Epochs in Bible Chronology – 6,000 Years of Mankind
By Randy Nettles
“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31). “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3).
Most Bible scholars believe there will be 6000 years of recorded history for mankind, and then Jesus will return and reign/rule for 1000 years on the earth. The bible says that a thousand years is as one day with the Lord. “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:80).
Just as the original creation week took 6days of work and 1 day of rest…for a total of 7 days; so mankind will work on the earth for 6000 years and will then rest for 1000 years during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ…for a total of 7000 years of history on this earth. After 7000 years, God will create a new heaven and earth for the faithful angels and redeemed mankind.
We are advancing rapidly towards those6000 years according to biblical chronologists. The following is a history and partial genealogy of mankind, as per the Bible and other secular records, with13 epochs of time calculated and cumulated. These epochs of time consist of major events and births in the history of mankind and specifically, the Jews. It starts with Adam, the first created man; and ends with Jesus (the second created man) at His Second Coming.
1) Creation to flood: 3960-3959 BC to 2304-2303 BC; 1656 years.
There is very little dispute of the totality of the 1656 years duration from Adam to the Flood as per the book of Genesis. The book of Genesis first records the lineage of Adam to Noah and his sons. Noah was the ninth generation from Adam. His three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japeth were the tenth generation from Adam. Noah was 600 years old when the great flood started. The flood and the floodwaters lasted for approximately one year.
The date 3960-3959 BC is not a random date. Later dates, such as 1446 BC or 586 BC, that have been established and proven from both secular and biblical sources allow us to work backward and arrive at this date. This will become self-evident later in this study. The following epoch covers the time span of the genealogy of antediluvian man…starting with Adam and ending with Noah and his sons. Before the flood, during the antediluvian period, men sometimes fathered children at a much older age. Of course, they had much longer life spans (10 x our current ones) during this time period. Noah did not start having sons until he was ‘older’. He had his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, by the time he was 500 years of age.
Methuselah fathered Lamech (Noah’s father) at 187 years old. Lamech fathered Noah at 182 years of age. Jared fathered Enoch at 162 years of age…Enos was 90, Seth was 105, and Adam was 130. Of course, Adam and his sons fathered many other children (begat sons and daughters) after these recorded ages; but our focus is on the biblical lineage of Adam’s son Seth.
The years involved within epochs 1-10 are determined by verses in the bible and are determined by the following: Event or birth – Year from
Creation – Year of Event – Biblical verse/s.
Creation of Adam – Year 0 from creation – 3960 BC – Genesis 5:1
Birth of Seth – Year 130 from creation – 3830 BC – Genesis 5:3
Birth of Enos – Year 235 from creation – 3725 BC – Genesis 5:6
Birth of Cainan – Year 325 from creation – 3635 BC – Genesis 5:9
Birth of Mahalaleel – Year 395 from creation – 3565 BC – Genesis 5:12
Birth of Jared – Year 460 from creation – 3500 BC – Genesis 5:15
Birth of Enoch – Year 622 from creation – 3338 BC – Genesis 5:18
Birth of Methuselah – Year 687 from creation – 3273 BC – Genesis 5:21
Birth of Lamech – Year 874 from creation – 3086 BC – Genesis 5: 25
Enoch “taken up” (raptured) by God – Year 978 from creation – 2973 BC – Genesis 5:21-24
Birth of Noah – Year 1056 from creation – 2904 BC – Genesis 5:28-29
Beginning of the flood – Year 1656 from creation – 2304 BC – Genesis 7:11
2) The duration of the flood (until the earth was dry) to Abram’s (Abraham) birth: 1 year after the flood started in 2304 BC, the occupants exited the arc in 2303BC. 1656 years (epoch 1) + 1 year (stay in arc) = 1657 years. Abram was born in 1951 BC. 2303 BC to 1951 BC = 352 years.
This epoch is recorded in the book of Genesis, chapters 11 and 12 and records the lineage from Noah’s son, Shem, to Abraham. Two years after the flood, Arphaxad was born to Shem. Seven generations later, Terah was born into this lineage. Terah. Abram’s father was actually 130 years old when Abram was born. “And the days of Terah were two-hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran” (Genesis 11:32). “Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran” (Genesis 12:4). Subtracting 75 from 205 equals 130 years for the age of Terah, at the birth of his son, Abram (name was later changed to Abraham).
This is somewhat unusual in the genealogy of the patriarch’s after the flood. After the flood, the usual age of reproduction for this lineage was around thirty plus, but Terah was the rule to the exception. He had his son, Abram, at the ripe old age of 130. In these olden times, the old men could still father children at an old age, as long as the wife was not beyond child birthing age. Terah lived to be 205 years old. He was the last of the patriarchs to live over 200 years.
