Jesus Christ the Fiery Serpent

Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.

The Biblical Calendar of History:


The Biblical Calendar of History

The Clue Phrase is "Called His Name"
In Genesis 4 and 5 we read of the birth of Enosh to Seth. Why did God use different language to describe this event in Genesis 4 from that in Genesis 5? In Genesis 4:26, "And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos." (All Scripture references are from the King James Version of the Bible.) But the Bible says in Genesis 5:6, "And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos." Why did God use the phrase "called his name" in connection with Enos's birth in Genesis 4 but not in Genesis 5? It is obvious that the phrases "[Seth] begat Enos" or "Methuselah begat Lamech" did not ensure that Enos was the immediate son of Seth or Lamech of Methuselah. Many instances can be found where a father-son relationship appears to be indicated and yet other Scriptural evidence points to a more distant ancestry. Matthew 1:1, where Jesus is referred to as the Son of David, and David, the son of Abraham, is

A more careful examination of the Scriptures reveals why the phrase "called his name", which is the Hebrew qara, was used. In every place where this phrase is employed, there can be no doubt of the existing relationship; invariably it is indicative of parent and child. Thus, the Bible says, for example, in Genesis 21:3, "Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him . . . Isaac." We read in Genesis 25:25, "And they called his name Esau" and Isaiah 7:14, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." In every instance where this "clue" phrase appears, one can be certain that an immediate son is being described and not a more remote descendant.
God's use of this "clue" phrase thus assures us that Seth was the immediate son of Adam (Gen. 4:25), Enos of Seth (Gen. 4:26), and Noah of his father, Lamech (Gen. 5:28-29). What about the rest of the names appearing in these genealogies under discussion? Two are decipherable. Other biblical evidence shows clearly that Shem was the immediate son of Noah, even though the phrase "called his name" is not used.1 The Bible shows, too, by other information that when Terah was 130 he became the father of Abram.2 But in the case of all the other names listed in these chapters there is no biblical evidence of any kind that points to an intermediate father-son relationship. In fact, there is internal evidence within these accounts that points to other than immediate father-son relationships.

An Ancient Calendar

In further reflection upon this situation, two biblical notices should be examined.

The first is that of Genesis 7 and 8, where the dates of the flood events are referenced to the age of Noah. Thus Genesis 8:13 records, "And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth." Genesis 7:6 tells us, "Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth." Could the calendars of ancient peoples have been tied to the life spans of certain individuals? The second notice is that of the New Testament where Christ declared in Matthew 24:34, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." In this reference Christ is speaking of events that will take place just before His return. He is therefore insisting that "this generation" will continue at least for almost two thousand years, for this much time has now elapsed, and all the events of which He prophesied in Matthew 24 have not yet happened. As a matter of fact, this is the generation of Jesus Christ. For instance, the year AD 1995 is the year of our Lord.4 The events of today are dated exactly as they were in Noah's day, by reference to the birth date of a person. Since this method of dating events was practiced in Noah's day, and was suggested by Jesus Himself, and is actually the practice used today, could not this have been the method described in Genesis 5 and 11? Is it not possible that these accounts are a calendar which gives the name of the patriarch whose life span was the reference point of his period or generation in history? This would make abundant sense, for it would provide continuity and clarity in historical reckoning.

Calendar Confirmation from Egypt

God gives additional evidence to support this reasoning. In Exodus 6 God gives genealogical information concerning some of the descendants of Jacob.

The information given does not appear very meaningful to our present day and age, but hidden among these verses are three numbers. The first is found in verse 16 where it is stated that Levi's three sons were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, and the years of Levi's life were 137. The second is in verse 18, where it says Kohath's four sons were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, and the years of Kohath's life were 133. The third is in verse 20, where it says Amram was married to Jochebed, and she bore him Moses and Aaron, and the years of Amram's life were 137. At first reading, it appears that Levi was the great-grandfather, Kohath the grandfather, Amram the father, and Moses and Aaron the sons. But is this so? There is no other biblical evidence that indicates this is the case, and there is no use anywhere in the Bible of the phrase "called his name" in reference to these men that would point to an immediate father-son relationship. Why would God give the life spans of only three individuals among so many?

