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Chapter 2: Basic Bible Chronology

Chapter 2
Basic Bible Chronology

 

God has given us a revelation of timing. It is not just a boring study of chronology. It is a study of the laws of time by which God judges nations—and individuals. Others before me have discerned long-term cycles in the patterns of history, and I have seen those same cycles manifest in short-term cycles in my own life. A basic knowledge of these cycles has explained many events in my life, some good, some bad, but all to the glory of God.

There are many truths to be discovered and lessons to be learned when you understand how God has dealt with nations in history. Nations have always risen and fallen by the judgments of God, but most Christians see this only in a general principle, if they recognize it at all. Unless you see the timing of the fall of a nation, the hand of God remains largely hidden.

It is said that a coincidence is when God does something and chooses to remain anonymous. The biblical way of putting it is found in Proverbs 25:2,

2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; but the honor of kings to search out a matter.

In other words, God hides His influence in human affairs, and therefore few understand that the fall of a nation is the direct result of God’s decree of judgment. But this verse also implies that God will reveal His hand and show His ways to the one who searches with his whole heart. You must, of course, desire to know Him more than anything. It must be top priority in your life, and you must be willing to give up all else and endure the pain of forsaking friends and fellow Christians. If the discovery of His ways is worth that price to you, then the possibility of such divine revelation exists.

But before we can understand the laws of time, we must first do a basic chronological study. Unfortunately, this will be the least exciting part of our study, but it is necessary to prove that the dates we will be using are biblically accurate. So if you will bear with me, we will begin.

From Adam to Noah

The basis of all biblical chronology is Genesis 5, one of those “begat” chapters that few people find important. There is, of course, a running debate as to which biblical text to use: the Hebrew Masoretic or the Greek Septuagint. The Septuagint, begun about 280 B.C., was an official Greek translation of the Hebrew text. Unfortunately, the chronology found in Genesis 5 differs. The Greek text generally adds 100 years to the life of each patriarch before the birth of his son. For instance, the Hebrew text tells us that Adam was 130 when Seth was born; but the Greek text tells us that Adam was 230. This adds up to about 1500 years’ difference in the chronologies.

We cannot get into the differences between the Greek and the Hebrew texts of Genesis. Both sides have evidence to prove their cases. The advocates of the Hebrew insist that the Greek translators added extra years to compete with the long (and often outrageous) chronologies of the Egyptian dynasties, designed to make people think they were the original civilization. The advocates of the Greek say that the Rabbis shortened the Hebrew to serve their own purposes. But this is a debate for others. All I know is that the Hebrew works for me, while the Greek does not. I attempted to work with the chronology of the Septuagint at first, but found that it led nowhere, while the Hebrew revealed some very amazing features about the laws of time. So we will use the Hebrew text, as most Bibles are based upon it, including the King James Version.

We read in Genesis 5:3 that Adam was 130 years old when he begat Seth. Since Adam was unfamiliar with our Gregorian calendar, he did not date things “B.C.” (Before Christ). All things were simply dated according to the creation of Adam. Thus, we say that Seth was born in the year 130, or 130 years from Adam. We will use this biblical calendar until the point where the dates intersect with later historical events that can be correlated with our modern calendar.

If we continue reading in Genesis 5:6, we find that Seth had a son named Enos, who was born when Seth was 105 years old. That means Enos was born in the year 235 from Adam, since 130 plus 105 is 235. Here is a simplified chart from Adam to Noah:

Patriarch

Age

Offspring

Year

Adam was 130  when Seth was born in the year 130
Seth was 105  when Enos was born in the year 235
Enos was 90  when Cainan was born in the year 325
Cainan was 70  when Mahalaleel was born in the year 395
Mahalaleel was 65  when Jared was born in the year 460
Jared was 162  when Enoch was born in the year 622
Enoch was 65  when Methuselah was born in the year 687
Methuselah was 187  when Lamech was born in the year 874
Lamech was 182  when Noah was born in the year 1056

 

We conclude, then, that Noah was born 1056 years after the creation of Adam, according to biblical reckoning. We read also in Genesis 7:11,

11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life… were all the foundations of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

In other words, the Flood occurred in the year 1656, when Noah was 600 years old.

Note also the life of Methuselah, who has the distinction of living the longest life on record: 969 years (Gen. 5:27). As we saw above, he was born in the year 687. This means he would have died in the year 1656—the year of the Flood.

