|Old Testament History for Beginners, Book 1 (simplified) - From Creation to Saul|
|Updated: 2013-02-09 Size: 67 KB Downloads: 1322|
Adopted for use in the Protestant Reformed Churches
by the Synod of 1961
This is the first in a series of three books which treat the history of the Bible in story form for children from the ages of six to eight years. This first book covers the history from creation through the judges.
Each lesson covers a certain phase of history and touches only some outstanding event or events. The teacher in the classroom will determine how much other material should be introduced in the discussion, but it should be borne in mind that children grasp the history best when their attention is focused on but one or two outstanding incidents.
May our heavenly Father bless our covenant seed through these means, in order that the truth of His Word may be preserved in their hearts and passed on to the generations to come, unto the glory of His Name.
LESSON 1 Creation
1. Who is your Creator?
2. How many Gods are there?
There is only one God.
3. Did God create all things?
Yes, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
4. What did God create on the first day?
The heaven and the earth, and also light.
5. What did God create on the second day?
6. What did God create on the third day?
The dry land, the grass, the trees, and the flowers.
7. What did God make on the fourth day?
The sun, the moon, and the stars.
8. What did God form on the fifth and sixth days?
The fish and the birds, the animals and man.
9. What did God do on the seventh day?
God rested, and gave us our Sabbath.
10. How do we know about this creation?
God tells us about it in His Word, the Bible.
Memory verse: "And God saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good." Genesis 1:31
LESSON 2 Adam in Paradise
1. Who are our first parents?
Adam and Eve.
2. From what was Adam taken?
From the dust of the earth.
3. How was Adam different from the animals?
God made him in His own image.
4. Where did Adam and Eve live?
In Paradise, a beautiful garden.
5. What special tree was in the garden?
The tree of life.
6. From which tree might Adam and Eve not eat?
From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
7. What did Adam do in Paradise?
He took care of the garden as its king.
8. How did he show that he was king?
He named the animals.
9. Were Adam and Eve happy in Paradise?
Yes, because they served God in love.
10. Of what is Paradise a picture?
Of heaven, which is far more wonderful.
Memory verse: "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth." Psalm 8:9
LESSON 3 The Fall of Man
1. Did Adam and Eve stay in Paradise?
No, God drove them out of Paradise.
2. Why were they driven from Paradise?
They disobeyed God.
3. How did Adam and Eve disobey God?
They ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
4. Why was it wrong to eat of this tree?
Because God told them not to eat of it.
5. Who tempted Eve to eat of that tree?
Satan, a wicked, fallen angel.
6. How did Satan come to Eve?
He used the serpent to talk to Eve.
7. Did Eve listen to Satan?
Yes, she ate of the tree and gave to Adam also.
8. Did we also die in Adam?
Yes, we are all dead in sin.
9. What did God promise?
A Savior, to save us from our sins.
Memory verse: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15
LESSON 4 Cain Kills Abel
1. Name two sons of Adam and Eve.
Cain and Abel.
2. What does the Bible tell about Abel?
Abel feared the Lord.
3. How did Abel show that he feared the Lord?
He offered a lamb as a sacrifice to God.
4. Why was this pleasing to God?
Because Abel believed in the Lamb of God.
5. What does the Bible say about Cain?
That Cain was wicked.
6. How did Cain show his wickedness?
He offered to God of the fruit of the ground.
7. Why was this wicked?
It showed that he was not sorry for his sins.
8. How else did Cain show his wickedness?
He was jealous of Abel and killed him.
9. How did God punish Cain for this?
God sent him away from his home and family.
10. Did God give another son in Abel’s place?
Yes, Seth, who also feared the Lord.
Memory verse: "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." Hebrews 11:4
LESSON 5 The Days Before the Flood
1. What do we know about Cain after he killed Abel?
He sinned still more, and also taught his children to sin.
2. What did Cain build?
He built a city.
3. What did the wicked sons of Lamech make?
They made many things from iron and brass.
4. Did they use these things to sin also?
Yes, they became more and more wicked.
5. What does the Bible tell us about the sons of Seth?
They came together to worship God.
6. What God-fearing man lived at this time?
Enoch, who walked with God.
7. What did God tell Enoch to do?
God told him to preach against the wicked men.
8. What did he tell these wicked men?
That God would come to punish them.
9. Did they listen to Enoch?
No, they wanted to kill him.
10. Could they kill Enoch?
No, for God took him to heaven.
