There are hundreds of people in the Bible specifically named, and thousands that are unnamed or ‘anonymous.’ For the purpose of this article, sixteen (16) names have been selected. In Part I we saw Adam, Enoch, Noah, Job, Abraham, Jacob, Moses and Samuel. In this section we will see four more from the Old Testament and add four from the New Testament.
The 16 Most Important People continued:
The prophet Ezekiel said, “the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘…if a country sins against Me by trespassing, committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it to cut off its food and… kill its people… though Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness (Ezek. 14:12-14).”
“Now the Lord said to the prophet Samuel, “’…Fill your horn with oil and go to Jesse of Bethlehem; for I have provided Myself a king… (1 Sam. 16:1-);’ he was ‘David their (Israel’s) king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after My own heart; he will do everything I want him to do (Acts 13:22)’.”
Concerning the birth of Jesus… “This fulfilled what the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah, ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and His name will be Immanuel – ‘God with us (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23)’.”
Matthew and Luke recorded, “Jesus took… Peter, James and John …up on a high mountain and (as He was praying) He was transfigured before them… and behold Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him (Matt. 17:1-3; Luke 9:30).”
“…The Lord said, ‘…this man (Saul – Paul) is My chosen instrument to proclaim My name to the Gentiles’ (Acts 9:15).”
James, the brother of our Lord Jesus (Matt. 13:55; Gal. 1:19); and head of the first recorded Christian Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) was according to Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, XX.9) martyred about 62 AD.
Kingdom of Israel;
|Age at Death:
|Time: sources vary:
c.1040BC – c.970BC
c. 900BC – c.830BC
|More traditional Jewish sources follow the Toldot Am Olam and an earlier date; while more modern Jewish sources such as the Jewish Virtual Library follow an older date. Ussher’s Chronology assumes the older date as well.|
David was the youngest son of Jesse, a descendant of Judah, son of Jacob (Israel). David was about 33 generations from Adam (Luke chapter 3; virgin Mary’s linage through Judah); according to Matthew’s gospel: “the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham (meaning of their linage): Abraham (the 20th generation) was the father of Isaac… the father of Jacob (Israel)… the father of Judah (23rd generation)… the father of Perez… Hezron… Amminadab… Nahshon… Salmon… Boaz (who too Ruth for his wife)… the father of Jesse (of whom Isaiah prophesied; Isa. 11:1)… the father of King David… thus, there were 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the exile of Babylon, and 14 from the exile to the Messiah (33rd generation; Matthew chapter 1; 31 in Matthew by Joseph, but 33 by Mary’s linage).”
David was the only King ‘chosen’ by God for Israel, Who told His prophet Samuel to anoint him. It was David as a young man who defeated Goliath, who was a Shepherd and a Psalmist and declared ‘the Anointed, Son’ of God (Psa. 2:2, 12); and David who called ‘HaShem Adonai Elohim (the name of Lord God)’ by meaning descriptions: Jehovah Tsur (Lord my Rock – 2 Sam. 22:3); Jehovah Rohi (Lord my Shepherd – Psa. 23:1); Jehovah Hoseenu (Lord our Maker – Psa. 95:6). David was the second king of Israel, after Saul.
Because of all the blood that David shed he was not allowed the build the Temple, but prepare things so his son Solomon could. Because David knew how to seek after God, worship the Lord God, repent, believe the Lord with great faith; love, believe and obey the Lord and His Holy Scriptures and Laws, David was called ‘a man after God’s own heart.’
|Ages: (like Enoch)
9th Century BC
|Elijah (Eliyahu – Hebrew) means, ‘My God is Jah (see Psa. 68:4; 147:1);’ by His name ‘Jah (Yah)’ – short form of Yahweh; Lord. Elijah was taken ‘up by a whirlwind into heaven (2Kings 2:11)’ where with Enoch ‘the two witnesses (Rev. 11:3)’ await their time to come.|
The prophet Elijah the Tishbite took on the prophets of Baal who were destroyed by fire in the challenge (1 Kings 18). He appeared with Moses talking with Jesus before the disciples (Mark 9:4). John the Baptist was considered a type of Elijah (Mark 9:13; Mal. 4:5). Some thought that Jesus was Elijah come back to earth (John 1:21). Elijah was fearless; and a rebuke of kings. He also performed miracles (I Kings 19:8).
