|Old Testament History for Beginners, Book 2 (advanced) - From Saul to the Return from Captivity|
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Adopted for use in the Protestant Reformed Churches
by the Synod of 1980
This book is the second in a series of three, intended for catechumens ranging from the ages of six to eight years.
Since there is a rapid development in a child between the ages of six and eight, this book has been arranged so that the younger children may learn the first part of the lesson, as much as they are capable of learning, while the older children learn all of it.
You will notice that the references to points of doctrine are placed as much as possible in the last two questions, since these are intended mainly for the older children.
Even as the first book, this book can be used along with Suffer Little Children, written by Mrs. G. Hoeksema, for use in the lower grades. The history is treated approximately in the same order, and many of the texts for memory work are the same.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the teachers and parents who so readily gave of their time and effort to offer valuable suggestions in preparing the manuscript.
Rev. C. Hanko
LESSON 1 Saul Is King
1. What did Israel ask of Samuel?
They asked for a king like the other nations had.
2. Why did they want a king like the other nations had?
They wanted to be like the other nations.
3. Why was it wrong for them to want such a king?
Because they did not want God as their king.
4. Did God give them a king?
Yes, He gave them Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin.
5. Was Saul able to fight the enemies of Israel?
Yes, God made him strong to fight, and gave him the victory.
6. What victory did God give to Saul?
He delivered the people of Jabesh-gilead from the Ammonites.
7. How did Saul disobey God?
He made a sacrifice when he should have waited for Samuel.
8. What other sin did Saul commit?
He did not destroy all the Amalekites as God had commanded.
9. How did God punish Saul for these sins?
The Spirit of God left him, so that he was afraid to fight.
10. How did Saul die?
He fell on his own sword in a battle with the Philistines.
Memory verse: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
LESSON 2 David Is Anointed
1. Whom did Samuel anoint as king in place of Saul?
God told Samuel to anoint David, of the tribe of Judah.
2 What did David do when he was a boy?
He cared for his father’s sheep.
3. How did David show that the Spirit of God was in him?
David fought against the giant Goliath.
4. What did David say to Goliath?
“I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts.” I Samuel 17:45
5. Why was Saul angry when David killed Goliath?
Saul was jealous of David.
6. How did Saul show that he was jealous?
Saul tried to kill David.
7. How did Saul try to kill David?
Twice he threw his spear at David.
8. Why did David not kill Saul when he could have done this?
Because Saul was the Lord’s anointed.
9. Did Saul ever harm David?
No, for the Lord was with David wherever he went.
10. What did David write ?
David wrote many beautiful Psalms.
Memory verse: “Deliver me from my enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.” Psalm 59:1
LESSON 3 David Is King
1. Who became king after Saul died?
David became king, first over Judah, and later over all Israel.
2. How did the Lord show that He was with David as king?
God gave him the victory over all Israel’s enemies.
3. What did David bring to Jerusalem?
David brought the ark of God to Jerusalem.
4. Why did he bring the ark to Jerusalem?
So that the people could worship God there.
5. What other plans did David have for Jerusalem?
David wanted to build a beautiful temple to the Lord.
6. What did the Lord tell David?
The Lord told him that his son would build the temple.
7. Which great sins did David commit?
He took Uriah’s wife and had Uriah killed in battle.
8. How did God punish David for these sins?
The son that was born to him died.
9. How did David show true sorrow for these sins?
He said, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” Psalm 51:4
10. How was David a type of Christ?
He fought the battles of the Lord against God’s enemies.
Memory verse: “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1
LESSON 4 The Sin of Absalom
1. Who was Absalom?
Absalom was one of the sons of David.
2. What did Absalom do?
He tried to take the kingdom from his father.
3. Why was this wrong of Absalom?
Because God had made David king.
4. What did David do when he heard this?
David fled with his army across the Jordan.
5. Did Absalom come to fight David?
Yes, he came with a large army to fight David.
6. How did Absalom die?
His head was caught in a tree and Joab killed him.
7. Why did David weep when he heard that Absalom was dead?
David knew that Absalom was a wicked son.
8. Did David return to Jerusalem?
Yes, the people were glad to take him back as their king.
