Teach Us to Number Our Days

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Sextus Julius Africanus (about AD 170 to 250) - Biblical Chronology


Julius Africanus produced a work entitled "Chronographiai" in five books which covered

the span of time from Creation to 221 AD which he calculated to be a span of 5,723

years. He placed the incarnation at 5,500 years after Creation. Two problems are

encountered with Africanus' chronology. First, Africanus used the Greek Septuagint

version of the old testament which deviates from the older Tanakh which the Masoretic

text undoubtedly has preserved the authentic word of God. If on accepts the Septuagint 

ages of the pre-flood patriarchs as to when they had a son then it is found that

Methuselah would have survived Noah's flood by 12 years which is patently imposible.  


The Masoretic text has no such problem and documents the fact that the year Methuselah

died the Flood began. This is exactly as we would expect since the prophet Enoch

(Methuselah's father) named his son "When he dies, judgment" or in the Hebrew tongue 

"Methuselah". When he died the world-wide flood of Noah began. Placing the "age at-

birth-of-a-son" data found in the Masoretic text into an Excel spreadsheet a visual graph

can be produced that shows the amazing exactitude of Methuselah's death coinciding with

the beginning of the Great Flood of Noah.       


Second, at times Africanus arbitrarily inserted years without explanation. The early

church historian Eusebius had this to say concerning the chronology of Africanus :  

   First, however, we must pause to criticize Africanus, who wrote a five-book

   Chronology. It seems to me that he is greatly in error regarding the matter before us.

   From the exodus of Moses to [the time of] Solomon and the building of the temple

   [Africanus], through his own unique calculations assigns 744 years, mostly without any

   citations, and not only contrary to what is recorded in Scripture, but even audaciously

   adding an extra hundred years on his own. [Africanus] inserts an additional 30 years

   after Joshua, for the elders. Then, after Samson, he adds 40 years of anarchy and

   another 30 years of peace. By adding these additional years without any proof, he

   creates an inflated total of more than 740 years for the period between Moses and the

   reign of Solomon. (Eusibius' Chronicle, Translated by Robert Bedrosian)