return to Scripture
From Barry Setterfield. His primary discussion of the chronology question may be found in Ancient Chronology in Scripture .
First of all - gaps in the chronology. The Septuagint picks up the only major one. I suspect that gaps may be needed to accomodate a longer time-frame. However, the redshift data indicate that the Alexandrian Septuagint chronology is basically correct. [Note: because many Greek texts are called 'Septuagint' there is some confusion. The Alexandrian Septuagint was translated by Hebrew scholars from paleo-Hebrew to classical Greek about 300 years before Christ. The other translations called 'Septuagint' were all translated after Christ and depended on the more recent Masoretic text. The quotes in the New Testament do not match the Old Testament in most of our Bibles. That is because the Old Testament is from the more recent Masoretic translations which originated in Jamnia about 100 A.D. Much wording was changed from the more ancient texts. However the much more ancient Alexandrian Septuagint matches the quotes in the New Testament, indicating that it, or something very close, was the Scripture in use in Jesus' day.)
I have had a further look at the trends in the redshift and timing of events. For a redshift of z = 1.7 and lower we have the normal redshift function. From a redshift of 1.7 and higher, the function is climbing more steeply than the standard equation. This is the astronomical data. This is explained by some astronomers as being the point where decelerating expansion under gravity ceased and the expansion rate started to accelerate again under the action of the cosmological constant. Essentially, all that the observations really show is that for redshifts higher than 1.7, the rate of climb of the redshift function is much steeper than before. So z = 1.7 marks the change-over point. Observationally, star formation and starburst activity starts tapering off around a redshift of about 2. From about z = 2 and higher we have astronomical evidence of the stars switching on. One Vc model being favoured at the moment has a redshift of 2.015 for the close of Creation Week, or at least the astronomical activity associated with it. If it is assumed that the end of Creation Week indeed occurs at z = 2, or a little lower, then it is possible that the redshift of z = 1.7 million atomic years (MAY) mark the time of the Fall following which the normal redshift function as we know it today was followed. The maximum possible time on any modelling that pertains between a redshift of 2 and 1.7 is 130 years. The minimum time is probably days. Any reasonable model will have it somewhere in between, but probably down the shorter end as one function has to taper into another. Nevertheless, there is a degree of freedom in the modelling that I did not anticipate. So we have room in this Vc model for the Fall if we need it.
The value of the redshift that corresponds to the Flood is z = 0.298. Even though the redshift curve is smooth, this value of z effectively marks the point from which the decline in redshift is essentially linear. I have not searched for any phenomena that are unique to that value of z, and none immediately come to mind, but I will look.
And now let us turn to those verses from 2 Peter 3. Basically, there are some translation problems. Note first of all that the New King James and the Old King James do NOT use the word “formed” in verse 5. It is uniformly translated by both of then using the best scholarship and most recent thinking as follows:
“…and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded by water.”
I believe that the use of the word “formed” in some other versions is misleading scientifically and scripturally. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this NKJ gives a good picture scientifically. The newly emerged supercontinent was standing out of the water, but its roots were also in the water-rich layer under the crust known as the asthenosphere, on which the continents today “float.” It is this water from the asthenosphere that supplied the springs and geysers on land and the fountains of the deep in the ocean. It was this water that burst out at the time of the Flood, just as Peter insists. Therefore, in an effort to clarify the meaning of the passage, those translations using the word “formed” may well be giving an incorrect scientific picture.
There is also a very interesting conundrum facing the translators earlier in verse 5. The NKJ puts it this way:
“…by the word of God the heavens were of old…” Another version reads “…the heavens existed long ago…”
The word translated “old” here is fascinating. It is EKPALAI and is only used twice in the Bible. It is made up of two words EK and PALAI. In Strongs this latter word is number 3819, and it states that it is “another form of 3825 through the idea of retrocession”. You go to 3825 PALIN and it takes you further back by saying “same as 3823 through the idea of oscillating repetition.” You then go to 3823 PALE and it states “from PALLO meaning to vibrate.” Here is ultimately an interesting circumstance. The comment in Job 38 that the “morning stars SANG together” is actually the word RANAN which means to stridulate or vibrate. With a continuing massive injection of light from the processes going on in their cores, the process of coming to a pressure balance may result in initial oscillations or vibrations with some types of star. Hoyle suggests the same. There is the second possibility of vibrations coming from the “granules” where the boiling gases reach the surface of the stars. In any case, for one reason or another, the stars are “vibrating” according to Job 38. So there may be an echo of this in Peter’s comment which may be translated “…by the word of God the heavens (stars) were vibrating.” There is another possibility that I have already used in the Vc modelling, that is, once the fabric of space was stretched out to its maximum size during Creation Week, it then vibrated around its new mean position. This oscillation or vibration gives rise to the oscillation in the c-behaviour curve.
One final point also from verse 7. One translation reads:
“But by the same word the heavens and the earth that now exist have been stored up for fire…”
This is definitely a mis-translation. The words “now exist” imply an earlier heavens that were destroyed as well as a destruction of the earth. Even the NKJ puts some of these words in italics meaning they are not in the original. As I go to the Interlinear Bible by J. P. Green, the actual statement is as follows:
“But now the heavens and the earth by the same word are reserved for fire.”
This is an entirely different emphasis. And yes, if the ZPE is withdrawn at any instant, the whole cosmos will disappear in a fireball. And in using the word cosmos here, I am putting a different emphasis on it to that in the Scriptures. There, it rarely implies the universe, but rather “world” in the sense of human society or the world-system under which we are operating. Look up its usage. Putting together the whole comment by Peter, we come out with the translation as follows:
“For this they wilfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens (or stars) were vibrating (or singing), and the earth was standing out of the water and in the water, by which the world (society) that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But now the heavens and the earth by the same word are reserved for fire at the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men.”
I think that this is as clear a statement as can be made scripturally and scientifically.
Setterfield: These comments deserve some thought. You discuss the Fall as a possible time when the value of c started to drop, at which time you state "that progressive aging and decay began, rather than on Creation Day #1." I think that part of the problem may be coming from the term c-decay that I have used over the past 15 years or so. The term 'decay' is actually a misnomer. There is no decay as such in the velocity of light velocity. The energy of the photons remains constant, but since they have to tackle more obstacles on the way to their destination as time passes, their arrival time is delayed. So, thinking about it, I think that the word "decay" is sending the wrong message. In the secular literature, the term "variable speed of light" or VSL is coming to be accepted. I think this is a much better term and will adopt it from here on out. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. [Note: the term Vc for ‘velocity of light’ is now the term used in the Setterfield material, to distinguish it from the multitude of others studying possible changes in light speed]
There is something else to consider as well, however. Without the constant input of kinetic energy into the universe, it appears that all atomic structures would collapse. It is this input of energy which yields the increase in Planck particles which effectively slows down light. This stretching of the heavens by the Lord at the beginning, investing the universe itself with enough potential energy to release at the right speed to sustain the universe was indeed 'very good'! This sustaining by the Lord is certainly in line with Hebrews 1:3.
The other point concerns aging. The important issue here is the fact that the Lord presented Adam and Eve with a fully functioning, mature creation. Adam and Eve were themselves mature physically. The trees were mature and bearing fruit and nuts for the created couple to enjoy. The Sun, Moon, planets and stars had all their essential characteristics that we see from earth today. According to Job 38:7 there were stars made at the beginning of Day 1 as well as Day 4 in Genesis 1:14-18. This point comes out particularly clearly in the LXX translation of Job. These two periods of star making have given rise to the two basic types of stars recognised by astronomy today - the Old or Population II stars, from Day 1, and the Young or Population I stars like our Sun, from Day 4 (there are other stars which muddy up the distinction between the two population as there has been cannibalisation of some stars by galaxies since creation). The light-speed model can account for the differences between these two types of star based on a difference of 3.5 days of stellar activity with an initial velocity for light around 4 x 1011 times its current speed. It can also account for other stellar features that give the cosmos a mature appearance after just 4 Days.