Memory verse: "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Genesis 5:24
LESSON 6 The Flood
1. What does the Bible say of Noah?
Noah was one of the few who feared the Lord.
2. What did God tell Noah to do?
To build an ark.
3. Why must Noah build an ark?
Because God was going to send a flood.
4. How long did it take Noah and his sons to build the ark?
One hundred and twenty years.
5. What did Noah do while he built the ark?
He told wicked men that God would soon punish them.
6. Who were saved in the ark?
Only Noah and his family.
7. What else was saved in the ark?
Animals, which God brought to Noah.
8. What happened to the wicked world?
They were all destroyed in the flood.
9. Of what is the flood a sign?
Of the end of the world.
10. What does the sign of the rainbow mean?
That God will always remember and save His people.
Memory verse: "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." Genesis 6:8
LESSON 7 The Days After the Flood
1. Give the names of Noah’s sons.
Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
2. What does the Bible tell about Ham?
That Ham mocked his father.
3. What did Noah say of Ham’s sin?
He said that Ham’s son would be cursed.
4. What did Noah say about Shem?
That God would be Shem’s God.
5. And what did Noah say about Japheth?
That he would share in Shem’s blessing.
6. Name one of the sons of Ham.
Wicked Nimrod, who was a great hunter.
7. What wicked thing did men do at this time?
They began to build a tower.
8. Why did these wicked men build a tower?
They wanted to stay together.
9. Did they finish their tower?
No, God changed their speech.
10. What happened to these wicked men after that?
They were spread over the whole earth.
Memory verse: "The Lord preserveth all them that love him, but all the wicked will he destroy." Psalm 145:20
LESSON 8 Job
The Book of Job 1, 2, 42
1. What does the Bible say of Job?
That Job feared God.
2. Did God bless Job?
Yes, God gave him ten children and much cattle.
3. What did the devil want to do to Job?
He wanted to make Job curse God.
4. How did the devil plan to do this?
By taking from him all that he had.
5. Did God give the devil power against Job?
Yes, Job lost all his riches and all his children in one day.
6. Did Job suffer still more?
Yes, he became very sick.
7. Did his three friends help him in his suffering?
No, they only added to his trouble.
8. What did Job answer them?
He said, "I know that my Redeemer lives."
9. How did Job act in his suffering?
He was very patient.
10. Did God bless Job for his patience?
Yes, God doubled his riches, and gave him ten children.
Memory verse: "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21
LESSON 9 Abraham Moves to Canaan
1. What did God tell Abraham to do?
To go to the land which God would show him.
2. Where did God bring Abraham and Sarah?
To the land of Canaan.
3. What did God promise Abraham?
To give his children this whole land.
4. Of what was the land of Canaan a picture?
5. What else did God promise Abraham?
As many children as the stars in the heavens.
6. Did Abraham and Sarah have any children as yet?
Not yet, and they were already very old.
7. Why did Abraham go to Egypt?
Because there was a famine in the land of Canaan.
8. Did God want Abraham to go to Egypt?
No, God sent him back to Canaan, for God would care for him there.
9. How did Abraham know that God would bless him?
God said, "Fear not, Abraham, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."
10. Was Abraham sure that God would bless him?
Yes, he believed in God.
Memory verse: "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Hebrews 11:10
LESSON 10 Lot Saved from Sodom
1. Who came with Abraham into Canaan?
His nephew Lot, with his wife.
2. Why did Abraham and Lot separate?
Because there was not enough grass for all their cattle.
3. Where did Lot choose to live?
Near the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
4. Was Lot happy in Sodom?
No, but his family felt at home there.
5. What did God tell Abraham about Sodom?
That God was going to destroy that wicked city.
6. Did Abraham pray for Sodom?
No, he prayed only for God-fearing Lot.
7. Did the Lord spare Lot?
Yes, two angels led Lot and his family out of thy city.
8. What happened to Lot’s wife?
She was changed into a pillar of salt.
9. What happened to these wicked cities?
God rained fire and brimstone from heaven upon them.
10. Of what is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah a sign?
Of the end of the world.
Memory verse: "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be." Revelation 22:12
LESSON 11 Isaac
1. Why did the Lord visit Abraham?
To tell him that Sarah would have a son, Isaac.
2. Why did Sarah laugh when God promised them a son?
Because she was so very old already.
3. What did God answer Sarah?
"Is anything too hard for the Lord?"
4. Who mocked Isaac?
Ishmael, the son of Hagar.
