Meaning Of 40 In The Bible And What Should We Do About It

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Published by Kimberly Wall


Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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In the Bible, the number forty appears frequently. Many academics believe 40 to be the number of “probations” or “trials,” since it occurs so often in contexts dealing with judgment or testing. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that 40 is exclusively symbolic; it still has a literal meaning in Scripture. It does seem that God has selected this number to help emphasize times of sorrow and suffering.

God does not command us to look for hidden symbols, messages, or ciphers in the Bible. The specific words of Scripture contain more than enough truth to satisfy our requirements and fully equip us for every good deed.

Key Takeaways

  • The number forty in the Bible often symbolizes a period of testing, trial, or probation, highlighting significant events and transitions in biblical narratives.
  • Forty is linked to themes of transformation, renewal, and divine intervention, as seen in stories such as Noah’s Ark, Moses receiving the Ten Commandments, and Jesus’ fasting in the desert.
  • Beyond its biblical significance, the number forty carries cultural and symbolic meanings, serving as a reminder to embrace change, trust divine guidance, and remain steadfast in faith amidst life’s challenges.

What Does The Number 40 In The Bible Mean?

Forty is frequently used to represent a period of testing, trial, or probation in Scripture, where it is mentioned 146 times. But 40 in the Bible also means that we are inspired to seek God, as evidenced in these stories. For example, before God chose Moses to free his people from servitude, he spent forty years of his life in Egypt and another forty in the desert.

At two different times, Moses spent 40 days and nights on Mount Sinai, receiving the Ten Commandments—laws from God[1]. Additionally, he dispatched spies for forty days to scout out the land God promised the Israelites as an inheritance. They gathered information and reported that the land God promised was indeed fertile and abundant—that the promised land was filled with milk and honey.

For forty days, the prophet Jonah fervently warned ancient Nineveh that its numerous crimes would lead to its doom. To represent Judah’s sins, the prophet Ezekiel lay on his right side for 40 days (Ezekiel 4:6). This practice by the prophet Ezekiel was necessary to fully reveal God’s divine will and wisdom.

In the story of Noah, God called on Noah to build an ark and gather two of every animal in the world. In this way, because he showed great faith, Noah’s family survived when God flooded the land for 40 days and nights.

At Mount Horeb, Elijah went without food or water for 40 days. Throughout the 40 full days, he fasted immediately before his ministry began, the devil tempted Jesus on numerous occasions. After his death and resurrection, he spent 40 days appearing to his disciples and other people.

A generation of men can also be represented by the number forty. God vowed that the era of Israelites who left Egyptian servitude would not inherit the land of Canaan because of their transgressions (Deuteronomy 1). Before a new generation was permitted to enter the Promised Land, the children of Israel were sentenced to 40 years of wilderness wandering as a kind of punishment.

Just a few days before his execution, Jesus foretold Jerusalem’s destruction. The strong Roman Empire devastated the city and set fire to its cherished temple forty years after Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D.

An illustration of the number 40, designed with playful lines and energetic colors.

What Is The Significance Of The Number 40 In The Bible?

No other number, for instance, has the unique property of having its letters in alphabetical sequence, except for the number “forty,” which is the sole digit in the English language. The preferred period of 9 months obscures the fact that pregnancy takes 40 weeks to reach full term.

Ships had to be quarantined in the harbor for 40 arduous days during the Middle Ages when the Bubonic plague wreaked havoc on Europe. As a result, the word “quaranta,” the Italian word for 40, came to be used as “quarantine.”

Outside of the sphere of the scriptures, forty has a plethora of additional unique meanings. These occurrences span a variety of cultures, some of which have never even interacted before. This is another piece of evidence that the number has far greater significance than many people may have been led to believe over the years.

The Meaning Of 40 In The Bible

It is a universal symbol of transformational qualities from the Ascended Masters: change, the difficulties of dealing with change, and the patience required to face it. As was already indicated, numerous interpretations of the angelic number forty exist in Christian religious literature, which anyone can learn to appreciate by reading.

