In Which Year After the Creation of Adam Are We Living?

Fredi Winkler

We are in the year 2018. Which year would we be living in, if we were counting from Adam onward? Is this calculation even possible?

According to the traditional Jewish calendar, we live today in the year 5778 after the creation of Adam. In 1996, however, the city of Jerusalem celebrated 3,000 years since King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and made it the capital of Israel (whereas according to the Jewish calendar, this event would not actually be due until 5884; that is, not for another 106 years). The fact that Israel celebrated “3,000 years of Jerusalem” in 1996 was an indirect concession that the Jewish calendar, from a historic standpoint, is wrong. The figures in the Bible do not always seem to be clear or complete, and allow for different interpretations. The Jewish calendar is based on the work “Seder Olam Rabbah” from the second century A.D.

The best-known attempt to create a Biblical chronology from the Christian side is that of the Anglican Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656). His version was published in 1658. According to his calculation, Jesus was born in the 4004th year after the creation of Adam. This would mean that we, in 2018, now live in the year 6022 after Adam (4004+2018=6022). Consequently, there is a difference of 244 years between the Jewish and the Christian chronologies (6022-5778=244).

Where are the differences in the calculations?
Until the birth of Abraham, the information in the Bible is reasonably clear and allows for a more or less accurate calculation. But with the birth of Abraham, the first decisive difference emerges in the calculation. According to Genesis 11:26, three sons were born to Terah, Abraham’s father, when he was 70 years old. That would mean that triplets were born to him, which isn’t the case. The Jewish calculation took this statement and counted Abraham, who is mentioned first, as the eldest of the three sons. Genesis 11:32 says that Terah reached 205 years of age and died in Haran. Then God commanded Abraham to leave Haran and go to the Promised Land (Gen 12:1). According to verse 4, Abraham was then 75 years old. Acts 7:4 clearly confirms that Abraham first left Haran when his father died. This means that Abraham was born when his father was 130 years old (205-75=130). This results in a difference of 60 years, due to the different time calculations (130-70=60). Abraham was not the oldest of the three sons, but the youngest. However, he is named first of the three, because Abraham is the most important of the three sons of Terah for Biblical history. The same principle is found in Genesis 5:32 with the three sons of Noah.

The difference of 244 years between the Jewish and Christian time calculations is overall composed of the following deviations (in which the Christian calculations, partly based on the New Testament, reckon differently):

1. Abraham’s birth according to the aforementioned facts: 60 years.

2. The era of the judges to King Saul: 62 years. The Jewish calculation does not take into account the period of oppression under the Moabites (Judges 3:14), the Canaanites (Judges 4:2-3), and the Midianites (Judges 13:1). These differences result in the sum of 85 years more. On the other hand, the reverse has also been the case: on several occasions the Jewish historians calculate a total of 23 years more than Christian researchers. This results in a net difference of 62 years (85-23=62).

3. The reign of King Saul: 38 years. The Jewish calculation considers only two years for the reign of Saul, according to 1 Samuel 13:1. James Ussher, on the other hand, calculated 40 years because of Acts 13:21.

4. Deviation in the count from the time of the kings until the destruction of the first temple: 29 years.

5. Difference in the calculation of time between the destruction of the first and second temple: 55 years.

This brings us to a total difference between Jewish and Christian chronologies of 244 years (60+62+38+29+55=244).

Altogether, James Ussher calculates 244 years more than the Jewish chroniclers. The time between the destruction of the first and second temples is a historically very poorly documented time in Judaism. Miscalculations for this time are proven by extra-bibliographical documents. The Christian reckoning, on the other hand, relies on the prophecy of the 70 or 69 weeks—the time between the command to rebuild Jerusalem and the Messiah being killed (Dan 9:24-26).

The accounting of Ussher probably comes closest to reality, though it, too, may contain errors. There is no doubt that this chronology is doubted by modern historians, and there are indeed unanswered questions that we cannot address within this framework. The question should not be whether the Biblical times coincide with modern historical research, since there is no document besides the Bible itself that dates back so far. Ussher’s calculation is based on the Old Testament, with special consideration of the information in the New Testament, and is therefore the most trustworthy for us.

The most remarkable thing about these numbers is the fact that we live in the time in which more than 2,000 years have passed since the birth of Jesus Christ, and more than 6,000 years since the creation of Adam. More than ever, we can say, “The time is near!” As it is written in the last chapter of the New Testament: “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand” (Rev 22:10).

Midnight Call - 06/2018

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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