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BIBLE MYSTERIES -

NUMBERS

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For many centuries readers of the Bible have recognized that the numbers identified in the Holy Scriptures have special significance. Indeed, in the Epistle of Barnabus, believed to have been written in the early second century, we find a somewhat extensive preoccupation with numbers and their significance. [While this book was not included in the cannon, it enjoyed wide circulation in the early church.]

This student-writer was motivated to pen this page upon hearing a sermon on numbers by the late Adrian Rogers. The grasp of the mysteries of Biblical numbers by this speaker was impressive; yet there were omissions and some misconceptions that seem to be common in the contemporary church.

In a sense there are two ways to approach Scriptural numbers, although they naturally overlap each other. The first way is to take a number at face value; for example, Acts 27:37 states that there were two hundred and seventy six 'souls' with Paul when his ship was wrecked.

Another way to deal with numbers is the method used in the Epistle of Barnabas, where it is stated: Abraham circumcised three hundred and eighteen men of his house ... Mark, first the eighteen ... For the numeral letters of ten and eight are I H and these denote Jesus [Chapter VIII:11-12]. The reference here is to the value of letters in the alphabet; the Greeks - and the Jews - did not have a separate system of numbers, so they assigned numbers to the letters of their alphabet, whereby the first letter would equal one, the tenth letter would equal ten, and so forth. In Greek the tenth letter is iota or 'i' and the eighth letter is eta or 'e', being the first letters of the Name of Iesous or Jesus. Using this system, each verse of Scripture can be read as either a series of words or a series of numbers.

This latter method is well documented over the centuries and causes little misunderstanding. Such is not the case with the first method. In order to claify the matter and to establish a method of interpreting Biblical numbers, we must start by laying the foundation of the spiritual significance of the first twelve numbers in order. In stating this, it must be held in view - as Adrian Rogers pointed out - that such a system must give rise to a consistent application to each and all instances where it occurs. Yet it is in these small group of first numbers where the most errors arise.

Let there be lightnumber zeroThe number zero must be dealt with first; of course it signifies nothing, but, since it occurs in the number 10 [20, etc.], it requires some explanation. Before the Beginning was G·d; G·d was able to 'not be', to believe - by faith - that I AM, and thereby bring all that IS into existence. So, when we deal spiritually as well as mathematically with numbers, we use the zero.

