Numbers and number patterns found in the Bible are known as biblical numerology, and there are a variety of ways to interpret these patterns. Learn about some of the most significant.
Numbers and Language in the Bible
It's important to recognize that the written Greek and Hebrew languages don't contain any numeric characters. In fact, numbers were assigned to the letters so when a number was needed, you used a letter.
- Zero is represented by using the letter O.
- The letters l (lower case L) or I (uppercase i) are used for the number 1 and so on.
So, how do you know when a letter is being used as a number? You can determine this by the context in which it's written. It's no wonder that numerology evolved in both of these cultures.
Values Assigned to Numbers
Another important aspect of biblical numerology is that each number is assigned a value. It's believed that all things have vibrations, and those vibrations create patterns. Numbers are thought to also have certain vibrations and are used to help interpret and identify the properties of these vibrations. The numbers that occur frequently in the Bible are believed to have specific meanings. Whenever one of these numbers appears within the Bible text, it has an accepted underlying message in addition to the literal text. Below are examples from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
A few of the connotations and references of numbers in the Bible:
Number 1 - Unity
- 1 God
- 1 Truth
- 1 Baptism
Number 2 - Division
- Union of 2 opposites - man and woman - Eve made from Adam's rib
- 2 Natures of Jesus, the Christ- One is the man and the other is the divine being.
- 2 Testaments in the Bible - Old and New
- 2 Spiritual essences - Good and evil
Number 3 - Divine Completion
- Trinity - Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost or Spirit
- Christ raised 3 people from the dead.
- Peter denied Christ 3 times.
- 3rd day Christ rose from the dead
- 3 major feasts - Tabernacle, Unleavened Bread and Weeks
- 3 Gifts of grace
- Jonah lived inside the whale for 3 days.
Number 4 - Creation
- 4 Elements - Air, Earth, Water, Fire
- 4 Seasons - Winter Spring, Summer, and Fall
- 4 Directions - North, South, East, and West
Number 5 - Grace and redemption
- David fought Goliath by choosing 5 smooth stones for his slingshot.
Number 6 - Mankind
- God created first man, Adam, on the 6th day of creation.
- 6th commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" governs mankind
- 666 - Anti-Christ
Number 7 - Spiritual Completion
- 7th day God rested
- 7 found multiple times in final book of Bible
Number 8 - New Beginning
- Noah was 8th and last person to leave Ark, signifying a new beginning.
- 8 Covenants - God made with Abraham
- 8 days after birth boy child circumcised
- Feast of Tabernacles lasted 8 days
Number 9 - Judgment. Last single digit that signifies the end.
- 9 Gifts of the spirit
- 9 Name people afflicted with blindness
- 9 Named people suffered from leprosy
Number 10 - Divine Perfection
- 10 Commandments
- 10 Plagues of Egypt
- 10 Nations
Number 11 - Unravels Set Order**This number not mentioned very often
- Jacob's 11 sons dismantled his family
- 11 Dukes of Edom
Number 12 - Perfection of fair government
- 12 months in 1 year
- Day governed by two 12-hour cycles
- 12 sons and 12 Tribes of Israel
- 12 Apostles, Disciples of Christ
- 12 Angels and 12 legions
Repetitive Numbers in the Bible
Biblical numerology recognizes there are several numbers and sets of numbers that can be found repeatedly in the Bible. Some numbers are used as symbolic gestures while others are accurate depictions of a numerical instance.
Other numbers and pairing of numbers have both literal and symbolic meanings. Some appear more frequently in the Bible than others, while some have only one meaning, but a very powerful one that makes people fearful.
Significance of Number 7
The final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation is referred to as the Book of Sevens because the number is so prevalent. Below are examples from both testaments:
- 7 days in a week
- 7 Seals - Book sealed by God
- 7 Angels and 7 Trumpets
- 7 Angels and 7 Vials
- 7 Spirits of God
- 7 Eyes and 7 Horns of the lamb
- 7 Kings
- 7 Stars in Christ's hand
- 7 Thunders
- 7 Heads and 7 Crowns of the Dragon
- 7 Letters to 7 Churches
- 7 Mountains
- 7 Golden candlesticks
- Christ said 7 things during his crucifixion
- Christ instructed to forgive 70 times 7
- God rested on the 7th day of creation
The number 40 is a very distinctive pair of numerical digits and designated as the number that represents trials and tribulations.
- The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.
- Moses stayed on the mountain for 40 days.
- The flood lasted 40 days and 40 nights while Noah and those in the ark remained safe.
- Jesus underwent 40 days of temptation.
- 40 days lapsed between Jesus' resurrection and his ascension to heaven
This is the number often referred to as the sign of the Beast. It's stated in the Book of Revelation as the number of the Anti-Christ. In ancient times, 666 was the sign of a pagan sect that worshipped the devil.
Final Thoughts about Biblical Numerology
It's important to note that nowhere in the Bible is numerology discussed. There are no biblical numeroloy instructions for calculating or deciphering numeric meanings of letters. There's no guidance or recognition that a number has any kind of significance other than its literal meaning.
Since this divine directive is missing, many Bible scholars dismiss numeric coincidences or the role of any repetition of numbers within these historical accounts as being anything other than just numbers. These learned theologians believe that if any importance is placed on biblical numerology, it's done so without the sanctity of God.