You wrote: We are told that Israel lived in Egypt exactly 430 years (Exodus
I don't believe we are. Neither do many Bible scholars. It depends on how the
Hebrew here is read. If you have a Hebrew interlinear you can see that
Ex.12:40 actually reads, "The time of the dwelling of the sons of Israel, who
had lived in Egypt, was 430 years." The "dwelling" that is there referred to
can be understood to have been the total amount of time the Israelites dwelt
in both Canaan and Egypt, from the time Abraham first entered Canaan. That
this is what the Hebrew text actually means was understood by both the
writers of the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint. For, as a footnote in
the NIV tells us, both of these versions of the Old Testament say that the
"430 years" was the time the Israelites lived in "Egypt and Canaan."
This is also clearly the way that the apostle Paul understood the "430 years"
of Ex. 12:40,41. For in Galatians 3:16,17 Paul wrote, "The promises were
spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say 'and to seeds,'
meaning many people, but 'and to your seed,' meaning one person, who is
Christ. What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not
set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with
the promise." So Paul understood that the "430 years" referred to the period
of time which began when Abraham first entered Canaan. For it was at that
time that God made His promise to Abraham concerning Abraham's "seed." (Gen.
In Gen. 15:13 God told Abraham that his descendants would be "enslaved and
mistreated for 400 years." However, as you pointed out, Abraham's descendants
"weren't enslaved right away." In fact Bible historians tell us that the
Israelites did not become slaves in Egypt until long after they first entered
Egypt. Their slavery is believed to have actually lasted more in the area of
200 years, not 400 years. So then, to what did God refer when He said that
Abraham's descendants would be "enslaved and mistreated" for 400 years? Bible
chronology reveals that the mistreatment of Abraham's descendants at the hand
of Egyptians began exactly 30 years after Abraham first entered Canaan, when
Abraham's oldest son Ishmael, whom he had fathered by his wife's Egyptian
maid servant Hagar, began ridiculing his younger half brother Isaac. This
persecution of Isaac by Ishmael was considered to be of such a serious nature
that it resulted in God instructing Abraham to expel both Ishmael and Hagar
from the land in which they then lived. (Gen. 21:1-20)
You wrote: I see no scriptural justification for assuming that certain events
must be separated by exactly some multiple of 1000 years.
Nothing in Scripture indicates that the creation of Adam and the birth of
Christ must have been separated by exactly 4,000 years. However, that is what
my study of Bible chronology reveals took place. With that in mind, it seems
reasonable to assume that is what all the 40s and 400s in Scripture may have
symbolically pointed to.
You wrote: Such an assumption has been used to produce the rumor that
scientists had accounted for Joshua's long day and to make false predictions
about the date of Christ's Second Coming.
Much of the content of Scripture has been improperly used. I am certainly not
making any predictions for the time of Christ's return. It is true that
studies of Bible chronology have been improperly used for such purposes. It
is also true that studies of Bible prophecy have been improperly used for
such purposes. Simply because some of the contents of Scripture can be and
are sometimes misused does not mean that they cannot be properly, and even
very beneficially, used for the purpose God intended.
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