International Date Line

The International Date Line is the other side of the world from to the Prime Meridian. It has peculiar qualities related to the calendar.

Prime Meridian

The Prime Meridian was set by international agreement in 1884. That line runs through the instruments at Greenwich, near London.

Map makers use that line as the reference east-west line when surveying the globe. Distance is measured out from that line up to 180 degrees both east and west. East of Greenwich is essentially the eastern half of the globe. West from Greenwich is the western half of the globe.

Those measurement systems come back together again at the opposite side of the earth. That line is called the antimeridian. At this line east and west meet again. For the purposes of map making, the line is a simply a north south line that cuts through the eastern end of Russia's Siberia.

Date Correction

For time keeping purposes it is the line where the date is corrected. To understand this problem, consider just the modern system of clocks and calendars.

At midnight on a modern clock, the calendar day advances to the next calendar day. This is how people observe the passage of days. This is being driven by the movement of the sun overhead.

But remember, at every location around the world has a different reference time. Before time zones every city had a different reference clock. So calendar days were also changing continuously as midnight moved around the globe.

So from any given location, at midnight, land that is east is in the next day, land that is west from any given location is the previous day.

If we could freeze time at that moment and then walk out across the globe both east and west, we must find some place where those 2 different dates must come together. That spot will be the date line.

This is never the exact opposite side of the world. If it is midnight at the spot were we froze time, then it is noon on the opposite side of the globe. Calendar days do not change at noon.

So by modern convention, the line where the date corrects is fixed on the map at the meridian that is opposite Greenwich. At this line calendar days switch back no matter what time of day it may be.

Here is an animation looking down on the earth from above the North Pole. You can see the 2 different dates at any given time in 2 different colors. The black line out form the middle of this map is the date line. There is always a difference in date at that line.

Dateline Animation
Arnaudf, CC BY-SA 3.0

The key point here is that east and west come back together again at the opposite side of the world from the prime meridian. When working out the problem of an inspired, scriptural, prime meridian, there will be some line on the opposite side of the global were east and west meet again and where calendar day will change during the day.

Political Line

The meridian opposite Greenwich cuts through Siberia and it also cuts through various pacific island nations. For various reasons the actual line where the date is corrected is normally not set at that meridian, but set locally, just like time zones.

Here is a map of the actual date line itself.

International Date Line
Jailbird, CC BY-SA 3.0

Instead of crossing Siberia, the line itself is routed through the Bering Strait. The line looks more like a time zone edge line as it wanders down across the Pacific Ocean.

Inspired Prime

Note that if the inspired prime meridian in scripture is anywhere near ancient Israel, then the antimeridian will align very roughly with 141 degrees west. That line is better known as the vertical part of the international border between Alaska and Canada.

As Hawaii is about 150 degrees west, that line would leave all of the Pacific island nations in the inspired eastern hemisphere. This has implications for the planet's prophetic map of nations.