The Biblical Meaning Of Numbers

The Biblical Meaning Of Numbers

1. One. The primary number. Signifies absolute singleness (Ex. 4:4-6; Deut. 6:4; Eph. 4:4-6).

2. Two. The number of witness and support.

  • a.  Two great lights of creation (Gen. 1:16).
  • b.  Two angels at Sodom (Gen. 19:1).
  • c.  Two cherubim on the ark (Ex. 25:22).
  • d.  The commandments were written on two stones (Ex. 31:18).
  • e.  Two witnesses to establish a truth (Deut. 17:6; Mt. 26:60).
  • f.  The good report of the two spies at Kadesh (Num. 14:6).
  • g.    Two spies at Jericho (Josh. 2:1).
  • h.    Two are better than one (Eccl. 4:9).
  • i.    Jesus sent out disciples two by two (Lk. 10:1).
  • x.    He sends Peter and John into Jerusalem (Mk. 14:13).
  • k.    Two angels attend the resurrection (Lk. 24:4).
  • l.    Two angels are present at the ascension (Acts 1:10).
  • m.    God’s two immutable things (Heb. 6:18).
  • n.    The two tribulational witnesses (Rev. 11:3).

3. Three. Number of unity, accomplishment, and of the universe.

  • a.    Concerning the universe: space, matter, time.
  • b.    Concerning space: three dimensional, height, breadth, length.
  • c.    Concerning matter: energy, motion, phenomena.
  • d.    Concerning time: past, present, future.
  • e.    The unity of the human race can be traced to Noah’s three sons (Gen. 6:10).
  • f.    Three days were involved in the crossing of the Jordan (Josh. 1:11).
  • g.    Israel’s national life involved three yearly feasts (Ex. 23:14, 17).
  • h.    Gideon accomplished a mighty victory through three bands of soldiers (Jdg. 7:22).
  • i.    Three days of preparation led to a revival in Ezra’s time (Ezra 10:9).
  • x.    Three days were involved in the decision to build the walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s time (Neh. 2:11).
  • k.    Esther prepared her heart for three days before meeting with the king (Est. 4:16).
  • l.    God prepared Jonah in the fish’s belly for three days (Jonah 1:17).
  • m.    Christ was in the heart of the earth for three days (Jn. 2:19).
  • n.    His earthly ministry lasted some three years (Lk. 13:7).
  • o.    Concerning the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
  • p.    Concerning man (his nature): body, soul, spirit.
  • q.    Concerning man (his enemies): the world, the flesh, the devil.
  • r.    Concerning the tabernacle and the Temple: outer court, inner court, Holy of Holies.
  • s.    Concerning the offices of Christ: Prophet, Priest, King.
  • t.    Concerning salvation: justification, sanctification, glorification.

4. Four. An earth-related number.

  • a.    Four directions: north, south, east, west.
  • b.    Four seasons: summer, winter, fall, spring (Gen. 8:22).
  • c.    Four great earthly kingdoms (Dan. 7:3).
  • d.    Four kinds of spiritual soil (Mt. 13).
  • e.    Four horsemen of the tribulation (Rev. 6).
  • f.    Fourfold earthly ministry of Christ.

Matthew describes him as a King.
Mark as a Servant.
Luke as the perfect Man.
John as the mighty God.

5. Five. The number of grace.

  • a.    There were five Levitical offerings (Lev. 1-5).
  • b.    God’s grace would allow five Israelites to chase one hundred of their enemies (Lev. 26:8).
  • c.    There were five wise virgins (Mt. 25:2).
  • d.    Jesus used five barley loaves to feed 5,000 (Mt. 14:17).

6. Six. This is the number of man.

  • a.    God created man’s world in six days (Gen. 1:31).
  • b.    There were six cities of refuge (Num. 35:6).
  • c.    Israel marched around Jericho six times (Josh. 6:3).
  • d.    Goliath was six cubits high (1 Sam. 17:4).
  • e.    The number of the antichrist is 666 (Rev. 13:18).
  • f.    Nebuchadnezzar’s statue was sixty cubits by six (Dan. 3:1).

