World History: First 3000 Years
The first page covering 4000 BC to 1000 BC, is almost entirely derived from the descriptions found in the Bible itself. The only items that are not Biblically derived are the approximate beginning and ending dates for the Hittite Empire and the Philistines. These dates were taken from the SDA Bible Commentary.
For the purpose of allowing you the reader, the ability to study the things in the first 3000 years more easily, the Biblical texts used in formulating this graph are incorporated into the chart itself. You can refer to the Bible yourself and formulate your own view on the accuracy of this chart.
One of the most fascinating aspects of this first 3000 years is the portrayal of the life spans of the early antediluvian and those who lived after the flood. The sudden shift from 900+ years to 100+ years is rather dramatic.
In addition to the final ages of these men, is the indication of their age when their son, presumably their first, was born. It is interesting to compare these ages as well. There are times when generation after generation seem similar. However some periods exhibit possible stress. This is reflected in the older ages, as indicated when their sons were born. We know that the problems of finding a mate during the times of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were real. It is extremely possible that this same phenomenon is also evident at other times, such as the period of time before the flood. Could Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah have had the same problem in their day of finding a mate? Were the people so wicked in their day, that a proper choosing of religious mate was difficult? Another possible explanation is that Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah were not the first sons in their generation. Maybe the first son was so wicked that some later son had to take the spiritual responsibility of taking the spiritual leadership role of the family. Women were apparently not even considered for that position in the family. Possibly Eve's role in the initiation of sin on this planet is the cause.
1. I assume that the times in Genesis 5, and 11, according to the Massoretic text (The original Hebrew Text that was preserved down through the generations of the Israelites) is complete and accurate. It is often noted that the "begats" found in the various places of the Bible often have slight variances. It is not unusual for a generation or two to be left out of a series of begats.
Because of our understanding of the definition of "begat" in these texts, this skipping of generations is thought to be permissible. They (Today's theologians) assume that the writers were less concerned with having every generation be recorded than to make sure that the correct number of generations were recorded.
Could this same skipping of generations be a reality in the book of Genesis as well? It seems unlikely to me because of the way Moses describes these early generations in the book of Genesis. In Genesis 5 and 11, Moses takes an average of three verses for each generation. In addition dates are included in the text. He specifically informs the reader of the number of years that transpire from generation to generation as well as their total number of years living in each generation. It seems that Moses wanted to preserve the sharp decline in the ages of man after the flood. This is exactly what we would expect if the ages were indeed changing in such a dramatic manner. Moses would want to record this great change for future generations. This is not true for the other begats in the Bible. They are essentially lists of generations, nothing more. There is no reason to list their ages or the time from generation to generation since there is nothing spectacular to report.
2. I assume that the second Cainan in Luke 3:36 and the 450 years of Acts 13;18-20 have been influenced by the Septuigent text which was popular in New Testament times. The Septuigent text of the Bible was a Greek version of the Old Testament Bible that was used by the early Christians (the only Bible they could use). Hebrew was not known by the populace at that time.
Many have noted the possibility that the early dates of the Septuegent could have been lengthened in order for the texts to be better accepted by the Greek world. Essentially 2000 years have been added to the Septuegent Chronology of the earth. It is my opinion that the Septuegent text shows signs of being doctored up. For example, Methuselah lived beyond the time of the flood yet he is not recorded as being on the ark.
The 450 years of Acts 13:18-20 do not fit into the time constraints of the Old Testament. According to Old Testament accounts, Samuel should be dead and David should be King of Israel at the end of the 450 year period.
The writer of Acts understood that the period should have been 450 years from the Septuigent Greek Bible. This Bible is the only Bible that the populace could read at the time. It was the Bible that everyone used. Hebrew was only a tongue of the learned.
The second Cainan in Luke 3:36 does not occur in Genesis where specific attention is paid to the passage of time. This also is a case that illustrates the influence that the Septuigent had on the people of the New Testament.
The adding of 2000 years in the Septuigent might have been one of the reasons why the Early Christian Church believed that they were living in the last days of this world's history. Two thousands ago the Christians thought that the Earth was two thousand years older than it really was. So they thought, 2000 years ago, that the Earth was already 6000 years old.
In spite of the fact that there is no prophecy indicating that Jesus will be returning at the end of 6000 years, it has been a predominant thought in Christ's day as well as our own. Today, 2000 years later, we again understand that the world is 6000 years old, and many use this idea, right or wrong, to show that the end is near.
