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The Prophetic Year

The prophetic year, as taught by many scholars today, just isn't right. The term "prophetic year" is never mentioned in the Bible. Methods to derive the length of a so-called prophetic year use incorrect logic and assumptions. Several passages in scripture have been taken out of context to create the prophetic year.

The Prophetic Year Comes From Improper Observations and Assumptions

The first attempt to find the length of the year uses Genesis 7:24 where the Bible says, "And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." Genesis 8:3 says, "And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated." The Bible gives a start and a finish date for these 150 days. Genesis 7:11 tells us, "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 8:4 says, "And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat." In this case the 150 days were the same as 5 months. From this we find that these months were an average of 30 days each. From this people extrapolate that the year was 360 days long. This assumes that there where 12 months, and 12 months only in the year without any periodic calendar adjustments. The Bible, however, does not say there were exactly 12 months in that year. Nowhere in the Bible does God say that the year has to have exactly 12 months, and always has exactly 12 months in it. Basically there are two problems with this passage for year length. First, the user must assume the number of months in the year. Second, using a short-term observation to make a long-term projection is not a valid historical method. The length of five months is not long enough to determine whether extra days or months were added to the year from time to time to adjust the year.

A second attempt to find the year length draws from Revelation 11. Verse 2 mentions 42 months. Verse 3 refers to 1260 days.

Revelation 11:
1And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
3And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."


Assuming that the length of the two witnesses ministry is the same period as the 42 months that the holy city shall be trampled under foot gives us 30 days per month and 360 days per year. Again, this is not a sufficient time to determine long term overall calendar adjustments.

Likewise, Revelation 12:6 says, "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." Verse 14 says, "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." We see 1,260 days is given as three and a half years. The value of three and a half is not given with great precision. It does not necessarily, and usually, does not mean exactly 3.5000000. It is correct that 1,260 days would be exactly one half of three and a half years of 360 days each. Using an online Hebrew calendar Hebcal Jewish Calendar I have found that with the lunar year three and a half years can be as little as 1,268 days up to 1,299 days . Using NASA and U.S. Naval Observatory web sites I have found three and a half year lunar periods ranging from 1,255 to 1,300 days. This is based on checking a limited ranges of years. The actual variation could be greater. Now if you report years according to the barley harvest for the new years as some do then the cycle will also vary and could vary by a greater amount. The Jewish people have used the lunar calendar for thousands of years. It is not clear whether or not the book of Revelation is using the lunar year when it says the woman was in the wilderness for 1260 days or three and a half years. Given that many time periods are rounded, 1260 days could refer to three and a half years based on the Jewish calendar today or a 365 day year. This passage is not proof of a prophetic year.

Revelation 13:5 tells us the antichrist will speak "... great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." Daniel 7:25 says, "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." Here we see 42 months being 3.5 years. This is the same as the other arguments.

Daniel 12:
8And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
9And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
11And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.


In Daniel 9:27 we see that the daily sacrifice is taken away in the midst of the tribulation. Here 3.5 years equals 1290 days. Proponents of the "prophetic year" cannot reconcile this one.

The Prophetic Year Would Keep the Sun and Moon From Being for Signs and Seasons

Genesis 1:14 says, "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:" Psalm 104:19 says, "He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down." A 360 day year would not allow the sun and moon to be for signs and seasons. Instead, the climate follows the solar year perfectly. It does not follow a 360 days year. The sun, moon and stars would not work for signs of the prophetic year of 360 days were true. The beginning of the year, on average, would move five and quarter days every year cycling the beginning of the year through all four seasons. Numbers 28:11 says, "And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot;" God called for a special focus in the first of the month. If this time were driven by a fixed 30 day month Genesis 1:14 would be false. The beginning of the month would occur at full moon, new moon and every time in between. The 360 day year and 30 day months would result in confusion and God is not the author of confusion. It comes from someone's interpretation of things observed rather than a commandment.

The Prophetic Year Would Destroy the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years

Leviticus 25:
1And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
3Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof;
4But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.
5That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
6And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee,
7And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.


