The Bible is full of numbers that are symbolic and have more meaning than many people realize. Nothing in the Bible is done by mistake. God has a plan and purpose for every single detail of the Bible, including the meaning of the number in the Bible.
Think about the human eyeball for a second. Think about all it can do and how complex it is. God designed every function, vessel, and aspect of the eyeball. When you think about the entire earth, there is so much complexity there. All of this points to God's masterful creation.
When you see how numbers show up in the text, the only way it can be explained is through God's supernatural intervention. A man could not design such a thing by himself.
Also, consider the fact that the Bible does not have one author. It has many authors over a long period of time. Many of these people never met each other or interacted with each other, so how would they know to maintain this same numerical pattern? The truth is that they didn't, because God inspired them.
Meaning of Numbers in the Bible
One represents the oneness of being whole. It also is used to describe the beginning, like in the book of Genesis. It symbolizes the primacy and integrity of the Godhead.
When you see twos, it's associated with a valid testimony. It's also a symbol for a union. A husband and wife create a union, for example. There is also a connection between Christ and the church.
- All throughout scripture like in Deuteronomy all the way to Hebrews you see two witnesses authenticate a testimony
- In Revelations, the two witnesses represent the entire church
Three is used as a symbol of holiness or perfection, like in Matthew 12:40, and it is used as a picture of completeness but to a lesser degree than the number 7. There are 27 books in the New Testament, and that is the power of the number 3.
Jesus prayed three times in the Garden before his arrest. He was nailed to the cross at the 3rd hour of the day. The darkness lasted for 3 hours while the savior Jesus Christ was dying on the cross. He then rose after three days.
Four signifies a sense of totality, it's associated with creation, the earth's four seasons, the four lunar phases. In Genesis, on the fourth day, God created the material universe. The 4th of the Ten Commandments is to keep God's holy Sabbath day (Exodus 20:9-11)
- Four living creatures from Revelations representing all of creation
- The new Jerusalem has four sides because it's the new earth (Rev 21:16)
- Construction of the altar had four corners and four pillars.
Six is the representation of imperfection, evil, and human weakness. Man was created on day 6 and was given 6 days to labor. The Hebrew slave was to serve for 6 years and then be released on year 7. Three 6s in a row represents the mark of the beast from Revelation.
Seven represents perfection and completeness. Jesus was killed on the 6th day but spent the 7th in the tomb. There are 7 days in a week. The book of Revelations, it talks about 7 churches. It also talks about how the Lamb had 7 eyes and 7 horns. God's sabbath and day of rest for completion are on the 7th day.
Eight represents resurrection or a new beginning. You see this in the Bible when there were eight people on Noah's Ark in Genesis. Circumcision on the eighth day. The eighth day of the week is a new beginning.
Ten represents totality or completion. Ten fingers and ten toes. 10 Signifies law, responsibility, and the end of an order. God gave the ten commandments. A tithe is a 10th of earnings.
Reflects governmental perfection. You see it with the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 Apostles, and 12 angels from Revelations. The new Jerusalem measures 12,000 stadia on each side.
Generally is a period of testing, trial, and probation. Moses spent 40 years of his life in Egypt and 40 years in the desert before God chose him to lead. Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days two different times in Exodus. Jonah warned Nineveh for Forty days that destruction would come without repentance. The children of Israel were punished for 40 days in the wilderness.
Why Knowing The Meaning of Numbers Matters
Part of reading the Bible is recognizing patterns and picking up similarities in the text. You will see much of old testament themes and scriptures used again in the new testament. You will see books like Ephesians have a lot of similarities with Colossians. The only way to spot these similarities is if you pay attention to the patterns.
When you can see patterns in numbers and recognize that God chose those numbers for a specific reason, it can help give you a deeper understanding of the text. When God's chosen people are sent to the wilderness, your knowledge of the number 40 will let you know that it's not for a good time.