Jesus spent the entire 40 days in the desert fasting and seeking out divine direction and love. Along the way, he was approached by the devil, which caused the well-known temptations. The Ten Commandments were revealed to Moses along the route after he fasted for 40 days in the Sinai region. God flooded the earth for 40 days to bring about renewal.

A watercolor painting portraying the number 40 with soft, gentle strokes and a palette of pastel colors blending seamlessly together.

How Many Times Is The Number 40 Mentioned In The Bible?

Forty is mentioned in the Bible 146 times, which is quite a lot when considering everything. Many believers believe that it represents an angel and is a significant number. It can be found in the Bible universe a few times in the Christian faith.

It is regarded as a powerful sign that appears for individuals who are prepared to make significant life and relationship decisions. However, they are constantly plagued by uncertainty and negative energy that prevents them from deciding and realizing their goals.

Angel number 40 in the Bible is a divine message delivered to humankind by the guardian angels themselves as a sign that they are on the right road with whatever goals they are about to achieve. It is also a symbol of encouragement from the alpha and omega.

An angel number carries a symbolic meaning that inspires self-assurance, strength, and optimism. It is a kind of affirmation that tells you that you’re on the right path, that you should keep following your heart, and that you should let go of the bad habits that prevent you from accomplishing your goals.

It is also a message from the angels to be patient and wait for your life’s path to become apparent so that you may see everything you love set out in front of you. Lack of optimism frequently prevents people and their loved ones from obtaining things like love, relationship success, and personal advancement, making it difficult sometimes to see this in an appropriate way.

Forty Appears In Various Places

The seventh-longest book is Exodus, which has 1,213 verses and 40 chapters. Israel was intermittently ruled by a succession of people known as Judges from the time they arrived in the promised land until the reign of King Saul. During this time, the Israelites wandered for 40 years.

They did not lead in a monarchical manner, but they impacted the populace since they stood in for God and were motivated to carry out his purpose. Judges like Othniel, Deborah, Barak, Eli, and Gideon held office for 40 years.

Saul, David, and Solomon, the first three human kings over the children of Israel, each ruled for forty years (1050 to 930 B.C.). King Joash, one of Judah’s best rulers, presided over the divided kingdom for forty years.

Abraham tried to convince God not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if forty individuals were discovered (Genesis 18:29). When they got married for the first time, Isaac and Esau were both forty years old.

In the Old Testament, God flooded the world for forty days and forty nights of rain (Genesis 7:12). All those who refused to turn to God and listen to God’s word after hearing Noah’s sermon when God flooded the land for forty days and forty nights, reflecting God’s judgment on sinful people. The Egyptians embalmed the body of the patriarch Jacob (Israel) for forty days after his passing in Egypt (Genesis 50:3).

Before receiving God’s laws, Moses spent time on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. The 40-day period encapsulated Moses’ willingness to sacrifice his personal comforts for the greater good of his people and his unwavering commitment to fulfilling the role that God had assigned to him.

Number Forty And Modesty

As in Job, God is still putting his saints through trial, but this testing is not always for reproof or correction; instead, it is to determine if they will continue to seek God and glorify him even when life is complicated.

In order to punish and humble the ancient Israelites for their transgressions, God allowed them to be oppressed and harried by specific foes. In the southern and western regions of Israel’s territory, the Philistines persecuted them between 1105 and 1065 B.C. Samson was God’s response to his pestering.

Guardian Angels

If you frequently see the angel number forty in your daily life, it is a symbolic message that your guardian angels are attempting to communicate with you quietly. It reminds you that beautiful things are in store for you in the future, whether they have to do with your career or your love life. You must develop the patience and confidence necessary to welcome them into your life when it is suitable.

Do not let setbacks, which are bound to frequently happen in human existence, get the better of you whenever they occur. The angel number forty that you keep seeing is there to reassure you that whatever it is that you may be going through has a greater purpose and is only a fleeting life fad that will pass with a bit of endurance and divine blessings, so sit it out and let angels handle it.

An oil painting capturing the number 40 in a realistic style, characterized by rich textures and a palette of deep, earthy tones.

Why Is “40 Days” Significant In The Bible?

