The Number 40 In The Bible

Newport Oregon2

Acts 7:23

23″When he was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites.
24 When he saw one of them being mistreated, he came to his rescue and avenged the oppressed man by striking down the Egyptian.

  • Judgment against an Egyptian. When Moses was 40 Years old, he stroke down an Egyptian to rescue one of his people. 

Exodus 7:7

7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

  • Moses lived 40 years in Midian (Exodus 3:1) when God called him to pronounce judgment against Pharaoh by way of God’s plagues.

Numbers 14:32-34

32 But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness.
33 Your children will be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years and bear the penalty for your acts of unfaithfulness until all your corpses lie scattered in the wilderness.
34 You will bear the consequences of your iniquities forty years based on the number of the forty days that you scouted the land, a year for each day. You will know my displeasure.

  • The judgment of 40 years. The judgment that was pronounced against the Israelites for not trusting in the LORD their God. They died in the wilderness without seeing the promised land.

Deuteronomy 34:7

7 Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his eyes were not weak, and his vitality had not left him.

  • After 40 years of freeing Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt,  judgment was pronounced against Moses. He violated the LORD’s command by striking the rock (Numbers 20:6-12).

Most of the time in Scripture, the number 40 means judgment, as also seen in…

Genesis 7:4

4 Seven days from now I will make it rain on the earth forty days and forty nights,
and every living thing I have made I will wipe off the face of the earth.”

  • Within 40 days and nights, God will judge, and destroy the an habitants of the earth with the animals because of their constant evil acts.

Jonah 3:4-5

4 Jonah set out on the first day of his walk in the city and proclaimed, “In forty days Nineveh will be demolished!”
5 Then the people of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast and dressed in sackcloth—from the greatest of them to the least.

  • God gave the city of Nineveh 40 days to repent or else He was going to pour out His wrath on it. The people of Nineveh heeded the prophet Jonah’s warning and turned from their wickedness to repentance. 

What is Scripture trying to tell us with the number 40? God has limits to a person’s continuous rejection of His calling for repentance. The consequences are very serious.

In all the verses mentioned, God give them time to repent, and to those that did, they didn’t receive God’s wrath. But to those that did not repent, God’s full wrath was poured out on them.

If the Holy Spirit is convicting you today of something that you did that God considers evil, repent. Remember, He is giving you time. Don’t let that time pass you by before judgment gets pronounced on you.