7. Seven. The number of God, or divine perfection.

  • a.    God rested on the seventh day (Gen. 2:2).
  • b.    His word is as silver purified by fire seven times (Ps. 12:6).
  • c.    Seventy weeks (or years) are determined upon Israel (Dan. 9:24).
  • d.    Jesus taught Peter to forgive seventy times seven (Mt. 18:22).
  • e.    There are seven miracles in the Gospel of John.
  • f.    There were seven sayings on the cross.
  • g.    John wrote to seven churches (Rev. 1:4).
  • h.    He saw seven golden candlesticks (Rev. 1:12).
  • i.    There are seven stars in Christ’s hand (Rev. 1:16).
  • x.    The Father holds a seven-sealed book (Rev. 5:1).
  • k.    Seven angels pronounce judgment in the tribulation (Rev. 8:2).

8. Eight. The new beginning number.

  • a.    Eight are saved from the flood (Gen. 7:13, 23).
  • b.    Circumcision was to be performed on the eighth day (Gen. 17:12).
  • c.    Thomas saw Jesus eight days after the resurrection (Jn. 20:26).

9. Nine. The fullness of blessing number.

  • a.    The fruit of the Spirit is ninefold (Gal. 5:22, 23).
  • b.    Sarah was ninety at the birth of Isaac (Gen. 17:17).
  • c.    There are eighteen gifts of the Spirit (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4).

10. Ten. The human government number.

  • a.    The revived Roman Empire will consist of ten nations (Dan. 7:24; Rev. 17:12).
  • b.    The northern kingdom had ten tribes (1 Ki. 11:31-35).
  • c.    A local government of ten men decided the fate of Ruth (Ruth 4:2).

11. Twelve. The divine government number.

  • a.    There were twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 7).
  • b.    There were twelve apostles (Mt. 10).
  • c.    There will be twelve gates and foundations in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21).

12. Thirty. Associated with sorrow, mourning.

  • a.    Israel mourned after Aaron’s death for thirty days (Num. 20:29).
  • b.    Israel mourned for Moses thirty days (Deut. 34:8).

13. Forty. The number of testing, trial.

  • a.    It rained forty days during the flood (Gen. 7:4).
  • b.    Moses spent forty years in the desert (Ex. 3).
  • c.    Israel spied out the land for forty days (Num. 13:25).
  • d.    Moses spent forty days on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 24:18).
  • e.    Israel wandered forty years in the desert (Num. 14:33).
  • f.    Goliath taunted Israel for forty days (1 Sam. 17:16).
  • g.    Jonah preached repentance to Nineveh for forty days (Jonah 3:4).
  • h.    Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness before being tempted (Mt. 4:2).
  • i.    Forty days elapsed between the resurrection and ascension of Christ (Acts 1:3).

14. Fifty. Associated with celebration and ceremony.

  • a.    The feast of weeks was fifty days after the Passover (Lev. 23:15, 16).
  • b.    The fiftieth year was to be a jubilee to Israel (Lev. 25:10).
  • c.    Pentecost occurred fifty days after Christ’s resurrection (Acts 1-2).
  • d.    Absalom appointed fifty men to run before him (2 Sam. 15:1).
  • e.    Adonijah did the same (1 Ki. 1:5).

17. Seventy. Associated with human committees and judgment.

  • a.    Moses appointed seventy elders (Num. 11:16).
  • b.    Jesus appointed seventy disciples (Lk. 10:1).
  • c.    The Sanhedrin was made up of seventy men.
  • d.    Tyre was to be judged for seventy years (Isa. 23:15).
  • e.    Israel spent seventy years in Babylon (Jer. 29:10).
  • f.    God would accomplish his total plan upon Israel in seventy times seven years (Dan. 9:24).

Willmington's Guide to the Bible.