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Three Worlds

Part 10

BIBLE CHRONOLOGY.

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Although there is no direct evidence that at the end of six thousand years from the creation of Adam, the "second" Adam should begin the new creation, or restitution of all things; still there is much indirect evidence. Enough, at least, to make the subject of the age of the human family one of great interest, to these who are investigating the subject-matter of this book.
The chronology by Bishop Usher, as found in the margin of our English Bibles, is one hundred and twenty-four years too short. That is, direct Scripture can be adduced giving that number of years over and above what is found in his chronology. For instance: instead of four hundred and fifty years, he gives but three hundred and fifty, for the time of the judges, and shortens the reign of the kings of Judah six years, in his efforts to harmonize them with the reign of the kings of Israel; and begins the seventy years captivity, or rather, the seventy years of desolation, during which the land was to enjoy her Sabbaths, (2 Chron. 36: 21), eighteen years before it was thus made desolate. That is, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, instead of at the end of Zedekiah's reign, who was the last king of Judah. Thus, in these three places, making the chronology one hundred and twenty-four years too short. Hence, although according to Usher, the six thousand years do not expire until A. D. 1996, the facts are, that they ended with the Jewish year which began in the autumn of A. D. 1872, and we are, therefore, already in "the great day of the Lord;" or, seventh thousand.
To the reader of this book, I need not dwell on the importance of understanding Bible chronology. The mass of evidence which synchronizes with the fact that the six thousand years are already ended, is absolutely startling, to one who will take the trouble to investigate. And if the reader really means to know what the Scriptures teach in relation to the great events of the ending of the gospel, the separation of the "tares and the wheat," the glorification of the church, and the introduction of the millennial age, he must become thoroughly acquainted with Bible chronology.
No one need make the excuse that this is a difficult subject. If you can read and add up figures, you can understand this whole subject just as well as the best historian that ever lived. No man can, nor does any one claim to measure the age of the
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human race, back of the historic age, only as he draws his information from the Bible; and you can read what that says, just as well as can Bishop Usher, or any other person. And if the Scriptures, in the English tongue, are not fit for you to rest your faith on, and must be interpreted only by those who have a thorough theological education, then the place for you is in the Roman Catholic church, since they, and they only, carry out the above idea to its full and legitimate conclusion.
One evening spent with Bible, paper and pencil, added to a thorough determination to know just what it does teach, will enable you to master the whole subject, and measure for yourself, the six thousand years to their termination in 1873; and having done this, you will be able to understand all the evidences which prove that we are now in the midst of the greatest changes this world has ever experienced since men were upon the earth. A morning of joy, and a night of weeping. "The morning cometh, and also the night." The morning to the church of the first born the Ecclesia, and a night of weeping to those who are shut out of the kingdom, as "many" will be, according to the words of the Master. "The wise shall understand;" and you may be sure you cannot understand these things, and the day of the Lord will come upon you as a thief, and you will loose your "crown," no matter what your professions may be, unless you are willing to make an effort and search for truth as men search for silver. And also possess the spirit, not of the haughty Pharisee, but of the little child.
If you have the spirit of a little child, you will please get a large piece of paper, your Bible and pencil, and begin with Gen. 5: 3. Let me urge you, a few months and "The harvest will be passed, the summer ended." Again I say, this chronology is the basis of all that can throw present light on the prophetic Scriptures. If you once get interested, the chances are that you will be led into such a flood of light as you never dreamed could be found in God's precious book. "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth."
You will now please begin, pencil in hand: "And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son and called his name Seth (Gen. 5: 3).
Place this 130 at the top, and near to one side of your paper, and make your figures even and distinct, so that you can add up a long column. With the remainder of Adam's life we have nothing to do. "And Seth lived one hundred and five years and begot Enos," (verse 6). Put this 105 under the 130; and
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so on. "And Enos lived ninety years and begat Canaan," (verse 9). See also verses 12, 15, 18, 21, 25, 28 ; at which you reach the birth of Noah, And Noah was six hundred years old to a day when the waters of the flood were dried up (Gen. 8: 13). Place this six hundred at the bottom of your column, and add them up. If you have made no mistake, the total will be 1656 years from the creation of Adam to the day the flood ended.
