CALENDARS AND THE BIBLE
Composing of a calendar is not a simple problem at all. This statement is confirmed by the fact that many peoples and nations changed many times the type of calendar by which they reckoned days, months and years. By this way, today we have a vast number of different calendars, even though they all are directly or indirectly related to celestial bodies visible from the Earth.
To be not confused by this “Babylon” of all possible calendars, the Lord gave in his Word simple and practical instructions for reckoning of time periods. These periods have a significant role in programming of Lords activities on the Earth, as well as in the heaven. The importance of time reckoning in Gods plan is noticeable from the first Bible passages. A whole day of God’s creation is assigned for signs of main time periods:
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 “and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Gen.1:14 19)
It is obvious basic role of celestial bodies from Earth’s perspective, to be the signs for reckoning main time periods, as well as “to give light on the earth” (or, to use contemporary vocabulary, to radiate energy so much necessary for fauna and flora on the Earth). Reckoning days is the most simple, months little bit complicated, while the years reckoning is the most complicated, being that it comprises adjusting days and months. It may be noticed that the week is not included in periods defined by celestial bodies. Therefore, the week has a special place and its origin, significance and role is treated separately (see: SEVEN AND THE BIBLE).
It is well known that fundamental time periods on Earth are: day, week, month and year. However, it is scarcely known that boundaries of these periods in the Bible are defined by the following points:
ripping of barley
The text that follows is dealing with the questions: how these cycles are reckoned, why they are so reckoned, as well as why there are all other systems of reckoning and why this natural, Biblical reckoning get a pejorative tone.
The day cycle is determined by Earth’s rotation, slightly influenced by Earth’s revolution around the Sun. There are two natural points that could be taken as boundaries for day reckoning: sunrise and sunset. According to Bible tradition (including Church Fathers), as well as to the tradition of Middle-east people, the day starts with sunset. This is confirmed typologically by the Creation account. Namely, darkness preceded the creation of light:
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. (Gen. 1:1-5)
There are many passages in the Bible that confirm the fact that day begins with evening. For example, when giving precepts regarding Day of Atonement, Moses writes:
26And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27“Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28“And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God.
32“It shall be to you a Shabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Shabbath .” (Lev. 23: 26-32)
From these parallel passages one may conclude that “the tenth day of the seventh month” begins “on the ninth day of the month at evening”, and that it lasts “from evening to evening”. Similar conclusion may be taken from parallel passages Ex. 12:18 and Lev. 23:6, relating to the feast of unleavened bread:
‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. (Ex. 12:18)
‘And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. (Lev. 23:6)
Even in New Testament may be found such passages, which relates to the burial of our Lord:
Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. (Matt.27:57 60)
Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Shabbath , 43Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. (Mk.15:42 43)
Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. 52This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54That day was the Preparation, and the Shabbath drew near. (Lk.23:50 54)
From these passages it is obvious that the apostles reckoned that the great Shabbath began by the great Friday evening. That the end of the Shabbath is confined by the Shabbath evening may be concluded from the following verses:
Now after the Shabbath , as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. (Matt. 28:1)
Now when the Shabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. (Mk. 16:1.2)
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. (John 20:1)
From Matt. 28:1, Mk. 16:2 and John 20:1 we conclude that the women bought spices before the early morning of the Sunday “while it was still dark”, while from Mk. 16:1 that it was after Shabbath , i.e. just after the sunset.
Obviously, daylight is the main part of day, while the night is passive part, reserved for rest. Old Babylonians, Jews, and Greeks counted a day from sunset to sunset, whereas the day was said to begin at dawn for the Hindus and Egyptians Reckoning day from midnight to midnight was introduced by Romans.
In Babylonia, for most purposes, both daylight and night were divided into three equal watches, and each watch was subdivided into half- and quarter-watches. Babylonian astronomers, perhaps in preference to the variable civil system, divided every day into 12 equal units, called beru, each of which was subdivided into 30 gesh. (Encyclopadia Britannica)
The meaning of the day in the light of the Creation week is dealt separately in TYPOLOGY OF SEVEN.
