People who read the Bible are sure to read the books as stories and to experience the Bible as a history book. A history book that tells people what God did with people and for people in the past and what He intends to do in the future. All Bible books and all Bible stories pay must attention to the aspect of chronology: placing events and developments in their proper order in time and letting people know in what year or even on what date they took place.
The Bible is a history book
As mentioned before, people experience their life as a history in which events follow each other in the course of time. Every development is the result of an earlier development and the cause of a new development. In essence, there is an uninterrupted succession of causes and effects.
Time and history play such a dominant part in both the lives of people and the carrying out of God’s plans. He has created the earth in such a way that it would be possible for man to measure time very accurately. He saw to it that the earth would rotate around her axis and by doing this, He created the natural day. He also made it a point that the moon would turn around the earth, thus, He created the month. Likewise, He created the time-unit year by letting the earth turn around the sun.
After the fall of Adam and Eve, God knew that all their descendants would be sinful and consequently unfit to inhabit the paradise that He had in mind when creating the earth. He at once thought of a plan that would still enable Him to achieve the ends He had in mind. But He also knew that He would need thousands of years for the execution of this plan. In this span of time, He would allow mankind to experiment with ways of life which were not in accordance with His will. He would achieve the execution of His plan according to a fixed time-table: step by step and in a fixed order.
God’s plan of salvation develops through mankind’s history. It consists of events and developments that follow each other in the course of time. Moreover, the Bible tells us very accurately how in the past one event led to another and one development caused another development.
Bible readers are sure to read the books as stories and to experience the Bible as a history book. It is a history book that tells people what God did with people and for people in the past and what He intends to do in the future.
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All Bible books and stories pay much attention to the aspect of chronology. This means placing events and developments in their proper order in time and letting people know in what year or even on what date they took place.
God has provided all Bible books and stories with very clear indications of time. These make it easy to determine exactly when certain events and developments took place. God has not done that for nothing. People who just read one Bible story after another without paying attention to the time-order of the events will soon lose the thread of the story and realize that they have lost their way amidst all the hundreds of characters and events. They will not realize that there is an uninterrupted chain of causes and effects that connects all the stories with each other.
The Bible is not a reflective or contemplative work on moral or ethical questions as you find them in many non-Christian religions. It is extremely concrete and thoroughly linked to our daily life. Events and developments take place in time and precede and follow each other. The Bible tells us how God acts in the history of mankind and ultimately totally controls this history in order to achieve His end. This is a paradise earth inhabited by totally happy people who will live on their earth forever and who have voluntarily submitted themselves to His authority.
To be able to put events in their chronological order, you need a point somewhere in the stream of time from which you can start to count backward or forwards. A good example is our present era that uses the year when Christ was born as its starting point. When we speak of the year 1793, we refer to the year when Christ’s birth was one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three years earlier.
The Bible has an internal chronology that places all Biblical events and stories exactly in the right time order. This makes the Bible a readable and understandable whole. But naturally, Bible readers also like to be able to connect Biblical events and stories to our worldly era and chronology. They want to be able to say that this or that event took place in this or that year before or after Christ. To make this possible, we use two years as pivotal points from which we can count backwards and forwards: one for the Hebrew Scriptures and the other one for the Greek Scriptures. The two pivotal points are two Biblical events of which we know for certain in which years of our worldly chronology they took place. By using these two years as starting points, we can say exactly in what year Biblical events that preceded or followed took place.
All historians agree that after the death of the Roman emperor Augustus, his successor Tiberius was appointed emperor by the Roman senate on 15 September in the year 14 after Christ. In Luke 3:1-3, we can read that John the Baptist started his conversion campaign in the 15th year of the emperor Tiberius. Shortly afterward, Jesus was baptized by John and started his three and a half year tour of public preaching. These historical facts place both the beginning of John’s conversion campaign and the beginning of Jesus’ preaching tour in the year 29 of our era. In relation to this, there are other Bible passages which point to the fact that Jesus started his preaching tour in autumn.
With these data, we arrive at the autumn of the year 29 as the time when Jesus started his preaching work. The Bible says that he was about 30 years old then. This means that Jesus must have been born in the year 2 before Christ. This sounds strange, but it is the truth.
This sounds a bit strange because our mind gets a little confused by the transition of the era before Christ and after Christ. But it is not so hard to understand. Someone who is born in the autumn of the year 2 before Christ is one-year-old in the year 1 before Christ. He is two years old in the autumn of the year 1 after Christ. In 29 after Christ, he is 30 years old.
Starting from the idea that Christ was born in the year 2 before Christ and that he started his public life in the year 29, it is possible to tell exactly in what years all the important events in Jesus’ life took place.