In the not so far off future the Antichrist will come and for 42 months persecute the Church; likewise Elijah and Enoch will testified for ‘1260 days in humble clothing (42 months or 3 ½ years)77;’ they will have the power to stop the rain or call down fire from heaven.
‘Yah is Salvation’
likely > 80 at death
8th Century BC
|Isaiah lived until the 14th year of Israel’s King Hezekiah’s reign (c. 698 BC).|
Isaiah, the son of Amoz, was a prophet of God to kings, Israel and to people today. Isaiah was with Hezekiah when an angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians (2Kings19). The apostle John and others told of how ‘Isaiah …spoke about Jesus (John 12:41).’ More than any other prophet, Isaiah prophesied about Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Son of God and Sacrifice for the sin of mankind.
Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be ‘born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:22);’ that he would be called Immanuel and a Nazarene (Isa. 11:1); and that a messenger (John the Baptist) would ‘prepare the way’ for the coming of the Messiah (Isa. 40:3; Luke 3:3); that the Jews would reject their Messiah (Isa. 53:3; John 7:5); that Jesus would speak with parables (Isa. 6:9); and that He would be a light to Galilee (Isa. 9:1).
More than any prophet, about 700 years before the coming of Jesus, Isaiah foretold of Jesus’ suffering, death and sacrifice for all. Isaiah said Jesus would be ‘silent before His accusers (Isa. 53:7; Mark 15:4);’ that He would be ‘spat upon and beaten (Isa. 50:6; Matt. 26:67);’ that the Messiah would suffer ‘death with criminals (Isa. 53:12; Matt. 27:38);’ that some would ‘divide the spoils’ He had (Isa. 53:12; Luke 23:34); that the Messiah would be buried with the rich (Isa. 53:9; Matt. 27:57); and of course that Jesus the Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin – “for He was took up our pain, bore our suffering… was pierced for our sins and transgressions, crushed for our iniquities… by His wounds we are healed… He was led like a lamb to the slaughter… He bore the sin of many and made intercession for sinners (Isa.53:5-12).”
Like Christ and also of the prophets and apostles, Isaiah called sinners to repentance, “Come now and let us reason together… though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow… if you are willing and obedient… but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured… (Isa. 1:18-20).”
‘God is my judge’
Israel and Babylon
> 80 at death
c. 620 – 538 BC
|Daniel was about 15 years old when taken in Babylonia exile with the Jews of Israel. He spent about 70 years in captivity and was over 80 at death.|
After Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, took the Israelites into exile; Daniel interpreted certain dreams of the king, when his sages could not. The king recognized Daniel’s wisdom and “the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many gifts and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief of the governors… (Dan. 2:48);” this was in the same manner that Joseph before a prince or Vice Roy of Egypt to the Pharaoh.
The king’s sages and governor became jealous and sought to have Daniel killed. The Lord saved Daniel in the Lion’s den when he would not bow to any other god except the God of Abraham and Israel. Daniel is one of the greatest examples of obedience to God; of a prayer warrior, one who fast and trust in God, and would knelt before God morning, noon and evening.
Daniel told us about archangels and arch devils and battles in the heavenly realms over earth. And he told us about the Great Tribulation, the Book of Life and the judgment at the end of the world, “There will be a time of distress as never before from the beginning of nations… Everyone whose name is found written in the book (of Life – Rev. 20) will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth (dead) will awake (arise): some to everlasting life, other to everlasting shame… (Dan. 12:1-2).”
Daniel also prophesied of the coming Messiah (Dan. 9:25-), Jesus Christ and of times to come. He foretold of the kingdoms of Babylon, Persia, the Greeks and the Romans. He prophesied of the coming Antichrist and how he would defile the Temple before the return of Christ.
|Ages: likely martyred about 60s||Time:
c. 1 AD to c.65 AD
|Peter is considered the first Bishop of Rome (Pope), yet he had a wife and children (1Cor. 9:5). It was Peter in Acts that first answer what we must do to be saved.|
Peter was one of the first chosen of the 12 disciples of Jesus. He performed miracles, walked on walk and later raised the dead. He denied Christ to save his life about 29 AD, but about 35 years later was killed in Rome for his confession and Christianity. And this was foretold by Christ (John 21:18).
