The history of Christianity is remarkably similar to the history of the Israelite people. In the history of the Israelite people we can see the prototypes of Christian history. Let us briefly recall the history of the Israelite people as set forth in the pages of the Bible.
In ancient times, God chose a man from among the pagans, to whom he called the name of Abraham. Abraham did not believe in dead idols; in his heart was born a belief in the one living God – the Creator of heaven and earth. God raised Abraham in faith, through all the circumstances of his life, teaching him blessed lessons.
Abraham’s son Isaac also lived by faith in one God. Isaac’s son Jacob followed the paths of his father and grandfather. The Lord renamed Jacob, giving him the name Israel. Israel had twelve sons, who became the ancestors of the Israelite (Jewish) people. In the pages of the Bible we have before us the history of the Israelite people, who were a special people on earth. All the other Nations were pagans, that is, idolaters; only among the Israelites lived the faith in one God. From among this people, God brought forth his prophets.
The people of Israel were settled by God in the land of Canaan, later renamed Palestine. In its geographical position it was convenient for the purpose that divine prophecies flowed from it to the nearest countries. The Jewish people have always been inclined to trade. While establishing trade relations with neighboring Nations, the Jews were at the same time missionaries of their faith in the one God.
All the prophets raised up by God from among the Israelites prophesied of the coming Messiah. The word “Messiah” in Hebrew means “Anointed”, it corresponds to the ancient Greek word “Christ”, which also means “Anointed”, that is, the anointed of God, anointed by the Spirit of God.
Prophecies about Christ and his atoning sacrifice run like a red thread through the Bible. All the sacrifices that were made first in the tabernacle at Shiloh, and then in the temple of Jerusalem, built by king Solomon, spoke in type of the coming atoning sacrifice of Christ, and many Israelites lived by faith in this atoning sacrifice. The Israelites were to preach to other Nations about the coming Redeemer. This was their mission, entrusted to them by God.
Looking at the history of the Israeli people, we see that this people very often was not at the height of their position. Instead of testifying to other Nations about the one living God, the Israelites themselves often adopted pagan customs from neighboring Nations and fell into idolatry. In such cases, God allowed the Israelites to suffer severe trials, subjecting them to the invasion of foreigners. For example, we read in the Bible: “the Children of Israel continued to do evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baal and Astarte, and the gods of Aramaic, and the gods of Sidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the Philistines, and the Lord left and did not serve Him. And the wrath of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the Ammonites. They have oppressed and tormented the children of Israel since that year for eighteen years.” 10: 6-8); “the Children of Israel continued to do evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.” 13,1).
And in these dark periods of the history of the Israelite people, God raised up prophets who rebuked the people and called them to return to the path of worship of the true and living God. Remember the reign of king Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel, who destroyed the true prophets of the Lord. The great prophet Elijah in those days raised his voice against idolatry. He thought he was alone in his struggle, but it turned out that besides him there were seven thousand people in Israel who had not bowed their knees before Baal. In all the centuries of pre-Christian history of the Israelites, there were such devoted souls who remained faithful to the Lord, despite the atmosphere of universal depravity that reigned around them.