9. What sin did David commit?
He numbered the people.
10 Whom did David anoint to be king after him?
His son Solomon, as God had promised.
Memory verse: “Thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me.”
LESSON 5 Solomon Is King
1. What did Solomon ask of the Lord?
Solomon asked for wisdom to rule God’s people.
2. Did the Lord hear his prayer?
Yes, God made Solomon the wisest man who ever lived.
3. What did God give him besides wisdom?
God gave Solomon great riches and honor.
4. How did Solomon show his wisdom?
When two mothers wanted the same baby, Solomon showed which one was the real mother.
5. What did Solomon build in Jerusalem?
Solomon built a large and beautiful temple.
6. Who came to visit Solomon?
The queen of Sheba came when she heard of his wisdom.
7. What sins did Solomon commit later in life?
He married many heathen wives and served their idols.
8. How did God show that He was displeased with Solomon?
He said that He would take ten tribes away from Solomon.
9 How did Solomon show his wisdom in writing?
He wrote proverbs, many of which are in the Bible.
10. How was Solomon a type of Christ?
He was a type of Christ as the prince of peace.
Memory verse: “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26
LESSON 6 Rehoboam Is King of Judah
1. Who became king after Solomon?
His son Rehoboam became king.
2. What did the people ask of Rehoboam?
They asked him to lower their taxes.
3. What did Rehoboam answer them?
He told them that he would make them pay more taxes than before.
4. What did the ten tribes do?
They left Rehoboam and made Jeroboam their king.
5. Which tribe stayed with Rehoboam?
Judah and part of Benjamin stayed with Rehoboam.
6. What were the two kingdoms called?
The kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel.
7. Was Rehoboam a God-fearing king?
No, his heathen mother taught him to serve idols.
8. How did God punish Rehoboam for his sins?
The king of Egypt took many golden treasures from the palace and from the temple.
9. What does this sad history teach us about our early training?
It is important to learn to serve God when we are young.
10. What does it teach us regarding God’s faithfulness?
God always preserves His church, as He has promised.
Memory verse: “And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem.” I Kings 11:36
LESSON 7 Jeroboam Is King of Israel
1. Who became king of the ten tribes?
Jeroboam became their king.
2. Why did Jeroboam want to keep the people from going to the temple in Jerusalem?
He was afraid that the people would go back to Rehoboam.
3. What did Jeroboam do to keep the people from going to the temple?
He set up two golden calves, one in Bethel and one in Dan.
4. What did Jeroboam tell the people about these calves?
That Israel could serve the Lord through them.
5. Why was this a terrible sin?
It led Israel away from God to serve idols.
6. For what other reason was it wrong?
God had commanded Israel to serve God in Jerusalem.
7. How did God warn Jeroboam and the people?
He sent a prophet to cry against the altar at Bethel.
8. What did the prophet say about this altar?
He said that a king of Judah would burn the bones of the Baal priests on that altar.
9. Did this actually happen?
Three hundred years later Josiah did that very thing.
10. Did Jeroboam seek help from his golden calves when his son was sick?
No, he sent his wife to a prophet of God, who said that her son would die.
Memory verse: “Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness.” Psalm 5:4
LESSON 8 Elijah Goes to Ahab
1. What does the Bible say about the kings of Israel?
They walked in all the sins of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin (I Kings 16:19).
2. What king especially walked in those wicked ways?
King Ahab who married the heathen princess Jezebel.
3. In what other way did Ahab show his wickedness?
He made the people serve Baal and killed God’s prophets.
4. How did God warn Ahab of his wickedness?
God sent the prophet Elijah to tell him that God would send no rain upon the land.
5. What happened when there was no rain?
There was a great famine, so that the cattle died and the people had no food.
6. How did God care for Elijah during the famine?
The ravens brought him food at the brook Cherith.
7. Where did God send Elijah after the brook dried up?
To a poor widow in Sidon, Jezebel’s home.
8. How did the Lord care for Elijah and the widow?
God gave them meal and oil every day.
9. How did the Lord show that He gives everlasting life?
God raised the widow’s son from the dead.
10. What lesson does God teach in caring for Elijah and the widow?
God teaches that He gives us our daily bread.
