What is significant about the number 40 when we see it in scripture? Specifically here in Numbers 13:25.
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I would say that the specific number of forty days in spying out the land was associated (as elsewhere in both the Old and New Testaments) with preparation and purifying (in the case of the sending out of the spies, preparing the Israelites to enter Canaan following the spies' return, as God had originally intended). In the same way, the earth was purified through forty days of the Flood; Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai in God's presence in preparation for Israel receiving the Law; Jesus prepared for His ministry by fasting for forty days in the wilderness following His baptism; and He remained on earth for forty days following His resurrection to prepare the apostles for His imminent departure. Following the return of the spies from Canaan, Israel was required to wander in the wilderness for forty years to purify themselves from their rejection of the spies' report (that is, until the last man of military age from the generation of those who had rejected the spies' report had died). Since the early history of the church, the forty days (excluding Sundays) of Lent starting on Ash Wednesday are similarly a period of preparation and purification for believers prior to the commemoration of Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday.
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