Place this 1656 off by itself, as you will have a number of similar totals, to add to it, to complete the six thousand. [Those familiar with figures will please excuse this minute direction, as I am writing for some who require it]. The next period is from the flood to the death of Terah, Abraham's father. "Shem begat Arphaxad two years after the flood," (Gen. 11: 10). Begin a new column with the 2 years. "And Arphaxad lived five and thirty years and begat Selah," (verse 12), Place this 35 under the 2; and see verses 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 32. The total of all these is 427 years from the flood to the death of Terah. Place this under the 1656.
At the death of Terah all regular chronology ceases until the Exodus from Egypt, and we have to arrive at it by a system of reasoning, "comparing Scripture with Scripture," But do not be discouraged; indirect evidence is sometimes as strong as direct, which, in the present case, I think you will be ready to admit.
Our next period is one of four hundred and thirty years. "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," (Exo. 12; 40, 41). Here is all the chronology we have, to reach from the death of Terah to the Exodus, and, as you see, there is not one word as to where, or when this four hundred and thirty began, while the day it ended is very positively stated. It is true Abraham's age is given, and Isaac's, and Jacob's, but there it. stops. Joseph's age, when he dies in Egypt, is given, but his father's age, at Joseph's birth, is not given, so that no light can be had from that direction. And at the death of Joseph, all reckoning ceased until they came out of Egypt. Hence, this 430 is our only hope, and we will try what comparing Scripture with Scripture will do towards connecting this apparent break.
At the death of his father Terah, God called Abraham into Canaan, and made him the promise of the land — "Unto thy seed will I give this land," (Gen. 12: 7), and this occurred when
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his father died, (Acts, 7: 4, 5). The promise of the land was the covenant; "which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac, and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting possession, saying: Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance," (Ps. 105; 9, 11). This promise, made when Abraham came into Canaan, was not only "the covenant," as you see, but it was the covenant confirmed of God in Christ. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made; He saith not, And to seeds as of many, but as of one; And to thy seed, which is Christ," (Gal. 3; 16). The very words used in Gen. 12: 7, "Unto thy seed, will I give this land."
We have now learned that the covenant, which was confirmed of God, in Christ, was made with Abraham when he came out into Canaan, and also, that he came out at the death of his father Terah, And it was at the death of Terah our regular chronology stopped. And yet we have the statement in Exo. 12: 41, that at the end of four hundred and thirty years, which years begin somewhere, they came out of Egypt. "Now this I say, 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," (Gal. 3: 17). Hurrah! Victory! The breach is closed, and the 430 have a beginning, viz: where the 427 ended at. the death of Terah, and you now have the chronology unbroken, from Adam, to the Exodus from Egypt. For the law began the very night in which they left Egypt; in the passover, that glorious feature which pointed to the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
There are difficulties in chronology, as you see; but, thus far, the Scriptures have contained, within themselves, the means for overcoming them; and so it will prove to the end.
From leaving Egypt, to the crossing of the Jordan, was forty years; and from the crossing of the Jordan to the division of the land, six years. But of this six years there is no direct measurement. From the sending of the spies, to the division of the land, was forty-five years, (Josh. 14: 7, 10). That would leave one year to fill the time from leaving Egypt, to the sending of the spies; and it can be proven to have been a period of less than two years. Thus: They left Egypt on the fifteenth day of the first month, (Num. 33: 3). They started from Sinai, for the wilderness of Paran, on the twentieth of the second month of the second year after leaving Egypt, (Num. 10: 11, 12). It was
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from Paran the spies were sent, (Num. 13: 3); and from Kadesh-barnea, in Paran, (Num. 32; 8). Here is one year, and an unknown fraction of a year between leaving Egypt and the sending of the spies.