5. Was God angry with Ishmael?
Yes, He told Abraham to send Ishmael and Hagar away.
6. How was Ishmael’s life spared?
God made a well of water in the desert.
7. What did God command Abraham to do with Isaac?
To offer Isaac to God on an altar.
8. Where did God tell Abraham to offer up Isaac?
On a mountain far away.
9. Why was Abraham willing to offer up his son?
He knew that God could raise Isaac from the dead.
10. What did God give in the place of Isaac?
A ram which was caught in the bushes.
Memory verse: "Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29
LESSON 12 Jacob
1. Why did Abraham send his servant to Haran?
To get a wife for Isaac.
2. Why did he go to Haran for a wife?
Isaac might not take a wife from the people of the land.
3. How did the servant find a wife for Isaac?
He prayed that God would help him find her.
4. Who became Isaac’s wife?
5. How many children did Isaac and Rebekah have?
God gave them twins, Jacob and Esau.
6. What did God tell Rebekah before these children were born?
That He loved Jacob, but hated Esau.
7. How did Esau show that he was wicked?
He sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
8. Was Jacob honest in seeking the blessing?
No, he lied to his father.
9. How did Jacob lie to his father?
He pretended that he was Esau.
10. What happened when Esau sought to kill Jacob?
Jacob fled to his uncle Laban.
Memory verse: "By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come." Hebrews 11:20
LESSON 13 Jacob in Haran
1. What happened to Jacob on his way to Haran?
The Lord appeared to him in a dream.
2. What did the Lord promise to Jacob in a dream?
That God would be with him and bless him.
3. How long did Jacob stay with Laban in Haran?
Twenty years, working for his wives and cattle.
4. How many wives did Jacob have?
Two, Leah and Rachel.
5. How many children did God give Jacob?
Twelve sons and one daughter.
6. Did Laban treat Jacob well?
No, he often changed his wages.
7. How was it possible for Jacob to become rich?
Because the Lord was with him.
8. Why did Jacob leave Laban?
Because the Lord told him to go back to Canaan.
9. What happened to Jacob on the way to Canaan?
Jacob wrestled with God.
10. Did Esau kill Jacob when he saw him again?
No, God kept Esau from doing him any harm.
Memory verse: "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." Genesis 32:30
LESSON 14 Joseph
1. Which son did Jacob love the most?
Joseph, the son of Rachel.
2. How did Jacob show his love for Joseph?
He gave him a beautiful coat.
3. Why did Jacob show special favor to Joseph?
He wanted him to have the birthright blessing.
4. How did the brothers feel about this?
They were jealous of Joseph and hated him.
5. What made them hate Joseph still more?
Because he dreamed that his brothers bowed down to him.
6. What did the brothers do to Joseph?
They sold him as a slave into Egypt.
7. What lie did the brothers tell Jacob when they came home?
They pretended that a wild beast had eaten Joseph.
8. What happened to Joseph in Egypt?
He was Potiphar’s chief servant.
9. What did Potiphar do to Joseph?
He put Joseph in prison.
10. Had Joseph done any wrong?
No, Potiphar’s wife lied about him.
Memory verse: "The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob." Genesis 49:24
LESSON 15 Joseph as Ruler in Eqypt
1. How did God show that He was with Joseph in prison?
The keeper of the prison liked Joseph.
2. Who were brought into the prison with Joseph?
The king’s butler and baker.
3. Why were the butler and the baker sad one day?
God gave each of them a dream.
4. And what happened when these dreams troubled them?
God showed Joseph what these dreams meant.
5. To whom else did God give dreams?
To Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.
6. Who explained the king’s dreams?
Joseph, who was brought out of prison to do this.
7. How did Pharaoh reward Joseph?
He made him ruler of the land.
8. Who came to Joseph?
His brothers came to buy food.
9. Did they know Joseph?
Not until Joseph told them who he was.
10. Was Jacob glad to hear that his son was still living?
Yes, he and his sons came to live in Egypt.
Memory verse: "Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it for good." Genesis 50:20
LESSON 16 Moses
1. Were the people of Israel happy in Egypt?
No, a cruel king arose who made them work hard.
2. What did the king command the Israelites to do?
To throw all their baby boys into the river.
3. Who was born at this time?
A beautiful boy whose name was Moses.
4. Did his father and mother throw him into the river?
No, they made a basket and set it in the river.
5. Why did Moses’ parents set the basket in the river?
So that the king’s daughter would find him.
