Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, and is a 40 day period that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday (Sundays are skipped in the forty day count, because Sundays commemorate the Resurrection). During Lent Christians are called to think about sacrifices, resolutions, and charitable works that will honor God and strengthen their faith.
I, Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. Revelation 22:16 KJV
The phenomenon known as Venus Retrograde occurs approximately every 20 months. This is when Venus travels in reverse motion against the backdrop of stars. It is 40 days from station retrograde to station direct. When Venus is 3 weeks into her retrograde period, there is a short period of darkness as Evening Star. After 3 days of invisibility, and while still retrograde, Venus emerges rising ahead of the Sun as the bright and morning Star.
Mythical and astrological thought about the nature of the planet Venus has been consistent since ancient times. Her beauty and high visibility, as well as her morning and evening phases have made her one of the most closely observed planets.
Babylonian and Mesoamerican astrologers paid close attention to her cycles, particularly to her first appearance as morning star, which was considered a dangerous time. The Babylonians called Venus the double-phased Ishtar...the morning star of war and the evening star of love. The Mesoamericans linked the morning phase of Venus with Quetzalcoatl, one of their major gods, believing that this was a time when leaders are struck down and natural disasters occur.
I find it curious that the ancient Aztecs had a Venusian goddess who they believed walked the earth as a man for 40 days before returning to the heavens, and that 40 days was the period of time between the resurrection of Jesus and his ascension to heaven? Also interesting that the number 40, so significant in Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and other traditions, is also the number of days of a Venus retrograde cycle and her complete transition from evening to morning star.
Biblical numerology recognizes there are several numbers and sets of numbers that can be found repeatedly in the Bible. The number 40 is designated as the number that represents trials and probations.
The number 40 is mentioned almost 100 times in the Bible, below is a partial list:
- The rains (in Noah's day) fell for 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:4).
- Israel ate Manna for 40 years (Exodus 16:35).
- Moses was with God in the mount, 40 days and nights (Exodus 24:18).
- Moses was again with God 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 34:28).
- Moses led Israel from Egypt at age 80 (2 times 40); (Deuteronomy 34:7
- Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness and died at 120 (3 times 40); (Deuteronomy 34:7).
- The spies searched the land of Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13:25).
- Therefore, God made Israel wander for 40 years (Numbers 14:33-34).
- 40 stripes was the maximum whipping penalty (Deuteronomy 25:3).
- God allowed the land to rest for 40 years (Judges 3:11).
- God again allowed the land to rest for 40 years (Judges 5:31).
- God again allowed the land to rest for 40 years (Judges 8:28).
- Abdon (a judge in Israel) had 40 sons (Judges 12:14).
- Israel did evil; God gave them to an enemy for 40 years (Judges 13:1).
- Eli judged Israel for 40 years (1 Samuel 4:18).
- Goliath presented himself to Israel for 40 days (1 Samuel 17:16).
- Saul reigned for 40 years (Acts 13:21).
- Ishbosheth (Saul's son) was 40 when he began reign (2 Samuel 2:10).
- David reigned over Israel for 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4, 1 Kings 2:11).
- The holy place of the temple was 40 cubits long (1 Kings 6:17).
- 40 baths (measurement) was size of lavers in Temple (1 Kings 7:38).
- The sockets of silver are in groups of 40 (Exodus 26:19 & 21).
- Solomon reigned same length as his father; 40 years (1 Kings 11:42).
- Elijah had one meal that gave him strength 40 days (1 Kings 19:8).
- Ezekiel bore the iniquity of the house of Judah for 40 days (Ezekiel 4:6).
- Jehoash (Joash) reigned 40 years in Jerusalem (2 Kings 12:1).
- Egypt to be laid desolate for 40 years (Ezekiel 29:11-12).
- Ezekiel's (symbolic) temple is 40 cubits long (Ezekiel 41:2).
- The courts in Ezekiel's temple were 40 cubits long (Ezra 46:22).
- God gave Nineveh 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4).
- Jesus fasted 40 days and nights (Matthew 4:2).
- Jesus was tempted 40 days (Luke 4:2, Mark 1:13).
- Jesus remained on earth 40 days after resurrection (Acts 1:3).
Is it merely a coincidence that the the Venus retrograde cycles lasts 40 days and that her three day disappearance from the sky before rising ahead of the Sun as morning star is the same amount of time that Jesus remained in the tomb before his resurrection?
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40 KJV
The video above and on the side shows the orbit of Venus around the earth (with the Earth in the center) over the course of about 8 years. This is how long it takes Venus to complete her entire cycle and return...approximately...to her original position. The small loops show Venus retrograde periods. Be patient and you'll see the formation of a Rose.
Though the Bible doesn't expressly declare Jesus Christ to be the rose of Sharon, this has been a long accepted metaphor. Christ the Rose of Sharon