The Importance of Numbers in Scripture
"Who has 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?"
"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart."
"As for God His way is perfect."
All God's ways are perfect. His works are perfect and His words are perfect. Should we
not then consider His use of numbers perfect? Often times, if not most of the time, numbers
appearing in scripture have more significance than just their numerical value. More often
than not even when a number is used to indicate a certain quantity the individual number
given may point beyond the numerical value to a symbolic significance.
In addition to the study of the symbolic significance of numbers in scripture is the
study of the numbers formed by the letters of words themselves, which is known by the Greek
word gematria. The Hebrews, Greeks, Romans and many other ancient peoples used their
alphabets for numbers, and each letter also has a numerical value. The gematria of a word
is the sum of the value of the individual letters. So if you had a 3 letter word and the
value of the first letter was 3, the value of the second letter was 6 and the value of the
third letter was 20 then the total gematria/value of that word would be 29 (3+6+20=29).
Each number, according to ancient tradition has significance, for example:
Three is the number of perfect completion for the Jews and for Christians the number
three symbolizes the perfection of the Godhead - The Trinity.
Eight is the number of salvation. It is the number of Christ, of the resurrection, and
of the Second Coming. The gematria of the name Jesus in Greek (the language of the New
Testament) is 888: a trinity of eights, the fullness of salvation! As a matter of fact,
every name identifying the second person of the Trinity is a multiple of (evenly divisible by) 8
in Greek: Jesus Christ = 1480 (8X185); Lord = 800 (8X100); Savior = 1,408 (8X176);
Emmanuel = 25,600 (8 x 3,200); Messiah = 656 (8X82); Son 880 (8X110).
The study of the significance of the use of numbers in Scripture requires a lifetime of
study and reflection, but a brief summary of some of the most significant numbers may be
enough to wet one's appetite for future study.
Once you begin to see the significance of numbers in scripture you can take this one
step further and begin to apply this to the chapter and verse numbering; which many times
also coincides with specific periods of time or timing of events. One brief example of this
is the fact that the last three feasts to be fulfilled - The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of
Atonement, and The Feast of Tabernacles - cover a period of 22 days on the Jewish calendar
from Tishri 1 to Tishri 22. Now if we look at the Book of Revelation we find that it
contains exactly 22 chapters. Coincidence? I'll let you decide that for yourself.
ONE: In Scripture "one" (ehad in Hebrew) represents unity and is the essential number of monotheism, the worship of one God.
- The concept of one as a unity of one God is expressed in the opening lines of the first profession of faith found in Scripture, The Shema: "Hear O Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is One"
- One as a cardinal number symbolizes Unity. The number One is indivisible and not made up of any other number representing the unity of the One true God in which there is no division.
- One as an ordinal number denotes primacy, sovereignty, divine completeness or perfection.
- Christians recognized the number "one" in Scripture as symbolic of the First Person of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father.
TWO: This number can mean difference, division, of double portion.
- On the second day God created light and darkness.
- The Ten Commandments were inscribed on two tablets of stone.
- The children of Israel were forbidden to collect manna on the Sabbath and therefore were permitted to collect a double portion of manna on Friday.
- On the 6th day of Creation God created two -- male and female -- of every species in order that fertility might be a blessing to the earth.
- In the New Testament Christians also saw this number as a symbol of the second person of the Trinity, the incarnation of God the Son in the perfection of His humanity and divinity.
- For the Christians, the Bible is divided into two main sections -- The Old Testament and the New Testament
THREE: In Scripture the number 3 represents that which is solid, real, substantial, and something in its completeness. This number usually indicates something of importance or significance in God's plan of salvation by identifying an important event in Salvation History. This number operates as a "sign-post" in Scripture study for the reader to "pay attention" to the significance of the next event.
In the Old Testament:
- It is the first of the 4 perfect numbers which are 3 (divine perfection), 7 (spiritual perfection), 10 (ordinal perfection), and 12 (governmental perfection).
- The earth was separated from the waters on the 3rd day
- There were three Patriarchs of the children of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel.
- There are three verses in the Priestly Blessing in which YHWH, God's holy covenant name, appears 3 times
- Three times the angelic Seraphim cry "Holy, Holy, Holy"
[Isaiah 6:3 and
- After the Great Flood mankind descended from the three sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
- Three "men" announced to Abraham that his barren wife would bear a son
- Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son after a 3-day journey to Mt. Mariah
- Baby Moses was hidden by his mother for 3 months
and the adult Moses requests of Pharaoh that he let Moses take his people on a 3 day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifice to their God
- There were 3 divisions of the desert Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem, the Outer Court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies
1 Kings 6:1-37].
- God is mentioned three times in the Shema (the first profession of faith) in
[Deuteronomy 6:4] and three times in the blessing in
- There are 3 attributes of God mentioned in
[Exodus 33:18-19]: hen, rachum, and hesed (gracious, compassionate/merciful, and loving kindness).