He did not die in the Flood, however. We know this from the prophecy of his name. His name means “when he is dead, it shall be sent.” It is a prophecy of the Flood. The revelation of the Flood was no doubt given to his father Enoch who named him. It was to be a witness that when Methuselah died, the Flood would come upon the earth. And so it did. Thus, Methuselah must have died just before the Flood.

Incidentally, this also supports the chronology of the Hebrew text. By the Greek text, Methuselah would have died 14 years after the Flood, for it tells us that Methuselah was 167 when his son Lamech was born, and Lamech was 188 when Noah was born, and Noah was 600 when the Flood came. Adding these together, we get 955 years from the birth of Methuselah to the Flood. Yet the Greek text agrees with the Hebrew text in saying that Methuselah lived 969 years. Thus, the Flood would have come 14 years before his death, and the prophetic name that Enoch gave him becomes meaningless. Thus, the name of Methuselah itself provides us with an internal witness that supports the Hebrew version of Genesis.

Furthermore, if Methuselah did not die until 14 years after the Flood, then he must have been on the Ark with Noah. However, this is not possible, since there were only “eight souls” (1 Peter 3:20) aboard. Noah and his three sons, with all of their wives, total precisely eight.

The Transition from Noah to Shem

The chronological record in the Bible is not very precise when we attempt to figure out how old Noah was when Shem was born. Genesis 5:32 says,

32 And Noah was five hundred years old; and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

The problem is, were these sons triplets born in the same year? Probably not. Ham and Japheth do not carry the genealogy of the birthright (leading to Christ), so the Bible does not concern itself with their chronology. But we must ascertain when Shem was born, because the genealogical calendar is carried through his lineage down to Abraham and to Israel.

Japheth is said to be the elder (Gen. 10:21). This means Shem was born at least a year or two later. The only way we can figure his birth date precisely is to go to Shem’s son and then figure in reverse. Genesis 11:10 reads,

10 These are the generations of Shem: Shem was an hundred years old, and begat Arphaxad two years after the Flood.

If the Flood occurred in the year 1656, as we have seen, then Arphaxad would have been born two years later in the year 1658. The verse above tells us that Shem was 100 when Arphaxad was born. Therefore, Shem had to have been born in the year 1558, which was 98 years before the Flood. So Noah was 502 years old when Shem was born (1056 + 502 = 1558).

From Shem to Israel’s Sojourn in Egypt

The dates in our next “begat” chapter, Genesis 11, are summarized in the following chart: 

Patriarch

Age

Offspring

Year

Noah was

502  when

Shem was born in the year

1558

Shem was

100  when

Arphaxad was born in the year

1658

Arphaxad was

35  when

Salah was born in the year

1693

Salah was

30  when

Eber was born in the year

1723

Eber was

34  when

Peleg was born in the year

1757

Peleg was

30  when

Reu was born in the year

1787

Reu was

32  when

Serug was born in the year

1819

Serug was

30  when

Nahor was born in the year

1849

Nahor was

29  when

Terah was born in the year

1878

Terah was

70  when

Abram was born in the year

1948

 

According to the genealogical chronology of Genesis 11, Terah was born 1878 years from Adam’s creation. But here again we run into a snag that has caused chronologists to differ. Genesis 11:26 says, And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.” As in the case of Noah’s three sons, it is doubtful that Terah had triplets all in the same year. And so we are left with an imprecise record. Which of the sons was born when Terah was 70? Who was born first? And most importantly, when was Abram born? He is the one who carries the genealogical record.

For now, I will have to ask you to indulge me when I say that Abram was born when Terah was 70 years old. It is biblically provable, though we cannot do so until the whole picture is seen and we can go back and see chronological patterns that prove this.

There is, of course, the ancient book of Jasher that we could quote, showing a more complete story of the birth of Abram. Not only does it affirm that Shem was born when Noah was 502, but it also tells us that Abram was born when Terah was 70 (Jasher 7:51). I have copies of Jasher available ($8 each, postpaid) for those who wish to read this fascinating book. (Jasher is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and again in 2 Samuel 1:18. An old copy was discovered in Venice, Italy in 1613 A.D. and translated into English in 1840 A.D. It must not be confused with more recent forgeries that have appeared, such as one put out by the Rosicrucians in the 1800’s.)

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At any rate, for now we will assume that Abram was born 1948 years from Adam, when his father was 70 years old. The Bible tells us that God changed Abram’s name to Abraham when he was 99 years old (Gen. 17:1-5). The rite of circumcision was then instituted, after which time Sarah conceived in her old age and brought forth Isaac the following year. Genesis 21:5 says, “And Abraham was an hundred years old when his son Isaac was born unto him.”

