The previous and future 360 day year.

Archeologists have discovered that nearly all societies used a 360 day calendar until around the 8th century BC, which would be about the time of Hezekiah.  Jewish tradition teaches that the calendar changed when he was king.  The earth's orbit shifted from a 360 day cycle to a 365.25 day cycle.  It might change back to 360 days in the future.

Isaiah 38:7-8 says,

ז וְזֶה-לְּךָ הָאוֹת, מֵאֵת יְהוָה, אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה יְהוָה, אֶת-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר.

7 And this shall be the sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that He hath spoken:

ח הִנְנִי מֵשִׁיב אֶת-צֵל הַמַּעֲלוֹת אֲשֶׁר יָרְדָה בְמַעֲלוֹת אָחָז בַּשֶּׁמֶשׁ, אֲחֹרַנִּית--עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלוֹת; וַתָּשָׁב הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ עֶשֶׂר מַעֲלוֹת, בַּמַּעֲלוֹת אֲשֶׁר יָרָדָה. {ס}

8 behold, I will cause the shadow of the dial, which is gone down on the sun-dial of Ahaz, to return backward ten degrees.' So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down. {S}

Judaism teach that this was when the length of the year changed from 360 days to 365.  The ancient sundial had 720 steps, and went back 10.  10 parts in 720 is the same as 5 in 360. 

Genesis 7:11,24 and 8:3-4 say the flood started on the 17th day of the 2nd month and ended on the 17th day of the 7th month, and that this was 150 days in length.  That is 5 months, 30 days each month, not 29.5 like our present system. 

Calendars from all over the world were 360 days per year up until about Hezekiah's time.

  • The Mayan calendar went from 12 months of 30 days to 18 months of 20 days, then to a 365 day calendar in the 4th century BC.  It took them about 400 years to realize their calendar was off and needed adjusting. 
  • The Rigveda, an ancient Indian writing dated 17001100 BC, records the year as lasting 360 days at the time it was written (300-1000 years before Hezekiah). 
  • "The 360 Day Year in Mesopotamia" by Lisa Brack-Bernsen (Regensburg University) documents from numerous ancient Semetic writings how many societies in the mid-east region had a 360 day year in very ancient times. 

So an ancient 360 day year is recorded in Genesis as well as in Gentile history.  From a standpoint of an earth observer, the constellations appear to revolve around the earth (they don't really, but the earth looks flat from our perspective).  After the sun goes down, whatever constellation is in that spot at the time was used to mark what month it was.  Of course, there is much blank space between some constellations, and that's where the extra fine point is needed such that the first sliver of the new moon tells us the EXACT DAY within that range of white space that the month changes from one month to the other.  But the name/marking of which month it was was assessed by which constellation was there. 

Some Gentile societies did not use the new moon.  Instead, they created man made circular constructions (Stonehenge was one example) with 360 markings around the circle: one for each day of the year.  And they could use the markings to mark exactly where the sun went down, exactly what portion of each constellation passed over each marking, etc.  Thus, they could easily count 30 days off and see exactly where a new month happened without relying on the moon.  This is where the 360 degrees of a circle came from; these ancient calendars that marked off the days of the year in this fashion.  Israel used a 720 degree tool (one for each day period, one for each night period), which is seen in Isaiah 38 when "the sun goes back 10 degrees".  10 degrees of 720 is the same as 5 degrees on 360, which is the number of new days added to the year.  In essence, this man-made construction sort of served as a replacement for the moon as the "second witness" to get that finer measurement.  And for Israel in pre-Hezekiah times, if the sky was cloudy at night, the circle used to mark the constellations would still work.

The earth orbits the sun 29.79 km/s going around the sun in 365.25 days.  But if the earth were to speed up to 30.22379 km/s it would make the trip in 360 days.  And the moon's orbit would adjust to 30 days without speeding up or slowing down.

Revelation talks about a 360 day year. It also talks about stars falling from the skies and the sun being darkened and the moon being  darkened sounds like the whole universe will  be shaken from these events. So much so that perhaps one of the  signs of the end times may be that the earth's orbit will shift to a 360 day year at some point in the future. HOWEVER, it is not 360 days today.

Right now the length of the year is slowly shrinking. The earliest measurements were 365.2422 days and now it's under 365.242. So maybe if we just wait long enough it'll go back to that orbit anyway  without any intervention!