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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Recommend-a-blog (22)

The Tel Gezer calendar
(Attribution)
If it seems like I haven’t done one of these in ages, it’s because I haven’t. Too much time invested in surveying the political landscape, clearly.

Bible Chronology Studies is a refreshing change from that sort of thing, though not necessarily in an area of study all believers will embrace with enthusiasm. Some of us are deeply interested in what’s “under the hood” of our Christian faith; others are just happy to turn the key and take it up to the (legal) limit.

The website is the work of what I estimate must be thousands upon thousands of hours of independent study by a thus-far-anonymous Christian writer (not that there’s anything wrong with that) apparently obsessed with getting it right.

Questions, Questions

The site consists of 11 in-depth investigations into the most well-known Old Testament chronological controversies, along with a series of shorter, related articles and (of course) a gospel presentation. They are clear, well written and not overly technical. A layperson familiar with the scriptures in question will have no problem understanding them.

So how long was the Israelite sojourn in Egypt? Exactly how many years did Jacob spend in Haran anyway? What’s wrong with Harold Camping’s biblical calendar? Why do scholars find so many “co-regencies” in Kings and Chronicles, and are these legitimate, or do they simply attempt to accommodate the biblical timeline to current secular chronologies? Does Matthew 24:32 refer to the nationalization of Israel in 1948?

This is definitely the place to look if you’re interested in answers that come directly from the text of scripture.

Only the Bible for Guidance

If you’re wondering why any of this matters, it matters because some of us dislike scholars explaining away the plain statements of the word of God, especially when most of the time such hand-waving is not even necessary. By way of contrast, here’s the sort of reasoning that went into the Chronology of Israel’s Kingdom Years:
“If one goes through the chronology of the kings of Israel and Judah and ONLY uses the Biblical synchronisms provided (there are about 30 of them), one comes to within just a couple of years to 390 years from the death of Solomon and division of the kingdom to the fall of Jerusalem (I got 388 years). This reckoning by the way does not require any of Edwin Thiele’s fancy footwork, it comes straight out of Scripture. That is, no accession vs non-accession year dating, no spring year vs fall year, no reckoning differences depending on whether the king was from Israel or Judah or Assyria or Babylon. Thiele created a large complex system in his effort to whittle down 390 years to 345 years, but none of that is necessary if the Biblical synchronisms are simply taken at face value. Thus the 390 year view of Ezekiel 4:5 is entirely compatible with the synchronisms given for the kings of Israel and Judah, which I admit much surprised me the first time I went through the chronology on my own using only the Bible for guidance.”
(The word “synchronism” here refers to a statement that links in time the beginning of one king’s reign to the end of another’s.)

But the magic words here for me are “using only the Bible for guidance”. When you start there, I will always read on.

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