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2012 A.D.:  Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's 40!!

  In the United States it is common to see a sign in front of a house, or a news paper ad declaring that someone has become 40 years old, an announcement using their name and quite often some sort of picture, like an awkward  teenage picture, to embarass them a little as we help them celebrate that land mark age!

  Why forty?  I don't know.  I guess we have just always thought of it as the age when it all starts to go down hill, that age you could never picture yourself getting to when you were very young.  That sort of thing.  Isn't that kind of it?  Your hair is probably showing some gray (do you still have hair?)  You are likely to have to go to the hospital for something major pretty soon - in the next 10 years at least.  It's the age when you may have already become a grandmother or grandfather - it probably won't be long, anyway!  You are 40!

  In the Bible, it's also very important number.  In the Bible, 40 is the number of trial, of forming your spiritual character under stress, of winnowing out the unfaithful.  It usually follows being saved by God, or follows officially attaching yourself to God or Jesus.

  There are a great many times that '40' shows up in the Bible, and I'm only going to mention a few.  But you might want to get on a Bible search engine, like Bible Gateway or some other, and search the number 40, both numerical and written.  There's a lot to notice if that sort of study intrigues you. 

 Genesis chapter 2, verse 9 is the 40th verse of the Bible, and that is also where the two trees are first introduced - the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life!  Perhaps it is there that God first introduces man to the great struggle that, without Jesus, we are not good enough to ever win, but must never the less fight.  It is there that the struggle against evil is introduced, the struggle to be reunited with a Father that we have disobeyed, and there that we find the first '40' that I have been able to recognize in the Bible. 

  The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is like the Mosaic Testament, the Covenant for 'the people of the Word', who were the Israelites.  The Word of God is likened to bread in many scriptural instances, as we know, and it is a Baker that works with bread, by the way.  The Jews would come to be known as the People of the Word eventually, when they received the Covenant of Moses, and the Word, again, is sometimes likened to bread.  The Mosaic Covenant was a covenant which no man could follow, and so it led to death only.  Once the Law was introduced, it became possible to break the Law.  Once men could break a Law, they could be found guilty of sin if they did break a Law, and they did!  Once men sinned, they fell short of being worthy of Heaven, which is a sin-free place.  Actually, even the Garden of Eden had one Law at least - don't touch the one certain tree!

  The Tree of Life is like the New Covenant, which is in Jesus' shed blood.  Partaking of that Covenant comes through acceptance of, faith in, the following of, and the sharing about Jesus the Savior, and what He has done for man. His shed blood (blood is likened to wine in many scriptural instances) was a pleasing offering to the ruler of all, God the Father, who is like the Pharoah of all creation. 

  The Baker must create the bread himself, then offer it.  That is 'works'.  And we cannot get to heaven by works. 

  The Wine Steward does not make wine, he merely offers it.  Someone else made the wine available.  Someone else did the work.  Someone else provided this wine, this 'blood'.  True, in this story of Genesis chapter 40, the Steward squeezes the grapes into Pharoah's cup.  But ordinarily, the one serving wine to a Pharoah would not also be the vineyard keeper or winery worker.  Just the server!

  Let's look at the second 40.  The 40th verse was about the two trees...the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  And the Tree of Life!  That was the 40th verse of the Bible.  What is the Bible's 40th Chapter!  The 40th chapter in the Bible is Genesis 40.  In Genesis Chapter 40 Joseph is in prison in Egypt, and he is told the dreams of two Egyptian court officials (a Baker and a Wine Steward) who have been thrown in prison by Pharoah.  God allows Joseph to interpret the dreams of these two court officials.  

  The Wine Steward tells Joseph his dream of filling a cup of wine for Pharoah:

  "In my dream," he said, "I saw a vine in front of me, and on the vine were three branches.  It had barely budded when it's blossoms came out, and it's clusters ripened into grapes.  Pharoah's cup was in my hand: so I took the grapes, pressed them out into his cup, and put it in Pharoah's hand."  