The point that I am coming to in the above paragraph is this: a high value for Light-speed was needed initially to account for the cosmos as we see it. It is that very matter, a high value for c, which has introduced the appearance of age or maturity into the astronomical and geological aspects of the Creation. The Scriptures indicate that the mature appearance of the created order is "good". If you wanted a cosmos without the appearance of maturity, you would have to have an initial value for c at or below the current value. As astronomers have found out, this leaves a lot of cosmological problems unresolved. The progressive decline in the value of c was thus not a "bad" thing as the rate of aging of the earth and cosmos became moderated by that process.
Two other points: you mention that a decline in c from Day #1 "programmed the ultimate slowing of orbital time - and universal entropy." Orbital (dynamical, Ephemeris) time has remained unaffected by VSL processes. Consequently, orbital or dynamical time is running at a constant rate and is not slowing. This is why the Sun, Moon and stars were to mark "seasons, days and years" in Genesis 1. They were designated as God's timepieces. This left the atomic clock in all its various forms to be governed by other factors and behave independently. If we in our 'wisdom' have decided to use the atomic clock to designate time instead of the Creator's choice, then I consider that to be our problem. As far as entropy is concerned in the present context, that quantity is governed by Boltzmann's constant, k. It can be shown that k is a constant for all values of c. Therefore changing light-speed does not in and of itself bring about any change in entropy. Thus, the most we can say is that God may not ever have intended this creation to last forever, but programmed it to run a certain time, regardless of any choices man made.
One last point, in regards to the theological issue here, though. In Revelation 13:8, Christ is referred to as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. In other words, from the beginning God knew what was going to happen and has already prepared for it as a decision, and with God a decision is as good a something already accomplished. So the crucifixion was simply a matter of it being worked out at the right time and place in our history, while the fact of it had been established from the beginning. Thus God knew that this creation was not for eternity right from the beginning. So the fact that there is a sense of 'running down' regarding the universe should be expected
Setterfield: No, not on the redshift data. Maximum c was at the beginning of Creation Week. However, it took till the days of Noah for the heating of the interior of the earth to have progressed far enough for geological activity to occur. This has been discussed in A Brief Earth History, and also in the appendix to A Brief Stellar History.
Setterfield: There is a potential answer to the matter that the question raises. You will remember the Dodwell axis tilt material. George Dodwell was the late Government Astronomer for South Australia. In his final years at the old Adelaide Observatory, he researched the tilt of the earth’s axis as given by ancient astronomers (Egyptian, Chinese, Greek, Arab etc) using a variety of methods including gnomons. The 66 data points these observers provided indicated that the earth’s axis received a change in tilt in the year 2345 BC, and that the axis has become more upright as a result of that event. Dr. Moe Mandelkehr of the USA did independent research which pointed to some event of sufficient magnitude to bring about archaeological, climatalogical and geological changes about the same time [Society of Interdisciplinary Studies ‘SIS Review’, Vol. V, 1983, p.77 ff]. Independently of these two, Dr. Benny Peiser of the Cambridge Conference group in the UK has concluded that a series of small asteroidal impacts occurred about that same time. A search on the net will bring up much of his material. Dodwell is not unique, as there are others who have come to similar conclusions. Also independently, another research group concluded that the movement of the earth’s virtual geomagnetic pole showed a sudden change in direction around 2300 BC [see Kawai et al, in Nature, Vol. 236, pp.223-225, 1972 “Archaeomagnetism in Iran”]. So the 2345 BC change in axis tilt seems to be on solid ground.
According to the lightspeed work, this date corresponds with the end of the last ice-age, just before the birth of Abraham in 2304 BC, when the climate started to become more like we have it today. The higher axis tilt before this event allowed more extensive ice-caps along with a world climate that reflected that fact.
Well, you will be wondering how this fits in with Joshua and the behaviour of the sun and moon at his command. It relates to Dodwell’s oscillation curve that was apparent from the observations. This curve revealed oscillatory behaviour of the earth’s axis as it came to a new position of balance after the 2345 BC event. The curve indicated changes at dates roughly corresponding to Joshua’s conquest around 1550 BC (confirming the long chronology for the time of the Judges that appears in my book ‘Creation and Catastrophe’ which you may still have), again about the time of Hezekiah near 710 BC (when the sun went backwards about 10 degrees on the sundial of Ahaz), again about the time of the Crucifixion around 30-33 AD (when there was a strange darkness over the land for 3 hours, and Amos writing of that time said “I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth on a clear day, and I will turn your feast [Passover] into mourning and make it as the mourning of an only son…” Amos 8:9-19) , and again around 800-900 AD and in roughly 1400 to 1500 AD. We know the Biblical examples. These are extant records that document the 800-900 AD event as “a strange dark morning” in England; “a dark day” in Europe, and “The time the night came twice” in Africa. The 1400 AD event has been picked up in pottery from Asia where a change in magnetic pole behaviour has been recorded by the magnetic alignment of the particles in the pottery. Recall that the motion of the geomagnetic pole is involved in all this.
Well, ultimately, we need to know what is causing these events. The original series of impacts in 2345 BC initiated the response. In any large impact, a segment of the earth’s crust is detached from the surface layers and moves through the mantle towards the earth’s core. This gives the earth, a spinning gyroscope, a new position of balance and it gradually moves to this new position. The Dodwell work indicated that the final balance position was not attained until about 1850 AD. Well, that accounts for the main axis tilt curve. But the oscillation curve is still to be explained. I will come at this from a different direction. About 10 years ago, in a store in Blackwood, South Australia, there was a sophisticated gyroscopic toy for sale. The toy consisted of a central gyroscope suspended by circular loops of metal that were able to move freely in any direction. Idly, I set the toy spinning, then shortly after I gave it a push, corresponding to an “impact”. The gyroscope heeled over, and then in that new position started oscillating. I was amazed at what happened next. At specific points in the series of oscillations, the whole gyroscopic device underwent a figure-of-eight roll and then returned to the oscillating behaviour it had exhibited before.
Let’s look at this. Dodwell had determined the axis tilt curve from the 2345 BC impact. He had also determined the oscillation curve from the data. That curve potentially suggests that at certain key dates a change in oscillation direction will occur. Those dates roughly correspond with Joshua’s long day, Hezekiah’s sundial event, events at the time of the Crucifixion, and others. At the corresponding times, the gyroscopic toy underwent a figure of eight roll. It is possible that the earth may have behaved similarly, or at least in such a way that the objects in the heavens traced an S-shaped path in the sky. This would have a variety of effects depending where on earth the observer was when it occurred. Thus for Joshua the sun and moon remained visible in the heavens while the S-shaped path was followed. At the time of the Crucifixion, “the sun went down at noon” as Amos indicated, and then returned to resume its normal motion. There is also a reference in Job to this effect. Job was writing as an eye-witness to events in his own day. In Job 9:7 he states that God “commands the sun and it rises not…”. This is referring to the results of a similar axis tilt change due to massive impacts at the time of Peleg “when the continents were divided” (Gen. 10:25). This impact was the one that gave the earth’s axis its high tilt that resulted in the ice-age as well as drifting continents. The motion of the earth’s axis after that event in 3005 BC was similar to that from the 2345 BC event. Job was writing about 2800 BC.
