Passover to Pentecost – Forty

Passover to Pentecost – Forty         Week 6 Day 1

Acts 1: 3 He appeared to them over a period of forty days. (NIV)

This is the week that Jesus ascended into heaven.  We will look at topics related to this week.  The first one will be forty.

Jesus opened and closed His ministry time here on earth with a special forty day period.  Jesus after His baptism by John went into the wilderness for forty days to fast and was tempted by the devil.  He also had a forty day period after His resurrection that He spent with His disciples. Normally I would say that forty is the number of testing, but His second forty day period was not a test.

So, I would like to add another layer to the number forty.  Many of stories that are told with a forty time period the person or group is being prepare/trained to go into something new.  Jesus fasted forty days to start His ministry.  His second forty was preparing the disciples for His going back to heaven.  The Exodus forty years prepared to Israelites to be an army and take the Land.  Jesus’ ministry time could have been forty months depending when he started in His 30th year.

One interesting thing that also could be a forty day period was with the Exodus.  We know Moses spent two forty day periods on Sinai with God.  But forty days into the trip could have been when Moses struck the rock and water came out (Exodus 17).  All of these are shadows of Jesus.

Another forty day story is when Elijah traveled forty days and nights while fleeing from Jezebel going to the Mount of God (1 Kings 19).  Once there he went into a cave and waited for the voice of God to call him out.  Another example of foreshadowing’s of Jesus.

Passover to Pentecost – Three Days

Passover to Pentecost – Three Days        Week 2 Day 7

After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers.  Luke 2:46 (NIV)

I have done many number studies just because they are interesting.  This number related study came as a surprise; the term “three days” has been several places in connection with the Exodus and Counting the Omer.  The ones that caught my attention have been:

  1. “three days” to go to worship in the desert
  2. same time after each of the first two Passover’s, with no water or complaining about the food
  3. the story in Luke of Joseph and Mary looking for Jesus
  4. the plague where the sun was darkened for three days
  5. Joshua moving the people into the Promised Land, they had a three-day notice
  6. The three days Jesus spent in the tomb

Pre-Exodus stories include the sacking of Shechem by Jacob’s sons and Joseph with Pharaoh’s servants and their dreams.  Shechem is where Joshua read the blessings and curses to the people, and the dream helped get Joseph into the position to help his family.  Post-Exodus stories include Jonah in the whale which is a shadow for Jesus being in the tomb three days (Passover).

To help you study use and search “three days.”

The number three maybe associated with God (triune).  But this “three-day” period seems to be a waiting period and frequently there is a test at the end of it.   In Exodus 15 (three days after the first Passover) God talks about testing the people, and in Numbers 10 (2nd Passover) God said they had tested Him ten times and it was over!  I view the story in Luke as a test for Mary and Joseph in their understanding of who Jesus really was.

Passover to Pentecost – Seven

Passover to Pentecost – Seven        Week 1 Day 3

Count off seven full weeks.  Exodus 23: 15b (NIV)

Genesis 2: 2-3 is the foundation for the use of seven when it comes to Sabbaths and special holy days as they are stated in Leviticus 23 and 25.  In Genesis, God ceased working, rested, and blessed the seventh day because He had finished creating. Leviticus should clear up any doubt that God is serious about us resting.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread, Weeks, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles are special holidays and all of them have a “do not work” or “no regular work” component in them.  We will look at this on day six.

The patterns of seven days or years than adding a day or year is seen in the Feast of Weeks/Pentecost, the Sabbath Year, and the Year of Jubilee.  The extra day/year was to give an extended rest to the people and the land.  Remember, part of the reason for the exile of Judah/Israel was to give the land its Sabbath rest.

I once heard someone preach about Matthew 18: 21 and Luke 17: 4 where the disciples were willing to forgive seven times; the person assumed they picked seven because they were being generous.  Now I might wonder if it may not be connected with putting the matter to “rest.”

It is interesting that in Exodus 16 (part of the first fifty days) where it seems that the people ran out of Egyptian food. Now the people would have to “work” again for their food God reminded them of the Sabbath. He reinstated the Sabbath before they got to Sinai and the Law.  I imagine that the Egyptians did not give them a day off because their God had demanded it.  God also gave them a special miracle for forty years with the manna on the sixth and seventh days of the week; so they had no excuse not to rest (it did not go bad overnight as it did on the other days).

Hezekiah was a king who tried to follow God and was given several special signs for the things he did.  One thing he did was celebrate Passover (2 Chronicles 30) and one special sign he received sounds a lot like Jubilee when it came to planting and reaping (2 Kings19: 29).

Passover to Pentecost – Fifty Days!

Passover to Pentecost – Fifty Days!        Week 1 Day 2

Leviticus 23: 16 – Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath.

Okay, why fifty days?  It does not fit any of the usual numbers we associate with trials and test.  The verse is referring to the harvesting of the barely crop (a symbol of Israel); is that the only answer?  With that asked I will turn to Jewish legend, which I am finding usually has more meat than myth.  This is the time it took for Moses and the Israelites, after Passover, to get to Mount Sinai and get the Laws of God.  Pentecost (Feast of Weeks) is celebrated as the point of spiritual freedom because they were given God’s Word. gives the seventh day of Passover as when Israel went through the Red Sea which puts them out of Egypt on day eight.  No, you will not find that in Scripture, but I can live and work with that idea.  Seven is recognized as the number of completion and eight as new beginnings so it does make sense.

The events that occurred from the Red Sea to Mount Sinai are mirrored in other Passovers and their history:

  • Bitter water
  • Food
  • Water problems, again
  • Amalekites
  • Community structure
  • God at Mount Sinai

These topics will be visited later in this series.  An immediate point is Exodus 19:1; since I am not a Hebrew scholar this verse puts a time stamp on their arrival.  I would say that it was sixty days when they arrived.  Since it is a “tradition” as to when to celebrate things I think I will look for something else to nit-pick on.

The Number Seventeen in the Bible

Seventeen as a number is used sixteen times in the KJV; six of those are associated with numerical list of people, two have a positive inflection, and eight have a negative association.  Five of the negative associations are connected with rulers of the land.  The seventeenth letter of the Jewish alphabet also has a connection with a leader of Israel.

Peh or Fey is the seventeenth letter of the Jewish alphabet.  In the Hebrew numbering system it is the number 80.  Peh is associated with the mouth and the power of speech.  This reminds us of the power of our words for both good and bad.  Moses is the leader that ties these thoughts together.  According to some teachings he was 80 years old when he was given a “new mouth” to speak with. (He stuttered.)

The two positive references are Genesis 47:28 and Jeremiah 32:9. These show God’s provisions and mercy for believers.  Jacob lived in Egypt and was taken care of by Joseph for 17 years before he died, he never thought he would see the day.  Jeremiah paid 17 units of money for a field while Jerusalem was being attacked; it was to show the people that there would be a positive end to the situation.

The first two mentions of 17 are the starting and stopping of Noah’s Flood (Genesis 7 + 8).  This is when God was cleansing His world from the evil that was running rampant.  Using the lunar calendar (30 days to a month) they are 150 days apart.  The next use of 17 is Genesis 37:2, it is the age of Joseph when he spoke out against his brothers; they plotted evil against him (this did turn out for good).  He was a prisoner for thirteen years before he became ruler of Egypt.

The other five references to 17 all involve kings/rulers and are either how long they have reigned or connected to when they began.  The rulers are: Rehoboam, Ahaziah, Jehoahaz, Ahaz (Pekah is the reference).  They are in the Kings Timeline post.