42 years, 42 stations, 42 months, 42 chapters
The Jews spent more than 40 years in the wilderness; they spent a total of 42 years.
In the New Testament, you read
"And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness."
It reads "about the time", that is, "around" forty years.
How do you get 42?
Well the calculation of the 40 years starts only after the episode at Kadeshbarnea where the Jews were on the verge of entering Canaan's land.
Let's follow how time is elapsing from Sinia to Kadeshbarnea.
(As usual, these posts are verse-intensive. The verses are not there for sheer confirmation, they are the very substance of the argument in their content and layout. So if you skim the verses you're skimming the argument.)
Look at Numbers 9:1-2
And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.
You see here that at the start of the second year, the Jews were still in the wilderness of Sinai, very much south of the land of Canaan, where they were to keep the passover.
The next chapter Numbers 10:11-12
And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony.
And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.
They leave the wilderness of Sinai 20 days into the second month of the second year.
And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days' journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them.
Now we're 23 days into the second month of the second year. (Remember, a Jewish month has 30 days, not 31)
Numbers 11:1-3 18-20, 31-32
And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched.
And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.
I quote this only to note that some time has elapsed, though we're not told how many days.
Numbers 11:4, 18-20, 31-32
And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat?
And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat.
Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days;
But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?
And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth.
And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.
The people are stuck gathering and eating quails for a whole month, so now we're at least into the end of third month of the second year.
After that comes the episode of Aaron and Miriam's rebellion, and the latter's leprosy
And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.
And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.
And afterward the people removed from Hazeroth, and pitched in the wilderness of Paran.
Add that week and you're into the 4th month of the second year.
Now you'll remember the wilderness of Paran from Numbers 10:12 which I've already quoted
And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.
So what you've had so far from Sinai to Paran are "journeyS", plural. The cloud "rested" there and they "pitched" there. Back in Numbers 9:21-22 you read
And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.
Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.
So beside the elapsed days we were actually able to calculate up to that point, the Jews have had many journeyings interrupted by possibly long halts on their way North from Sinai to the land of Canaan.
So here they are now, in Numbers 12, pitched in the wilderness of Paran, at the threshold of Canaan.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.
And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.
And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.
Add another 40 days unto the second year. By now we're half-way into the second year. That's about 6 months that we were able to track, it's important to keep that in mind, for as we have seen, there were many journeyings and rests.
It is from this point, that the 40 year countdown is about to begin!
Let's see why/how
Numbers 13:32-33 (follow carefully)
And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!
And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, (starting from this point) and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.
The Lord God made the Jews turn back from Kadeshbarnea (Numbers 32:8), where they were at the very entrance of Canaan, and made them wander 40 years till all the parents died.
You thus end up with 2 years from Egypt to Kadeshbarnea, and 40 from Kadeshbarnea to Jericho, when they finally enter the land per se, for a total of 42 years.
Allright, 42 years, so what's the point? Well we'll see in a moment, but if you're a Bible-believing student of the Bible, that number, 42, already says something to you. First, let me confirm it.
In Numbers 33, we are given a list naming all the stations of the Jewish people as they trecked from Egypt to Canaan during those 42 years. Let's count them.
- the Red sea
- the wilderness of Sin
- the wilderness of Sinai
- mount Shapher
- the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh
- mount Hor
- the mountains of Abarim
- the plains of Moab
I'd encourage you to open Numbers 33 and count them. That's how this post originated. I was reading my Bible and when I came upon Numbers 33 I decided to count the stations by transcribing them, which turned out 42 in number. I eventually remembered that the Jews had spent 42 years in the wilderness.
Friday night after AWANA, I showed the list to a church Deacon and friend named Dan. I said there are 42 stations listed, and the Jews spent 42 years in the wilderness, I have no idea what it all means but it's cool.
Then he pointed out the obvious which had completely eluded me. Looking at that number can you guess?
The Jews will suffer greatly during the 42 months of the great tribulation while Jerusalem is down-trodden and the antichrist rules as a god.
But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
That would allow us to study the wilderness years as a type of the great tribulation and reinforces the teaching that Moses in one of the two witnesses that show up during the great tribulation.
We know for example that Israel, during the great tribulation, will flee to the wilderness and there be fed with manna from God yet again.
And the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
1260/30= 42 months!
Now when I got to this part of the post, I began to reference verses dealing with Israel in the wilderness during the great tribulation while she is fleeing from the antichrist, and I fell on a verse that astounded me... I literally got out of my chair and walked around for joy because the Lord confirmed the type. Had I found the verse before all this I would've opened with it; look:
Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel: let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.
According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things.
How's that one to confirm a type ey! V.14 is Israel in the wilderness during the great tribulation. If you're not sure check out the following verses.
Job is primarily a picture of Israel during the great tribulation. Do you remember how many chapters the book contains?
He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.
Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.
They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.
For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste.
Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat.
They were driven forth from among men, (they cried after them as after a thief;)
To dwell in the clifts of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks.
Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together.(The parallels with Elijah are great! Remember that Elijah who also shows up with Moses during the great tribulation as a witness, ends up
1) driven forth from Jezebel, who shows up in the book of Revelation!
2) in the wilderness!
3) under a juniper tree!
4) requesting death!
5) fed with meat and drink supernaturally!
6) travelling through the wilderness 40 days!
7) in Horeb the mount of God (Sinai)!
8) in a cave!
1Kings 19:4 But he himself went a day's journey (same term as used for Israel in the wilderness) into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
1Ki 19:5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
1Ki 19:6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
1Ki 19:7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
1Ki 19:8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
1Ki 19:9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.
Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
There's another place where 42 shows up in the Bible and it's in connection with Elisha
And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.
Yet another place where 42 shows in the Bible.
2Kings 10:13 Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who are ye? And they answered, We are the brethren of Ahaziah; and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen. :14 And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing house, even two and forty men; neither left he any of them.
42 shows up also in Ezra's genealogies.
If anyone has insight on how to tie it up, please leave a comment and let me know.
I'm thinking of the bears, since one of Daniel's 4 beasts is a bear, and the antichrist is an amalgam of the 4 beasts...but nothing beyond that, assuming "that" is anything at all... Anyway let me know.
The post probably has too many words to say little, but one thing's for sure, that Bible is out of this world and I hope your faith in the words and arrangement of the Lord's book is increased.