633. Forty-two months, signifies even to the end of the old church and the beginning of the new. This is evident from the signification of "months," as being states, here the states of the church; for "times," whether hours or days or months or years or ages, signify states, and such states are designated by the numbers by which such times are determined, as here by the number "forty-two" (that this is so, see above, n. 571, 610). This is evident also from the signification of "forty-two" as being the end of the former church and the beginning of the new; this is the signification of that number, because it means six weeks, and "six weeks" has a similar signification as the "six days" of one week, namely, a state of combat and labor, and thus the end when the church is altogether vastated, or when evil is consummated; and "the seventh week" which then follows signifies the beginning of a New Church; for the number "forty-two" arises from the multiplication of six into seven, six times seven making forty-two, therefore "forty-two" has a similar signification as "six weeks," and "six weeks" something similar to the "six days" of one week, namely, a state of combat and labor, as was said, and also a full state, here the full consummation of good and truth, that is, the full vastation of the church.
 In the Word mention is sometimes made of "forty," sometimes days, sometimes months, sometimes years, and that number signifies either the full vastation of the church, or a complete temptation. That this state is signified by the numbers "forty" and "forty-two," can be seen from the following passages. In Ezekiel:
Egypt shall not be inhabited forty years; I will make Egypt a solitude in the midst of the lands that are desolate, and her cities in the midst of the cities that are laid waste, they shall be a solitude forty years; and I will scatter Egypt among the nations, and will disperse them into the lands. At the end of forty years I will bring together Egypt from the peoples, whither they were scattered, and will bring back the captivity of Egypt (Ezekiel 29:11-14).
"Egypt" signifies the church in respect to true knowledges [scientifica], upon which doctrine is based. True knowledges at that time were the knowledges of correspondences and representations, upon which the doctrine of their church was based. But because the Egyptians turned these knowledges into magic, and thus perverted the church, its vastation is described, which is meant by "forty years;" this, therefore, is the signification of "Egypt shall not be inhabited forty years, and her cities shall be a solitude forty years." That "Egypt must be scattered among the nations and dispersed into the lands" signifies that evils and falsities will altogether occupy that church and pervert all its knowledges [scientifica]. This makes clear that "forty years" signifies a state of full vastation of the church, or even to its end, when there will be no more good or truth remaining. But the beginning of a New Church, which is signified by "the end of forty years," is meant by these words, "at the end of forty years I will bring together Egypt from the peoples whither they were scattered, and will bring back the captivity of Egypt."
 In the same prophecy:
That the prophet should lie on his right side forty days, and lay siege to Jerusalem, which shall want bread and water, and be desolated, a man and his brother, and pine away for its iniquity (Ezekiel 4:6, 7, 17);
has a similar signification. The full vastation of the church is also here signified by that number; "Jerusalem" signifies the church; "to lay siege to it" signifies to distress the church by evils and falsities; "to want bread and water" signifies to be vastated in respect to the good of love and the truth of doctrine; "to be desolated, a man and his brother, and to pine away for iniquity," has a similar signification, for "man and his brother" mean truth and charity, and "to pine away" means to die out.
(References: Ezekiel 4:6-7)
 The "forty days" of the flood have a similar signification in Genesis:
For yet seven days I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy all substance that I have made from upon the faces of the earth. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights, then after seven days he sent forth a dove, which did not return unto him (Genesis 7:4, 12; 8:6, 12).
The "flood" signifies the devastation of the old or most ancient church, likewise the last judgment upon those who were of that church; "the rain of forty days" signifies the ruin of that church by the falsities of evil; but the beginning of a New Church is signified by the drying up of the earth after those forty days, and by its sprouting up anew; the "dove" that he sent out signifies the good of charity, which was the essential of that church. (But respecting these things see Arcana Coelestia, where they are explained.)
(References: Genesis 8:13)
 The law in Moses:
That the wicked man might be smitten with forty stripes, and no more lest thy brother seem vile in thine eyes (Deuteronomy 25:3);
originated in this signification of the number "forty." Full punishment as well as vastation is described by "forty," since punishment is equally the consummation of evil; and as reformation follows after punishment, it is said that he should not be smitten with more stripes, "lest thy brother seem vile in thine eyes;" for "forty" signifies the end of evil, and also the beginning of good, therefore if he were smitten with more than forty stripes the beginning of good, or reformation, would not be signified.
 The vastation of the church with the sons of Jacob by a servitude of four hundred years in Egypt is signified by the words of Jehovah to Abraham:
Know that thy seed shall be a sojourner in a land not theirs, where they shall subject them to servitude four hundred years (Genesis 15:13).
"Four hundred" has a similar signification as "forty," just as one "thousand" has a similar signification as one "hundred," and one "hundred" as "ten. "
 The vastation of the church and also full temptation are signified by the tarrying of the sons of Israel forty years in the wilderness, which is thus spoken of in the following passages:
Your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and shall bear your whoredoms even till your carcasses are consumed 1 in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33, 34).
He made them to wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the eyes of Jehovah was consumed (Numbers 32:13).
Jehovah hath known thy walking through the great wilderness these forty years, Jehovah thy God hath been with thee that thou lackedst nothing (Deuteronomy 2:7).
Thou shalt remember all the way which Jehovah thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, that He might afflict thee and tempt thee; He fed thee with manna; to afflict thee, to tempt thee, and to do thee good at the last (Deuteronomy 8:2, 3, 15, 16).
Your fathers tempted Me, they proved Me; forty years I loathed this generation, and I said, It is a people that do err in heart, and they have not known My ways (Psalms 95:9, 10).
I have made you to come up out of the land of Egypt, and I have led you in the wilderness forty years to possess the land of the Amorites (Amos 2:10).
From what has been cited it is clear that "forty years" signifies not only the vastation of the church with the sons of Israel, but also full temptation; also "the end of those years" signifies the beginning of a New Church. The vastation of the church is described by these words, that "they should be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and should bear whoredoms, even till their carcasses should be consumed; also by these, "until all this generation that had done evil in the eyes of Jehovah was consumed;" also by these, "I loathed this generation, and I said, It is a people that do err in heart, and they have not known My ways." But the temptation that is also signified by "forty years" is described by these words, "Jehovah thy God hath been with thee these forty years, that thou lackedst nothing;" also by these, "Jehovah led thee forty years in the wilderness, that He might afflict thee and tempt thee; and He fed thee with manna;" also by these, "He led thee in the wilderness to tempt thee, and to do thee good at the last." The beginning of a New Church, after the end of the forty years, is described by their introduction into the land of Canaan, which took place after these forty years; and this is also meant by these words, "to do thee good at the last;" so also by these, "I have led you in the wilderness forty years to possess the land of the Amorites."
 Full temptation is signified also by:
Moses was upon Mount Sinai forty days and forty nights, during which he ate no bread and drank no water (Exodus 24:18; 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9, 11, 18, 25).
In like manner that Jesus was in the wilderness, tempted by the devil, and fasted there forty days (Matthew 4:1, 2; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:1).
From this it can be seen that the number "forty" in the Word signifies full vastation and consummation, that is, when all the good of the church is vastated and the evil is consummated; also that the same number signifies full temptation, and also the establishment of the church anew, or reformation. From this it can be known what is signified by "the forty-two months during which the nations trampled down the holy city," likewise by the following in Revelation:
That there was given to the beast coming up out of the sea a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and there was given to him authority forty-two months (Revelation 13:1, 5).
Let no one, therefore, believe that "forty-two months" mean months, or that any time designated by numbers is meant here and in what follows.