Taking the Earth as a whole, there arise some strange situations that seem to refute above mentioned definition of the day. The critical points are Date Line, and polar circles. Looking globally, the sunset (i.e. the biblical beginning of the day) moves gradually going from east to west. By this way, the day on the Earth lasts 48 hours. For this reason it is made a line (named International Date Line) going from the North Pole, through the Bering Strait, south to Polynesia and South Pole, securing the borders of the day. The time difference from left to the right of the Date line is one day, so that a passenger that flies today from Tokyo comes yesterday to Hawaii.
Inside polar circles, there is quite different situation. Being that the ecliptic is inclined about 23.5° to the plane of the celestial equator, in the period from the vernal equinox (March 21) to the autumnal equinox (Sept. 22) there is daylight on the North polar circle and night on the South. By this way, we have literally fulfilled the words:
‘According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. (Num. 14:34)
And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year. (Ezek. 4:6)
Reason for both of these phenomena should look for in the Noah Flood. Namely, it seems that in the beginning the land on the Earth was confined to one huge continent that was divided during or after the Flood.
Due to the passages from Revelation:
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. 6Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. (Rev. 22: 5-6)
it arises a question, what is the role of calendar on New Earth. Possible solution of the problem lies in so named great weeks, i.e. fractal character of the Lord’s time (see: TYPOLOGY OF SEVEN).
It is well known that the days today are grouped in weeks. Seventh day, according the Bible is Shabbath (Hebrew, Shabbath = rest, cessation of work), and it is introduced as reminiscence to creation rest:
And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Gen. 2:2-3)
For this reason, the Shabbath is included as one of the Ten Commandments:
“Remember the Shabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is the Shabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Shabbath day and hallowed it. (Ex. 20:8-11)
Today, we are witnesses that overwhelming days of rest are Sunday among Christians and Friday among Moslems, while the practicing of Shabbath left among Jews and some Christian minorities. Sunday as day of rest is officially introduced by Roman emperor Constantine, even though it had been already observed by Christian as a reminiscence to Jesus’ resurrection (though it is quite possible that it was partly an anti-Semitic act). Arabian prophet Muhammad introduced Friday among Moslems as a day for prayer, as it seems as a reaction to Christians and Jews.
Sumerians and the Babylonians divided the year into weeks of seven days each, one of which they designated a day of recreation. The Babylonians named each of the days after one of the five planetary bodies known to them and after the Sun and the Moon, a custom later adopted by the Romans. (Encyclopadia Britannica)
A month period stems from revolution of the Moon around the Earth, including the Sun as reference. As a calendrical period, the month is derived from the lunation — i.e., the time elapsing between successive new moons. Astronomical new moon is determined by posing the Moon just in the Sun-Earth line. A common new moon is determined by first appearance of the Moon at the sunset (i.e. a couple of days after astronomical). The moon revolves around the Sun for 27.3 days, while the lunation lasts around 29.5 days (actually, mean lunation lasts exactly 29.530588 days = 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds), as a consequence of the revolution of the Earth-Moon system around the Sun. The inconveniences of such counting is that new moon can be sought by naked eye some twenty for hours after the astronomical new moon.
Most old people counted months by this way, Sumerians, Babylonians, Jews, Greeks, Hindus, Chinese... It is determined that even Ice Age men reckoned moon phases by this way (Marshak, A., "Exploring the Mind of Ice Age man", NATIONAL GEOGRAFIC, Vol.147, Jan. 1975, pp. 64 89). Today, months are reckoned by this way by Jews, Moslems and some “primitive” tribes that have not faced benefits of modern civilization (as some South-American jungle Indians, depicted in the Henri Charriere’s autobiography “Papillon”).
A total of 12 lunations amounts to 354 days and is, roughly, a year. A period of 12 lunations was therefore used by some primitive peoples to make their calendrical year. As is obvious, the lunar-based year (and a calendar derived from it) cannot be accurately correlated with a solar-based year, and the month's continued use in the Gregorian calendar of modern times is merely a recognition of its convenience as a calendar division.
One year period is conditioned by the Earth’s revolution around the Sun. As a reference it is taken a moment when the Earth takes a characteristic position relating to the Sun. It is accustomed to take vernal equinox as a reference, so that the year, i.e. the period between two consecutive vernal equinoxes, has the mean value of 365.2422 days (365 days 5 hours 45 minutes 36 seconds +/ 30 min.). For ancient Egyptian it was first visibility of the star Sirius on the morning sky that coincided with flooding of the Nile which brought fertile mud onto the fields ensuring rich harvests. In the Bible we find that YHWH gave a less precise, but much simpler and to everybody available manner:
Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Ex.12,1-2)
And Moses said to the people: “Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. 4“On this day you are going out, in the month Abib. (Ex.13,3-4)
Abib denotes barley which is not ripe enough for ripping, but ripe enough to be roasted. In other words, the beginning of year depends upon the ripeness of barley, phenomenon directly related to position of the Earth towards the Sun. It may be said, that, at least in case of time reckoning, the Lord is not meticulous.
