Getting Bible Events in Order
WITH the exception of information about creation, the Bible basically spans some 4,000 years of human history. Since so much time is covered, how can a person get in their proper order the events narrated? Try to relate the various happenings to such major events as the creation of Adam, the Flood, Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, and the life of Christ.
Bible chronology places Adam’s creation in the year 4026 B.C.E. From that time until the flood in 2370 B.C.E. there were three outstanding men of faith—Abel, Enoch and Noah. Because he was righteous, Abel was murdered by his brother Cain, Adam’s first son. (1 John 3:12) Enoch, who was a contemporary of Adam for 308 years, prophesied about God’s coming judgment against all the wicked. His great-grandson Noah was born about 126 years after Adam’s death.—Gen. 5:3-29; Jude 14, 15.
In Noah’s time many angels forsook their proper dwelling place in the heavens, materialized, lived as husbands with women, and fathered hybrid offspring, the Nephilim. (Gen. 6:1-4; 1 Pet. 3:19, 20; Jude 6) In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, the flood brought an end to the ungodly world of mankind. As the waters overwhelmed the earth, Noah, his wife, his three sons (Shem, Ham and Japheth) and their wives were safe inside the ark that had been built at God’s direction.—Gen. 7:11, 17-21.
It was not long after the Flood that Ham’s grandson Nimrod started a rebellion against God. Nimrod set himself up as the first king and evidently instigated the building of Babel and its tower. Jehovah God frustrated Nimrod’s project by confusing the language of the builders of Babel. (Gen. 10:8-10; 11:1-4) This happened in the days of Peleg, sometime between 2269 B.C.E. and 2030 B.C.E. (Gen. 10:25) Noah was still alive, as he lived for 350 years after the flood.—Gen. 9:28.
About seventy-seven years after Noah’s death, Abraham, at the age of seventy-five, entered Canaan, the land that Jehovah God promised to give to Abraham’s descendants. (Gen. 12:4-7) At that time, in 1943 B.C.E., Jehovah’s covenant promise to Abraham took effect.
Abraham, at the age of one hundred, became the father to Isaac by his beloved wife Sarah. (Gen. 21:5) About ten years after Noah’s son Shem died, Isaac, at the age of sixty, became father to twin boys, Esau and Jacob. (Gen. 11:10, 11; 25:26) Jacob fathered twelve sons. One of these, Joseph, through unusual circumstances, became food administrator in Egypt. Due to famine conditions in Canaan, Jacob’s entire household became alien residents in Egypt. Finally, Jacob’s descendants, the Israelites, were enslaved, but Jehovah God, by means of Moses, led them out of Egypt to Mount Sinai, where they received the Law covenant 430 years after the special covenant was made with their forefather Abraham.—Gen. 45:26; 47:1, 2; Ex. 1:8-11; 13:19-21; 19:1; Gal. 3:17.
After wandering in the wilderness for forty years, the Israelites, under Joshua’s leadership, entered Canaan in 1473 B.C.E. (Deut. 29:5; 31:1-3; Josh. 5:6, 7) The major conquest of the land occupied some six years. (Josh. 14:10-12) For about 350 years thereafter judges chosen by God administered Israel’s affairs. During the lifetime of Samuel, the last of these judges, Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, began his reign as king. With the end of his forty-year rule, David started to reign at Hebron over the tribe of Judah, while Saul’s son Ish-bosheth ruled from Mahanaim over the rest of Israel. (2 Sam. 2:2, 3, 8-10; Acts 13:20-22) Seven and a half years after David began ruling over Judah he became king over all Israel. His total years of rulership amounted to forty. David’s son Solomon succeeded him and likewise reigned for forty years.—2 Sam. 2:11; 1 Ki. 2:11; 11:42.
During the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam, in 997 B.C.E., ten tribes revolted and made Jeroboam their king. However, the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, as well as the Levites, stuck with the royal house of David. The ten-tribe kingdom got off to a bad start when King Jeroboam introduced calf worship. During all the years that passed until the fall to the Assyrians of the ten-tribe kingdom in 740 B.C.E., this plunge into idolatry was never reversed. (1 Ki. 12:16-24, 28-30; 2 Ki. 17:1-6) About 133 years later, in 607 B.C.E., the Babylonians conquered the two-tribe kingdom.—2 Ki. 25:1-9.
In 537 B.C.E., after a seventy-year Babylonian exile, a remnant of Jews returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. But it was not until 455 B.C.E., under the direction of Nehemiah, that the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt. The writing of the Hebrew Scriptures came to a conclusion after 443 B.C.E., when the prophet Malachi committed his prophecy to writing. That prophecy pointed forward to the coming of God’s messenger to prepare a people for the “messenger of the covenant,” the Messiah.—Mal. 3:1.
With the announcements about the births of both messengers, the Christian Greek Scriptures pick up the thread of sacred history. In the spring of 2 B.C.E., John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah or Christ, was born. Six months later, Mary gave birth to the foretold Christ, Jesus. The three-and-a-half-year earthly ministry of Jesus extended from the fall of 29 C.E. and culminated with his death in the spring of 33 C.E. After his resurrection and ascension to heaven, his disciples continued the work he had started. Finally, about 98 C.E., the last surviving apostle, John, finished the Bible writing. In that year he probably wrote First, Second and Third John as well as his Gospel account. About two years earlier he had penned the book of Revelation.
The above illustrates how one can get Bible events in order. As you read the Bible, try to determine the relationship in time of one event to another. This can make the history of the Holy Scriptures more meaningful to you.