An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 8 - Prophetic Truth - Page 154 of 304
The last recorded date in the chronological chain of the Old Testament
is that of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, and that we find is 3539 from Adam.
The times of the Gentiles, begin with the first year of Nebuchadnezzar, which
was the fourth year of Jehoiakim, which we have seen (in the articles 'Time
and Place' in The Berean Expositor, Vols. 33 to 37) was the year 3521 from
Adam.  While years, months and even days are given in the Minor Prophets,
there is nevertheless no real unbroken continuity, such as we have found
hitherto.  Strictly speaking we have two points which have set a boundary to
our inquiries.  (1) The date from which to commence the 62 x 7 years
of Daniel 9, and (2) the date of the crucifixion, when 'Messiah' was 'cut
off'.  (See article Seventy Sevens4,9).  If the Saviour began His ministry
when He was thirty years of age, and continued for three years or a little
over, that would make the year of the crucifixion a.d. 33 or 34.
It has, however, been established that errors of computation called for
some adjustment, and a.d. 29 is now the generally accepted date of the
crucifixion, although there are some who feel that there is evidence
forthcoming to make it a year or two earlier still.  If a.d. 29 be the date
of the crucifixion, that will make the nativity year 4 b.c.  We have, between
the commencement of the 62 x 7 of Daniel 9 and a.d. 29, a period of 434
years, which gives us the date 405 b.c. for the commencement of the 62 x 7 of
Daniel 9.  It will be seen that the element of exactness and continuity that
has been the marvel of the chronology so far, is now missing, and we have to
take longer views and avoid too dogmatic assertions.
Up till this point, we have found Anstey a helpful guide (The Romance
of Bible Chronology), but now we are obliged to leave him, because the
argument presented by Dr. Bullinger for the chronology adopted by The
Companion Bible seems irresistible.  This chronology is intimately linked
with the view that the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are one, and that Ezra,
though standing first in order of position, is not first in order of time.
As the books stand in the canon of Scriptures, Ezra comes before Nehemiah,
and if there were no internal evidences that point to other conclusions, we
should naturally place the book of Ezra in this order of time.  We must,
however, remember that there are different points of view to be considered,
when dealing with Bible chronology.  We have seen that whole periods may be
blotted out (as for example the captivities in the time of the Judges) if the
reckoning is from the Divine standpoint; or these same periods may be
included if the reckoning is according to the viewpoint of man.
Ezra deals principally with the temple, Nehemiah with the city, and
while it is apparent, upon examination, that the city with its ceiled houses
was built before the temple, yet, as the temple is of more importance
spiritually than the wall of the city, the record places Ezra first in the
order of the books.  This same principle has already appeared in the writings
of Moses.  In Exodus 25, the ark is the first of the furniture of the
tabernacle to be specified (Exod. 25:10), but it is by no means the first
that was made (Exod. 37:1, see 36).  Let us examine the several items of
evidence that The Companion Bible has brought forward to establish the true
chronological relationship of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
The testimony of the Hebrew mss.  These two books are always
treated as one, as the following feature will show:
The 685 verses of these two books are numbered consecutively from the
first verse of Ezra to the last verse of Nehemiah.  This is conclusive
testimony as to the opinion of the Hebrews.