A  Biblically Inerrant Chronology

A Chronology of the Bible:
Should the year 2000 AD Have Brought the Return of Christ?

People all around us were very excited about the approach of the new millennium, but for different reasons. Some believed it signaled the end of man's 6,000 years, and they looked forward to the return of Christ. Others believed it signaled the end of man's 6,000 years and proof that Christ is not coming, that the whole Bible is a hoax. For this latter class, it was another opportunity to say with those of old:
2 Pet. 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

The truth of the matter is that it was not necessarily either. We do not know the day nor the hour of our Lord's return. Therefore, it could have been in that year, but there was no Scriptural reason that it had to be so. The dating system which we use and which says that 2000 AD is the 6,000th year from the formation of the world was done by a man, not the Bible. He was a 17th Century Anglican Bishop named James Ussher.

As a dating system, it was done quite well. Considering the material he had available to him, it is quite remarkable. However, it is not a system based solely on the Bible; therefore, the Bible cannot be responsible for any errors in Ussher's calculations.

This article is a chronology of Bible time, and what we know about it using only the dates given in the Bible. The modern term for this exercise is called "a Biblically Inerrant approach."  It is an approach which begins with the proposition that the dates used in the Bible cannot be wrong.  If the date for the reign of Saul is said, Scripturally to be 40 years, then we use the 40 years, not any other source which might suggest a different time.   Using only the Bible's dates, we will show that Ussher's dates may be as far off as 100 years.

We wish to be very clear on one point. We are not saying that Christ's return is not for 100 years. We believe that Christ will be in the earth well before the end of the 6000 years, perhaps nearly 100 years before, meaning he may come at any time. Nor are we saying that Ussher's dates are definitely off that far. We are simply pointing out that the information given to us in the Bible allow for Ussher's dates to be off that much.

For the purpose of answering the question as to whether or not the Bible allows for time beyond the year 2000 A.D., we will take the clues given to us as, and assign the shortest period possible to those clues, to determine the longest possible time for the end of the 6,000 years of God's plan.

This chronology will show that Ussher's dates do not necessarily correspond to the dating of the Scripture, and do not require that Christ returned to the earth in 2000 AD.

In our chronology, we will rely entirely upon the Bible as our source for exact dates.  We will not altar in any way, the times given us in the Bible.  This means that a 40 year period must equal forty years.  We will note the arguments of the world's chronologists, and point out interesting coincidences where they exist, but we used none of the world's chronologists to arrive at our conclusions.

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Just a short note as regards the world's chronologies in general. Chronologies are most reliable when you have separate cultures interfacing with each other, chronicling the same events in independent histories. By comparing the same events and their place in the respective histories, a greater accuracy can be obtained. The more chronologies of the same time period you have to work with, the more accurate the chronology.

Of course, the way most cultures interfaced with each other in the ancient world, was in war. Unfortunately, in antiquity, the losers of wars were not permitted to write histories. This has resulted in huge gaps in man's written record.

Further challenging the accuracy of the world's chronology is the fact that some leaders (even leaders from the same culture) hated their predecessor, and attempted to have all references to them removed from the written record. Some of these efforts are known. For instance, in the ancient Assyrian records called "Eponyms," it is well known by comparing the Assyrian history with the Babylonian history, that early Assyrian historians completely expunged all the times when Assyria was under foreign rule, out of their records.  The Babylonian histories have made us to understand that there were gaps of which we would otherwise have no knowledge.  No one can comment as to whether or not other such gaps exist.  

Man's written record of the chronology of the world develops a very good rate of accuracy about 320 BC, when the empire of Alexander the Great had been split four ways to his four generals. These were all of Greek culture. They all used the same calendar.  They all kept written records, and they interfaced with each other in ways other than war, making political marriages and military alliances with each other.

Before that time, man's record is entirely suspect, and generally is supplied by the guesses of archeologists. For instance, prior to the 1990s, it was generally understood that the first Babylonian invasion into Israel occurred in 612 BC. With modern archeological techniques, this has been changed to 604 BC. These kinds of wide swings are not uncommon when dealing with the world's history before the Greek Empire.

Indeed, when dealing with antiquity, the world's teacher have two mainstream chronological thoughts that are as much as ten years from each other, as recently as 460 BC. The farther back into antiquity we go, the wider the gap becomes. There is yet a third line of thought developing, called the "New Chronologists" who suggest that the ancient dates are off 250 or more years.