If Abram was born in the year 1948, then Isaac would have been born 100 years later in the year 2048. Isaac, in turn, was 60 years old when Jacob and Esau were born. Genesis 25:26 says,

26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old [60] when she bare them.

So by simple arithmetic, we see that Jacob was born in the year 2108 from Adam.

We find that Jacob went to Egypt at the age of 130, for when he finally stood before Pharaoh in the presence of his long-lost son, Joseph, he said so in Genesis 47:8-9,

8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? 9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years.

Jacob was 130 years old in the year 2238 from Adam (2108 + 130 = 2238). This is when Israel went to Egypt at Joseph’s invitation. We must now discuss the length of their stay in Egypt in order to determine the year of the Exodus.

Israel’s Sojourn in Egypt

Our next question is, how long did Israel remain in Egypt? The common assumption is that they remained a full 400 years, and this is based upon the prophecy in Genesis 15:13-16,

13 And He said unto Abram, know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

At first glance, it seems that Israel remained in Egypt 400 years. But God said they would return “in the fourth generation.” A century per generation seems a bit long, yet we find that they did indeed return in the fourth generation. Levi, the third son of Jacob, was one of the 70 who went into Egypt at Joseph’s invitation. 1 Chronicles 6:1-3 gives the genealogy,

1 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 2 And the sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel. 3 And the children of Amram: Aaron, and Moses, and Miriam.

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Exodus 6:20 tells us that Moses’ mother, Jochebed, was Amram’s father’s sister. That is, she was the daughter of Levi, and Kohath was her brother. Thus, Amram married his aunt. This was prior to the prohibition of such marriages (Lev. 18:12). Thus, by his father, Moses was the fourth generation from Jacob, but by his mother, he was just the third. You might argue that four generations in Egypt could total 400 years if each one was a century long. However, it is unlikely that this could be accomplished in just three generations (through Jochebed), as the Bible tells us.

Numbers 26:59 tells us that Jochebed was “the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt.” The book of Jasher clarifies this statement, telling us that Jochebed was born at the border of Egypt, as the 70 souls were arriving to begin their sojourn there. Jasher then tells us that Jochebed was 130 years old when Moses was born. Moses was 80 years old when he led Israel out of Egypt. Thus, 130 + 80 = 210 years which were spent in the land of Egypt.

If we were to attempt to leave Israel in Egypt for a full 400 years, then Jochebed would have had to be born very late in Levi’s life, and she would have had to be about 200 years old when Moses was born. This seems quite unlikely. But because the lengths of their lives are not given in the Bible, except for Moses, you cannot prove this by using biblical genealogies. We must look for other ways to determine an answer.

A closer examination of the original prophecy given to Abram, quoted earlier, is helpful. Note that the prophecy is strikingly non-specific as to how or where his descendants would be afflicted. As we will see, this is because the affliction actually began when Isaac was persecuted by Ishmael (Gen. 21:9, Gal. 4:29), who was half-Egyptian. In other words, there was an affliction that took place prior to Israel’s sojourn in Egypt, and when added together, this totaled 400 years. Jasher tells us that the sibling rivalry between Ishmael and Isaac got to the point where Ishmael attempted to kill Isaac (Jasher 21:14). Isaac was five years old at the time. So the persecution was very real, and Paul’s statement in Galatians 4:29 is not an exaggeration.

Genesis 15:13 says, “thy [Abram’s] seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs.” Who was this seed? It was Isaac, for in Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Gen. 21:12).

So we must next ask ourselves: at what point in Isaac’s life was he a stranger in a land that was not his? Well, Isaac was born in Canaan, a land wherein Abraham confessed that he was a stranger and a sojourner, or a pilgrim in the land (Gen. 23:4; Heb. 11:8-13). A stranger is a foreigner, a guest in the land, one who has no right to own property. Abraham had to beg the children of Heth to sell him a burial cave for Sarah when she died (Genesis 23).

And so we can conclude that Abraham’s seed, Isaac, was a stranger in a land not his, from the moment of his birth in the year 2048. Therefore, if we date the 400 years from that point, we see that the Exodus would have occurred in the year 2448. If we break that 400-year period into two segments—their Canaanite sojourn and their Egyptian sojourn—we see that they spent the first 190 years in Canaan, and the final 210 years in Egypt.

Isaac was 60 when Jacob was born, and Jacob was 130 when he went to Egypt. That makes 190 years from the birth of Isaac to the Egyptian sojourn, leaving just 210 years left for their actual stay in Egypt. Let’s see if this view finds support in other Scriptures.