Noah and family leave the ark – Year 1657 from creation – 2303 BC – Genesis 8:13-16
Birth of Arphaxed – Year 1659 from creation – 2301 BC – Genesis 11:10
Birth of Salah – Year 1694 from creation – 2266 BC – Genesis 11:12
Birth of Eber – Year 1724 from creation – 2236 BC – Genesis 11:14
Birth of Peleg – Year 1758 from creation – 2202 BC – Genesis 11:16
Birth of Reu – Year 1788 from creation – 2172 BC – Genesis 11:18
Birth of Serug – Year 1820 from creation – 2140 BC – Genesis 11:20
Birth of Nahor – Year 1850 from creation – 2110 BC – Genesis 11:22
Birth of Terah – Year 1879 from creation – 2081 BC – Genesis 11:24
Birth of Abraham – Year 2009 from creation – 1951 BC – Genesis 11:26, Genesis 11:32, Genesis 12:4
1656 years (epoch1) + 353 years (epoch 2) = 2009 years.
3) Abram’s birth to God’s land covenant/s with Abraham: 1951 BC to 1876 BC; 75years.
“This is the covenant between the Lord and Abram and his seed: “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you: and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you: and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3). “And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there built he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him” (Genesis 12:7)
Abraham was born 352 years after the flood because Terah was 205 and died in Haran (Gen.11:32). Then Abraham, when his father was dead (Acts 7:4), moved to Canaan at the age of 75 (Gen.12:4). Thus, Abraham was born when Terah was 130, so Genesis 11:26 should be paraphrased, Terah lived seventy years, and begot the first of his three sons (not Abram).
Abraham was still 75 years old in Genesis13:14-16 when the covenant (regarding God giving the promise land to Abraham and his descendants forever) was confirmed. 430 years later (Gal.3:16-17), “the law” of rituals was given (Ex.24:12)…the same year as the exodus (Ex.14) which was 430 years after Genesis 12:4 (Ex.12:40-41).
Birth of Abraham – Year 2009 from creation – 1951 BC – Genesis 12:4
The Lord makes a covenant with Abraham – Year 2084 from creation – 1876 BC – Genesis 12: 7
Abraham confirms covenant – Year 2084 from creation – 1876 BC – Genesis 13:14-17
2009 years (epoch 1-2) + 75 years (epoch 3) = 2084 years.
4) Confirmed covenant to Exodus: 1877-1876 BC to 1447-1446 BC; 430 years
“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 Lord went out from the land of Egypt” (Exodus12:40-41). The 430 years must begin in Abraham’s lifetime, not Israel’s or Jacob’s, because the 400 years which ends also at the exodus specifically starts at Isaac’s affliction by Ishmael (Gen.15:13; 21:8-12; Acts 7:6) which, therefore began 30 years after Abraham entered the land.
Abraham lived to be 175 years old. Isaac was 180 years old when he died. Jacob lived to be 147 years old. Joseph wasn’t born until Jacob was 91 years old. Jacob was probably over 100 when he fathered Benjamin…Joseph’s younger brother from the same mother. Yes, Jacob was a feisty old man.
Exodus 12:40-41 says, “Now the sojourning (in Canaan and Egypt – 215 years each) of the children of Israel (which here includes Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), who dwelt in Egypt, was 430 years.” Josephus says the same thing: “They left Egypt … on the fifteenth day of the lunar month (Num. 33:3), four hundred and thirty years after our forefather Abraham came into Canaan” (Antiquities of the Jews, 2:15:2)
Both the Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint add “and in Canaan” in verse 40. Some translations say Israel dwelt in Egypt 430 years, which contradicts Galatians 3:17. The Septuagint, quoted by Paul in Galatians, says, “the sojourning of the sons of Israel who dwelt in the land of Egypt and Canaan was 430 years” because they dwelt in Canaan before they dwelt in Egypt.