The reason for the great gap between the New Chronologists and the mainstream teachers is a period called by the mainstream group "History's Dark Ages" from 1200 BC to 800 BC. There is very little archeological data from this age. They infer this time line, due to other archeological data they have. The "New Chronologists" deny the existence of this period being 400 years, and shorten the time greatly, depending upon the teacher.

Most of the chronologists and archeologists that are well respected by the world, believe their dates are now fairly good back as far as 640 BC. After that, they will readily agree to swings of 30 years back to 900 BC, and 300 year swings after that.

But archeologists admit that even those dates are very pooly established. For instance, the common denominator for the dates of the 700s to 1000s BC is an eclipse of the sun in the 9th year of an Assyrian King named Assur-Dan. This eclipse is recorded in the Eponyms of Assyria, a document which is thought to give an annual account of the events of Assyria for a continuous period of 261 years. Now eclipses occur with mathematical precision, and it can be determined astronomically when they have occurred in the past. By finding the date of this eclipse, it is thought that a firm date can be established to "anchor" the Assyrian list of Kings to a specific date in history, along with other events recorded in the Eponym (notably, the war between Assyria and Ahab, and the collecting of taxes from Jehu, 14 years later) which is what has been done.

The generally accepted date for this eclipse is 763 BC. There was a total eclipse of the sun in Nineveh at that date. But there were other eclipses as well. For instance, there were eclipses which would have been visible in Nineveh in 723, 751, 791, and 809 BC.

The eclipse dated at 763 would agree with the history of Israel and the fall of the 10 tribe kingdom to Assyria around 718 BC. However, it disagrees by about 55 years with the reign of Ahab and Jehu. If the eclipse is determined to be the one in 809 BC, then the dates of Ahab and Jehu agree with the Scriptures, but the dates for the fall of Israel differ by the same 55 years.

The "New Chronologists" argue that the Assyrian Eponyms, generally thought to be consecutive years by the mainstream chonologists, are not complete. They point out that the more ancient Assyrian Eponyms (such as those dated around 1400 BC) are known to have gaps such as we previously alluded, which exclude all the years in which Assyria had been conquered by a foreign power. The Babylonian archeological finds indicate years in which Nineveh was subject to Babylon, but the 1400 BC Assyrian Eponym list either never included Bablonian rulers when they dominated Nineveh, or if included, later expunged them from the Assyrian lists. That this happened is agreed to by all archeologists/chronologists.

The New Chronologists point out that there were many years in which Assyria would have been a very weak power in the 700's BC, in which Assyria would have been liable to have been conquered by a neighboring power. The New Chronologists argue this has taken place, though there is no direct archeological evidence of it ever occurring. The New Chrologists argue that some years for Nineveh being laid to tribute must be added to the list, and that the Assyrian Eponym list cannot be considered to be complete or chronological.

Mainstream chronologists mock this idea, but have not been able to show conclusively that it is wrong. In fact, very little discussion on it has taken place. Most of the efforts to fight with one another deal with shortening the chronology back in the 2000 BC era, and the chronology of Egyptian Pharoahs, and are less focused on the extending of dates in the 700 BC era.

It appears to me that both sides have some answers, according to the chronology given by the Bible. For instance, mainstream chonologists start the organized Egyptian line of kings before the Bible date for the flood. The flood, by Bible Time occurred in 2246 BC. The New Chronologists place the first Egyptian dynasty in the 2200s, quite consistent with the flood. The mainstream places it some 300 years ealrier. On the other hand, the New Chronologists deny that the Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshonk I was King Shishak who invaded Israel in the 4th of Rehoboam. The evidence seems strong that he was, only as King, not as Pharaoh as alleged by the mainstream group, and therefore at a slighly earlier date then they allow. But as I said, for the consideration of this chronology, we will not pay any attention to the dates of either school, except for pointing out relevant coincidences. All our dates will be according to the Scriptural record, rather than the dates given by man. My dates are generally about 100 years off of the main stream of thought for the date of creation. By the Exodus, they are about 60 years off. And by the end of the kings, they are falling 1 -3 years off of Man's records. Following the start of the Persian reign, they fall between two lines of main stream thought.

After we get into the more reliable periods of man's history, my chronology happens to fall between the two lines of mainstream thought.