Peter was one of the few apostles that left us both history and instructions through two letters that have survived. Peter was an evangelist to the Jews primarily; and Paul as primarily sent to the Gentiles. Peter was among the Christian Jerusalem Council (Acts chapter 15).
about 60 at death
c.1 AD – c. 62
|James the Righteous was a chief leader of the First Century Christian church.|
James makes the list ahead of other very significant people in the bible because he was the Lord’s half-brother, a son of Mary and Joseph; and was respected by all the apostles to the point that he was consider the leader of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). According to the first century historian Josephus, James was stoned to death as a martyr; Clement (a disciple of Paul) says he was thrown from the temple roof and beaten to death. And second century Hegesippus says James was thrown from the “temple… stoned and beaten, for he was not killed by the fall.”
The fourth century bishop and historian Eusebius wrote of James saying, “There was James… brother of the Lord. James… whom the early Christians surnamed the Righteous because of his outstanding virtue, was the first to be elected to the episcopal (bishop) throne of the Jerusalem church …Clement puts it thus, ‘Peter, James and John, after the Ascension of the Savior… chose James the Righteous as Bishop of Jerusalem… James the Righteous, John and Peter were entrusted by the Lord after His resurrection…” (At that time, Paul was not a Christian)
Second century Hegesippus said, “Control of the Church passed to the apostles, together with the Lord’s brother James, whom everyone from the Lord’s time till our own has called the Righteous, for there were many James, but this one was holy from his birth; he drank no wine or intoxicating liquor and ate no animal food; no razor touched his head… He alone was permitted to enter the Holy Place… he was often found on his knees praying for the people…”
Saul of Tarsus
|Location: Judea &
Martyr about 60
c.1 – c.64 AD
|Paul was most likely martyr the year after Nero cause Rome to burn. Of the 27 New Testament books (letters or epistles), Paul wrote 13. Many say he was killed in the Roman Colosseum.|
Paul wrote to the Christian church more than any other apostle and much of the Acts of the Apostles tell of his travels, preaching, sufferings and doctrine. Paul prophesied and performed miracles. Before being tried, taken and martyred in Rome, he was beaten and nearly killed many times.
Paul was taught by one of the most famous Jewish Rabbis – Gamaliel (Acts 5:34; 22:3). Paul was one of the most brilliant intellectuals that have ever lived. He reasoned with the Jews and the Greeks and the Gentiles. He left us more than any other apostle – great instructions, insights and truths. He foretells of the coming Antichrist and of course of the Lord. He speaks on the consequences of sin leading to an eternal judgment more than perhaps anyone besides Jesus.
Paul was called by Jesus Christ Himself while Paul was on a horse traveling to Damascus, Syria. The heavens opened and he saw a vision of Jesus and spoke with Him (Acts 9). Paul said to the Romans that he was made an apostle because of his ‘obedience to the faith;’ and he said he was on trial because of ‘the resurrection from the dead (Acts 24:21)’ which he, Jesus and all the prophets and apostles taught.
Son of Zebedee
Province of Rome
Some say 90s
c. 10 – c. 68 or 98
|Through many say John live into his 90s, it is strange he did not and would have not written about the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem.|
John was called by Jesus early in His ministry and John was called the ‘beloved’ disciple or ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 21:20).’ He and his brother James were called the ‘sons of thunder.’ Peter, James and John often were the only ones taken aside and talked to by Jesus.
John wrote one of the FOUR GOSPELS of Jesus in the New Testament, as well as three (3) other letters and the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ, which details things to come. John gave many instructions and taught us many Christian doctrines.
One of the most famous verses comes from John; verse 3:16 in his Gospel. However, all three of his 3:16 verses are very important:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16).”
“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth (Rev. 3:16, to the church of Laodicea; and anyone that follows their path.).”