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Notes on Revelation

5760 + 240 = 6000

Millennium Fever Catching As Year 6000 Approaches

Millennium fever is sweeping the land. The technological world is nervous over the chaos and confusion that might ensue when the year changes from 1999 to 1000 or 00 or remains stuck at '99 on older PCs, software and chip-based technology. The political world is caught up in its plans for a Global World Village and New World Order including an "orchestrated" peace in the Middle East. But the religious world, that’s where the fever is often accompanied with symptoms of hysteria.

The time-liners, doomsayers and arm-chair prophets are having a field day with the year 2000. And as the world prepares for its next birthday, (which should be reckoned from the Jewish Calendar, we contend), get ready for the Grim Reaper costumes and street walkers made up as “The End Is Here”-sandwiches.

With events “quickening” in the Middle East and such upheavals as the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the crash of the Berlin Wall, weather gone weird world wide and mankind-threatening pestilence and viruses, something out of the ordinary does appear to be going on. The question is whether this is Apocalypse Now or later?

For a moment, let’s forget about 2000. Where did 2000 come from anyway? Most people believe 2000 commemorates the 2000th year since the birth of Christ or the Messiah. But the best historical accounts place that landmark in the year 4 B.C., the date that documents the death of King Herod.

If Hashem (G-d) is wanting to let us in on the little secret about the End Times, there’s a better way of doing it than counting down 2000 years. It is called the Seder Olam Rabbah, a Jewish instrument written in the year 240 C.E. (about 1,760 years ago) that records historical events from the start of Creation according to a pre-determined 6,000-year plan.

This countdown operates on the assumption that mankind is allotted 6 (six) one-thousand year “days” and then comes the Day of Hashem, which also lasts a thousand years. What is frightening/exciting/relieving, (choose your own adverb), about the 6,000-year calendar is how closely the last 2,000 years tie to the Gentile reckoning of years.

On its face, this would not seem to be so evident as the year from Creation 5760 according to Seder Olam Rabbah coincides with 1999-2000. That would make it appear that mankind has another 240 years to make a mess of things and this generation shouldn’t worry too much unless some cyber-genetic freeze technology makes it possible to go to sleep now and wake up 240 years in the future. And the way the world is headed, who would want to do that?

But wait a second, it appears that someone forgot to wind that 6000-year clock a few times and it may be a few seconds off, in fact, as much as 7,568,864,000 seconds (or about 240 years) according to the Encyclopedia Judaica and other authoritative writings. Interesting that this figure "240" keeps cropping up!

In an article headed SEDER OLAM, Encyclopedia Judaica records:

“Yose b. Halafta, the presumed author of Seder Olam Rabbah, probably had access to old traditions that also underlay the chronological computations of the Jewish Hellenistic chronographer Demetrius (third century B.C.E.). The most significant confusion in Yose’s calculation is the compression of the Persian period, from the rebuilding of the Temple by Zerubbabel in 516 B.C.E. to the conquest of Persia by Alexander (331 B.C.E.) to no more than 34 years.”

Students of ancient history know that the Persian period actually spanned 185 years from its start in 516 B.C.E. to the conquest by Alexander. If Seder Olam Rabbah reckoned the Persian period as only 34 years, then the clock is off 151 years for this interval alone.

Also, according to George Foot Moore’s, “Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era,” Volume I, page 6, Seder Olam Rabbah allotted the period of the Medes and Persians together only 52 years. Again ancient history records that Cyaxares I, founded the Median Empire in 625 B.C.E. The Medes ruled 109 years before the start of the Persian empire in 516 B.C.E.

The compression of 109 years that the Median Empire reigned to just 18 years (52 years of Mede and Persian rule minus 34 years of only Persian rule), requires another 91 year adjustment to the 6000-year calendar.

The two adjustments taken together (151 years and 91 years) add 242 years to the Hebrew calendar, making 2000 the year 5760 plus 242 or 6,002!!

However, there is also a mistake in our favor (assuming we want to prolong the world-changing events of the 7th millennium) found in the reckoning of the years from Creation.