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The Year "0"

Just to make sure it isn't ever easy, there also exists no year "0" in the archaeological dating systems.  Unlike our modern birthday keeping, the first year, or year one, is the first year of someone's life, not the completion of that year.  So if an event occurred in 1 BC, and lasted to 1 AD, this is only 1 year, though if one tried to do the math, +1 - (-1) = 2.  In  archaeology, however, it is only 1.  When crossing the O year, this must always be adjusted for.

Some individuals (usually scientists considering astronomy) use what is being called "astronomical time."  These dates are shown as negative numbers, and do include the year "0."  So as a general rule, when you see the date expressed as 604 BC, or 604 BCE, this system does not include the year "0."  But if you see the year expressed as simply -200, then it does include the year "0."

Lets use, for an example, the punishment of Israel which God promised them through their law (Lev. 17.)  Moses said Israel would be punishes seven times for their sins.    The seven times is 360 x 7 or 2,520 years.  The date for the start of this punishment, which was of course the invasion of Babylon (the head of Nebuchadnezzar's image,) would be 2520 years earlier from the year in which Israel was freed from rule by some element of Daniel's image.  That punishment ended in 1917 AD, when Israel was finally freed from captivity to the nations of Nebuchadnezzar's image (Turkey, at that time.) 

1917-2520=603+1 or 604 BC. 

Likewise, if we were to figure the matter backwards, it would be:
604 BC + 2520 years = (-604) + 2520 years = 1916 + 1 = 1917. 

But if we were to ask, how many years are there between 604 BC and 1917 AD, the answer would be"
1917 + 604 = 2521 -1 or 2520 years. 

So if you are adding or subtracting dates across the year "0," you must add a year. 
If you are calculating the amount of years between dates, one AD and the other BC, you must subtract a year.

Astronomical time requires no such adjustment.  It works just like mathematics.

FIRST PERIOD
The Period of the Patriarchs
3903 BC to 2025 BC

The chronology of the Bible can be broken up into six sections. The clearest of these is the first period, or the period of the Patriarchs. In the first few chapters of Genesis, we are given very specific dates for the birth of the fathers of the world. This can be see in the Chart of the Patriarchs.

With one slight exception, (when Arphaxad was born which only effects one year) we have a very clear and detailed chronology of the births of the Fathers for the first 1,878 years. It is at this point that the matter becomes less definite.

SECOND PERIOD
The Period of the Hebrew's Wandering

Next we come to the second period of our Chronology, which is the period between the birth of Abraham to Terah, to the Passover night when the Jews came out of Egypt.

There are three questions that must be resolved in this period, and we have no definite dates by which to go. These questions must be answered using the Scriptural clues we have been given.

1.  How Old was Terah when Abraham was Born?
 
The first perplexing question for this period is, "How old was Terah, when Abraham was born?" We are told:
Gen. 11:26-32 And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. But Sarai was barren; she had no child. And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
In the above verses, we are not told the specific age of Terah at the birth of Abraham. There is a possibility that Terah had Abraham at age 70, which is why Abraham is listed first. Others say Abraham was listed first because of his significance, not because of his age. Those who take that position point to Acts 7:2-4 and Gen.12:4-5 to argue that Abraham must have been 75 years old when Terah died, which means he was born when Terah was 130. This decision results in a 60 year difference in Chronology. Those verses say:
Gen. 12:4-5 "So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran . And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Acts 7:-42 And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.

As the purpose of this Chronology is to find the youngest period for the age of Creation, it is necessary that we choose Abraham's birth to be when Terah was 70 rather than 135.

The justification, or how we harmonize the above verses for this date is as follows. Abraham departed from Charran at age 75. (Gen. 12: 4-5) He came to the Holy Land, entered the land, received the promises, but did not stay, rather yielding to Lot and settled south of the Land of Promise, in the Land of the Philistines. After Terah had died, when Abraham was 135, he then moved into the Holy Land to reside there.

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2.  When was the covenant Confirmed to Abraham?  3.  And When was the Start of the Seed of Abraham Wandering?

The second question for this period is when do we start the 430 years of Exodus 12:41, from the covenant to Abraham, which ended on the Passover night in Egypt?
Exo. 12:40-41 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

Gal. 3:7 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
The third question is intimately related to the second question, so we must consider them together. That is, when do we start the 400 years of Abraham's seed wandering, of Acts 7:6 which states that Abraham's seed wandered as strangers for 400 years?
Acts 7:5-7 And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child. And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years. And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.