6. Did the king’s daughter take care of Moses?
Yes, until Moses was grown up.
7. Did Moses become her son?
No, he wanted to help the people of God.
8. How did Moses try to help God’s people?
He killed an Egyptian, and had to flee to Midian.
9. Who appeared to Moses in Midian?
God appeared to him in a burning bush.
10. Why did God tell him to go back to Egypt?
To lead Israel out of the land.
Memory verse: "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter." Hebrews 11:24
LESSON 17 Israel’s Deliverance
1. What did Moses tell king Pharaoh?
"The God of Israel says, Let my people go."
2. What did Pharaoh do when he heard God’s command?
Pharaoh made the people work still harder.
3. What did God send upon Egypt?
Ten great plagues.
4. Did all the plagues also come on Israel?
No, God showed that He was taking care of His people.
5. What were the Israelites doing when the last plague came?
They were eating the Passover feast.
6. What was the last plague?
All the first-born sons of Egypt died.
7. Were the Egyptians glad to see Israel go?
Yes, they even gave them presents.
8. Did Pharaoh let Israel go in peace?
No, he followed after them with his army.
9. Did God save Israel from the wicked king?
Yes, God led them through the Red Sea on dry ground.
10. What happened to Pharaoh?
Pharaoh and his army were drowned in the sea.
Memory verse: "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." Exodus 12:13
LESSON 18 Israel in the Wilderness
1. How did God lead Israel in the wilderness?
By a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night.
2. How did God feed Israel?
God rained manna from heaven and gave them water from the rock.
3. How did God clothe them in the wilderness?
Israel’s clothes and sandals did not wear out.
4. What did God give Israel at Sinai?
God gave them the law.
5. What did God tell Moses to build?
A tabernacle to worship God.
6. How did Israel sin at Sinai?
They served a golden calf.
7. Which other sins did they commit in the desert?
They cried for meat, and they thought God could not give them water.
8. What did Moses do when Israel came near Canaan?
Moses sent out twelve men to spy out the land.
9. Did these spies bring a good report?
Two of them did, but the others made the people afraid.
10. What did Israel do when they heard the evil report?
They wanted to go back to Egypt.
Memory verse: "O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever." Psalm 136:26
LESSON 19 Israel in the Wilderness (cont.)
1. How did God punish Israel for wanting to go back to Egypt?
God made them wander for 40 years.
2. How were Korah, Dathan, and Abiram punished?
The earth opened and swallowed them up.
3. What happened when Israel was tired of manna?
God sent fiery serpents which killed many of them.
4. How was Israel saved from the fiery serpents?
They looked at the brazen serpent which Moses lifted up.
5. Who tried to destroy Israel?
Balak, the king of Moab.
6. How did Balak try to destroy Israel?
He asked the wicked prophet Balaam to curse Israel.
7. Did Balaam curse Israel?
No, God made Balaam bless Israel.
8. Which kings did Israel destroy?
The giant, Og, king of Bashan, and Sihon, king of the Amorites.
9. Did Moses lead Israel into Canaan?
No, Moses died on Mount Nebo.
10. Why might Moses not enter Canaan?
Because in anger he hit the rock.
Memory verse: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." John 3:14
LESSON 20 Israel Enters Canaan
l. Who led Israel after Moses died?
Joshua, the servant of Moses.
2. What did Joshua do when they came near Jericho?
Joshua sent two spies to look over the city.
3. How did Israel get over the Jordan?
God made the river-bed dry before them.
4. How were they told to take the city?
God commanded them to march around the walls for seven days.
5. How did they enter Jericho?
The Lord made the walls to fall down.
6. Did Israel kill all the people of Jericho?
Yes, all except Rahab and her family, because she hid the spies.
7. Why could Israel not capture Ai the first time?
Because Achan had stolen things of Jericho.
8. How was Achan punished?
He and his family were stoned to death and burned.
9. In what other way did God help His people fight their battles?
He made the sun and moon to stand still.
10. Why did God give Israel the land of Canaan?
To be a picture of the heavenly Canaan.
Memory verse: "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
LESSON 21 Ehud and Deborah
1. Did Israel serve the Lord after Joshua died?
No, they forgot God and served idols.
2. How was Israel punished?
God gave them into the hands of their enemies.
3. Did God also help them?
Yes, He caused them to repent, and sent judges to help them.
4. Name one king who came into Canaan to rule over Israel.
Eglon, the king of the Moabites.