It seems that the Seder Olam Rabbah records the destruction of the Second Temple as occurring in the year 3828 from Creation. That translates to 68 C.E. rather than the 70 C.E. which history records. That would make the events of the year 3828 from Creation (or 4070 when adjusted for the period of the Medes and Persians) to have occurred two years later than Seder Olam Rabbah reckons them. . If they occurred later, (or the year 4070 coincides with the year 70 C.E.), then the calendar today should be adjusted two years back to -- you guessed it, 6000! This means we are NOW in the 6000th year since Creation, and the world officially becomes 6000 years old on the next Rosh Hashanah. That date is September 30, 1999.

ben Yosef

Seder 'Olam Rabbah

The work is divided into three parts, each consisting of ten chapters. Part one enumerates the dates of major events from the creation of the world until the death of Moses and the crossing of the Jordan by the Israelites under Joshua; part two, from the crossing of the Jordan to the murder of Zechariah, king of Israel; part three, chapters 21-27, from the murder of Zehariah to the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar; and chapter 28, from the destruction of the Temple to the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus. Chapter 29 and the first part of chapter 30 cover the Persian period, which is stated to be only 34 years. The larger part of chapter 30 contains a summary of events from the conquest of Persia by Alexander until the Bar Kokhba Revolt. This summary may be an epitome of a large section shortened by some later editor uninterested in post-biblical history. The book is written in a dry but clear Hebrew style. It is embellished with midrashic interpretations of biblical passages which are used as sources for the chronological calculations.

Yose b. Halafta, the presumed author of Seder Olam Rabbah, probably had access to old traditions that also underlay the chronological computations of the Jewish Hellenistic chronographer Demetrius (third century B.C.E.). The most significant confusion in Yose's calculation is the compression of the Persian period, from the rebuilding of the Temple of Zerubbabel in 516 B.C.E. to the conquest of Persia by Alexander, to no more than 34 years.

(Encyclopedia Judaica CD ROM edition, Seder Olam Rabbah)


Seder Olam Rabbah = The Great Order of the World
(there is a "Small Order of the World" called Seder Olam Zuta)


Seder Olam Rabbah

Seder 'Olam Rabbah: Earlest post-exilic chronicle preserved in the Hebrew language. In the Babylonian Talmud this chronicle is several times referred to simply as the "Seder 'Olam" (Shab. 88a; Yeb. 82b; Nazir 5a; Meg. 11b; 'Ab. Zarah 8b; Niddah 46b), and it is quoted as such by the more ancient Biblical commentators, including Rashi. But with the twelfth century it began to be designated as "Seder 'Olam Rabbah," to distinguish it from a later, smaller chronicle, "Seder 'Olam Zuta"; it was first so designated by Abraham ibn Yarhi ("Ha-Manhig," p. 2a, Berlin, 1855). In its present form the work consists of thirty chapters, each ten chapters forming a section, or "gate." It is a chronological record, extending from Adam to the revolt of Bar Kokba, in the reign of Hardrian; but the chronicle is complete only up to the time of Alexander the Great; the period from Alexander to Hadrian occupies a very small portion of the work--the end of the thirtieth chapter. It may be concluded, therefore, that originally the "Seder 'Olam" was more extensive, and that it consisted of two parts, the second of which, dealing with the post-Alexandrian period, has been lost, with the exception of a small fragment that was added by the copyists to the first part. Many passages quoted in the Talmud are missing in the present edition of the "Seder 'Olam."

The Author probably designed the work for calendrical purposes, to determine the era of the Creation; his system, adopted as early as the third century (see Era), is still followed. Adhering closely to the Bible texts, he endeavored not only to elucidate many passages, but also to determine certain dates which are not indicated in the Bible, but which may be inferred by calculation. In many cases, however, he gave the dates according to tradition, and inserted, besides, the sayings and halakot of preceding rabbis and of his contemporaries. In discussing Biblical chronology he followed three principles: (1) to assume that the intention of the Biblical redactor was, wherever possible, to give exact dates; (2) to assign to each of a series of events the shortest possible duration of time, where necessary, in order to secure agreement with the Biblical text; and (3) to adopt the lesser of two possible numbers. The following examples will illustrate the manner in which these principles are applied. The confusion of languages is said to have taken place in the days of Peleg (Gen 10:25). The author concludes that the first year of Peleg's life can not be meant, as at the time of the confusion Peleg had a younger brother, Joktan, and the latter had several children; nor could it have occurred during the middle years of his life, for Peleg lived 239 years, and the designation "middle years" is not an exact one (Gen 11:18-19); had the redactor intended to indicate only a general period, he would have used the phrase "in the days of Peleg and Joktan." The Bible must therefore mean that the confusion of languages took place in the last year of Peleg's life, and by comparing the dates of the previous generations, the author concluded that it occurred 340 years after the Flood, or 1,996 years after the creation of the world.

