NUMBERS IN SCRIPTURE
Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance
by E.W. Bullinger
ITS SUPERNATURAL DESIGN
DESIGN SHOWN IN THE WORKS OF GOD
"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand;
And meted out heaven with a span;
And comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure,
And weighed the mountains in scales,
And the hills in a balance?" (Isa 40:12)
"The works of the LORD are great,
Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein." (Psa 111:2)
There can be neither works nor words without number. We can understand how man can act and speak without design or significance, but we cannot imagine that the great and infinite Creator and Redeemer could either work or speak without both His words and His works being absolutely perfect in every particular.
"As for God His WAY is perfect" (Psa 18:30). "The Law of the LORD is perfect" (Psa 19:7). They are both perfect in power, perfect in holiness and righteousness, perfect in design, perfect in execution, perfect in their object and end, and, may we not say, perfect in number.
"The LORD is righteous in all His ways: and holy in all His works" (Psa 145:17).
All His works were (and are) done, and all His words were spoken and written, in the right way, at the right time, in the right order, and in the right number. "He telleth the number of the stars" (Psa 147:4). He "bringeth out their host by number" (Isa 40:26). "He weigheth the waters by measure" (Job 28:25).
In all the works of God we find not only what we call "Law," and a Law-maker, but we observe a Law enforcer. We speak of laws, but they are nothing in themselves. They have no being; they possess no power; they cannot make themselves, or carry themselves out. What we mean when we speak of law in nature is simply this: God in action; God not merely giving or making laws, but carrying them out and enforcing them.
As He is perfect, so His works and His words also must be perfect. And when we see number used not by chance, but by design; not at haphazard, but with significance; then we see not merely so many works and words, but the Living God working and speaking.
In this first part of our subject we are to speak only of design in the use of number; and in the second part, of significance. In this first chapter we will confine our thoughts to design as it is seen in the works of God; and in the second, as it is seen in the Word of God.
When we see the same design in each; the same laws at work; the same mysterious principles being carried out in each, the conviction is overwhelming that we have the same great Designer, the same Author; and we see the same Hand, the same seal stamped on all His works, and the same signature or autograph, as it were, upon every page of His Word. And that, not an autograph which may be torn off or obliterated, but indelible, like the water-mark in the paper; so impressed upon and interwoven with it that no power on earth can blot it out.
Let us turn first to
Here we see number displayed in a remarkable manner. The 12 signs of the Zodiac, each with three constellations, making 36 in all, which together with the 12 signs make a total of 48. There must be a reason, therefore, why the number 12 should thus pervade the heavens. Why should 12 be the predominating factor? Why should it not be 11, or 13, or 7, or 20?
Because 12 is one of the four perfect numbers, the number of governmental perfection; hence it is associated with the rule of the heavens, for the sun is given "to rule the day," and the moon "to govern the night." The significance of this, however, must be deferred till we come to consider the number "twelve" under this head. It is enough for us now to notice the fact here, upon the threshold of our subject, that we have one common measure, or factor, which is seen in the 12 signs of the Zodiac, the 36 (3x12) constellations,* the total 48 (4x12); the 360 (12x30) degrees, into which the great circle of the heavens is divided. No one can tell us why the number of degrees was first fixed at 360. It has come down to us from ancient times, and is used universally without a question.** And it is this division of the Zodiac which gives us the 12 months of the Zodiacal year. This is called also the Prophetic year, for it is the year which is used in the prophecies of the Bible.***
* There are other modern constellations now: Hevelius (1611-1687) added twenty-two; Halley (1656-1742) added fifteen. But every one knows how different these are from the ancient constellations, both in their names, their character, and their utter absence of all significance.
** It probably arises from the product of the four numbers, 3, 4, 5, 6, which arise out of the phenomena which lie at the root of Geometrical and Arithmetical Science. 3 x 4 x 5 x 6 = 360, while 360 x 7 = 2520.
*** There are different or relative kinds of years, according as we reckon the revolutions of the sun in relation to certain objects, e.g.: (1.) In relation to the equinoctial points. The time taken by the sun to return to the same equinoctial point is called the Solar year (also the Civil, or Tropical year), and consists of 365.2422414 solar days (or 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes 49.7 seconds). (2.) In relation to the stars. The time taken by the sun to return to the same fixed star is called the Sidereal year, and consists of 365.2563612 solar days (or 365 days 6 hours 9 minutes 9.6 seconds). (3.) In relation to his own orbit. The time taken by the sun to return to the same point in his own orbit is called the Anomalistic year, and consists of 365.2595981 solar days (or 365 days 6 hours 13 minutes 49.3 seconds). The word "Anomalistic" means irregular, and this kind of year is so called because from it the first irregularities of planetary motion were discovered.
Here, then, is an example of number as it is used in the heavens. Twelve is the pervading factor.
It is not necessary to go into the intricacies of this vast part of our subject. Notwithstanding the fact that God gave to man these heavenly time-keepers, he has so misused the gift (as he has every other gift which God has ever given him) that he cannot tell you now what year it really is! No subject is in more hopeless confusion, made worse by those who desire the dates to fit in with their theories of numbers, instead of with the facts of history.
We shall, therefore, avoid man's use of numbers. Our only concern in this work is with God's use of them. Here we shall find both design and significance. Here, therefore, we shall find that which is certain and full of interest.
The first natural division of time is stamped by the Number seven. On the seventh day God rested from His work of Creation.
When He ordained the ritual for Israel which should show forth His work of Redemption, seven is again stamped upon it in all its times and seasons. The seventh day was the holy day; the seventh month was specially hallowed by its number of sacred festivals; the seventh year was the Sabbatic year of rest for the land: while 7 x 7 years marked the year of Jubilee (Lev 25:4,8).
Thirty jubilees bring us from the Exodus to the opening of Christ's ministry, when, opening Isaiah 61:2, He proclaimed "the acceptable year of the Lord" in a seven-fold prophecy (see Luke 4:18-21).
The great symbolical divisions of Israel's history, or rather of the times of God's dealings with them, are marked by the same number; and if we confine ourselves to duration of years rather than to the succession of years and chronological dates; with kairoV (kairos), season, a definitely limited portion of time, rather than with cronoV (chronos), time, the course of time in general* (hence our word "chronology"), we shall have no difficulty.
* In modern Greek kairoV has come to mean weather, and cronoV, year, thus preserving the essential distinction between the two words.
God's dealings with His people have to do with actual duration of time rather than with specific dates; and we find that His dealings with Israel were measured out into four periods, each consisting of 490 (70 times 7) years. Thus:
The 1st. From Abraham to the Exodus.
The 2nd. The Exodus to the Dedication of Temple.
The 3rd. From the Temple to Nehemiah's return.
The 4th. From Nehemiah to the Second Advent.
It is clear that these are periods of duration having regard only to Israel, and to Jehovah's immediate dealings with them. For in each one there is a period of time during which He was not immediately governing them, but in which His hand was removed, and His people were without visible tokens of His presence with them.
|1. From the birth of Abraham to the Exodus||Years||Total|
|From the birth of Abraham to the Exodus was actually (Gen 12:4, 16:3 and 21:5)*||505|
|But deducting the 15 years while Ishmael was Abram's seed, delaying the seed of promise||- 15|
|Leaving the first 70 x 7 of years||490|
*Abraham was 75 years old when the promise (Gen 12:4) was made to him. The Law was given 430 years after (Exo 12:40; Gal 3:17). But 430 and 75 make 505 years, or 15 years over the 490. How are we to account for this gap of 15 years as forming part of the 505 years? The answer is that at Abraham's departure into Canaan (12:4) he was 75 years old, Ishmael was born 10 years after (16:3), therefore Abraham was 85 years old at Ishmael's birth. But he was 100 years old when Isaac was born (21:5). Therefore it follows that there were 15 years (100 minus 85=15) during which Ishmael was occupying and usurping the place of the "promised seed"; and 15 from 505 leaves 490. Here then we have the first of the seventy-seven of years, and the first "gap" of 15 years.
* The actual number of years was 573, according to Acts 13:20. But 1 Kings 6:1 says: "It came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of Egypt...he began to build the house of the LORD." Therefore commentators immediately conclude that the book is wrong. It never seems to dawn on them that they can be wrong. But they are, because the number is ordinal, not cardinal, and it does not say four hundred and eighty years, but "eightieth year." The 480th from or of what? Of the duration of God's dealings with His people, deducting the 93 years while He had "sold them" into the hands of others. Thus there is no discrepancy between 1 Kings 6:1 and Acts 13:20. In the Acts the actual number of years is stated in a cardinal number; while in the Kings a certain reckoning is made in an ordinal number, and a certain year in the order of God's dealings with His people is named. And yet by some, the inspiration of Acts 13:20 is impugned, and various shifts are resorted to, to make it what man thinks to be correct. The RV adopts an ancient punctuation which does not after all remove the difficulty; while in the Speaker's Commentary the words in 1 Kings 6:1 are printed within brackets, as though they were of doubtful authority.
** The 18 years of Judges 10:8 were part of the joint 40 years' oppression; on the one side Jordan by the Philistines, and on "the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites" by the Ammonites.
*** For in 1 Kings 8:2 it was dedicated in the seventh month, though it was finished in the eighth month. Therefore it could not have been the same year; and it may well have required three years for the completion of all the interior work described in 1 Kings 7:13-51.
|3. From the Dedication of the Temple to Nehemiah's return in the 20th year of Artaxerxes||Years||Total|
|From the dedication to Nehemiah's return (Neh 2:1)||560|
|Deduct the 70 years' Captivity in Babylon (Jer 25:11,12; Dan 9:2)||70|
|Leaving the third 70 x 7 years||490|
* This "one week" must be future, because since Messiah was "cut off" no prince has come and made a covenant with the Jews and in the "midst of the week" caused "the sacrifice and the oblation to cease." This is specially stated to be the work of "the Prince that shall come." See Daniel 8:11, where it is done by "the little horn"; 11:31, where it is the work of "the vile person" (different names for the same person); and 12:11. All these four passages are the work of the same person, and that person is not Christ, but Antichrist. Besides, Messiah was "cut off" after the "threescore and two weeks," i.e., at the end of the second of these three divisions. This cannot be the same event as that which is to take place "in the midst" of the third of these three divisions. In a prophecy so distinct, that the very distinction is the essential part of it, it is impossible for us to introduce such confusion by violently taking an event declared to take place "after" the end of the second period and say it is the same event which is spoken of as taking place in the middle of the third; and at the same time, out of four distinct descriptions of the latter event to make one refer to the former and three to the latterthis is simply trifling with the Word of God. A system of interpretation which requires such violent and unwarranted treatment of God's Word stands self-condemned.
Thus the number seven is stamped on "the times and seasons" of Scripture, marking the spiritual perfection of the Divine Prophecies.
We see the same law at work in various departments of nature. Sometimes one number is the dominant factor, sometimes another. In nature seven is found to mark the only possible mode of classification of the mass of individuals which constitutes the special department called science. We give the seven divisions, with examples from the animal and vegetable kingdoms. The one specimen of an animal (the dog) and one specimen of a flower (the rose).
Here all is law and order. Number comes in, in many cases determining various classifications. In the Endogens (or inside-growing plants) three is a prevailing number; while in Exogens (or outside-growing plants) five is a prevailing number.
The grains in Indian corn, or maize, are set in rows, generally straight, but in some cases spirally. These rows are always arranged in an even number. Never odd! They range from 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and sometimes as high as 24. But never in 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, or any odd number of rows. The even number is permanent. Mr. H. L. Hastings tells of one farmer who looked for 27 years and could not find a "cob" with an odd number of rows. A slave was once offered his freedom if he found a corn-cob with an odd number, and one day he found one! But he had found it also some time before, when it was young; carefully cut out one row, and bound it up, so that the parts grew together as the corn-cob developed, and finally presented the phenomenon of having an odd number of rows. This exception proves the rule in an interesting manner.
If we notice how the leaves grow upon the stem of a plant, not only is law seen in classifying their nature and character, but number is observed in their arrangement and disposition. Some are placed alternately, some opposite, while others are arranged spirally. But in each case all is in perfect order. After a certain number of leaves one will come immediately over and in the same line with the first:
- In the apple it is the fifth leaf,
- In the oak it is the fourth,
- In the peach, etc., it is the sixth,
- In the holly, etc., it is the eighth; but it takes two turns of the spiral before the eighth leaf stands immediately over the first.
- In the larch it is the twenty-first leaf; but it is not until after eight turns of the spiral that the twenty-first leaf stands directly over the first.
Examples might be multiplied indefinitely were design in nature our only subject. We are anxious to search the Word of God, and therefore can touch merely the surface of His works, but sufficiently to illustrate the working of Law and the presence of the Law-enforcer.
offers a vast field for illustration, but here again the grand impress is seen to be the number seven. The days of man's years are "Three-score years and ten" (7x10). In seven years the whole structure of his body changes: and we are all familiar with "the seven ages of man."
There are seven Greek words used to describe these seven ages, according to Philo:
- Infancy (paidion, paidion, child).
- Childhood (paiV, pais boy).
- Youth (meirakion, meirakion, lad, stripling).
- Adolescence (neaniskoV, neaniskos, young man).
- Manhood (anhr, aner, man).
- Decline (presbuthV, presbutes, old man).
- Senility (gerwn, geron, aged man).
The various periods of gestation also are commonly a multiple of seven, either of days or weeks.
With INSECTS the ova are hatched from seven half-days (as the wasp, bee, etc.); while with others it is seven whole days. The majority of insects require from 14 (2x7) to 42 (6x7) days; the same applies to the larva state.
With ANIMALS the period of gestation of
The mouse is 21 (3x7) days.
The hare and rat, 28 (4x7) days.
The cat, 56 (8x7) days.
The dog, 63 (9x7) days.
The lion, 98 (14x7) days.
The sheep, 147 (21x7) days.
With BIRDS, the gestation of
The common hen is 21 (3x7) days.
The duck, 42 (6x7) days.