Memory verse: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
LESSON 9 Elijah and Israel on Carmel
1. How long did the famine in Israel last?
The famine lasted three and a half years.
2. What had wicked king Ahab been doing during this time?
Ahab was looking for Elijah to kill him.
3. What did the Lord command Elijah to do?
God commanded him to go to Ahab.
4. What did Elijah tell Ahab?
Elijah told him to gather all the people at mount Carmel.
5. What were the people of Israel to do on mount Carmel?
They were told to pray to Baal to bring fire on their altar.
6. Did Baal bring fire on their altar?
No, for Baal was only an idol.
7. What did Elijah then tell the people to do?
He told them to pour water on and around his altar.
8. What did the prophet do after that?
He prayed to God, and God brought fire from heaven.
9. Were the people afraid?
Yes, in fear they cried out, “Jehovah He is the God.”
10. Did God send rain upon the land?
Elijah prayed and the Lord sent much rain on a thirsty land.
Memory verse: “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.”
LESSON 10 Jehoshaphat Is King of Judah
1. Name two God fearing kings of Judah.
King Asa and his son Jehoshaphat.
2. How did Asa show that he feared the Lord?
He broke down the idols that the people had made.
3. How did the Lord show that He was with Asa?
The Lord destroyed a large army from Africa that came against Judah.
4. Did Asa always trust in the Lord?
No, when Israel fought against him he asked for help from Syria.
5. What did Jehoshaphat do for Judah?
Jehoshaphat taught the people to serve the Lord.
6. What great sin did Jehoshaphat commit?
He joined with wicked Ahab to fight the Syrians.
7. What did Ahab’s false prophets tell these kings?
Four hundred prophets told them they would win the battle.
8. What did God’s prophet Micaiah say?
He said that Ahab would be killed and Israel would be scattered.
9. Did Ahab go to battle anyway?
Yes, but he did not dress like a king.
10. How was Ahab killed?
God guided an arrow of the enemy which killed him.
Memory verse: “Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god.” Psalm 16:4
LESSON 11 Elisha Is Prophet in Israel
1. How did Elijah’s life on earth end?
God took him to heaven in a whirlwind.
2. Who became prophet after Elijah?
Elisha, the chief servant of Elijah.
3. What great miracle did Elisha perform?
He raised the son of a Shunammite woman from the dead.
4. Who came to Elisha to be healed?
Naaman, a Syrian captain, who was a leper.
5. How did he hear of Elisha?
A Jewish girl told him about the prophet.
6. What did Elisha tell Naaman to do?
He told Naaman to wash in the river Jordan seven times.
7. Was Naaman cured of his leprosy?
Yes, he was healed, and he also believed that God was the true God.
8. What sin did Elisha’s servant Gehazi commit?
He asked Naaman for presents of gold and clothing.
9. Why was this wrong of Gehazi?
The gifts of God cannot be paid with money.
10. How was Gehazi punished for this sin?
The leprosy of Naaman came on Gehazi.
Memory verse: “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7
LESSON 12 Elisha Promises Food to Israel
1. Why did God still send prophets to wicked Israel?
God sent prophets because there were still God’s people in Israel.
2. Why could not the king of Syria attack Israel?
The prophet Elisha always told the king where the Syrian army was.
3. What did the king of Syria do about this?
He sent his army to capture Elisha.
4. Did the army capture Elisha?
No, the Lord struck the army with blindness.
5. Did Syria come against Israel again?
Yes, the army encamped around the city of Samaria.
6. How did this trouble the people of Samaria?
The people were hungry because no food could be brought in.
7. Were they very hungry?
They were so hungry that two women ate a baby.
8. What did Elisha promise the king?
He promised that there would be plenty food the next day.
9. How did this come about?
The Lord drove away the Syrian army during the night.
10. How could there be plenty of food for the people?
The army of Syria left all their food behind when they fled away.
Memory verse: “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:4
LESSON 13 Jehu Is King of Israel
1. Who was king in Israel at the time of the famine?
Jehoram, the son of Ahab, was king.
2. Who was king in Judah at this time?
Ahaziah, the wicked son of Athaliah.
3. Who was anointed to be the next king of Israel?
Jehu, the captain of Israel’s army.