5. How did Ehud deliver Israel from the Moabites?
Ehud stabbed Eglon with a sword.
6. Who was judge when the Canaanites ruled over Israel?
Deborah, who was also a prophetess.
7. Whom did she command to fight against the Canaanites?
Barak, who was afraid to go unless she went along.
8. Did the Canaanites have a strong army?
Yes, they even had horses and chariots.
9. How did the Lord give Barak the victory?
God sent a storm, and the enemy had to flee on foot.
10. What happened to the captain, Sisera?
Sisera was killed by a woman while he hid in her tent.
Memory verse: "Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saveth them out of their distresses." Psalm 107:19
LESSON 22 Gideon
1. How long did the Midianites rule over Israel?
For seven years.
2. How did they trouble Israel?
They stole their crops.
3. What did the Lord tell Gideon to do?
To break down the altar of Baal, and make a sacrifice to God.
4. How did Gideon begin to deliver Israel?
He sent for a large army to fight the Midianites.
5. Did God want Gideon to have a large army?
No, because God wanted to teach Israel that He would give them the victory.
6. How many men did Gideon finally have left?
Only 300 men.
7. How did Gideon’s army prepare to fight against the enemy?
Each had a trumpet, and a lamp inside a pitcher.
8. What did Gideon’s men do with the trumpets and pitchers?
They blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers.
9. What did Gideon’s men shout as they went into battle?
"The sword of the Lord and of Gideon."
10. What happened to the Midianites?
They were driven out of the land.
Memory verse: "Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered." Psalm 68:1
LESSON 23 Samson
1. Whom did the Lord call to fight the Philistines?
2. What did the angel tell Samson’s parents about him?
That he would be a Nazarite.
3. How was Samson able to fight all alone?
The Spirit of the Lord made him very strong.
4. Why did Samson catch 300 foxes?
To burn the corn of the Philistines.
5. What did he do with a jaw bone?
He killed a thousand Philistines.
6. What did Samson do with the gates of a city?
He carried them to a high hill.
7. What sin did Samson commit?
He married heathen women.
8. What happened when his hair was cut?
He lost his strength.
9. What did the Philistines do to Samson?
They cut out his eyes and put him in prison.
10. Did God hear Samson’s prayer in the temple?
Yes, and many Philistines were killed when the temple fell.
Memory verse: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?" Psalm 27:1
LESSON 24 Ruth
Book of Ruth
1. Why did Naomi go to Moab?
Because there was a famine in Israel.
2. What did her two sons do in Moab?
They married women of Moab.
3. Did the Lord bless Naomi’s family in Moab?
No, her husband and two sons died.
4. What did Naomi learn from these deaths in her family?
That she must go back to her own country.
5. Did Ruth and Orpah both go back with Naomi?
No, only Ruth went along.
6. Why did Ruth go along with Naomi?
Because she loved God.
7. What did Ruth say?
"Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."
8. How did Ruth meet Boaz?
She picked up grain in the fields of Boaz.
9. Did she later marry Boaz?
Yes, and she became the great-grandmother of David.
Memory verse: "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee." Ruth 1:16
LESSON 25 Samuel
1. What did Hannah ask of the Lord?
She asked for a son who would serve the Lord.
2. Did the Lord hear her prayer?
Yes, God gave her Samuel.
3. Where did Samuel’s mother bring him?
To Eli, the priest, to serve in the tabernacle.
4. What happened when Samuel was still young?
The Lord called him and spoke to him.
5. What did the Lord tell Samuel?
That Eli and his wicked sons would die in one day.
6. How did Eli’s sons die?
They died in the battle with the Philistines.
7. What else happened in this battle?
The ark of God was taken.
8. What happened to Eli when he heard the ark was taken?
He fell from his chair and broke his neck.
9. Why did the Philistines send the ark back to Israel?
God sent plagues upon the Philistines.
10. What did the people ask of Samuel?
They asked for a king.
Memory verse: "Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth." I Samuel 3:10
- Revision: Simplified
Rev. Cornelius Hanko was born to Herman and Jennie (nee Burmania) Hanko on May 19, 1907 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received his heartfelt desire when the Lord in His mercy took him to glory on Monday, March 14, in the year of our Lord 2005.