  Joseph told him (it turns out to be true) that in 3 days Pharoah will remove the Wine Steward from prison, bring him into his presence, forgive the Steward's sins and restore him to his lost position.  He will live! 

  The Baker, encouraged to hear this good news Joseph gave to the Wine Steward, then tells his dream of taking bread to Pharoah in baskets:

  "I too had a dream.  In it I had three wicker baskets on my head; in the top one were all kinds of bakery products for Pharoah, but the birds were pecking at them out of the basket on my head." 

  Joseph tells him (it turns out to be true) that in 3 days Pharoah will remove the Baker from prison, bring him into his presence, hold the Bakers sins against him, and he will not be restored to his position.  He will be executed.  He will die.    

   Just like in the 40th verse, where there is something which corresponds to the Law of Moses and something which corresponds to the shed blood of Jesus, we find the same thing repeated here.  Blood (wine), the offering of the Wine Steward  is acceptable. The work of the Baker is not. 

  The Baker grinds the grain (grain is a symbol of people in many scriptural instances) and puts that grain in the fire (to cook it.)  Then he gives that to his Pharoah! 

  Pharoah (Is Pharoah like the Holy Father?) does not want the sacrifice of grain/people's works.  He did not take Cain's sacrifice from the field, he took Abel's sacrifice of the innocent's blood.  God does not take the work of human hands as adequate atonement.  He takes the blood of His Son, and only that, as adequate atonement for the tremendous offense we have given Him for so many years. Nothing man could do could remove the guilt of our many offenses to our totally pure and merciful Father.  Only so great an offering as His own beloved and innocent Son could wipe the slate clean.  That is how unspeakably deeply we have offended our Maker.  That is also a measure of how precious the blood of Jesus is in the Father's eyes.     

  The 40 th Book of the Bible is the Gospel of Matthew.  This is the first book of the New Testament.  This is the first book in which Jesus, the new beginning for mankind, if plainly revealed.  This is the second place in the Bible where the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is seen beside the Tree of Life.  This is the place where God's people, who have already 'eaten of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil' (accepted life under Moses's Law) can, if they choose, eat from the 'Tree of Life', which is the Covenant that Jesus has brought, and through Jesus live forever by the righteousness of Jesus, and not their own righteousness.

  In the 40th verse of the Bible, Genesi 2:9, we saw these two 'trees' first presented.  In the 40th chapter of the Bible, we saw the final outcome of living as a Baker (one who lives via bread alone) and of a Wine Steward (one who presents the wine that another has sacrificed to provide.)  As with Abel, the blood of an innocent sacrifice was acceptable, the fruit of the field, work of human hands, was not.  The wine was accepted.  The bread made by man was not.

  Now, in Matthew, the Protestant Bible's 40th book, we see the story of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth the Son of God, undoing the damage done way back in the time of Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden.  Undoing it for those who will accept His offered covenant, anyway.  The 'seed of Abraham' has arrived on the scene.  The long awaited reward of Abraham - the one who walked in faith - had come, though Abraham's physical body had died without ever seeing it.  Salvation through turned out that this was the reward of Abraham, the one who waited in faith.  And perhaps to emphasize this, the Gospel of Matthew begins with the lineage from Abraham to Jesus. 

  Can you guess how many generations proceeded from Abraham before Jesus arrived, according to Matthew?  If you count Isaac as the 1st generation, Jesus is the 40th, though in truth this is as if Joseph, the husband of Mary, really was Jesus' father in the flesh, which he was not.  But yes, Jesus is the 40th after Abraham.  A reference to Him is in the Bible's 40th verse.  A reference to Him, and a reference to a deep truth of His covenant, is found in the Bible's 40th Chapter.  And Jesus Himself is revealed openly in it's 40th Book for the first time.  He is, in fact, shown to be the 40th generation 'seed' of Abraham - the one who walked in faith. 