Setterfield: Thank you for your note. First I would have to ask you which LXX you are using. There are several, the most reliable being the oldest, or Alexandrian, translated about two hundred years before Christ. It is the one with the quotes used by Christ and the New Testament authors. Now, about the ages of the patriarchs. I think you will find that the ages for Methuselah and Lamech that I use are exactly as found in the Alexandrian LXX, but there is a special case with Terah. It is assumed that Abraham was the firstborn, but an examination of the age of Abraham when his father died indicates that one or both of his brothers may have been born ahead of him. In Genesis 11:26, we see Abram’s name listed first, but this may probably have been due to pre-eminence rather than order of birth. In verse 32, Terah was 205 when he died, and at that stage Abram was 75 (12:4). So Abram was born when Terah was 130. We see this same sort of listing of the sons together with Noah, and we know the boys were not triplets! So evidently Terah began having children when he was 70, but Abram was not born until another sixty years later. He may have had other sons and daughters as well, but the three that are important to the Bible are the ones mentioned. The one of prime importance in terms of a relationship with God is mentioned first.
Note: Regarding the timing of the writing of Genesis. We do not hold to the JEDP theory and explain this in our Genesis Bible Study in the section entitled "Different Ways of Looking at Genesis." I do hold that Moses edited the book we call Genesis, and it is possible that in that editing he put Uratu for the mountain that Noah landed on.However, remember that pioneers often named locations after places in their home country. We have, for example, the Barossa Valley in South Australia, named by German pioneers after the valley of that same name in Germany. Thus it is possible, that even if the place name is the same, the actual location may be different as it would have been the original location with that name that was intended. Thus, if the continents (the landmass literally) were divided at the time of Peleg, it is possible that a different location of Uratu originally existed.
Setterfield: Nice quote from Wikipedia. Anyone can contribute there. My sources include Professor Siegfried Horn, professor of archaeology at Andrews University, and Dan Gruber, who has authored a book about Rabbi Akiba. There are a number of other authoritative sources apart from these two people. Wikipedia is probably not your best course of action for determining events. It tends to be politically correct rather than factually correct in some matters. This appears to be one of them.
There are a large number of Jewish folk who would like to get rid of the Council at Jamnia, as it is rather devastating to some of their beliefs. Evidently the Catholics have now joined them in their denial. For the Jewish, they would want to claim their canon was far more ancient. And for the Catholics, the same, for the Masoretic text originated at the Council of Jamnia, and the Catholic Church would rather claim their texts go back to the most ancient Hebrew, but they don’t. The Latin Vulgate came from the Masoretic. It should be noted that the quotes given in the New Testament regarding the Old Testament do not match the Masoretic Text, but do match the far more ancient Alexandrian Septuagint, which is probably the version extant at the time of Christ. In addition, all of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were written prior to 70 AD were from the paleo-Hebrew text-type, which the Alexandrian LXX had followed, but the Dead Sea Scrolls from post 100 AD are all of the more modern text type, in agreement with the Masoretic text. Obviously something happened between 70 and 100 AD. We know that Jewish councils were held at Jamnia by Akiba, and that Aquila was one of Akiba’s pupils.
Some history regarding Jamnia may be found here.
Setterfield: The first point I need to make here is that we do not know exactly where the Ark landed. This means we do not know exactly where the Tower of Babel, as such, was built. The towers that we have since then have all been built post-Peleg. The Peleg disaster wiped out a lot of existing structures, so we don’t know exactly where the Tower of Babel was built. But we do know these other towers have been built in relation to that original idea. This basic format was evidently continued by cultures around the world after they had been isolated by the Peleg catastrophe. The ones that we have in the Middle East also originated after that time, but many legends have been attached to them which pertain to the earlier time, or which pertain to the original incident.
This is supported by the geological evidence, which does indeed suggest that some portions of the Middle East were under water at the time of the Babel incident.
As far as being in the north is concerned, there are several points I would like to make. The first is that many of the Indo-European languages appear to have originated in the area around Anatolia. This would be post-Peleg as well as post-Babel. The initial area that appeared to be started post-Peleg was in southeastern Turkey. One of my friends, Dr. Allen Roberts, after one of his expeditions into the area, was heading back towards Ankyra because his visitor’s permit was about to run out. He went on a road which took them near Diyarbakir. He passed near a village which was called Cinar (pronounced Shinar), and the plain also carried that name. In the distance Allen could see a massive ziggurat towards the horizon, and there were ruins of smaller ones closer to him. He did not have time to ask about them as he had to get out of the country quickly. So was this the original plain of Shinar or a name memory? I tend to lean towards a name memory, but the observation was interesting. One possible evidence against it being simply a name memory, however, is the fact that Allen saw shards of pottery there with some very ancient writing, more like pictograms, which suggest pre-Sumerian. This would place this area as much older that the area which is currently known as Babylon.
It may not have been the original plain, but it is, at the very least, a very old area.
You are right about northern Mesopotamia being underwater immediately following the Flood. The plain in Turkey would have been quite near the edge of the water’s boundary at that time, although it is not really possible to track back before the Permian. Diyarbakir is on a stable geologic plate, the Arabian Platform. The Tauride Block, to the north, was probably underwater and the lakes that are left there now are just remnants. The plain, however is to the south of Diyarbakir and would therefore have been dry, or at least not soggy!
On the Arabian Platform, the area around Diyarbakir and the plain of Cinar is known geologically as the Mardin High. It is on the northern edge of the Arabian Platform. Throughout most of geological history, from the Permian on, the Mardin High has remained ‘high’ or above water. The deposits which are found there, since the Permian, are mainly continental deposits, such as evaporites. So there a possibility that this site in Turkey near the plain of Cinar may represent the true site of the tower of Babel. There is no way of knowing for sure, but at this point of research, I am not aware of any more likely site.
The sites around what is known as Babylon today were basically covered with water from the Permian right through until the continental division in the days of Peleg. Just to complete the story, the Arabian Shield borders the Red Sea. That is the one thing that has had no deposition on it since the Precambrian.
This material is also reviewed, with maps, in the section on Babel in our Bible study on Genesis.
Setterfield: There is something of an answer on our website in our Genesis Studies
However, that is not the complete story. First of all, you are correct in saying that the universe was opaque until matter decoupled from radiation. That was the first thing that allowed light to shine through. However, there is an additional process hinted at in the Genesis passage, namely the dividing of lights and darknesses as you point out in your note. This occurred still in the middle of Day 1. At that time, the quasars lit up in the galaxy centers and the majority of the light was coming from them initially. So picture the situation: there is an initial burst of light as decoupling occurred and the trapped radiation was released. Then shortly after, the quasars in the centers of every forming galaxy started shining in all their brilliance with darkness between these brilliant lights. Then as the rest of Day 1 went on, the Population II stars lit up in the cores and halos of every galaxy. The effect would be rather like standing on a mountain above a big city. It is night and everything is black. Suddenly the power comes on. First the street lights, then the lights in the houses. There you have a picture of the lights being divided up and the darkness split into a thousand fragments.
I hope that gets a picture across to you. Get back to us if you have further questions.
Setterfield: You ask a question of an interesting passage of Scripture! I have looked into both the Hebrew of this passage which dates from about 100 AD. I have also examined the ancient Greek translation of the original text written in paleo-Hebrew. This Greek translation originated about 280 BC and therefore deserves consideration as the earliest link with the original paleo-Hebrew that we have.
