustus, Tiberius, Nero, and Titus Vespasian.

Religion in Israel. The center of religion in the land of Israel during New Testament times was Jerusalem. The high priest was in charge of all the religion within the land, and the Sanhedrin upheld all religious matters. There were different religious groups that everyone was familiar with Israel. There were the Pharisees who revere the law and attempted to follow it in every respect. Many of the Pharisees were doctors of the law, like Nicodemus who Jesus called a "teacher of Israel." The Scribes were very learned in the law, they were interpreters of the law and they were teachers of the law and many times they were referred to as lawyers. The Sadducees were very wealthy and powerful priests, they controlled the priesthood and the operations within the Temple, as well as the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of ancient Israel. They did not accept traditional viewpoints but only the strict written letter of the law, and in their viewpoint the law was the five books of Moses. The priests mainly served in the Temple, and were mediators for the people. They were divided into 24 classes of priests, and they all took turns serving. The high priest offered the sacrifice on the day of atonement, and he was the most important man in Jewish religion.

Religion in the Roman Empire. The Romans believed in many different gods and even goddesses. They built temples and had ceremonies to thank the gods. They made sacrifices of sheep and goats and pigs and oxen. Yet the most important gods were similar to the Greek gods. Some of these gods have familiar names: Zeus and his wife Juno, Vesta and Neptune and Dis, Mercury and Mars, Apollo and Diana, and many others. They also believed that the Emperor was the supreme Pontiff and high priest, and they worshiped him as a god.

Jesus Christ. The New Testament deals with the birth, the life and ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus was God in human flesh, He was devoted to loving and serving those around Him. regarding his death on the Roman cross, the New Testament declares that no one took his life from him, but he offered it up willingly. Paul the apostle taught that all this was accomplished by the grace of God, which was a free gift offer to anyone who would believe in Jesus and become saved, not by works but by God's free gift. The entire New Testament is devoted to the man Jesus Christ and his message.

The Disciples. The disciples that Jesus chose were not educated, nor wealthy or famous. Many of them were common Israelites like fisherman, and some of them were scorned and rejected tax collectors like Matthew. They watched Jesus, they saw his devotion, they saw his miracles, and they listened to the tone of his voice as he spoke about God's love and acceptance of unworthy sinners. His disciples became the first who would hear the message, and they were the ones who would bring that message to the rest of the world. Jesus prayed for them in John 17, just before his death. One of the 12 disciples was Judas who became his betrayer. The Bible says that Satan entered Judas, and Jesus said it would've been better if he had never been born.

Paul the Apostle. Paul's original name was Saul, and he was from the city of Tarsus in Asia Minor. Originally he was a persecutor of the Christians but he met the Lord on the road to Damascus and accepted Jesus. He was blind for three days and then the scales were removed from his eyes and he was baptized. The book of acts in the New Testament reveals the life and ministry of Paul the apostle. He was the one with the most courage to go forth and follow Jesus' command to go into all the world. He was attacked many times beaten and left for dead, everywhere he went the Jews tried to thwart what he was doing. Paul eventually was responsible for establishing churches throughout the Roman world, and toward the end of his life he appealed to Caesar and was brought to Rome. The New Testament contains many epistles, which are letters to the churches, and most of them were written by Paul himself, although someone else was translating his words and writing them on paper to be distributed.

Augustus Caesar. Augustus was the ruler of the Roman world, he brought the Pax Romana of peace throughout the empire. But little did he know that when he called a census so that the whole world could be taxed, he was in reality ordering Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus to go to Bethlehem, their ancestral city to be registered in the census, and it was there that Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem. Augustus was the most powerful man in the world, yet the real King was born during his reign, Jesus the King of kings and Prince of peace.

Tiberias Caesar. Tiberius was the Emperor when Jesus was crucified. Tiberius had withdrawn to an island in the Mediterranean called Capri where he had his palace. Little did he know that Jesus, the true ruler of the world, would conquer the Roman Empire by his death that happened during the reign of Tiberius Caesar.

Caesar Nero. the Emperor Nero was considered by many historians as a madman, he initiated the great fire of Rome and blame the Christians. He took delight in persecuting the Christians in every way. Later in Nero's life he went insane, during this time is when he released his general Titus to go to Jerusalem and destroy the city and the Temple. Nero died before this was finished, and Titus returned to Rome as Emperor. Later his son Vespasian finished conquering Jerusalem and destroying the Temple.

Important New Testament Events. The major events that happened throughout the New Testament were: the birth of John the Baptist, the birth of Jesus Christ, his life, miracles, ministry, death, and resurrection. The birth of the church, the spreading the gospel from Jerusalem, to the farthest parts of the world until finally Rome. The New Testament ends with the book of Revelation which talks about the second coming of Jesus Christ, and it concludes with the words "behold I come quickly" .

Important New Testament Men. Some of the important men mentioned in the New Testament were John the Baptist, Jesus, 12 disciples, Herod the great, Nicodemus, Peter, Paul, Luke, Pontius Pilate.

Important New Testament Women. Some of the important women mentioned in the New Testament were:

The study of the New Testament is very important in the study of the Bible, let's pray:

Dear Jesus, we thank you that you are the same God yesterday today and forever. Your Word declares in the Old Testament that you are awesome in power, fearful and praises, and doing wonders. It also says that your mercies are new every morning, and we need your mercy today Lord. Everything in the Old Testament happened for a specific reason, and the ultimate goal was that you would lead us to Christ. We thank you Lord that your plan is the wisdom of the ages. Help us to trust your wisdom and to be thankful for your mercy. We love you. In Jesus name... Amen!

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