It can be shown to have been thirty-eight years and a large fraction of a year, between the sending of the spies, and the end of the "forty years in the wilderness." Because the time from leaving Kadesh, after the return of the spies, up to the day they passed through the coast of Moab, was thirty-eight years, (Deut. 2: 14, 18); and this must have been many months before the forty years ended; since Moses was then alive, and they had not, as yet, conquered any of the territory given to the two and a-half tribes on that side of Jordan. Hence there was, first: the forty days, during which the spies were absent, (Num. 14: 34); this thirty-eight years; all the time they consumed in conquering the territory on that side of Jordan; [which was accomplished before the death of Moses], the thirty days they were mourning for Moses, (Deut. 34: 8), and some little time after that, between the sending of the spies, and the crossing of the Jordan, or end of the forty years. Hence, although the time from leaving Egypt to the sending of the spies was a little more than one year, it certainly was considerably less than two years. And this fraction of a year is not counted because out of the seven fractions of years occurring in the whole chronology, they exactly, or almost exactly balance each other, and could, therefore, in no way make a difference of one whole year, in the total out-come. Hence, you may put the 40 years in the wilderness, under your 430; and the 6 years under the 40, and you have the chronology from Adam to the division of the land. "And when he had destroyed seven nations, he divided their land to them by lot. And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel, the prophet. And afterwards they desired a king; and God gave unto them Saul, the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David, to be their king," (Acts 13: 19-22).
From the division of the land, to David, is another dark place in chronology, as it is left in the Old Testament. For instance: "Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life;" and yet no measure of that time is given. But here are two spaces of time; the first, reaching from the division of the land to Samuel; the second, from that, to David; and unless this is the true measure of that time, Bible chronology is imperfect, since there is abso-
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lutely no other connected measure of this long period to be found.
If it was certain that it was the design of the Spirit to teach chronology, in the above language of the apostle, there would be no room for doubt, and we might pass on without further investigation. But was that the design of the Spirit? I think it can be proven that it was. But as this period from the division of the land to David, or rather to the forty years given to Saul, has been and is considered the most obscure and difficult of any part of chronology, it will not do to pass it over without collecting all the evidence the Bible furnishes for its measurement.
And first, as a very important fact, I will state, that this time from the division of the land, to David, and that from the covenant to the law, are the only two periods left obscure in the chronology of the Old Testament, and the only portions of chronology in any way referred to in the New Testament. Why did the Spirit put it into the mouth of the apostle to name that definite period in Gal. 3: 17? Clearly because chronology would have been imperfect without it. The same four hundred and thirty years were given in Gen. 12: 41, it is true, but they were given in such a way that, to all appearance, they had no connection with the death of Terah. Hence, it was necessary for God to reveal, in his own way, it is true, but still to reveal the fact that they began where the thread, was dropped in Gen. 11; 32. Why did the Spirit cause the apostle to name these two periods, the one of four hundred and fifty, and the forty of King Saul? [The forty years in the wilderness is so often named in all parts of the Scriptures, that the fact of the apostle referring to it here, or elsewhere, has no such significance as has the other two]. It is true, the four hundred and fifty years for the judges, are to be found in the Old Testament; but, as in the other case, they are so given as to make it impossible to have determined that they began, or were designed to measure from the division of the land, the place where the chronological thread had been dropped, without this testimony from the apostle.
The chronology as given in the judges is as follows: Judges 3: 8, gives 8 years; verse 11, 40 years; verse 14, 18 years; verse 30, 80 years; 4: 3, 20 years; 5: 31, 40 years; 6: 1, 7 years; 8: 28, 40 years; 9: 22, 3 years; 10: 2, 23 years; verse 3, 22 years; verse 8, 18 years; 12; 7, 6 years; verse 9, 7 years; verse 11, 10 years; verse 14, 8 years; l3: 1, 40 years; 16: 31, 20 years; 1 Sam. 4: 18, 40 years, under Eli, the last of the judges, before "Samuel the prophet."
These all together, make a tota1 of 450 years. But the judges
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did not cover all of this space of time; they were merely scattered over most of it. There were times between the judges, when their enemies ruled; and part of these nineteen periods measure the rule of those enemies. Hence, Paul could well say, "And after that he gave to them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel;" although the time itself, from the division of the land, had been just that number of years.
As this chronology stands in the Old Testament, there are three difficulties; one at the commencement, one in the middle, and one at the end of this four hundred and fifty.