number oneThe number one represents unity, but because it is a Divine number, and such unity is beyond the comprehension of mortal finite minds, it also represents chaos. Deuteronomy 6:4 states that the LORD our G·d is one LORD. As we develop the different aspects of the Divine Entity through the study of numbers, it is well to keep in mind that the Lord cannot be divided, that such division is merely for the convenience of expanding our understanding of G·d's Perfect Will.
The two tablets of the Commandmentsthe number twoGenesis 1:3 states: G·d said, Let there be light. This statement implies division between G·d and light. Keeping in mind that the number two is only an accommodation to aid our understanding, and that the Divine Entity is perfect, this number implies the Mystery of Evil which occurs further down our list of numbers. As the number two occurs within Scripture, there is a sense of confusion or division. To the right is displayed Moses preparing to cast down the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments upon the apostate Israelites. Why did not G·d write His tenets upon one tablet? We do not necessarily know, but we know that He did engrave two tablets. Adrian Rogers stated that two is a number of witness; this is quite insightful, and must be included in the discussion. The Torah declares that two witnesses are required to establish guilt under Law; Jesus sent out His disciples by twos. These examples remind us that - in carrying out the Divine Will through the action of the Holy Spirit - two in its Divine aspect is operable within the faith.
Crucifixion on Golgothathe number threeThe crosses of the Crucifixion on Golgotha serve well to depict the number three. In its Divine aspect, the number three denotes the complete G·dhead, the Trinity, the Most High G·d. Three completes the numbers one and two with perfection. In the depiction we see two thieves crucified on each side of Jesus ... He was numbered with the transgressors [Mark 15:28]. One thief [almost surely the one on the left of Jesus] accused the Saviour, saying IF thou be Christ... [Luke 23:39]; the other thief [surely the one on the right] said, Dost not thou fear G·d ... Jesus, Lord, remeber me ... to which Jesus responds, today thou shalt be with me in paradise [Luke 23:40 & 42]. The left hand of the Lord is the side of judgment, His right hand is the side of mercy [see Mat 25:33 & 41]. The scenario on Golgotha establishes the authority of  the G·dhead through Jesus to both save with mercy and to administer condemnation in judgment. The cross in the middle where hung our Lord signifies balance by way of grace. Jesus rose to His throne, opening the windows of mercy and salvation, and reserving judgment. In Exodus 3:14 G·d tells Moses: I AM THAT I AM; the Hebrew word for I AM equals 21, or 2 + 1 = 3.
the four-letter name, or Tetragrammatonthe number fourFour is the number of creative force. It is represented by the ineffable four-letter name - or Tetragrammaton - often written as Jehovah or Yahweh. Genesis 2:4 states: the LORD G·d made the earth and the heavens. This is the first mention of the Tetragrammaton in Scripture. Verse ten states, a river went out of Eden ... and it was parted, and became four heads. The Hebrew letters for the LORD G·d equal 112, or 1 + 1 + 2 = 4. [In the King James translation, the Tetragrammaton is represented by all capital letters: LORD. When the Hebrew text uses the word Adonai, the KJ gives 'Lord'. When the word 'lord' appears in the KJ, the Hebrew word is ba'al. When reading the Torah aloud, the Jews said Adonai when they came to the Tetragrammaton, since it was not proper to pronounce the four-letter name. The word Jehovah is formed by taking the vowels of Adonai and inserting them between the four letters of the Tetragrammaton. In other words, the name Jehovah never actually existed.]
five plus five virginsthe number fiveAdrian Rogers wisely noted that the number five is a number of completeness: but completeness of what? Five commandments on one tablet, five commandments on the other tablet; five is half of ten, and ten completes G·d's total perfection [see below]. In the present context, five denotes the complete Divine world, the waters above, leaving the remaining five to represent the material world, the waters below. This is well represented by the story of the ten virgins [Mat 25], five of them wise and five of them foolish. Verse 10 says: they that were ready went in with Him ... and the door was shut. When David went out to face Goliath, it states in I Sam 17:40 that he: chose him five smooth stones. These five stones represent the five-letter name of G·d in Genesis 1:1 - Elohim - who said: Let there be light.
× × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × ×
Satan cast downthe number sixThe number SIX is the most misunderstood number of this set. The conventional understanding in the Church today is that six is the number of man; this is not only untrue, it is perilously misleading. Six is the number of evil, and the only number for evil. Using the method mentioned above of using letters for numbers, 'Satan' in Greek equals 552, or 276 × 2 [S = 200, a = 1, t = 300 and n = 50]; 276 is the number of Satan: 2 + 7 + 6 = 15, 1 + 5 = 6. In Hebrew the word for 'evil' equals 276 [vau = 6, resh = 200 and 'ayin = 70 {the vau is the article}]. The flood occurred in the six hundredth year of Noah's life. If six is the number of evil, the number of Satan, and it is also the number of man, then why did Jesus sacrifice Himself? Satan cannot be redeemed; evil cannot be redeemed. Just as five represents the waters above, six represents the waters below. Five represents the righteousness of G·d, six represents the rebellion of this world.
