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Research Topics

ABR Projects

It has long been recognized by innumerable Jews and Christians that the amazing prophecy given in Daniel 9:24–27 deals with the time of the coming of the Messiah. Yet despite this consensus, coming to agreement about precisely how to understand this passage has been an elusive goal. God inspired Daniel to record the prophecy in such a way that it appears to have been written with purposeful ambiguity, preventing its meaning from being understood for centuries. This should not surprise us, for the Lord Himself said, "Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time" (Dan. 12:9, NASB). Yet at the same time, He intimated that a time would come when the words would be unsealed and understood. ABR staff member Richard Lanser heads up this project, having a conviction that the completion of the New Testament canon, together with the great advances in understanding both Scripture and the historical background of the Bible in the past century, have set the stage for this unsealing.

Project Goal

The goal of this project is to take a whole-Bible, plain-sense, biblical history-sensitive approach to the prophecies in Scripture generally, but most specifically those in the book of Daniel. By this approach we aim to demonstrate there is a single correct interpretation of the "Seventy Weeks" prophecy in Daniel 9:24–27. When this interpretation is identified, it will demonstrate the God-directed inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures by its perfect correspondence with the life of Christ. It will also provide a larger framework for us to understand Messianic chronology found in both fulfilled and yet-unfulfilled prophecies in the Bible. This chronology includes, but is not limited to, the dates of the birth and crucifixion of Jesus, Herodian chronology, and the pattern of the sabbatical years of the Jews since the return from the Babylonian Captivity under Ezra. Once these things are confidently determined exegetically and with awareness of events in biblical history, we will be in a position to properly understand the prophecy of the "Seventy Weeks" of Daniel 9:24–27 without reading into it unjustified personal interpretations. We expect these insights to be possible because God has tied all of Scripture into a seamless whole, where one part interprets another, and in addition has preserved information from ancient history which allows key anchor points to be identified.

Project Description

A framework will first be established in which to place the prophecies found in the book of Daniel. This will be done by performing a close reading of every prophetic book in both Testaments, including the book of Revelation, seeking to understand how they relate to and clarify each other. From this study will be obtained a broad yet detailed picture of what Scripture reveals about Messianic chronology. A "straightforward" grammatical-historical interpretive approach (taking the plain sense of Scripture as the best sense) will be adopted in developing this framework. The material derived from this study will be compiled in a document which will hopefully become the basis for a future book. An Excel spreadsheet will then be created from the compiled data, into which individually-verifiable facts will be placed so their interrelationships become apparent. Once this framework has been set up, it will facilitate the evaluation of proposed chronologies of the Crucifixion and the Herodian period promoted by various scholars, particularly their exegesis of Scriptures important to their views and their interpretations of details in the writings of Josephus and other sources of ancient history, to see if their interpretations hold up to close scrutiny.

Once the prophecy of Daniel 9:24–27 is fully investigated, it is hoped we will be in a position to develop a fuller view of Messianic chronology extending to the second coming of Christ, one that avoids the extremes to which less comprehensive approaches are prone and have unfortunately beset the study of eschatology for centuries.

 

Project Goal: To determine if Genesis 5 and 11 and other directly relevant biblical texts yield a calculable chronology of human history from Adam to Abraham. If such a chronology can be constructed, a main goal of the project will then be to establish a B.C. date for the Flood, and a chronology for the time period between the Flood and Abraham (Genesis 11:10-32). These dates can then be correlated with historically grounded, non carbon-14 based, archaeological data from this time period, serving an important apologetic purpose.

Project Description:

Although this subject has never been an area of focus for our research staff, ABR has always affirmed the historicity of the Genesis 5 and 11 patriarchs. The general view of the ABR staff has historically been that there was some fluidity (gaps) in the genealogical data from Genesis 5 and 11, but the data could not be understood to date the Flood beyond 4000 or 5000 BC at most. The general tenets of this view can be found in the appendix of The Genesis Flood, by Whitcomb and Morris, and the seminal article, Primeval Chronology, published by William Henry Green of Princeton Seminary in 1890. Based mainly on archaeological considerations, ABR founder Dr. David Livingston placed the Flood around 3000 B.C. We have concluded from initial investigations that the fluidity view (gaps in the genealogies) is exegetically and hermeneutically untenable, the arguments offered in favor of chronological gaps in Gen 5 and 11 are inadequate, and need to be revisited. This project aims to include:

a. A full text-critical investigation of the Genesis 5 and 11 data in the Masoretic Text, the Septuagint, and the Samaritan Pentateuch. All three of these ancient witnesses have divergent numbers in the genealogies of both Genesis 5 and 11. Most of the divergences cannot be explained by accidental scribal errors. The texts have been deliberately changed. Part of our research will endeavor to propose potential reasons the texts were deliberately altered. These numerical divergences go back to at least 2nd century AD. Liberal-critical scholars believe that the divergences present an intractable problem for those who hold a high view of Scripture, and the chronological/textual matrix cannot be coherently reconstructed. This project would challenge that perspective.

b. A text-critical investigation into the veracity of Kainan/m in Luke 3:36 and Genesis 11:13b-14b.

c. A study of the relevant extra-biblical references to the numbers in Genesis 5 and 11 in ancient Jewish writings and the early Church Fathers. In particular, the references in Flavius Josephus will be examined, since his works present one of the earliest extra-biblical witnesses to the Gen 5 and 11.

d. The bearing, if any, of extra-biblical (especially ANE) genealogies and chronologies on our interpretation of Genesis 5 and 11.

e. Based on preliminary investigations, an acceptance of the matching SP/LXX siring ages of each patriarch as the original text of Genesis 11 would put the Flood somewhere between 3150 to 3300 BC (depending on the exclusion/inclusion of Kainan as original). The siring age is the key number for calculating the chronology of this era. This would, preliminarily, be the outer possible range for the date of the Flood.

f. If solid biblical dates can be established for the pre-Abrahamic era, important archaeological discoveries from this time period will be discussed, such as the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).

g. We will attempt to publish articles in non-ABR journals and publications for the purpose of exposing ABR to other constituencies and to advance the viability of our research. Articles will also be (re)published on our website and in Bible and Spade.

Published Articles:

Surprisingly, the location of Mt. Sinai, one of the most significant places in the Bible, is not known with any degree of certainty. Over the years some two dozen sites have been proposed, none of which meets the Biblical requirements. Dr. Bryant Wood and Gary Byers are heading up research to re-evaluate the Biblical and historical evidence in order to identify the location of one of the most important mountains in the world.

An important field of Biblical studies is the Israelite Conquest of Canaan. Dr. Bryant Wood, Director of Research for Associates for Biblical Research, has reexamined and reevaluated the excavated evidence from Jericho to better correlate that data with the Biblical story of Joshua's conquest as contained in the inspired Scriptures of the Old Testament (Joshua 6).

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ASSOCIATES FOR BIBLICAL RESEARCH

Phone: 717-859-3443

Toll Free:  800-430-0008

email: comments@biblearchaeology.org

PO Box 144, Akron, PA 17501

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ABRT 24 | 4/13/2019