  That is shown in Matthew's 16th verse, Matthew 1:16, and 16 is double 8, and 8 is Jesus' number.  The flesh of the Hebrew male child is 'cut off' (he is circumcised) on the 8th day.  Jesus rose on the 8th day (8th in a series of days that included His death).  His name adds up to 888 in some ancient languages, etc.

  How many centuries had gone by since Adam and Eve were created?  When Jesus arrived in the flesh in Israel about 2,000 years ago, how many centuries had gone by since the Creation?  It is almost impossible to know exactly how many years passed between the Creation and Jesus based strictly off of the Bible's 66 books.  There seem to have been 1,654 years from the Creation to the Great Flood based on Genesis.  But truly it does seem likely that the Flood occurred at around 2350 B.C.  That would suggest about 4,000 years passed from the Creation to the coming of Jesus.  In other words, about 40 centuries.   

  There are ages for birth of first son and death given for the Patriarchs that stretched from Noah to Abraham.  And ages can be very closely deduced from Abraham to Moses.  Moses lived to be 120 years old and then died just prior to the Israelite tribes finishing their 40 years in the Sinai following which they entered the promised land of Canaan which became known as Israel.  Joshua led them in, and was their General and leader as they warred against the Canaanites.  After him there followed the relatively short period of the Judges, and then King Saul ruled for about 40 years, followed by King David, whose reign is generally agreed to have begun a handful of years prior to 1,000 B.C.  So, taken literally from scripture, it becomes very possible, even likely, that Jesus arrived at the time of the 40th century after the flood.          


  For some other examples of the number 40 in scripture...take the days of Noah.  It was probably in about 2400 B.C. (+ or - 50 years) that Noah and his family were told to enter the ark they had built, along with the many pairs of animals, and then close the door.  God's wrath was coming down on a world grown exceedingly evil!!

  And though they were on that ark for about a year, it is specifically mentioned that for 40 days and nights, it rained!  Forty days of trial!  Their faith inside of the ark must have been tested, but it's not as if they had anywhere else to go!  God is all in all and they had hitched their wagon to Him!

  And speaking of being deluged, inundated in water for forty days, a baby is usually in it's mother's uterus for 40 weeks from conception, then it is born.  Some sources say 38 to 42 is normal.  That averages to 40 weeks.  Some actually say 40 weeks.  A few say something slightly different.  But if the average month is about 30.5 days and there are 9 months in a pregnancy, then that comes to 274.5 days.  Forty weeks is 280 days.  So, 9 months falls between the end of the 39th week and the end of the 40th.  During this time we are being formed into a man, and man is made in God's image.

  When Moses led God's new nation out of Egypt, they were supposed to enter and take posession of the Holy Land from the sinful Canaanites almost immediately.  But the spies - one from each tribe - that they sent in to Israel to secretly spy out the land came back after 40 days with dismal news.  The people of Canaan were too big and tough and scary!  Their cities were too fortified! Ten of the twelve spies gave discouraging reports.  Only Joshua of the tribe of Ephraim (one of Joseph's sons) and Caleb from the tribe of Judah thought they could do it because they had faith that God would be with them. 

  What were the others thinking!?!  God had just parted the Red Sea for them, probably a finger of it at the Gulf of Aqaba!  Was God now unable to lead them to victory over mere men when even oceans obeyed Him?  In anger at their lack of faith, God had them wander in the Sinai for 40 years, learning to trust and follow Him, and this 40 years saw all of that generation who disbelieved in Him perish as they wandered - all but Joshua and Caleb. 

  Then, with a new generation of tried and tested wilderness-bred Israelites, a people that He had personally led and personally fed, God sent them into the land of Canaan under Joshua's leadership, Moses and Aaron having died, and they began to drive out the Canaanites who's ever growing wickedness God so detested that He determined that they must be destroyed or evicted.  

