Debut author, Dodge, a former U.S. Navy captain and Sunday school teacher, offers a thorough timeline of biblical history.
This assessment of the chronology of Scripture draws upon established sources as well as the author’s own research. He begins with the already well-documented timetable of the Old Testament, beginning with Creation and running through the ages of the Patriarchs, and then through the kings of Judah and Israel. Once he reaches the period from the Decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem (in 444 B.C.E.) to the birth of Jesus Christ, Dodge finds difficulties in established theories, which he then addresses. Later, he discusses the date of the birth of Christ, affirming the notion that the Star of Bethlehem was an extraordinarily close convergence of Venus and Jupiter occurring on June 17 of the year 2 B.C.E. After establishing this, Dodge begins the task of estimating a date for Jesus’ prophesized return. Using the establishment of modern Israel in 1948 as a baseline, he uses scriptural sources to predict that the rapture will occur within the lifetime of those who were born around the time of that event—therefore, soon. Three “absolute dates” that were not discernable until modern times, he says, have made such calculations possible—the date of the division of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah (930 B.C.E.); the aforementioned date of Jesus’ birth; and that of Israeli statehood. Overall, Dodge’s work is brief—just over 100 pages in length—yet complex and overarching. There are some arcane moments, however, which will likely leave the majority of readers a bit baffled. For instance, the author takes particular issue with the findings of the Scottish police commissioner and theologian Sir Robert Anderson (1841-1918) regarding the date of Jesus’ birth in a section that will perhaps be the most difficult one for lay readers; in it, Dodge delves into the intricacies of the Hebrew calendar and of the prophecies in the book of Daniel. However, the majority of his work is accessible and highly intriguing.
An often compelling look at Judeo-Christian chronology.