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What is the Significance of the Number 40 In the Bible?

Summary: Surprisingly a time period of 40 (days, weeks, years) is significant. The information below is from Nave’s Topical Bible. Each period of 40 units is related to testing, probation or being tried.  Also, notice each period ends with a time or item of blessing.

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From Nave’s Topical Bible remarkable coincidences in the number 40.
– 40 days of rain, at the time of the Flood Genesis 7:17
– Noah sending forth the raven after 40 days Genesis 8:6-7
– 40 days for embalming after the death of Jacob Genesis 50:3
– 40 days off fasting by MosesExodus 24:18; 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9,25
– 40 days off fasting by By Elijah 1 Kings 19:8
– Spies spent 40 days in reconnaissance in the land of promise Numbers 13:25
– Nineveh will be overthrown after 40 days Jonah 3:4
– Fasting by Jesus Matthew 4:2
– Christ’s appears for 40 days after the resurrection Acts 1:3
– Symbolism of the siege and exiles Ezekiel 4:6
– Wandering in the wilderness for 40 years Exodus 16:35; Numbers 14:34
– 40 years of peace in Israel Judges 3:11; 5:31; 8:28
– Egypt to be desolated for 40 years Ezekiel 29:11
– 40 years for Israel to be restored after Ezekiel 29:13
– 40 stripes administered in punishing criminals Deuteronomy 25:3; 2 Corinthians 11:24

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67 thoughts on “What is the Significance of the Number 40 In the Bible?

  1. Saul, David, and Solomon each reigned for 40 years.

      Someone post this question to me @ 10:01 pm 13-12-2017 (WhatsApp):

      “Hmm MOG. This question got to me this morning and I am looking for someone to help unravel the answer . If you have time answer me
      Why Noah made the Ark in 40 days, why the rain/storm lasted for 40days, Why the Israelites walked through the desert for 40 years , Why the tower of barbel was built in 40 days, Why Jesus Christ fasted for 40days, and He ascended to heaven after 40 days. Why Easter is celebrated after 40 days. And they say Life begins at 40.
      Even Pass mark starts at 40. And they also say “A fool @ 40 is a fool forever”.
      What’s so special about 40? If you don’t have an answer, please send to others we might get an answer.” (The question is here presented unedited).
      [I thought of this dialogue worthy for sharing]

      MY REPLY:
      Biblicists (Theologians –even in general) agree that the period of either 40days or year signifies a period of testing, trial and judgment. Each period of 40years marks an epoch (generation). So if the bible in the Hebrew context talk of generations, it talks of one period of 40yrs to another.

      So Noah made the ark for a whole generation, meanwhile preaching repentance, in which God was patient for a whole generation to pass before he destroy the earth. Hence God allowed a generation(or epoch) of *_GRACE_* , after which his *judgment* (of the rain) lasted for another whole epoch.
      The Israelites traveled through the desert for a whole epoch. Don’t forget the bible attest that, the generation which came out of Israel did not enter the promised land except Joshua, Caleb and his other friend(s) made it. God took a whole epoch to work out their salvation to the promised land. The desert was a period of testing, trial and judgment. Those who passed were saved–the entered the promised land.

      The Babel tower was not put to its finishing. God allowed the 40days, a period of testing, trial and finally judgment, by which He literally scattered them, confusing their language.
      Jesus had to fast for forty days (going through a tough period of testing, trial and judgment) after which he triumph, and was divinely declared fit to officially enter the office of the *savoir* of humanity. He also took a period of 40 days appearing to the disciples between his resurrection and ascension, that was a period for which the Truth of his resurrection (final victory over death, sin and Satan) could be tested, trialed, and be attested to. Easter is celebrated 40days from the palm Sunday because, he enter Jerusalem for the last time on the palm Sunday, followed by a period of perfect forty days (for testing, trial and judgment) after being judged by human judges was condemned, so that his being condemned for our sake will be authentic.

      Life begins @40 or a fool @40 is a fool forever because after being in existence for an epoch, through all the necessary testing and trial of life, the sentence (judgment) of either one is fit to go with life crown in dignity is dependent on the result of the period of those forty days for testing and trial. Where one is found unfit, s/he is sentenced (judged) for a lifetime of indignity–a fool forever. In regard to 40% of mark, it’s all in track that, one has been found fit to go haven attended 40% of mark, any point below this is failure. Beyond it however is to the person’s good, merit, credit and being distinguished for excellence.

      I made the above interpretations, based on the theory of forty days or years for an epoch or period of testing, trial and judgment.
      Thanks! I hope you find this interpretations inspiring? Remain blessed!
      Please share if you are blessed and reply via WhatsApp or Email: for further questions, comments or discussions.

      1. Thanks much for your inspiration interpretations.

        Kind Regards

        1. Thank you so much

        2. Wow so powerful

        3. Thank you very much for this has helped me understand the 40days or years of events in the bible.

          1. Thanks so much for the rich material.

      2. wow wow wow very powerful. I’m very much inspired, thank you for your powerful interpretation.

