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 Chronology Part 1:  from Adam to Abram

29-09-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet



Chronology is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time (Gr. chronos> time). A timeline serves as the backbone of history. A timeline enables us to place events and to correlate them with each other. strictly Biblical The purpose of this series of studies is to set up a strictly biblical chronology. A timeline that starts with Adam and ends in the Messianic kingdom. The Bible provides such chain, with no missing links. Without any need for support from the current era (Dionysius Exiguus). And altogether apart from authorities such as Manetho (as a basis for Egyptian chronology) and Ptolemy with his Persian kings lists. Divine design Characteristic of a Biblical chronology is that Scripture itself provides all the necessary data for a timeline. What it yields is the watermark of a divine design. For what will become evident is that the millennia perfectly parallel with the six days of the creation week: three times two thousand years leading into the big world sabbath, the thousand years, when satan will be bound. Another special feature is that the middle two thousand years (from Abraham to Christ) has four milestones with intervening periods of each exactly five hundred years (= seventy weeks of years including Jubilees). Wherein the first and third period, also are symmetrical. All this betrays a divine master hand that makes everything perfect in His time (Eccl.3:11)! only the Messianic line is counted It is noteworthy that only in the Messianic genealogy, the years are counted. In Genesis 4, the descendants of Cain are mentioned, but no one’s age has been given. Thls is in contrast to Genesis 5, where the ten generations, from Adam to Noah included, are listed. There, not only the conception ages, plus the remaining specified ages are given, but also a special mention is made of the total of the ages. This underlines the great weight given to chronology (in the Messianic line). In Genesis 11, where the line from Shem to Abram is recorded, we see the same phenomenon presented. Here too, we find a mention made of the conception age, plus the number of remaining years of life, while these chronological details of the descendants of Ham and Japheth are totally absent (see Genesis 10). inclusive counting We count, in the West, our ages exclusively. I.e. incomplete years are excluded in reporting ages. During our first year, we count our age to be zero years. But the Bible does not count this way. From your day of birth, you are in year one and year two starts on your first birthday. We see this also in the counting of days. A little boy is eight days old as he gets circumcised (Genesis 17:12) and that is occurring in his eighth day (Lev.12:3). counting from the middle of the year When we read that Adam was 130 years old when he fathered Seth, that was in his 130th year. In our exclusive method of counting, we would say that Adam was 129 years old. Chronologists usually add conception ages in Genesis 5 and 11 together, but it delivers an impure sum, because it assumes that each son would be born on his father’s birthday. When Adam in his 130th year begat Seth, then there is in this statement a margin of almost a year, since no mention is made whether the birth took place at the beginning or at the end of the 130th year. If we are factoring in that margin, we find a mean (middle) and, therefore, count from the middle of the year. To calculate, we subtract six months off the specified years. Adam was somewhere in his 130th year, when he begat Seth and so we calculate 129.5 years. from Adam to the flood When we follow this procedure, up to the flood, then this gives the following table:

Gen.5:3 Adam – Seth 129,5
Gen.5:6 Seth –  Enos 104,5
Gen.5:9 Enos – Cainan 89,5
Gen.5:12 Cainan – Mahalael 69,5
Gen.5:15 Mahalalel – Jared 64,5
Gen.5:18 Jared – Enoch 161,5
Gen.5:21 Enoch – Metusalah 64,5
Gen.5:25 Metusalah – Lamech 186,5
Gen.5:28 Lamech – Noah 181,5
Gen.7:11 Noah – beginning flood 599,5
total 1651

phenomenal ages! It is difficult to form any idea of the time that preceded the deluge. People reached phenomenal ages, often almost a thousand years! Perhaps, partly because of entirely different atmospheric conditions, people could become so old. After the flood, we see, within a few centuries, the ages of people drastically reduced. from the flood to Abram As we continue with the story after the flood, we can further fill-in the table from Genesis 11:

Gen.11:10 flood- Arfaxsad* 2
Gen.11:12 Arfaxsad- Salah 34,5
Gen.11:14 Salah – Eber 29,5
Gen.11:16 Eber – Peleg 33,5
Gen.11:18 Peleg – Reu 29,5
Gen.11:20 Reu – Serug 31,5
Gen.11:22 Serug – Nahor 29,5
Gen.11:24 Nahor – Terah 28,5
Gen.11:32; Hand.7:4 Gen. 12:4 Terah – Abram 129,5
totaal: 349
* Assuming that in Genesis 11:10, reference is made to two full years after the flood.

missing links? According to Genesis 11:12, Arphaxad begat Salah, while in Luke 3:35.36 Salah “from Cainan” was (as also in the LXX). They have from this data concluded, that since in Genesis 11, there obviously is a missing link, there may be more missing links. And that this also produces gaps in the chronology. But that argument does not hold. The fact that for Salah two fathers are mentioned, does not mean that generations in Genesis 11 have disappeared. For example it is quite conceivable that Cainan and Arphaxad were brothers and Cainan died childless, so Arphaxad begot, through the so-called kin-marriage, offspring for his brother. age of Terah at the birth of Abram How old Terah was at the birth of Abram is not listed, but it can be calculated. Terah was 205 years old, when he died in Haran (Gen.11:32). Abram left Haran (Acts 7:4) when he was 75 years old (Gen. 12:4). Terah was, therefore, at the birth of Abram (205 -75 =) 130 years old. the year of Abram’s birth When we add the periods from Adam to Abraham together, then that delivers the following total:

from Adam to the beginning of the flood 1651
from the beginning of the flood to the birth of Abram 349
total 2000

Is not it remarkable that a whole, new period of the history of salvation, starts precisely in the 2000th year since Adam? And that’s not all. Because concerning Noah, we know he was born in the year 1051 and died in his 950th year (Gen. 9:28), or when he was 949 years old. So, that was also in the year 2000 AH (=Anno Hominis, in the year of man). Noah represents the time before and after the flood. Abram, on the other hand, represents the new era. The year 2000 AH is a milestone; it marks the end of the days of Noah and the new beginning that God is going to make via Abram. a small human population The period from the flood to the call of Abram (2070 AH, see next section) covers only 418 years. After the flood, the human population began with just eight souls. After a few centuries, the world’s population, therefore, cannot be more (let’s say) than a million people. ‘Nations’ were large families and towns were no more than (fortified) villages. If, for example, Lot is captured in a clash with the kings of the east, then Abram mobilizes his fighting-men and with 318 men he evidently is able to beat all those kings and rescue his nephew Lot (Gen.14)! All of this gives the impression of a very small world population.