The 430 Years Between the Two Covenants

Let us begin with Exodus 12:40-41,

40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 41 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.

Moses was careful to date the Exodus at precisely 430 years of their sojourn. In fact, he is so specific as to tell us that it occurred “even the selfsame day.” If this is such an exact time cycle, then why would the Exodus not have occurred after 400 years, according to God’s Word to Abram? Why did they leave 30 years late? This does present a real problem to those who assume Israel was in Egypt for 400 years.

The answer is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, where he discusses this same time period. Galatians 3:16-17 says Abraham’s promise was 430 years prior to the Mosaic covenant,

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made… 17 And this I say, that the [Abrahamic] covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law [covenant with Moses], which came four hundred thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise [to Abraham] of none effect.

Paul says Moses’ covenant came 430 years after the promise to Abraham. Thus, Israel was not in Egypt for 430 years, as you might assume by a careless reading of Exodus 12:40-41.

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If we put these two Scriptures together, it is plain that God made His covenant with Abram on the day of Passover, precisely 430 years prior to the Exodus. That covenant promise is recorded in Genesis 15, where Abram cut five animals in half as part of this blood covenant. Normally, in a blood covenant, the two parties would walk arm in arm between the animal halves, signifying, “May God do this to me if I break my covenant.”

However, God put Abram to sleep, so that this covenant would be by “promise." That is, it was an unconditional promise, something that God covenanted to do by Himself, and it did not depend upon the will of Abram or his seed. This is why Paul calls it the “promise” (Galatians 3:17), in contrast to the law covenant given to Moses, under which Israel was required to make a vow of obedience (Ex. 19:5).

So we need to figure out when God made this promise to Abram. If Israel was in Egypt for the final 400 years leading up to the Exodus and the Covenant with Moses, then the promise would have been given just 30 years prior to their going to Egypt. That would be impossible, because Abraham had long been dead. Since Jacob was 130 when they went to Egypt, the promise would have come when Jacob was 100 years old. Isaac would have been 160 years old, and Abraham would have to have been 260 years old. But we know from Genesis 25:7 that Abraham died at the age of 175. Thus, he was not even alive 30 years prior to Jacob’s move to Egypt. But if the 400 years dates back to the birth of Isaac (when Abraham was 100), then it is plain that Abram was just 70 years old when the promise was given to him on “the selfsame day” (Ex. 12:41) as the Exodus 430 years later.

This also explains plainly the apparent discrepancy between the prophesied 400 years in Egypt and the actual 430 years. It is easy to see that both time cycles end with the year of the Exodus. Only the beginning points differ. The 400 years go back to the birth of Isaac, when Abraham was 100. This was the time of Isaac’s sojourn as a stranger. The 430 years go back to selfsame day that God made His covenant with Abram (age 70), which began Abram’s sojourn as a stranger. These two events occurred 30 years apart.

Genesis 12:4 tells us that Abram arrived in Canaan at the age of 75. The promise thus came five years earlier. Looking at it generally, we can see that this is very possible. At least we know that Abram was alive at that time of history.

We conclude, then, that Jacob went to Egypt in the year 2238, and that Israel left Egypt under Moses in the year 2448. They spent 210 years in Egypt. Israel left Egypt 400 years after Abraham’s seed (Isaac) began to be afflicted, but the Covenant with Moses was given 430 years after God’s promise to Abram.

The Jubilee of Jubilees: The Year 2450

We know that Israel came out of Egypt on Passover, which always occurs in the spring. Pentecost was spent at the foot of Mount Sinai. Israel remained there for over a year, while Moses received the Ten Commandments and while they built the Tabernacle.

The Tabernacle was erected on the first day of the first month, nearly one year after coming out of Egypt. Exodus 40:17 says,

17 And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, that the Tabernacle was reared up.

After dedicating the Tabernacle the next 12 days (Numbers 7), Israel observed their first Passover in the wilderness. Israel left Mount Sinai before Pentecost, for Numbers 10:11-12 says,

11 And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the Tabernacle of the testimony. 12 And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.

It was at least a three-day journey (Numbers 10:33) to Paran. Israel then complained of a lack of flesh to eat, so God sent them quail for a whole month (Numbers 11:20), until they were sick and tired of it. The quail would have been there during the Feast of Pentecost in the third month.