First, for the Hebrew from about 100 AD. That part of the verse translates closely as "While not He had made the earth and the fields and the 'head' of the dust of the world." As you note, the word that is translated as 'primal' or 'head' is the word "ROSH" and can mean 'beginning.' The word for 'dust' is "APHAR" and means 'dust', or 'powder' or 'smallest part' but also 'earth', or 'mud,' and comes from a root meaning 'something pulverized'. As I understand it, this was the closest the Hebrews came to talking about the building blocks of matter. This was the smallest subdivision of matter that they were used to defining. So far nothing extraordinary. But when I looked at the word translated "World" I received a surprise. The word used is not "ERETZ" which is what would have been used if "matter" or the "earth" as a planet or "solid land" or "continent" were being spoken about. Since ERETZ was used in the earlier part of the verse (While He had not made the earth-Eretz), I was expecting Eretz to be used again to re-affirm the picture of the planet. Instead the word is "TEBEL" which means 'habitable' or 'inhabited country' or 'inhabited world' or a specific country (like Babylonia). This changes the context considerably. In this case, a better translation might be "While He had not made the earth (Eretz) and the fields and the highest (first, earliest - Rosh) inhabited parts (Aphar) of the world."
It is in this context that the ancient Greek gives us the understanding of the Jewish translators of the original paleo-Hebrew when they wrote "The Lord made countries, and uninhabited lands, and the highest inhabited parts of the world." I find that fairly close to what seems to be implicated in the Hebrew we have from 100 AD.As a result, it might be wise not to draw too much inference about atoms, atomic dating, and radiometric ages from this passage.
However, I might add a note to help your understanding of what is going on with atoms and dating as there seems to be some misunderstanding of what is happening. The radiometric clock will only start ticking once it is isolated within a closed or solid system. For example, if there are radiometric atoms inside a flowing magma, the daughter products of the decay will be easily separated from the radioactive parent. While the magma is still fluid, the same will happen. It is only once the magma has hardened into rock, and the radioactive atoms and their daughters are trapped together, that the radiometic clock can start ticking. The same happens with a carbon 14 atom. While it is in the atmosphere it is in a non-solid environment. As a result, the parent and daughter atoms easily get separated. It is only once the carbon 14 atom has become fixed in the wood of a tree, that the daughter products cannot escape. It is only then, when the parent and daughter products are trapped together, that the clock starts ticking. This is because it is only when we have the radioactive parent atom trapped along with the daughter decay products that the ratio of the two types of atom can be measured and so get a radiometric or atomic age.
Setterfield: Your prime question involves Joshua and the "sun standing still." What was involved was the motion of the earth, and it was not just on one occasion. There was the time of Joshua, about 1550 BC, the time of Hezekiah when the sun went backwards ten degrees (2 Kings 20 and Isaiah 38) which was about 750 BC and the strange darkness at the time of the Crucifixion in 33 AD when the sun went down at noon (Amos 8:9-10). History also records a similar event around 800 AD (BAA Journal) and again about 1600 AD (University of Sydney News Vol.16:4, 1984). You will notice from this that there is a period of about 750 to 800 years between these events. If you go back 795 years from Joshua's long day, you come to 2345 BC. On that date, the Government astronomer for South Australia, George Dodwell, discovered from ancient observations of the Earth's axial tilt that there had been a change in axis tilt of about 3 to 5 degrees. It became more upright as a result of a series of impacts. The impact craters are in South America and the Mid East. Work by others confirms that there were great archaeological changes at the 2345 BC date, including the 1st Intermediate Period in Egypt because of the chaos caused by the 2345 BC event. Climate changes occurred as well as geological phenomena.
What happened at these later times of "funny business with the Sun" was that, in order to conserve angular momentum, the bulk of the earth changed its rotational behavior to counteract the unusual motion of the core induced by the original impact. So the Sun and Moon appeared to trace a "figure of eight" or an "S" shaped path in the sky. This would have a variety of effects depending on where you were on the earth's surface, including the Sun going down at noon, or appearing to stay overhead for a much longer time.
As for the exact date of Jesus Birth, you need to see my Christmas Star DVD. The brief answer is about September 10th 3 BC.
Setterfield: You caused us to take a close look at Genesis 2 again and what we found in all the texts, including the ancient Alexandrian LXX was something we had not really noticed before (funny how tradition gets in the way, isn’t it?). Eden and the garden were not totally separate, but neither were they identical. The garden was in Eden – something like a county in a state maybe. Tradition says the garden and Eden were identical but your comments caused us to look more closely and we were surprised to see they were not the same, although it should be noted that “Garden of Eden” is used several other times. The meaning, though, is the garden belonging to Eden – that is the ‘of.’ Thank you for making us look at those passages again!
Second, about the rivers. If we go back to the ancient Hebrew, we find that “Tigris” and “Euphrates” are simply choices later translators made and were not what was written in Genesis at all. The following is from our study of Genesis 1-11 on our website
Pishon – the word means “disperse, spread.”
Thus, let's try to put the words in as they were written, or at least the meanings:
There are some interesting notes to make about these waters. First, Eden itself must have had a higher level near the garden, for the source of the giant river flowing through the garden, and watering it, was Eden. And the Bible says that “from there” it separated into four rivers.
For a second, though, go back to the parenthetic in Genesis 2:5-6 – that before there were shrubs or man to work the land, water was coming out of the surface of the earth and watering the land. First, please note that this would have been early on day 3, before plants. It never says it never rained before Noah’s Flood, only that it did not rain early on day 3 before there were shrubs or man. Another thing which is actually very important is that we should note WHY water would be coming UP, when the natural tendency of water is to flow DOWN. The water must have been under pressure. And if we watch the progression through Genesis, the subterranean pressure must have been building, because by the time of Eden, a few days later, enough water was gushing up to form four major rivers. Then, by Genesis 7:11, when the Flood begins, it is not rain which begins it, but explosions of water from under the surface of the earth.
Pressure means heat, and a number of ancient legends recall the Flood waters as being scalding. Just an interesting point there.
We do not know where on earth Eden and the garden were. In Ezekiel 31:18 there is an interesting aside mentioning that the trees of Eden are deep in the earth below. It must be seriously doubted that Eden only lost its trees to the subterranean depths and not all of itself.
Regarding Exodus, there is no way that the crossing of the “Red Sea” was just south of the Mediterranean and across to the Sinai Peninsula. That is because Egypt OWNED the Sinai Peninsula at that time and it is specifically mentioned that the Israelites crossed OUT of Egypt. The ‘desert road’ of Exodus 13:18 was through the heart of the Sinai Peninsula. The crossing occurred about half-way down the eastern arm of the Red Sea into the Arabian Desert. According to Paul’s statement in Galatians 4:25 – “For this is Mt Sinai in Arabia…” When Moses fled from Egypt when he was 40, he fled to Midian, which is Saudi Arabia. He was looking after Jethro’s flock, in Saudi Arabia, when the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush, and God said to him that when he came back with the children of Israel, out of Egypt, “you will serve God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:12.
Hope that helps. It’s always wise to look to Bible to explain Bible.
Setterfield: Thank you for your responses. First of all, many of the names that you see on Bible atlases are not the real place names of that location. They have been put there by Bible expositors in order to support their own points of view and tradition. The Israelites were directed to turn (in Chapter 14:2) not ‘back,’ but turn from the main route across the Sinai, and go to the place called Pi Hahiroth. They were then to camp there at Pi Hahiroth which is between Migdol and the sea. The word “Migdol” means “tower.” It was a watch tower of which there were a number on the Sinai peninsula. But which side of the Sinai peninsula? The name “Pi Hahiroth” actually tells us. This literally means “the mouth of the gorges.” There are no gorges near the Suez canal, nor the Mediterranean, nor for the northern half of the Sinai peninsula. However, as you have a look at the usual trade routes across Sinai (today’s Sinai), you find that one route goes across central Sinai from west to east, from today’s El Kubri, through Nakhi, and down to Elat, on the north of the Gulf of Aqaba. But the Lord said to turn to the mouth of the gorges, which is at Nuweiba Beach, which is about half way down the Gulf of Aqaba. It is because they moved through those narrow mountain passes that Pharaoh said “the wilderness has shut them in.” And Pharaoh realized then there was a good chance he could trap them on the beach. Ordinarily, the Israelites might have been expected to take the main route through today’s Elat, to safety, but God directed them south first. That maneuver allowed God to perform a miracle at Nuweiba, and, at the same time, exterminate the entire Egyptian army and Pharaoh.