- Of the 7 Holy Feasts of the Sinai Covenant, 3 are Pilgrim feasts in which every man 13 years or older must present himself before God at the Temple in Jerusalem. This command is repeated three times in scripture
- Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of the great fish
Jonah took a 3 day journey across the city of Nineveh
In the New Testament:
- Jesus' ministry lasted 3 years.
- Mary stayed with Elizabeth about 3 months
- Jesus was missing for 3 days when He was 12 years old
- Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on the Mt. of Transfiguration
- Jesus arose from the dead on the third day
- Saul was blinded for 3 days
- The theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity
[1 Corinthians 13:13].
- The heavenly Jerusalem has 3 gates on each of its four sides
- Christians saw three as symbolic of the Trinity, the triune nature of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Three is also recognized as the number of the Holy Spirit.
- 3 divisions of time; past, present and future
- 3 persons in grammar
- Thought, word, and deed complete the sum of human capacity
FOUR: The number 4 represents God's creative works, especially works associated with the earth:
- 4 cardinal directions N,S,E,W with 4 Angels at tour corners of the earth holding back the 4 winds of the world
- The Covenant People of God had 4 divisions of daylight (Dawn - 9AM; 9AM - 12 Noon; 12 Noon - 3PM; 3PM - Sunset).
- 4 Lunar phases
- 4 seasons
- 4 rivers flowed out of Eden
- 4 consonants formed God's covenant name YHWH.
- 4 cherubim
- In Ezekiel's vision of the heavenly throne/chariot the cherubim each had 4 faces with four wheels
- 4 women gave birth to the fathers of the 12 Tribes of Israel
- The prayer shawl has 4 corners with 4 tassels
- 4 heavenly creatures
- Israelite camp divided into 4 parts when camping around the tabernacle
- The ancients considered there to be 4 elements, earth, fire, air, and water.
- Bible has 4-fold division of mankind lands, tongues, families and nations
- 4 cups of wine are used at the Passover Seder.
FIVE: This is the number of divine grace.
- Five kinds of animals were sacrificed under the Old Covenant: goats, sheep, cattle, pigeons, and doves
- God changed Abram's name to Abraham by adding the letter/number 5 to his name
He changes Sarai's name by adding the same letter with the value of "grace" to form the name Sarah
Abraham and Sarah were transformed by grace to become the parents of a family from which the Messiah would be born.
- The Tabernacle was measured in multiples of 5
- 5 books of the Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament) - Also known to Christians as the 5 books of Moses or the Penteteuch
- Jesus bled from 5 wounds on the altar of the Cross.
- Daniel proclaimed the Fifth Kingdom to be an Everlasting Kingdom
SIX: Both man and the serpent were created on the sixth day; therefore, the number six represents both man and rebellion.
- 666 is the number of the Beast.
- Man is commanded to labor 6 days
- The 6th commandment is the sin of murder
- The 6th clause of the prayer of the "Our Father" petitions that we not be led into sin and be delivered from evil
- The world turned dark at the 6th hour Hebrew time (12 noon-1PM) when Christ was on the cross. In Roman time the 6th hour is 6-7AM, when Jesus was being tried by the Roman governor Pilate
[Gospel of St. John 19:14].
- Jesus suffered on the cross for 6 hours (as He suffered that man might be saved); from 9AM,
(see Mark 15:25)
the hour of the first daily sacrifice in the Temple to 3PM,
(see Mark 15:33-34;
the hour of the last sacrifice, and gave up His life at the beginning of the 7th hour (the number of perfection).
- All six of the letters which represent the number system of the Roman Empire added together give the number 666: I=1, V=5, X=10, L=50, C=100, D=500 (there is no letter/number M. 1000 was two Ds back to back which resembled an M).
SEVEN: Spiritual perfection and fullness or completion. It is the number of Covenant and of the Holy Spirit.
- 7 is the second perfect number.
- In Hebrew 7 is shevah (shebah) from the root shava (shaba or sheba), to be full.
- God rested on the seventh day (Saturday) after creation
- To swear an oath in Hebrew is "to seven oneself".
