Forty days (Acts 1:3)

“After his suffering,

Jesus presented himself


By many convincing proofs.

He appeared to them

During forty days.

He was speaking

About the kingdom of God.”

οἷς καὶ παρέστησεν ἑαυτὸν ζῶντα μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν αὐτὸν ἐν πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοις, δι’ ἡμερῶν τεσσεράκοντα ὀπτανόμενος αὐτοῖς καὶ λέγων τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ·

This Acts author said that after his suffering (μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν αὐτὸν), Jesus had presented himself alive (οἷς καὶ παρέστησεν ἑαυτὸν ζῶντα), with many convincing proofs (ἐν πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοις).  This was the only time that the word τεκμηρίοις, that means a sure sign, a sign, or certain proof, was used in the Greek New Testament writings.  Jesus appeared (ὀπτανόμενος) to them (αὐτοῖς) during forty days (δι’ ἡμερῶν τεσσεράκοντα).  This was the only time that the word ὀπτανόμενος, that means to appear, be seen by, or let myself be seen by, was used in the Greek New Testament writings.  Jesus was speaking (καὶ λέγων) about the things of the kingdom of God (τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ).  The kingdom of God was the main theme of this work.  The many convincing proofs included Luke, chapter 24, where he laid out many occasions when Jesus appeared to this apostles and disciples.  The resurrection story of Jesus centered around the empty tomb.  The women of Galilee made an early morning visit to the tomb of Jesus, where the stone was rolled away.  There was no body of Jesus there, but only two men who told them to remember what Jesus had said that the Son of Man would rise again.  They remembered it.  The women told the apostles, but the apostles did not believe them.  Thus, Peter went to the tomb himself.  Next came the story of the two apostles on the road to Emmaus.  These two disciples finally recognized Jesus.  Jesus then appeared to Simon and they all recognized Jesus.  Finally, Jesus appeared to the apostles, when he gave his last instructions to his apostles.  He told them that scripture had been fulfilled.  The Messiah would suffer and rise on the third day.  They were to be witnesses to Jesus and preach repentance.  Finally, Jesus blessed them and then he was taken up to heaven.  The idea of forty days was not mentioned in Luke.  Of course, the Exodus of the Israelites took forty years and Jesus was tempted for forty days in the desert.  Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus?

Jonah’s proclamation (Jon 3:4-3:4)

“Jonah began

To go into the city,

Going a day’s walk.

He cried out.

‘Forty days more,

Then Nineveh

Shall be overthrown!’”

The text does not say how long it took Jonah to get there, but he was certainly in the city.  He walked one day into the center of the city and began to cry out that Nineveh would be overthrown in 40 days.  Forty days was a common biblical number, since Noah’s trip during the flood was 40 days, while the Israelites spent 40 years in the desert.

Moses on the mountain forty days (Ex 24:12-24:18)

“Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there.   I will give you tablets of stone, with the law and the commandments, which I have written for their instruction.’  So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua.  Moses went up into the mountain of God.  To the elders, he had said, ‘Wait here for us, until we come to you again.   Aaron and Hur are with you.  Whoever has a dispute may go to them.’”

Then Moses went to get the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandments on them.   Joshua, and not Aaron, was with him.  Now we have the book of the covenant written by Moses and the stone tablets written by Yahweh.

“Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.  The glory of Yahweh settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days.  On the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud.  Now the appearance of the glory of Yahweh was like a devouring fire on the mountain in the sight of the Israelites.  Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain.  Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.”

The cloud covered the mountain.  The glory of Yahweh settled on Mount Sinai.  Once again, we have the symbolism of six days and the importance of the seventh day.  Moses stayed on the mountain for forty days and forty nights, another symbolic number.