To solve this puzzle, let us assume that God is giving us the calendar for the Israelitish sojourn in Egypt. One might recall that Jacob came to Egypt with his sons including Levi, and that the Israelites went out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. Both Levi and Aaron are mentioned in Exodus 6 and the age of Aaron at the time of Israel's departure from Egypt is given as 83 (Exodus 7:7). It can be shown from the biblical references that when Levi entered Egypt he was 60 to 63 years of age, with the burden of the evidence pointing to 60 years.5 Since he died at the age of 137, he lived 77 years in Egypt. If this is a calendar giving the names of the reference patriarchs or generations, we would expect that Kohath was a descendant of Levi and was born the year of Levi's death; and that Amram was a descendant of Kohath, and that he was born the year of Kohath's death. Aaron in turn was born the year of Amram's death, andwas descended from Amram. Let us add these time spans together:

Levi 77 years in Egypt

Kohath 133 years in Egypt

Amram 137 years in Egypt

Aaron 83 years in Egypt ------------ 430 years total time

Turning now to the biblical record, we discover the following interesting information in Exodus 12:40-41, "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the 4 LORD went out from the land of Egypt." God thus shows us clearly that the calendar used to record the passage of time during the Egyptian sojourn was based on the lives of Levi and his descendants, Kohath, Amram, and Aaron. This also explains the prophecy given to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-16, that his descendants would be oppressed 400 years (they were not oppressed during the beginning of their sojourn) in a land that was not theirs, and that they would return to their own land in the fourth generation.

Aaron's was the Fourth Generation

I believe that God in His wonderful wisdom has given us the key that unlocks the hitherto perplexing genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. These chapters are a calendar. The time was divided into patriarchal periods or generations, even as the New Testament period is the generation of Jesus Christ, and as the Egyptian sojourn was so divided. Thus, for example, when Methuselah died, bringing to an end his generation, a man who was born in the year of Methuselah's death was selected to be the next reigning patriarch, or at least the next man for calendar reference. After Methuselah, this was Lamech. None of the conditions of his selection are given, except that he had to be a descendant of Methuselah. The Bible indicates that Methuselah was 187 years old when he begat Lamech; i.e., when he was 187, the forefather of Lamech was born to Methuselah (Gen. 5:25). This notice establishes the certainty of Lamech's blood descent from Methuselah by showing where his forefather tied into the life of Methuselah.

The selection of the next patriarch had to include a birth date coinciding with Methuselah's death date to ensure a rational history. Had he been born one or more years earlier, an overlap would have occurred that would have blurred history. If Lamech had been born one or more years later than Methuselah's death, a gap would have occurred that would have confused history. Therefore, when a citizen of the world of that day spoke of an event occurring in the year Methuselah 950, only one year in history coincided with that date. Again, if he spoke of the year Lamech 2, only one year coincided with that date, and he knew precisely how many years transpired from Methuselah 950 to Lamech 2.

At the beginning men were comparatively scarce. Thus it seems apparent that when Adam died, there was no one born that year who was qualified to become the next reference patriarch. When Seth died 112 years later, the same situation prevailed. But when Enosh, grandson of Adam, died 98 years after Seth, a child who was a descendant of Enosh was born in the same year, and this child was eventually named as the next reference patriarch. This was Kenan. Kenan's life span thus became the calendar reference for that period of history. The calendar was continued in this fashion until Methuselah died and Lamech was born.

When Lamech was born, he became the one to whom the calendar was referenced. His descendant, who was born the year of Lamech's death and who would have become the next patriarch, died in the flood. This can easily be known, for Lamech died five years before the flood and only Noah and his immediate family survived the flood. Noah, who was an immediate son of Lamech, of necessity became a substitute calendar reference, even though he was not born the year of Lamech's death. Thus, the flood events are all dated by the life span of Noah (Gen. 7:6, 7:11, 8:4-5, 8:13-14).

When Noah died 350 years after the flood, the same situation prevailed that existed when Adam died. Few people lived upon the earth, and no one met the conditions required to become the next reference patriarch. When Shem died 152 years after Noah, the child Arpachshad, a descendant of Shem, was born in the same year and he became the next patriarch. The calendar was then continued in this same fashion until Terah was born.

After Terah was born, he became the reference patriarch. During Terah's life span, God brought into being the nation of Israel through Terah's immediate son, Abram. Thus, the descendant of Terah who was born the year of Terah's death was outside the Messianic line and outside of God's chronological purposes. God effectively had narrowed men down to the family of Abram. The normal method of calendar keeping was set aside in the absence of patriarchs who qualified. When Abraham died, no descendant of his was born the year of his death. When Isaac, the immediate son of Abraham, died, the same situation prevailed. This was repeated when Jacob, the immediate son of Isaac, died. But in the year that Levi, the immediate son of Jacob died, a descendant of Levi was born whose name was Kohath, and he apparently met the qualifications of a reference patriarch. Thus, he continued the calendar line as we have seen. Amram followed Kohath, and Aaron followed Amram. Interestingly it can be shown that in a real sense Aaron's generation continued until Christ's began almost 2,000 years ago.6 God has thus given in His Word a complete calendar from creation to Christ.

