Friday, April 16, 2010

forty days

You know, Christ was still walking around on the earth this many days after the Resurrection. In fact, He stuck around for forty days.

I've been thinking about that.

In the Bible the number forty generally has to do with times of trial or testing. Perhaps discipline.

The rains fell forty days and nights during the flood.

The Israelites wandered the desert forty years.

Moses lay prostrate before God, fasting and praying, forty days on behalf of Israel.

Goliath taunted the armies of Israel forty days.

Jesus was in the wilderness, fasting and enduring temptation, forty days.

There are a couple of times that the aspect of suffering or trial doesn't seem to fit:
Moses was with God on Sinai forty days while he received the law.
David and Solomon each ruled Israel forty years.

I'm not sure what Christ's last forty days signifies. He walked among us in His glorified body. He must have been ready to move on. Short-timers syndrome. But I can't see why He would need to sacrifice yet more. Or go through anymore trial. Maybe it was related to his Kingly reign, as David reigned. Or perhaps it coincided with the initiation of the first Covenant when Moses spent forty days with God.

I don't know. And I have no application. It's just something I've been contemplating. If you have any insight, I would love to hear it.


  1. The repetition of the number 40 in the Bible is interesting. In the case of Jesus, it could coincide with David's kingly reign of 40 years and Moses' visitation on mount Sinai, as you said. As Jesus tarried those days, he had work to do. He appeared to many, went to the lower parts of the earth and preached. That must have been awesome. In addition, he had to wait for his followers to get ready to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit before he left. There's probably a good book in this (unless its already been written.) Thanks for the post.

  2. I can't remember where I got the idea, but I think about all the "40's" as times of preparation and that preparation often includes trial or testing, but not always. For example, the time Jesus was in the wilderness prepared him for his ministry. In that way of thinking, it would mean the forty days after the crucifixion would be a time of preparation for his return to rule with the Father. I'm not sure how that fits with the years of a kingly reign. Don't know if that sheds a different light on it for you, but it's another thought.

  3. Thanks, Terri. Actually, Alton Gansky did write a book called 40 Days: Encountering Jesus Between the Resurrection and the Ascension
    I haven't read it, obviously. I guess I should.

    Thank you Chris. Now that you mention it, I had heard of the number forty in relation to preparation, too. You're right. That does give a different perspective.

  4. I like your candid response - "I don't know." There is much to contemplate, and there are mysteries that can't fully be fathomed in this life.

  5. Could it be one more example of Jesus putting the cap on something. Sort of to signify that the era of 40's being a prep or trial period for man were no longer necessary. He has taken yet another "burden" upon Himself.

  6. Maybe, Dayle. That's an interesting thought. Although I've been looking back over periods of trial in my life thinking it would be pretty cool to find that one of them lasted 40 days.

    We don't see the number forty after the Ascension. Maybe there is something to your idea.


I love to hear your thoughts!