Meaning of Numbers
in the Bible
400 and 430
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The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 400
The number four hundred is the product of 8 and 50, and is a divinely perfect period.
From the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham in the birth of Isaac to the Exodus was a period of 400 years. Stephen mentions it as dating from his descendants (Acts 7:6), and God dates it from the same point in Genesis.
2 To this he replied: 'Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 'Leave your country and your people,' God said, 'and go to the land I will show you.' 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: 'Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. (Acts 7:2-3, 5-6, NIV)
"Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He (God) said to Abram: 'Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years . . .' " (Genesis 15:12-13, NKJV)
The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 430
The significance of the number four hundred and thirty comes from it being the total years from the call of Abraham (Genesis 12) and the promises given to him to the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12).
1 The LORD had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 'I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.'' (Genesis 12:1-3, NIV)
37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD'S divisions left Egypt. (Exodus 12:37, 40-41, NIV)
This covers the whole period of the "sojourning"; not of Abraham's "seed," as in Genesis 15:13 and Acts 7:6 (as discussed on the Biblical meaning of the number 400), but of Abraham himself. This is what is mentioned in Galatians 3:17 as the period from the "promises" to the "law."
16. Now to Abraham and to his Seed were the promises spoken. He does not say, "and to your seeds," as of many; but as of one, "and to your Seed," which is Christ. 17. Now this I say, that the covenant ratified beforehand by God to Christ cannot be annulled by the law, which was given four hundred and thirty years later, so as to make the promise of no effect. 18. For if the inheritance is by law, it is no longer by promise. But God granted it to Abraham by promise. (Galatians 3:16-18, Holy Bible in Its Original Order - A Faithful Version (HBFV))
In Scripture it is referred to also in Exodus 12:40, where the "sojourn" is the nominative case (or subject) of the verb, while the sentence, "who lived in Egypt," is merely a relative clause, defining parenthetically an important point concerning them.