"The Chronology from Adam" 4 "A chronology beginning with Adam may now be set forth. To tie this genealogical table to our present" "calendar, synchronization between the biblical and secular histories should be found. Because so much work has been done in recent years, particularly in relation to the dating of the kings of Israel, this can be done rather readily. Edwin R. Thiele, in his book The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, established" "the date of the death of Solomon and the division of the kingdom as 931 BC.7 Since Solomon reigned 40 years (I Kings 11:42) and began to build the temple in the fourth year of his reign (I Kings 6:1), the construction began in the year 967 BC. This date in turn can be related to the Exodus because in at least two places God gives a time bridge from the Exodus to the building of the temple. The first is recorded in I Kings 6:1, where 480 years is indicated as the time span between these events. The second can be shown from the chronology of the Hebrew judges.8" "A time span of 480 years brings us to 1447 BC as the date of the Exodus. If we work back from this date to Adam, we arrive at the date for Adam as 11013 BC. The key dates are as follows:"

"Creation of Adam ------------------------------------------------ 11013 BC"

"Seth born ----------------------------------------------------------- 10883 BC"

"Enosh's generation ------------------------------------------------10778-9873 BC"

"Kenan's generation ----------------------------------------------- 9873-8963 BC"

"Mahalel's generation ---------------------------------------------- 8963-8068 BC"

"Jared's generation ------------------------------------------------- 8068-7106 BC"

"Enoch's generation ------------------------------------------------ 7106-6741 BC"

"Methuselah's generation ------------------------------------------6741-5772 BC"

"Lamech born --------------------------------------------------------5772 BC"

"Noah born ---------------------------------------------------------- 5590 BC"

"Flood ----------------------------------------------------------------- 4990-4989 BC"

"Arpachshad's generation ------------------------------------------4488-4050 BC"

"Shelah's generation ------------------------------------------------ 4050-3617 BC"

"Eber's generation ---------------------------------------------------3617-3153 BC"

"Peleg's generation --------------------------------------------------3153-2914 BC"

"Reu's generation ---------------------------------------------------2914-2675 BC"

"Serug's generation -------------------------------------------------2675-2445 BC"

"Nahor's generation ----------------------------------------------- 2445-2297 BC"

"Terah born ----------------------------------------------------------2297 BC"

"Abram born ---------------------------------------------------------2167 BC"

"Isaac born ----------------------------------------------------------- 2067 BC"

"Jacob born------------------------------------------------------------2007 BC"

"Entrance into Egypt ----------------------------------------------- 1877 BC"

"Exodus -------------------------------------------------------------- 1447 BC"

"Foundation of temple laid ----------------------------------------- 967 BC"

"Division of kingdom ------------------------------------------------ 931 BC"

"The First Civilization"

"The development of a biblical chronology beginning with Adam is interesting, but will it hold up when compared with the known facts of secular history? To ascertain this, the earliest civilization of antiquity will next be examined to determine its location and the time of its emergence."

"The threshold of history appears to be located in the area of the present-day nation of Iraq. Albright writes:

Archaeological research has established that there is no focus of civilization in the earth that can begin to compete in antiquity and activity with the basin of the Eastern Mediterranean and the region immediately to the east of it . . . The Obeidan is the earliest clearly defined culture of Babylonia, where we find its remains underlying nearly all the oldest cities of the country, such"as Ur, Erech, Lagash, Eridu, etc. This proves that the occupation of the marshlands of Babylonia by human settlers came rather late in history of the irrigation culture, probably not far from 3700 BC.

Thus, the archaeological evidence shows that the location of the first civilization after the flood was in the Mesopotamia Valley, and this agrees exactly with the Bible, for it reports the first cities were Babylon, Erech, Nineveh, etc. (Gen. 10:10-11).

The date 3700 B.C. suggested by Albright is apparently satisfac- tory to most archaeologists. M. B. Rowton writes that in Uruk, one of the most ancient Mesopotamia sites, the earliest level of monumental buildings is that of the level known as Uruk V. He concludes,10 “the beginning of Uruk V can plausibly be dated 3500 B.C.” The dates 3500 or 3700 B.C. are estimates arrived at by starting at a more clearly de- fined historical point and allowing a reasonable period of time for each level of occupation prior to this. Thus, the archaeological evidence appears to indicate that prior to about 3700 B.C., there was no substan- tial culture anywhere in the world. About 3700-3500 B.C. the first great civilization began to be formed in the plains of Sumer in the land of Babylon, Erech, Ur, etc.

