“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that this day should overtake you like a thief.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4
Those who work through biblical chronology find two views concerning Abraham’s placement in history. It comes down to a sixty year difference of opinion. But where Bible difficulties surface, there is often a deeper reason for the apparent confusion. The confusion is our own doing, but there may simply be a bigger reason or more than meets the eye. With the introduction of Abram and hence, Abraham, there may be a deeper more revealing purpose behind this passage than the simple chronology.
The issue is that in Genesis 11:26, Terah is said to be 70 years of age at the birth of his sons Abram, Nahor, and Haran. However, as the story develops we find that Haran is the oldest who dies before Terah’s family leaves Ur of the Chaldees to dwell in Haran. In fact, Haran’s brother Nahor marries Milcah, who is Haran’s daughter. Lot who is Abraham’s contemporary is also the son of Haran. Haran then is the firstborn when Terah was 70 years old with Abram and Nahor probably coming a generation later. In Abraham’s call to move west from Haran at 75, Terah’s death is at 205. It would appear that Terah was 130 when Abraham was born. Abraham being born when Terah was 130 is the basis for most chronologies, like Archbishop Ussher’s or the one supported here.*
There is also precedence set with the birth date of Shem. All three sons of Noah are said to be born 100 years before the Flood (Genesis 5:32, 7:6). Later in Genesis 11:10 we find that Shem was actually born 98 years before the Flood. Therefore, the 100 years would have been accurate to only part of Noah’s family and probably the firstborn.
However, the Bible does indeed record Abraham and his brothers as being born when Terah was 70. This is a difference of a whole 60 years. But why does the inspired text seem misleading here? Or is revealing a better word than misleading? It would seem so.
When documenting the years of the Patriarch’s births we will find that Terah was born in the year 1878 from Adam. Seventy years later would place Abraham in the year 1948 using Genesis 11:26 as the only guide. Under this scenario, the parallel is fairly obvious that Abraham’s “birth” in the year 1948 from Adam is parallel to Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948. That being 1,948 years from the birth of the Second Adam. AD 1878 is also the year of the first Jewish settlement at Petah Tikva under Turkish permission. So it may be that the surface and yet “incorrect” chronology is actually a key to fit the modern parallel of Israel’s return to the land. But does the parallel go even further?
Abraham is 75 years of age when he departs Haran, which would translate to 2023, if we continue the parallel. However, Abraham must journey about 500 miles to the Land and finds it in a famine, so he goes down to Egypt. He is then sent away from Egypt and comes to Bethel and separates from Lot. We do know that Abraham was at the most 76 years of age when he came to dwell in the land since after 10 years of dwelling in the land, Sarah gives Abraham Hagar to provide an heir (Genesis 16:3). Abraham was 86 at the birth of Ishmael (Genesis 16:16). Therefore, the maximum time and year of Abraham dwelling in the Land would have been the year 2024 from Creation. Does this then parallel to the year 2024 of our era that Israel will once again dwell in the Land?
But what makes the years 1878 and 1948 more substantial is the parallel much discussed here from the period of the Babylonian Captivity. From the beginning of the Captivity under Nebuchadnezzar in 606 BC to AD 1878 is the period of 2,520 360-day years. Likewise, from the return of Israel in 537 BC to AD 1948 is also within the 2,520th 360-day year between events. Therefore, both dates of 1878 and 1948 are important and especially from this chronology of Abraham. Incidentally, the number 2,520 is derived from the Handwriting on the Wall in Daniel.†
So what may appear to be a chronological discrepancy of 60 years, actually seems to be a way of documenting a predictive timeline fitting the return of Israel in 1948. What is also interesting, from a different perspective, is that if we adjust to 360-day years from the apparent time of the calendar change in 713 BC (Ahaz’s Sundial), then it would mean that the Fall Feasts of 2017 would be at 6060.7 years from Creation. If one then similarly applies the 60 year difference of Abraham’s chronology, then it would “make” the fall of 2017 the full completion of 6,000 years from Creation. Therefore, the Seventh Day or Day of the Lord would begin in the darkness of the 70th Week of Daniel and bring the anticipated rule of Christ in the Millennium.
Fall 4005 BC to Spring 713 BC = 3,291.5 360-day years
Spring 713 BC to Fall AD 2017 = 2,769.2 360-day years (2,729.5 365.2422-day years).
Total span = 6060.7 360-day years
Abraham adjustment of ∆60 = 6000.7 360-day years
Therefore, there may be two ways at looking at this “discrepancy” in the chronology of Abraham. What is fascinating about this is that here at Abraham’s introduction, the key to understanding the time of the end and Israel’s promise was laid here right in the beginning. Israel’s return to the Land is not to be ignored by the Church as the hourglass of a generation drops its last grains of sand. Right in between the generational time of 70 and 80 years (Psalm 90:10), Abraham heads toward the Land. Israel will also do the same as she will be soon gathered there by Jesus the Messiah. There should be no doubts that the time is upon us. Unfortunately, many are like frogs who have become numb in the warm waters of non-appreciation for the significance of Israel in modern history. The reality is that modern history has all revolved around Israel and bringing the nation back to the point where life is once again breathed into her. That breath is coming as sure as God spoke it to Abraham 4,000 years ago.
† The handwriting was “MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN”. A MENE was equal to 50 shekels or tekels and with an UPHARSIN being worth 25 shekels, that would equal 126 shekels or tekels (50+50+1+25). The tekel could also be divided into 20 gerahs (Ezekiel 45:12). This would then mean that 126 tekels were also 2,520 gerahs. So at the time of the fall of Babylon, God uses the number of these weights to show Babylon’s judgement at that time.
* "Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell.” Acts 7:2-4