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  #1  
Old Apr 3, '09, 7:08 am
DonLeon DonLeon is offline
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Default What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

In scripture the numeral 40 appears many times, such as " it rained fourty days and fourty nights", and "Jesus fasted for fourty days",etc. Is there any special meaning to this number?


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  #2  
Old Apr 3, '09, 7:37 am
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st julie st julie is offline
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

There is a lot of symbolism to the #40. I googled Jewish 40 days and found all kinds of data.
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  #3  
Old Apr 3, '09, 8:03 am
Haliit Haliit is offline
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

"The best number of all, really, is 40. It means eternity. Or, sometimes, everlasting time, or all the time that there is. Many eastern churches have forty windows in the circumference of their domes, to show that the domes represent the everlasting heavens. The Jews reckoned that if you fast forty days, you've fasted long enough to atone for all your sins; forty days of rain is enough to wipe out everything on Earth. This is distinct from 3, and from 6, which also means enough time, but in different ways; 40 bears the connotation of forever, of permanence, of completeness. If Christ had been in the tomb for forty days, that would have meant that he'd be gone until all possible time was gone. But staying dead three days is staying dead enough days; by staying with us in his human body for forty days after the Resurrection, he showed us that he'd be with us forever."

From Why Do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Johnson.

Great chapter on numbers.
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Old Apr 3, '09, 8:29 am
ckempston ckempston is offline
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

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Originally Posted by Haliit View Post
"The best number of all, really, is 40. It means eternity. Or, sometimes, everlasting time, or all the time that there is. Many eastern churches have forty windows in the circumference of their domes, to show that the domes represent the everlasting heavens. The Jews reckoned that if you fast forty days, you've fasted long enough to atone for all your sins; forty days of rain is enough to wipe out everything on Earth. This is distinct from 3, and from 6, which also means enough time, but in different ways; 40 bears the connotation of forever, of permanence, of completeness. If Christ had been in the tomb for forty days, that would have meant that he'd be gone until all possible time was gone. But staying dead three days is staying dead enough days; by staying with us in his human body for forty days after the Resurrection, he showed us that he'd be with us forever."

From Why Do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Johnson.

Great chapter on numbers.
That explanation seems inconsistent with scripture as well as common sense. 40 is an approximation that simply means "many". It's the same way we use the word "few." It literally means "3" but people use it very loosely to mean seemingly anything between 3 to probably 10.

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/vi...F&search=forty
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Old Apr 3, '09, 6:59 pm
DonLeon DonLeon is offline
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

Thank you for your answers. I now know and understand.


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  #6  
Old Apr 4, '09, 8:00 pm
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NotWorthy NotWorthy is offline
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

I don't think I buy any of the answers so far.

40 is a period of testing and trials.

Here's what AgapeBibleStudy.Com says about it.
Quote:
FOURTY: This numberis recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence and with the uniformity of its association both as a time of consecration and as a period of trial.
  • 40 day epic periods during the great flood. [Genesis 7:4, 12, 17,8:6]
  • 40 days Moses was on the Mountain to receive the Law of the Sinai Covenant [Exodus 24:18]
  • 40 days the children of Israel were tested while Moses was on the mountain
  • 40 days Moses was on the Mountain after the golden calf. [Exodus 34:28]
  • 40 days of Jonah in the Assyrian city of Nineveh [Jonah 3:4]
  • 40 days Ezekiel lay on his right side to symbolize the 40 years of Judah’s transgression [Ezekiel 29:11]
  • 40 days Jesus fasted in the wilderness before his trial of temptation by Satan [Matthew 4:2; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:2]
  • 40 days Jesus taught His disciples after the Resurrection. On the fortieth day He ascended to the Father. [Acts 1:3]
  • 40 years was the age of Isaac when he married Rebekah [Genesis 25:20]
  • 40 years from the first Pentecost at Sinai to the taking of the Promised land [Joshua 5:6]
  • 40 years from the Resurrection to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD
  • 40 years of Moses in Egypt (by Jewish Tradition)
  • 40 years of Moses in Midian before his return to Egypt
  • 40 years Israel ate manna [Exodus 16:35; Deuteronomy 29:5]
  • 40 years was Joshua's age when Moses sent him to reconnoiter on Canaan [Joshua 14:7]
  • 40 years Eli judged Israel [1 Samuel 4:18]
  • 40 years of war between Israel and the Philistines
  • 40 years of David as King. [2 Samuel 5:5; 1 Chronicles 29:26-27]
  • 40 years of Solomon as King. [2 Chronicles 9:30]
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  #7  
Old Apr 6, '09, 7:16 am
ckempston ckempston is offline
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