If the year were 360 days long it would eventually happen that in spring when the crops should be planted, the Jews could plant the crop but the sabbath year would then occur a month or two later and prevent them from harvesting. The next spring would still be a sabbath year and they would not be able to plant. The Jews would actually have to go two years. Also in the the sabbath year slaves were to be freed. With a realistic year length the timing of the release would be consistent. With a 360 day year this would end up in all seasons and in some cases put the release just after it was too late to plant crops. God's sabbath year would not work unless the real year followed the year used by the people. The situation gets even worse.

Leviticus 25:
8And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.
9Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
10And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
11A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.
12For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.


With the solar and calendar years out of phase the Jews would even have to go three years at times without crops. The system would just not work.

The 360 Day Year Is not Usable

While the Jewish month is a nominal 30 days long, it is not exactly 30 days long. The Jewish month is a lunar month, beginning on the first day that the new moon is seen. In an ordinary year, there would be twelve months totaling 353, 354, or 355 days or 382 to 385 and at no time is a year ever 360 days long. The 360 days year is not used today. It could not be used in the past. For the 360-day year to be useable it would have to be understandable.

The 360 Day Year Did not Work for Prophecy in Moses's Day

God demanded that prophets be accurate 100% of the time.

Deuteronomy 18:
20But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
21And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
22When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.


If the prophetic year is to be used for prophecy then it should be used for all prophecy. If it were to apply to some prophecies but not others, then the amount of time given in a prophecy would not have a clear meaning. The prophetic year fails to pass the test with the prophecy of the Exodus.

Exodus 14:
33And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
34After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
35I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.



God had Moses prophesy to the children of Israel that they would be in the wilderness forty years. In Exodus 12:6 God told Moses to slay the passover lamb on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month. Exodus 12:29-31 tells us that when the first passover was celebrated Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron by night and told them to leave. Verse 51 says they left the selfsame day. Days in the Bible start at evening and end at evening the next day. The Jews left Egypt in the daylight period of the fourteenth day of the first month of the year.

Almost forty years later, Moses began the discourse in Deuteronomy on the first day of the eleventh month in the fortieth year (Deuteronomy 1:2). In chapter 34 Moses died and was buried by the LORD. Verse 8 tells us the children of Israel wept for 30 days. Joshua 4:19 follows Deuteronomy saying, "And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho." Joshua 5:10 says, "And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho." Exodus 12:3 says, "Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:" The day Israel crossed the Jordan was the day they were to take a lamb for passover. Then they celebrated the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. The time spent in the wilderness started with the Exodus and not when the unfaithful spies gave a bad report of the promised land. "And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month." (Numbers 33:38).

Our year today is a little less than 365 and one-quarter days long. The length of the lunar calendar varies from year to year. The days of the lunar year and the days of the 365 day year will not always coincide. What appears to be a four-day difference in the day of the year between the beginning and the end of the Exodus wilderness period is within the variation that occurs with the two types of calendars.

What if the year was actually 360 days long per the prophetic year? If that were the case then we would have to subtract 5.25 days for each year of prophecy to adjust for our calendar. That would mean that instead of 40 years as we count it, the time of the Exodus would be 40 years less 40 x 5.25 (210 days) or 39 years 155 days. 40 years times 360 days per year divided by 365.25 days per year works out to 39 years and 155 days. The time when the Jews would have entered the promised land would then be nowhere near the tenth day of the first month. No adjustment for the lunar calendar could push the day of the year that far off or anywhere close to it. The prophetic year does not come close to working with the prophecy concerning the Exodus. God's standard is 100% accurate and the prophetic year fails to meet the test.

God Does not Have a Double Standards

Deuteronomy 25:13-14 says, "Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small." Proverbs 20:10 tells us, "Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD." Proverbs 20:23 is similar; "Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good." The shekel, omer, ephah etc. were to always be the same amount. Today the pound, mile, kilogram, meter, etc. should always be exactly the same. Why would God have different standards for the year?

Using a short-term observation to make a long-term projection is not a valid scientific, mathematical, historical or Biblical method. There is not a valid basis for the so-called prophetic year.



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