There would appear to be a correlation between these later two questions. The 430 years from the covenant to Abraham ended on the night that the Israelites came out of Egypt. Abraham's seed wandered the wilderness for 40 years after the night they came out of Egypt. The 400 year period of Acts 7:6 must therefore end 40 years after the night of the Exodus. The starting point for the two periods, then, must be 70 years apart. This is determined because the 400 year period ends 40 years after the 430 year period--40 years difference-- and is obviously 30 years shorter--30 more years difference, or 70 years total. So the 430 of Exodus 12:40 must begin 70 years before the 400 years of Acts 7:6. The earliest possible date for the start of the 400 years of Abraham's seed wandering, would be when Abraham first had his seed (Isaac) when Abraham was 100 years old in 2048.

My date, then, for the promise first made to Abraham is made by reckoning backwards from that date, a period of 70 years. Reckoning back, this would make the promise made at AM 1978. If this is the case, then the call to Abraham was first made when he was living in Ur, before having moved to Haran, and when he was 30 years old.

There are no Scriptural references to this time. That is admitted. There are however, other indications from the Scriptures that this is the correct date. This date would agree, for instance, with the fact that when God references this call to Abraham, He says He took him from the land of Ur to go to the land of Canaan (Neh. 9:7-8). And this also agrees with Moses account of the reason for leaving Ur in the first place (which is said to go from Ur to Canaan). (Gen. 11:31). If this is correct, then the call was made to Abraham while living in Ur, at the age of 30. Not when he was in Padan Aran, some 45 years later, or after having moved into the Holy Land at an even later date.

Neh 9:7-8 Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous:

Gen 11:31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
 

The age of 30 is also Scripturally significant. This would be the same age as Jesus was when he was called to his work, the same age that Joseph was called to stand before Pharaoh, and the age of David when called to take the throne as King.

Some chronologists argue that in Gal. 3:7, the account is that there were 430 years from the "confirmation" of the covenant to Abraham to the Passover night. There was another time when the covenant was said to be "confirmed" to Abraham, after he had married Hagar at age 85. These argue that the 430 years should be measured from this "confirmation" of the covenant." We would suggest that the confirmation Paul is discussing in Galatians 3:7 was the confirming of the promise that Christ had accomplished some 30 years "before" his Galatians epistle, in his crucifixion, not the confirmation that God gave Abraham after he entered into Canaan.
Gal. 3:7 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

Gen 15:17-21 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.

If the sojourning of the "seed of Abraham" cannot be reckoned before Abraham had "seed" can the "sojourning of the Children of Israel of 430 years" be started before Israel had children? I would answer, no! But the difference is this. Israel can mean the Power or Strength of God (The Mighty One). Abraham, while Grandfather of Israel, was also the son of Israel, being a son of God (Luke 3:38) and therefore included in the sojourning of the Children of Israel.

With the above in mind, the following Chart of the Hebrew's Wandering would be the Chronology for this second period.

THIRD PERIOD
The Period of the Judges
The third period is where the true problem with the Chronologies of the past have occurred. The period has been referred to as "The Gourdian Knot" by some, because they have believed it is simply not possible to determine the chronology of this period. In one important way, it is the easiest of all periods to determine. The time is very precisely stated.
1KI 6:1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.

This would seem all quite simple. They left Egypt on the Passover night, and then there were 480 years till the forth year of Solomon. The problem for chronologists is that there are other related time frames which appear nearly impossible to fit into the 480 years.

Observe the following list.
  1. The children of Israel wandered 40 years after they came out of Egypt.
  2. Joshua fought for 30 years to drive the enemies of Israel out of the land.
  3. The period of the Judges is said to have consumed 450 years. (Acts 13:17-22)
  4. Saul's reign is said to have been 40 years.   (Acts 13:21)
  5. David's reign is said to have been 40 years. (2 Sam. 5:4)
  6. The 480 ends in the 4th year of Solomon's reign. (1 Kings 6:1)

Most chronologists have ignored the 480 years period of 1 Kings 6:1 and extended this period anywhere from 580 years to 604 years. As the purpose of this chronology is to take the shortest period for this time frame, thus pushing the end of the 6000 years as far into the future as possible, we will show that the period is truly one of 480 years. But of course it is not enough to just take the 480 years as the correct time frame for the period in question. We must show that there is some reason for doing so.