Comparing a period of 19 years with 235 months (i.e. 12 lunar years and 7 intercalary months) one gets a strange result:
19 years = 19 x 365.2422 = 6939.6018 days,
(19 x 12 + 7) months = 235 months = 235 x 29.530588 = 6939.68818 days.
Therefore, after 19 years, we come to the same day, with the difference of just 0.0862 days (2 hours and 4 minutes). This cycle is firstly mentioned by Greek astronomer Meton on 432 year BC, even though, it is possible that Babylonian knew for it much earlier.
By this way, it was concluded that the new moons must fall on the same dates every 19 years. To designate the years within this 19-year-cycle the so-called Golden Number was calculated. That is the remainder of the division of the number of the year by 19 increased by 1. For example, the year 1492 bore the Golden Number 11. The new moons of all years with the same Golden Number should fall on the same dates.
This cycle represent a basis for all predictable luni-solar calendars. Such a calendar will show an error of exactly one day more after:
(1 / 0.0864) x 19 = 219.89 years.
Years in a calendar are counted beginning from an event which is considered to be of great importance. The point in time on which the counting starts is called the epoch, or era of a calendar.
In the Bible, we may notice two kinds of eras. Main era is counted from the creation of the world, while the auxiliary eras are counted from the accession year of (Jewish, Babylonian, Persian, Greek...) kings.
The problem with the Era from the creation of the world is that by the Bible alone, we can not deduce exactly the time of the creation of the world. During the 17th century, Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland added up the ages of men cited in the Old Testament of the Bible and concluded that the creation had occurred in 4004 BC. According to Jewish reckoning, the world was created on Sunday, 6th October 3761 BCE, while according to Byzantine historians it happened 5509 BCE.
The Christian Era was invented by Dionysius Exiguus (c. AD 500–after 525), a monk of Scythian birth resident in Italy, who reckoned the birth of Christ to have occurred in 753 AUC (ab urbe condita = “from the foundation of the city [of Rome]”), even though the Gospels state that Christ was born under Herod the Great — i.e., at the latest in 750 AUC. Dionysius' dating was questioned by the English saint Bede in the 8th century and rejected outright by the German monk Regino of Prüm at the end of the 9th. Nevertheless, it has continued in use to the present day, and, as a result, the Nativity is reckoned to have taken place before the start of the Christian Era.
The Islamic era begins with 16 July 622, Julian, the day the prophet Muhammad moved from Mekkah to Madinah.
During the human history a vast number of eras were used (Olympic era, Nabonassar Era, Foundation Era /AUC/, Seleucid Era, etc), but today we have in use just above mentioned eras. Interestingly, Mayan era begins 3113 BC.
Making of a calendar includes many problems to solve:
1) How to choose a reference point (era reference) for reckoning of the calendar?
2) How to choose a reference point (year reference) for the beginning of year?
3) How to set that a year has a full number of months?
4) How to set that a month has a full number of days?
5) How to choose an appropriate era?
6) How to ensure simplicity, predictability and uniformity?
As it is already mentioned, one month counted astronomically, has mean value of 29.53059 days, while one year has mean value of 365.2422 days, which is far to be in harmony with a whole number of days and months.
It is just depending on approach and the way in which days, months and years are attuned we have today a whole spectrum of different types of calendars. All those calendars could be roughly divided in three groups:
1. Luni solar calendar. Every month is related to lunation and set to have a whole number of days (usually 29 or 30). Every year is related to year reference so that it has a whole number of months (usually 12 or 13). Jewish calendar is typical luni-solar calendar.
2. Solar calendar. Every year is related to year reference so that it has a whole number of days (usually 365 or 366). Months are unchangeable and not related to lunations. Julio-Gregorian calendar is typical solar calendar.
