Biblical Chronology and Personalities-Part 1

When studying the Scriptures, many people tend to “gloss over” these areas for one reason or another. In this series we are going to take a basic look at these areas and hopefully give some insight on just how important these areas are in understanding the Scriptures. Much of the information given will be new to many and hopefully it will incite a new interest in “catching up” with what can be learned. It will fill a “gap” in everyone’s knowledge and bring out the fact that if the Lord included these topics in the Scriptures, they were meant for us to learn. Basic Jewish chronologies are seen in a circle, not a flat line. This covers 7000 years and begins with a period before creation called the “Olam Haba” meaning “the World to Come.” The primary date for the first day of creation is Tishri 1, so Adam was created on Tishri 6. The period of 6000 years (6 days) is called the “Olam Ha Zeh” which means “this present world” and leads up to the final 1000 years called the “Atid Lavo” meaning “the future coming.” This last, 1000 year period goes by many other names like the Messianic Kingdom, the Day of the Lord, the Lord’s Day and the Sabbath of God. As you can see right away, changing the Sabbath day (the seventh day) to “the day of the sun” or Sunday will quickly bring confusion when trying to understand God’s 7000 year plan. He laid out the blueprint for this plan in the first week of creation. God created (worked) for six days, then “rested” from his work on the seventh day. This is not only a picture of the work week, but also prophetic of his 7000 year plan. After the last 1000 year period called the Atid Lavo, we go into the Olam Haba again because everything will be restored back to perfection and we have come “full circle.” The 6000 year period called the Olam Ha Zeh is divided into three 2000 year periods. The first 2000 covers from creation to Abraham and is called “Tohu” which means “void, destruction.” This covers the time period of the first sin, the first murder, the flood and so on. Abraham was born in year 1948 from creation and was 52 when called out of Haran. This begins the next age called “Torah” which means “instruction or teaching.” This period goes from Abraham to Yeshua and included God’s call to Abraham and the giving of the Torah on Mt Sinai. The third period is called the “Yom’ot Mashiach” meaning “days of the Messiah” and this period begins around the year 4000 from creation to the present, which isn’t over yet obviously. So, as you can see, Jewish chronology expected the Messiah to come exactly when Yeshua appeared. Now, during this 7000 year period, there will be five “new heavens and earth” and this needs to be brought out because when you see this term in the Scriptures, it doesn’t necessarily refer to the same period. Man was created on the 6th day, sinned on the 10th day of Tishri, which would become Yom Kippur. The original creation lasted only 10 days. This was the first period of a new heaven and earth. Creation had changed and this second new heaven and earth lasted from the first sin to the flood. The flood changed everything again, and the third new heaven and earth will go from the flood to the Messianic Kingdom, so we are currently in this third period. The fourth new heaven and earth will go from the Messianic Kingdom to the Olam Haba. The Olam Haba will be the fifth new heaven and earth, when everything comes “full circle” and returns back to the original state of creation. So, when you read a Scripture like Isa 65.17-25, you need to find out what new heaven and earth is being described. In this passage, it is the fourth one. In Rev 21.1 it is talking about the fifth and final new heaven and earth called the Olam Haba. All of this is crucial to understanding the Scriptures. Genesis, chapters 1 through 3 deals with creation. Chapters 4 through 7 deal with Adam to Noah. Genesis 7 through 12 deal with the flood to Abraham. Paganism as we know it starts in this third period. Genesis 13 through 50 deals with Abraham to Moses and is called the “Patriarchal Age.”
