The Redemptive Historical Meaning of 390 Days and 40 Days
Pastor James Park’s sermon from Shiloh's Lord’s Day Service on February 17, 2019
390 plus 40 days
God declared to Ezekiel that one day is equal to one year; therefore if we add 390 days and 40 days, it totals 430 years (Ezek 4:4-6). There are many theological perspectives and views on what the 430 days (years) mean. What is the interpretation of the 430 days?
Interpretation of the 390 Days
From a redemptive historical view, 390 days refers to the year 930 BC to 540 BC. What is the significance of the year 930 BC and why do the 390 days start here? First, the year 930 BC is when the nation of Israel was divided. King Solomon ruled from 970 BC to 930 BC for a total of 40 years. Due to the sins of Solomon, the nation of Israel divided into Northern Israel with its first king being Jeroboam and Southern Judah with its first king being Rehoboam in the year 930 BC. God commanded Ezekiel to lie down on his left side and bear all the iniquities of Northern Israel and assigned “390” days to lie on his left side (Ezek 4:4-5). The year 540 BC is the year that General Darius of Medo-Persia officially began to come against Babylon. However, it wasn’t until the year 539 BC that Darius physically went into the palace and attacked and killed the last king of Babylon, Belshazzar which was on the same night he held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles (Dan 5:1). God wrote upon the wall and judged Belshazzar. He was slain that very night, and Darius received the kingdom at about the age of sixty-two (Dan 5:30). Cyrus was the king of Persia, but he allowed his uncle Darius to take power in 539 BC. Therefore God is tracking from 930 BC to 540 BC for a total of 390 years.
God’s people will return home
King Cyrus came to rule in 538 BC and Medo-Persia became the Persia Empire. They dominated the world at that time. Before the destruction of Babylon, God had already revealed to Ezekiel in 593 BC that Babylon would be destroyed. This was 53 years before 540 BC. God was highlighting the fact that His people would return home after 70 years of captivity which is a word of hope and comfort (Jer 25:11-12). This teaches us that God is very exact and He is in control of all kings, kingdoms, and history (Prov 21:1). This is why we need to pray for our leaders and that God would use them for His will. World transitions happen according to the will of God and through prophecy and through His time table. Likewise, we have been called for this exact time so that we can be leaders to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Interpretation of the 40 days
The 40 days refer to the years 970 BC to 930 BC which is the 40-year rule of King Solomon. Due to the sins of Solomon, the nation of Israel was divided. However, God did not judge the people in the time of Solomon but waited and carried out His judgment during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam (1 Kgs 11:11). Therefore, from 970 BC to 540 BC equals 430 years. It was here God commanded Ezekiel to lie on his right side which signifies the judgment of Southern Judah (Ezek 4:6-7). Therefore, God commanded Ezekiel and said, “I need you to lie down on your left side (390 days) and your right side (40 days) bearing the iniquities of Northern Israel and Southern Judah.” This teaches and points to the fact that only Jesus can bear our iniquities.
Application of the 430 years
The people of God settled in Egypt for 430 years total. For the first 30 years, they enjoyed peace under Joseph who was the Prime Minister of Egypt and suffered for 400 years according to the promise that God made with Abraham in the covenant of the torch (Gen 15:13-14). To the very day, at the end of 430 years, God delivered His people out of Egypt (Ex 12:40-41). About the 430 years, God is stating the fact that just as He delivered His people from Egypt He will likewise deliver His people from Babylonian captivity. God is reminding the people that He is in control and will free them. Likewise, God will deliver us from whatever we are in captivity to such as habits, addictions, and worldly things He will also free His people today from their captivity and bring them back to their homeland. Through this Word, the year of Jubilee is happening now where God’s people will be set free from their captivity and return.
The period from 966 BC to 536 BC is 430 years. 966 BC is referring to the start of the construction of Solomon’s Temple in the fourth year of his reign in the month of Ziv which is the second month (1 Kgs 6:1). 536 BC is the beginning and construction of Zerubbabel’s Temple which also began in the month of Ziv, the second month (Ezra 3:8). In 538 BC king Cyrus decreed and allowed the people to return to their hometown. The people returned to their homeland in 537 BC and began work on Zerubbabel’s Temple in the second year of the second month in 536 BC. Thus we can conclude that the 430 years is referring to the building of the temple of God.
Conclusion: God has promised that He is going to rebuild the temple and that temple is us. Although we may have been brought down with pain and hurt in our hearts with darkness and secret sins, God says that He is going to raise up the temple again, our bodies, and our faith and rebuild the temple (Ezek 36:35-37). God is going to rebuild the desolate land and the temple of God, but we have to pray. The year 2019 is the year of Jubilee where God will declare for His people to return home and return to God and we will give glory and thanksgiving.