Why 40 More Days?

Q.  Can you give some scriptural support for this statement you made in your article “Between First Fruits and Pentecost?  “Even after they had put Him to death, Jesus gave them 40 more days to accept him before returning to Heaven.”

A.   I came to this conclusion through deductive reasoning.  I couldn’t see any reason for the Lord to be lingering here. Throughout the Bible the number forty defines a period of testing of some sort and certainly He wasn’t being tested, so who was? Since the Church hadn’t been born yet, it had to be Israel.

Earlier, when the Pharisees had asked Him point blank for a miraculous sign that He was the Messiah, He said the only sign they’d be given was the sign of Jonah (Matt. 12:38-40), which they could only have proven after the resurrection.

Then there’s the Lord’s uncharacteristic answer to a disciple who asked if He was going to restore the Kingdom to Israel now that He’d been resurrected.  He said, “It’s not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority” (Acts. 1:7). The obvious answer would have been to say that Israel had been temporarily set aside, like James would later announce  (Acts 15:13-18), unless that hadn’t been confirmed yet.

So, putting all those factors together led me to believe Jesus was giving the Jews  another chance to finally understand, and accept Him as their Messiah. When they hadn’t done so after 40 days, as He knew would be the case, the Lord left to wait in Heaven for them to call on Him (Hosea 5:15).

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