Abraham confirms covenant – Year 2084 from creation – 1876 BC – Genesis 13:16-17
Birth of Ishmael – Year 2095 from creation – 1865 BC – Genesis 16:3-4
Birth of Isaac – Year 2109 from creation – 1851 BC – Genesis 21:5
Birth of Jacob – Year 2169 from creation – 1791 BC – Genesis 25:26
Birth of Joseph – Year 2260 from creation – 1701 BC – Genesis 30:22-24
Joseph stands before Pharaoh – Year 2290 from creation – 1731 BC – Genesis 41:46
Jacob enters Egypt – Year 2299 from creation – 1661 BC – Genesis 47:28
Death of Jacob – Year 2316 from creation – 1644 BC – Genesis 49:33
Death of Joseph – Year 2370 from creation – 1590 BC – Genesis 50:22-26
Birth of Moses – Year 2434 from creation – 1526 BC – Exodus 2:1-10; Exodus 7:7
Exodus from Egypt – Year 2514 from creation – 1446 BC – Exodus 12, 13
2084 years (epochs 1-3) + 430 years (epoch 4) = 2514 years
5) Exodus to Israel’s temple foundation: 1447-1446 BC to 967-966 BC; 480 years.
“And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month; that he began to build the house of the Lord” (1Kings 6:1).
Moses, the man of God, led the children of Israel out of Egypt in 1446 BC. After 40 years of wandering in the desert, Moses died (at 120 years of age) after viewing the Promised Land from a distance. Joshua replaced Moses as the leader of the newly formed nation of Israel and entered the Promised Land in 1406 BC. He died at 110 years of age.
After Joshua’s death, God raised up ‘Judges’ to lead and deliver his people from slavery; brought on by the hostile nations surrounding them. The total time of the Judges was about 326 years, from 1376 BC to 1050 BC. Israel’s first king was Saul, who ruled for 40 years until about 1010 BC.
David was the next king and he also ruled for 40 years until about 970 BC. He died at 70 years of age. You can see how the life span has significantly decreased from the time of the Antediluvian patriarchs…from Adam’s 930 years to David’s 70 years on this earth. David was a descendant from the lineage of Jacob’s son, Judah. David’s son, Solomon, became king of Israel after his father’s death. He began the temple building project that his father had desired in the fourth year of his reign in 966 BC.
The exodus from Egypt occurred in 1446 BC,480 years later (966 BC), the construction of the first temple of the Jewish nation began. 1 Kings 6:1.
Exodus from Egypt – Year 2514 from creation – 1446 BC – Exodus 12, 13
Crossing of Jordan River – Year 2554 from creation – 1406 BC – Joshua 4:19
Dividing of the Land of Canaan – Year 2559 from creation – 1401 BC – Joshua13
Judges begin leading Israel – Year 2584 from creation – 1376 BC – Joshua 2:16
Saul (first king of Israel) begins reign – Year 2910 from creation – 1050 BC – 1 Samuel 10; Acts 13:21
David begins reign – Year 2950 from creation – 1010 BC – 2 Samuel 5:4
King David’s death – Year 2950 from creation – 1010 BC – 2 Samuel 5:5
Solomon begins reign – Year 2990 from creation – 970 BC – 1 Kings 2:11-12
Solomon begins construction of temple – Year 2994 from creation – 966 BC – 1 Kings 6:1
2514 years (epochs 1-4) + 480 years (epoch 5) = 2994 years.
6) From temple foundation (in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign) to the death of Solomon: 967-966 BC to 931-930 BC; 36 years.
Solomon ruled for 40 total years and then died. Saul, David and Solomon all reigned for 40 years (Acts 13:21; 1 Chr.29:27; 2 Chr. 9:30).
Solomon begins construction to build a temple – Year 2994 from creation – 966 BC – 1 Kings 6:1
Death of Solomon and Rehoboam begins reign – Year 3030 from creation – 930 BC – 1 Kings11:42
2994 years (epochs 1-5) + 36 years (epoch 6) = 3030 years.
7) The death of Solomon to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple: 931-930 BC to 586-585 BC; 345 years.
By adding all the reigns of each of the kings of Judah (after Solomon’s death) mentioned in Kings and Chronicles we have a total of 345 years. The year in which a king came to the throne was known as his accession year. His first regnal year, i.e. the first full year of the king’s reign, began on the first day of the new year following his accession.
The period between his actual accession and next New Year’s Day was known as the beginning of the reign. Israel, in common with other near eastern nations, commenced the new year on the first of Nisan (our March – April), its first king, Jeroboam, having come from Egypt (1Kings 12:2-3) where the new year began in the spring. Judah, however, commenced the new year on the first of Tishri (our September-October). Where two dates overlap, a coregency is indicated. Regnal years are used.