Between the division of the land and the first eight years, (Judges 3: 8), there is a break, a period covered by the statement found in Judges 2: 7, but having no direct measurement. Then in the middle of this period there is a lap of 20 years during the judgeship of Samson. His time is given, (Judges 16: 31), as a part of the chronology, just like all the others. But, in another place, we learn that his judgeship was in or during the forty years of the Philistines (Judges 15:20), which had just been counted. And yet it takes all that is given in Judges, this twenty included, to make the 450 mentioned by Paul. The third difficulty is with the terminus, "Until Samuel the prophet," is a very indefinite ending. Samuel was with Eli, the last judge, when a mere child; and he was cotemporary with king Saul during nearly all of his reign; and even anointed David as king. But, notwithstanding all these difficulties, we think the apostle has used just the language to set everything right, connecting each end, and taking out the tangle in the middle.
To my mind; the fact that only in this, and the one other difficult place, is the subject of chronology introduced in the New Testament, and that without such assistance, we should have been entirely at fault, is satisfactory evidence that the design was to impart light, and I accept it as such, with far more satisfaction, than I could take Bishop Usher, or any other chronological writer, who gives these Bible statements the go-by, as being too difficult to master, and take the easier course of appealing to Josephus, to help them over these difficulties. For he had only the Jewish sacred books from which to draw his information; and he is so universally careless in all his chronological statements that seldom, if ever, is he in harmony with his own Scriptures. For instance; he says the children of Israel remained for thirty days after they left Egypt, on the shores of the Red sea before crossing over. Which is in direct opposition to the statement in Exod. 16: 1. And his chronology is generally faulty.
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The following diagram will illustrate the whole position, at a glance:
diagram of chronology Here the chronology stands, just as it is given.
We had reached to the division of the land, with no break.
Now follows a period during the remainder of the life of Joshua, and the elders who outlived him, of the measure of which the Old Testament is silent. Then, after a long period under various judges, the lap of the twenty years of Samson occurs, followed by the last judge, Eli, then king Saul, before we reach the time of David, where the regular chronology begins again.
Samuel was cotemporary both with Eli and king Saul; and nowhere is the age of a prophet associated with chronology; hence Samuel's age is not given. Although there is no doubt that considerable time transpired between the death of Eli and the crowning of Saul. Still there is no measurement covering this, only as it is included in the two spaces of time named by Paul, which seem to cover all from the division of the land until Samuel, and from that, to David. And the time named, "four hundred and fifty," is exactly what Paul, who was familiar with the Scriptures, must have found given in the Judges, as its measurement. Nor could he have been ignorant of the break during the life of Joshua, or of the lap, during the judgeship of Samson. And yet he says, "He divided unto them their land by lot, and after that he gave judges, about the space of four hundred and fifty years, . . . and afterwards they desired a king and and he gave them Saul, the son of Cis, by the space," or in the space, [the preposition "by" is not in the original], "of forty years."
Place the 450 years under the 6; but the forty years for Saul, will be reckoned among the kings, in the next period, as follows: Saul, 40 years, Acts 13: 22.) David, 40, (1 Chron. 29: 27.) Solomon, 40 (2 Chron. 9: 30.) Rehoboam, 17, (12: 13.) Abijah,
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3, (13: 2.) Asa, 41, (16: 13.) Jehoshaphat, 25, (20: 31.) Jehoram, 8, (21: 5.) Ahaziah, 1, (22: 2.) Athaliah, 6, (22: 12.) Joash, 40, (24: 1.) Amaziah, 29, (25: 1) Uzziah, 52, (26: 3.) Jotham, 16, (27: 1.) Ahaz, 16, (28: 1.) Hezekiah, 29, (29: 1.) Manassah, 55, (33: 1.) Amon, 2, (33: 21.) Josiah, 31, (34: 1.) Jehoiakim, 11, (36: 5.) Zedekiah, 11, (30: 11.) Total, 513 years. Place this 513 under the 450.
With the "end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive," (Jer. 1: 3), we reach the end of the kingdom. And it is here the diadem was removed to be no more until He comes whose right it is, (see Ezek. 21: 25-27). Then follows the seventy years captivity, or rather desolation of the land, (2 Chron. 36: 21). Place this 70 under the 513, and you have reached the end of inspired chronology.