Jesus Christ was tested for 40 days and 40 nights in the New Testament (Matthew 4:2). During that time, Jesus fasted. Between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, there were 40 days (Acts 1:3). Even today, the Bible’s use of the 40 has great significance. After giving birth, you advise a woman to rest for 40 days. Weeks of gestation are 40. The only word form of a number where all the letters are in alphabetical order is “forty.”

Many theologians believe that 40 stands for change when someone or something is getting ready to make a significant change and that something will happen after these 40 days. There are fewer thefts and murders, the rivers are becoming cleaner, the vegetation is thriving, the air is cleaner due to reduced pollution, the starry sky at night is also visible for the first time in many years, and the world is at peace.

Advice For Number Forty

Accept change and embrace it. Listen to God’s word. If you feel like your life needs to change, don’t wait to make it happen; the number forty is all about change. Be prepared to take chances. It serves as a reminder that fresh starts are always possible, so don’t be hesitant to stretch yourself.

Embrace your gut. It represents a warning to follow your instincts. Take action if something feels right. The sightings of the Holy Spirit are blessed occurrences that shouldn’t be taken for granted, as is the time Jesus fasted.

What Does The Number 40 Represent In The Bible?

If you frequently see the number forty, it may be a sign that a significant event is going to occur in your life. It can serve as a warning that things are about to change, or it might indicate that you are beginning a new chapter.

These lucky numbers can be found on many different things, including license plates, phone numbers, house numbers, clocks, signs, and more. Finding out the meaning of it is encouraging. This destiny number that God gave uses different strategies to generate uplifting energy and shows God’s promises.

Use the limiting number forty as a reminder that change is on the way if you’re feeling trapped in a rut. Make a list of the things you want to alter in your life, and then make substantial efforts to bring about those changes. Use 40 as your point of reference when beginning a new endeavor or business.

Make sure your objectives are precise and measurable, and be prepared to work hard to attain them. Last but not least, welcome change without fear. If you feel like your life needs to change, don’t wait to make it happen; the number forty is all about change.

Uses For The Number Forty

Whenever you feel stuck, try repeating the number forty to yourself. Every day, say it out loud to yourself and allow the energy of the number to direct you. Your intentions and goals for the coming year should be written down and kept in a visible location. It will keep you on course and progressing in the direction of your objectives.

If you’re starting a new endeavor, be motivated by the number 40. As you work toward your objectives, it will assist you in maintaining your motivation and focus. Make sure to have fun while going through the procedure because the number 40 is about transformation and fresh starts. Don’t take life too seriously; it’s intended to be lived. Along the journey, let yourself unwind and enjoy yourself.

A digital illustration of the number 40, featuring sleek lines and metallic accents that evoke a sense of modernity and progress.


Accept change and embrace it. If you feel like your life needs to change, do not wait to make it happen; the number 40 is all about change. By putting Jesus first, you’ll be prepared to take chances. The number 40 serves as a constant reminder that fresh starts are always available.

Trust your instincts when you see the number 40. Seeing angels is an extraordinary occurrence that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Remember to have fun. Make sure to take the time to relish the journey, since life is supposed to be enjoyed. You will be led by the number 40 along the route. There aren’t many drawbacks associated with this number.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is special about number 40?

The number 40 carries deep symbolic significance across cultures and religions, often representing a period of trial, transformation, and preparation.

From biblical narratives like the 40 days and nights of rain in the flood story to Jesus’ 40 days of fasting, it symbolizes completion, renewal, and spiritual growth, making it a universally recognized and meaningful number in human understanding.

Is 40 years one hour to God?

The concept of whether 40 years equals one hour to God is a theological question subject to diverse interpretations. Some view it metaphorically, suggesting that it symbolizes the vast difference between human and divine perspectives on time, while others interpret it more literally as a reflection of God’s timeless nature.

Why did Israel spend 40 years in the wilderness?

Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness due to disobedience, lack of faith, and divine punishment. Following their liberation from Egypt, their wavering faith and transgressions, such as the golden calf incident, led God to withhold entry into the Promised Land for a generation.

The 40 years served as a period of testing and preparation for the subsequent generation under Joshua’s leadership.

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