Read Edwin R. Thiele’s excellent book…”The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings” regarding the chronology of the kings of Judah and Israel. It is deemed the definitive work and reckoning of the calendar years on this topic. The following kings of Judah list is from his calculations:
Rehoboam – 930-913 BC (1 Kin.14:21-31; 2 Chr. 9:31)
Abijam (Abijah) – 913-910 BC (1 Kin.15:1-6; 2 Chr.13:1-22)
Asa – 910-869 BC (1 Kin.15:9-24; 2 Chr.14-16)
Jehoshaphat – 872-848 BC, includes co-regency time (1 Kin.22:41-50; 2 Chr.17-20)
Jehoram (Joram) – 853-841 BC (2 Kin.8:16-24. 2 Chr.21:1-2; he reigned concurrently with his father four years (2 Kin. 8:16; 2 Chr. 21:1-5; 2 Kin. 9:29; 8:25)
Ahaziah – 841 BC (2 Kin.8:25-9:29; 2 Chr.22:1-2)
Queen Athaliah – 841-835 BC (2 Kin.11:1-20; 2 Chr.22-23)
Joash – 835-796 BC (2 Kin.11-12; 2 Chr.24:1-27)
Amaziah – 796-767 BC (2 Kin.14:1-20; 2 Chr.25:1-28)
Azariah (Uzziah) – 792-740 BC (includes overlap reign time with Amaziah; 2 Kin.15:1-7; 2 Chr. 26:1-23)
Jotham – 750-732 BC (Includes coregency time with Uzziah; 2 Kin.15:32-38; 2 Chr.27:1-9)
Ahaz – 735-715 BC (includes overlap reign time with Jotham); 2 Kin.16:1-20; 2 Chr.28:1-27
Hezekiah – 715-686 BC (2 Kin.18-20; 2 Chr.29-32; Isa.36-39)
Manasseh – 696-642 BC (includes coregency time with Hezekiah, 2 Kin.21:1-18. 2 Chr.33:1-20)
Amon – 642-640 BC (2 Kin.21:19-26; 2 Chr. 33:21-25)
Josiah – 640-609 BC (2 Kin.22, 23:1-30; 2 Chr.34-35)
Jehoahaz (Shallum) – 609 BC (2 Kin.23:31-34; 2 Chr.36:1-4; Jer.22:1-12)
Jehoiakim (Eliakim) – 609-598 BC (2 Kin. 23:34-37; 2 Chr36:4-8; Jer.22:13-23; 26:36)
Jehoiachin (Coniah) – 598-597 BC (2 Kin. 24:8-17; 2 Chr.36:9-10; Jer.22:24-30, 52:31-34)
Zedekiah (Mattaniah) 597-586 BC (2 Kin.24:17-20, 25:1-7; 2 Chr.36:11-21; Jer.39:1-10, 52:1-11)
The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple occurred in 586 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Zedekiah was the last king of Judah. He reigned for 11 years. The people of Judah were killed or removed to Babylon.
3030 years (epochs 1- 6) + 345 years (epoch 7) = 3375 years.
8) The destruction of the first temple to the finished construction of the second temple: 586-585 BC to 516-515 BC; 70 years.
The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple occurred in 586 BC. The construction of the second temple was finished in 516 BC. Both dates are well established in secular histories as 586-585 and516-515 BC. There were 70 years from the destruction of the first temple(Jer.52:12-13) in the “nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar” (52:12) and “eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign” (2 Kings 25:2) to the building of the second temple “in the sixth year of the reign of Darius” (Ezra 6:15).
Destruction of the first temple – Year 3375 from creation – 586 BC – Jeremiah 52:12-13, 25:1, Daniel 2:1
The second Temple is rebuilt in sixth year of King Darius – Year 3445 from creation – 516 BC – 2 Chronicles 36:21, 23
3375 years (epochs 1-7) + 70 years (epoch 8) = 3445 years.
9) From the sixth year of King Darius the Mede (when the second temple was finished) to the Persian king Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem: 516 BC to 444 BC- 72 years.
Cyrus issued a decree in 538 BC regarding the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-2). This wasn’t the decree we are looking for because Dan.9:25 speaks of the rebuilding of the city, Jerusalem, including the streets and walls, not merely the temple. The people resisted this decree and stopped work on the temple until the second year of Darius (See Ezra 4:4-5, 24.)
Darius issued a decree in 520 BC, and ordered the construction of the temple to continue (Ezra 6:11-12). Again, this decree was for the temple, not the city. The temple was completed by the sixth year of Darius (Ezra 6:14-15) so this could not be the decree spoken of by Daniel. Counting the prophecy from these dates would place us well before Christ’s life.
When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, the work on the walls was progressing slowly or not at all. Everybody was already at work building the city and the Temple, but the walls and gates were being neglected. (Neh. 2:11) Under the authority of the decree, they had received thirteen years earlier from Ezra. Nehemiah finished his work in 52 days(Neh.6:15). The city and walls had been rebuilt much earlier, and Nehemiah merely repaired some recent damage to the gates and walls.
