The Sacred Number 40:

f4ischer f4ischer.wordpress.com

40- is such a theme throughout the bible!

 You are very right f4ischer!

The Number 40:

There are in fact several numbers that are a running theme throughout the Holy Scriptures and each has a different meaning, but every time God is preparing someone for something important He seems to use the number 40 to do it. Look at the life of Moses for instance, whose life was divided into three equal groups of 40. For 40 years he lived as an adopted son of Egypt and then for 40 years he lived in freedom as the son-in-law of the Hebrew Jethro. And then for the last 40 years of his life he wandered in the wilderness after saving his people from bondage of Egypt, thus living a full life of man of 120 years such as God spoke of in Genesis 6:3.

The number 40 is actually a composition of multiples of 4 though the character ‘mem’ (40) מ should simply be sufficient as the Hebraic written language uses aleph-beyt (Alphabet) characters to represent numbers. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that both the Hebrew people as well as Oriental cultures used to use 4 and 40 as well as 7 or 70 as a type of round number like the number 10. But perhaps it also has a bit to do with the significance of the power in the number 4 itself. Let me explain.

Ancient Language Origins:

Four is a VERY important number as it represents a type of doorway. You see, in ancient Hebrew all of the characters used to write with were like a type of pictogram that shared a similar root with Egyptian and other neighboring cultures like the Canaanites, Phoenician etc. In fact thousands of years ago most cultures of that area used the same basic written language that later spread out into different variations to create the modern written languages we know today.

The Letter A: א The Letter B: ב
By Jeff A. Benner By Jeff A. Benner

This is why the Greek and Hebrew alphabets share a similar order but the characters have changed over time. In Greek you have Alpha, Beta, Gama, Delta but in Hebrew you have Aleph, Beyt, Gimel, Dalet.





The Family:

But what is also very interesting is that most of the ancient Hebraic language is made of symbols with simple meanings like a house, a foot, an eye etc. This same basic concept of using symbols as a language is also found in ancient Chinese as well. It plays upon the concept of stringing together simple truths to combine and create a more complex understanding.

Like the name for father in Hebrew is av (Aleph + Beyt):

How the family adds up:


Now like I said before the Hebraic characters are also numbers.

The Hebrew A (Aleph or Alef) is = 1

The Hebrew B (Beyt or Bet) is = 2

So if you combine them together you get the number 3. (1+2=3)

So then the name for Father is = 3


The name for Mother is ’em’ which is Alef + Mem.

Aleph is =1

Mem is = 40.

So if you combine them together you get the number 41. (1+40=41)

So then the name for Mother is = 41

Now where it really gets interesting is when you combine Father and Mother together you get the number 44 which is Child.


The name for child is ‘Yeled’

Yod י = 10

Lamed ל = 30

Dalet ד = 4

So if you combine them together you get the number 44. (10+30+4=44)

So then the name for Child is = 44
Father 3 + Mother 41 = Child 44

Ancient Hebrew Pictograms:

Now like I said before the number 4 is a special number in that it is the number of transition as the ancient Hebrew character for the number 4 is the symbol of a hanging door of a tent.

Each character that makes up the numbers and alphabet of the ancient Hebrew is based on these simple symbols.

1 Silent Alef/Aleph Ah, Eh א Ox
2 B/V Bet/Beyt B, Bh (v) ב Tent
3 G Gimel G ג Foot
4 D Dalet D ד Door/Curtain
5 H He/Hey H ה Man arms uplifted
6 V/H Waw/vav W, O, U ו Tent Peg
7 Z Zayin Z ז Plow or harvest
8 Ch Chet/Hhet Hh ח Outer wall
9 T Tet T ט Basket or pot
10 Y Yod/Yud Y, Ee י Arm & hand
20 K/Kh Kaf/Kaph K, Kh כ Open palm
Kh Khaf (Final) ך
30 L Lamed L ל Shepherds staff
40 M Mem M מ Water/Waves
M Mem (Final) ם
50 N Nun N נ Seed
N Nun (Final) ן
60 S Samech/Samehh S ס Thorn: Support & window?
70 Silent Ayin Silent ע Eye
80 P/F Peh/Pey P, Ph פ Mouth/lips/edge
F Feh (Final) ף
90 Ts Tsadeh/Tsade Ts צ Side/destination/trail
Ts Tsadeh (Final) ץ
100 Q Qof/Quph Q ק Circle/horizon/sun
200 R Resh R ר Head/chief/primary/start
300 S Shin Sh ש Two front teeth
400 T Tav T ת Crossed Sticks