4. What was Jehu told to do?
Jehu was told to kill all the sons of wicked Ahab.
5. Who was the first one that Jehu killed?
Jehoram, the king of Israel.
6. Whom else did he kill?
Ahaziah, the king of Judah.
7. What happened to Jezebel, Ahab’s wife?
Her servants threw her out of a window, and the dogs came and ate her flesh.
8. Were there still more that Jehu killed?
Yes, he killed all the sons of Ahab and all those who worshiped Baal.
9. Did Jehu do all this in zeal for God?
No, Jehu did all this for his own honor.
10. How did Jehu show that he was a wicked king?
He soon caused Israel to return to idols.
Memory verse: “But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart.” II Kings 10:31
LESSON 14 Jonah Is Sent to Nineveh
Book of Jonah
1. Who was Jonah?
Jonah was a prophet of God in Israel.
2. What did God command Jonah to do?
God commanded him to go to Nineveh, the chief city of Assyria.
3. Why did Jonah refuse to go to Nineveh?
At that time Assyria was Israel’s worst enemy.
4. What happened to Jonah when he ran away on a ship?
God sent a fierce storm on the sea.
5. What did Jonah offer to the men on the ship?
He offered to die that their lives might be spared.
6. Did Jonah drown when the sailors threw him into the sea?
No, for God had prepared a large fish to swallow him.
7. Did Jonah die inside the fish?
No, Jonah prayed to God, and God delivered him.
8. What happened when Jonah preached to Nineveh?
Many of the people repented and turned to the Lord.
9. Of what was Jonah’s stay in the fish a sign?
It was a sign that Jesus would be in the grave three days and three nights.
10. Of what was the repentance of Nineveh a sign?
That God would gather His church from other nations.
Memory verse: “The men of Nineveh...repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here.” Matthew 12:41
LESSON 15 Joash Is King of Judah
1. Who was Athaliah?
Athaliah was the daughter of wicked Ahab.
2. What more do we know of Athaliah?
She was the mother of Ahaziah, king of Judah.
3. What did she do when she heard that Ahaziah was killed?
She killed her grandchildren, so that she could be queen.
4. Did she kill all her grandchildren?
No, the Lord caused baby Joash to be spared.
5. Where was Joash kept hidden?
In the temple, where the God-fearing Jehoiada was priest.
6. How old was Joash when he was made king?
He was seven years old when he was made king.
7. What happened to Athaliah?
She was killed when she came to the temple to see what was happening.
8. What important work did Joash do?
He taught the people to worship God in the temple.
9. Did Joash always do what was right in God’s sight?
He did what was right only as long as Jehoiada lived.
10. What evil did he do?
Joash turned to idols and killed God’s prophet.
Memory verse: “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Isaiah 57:21
LESSON 16 Hezekiah Is King of Judah
1. Name another good king in Judah.
Hezekiah, whose name means “God is mighty.”
2. What was the first thing that Hezekiah did?
He broke down the heathen altar that stood in the temple.
3. What else did he do?
He prepared a passover feast, which had not been held for a long time.
4. What do we read of this passover feast?
That it was the greatest that had ever been celebrated.
5. What helped to make it the greatest feast?
Hezekiah sent messengers into the ten tribes to invite Israel to the feast.
6. Were the people of Israel willing to come to the feast?
A few did, but most of them laughed at the messengers and mocked them.
7. Who came from Israel to the feast?
Those came who still feared the Lord.
8. What did these people from Israel do after the feast?
They destroyed many of the idols in their own land.
9. Why did God call these people out of Israel?
Because the time had come that God would punish Israel for all their sins.
10. What happened to wicked Israel?
The Assyrians came and led them away into captivity.
Memory verse: “And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.”
LESSON 17 Hezekiah Becomes Sick
1. Who came to fight against Hezekiah?
The army of Assyria surrounded Jerusalem.
2. What did the captain of the army say to the people?
He said that Judah must not trust in their God to help them.
3. Why did this captain think that they must not trust in their God?
Because no other god could stand up against his army.
4. What did Hezekiah do?
He told Isaiah all that this wicked man had said.
5. How did Isaiah answer the king?
He told the king that God would lead the captain away as an animal is led away.