The people then journeyed to Hazeroth (Num. 11:35), where they rested. Here Miriam spoke out against Moses’ marriage with Zipporah, the “Cushite” (translated “Ethiopian”). Mount Sinai, located in Arabia (Gal. 4:25), was the place where Moses tended Reuel’s sheep. There he had met and married Zipporah, the daughter of Reuel (Ex. 2:21). Bullinger’s notes for Numbers 12:1 tell us that “Arabia was in the land of Cush.” There were two lands of Cush in ancient times. One was south of Egypt, the other was in Arabia, where Reuel lived and where Moses tended his sheep. Therefore, Zipporah was a “Cushite” by address, though by race she was a Midianite (Ex. 2:16), descended from Abraham through Keturah (Gen. 25:1-4).

At any rate, God struck Miriam with leprosy for her attitude, and so it took a week for her to be cleansed (Num. 12:15; Lev. 14:8). By this time, it was getting to be at least the fourth or fifth month (about July or August by our reckoning) of the year 2449, the year after the Exodus.

Then Moses sent the 12 spies into the land of Canaan to spy out the land. They looked things over for 40 days (Num. 13:25), and returned in the fall of the year at the time of the grape harvest (Num. 13:20). In the biblical Feast of Tabernacles, the priest poured out a drink offering on each of the seven days of Tabernacles. This was the firstfruits of the new grape harvest, the new wine. The treading of the grapes would have occurred on the Day of Atonement just five days prior to Tabernacles.

So we can pinpoint the time the 12 spies gave their report. It was the fall of 2449, which was, by ancient reckoning, the tenth day of the seventh month. This was actually ten days into the next year, the year 2450, because the Hebrew calendar’s New Year began in the fall.

It just so happened that that year—2450—was the Jubilee of Jubilees from Adam. The trumpet for the Jubilee was to be blown in the 50th year, on the tenth day of the seventh month. The 50th year was also the first year of the next Jubilee cycle. Because the 50th year overlapped the first year of the next cycle, a period of ten Jubilees is actually 490 years, rather than 500 years. And 50 Jubilees is actually 50 x 49 years, or 2450 years.

The point is that Israel was supposed to blow the trumpet and decide to inherit the Promised Land on the day that the 12 spies gave their report. It was a Jubilee of Jubilees, when every man was to return to his possession (Lev. 25:13).

When a man lost his land inheritance through debt, he had to “sell himself” until the year of Jubilee. That is, he became an indentured servant, or an employee of someone else, until he got his land back at the year of Jubilee, when he returned to his inheritance (Leviticus 25).

Adam was made of the dust of the ground, and yet his “land” was glorified with the light of God’s presence prior to his sin. When he sinned, he lost that inheritance, and he became a debtor to the law. He was then “sold” into bondage to sin. He became an indentured servant to sin. Nor could any man redeem himself by his own labor. He had to await the Jubilee trumpet.

And so the Jubilee of Jubilees has tremendous implications. If Israel had chosen to inherit the land at Tabernacles of 2450, they would literally have returned to the inheritance that they had lost in Adam—the redemption of the body (Rom. 8:23). However, this was not in the overall Plan of God. Nor was it in their minds. Ten of the spies gave an evil report, and so God would not let them enter into His rest, His Jubilee (Heb. 3:11).

This whole scenario makes sense only when we understand its timing. The earth had waited 50 Jubilees for this moment, but when it came right down to it, the people did not have the faith to enter into God’s rest and inherit on the Jubilee of Jubilees. And so God made them stay another 38 years in the wilderness (Deut. 2:14) before allowing them to enter Canaan.

However, when they entered the land, they did so at the Feast of Passover, not at the Feast of Tabernacles. Thus, they did not receive their glorified bodies. They only received an external land inheritance. It was good, of course, and accompanied by many signs and wonders. But it was not what might have been. They received a partial anointing, what I call a Passover anointing, and for the next 1400 years they lived under that small anointing in a Passover Age.

The crucifixion of Jesus ended the Passover Age, and in Acts 2 the Pentecostal Age began, which was a 40-Jubilee period from 33 A.D. to 1993 A.D. We will deal with this in detail in a later chapter. At Pentecost of 1993, it appears that we entered into a transitional period toward the Tabernacles Age. This transition could last seven and a half years, because David became king of all Israel that many years after Saul died (2 Samuel 5:5).

Returning to the subject at hand, let us make the point that the accuracy of our chronology is supported by the fact that Israel was supposed to enter their inheritance on the Jubilee of Jubilees, the fall of 2449, which is the beginning of the year 2450.