      3. Much thanks I’m blessed too

        1. Woow,I am inspired

        2. Well, I turned 40 today and have been surfing the net reading lots of things about forty. Scary and sweet.

      4. Thanks you

        1. Wow am blessed this is so powerful

      5. Hallelujah hallelujah and glory be to God.
        I have long wanted to know what figure 40 signifies. This is the right time God has allowed me to learn. Thanks for the revelation

      6. This is very powerful I always wondered what the number forty meant but now with your revelations iam really blessed and I will be able to answer any one who asks of the same.

        1. True, today I have been asked why number 40 is so emphasized in the Bible and started looking up on the net, I read a few and wasn’t satisfied with their answers, but this is so amazingly described and satisfying, now I can answer back with this.

      7. Impressive, and well articulated

      8. Very interesting. Learned more about the significance of the number Biblical and Spiritual meaning of the number 40. Thanks for sharing.

      9. Ooh God has put in you have explained I’ve satsified. God bless you abundantly.

      10. Wonderfull revelation…indeed its Gods revelation… Be blessed,,continue to grow in spirit,,amen

      11. Noah took 80yrs to build the ark my brother. In the 120 year grace that God gave the earth before judgment.
        Mathematicaly is good to consider as God is a great mathematician. The Greatest Original Designer does everything for a reason.
        40 days is 5.7 weeks – 5+7=12 – 40/12=3.33, but that is just playing around. Notice that there is always a blessing after a trial. EL Shaddai probably understands the limits of human endurance and always takes his servants to the edge, to show his bountiful and abundant nature in a blessing and exonarate his most holy name.
        Any help from God at the end of human limitations is always recognized as coming from the divine and not man. Forty days without water of food is only by means of God’s help. As El Shaddai he sustains abundantly so that you have no lack.
        This is only one of God’s names and the Hebrew contains 12 distinct names, each with specific meaning and significance. Always see the spiritual meaning of God’s earthly works, dont get wrapped up in numerology, that is demonic. The divine patterns of numbers always remain in all creation as testimony to God’s supreme sovereignty over all creation from the first to the last. Christ to Eve. All belong to him.
        The devil will have christians of weak faith chase numbers for some divine significance when ample truth abounds for your faith. Forty is forty you dont need to read into it, it just is. Trust God he has his reasons. He will make them clear to all mankind when we are worthy of the knowledge. Until then all things are hidden, to be revealed to the holy ones in God’s good time and on his terms.
        Agape brother, may the Almighty God Jehovah bless your journey.
        יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים

      12. thank you so much for your information,now i can answer if somebody asking me,God bless you

      13. Great. Very educating and full of inspiration

      14. I really enjoyed your answers, it improved my knowledge and gave me more understanding about 40. Kindly help me put more light on that of Noah and Elijah. Thanks

      15. Thanx alot for that ….. Am turning forty and am sure this is my year of visitation from the Lord my Jesus Christ of nazareth

      16. Heres the thought of 120 years/days/years-days
        Noah 120=Ark
        Moses 120=Teaching/Milk Honey
        Christ=40 days wilderness,,,40 days Truth,,,and 40 Years to to topple of Temple

      17. Wow, God bless you for this.

      18. Wow, this is wonderful… I feel blessed
        More grace

      19. So amazing ,I am blessed .

      20. Very rewarding. God bless you.

      21. I’m truly blessed and inspired by detailed illustration

  2. All these articles are so helpful. Thanks so much!!

    1. J K Theo Taylor. Thanks for the information. However I’ll like to to correct this that Noah’s Ark was not completed in 40/days or years.It took Noah 120 years to complete it.

      1. It is 3 epochs(generations) in 120 years(40×3).

  3. Thanks for your contribution, IAM blessed, today being my 40years in marriage, IAM praying that I should enter my promised Land and posses my possession

    1. May the desire of the righteous be never cut short. God bless your family and you (IJN)!

      1. Amen!!

  4. helpful

  5. Thank you all for this wonderful inspiring words, i am forty this month and i know after this forty years of wondering and toiling in the wilderness of life God is able to lift me up Amen David

  6. Thanks alot for your talk..

    1. Thanks for inspiring me with this wonderful message. Stay blessed.

  7. I think 40 days or years is a total number of trial.probation or waiting eriod while being perfect by the Almighty God. This is the time for God to establish new things in what He created .God spent 40 days with Moses at the Mountain writing the law and He completed that in forty days. Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days and 40 nights and during that period, the devil was always in his case.tempting him.promising him lot of things just to disturb what God wanted to establish in his son.unfortunately the devil did not succeed. That’s my opinion. Thanks children stay blessed and before covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. Amen.

  8. Thanks for all the comments, very revealing and an eye opener to the mysteries in the Word. Like Neol M said which I agree…’ a time for God to establish new things’. Even full term for a pregnancy is 40wks. God is indeed awesome.

