The significance of Forty Days and Forty Years in the Bible?

The significance of 40 days and 40 nights in the Bible?

The significance and mentioning of Forty Days or Forty Days and Nights in the Bible, what does it signify and when was it it used. Also the mention of Forty Years. The number forty doesn't come up a huge number of times, but does arise frequently enough for it to be noted that it is something of significance. The importance of the event it is normally associated with means it is mentioned and is there in the Bible for an important reason, not numerology but something much deeper. This article also features an analysis to see if the term forty days and forty nights or forty years actually appears in the Book of Revelation, if at all.

The Number Forty is mentioned over 140 times in the Bible and seems to be a God chosen number to represent a period of hardship, trial, testing or a probationary period or a period of irreversible change . It also seems to be a time period that is significantly related to fasting. It could possibly signify a Chrysalis period from Caterpillar to Butterfly a sort of transformation which seems particularly relevant in relation to it's mention in the New Testament and Jesus quite a number of times. Forty Days is also the period of time that is used to Mark Lent that runs from Ash Wednesday and Ends before Easter Sunday.

In depth analysis video from The Twelve Gates at You Tube


1.The Flood in Genesis
The first instance of Forty Days and Forty Nights is with one of the first major events in the Bible and that is the Flood which lasted for exactly that period of time- this was a time when God was not happy with the planet and it's inhabitants and regretted making man on the earth and decides to reboot the planet with Noah on the Ark carrying the seed for the restarted planet

Genesis 7:4
For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
Genesis 7:12
And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

2. Moses and the 40 year coincidences

During the life of Moses the Number 40 appeared and manifested itself many times either in the form of 40 days or 40 years.

Moses lived forty years in Egypt and forty years in the desert before God selected him to lead his people out of slavery.

3. Moses was also on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights and this happened twice in order to receive God's laws

Mentioned in the New Testament Acts 7:30
30. And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

Exodus 24:18
And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

Deuteronomy 9:11
And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant.

Deuteronomy 9:18
And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.

4. Moses also sent spies, for again forty days, to investigate the land God promised the Israelites as an inheritance

Numbers 13:25
25. And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

5. Forty Years was mentioned again for the wandering in the wilderness of the Jews

Numbers 32:13
And the LORD'S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed.

Joshua 5:6
For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

6. The Children of Israel do evil again in the eyes of the Lord and he judges again with a Forty Year period to the Philistines

Judges 13:1
1. And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

7. Goliath came for forty days before being killed by David

1 Samuel 17:16
And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.

8. The prophet Jonah gave a powerful warning to ancient Nineveh, for forty days, because of it's sins it would see destruction.

Jonah 3:4
And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

9. The prophet Ezekiel laid on His right side for 40 days as form of bearing Judah's sins for the idolatry they performed . This 40 days was representative of 40 years

Ezekiel 4:6
And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

10. Elijah went 40 days without food or water at Mount Horeb after being strengthened by a meal presented to him by an angel.

1 Kings 19:7-8
7. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
8. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

11. The desolation of Egypt in Prophecy according to Ezekiel

Ezekiel 29:11-13
11. No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.
12. And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
13. Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:


Forty Days or Forty Days and Forty Nights is also mentioned in the New Testament through Jesus. Firstly before he started his ministry he went into the wilderness and fasted, the second time when he appeared after the resurrection and thirdly the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

1. Jesus was tempted many times during the 40 days and 40 nights he fasted in the wilderness, just before his ministry began. Satan attempted to deceive and provide temptations to him while he was in a weakened state.

Matthew 4:1-2
1. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

2. He also appeared to his disciples a number of times and to others over a period of 40 days after his resurrection from the dead.

Acts 1:3
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

3. Jesus, before his crucifixion, prophesied the total destruction of Jerusalem including The Temple. His crucifixion took place in 30 A.D., the Roman Empire at that time destroyed the city and burned its temple to the ground which happened in 70AD. This is the infamous 70AD Prophecy and formed part of the Olivet Discourse, the quotes below are in connection with that Prophecy between Jesus and his disciples. No actual date was mentioned!

Matthew 24:1-2
1. And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

Mark 13:1-2
1. And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
2. And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

As can be seen by the above examples Forty Days or even Forty Years has a special significance in the Bible. It seems to mark a period of suffering, fasting or a transformative period. It happens too many times in the Bible for it to be a coincidence. This is not just something that happened in the Old Testament but happened in the New Testament as well showing that even Jesus was subject to this 40 days and 40 nights scenario.

What is interesting is that the Book of Revelation which includes the monumental Tribulation Period and the mention of the End Times or Last Days would appear to be a prime candidate for either Forty Days or Forty Years or Forty in any other form to appear. On closer inspection and analysis bizarrely it never appears in the Book of Revelation.....not once? Why is a mystery?

Further Bible Quotes that Mention Forty (there are many others)

Further interesting Bible quotes reveal the number Forty also is mentioned in isolation not as in a duration of time period such as 40 days or 40 years but also in reference to quantity and also age.

Genesis 25:20
And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.

Genesis 26:34
And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:
Genesis 50:3
And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.

Exodus 26:19
And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons.

Deuteronomy 25:3
Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.

Judges 3:11
And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

Judges 8:28
Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.

2 Samuel 5:4
David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.

1 Kings 11:42
And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.

Acts 13:21
And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.

Hebrews 3:9
When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
The significance of Forty Days and Forty Years in the Bible? The significance of Forty Days and Forty Years in the Bible? Reviewed by Frank John on March 09, 2017 Rating: 5
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