The biggest conflict there is for the traditional chronologies is harmonizing the period of the Judges with the 480 years of 1 Kings. 6:1. It is easy to see the difficulties. If the reign of the Judges is 450 years, and the reign of David is 40 years, and we have 4 years till Solomon, we already have 494 years, for a period said in 1 Kings 6:1 to be only 480 years. And it gets much worse. Some time (40 years?) must be allotted for Saul's reign. And there was a time in which Samuel judged Israel which is possibly not of the 450, but certainly would be in the 480. (I believe that Samuel's reign is included in the 450 years of the Judges.) If the time of the Judges starts (as many start it) after the death of Joshua, (reasoning that by this time, the land is settled, and Israel cannot be said to be going out of Egypt any longer) it is easy to see the impossibility of making all this work out. Earlier dates (such as Passover, or the entering into the land) create even more difficulties.

This is further complicated by the chronology of the Judges itself. If all the times listed in the book of Judges are made to run in chronological order, there would be exactly 450 years accounted for in the book of Judges from the first of Othniel till the 40th of Eli. It is very tempting to say this must be the 450 years of the Judges that Stephen referred to in Acts, even though this would make the harmonizing the 480 impossible. There would still be the 20 after Eli's death till Samuel takes charge in Israel, Samuel's growing old, Saul's reign, David's reign (40 years) and the 4 years of Solomon.

So while it is tempting to consider the book of the Judges (with Eli) to be a period of 450 years, it cannot be the correct method of interpretation. For instance, there is a chronological problem in the Judges itself, that would be set up by using the dates this way.

The Judges' account has Jephthah arguing with the children of Ammon, and Jephthah asks them why, if this is their land, they haven't claimed it for the last 300 years in which Israel had controlled the cities in question. This control, Jephthah says, began when Moses defeated Balak on the way into the Holy Land. Using the common dates of the Judges, and presuming the defeat of Balak to be very near the end of the 40 years wandering (for it appears that Aaron has already died prior to the defeat of Balak, and Aaron dies in the last year, the 40th year, fifth month of the wandering) we would have Jephthah as a judge from the 396th year of the Judges, to the 402nd year. This is a period closer to 400 years, than the 300 years Jephthah is arguing for. And since Jephthah is arguing his case for longevity in the land, it would seem far more likely that he would rounded up to 400 years, than down to 300 years, if the common dating for the Judges was accurate.

Harmonizing these time frames has another problem which is the length of Saul's rule. Acts 13:21 states clearly that Saul the son of Cis reigned 40 years. Chronologists, reasoning from Josephus (a Jewish historian), say Saul only reigned from 7 - 13 years but Acts is pretty clear to the contrary. Further, to accept the short reign of Saul sets up major conflicts with the life of others. Certain problems would be found in David's life, who is called a stripling when he fought Goliath, but is 30 years old at the death of Saul. If Saul's reign was only 7 years, and Saul reigned two years before his rebellion, then David must be at least 25 when fighting Goliath, not a stripling in any historical period. Further, when the people began to complain that Samuel was old and not able to judge anymore, and his children were not righteous, and therefore they needed a King, Samuel would only be 45 years old. And, at the end of Saul's reign when Samuel is referred to as an aged man, he would only be 52.

While we suppose all of that is possible, it seems too far of a stretch. David could have appeared young for his age, and Samuel could have appeared very old at a relatively young age. And Samuel could have had sons old enough for the priesthood (30) when he was only 45. And there may be some alternative reading for 1 Kings 6:1 and Acts 13:21 that I can't find that justifies other conclusions. But it does appear to be too many difficulties.

We will take a completely different tact for the solving of the "Gordian Knot". Some chronologists have observed that the judgeship of Samson was coexistent with the 40 years of the Philistines persecution. I suggest that in fact, all judgeships were coexistent with their respected enemies, and that the period allotted to persecutors should not be reckoned in the Judges Chronology. This method comes up lacking, because then there are not enough years of judges, but only 299 years accounted for. It appears to me that this is due to the starting point from the first judge.

It is reckoned that the period of the Judges must start after Joshua. This is not the case. The book of Judges truly starts after Joshua, but who was the first judge?  When did the system of Judges as established by God, begin?  The Acts 13 account simply says that God gave them judges after Joshua, not that the first judge came after Joshua. And it says only that the period of the Judges was 450 years, not the period after Joshua was 450 years.

With all this taken into consideration, the question becomes, who is the first Judge, and when did he begin? Acts 7:27 gives us the answer. The Israelite who wronged his brother, asked Moses, who made thee a ruler and a judge over us. Stephen says it was God who had made Moses a Ruler and a deliverer. Moses was the first judge of Israel, and his judgeship began at age 40, when he tried to judge Israel but was rejected by Israel, (though not by God). This then, began the 450 years of the judging of Israel.

