Thursday, June 01, 2006

Appendix A: Biblical Timeline

This is Appendix A to my book, Biblical Glasses. I am not dogmatic on this information, but it serves as my first attempt to work a Biblical chronology. Feel free to make adjustments with Scriptural support!

Creation occurred sometime during the year 4113 B.C. Of course, since this date represents the beginning of time, there is no date prior to 4113 B.C. This date is like absolute zero on the temperature scale. Just as the temperature cannot be measured any colder than absolute zero (because there is no colder temperature), time cannot be traced any farther back than 4113 B.C. (because there is no prior time). This date can be found by working backwards through the Bible and assuming no gaps in the genealogies. Using this method, the cataclysmic worldwide flood occurred in 2457 B.C., and Adam and Eve were created in 4113 B.C. Five normal days before the creation of the human race, God created the universe. The list below describes the days of God’s creation.

Day 1: God made the universe, including the earth, and light
Day 2: God made the sky and the atmosphere
Day 3: God made dry land and plants
Day 4: God made the sun, moon, and stars
Day 5: God made sea creatures and birds
Day 6: God made land animals and Adam and Eve
Day 7: God rested

Tracing the genealogies given in the Bible is quite simple. The list below provides the names of the patriarchs who carried on the Biblical lineage, their birth years, death years, lifespans, and ages at which their sons who would continue the Biblical lineage were born.

Adam lived from 4113–3183 B.C. (930 years) and fathered Seth at age 130
Seth lived from 3983–3071 B.C. (912 years) and fathered Enosh at age 105
Enosh lived from 3878–2973 B.C. (905 years) and fathered Kenan at age ninety
Kenan lived from 3788–2878 B.C. (910 years) and fathered Mahalalel at age seventy
Mahalalel lived from 3718–2823 B.C. (895 years) and fathered Jared at age sixty-five
Jared lived from 3653–2691 B.C. (962 years) and fathered Enoch at age 162
Enoch lived from 3491–3126 B.C.* (365 years*) and fathered Methuselah at age sixty-five
Methuselah lived from 3426–2457 B.C. (969 years) and fathered Lamech at age 187
Lamech lived from 3239–2462 B.C. (777 years) and fathered Noah at age 182
Noah lived from 3057–2107 B.C. (950 years) and fathered Shem at age 501

The * in Enoch’s lifespan represents the uncertainty of his death. The Old Testament of the Bible says: “Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:23-24). The New Testament of the Bible says: “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away” (Hebrews 11:5). We know Enoch lived 365 years prior to being taken away. Some say Enoch was raptured to heaven; others claim he was simply moved to a different location on the earth. The uncertainty here in no way affects our study of the genealogies.

The worldwide flood began when Noah was 600 years old, in 2457 B.C. It came shortly after the death of Methuselah, whose name prophetically means “when he dies, it will come.” Think about the implications of that! The worldwide flood lasted from 2457–2456 B.C., and there were only eight human survivors—Noah, his wife, Shem, his wife, Ham, his wife, Japheth, and his wife. The Bible gives the immediate descendants of all three of Noah’s sons but follows only Shem’s lineage in detail throughout its remainder. Shem was 100 years old at the end of the flood, lived an additional 500 years, and fathered the first of many sons and daughters the same year the flood subsided. The following list contains the Biblical ancestry to Abram (Abraham).

Shem lived from 2556–1956 B.C. (600 years) and fathered Arphaxad at age 100
Arphaxad lived from 2456–1991 B.C. (465 years) and fathered Cainan at age thirty-five
Cainan lived from 2421–1961 B.C. (460 years) and fathered Shelah at age 130
Shelah lived from 2291–1858 B.C. (433 years) and fathered Eber at age thirty
Eber lived from 2261–1797 B.C. (464 years) and fathered Peleg at age thirty-four
Peleg lived from 2227–1988 B.C. (239 years) and fathered Reu at age thirty
Reu lived from 2197–1958 B.C. (239 years) and fathered Serug at age thirty-two
Serug lived from 2165–1935 B.C. (230 years) and fathered Nahor at age thirty
Nahor lived from 2135–1987 B.C. (148 years) and fathered Terah at age twenty-nine
Terah lived from 2106–1901 B.C. (205 years) and fathered Abram at age seventy

Notice in the list above how the lifespans decreased rather rapidly. The flood and ensuing ice age had an amazing impact on living conditions for our ancestors! During the lives of Eber and Peleg, the incident at the Tower of Babel occurred. Notice that the typical lifespan fell again after this event, probably because harsh living conditions during the ice age took their toll on the people who were beginning to spread out all over the earth.