6. How did the Lord show His power over Assyria?
God killed the whole army in one night.
7. When Hezekiah was sick, what did Isaiah tell him?
Isaiah told him that he would die.
8. Why did Hezekiah pray to God to let him live?
The king had no son to follow him on the throne.
9. How did God answer Hezekiah’s prayer?
God added fifteen years to his life and gave him a son.
10. Why was it so important for him to have a son to follow him on the throne?
Because Jesus was to be born of the royal line of David.
Memory verse: “The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day.” Isaiah 38:19
LESSON 18 Manasseh Is King in Judah
1. Who became king after Hezekiah?
Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh.
2. How old was Manasseh when he began to reign?
Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign.
3. Was Manasseh a good king?
Not at first, for the leaders of the people led him to serve idols.
4. Mention one of Manasseh’s sins.
He taught the people to worship the sun, moon, and stars.
5. What other sin did he commit?
Manasseh offered his son as a sacrifice to an idol.
6. How did he add to his sins?
Manasseh killed many of the people of God.
7. How did God punish Manasseh?
God put him in a prison in Babylon.
8. Did he remain there?
No, when he repented of his sins God placed him back on the throne.
9. Did Manasseh restore the worship of Jehovah?
Yes, he caused the priests to sacrifice to God.
10. Did the people repent even as Manasseh had?
No, most of the people still served their idols.
Memory verse: “And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.” II Chronicles 33:12
LESSON 19 Josiah Is King of Judah
1. Who was the last good king in Judah?
Josiah, who once more broke down the idols.
2. Did he also restore the worship of Jehovah?
Yes, he repaired the temple for the true worship of Jehovah.
3. What did the workers find in the temple?
They found a book of the law.
4. Of what did the law remind the people?
That God would surely punish them for their sins.
5. What did Josiah do at Bethel?
Josiah burned the bones of the Baal priests on the altar.
6. Why was this so very important?
Years before, God had said to Jeroboam that this would happen.
7. What was the Lord telling the people by this?
That the sins of Jeroboam were also in Judah.
8. Of what was this a warning?
That Judah would be punished even as Israel had been.
9. How did Josiah die?
He was killed in a battle with the Egyptians.
10. Was there a great mourning for Josiah?
Yes, both Jeremiah and the people mourned greatly.
Memory verse: “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly.” Zephaniah 1:14
LESSON 20 Jeremiah Is Prophet in Judah
1. Who was Jeremiah?
Jeremiah was one of the last prophets to warn Judah of their sins.
2. Show that the people did not listen to the prophet.
The people still served idols, even though some of them had already been taken to Babylon.
3. What did the false prophets tell the people?
They told them that those captives would soon come back.
4. What did the people say about Jeremiah?
They called him a traitor to his people.
5. How was Jeremiah mistreated?
Jeremiah was beaten and put in a dungeon for a long time.
6. How else was he mistreated?
Jeremiah was put in a cistern and left to die.
7. How did God deliver the prophet?
A servant begged the king to take him out.
8. How did God punish Judah for their sins?
King Nebuchadnezzar came with an army and took the people to Babylon.
9. What happened to Jeremiah?
He was left behind, and later taken to Egypt.
10. What did Jeremiah foretell about Judah?
That after seventy years God would bring them back to their own land.
Memory verse: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” Lamentations 3:22
LESSON 21 Daniel and His Three Friends in Babylon
1. Who were among the first Jews to be taken in Babylon?
Daniel and his three friends.
2. How did God show that He was with Daniel and his friends?
They became rulers in Babylon.
3. How did the Lord show to Nebuchadnezzar that He is God?
The Lord told Daniel the king’s dream and its meaning.
4. What was Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?
The king dreamed of a great image that stood for the kingdoms of the world.
5. What happened to this image?
A Stone came and crushed the whole image.
6. Who is that Stone?
Jesus Christ, who will destroy all the kingdoms of the world.
7. What did Nebuchadnezzar make after that?
He made a large image for all his princes to worship.
8. Who would not bow down before that image?
Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
9. How did the king try to punish them?
He threw them into a hot, fiery furnace to be burned.