With the Human species it is 280 days (or 40x7).
Moreover, man appears to be made on what we may call the seven-day principle. In various diseases the seventh, fourteenth, and twenty-first are critical days; and in others seven or 14 half-days. Man's pulse beats on the seven-day principle, for Dr. Stratton points out that for six days out of the seven it beats faster in the morning than in the evening, while on the seventh day it beats slower. Thus the number seven is stamped upon physiology, and he is thus admonished, as man, to rest one day in seven. He cannot violate this law with impunity, for it is interwoven with his very being. He may say "I will rest when I please," one day in ten, or irregularly, or not at all. He might as well say of his eight-day clock, "It is mine, and I will wind it up when I please." Unless he wound it at least once in eight days, according to the principle on which it was made, it would be worthless as a clock. So with man's body. If he rests not according to the Divine law, he will, sooner or later, be compelled to "keep his sabbaths," and the rest which he would not take at regular intervals, at God's command, he has to take at the command of man all at once! Even in this case God gives him more rest than he can get for himself; for God would have him take 52 days' rest in the year, and the few days' "change" he is able to get for himself is a poor substitute for this. It is like all man's attempts to improve on God's way.
It is not always seven, however, which is the predominant factor in physiology or natural history.
In the case of the BEE, it is the number three which pervades its phenomena
- In three days the egg of the queen is hatched.
- It is fed for nine days (3x3).
- It reaches maturity in 15 days (5x3).
- The worker grub reaches maturity in 21 days (7x3).
- And is at work three days after leaving its cell.
- The drone matures in 24 days (8x3).
- The bee is composed of three sections, head and two stomachs.
- The two eyes are made up of about 3,000 small eyes, each (like the cells of the comb) having six sides (2x3).
- Underneath the body are six (2x3) wax scales with which the comb is made.
- It has six (2x3) legs. Each leg is composed of three sections.
- The foot is formed of three triangular sections.
- The antennae consist of nine (3x3) sections.
- The sting has nine (3x3) barbs on each side.
Is this design? or is it chance? Why should it be the number three instead of any other number? No one can tell. We can only observe the wondrous working of supernatural laws, and admire the perfection of design.
Here we are met with a field of research in which constant discoveries are being made. Chemistry is worthy of the name Science. Here are no theories and hypotheses, which deprive other so-called sciences of all title to the name. Science is Scientia, knowledge, that which we know, and what we know is truth which can never alter. Chemistry, for example, is not like geology, whose old theories are constantly being superseded by new ones. If we know the action of a certain substance, then our knowledge never changes. But side by side with this unchangeable truth there is the constant discovery of new truths.
All matter is made up of certain combinations of various elements, which are its ultimate, indecomposable constituents. Not that these elements are absolutely simple, but that hitherto they have not been decomposed. Some of these have been known from the most ancient times, while others are of quite recent discovery. Hence their number is slowly being increased. In 1874 there were 64; now there are about 70.
But though their total number cannot yet be known, the law by which they are arranged has been discovered. This law is complex, but perfect.
1. All the elements when magnetized fall into two classes. One class immediately ranges itself east and west, at right angles to the line of magnetic force (which is north and south), and is hence called Diamagnetic (i.e. through or across the magnet); while the other immediately ranges itself by the side of and parallel to the magnetic pole (i.e. north and south), and is called Paramagnetic (i.e. by the side of the magnet).
2. Further, it is observed that these elements have other properties. Some combine with only one atom of another element, and are called Monads; some combine with only two atoms of another element, and are called Diads; some combine with only three, and are called Triads: while those that combine with four are called Tetrads, etc.
3. Now when the elements are arranged, first on the two sides of the dividing line, according to their Diamagnetic and Paramagnetic characters; and then placed on lines according to their properties as Monads, Diads, etc.; and further, are arranged in the order of their atomic weights,* the result is seen in the accompanying illustration [Reynold's Curve of the Elements according to the Newlands-Mendelejeff Periodic Law], which exhibits the presence and working of a wonderful law.
* The atomic weight is the smallest weight according to which different elements combine; e.g. hydrogen, whose atomic weight is 2, will combine with oxygen, whose atomic weight is 16, forming water. With carbon, whose atomic weight is 12, it combines also the same proportion of 2 to 12 (or 1 to 6). These are what are called the atomic weights, or the "combining proportions."
On carefully examining this table it will be seen,
1. That on either side of the central or neutral line, there are alternate groups of seven elements, and that these seven fall into the form of an introversion, Monad answering to Monad, Diad to Diad, etc., thus:
|Monad >>>>>||Diad >>>>>||Triad >>>>>|
|Monad >>>>>||Diad >>>>>||Triad >>>>>|
Then, on the other side, the group of seven is arranged in the opposite way, but in a corresponding manner:
|<<<<< Triad||<<<<< Diad||<<<<< Monad|
|<<<<< Triad||<<<<< Diad||<<<<< Monad|
Thus we have an introversion of seven elements alternated throughout the entire series.
2. Next observe that each time the line crosses upward from right to left there is a group of three neutral elements that occur together, near the atomic weights of 60, 100, and 190. So perfect is the law that the discoverers believe that about the points 20 and 155 there are yet two sets of three elements to be discovered...
3. Also observe that when the lines pass upward from left to right there are no elements whatever on this neutral line, and therefore we do not expect any to be discovered.
4. Further, that there are others which will yet be discovered to fill in the gaps that are left vacant, above the weights 145. A few years ago the number stood at 64. The present list contains 69. Some newly-discovered elements have been brought under notice while writing these words. They are Cerium, 141.5; Neodymium, 140.8; Praseodunium, 143.6; and "Ytterbium," 173. These with others that may yet be discovered will fill up some of the gaps that remain.
5. There is an element whose atomic weight is a multiple of 7 (or very nearly so) for every multiple up to 147, while the majority of the others are either square numbers (or multiples of a square number), multiples of 11, or cube numbers. Indeed we may say that every important element is a multiple of either 4 or 7; gold, the most valuable, for example, being 196 (4x72); iron, the most useful, 56 (7x23); silver being 108 (4x27, or 22x33), copper 63 (7x9), carbon 12 (3x4), mercury 200 (4x50), bismuth 208 (4x52), etc.*
* Where the others are not exact multiples of these numbers, they are so nearly exact that the slight uncertainty in the accepted weights might account for some of the differences.
6. Note that all the parts of the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream are here, and they are all on the left or diamagnetic side; that is to say, they are at cross purposes with the line of Divine government! The three which are pure and unmixed are all on the same line of monads"gold," "silver," and "copper,"while the fourth, "iron," is neutral, neither for nor against, like the fourth power, which is both religious and at the same time antichristian. The heaviest is at the top and the lightest at the bottom, as though to show us that the image being top-heavy is not destined to stand. Three have already passed away; the fourth is approaching its end; and presently, the "power" which was committed to the Gentiles shall be given to Him "whose right it is," and the fifth monarchy (illustrated by the Rock out of which all the others proceed) shall swallow all up when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.
Thus the very elements of matter are all arranged according to number and law. When this law was first spoken of, it appeared to some chemists to be as absurd as suggesting that the alphabetical arrangement could be the scientific or natural order.
But here we have a natural, or rather, we should say, a Divine order. For the elements, when arranged according to the weights and properties which God has given to them, are found to fall into this wondrous order. Here there can be no room for human fancy, but all is the result of knowledge, or science truly so called.
Sound is the impression produced on the ear by the vibrations of air. The pitch of the musical note is higher or lower according as these vibrations are faster or slower. When they are too slow, or not sufficiently regular and continuous to make a musical sound, we call it noise.
Experiments have long been completed which fix the number of vibrations for each musical note; by which, of course, we may easily calculate the difference between the number of vibrations between each note.
These were finally settled at Stuttgart in 1834. They were adopted by the Paris Conservatoire in 1859, but it was not till 1869 that they were adopted in England by the Society of Arts. The following is the scale of Do showing the number of vibrations in a second under each note and the differences between them:
In the upper row of figures, those immediately under each note are the number of vibrations producing such note. The figures in brackets, between these numbers, show the difference between these vibrations. The figures in the lower line are merely the factors of the respective numbers.
On examining the above it will be at once seen that the number eleven is stamped upon music; and we may say seven also, for there are seven notes of the scale (the eighth being the repetition of the first).
The number of vibrations in a second, for each note, is a multiple of eleven, and the difference in the number of vibrations between each note is also a multiple of eleven. These differences are not always the same. We speak of tones and semitones, as though all tones were alike, and all semitones were alike; but this is not the case. The difference between the semitone Mi and Fa* is 22; while between the other semitone, Si and Do, it is 33. So with the tones: the difference between the tone Do and Re, for example, is 33; while between Fa and Sol it is 44; between Sol and La it is 44; and between La and Si it is 55.
* In using this notation it is worth recording and remembering, in passing (though it is hardly relevant to our subject), the origin of what is now called Solfeggio. It arose from a Mediaeval hymn to John the Baptist which had this peculiarity that the first six lines of the music commenced respectively on the first six successive notes of the scale, and thus the first syllable of each line was sung to a note one degree higher than the first syllable of the line that preceded it:Ut queant laxisBy degrees these syllables became associated and identified with their respective notes, and as each syllable ended with a vowel they were found to be peculiarly adapted for vocal use. Hence Ut was artificially replaced by "Do." Guido of Arezzo was the first to adopt them in the 11th century, and Le Maire, a French musician of the 17th century, added "Si" for the seventh note of the scale, in order to complete the series. It might have been formed from the initial letters of the two words in this line, S and I.
The ear can detect and convey these vibrations to the brain only within certain limits. Each ear has within it a minute organ, like a little harp, with about ten thousand strings. These organs were discovered by an Italian named Corti, and hence have been named "the organs of Corti." When a sound is made, the corresponding string of this little harp vibrates in sympathy, and conveys the impression to the brain. The immense number of these little strings provides for the conveyance of every conceivable sound within certain limits. In the scale, as we have seen, there is a range of 264 vibrations. There is a difference between each one, so that there are practically 264 notes in the scale, but the ear cannot detect them. The ear of a skilled violinist can detect many more than an ordinary untrained ear. The mechanical action of a pianoforte can record only twelve of these notes. The violin can be made to produce a much larger number, and is therefore more perfect as an instrument, but not equal in this respect to the human voice. The wonderful mechanism of the human voice, being created by God, far excels every instrument that man can make.
There are vibrations which the ear cannot detect, so slow as to make no audible sound, but there are contrivances by which they can be made visible to the eye. When sand is thrown upon a thin metal disc, to which a chord is attached and caused to vibrate, the sand will immediately arrange itself in a perfect geometrical pattern. The pattern will vary with the number of the vibrations. These are called "Chladni's figures." Moist plaster on glass or moist water-colour on rigid surfaces will vibrate at the sound, say, of the human voice, or of a cornet, and will assume forms of various kindsgeometrical, vegetable and floral; some resembling ferns, others resembling leaves and shells, according to the pitch of the note.
The "Pendulograph" is another contrivance for rendering these vibrations visible to the eye; and for exhibiting depths of sound which are totally inaudible to the ear. The pen is attached to one pendulum and the paper to the other, and these are made to oscillate at right angles with each other. When each pendulum is set at the same length (making the same number of vibrations in the same time), the figure made by the pen will be a perfect circle. But when these lengths (or vibrations) vary, the patterns that are described are as exquisite as they are marvelous, and almost infinite in their variety and design.
Even the organs of Corti are limited in their perception, notwithstanding the many thousands of minute vibrating chords. When these organs are perfect or well formed there is what is called "an ear for music." But in many cases there is "no ear for music." This means that these organs are defective, not fully developed, or malformed, in the case of such persons; and that the sounds are not accurately conveyed to the brain.
There is a solemn and important truth therefore in the words, "He that planted the ear"! (Psa 94:9). What wondrous planting!
Not every one has this peculiar (musical) "ear." And no one has by nature that ear which can distinguish the things of God. The spiritual ear is the direct gift and planting of God. Hence it is written, "He that hath an ear," i.e., only he that hath that divinely-planted, God-given ear can hear the things of the Spirit of God. "An ear to hear" those spiritual things is a far greater reality, and an infinitely greater gift, than an ear for music! Oh wondrous ear! It is the Lord that gives "the hearing ear" (Prov 20:12). He wakeneth the ear to hear (Isa 50:4); It is the Lord that openeth the ear (Isa 50:5). The natural ear does not hear spiritual sounds; it cannot discern them (Isa 64:4 and 1 Cor 2:9). Thus nature and grace illustrate each other, and reveal the great fact that there is a secret ear, more delicate than any "organs of Corti," that can detect sounds invisible as well as inaudible to the senses, and which enables those who possess it to say:
"Sweeter sounds than music knows
Charm me in Emanuel's name;
All her hopes my spirit owes
To His birth, and cross, and shame."
One more step brings us to colour, which is caused by the vibrations of light, as sound is caused by the vibrations of air. There is a relation between the two, so that a particular colour corresponds to a particular note in music.
Hence there are seven colours answering to the seven musical sounds, and it is found that sounds which harmonize, correspond with colours that harmonize. While discords in colour correspond with discords in music.
The seven, both in music and colour, are divided into three and four. Three primary colours and four secondary, from which all others proceed, answer to the three primary sounds called the Tri-chord, or common chord, and four secondary.
The subject is too abstruse to enlarge further upon here. Sufficient has been said to show that in the works of God all is perfect harmony, order and symmetry, both in number and design; and one corresponds with the other in a real and wonderful manner.
The one great question now is, May we not expect to find the same phenomena in that greatest of all God's works, viz., His Word? If not the greatest in some senses, yet it is the greatest in its importance to us. For if we find in it the same corresponding perfection in design, then we see throughout the whole of it the same mysterious autograph. And its truths, and promises, and precepts come to us with increased solemnity and power; for the words of the book say with the stars of heaven
ITS SUPERNATURAL DESIGN
DESIGN SHOWN IN THE WORD OF GOD
We now come to the Word of God, which is the greatest, and, to us, most important of all God's works. May we not look for, and expect to find, number used not only with the same wondrous design, but, here, with significance also? If there be design, there must be significance. We may not always see the reason for the latter in the works of creation; but we cannot fail to do so in the great work of Divine Revelation.