  The misconception about the number six undoubtedly arises from the passage in Revelations 13:18: Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three score and six. What wisdom is required to count the number of six in the verse? A fool could do that! If one counts the number given, the result is 6 + 6 + 6 = 18; 18 is the number of the beast, and 18 is the number of the verse. 1 + 8 = 9, and nine is the number of man, the number of Israel [see below]. Thus have we counted the number of the beast, and the number of man.
× × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × × ×
seven point of the Menorahthe number sevenThe number seven is here represented by the points of the Jewish menorah. [It should be noted that this particular rendering - taken from the triumphal Arch of Titus in Rome and depicting victory over the Jews, and the carrying off of the Second Temple treasures - appears inaccurate, since the base has engraved images; such depiction was forbidden among the Jews.] Adrian Rogers - and much of the modern Church - identifies the number seven as the perfect number. This author believes this is a bit misleading; it might be more accurately stated that seven is the perfecting number. If seven indicated perfection there would be no need for eight and onward. More accurately seven might be identified as redemption, or as movement away from one state towards another, the way of salvation. True that there are seven days in the week, but a week is only part of a larger calendar cycle. The prodigal son [Lu 15:11 et fol] encountered the number seven when he realised his debased situation and turned his steps towards home in humility and repentance. When Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene was she perfected? ... or redeemed? [Mk 16:9] The menorah stood outside the 'veil' that isolated the Holy of Holies, indicating the way to perfection. The words the law in Eph 2:15, in Greek letters, equals 700. Isaiah 43:25 states: I am He that blotteth out thy transgressions ... and will not remember thy sins; 4 + 3 = 7, 2 + 5 = 7. Why not eight? Because the action described is redemption, and points directly at eight: I AM [next].
Ascension
the Lamb of Godthe number eightEight is a joyful number; it is the number of Christ, the number of newness. Adrian Rogers says that the number eight represents new beginnings. I Peter 3:20 states: ... in the days of Noah ... eight souls were saved by water; if we use the number-for-letters method (above) on this verse: the ark wherein a few, that is, eight souls were saved by water, the total equals 8880, or 888 × 10. Even the word 'new' in Rev 21:5 - Behold, I make all things new - equals 80 by this method. The name 'Jesus' in Greek equals 888. Where more in the Hebrew Scriptures do we find the suffering Christ: wounded for our transgressions ... bruised for our iniquities, than Isaiah Chapter 53? 5 + 3 = 8. The four Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton equals 26, or 2 + 6 = 8. The Hebrew letters for the Most High G·d equals 197 or eight. The Hebrew words in Is 52:10: (the) salvation of our G·d equal 888 [the word salvation equals 102, or three].
Fishers of menthe number nineThe number nine is the number of man - especially redeemed man. Jesus said, I will make you fishers of men; in the Greek text this number is 153, or 1 + 5 + 3 = 9. Giving the numbers of the Greek letters, fishers of men equals 153 × 14. In the Gospel of John 21:6 Jesus says, cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find ... [verse11] and Peter drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty three. In Mat 18:12-13 Jesus says: if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine ... and seeketh that which has gone astray? In Luke 15:7 Jesus states: ... joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons... Rev 14:1 states: a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads. 1 + 4 + 4 = 9; the Greek letters for the 144 thousands can equal 1008, or 144
× 7. In Rev 15:2 the Greek letters for: them that had gotten victory over (the) beast equals 3024 or 144 × 21 [9 × 3 = 27, 2 + 7 = 9]. This is confirmed in Rom 11:7 ... the elect [election] hath obtained it; the Greek letters for the elect equal 144.
unity out of chaosthe number tenThe number ten indicates G·d's perfection, perfection beyond the understanding of man. By ten G·d reconciles the chaos of the nothing out of which everything was created with the unity of His Will. Ten acts as a multiplier of the character of the numbers listed above - as does a hundred or a thousand; note the example above of I Pet 3:20. In the New Testament, 37 is a number of Christ, and the Greek letters of Christ equals 1480:  37
× 40 [37 × 8 × 5]. We said above that the name 'Jesus' in Greek equals 888, which is 37 × 8 × 3. 3 + 7 = 10. Ten is the value of iota, the first letter of Jesus, and ten is the value of yod, the first letter of the Tetragrammaton. We read above of the Ten Commandments - the total law - and the ten virgins, representing the world above and the world below.
the number eleven
broken sealThe number eleven is a restatement of two, except that - while two is a divine number - eleven is worldly, and the hint of evil raised by two often becomes manifest in eleven. The two ones of the number eleven clearly indicate division. When Judas Iscariot departed the fellowship, the remaining eleven quickly appointed Matthias to take his place, to return their number to twelve [see Acts 1].
twelve patriarchsthe number twelve To the left are the twelve Patriarchs representingtwelve disciples the twelve tribes of Israel; to the right is Jesus with the twelve disciples. Just as eleven is a restatement of two, twelve is a restatement of the Divine number three [1 + 2 = 3]. Adrian Rogers said of twelve that it represents government, specifically G·d ruling and reigning. Isaiah 9:6 states: the government shall be upon His shoulder. It is of interest that the Hebrew letters for the government equal 550, or ten.

