Dates In The Bible

Dates mark the time at which events occur. The Bible expresses dates in relation to the lifetime of individuals, the period during which certain rulers were in office, or other notable events. It contains the only complete chronology reaching back to the time of Adam’s creation. Bible chronology also pinpointed in advance the time when certain important events in the fulfillment of God’s purpose would take place. The Gregorian calendar, which is now popular in much of the world, did not come into use until 1582. In secular sources there is disagreement on dates given for events in ancient history. However, certain key dates, such as 539 B.C.E. for the fall of Babylon, and hence 537 B.C.E. for the Jews’ return from captivity, are well established. (Ezra 1:1-3) Using such dates as starting points, it is possible to express in terms of current calendars the dates for ancient Biblical events.

Dates In The Bible

The dating methods used by scientists are built on assumptions that can be useful but that often lead to very contradictory results. So, dates given by them are constantly being revised.

A report in New Scientist of March 18, 1982, reads: “‘I am staggered to believe that as little as a year ago I made the statements that I made.’ So said Richard Leakey, before the elegant audience of a Royal Institution evening discourse last Friday. He had come to reveal that the conventional  wisdom, which he had so recently espoused in his BBC television series The Making of Mankind, was ‘probably wrong in a number of crucial areas.’ In particular, he now sees man’s oldest ancestor as being considerably younger than the 15-20 million years he plumped for on television.”—P. 695.

From time to time, new methods of dating are developed. How reliable are these? Regarding one known as thermoluminescence, The New Encyclopædia Britannica (1976, Macropædia, Vol. 5, p. 509) says: “Hope rather than accomplishment mainly characterizes the status of thermoluminescence dating at the present time.” Also, Science (August 28, 1981, p. 1003) reports that a skeleton showing an age of 70,000 years by amino acid racemization gave only 8,300 or 9,000 years by radioactive dating.

Dates In The Bible

4000 BC (?)— Creation of the world

2344 BC (?)— Noah and the ark

2166 BC — The call of Abram

2141 BC — The birth of Isaac

1526 BC — The birth of Moses

1446 BC — Israel’s exodus from Egypt

1406 BC — Israel’s entrance to the Promised Land

1383 BC — The death of Joshua

1052 BC — The coronation of King Saul

1011–971 BC — The reign of King David

959 BC — Solomon’s temple completed

931 BC — The dividing of the kingdom

875–797 BC — The ministries of Elijah and Elisha in Israel

739–686 BC — The ministry of Isaiah in Judah

722 BC — The fall of the northern kingdom to Assyria

586 BC — The fall of the southern kingdom to Babylon

538–445 BC — The Jews’ return to Jerusalem after exile

515 BC — The second temple finished

5 BC — The birth of Jesus Christ

AD 26–30 — Christ’s ministry, ending in His death and resurrection

AD 34 — The conversion of Saul of Tarsus

AD 44–47 — Paul’s first missionary journey

AD 49 — The Jerusalem Council

AD 60 — The imprisonment of Paul in Rome

AD 95 — John’s vision on Patmos and the writing of Revelation

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