In Daniel 8:13 we read, "Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation," etc.? Here, a revelation of a certain future prophetic event was made to Daniel, by a certain saint or holy one, i.e., a holy angel; and "another" angel asked a question concerning numbers"How long," etc.? The name of "that certain saint" is given in the Hebrew, and is placed in the margin, with its meaning. His name is "PALMONI," and it means "the numberer of secrets, or the wonderful numberer."
So that there is one holy angel, at least, whose function has to do with numbers. Numbers, therefore, and their secrets, hold an important place in the words as well as in the works of God. "A wonderful numberer" ("PALMONI") presides over them, and has his place in making known the things of God.
This certainly looks like design; and, if soif not only the "days" in which revealed events shall take place are numbered, but the words also themselves are numbered then we shall have a great and wondrous proof of the Divine, verbal, and even literal inspiration of the Word of God.
"It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter" (Prov 25:2). In searching out, therefore, the secrets of the Word of God, we are doing not only a royal, but an honourable work.
"The secret things belong unto the LORD our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever" (Deut 29:29). Our searching must be confined to what is revealed. With what God has been pleased not to reveal, but to keep secret, not only have we nothing whatever to do, but we are guilty of the sin of presumption in even speculating about it. If a child of God is observed to be much occupied with God's "secret things," he will be found to be one who neglects the study of the things which God has revealed.
We can have neither words nor works without "number." The question which we have to answer isIs number used with design or by chance? Surely if God uses it, it must be with infinite wisdom and with glorious perfection. And so it is. Each number has its own significance; and its meaning is found to be in moral harmony and relation to the subject matter in connection with which it stands. This harmony is always perfect. Every word of God's Book is in its right place. It may sometimes seem to us to be deranged. The lock may be in one place, and the key may sometimes be hidden away elsewhere in some apparently inadvertent word or sentence.
A volume might be written in illustration of this fact; and it would be a profitable Bible-study to search out these little seemingly unimportant keys.
For example: In Genesis 11 and 12, we see how Abram came out of Ur of the Chaldees, but instead of going on at once to Canaan, he stops a long time in Haran. The explanation of this delay is not given there. It is hidden away in Acts 7:4, where we read, "from thence [i.e. from Haran] when his father was dead." From which we learn that Terah was the hindrance; and we are taught by the fact, thus emphasized, how earthly relationships may sometimes hinder our complete obedience.
Another example is Isaiah 52:4: "My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without case." Here is a very difficult lock. This verse has greatly puzzled commentators, who assume that two oppressions are spoken of, one in Egypt and the other in Assyria. They are therefore at a loss to understand and explain why these two oppressions are mentioned together in one verse, as though they were closely connected, when in fact they were separated by more than seven centuries. The key is hidden away in one little word in Acts 7:18, "There arose another king." The word here translated "another" is not alloV, another of the same kind; but it is eteroV, another of a different kind; showing us that it was a different dynasty altogether: and the monuments now prove that it was a new Assyrian dynasty.*
Many other examples might be given to show how a name, or a word, or a genealogy, or a date, may be found, which is seemingly of little or no importance in its context, and yet may throw wondrous light on a passage written elsewhere, and be a key to a difficulty, otherwise, inexplicable. "But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit," whose infinite wisdom is seen inspiring the whole of Divine revelation and securing a uniformity in results which would be absolutely impossible in a work written separately by different writers.
* The last king of the 18th dynasty, Amenhotep IV, was succeeded by a new race of kings which is called the 19th dynasty, commencing with RAMESES I and his son Seti I, who reigned together, Seti I surviving as the Pharaoh of the "Oppression" (Exo 1 and 2) and dying (Exo 2:23). His mummy is now in the Boulak Museum. He was succeeded by RAMESES IIthe Pharaoh of the Plagues and the Exodus, who was drowned in the Red Sea. The change to this new dynasty is clearly seen in the monuments, in the great difference between the round faces, flat noses, and thick lips of the 18th or Egyptian dynasty, and the long face, high cheekbones, and aquiline nose of the Assyrian of the 19th dynasty. Josephus speaks of "the crown being come into another family" (Ant. ii. 9). The same is implied in the words "a new king" (Exo 1:8); not #%dq, but Mw@q. See Deuteronomy 32:17; Judges 5:8; Daniel 2:31, 39, 44, 3:24.
Let us defer for the present the subject of significance, and look at a few facts which show a manifest design pervading the whole Bible, by which various agents, writing at different intervals, and thus separated both by place, and time, and circumstance, are yet made to use certain words a definite number of times.
The actual number depends upon the special significance of the word; for the significance of the word corresponds with the significance of the number of the times it occurs.
But where there is a general importance in the word, apart from its direct significance, then the word occurs according to law.
All such general and important wordsi.e., such words on which the Holy Spirit would have us place special emphasis, or would wish us to lay special stressoccur a certain number of times. These are either
It is interesting to notice why these numbers should be thus associated together. They are significant in themselves, for seven is one of the four so-called perfect numbers, 3, 7, 10 and 12, as we shall see below.
(1) A square number, or
(2) A cube, or
(3) A multiple of seven, or
(4) A multiple of eleven.
- 3 is the number of Divine perfection.
- 7 is the number of Spiritual perfection.
- 10 is the number of Ordinal perfection.
- 12 is the number of Governmental perfection.
The association of the numbers 11 and 7 connects this arithmetical law with the geometrical, and calls our attention to the phenomena presented by the sides of the four primary rectilineal forms
* See The Witness of the Stars (Part II), by the same author.
The number 18 (the sum of these, 7 + 11) in Scripture and in nature is usually thus divided into 7 and 11, or 9 and 9.
In the plane,
The triangle has 3 sides
The square has 4 sides = 7
In the solid,
The pyramid has 5 sides
The cube has 6 sides = 11
As 7 is to 11 expresses also the ratio between the diameter of a circle and its semi-circumference; or between a semi-circle and its chord.
Further, as 18 in Scripture and in nature is divided into 7 and 11, so 7 is divided into 3 and 4 (3+4=7), and 11 is divided into 5 and 6 (5+6=11).
These numbers, 3, 4, 5, and 6, are related by a perfect arithmetical progression, whose difference is unity (1). Their product gives us the well-known division of the circle into 360 degrees (3x4x5x6=360)*. No one can tell us why the great circle of the heavens (the Zodiac) should be divided into 360 parts, instead of any other number, for apart from this it appears to be perfectly arbitrary. This is the number, however, which gives us the great Zodiacal, Prophetic, and Biblical year of 360 days, which was given originally to Noah, and employed by the Babylonians and Egyptians.
It is the multiplication of seven of these great Zodiacal circles, or years, by seven, which gives us the great number expressive of chronological perfection (360x7=2520).
* The number 360 is divisible without a remainder by all the nine digits except seven.
The number 2520 is, perhaps, the most remarkable of all others, for
- It is the summary of all the primary rectilinear forms.
- It is the product of the four great numbers of completion or perfection, as shown above (for 3x7x10x12=2520).
- It is the Least Common Multiple (LCM) of all the ten numbers from which our system of notation is derived; for the LCM of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, is 2520.
Finally, in the musical scale, as we have already seen, we again meet with these numbers seven and 11 as the expression of the seven primary notes and the 11 semitones.
What there is of design or chance in all this we must leave to the judgment of our readers.
It is sufficient for our purpose now, merely to note that these two numbers, seven and 11, have been specially selected to play so important a part;* and that there is such a remarkable relation between them must be due to design.
Why should it be these two numbers seven and 11? Why not any other two numbers? or why two at all? Why not three? We may or may not be able to explain why, but we cannot close our eyes to the fact. We are now merely observing phenomena and noting the working of laws. Let us look first at
* Why they should have been so selected we cannot tell. That there must be a peculiar adaptation in certain numbers and certain things is clear, even according to man's usage of them. Man speaks of "three cheers" and "forty winks," but why no other number would do no one can tell.
The Old Testament
The Authorised Version, and indeed all printed Bibles, contain and reckon 39 separate books in the Old Testament.
The Alexandrian Jews and early Christian Fathers reckoned 22 (2x11) books. This number was arbitrarily and artificially made by putting certain books together in order to make the number of the books agree with the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet.*
But all these reckonings are of no value, none of them being based on any authority, and all of them being against the authority of the Hebrew MSS, which is all that we have to guide us in the matter. In other words, the number and order of the books of the Bible come to us on precisely the same authority as its facts and doctrines.
* This number 22 they obtained by arbitrarily reckoning Judges and Ruth together as one book, and Jeremiah and Lamentations together, in addition to reckoning the double books as one, and Ezra-Nehemiah as one.
In the Hebrew MSS Ezra and Nehemiah are always reckoned as one book, with the one name, Ezra. Each of the double books is reckoned as one book (e.g. 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles), and all the minor prophets are also reckoned as one book. This makes 24 books in all. This is 8 x 3, both factors stamping the number with the seal of Divine perfection. (see under the numbers Three and Eight).*
* For further information on this interesting subject see a pamphlet on The Names and Order of the Books of the Old Testament, by the same author.
The New Testament contains 27 separate books (3x3x3 or 33).
Of these 27 books, 21 (3x7) are Epistles.
If we take the agents employed, we have 28 writers (4x7) in the Old Testament, and 8 (23) in the New Testament; or together, 36 (62).
Of the 21 Epistles of the New Testament 14 (2x7) are by Paul, and seven by other writers.
In this we have an argument for the Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews; an argument which is confirmed by the numbers of verbal occurrences shown below. (See pages 37-41.)*
Not only do we find these phenomena in the books and the writers of the Bible, but in the occurrences of important words and phrases.
* The following logical reasoning also supports the Pauline agency. There are four steps in the argument:
- Peter wrote his First Epistle to the Diaspora, the Dispersion. See 1 Peter 1:1.
- His Second Epistle was addressed to the same dispersed of Israel. See 2 Peter 3:1.
- To these same he says (2 Peter 3:15) "our beloved brother Paul...hath written unto YOU."
- Where is this Epistle if it be not the one which is addressed to "the Hebrews"?
- "Mercy seat" occurs 27 times (33).
- "The candlestick" occurs 27 times (33).
- The "wave offering"* occurs 28 times (4x7).
* Only in Exodus and Leviticus the AV does not translate "wave" uniformly.
- The "heave-offering"* occurs 28 times (4x7).
* In its sacrificial character.
- "Frankincense" occurs in Leviticus 7 times and elsewhere 14 times for a total of 21 (3x7)
- "Tenth deal," 28 times (4x7).
- "Shittim wood," h+@af#$i and My+@i#$i, 28 times (4x7).
- "Living" (yx, Chai):
Chaldee 7 175 (7x25) Hebrew Leviticus 35 (5x7) Numbers 7 Deuteronomy 21 (3x7) Samuel 49 (7x7) Solomon 56 (7x8)
- "Manna," Nmaf, occurs 14 times (2x7).
- Qoheleth, tleheq&, "preacher," seven, all in Ecclesiastes:
3 at the beginning (1:1,2,12).
1 in the middle (7:27).
3 at the end (12:8,9,10).
- "Little children," P+a:
In Deuteronomy 7 42 (6x7) Rest of Pentateuch 21 Elsewhere 14
In God's covenant with Noah (Gen 9) the word tyrb@, Berith, "covenant," is used seven times; with Abraham (Gen 15 and 17) 14 times.
- N'ginah (hnaygin:, "a song," etc.):
In Psalm Titles 7 14* Elsewhere 7
* Seven times in singular:one in Psalms (61), and six elsewhere. Seven times in plural (Neginoth):six in Psalms (4, 6, 54, 55, 67, 70), and one elsewhere (Hab 3:19), thus making a double-sevenfold arrangement within another!
- "Chief Musician" (xcnm, M'natstsach):*
In Psalms 55 (5x11) 56 (7x8) Hab 3:19 (RV) 1
* The verb occurs 9 times (32) with other meanings.
- "Blessed" (yr#$), ashrey):*
Psalms 25 (52) 44 (4x11) Rest of Old Testament 19
* This word is masculine plural construct, and means literally, O the blisses of! O the happiness of! It is never used in the singular, to show that God's blessings cannot be numbered. It is translated 17 times "happy" and 27 times "blessed."
wzx, Cheh-zev (Chald.) 11 55 (5x11) Nwzx, Chah-zon 35 (5x7) Nwyzx, Chiz-zah-yohn 9 (32)
rcn, Neh-tzer* 4 (22) 16 (42) xmc, Tsemech** 12 (3x22)
* From rcanaf (Nahtsar), to preserve, which occurs 63 (7x9) times.
** Tsemech is used of Christ the Branch 4 (22) times.
- xsp@, pah-sach, the verb used of the Passover, seven times.
- tntk@, k'thoh-neth, and koot-toh-neth, "coats," 28 times (1st occ. Gen 3:15).
- N#$l, (lish shahn) (Chald.), languages, 7 timesall in Daniel.
- (rz (zeh-ragh), seed, 224 (7x32).
- "The Father" occurs in Matthew 44 times (4x11).
- "The Father" occurs in Mark* 22 times (2x11).
* One passage (11:26) is disputed, and is omitted in the RV. The above numeration is an argument for its retention.
- "The Father" occurs in Luke 16 times (42).
- "The Father" occurs in John 121 times (112).
- "The Father" occurs in Rest of NT 77 times (7x11).
- "The Lamb," a peculiar word arnion (arnion) as used of Christ, 28 times* (4x7).
* The Concordance gave 29; but, on examination, one of these was found to belong to Antichrist, Revelation 13:11.
- fwV (phos), light, occurs 72 times (33x6) if we add with RV Ephesians 5:9 and Revelation 22:5.
