You probably don’t associate Numerology with the Christian Bible, but believe it or not, numbers play a significant role in Christianity. There are several numbers that come up over and over in the Bible. Some consider these numbers to be very significant, and study them to gain additional knowledge about the nature of God.
- One – Isn’t one always the best place to start? In the Bible the number one is used to describe God himself. For example, the 1st commandment is “Thou shalt have no other gods besides me”. Or in Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” These verses reminded worshippers that they were not to worship multiple gods like many of the cultures around them. They were to only worship one God. Many people believe that the placement of these verses were no accident – the first commandment, and the phrase in Deuteronomy 6:4, 6 + 4 = 10. Numerology further reduces this number to 1 + 0 = 1. And so we arrive back at one.
- Forty – The Bible often uses 40 to symbolize completion and fulfillment. Throughout both Testaments the number 40 is used 146 times. It is the traditional Hebrew number for the duration of any sort of trial. For instance, the Jews were slaves to the Egyptians for 400 years. Then they were forced to wander for 40 years as punishment. Moses was also on Mt. Sinai for 40 days, as was Elijah 300 years later. During the Great Flood that Noah endured, it rained for 40 days and nights. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before being tempted by Satan. Jesus remained on Earth for 40 days after his Resurrection.
- Twelve – The number twelve is used in a similar way to 40, as it indicates completion and totality. There were 12 tribes of Israel, twelve apostles. It also appears many times in Revelation. According to this book, the New Jerusalem in Heaven is described as having walls that are 144 cubits thick – to represent the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles. The foundations of the temple are also described as having 12 precious stones. And on a happier note, during Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 his Disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftovers.
- Four – Four also indicates completion. There are four writing prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. There are 4 gospels, 4 living beasts in Ezekiel, and 4 points of the Cross. There are also 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, and 4 angles standing ready at the 4 corners of the Earth.
- Ten – We would need pages and pages to list all the instances that 10 shows up in the Bible, so we’ll cover just a few. The most obvious is the 10 Commandments. Also, Noah was the 10th patriarch before the Flood. God promises not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if 10 righteous people can be found in them (we all know how that turned out). And consider John 3:16 – you could say it’s the thesis statement of Christianity. The digits of this verse add up to 10. Jesus performed a total of 37 miracles in the Gospels. 3 plus 7 equals 10. Jesus also quotes Deuteronomy 46 times. 4 plus 6 equals 10.
- Three – The number 3 is the number of the Trinity, and as such it indicates wholeness. The Bible also mentions that Jesus loved 3 of his disciples – Peter, John, and James – more than the other 9, because of their strong faith. They witnessed the Transfiguration, which also had 3 – Jesus along with Moses and Elijah. Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for 3 days. And of course, on the 3rd day Jesus rose from the dead.
- Six – As you might guess, the number 6 indicates imperfection in the Bible. Most well-known is of course 666, the symbol of the Beast, the unholy trinity. He is the opposite of God, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. These imperfect entities are represented by the number 6, whereas the Holy Trinity is 777. Which brings us to…
- Seven – The Bible uses 7 to symbolize perfection, and 7 and 14 are used quite frequently (14 being a multiple of 7). In Revelation God is said to have 7 Spirits, and is depicted as 7 lamp stands. Revelation is written and sent to the 7 major churches in Asia minor, and it predicts the Tribulation is going to last 7 years. When Jesus fed the 4,000 there were 7 basketfuls of food left over. Jesus is said to have suffered 7 wounds on the Cross; one in each hand, one in each foot (while popular art depicts Jesus as having one wound through the top of his foot, history shows that when someone was crucified each foot was nailed separately through the ankle bone), the flogging before he was put on the cross, the crown of thorns, and the spear in his side.
As you can see, numbers play an important role in the Bible. Their use is different from modern day numerology, but it is significant to note that early Christians believed in the power and energy of numbers, just as many modern Numerologists do.