"Chronikon Hebraikon, to the best of our belief, remains the best and most Scriptural Chronology extant."
These words of Bro. C.C. Walker are found in his Appendix to the 1939 edition and reflect our own opinion to the present time. The need for a basic comprehension of Chronology is fundamental to the Bible student and readers will be interested to read Bro. Thomas' words on this in the opening paragraphs of his Prefatory Remarks.
May this republication be of value to many in their studies of the Word, in comprehending the ages that have been thoroughly adjusted by God and in deepening the perspective on His work among men in all generations. We trust, too, that our young brethren and sisters will note the diligence involved in Bro. Thomas' original labours. "Study to show thyself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."
On behalf of the Committee,
MUCH of Scripture is a record of past events, or HISTORY. This story of the past informs the reader in what manner, to what extent, and to what time the promises of the Deity made to the fathers have been fulfilled. By this information light is thrown upon the future, by which its coming events may be discovered. The outline of this future is correctly delineated in no other national or private record than the Scriptures. The writers of these were at once historians and prophets. They not only recorded the past with inimitable conciseness, ingenuity, and truthfulness, but they sketched out events with wonderful precision as to their times and seasons, which should be providentially developed in the course of a multitude of ages and generations. Hence their writings naturally resolve themselves into HISTORY and PROPHECY: the former a record of the past: the latter, a sketch of the future.
But History and Prophecy are a body without eyes in default of CHRONOLOGY and GEOGRAPHY, which have, therefore, been termed "the eyes of history," because of the intimate connection subsisting between these branches of knowledge. Hence, it has been well observed that "in order to make any regular progress in learning, some acquaintance with chronology is indispensable. To pretend to read history, the source and treasure of civil as well as sacred knowledge, without attending to chronology, would be to little or no purpose. To chronology, history owes its use and beauty."
Deeply impressed with the truth of these remarks, I have concluded to perfect previous chronological sketches in the revision for the reader's use. Many into whose hands Elpis Israel and Eureka may come, it is presumable may know but little of patterns and events; for their benefit, therefore, and to refresh the recollection of the better informed, I have appended this little treatise, to which I have given the title of CHRONIKON HEBRAIKON, because it treats of Hebrew Periods. I have endeavored to simplify the subject as much as possible, and to strip it of all the theories and speculations of chronologists, who have created difficulties where none exist, discussed all shades and forms of error, but left the truth untouched. The great question with the reader should be, not what profane writers of heathen antiquity, and theorists of the Apostasy may teach; but what saith the scripture, and how is what it saith to be understood?
In solving this question, it is true, there is not much scope for a display of "ripe scholarship," which discusses everything and settles nothing. It affords no room for learned talk about Hermes Trismagistis, Sanchoniathon, the great Chaldeo-Babylonish historian Berosus, Confucius, and all other like confusionists, who have darkened the human mind by a multitude of "words without knowledge." The profane writers of ancient and modern times are all unreliable, according to the confession of their own oracles. "Whoever," says Sir William Jones, "in those early ages, expects a certain epocha, unqualified with about or nearly, will be greatly disappointed."
This Chronikon, however, of mine is not compiled upon the qualifying principles of about or nearly. ["About . . . 450 years" (Acts 13:20).-C.C.W.] This will be evident if the reader consult the "references" given. I only accept the dates of the profane when they harmonize with the scripture in its historical and prophetical periods and dates. Thus, it matters not to me how many years profane writers may reckon to the interval between "the going forth of a commandment for causing to return and build Jerusalem" in the 20th of Artaxerxes, to "the cutting off of Messiah the Prince" by crucifixion. They make it 500 years, or 487 years, or any other duration they please. Understanding how to read the testimony in Dan. 9:24-26, I know that such computations are infallibly wrong. Anything short or in excess of 490 years must be incorrect, for seventy times seven was the period decreed.
The knotty questions untied and expounded in this Chronikon are:
The sixth of the above items is styled "The Great Chronological Gordian Knot," which has proved an insoluble mystery to all chronologists. The reader will find that the Chronikon unties it with the greatest ease; whereby the Scriptures are vindicated, and Paul shown to teach in perfect harmony with them.
It may be remarked here, that an idea prevails, that the world has attained exactly the age of 6,000 years. In conformity with this opinion, speculative theologists have sought to increase the years of the world's age in order to approximate to their own times, as nearly as possible, the commencement of the Great Sabbatism.
MILLER staked his whole theory upon the notion that the world was 6,000 years old in 1843. But time has proved his computation, and therefore his theory, to be utterly erroneous.
In 1859, SHIMEALL, in "Our Bible Chronology," p.182, announced that the world will be 6,000 years old in 1868, and that the "year A.M. 6001 will be the ushering in of the Great Sabbatism spoken of in Rev. 20:1-6." Thus, he fixes the commencement of the Millennium to the A.D. 1869; which he assigns as the limit of the "unparalleled 'tribulation' predicted by our Lord." But the current three years will not afford scope for such a tribulation. Mr. Shimeall has made a mistake. His chronological speculations have misled him. The world will not be 6,000 years old until A.D. 1910, which is 44 years from 1866.
But there is reason to believe that the Millennium will commence a few years before the world attains to 6,000 years. It is apocalyptically revealed, that it will end at the "LITTLE SEASON," which comes within the limit of the Millenary Week of 7,000 years from the Creation -- "after the 1,000 years are fulfilled, Satan must be loosed a little season" (Rev. 20:3, 7). This puts the beginning of the Millennium back into the Sixth Chiliad, and before its termination, as many years as may constitute the Little Season. If this consists of four years, then the Millennium will begin four years before the world is 6,000 years old - in A.M. 5996; and consequently end A.M. 6996, or A.D. 2906. Thus, the end of the Little Season will synchronize with the end of the A.M. 7000, which is equivalent to the A.D. 2910.
The "unparalleled tribulation" is to precede the millennium, and will, of course, require time for its development. In Micah 7:15, the period for performing the truth and mercy sworn, or covenanted, to Abraham and Jacob is chronologized by "the days of Israel's coming out of the land of Egypt," [see footnote Elpis Israel, page 449.] which every reader of scripture knows was a period of 40 years. The "unparalleled tribulation" of Mark 13:19, 20 belonged to the end of the Mosaic Dispensation, and has long since passed away; but the "time of trouble" foretold by Daniel and Jeremiah, and styled "the unparalleled tribulation" by Mr. Shimeall, is a pre-millennial chronological period of 40 years. This, his chronological scheme, as also the schemes of all others, I believe, altogether ignores. There can be no Millennium until the judicial work of these 40 years is accomplished. They are the period of the Seventh Vial; and "no one can enter into the Nave until the Seven Plagues of the Seven Angels" of the Vials "may have been fulfilled" (Apoc. 15:8).
Chronologists make no allowance of time for the last of these plagues. With them, this "TIME OF THE END" is left to chance. "We have no chronological data," say they, "by which to determine its length." True, they have none; but only because they are unacquainted with what exists. The whole world of powerful kingdoms has to be revolutionized. The governments, aristocracies, hierarchies, and democracies, have all to be broken up; the nations, emancipated from these destroyers, illuminated and blessed in Abraham and his seed. And to accomplish all this, theologists and chronologists, with their "science falsely so called," crowd us into an unchronological period between A.M. 6000 and the year after, A.D. 1869! This is doing the work up in a flash, which none but the spiritual inebriates of the clerical kingdom could for a moment admit.
Hudson City, N.J., U.S.A.,
November 20, 1865.