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
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
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
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the
seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis
Between these dates, the seventeenth day of the
seventh month and the seventeenth day of the second month, are precisely
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.
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
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