Now Abram, who later became Abraham, lived from 2036–1861 B.C. (175 years). At age eighty-six, he fathered Ishmael, and at age 100, he fathered Isaac. At this point, the ancestries get more complicated due to multiple wives (and mothers) entering into the equation. Abraham had many sons and daughters, but the main two of interest are:

Ishmael, who lived from 1950–1813 B.C. (137 years) and fathered twelve sons
Isaac, who lived from 1936–1756 B.C. (180 years) and fathered twins, Jacob and Esau, at age sixty

Although Esau, like Ishmael, was the eldest son, Jacob, like Isaac, received the rights to the inheritance from God. Jacob lived from 1876–1729 B.C. (147 years) and fathered twelve sons. At age ninety-one, Jacob fathered his eleventh son, Joseph, who lived from 1785–1675 B.C. (110 years). Joseph was taken to Egypt in 1768 B.C., at age seventeen, and became pharaoh’s right-hand man in 1755 B.C., at age thirty. Jesus came from the lineage of Judah, the fourth son of Jacob and Leah, but our timeline continues with their third son, Levi, whose lineage can be followed below to get to Moses:

Levi lived 137 years and fathered Kohath
Kohath lived 133 years and fathered Amram
Amram lived 137 years and fathered Moses

We do not know with certainty the birthdates of the three men above; we only know how long they lived. However, working backwards through Biblical history, we know that Moses lived from 1658–1538 B.C. (120 years). He was eighty years old at the time of the Exodus. The Exodus began in 1578 B.C., and the first census was taken shortly thereafter. The second census was taken in 1538 B.C., forty years later, just before the death of Moses as the Hebrew people prepared to enter the Promised Land. Joshua succeeded Moses as leader of the Hebrew people; he lived from 1623–1513 B.C. (110 years) and led the Hebrew people into the Promised Land in 1538 B.C., at age eighty-five.

After the death of Joshua, the period of judges began. The following list details the succession of enemy rulers and national leaders throughout the time period:

Cushan-Rishathaim, king of Aram Naharaim, ruled from 1513–1505 B.C. (eight years)
Othniel (judge) led from 1505–1465 B.C. (forty years)
Eglon, king of Moab, ruled from 1465–1447 B.C. (eighteen years)
Ehud (judge) led from 1447–1367 B.C. (eighty years)
Shamgar (judge) led from 1367–1367 B.C.* (less than a year*)
Jabin and Sisera ruled from 1367–1347 B.C. (twenty years)
Deborah and Barak (judges) led from 1347–1307 B.C. (forty years)
Midianites ruled from 1307–1300 B.C. (seven years)
Gideon (judge) led from 1300–1260 B.C. (forty years)
Abimelech, Gideon’s son, was a self-proclaimed king who ruled from 1260–1257 B.C. (three years)
Tola (judge) led from 1257–1234 B.C. (twenty-three years)
Jair (judge) led from 1234–1212 B.C. (twenty-two years)
Philistines and Ammorites co-ruled from 1212–1194 B.C. (eighteen years)
Jepthah (judge) led from 1194–1188 B.C. (six years)
Ibzan (judge) led from 1188–1181 B.C. (seven years)
Elon (judge) led from 1181–1171 B.C. (ten years)
Abdon (judge) led from 1171–1163 B.C. (eight years)
Philistines ruled again from 1163–1123 B.C. (forty years)
Samson (judge) led from 1123–1103 B.C. (twenty years)
Eli (judge/priest) led from 1103–1063 B.C. (forty years)

The * in Shamgar’s listing represents the uncertainty of his time as leader. Mentioning him only twice, the Bible first says: “After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel” (Judges 3:31). The Bible also says: “In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the roads were abandoned; travelers took to winding paths” (Judges 5:6).

While it is possible that his reign was forty years or more, it is more likely, as scholars suggest, he aided the Hebrew people near the end of Ehud’s reign. Therefore, I treat his reign as practically nonexistent on the timeline. Nevertheless, if his reign was a more considerable length of time, the date of the Exodus, along with the lives of Moses and Joshua, would simply be moved back in time by the length of Shamgar’s reign. Nothing changes prior to that time. Likewise, if there are any generation gaps during the period of judges where no defined rulers governed the Hebrew people, there is room between Jacob and Moses to allow for uncertain lengths of time.