- apax (hapax), once, or once for all, 14 times (2x7), omitting 1 Peter 3:20 with RV. This is a word used especially of Christ's sufferings and death.
anastasiV (anastasis) rising again 1 42 resurrection 39 raised to life again (with ek) 1 the first that should rise (with prwtoV ex) 1
afqartoV (aphthartos) not corruptible 1 7 incorruptible 4 uncorruptible 1 immortal 1
- "Israelites" (pl.), 7.
KokkoV grain 6 7 corn 1
Kurieuw, (kurieuo) be Lord of 1 7 lord 1 exercise lordship over 1 have dominion over 4
- 'Wdh (Odee), a song, 7.
- yalmoV (psalmos), a psalm, 7.
Nazareq, per (Nazareth) occurs 12 times (22x3) 25 (52) NazwraioV, (Nazarethan) occurs 13 times*
* This is omitting Mark 10:47 and Luke 24:19, where the reading is NazarhnoV (Nazarene), according to Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort. For the significance of this number, see under "Thirteen."
There is another word NazarhnoV (Nazarene), which seems to have not so much a local reference, but a moral sense. This word occurs six times,* and partakes of the moral significance of the number six.
* Adding the two passages in the above note, they are Mark 1:24, 10:47, 14:67, 16:6; Luke 4:34, 24:19.
ounesiV (sunesis) understanding 6 7 knowledge 1
- sperma (sperma), seed, 44 (4x11).
meqermhneuw (methermeeneuo) interpret 5 7 be by interpretation 2
"Verily" is shown to be a weighty word. It occurs 49 times (72) in the first three Gospels* and 25 times in John (52). In the Gospel of John, however, it is always used double ("Verily, verily"), making 50 altogether in John, and 49 in the other three, or 99 in all (32x11).
If we separate those which were spoken to the Disciples and those spoken to others, we have
* Omitting Matthew 6:11 and Luke 23:35 with RV.
|Spoken to |
"Moses" occurs 80 times in the New Testament (42x5) (or 23x10). The Concordance gave only 79, overlooking Hebrew 11:23.
The names of the Apostles conform to this law:
Seven were called before the whole Twelve were appointed:
Peter occurs 245 times (72x5)
Simon* (used of Peter) occurs 50 times (52x2)James (the great) occurs 21 times (3x7)
* The Concordance gave in this case one too many, viz., 51, but this was found to include Mark 3:18, which is another Simon (the "Canaanite").
James (the less) occurs 21 times (3x7)
John occurs 49 times (72)
Simon Zelotes occurs 4 times (22)
Matthew occurs 8 times (23)
Philip occurs 16 times (42)
Paul occurs 160 times (42x10)
Saul (Apostle) occurs 25 times (52)
- John (John 1:35-39)
- Andrew (John 1:40)
- Peter (John 1:41,42)
- Philip (John 1:43)
- Nathanael (Bartholomew) (John 1:47-51)
- James (son of Zebedee) (Matt 4:21)
- Matthew (John 9:9)
|1. Andrew and John, John 1:35-39||4||7|
|2. Peter, John 1:41|
|3. Philip, John 1:43|
|4. Nathanael (Bartholomew), John 1:47-51|
|5. James (son of Zebedee), Matthew 4:21||3|
|6. Matthew, Matthew 9:9|
|7. The remaining five, Luke 6:13-16|
Here the seven is divided as usual into 4 and 3. Four being recorded in John's Gospel, and three in the other Gospels.
It is probable also that they belonged to seven different families, but the relationships are too uncertain for us to speak positively. At any rate seven were brothers:Peter and Andrew; James and John; James (the less), Judas (Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus), and Simon (Zelotes).
Side by side with this seven-fold order, marking the number of the Apostles, there is a three-fold division of the twelve into fours.
Altogether there are four (22) lists of the Apostles' names; three in the Gospels and one in the Acts. In each list the order of the names varies, but with this remarkable agreement, that the first name in each group is the same in each list, while the other three, though they are in a different order, are never in a different group, thus:
|Matt 10:2-4||Mark 3:16-19||Luke 6:14-16||Acts 1:13|
|and Andrew||and James||and Andrew||and James|
|James||and John||James||and John|
|and John||and Andrew||and John||and Andrew|
|and Bartholomew(1)||and Bartholomew(1)||and Bartholomew(1)||and Thomas|
|and Matthew||and Thomas||and Thomas||and Matthew|
|JAMES (son of Alphaeus)|
|and Lebbaeus(2)||and Thaddaeus(2)||and Simon(3) (Zelotes)||and Simon(3) (Zelotes)|
|Simon(3) (Can.)||and Simon(3) (Can.)||& Judas(2) (br. of Jas.)||& Judas(2) (br. of Jas.)|
|and Judas (Iscariot)||and Judas (Iscariot)||and Judas (Iscariot)||Vacant|
Note (1) that 4 hold the same place in each list, Judas Isacriot being always last.
(1) A patronymic for Nathanael. See John 1:44-46, where he is joined with Philip as here, and John 21:2.
(2) Judas the brother of James, to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot. He was called Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus, words which have a similar meaning, courageous.
(3) Canaanite, not a Gentile name, but an Aramaic word meaning the same as Zelotes.
(2) That in Matthew and Luke the first four are arranged in pairs according to their calling and sending out; while in Mark and Acts they are placed individually according to their pre-eminence.
(3) The second four are given in Matthew, Luke, and Acts, in pairs; while in Mark they are given individually.
(4) The third four are in Matthew, again given in groups; while in Mark, Luke, and Acts the order is individual.
(5) That each group furnished a penman of the NT: from the first Peter and John; from the second Matthew; from the third James and Jude.
The illustrations of the working of this law might be indefinitely extended. We have given merely a selection from our lists, which contain a large number of examples. Let us turn to
In the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, seven seems to be the predominating number, not only used as a numeral, but in the occurrences of the important words:
- "Jesus" occurs 14 times (2x7) (seven times alone, and seven times with "Christ")
- "Lord"* occurs 21 times (3x7)
* This word kurioV gave some trouble. For the Concordance gave 22. This was good enough, being 2 x 11. But being in the Apocalypse we expected a multiple of seven, and this led to a more careful examination. We found that the RV omitted kurioV, on due authority, in Revelation 16:5 and 19:1, while it inserted it in 11:4 instead of the word "God," thus leaving exactly 21 as above.
- "Spirit," 14 times, Pneuma, 1:10, 2:7,17,29, 3:1,6,13,22, 4:5, 5:6, 11:11, 14:13, 22:17
- axioV (axios), worthy, 3:4, 4:11, 5:2,4,9,12, 16:6
- upomonh (hupomonee), patience, 1:9, 2:2,3,19, 3:10, 13:10, 14:12
- sarx (sarx), flesh, 17:16, 19:18 (five times), 21
- deka kerata (deka kerata), ten horns, 12:3, 13:1 (twice), 17:3,7,12,16
- profhteia (propheeteia), prophecy, 1:3, 11:6, 19:10, 22:7,10,18,19
- shmeion (seemeion), sign, 15:1
shmeion (seemeion), wonder, 12:1,3, 13:13
shmeion (seemeion), miracle, 13:14, 16:14, 19:20
- asthr (asteer), star, 1:16,20 (twice), 2:1,28, 3:1, 6:13, 8:10,11,12, 9:1, 12:1,4, 22:16 (14 times)
- yuch (psuchee), life, 8:9, 12:11
yuch (psuchee), soul, 6:9, 16:3, 18:13,14, 20:4
- kairoV (kairos), time (i.e. season), 1:3, 11:18, 12:12,14 (3 times), 22:10
- seismoV (seismos), earthquake, 6:12, 8:5, 11:13 (twice), 19, 16:18 (twice), seven times elsewhere in NT, making 14 in all
- etoimazw (hetoimazo), make ready, 19:7
etoimazw (hetoimazo), prepare, 8:6, 9:7,15, 12:6, 16:12, 21:2
- basileuw (basileuo), reign, 5:10, 11:15,17; 14:6, 20:4,6, 22:5, 14 occurrences elsewhere, making 21 in all
- imation (himation), garment, 3:4, 16:15
imation (himation), raiment, 3:5,18, 4:4
imation (himation), vesture, 19:13,16
- abussoV (abussos), bottomless, 9:1,2
abussoV (abussos), bottomless pit, 9:11, 11:7, 17:8, 20:1,3
- nefelh (nephelee), cloud, 1:7, 10:1, 11:12, 14:14 (twice), 15,16
- tetartoV (tetartos), fourth, 4:7, 6:7 (twice), 8:12, 16:8, 21:19
tetartoV (tetartos), fourth part, 6:8
- drepanon (drepanon), sickle, 14:14,15,16,17,18 (twice), 19
- topoV (topos), place, 2:5 6:14, 12:6,8,14, 16:16, 20:11
- makarioV (makarios), blessed, 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7,14
- oxuV (oxus), sharp, 1:16, 2:12, 14:14,17,18 (twice), 19:15
- qumoV (thumos), wrath (God's), 14:10,19, 15:1,7, 16:1
qumoV (thumos), fierceness, 16:19, 19:14
- ouai (ouai), woe 8
ouai (ouai), alas 6 [8+6=14* (2x7)]
* There is another seven-fold arrangement in connection with this word; for while Bruder's Concordance gives 14 times in Revelation as noun and interjection, the word occurs 42 times elsewhere as interjection only.
- brontai (brontai), (Nom. pl.) thunders, 10:3,4, 16:18
- brontai (brontai), (Nom. pl.) thunderings, 4:5, 8:5, 11:19, 19:6
- akolouqew (akoloutheo), to follow, 6:8, 14:4,8,9,13, 19:14
akolouqew (akoloutheo), reach, 18:5
- piptw (pipto), to fall down (in worship of God), 4:10, 5:8,14, 7:11, 11:16, 19:4,10
These are some examples, among many others, from one book.
tw$dl:w$t@ hl@e)' (aleh tol'doth), these are the generations, i.e., these are the events that time brought forth to him; (from dly (yalad), to bring forth); or these are the things or persons produced by him. This phrase occurs 14 times in the Bible, 13 times in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament.
|Genesis||11||times, of the Patriarchs, etc.|
|Numbers (3:1)||1||of Aaron and Moses|
|Ruth (4:18)||1||of Pharez (David)|
|Matthew (1:1)||1||of Jesus|
The first and last are used only of the "first Adam" and of the "last Adam." But these have the additional formula, "This is the book of," etc. (Gen 5:1 and Matt 1:1).
While the total number is 14, Genesis has 11, which divide the book into twelve sections. The first section being the Introduction, and the rest consisting of these eleven "Tol'doth," making twelve divisions in all, in Genesis.
The eleven Tol'doth in Genesis are as follows:
- 2:4-4:26 The Heavens and the Earth
- 5:1-6:8 Adam
- 6:9-9:29 Noah
- 10:1-11:9 The Sons of Noah
- 11:10-26 Shem
- 11:27-25:11 Terah (not Abraham's!)
- 25:12-18 Ishmael
- 25:19-35:29 Isaac
- 36:1-8 Esau
- 36:9-37:1 Esau's posterity
- 37:2-50:26 Jacob (not Joseph's)
The Massorah calls attention to the fact that the word Tol'doth, in the Old Testament, is spelt in two ways. The first and the last occurrences (Gen 2:4 and Ruth 4:18) are spelt with two Vaus, (tw$dl:w$t@); the other eleven are spelt with one Vau (td&l:w$t@). Various fanciful explanations of the phenomena are indulged in by Jewish Commentators. But the simple reason seems to lie in the fact, that the spelling of the first and last is called plene, i.e., full or complete; while the spelling of the other eleven is called defective. Thus the eleven which relate to Adam and his posterity (5:1, &c.) are stamped with defect: while the first, which relates to the heavens and the earth, tells of the perfection in which they were created; and the last, which relates to Pharez (Ruth 4:18), contains the first mention of the name of David, and tells of the Perfect OneDavid's Son and David's Lord, who shall restore perfection to His people as well as to the new heavens and the new earth.
It is instructive to notice these divine divisions, and see how different they are from either man's chapters, or man's theories as to the Jehovistic and Elohistic sections, according to which some editor is supposed to have pieced together a number of separate documents by two different authors, one of whom used the word Elohim (God), and the other Jehovah (LORD).
As a matter of fact, if we take these divinely marked sections, five of them contain both titles (viz., the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 8th, and 11th); four of them contain neither (the 5th, 7th, 9th, and 10th); only the first has the combined title Jehovah Elohim (the LORD God); and only the Introduction has Elohim alone; while "Jehovah" is used by nearly all the speakers, except the Serpent, Abimelech (to Abraham, not to Isaac), the sons of Heth, Pharaoh, Joseph, and his brethren.
Thus, this simple fact to which we are led by the consideration of design in the employment of numbers, entirely explodes the elaborate theories of the so-called "higher critics" concerning the Book of Genesis
- "In all the land of Egypt" (Myrcm Cr) lkb):
7 times in Genesis 13 times in Exodus 1 time in Jeremiah = 21 in all (3x7)
- "His mercy endureth for ever" (wdsx Mlw(l):
6 times in Chronicles 1 time in Ezra 34 times in Psalms 1 time in Jeremiah = 42 in all (6x7)
- "A jealous God," 7.
- "The ends of the earth," Cr) ysp) (aphse eretz), 14.
- "Behold (or Lo), the days come," 21.
- "Thus saith the Lord GOD (or the LORD)," 126 (7x18).
- "As I live, saith the Lord GOD," 14 (all in Ezekiel).
- "Daughter (or Daughters) of Jerusalem," 7 in singular; 7 plural.
- "The tree of life":
3 times in Genesis
4 times in Proverbs
- "This is a faithful saying," pistoV o logoV (pistos ho logos), 7 (in all in Timothy and Titus); 1 Tim 1:15, 3:1, 4:9,12; 2 Tim 2:11; Titus 1:9, 3:8.
- "These things saith..." (tade legei o...), 7 in Revelation.