Now when you apply these simple meanings of the characters together you get more complex meanings like you saw with Father, Mother and Child. But somehow the number 40 used in scriptures is not simply the character ‘Men’ מ that equals 40 and means water or liquid. It is in fact the Hebrew word אַרְבָּעִים (‘arba`iym ), which occurs 136 times in 124 verses in the Hebrew concordance of the KJV

אַרְבָּעִים = Ox + Head + Tent + Eye + Hand + Water
1 Silent Alef/Aleph Ah, Eh א Ox
200 R Resh R ר Head/chief/primary/start
2 B/V Bet/Beyt B, Bh (v) ב Tent
70 Silent Ayin Silent ע Eye
10 Y Yod/Yud Y, Ee י Arm & hand
40 M Mem M מ Water/Waves

Perhaps if taken in an abstract this word could mean something like: Primary thoughts of self-perception give truth

Ox (Alpha or Leading, Primary) + Head (Thought) + Tent (Self) + Eye (Perception) + Hand (Actions) + Water (Truth)

But traditionally the Hebrew is not believed to be written in abstract concepts like the Greek so this abstract concept may not be correct (Though I beg to differ).

The Square Quest:

Primarily the word for 40 is a multiple of אַרְבַּע (‘arba` ), which is the number 4 which is used 316 times in 276 verses in the Hebrew concordance of the KJV

Probably the easiest way to look at the number 40 is to consider it as a square. A square is actually a very sacred shape in the Bible and it is comprised of 4 sides and when you total the sum of each side together you get the number 10.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10

In every culture I can think of 10 is the most sacred number because it means a type of wholeness. This is also true in the Hebrew (not to be confused with 7).

So if you take the number 10 to mean a wholeness of self + add the number 4 Dalet which is a door (Transition) = you may get a way in which to accomplish wholeness (40) such as a spiritual journey.

10 x 4 = 40

Look at the number 40 when used in preparation according to Rick Warren in his book The Purpose Driven Life.

The Bible is clear that God considers 40 days a spiritually significant time period. Whenever God wanted to prepare someone for his purposes, he took 40 days:
  • Noah’s life was transformed by 40 days of rain.
  • Moses was transformed by 40 days on Mount Sinai.
  • The spies were transformed by 40 days in the Promise Land.
  • David was transformed by Goliath’s 40-day challenge.
  • Elijah was transformed when God gave him 40 days of strength from a single meal.
  • The entire city of Nineveh was transformed when God gave the people 40 days to change.
  • Jesus was empowered by 40 days in the wilderness.
  • The disciples were transformed by 40 days with Jesus after his resurrection.

The number 40 is clearly used to represent a period of transformation. It is a journey of the soul designed to establish wholeness. Each of us is on this journey to enlightenment if we believe it or not. You may simply not understand what it is by the number alone.

So thank you for your comment f4ischer. You are very right about the importance the Bible places upon the number 40 as it is one of the single biggest themes running throughout the Bible as it is all about your spiritual progression and transformation.

If you want to know more about the sacred journey of the square (Square Quest) please “like”, share and write your comments and questions below.


3 thoughts on “The Sacred Number 40:”

  1. You’re really not so simple and thank you for your hard work. I have been through a very detailed, intense bible study like your stuff and it is a lot of work. And it’s a good thing.

    1. Ironically, though this may seem somewhat Cabbalist in origin I assure you that it’s not. I have spent the last 5 years tracking down a mystery hidden in the Bible and this is only one small sample of the research. It in fact goes much deeper in meaning but it deals more with psychology than religion. It’s actually about how you can mirror God internally, or rather to reflect Him in your life (As Christ). It’s fascinating that the Bible is actually a detailed instruction book to gives you peace in a practical way, it’s just written in a way that is hard to see unless you understand how it’s written. As my research unfolds I will share more and more. I think you might like it so please stay tuned. 🙂

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