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Significant Biblical Numbers

            This week’s message will be a study to help you understand the Bible a little better. The scripture was written by men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As an example, if I dictate something and Angie writes it down the letter would have been written by me but penned by her. This is the method that God used to write down His Word. There were forty men who wrote over a period of about 1600 years. Some men wrote multiple books while other books are anonymous. If you’ve studied the Bible for any length of time you it will occur to you that there are patterns it. Recently, there have been theories that it contains code that can only be seen with computers running complicated programs.

            Maybe you have already discovered that the names of people in the Word are significant. Whereas our names are given from what our parents liked, Bible names were given to show character, an event that occurred or even prophecy. Along those lines, there are numbers used in the Bible that represent a point and have significant meaning. If you understand this pattern it will help you to understand the Word even better.

            Let me begin by saying that this is not an all inclusive study. I will give you a few verses as examples for each number. Others scriptures may arise in you as the Holy Spirit inspires. The main numbers that you want to watch for are one through seven, ten, twelve, forty and fifty. Let me add one more comment before I begin. Numerology, which is the spiritual study of the occult, is not the same thing. You will find that this is actually condemned by God. Let’s begin today by looking at the number one.

            One represents unity in the Bible. That is easily understood and remembered. For you and me it may sound like a lonely number.  But to God it is an important number showing singleness and uniqueness. Look at Ephesians chapter four. Paul said that there is one body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism and God (v4-6). In John chapter seventeen Jesus was praying for His Church. In verses nineteen through twenty-three Jesus uses the number several times in His prayer for us. Particularly, you can see in verse twenty-three that He said “that they may be made perfect in one”. Doesn’t that strike you as a little odd in grammar? This is a good example of numbers used to get our attention.

            The number two is used in the Word representing the truth of God’s Word or agreement. First, think about the Bible. It is divided into two sections, the Old and New Testaments. It takes both to have the complete truth. In 2nd Corinthians chapter thirteen and verse one Paul says that things will be established as truth if they are confirmed by two witnesses. Jesus sent out His disciples two by two in Mark 6:7. In Revelations 11:3 there will be two witnesses sent forth in the last days to confirm God’s plan. In Amos 3:3 we find that two can’t walk together unless they are in agreement.  Consider also the law and the prophets and heaven and earth. I threw in the last line so that you can see it not only the number itself we are looking at but the number of something that is often significant.

            Three represents the Godhead or Trinity. Consider the roles of prophet, priest and king.  In the Old Covenant these were separate positions held by different men. Under the New Covenant these three offices are fulfilled in our Lord Jesus. In Isaiah chapter six the angels around the throne of God are seen by Isaiah and are shouting Holy, Holy, Holy continually. It represents God’s divine perfection or completion as shown in the three days Jesus was in the tomb. There are three parts given to man whom God created in His image-Spirit, Soul and Body.

             The number four in the Bible represents universal truth. In Acts 10 Peter saw a vision of animals being let down in a sheet by the four corners where God revealed that His plan of salvation was for all men. In Matthew 24:31 Jesus said that the Elect of God would be gathered from the four winds. There are four gospels-Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which give the complete account of Jesus’ ministry. There are four seasons in the year. There were four friends that came to Job to console him. There were four women listed in Jesus’ genealogy (Thamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba).  You will find many accounts of four in the Bible.

            Five is used in the Word to represent teaching. There are five loaves Jesus used to feed the multitude. Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch) called the law. There were five wise and five foolish virgins in Jesus Parable. David took five smooth stones to attack Goliath when he showedIsrael how to trust God.

            Six is man’s number. Man was created on the sixth day of creation. In Revelation the antichrist is this number three times (666). If you consider that man is Spirit, Soul and Body (the three parts from God) also consider the three ways we are deceived –the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life added to that to get six (1 John 2:16).  God gave man six days to work and one to rest.

            Seven is God’s number and shows perfection. It represents rest. The seventh day was when God rested from creation. There are seven days in our calendar week. In the tabernacle there were candlesticks with seven candles. In Revelation there are seven churches that represent God’s people. There are multiple references to seven in this book. In Genesis 12: 2-3 God gave Abraham a seven fold blessing. In John’s gospel there are seven miracles mentioned. When Jesus was on the cross He spoke seven times. While eight and nine are used in the Bible their meaning is more debatable. I will skip these for now but as always, I encourage you to study more.

            The number ten represents the law, completeness and restoration. God gave Moses Ten Commandments. Noah was the tenth generation from Adam. Ten plagues were given toEgypt by God to restoreIsrael. Note that as the devil imitates God there are ten kingdoms in Revelation that make up his end-time rule (rev 12:3). In Luke 15 there is a parable of a woman who has ten coins. She lost one and would not rest until it was found (v 8-10).

            Twelve represents the church. In the Old Testament there were twelve tribes ofIsrael. In the New Testament there were twelve disciples. In Revelations there are twenty-four elders that represent the Jewish Believers and the Church and there are 144, 000 Jews sealed during the tribulation (a multiple of 12). The New Jerusalem has twelve gates and the tree of life has twelve fruits on it bearing twelve months of the year (Rev 21). Jesus was twelve years old when He spoke in the temple.

            The next number of great significance in the Bible is forty. Perhaps you already have the forty days and nights of raining come to mind in the story of Noah. Maybe you think about forty days of Jesus fasting in the wilderness. The number forty is associated with testing or a generation of man.Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness (Deut 8:2). Did you also know that Moses was forty days onMount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments (Ex. 24:8)? And did you recognize that Jesus was seen by His disciples forty days before ascending to His Father (Acts 1:2)? It was forty years from the crucifixion to the destruction ofJerusalem. Jonah preached for forty days toNineveh (Jonah 3:4).

            The last number I am going to discuss today is the number fifty. This number represents power or triumph. Pentecost was fifty days after Jesus’ crucifixion. The year of Jubilee was the fiftieth year forIsrael (Levit. 25). If you’ve never studied Jubilee you will find it interesting. 

            Why did I give this unusual study today? First, it will help you to understand the Scripture a little better than you did. When you come across these numbers, or things that are in these numbers you will know that they mean something. Even if you don’t remember exactly what that is you can have the understanding to know it’s significant and look it up. The second reason I am giving it is that you and I can see more clearly that the Bible is truly a supernatural work. These patterns of numerical meaning transcend the author or time period that it was penned down. Think about something else; when Moses went to Mount Sinaihe didn’t stay up there exactly forty days just because he wanted it to be important. It was God’s will that Moses andIsrael wander forty years in the Wilderness. All of the numbers mean the same thing from Genesis to Revelations. Yet, as stated above the Books were penned down over a period of over 1600 years by forty authors that we know of.

            Don’t you find that incredibly impressive? You should! God’s Word was written by God and not man. You can count on it to change your life. Let me leave you with a question today. Do you have a passion for God’s Word? Do you readily study it and allowed it to work in your life? His Word is life! Believe on Him and be saved today.

            Prayer-Father, I pray for all of those who study the Bible. May they see the miracle of life in the words which live eternally. I pray that all who seek You would find You.

                                                In Jesus’ Name-Amen

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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