From the Exodus to the Death of Solomon (2448 - 2964)

A great deal of history took place between the Exodus and the death of Solomon. There was the 40 years in the wilderness, followed by the time of the Judges. Finally, we come to the time of the United Kingdom under the monarchies of Saul, David, and Solomon. It is fortunate that a biblical historian recorded a precise number of years from the Exodus to the fourth year of the reign of Solomon. This saves us a great deal of guesswork in figuring out the chronology involved. 1 Kings 6:1 reads,

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.

We have already seen that the Exodus from Egypt occurred in the spring of the year 2448 from Adam. If we Add 480 years to that year, we come to the year 2928. The year 2928 is thus the fourth year of Solomon. This is an extremely valuable hinge date, because by it we can date the 40-year reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon:

Saul reigned 40 years from
David reigned 40 years from
Solomon reigned 40 years from
2845 - 2884
2885 - 2924
2925 - 2964
Acts 13:21
1 Kings 2:11
1 Kings 11:42

 

Solomon’s 40th year was the year 2964. We find in 1 Kings 11:42-43 that he died in that year,

42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father; and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

From Solomon’s Death to the Death of Ahab (2964 - 3042)

After Solomon died, his son Rehoboam assumed the throne. Because of excessive taxation, the people came to him and asked for tax relief. Rehoboam’s advisors, the liberals of their day, advised him to raise taxes (1 Kings 12:10), which he did. This brought about a tax revolt, wherein most of the tribes of Israel formed their own nation and crowned their own king.

Thus, the United House of Israel became a divided nation. The northern tribes retained the name of the House of Israel, because among them were the tribes of Joseph. Jacob had given his name (Israel) to the sons of Joseph (Gen. 48:16), because they were the inheritors of the birthright (1 Chron. 5:1-2). The southern tribes came to be known as the House of Judah, named after the dominant tribe, even though the tribe of Benjamin remained with Judah.

From this point on, there were two monarchies. In a study of chronology, this period of history is enough to frustrate any historian. The chronological problems, however, are only in the specific history of the various kings. The overall chronology, by divine providence, is quite easily established. Here is a summarized version, after which we will offer the biblical proof:

Solomon died in
Jeroboam's 1st year was
Jeroboam's 20th year was
Asa's 38th year was
Ahab died in (853 B.C.)
2964
2965
2984
3021
3042
(his 40th year, 931 B.C.)
(also Rehoboam's first year)
(and Asa's first year, 1 Kings 15:9)
(and Ahab's first year, 1 Kings 16:29)
(90 years prior to a solar eclipse in 763 B.C.)

 

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When Israel rejected the rulership of Rehoboam, they set up their own monarchy under Jeroboam, an Ephraimite. Both kings began to rule in the same year. Remember, Solomon’s 40th year was 2964. Thus, the year 2965 is reckoned as the first year of both Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Using this date as our key, let us read 1 Kings 15:9,

9 And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.

The year 2965 is the first year of Jeroboam. Nineteen years later would be the twentieth year of Jeroboam, i.e., the year 2984. This is also the first year of Asa, king of Judah. Asa had a long reign of 41 years. We read in 1 Kings 16:29,

29 And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years.

If the first year of Asa is 2984, then his 38th year would be the year 3021. This was also the 1st year of king Ahab of Israel. Ahab died in his 22nd year, which is the year 3042 from Adam. This is the most important hinge date of ancient history, because here is where ancient biblical history intersects with secular history on the Assyrian calendar.

The Death of Ahab Established by Astronomy: 853 B.C.

1 Kings 22:1-4 tells us that Ahab made a peace treaty with Syria, which lasted three years. This peace treaty was broken when Ahab allied with Jehoshaphat of Judah, in an attempt to take back some territory from Syria. In the ensuing battle, king Ahab was killed (1 Kings 22:37). Therefore, we can conclude that this battle took place in the 22nd year of Ahab, or 3042 from Adam.

The question is, what motivated Ahab to make war with Syria and break their three-year peace treaty? Historians believe that the answer lies in the famous historical battle of Karkar, where Assyria fought a coalition of three nations, including Israel and Syria. In the Assyrian records, “Ahab of Israel” is specifically mentioned. According to the documents, Assyria won the battle.

