Meaning of Numbers
in the Bible
The Number 400
The Number 430
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:
"And he (Stephen) said, 'Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.' . . .
"'And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him.
"'But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years.' " (Acts 7:2-3, 5-6, NKJV)
"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):
"Now the Lord had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' " (Genesis 12:1-3)
"Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children . . . Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years - on that very same day - it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. " (Exodus 12:37, 40-41)
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":
"Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many, but as of one, 'And to your Seed,' who is Christ.
"And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise." (Galatians 3:16-18, NKJV)
In the Bible 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.