A Difference of 243 Years!

There is a Difference of 243 Years between the Secular Calendar and the Jewish Calendar! This year is 2023 AD but in the Jewish Calendar is 5783.

By using the year 6000 as the point of reference since creation, we are already off by 26 (23 plus 3) years, whereas Jewish Calendar are 217 years behind, making a total of 243 years difference. So where could we reconcile the discrenpancies?

This presentation from Archbishop Ussher viewpoint is an attempt to reconcile the difference; but is this correct?

Did the Jewish sages falsify the record for the Persian reign of 207 years to a mere 52/53 years (a difference of 165 years)?

“Annals Of The World by James Ussher – Part #2”

Appendix G: “The Seder Olam Rabbah” (Why Jewish Dating Is Different) or the “Book of the Order of The World,” was compiled by Rabbi Yose ben Halafta (who died 160 AD), and is to this day the traditional Jewish chronology.

From this ancient work, the Jewish people reckon the current year [2023 AD as 5783] and understand it to be the number of the years since the creation. [compare to James Ussher’s work published in 1658, a time gap difference of 1,500 years]

At the time the Seder Olam was compiled, the Jews generally dated their years from 312 BC – the beginning of the Seleucid era. For the next few centuries, the Seder Olam was of interest exclusively to only students of the Talmud.

When the center of Jewish life moved from Babylonia to Europe during the 8th and 9th centuries AD, calculations from the Seleucid era became meaningless. Over those centuries, it was replaced by that of the anno mundi era (AM = “from the creation of the world”) of the Seder Olam. From the 11th century, anno mundi dating became dominant throughout most of the world’s Jewish communities.

As Old Testament Scripture is the basis for Seder Olam dating, we would suppose the Jewish chronology to be similar to that of Ussher’s and thus expect them to place the creation date around 6,000 years ago. Yet rather than 4004 BC, the Seder Olam places creation at 3761. The question thus becomes: On what basis do the Jews number their years such that a 243 year shortfall occurs?

The Missing Years:

1. From the creation to the birth of Abraham: Ussher has – 2008 years from, 4004-1996 BC;  Seder Olam has – 1948 years from, 3761-1811 BC (exclusive reckoning) a shortfall of 60 years. – Terah was 130 years old rather than 70 when Abraham was born. (Gen. 11:26 says, “Terah lived 70 years and begot Abram,” it doesn’t say he was 70 when he was born. Gen. 11:32 and 12:4 say, “Terah was 205 when he died in Haran and Abram was 75 when he departed from Haran with Lot.” So, 205 minus 75 equals 130. Thus the first deficit is about 60 years.

2. From the birth of Abraham to the Exodus from Egypt: Ussher has – 505 years from, 1996 – 1491 BC;  Seder Olam has – 500 years from, 1811 – 1311 BC, a shortfall of 5 years. – Abraham was 75 years old when the covenant was made in Gen. 12:4, the Exodus was 430 years later, Gal. 3:17, “The covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, the law, which was 430 years after cannot annul that it should make the promise of no effect.” Exodus 12:40-41 says, “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt [and Canaan] was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years, even the very same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.” Without New Testament revelation for clarification, the Seder Olam reckons five fewer years. The shortfall now totals 65 years.

3. From the Exodus to the laying of the Temple foundation, I Kings 6:1, “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 of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.” Ussher has – 480 years from, 1491 – 1012 BC (inclusive reckoning);  Seder Olam has 480 years from, 1311 – 831 BC, a shortfall of 0 years. As there is no difference the total shortfall remains at 65 years.

4. From the foundation of the first Temple to the consecration of the second Temple: Ussher has – 497 years from, 1012 – 515 BC;  Seder Olam has 480 years from, 831 – 351 BC, a shortfall of 17 years. – Differing decisions in placing the dates of the kings of Israel with respect to the kings of Judah during the period of the divided monarchy account for these 17 years.  Thus far, the Seder Olam reckons 82 (65+17) fewer years difference over a 3,489 year span (4004-515) from creation to the consecration of the second Temple of which the major part concerns the age of Terah at Abraham’s birth.

5. From the consecration of the second Temple to its destruction by Titus of Rome: Ussher has – 584 years from, 515 BC – 70 AD;  Seder Olam has 420 years from, 351 BC – 70 AD, a shortfall of 164 years. – Here we see the main source of the discrepancy found in the Seder Olam’s shorter chronology. Its 420 years are divided into spans of 34, 180, 103, and 103 years of successive foreign rule over Israel. As shown in that which follows, it is remarkable that the 164 year span disparity is almost entirely from within the first or Persian period, which follow. The remaining three periods closely approximate that of the standard chronology.

a) 34 years (351-317 BC) for the remainder of the Persian rule over Israel: from the dedication of the second temple to Ptolemy I Soter’s invasion of Jerusalem (Ptolemy I was one of Alexander the Great’s favorite generals; also called Soter or Saviour, 367?-283 BC. After Alexander’s death in 323, he seized Egypt as his share of the divided Greek empire and assumed the title, “King of Egypt”).

b) 180 years (317-137 BC) for the Grecian rule: from Ptolemy’s invasion to the times when Simon the Maccabean became ruler in Israel and Rome recognized the independence of the Jewish state.

c) 103 years (137-34 BC) for the rule of the Hasmonean (Maccabean) family in Israel: from Simon to the beginning of the reign of Herod the Great.

d) 103 years (34 BC-70 AD) for the Herodian rule until the destruction of the temple.

