“The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” -Acts 1:1-3
Almost everything Yeshua (Jesus) said or did during His life and ministry has hidden meaning that can deepen our understanding of who He is–the time leading up to Shavuot (Pentecost) is no exception. After rising from the dead, Yeshua spent 40 days on earth with the disciples before He ascended to Heaven. He used this time to prepare his apostles by teaching them the meaning, message, and ministry of His Kingdom, as we see in Acts 1:1-3. Like most everything else in Yeshua’s ministry and life, there is profound purpose hidden in the number of days He spent teaching His disciples.
The number 40 comes up in significant ways throughout the scriptures. First, 40 is a number of purification–it rained for 40 days on the earth in Noah’s day. According to the Talmud, 40 also pertains to new life; it’s the number of days it takes an embryo to form. In Deuteronomy, Moses tells the Jewish people that he had “led them 40 years in the wilderness,” (29:3-4) after he told them that “God has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, until this day.” So we see, it took the Jewish people 40 years in the desert before they could understand the things that took place.
Finally, Yeshua Himself was in the wilderness for 40 days. As the second Moses, He was being prepared for His mission and also being tested like Israel was during their 40 years in the wilderness in preparation to enter the Promised Land.
We can see in these examples that the number 40 pertains to preparation for blessing, power, and authority. In all these illustrations, God uses 40 days or years as a time of teaching or testing to prepare His people for the glory He has set before them. For example, after Yeshua’s testing, He came out with the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread.
There are several reasons why God tests us before giving us greater power and authority. First, like Joseph, He often needs to teach us complete dependence on Him before we can be entrusted with new blessings. Second, power and purity go hand in hand. The Lord often prepares us for what’s ahead by refining us to be more like Him. Third, testing produces enduring faith–the only type of faith that can hang on to the promises of God in the long-term. Finally, testing transforms us by building our spiritual muscles. Only when we are strong in Him will we have power to hold the power, authority and blessing He has for us.
When God appoints and anoints you must be aware that problems and tests will come into your life to train us and prepare us to more operate fully in it. Think of problems and trials as opportunities: they bring you back to the throne of God where all blessings are. You were created and appointed to overcome problems like Moses, who was raised up to solve a problem and meet a need, true of every great servant and leader of God. Next time you find yourself in a time of testing, remind yourself that God is likely preparing you for the glory ahead. Are you ready for your blessing?