Bible Time Theory

This tab develops the story of time in the Bible. The articles form steps in a story that address how time works in the Bible, and finding where we are now on that Biblical system for counting time. Here is a general outline.

  • Language Issues The articles in this section deal with how to read the text itself. How does a day work, how is the calendar structured, how time transforms, and how genealogies carry time values.

  • Technical Issues The articles in this section deal with how to keep full day-accurate precision, the importance of keeping time references stated on the Bible's original calendar and setting the Bible's epoch.

  • History The articles in this section count out years from Adam through Ezra. This is the span of time covered by the Old Testament and is the period covered by the Bible's written history. Problems found along the way are dealt with as they are found.

  • Modern The articles in this section deal with finding the relationship between the Bible's ancient calendar and the modern calendar. The goal is to span the time from Ezra to the present and show how we know what Bible date we're on right now.

  • Issues These articles round out the story, introduce the idea of bands and take a stab at the creation week chronology.

Full Article Index

Here is an index to all the articles in this tab.

Counting Numbers

Modern people often use real numbers to count time intervals. This is useful in many situations but it is also prone to serious errors. This article explains counting numbers and how they differ from real numbers. The reason? The Bible was written with counting numbers.

1 Based Math -- Bible Mathematics

Neither the original Hebrew nor Aramaic nor later Greek nor Roman counting systems have a digit for zero. Nothing was written nor counted using zero “0” in the Bible. The first item in lists of items is item number 1.

Obvious? Yes, but modern people don’t always count this way. Using zero based counting as an interpretive grid of time references in the Bible is a source of major errors.

Definitions of Biblical Days

The calendar day is the basic unit of time in the Bible. This unit breaks down into finer units of time, watches and hours, and those sub-day units of time become important in Passion Week.

Days are also combined to form larger units of time, called calendar time. Calendar time includes weeks, months, years, Sabbath and Jubilee year groups, as well as 10 fold jubilees and millennia.

To accurately measure time, in all of its various aspects requires a precise definition of the base unit for all time, the calendar day.

In this article we develop a definition for the Bible’s Calendar day.

How Long is a Month in the Bible?

Bible months are a predictable 30 days each. No exceptions. There is no attempt to make the month synchronous with the movements of the earth’s moon. It also makes time counted with months quite precise.

Definitions of Biblical Years

The purpose of this article is to show that Biblical Years are either 360 days or 390 days, 12 or 13 months. The long years fall on the Sabbath and Jubilee years within a 50 year cycle.

God’s Counting

When Joseph interprets the cup bearer and baker’s dreams he reveals an important clue: Each time God speaks a number that number is a reference to time. Since the Bible is God’s word to us, all counts within the pages of the Bible are references to time.

The Bible’s Time Transforms

"Day" and "Time" are two words that have well defined, but multiple meanings. Knowing those meanings unlocks numerous Bible passages.

Generally speaking the word "day" means a 24 hour day when applied to a person, year when applied to nations and a millennium when applied to God.

All such meanings can be recursive and applied again. Jesus uses these meanings extensively when he is giving his parables in the Gospels. There is a similar set of recursive meaning that come from time units below the hour. Those are covered better when looking at Passion Week.

The Words Translated into English "Father" or "Begot"

There are no direct Chronologies in the Bible. This is usually overlooked when people start to use math to compute the year of Adam’s first year.

The Bible does contain genealogies which are decorated with life lengths. These genealogies must be converted into chronologies using a set of intricate grammar rules.

The first rule involves the meaning of the various words that come out as "father" or "begot" in the English used in these passages.

This article shows that these words are better translated "ancestor" (or descendant) when the time aspect of the original word is considered.

The Genealogy Classroom: Exodus 6

The single best place for study of Bible genealogies is Exodus chapter 6. In this chapter the time decorations that provide the raw data for chronologies are seen in their purest, and most easily learned form.

Using a Parallel Bible Calendar

Previous articles have laid out the foundational issues for building a time line from Adam to the present. This one deals with the philosophy of how the answer should be structured.

In general the Bible’s own time system will be used in this exercise, without conversion to modern calendar dates. This allows the precision of the exercise to be matched to the Bible’s natural precision, without loss because of conversion.

Starting Epoch

The Bible was written without the use of long distance calendar epochs like we are familiar with today. Two times in Biblical history make good starting epochs. The earliest reasonable starting epoch is Adam’s 1st year. The latter reasonable starting epoch is the Exodus from Egypt. These 2 events are exactly 9500 years apart, 190 Jubilee cycles, making reconciliation between the 2 starting points easy.

Adam to Abraham

More human history happened between Adam and Abraham than any other period. The time implied by this interval is captured in the geneologies of Genesis 5 and 11. The key for finding the right overall time for this interval is hidden away in Luke. That key forces most, but not all, of the life spans in Genesis to be run together end-to-end.

Abraham to the Exodus

The period between Abraham and the Exodus from Egypt appears to be unsolvable. The Bible does not give Jacob’s age at the birth of his sons. Instead the Bible gives a reference from Jacob’s life to the Exodus directly. From that we can piece back together the years for the other events in the period.

Moses and the Wilderness

Moses lead the people for 40 years in the wilderness. Caleb’s life marks the end of the use of genealogies which contain decorations establishing the Chronology until the time of the Kings. Even then the rules will have changed.

Judges, When Israel Had No King

This period has many more years recorded about it than were lived. The key lives in Solomon’s temple construction were he says when that project was started. The result shows which year intervals are subsumed by the trunk chronology through the period.

Unified Kingdom Kings

Three kings ruled over a unified nation of Israel in ancient times. Those kings were Saul, David and Solomon. The dates for the main periods in the rule of these men can be known. At the end of Solomon’s reign the kingdom was divided by civil war and remains divided to this day.

The Judean Kings

After the civil war Israel had two thrones. The throne of the southern kingdom was located at Jerusalem, the historical capital. This throne outlives the northern throne of Samaria and establishes the chronology across this period in history.

Seventy Years Captivity

The use of king’s reigns to establish dates ends at the fall of Jerusalem. For 70 years the city sat empty. At the end of this period a remnant of Jews returns and rebuilds the temple and wall. This chronolgy can be established using Bible time references alone and shows the second temple going up 500 years after Solomon’s temple.

Good Figs and the Fig Tree Sign

Most people in the English speaking world are familiar with "the calendar." Go to any book store and a wide assortment of annual calendars are for sale. In this article we look at the purposes of calendars generally an introduce the topic of different calendars.

Date of the Jewish Return to Israel

The return of the Jews to modern Israel caps one prophetic story in the Bible. When was it to happen? What Bible year from Adam must we be in now?

Finding Day-for-a-Year Dates and Theory

The lectures included in this section cover the time line from Adam and establish the rough alignment between modern Gregorian year numbers and Biblical years counted forward from Adam. What remains is to establish an exact, day-accurate relationship between the Bible’s 30 day calendar and the modern Gregorian calendar.

The Bible’s Definition of a Generation

Once the Bible’s chronology is known with precision it is possible to start using that chronology to explain interesting passages.

Using Time Bands to Study Time

The text of the Bible is uneven in the date references it provides. Some periods, like Noah’s flood, are elaborated day-by-day while others, like the period from there to the Exodus, find time references only every generation. These differences lead to our catagorization of Bible date references into Bands.

Creation Week Chronology

How long was the Creation Week of Genesis chapter 1? This article explores.