Having now fixed the starting point of the Judges at Moses' first showing himself to Israel, or 40 years before the Exodus, we go on through the period of the Judges with Moses judging 80 years, Joshua 30 years, and all the period of the Judges adding up to 299 years. As stated in our previous notes, we only count the years in which a Judge judged Israel, excluding all the years recorded as years of captivity. This brings us to 409 years to the start of Samuel's judgeship, when he is 39 years old.

(When we say we exclude the years of captivity, we are not excluding years, but including them in the reigns of the various judges.) 

There is one point to be clear on in this. Our chronology allows no time for the judgeship of Eli. Eli's judgeship was not as the civil judge, but as the High Priest. Therefore, he was judging Israel as the High Priest during the civil judgeship of Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and Samson. I believe that the invasion of the Philistines described in 1 Sam. 4 was sparked by the Philistines victory over Samson. The death of the judge Samson gave the Philistines the confidence to come up against Israel, and that these two events happen simultaneously.

Upon the death of Samson and Eli, Samuel will judge Israel for 40 years, till he is 69, to complete the "about 450 years" of judges, actually 449 years. Since we begin the 450 year period of the Judges 40 years before Israel's coming out of the land of Egypt, we are only 410 years into the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1. This leaves 70 years in which to accomplish the 4 years of Solomon's reign, 40 years of David's reign, and 40 years of Saul's reign. This is 84 years, which must somehow be squeezed into 70 years, and this brings us directly to the reign of Saul.

SAUL: Some chronologists believe that Josephus' short period for Saul's reign is supported by the time considerations of the Ark. Some conclude that reign of Saul depends upon the length of time the Ark abode in Kirjath-jearim. They read 1 Sam 7:2 to mean that the complete time that the Ark was there, was 20 years. This would mean that the judgeship of Samuel and the reign of Saul were both concluded within the 20 years period that the Ark abode at Kirjath-jearim. Again, this makes harmonizing Paul's words in Acts (that Saul reigned 40 years) impossible. It seems that the proper understanding would be that after the Ark had been there 20 years, Samuel (having already judged Israel 20 years) led the rebellion.

Consider why the period of the Ark in Kirjath-jearim must have been more than 20 years. Samuel could not be born till the 2nd of Eli, and the history of Josephus would indicate that this is the correct time. Josephus says that Samuel was 12 years old when God first appeared to him, which was in the 13th of Eli. Eli judged (as High Priest) 40 years, making Samuel 39 at Eli's death. The Ark was brought from Kirjath-jearim in the 8th of David. If this is only 20 years, then Samuel would be 59. Now Samuel died before David became King, which means Samuel would have had to been already dead for 9 years at this point. For this to be true, Samuel had to die as an old man, at age 50-51. (He would be 39 when he became the Judge. 20 years later would be the 8th of David, when he would have been 59. But he dies before David is king, or 9 years previous at 51.) If Samuel immediately anointed Saul king upon the death of Eli, then Samuel would only have been 39: if five years later, as suggested by some chronologists, then Samuel would have been 44. But the Scriptures are clear that they wanted a king because Samuel was too old, and his son's were corrupt. This all appears too young.

The proper explanation seems to be that after the Ark had resided in Kirjath-jearim, for 20 years, Samuel led a rebellion against the Philistines, as Israel's Judge. During this judgeship, and as he grew old, the rebellion against his son's occurred. During his judgeship, Samuel anointed Saul King, but Israel did not immediately recognize Saul as king. This did not occur until a later Philistine invasion, in which Saul called Israel to arms and delivered Israel from the Philistines. Saul and Samuel therefore, reigned jointly for a period of time. We can tell the period of time by working backward. The 480th year was the 4th of Solomon. We subtract 4 years for Solomon's reign, 40 years for David's and 40 years for Saul. This is 94 years, it means that the beginning of Saul was 14 years before the end of the 450 years of the Judges. Saul and Samuel, then, reigned jointly for 14 years until Samuel was 79.

When Saul was anointed, we are told that certain men rejected him, but Saul held his peace. Saul didn't exercise his authority until the Philistines came up against the land. Saul is then king alone, and Samuel withdraws. Saul's reign, then, consists of 14 years of a joint reign with Samuel, two righteous years as the sole king, followed by 24 unrighteous years, during which he begins the conflict with David. After his 40 year reign (only 26 of which he reigns solely), David comes to the throne.