Now, let’s explain Exo 12.41 because this is a verse that is misinterpreted. Israel was not in Egypt for 430 years, but 210 in reality. The 430 year period referred to in Exo 12.41 is the total sojourn of Israel, who were in Egypt at the time, and includes their time in Canaan. The 430 year period began in Gen 15.13 and they were brought out of Egypt “on the very day” that this period began 430 years earlier. For 220 years they were sojourners in the land of Canaan. Then Jacob came into Egypt at Joseph’s request, and the Israelites were there 210 years, being enslaved for only 83 years of that. Aaron was 83 and Moses 80 when they left Egypt. They didn’t need to hide Aaron when he was born, but they had to hide Moses. So, the slavery started right after Aaron was born and were slaves no more than 83 years. The next period covers from Moses to Joshua and called the “wilderness” period. It was the foundation time for the Bible. This period is referred to throughout the Jewish liturgy in the Temple (and after) because God gave the Torah during this period. The time period from Joshua to Samuel covers the time when Israel “entered the land. They did not circumcise their children till they entered the land at Gilgal, which means to “roll away” from the root “gal” which means “a circle.” This word Gilgal is also related to the word “Golgotha” where our sins were “rolled” away by Yeshua (also related to Joshua). They did not keep Passover except for the first year because they weren’t circumcised (Exo 12.48). Once they get across the Jordan, they are circumcised and began to keep it. The people had some good times and some bad times. From Samuel to Solomon we have the period called the Dual Monarchy. There were two kingdoms, Judah and Israel, with one king. From Solomon to Zedekiah we have the Divided Kingdom. This was two kingdoms, with two kings.
What we have emerging now is the importance of genealogies. Keep your eye on Judah and Levi, and from Levi will come Aaron’s family. His line will be a family of priests, with every one descended from Aaron. To be a Levite, you only had to be from the tribe of Levi. The most important character among the descendants of Aaron is the High Priest. The most important character among the descendants of Judah is the King. Both will represent an eschatological character called the Messiah. This is established prophetically from Zech 6.11-13. The First Temple Commonwealth covers the period from David’s preparation to the destruction of the Temple. Once it is destroyed, we come to the time of the Exile, both Assyrian and Babylonian. Nebuchadnezzar has three deportations, which began before the First Temple was destroyed. The Babylonian exile lasted 70 years and the people were first called “Jews” in Est 8.16. This term covered all 12 tribes. The period of return is called the Persian period. Zerubbabel was the first leader of the kingly line, the grandson of Jeconiah (Jehoikin) and that line was cursed. Ezra was also during this period and Nehemiah came along 39 years after Ezra, who was still around when he came along. The land went through a name change, from Judah to Judea also. You will deal with more than one chronology at a time, and you must study the Scriptures in “layers” because one overlaps the other. There are three empires we will deal with, Assyria, Babylon and Persia. Assyria was seen as the greatest (Ezra 6.22) because it left it stamp in a greater way and it dominated the area. Babylon was short-lived and only had three main kings, Nabopolasser, Nebuchadnezzar and his son, who co-reigned with Beltshazzar. During this period, the Men of the Great Assembly emerge. These were 120 men who kept the people together, the last one being the prophet Haggai. They “remold” Judaism, starting with Ezra, and synagogues were developed for people to assemble and learn, although they did not have the status that the Temple had. Ezra will rebuild the Temple and Nehemiah the walls of Jerusalem. Ezra was seen as the “second” Moses. Moses was sent to bring the Torah to the people and teach, and Ezra was sent to reinstitute the Torah and teach. This initiates what is called the Second Temple period and the commonwealth of Israel continued till 70 AD. Nehemiah built the walls of Jerusalem. The walls were dedicated in Kislev and went on for 80 days, and it was an early basis for Chanukah. Jerusalem will have a special sanctification, with certain designated areas. When you see “Most Holy” it is a term used for anything within the Temple, where you can only do certain things. When you see the term “Holy” it is a term used for anything within the walls of Jerusalem, and you could eat certain offerings there. This is what Nehemiah is doing, setting the boundaries for religious worship to the Lord. This is why Yeshua had to eat the Passover within the city, because the lamb was “holy.” That is why the festivals cannot be kept outside of the city. The Men of the Great Assembly rule over Judaism (which will become “Judaisms” by Yeshua’s time) and Jerusalem. They were “lawgivers” in a sense and ruled between the Persian and the Greek period (Avot 1.1). The Greek period is next. Alexander the Great brings Hellenism wherever he went. This will end when the Maccabees overthrow Antiochus IV (who is Greek and tried to get the Jews to assimilate). They call on Rome for help against Antiochus. They come and Antiochus is defeated, starting the Hasmonean period which goes up to 63 BC, with Rome taking total control. The Roman period now begins which will go to 70 AD. In Part 2, we will pick up here with more about the chronologies, the counting of years on the Jewish calendar and some political back-round. This will be very important information and back-round that will help you understand what is happening in the Gospels and Epistles.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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