3. Lunar calendar. Every month is related to lunation and set to have a whole number of days (29 or 30). Such year has always twelve months (i.e. either 354 or 355 days), so there is no year reference, and every year begins 10 or 11 days earlier from the previous. Actually, Moslem calendar is the unique lunar calendar.
As it is already mentioned, months in this calendar are related to the Moon, while the year is related to the Sun. In the beginning people were observing celestial as well as terrestrial phenomena. Afterwards, some regularity are noticed having as a consequence emergence of predictable (mathematical) luni-solar calendars.
In the very beginning of the Bible we find that a whole day of God’s creation is assigned for signs of main time periods:
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15“and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Gen.1:14-19)
It is not surprising, therefore, that all ancient people reckoned their calendars observing Sun, Moon, stars and natural phenomena relating to them. Ancient Indian, Chinese, Babylonian and Greek calendars were in essence luni-solar.
In Ex. 12:1-2 one may find that Lord appointed ripping of barley (Abib) as year reference for his chosen people. However, one may pose the question what year reference had been used in pre-flood and after flood time, being that years were reckoned in those times, too. From the fact that ripping of barley coincides pretty well with vernal equinox, one may conclude that the beginning of Biblical year is related to vernal equinox, and that barley ripping was a way to explain it to uneducated Jewish people just liberated from Egyptian bondage. Maybe that it was the reason why the early church took vernal equinox as reference for Easter determination.
Months in ancient Israel were determined by observation of the crescent New Moon. If after the twelfth month barley were not ripe enough, it would be added intercalary thirteenth month.
Such an unusual situation has grown up among the Yami fishermen of Botel-Tobago (Lan-yü) Island, near Taiwan. They use a calendar based on phases of the Moon, and some time about March (the precise date depends on the degree of error of their lunar calendar compared withthe tropical year) they go out in boats with lighted flares. If flying fish appear, the fishing season is allowed to commence, but if the lunar calendar is too far out of step with the seasons, the flying fish will not rise. Fishing is then postponed for another lunation, which they insert in the lunar calendar, thus having a year of 13 instead of the usual 12 lunations. (Encyclopadia Britannica)
Natural Biblical calendar today is used by Karaites and some Christian groups or individuals (where belongs the writer of these passages).
Problem with this calendar is its unpredictability. Moreover, it has to be related to one geographic center, otherwise, every village could have its own calendar with a difference from a couple of days to a whole month. As the geographical center in ancient Israel it was chosen Jerusalem, while the predictability is secured by application of a variant of Metonic cycle.
To preserve the unity of Israel, the patriarch Hillel II, in 358/359, published the “secret” of calendar making, which essentially consisted of the use of the Babylonian 19-year cycle with some modifications required by the Jewish ritual. (Encyclopadia Britannica)
The era at present in vogue among the Jews, counted from the creation of the world (anno mundi, abbreviated to AM), came into popular use about the 9th century AD. There have been several computations, fixing the Creation somewhere in the years 3762 until 3758 BCE. Eventually, the era now in use was established, which is Sunday, 6 October 3761 BCE.
Solar calendars appear as a mean to solve the problem of simplicity, predictability and uniformity of luni-solar calendars. The oldest known solar calendar was used in Egypt, while the Julian calendar represents a modernization of Egyptian calendar. Actually, it seams that Caesar introduced that calendar on suggestion of his lover Cleopatra (engaging Sosigenes, one of the best Egyptian astronomers) one year before his assassination (calendar started on first January 45 BC). A year in that calendar consists of 365 days (every fourth 366 days) and 12 months. A month may have 30 or 31 days (February 28 or 29 days) and they are independent of lunations. Being that Christian Europe accepted that calendar and that mean Julian year has 365.25 days (comparing to 365.2422 days of mean tropic year) and that the time of Easter was computed according Metonic cycle on the one hand and was related to 21 March as the date of vernal equinox on the other, some ten centuries after it was noticed that vernal equinox felled some ten days before 21 March. To solve this problem Pope Gregory XIII engaged best scientists, who made the calendar which is now in use all over the world.
Little is known that in background of the solar calendars lies a luni-solar calendar. Namely, Easter and Pentecost coincide with old Jewish feasts Pesach and Shavuoth, so the church still use a variant of luni-solar calendar based on Metonic cycle for their determination.