The 450 years of judges then, begins when God made Moses a "judge and a divider" over Israel, 40 years before the Exodus. The 480 years from the Exodus, then, ends 70 years after the end of the 450 years of judges. That 70 years is made up of 26-27 years of Saul's sole reign, 40 years of David's reign, to the 4th of Solomon.

If the 480 years of 1 Kings is ignored, similar difficulties with the age of Samuel occur with the age of David. David becomes king at age 30. If Saul reigned but 7 years, then, David was anointed king by Samuel at an age after 23, even though he is referred to as a youth, and fought Goliath sometime after that when called “a stripling”. But most chronologists feel David was anointed King by Samuel at age 12, and fought Goliath at age 17. All of this harmonizes with the 40 years reign of Saul, but becomes difficult with a 7 - 12 year reign.

To see how this all flows chronologically, please refer to Chart of the Judges .

THE FOURTH PERIOD
The Period of the Kings

The fourth period is the period of the Kings of Israel. One can pick up any chronology and find the difficulty in resolving this period. Trying to match the Kings of Judah with the Kings of Israel leaves many questions unanswered. For the resolution of this problem, chronologists are indebted to the work of John Thomas. He is the only chronologist I have seen to unlocked the mystery of this period.

The key to resolving the chronology is in the prophesy of Ezekiel. Ezekiel wrote:
EZE 4:1-8 Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel. Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year. Therefore thou shalt set thy face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and thine arm shall be uncovered, and thou shalt prophesy against it. And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege.

Ezekiel is taken in the second invasion by Babylon, prior to the destruction of the city. The prophesy he is given is the length of time that will be involved until the city is destroyed. The question becomes, what do these lengths of times mean?

The total time involved is 390 days for Israel, and 40 days for Judah or 430 days. The principle is clearly stated as a day for a year. "I have appointed thee each day for a year." The answer becomes clear looking at the chronology of the kings of Judah. By running only the chronology of the Kings of Judah, and ignoring the dates given for the kings of Israel, there are 430 years from the 4th of Solomon, when the foundation of the Temple was laid, (ending the 480 years of the third period,) to the 11th of Zedekiah, the destruction of the temple, and the end of the period of the kings.

What is to be made of the difference of 40 years. Reckoning the period from the fourth of Solomon, we find that Solomon reigned 40 years. That would be 36 years of the first period. We are further told that Solomon's son, Rehoboam followed God's word for three years, but in the fifth year, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Judah because of their rebellion. The forty years on the right side, would be the last thirty six year of Solomon's reign, and the first four years of Rehoboam's reign in which they walked in the ways of the Lord, followed by the 390 years of rebellion.
2CH 11:17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.
2CH 12:2 And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD,...

What then do we make of the chronicles of the Kings of Israel? The answer is simple. There were different ways of marking time: One way was by the annual years. The other way was in actual length of time in which a person reigned.

To simplify, using our current calendar, if a king began to reign on December 15th, 1990, and died on January 5th, 1992, how long did he reign? Using the annual method, he reigned two years, in that he was in power on two New Year's day. But if we consider the time he actually reigned, it was only one year.

It is apparent that the kings of Judah are reckoned according to the calendar years, and the kings of Israel according to the length of time they actually reigned. Click here for a Chart of the Kings .

THE FIFTH PERIOD
The Period of the Diaspora

A Jewish friend of mine told me that when he was young, he once asked his mother, "I know we are God's chosen people. But just exactly what is it that we are chosen to do?" This question was asked half in jest, and half seriously, recognizing the suffering of the Jewish people for the past 2,600 years. She answered him, "We have been chosen by God to suffer for the sins of the world."

This is a common Jewish answer, but one that could not be farther from the truth. The Jews were called to be God's chosen people, and they yet will be. But the calling had conditions attached to it. If they behaved in a certain way, God would bless them. If they rebelled against divine principles, then God would curse them. The persecutions of the past 2,600 years have been the direct result of their disobedience. But more important to our discussion, the times of this persecution is an important factor in determining the age of the world.

God told Israel:
LEV 26:27-28 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.

A time is a specific prophetic measurement. It is the period of one Jewish year, or 360 days. The 360 day year is where the 360 degrees in our circle comes from, for those familiar with geometry. It is 12 periods of 30 days each. The Jewish year was 12--30 day months or 360 days.