Moving on, with the period of judges coming to an end, Samuel led the Hebrew people in a revival of sorts. Samuel was born around 1100 B.C. He served under Eli for awhile, and eventually led the Hebrew nation until 1052 B.C., when he turned over the reins of leadership to the nation’s first king, Saul. The following list details the kings of Israel, who led for the most part a united nation. (A divided nation, when mentioned below, speaks of either the ten northern Hebrew tribes known as Israel or the two southern Hebrew tribes known as Judah.)

Saul, who lived from 1082–1010 B.C. (seventy-two years), reigned from 1052–1010 B.C. (forty-two years)
Abner (Saul’s priest) ruled a divided nation (Israel) from 1010–1005 B.C. (five years)
Ish-Bosheth, one of Saul’s sons born in 1045 B.C., ruled a divided nation (Israel) from 1005–1003 B.C. (two years)
David, who lived from 1040–970 B.C. (seventy years), led a divided nation (Judah) from 1010–1003 B.C. (seven years)
David reigned over a united Israel from 1003–970 B.C. (thirty-three years)
David’s son, Solomon, who lived from 1000–930 B.C. (seventy years), governed the united nation of Israel from 970–930 B.C. (forty years)

During Solomon’s reign, the Temple in Jerusalem was constructed. After Solomon’s death, the nation of Israel was divided again. Many of these leaders co-ruled with their sons for part of their reigns. I have listed below the rulers of Israel, the divided nation consisting of ten tribes:

Jeroboam ruled from 930–909 B.C. (twenty-one years)
Nadab ruled from 909–908 B.C. (one year)
Baashah ruled from 908–886 B.C. (twenty-two years)
Elah ruled from 886–885 B.C. (one year)
Zimri ruled from 885–885 B.C. (only a few months)
Tibni ruled from 885–881 B.C. (four years)
Omri ruled from 885–874 B.C. (eleven years)
Ahab ruled from 874–853 B.C. (twenty-one years)
Ahaziah ruled from 853–852 B.C. (one year)
Joram ruled from 852–841 B.C. (eleven years)
Jehu ruled from 841–814 B.C. (twenty-seven years)
Jehoahaz ruled from 814–798 B.C. (sixteen years)
Jehoash ruled from 798–782 B.C. (sixteen years)
Jeroboam II ruled from 793–753 B.C. (forty years)
Zechariah ruled from 753–752 B.C. (one year)
Shallum ruled from 752–752 B.C. (less than a year)
Menahem ruled from 752–742 B.C. (ten years)
Pekahiah ruled from 742–740 B.C. (two years)
Pekah ruled from 740–732 B.C. (eight years)
Hoshea, the final king of Israel, ruled from 732–722 B.C. (ten years)
Under the reign of Shalmaneser V, Assyria conquered Israel in 722 B.C.

Next, the nation of Judah, which consisted of two tribes, was originally led by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. Many of these leaders also co-ruled with their sons for part of their reigns. I have listed below the rulers of Judah:

Rehoboam ruled from 930–913 B.C. (seventeen years)
Abijah ruled from 913–910 B.C. (three years)
Asa ruled from 910–869 B.C. (forty-one years)
Jehosaphat ruled from 872–848 B.C. (twenty-four years)
Jehoram ruled from 853–841 B.C. (twelve years)
Ahaziah ruled from 841–841 B.C. (less than a year)
Queen Athaliah ruled from 841–835 B.C. (six years)
Joash ruled from 835–795 B.C. (forty years)
Amaziah ruled from 796–767 B.C. (twenty-nine years)
Azzariah, also known as Uzziah, ruled from 792–740 B.C. (fifty-two years)
Jotham ruled from 750–732 B.C. (eighteen years)
Ahaz ruled from 735–715 B.C. (twenty years)
Hezekiah ruled from 715–686 B.C. (twenty-nine years)
Manasseh ruled from 697–642 B.C. (fifty-five years)
Amon ruled from 642–640 B.C. (two years)
Josiah ruled from 640–609 B.C. (thirty-one years)
Jehoahaz ruled from 609–609 B.C. (less than a year)
Jehoiakim ruled from 609–598 B.C. (eleven years), the latter part as Nebuchadnezzar’s puppet
Jehoiachin ruled as Nebuchadnezzar’s puppet from 598–597 B.C. (one year)
Zedekiah ruled as Nebuchadnezzar’s puppet from 597–586 B.C. (eleven years)
Under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon conquered Judah in 586 B.C.