Interestingly, in every other place except the mouth of the gulf, the water is exceedingly deep. But stretching from the beach at Nuweiba across to today’s Saudi Arabia (ancient time: Midian), the sea floor rises dramatically all the way across, like a giant, hardened, sand bar. Research in this area has shown some surprising things. First, there were pillars erected on both sides of this crossing commemorating it. The pillars were erected by Solomon. The one on the western side still stands, but the one on the eastern side was dismantled by the Saudi Arabians some time ago. Not good to indicate the Bible might be true regarding the Israelites! In addition, undersea explorations has shown coral formations which appear nowhere else but look for all the world like coral covered chariot wheels – axles, spokes, and all.
On the Saudi side, there is a trail from place where the risen seafloor would have provided a crossing to Jabal el Lowz. On this route there is a bitter spring and further on there is a stand of palm trees with a large number of springs with pure water coming out of the ground. These are the Twelve Springs and Seventy Palm Trees of Moses.
The route, in other words, and despite traditions, is fairly well defined and the evidence remains. I hope this helps.
Thanks for the question. The response is yes, there is a formula for calculating orbital years from atomic years. The formula and actual examples of how it is used can be found in our most recent web article "Data & Creation: The ZPE - Plasma Model."
If you go to equations (14) to (20) you will see how to do it. On the other hand, if the math is a problem, here is a brief synopsis:
There are two Tables at the end of the article which also give this information summary and relate it to archaeology.
If you need further help after reading the article, please get back to me.
Setterfield: Thanks for the question.. It opens up the basic difference between the ZPE-Plasma Model which has a completely self-consistent approach, and that of the general Creationist community. The Creationist community in the USA and elsewhere have adopted a theoretical proposal by Henry Morris that the vast majority of the geological strata were laid down during the one single year of Noah's Flood. This has no backing by the geological field data. Unfortunately, the Creationist community have spent a lot of time and money trying to get the data to force-fit this theoretical approach instead of letting the data lead to theory.. It is because of this approach that Creationism has received such a poor reception worldwide. This theoretical approach to geology is so at variance with the geological data that it is given no credence at all by the geological community. I freely acknowledge that Henry Morris did a tremendous job in getting the Creation movement started, but the data indicate he was wrong about Flood geology.
What sort of data are we talking about? Take Spain for example. Stretching from Europe across Spain to the USA (which was once part of the original super-continent) are major coal measures. Then stratigraphically on top of these coal measures is a sponge reef that goes from Spain to Romania and across to Germany. This took time to form. It was not washed in as the sponges are all standing on their narrow stems in growth positions with debris around their bases. Then stratigraphically on top of the sponge reef are layers of dinosaur nests. Geologically it is impossible for coal seams to form, and then for a sponge reef to grow and then the reef to be covered by dinosaur nests all in one year. It is plainly impossible. This type of scenario is repeated around the world a number of times.. The Creationist theory therefore is not supported by the data. Special pleading and proceeding to explain on a case by case basis is not an acceptable way of overcoming the difficulty. A major new approach is needed that is more in line with the data.
The ZPE-Plasma Model suggests one possible alternative. This model is the outcome of the correction of atomic dates to orbital dates on the basis of astronomical data. That data shows that the geological column was built up over a period of about 3000 years or more. The four major geological Eras, namely the Archaeozoic, the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic turn out to correspond with the four major divisions of Genesis 1-12. They directly correlate to the period Creation to the Flood; the Flood to Babel; Babel to Peleg; and Peleg to Abraham respectively. The three major catastrophes in Geology that separate these four Eras are the Snowball Earth strata in the Cryogenian Period of the Pre-Cambrian around 700 million atomic years ago; the Permian Extinction at the close of the Paleozoic, around 250 million atomic years ago; and the Cretaceous/Tertiary (or K/T) extinction at the close of the Mesozoic when basic continental separation fully occurred around 65 million atomic years ago. These three geological catastrophes correspond to the Flood; the Babel catastrophe; and the Continental division in the days of Peleg (Genesis 10:25). The amazing thing is that the astronomical data which give the correction to atomic dates also give orbital dates in good accord with Septuagint chronology for Genesis 1-12.. Thus Snowball earth/Noah's Flood closely corresponds to a time around 2256 years after Creation. The Babel Catastrophe/Permian extinction occurs some 200 years after the Flood; and the K/T extinction or Peleg continental division occurs about 200 years after Babel. The ice-age occurred after the days of Peleg and during the time of Job who mentions the sea being frozen in the Mid-East in winter and cave-men and other disasterous effects of on-going continental separation. Incidently, this correlation between atomic and Scriptural dates in orbital time came as something of a surprise to me.
[Note: for discussion about where the Ark landed, please see the article on The Ark.]
Setterfield: Thank you for your question. However, it suggests that there may be a misunderstanding at some point.
It is perfectly true that speeded up decay will not cause a heat problem. When the Zero Point Energy was less, atomic reactions were faster, but the catch is that with the radiation emitted from those reactions, we have smaller amplitudes in terms of the wavelengths. So we would need more waves for the same amount of heat energy produced today. The intensity of the radiation would remain the same, be it heat, light or even gamma radiation.
Meert, as a geologist, is perfectly aware that it is agreed by geologists of all models that there were no radioactive elements on the surface or even in the crust of the earth at the beginning. Thus there was no radioactivity in the near surface regions initially. That only came later, with the two key times being at the time of the Flood and then again at the time of the Peleg continental division.
The second point is an important one. Today, there are no short-half-life radioactive elements that are naturally occurring on earth. They have all decayed into their daughter products. Thus the isotope with the lowest half-life of any occurring naturally on earth is U235 with a current half-life of 710 million atomic years. All naturally occurring isotopes with shorter half-lives are absent. But at the beginning they were all decaying together deep within the earth, driving water out of the primordial rocks and then melting them. The surface of the earth, however, remained cool and quite liveable.
This is emphasized in the model we are presenting here, as explained in Data and Creation. Plasma filaments tend to sort elements, with the elements most easily ionized toward the center. This happened on each of the planets as well as in the solar system as a whole. This is why Mercury has a heavy metal core which is at least 75% of it, while the heavy cores decrease in terms of the percentage of the planet as we go out from the sun. Likewise, each planet has its more easily ionized elements in the middle with a layering of less and less easily ionized elements as one goes out from the core. The radioactive elements, whether short or long lived, would have been in and near the core at the beginning and not bothering life on the surface at all.
Meert knows better than many of the criticisms he uses; but that doesn't seem to stop him.
Setterfield: Thanks for your question.
The word Malachi in Hebrew comes from the root that means to dispatch as a deputy, one who ministers, a messenger, an angel, an ambassador, or even a king.
The ancient LXX gives the alternate rendition of the the first verse; "The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by the hand of his messenger. Lay it, I pray you, to heart." The word translated "messenger" is the word "aggelos" in Greek which is the same as "angel" in the NT.
The opening words of the verse also are used only on two other occasions in the Old Testament, both in Zechariah (9:1 and 12:1). This might suggest that they were writing about the same time, which is in accord with what we know. Only Zechariah was killed between the temple and the Altar [Matthew 23:35 cf Zech.1:1] cutting off his ministry. That left Malachi who came a little later to the same group of people.
Setterfield: Many Thanks for your question. It gives me a chance to clarify what is happening with the two different ways of calculating the approximate date of the Temple construction.
