The traditional belief is this: Scripture presents the history of our ancestors, the Israelites, as being captive and afflicted in Egypt for 400 years according to the prophecy of Genesis 15:13-16. Pondering on the time of affliction of the descendants of slaves (DOS) in America, some have thought to examine Scripture more closely and even challenge that traditional theory. Our captivity in America is approaching 400 years (at least by some calculations) and we know from other prophecies in the Bible, our people will be called from all nations into a wilderness much like our exit from Egypt (see Ezekiel 20:36).
Now some will read that first paragraph and wonder how anyone could come up with an alternative to the time the children of Israel were in Egypt, especially when the Scripture seems crystal clear. Here’s why: Although the King James Version of Exodus 12:40 tells us the children of Israel who dwelt in Egypt sojourned for 430 years. These 430 years seems to fulfill the prophecy of Genesis 15:13-16 which foretells the affliction of Abram’s (Abraham) descendants as lasting 400 years.
Okay, What’s The Point?
Although comparing the prophecy of Genesis 15:13-16 to the record of Exodus 12:40 seems to satisfy most readers, others will be bothered at the 30 additional years that the Israelites apparently remained past their prophetic reservation. In addition, some of the more passionate of disciples have taken notice to the ages of those that went into Israel.
In particular, the age of Koath – the son of Levi and grandson to Jacob – was 133 years when he died. According to Genesis 46:11, Koath was among the group who went into Egypt to live under the guidance of Joseph. According to Exodus 6:20, Amram – the son of Koath and father of Moses – lived to be 137 years. We also know that Moses was 80 years old when he began to deliver the children of Israel from the hand of Pharaoh by the power of Yah.
Now obviously we wouldn’t be able to get 430 years from Koath to Moses even if we assumed that there was absolutely no overlap in years between the generations. That would be assuming Koath was a newborn when his father brought him into Egypt and Koath as well as Amram each had their sons in their last year of life. Even with that unrealistic assumption, you could only squeeze 350 years out of the fruit from this branch of the family tree. It’s more likely their time in Egypt was just over 200 years and that there was overlap although the Bible is not all that specific as to what age each of the fathers had their sons.
So, What’s the Resolution?
Exodus 12:40 according to the KJV and other versions seems to be an unclear transliteration of what was originally intended. This theory is supported not only by the years not adding up to 430 according to the genealogies from Koath to Moses but also by Paul in the New Testament. Galatians 3:16-17 describes 430 years from Abraham to Moses, who gave the Law. If Paul is correct then the 430 years is not solely representative of the children of Israel’s time in Egypt but also their time sojourning in Canaan. Which is exactly how the Septuagint transliterated Exodus.
The Septuagint (Exodus 12:40)
“And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan, was four hundred and thirty years.”
This means that not all of the prophecy of Genesis 15 was fulfilled in Israel’s emergence from Egypt. If you look back at the prophecy, you’ll see the Most High says “But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again” which is exactly what happened after Moses had a son named Gershom and returned to Egypt at 80 years old to bring redemption to the people from Yah followed by the conquering of the Amorites after 40 years in the wilderness. This is why the alternative theory suggests America is the referenced in the first part of the prophecy that states “Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.”
None of us can know for sure outside of specific revelation from the Most High but it is good for us to be aware of the possibilities so that God may have the glory as He performs His will on the earth. We shouldn’t use the Word to try to predict the future, instead, we should use it to guide our hearts into a more firm faith by seeing how faithful Yah is to his promises and prophecy. We will soon know which theory is correct concerning the Genesis 15 prophecy. Until then, continue to obey and seek the goodness of God.
To learn more about other prophecies that relates to the deliverance of the descendants of Israel being brought out of all nations and into the Land of Israel, watch our Revelation of Yahushua series.