Before continuing with various numbers of interest, it might be instructive to apply
the essay to this point to the daily life and faith of the reader. That is: wherein does
the human soul reside? It seems plausible that the soul resides between five and six,
partaking of both the Divine Presence and the corrupting temptation of the material
world. The human soul cannot reside solely in the number six. It starts life under
the influence of six, and even though it cannot travel upwards into the Divine world,
the soul can travel downwards through seven [redemption] through the Mind of
Christ - eight - to the number nine [redeemed man]. Completing this journey brings
the soul to Israel, which equals ten [counting the letters of the Hebrew word, which
equals 541: 5 + 4 + 1 = 10.] In becoming Israel the sould resides in ten, which
perfection allows mankind to partake of the Divine Presence denied it in its primal
state between five and six.
   It is interesting to note that Jesus Christ is involved in every number from one to
ten - EXCEPT the number six.
   For some reason commentators will speak of the numbers one through seven - or
through eight - and then skip to twelve. It seems curious that they leave nine
through eleven unregarded. If one is to claim knowledge of the meaning of numbers,
should not they comment on all the primal numbers?

the number eighteenNero CaesarThe number eighteen has been demonstrated to represent the beast. Mat 7:13 states: broad is the way that leads to destruction; the Greek letters [leaving out the articles] equal 4968, or 276 × 18. In the words in Jn 1:9: into (the) world, the Greek letters equal 666, or eighteen [they actually equal 665, but this is considered within the margin by many when using this method.] Likewise, the Greek letters of Lk 4:5: (the) kingdoms (of the) world equal 1332, or 666 × 2. The number 666 occurs one other place in the Bible besides Revelation 13:18: I Kings 10:14. After Solomon and the Queen of Sheba part ways, verse 10 states: the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents... In verses 19-20 we read that the throne had six steps, and a lion on each side of each step, equaling the number eighteen also.
driven out of Edenthe number twenty fourThis author believes that the number twenty-four indicates movement,
most especially movement away from light to darkness. It is also note-
worthy that 2 + 4 = 6. For example, in Nu 25:9: those that died in the plague
were twenty and four thousand
. A bit more curiously, Nu 7:88 states: ... for
the sacrifice ... were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty
[6], the he goats
sixty
[6], the lambs of the first year sixty [6 - the total 42 or 6]. Genesis 3:24
states: He drove out the man [fom Eden]; 2:24 states: Therefore shall a man
leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be
one
flesh; 1:24 states: Let the earth bring forth the ... beast of the earth...
For this reason, among others, this author believes that Adam and Eve fell
after twenty-four years in Eden. It is Matthew Chapter 24 where Jesus speaks
of the destruction of the Temple and the Great Tribulation; however, Jesus
also speaks there of His return in glory.
Jesus the Christthe number thirty-sevenThe number thirty-seven is a number of Christ. For example Mt 13:37 states: He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the Greek letters for the Son of man equals 2960 [8] or 37
× 80. 3 + 7 = 10, indicating the perfection of G·d. We said above that 'Jesus' in Greek letters equals 888, or 37 × 8 × 3; the name 'Jesus Christ' in Greek letters equals 2368 [10] or 37 × 8 × 8. Mt 23:37 states: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Mt 27:37: this is Jesus the king of the Jews. Jn 19:37 says [quoting Zechariah 12:10]: They shall look on Him whom they pierced.
the number one hundred and forty-fourRev 14:1 states: with Him an hundred forty and four thousand... 1 + 4 + 4 = 9. Rom 11:7 says: the election [elect] hath obtained it... The Greek letters for the elect equals one hundred and forty-four.
the number onehundred and fifty-threeJn 21:11 states: ... drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three... 1 + 5 + 3 = 9. The Greek word for fishes in Lk 9:13 equals 1224 [9] or 153
× 8.
merchant ship second centurySatan's kingdomthe number two hundred and seventy-sixWe read above that two hundred and seventy-six is the number of Satan and his kingdom. Here is a mystery within a mystery: Acts 27:37 claims that there were two hundred threescore and sixteen souls abord the ship with Paul when it shipwrecked, or 276 people. This figure seems improbable to this author; to the right is depicted a merchant ship of the second century, under full sail, that plied the Roman trade in the Mediterranean. To the rear is seen a cabin with a door, implying the approximate size of a man. If this ship can be considered representational of Paul's transport, and considering that it carried enough cargo to make a profit, it could not have carried anywhere near that complement of crew and passengers. This scenario presents the sort of mysteries that the student ponders in order to deepen his understanding of
G·d's Word.
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The pictures above are mostly from Reader's Digest MYSTERIES OF THE BIBLE,
Copyright 1988, Reader's Digest Association, Pleasantville, New York.
The hellish picture of the black sabbat [immediately above] is from Witchcraft and Black Magic, Peter Haining, Grosset & Dunlap, 1972. The Roman merchant vessel is from the 1969 edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica.

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