- The sacred Menorah has 7 branches, six on each side of a central shaft, and 7 cup shaped lamps for the olive oil.
- There were 7 classes of furniture in the Tabernacle: Bronze Altar, Bronze Laver, Golden Menorah, Golden Table of the Bread of the Presence, Golden Altar of Incense, Ark of the Covenant, and the Seat of Atonement.
- The Tabernacle was built in 6 days and dedicated on the 7th day
- It took Solomon 7 years to build the Temple in Jerusalem
[1 Kings 6:37-38].
- There are 7 holy annual feast days in the Sinai Covenant
- The Feast of Passover is the 1st month of the liturgical year but the 7th month of the civil year
- The Feast of Tabernacles completes the cycle of Holy Days on the 7th month of the liturgical year
- There are multiple sevens in the Book of Revelation including
- Man's pulse beats on the seven-day principle. For six days out of seven it beats faster in the morning than in the evening while on the seventh day it beats slower. The seventh day is the day of rest!
- 7 days in a week
- 7 colors in the spectrum -- the seven-colored rainbow was the sign of the covenant with Noah.
EIGHT: sh'moneh in Hebrew, from the root shah'meyn "to make fat" or "to cover with fat" which means to super-abound. The first of a new series: there are 7 days in a week; the 8th is the beginning of a new series of days. It is the number of salvation, resurrection, and new birth/regeneration.
- Eight is the first cubic number (2x2x2). This is significant because the Holy of Holies in both the Tabernacle and in the Temple were a perfect cube.
[1 Kings 6:20]
- 8 is the number of our salvation and the Second Coming. It is the day Christ arose from the dead
- 8 (okto in Greek) days after the resurrection (literal Greek Translation) Jesus appeared to his disciples, this time with Thomas.
- The 8th day which is Sunday, is the first day of the New Covenant
- 8 people were saved in the ark including Noah
- On the 8th day of an Israelite boy child's birth he entered the old covenant by circumcision
- God lit the altar of the Tabernacle; this day was commemorated in the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), which was an eight-day feast
- David, God's anointed, is the 8th son of Jesse
[1 Samuel 16:10-13]
- There are 8 Miracles of the prophet Elijah
[1 Kings 17-2 Kings 13].
- There are 8 petitions in the Lord's Prayer
- The gematria of Jesus in Greek, lesous, is 888 (l=10, e=8, s=200, o=70, u=400,s=200). All the names for Jesus are multiples of 8.
- Scientists have identified 88 constellations.
In Addition: There are a number of significant events in history that have occurred in a year ending in an eight - as follows.
- In the Jewish faith, God is often referred to as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Did you know that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all born in a year ending in an eight (8)?
The remainder of these items also occured in a year ending in an eight (8) --
- God's covenant with Abraham.
- The Jews redemption from Egypt.
- The receiving of the Torah (the 5 books of Moses).
- The death of Moses.
- The rebirth of Israel.
SEVEN AND EIGHT: Together these numbers form a remarkable connection. As we have noted seven, according to its etymology, means that which is spiritually complete, while eight denotes that which is superabundant. God's holy covenant name is expressed in Hebrew by the four consonants YHWH which have a value of 10, 5, 6, and 5. Added together their total is 26 but multiplied by 3 (for the Triune God) their value is 78 [70 (7X10) + 8] or spiritual perfection (7) times perfection of order (10) plus superabundant salvation (8).
Yahweh's covenants are also 7 and 8. There are 7 in the Old Testament and the 8th in the New Covenant in Christ.
The classes of furniture in the desert Tabernacle and in the Temple reflected the numbers both 7 and 8.
1 Kings 6:1-13;
2 Chronicles 3:1-5:14
|1. Ark of the Covenant
||1. Ark of the Covenant
|2. Seat of Atonement (Mercy Seat)
||2. Seat of Atonement (Mercy Seat)
|3. Golden Alter of Incense
||3. Golden Alter of Incense
|4. Golden Menorah
||4. Golden Menorah
|5. Golden Table for the Bread of the|
|5. Golden Table for the Bread of the|
|6. Bronze Sacrificial Alter
||6. Bronze Sacrificial Alter
|7. Laver for the holy water
||7. Laver for the holy water
||Bronze Sea for ritual cleaning
NINE: This number is related to the number six, being the sum of its factors (3x3=9, and 3+3=6). It is significant of the end of man and the sum of all man's works. Nine is therefore the number of finality or judgment. 9 is the last of the single digits, and thus marks the end or the conclusion of a matter. It can further be defined as finality in divine things; meaning the conclusion of the whole matter so far as man is concerned. As shown below, the Bible gives us examples of nine things grouped together to illustrate a single truth; thus 9 is used to express a statement of divine finality and/or divine blessing (see #'s 4-7 below).
