The Importance of Bible Chronology

Dr. Thomas Ice

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Of all the books I’ve read on the subject of Bible chronology over the years, I must say this book is the most concise and visually pleasing of them all.  I really like the way the authors provided just enough written information (in most cases) to lay out their point of view without overwhelming the reader with chronological details and endless calculations.  I felt there just enough of an overview that it led naturally into a perusal of the charts.[1]

            —Customer Review on Amazon.com

 

      The Bible is totally unique when compared with all other “holy books” of the world’s religions.  One of the unique aspects of the Bible is the fact that it is the only religious source rooted in past history that also predicts future history.  All other religions of the world, unless they rely on the Bible at some point, do not rise or fall on whether they are historically true.  All other religions are based upon a philosophy or ethical a way of life and do not stand or fall on whether they are historically accurate.  While the Bible certainly contains theology and ethics, nevertheless, it stands on whether what it says actually happened in history or will occur in the future.  Since the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself and presents His outline and interpretation of history, it follows that biblical chronology is included in God’s Word and is an extremely important element in His revelation to mankind.

      Many religions and worldviews believe history is an endless cycle of events continually repeating themselves, resulting in the conclusion that life is meaningless since it is going nowhere.  The biblical view of history is linear not circular, therefore, history has a beginning and ending.  History is going somewhere and has purpose and meaning.  History began in a garden and is moving toward a city with a cross in between.

      The writer of Hebrews says, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Heb. 11:3).  The Greek word translated “worlds” (aiönas) in this context means “ages” (aeons) or “periods.”  Also, the word “prepared” is better understood in this context as “created.”  Thus, God is the creator or author of the ages or epochs of history, as well as the Creator of the physical universe.  This could only be if He were the planner and implementer of history.  God planned all the events in history and revealed their meaning, purpose, and significance through His word.  This is why biblical chronology is so important!  Biblical chronology is necessary to know in order to have a proper understanding of the flow of events and their relationship to one another in God’s plan.

      Bible chronology also provides a test for any individual believer as to whether he will allow God’s word to inform his view of history.  If one is weak on biblical authority then they will likely not trust God’s special revelation about the chronology of early Genesis and the Noah’s Flood.  Through the early chapters of Genesis, God, the only one who was there, provides an eyewitness account of what actually happened in those early days.

      The Bible tells us who we are as human beings, our purpose for being here on planet earth, how long we have been here, what we are called to do, and where we are headed in he future.  The Bible, through the revelation of chronology, lets us know that God created the heavens and the earth in six days a little over six thousand years ago.  This indicates that the earth is young, in relation to other viewpoints concerning this matter. This is true regardless of all of the false speculations to the contrary by fallen mankind.  God has communicated this information through His written revelation known as the Bible.

      The master foldout chart attempts to depict the chronological relationships and progression of important people, places, events, and developments throughout history.  We see the lifespans of pre-Flood men averaging 930 years, but no one makes it to a thousand years.  We see the call of Abraham, the slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt and the Exodus led by Moses.  We see their entrance into the land of Israel, Israel’s kings, Temples, and dispersions into the Gentile nations.  Christ is born, ministers, dies for the sins of the world, is resurrected, and ascends to heaven.  The church is born on Pentecost and the church age is now approaching 2,000 years of gospel preaching throughout the world.  The uniqueness of the Bible appears again as God’s Revelation discloses the future: The rapture of the church, the seven-year tribulation, Christ’s second coming, then His millennial kingdom followed by the transition into the eternal state after the Great White Throne Judgment.  The final pages of the biblical revelation take us to the new heavens, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem—the glorious holy city of God.

      The authors of this book take God’s Word seriously, believing that it contains accurate history and a clear revelation of the future.  In this book we offer an attempt to chart out those aspects of Scripture that provide us a summary of times and events in God’s plan for mankind.  Our desire is to aid believers in their attempt to grasp the reality of God’s Word so that it will help them to trust Him more in their daily lives.  If God can be trusted to reveal past and future history accurately then He proves that we can entrust our lives and eternal destiny to Him as well.

      There’s a popular proverb that suggests “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  If that is true, good charts are worth a thousand words when it comes to illustrating chronological relationships as revealed in the Bible.  The value of chronology charts is that they enable us to pinpoint the timing of the events described in Scripture and show their relationship to each other.  With a chart, we can summarize a subject or theme that, in written form, might take pages to explain.  In Charting the Bible Chronologically, you will find virtually all the key chronological information from the Bible and how it relates to the passage of time.

            One of the distinctives of biblical Christianity is that God knows and reveals the past, the present, and the future.  The Lord says in Isaiah: “Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors.  Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country.  Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.  I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isa. 46:8–11).  Only God can do that.  Thus, the past and future is settled, and not open to change.  We can look at the charts in this book with an assurance that the biblical teachings they portray have taken place or will take place as the Bible says.  Since God conceived His plan for history before creation, we can have confidence that events from the past and future have and will take place exactly as He has decreed.  Such a realization enables a believer to fully participate in God’s ongoing plan for history with great confidence.

      The Bible clearly reveals that history is not just a cyclical series of meaningless events, which is a perspective all too common of most people’s worldviews today.  The Bible teaches us that history is progressing—in a linear manner—through God-ordained happenings that are moving this world toward the ultimate goal of the glorification of God for all eternity.  Paul tells us, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).

       My prayer is that Charting the Bible Chronologically will enable anyone interested in time relationships in the Bible will be able obtain a better grasp of what Scripture reveals about these issues so that it will help them to trust Him more in the course of living out their daily lives.  After all, the Bible is God’s revelation of His plan for history.  It is rather important!  Maranatha!

 



[1] Customer Review of Charting the Bible Chronologically by William Struse at https://www.amazon.com/Charting-Bible-Chronologically-Visual-Unfolding/dp/0736964371/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488842609&sr=8-1&keywords=charting+the+bible+chronologically.