- "Children of Israel," 14 times in New Testament.
- "Son of David," used of Christ, 14 times; with slightly different wording,* 7 = 21 (3x7).
* Matt 22:42; Luke 1:32; John 7:42; Rom 1:3; 2 Tim 2:8; Rev 5:5, 22:16.
- "And thou shalt know that I am the LORD" occurs 7 times (1 Kings 20:13; Isa 49:23; Eze 16:62, 25:7, 32:16, 35:4,12).
We must not, however, multiply these seven-fold occurrences, because they properly come under our head of "significance," and belong to the many illustrations of this number of spiritual perfection. We shall treat them more fully under the number "Seven." We will close these few specimens, selected from a long list of over one hundred, with the phrase, thus shown to be important:
"As it is written"* (kaqwV gegraptai, and wV gegraptai):
* The tense is perfect, and refers not to the act of writing, or to the fact that it was once written, but to the truth that it standeth written.
|Matthew||1||24 with kaqwV (22x6)|
|Mark||2||4 with wV (22)|
Of these 28, note, that 7 are in the Gospels, and 21 in the rest of the New Testament; a seven-fold arrangement within the square numbers.
This law, affecting the occurrence of important words, may be used in evidence as to authorship. For example, if we take certain words in Paul's Epistles alone, we do not find the law operating unless we include the Epistle to the Hebrews. If we add the occurrences in Hebrews to those in the other Pauline Epistles, the harmony is at once restored. Omitting those numbers which have their own special significance, such as 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 ,13, etc., let us note the following examples of squares, cubes, 7, and 11:
This list might be greatly extended, especially if we included groups of words from the same root.
When we consider the same phenomena with regard to the other numbers according to their own peculiar significance,* the evidence is overwhelming as to the so-called Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Without it the Epistles of St. Paul are only thirteen in number, with it they are 14 (2x7). This principle governs the occurrences and use of words.
The same test may be applied to
* E.g. katecein (katechein), to hold fast, 10 + 3 = 13. See under significance of 13 and the use of this word in connectin with the Apostacy.
|agioV (hagios), holy||8||6||14||(2x7)|
|amartia (hamartia), sin||6||1||*7|
|* Reading amarthma (harmarteema)
instead of amartia (hamartia) in 2 Peter 1:9
with G., T., Tr., W. and H.
|apo (apo), from||5||2||7|
|pistiV (pistis), faith||5||2||7|
|ina (hina), that||13||1||14||(2x7)|
|doxa (doxa), glory||11||5||16||(42)|
|eidw (eido), to see||5||3||8||(23)|
|escatoV (eschatos), last||2||2||4||(22)|
|ecw (echo), to have||*4||5||9||(32)|
|* Reading krinonti (krinonti) with W. H.,
instead of econti krinai (echonti krinai), 1 Peter 4:5.
|kalew (kaleo), to call||6||1||7|
|kurioV (kurios), Lord||8||*13||21||(3x7)|
|* Omitting 2 Peter 3:9, with L., T., Tr., A., W. H., and RV.|
|nun (nun), now||5||2||7|
|oun (oun), therefore||6||1||*7|
|* Omitting with RV 1 Peter 2:13, and 2 Peter 3:11,
and adding it in 1 Peter 5:1.
|peri (peri), for, or concerning||5||2||7|
|poiew (poieo), do, make||3||4||7|
|upo (hupo), by||2||5||7|
In the same way we may take both Old and New Testaments together, and see how marvellously thirty-six writers so use their words that when all are taken together we find the same law at work! This would be absolutely impossible if "one and the self-same Spirit" had not inspired the whole so as to produce such a harmonious result. The instances are very numerous, and the following words and phrases are given merely as examples:
24* in Psalms (22x6) 28 (22x7) 4 in Revelation (22)
* Viz., in seven Psalms, once each; in seven Psalms, twice each; in one three times, making 24 in all. Besides this seven-fold arrangement within the square numbers, the total of the squares yields a seven-fold result (28).
1 in Old Testament* 7 6 in New Testament
* Psalm 118:25.
- "Shepherd," used of God or of Christ:
(h(r), 12* in Old Test. (22x3) 21 (3x7) (poimhn 9** in New Test. (32)
* Gen 49:24; Psa 23:1, 80:1; Isa 40:11; Jer 31:10; Eze 34:12,23 (twice), 37:24; Zech 11:16, 13:7 (twice).
** Matt 26:31; Mark 14:27; John 10:11 (twice), 14,16; Heb 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4.
- "Jehovah Sabaoth," translated variously "the LORD of Hosts," "the God of hosts," etc.
Old Testament 285 287 (7x41) New Testament 2
- "Corban," an offering:
Old Testament (Nbrq) ... 82 84 (7x12) New Test. (korban, Mark 7:11) 1 New Test. (korbanaV, Matt 27:6) 1
Old Testament (blx) 44 (4x11) 49 (7x7) New Testament (gala) 5
In Deuteronomy 7 7x18 Rest of Pentateuch 91 (7x13) Elsewhere in Old Testament 14 (2x7) New Testament, Luke and Acts 7 New Testament, Paul's Epistles* 7
* Including the Epistle to the Hebrews.
In Old Testament 443 448 (43x7) In New Testament 5
- "Abaddon" (Destruction):
In Old Testament 6 7 In New Testament 1
- Christ spoken of at the right hand of God:
Old Testament 2 (Psa 110:1,5) 21 (3x7) New Testament 19
- "After the order of Melchizedek":*
Old Testament 1 7 New Testament 6
* Psa 110:4, quoted in Heb 5:6,10, 6:20, 7:11,17,21.
- "The stone which the builders refused is become the head of the corner":*
Old Testament 1 7 New Testament 6
* Psa 118:22, quoted in Matt 21:42; Mark 12:40; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:4,7.
- "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself":
Old Testament (Lev 19:18) 1 7 New Testament 6*
* Matt 19:29, 22:39; Mark 12:31; Rom 13:9; Gal 5:14; James 2:8.
- "Uncircumcision of the heart":
Old Testament 6* 7 New Testament 1
* Lev 26:41; Deut 10:16; Jer 4:4, 9:26; Eze 44:7,9; Acts 7:51.
The half of the important Prophetic period (Daniel's last week, or the last of the 70 weeks, Dan 9:27) is mentioned seven times. This, perhaps, ought to be reserved and considered in its significance under the number "seven." The point, however, now is the manner in which this seven is made up; for though the period is given in three different languages, two Testaments, and three forms (years, months, and days) the number is still seven:
Have we not in all this a design which is far beyond nature? A supernatural design? Numbers must occur; and the only question is, Shall they be used by design or by chance? In order, or disorder? According to law, or without law? In the works of God they are used always in perfect order. Surely then we ought to look for the same order in His Word; and be surprised if we do not find it.
Daniel 7:25, Chaldee, "Time, and times, and the dividing of time" 1
Daniel 12:7, Hebrew, "Time, times, and an half" 1
Revelation 12:14, Greek, "Time, and times, and half a time" 1
Revelation 11:2, 13:5, "Forty and two months" 2
Revelation 11:3, 12:6, Twelve hundred and sixty days 2
If we look at a window of coloured glass, made after the modern fashion, with pieces of various colours put in at haphazard, we see at once that there is no design. But if we observe another window in which the pieces of glass are arranged in a perfect and intricate geometrical pattern, or with human or other forms, we immediately acknowledge design, and say that the hand that formed that window must have been guided by a head that designed the whole!
This is our conclusion, then, as to the works and Word of God. Neither Moses nor any other person could have secured the above results. Moses used a certain word by Divine inspiration, not knowing, in all probability, how many times he had used it. It is inconceivable that, even had he known, he could have told Joshua how many times he was to use it; and that Joshua could have arranged with another; and that this could have gone on for fifteen centuries and ensured that the last writer should use the word only a certain definite number of times so as to secure a particular result! Impossible! No! Each writer must have been ignorant as to this final result; but each wrote "as he was moved by the Holy Ghost"; and hence, each contributed such a part as should end in perfecting the original design.
This sweeps away as with a flood, all the puny attempts of man either in attacking or defending the inspiration of the Word of God; for that word has suffered almost as much from the unwise defences of its friends, as from the malignant attacks of its enemies.
We take the high ground of making everything else submit to it. Instead of making the Bible agree with science, science must agree with the Bible. If it does not, it is only because it is "science falsely so-called," and not real science. Scientia is the Latin word for knowledge. Whereas very much of what goes by the name of "science" to-day is not science at all. It is only hypothesis! Read man's books on this so-called science, and you will get tired of the never-ending repetition of such words as "hypothesis," "conjecture," "supposition," etc., etc. This is the reason that such theories, which are falsely dignified by the name of science, are constantly changing. We talk of the "Science of Geology," or of "Medical Science"; but read books on geology or medicine, for example, written fifty years ago, and you will find that they are now quite "out of date." But truth cannot change. Truth will never be "out of date." What we know can never alter! This of itself proves that the word science is wrongly used when it is applied only to hypotheses, which are merely invented to explain certain phenomena.
It is not for such theories that we are going to give up facts. It is not for conjectures that we are going to abandon truth. Man must offer us something better than his own thoughts if he wants us to give up the thoughts of God. In the Bible we have got something certain and something perfect. Every fact and truth which is discovered only helps to prove its truth and to exhibit its perfection. No monument that has ever been dug upno manuscript that has ever been discovered, has ever been other than an evidence of Bible truth! We are not afraid of any phenomena which may be observed in the rocks, or of any monuments or tablets which may be dug up from beneath them. These are not, and never have been, contrary to the Word of God. It is only man's interpretation of them which is against that Word, because it is only his thoughts which oppose it.
Man, and all his thoughts are imperfect; so imperfect that he has failed even to take proper care of God's perfect Word.
Like a beautiful stained glass window which has suffered from accident, or fire, or siege, and which man has endeavoured to "restore." We can see how exquisite are its colours and patterns; how perfect it once was. Here and there is a tiny piece wanting, or misplaced. But it does not hinder us from discerning the perfection of the original geometrical figure, or from admiring the delicacy of the features of the figure pourtrayed. The window is indeed marred. And one man has done much to repair the injury caused by the negligence of another. We can see the defect of the repairs; but we can see also that the design was originally perfect, and we praise and admire the wisdom of the designer.
So it is with the Word of God. Nothing can hide the perfection displayed in its design. Man has been false to his trust. He has not preserved it with the faithfulness which should ever characterise a steward. But because man has been unfaithful, we are not going to question the faithfulness of God! Because man has not properly cared for this precious gift of God, we are not going to question the perfection of that gift!
But this is what man has done and is doing;he is charging upon God the result of his own sin, neglect, and folly!
God has given man this "bread of life," and he is analysing it instead of eating it! God has given man His Word, and he is criticising it instead of believing it! This is the "wisdom" of man "up to date." This is the highest flight of his wisdom"higher criticism"! Truly "the world by wisdom knew not God" (1 Cor 1:21). It never did and never will. Human wisdom ever leads from God. It is so with nineteenth century wisdom! It may seem very clever, very daring, very wise, for man to criticise the Word of God, but it is still true, as it is written (1 Cor 3:19).
Then away with man's wisdom! we do not want it. What we want is God's truth, and if man's science does not agree with God's Book, then so much the worse for his science.
We will come to God's Word as those who are foolish in the eyes of the world, because we desire to be made wise unto salvation (2 Tim 3:15); and because we remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures" (Matt 22:29).
Whence but from Heaven could men unskilled in arts,
In several ages born, in several parts,
Weave such agreeing truths? or how, or why,
Should all conspire to cheat us with a lie?
Unasked their pains, ungrateful their advice,
Starving their gain, and martyrdom their price.Dryden
ITS SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE
Having thus shown and established the supernatural design in the use of number, both in the works of God and in the Word of God, we now come to the spiritual significance of the numbers themselves.
We propose to take them in order, and to give under each not merely lists of passages or things, but first to define and explain the significance of the number, and then to illustrate its meaning, and show its teaching, as applied to its use, to numbers of things that are mentioned, the numbers of occurrences of words and things, the numbers of words used for a thing, and the numbers formed by the letters of the words themselves. This last is called by the ancients Gematria. This is the use of the letters of the alphabet instead of figures. Arabic numerals being a comparatively modern invention were not, of course, known to, and could not have been used by, the more ancient nations.
The Hebrews and Greeks, therefore, used their alphabets as follows:
consists of 22 (2 x 11) letters, so the 5 finals were added to make up three series of 9, or 27 in all:
|Aleph )||= 1||Yod y||= 10||Koph q||= 100|
|Beth b||= 2||Kaph k||= 20||Resh r||= 200|
|Gimel g||= 3||Lamed l||= 30||Shin #||= 300|
|Daleth d||= 4||Mem m||= 40||Tau t||= 400|
|He h||= 5||Nun n||= 50||Final Kaph K||= 500|
|Vau w||= 6||Samech s||= 60||Final Mem M||= 600|
|Zayin z||= 7||Ayin (||= 70||Final Nun N||= 700|
|Cheth x||= 8||Pe p||= 80||Final Pe P||= 800|
|Teth +||= 9||Tsaddi c||= 90||Final Tsaddi C||= 900|
The Greek letters were 24, and the required number, 27, was made up by using the final "V" or V (called Stigma) for 6, and adding two arbitrary symbols called respectively Koppa, for 90, and Sampsi, for 900.
|Alpha a||=1||Iota i||= 10||Rho r||= 100|
|Beta b||= 2||Kappa k||= 20||Sigma s||= 200|
|Gamma g||= 3||Lambda l||= 30||Tau t||= 300|
|Delta d||= 4||Mu m||= 40||Upsilon u||= 400|
|Epsilon e||= 5||Nu n||= 50||Phi f||= 500|
|Stigma V*||= 6||Xi x||=60||Chi c||= 600|
|Zeta z||= 7||Omicron o||= 70||Psi y||= 700|
|Eta h||= 8||Pi p||= 80||Omega w||= 800|
|Theta q||= 9||Koppa||= 90||Sampsi||= 900|
* This letter V (called Stigma) is used for the number 6. Why this letter and number should be thus associated we cannot tell, except that both are intimately connected with the ancient Egyptian "mysteries." The three letters SSS (in Greek SSS) were the symbol of Isis, which is thus connected with 666. Indeed the expression of this number, CxV, consists of the initial and final letters of the word XristoV (Christos), Christ, viz., X and V, with the symbol of the serpent between them, XxV.