First we need to note that the total number of years of subservience to other nations is 111 years as you have noted. This is during the time of the Judges as noted above. On the basis of the Omission Principle, this is then added to the 480 years from the statement in 1 Kings 6:1 to give a total of 591 years from the Exodus to the commencement of the Temple. If we use the approximate date of 1600 BC for the date of the time of Moses and the Exodus (as we have discussed elsewhere), then this gives an approximate date of Temple construction starting around 1009 BC. That date comes from the record in Kings.
We now have an entirely different means of checking on this given by Paul in Acts 13. There, the comment is in verse 19 that "when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment." The time of this allotment can be approximately determined by the record in Joshua. If the approximate date of the Exodus is 1600 BC, there is then 40 years in the wilderness and then at least 7 to 10 years of Conquest before the allotment began (Joshua 14: 7, 10, 15). This brings us to about 1550 BC for the settlement of Canaan by Israel. This date is in good accord with archaeology which notes the destruction of Canaanite sites in the middle bronze around 1550 BC.
The statement by Paul in Acts 13 then continues in verse 20 "After that [that is after the allotment] He gave them Judges for about 450 years until Samuel the prophet, and afterwards they asked for a king..." This means that Samuel's ministry occurred around 1550 minus 450 years or about 1100 BC. We then subtract 40 years for Saul's kingship and another 40 years for David plus 4 years for Solomon and come to a date of about 1016 BC. This is in close accord with the 1009 BC from the comments in Kings.
So the two different ways of calculating the Temple construction agree within a handful of years. I think that is close enough for our purposes.
I trust that this clarifies the situation.
Research and the Age of the Earth
Setterfield: I believe that the earth and universe could be somewhat younger than the current estimates. This stems from my research on the Zero Point Energy (ZPE) and its behavior over time. The strength of the ZPE can be shown to affect a number of physical quantities, including Planck's constant, h, the speed of light, c, and the rate of ticking of atomic clocks, t. In addition it governs the energy of atomic orbits so that, when the ZPE was lower, the energy of electron orbits was lower. This means that the energy of light photons emitted by atoms was also lower, so light emitted was intrinsically redder. This would account for the redshift of light from distant galaxies.
Using the redshift data, it is then possible to track the behavior of the ZPE strength, which has increased with time. Since Planck's constant is also a measure of ZPE strength, it is important to note that measured values of h have also increased with time. Concurrently, c values have been measured as decreasing as have atomic clock rates.
Given these data, the conclusion to be drawn is that, as science has been using the atomic clock to measure the age of the rocks, the planets, the fossils, the stars, these objects are not as old as the atomic clock suggests. Using the redshift data, it is then possible to convert atomic dates into orbital dates, since orbital times are unaffected by the ZPE process. This whole research is outlined in the NPA Monograph No. 1 for 2013, "Cosmology and the Zero Point Energy" which comprises 465 pages and is available from our website.
One thing that emerges from this study is that there was a break-up of a body or bodies in what is now the Kuiper belt about 3.9 billion atomic years ago. Similarly, there was a 3-fold break-up of a planet (its mantle then its core) and its moon in what is now the asteroid belt at about 700 million, 255 million and about 70 million atomic years. These break-ups correspond with the formation of the geologic cratons which formed the cores of the continents about 2.5 to 3.5 billion atomic years ago; the Snowball earth catastrophe which effectively concluded the Archaeozoic era of Geology about 650 million atomic years ago; the Permian extinction about 251 million atomic years ago which closed the Paleozoic Era; and the K/T extinction 65 million atomic years ago which closed the Mesozoic Era. We are technically still living in the Cenozoic Era, with its ice-age. So it appears from atomic clock dates that these events are linked. Inevitably other bodies in our Solar System have been similarly affected.
In the Cenozoic, there was a dramatic drop in the number of giant species. This gigantism in the earlier geologic times can be shown to be due to a lower ZPE strength in the earlier days of the cosmos and was discussed in my NPA article "Zero Point Energy and Gigantism in Fossils."
The redshift data show that there was a rapid increase in the ZPE strength due to universal oscillation around the mid-Cenozoic which dramatically reduced the size of some species. This was due to the much slower rate of propagation of nerve impulses, which are effectively electric currents. It can be shown that when the ZPE was lower, electric currents were stronger, rate of movement of electrons and ions was faster, and voltages were intrinsically greater. This was discussed in detail in my NPA paper "A Plasma Universe with Changing Zero Point Energy" found here:
When the ZPE strength became high, nerve transmission rates dropped, and so only the smaller critters survived as biologically viable units.
When all this is done and accounted for, a surprising scenario emerges. On this scenario it is within the realms of possibility (depending on one parameter) that the age of the earth could be as low as about 10,000 years. Using that set of equations, and the oldest text we have for Genesis, it emerges that the snowball earth catastrophe closely corresponds with Noah's Flood; the Permian extinction corresponds approximately with the Babel catastrophe, and the K/T extinction and associated continental drift corresponds with Genesis 10:25 where we are told that "His name was Peleg, for in his days, the earth (literally continents) was divided." The end of the ice-age is then about 2345 BC, corresponding to the change of axis tilt researched by astronomer George Dodwell. (His work on this is available on our website here.) This is the minimum time that the equations allow; longer times are also possible, but there is not the data correspondence with events that the minimalist position allows.
Question about Skara Brae
Setterfield: Many thanks for your e-mail; it is appreciated.
That having been said, the article you linked is rather dogmatic about several things, including the time-frame for the Skara Brae Event. The author is placing much emphasis on the 3 pyramids of Giza and linking them with the inscription. If these inscriptions are indeed from the Old Kingdom, and assuming for the moment that they do represent the same 3 pyramids, then the dating provided for Skara Brae in the link is way off. Even one of the most generally accepted books on Egyptian dating, Atlas of Ancient Egypt, by J. Baines and J. Malek, gives a different picture. They put the 3rd Dynasty as starting at 2649 BC and the beginning of the Old Kingdom with the 4th Dynasty about 2575 BC. The Old Kingdom lasted until the 1st Intermediate Period which coincided with an astronomical event which disrupted cultures across the globe in 2345 BC. Therefore the extreme dates which compass the building of the 3 pyramids and the Old Kingdom and hence the dates for the Skara Brae event must lie between 2650 and 2345 BC, provided that it was indeed an Old Kingdom expedition group. Therefore Skara Brae was not settled as early as 3100 BC as the author of the article claimed. If it was not Old Kingdom but Middle Kingdom, the date for Skara Brae becomes even more recent. We have a refinement of the Egyptian dates and the dates of some civilizations around the Mid-East on our website. The one of most interest to you in this context will be Table 2 in Data and Creation.
Setterfield: Thank you for your note.
Words are never enough, let alone wagers. Quite honestly, words are cheap. It is our lives which are our witnesses. We are given two direct orders: make disciples and answer questions. You make a disciple out of someone who is already a believer, by walking alongside, praying with and for, and letting them hang onto your ‘faith coattails’ until they are a little more mature in the faith.
The other order we are given is to answer questions. And no answer makes sense to someone who is not akling a question. You can go around shouting “Four! Four!” all day and only appear to be a certifiable nut unless someone is asking you what two plus two is. If we are not living lives, directed by the indwelling Holy Spirit, which make others ask questions, then our answers mean nothing to them.
As far as Pascal’s Wager goes – remember even the demons know there is a God….and shudder. Romans 1 tells us that it is what a man does with the truth he is given which determines his fate (understanding that all truth finally leads to Christ who is The Truth). All words, or betting, do is try to use the world’s own tools to defeat the world. Can’t work.
A man, or woman, has to, at some point, look into his or her heart and realize it is junk. He (or she) can then either make excuses for it or admit some radical changes need to be made. At that point, everything depends on how that person thinks the change can be made—via himself or by giving up to Christ. The second choice is salvation and it has nothing to do with wagers.
