Sacred Cycles
Rehearsals for the Day of the Lord

Seven Days

The very work of creation was within a time cycle - the week of seven days. By the last day of that cycle God had finished creating and He rested. As Genesis states it:

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Gen 2:2

So begins our knowledge of cycles and in particular Sabbatical or rest cycles. We may think that the week is the only Sabbatical cycle but that is not true. The weekly pattern is repeated over and over again. That only makes sense. All good designers repeat basic patterns that way, whether in art, music, dance, architecture, etc..

The Sabbatical Year

God decided that the land needed a Sabbath rest as well as man. This is the Sabbatical Year cycle. For six years man worked the soil sowing and reaping, but in the seventh year man was required to give the land a rest. This rest extended beyond just the land to the canceling of debts and the setting free of indebted servants. This was the regulation:

Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you--for yourself, your manservant and maidservant, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten. Lev 25:2 -7

The Jubilee Year

But in addition to the Sabbatical Year cycle, God also created a kind of Super Sabbatical Year called the Year of Jubilee. It was observed at the end of seven Sabbatical Year cycles, or 49 years. On the fiftieth year, which was also the first year of the next Sabbatical Year cycle, the land must again be given rest. Also all land must return to its original owner and slaves must be freed.

'Count off seven sabbaths of years--seven times seven years--so that the seven sabbaths of years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. "'In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to his own property. Lev 25:8 -13

Moses' Last Command

Carrying the weight of a 'last request', before he died, Moses emphasizes one particular Levitical ceremony - the observance of the ending (and beginning) of the Sabbatical Year cycle:

Then Moses commanded them: "At the end of every seven years, in the year for canceling debts, during the Feast of Tabernacles, when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose, you shall read this law before them in their hearing. Assemble the people--men, women and children, and the aliens living in your towns--so they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess." Deu 31:10

The Punishment - 70 Years in Exile

When Israel violated that covenant of blessing, the curses were decreed for them. The reason given was because they had failed to give the land it's Sabbaths. That would have been the time from Saul to the beginning of the exile, 490 years. They had failed to keep one out of every seven years, or 70 Sabbatical years, therefore their first punishment was 70 years in exile.

He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah. 2 Chr 36:20

Lev. 26 - the threat of 4 successive punishments

In Lev. 26 we see the pattern of Judgments; we see an initial judgment v. 14-17, than four successive periods of punishment multiplied seven times. The numbers are shown below.

One unit of punishment = 70 years (the exile)

7 x 70 = 490

7 x 70 = 490

7 x 70 = 490

7 x 70 = 490

Total Punishment = 1960 years

Depending on when we start the punishment, we have probably completed it.  There are two aspects to this period of time, transgression and riches, as they are related by the verse below:

But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? Rom 11:12

Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.

2 Cor 3:15 The Veil Upon Israel To See Messiah (punisment), and the Veil Upon The Church To See Israel's Sabbaths, being one and the same.

40 Jubilees - The Church has enjoyed a wilderness journey (riches).


Most references to 'forty'

Gen 8:6 (NIV) After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark

Gen 25:20 (NIV) and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.

Gen 26:34 (NIV) When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite.

Gen 50:3 (NIV) taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days.

Exo 16:35 (NIV) The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.

Exo 24:18 (NIV) Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Exo 34:28 (NIV) Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant--the Ten Commandments.

Exo 36:24 (NIV) and made forty silver bases to go under them--two bases for each frame, one under each projection.

Exo 36:26 (NIV) and forty silver bases--two under each frame.

Num 13:25 (NIV) At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.

Num 14:33-34 (NIV) Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. 34 For forty years--one year for each of the forty days you explored the land--you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.'

Num 32:13 (NIV) The Lord's anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.

Deu 2:7 (NIV) The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.

Deu 8:2 (NIV) Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

Deu 8:4 (NIV) Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.

Deu 9:9 (NIV) When I went up on the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD had made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water.