After dealing, in the first ten chapters, with the chronology of the period from the creation of the world to the death of Moses, the writer proceeds to determine the dates of the events which occurred after the Israelites, led by Joshua, entered the Holy Land. Here Biblical chronology presents many difficulties, dates not being clearly given; and in many cases the "Seder Olam" was used by the later Biblical commentators as a basis of exegesis. Thus, it is known that from the entry of the Israelites into the Holy Land to the time of Jephthah a period of 300 years elapsed (Judges 11:26). By computing the life periods of the Judges and assuming that Jephthah sent his message, in which he alluded to the 300 years, in the second year of his rulership, the writer concluded that the reign of Joshua lasted twenty-eight years. It may be added that he placed the making of he image for Micah (ib. xvii. 1 et seq.) and the destruction of nearly the whole tribe of Benjamin in consequence of the wrong done to the Levite and his concubine in Gibeah (ib. xix. 1 et seq.) in the time of Othniel.

It is further stated that Solomon began to build the Temple in the fourth year of his reign, 480 years after the Exodus (1 Kings 6:1), that is, 440 years after the Israelites entered the Holy Land. Thus there was a period of 140 years from the second year of Jephthah to the building of the Temple. The author of the "Seder 'Olam" concluded that the forty years during which the Israelites were harrassed by the Philistines (Judges 13:1) did not begin after the death of Abdon, as it would seem, but after that of Jephthah, and terminated with the death of Samson. Consequently there ws a period of eighty-three years from the second year of Jephthah to the death of Eli, who ruled forty years (1 Sam 4:18), the last year of Samson being the first of Eli's judgeship. At that time the Tabernacle was removed from Shiloh, whither it had been transferred from Gilgal, where it had been for fourteen years under Joshua; consequently it remained at Shiloh for a period of 869 years, standing all that time on a stone foundation. It is also to be concluded that Samuel judged Israel for eleven years, which with the two years of Saul (ib. 13:2), the forty of David's reign (1 Kings 2:11), and the four of Solomon's reign, make fifty-seven years, during which the Tabernacle was first at Nob, then at Gibeon. The chronology of the Kings was more difficult, as there were differences to reconcile between the books of Kings and of Chronicles. Here especially the author applied the principle of "fragments of years" ("shanim mekutta'ot"), by which he regarded the remainder of the last year of any king's reign as indentical with the first of his successor's. In the twentieth chapter, which closes the second part ("Baba Mezi'a"), the author deals with the forty-eight prophets that flourished in the land of Israel. Beginning with Joshua, the author reviews the whole prophetic period which terminated with Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, elucidating as he proceeds many obscure points. Thus, the prophet mentioned in Judges 6:8 was, according to the "Seder 'Olam," Phinehas, and the man of G-d that came to Eli (1 Sam. 2:27) was Elkanah.

The prophecy of Obadiah occurred in the time of Amaziah, King of Judah (comp., however, Yalk., Obad.), and those of Joel, Nahum, and Habakkuk in the reign of Manasseh. After devoting the twenty-first chapter ot the prophets that lived before the conquest of the land, to the seven prophetesses, and to the seven prophets of the Gentiles, the author resumes the chronology of the Kings. He continues it to the end of ch. 27, where he reaches the destruction of the Temple, which, according to his computation, occurred after it had existed 410 years, or 3,338 years after the creation of the world. Then follow the seventy years of the Captivity and the 420 years of the Second Temple, which was destroyed, as may be seen, in the year 3828 of the Creation.

The 420 years of the Second Temple are divided into the following period: the demoniation of the Persians, 34 years; of the Greeks, 180 years; of the Maccabees, 103 years; of the Herods 103 years. It will be seen that the allowance, contrary to historical facts, of only thirty-four years for the Persian domination in necessary if agreement with the Biblical text is to be insisted upon; for it is tated (Dan. 9:24) that the second exile was to take place after the seventy Sabbaths of years (=490 years). If from this number the seventy years of the first Captivity be deducted, and the beginning of Alexander's domination over Palestine be placed, in accordance with Talmudical evidence, at 386 years before the destruction of the Second Temple, there remain only thirty-four for the Persian rule.

From the destruction of the Second Temple, which, according to the "Seder 'Olam," occurred at the end of the last week of the Sabbatical year, to the suppression of Bar Kokba's revolt, or the destruction of Bethar, was a period of fifty-two years. But the text here is very confused, and gave rise to various emendations and interpretations (comp. Salzer in Berliner's "Magazin," iv.141 et seq.).