Archeologist A.H. Sayce quotes from the inscription of Shalmanezer III at Kurkh on the bank of the Tigris river. He mistakenly dates the eponym of Daian-Assur as 854 B.C., when it actually ran from the spring of 853 B.C. to the spring of 852 B.C., as proven by a simple study of the eponym calendar. However, Sayce does give us the translation of the Assyrian monument that tells of the battle of Karkar and the defeat of king Ahab of Israel. He writes in his book, Assyria, pages 172-174,

In the eponymy of Dayan-Assur (B.C. 854) on the 14th of the month Iyyar I left the city of Nineveh. The river Tigris I crossed. I approached the cities of Giammu on the river Balikh. The fear of my lordship, the sight of my strong weapons they feared, and in the service of themselves they slew Giammu their lord…

…from the city of Argana I departed, the city of Karkar [Aroer] I approached. (His) royal city of Karkar I threw down, dug up, and burned with fire. 1,200 chariots, 1,200 horsemen, and 20,000 men of Bir-idri of Damascus, 700 chariots, 700 horsemen, and 10,000 men of Ahab [Akhabbu] of Israel, 500 men of Kue, 1,000 men from Egypt… [12 kings in all are listed who attempted without success to resist the Assyrian army] …From the city of Karkar to the city of Guzau I overthrew them.

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Thus, historians believe that Ahab decided to turn against Syria after the battle of Karkar, in order to take back some land while Syria was still reeling from this defeat in battle. Ahab believed that if he could just ally with Jehoshaphat of Judah, the two of them could easily defeat Syria. He was wrong, and he died in the battle (1 Kings 22:32-37).

Nonetheless, this incident is important, because it links the battle of Karkar with the death of Ahab, and the death of Ahab is thus tied in with the Assyrian eponym calendar, which is fixed positively by astronomy. It is called the eponym calendar because each year was named after an important king or hero or event. They have an unbroken calendar of about 1400 years, ending only with their fall to the Babylonian armies in 607 B.C.

At any rate, the Assyrians record a solar eclipse in the eponym of Bur-Sagale in the month of Simanu. Present day astronomers have absolutely fixed this eclipse as taking place on June 15, 763 B.C. (as reckoned by our modern calendar). And so, the eponym year of Bur-Sagale on the Assyrian calendar correlates with 763 B.C. as we reckon it today.

The Assyrian calendar also tells us that the battle of Karkar took place 90 years prior to this solar eclipse in the 6th year of Shalmanezer III. Thus, we know that the battle of Karkar occurred in 853 B.C. This provides strong evidence of Ahab’s death in 853 B.C.

We have also seen that Ahab died in the year 3042 from Adam. Thus, 3042 from Adam is the equivalent of 853 B.C. on our modern calendar. This is the most important hinge in our chronology. Once we know how to correlate the biblical years from Adam with our modern system, we can then translate any year from Adam to our Gregorian calendar. And we can also translate any year on our modern calendar into a year from Adam.

Some may say, however, that we may have lost some days or years in the various calendar changes of the first few centuries after Christ. That may be, but it is irrelevant to our study, for we have bypassed all those possible errors. You see, when historians date the solar eclipse on June 15, 763 B.C., they are bypassing all previous calendars, along with all their mistakes. They are going only by a star calendar. Astronomers can figure precisely when any solar or lunar eclipse has occurred and where it was visible throughout history.

Historians often quote from a book by Manfred Kudlek and Erich H. Mickler entitled Solar and Lunar Eclipses of the Ancient Near East from 3000 B.C. to 0 with Maps. It lists the dates of all lunar eclipses visible in the ancient Near East all the way back to 3000 B.C. When historians come across ancient records of eclipses occurring in association with the reign of certain kings, or with certain events, they find it much easier to date those events or reigns.

Keep in mind that the computers which figure the precise positions of the earth, sun, and moon are figuring exact numbers of years, months, days, and even seconds from modern reference dates. For instance, the computer figures how many years ago from today that eclipses occurred. So it bypasses any calendar problems that might have surfaced in years past. The question of whether men have lost a year or two in history has no bearing on our chronology.

From Adam to Modern Times

The key to translating years from Adam into years according to modern reckoning is this: 3042 from Adam = 853 B.C. The following examples show you how to figure any date yourself.

Solomon died in 2964. Ahab died in 3042, which is 78 years later. (2964 + 78 = 3042.) If 3042 is 853 B.C., then 78 years prior to that time would be 931 B.C. Thus, Solomon died in 931 B.C. You will often find this date in history books. This is where the historians obtain this date. I have no disagreement, and in fact, the more I study other time cycles, the more this chronology proves to be absolutely correct. I will share those other evidences as we proceed in later chapters.

The Exodus occurred in 2448, which was 594 years prior to Ahab’s death in 3042. What is 594 years prior to 853 B.C.? Add 594 to 853 and you come to 1447 B.C., the year of the Exodus.

