You wrote: I'm not much of a numbers guy to be perfectly frank. However, ...
40 is a beautiful number, a significant number in the life of Christ. So
that number may very well have symbolic value.
Saint Augustine wrote, "Ignorance of numbers, too, prevents us from
understanding things that are set down in Scripture in a figurative and
mystical way. A candid mind, if I may so speak, cannot but be anxious, for
example, to ascertain what is meant by the fact that Moses and Elijah, and
our Lord Himself, all fasted for forty days." (On Christian Doctrine, Book
As I have mentioned before, I strongly believe that all the 4s, 40s and 400s
in Scripture were meant to serve as a form of "symbolic shorthand" pointing
to the fact that exactly 4,000 years would pass between the creation of Adam
and the birth of Christ (4005 BC to 5 BC).
One well known example of the Bible's use of the # 400 involves the period of
time that Abraham's descendants were "enslaved and oppressed" before being
set free from their bondage in Egypt. The Bible tells us that period of time
was "400 years." The Bible also says that, much like the Israelites, all
mankind was once enslaved and oppressed for a long period of time. However,
their slavery was to sin and they were oppressed by the prospect of eternal
death. Fortunately for us, Christ came to set us free from that slavery and
oppression. (Genesis 15:13; Matthew 20:28; Luke 4:18; Ephesians 1:7; John
3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:54)
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