Was it always difficult to mark time? Or did something happen to cause time to shift leaving those who don't understand or believe the explanation wondering what happened?
(Gen 1:1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.When God originally designed the universe He put the stars and planets in place so that man could understand time - seasons, days and years. The relationship between the sun and the moon defined the months. God's calendar originally had 30 days in each and every month. How do we know this?
(Gen 1:14) 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:
Genesis describes the time of the flood of Noah and gives us details as to when the flood started and when it ended.
(Gen 7:11) 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.
(Gen 8:3-4) And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. (4) And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
The flood lasted from the 17th of the 2nd month to the 17th of the 7th month. On the Hebrew holy calendar the 2nd month is Iyar (or Ziv) and the 7th month is Tishri which, generally speaking, on the Roman calendar in use today, this would have been roughly from the 17th of May to the 17th of October. On the Roman calendar this would be 153 days due to May, July and August having 31 days. But notice what the bible tells us in Gen 8:3.
(Gen 8:3) 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 says there were 150 days between the start of the flood on the 17th of the 2nd month until the 17th of the 7th month. If there's only 150 days that would be precisely 30 days per month.
What happened to the other 3 days?
In 712 B.C. Hezekiah was king of Judah and fell ill. The prophet Isaiah was sent to his bedside to tell him to set his affairs in order because he was not going to recover. Hezekiah wept and prayed to the Lord and reminded him how he had served Him in sincerity and truth. Since he became king, Hezekiah had spent his time tearing down the high places, groves, altars and idols to the false gods in the land. He had indeed served God.
(2Ki 20:5-6) Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. (6) And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.God heard his prayer and through Isaiah told him that he would -
1. heal him
2. he would appear in the temple on the third day
3. He would add 15 years to his life, and
4. He would deliver Jerusalem out of the hand of the king of Assyria.
Talk about answered prayer! But look how bold Hezekiah was in response -
(2Ki 20:8 ) And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day?After being granted all that, he had the nerve to ask for a sign! And the Lord granted it! Now here's where we get back to the calendar and how keeping track of time became more complicated.
(2Ki 20:9-11) And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? (10) And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. (11) And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.So God altered the position of the sun such that time went backwards! This added time to that day and every day since. How much time? If you think of the eastern horizon to the western horizon as 180 degrees (half of a complete circle), then 10 degrees would be calculated like this -
If daylight is 12 hours then 180 degrees equals 12 hours.
12 hours x 60 minutes per hour = 720 minutes
720 minutes divided by 180 degrees = 4 minutes per degree
10 degrees that God moved the shadow backwards x 4 minutes per degree = 40 minutes!
So God moved the position of the sun such that time turned backwards by 40 minutes. Imagine you're lying on your bed as Hezekiah was and the sun has gone down. Suddenly, the sun appears above the horizon again after it has already set! Now that's a sign!
It doesn't tell us specifically that the sun had already gone down, though it could have, the movement of the shadow backwards on the sundial would have been just as dramatic.
Why the Sun’s Position Must have Changed, and Not the Earth “rotating” Backwards
For the shadow of the sundial to return backwards 10 degrees, this must be the sun's position moving and not the earth rotating backwards. If both the sun and moon moved, or earth rotated backwards, then there would be no change in the months. If both the sun and moon moved backwards together then there would be no change in their relationship, only the length of that day would be 40 minutes longer. As was the case in the Joshua "long day" (Josh 10:13), the sun and moon both stood still, and their relationship between each other did not change. The only thing that happened was a "long day" until the battle had ended.
For the 10 degrees to make a change in the months, there had to have been a change in the position of the sun in relation to the moon. This would change the length of the phases, which determines the length of the months. If both sun and moon didn't move, but the earth “rotated” backwards, this could not explain a change in the months either, as the relationship between sun and moon would still be unchanged. It would have only made that day 10 degrees/40 min longer. But it wouldn't have changed the months. The moon's phases and times would still have been the same since the moon is dependent only upon the sun for the timing of its phases, and not the earth.
The Jews have kept track of the months by observing one new moon to the next for centuries. The Hebrew calendar has 12 months of 29 1/2 to 30 days. Approximately every 3 years they add a 13th month. Does that correlate in any way with the 10 degrees/40 minutes?
40 minutes per day x 30 days per month = 1200 minutes difference per month
1200 minutes x 12 months per year = 14,400 minutes per year
14,400 minutes per year x 3 years = 43,200 minutes
43,200 minutes divided by 60 minutes per hour = 720 hours over 3 year period
720 hours divided by 24 hours per day = 30 days (the 13th month!)
This adjustment is required also to ensure the alignment of the feast days with the correct season.
Why Did God Choose How Many Degrees and not allow Hezekiah to choose?
(2Ki 20:9) And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees?Here we see that God gave Hezekiah the choice of 10 degrees forward or backwards but not how many degrees. Why did God choose how many degrees and not let Hezekiah choose? Because it could have affected God's sanctified holy Sabbath.
If God had let Hezekiah choose the number of degrees, we as men like to see spectacular and fantastic miracles. And as such Hezekiah might have chosen 30 or 40 degrees! What would that have done to the calendar? If a change was made, which caused more than 1 days loss in any month, we would lose the last Sabbath of that month, as the last Sabbath is the 29th day of the month on the Hebrew calendar. As it stands now, only the 30th day, is lost in some months. If we had lost two days instead of one, then we would lose both the 30th day, and the 29th day Sabbath, thereby destroying the 7 day weekly cycle, which God instituted in Genesis 2:3.
Could it happen again?
Isaiah gives an account of this same event but adds the word, "again" to the sentence.
(Isa 38:6-8) And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city. (7) And this shall be a sign unto thee from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he hath spoken; (8) Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.Since Isaiah is a prophetic book, is it possible that when Assyria besieges Jerusalem again, that God will restore the sun to its original position as one of many heavenly signs?
Only time will tell.