Methuselah and the Septuagint
Setterfield: Thanks for the note. The text which is usually used for the Septuagint is different from the ancient Alexandrian. It is important to note that currently just about all translations from Hebrew to Greek fall under the label of “Septuagint.” However the original was translated about 280 years before Christ and the only place we are aware of that shows where it differs from the later ‘septuagints’ is in Brenton’s translation where he puts the ancient differences in the footnotes. It is there we find that no, Methuselah did not die after the flood but, rather, six years before.
In Genesis 5:25, the standard Septuagint says “and Methuselah lived 167 years and begat Lamech. And Methuselah lived after his begetting Lamech 802 years and begat sons and daughters.” The ancient Alexandrian states “and Methuselah lived 187 years and begat Lamech. And Methuselah lived after begetting Lamech 782 years.”
It is the date of the birth of Lamech which is correlated the date of the Flood, so that makes all the difference. There is a fixed amount of time from the birth of Lamech to the Flood. Interestingly, the Masoretic agrees with the ancient text on this point! It is the other “Septuagint” which has the different dates and which has caused all the confusion. That 20 year difference regarding the age when Lamech was born is what makes it look like Methuselah must have outlived the Flood.
Setterfield: As to your questions and queries, let me take them in this order:
First. Yes I agree that it would be nice to have the Lord's Word freely available. I have lived my life that way and am more interested in getting the message out than making money "under the cloak of religion" as my grandfather used to put it. The charges we impose on our material barely cover costs to produce and post. Back in Australia, I had a benefactor who made it possible to get out a lot of material free of charge. Today, that is not possible, but we do our best.
As far as the specific issue of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) is concerned, there has been a very real problem. From the time the Israeli authorities started working on the DSS texts, they have been unavailable even to other linguists, archaeologists and similar investigators. The Scrolls were gradually released one by one a few years ago, but some investigators were puzzled as curious marks had appeared against some messianic passages which were not there on the original photographs of those pages. So something is going on; it is not just the public that has been deprived. Realistically, we have little chance of swinging opinion against the status quo. I am old now and have limited strength, so I have to pick my battles. This is one I have no energy on which to expend, even though I agree 100% with your sentiments.
As far as the DSS texts for Genesis 5 and 11 are concerned, it is quite apparent that none are currently in existence. Therefore, we are only left with the extant versions of the LXX, and the testimony of the Church Fathers and early Josephus who confirm that the LXX genealogy was accepted in the mid to late 1st Century AD. Note that the later works of Josephus support the newer Masoretic text from Jamnia, but his early works agree with the LXX and Church Fathers. So we do have a fair idea of what was actually in the original paleo-Hebrew, even though gthe DSS testimony is absent here.
As far as the Psalm 135:3 matter is concerned, the conclusion from the DSS evidence is that it is "sing the name of YHWH" not sing TO the name of YHWH. Since this version dates from prior to 50 AD, then it must be taken from the original paleo-Hebrew. As you say, only it only differs by the letter "lamed." But for those at the Council of Jamnia who wanted to enforce rabbinic tradition, the lamed would have to be added since the tradition was that the Lord's name was never spoken. If the psalm says it was to be "sung" that went right against that tradition at the deepest possible level. It may have been for that reason that the LXX translators felt it appropriate to make the slight change that appears there as the tradition was starting to build up by that time. In contrast, the DSS copyists taking the original paleo-Hebrew would be under no such compunction.
I hope that answers your questions. Get back to me if there are others.
Note: the email to which the following responds was quite long. Hopefully the references given in each part of the answer give an indication regarding the initial questions.
1. Introductory comment:
2. Antichrist, Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock.
You suggest that he might sit in the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque for this purpose. Let me be quite clear about this. I personally do not believe that either of those structures classifies as the "Temple of God". In fact they are satanic. So antichrist sitting in either of those structures does not fulfill the prophecy, even though they are on the Temple Mount.. The Temple of God is the Jewish Temple as Paul understood it in Thessalonians and as John understood it in Revelation 11.
3. The Abomination of Desolation
There are some interesting mathematics there! However, if the Abomination of Desolation is simply the Dome of the Rock, as you seem to imply in your comments, then we have a problem. The Dome of the Rock was some time in building, so there would have been plenty of time for folk to go and get things out of the house before fleeing. Jesus is also specific, "pray that your flight not be in winter (a season) or on the Sabbath (a specific day). So on that basis, the Muslim buildings on the Temple Mount do not classify as the abomination of desolation.
4. Other possible meanings of 42 months in Revelation 11.
However, I believe that in the final analysis, as things really start happening, there will be a literal period of 1260 days, or 42 months or 3.5 years. Because that is the final, literal, straightforward, absolute truth of what is said in the Scriptures and Jesus is the Truth. While there may be other aspects to the Truth, it must finally be fulfilled in such a way that the Scriptures can be taken at face value. Otherwise, it would impugn His character as the One who is the Truth.
5. The Identity of the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11
There are only two places in the Old Testament which uses these words of an individual who claims to stand before the Lord of the whole earth. That is in the books of 1 Kings 17:1 and 2 Kings 3:14. This gives us a clue as to the identity of one of the two individuals as in both cases that individual was Elijah.
That information needs to be coupled with the closing statement in the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:5 with the promise that "Behold I will send you Elijah BEFORE the coming of the great and terrible Day of the Lord (the Tribulation). So Elijah must come before the Tribulation commences. If that is so, he will be here to see the building of the Tribulation Temple, and as such would uniquely qualify as one of the two witnesses.
Who then is the other witness? In that same chapter in Malachi in the verse immediately prior to the one about Elijah, "Moses, My servant" is mentioned in the same context. Moses also uniquely stood before the Lord of the whole earth as he "spoke with God as a man speaks with his friend, even face to face." (Exodus 33:11). If the other person is Moses, it would make a lot of sense. The two key parts of the Hebrew Scriptures are "the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:40) which are used to describe the whole of God's revelation to mankind. Moses represents the Law, and Elijah represents the prophets. Both find their fulfillment in Jesus. So that on the Mount of Transfiguration, it was Moses and Elijah who were with Jesus in the glory.
A couple of final notes on this. First. Elijah was translated by the Shekinah glory cloud into heaven without tasting death. It is appropriate that he should be one witness. It is true that Enoch was similarly translated, but he was not a Jewish figure and did not represent the Jewish religion or their Temple as Moses and Elijah did. Second. It is stated that John the Baptist "came in the spirit and power of Elijah," but he obviously was not Elijah himself. Why? because John the Baptist was born as a baby, not sent back to earth from heaven. So Elijah stands uniquely there.
Third, it is true that Moses died before the Lord on Mount Nebo at the border to the Promised Land. However, immediately after, the archangel Michael and Satan contended for the body of Moses to bring him into glory (Jude 9). He is obviously there as he was able to appear with Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. For these reasons, I believe it is Scriptural to say that the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are Moses and Elijah. They embody the Law and the Prophets and are the essence of the Jewish religion and are appropriately associated with the building of the Tribulation Temple.
I hope that you find these Scriptures worthy of your consideration, as I certainly agree with you that the time is close, no matter how you look at these Biblical prophecies.
Setterfield: You ask about the Hebrew year 5776 and suggest that the equations that we have been dealing with would be resolved if the Creation event happened 5776 years ago. There are several aspects to this so please bear with me while I go through them.
The first matter to be discussed is the derivation of this date. There is a reason for this. Josephus was a Jewish historian, and his early works indicated a creation date about 5000 to; 5,800 BC. This was also the approximate date held by the Church Fathers up till the 3rd century AD. This is also the approximate date of creation derived from the ancient Alexandrian Septuagint (written LXX). These three different sources indicate that the current date is about 7800 years after creation, not 5776.