3. The assumption is made that the 400 and 430 years of Sojourn in a foreign land includes Palestine as well as Egypt. This is in spite of what is presented in Exodus 12:40 which specifies this time as the time spent in Egypt.
There are several reasons to believe that they only spent 215 years in Egypt instead of 430 or 400 years:
One, Several Bibles have cross references which indicate that an alternative meaning could be Egypt and Canaan, rather than just Egypt.
Two, 430 or 400 years would be too long for the time represented in the following verses: Numbers 26:58,59; Exodus 6:16-20; Genesis 46:11; and Numbers 3:17,19,27,29. Levi is clearly the father of Kohath, who is the father of Amram, who is the father of Moses. Also in an even more constraining scenario, Moses' mother was the daughter of Levi. Amram married his father's sister. That makes Moses the third and fourth generation from Levi. Levi was Moses' grandfather! After 400 or 430 years, Moses should be dead. It is simply too much time to be spent all in Egypt.
4. Kohath, Amram, and Joshua have not been accurately placed on the chart since the information is not present in the Bible. The placement of their lives are approximate and should be taken as such. Only the number of their days are known.
5. The time of the judges (from Joshua to Samuel) is confusing. The names listed are thought to represent the approximate order of the judges. However it is thought that many of these judges overlapped in time. this is indicated by the fact that if their rules are put end to end, that over 600 years could be accounted for. This is in obvious conflict with the 480 years as is specified in 1Kings 6:1. So it is assumed that their times overlapped considerably.
Because of the 300 year period in Judges 11:26, a conscience effort was made to separate the judges as those who judged before Jephthah and those who judged after Jephthah. Remember that there was much overlap. Some were also contemporary.
6. The time line was arbitrarily started at 4000 BC. This was done in order to have easy numbers to work with in the graph. The fact that the graph starts exactly at 4000 BC should not be taken that the author believes that creation week was exactly 4000 BC. It seems to be a good approximation however.
7. I assume that the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1 starts at the arrival of the Israelites to the promised land instead at the beginning of the Exodus as many would place it.
The reason for this is arbitrary. It allows Creation week to be at 4000 BC (rather than 3960 BC) while still allowing the building of solomon's Temple to be 967 BC which is the actual historical date found in the SDA Bible commentary.
This is important since the building of solomon's Temple is the first date that can be substantiated in historical records. It is a known date. Thus the time between Creation week and the building of Solomon's temple can be approximated. The fascination of having the numbers work out has not escaped the author in this matter.
However you should realize that this is a minority view. Most theologians have the 480 years begin at the end of the 40 year Exodus experience.
World History: The Last 3000 Years
Instead of using Scripture to determine the ages and times in this second chart (or the second half of the combined chart) the SDA Bible Commentary was used. The building of Solomon's Temple in 967 BC was also determined by using the SDA Bible commentary since much of the data for arriving at these dates is historical in nature. The records from the various ancient nations and from various archeological digs have provide much of this information.
In addition to the multitude of historical dates which must be taken into account, there is the added complexity of having to match the dates in Kings and Chronicles. One book uses inclusive reckoning while the other book uses exclusive reckoning.
The Kings of the united kingdom of Israel and later Judah are listed below. The kings of the northern kingdom of Israel are listed above on the page. The bars do not indicate their life spans but rather the length of their reigns. As one can see their reigns often overlap. This was traditional as it give the next generation more experience when they were younger, yet their father, which was also the king, was by his side to help him. This supposively allowed the kingdom to be more stable through the generations.
The prophets are also indicated in this way. However not much is known concerning some of the seers. So if abnormally short durations are indicated for some, it only means that not much is known about them and their work. Their bars in general indicate the time of their influence, not their life-spans.
The Reformation is also indicated on this chart. The life-spans of the various reformers are also indicated.
The various prophetic prophecies are indicated using the accepted SDA dates; however, there is some dispute on some of the dates. It is easy to see that the timed prophecies indicated on chart 2 do not reach the end of time. Those who interpreted the timed prophecies this way were expecting the world to end in 1844 so of course we would expect the timed periods to end on that date. A new second interpretation is needed for these timed periods. You will see a second application of these prophecies in the End Time Harmony also located on this web site.
Finally The end of the world is pictured as ending on the year 2000 AD. The stopping the chart at 2000 AD is a convenient place to stop. It does not indicate that I think the world should have ended in the year 2000.