NUMBERS IN SCRIPTURE
Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance
by E.W. Bullinger
ITS SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE
This number has been considered in connection with the number eight.
Thirteen famines are recorded in the Scriptures:
- Genesis 12:10
- Genesis 26:1
- Genesis 41:54
- Ruth 1:1
- 2 Samuel 21:1
- 1 Kings 18:1
- 2 Kings 4:38
- 2 Kings 7:4
- 2 Kings 25:3
- Nehemiah 5:3
- Jeremiah 14:1
- Luke 15:14
- Acts 11:28
being a multiple of seven, partakes of its significance; and, being double that number, implies a double measure of spiritual perfection.
The number two with which it is combined (2x7) may, however, bring its own significance into its meaning, as in Matthew 1, where the genealogy of Jesus Christ is divided up and given in sets of 14 (2x7) generations, two being the number associated with incarnation.
The same principle may be applied to other multiples of seven, and Bible students can find their own illustrations.
Fourteen times in the Book of Proverbs the expression occurs "the fear of the Lord":Proverbs 1:7, 29, 2:5, 8:13, 9:10, 10:27, 14:26, 27, 15:16, 33, 16:6, 19:23, 22:4, 23:17.
being a multiple of five, partakes of the significance of that number, also of the number three with which it is combined, 3 x 5.
Five is, as we have seen, the number of grace, and three is the number of divine perfection. Fifteen, therefore, specially refers to acts wrought by the energy of Divine grace.
Deity is seen in it, for the two Hebrew letters which express it are y, Yod (10), and h, Hey (5). These spell the ineffable Name of hy, Jah, who is the fountain of all grace. The number fifteen is thus made up, by addition, 10 + 5; but as the Jews would not, by the constant use of these two letters, profane the sacred name, two other letters were arbitrarily used for this number, and a different and artificial combination was thus formed+ (Teth) = 9, and w (Vau) = 6. The number 9 + 6 would thus represent the number fifteen, but without any significance.
Fifteen being 8 + 7 as well as 3 x 5, it may also include a reference to resurrection, as being a special mark of the energy of Divine grace issuing in glory.
A few examples may suffice:
- The Ark was borne by the Flood fifteen cubits upwards, Genesis 7:20.
- Hezekiah's reprieve from death was fifteen years, 2 Kings 20:6.
- The Jews were delivered from death under Esther on the fifteenth day of the month (9:18,21). This is specially significant, as we have seen (p. 222), that their sentence to death was connected with the number thirteen.
- Bethany, where Lazarus was raised, and from whence the Lord ascended, was fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem, John 11:18.
- Paul's ship anchored safely in fifteen fathoms on the 14th day, after thirteen days of toil and trial, Acts 27:21.
- On the fifteenth day of the first month was the feast of unleavened bread, Leviticus 23:6; and
- On the fifteenth day of the seventh month was the feast of Tabernacles (v 34).
stands out very prominently as a significant number. It is not a multiple of any other number, and therefore it has no factors. Hence it is called one of the prime (or indivisible) numbers. What is more, it is the seventh in the list of the prime numbers.
The series runs 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, etc. Thirteen, it will be noted, is also a prime number, and is therefore important; but it is the sixth of the series: hence it partakes of the significance of the number 6, and is indeed an intensified expression of it.
In like manner seventeen being the seventh of the series, it partakes of and intensifies the significance of the number seven. Indeed, it is the combination or sum of two perfect numbersseven and tenseven being the number of spiritual perfection, and ten of ordinal perfection.
Contrasted together the significance of these two numbers is clear; and when united in the number seventeen we have a union of their respective meanings, viz., spiritual perfection, plus ordinal perfection, or the perfection of spiritual order.
We see a beautiful illustration in
which concludes the first great division of that all-important Epistle, and sums up the blessings of those who are dead and risen in Christ. First we have a series of seven, then a series of ten. The seven are marked off by being put in the form of a question, while the ten are given as the answer to it.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall
- Or distress,
- Or persecution,
- Or famine,
- Or nakedness,
- Or peril,
- Or sword?
as it is written, For Thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that,
- Neither death (1),
- Nor life (2),
- Nor angels (3),
- Nor principalities (4),
- Nor things present (5),
- Nor things to come (6),
- Nor powers (7),
- Nor height (8),
- Nor depth (9),
- Nor any other creature (10),
shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Thus is set forth the spiritual and eternal perfection of the believer's standing in Christ.
By forming the conclusive answer to the question, and giving us the positive assurance (though in a negative form), it seems as though the number ten is of more weight than seven when thus used together. It is so in 2 Chronicles 2, where, in verse 7, Solomon sends to Hiram for a cunning workman, and seven particulars are specified; and in verse 14 a man is sent and his qualifications are enumerated in ten particulars. A more important illustration will be found in
where the Old Dispensation and the New are thus contrasted:
"Ye are not come
- Unto the mount that might be touched,
- And that burned with fire,
- Nor unto blackness,
- And darkness,
- And tempest,
- And the sound of a trumpet,
- And the voice of words...
but ye are come
- Unto Mount Zion (1),
- And unto the city of the living God (2).
- The heavenly Jerusalem (3),
- And to an innumerable company of angels (4),
- To the general assembly (5),
- And church of the firstborn which are written in heaven (6),
- And to God the judge of all (7),
- And to the spirits of just men made perfect (8),
- And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant (9),
- And to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel (10)."
Here again the blessings of the New Covenant are seen to be higher than those of the Old, both in number and in importance. The Old were spiritual (7), but the latter are more so, for they are doubly the manifestation of Divine grace, ten, or 2 x 5.
gives us the ten and the seven in a different order. Verses 6-9 give us a confederation of ten enemies for the purpose of making Israel extinct, and "to cut them off from being a nation"; while verses 10 and 12 give us an enumeration of seven enemies which the Lord had destroyed in the past, with the prayer that He would do to the confederacy of the ten what He had done to the seven in the past.
The commentators agree that no such confederacy can be found in the past history of Israel, so that we are shut up to the conclusion that the Psalm is Proleptic, and speaks of a yet future confederacy of which the later Prophets speak more particularly.
Verses 6-9: The ten-fold confederation:
- The Ishmaelites
- The Hagarenes
- The Philistines
- Assur (Assyria)
- Midianites (1), Judges 7:8
- Sisera (2), Judges 4:5, 21
- Jabin (3), Judges 4:5, 21
- Oreb (4), Judges 7:25
- Zeeb (5), Judges 7:25
- Zebah (6), Judges 8:5
- Zalmunna (7), Judges 8:5
The number seventeen (not the word merely) has a significance of its own, and therefore an importance which must be taken into account wherever it appears in the Word of God by itself or as a factor.
It forms a great factor in the number 153 (see pp. 273,274).
Seventeen Angelic appearances are recorded in the Gospels and Acts:
1-3. Three to Joseph, Matt 1:20, 2:13,19
4. To the Lord in the wilderness, Matt 4:11
5. In Gethsemane, Luke 22:43
6. On the stone at the sepulchre, Matt 28:2
7. Within the sepulchre, Mark 16:5
8. To Zecharias, Luke 1:11
9. To Mary, Luke 1:26
10, 11. Two to the Shepherds, Luke 2:9,13
12. At the pool of Bethesda, John 5:4
13. To the disciples, Acts 1:11
14. To the disciples in prison, Acts 5:19
15. To Cornelius, Acts 10:3
16. To Peter in prison, Acts 12:7
17. To Paul, Acts 27:23
is a number not without significance. It is a combination of 10 and 9, and would denote the perfection of Divine order connected with judgment. It is the gematria of Eve and of Job.
is the double of ten, and may in some cases signify its concentrated meaning. But its significance seems rather to be connected with the fact that it is one short of twenty-one, 21 - 1 = 20; that is to say, if 21 is the three-fold 7, and signifies Divine (3) completion as regards spiritual perfection (7), then twenty, being one short of 21, it would signify what Dr. Milo Mahan calls expectancy, and certainly we are not without illustrations in support of it:
- Twenty years Jacob waited to get possession of his wives and property, Gen 21:38,41.
- Twenty years Israel waited for a deliverer from Jabin's oppression, Judg 4:3.
- Twenty years Israel waited for deliverance through Samson, Judg 15:20, 16:31. But his work was never much more than "begun," Judg 13:25.
- Twenty years the Ark of the Covenant waited at Kirjath-jearim, 1 Sam 7:2.
- Twenty years Solomon was waiting for the completion of the two houses, 1 Kings 9:10; 2 Chron 8:1.
- Twenty years Jerusalem waited between its capture and destruction; and
- Twenty years Jeremiah prophesied concerning it.
Twenty dreams are recorded:
1. Abimelech, Gen 20:3
2, 3. Jacob, Gen 28:12, 31:10
4. Laban, Gen 31:24
5, 6. Joseph, Gen 37:5,9
7, 8. The butler and the baker, Gen 40:5
9, 10. Pharaoh, Gen 41:1, 5
11. The man in Gideon's army, Judg 7:13
12. Solomon, 1 Kings 3:5
13, 14. Nebuchadnezzar, Dan 2:3, 4:5
15. Daniel, Dan 7:1
16, 17, 18. Joseph, Matt 1:20, 2:13, 19
19. The wise men, Matt 2:13
20. Pilate's wife, Matt 27:19
times in the Book of Kings it is said that Jeroboam the son of Nebat "made Israel to sin":1 Kings 14:16, 15:26, 30, 34, 16:19, 26, 21:22, 22:52; 2 Kings 3:3, 10:29, 31, 13:2, 6, 11, 14:24, 15:9, 18, 24, 28, 17:21, 23:15.
being the double of eleven, has the significance of that number in an intensified form,disorganization and disintegration, especially in connection with the Word of God. For the number two is associated with the second person of the Godhead, the living Word.
Eleven, we have seen, derives its significance by being an addition to Divine order (10), and a subtraction from Divine rule (12). These are two of the three ways in which the written Word of God can be corruptedthe third being alteration. "The words of the LORD are pure words"words pertaining to this world and therefore requiring to be purified (see p. 169). But these words have been altered, taken from, and added to by man. Is there anything in this which connects it with the fact that the letters of the alphabet (Hebrew) are twenty-two in number? Does it point to the fact that the revelation of God in being committed to human language and to man's keeping would thereby be subject to disintegration and corruption?
being a multiple of twelve, expresses in a higher form the same signification (as 22 does of 11). It is the number associated with the heavenly government and worship, of which the earthly form in Israel was only a copy. We are told that both Moses and David ordered all things connected with the Tabernacle and Temple worship by direct revelation from God, and as a copy of things in the heavens, Hebrews 8:5; 1 Chronicles 28:12, 19. And the sevenfold phrase (in Exo 40) "as the LORD commanded Moses" witnesses to the Divine ordering of all. It was so with the twenty-four courses of priests in the earthly Temple; these were formed on the "pattern of things in the heavens." Why is it necessary for us, when God tells us anything, to conclude that it means something else? Why, when, in Revelation 4, we read of the twenty-four heavenly elders, are we to assume they are anything but what we read, viz., the leaders of the heavenly worship? Why seek to make them redeemed men, or the symbolical representation of redeemed men? Why not leave them alone? It is by such additions as these to what is written that the people of God are divided up into so many schools and parties.
Those who regard them as representing the redeemed have done so on the supposed authority of Revelation 5:9; but they have been misled by some scribe who, in copying Revelation 5:9, altered certain words either to make the passage conform to Revelation 1:5, 6 (which is somewhat similar), or to support this very view. Thus it has been handed down that these twenty-four elders were redeemed, and are therefore glorified human beings.
But it is now known that the ancient and true reading was very different. That reading is given in the Revised Version thus:"And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for Thou wast slain and dist purchase unto God men* of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and madest them** to be unto our God a kingdom^ and priests: and they reign^^ upon the earth."
* The word hmaV (heemas), "us," goes out, with the authority of Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford, Westcott and Hort, the Revisers, and the Codex A. It is true that the authorities are divided as to this word, but as they are unanimous as to the other changes in the verse, this word necessarily must go out as the result.
** The word hmaV (heemas), "us," must be changed for autouV (autous), "them," with all the critical authorities.
^ The word basileiV (basileis), "kings," must be changed for basileian (basileian), "a kingdom," with all the critical authorities.
^^ The word basileusomen (basileusomen), "we shall reign," must be changed for basileuousin (basileuousin), "they reign," with Lachmann, Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort, the Revisers, and Codexes A and B. Or, for basileusousin (basileusousin), "they shall reign," with Griesbach, Scholz, Tischendorf, Tregelles in margin, and Sinaitic Codex.
Thus the ancient and true reading takes away all ground for making these elders redeemed men, and leaves them the angelic leaders of the heavenly worship.
being the square of five (52 or 5x5), expresses the essence of the signification of five, i.e. grace, whether used alone or occurring as a factor in larger numbers. The same may be said of
being the cube of three.
is a multiple, and therefore has the significance of seven. Being also the product of 4 x 7 it partakes of the significance of 4. See pp. 194, 195.
is the combination of 20, the number of expectation, and 9, the number of judgment.
being 3 x 10, denotes in a higher degree the perfection of Divine order, as marking the right moment. CHRIST was thirty years of age at the commencement of His ministry, Luke 3:23.
JOSEPH, His type, was the same age, Genesis 41:46.
DAVID also, when he began to reign, 2 Samuel 5:4.