The Temple in Jerusalem that Solomon had built was destroyed in 586 B.C. The people of Judah who were not killed were exiled to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled Babylon from 605–562 B.C. Cyrus, king of Persia, conquered Babylon and sent many Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple in 538 B.C. So Zerubbabel, a descendant of King David, led 50,000 Hebrews to Jerusalem out of Babylonian captivity. Temple construction began in 536 B.C., but it was halted in 530 B.C. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah encouraged the Hebrew people to continue the project and maintain loyalty to God. In 520 B.C., Temple construction continued. The Temple was completed in 516 B.C., exactly seventy years after it was destroyed, just as prophesied by Jeremiah and Daniel.

In 483 B.C., King Xerxes of the Persian Empire banished his wife, Vashti, for disobedience. In 479 B.C., Xerxes made Esther his queen. In 458 B.C., Ezra led a second group of Hebrews back to Jerusalem; in 445 B.C., Nehemiah led a third group of Hebrews back to Jerusalem. The prophet Malachi served the people under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, thus ending the Old Testament.

Cyrus led the Persian Empire from 559–530 B.C. He was succeeded by Cambyses, who reigned from 530–522 B.C. Darius led Persia from 522–486 B.C.; he was succeeded by Xerxes, who ruled from 486–465 B.C. Artaxerxes followed from 465–424 B.C. Then Darius II reigned from 424–404 B.C. Artaxerxes II ruled from 404–358 B.C., and Artaxerxes III governed from 358–337 B.C. Darius III ruled as the final leader of the dominant Persian Empire from 336–331 B.C.

The Greek Empire, under Alexander the Great, conquered the Persian Empire in 331 B.C. Alexander the Great ruled from 336–323 B.C.; he was followed by the Seleucid Dynasty. In 175 B.C., the evil King Antiochus dominated the Middle East. The Maccabean revolt eventually led to the restoration of Jewish freedom in the region. Hyrcanus led the Hebrew people under Greek and Roman rule from 134–104 B.C.

The Roman Empire gained power in the Middle East as Gaius Marius led from 104–100 B.C. He was followed by chaos and turmoil under Roman leaders Pompey and Cicero. Julius Caesar came on the scene from 60–44 B.C. The Second Triumvirate governed all Roman provinces from 60–27 B.C. From 27 B.C.–14 A.D., Caesar Augustus (Octavian) ruled alone. He was succeeded by Caesar Tiberius from 14–37 A.D. Caesar Caligula led Rome from 37–41 A.D., and Caesar Claudius governed from 41–54 A.D. Caesar Nero governed from 54–68 A.D., and Titus followed him. Civil wars broke out during Nero’s reign, and Jerusalem was ruined. The Jewish Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., and Christian persecution grew increasingly harsh.

The New Testament Gospels give us the timelines for the ministries of John the Baptist, who lived from approximately 5 B.C.–28 A.D., and Jesus, Who lived from approximately 4 B.C.–30 A.D. The Acts of the Apostles, which covers the time after the death and resurrection of Jesus, provide evidence for events that took place from 30–62 A.D.

The conversion of Saul (Paul) took place around 33 or 34 A.D. Paul spent three years in Arabia, then returned to Damascus, then visited Jerusalem, then went to Tarsus around 36 or 37 A.D. Barnabas brought Paul to Antioch around 43 or 44 A.D. Peter’s miraculous escape from prison took place in 44 A.D. Paul’s first missionary trip was from 47–49 A.D. The Apostolic Council at Jerusalem was in 49 A.D. Paul’s second missionary trip was from 49–52 A.D. Paul’s third missionary trip was from 52–57 A.D. Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem was in 57 A.D., and his imprisonment and trials took place from 57–59 A.D. Paul sailed to Rome to await trial in the winter of 59 and spring of 60 A.D. Finally, Paul remained under house arrest in Rome from 60–62 A.D.

The Books of the New Testament were written as follows:

49 A.D.: Galatians and James
51–52 A.D.: 1 and 2 Thessalonians
54–57 A.D.: 1 and 2 Corinthians
57 A.D.: Romans
58–60 A.D.: Gospel of Mark
60 A.D.: Ephesians and Colossians
60–61 A.D.: Philemon and Philippians
61–64 A.D.: Gospels of Matthew and Luke
64–65 A.D.: Jude, Titus, 1 Peter, and 1 Timothy
66–68 A.D.: Acts, 2 Peter, and 2 Timothy
68–70 A.D.: Hebrews
85 A.D.: Gospel of John
85–90 A.D.: 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John
95 A.D.: Revelation

Post-Biblical history was reviewed in chapter eight of this book.

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