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Originally Posted by NotWorthy View Post
I don't think I buy any of the answers so far.

40 is a period of testing and trials.

Here's what AgapeBibleStudy.Com says about it.
[/list]
I don't think that explanation is mutually exclusive to the explanation I gave. In fact, if you look at the link I provided, you will see that many of the things you listed are pointed out. However, I don't think you should oversimplify and suggest that it *only* means any single thing. The number forty appears a lot more in the Old Testament than just what that list would suggest, and it doesn't always denote testing and trials.
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Old Apr 6, '09, 7:44 am
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NotWorthy NotWorthy is offline
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

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Originally Posted by ckempston View Post
I don't think that explanation is mutually exclusive to the explanation I gave. In fact, if you look at the link I provided, you will see that many of the things you listed are pointed out. However, I don't think you should oversimplify and suggest that it *only* means any single thing. The number forty appears a lot more in the Old Testament than just what that list would suggest, and it doesn't always denote testing and trials.
Yes, I meant to put "consecration" in there as well, as was indicated in the Agape quote.

It seems to me that, first and foremost, it was a period of testing and trials. None of the answers seemed to address that, though. If I rushed through and missed them, I'm sorry.
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Old Apr 6, '09, 7:56 am
ckempston ckempston is offline
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

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Originally Posted by NotWorthy View Post
Yes, I meant to put "consecration" in there as well, as was indicated in the Agape quote.

It seems to me that, first and foremost, it was a period of testing and trials. None of the answers seemed to address that, though. If I rushed through and missed them, I'm sorry.
No, you brought up a good point that had not been emphasized. I was merely pointing out that the various explanations are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
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Old Apr 6, '09, 8:00 am
yellowbicycle yellowbicycle is offline
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

I think it means that once I reach forty, it will be smooth sailing...
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Old Apr 6, '09, 8:09 am
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

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I think it means that once I reach forty, it will be smooth sailing...
Yeah.... that's GOT to be it!
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Old Feb 21, '10, 9:55 am
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

BUMP

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotWorthy View Post

40 is a period of testing and trials.

I had a thought (insight? inspiration?) while I was preparing my lesson on today's readings but I can't find anything on it - anybody know of ECF or other references?

It seems to me very likely that Jesus' Body was lifeless for - 40 hours. Consider that John tells us He died at 3 o'clock on Friday (at the hour when the Passover Lambs were being sacrificed). Joseph of Arimathea claimed the Body and had Him in the tomb by sundown when the Sabbath began - so probably 5 hours later? (I'm not sure what time sundown is in Palestine in early spring. . . ) 24 hours of the Sabbath, and then the overnight into Sunday - by the time the women arrived at the tomb at dawn the Resurrection had occurred.

Which seems to me to be another good typology from the forty-days and forty-years of testing/preparation in the Old Covenant - leading into the dawning of the New Covenant!

It seems certain that someone else has noticed this besides me. . . .
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Old Feb 22, '10, 2:08 pm
ryanoneil ryanoneil is offline
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Default Re: What is the symbolism or meaning of the numeral 40 in scripture?

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Originally Posted by NotWorthy View Post
Yes, I meant to put "consecration" in there as well, as was indicated in the Agape quote.

It seems to me that, first and foremost, it was a period of testing and trials. None of the answers seemed to address that, though. If I rushed through and missed them, I'm sorry.
Does that ever have me thinking!

If the time is used to dedicate something to a sacred purpose wouldn't it be the same as consecration?
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