Deu 9:11 (NIV) At the end of the forty days and forty nights, the LORD gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant.

Deu 9:18 (NIV) Then once again I fell prostrate before the LORD for forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water, because of all the sin you had committed, doing what was evil in the Lord's sight and so provoking him to anger.

Deu 9:25 (NIV) I lay prostrate before the LORD those forty days and forty nights because the LORD had said he would destroy you.

Deu 10:10 (NIV) Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the LORD listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you.

Deu 25:3 (NIV) but he must not give him more than forty lashes. If he is flogged more than that, your brother will be degraded in your eyes.

Deu 29:5 (NIV) During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.

Josh 4:13 (NIV) About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the LORD to the plains of Jericho for war.

Josh 5:6 (NIV) The Israelites had moved about in the desert forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had solemnly promised their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.

Josh 14:7 (NIV) I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions,

Judg 3:11 (NIV) So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.

Judg 5:31 (NIV) "So may all your enemies perish, O LORD! But may they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength." Then the land had peace forty years.

Judg 8:28 (NIV) Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon's lifetime, the land enjoyed peace forty years.

Judg 12:14 (NIV) He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel eight years.

Judg 13:1 (NIV) Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

1 Sam 4:18 (NIV) When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and heavy. He had led Israel forty years.

1 Sam 13:1 (NIV) Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-two years.

1 Sam 17:16 (NIV) For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.

2 Sam 2:10 (NIV) Ish-Bosheth son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David.

2 Sam 5:4 (NIV) David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years.

1 Ki 2:11 (NIV) He had reigned forty years over Israel--seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.

1 Ki 6:17 (NIV) The main hall in front of this room was forty cubits long.

1 Ki 7:38 (NIV) He then made ten bronze basins, each holding forty baths and measuring four cubits across, one basin to go on each of the ten stands.

1 Ki 11:42 (NIV) Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.

1 Ki 19:8 (NIV) So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

2 Ki 8:9 (NIV) Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus. He went in and stood before him, and said, "Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, 'Will I recover from this illness?'"

2 Ki 12:1 (NIV) In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother's name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba.

1 Chr 29:27 (NIV) He ruled over Israel forty years--seven in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.

2 Chr 9:30 (NIV) Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.

2 Chr 24:1 (NIV) Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother's name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba.

Neh 5:15 (NIV) But the earlier governors--those preceding me--placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that.

Neh 9:21 (NIV) For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.

Psa 95:10 (NIV) For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways."

Ezek 29:11-13 (NIV) No foot of man or animal will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. 12 I will make the land of Egypt desolate among devastated lands, and her cities will lie desolate forty years among ruined cities. And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries. 13 "'Yet this is what the Sovereign LORD says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered.

Ezek 41:2 (NIV) The entrance was ten cubits wide, and the projecting walls on each side of it were five cubits wide. He also measured the outer sanctuary; it was forty cubits long and twenty cubits wide.

Ezek 46:22 (NIV) In the four corners of the outer court were enclosed courts, forty cubits long and thirty cubits wide; each of the courts in the four corners was the same size.

Amos 2:10 (NIV) "I brought you up out of Egypt, and I led you forty years in the desert to give you the land of the Amorites.

Amos 5:25 (NIV) "Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel?

Jonah 3:4 (NIV) On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned."

Mat 4:2 (NIV) After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

Mark 1:13 (NIV) and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Luke 4:2 (NIV) where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

Acts 1:3 (NIV) After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Acts 7:23 (NIV) "When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites.

Acts 7:30 (NIV) "After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.

Acts 7:36 (NIV) He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert.

Acts 7:42 (NIV) But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: "'Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel?

Acts 13:18 (NIV) he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert,

Acts 13:21 (NIV) Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years.

Acts 23:13 (NIV) More than forty men were involved in this plot.

Heb 3:9 (NIV) where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did.

Heb 3:17 (NIV) And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert?