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Chapter 8

The Thirty Day Month

 

Why did God choose to use a thirty day month which differs both from our lunar month and our present calendar month? It also differed, contrary to the claims of some, from the months of the Jews after the Babylonian captivity, which included the period in which Daniel had his dream concerning the little horn. They used the Babylonian calendar which was a lunar calendar. Since the moon orbits the earth every 29.53 days (29.530588 to be precise) the Babylonians sensibly alternated their twelve months, commencing the year with a thirty-day month followed by a twenty-nine-day month. They followed this pattern for the twelve months. Thus they averaged 29.50 days per month, 0.03 less than a true lunar month, but nevertheless a close approximation.

But the Babylonian year possessed only 354 days. A solar year—the period of time taken for our earth to orbit the sun—is 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (365.24 days). Thus the Babylonian lunar year is more than eleven days short of a solar year. The Babylonians made adjustments for this disparity by following a nineteen year cycle in which they added a thirteenth month in seven of the nineteen years—years three, six, eight, eleven, fourteen, seventeen and nineteen. These thirteenth months were accorded thirty days. They also made fine adjustments in the eighth and ninth months of the year by altering them between twenty-nine and thirty days. Thus they maintained a lunar calendar and in this awkward manner synchronized the lunar calendar with the solar year.

Julius Caesar introduced a simpler calendar in 46 b.c., a solar calendar consisting of 365 days and a leap year of 366 days every four years. However this Julian Calendar did not allow for the fact that the solar year was not 365.25 days (365 days and 6 hours) but 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds (365.2422 days). Thus every year the length of the year was increased by eleven minutes and fourteen seconds (0.0078 days). Initially this was a trivial amount of time. But by 1582 the beginning of the year was occurring ten days earlier than was warranted to keep the seasons at the same dates each year.

This slippage concerned Pope Gregory XIII, as the dates of Easter were occurring further and further away from the approximate time of the Passover, at which time Christ was crucified. In consultation, Gregory corrected the situation on Thursday, October 4, 1582. The following day, Friday, he declared to be October 15, 1582. No alteration in the sequence of the days occurred.

In order to make an approximate adjustment for the excess of eleven minutes and fourteen seconds each year, Gregory decreed that at the turn of each century, unless the first two numerals in the year were exactly divisible by four, there would be no leap year. Thus 1600 was a leap year as 16 is divisible by four. But 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years. In the year 2000, since 20 is exactly divisible by four, we had the first leap year on the turn of a century for 400 years. In the unlikely event that Christ does not return before the year 2100, there will be no leap year, and eight years will pass between the leap years of 2096 and 2104. Even this would require fine tuning as the centuries pass.

Our difficulty is that the month of 29.530588 days and the year of 365.2422 days are most awkward periods for the construction of a calendar. But it is likely that it was not always thus. This idea may provide an explanation for the use, in time prophecies, of a thirty day month and a year of 360 days consisting of twelve equal thirty-day months.

Our evidence for such a convenient calendar is found in Scripture. We are told the precise date upon which the Flood in Noah’s day commenced.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (Genesis 7:11)

The Bible also reveals the date of the cessation of the Flood.

And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:4)

Between these dates, the seventeenth day of the seventh month and the seventeenth day of the second month, are precisely five months.

Conveniently, Scriptures informs us of the number of days involved in this five month period.

And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. (Genesis 7:24)

And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. (Genesis 8:3)

Thus the five-month period encompassed one hundred and fifty days, or exactly thirty days in each month.

Few people comprehend the enormous alterations in the earth during that one hundred and fifty day period. The Flood was not simply confined to torrential rain. It is recorded in Genesis 7:11 that not only were "the windows of heaven opened," but that "the fountains of the deep were broken up." Cataclysmic seismic activities of a severity beyond anything known today occurred in the most violent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. We have travelled to India on numbers of occasions. There we have seen the result of the most enormous volcanic activity in the history of this world. This is seen on the Deccan Plateau which extends into the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The Plateau—

is an extensive series of basaltic laval flows, with total thickness of several thousand feet, which covers an area of about 250,000 sq. mi. [square miles]. (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1963 edition, Vol. 12 p. 153)

For those interested in science, the magazine, Scientific American of October 1990, contains an interesting article on this vast volcanic explosion, albeit relating it to evolutionary changes.

Such catastrophic seismic events would have shaken the earth to its very foundations and undoubtedly could have produced effects which altered the period of the earth’s orbit about the sun and the moon’s about the earth.

Fascinating as these matters are, one fact emerges as Biblically certain—in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation God used a thirty-day month and a three-hundred-sixty-day year. The time, times and dividing of time of Daniel 7:25 represented forty-two months or 1260 days. This was the period of dominance of the little horn of Daniel 7 and the first beast of Revelation 13.

But one further matter must be explored. We have seen that consistently the prophecies of these apocalyptic books contain literal numbers with symbolic entities. The toes of the image of Daniel 2 are symbolic of the ten nations into which Imperial Rome divided. History confirms that the number is literal. The same may be stated concerning the ten horns. Further, we have seen that the three uprooted horns were symbolic of those destroyed nations—literal number, symbolic horns. Many other examples can be cited.

Thus the question arises, Are these days literal or are they symbolic? The following chapter, "The Year-Day Principle," answers this question emphatically. It will be shown that these are symbolic days.

 


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