The question then becomes, when did the Jewish calendar change? Josephus gives us a clue. In his later writings he adopts a much more recent date for creation indeed it is almost 2000 years later than his early work. What happened to change his mind? Josephus initial writings were before 100 AD while his later works were sometime after that date. So an event of significance in this context must have occurred about 100 AD.
Around 100 AD there was the Jewish Council of Jamnia which was convened by Rabbi Akiba in order to produce a version of the Scriptures that would replace the Temple master copy. That master copy had been destroyed in 70 AD with the destruction of the Temple. Akiba, however, was intent on (1) maintaining Rabbinical traditions, (2) Getting all Jewry to be under the control of the Rabbis and (3) negating the use of the Scriptures by the Christians to prove that Y'shua (Jesus) was the Messiah. With these three aims in mind several passages of scripture were changed.
For our purposes here, the key passages are the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11, where a cipher for "100" was systematically dropped in order to preserve several rabbinical traditions. This reduced the genealogical listings of time from creation by about 1500 to 2000 years. The text of the Bible which emerged from the Council of Jamnia is the one in popular use today and the Jewish calendar reflects that acceptance. In addition some extra years were omitted when Israel was under foreign domination, and when they were trying to set up their own messiah. This gives us the Jewish calendar that we have today. More information about these key items can be found on our website here:
We also dealt with this in chart form of what happened to the dating in our Bible Study of Genesis 1-11.
Setterfield: The brief answer is No, the two theories are not related. Gerald Schroeder takes space-time dilation to show that from one viewpoint the 14 billion atomic years in which the universe has existed are really only 6 days if relativistic physics and its equations are used. In contrast, I have taken the recent discovery of the existence of a real Zero Point Energy (ZPE) and its build-up due to universal expansion. The ZPE has been shown to affect atomic behavior including atomic clocks. When atomic time is corrected using this ZPE behavior curve, then the whole universe is less than 8000 years old in actual orbital time. This is time as humans customarily measure it; the time it takes the earth to go once around the sun, or the time it takes the Moon to go once around the earth, or the time it takes the earth to rotate once on its axis. It has nothing to do with relativity and its esoteric mathematics.
Orbital phenomena are stated in Genesis 1:14 as the way we are to measure time. As a consequence, the time sequence in Genesis 1 and 2 is in those terms of orbital time; namely one day is one rotation by the earth on its axis "evening and morning - one day." Therefore, the Bible is giving its own definition of what constitutes 6 days here, and it is not the 14 billion years that Schroeder converts to 6 days using relativistic physics..
There is another point. You state that Schroeder thinks we are late in the 6th Day. That, too, is doing violence to the Biblical text. In Genesis 2:2 the account says that God rested, past tense, on the 7th Day. That was a done deal; it had already happened. It did not say He was going to rest on the 7th Day. In fact in Exodus 20:11 a categorical statement was made by the mouth of God himself from Mt. Sinai so that the whole congregation heard it (Ex. 20:19, 22). He stated: "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." It makes no sense if God had not already rested (past tense) to institute the Sabbath. Therefore, Gerald Schroeder is not just appealing to relativity to account for the Scriptural record, he is also doing so in contradiction to the words spoken by God Himself.
I hope that clarifies the situation.
Setterfield: I think that you may be confusing God's original creative acts with ongoing processes which those acts have set in motion. The physical laws which God set in place at the beginning are still in operation today. This is what science is relying on. All events which then occur after Creation Week are following those laws. If God suspends those laws temporarily, for whatever reason and does something unexpected, that is what we call a miracle.
But current star formation is not a miracle. It conforms to the laws of plasma physics where a plasma filament undergoes a magnetic pinch, and a plasma ball (star) is formed. We can do this in the lab. Neither is current star formation a "bara" act of creation of something out of nothing. Indeed, the Hebrew word "bara", to create something out of nothing, only occurs 3 times in Genesis 1. The rest of the time the words "asah" or "yatsar" are used which mean to mould or form something with pre-existing material like a potter does with clay.
We could add that the vast majority of stars were formed during Creation Week. The processes which were set in motion then continue to run on and form a few stragglers. Remember, the Lord only rested on the 7th day. Jesus said "My Father has been working until now and I have been working." (John 5:17) So Jesus himself claimed that God is still working within his creation.
Another example may help. The second "Bara" creation of something out of nothing was the formation of soul or personality ("nephesh") in animals (and man). Each individual born today among the higher animals and among mankind also has "soul" or "nephesh." It could be argued that, since each individual has a unique personality, then an ongoing process is in operation that was only started during Creation Week. I, personally, find this more amazing than ongoing star formation!
You ask why it was that Jesus was "taken up" into heaven after 40 days where the context in all 7 cases implies an action was performed on him not by him.
First, in looking up those verses, it is apparent that several different words are used which are translated "taken up". One is "Analambano", another is "Epairo" or "Hupsos" and derivatives. All have a basic meaning to "lift up" or "take up" or "exalt" or "raise up" and so on. So we are dealing with the idea of an action or an event which can be described by a number of different words. These words do not exclusively mean that an action was performed on the subject, not by the subject, but that is still the general impression given by the context of those passages.
As for the rest of these comments, please be aware that they are from my own thinking rather than any comment from established authority. Let me know how you feel about these thoughts, and please share any comments of your own on these matters.
Second, there may be a reason why the action was implied as being performed on him not by him. Messiah was to experience things in common with mankind, so that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. Seeing that he was the first to be raised from the dead in His resurrection body, that event is linked in 1 Corinthians 15 with the rapture or catching away of the believers into heaven. We are completely unable to do that ourselves and must rely of the Lord to do that for us. In a similar way, when Jesus was caught up into heaven, it could not be by his own action if He was to experience what we are going to experience. So therefore, He had to be acted on by the Father, not himself.
Finally you ask the reason why it was 40 days after the resurrection that this event occurred. There are several aspects to this as well. First, there is a matter of timing. The pouring out of the Holy Spirit had to occur at the feast of Pentecost which prefigured it in type-teaching. This feast was 50 days after the Passover (which prefigured the Crucifixion). Thus Christ had to be in heaven by Pentecost. Indeed certain events had to occur in heaven before the Holy Spirit could be poured out at Pentecost. As John says in his Gospel in 7:39, the Spirit was not yet given because Christ was not yet glorified (in heaven). Jesus prayed in John 17:5 asking the Father to glorify him again with that glory he had before the world began. It was only once Christ was back in heaven that this was possible. It was only then, in God's economy, that the Holy Spirit could be given.
How long that process took once Christ was back in heaven and what was involved we do not know. It may not all have happened immediately. In some similar way, our lives are to be reviewed when we come before the Lord after the rapture and then crowns are handed out for faithful service, but the dross is burnt up (Romans 14:10 and 1 Cor. 3:12-15). It is therefore possible that a review of Christ's accomplishments occurred before the Father, after which Jesus was glorified. We know that this complete process took less than 10 days of earthly time as the Holy Spirit was poured out after those 10 days.
The second aspect of this 40 day period is that the number 40 often indicates a time of testing or assessment. In this case, it is quite likely that Jesus wanted to make sure that the disciples really had got the message as to what it was all about and any erroneous ideas eliminated. So assessment for the disciples really was necessary.
The last aspect of this is another type-teaching one from the days of the Exodus. When the Children of Israel passed through the Red Sea it was typical of death of the old life and resurrection to a new (which Baptism also symbolized). After this new beginning, there was a period of testing of 40 years to see if the new way of doing things was adhered to before entry into the Promised Land, which sometimes symbolizes heaven. So Christ's resurrection followed by 40 days of assessment and instruction of the disciples followed by His ascension into Heaven was pre-figured by His own people Israel.
I hope that this gives you sufficient ideas to work on with this matter; and thank you for a very interesting question.