(Jewish Encyclopedia 1901)

...As for the dates, they had not the Canon of Ptolemy to operate with, but only four names of the Persian kings in the confusing disorder in which they occur in the Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel, and they were consequently always far out of the way in their chronolgoy of the Persian period. The oldest rabbinical manual of chronology, the Seder 'Olam Rabbah, allows for the dominion of the Medes and Persians but fifty-two years in all, and from the rebuilding of the temple to the overthrow of the Persian monarchy by Alexander only thirty-four.* This compression of the history brought Ezra into the same generation with Zerubbabel and Joshua, who rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem. With this generation he is consistently associated in Jewish tradition. He was, it is said, a student of the law in Babylonia under Baruch son of Neriah, the disciple and amanuensis of Jeremiah, and went up to Jerusalem only after the death of his master; this explains why he did not accompany Zerubbabel and Joshua in their return. According to the Seder 'Olam, Ezra and his party arrived in Jerusalem the year following the completion of the temple. Others, however, have him go up with Zerubbabel and Joshua and begin with them the building of the temple, finding his name in Neh 7, 7, Azariah (of which Ezra is an abridged form; cf. Neh. 12, I). The most probably conjecture about the three "sheep" who, at the opening of the new epoch, began to build up the ruinous house in Enoch 8:9, 72, is that Zerubbabel, Joshua, and Ezra are meant.

*Abodah Zarah 8b-9a (R. Jose bar Halafta, a special authority in chronology). Leaving the Medes ("Darius the Mede" in Daniel) out of the reckoning, our chronology (after Ptolemy) gives, from the first year of Cyrus as king of Babylon (538) to the end of Darius III (332), 206 years, and from the completion of the second temple (516) to the same terminus, 184 years. On the names of the Persian kings see also Rosh ha-Shanah 3b, bottom...See Note I.

Note I

In the Yalkut (II, sect. 1068) the extract from Seder 'Olam exhibits a somewhat different text and enumeration, giving three Persian kings and one Median. Artahshasta (our "Artaxerxes") was taken to be a royal title borne by all these kings whatever their personal names, and thus confusion was worse confounded.


...the Seder 'Olam, a chronological synopsis of biblical history from Adam down to the age of Alexander (Daniel), and a continuation in brief to the destruction of the second temple and the war under Hadrian. The endeavor to fix the dates of Hebrew history by the data given in the Scriptures had been made by an earlier chronologer, Demetrius, probably an Alexandrian Jew, of whose work only scanty fragments have survived. The Book of Jubilees imposes its peculiar system on the history from Adam to Moses. For the post-exilic period the author of Seder 'Olam had no sufficient sources, and his schematic chronology of the Persian centuries and widely in error. In c. 30* the destruction of the temple (70 AD), 490 years after the first destruction, begins a new era (from the Destruction of the Temple), while, as the author remarks, in the Diaspora the Seleucid era (312 BC) was commonly employed. The last chapters are evidently mutilated, and, between that and the attempts to fill up the conclusion, are often unintelligible.

*According to the rabbinical chronology, the second temple stood for 420 years (Yoma 9a, Johanan). This is the sum of the numbers in Seder 'Olam, c. 30 (34 years from the completion of the Temple to Alexander; 180 for the Greek kings; 103 for the Asmonaean kingdom; 103 for Herod and his house).--On the schematic chronology of Seder 'Olam see I. Loeb in Revue des Etudes Juives, XIX, 202-205.--Compare the chronological data in Josephus, Bell. Jud, vi. 10, I (cf. vi. 4, 8 sect. 269 f.). In the place last cited Josephus gives the second temple, from the rebuilding by Haggai (in the second year of the reign of Cyrus) to its destruction by Titus, a duration of 639 years and 45 days. On the chronology of Josephus the monograph by Peter Brinch (1699), reprinted in Havercamp's edition, may be consulted for a collection of the scattered data, especially in the Antiquities, and a criticism of Voss.

(Judaism In the First Centuries of the Christian Era: The Age of Tannaim, George Foot Moore)

In the May 1999 version of Israel Today there is an article titled: The Mystery of the 240 Missing Years. "In the article, David Rohl, and Egyptologist and Archaeologist, found hieroglyphics that provided a synchronization of the Jewish and Egyptian calendars. He asserts that 240 years are missing from modern Jewish reckoning, bringing us to 'the prophetic year 6000.'"


In the Kabbala it states:

"240 years before the seventh millennium (i.e., the year 6000 from creation), the lower waters will rise and cover the entire world, and only Eretz Yisroel [the Land of Israel] will remain, which will float on the surface of the water like Noach's Ark; they will approach Gan Aiden [Garden of Eden], the place from which the four rivers leave. The people who survive will be completely righteous, and there they will be whitened, purified, and made spiritual." (Yalkut Reuveini, Shichechus Leket, "Eretz Yisroel v'Chutz L'Aretz," 6; in the name of the Rokeach--Gali Razyah)

(Quoted by Rabbi Pinchas Winston in his "Perceptions" email list,


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