Rev. Hanko was baptized in the Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church. During the common grace controversy in the 1920s the Hanko family followed Rev. Herman Hoeksema and the majority of the consistory of Eastern Avenue in their polemic against common grace and their advocacy of one, sovereign grace of God for the elect in Christ Jesus. The Hankos thus became charter members of the First Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan when the Eastern Avenue Protesting Christian Reformed Church, her pastor and consistory, were cast out of the CRC in 1926. Rev. Hanko, therefore, was the last of the PRC clergy (and perhaps of the entire membership of the PRC) to have had direct, personal contact with the events of 1924–1926 that led to the formation of the Protestant Reformed Churches.
Already in his teenage years Rev. Hanko had his eye on the ministry. His first inclination was to be a missionary. That never happened, because the Lord called him to the pastoral ministry for his entire career. Rev. Hanko began his studies for the ministry under Revs. H. Danhof, H. Hoeksema, and G. M. Ophoff. He graduated from the seminary in 1929 with five other men (four of whom left the PRC in the split of 1953 and one of whom left the PRC in the early 1960s. All five of these eventually became ministers in the CRC).
After graduation from the seminary Rev. Hanko and his bride Jennie (nee Griffioen) made their way to Hull, Iowa PRC, in which church Rev. Hanko was ordained a minister of the Word and Sacraments in the PRC. God blessed Rev. and Mrs. Hanko with four children, all of whom are members of the PRC: Rev. Herman C. (married to Wilma Knoper), Professor Emeritus of Church History and New Testament in the Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary; Fred (married to Ruth Miersma), who gave his working life to the Protestant Reformed Christian Schools (Adams Street in Grand Rapids, where he was my ninth grade teacher, Northwest Iowa in Doon, where he taught with my wife, and Hope, Walker, Michigan); Elaine, widow of Richard Bos; and Alice, who cared for her father in his later years.
In addition to the Hull PRC, Rev. and Mrs. Hanko served in the following Protestant Reformed Churches: Oaklawn, Illinois (1935); Manhattan, Montana (1945); First, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1948); Hope, Redlands, California (1964); and Hudsonville, Michigan (1971). After becoming emeritus in 1977, Rev. Hanko remained active for a number of years, preaching and teaching in the churches and preaching two services per Sunday in Florida during the winter seasons.
His years in First Church were difficult ones for Rev. Hanko because of the controversy that resulted in the split in First and in the denomination in June of 1953. The controversy involved the doctrine of the covenant. The majority of the congregation of First and of the members and clergy of the denomination embraced the covenant view of Dr. Klaas Schilder (conceiving of the essence of the covenant as consisting of a conditional promise made by God to every baptized child). These left our churches. During these years, while never compromising the truth of an unconditional covenant of grace and friendship established unilaterally by God with His elect in Christ Jesus, Rev. Hanko never lost a certain healthy balance in his preaching and teaching in First Church. He simply did his work by the grace of God, preaching, teaching, and caring for the flock of God as best he was able.
During his years in First Church, which numbered more than five hundred families before the split in 1953 and ca. 200 families after the split, Rev. Hanko had my father as one of his co-laborers in the consistory. They became good friends. The Hankos and the Deckers regularly visited together. It was through this contact that I got to know Rev. Hanko on a personal basis. It was during Rev. Hanko’s years as pastor of First that I was a student at Calvin College, then located on Franklin Street in Grand Rapids just a short block away from the parsonage occupied by the Hankos. Not infrequently, I would walk from class at Calvin to the parsonage with my questions. Rev. Hanko patiently answered these questions from Scripture and the confessions and would then offer prayer. Rev. Hanko was used by God, together with my parents to keep me in the PRC as a member and later as one of the churches’ pastors. I also had the blessed privilege after October 1, 1965, the date of my ordination as pastor of the Doon, Iowa congregation, to labor for a few years with Rev. Hanko as a colleague. We younger pastors in Classis West leaned heavily on our older, experienced, and competent colleague, learning much from his godly example.
During his pastorate in Hudsonville, Michigan the Lord delivered his beloved Jennie from her suffering into glory. I remember sitting with Rev. Hanko in the ICU waiting-room at the hospital, when he remarked, “Part of me is dying in there.” Now Rev. Hanko, having died in the Lord, enjoys God’s fellowship in Jesus in glory as well.
We thank God for giving our churches this gifted and faithful servant and for using him for the edification of the churches for the years of his lengthy ministry among our Protestant Reformed Churches. That in the years to come these churches may follow the example of our beloved brother, Cornelius Hanko, and “…earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints…” is our fervent prayer (Jude : 3b).
Soli Deo Gloria! (Written by Rev.Gise Van Baren)