Christians in Western Europe reckoned years in the first centuries taking Roman emperors as reference. It was not until sixth century that Dionysius Exiguus introduced the birth of Jesus Christ as starting point of Christian era (even though it is generally accepted that real date of the Savor was some four years earlier). Eastern churches reckoned years from the creation of the world, which according Septuagint (ancient translation of the Old Testament into Greek language) took place 5509 years BC.
It seems that couple years before his death Moslem prophet Muhammad introduced plain lunar calendar in order to tidy up a chaos of calendars of preislamic Arabians. It is interpreted as Allah’s providence:
“Lo! the number of the months with Allah is twelve months by Allah's ordinance in the day that He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred: that is the right religion. So wrong not yourselves in them. And wage war on all the idolaters as they are waging war on all of you. And know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).” (Qoran, At-Taubah 9:36)
To my mind, it is very plausible that this record is correct, but wrongly interpreted. Namely, there are really twelve months with Allah, and such situation was even on the Earth until the famous Noah’s flood when it appeared the discrepancy among months and years due to huge physical and climatic changes on Earth.
The years of the Muslim calendar are lunar and always consist of 12 lunar months alternately 30 and 29 days long, beginning with the approximate New Moon. The year has 354 or 355 days. The months do not keep to the same seasons in relation to the Sun, because there are no intercalations of months. The months regress through all the seasons every 32 1/2 years.
The Muslim Era is computed from the starting point of the year of the emigration (Hegira); that is, from the year in which Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, emigrated from Mecca to Medina, AD 622. The second caliph, ‘Umar I, who reigned 634–644, set the first day of the month Muharram as the beginning of the year; that is, July 16, 622, which had already been fixed by the Qur’an as the first day of the year. The era of the Hegira is the official era in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the principalities of the Persian Gulf. Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Morocco use both the Muslim and the Christian eras. In all Muslim countries, people use the Muslim Era in private, even though the Christian Era may be in official use.
Reading the following verses:
'According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. (Numbers 14:34)
5“For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. 6“And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year. (Ezekiel 4:5-6)
One may conclude that prophetical day lasts one real (luni-solar) year (which may take twelve or thirteen months, i.e. a number from 353 to 385 days). By this way, one prophetical year should last from 353 to 385 real years. However, comparing verses:
"But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. 3"And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (Revelation 11:2-3)
Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (Revelation 12:6)
But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. (Revelation 12:14)
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. (Revelation 13:5)
He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)
Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)
one may infer that periods: one thousand two hundred and sixty days, forty-two months and a time and times and half a time (i.e. three and a half years), relate to the same period. That means that in prophesies one year has exactly twelve months (or 360 days), and that one month has exactly thirty days.
Furthermore, reading the verses:
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (Genesis 7:11)
And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days. (Genesis 7:24)
And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:3-4)
one may infer that Noah counted five month to be equal exactly 150 days, i.e. that before flood one month had exactly 30 days. Does that mean that prophets (including Muhammad) used time spans from preflood period? To support this claim, let’s read the verses that follow:
And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.
6So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. 7Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. 8He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. 9But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. 10And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. 11Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. 12So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.
13And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. (Genesis 8:5-13)
In this part of the Flood account we find four periods. The first includes forty days (verse 6), second of unknown duration (verses 7 to 9), and last two of seven days each (verses 10 and 12). Being that in last two cases the expression “yet another seven days” is used and taking in mind special meaning of the number seven in the Bible, it is reasonable to suppose that the second period had also seven days. By this way we get the sum of all mentioned periods:
40 + 7 + 7 + 7 = 61.
As this period begins on first day of the tenth month we get that Noah uncovered the ark on the first day of twelfth month which disagrees with the first day of the first month mentioned in verse 13. It would mean that our reasoning is not correct.
However, looking at Septuaginta (edition: Deutsche Bibelgeselschaft Stuttgart) we find:
And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month.
In the eleventh month, on the first day of the month,
the tops of the mountains were seen. (LXX, Gen. 8:5)
Taking this verse as correct, and taking that every month before flood had 30 days, and that every year had 12 months, the discrepancy vanishes.
It seems that the Flood was such a huge disaster that it changed the fundamental time period on Earth. Is this the reason for the use of calendar with 360 days (i.e. with twelve months of thirty days) in ancient Egypt? Is this the reason for the division of the circumference of a circle into 360° in ancient Babylon.
Last updated 10. March 2006