The Biblical Number System

The universal language of God’s physical creation is in a numerical language format. The creation is defined and understood in terms of a mathematical system of numbers. However, few people realize that there is a system of numbers used throughout the word of God. These numbers are used on a consistent basis and when studied, they are absolutely amazing.

Several authors have written on the subject. In addition, the Christian Jew Foundation published a booklet entitled “Significance of Bible Numbers.” It is a good summary source of information for understanding the Biblical numbers. The following includes excerpts from this booklet.

1. One – The number “one” means unity and oneness: one God, one church, and one faith. The number is not divisible by any other whole number; therefore, it implies that these things should not be divided. “One” is God’s Number. See John 17:21Acts 4:32, and Ephesians 4:1-6.

2. Two – The number “two” represents competent testimony in the Bible. We have seen it used to verify that a testimony is true. (See Matt 18:16Deuteronomy 17:6). Jesus used the number “two” in relationship to prayer (Matt 18:19,20).  During the tribulation period, God will sent two witnesses (Rev 11:3-12).  The number “two” in scripture is also used for division. 

3. Three -The number “three” represents the trinity. The Godhead has three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Three persons are in the trinity of evil; the devil, the antichrist, and the false prophet. Man is also a trinity consisting of the body, soul, and spirit. Three chief virtues embrace all others; faith, hope, and love.  Jesus chose three Apostles as His inter circle; Peter, James, and John. Jesus was in the grave for three days and three nights.

4. Four – The number “four” always refers to the earthly creation. The earth has four regions – north, south, east, and west. There are four seasons. Four horns on the altar of sacrifice pointed to all points of the compass.  We have all heard the phrase “The four corners of the earth.” 

5. Five – The number “five” represents God’s grace as applied to needy mankind. Benjamin received five times as many food servings as his brethren (Gen 43:34) and also five changes of raiment (Gen 45:22).  Five loaves were used to feed the multitude (Matthew 14:17), and five thousand were fed. We could find many more. Five is also associated with death.

6. Six – The number “six” represents man. Man was created on the sixth day. God told the Israelites to work six days and to rest on the seventh. Israel was given six days to sow and to gather. There were six cities of refuge in Israel. The number “666” is given as the number of the beast (Rev 13:18), and in the original Greek, it says that this is the number of mankind.

7. Seven – The number “seven” represents perfection or completion. It is found more times in the Bible than any other number. We see this number used over and over in the Jewish sacrificial system.

8. Eight – The number “eight” represents the resurrection or new beginnings. Eight souls survived the flood and entered into a new or regenerated earth. Circumcision was performed on the eighth day, foreshadowing the true circumcision of the heart (Col 2:11). The eighth dispensation, eternity, will be a perfect age – a New Heaven, a New Earth, and a New Jerusalem.

9. Nine – The number “nine” represents finality or strength. It is also the number for the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is three times three, the product of divine completeness. Note: on the cross, the work of redemption was completed at the ninth hour.

10. Ten – The number “ten” represents testing. The Ten Commandments were the special test that God gave to Israel. The parable of the ten pounds illustrates how the Lord will test our service when He returns.

11. Eleven – The number “eleven” represents judgment. During the days of Moses and Aaron, there were eleven judgments upon the Egyptians. Dinah, whose name means judgment, was Jacob’s eleventh child. John saw eleven events in connection with the judgment of the great white throne.

12. Twelve – The number “12” represents Israel. There were twelve tribes of the Children of Israel. Jesus chose twelve apostles out of Israel. The 144,000 witnesses mentioned in Revelation chapter 7 are from the twelve tribes of Israel.

13. Thirteen – The number “13” is associated with sin, depravity, and rebellion. Christ mentioned thirteen evil attributes that come from the sinful heart of man. He also spoke about hell (Gehenna) thirteen times.

14. Forty – Many other numbers have significant meaning. An example: the number “40” refer to probation and divine testing. Israel was tested forty years before they could enter the Promised Land. Ever wonder why Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days? 

15. The next major significant number is “50” – the number connected with the Holy Spirit. The number fifty is also associated with Israel’s Jubilee (Lev. 25:10) – a number used for celebration. For example, Pentecost is 50 days after Passover and the resurrection of Christ, Lev 23:15-16 and Acts 2. Also, see 2 Sam 15:1 where 50 men ran before Absalom.

16.Seventy – Symbolizes human judgment – Moses 70 elders (Num. 11:16), Tyre is to be judged for 70 years (Isa.23:15), and Jesus appointed 70 workers (Luke 10:1-7).

17. Many of the large numbers used in scripture are combinations of the above and have major significance in their use. As an example, the number “666” is three sixes. This represents man (number 6) trying to be God (number 3).

Note: There are several other books on this subject. You may want to read some of them for more details. In addition, one other website is listed for your study of more information on the topic. Just click on: “Symbols in the Bible.”  

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