Let’s say we want to translate the year 2000 AD into years from Adam. Well, from 853 B.C. to 2000 AD is 2852 years. (853 + 2000 = 2853, but we need to subtract a year, because there is no year 0 in going from B.C. to A.D.) So we need to Add 2852 years to the year 3042 from Adam (853 B.C.). We come to 5894. That means the year 2000 A.D. is 5894 years from Adam.

Incidentally, the true biblical calendar is based upon the Jubilee system, which goes in 49-year cycles. The 120th Jubilee is figured by multiplying 49 x 120, which is 5880. This means that the fall of 1986 was the 120th Jubilee from Adam. This is a very important date, as we will see as we go into further studies that deal with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

If you want to take the time to check my work, as many have already done, you are welcome to do so. You will have to keep your head on straight to do the arithmetic, but it is quite possible. A woman with a Masters Degree in Statistics checked all my work and found only one minor error, which had no bearing on the overall chronology and was easily corrected. So I do have confidence in the overall accuracy of our chronology.

Chronological Time and Legal Time

Many who have done chronologies have assumed that we are now close to the 6,000-year mark in history from Adam. Some have attempted to manipulate history to fit what they are trying to prove, rather than finding out what history says and then drawing conclusions from it.

As you can see, the year 2000 A.D. is only 5894 years from Adam. This is 106 years short of 6,000. Since most people have assumed that the end of this age will occur after precisely 6,000 years, we need to address this problem. After all, if we are still 106 years short of 6,000, you might think the most significant prophetic events in the Bible would be postponed for at least another century. But this is not necessarily so, though certainly 2006 A.D. will be important.

In order to understand God’s Jubilee Calendar, you must begin with an understanding of how to figure Jubilee cycles. While the Jubilee is the 50th year, it also is the first year of the next cycle. As we said earlier, this means ten Jubilees is 490 years, not 500 years.

And yet, in my studies I have discovered a factor that I call legal time, as distinct from chronological time. In the matter of ten Jubilees, we could say that this is 490 years of chronological time, but it is 500 years of legal time. In other words, by overlapping one year each Jubilee cycle, God compacts 500 years into just 490.

And in 120 Jubilees, God crams 6,000 years into just 5880 years. Thus, while 1986 A.D. is 120 years short of 6,000 years, it is actually a full 6,000 years of legal time. In this way God can do things “early." Or, as Jesus put it, God shortens the time for the sake of the elect (Matt. 24:22). Let me stress, however, that God always does things precisely according to His time schedule. Things do not happen early or late from His perspective, since He knows all things from the beginning. However, there are different ways of reckoning time, and we can obtain valuable insights into the ways of God if we make the effort to study His workings throughout history.

I will have more to say about this as we study the history of the kings of Israel and Judah. There we will see that there were many co-regencies, where an old king would crown his son while he was yet alive. Thus, their reigns would overlap, creating a chronological nightmare for historians trying to figure out the dates of their reigns. If the old king reigned 30 years, and his son reigned another 30 years, you would think it would total 60 years. But if they had a co-regency of 5 years before the old king died, then the total time of their reigns would be just 55 years.

You might say that they reigned for 55 years by chronological time, but they reigned 60 years by legal time. We will see later how God used legal time to establish the 70 years of judgment upon Jerusalem for their sin, when God sent them into the Babylonian captivity.

Conclusion

There is great value in knowing the timing of the 120th Jubilee from Adam. The number 120 has great significance, which we will see in the next chapter. It is the key to understanding the final great revival that should mark the start of the Tabernacles Age, even as the outpouring of the Spirit marked the beginning of the Pentecostal Age in 33 A.D. Under the anointing of Pentecost, the Church turned the world upside down and ultimately overthrew the Roman Empire. A greater anointing of Pentecost awaits us in the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, and this will finish the work begun under Pentecost.

There is, however, a tarrying period, a transition between Pentecost and Tabernacles. The precedent for this was in the 50-day tarrying period from Christ's resurrection to the day of Pentecost. There is likewise a tarrying period from the Pentecostal Age to the Tabernacles Age. While we cannot say for sure how long this time will be, we can certainly study the patterns in the Scriptures for clues.

This tarrying period is not a time for sitting back to await the move of God. It is a time of intense preparation and learning to unravel the mysteries of timing long hidden, yet clearly revealed in the biblical passages that long have bored Christian readers. We have found that all Scripture has its purpose, and you only need to see the Divine Mind behind the genealogies, the numbers, and the dates to bring those passages to life. But if you have had the fortitude to finish this chapter, there is no need to urge you to continue.