How does this time compare with the Biblical chronology? In Gen- esis 10 the notice is given that the first building activity after the flood is that of Nimrod, the beginning of whose kingdom was Babel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar (Gen. 10:10). When did Nimrod come upon the scene? His genealogical descent is that of Noah, Ham, Cush, Nimrod (Gen. 10:1, 6, 8). The Bible offers no timetable for this side of the family tree, but it does offer precise information regard- ing another branch, that of Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, and Salah. In studying the genealogical statements of the Bible, it might be noted that very often two branches of the tree are offered. One is that of the descen- dants leading eventually to Christ and about which precise timetables are given, as we have seen. The second is the genealogical descent of that side of the family which turned away from God. It can be shown that the timetable of these two lines run roughly parallel.

It may be assumed that Ham and Shem were contemporaries (they obviously were, inasmuch as they were brothers), that Arphaxad and Cush were nearly contemporaries, and that Salah and Nimrod were probably men of the same period of history. Thus, if Salah’s date is known, it may be surmised that Nimrod’s was close to the same date. Salah’s date by Biblical reckoning was 4050 B.C. to 3617 B.C. Nimrod must have lived about this time. Thus, the Bible suggests a date of about 3900 B.C. to 3617 B.C. for the founding of the great cities of the Mesopotamia Valley. The date suggested by the evidence of archae- ology (3700-3500 B.C.) accords very well with the Biblical statement. It is of more than passing interest in this connection that the name “Nimrod” has left its mark on the Mesopotamia Valley. The great ar- chaeologist George Rawlinson writes:12

The remarkable ruin generally called Ahkerhuf, which lies a little to the southwest of Baghdad, is known to many as the “Tel-Nimrod;” the great dam across the Tigris below Mosul is the “Suhr-el-Nimrud;” one of the chief of the buried cities in the same neighborhood is called “Nimrud” simply; and the name of “Birs-Nimrud” attaches to the grandest mass of ruins in the lower country.

The Confusion of Tongues Another piece of history that should be interesting to investigate is the Tower of Babel. Is there any secular evidence that relates to the account of the confusion of tongues as set forth in Genesis 11? There is, indeed. The Genesis 11 account indicates that prior to this time in history, all men spoke one language. Moreover, the leading civilization was that of the people who dwelt in the plains of Shinar or Sumer. Their desire to be the one great civilization of the world prompted the building of the tower, which in turn brought God’s interference with their plans so that they were forced to separate into various nations. As has already been shown, the first great civilization of the world as revealed by secular evidence was that which sprang forth in the Mesopotamia Valley. The time of the beginning of the second important civilization of antiquity could be of real significance. Presumably, it would have begun shortly after the Tower of Babel. The events con- cerning the Tower of Babel are known to have occurred during the generation of Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided (Gen. 10:25). Peleg’s generation was from 3153 B.C. to 2914 B.C. Therefore, one would expect no important civilizations other than Babylonia to have an antiquity greater than about 3150 B.C.

Egypt Becomes a Great Civilization

All archaeological evidence points to Egypt as the second great civilization to appear. While there was a primitive culture in Egypt prior to the First Dynasty, the uniting of all of Egypt under Pharaoh Menes to form the First Dynasty was the signal for a major burst in the arts of civilization. Albright writes:13

It is now certain that the level of Egyptian culture remained considerably below that of Mesopotamia until the First Dy- nasty, when under strong indirect influence from the Euphrates Valley, it forged ahead of the latter in a breathtaking spurt.

Interestingly, the new civilization of Egypt beginning with the First Dynasty was patterned after the Babylonian (Mesopotamian) culture. Albright continues:14

The close of the Predynastic Age and the beginning of the Thinite (period of first two centuries) Period witnessed a sudden burst in the arts of civilization. This seems to have been connected in some way with an increase of cultural influence from Asia, since there are numerous exact parallels between Mesopotamia and Egyptian culture at this time, the former being demonstra- bly older and more original in nearly every instance.

The date of the beginning of the First Dynasty under Menes is calculated to be somewhere between 2800 B.C. and 3100 B.C. The early archaeologists such as Breasted dated his reign at about 3400 B.C. As new archaeological evidence was uncovered, this date was moved forward to about 3000 B.C. Albright believes 2850 B.C. is a good esti- mate.15 William C. Hayes suggests 3100 B.C. is the best date presently