The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: 1-9

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360-day year

The proposition is that there was, at one time, a literal, 360-day year. It was not an artifact of an ancient calendar nor was it an approximate number. This ancient year differed from our present year by 5 1/4 days. It is known that our present year has not changed its present length by more than a few seconds since at least 600 BC.

The importance is that there is no known, physical way that the year can change from 360 days to 365 1/4 days. If it is true it proves that there was a supernatural intervention to bring it about. The consequences of this are self-evident.

Ancient civilizations speak and write of a 360-day year: (1) in India, texts of the Veda period. Brahmanic literature has the moon crescent for 15 days and waning for 15 days, and the sun moving north for 180 days and then south for 180 days (measured against a fixed point, like a mountain peak). [In a later period, c 700 BC, the Hindu calendar was reformed to a 365 1/4-day year.] (2) In Assyria, the ancient year also consisted of 360 days. A decade of years consisted of exactly 3,600 days. Assyrian months were 30 days each, counting from crescent to crescent. (3) Ancient Persia also had 360 days to a year, with 12 months of 30 days. The sacred Persian books record 180 days from winter solstice to summer solstice. (4) In ancient Babylon, a 360-day year -- with 12 months of exactly 30 days each. The Babylonian numerical system was 6 and 60-based, the number we still use to divide the sky: 360 degrees in a circle. (5) Ancient Egypt, and (6) ancient Rome, likewise.

Likewise, too, the ancient (7) Mayans, (8) Mexicans, (9) Peruvians, and (10) Chinese.

Scholars who investigated the calendars of the Incas of Peru and the Mayas of Yucatan wondered at the calendar of 360 days; so did the scholars who investigated other ancient calendars. Most of them, while investigating the problem in their own fields of study, did not suspect that the same problem occurred in other ancient cultures. Two matters appeared perplexing: a mistake of 5 1/4 days in a year could certainly be traced, over a relatively short term of years. The second perplexity concerns the length of the month.

"One may assume that the ancestors of Israel and the early Israelites themselves followed some sort of calendar (or calendars), but the extant sources do not permit one to determine what its (their) nature may have been. No part of the Bible or even the Bible as a whole presents a full calendar; information about these matters must be gleaned from occasional, often incidental references to dates, days, months, seasons, and years. The largest amount of biblical calendrical data appears in documents that were written during the exilic or postexilic periods, while an explicit, complete calendar is not found in a Jewish text until approximately the 3d century BC" (ABD).

Biblical evidence for 360-day year: (1) Gen 7:11,24; 8:3,4: in the days of Noah, 150 days = EXACTLY 150 days! (2) the 3 1/2 times/years, 42 months, and 1,260 days of Dan 12:7; Rev 11:2,3,15; 12:6,14; 13:5.

Was there an extraordinary event in about the time of Hezekiah, in which the earth changed its orbit relative to the earth, and the duration of a complete cycle changed from 360-day year to a 365 1/4-day year?

(Adapted from an unpublished paper by Dale Wong)

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