10. How did God save them from the fire?
God sent His Angel to deliver them.
Memory verse: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace.”
LESSON 22 Daniel Is Thrown into the Lion’s Den
1. Was the Lord with Daniel also when Darius was king?
Yes, Darius made him chief ruler of the kingdom.
2. How did the other princes show their jealously?
They tried to find some evil in Daniel.
3. What was the only evil that they could find in him?
That Daniel prayed to his God three times every day.
4. Why did Daniel pray to God looking toward Jerusalem?
He prayed that God would bring the Jews back to their own country.
5. What did these wicked princes do?
They told the king to make a decree that every one should worship him only.
6. Did Daniel obey this decree of Darius?
No, he prayed to God as before.
7. How was the king forced to punish Daniel?
His servants forced him to throw Daniel into a den of lions.
8. What did the king ask Daniel the next morning?
“O Daniel, ... is thy God ... able to deliver thee from the lions?” Daniel 6:20
9. What did Daniel answer the king?
“My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths.” Daniel 6:22
10. What did the king do to these wicked princes?
He cast them into the lions’ den, and the lions devoured them.
Memory verse: “Daniel kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” Daniel 6:10
LESSON 23 Fifty Thousand Jews Return to Palestine
1. What had the prophet Isaiah foretold many years before?
That king Cyrus would let the people return to their own land. Isaiah 45:1-4
2. Did this actually happen?
Yes, Cyrus decreed that those who wanted to could return to Palestine.
3. What were these people called after the captivity?
They were called Jews, that is, “Praisers of God.”
4. How many Jews returned to Palestine?
About fifty thousand, both of the tribe of Judah and of the ten tribes.
5. How were they helped?
They were given gifts and treasures for the temple.
6. What was the first thing they did upon their return?
They built an altar to worship God.
7. Is that all that they did?
They also laid the foundation for the temple.
8. Were all the people happy when they saw the new foundation?
Some were, but some remembered Solomon’s beautiful temple and wept.
9. Who stopped the Jews from finishing the temple?
The Samaritans, who complained against them to the king of Persia.
10. When was the temple finally finished?
Twenty years later the temple was finished and dedicated to the Lord.
Memory verse: “Then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.”
LESSON 24 Esther Becomes the Queen of Ahasuerus
Book of Esther
1. Name two Jews who did not return to Palestine.
Mordecai and his cousin Esther.
2. Where did they live?
They lived in Shushan, near the king’s palace.
3. What wicked act did Esther commit?
She became queen of wicked Ahasuerus.
4. Who was Haman?
Haman was the chief ruler under the king.
5. Why was Haman angry with Mordecai?
He was angry because Mordecai would not bow down to him.
6. What did Haman plot in order to get rid of Mordecai?
He plotted to kill all the Jews.
7. What did Esther do?
Esther begged the king to spare her life and the lives of her people.
8. What became of wicked Haman?
He was hanged on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai.
9. What would have happened if all the Jews had been killed?
The promised Savior could not have been born.
10. What does this deliverance of the Jews show us?
It shows that God always watches over His people.
Memory verse: “The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” Proverbs 16:4
LESSON 25 Ezra and Nehemiah in Jerusalem
Books of Ezra and Nehemiah
1. Who was Ezra?
A scribe, sent by the king of Persia, to teach the Jews the law of God.
2. Who went with Ezra to Jerusalem?
Priests and Levites, carrying gold and silver from Persia.
3. Who was Nehemiah?
Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer.
4. What did Nehemiah ask of the king?
He asked if he could go to Jerusalem to build the walls.
5. How was the work on the walls carried out?
When the enemy tried to stop them, half the people worked and half guarded them with weapons.
6. How did Nehemiah and Ezra teach the people?
They read the whole law of Moses to all the people.
7. Did the people keep the law?
No, they broke the Sabbath and married heathen wives.
8. What did Nehemiah do about the men that married heathen wives?
He told them to put away their wives.
9. What did Nehemiah do about the peddlers on the Sabbath?
He closed the gates so that they could not come in.
10. What can we learn from this history?
We can see the need for the coming of the Savior.
Memory verse: “So they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense.” Nehemiah 8:8
- Revision: Advanced
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)