  9. Thanks for this wonderful information. Remain Blessed.

  10. 40 is summed up to ( a time of testing or preparation is over/ completed )

  11. Moses spent forty days and nights with God on mount sinai. That must have been the best forty days of his life. That has nothing to do with trials or testing.

  12. Free At Last! Thank you for helping to complete my search in Christ Jesus!

  13. Best response to the puzzle

  14. It rained for 40 days before Noah’s ark was lifted. It was not built in 40 days.

  15. Have always been fascinated with how GOD works with the # 40 in the word. This is a great analysis. May GOD blee

  16. The number is 4 it represents signs, seasons, days and years

    Genesis 1:14 KJV
    And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

  17. So the forty days quarantine we are experiencing in the UK is of significance. We are now going through a time of judgment and trial for how man has been treating the natural environment. The year 2020 ie 20+20 makes for some interesting thoughts!
    May our Lord enlighten us and send us an epoch of better times living after His will after Covid19 disappears.

  18. Almighty GOD’S mystery always reveal in every second, minute,hour day, month,year, as per HIS GRACE upon mankind thank you precious people for your contribution.
    God bless you as you continue studying the word of God

  19. Great and wonderful clearlification l have understood more information about the 40’l been looking for this may God bless you and to God be the glory.

  20. Powerful inspiration, amazing surely people must work for their pass mark.God give you more Revelations. Jeffers

  21. In 70 AD, 40 years after Jesus was crucified, the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and burned down Herod’s Temple (Matthew 24:1-3). It happened on the 9th of Av, the exact same day the Babylonians had burned down the first Jewish temple (Solomon’s) temple 657 years earlier.
    The transition period was (40 years – 30-70 AD) to bring Old Testament Israel (God’s Old Covenant people) to the knowledge that their Messiah had come. This is GOD’S way of doing things.
    The last days are not about the end of the world, but rather, are about the end of the age (the age of the law), that is the Old Covenant Age culminating in the dramatic events of AD 70. It is also significant because Jesus predicted this. Indeed, Jesus had a hand in this judgement against Old Covenant Israel. You might want to take the time to read all three versions of the “Olivet Discourse,” a prophecy Jesus gave on the Mount of Olives. This contains the largest body of prophecy in the New Testament outside of the book of Revelation. It is found: Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21.
    The end of the age (the old covenant age) was connected to the destruction of the temple.
    The disciples question was, “When will the end be?” …Jesus tells them quite clearly that the end would come in “this generation” (Matt 24 v 34). All scripture referring to the “end-time”, “the end of time”, “the last days”, end of the world, melting elements and the passing away of heaven and earth represent the passing away of Old Covenant Israel in 70 AD.
    The Bible does not speak of the end of time. It speaks instead of the end of the age (OC Age of Israel) and the full establishment of the New Covenant “heaven and earth” of Christ–his church.
    The Bible says the “last days” were the last days of the OC. We now live in what the Bible calls “the age to come,”which is the NC age.
    The Bible affirms the Christian Age will have NO END. In Isaiah 9;6-7 it predicted the establishment of the rule of Christ on the throne of David and “of the increase of his government and peace there will be NO END.” Christ’s throne is endless; it will stand forever! Daniel 2;44 and 7;13-14 says Christ’s kingdom will never be destroyed. In Luke 1;33 the angel told Mary that Jesus would be given the throne of David and “of his kingdom there will be no end.” Paul says in Ephesians 3:21 that it is the mission of the church to give glory to God “world without end.” The earth will abide forever (Psalm 78:69; Eccl 1:4).

    1. Anne I find your insight very interesting. I ask and wonder with what this global society is now experiencing, where are we in God’s plan? There is such a degradation in society when it comes to God. I truly believe that there is a major battle going on between God and Satan. I wonder where we are in the number 40 now.
      I am a new reader to the Bible and it is fascinating how one can see history continually repeat itself. Man is no better today when it comes to Christ. We continually turn our backs on him. I have not read Revelation yet. Maybe the answer is there.

    2. Wow! You’ve blown my mind! Hod bless you more wisdom in Jesus name. Amen

  22. Thankyou

  23. Thank you for the wisdom

  24. Thanks for being creative and innovative

  25. Good day sir, my name is Prince Dickson, thanks for this wonderful exposition I am actually doing a research and writing a book on the Mysteries of 40s to mark my 40th birthday and I found your material very useful for my study. Please kindly avail me the previlage to use and reference your material.


    1. Of course, we would be honored. Good luck with your book!

  26. It is not by wisdom of man to reveal this theory, but God’s purpose to redeem man kind from sin. Check your 40 days or years what you have being passing through have you remain royal to our creator or go astray from his presence.

    Thanks so much saints, God bless us all as we are waiting for his second coming to end the power of darkness.

  27. Thank you for your help, I am blessed

  28. The answer is correct, inspiring and interesting. It is an intellectual property to behold.

  29. that’s for the inspiration

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