The number 40 is often understood as the number of probation or trial. For example, the Israelites wandered for 40 years (Deuteronomy 8:2-5); Moses was on the mount for 40 days (Exodus 24:18); 40 days were involved in the story of Jonah and Nineveh (Jonah 3:4). Jesus was tempted for 40 days (Matthew 4:2); there were 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:3).

How much emphasis should be placed on these numbers, or whether or not these numbers really do have significance, is still debated in many circles. While it’s ok to observe these patterns, people should stay away from placing too much significance on biblical numerology, trying to find a special meaning behind every number in the Bible. God does not call us to search for secret meanings, hidden messages and codes in the Bible. God’s Word alone reveals the truth that we need.