This seventy years terminated in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by Jeremiah, (2 Chron. 36: 21).
At about this point of time the Medo-Persian empire takes its place as the second universal monarchy, Babylon having been the first. And it was at about this era, that history has its birth. Prior to this, the most civilized nations, Babylon and Egypt, used only hieroglyphics, a method of picture writing by which dates and details of history could not be recorded. This, we know is true in relation to Egypt, and also to the Babylonians, or Chaldeans, since specimens of the Chaldean hieroglyphics are now on exhibition in the British museum. But from the beginning of the Persian era, the alphabet and a written language has been used by these nations. Hence, as far back as the first year of Cyrus, history is full and clear, while beyond that, it immediately drops off into twilight and the darkness of fable. And, outside of the Hebrew language, there is no pretension to accuracy further back than the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.
As soon as a written word-language was used, the date of battles, eclipses, &c., were recorded, from which fact it is now in our power to determine dates with absolute accuracy. And when we can help ourselves, God ceases to do for us.
From the first year of Cyrus, or, indeed, from the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, which was nineteen years before the seventy years captivity of Jerusalem, (see Jer. 52: 12), there is no essential difference between the different chronological writers. The first year of Cyrus being B.C. 536, in which year the seventy years ended. Place this 536 under the 70, and add 1872, A. D., and you will have a total of 6,000. Thus:
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Adam to the end of the flood,1656 years.
Flood to the covenant,427     "     
Covenant to the law,430     "     
In the wilderness,40     "     
To division of land,6     "     
Under the Judges,450     "     
Under the Kings,513     "     
The captivity,70     "     
To Christian era,536     "     
This side of the Christian era,1872     "     
Total,6,000 years.


The six thousand years did not end in 1872, but in the autumn of 1873. Thus: The seventy years desolation of Jerusalem, began in the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, as we have seen, (Jer. 1: 3). The king Zedekiah, was taken, and the city broken up in the fourth or fifth month of his eleventh year, (Jer. 52: 1-12); but the cities of Judah were to be desolate "without an inhabitant," (Jer. 34: 22), which seems to be what God meant, by "making the land desolate, that it might enjoy its Sabbaths," (2 Chron. 36: 21). And it was thus made desolate, and without an inhabitant, (Jer. 44: 2). When Zedekiah was taken, in the fourth month, the land was not desolate, for the Chaldeans left "certain of the poor of the land for vine-dressers and husbandmen," (Jer. 52: 16); and so long as they remained, the prophecy was not fully met; for the land was not yet enjoying her Sabbaths; but soon after, they all left and went down into Egypt, (Jer. 43: 5, 6). And this occurred in the seventh month of that year, (see the whole story as told by Jeremiah, beginning with chapter 41). Hence, the 70 years desolation, in which the land enjoyed its Sabbaths, did not begin until the seventh month after Zedekiah was taken. Nor did the 70 years desolation end when they received permission to return; for the land was still desolate until they actually got back again into their cities. This also occurred in the seventh month of the first year of Cyrus, the year they started to go back, (see Ezra 2: in which he gives the number of those who went back; and it seems they got back so as to be in their cities again in the seventh month; verse 70; and 3: 1).
As this seventy years did not end until the seventh month of the year B.C. 536, it follows that five hundred and thirty-six full years from that would not end until the seventh month, (Jewish time, which is always at about the autumnal equinox),
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of the year one of the Christian era. And 1872 years this side of the autumn of A. D. 1, would end in the autumn of 1873, since one year from the autumn of A. D. 1, would not end until the autumn of A. D. 2, and so on.
It was in the autumn of 1873, the present hard times, financial trouble, &c. &c., began, as all will remember. And there it was "the day of the Lord" began. "The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord; the mighty man shall cry then bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress," (Zeph. 1: 14). And this time of trouble which began in the autumn of 1873, though but a ripple, is gathering headway, and will engulf all business, all order, all government, all society; until at last, every man's hand will be against his neighbor; and there shall be no peace, "and no hire for man, nor hire for beast," (Zech. 8: 10). These are the true savings of God, and it is only in the word of God these great events upon which the world is entering, find their true solution.


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