The number 44 is not a very popular number in the bible. In fact, it is not mentioned explicitly in any of the books of the Bible. However, it still appears in chapter numbers and verses. Additionally, the number is founded on 4 (e.g. by juxtaposing two fours or by adding 40 to 4)That, however, doesn’t mean that the number has a special message in every of its appearance.
The number 44 can symbolize the completion of Christ’s earthly ministry. This is based on the fact that the time between the crucifixion of Jesus and his ascension back to heaven was a total of 44 days. Just as he promised, his ascension also resulted in sending the Holy Spirit. 44 can therefore also represent the Holy Spirit.
Significance of number 4
The number 44 is rooted in the number 4 so it is best to start by understanding the significance of the number 4 in the bible.
On the fourth day of creation, God completed the work of creating the material universe. In addition to the other elements that had been created between day 1 and 3, God created the sun, moon, and stars on day 4 which confirms the completion of the creation of the material universe. The Bible says the sun and moon were created to demarcate seasons and it is interesting to note that there are 4 seasons on earth. Number 4 can therefore be said to symbolize creation or the earth. However, number 4 may also be a symbol of finality. As we have seen, on the fourth day, God finalized the competition of the physical universe.
Rapid change of seasons
According to Church History, Jesus was killed on April 5, 30 A.D. After his resurrection, he appeared to different of his disciples to prove to them that he was indeed alive. The last documented physical appearance of Jesus after his resurrection and before his ascension was on May 18, 30 AD. This is the day when he gave his final instructions to his disciples before ascending to heaven (Acts 1:4 – 12). The time between the crucifixion of Jesus and his ascension is a total of 44 days.
The 44 days represent the last and arguably most important moments of Christ’s ministry on earth. In those 44 days, Jesus went through several seasons in rapid succession. From his triumphal entry to Jerusalem to his betrayal and suffering, Jesus saw it all in less than a month and this was a sign to the church that they can expect to have bad moments and good moments.
The number 44 represents a rapid change in seasons and that is exactly what happened in the early church. One day, they would be preaching the gospel and everybody was happy and the next day, they would be dealing with persecution. Number 44 may also be seen as a sign of a season of persecution. This is because the Greek word for persecution (dioko) appears 44 times in the New Testament.
The culmination of Christ’s ministry
The number 44 also represented the culmination of Christ’s ministry on earth. While speaking to the disciples about his death, he exhorted them not to be sorrowful because if he didn’t God, then the helper wouldn’t come. At that time, the disciples would have easily chosen not to lose Jesus but after his ascension, it made sense why he was telling them that it was better for the Holy Spirit to come. After the Holy Spirit came, it was now easy for the Church to grow beyond their usual locality. Unlike Jesus, the incarnate who could only be in one place at one time, the Holy Spirit was now unlimited and could be with the apostles in different parts of the world all at the same time.
Jesus often referred to himself as the son of man. This statement was meant to remind his listeners that even though he was a member of the Godhead, he was presently operating as Jesus the incarnate which posed a number of challenges. For instance, Jesus the incarnate couldn’t be in more than one palace at a time. In John 11, he was needed in Lazarus’ house but he couldn’t make it on time because he was elsewhere preaching. By the time he arrived four days later, Lazarus was already dead and buried. The number 44 can therefore represent the physical nature of Christ’s ministry
The presence of the Holy Spirit
The 44th time Peter is mentioned in the Bible is in the following verse;
Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:14 – 15
The fact that Peter is praying for people to receive the Holy Spirit in his 44th mention in the scripture proves that the number represents the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth.
Additionally, the book of Acts is the 44th book of the Bible. This is the book in which the Holy Spirit came and it is one of the best studies of the working of the Holy Spirit in the church. In this book, we see the disciples demonstrating the gifts of the Holy Spirit ranging from oratory gifts like word of knowledge and word of wisdom to power gifts like healing.
Just as Jesus had predicted, the coming of the Holy Spirit would make them into powerful witnesses and they would then take the gospel to Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, and to the ends of the earth.
So to sum it up, the number 44 represents the completion of Christ’s earthly ministry. This is significant because it meant the church was ready to spread beyond Judea and its neighboring regions. This was realized after the release of the Holy Spirit after Jesus had ascended to heaven.