The Hebrew expression of this is l), El, the name of God, and its signification as a number or factor would be Deity.
has long been universally recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence, and the uniformity of its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement(not judgment, like the number 9, which stands in connection with the punishment of enemies, but the chastisement of sons, and of a covenant people). It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8). This is certainly the case where forty relates to a period of evident probation. But where it relates to enlarged dominion, or to renewed or extended rule, then it does so in virtue of its factors 4 and 10, and in harmony with their signification.
There are 15 such periods which appear on the surface of the Scriptures, and which may be thus classified:
- Forty Years of Probation by Trial:
Israel in the wilderness, Deut 8:2-5; Psa 95:10; Acts 13:18 (the third 40 of Moses' life, 120 years).
Israel from the crucifixion to the destruction of Jerusalem.
- Forty Years of Probation by Prosperity in Deliverance and Rest:
under Othniel, Judg 3:11,
under Barak, Judg 5:31,
under Gideon, Judg 8:28.
- Forty Years of Probation by Prosperity in Enlarged Dominion:
under David, 2 Sam 5:4,
under Solomon, 1 Kings 11:42,
under Jeroboam II. See 2 Kings 12:17,18, 13:3,5,7,22,25, 14:12-14,23,28,
under Jehoash, 2 Kings 12:1,
under Joash, 2 Chron 24:1.
- Forty Years of Probation by Humiliation and Servitude:
Israel under the Philistines, Judg 13:1.
Israel in the time of Eli, 1 Sam 4:18.
Israel under Saul, Acts 13:21.
- Forty Years of Probation by Waiting:
Moses in Egypt, Acts 7:23.
Moses in Midian, Acts 7:30
There are eight of such great periods on the surface of the Bible:
- Forty days Moses was in the mount, Exo 24:18; and to receive the Law, Exo 24:18.
- Forty days Moses was in the mount after the sin of the Golden Calf, Deut 9:18,25.
- Forty days of the spies, issuing in the penal sentence of the 40 years, Num 13:26, 14:34.
- Forty days of Elijah in Horeb, 1 Kings 19:8.
- Forty days of Jonah and Nineveh, Jonah 3:4.
- Forty days Ezekiel lay on his right side to symbolize the 40 years of Judah's transgression.*
- Forty days Jesus was tempted of the Devil, Matt 4:2.
- Forty days Jesus was seen of His disciples, speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, Acts 1:2.
* Thus 40 becomes a number closely connected with Judah, as 390 (Eze 4:5) is the number of separated Israel. The significance of this will be seen (on p. 215), for 40 is a multiple of 8, and 390 is a multiple of 13. It may also be noted that 65 (5x13) is the number of Ephraim, while 70 is specially connected with Jerusalem.
is a number connected with Antichrist. An important part of his career is to last for 42 months (Rev 11:2, 13:5), and thus this number is fixed upon him. Another number of Antichrist is 1260, and this is 30 x 42.
Its factors are six and seven (6x7=42), and this shows a connection between man and the Spirit of God, and between Christ and Antichrist:
- Forty-two stages of Israel's wanderings mark their conflict with the will of God.
- Forty-two young men* mocked the ascension of Elijah to Elisha, 2 Kings 2:23, 24.
* See note on p. 203.
Being a multiple of seven, it might be supposed that it would be connected with spiritual perfection. But it is the product of six times seven. Six, therefore, being the number of Man, and man's opposition to God, forty-two becomes significant of the working out of man's opposition to God.
There may be something more in the common phrase about things being all "sixes and sevens." They are so, indeed, when man is mixed up with the things of God, and when religious "flesh" engages in spiritual things. See under "Six and Seven," pp. 158-167.
it is a factor in the number of Nimrod's name, which is 294, or 42 x 7. It will be often found as a factor in the Antichristian names. See under the number Thirteen.
It does not often appear as a separate number, but when it is thus seen as a factor of another number, it always imparts its significance to it.
This is the number of Divine revelation,
for there are 24 books in the Old Testament,
and 27 books in the New Testament,
making 51 in all.
This is, of course, reckoning the Divine separation of the books, as exhibited in the MSS, which form our only authority, and not reckoning according to man's manipulation of them; for both Jewish and Gentile fancies and reasonings make quite a different and conflicting number. See pp. 25, 26.
being a multiple of thirteen (13x5=65), is specially associated with Ephraim (see Isa 7:8), and marks the apostasy of that Tribe. This apostasy, which began in Judg 17, afterwards extended to the Ten-Tribe kingdom, which is frequently spoken of therefore under the name of "Ephraim."
"Within three-score and five years shall Ephraim be broken that it be not a people."
is another combination of two of the perfect numbers, seven and ten. We have seen something of the significance of their sum under the number seventeen; their product is no less significant.
As compared with the sum of two numbers, the product exhibits the significance of each in an intensified form.
Hence 7 x 10 signifies perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual power and significance. Both spirit and order are greatly emphasised.
which peopled the earth are set forth with a particularity which shows the importance of the fact (see Gen 10).
are marked not only by the perfection of spiritual truth, as seen by the multiple of 7, but by the perfection of Divine order, as seen in the multiple of 10, seventy being 7 x 10.
We stop not to notice the number given in Acts 7:14, which is different because it refers to a different classification, viz., "all his kindred," which amounted to 75. In Genesis 46:26, God is speaking of another class, viz., only those "which came out of his loins"; these were seventy in number.
This number is made up in a remarkable manner, distinguishing the descendants of Leah and her maid from Rachel and her maid,* the latter being a more marked multiple of 7:
* The gematria of their names is just as remarkable. See pp. 210, 211.
* The gematria of her name is 42 (6x7), for though of Divine calling she was very human.
These seventy built up the nation of Israel. See Genesis 46:27; Exodus 1:5 and Ruth 4:11.
Seventy elders furnished Israel's great Tribunal, Exodus 24:1; Numbers 11:16, afterwards called the Sanhedrim. See below, under the next number (120).
Seventy disciples sent out by the Lord prefigure the mighty host which followed them (Luke 10:1,17) in spirit and in power.
It is the number specially connected with
for the city kept its sabbaths seventy years, while Judah was in Babylon, Jeremiah 35:11.
And seventy sevens were determined upon it to complete its transgression, and bring in everlasting righteousness for it, Daniel 9:24 (see pp. 5, 6, 7,).
is made up of three forties (3x40=120). Applied to time therefore it signifies a divinely appointed period of probation, Genesis 6:3.
Applied to persons it points to a divinely appointed number during a period of waiting, Acts 1:15.
It is a factor also in the number of those who returned from Babylon, 42,360, being 120 x 353.
It is also a factor of the number of the men who went up out of Egypt, 600,000, being 120 x 5000.
It is a factor also of the 144,000 who will be sealed from the Twelve Tribes of Israel to go unscathed through the great tribulation, 144,000, being 120 x 1200.
The unanimous voice of Jewish tradition agrees with the Talmud* that "the Great Synagogue" (Neh 10:1-10) consisted of 120 members. "It was called 'Great" because of the great work it effected in restoring the Divine law to its former greatness, and because of the great authority and reputation which it enjoyed." Its greatest work was in completing the Canon of the Old Testament. The Great Synagogue lasted about 110 years, from BC 410-300, or from the latter days of Nehemiah to the death of Simon the Just. It then passed into the Sanhedrim, when its whole constitution was changed.
* Jerusalem Berachoth, ii. 4; Jerusalem Megilla, i; Bab. Meg. 176.
This is a number which has taxed the ingenuity of some of the greatest of Bible students, and that from the earliest times. All have felt there must be something deeply significant and mysterious in this number, from the solemn way in which it is introduced in John 21:11,"Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty and three."
Other miracles are parables in their lessons, and Augustine* has pointed out the comparison and contrast between the two miraculous draughts of fishes, one at the beginning and the other at the end of Christ's ministry (after His resurrection). He and other Commentators see in this number some connection with the saved, as being definite and particular down even to the last one, making up not a large round number, but a smaller and odd number, 153. They saw in this a proof of the fact that the number of the elect is fixed and pre-ordained.**
* Tractates on the Gospel according to St. John, 122.
** So Trench, Notes on the Miracles, p. 194.
Jerome also sees there is some deeper meaning in the number, and says that there are 153 sorts of fish, i.e., all kinds of men enclosed in the Gospel net.
Other more surprising suggestions have been made, but they are all the outcome of fancy.
The utmost that can be said is that had it been the round number 150, there would have been an absence of all definiteness, but as it goes beyond and gives the three by which the 150 is exceeded, it does seem to convey the impression that we have here, if these fishes are a symbol of the saved, an illustration and confirmation of our Lord's words, recorded in the same Gospel, "of all that He [the Father] hath given Me I should lose nothing" (John 6:39), and "those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost" (John 17:12).
When we come to the way in which the significance of this number has been estimated, we find a variety of modes. Augustine and Gregory the Great both start with the fact that 17 is the sum of 10 and 7. For the significance of the number 17 (see p. 258). But they deal with the 17 in different ways.
Gregory simply multiplies 17 by 3 and again by 3 (i.e., 17x32), and thus arrives at 153.
Augustine, on the other hand, employs addition, and takes the sum of all the digits to and including 17 as amounting to exactly 153. He says,* "For if you add 2 to 1, you have 3, of course; if to these you add 3 and 4, the whole number makes 10; and then if you add all the numbers that follow up to 17, the whole amounts to the aforesaid number ; that is, if to 10, which you had reached by adding all together from 1 to 4, you add 5, you have 15; to these add 6, and the result is 21; then add 7, and you have 28; to this add 8, and 9, and 10, and you get 55; to this add 11, and 12, and 13, and you have 91; and to this again add 14, and 15, and 16, and it comes to 136; and then add to this the remaining number of which we have been speaking, namely 17, and it will make up the number of fishes."**
* Tractate on John, 122.
** We should express this, now, more scientifically, and say, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 13 +14 + 15 + 16 + 17 = 153. And Gregory's we should express thus: (10 + 7) x (3 x 3) = 153.
Bishop Wordsworth arrives at his result in a different manner. He uses two numbers, and employs both multiplication and addition. First he takes the square of 12 (which he holds to be the Church number), and then he adds the square of 3 (the number of the Godhead), and points out that 122 + 32 = 153, or (12 x 12) + (3 x 3).
We might give yet another contribution to these various modes as the result of our investigations in numbers, and say that 153 = 9 x 17, and see in this number all judgment (9) exhausted for the people of God (17) in the person of their Surety.
All, however, agree in the great and blessed fact that "Salvation is of the Lord," Divine alike in its source, its agency, and its results.
The same Divine character is stamped upon this miracle and its lessons by the number of disciples who were present when it was wrought. There were seven. And the seven is divided into 3 and 4 as usual3 being named, and 4 unnamed.
We may condense all this by calling 153 simply,
The expression Myhl)h ynb (Beni Ha-Elohim), "Sons of God," occurs seven times!*
* One of them is slightly different, yh-l) ynb (Beni El-hai), "sons of the living God." Thus the human and divine element is seen in the six and seven (see p. 164).
Now the gematria of this expression is exactly 153. Thus:
In Greek, the expression exhibits in another form the same phenomena, the gematria being 3213, or 3 x 7 x 153.
It is very remarkable, in connection with this, that in Job 2:1 we have "Beni-ha Elohim with Satan among them." The gematria of this phrase is 1989, and the two factors of this number are 153 and 13 (13x153=1989).
The word sunklhronomoi (sunkleeronomoi), "joint-heirs" (Rom 8:17), amounts to 1071, the factors of which are 153 and 7 (153x7=1071).
The expression suklhronomoi de Cristou (sunkleeronomoi de Christou), "joint heirs with Christ" (Rom 8:17), amounts to 2751. Now the factors of 153, as we have seen, are 9 and 17, and the number 2751 is three times the nine hundred, plus seventeen, viz., 3 x (900 + 17) = 2751.
The expression ktisiV qeou (ktisis Theou), "the creation of God," is 1224, or 8 x 153.
The word for "fishes" icqueV (ichthues), is by gematria 1224, or 8 x 153.
The words for "the net" are to diktuon, and by gematria this also amounts to 1224, or 8 x 153, for it is unbroken, and carries the precious freight from "the right side" of the ship safely to the shore, and "not one is lost."
Quite a new thought has recently been given by Lieut.-Col. F. Roberts, who finds that amongst the multitudes who received direct blessing from Christ there are recorded exactly 153 special individual cases! We append his list, with one or two alterations: and if any names appear to be missing, it will be found on examination that there is good reason for omitting them; e.g., Nathanael is the same as Bartholomew; while Matthias, and Barsabas (Acts 1:23), Joses, Barnabas (Acts 4:36), Stephen, though they with many others may have received blessing from Jesus Himself, and probably did, yet it is not so stated. Of course Zacharias, Elisabeth, John the Baptist, Joseph, Simeon, and Anna, are not included, as they were all in blessing before the birth of Jesus.
