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1 Kings 6:1 can be used as a starting point to highlight four important Old Testament dates
People have long argued over the essential features of being a prophet of God, and examination of the nature of many Old Testament prophecies shows us that God makes certain that the nature of the revelations that He gave in this era were of such complexity and structure, and occurred over such a large period of time, that no one could in any way misconstrue the meaning and message of the prophecy or suggest that the events were coincidence. Without a knowledge of the chronology of Isaiah 6:1, and therefore the period that Isaiah lived through, or of the date of the invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the later command of Cyrus to reconstruct the temple, we may well miss the importance of the prophetic message of Isaiah 44:28 because we are ignorant of the time-gaps and sequences of events. So it is incumbent upon us to seek an accurate knowledge of the chronology and the sequences of events in the Old Testament in order to understand the relationship between prophecy and its fulfilment. How do we answer questions, which many would see as merely historical interest, such as: "When did Abram (later to be Abraham) leave Ur?" or "When was Moses born?" The answer can only come through knowing the time sequences and chronology of the Old Testament in order to build up a picture which we can use to recall the events.
Christians believe in the implicit accuracy of the Old Testament because we recognize that an Almighty God planned for us to have these writings for our constant edification until He wraps up this system of things and changes this earth as we change an old garment (Psalm 102:25-27):
25 "Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands.
26 "Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed.
27 "But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end. 1
Inspired by the Holy Spirit the author of 1 Kings 6:1 gives us another dating peg for our chronology on which we can hang many more facts in our unerring dating system. Some scholars claim that the figure of 480 years simply refers to 12 generations or periods of 40 years: 12 x 40 = 480 years, rather than a precise number of years which can be used to give an accurate dating system. 1 Kings 6:1 presents an excellent example of dating from an anchor point which will strengthen our faith in the chronology of the Old Testament and reads:
Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD. 1
Several important facts are revealed in this verse:
1. It is the 4th year of Solomon's reign
2. In this 4th year of his reign he began to build Solomon's temple;
3. It is 480 years since the Exodus.
From the internal and external evidence we know that it is 966BC and therefore Solomon was crowned king in 970BC (966 + 4 = 970BC). We know David reigned 40 years and, as predecessor to Solomon, he was crowned king of Judah in 1010BC (970 + 40 = 1010BC) and, likewise, we know that Saul also reigned for 40 years and so was crowned king in 1050 BC (1010 + 40 = 1050BC). So clearly 1 Kings 6:1 is a vital anchor point for our knowledge of Old Testament chronology, proving important in pinpointing noteworthy years following and preceding this historical period.
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