   Another case: when God felt Jerusalem had become so wicked that He decided to let Babylon destroy them and take them away slave, God had His prophet Ezekiel lay on his side where all of the people could see him for first 390 days, a day for each year that the Israelites (the 10 tribes which had seperated from the remaining two tribes which there after mostly were called Judah) had been terrible sinners in the sight of God.  They had already been taken away captive by Assyria.  And after he had layed on his side for 390 days, God told him to lay on his side for 40 more days, a day for each of the 40 years that Judah had been on the same sinful path as Israel had been on earlier.  Just as God once given the Canaanites 40 last years to reform, so He also had given Judah 40 years.  But now their years were over.  They had not reformed.  Shortly later, Babylon came and destroyed Jerusalem and took Judah captive, off to a foreign land.    

When Jesus was Baptised by John the Baptist, He immediately entered the wilderness, and for 40 days and nights He fasted, while periodically being tempted by Satan to engage in wrong doing or wrong thinking.  He resisted Satan's suggestions successfully.  And angels attended to Him there.  His faith was being tested, but it's not as if he had anywhere else to go!  There is only God!  And He was God's own Son, sharing the fullness of God in His spiritual being as He dwelt in a tent of flesh, a tent of human flesh.

 When Jesus was rejected by Israel and those in Jerusalem, He was crucified, and there followed 40 years of increasing bad news for Jerusalem and Israel in general, then Rome destroyed them.!

  But now, in our day, it has been about 40 '50 year Jubilee cycles' since the crucifixion of Christ. We are in the 40th now, and have been since about 1980 A.D., assuming Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D.  Does that matter?  I don't know.  But it is a fact that there have been about that many Jubilee cycles.  Jesus' church has endured almost 40 such cycles, 40 such times of trial.  We have already passed the ending of 40 Jubilee cycles since Jesus' birth.  If He was born in 4 B.C., that would have ended in about 1997 A.D., since there is no year 0. 

  Abraham was told to have faith, and his 'promised seed' would come.  It, Jesus, did.  After 40 generations. 

  Christians are told that their Lord will return.  He will.  And so many things hint that it may be soon.  So, don't walk through your life with one foot in the Clear Pure Stream of the Holy Spirit and one foot in the Sewage Ditch of the world.  Live to please God, try to live pure, try to follow Jesus earnestly, and love your neighbor truly.  Because, as mentioned, the body of Christ - the Church - is now in it's 40th Jewish time period - the 40th Jubilee cycle since our Master went away on a trip and left us in charge of His other servants.  Maybe that will turn out to be meaningful.  The number 40 turns out to be meaningful in a lot of places in the Bible.  In the Bible, for some, the period of trial ends at the 40 mark.  For others it marks the beginning.  We want our time of trial to end with eternity in Heaven, not Hell. 

  Lordy, Lordy, look who's 40!!  As far as cycles go, fellow Christian, we are in our 40th Jubilee cycle since Christ rose right and I.  Food for thought, isn't it? 

  So, why don't we end this with Psalm 40?  It speaks of Christ, I think, though it was written long before He was ever born to Joseph and Mary.  See if you think you hear Him mentioned.   

Psalm 40

 1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
   he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
   out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
   and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
   a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
   and put their trust in him.

 4 Blessed is the one
   who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
   to those who turn aside to false gods.[b]
5 Many, LORD my God,
   are the wonders you have done,
   the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
   were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
   they would be too many to declare.

 6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
   but my ears you have opened[c]
   burnt offerings and sin offerings[d] you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
   it is written about me in the scroll.[e]
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
   your law is within my heart.”

 9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
   I do not seal my lips, LORD,
   as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
   I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
   from the great assembly.

 11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, LORD;
   may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
   my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
   and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, LORD;
   come quickly, LORD, to help me.

 14 May all who want to take my life
   be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
   be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
   be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
   rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
   “The LORD is great!”

 17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
   may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
   you are my God, do not delay.



©2017 Daniel Curry & 'Deeds of God' Website