The following is the list:
- The leper, Matt 8:2 (1)
- Centurion and servant, Matt 8:5 (2)
- Peter's wife's mother, Matt 8:14 (1)
- Two possessed with devils, Matt 8:18 (2)
- Palsied man and bearers [Mark 2:3], Matt 9:2 (5)
- Jairus and his daughter, Matt 9:18 (2)
- Woman with issue of blood, Matt 9:21 (1)
- Blind men, Matt 9:27 (2)
- Dumb man, Matt 9:32 (1)
- Eleven Apostles, Matt 10:2 (11)
- Man with withered hand, Matt 12:10 (1)
- Blind and dumb devil, Matt 12:22 (1)
- Brethren of the Lord [Acts 1:14] Matt 13:55 (4)
- Syrophoenician woman and daughter, Matt 15:22 (2)
- Lunatic child and father, Matt 17:14 (2)
- Blind men (leaving Jericho),* Matt 20:30 (2)
- Simon the leper, Matt 26:6 (1)
- Mary (sister of Lazarus. See Nos 32 and 47), Matt 26:7 (1)
- Centurion; Matt 27:54 (1)
- Salome (mother of Zebedee's children), Matt 27:56 (1)
- Mary (mother of James, and wife of Cleopas), Matt 27:56 (1)
- Mary Magdalene, Matt 27:56 (1)
- Joseph of Arimathaea, Matt 27:57 (1)
- Man with unclean spirit; Mark 1:23 (1)
- Man, deaf and dumb, Mark 7:32 (1)
- Blind man, Mark 8:22 (1)
- Son of the widow of Nain, Luke 7:12 (1)
- A woman, a sinner, Luke 7:37 (1)
- Joanna and Susanna, Luke 8:3 (2)
- A disciple"follow Me", Luke 9:59 (1)
- The seventy disciples, Luke 10:1 (70)
- Martha, Luke 10:38 (1)
- Woman with infirmity, Luke 13:11 (1)
- Man with dropsy, Luke 14:2 (1)
- The ten lepers, Luke 17:12 (10)
- The blind man (approaching Jericho),** Luke 18:35 (1)
- Zaccheus, Luke 19:2 (1)
- Malchus [John 18:10], Luke 22:51 (1)
- Penitent thief, Luke 23:43 (1)
- The two disciples at Emmaus, Luke 24:13 (2)
- Nicodemus, John 3:1 (1)
- Woman of Samaria, John 4:4 (1)
- Nobleman and sick son, John 4:46 (2)
- Impotent man (Bethesda), John 5:1 (1)
- Woman taken in adultery, John 8:11 (1)
- Man born blind, John 9 (1)
- Lazarus, John 11 (1)
- Mary, mother of Jesus, John 19:25 (1) = (153)
* Bartimeus being one of them (Mark 10:46), these two being healed as Jesus left Jericho.
** The blind man (No. 36) was healed (Luke 18:35) "as He was come nigh unto Jericho," and therefore is additional to the two who were healed as He was leaving Jericho (No. 16). See Matt 20:30; Mark 10:46.
We give the above not as an alternative solution, but as an additional illustration, believing that all may be true; and at any rate, that all contribute to, and increase the cumulative evidence in support of the same great and blessed fact, that it is true of the Lord's people as it is of the stars, "He calleth them all by their names" (Psa 147:4). The book of Exodus is the book in which we first hear of redemption (Exo 15:14), and the Hebrew and divinely canonical name for this book is "THE NAMES," because His people are redeemed by name!
This is the lesson of the 153 great fishes.
Twenty is the number of expectancy as we have seen (p. 262). Here we have it tenfold (20x10).
The significance of this number is suggested by John 6:7, where we read, "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is NOT SUFFICIENT for them."
And so we find this number stamping various things with insufficiency.
- Achan's 200 shekels were "not sufficient" to save him from the consequences of his sin (Josh 7:21). This shows us the insufficiency of money (Psa 49:7-9).
- Absalom's 200 shekels weight of hair were "not sufficient" to save him, but rather caused his destruction (2 Sam 14:26, 18:9). This shows us the insufficiency of beauty.
- Micah's graven image was purchased for 200 shekels (Judg 17:4 and 18), and led to the introduction of idolatry into Israel and the blotting out of the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim from the blessing of Revelation 7, showing us the insufficiency of mere religion.
- Ezra's 200 "singing men and women" (Ezra 2:65), were "not sufficient" to produce "peace with God," true spiritual worship, or joy in the Lord. Only God's word rightly ministered can lead to this (Neh 8:5-9). This shows the insufficiency of external things in the worship of God, and the impossibility of worshipping God with the senses. True worship, which alone God will accept, "MUST" (John 4:24) be spiritual.
This is the number of Israel (Eze 4:5), being 13 x 30; as 65 (5x13) is the number of Ephraim (Isa 7:8); as 40 (5x8) is the number of Judah (Eze 4:6); and 70 (7x10) is the number of Jerusalem. See further under these numbers respectively, and under 8 and 13 also.
As a matter of chronology it was 390 years from the division of the Tribes to the Captivity, and thus the duration of the separate kingdom of Israel was 390 years, as referred to in Ezekiel 4. See p. 215.
is the product of 8 and 50, and is a divinely perfect period.
From the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham in the birth of Isaac to the Exodus was a period of 400 years. Stephen mentions it as dating from "his seed" (Acts 7:6), and God dates it from the same point when He says to Abraham, "thy seed" (Gen 15:13).*
* The structure of this verse rescues it from the way in which it is sadly misunderstood:A. "Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a strange land that is not theirs,The structure places B and B in a parenthesis. A and A cover the whole time of the sojourn, while B and B refer to the service and sojourn during a parenthesis of unnamed length within that time. The structure of Acts 7:6 is exactly the same.A. four hundred years."
B. and shall serve them;
B. and they shall afflict them
It is popularly confounded with quite a different period of
years, which, though it has the same point as to its termination, does not commence at the same point.
From the call of Abraham, or the "promise" made to him at that call (Gen 12:3), unto the Exodus was 430 years. This covers the whole period of the "sojourning"; not of Abraham's "seed," as in Genesis 15:13 and Acts 7:6, but of Abraham himself. This is what is mentioned in Galatians 3:17 as the period from the "promise" to the "Law." It is referred to also in Exodus 12:40, where the "sojourning" is the nominative case (or subject) of the verb, while the sentence, "who dwelt in Egypt," is merely a relative clause, defining parenthetically an important point concerning them.
This is the period of the 70 sevens referred to under the head of Chronology (pp. 5, 6). We need not therefore further enlarge on it here beyond pointing out the spiritual significance of the number itself as being seven times seventy.
Daniel was praying, and he was concerned about the 70 years prophesied of by Jeremiah (Dan 9:2 and Jer 25:11,12, 19:10). And the answer meant that though those 70 appointed years were about to end in restoration and blessing, another period of seven times 70 years had been determined (9:24-27), and they would commence from the very "decree" (Neh 2) which should end the former 70 years. And these should run their course, marked by certain incidents, before the full and final restoration of Daniel's "city" and "people" should be accomplished.
The number 490 marks the product of spiritual perfection (7) with regard to the working out of Jerusalem's number (70). For 7 times 70 is 490.
is "the number of a name" (Rev 13:17,18). When the name of Antichrist is known its gematria will doubtless be found to be the number 666. But this number has, we believe, a far deeper reference to and connection with the secret mysteries of the ancient religions, which will be again manifested in connection with the last great apostasy.
Many names may be found, the numerical value of whose letters amounts to 666. We have a list of about forty such gematria. Most of them are ridiculous, inasmuch as instead of the gematria being confined to Hebrew and Greek (which have no Arabic or other special signs for figures), the principle is extended to names in English, French, and other modern languages, on the assumption that they would have been spelt in exactly the same way; whereas we know that names both of persons and places are not simply transliterated in various languages. It is abusrd therefore to attempt to take words from the modern European languages which use Arabic figures.
Gematria is not a means by which the name is to be discovered; but it will be a test and a proof by which the name may be identified after the person is revealed.
If six is the number of secular or human perfection, then 66 is a more emphatic expression of the same fact, and 666 is the concentrated expression of it; 666 is therefore the trinity of human perfection; the perfection of imperfection; the culmination of human pride in independence of God and opposition to His Christ.
The number, however, has to be computed (yhfizw (pseephizo), to reckon, to calculate, not merely to count or enumerate). See Revelation 13:18. Therefore it is not to be known by gematria merely, though, as we have said, that will be one of the factors in the calculation, just as the letters in the word Jesus amount to 888.
But 666 was the secret symbol of the ancient pagan mysteries connected with the worship of the Devil. It is to day the secret connecting link between those ancient mysteries and their modern revival in Spiritualism, Theosophy, etc. The efforts of the great enemy are now directed towards uniting all into one great whole. The newspapers, wordldy and religious, are full of schemes as to such a union. "Reunion" is in the air. The societies for the re-union of Christendom, and the Conferences for the re-union of the Churches, are alike parts of the same great movement, and are all making for and are signs of the coming Apostasy. During this age, "Separation" is God's word for His people, and is the mark of Christ; while "union" and "re-union" is the mark of Antichrist.
The number 6 was stamped on the old mysteries. The great secret symbol consisted of the three letters SSS, because the letter S in the Greek alphabet was the symbol of the figure 6 (see page 49). a = 1, b = 2, g = 3, d = 4, e = 5, but when it came to 6, another letter was introduced! Not the nextthe sixth letter (z, zeta)but a different letter, a peculiar form of S, called "stigma" (V). Now the word stigma (stigma), means a mark, but especially a mark made by a brand as burnt upon slaves, cattle, or soldiers, by their owners or masters; or on devotees who thus branded themselves as belonging to their gods. It is from stizw, stizo, to prick, or brand with a hot iron. Hence it came to be used of scars or wound-prints, and it is thus used by Paul of his scars, which he regarded as the tokens of his sufferings, the marks which he bore on his body for the sake of his Lord and Master, and marking him as belonging to the one who had bought him (Gal 6:17).
This letter is becoming familiar to us now; and it is not pleasant when we see many thus marked (ignorantly, no doubt) with the symbolical "S," "S," especially when it is connected, not with "salvation," but with judgment, and is asociated with "blood and fire," which, in Joel 2:30, 31, is given as one of the awful signs "before the great and terrible day of the Lord come."
Apostasy is before us. The religion of Christ has, in the past, been opposed and corrupted, but when it once comes, as it has come in our day, to be burlesqued, there is nothing left but judgment. There is nothing more the enemy can do before he proceeds to build up the great apostasy on the ruins of true religion, and thus prepare the way for the coming of the Judge.
It is remarkable that the Romans did not use all the letters of their alphabet, as did the Hebrews and Greeks. They used only six letters,* D, C, L, X, V, and I. And it is still more remarkable, and perhaps significant, that the sum of these amounts to 666:
* The M appears to have been merely two D's.
|1. D =||500||600||666|
|2. C =||100|
|3. L =||50||60|
|4. X =||10|
|5. V =||5||6|
|6. I =||1|
In each of the three pairs there is an addition of one, for 6 = 5 + 1. It is the grace of God superseded by the corruption of man.
It will be seen from this that the number 666 is very far-reaching, and is filled with a meaning deeper, perhaps, than anything we have yet discovered. One thing, however, is certain, and that is, that the triple 6 marks the culmination of man's opposition to God in the person of the coming Antichrist.
Further illustration of the significance of this number is seen in the fact that
was 666 years before it was conquered by Babylon.
by the Roman Empire exactly 666 years from the battle of Actium, BC 31, to the Saracen conquest in AD 636.*
* See The Witness of the Stars, by the same author.
1. GOLIATH, whose height was 6 cubits, and he had 6 pieces of armour;* his spear's head weighed 600 shekels of iron (1 Sam 17:4-7).
2. NEBUCHADNEZZAR, whose "image" which he set up,** was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits broad (Dan 3:1), and which was worshipped when the music was heard from 6 specified instruments,*** and
3. ANTICHRIST, whose number is 666.
* In Ephesians 6:14-18, the Christian's armour has a seventh piece"Prayer." See under "Seven."
** We must distinguish the "image" which he set up, from the "man" of whom he afterwards dreamt. The proportions are not the same. The height of a man is to his breadth not as 10:1. Some have therefore thought that this "image" may have been an obelisk. But as the word for "image" denotes a form or likeness, it may have been like the form of a man standing on a pedestal of which the height was included. The pedestal being probably 24 (6x4) cubits, and the image 36 (6x6).
*** The numerical value (by gematria) of the words in Daniel 3:1, which describe the setting up of this image is 4662. The very figures are significant, but still more so are the factors of this number. 4662 = 7 x 666.
In the first we have one six connected with the pride of fleshly might.
In the second we have two sixes connected with the pride of absolute dominion.
In the third we have three sixes connected with the pride of Satanic guidance.
brought to Solomon in a year were 666 (1 Kings 10:14). But this perfection of money-power was only "vanity and vexation of spirit" (Eccl 2:8,11; compare 1 Tim 6:10).
As to the triple number 666, we have already seen (page 121) that while one figure (6) is significant, two figures (66) are still more so; and three figures (666) seem to denote the concentration or essence of the particular number.
We see further examples of this in
Jesus, 888, the dominical number;
Sodom, 999, the number of judgment;
Damascus, 444, the world number;
The beast, 666, the number of man.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you," 888;
The Lord God made, 888; etc., etc.
"The children of Adonikam" who returned from the Captivity (Ezra 2:13) numbered 666. Adonikam means the lord of the enemy. This is suggestive, even though it may be vague.
The number 666 has another remarkable property. It is further marked as the concentration and essence of 6 by being the sum of all the numbers which makes up the square of six! The square of six is 36 (62, or 6x6), and the sum of the numbers 1 to 36 = 666, i.e., 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 + 13 + 14 + 15 + 16 + 17 + 18 + 19 + 20 + 21 + 22 + 23 + 24 + 25 + 26 + 27 + 28 + 29 + 30 + 31 + 32 + 33 + 34 + 35 + 36 = 666.
They may be arranged in the form of a square with six figures each way, so that the sum of each six figures in any direction shall be another significant trinity = 111.
It is remarkable that the numerical value of the "SONG OF MOSES" (Exo 15:1-18) is 41626, which is the product of the significant factors 13 x 42 x 70.
On the other hand, if we compare "the Song of Moses and of the Lamb," in Revelation 15:1-5, the remarkable value is 9261, which has the remarkable factors 33 x 73.
We have now come to the end of our survey of number as used by God in His works and in His Word, and we have seen that all is perfect.
Our apprehension and interpretation of the phenomena may be marked with many imperfections, and we are conscious that after all we have but touched the fringe of this great and important subject.
One thing, however, is certain, and that is, that we have, in the Scripture of Truth, a revelation from God absolutely without error, and whatever difficulties we may encounter in seeking to understand it, they are all the outcome of our own infirmities.
Of another thing we are also certain, that the Written Word cannot be separated from the Living Word, nor the spiritual meaning of the one understood without a living union with the other.
It may be said of the Word of God, as it is written of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:23),
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