Actually, once you determine the date of the decree of Artaxerxes (in his seventh year), then it is easy to determine the date of Nehemiah’s commission since it was in the 20th year of Artaxerxes (Neh.2:1).
Nehemiah 1:1-2 shows that Nehemiah’s brother came from Susa in December (Chislev) to report the sad situation in Jerusalem. Four months later (Nisan), in the spring of 444 BC (Artaxerxes’ 20th year), the king gave permission for Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem (Neh.2:1-8).
Second temple is rebuilt in sixth year of King Darius – Year 3445 from creation – 516 BC – Ezra 6:15
King Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem – Year 3517 from creation – 444 BC – Nehemiah 2:1.
3445 years (epochs 1-8) + 72 years (epoch 9) = 3517 years.
10) Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem to “Palm Sunday” before Jesus’ crucifixion, 444 BC to AD 33…476 years (Daniel 9:24-26).
The decree given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah in 444 BC (Neh. 2) was the starting point of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:25-26). Jesus the Messiah was “cut off” from being King of the Jews, in AD 33Nisan 10, on a Sunday (now known as Palm Sunday) fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel 9:25-26. Daniel 9:24 and Daniel 9:27 have yet to be fulfilled.
Four days later (Thursday) AD 33 Nisan 14,the Lord Jesus was crucified on a Feast of Passover. Three days later (Sunday) AD 33 Nisan 17, Jesus was resurrected back to life on a Feast of Firstfruits fulfilling His prophecy of Matthew 12:39-40.
The first part of Daniel’s prophecy(Daniel 9: 25-26) consists of 483 total years of 360 days per year…not our current solar calendar of 365.2422 days per year. The 360 day per year ‘prophetic’ calendar was the one that Daniel was referring to when he gave his prophecy. The only other time/s in the Old Testament that this 360-day calendar was referred to was during the flood of Noah, Genesis 7 and 8, and possibly Genesis 29:27-30.
Daniel 9:24-26 and Genesis 29: 27-30 are the only two times in the Bible that the word “weeks” is used as a term for 7 years (360 days per year). However, when reckoning cumulative years for Bible chronology, we use the solar calendar; so Epoch 10 is for 476 years.
King Artaxerxes decrees rebuilding Jerusalem -Year 3517 from creation – 444 BC – Nehemiah 2:1
Birth of Jesus Christ – Year 3956 from creation – 5 BC – Mathew 2; Luke 2:1-20
Christ’s ministry begins – Year 3990 from Creation – AD 30 – Luke 3:21-38
Christ’s crucifixion – Year 3993 from Creation – AD 33 – Luke 23:32-49
Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather, was a descendant of King David and his son Solomon. Mary, Jesus’ mother, was a descendant of King David and his son Nathan.
3517 years (epochs 1- 9) + 476 years = 3993 years.
11) Jesus’ death to present (AD 2018). 1985 years. AD 33 to AD 2018.
This epoch includes the calling of Paul as an apostle of Jesus in AD 38, the destruction of Jerusalem and dispersion of Israel in AD 70, Israel becoming a nation again in AD 1948, and Jerusalem regained by Israel in AD 1967.
3993 years (Epochs 1-10) + 1985 years = 5978 years.
12) Years before the Tribulation starts – 0 –? years (in the future).
Obviously, we cannot predict how many years are in epoch 12. It could be 0 to 20 years.
13) Seven-year Tribulation. (7 years in the future).
5978 years (epochs 1-12) + 7 years (epoch 13) = 5985 years.
According to these calculations (not including the Tribulation or the time immediately before) for the biblical chronology of mankind, we are now (AD 2018) 22 years (6000 years – 5978 years =22 years) shy of reaching 6000 years. Does this mean we are 15 years away from the future seven- year Tribulation? It is possible, but in my estimation, we are much closer. It is more likely that sometime in the distant past, our calendar changed from 360 days to 365.2422 days per year.
Nobody is for sure of the exact reason for this change, or when it happened. It could be that it occurred after (and possibly as a result of) the great flood. If epoch 1, the antediluvian period before the flood, lasted for 1656 years of 360 days per year instead of 365.2422 days, then that would account for some of the 15-year time difference.
When calculating 6000 years of biblical chronology of mankind, it is impossible to have the exact numbers, but we believe that it is close to the seven-year time period known as the Tribulation.
Life, as we know it, is soon (a relative term) going to change in a most drastic way. Make your choice for the Lord Jesus today, while there is still time.