Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
When Was the Year of Creation?
I received the following letter from Dr. Jim Tabor, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina, concerning the Jewish date of "Creation" and its real significance. He adds more useful information to the quest for understanding the TRUE date of Creation, and its prophetic significance. Here is the letter:
by Dr. James D. Tabor
I can add some interesting confirmation to your recent consideration of the usefulness of the Rabbinic or Talmudic chronology. For a year or more, through my contacts and discussions with leading orthodox Jewish scholars, I have held a somewhat similar opinion regarding chronology to that which you have recently published.
It should be obvious to all that the date of 3760/61 BC is impossible for the year of Adam (AM). One thing I have learned is that the ancient rabbis never convert their calculations into the standard BC/AD or BEC/CE system. First, it is Christian, and second, they know it simply doesn't compute. This would put the destruction of the 1st Temple in 423 BC, the edict of Cyrus in 371 BC, etc. These dates are clearly impossible. The date of 3760/61 BC is a purely modern convention, to relate our calendar to the Jewish chronology. The rabbis have no interest in secular correlations and conversions. All they record are years AM from a certain starting point -- usually assumed to be the creation of Adam (or the world for that matter). Thus the Flood is the year 1656, Abraham is born in 1948, the Exodus is the year 2448, etc. These calculations with full discussions are preserved in their ancient source Seder Olam. I would highly recommend the book by Eliezer Shulman, Sequence of Events in the Old Testament. Perhaps you have this. If not, since it is published in Israel, probably the fastest way to get it is through Vendyl Jones' Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies. They usually stock it. Anyway, Shulman discusses, in English, all the calculations of the ancient rabbis and the sacred traditions of Seder Olam. They have truly preserved a wealth of detail regarding many things, exact days and months of many events, etc. This material, used sensibly, can be of great use. It has always been simply ignored by Christian calculations.
I know that many devout rabbis know that we are in the last times, and that there is no way this is year 5752 leaving 248 years until the End! They are not going to discuss this openly, since the public word is that this is year 5752. It is, but as you have now realized, from what? That is the question. It cannot be from Adam. It definitely has something to do with the origin of the astronomical calendar and clearly falls in the lifetime of Seth.
Anyway, I enclose a printout for the appearance of the New Moons for the year 3996 BC. Please note, as a possible indication that this is the correct year, that the new moon for Nisan appears over Jerusalem on Tuesday (the Third Day of Creation Week) at 9:55 a.m. This is interesting. If the planetary order is set up the third day, then one might expect the conjunction on that day, starting off things like a clock. Adam who is created on the sixth day, would then see the New Moon, learn about the Sabbath, etc. that first "weekend."
For other reasons, which are too involved to go into right now, I think there is good evidence that the 3761 should go back 238 years rather than 235, to the year -3999 BC. That would put the end of the 6000 in 2002 AD. I hope we can discuss this someday. Still, the general point is valid. 3761 does not begin with Adam, but with Seth, and the year he established the calendar.
One caution in dealing with rabbinic materials. The calculations of the Seder Olam become very suspect after the time of the 1st Temple. There are some clear errors that are introduced, the chief of which is the rabbis' insistence of precisely 490 years between the destructions of the two Temples. In other words, they go from Exile to 70 AD, making it 490 years, and claiming that fits Daniel 9 and the 70 Weeks. Obviously this is totally impossible and in error at least 167 years. The entire motivation for this is to avoid having the 69 weeks fall around the time of Yeshua [Christ]! They are forced then to compress the entire 70 year Exile and the Persian period into 110 years! So, there are some real problems. I am not sure they are correct in their records on the period of the 1st Temple as well. They say the Temple stood for 410 years and that the period from the entry into the Land to the Exile is 850 years. I don't think this can be right, again it has to do with attempts to put the Exile much too late, so it will hook up with the 70 Weeks and 70 AD. They are about 70 years off here I think.
In other words, I have found the Seder Olam most valuable for the early periods -- the life of the fathers, Moses, the Exodus, etc. There the material in Shulman can't be beat and works out very well with the astronomical calendar I have used to check it with "secular" dates, etc.
Anyway, I thought you might find some of this interesting and of value. I wish you well -- be cautious but diligent and fervent! I like your zealousness even if sometimes, over the past few years we have been back in touch, I have felt it has led you to take positions that go beyond the evidence. In other words, you have your own share of "false predictions." I say this with kindness. We are all learning and can aid one another.
Yours for the Kingdom,
James D. Tabor
COMMENT: I believe Dr. Tabor's letter points out some interesting facts, and he draws the logical conclusions based on those facts. The controversy over the correct date of the Creation has never to this day been adequately solved, and many questions remain. Whether the correct date of Creation was 3996 B.C., 3999 B.C. as Dr. Tabor suggests, 4004 B.C. as archbishop Ussher concluded 250 years ago, or some other year in that general time span, still remains to be proved conclusively and positively. I believe it best, under the circumstances, that we keep an open mind on the subject. Surely, since Yeshua the Messiah did say no man would know the exact "day or hour" of his return, the fact that the true date of Creation has not yet been settled, is one more indication why Yeshua said what he did (Matthew 24:36, 42-51). Nevertheless, we know the End of the Age MUST be sometime around these reckoned dates! We do NOT have to remain in total blindness and ignorance. As the "children of light," we do not have to walk in darkness (I Thess.5:1-5).
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