Of course each year actually has 365.25 days. The difference in each year was made up with a second 12th month from time to time. The first day of the first month was the first new moon after the sun had crossed the vernal equinox. We would call it the first new moon of spring. If they counted 12 months, but the sun had not crossed the vernal equinox by the next new moon, they had a second twelfth month, and their calendar self corrected.

Leviticus says that the Jewish people were to be punished seven times for their sins. This means that they were to be punished 7 times 360, or 2,520 days for their sins. On the prophetic principle of a day for a year which we saw in Ezekiel, the Jews were to be punished for 2,520 years. They are not suffering for the sins of the world, as they flatter themselves. They are suffering for their own disobedience, and for which God brought the nations raging against them.

It is by using this prophesy that we can tie our current calendar into the ancient calendar. The ending date for the 2,520 appears fairly clear. We have two possible ending dates for the end of the Jewish persecution. They are November, 1917, when the British drove the Turks out of the Holy Land, or November 1947 when the United Nations declared Israel a nation. The 1947 date would result in the Diaspora (the dispersion of the Jews after the Babylonian exile) beginning in 573 BC, which is a date of no import relating to Israel and Jerusalem. The 1917 date, however, takes us back to 603 BC, and is within one year of the date given by Encyclopedia Britannica (the winter of 604 BC) for the first invasion of Babylon.

603 BC equates to 3299 AM. Adding 2520 years to this tells us that 1917 AD. was actually the 5,819th year since creation. To get a little bit ahead of ourselves, it is not necessary for the 6,000th year of God's plan to end in Y2K, or 2000 AD, but rather 181 years from 1917, or 2098 AD, 98 years from now.

That does not mean there are 98 years till the return of Christ. Students of Bible Prophesy know and understand that before the 6,000th year arrives, the Millennial Rule of Christ will already have begun. There are many events which must take place before the Millennial Rule of Christ can begin, such as will be discussed in the final period, period six. For a chronology of the Diaspora, please go to Chart of the Diaspora.

SIXTH PERIOD

The sixth period makes up the years after 1917 through 2098. The purpose of this chronology was to demonstrate that the year 2000 is not necessarily the end of the 6000 year plan God has set out for the earth. Having shown that the Bible itself allows for at least 98 more years, in this last section, we will look at events which must take place before the Return of Christ, and within the 6,000 years that God has allotted to man.

The events for the sixth period are some in the past, and some yet future. Of those events which must yet take place, we start with the return of Christ to the earth, and the judgment of the dead and living. We are not told how long an event this will be, but it will take some time.

After Jesus is standing on Mt Zion in Jerusalem, a proclamation is made to the world to submit to the divine rule of Christ. Revelations calls this a proclamation into the midst of heaven. How long the world is given to heed this call is not specified, but again, a reasonable time must be given it.

Next comes a period of time that is specified; the war with the Beast (Catholic Europe) which will last for 30 years. This war ends with Christ in control of the whole earth. The period of 30 years falls within a more general period of 40 years prophesied by Micah.

Finally, the war must end before the end of the 6,000 years of man's rule. This is because Christ will rule in peace for 1000 years. But after his 1,000 years reign, there is a rebellion by some who rejected his millennial rule. This "little season" must occur before the start of the 8,000th year. Therefore, the start of Christ's 1000 years reign must actually predate the end of the 6000 years.

As I say, we only know the time period for one of these events. However, we may look at some types. For instance, Noah was 7 days in the Ark. Would that indicate that we will be shut up with Christ on Mt. Zion for 7 years before the judgments begin to pour out on the world? And after the judgment, will the Saints pour out their judgments on the world for 40 days, or 40 years? Or if not, will Christ and the Saints take 30 years to conquer the land as did Joshua?

Micah speaks of 40 terrible years of judgments. If that includes the 30 years war with the beast, does that leave 10 more years for proclaiming the truth to the world before the judgment on the Catholic Nations begins? Or, will everything be done in terms of Jubilees, or 50 year periods?

We don't know. What we do know is that God allows the nations to work in such a manner that everything appears quite natural to the scoffer, but very guided and deliberate to those looking at what He has written. Therefore, it would seem that the Scriptures allow for Christ's return to be as little as 40 years before the end of the 6,000 years, to as much as 100 years before.

For a detailed examination of the events for the time of the end, and my best guess for how long all of this will take, please see the article entitled The March of the Rainbowed Angel."

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