There is some discrepancy with the standard dates in the later three periods  (b, c & d). The standard date for Alexander’s defeat of Darius is 331 BC rather than the Seder Olam’s 321. It gives Simon’s rule as beginning in 142 BC (not 137) and Herod’s in 37 BC (not 34).

But what are we to understand from (a) where the Seder Olam only allows 34 years for the remainder of the Persian period? Indeed, by Seder Olam reckoning there are only 30 years from the dedication of the second temple to Darius’ defeat at the hands of Alexander in 321 BC and merely four years after that unto Jerusalem’s capture by Ptolemy following Alexander’s death.

Moreover, here the two systems exhibit a striking contrast. The Ptolemaic chronology lists eight Persian kings from Darius I Hystaspes to Darius III Codomannus, the king whom Alexander overcame. However, the Seder Olam identifies the Darius who was reigning during the dedication of the second temple as the same Darius that Alexander defeated.

Recording only five Persian monarchs, Seder Olam gives the following chronology for its 52/53 year depiction of Persian history:

1. Darius the Mede reigns 1 year – 3389 – 3390 AM (374 – 373 BC) Babylon is conquered and Daniel is in the lion’s den.

2. Cyrus reigns 3 years – 3390 – 3392 AM (373 – 371 BC, inclusive) The Jews return and the second temple construction begins.

3. Artaxerxes (Cambyses) reigns one-half of a year – 3393 AM (370 BC) Temple construction halted.

4. Ahasuerus reigns 14 years – 3393 – 3407 AM (370 – 356 BC) Esther is chosen queen and Esther bears Darius the Persian.

5. Darius the Persian reigns 35 years – 3407 – 3442 AM (356 – 321 BC) Temple construction resumes, 3408 AM (355 BC); Second Temple dedicated 3412 AM (355 BC); Ezra comes to Jerusalem 3413 AM (350 BC); Nehemiah comes to Jerusalem 3426 AM (337 BC); Darius defeated by Alexander 3442 AM (321 BC).

Thus the Seder Olam depicts the Kingdom of Persia as lasting a mere 53 years from 374 to 321 BC, rather than about 207 years from 538 to 331 BC. [Wikipedia: from 559 to 330, a reign of 229 years]

Indeed, it is manifestly apparent that the real reasons for the deliberate altering of their own national chronology in the Seder Olam were: (1) To conceal the fact that the Daniel 9:25 prophecy clearly pointed to Jesus of Nazareth as its fulfillment and therefore the long awaited Messiah; and (2) To make that seventy week of years prophecy point to Simon bar Kokhba!

The Rabbis in the century immediately following Christ Jesus had a tremendous problem with so direct a prophecy as Daniel 9:24-27. This chapter speaks of Messiah’s appearing 69 “weeks” (i.e. 69 sevens) or 483 years after the going forth of a commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls.

By removing the 164/165 years from the duration of the Persian Empire, Rabbi Halafta was able to make the 483 year Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy fall reasonably close to the years prior to the 132 AD revolt during which Bar Kokhba rose to prominence as Israel’s military and economic leader.

Then with Akiva proclaiming, “This is the King Messiah” followed by “all the contemporary sages regarding him as the king Messiah, ” the Jewish populace united behind their messianic hope.

Rabbi Halafta and his fellow compilers of the Seder Olam sought to terminate the 69 “weeks of years” as close to the 132 AD revolt as possible, but they were limited as to where they could make “the cuts.” Since the Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy dealt with a decree that was biblically and historically issued by a Persian monarch, this left only the Persian period of history for them to exploit.

The Persians had been so hated by the Greeks and later by the Moslems that these two conquerors destroyed nearly all the Persian records. This has created great difficulty in recovering their sequence of kings, the length of their reigns, and thereby their chronology. Thus, the Persian period was readily vulnerable to manipulation.

This article is an extract mostly copied from Archbishop James Ussher’s book, “The Annals of the World,” Appendix G: the Seder Olam Rabbah – Why Jewish dating Is Different.”

“The Annals of The World” by ‘Archbishop James Ussher’  10/29/12 Part #1

Some observations with this paper:

(1) The Jewish Calendar might not be perfect, perhaps there could be errors; but our Secular Calendar is already 27 years off the cliff; this paper is not a comprehensive attempt to rectify al possible errors; but to highlight various points;

(2) The compression of the Persian Empire as a deliberate altering of their chronology to a mere 52/53 years seems legitimate; as most empires reign around two to three hundred years;

(3) Another difficulty with this paper is that the Bar Kokhba revolt ended in failure in 136 AD while Rabbi Yose ben Halafta work on the Jewish Calendar was around 150 to 160 AD, some 20 years later, hence he would have amble time to reflect that Bar Kokhba wasn’t fulfilling the Messianic prophecy of Daniel 9:25-27. So why would he falsify the record as alleged?

(4) Daniel 9:24-27 tells us that Israel’s Messiah had to come before the destruction of their Temple and that happened in 70 AD, so if it wasn’t Jesus of Nazareth who began his preaching in 27 AD then who was it?

Failing with Bar Kokhba for an explanation, modern Rabbinic Jews and Rabbi Tovia Singer identify this “annointed” as Cyrus, Isaiah 45:1. Cyrus maybe God’s annointed but certainly he just couldn’t be the “Most Holy” Daniel 9:24.

To honour Cyrus as the “Most Holy” would be blemphemous. Further, Daniel 9 is a prophecy for a future “in the last days” which Daniel couldn’t figure out as he was dazzed and puzzled!

~ by Joel Huan on April 15, 2023.

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