Biblical Significance of
120 Days/Years

*40 Days and 40 Years
*40-Day and 40-Year Periods of Cleansing and/or Rejection
*120 days of Commandments, Cleansing, and Fasting
*120 Years of Moses and 120 Years of Noah
*Three Starts of the First 40-Year Period
*Questions Raised
*The 120 Years of Kings Over United Israel

40 Days and 40 Years

Numerous prophecies in the Bible make the point that a day can be prophetic of a year. Consider these examples:
For the 40 days that the IsraElites spent spying out the Promised Land; because they turned against God and refused to enter it thereafter, the Israelites had to wander in the desert for 40 years (Numbers 14:34).
Ezekiel was instructed to lie on his left side for 390 days and then on his right sided for 40 days, to indicate when the 10-tribes of IsraEl and the 2-tribe kingdom of Judah would be destroyed, all of which was to culminate at the end of 390 years the last 40-year portion being the destruction of the tribe of Judah (see Ezekiel 4:5, 6).

40-Day and 40-Year Periods of Cleansing and/or Rejection

And although this doesn't always seem to be the case, we also notice that 40 days and 40 years often indicate a period of cleansing, as is what happened to IsraEl during their 40-years in the desert prior to entering the Promised Land. And Jesus seems to have undergone two 40-day periods of cleansing, the first time being the 40-days he spent in the desert without food or water after his baptism and before he was tempted by the Slanderer, and the second time from when he was resurrected until he was allowed to reenter the heavenly presence of God.

In addition, not only does the 40-years in the prophecy at Ezekiel 4:5, 6 end with the destruction of JeruSalem by Babylon, but we see what appears to have been another 40 year period from the time that Jesus started his ministry until JeruSalem was destroyed by the Romans (in 70-CE) and possibly even one more 40-year period between the time of his death and the final conquest of Masada in 73-CE.

120 days of Commandments, Cleansing, and Fasting

You might notice that one seemingly important prophetic 120-day period mentioned in the Bible started when Moses went up Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. Then after spending 40 days on the mountain (Exodus 24:18), he returned to find that the IsraElites had built a gold calf to worship. So he threw the tablets down and broke them. Thereafter, Moses started a 40-day fast as he begged God to forgive the people (Deuteronomy 9:18). Then he went back up the mountain to create duplicate stone tablets, where he stayed for another 40 days (Exodus 34:28), after which the people agreed to follow God's laws.

What was the significance of this 120-day period? Well, not only does it have to do with cleansing of Moses, but it also had to do with the creation of God's Sacred Agreement with His people – from its inception to its acceptance – and it was a time of turmoil and testing. Does this 120 days symbolize a significant future 120-year period? Time will tell.

120 Years of Moses and 120 Years of Noah

There's also a 120-year period that had to do with Moses. It started at his birth in Egypt when the Pharaoh decreed the death of all the newborn IsraElite male children in the land (Exodus 1:15, 16). Then, when he was about 40 years old, he killed an Egyptian and fled the country to live in the land of Midian. It was there – 40 years later – that God's messenger spoke to Moses from the burning bush and gave him the commission which led to the IsraElites being set free and God's Sacred Agreement being established with them. And finally, there was the last 40-year period that the IsraElites spent wandering in the desert. So at the end of exactly 120-years (see Deuteronomy 34:7), Moses died and the IsraElites entered the Promised Land.

It's interesting that Noah also saw a120-day period that led up to the destruction of his ancient world. For at Genesis 6:3 we find God saying that he was going to destroy both men and animals in just 120 more years, and that's when He gave Noah the order to build the chest (ark) to save the lives of his family and selected animals.

So is there any significance to these 120-year periods in our time? Well, if you haven't read it already, consider the observations made in the linked document, 'Armageddon – When?' under the subheading: 'Theory 4: 2,520 Years.' As it points out, this could possibly be (but it isn't necessarily) the same period as 'the last days' of this 'age.'

Three Starts of the First 40-Year Period

Now, the fact that the 120-years of Moses' life started with an attempt to kill him as a newborn baby in Egypt is quite interesting, for we read of a similar event happening at the time of Jesus' birth, when JoSeph and Mary had to flee to Egypt to save the baby's life. Then we read of the same type of thing happening a third time at Revelation 12:4. For there it warns of a time when the Slanderer will try to devour (destroy) the 'seed' (or baby) of God's 'woman.' And this action then leads up to a war in heaven (see verse 7) that results in the Dragon and his messengers (angels) being cast down to the earth. And according to that account, this brings a period of 'woe' for the earth (see verse 12), while the Kingdom and Jesus' authority to rule begins in the heavens (see verse verses 10-12). So, could the start of the last days have been symbolized by the 120 years of Moses? Time will tell.

What did the events in the life of Moses have to do with events in the life of Jesus? Is Moses a fitting symbol of Jesus, and does his life picture anything that has to do with the establishment of the Kingdom? Well, Moses was God's appointed ruler over His people during that entire 120-year period. He served in that position first as a member of the household of Pharaoh, and then as God's leader of the nation of IsraEl when he was leading them to the Promised Land. The IsraElites were also 'baptized' into Moses at the Red Sea (see 1 Corinthians 10:2). In addition, he was the mediator of God's Sacred Agreement with His people (Hebrews 12:24). So there could be no one more fitting to symbolize Jesus than faithful Moses.

Questions Raised

If any of the above is significant, it raises many other questions that deserve further investigation. Some of these are:

What does the beginning of the first 40-year period (the saving of the child) signify for God's people today?

Will the second 40-year period in Moses' life that ended with God's deliverance of His people from Egypt have a modern fulfillment?

Will the last 40-year period 'in the desert' also have a modern fulfillment?

Does the complete 120-year period have a modern fulfillment? And if so, when will (or did it) begin?

Notice that 40-years is the typical length of the life of a single adult generation, as the 40-year trek in the desert shows. So if the 120-year period has a modern fulfillment, it seems to picture three generations.

The 120 Years of Kings Over United IsraEl

Another interesting (but usually overlooked) 120-year period that is broken into three 40-year parts, is the combined reigns of Saul, David, and Solomon. For according to the Bible, each reigned for exactly 40 years.

Since the 40-year reign of King David was one of turmoil, war, and the defeat of IsraEl's enemies; this period is thought to be prophetic of the 40-years of cleansing of the wicked from the land. This was followed by the peaceful 40-year reign of Solomon (during which God's Temple was built), which is thought to picture 40-years of peace and prosperity that follow sometime after 'the Battle of Armageddon.' But if this is true, then what (if anything) did the first 40-year reign of Saul picture?

Saul's reign is surely significant, because he was selected and anointed by God (although he wasn't of the kingly tribe of Judah), and his reign lasted for exactly 40 years. There is too much that is prophetic and planned here for it to be unimportant history. So, might it picture a period of imperfect rulership that leads up to the coming of the greater David, Jesus?

Also, notice that the second 40-year period in Moses' life ended with the release of the IsraElites and the destruction of PharaOh and his army. This could indicate that Armageddon will come at the end of an 80-year period; and thereafter, there may come a final 40-year period of cleansing and wandering. For if the destruction of Pharaoh and his army pictured Armageddon, then the last 40-years that the IsraElites spent in the desert must be prophetic also. Notice that this was also a period of peace for God's people and of relying on Him for their sustenance. So it appears as though a third 40-year period comes after the Battle of Armageddon. For more information, see the linked document, 'Similarities Between the Exodus and the Events of Revelation.'

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