- It was in the ninth year of the prophet Hosea that the king of Assyria destroyed the capital city of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and carried the people away into exile
[2 Kings 17:6].
- It was in the ninth year of King Zedekiah's reign that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon conquered the Southern Kingdom of Judiah, destroying the city of Jerusalem and the Temple
[2 Kings 25:1].
- It was the ninth hour, Jewish time (3PM) when Jesus gave up His life on the cross for the sins of the world
- 9-fold judgment declared by God on Israel for losing their will to complete the work and fulfill the divine decree concerning the rebuilding of the destroyed First Temple
He called for a drought upon the land, mountains, corn, new wine, oil, produce, men, cattle and the work of men's hands.
- 9-fold fruit of the spirit
They are - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
- One of Christ's earliest sermons began with 9 blessings, known as the beatitudes
[Matthew 5:3-12]. Those being - blessed are "poor in spirit" (love), "they that mourn" (joy), "the meek" (peace), those who "hunger and thirst after righteousness" (long suffering), "the merciful" (gentleness), "the pure in heart" (goodness), "the peacemakers" (are to be called "the Children of God") (faith), those "persecuted for righteousness' sake" (meekness), those reviled and slandered for Jesus' sake are promised a great heavenly reward (temperance).
- 9 gifts of the spirit
[1 Corinthians 12:8-10]
which are - the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, the interpretation of tongues.
- The seven lamp Menorah of the Old Testament tabernacle became the nine-lamp Menorah of grace with the defeat of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 165 B.C. This marked the cleansing and dedication of the Temple. A single day's supply of consecrated oil lasted eight days. Miraculously, the dedication (in Hebrew, Hanukkah) was complete, Eight lamps -- each representing a day -- plus the Servant Lamp made nine lights, Nine, the number of final blessing!
TEN: Perfection of divine order
- Noah was the 10th generation from Adam
- Abraham was the 10th generation from Shem, son of Noah
[Genesis 11: 10-26]
(the ancients counted every series with the first in the series as #1--there was no concept of 0 as a place value).
- 10 Commandments
- 10 clauses in the Lord's Prayer
- 10 plagues on Egypt
- 10 virgins in Jesus' parable
- 10 times John uses the words "I Am" in his Gospel.
ELEVEN: disorder: 10 + 1 or 12 - 1, also disorganization, unfulfillment, imperfection.
- At Kadesh-Barnea the Children of Israel traveled 11 days from Mt. Sinai. In one more day they could have been in the Holy Land but their faith failed them
- The last two Kings of Judah each reigned 11 years before the Babylonian conquest at Judah.
TWELVE: Perfection of government. Twelve is the number of the Church, both the Old Covenant Church of Israel founded by 12 physical fathers (the 12 sons of Israel) and the New Covenant Church founded by 12 spiritual fathers (the 12 Apostles). This number also has a relationship to rule along with multiples of 12.
- 12 signs of the zodiac (these ancient symbols are found in Jewish synagogues of the 1st century AD).
- The circle of the heavens = 360 degrees (12 x30).
- The product of 3 (perfection of divinity) x 4 (the number of the earth)
- 12 tribes of Israel
- 12 prophets of the Old Testament.
- 12 months of a year.
- Jesus is 12 when He questions the scholars in the Temple
- 12 legions of angels
- 12 Apostles
- 12 foundations of the Heavenly Jerusalem
THIRTEEN: An ill omen representing hostility, rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption.
- Judas is considered to be the thirteenth; Jesus is #1 plus the 12 holy Apostles; Judas is always named last in the list of Apostles
- Ishmael, the illegitimate son of Abraham, was 13 years old when he was circumcised
- Leaven is a sign for sin. The gematria for leaven, zumee in Hebrew is 13.
FOURTEEN: 7 x 2 = double measure of spiritual perfection. 7 is the number of covenant and divine perfection and 2 is the number of the Incarnation.
- The genealogy of Jesus in St. Matthew's Gospel is divided into three sets of 14 generations
- The gematria of David's name is 14.
FIFTEEN: 3 x 5, 5 = grace and 3=divine perfection of the Godhead. This number symbolizes acts wrought by the energy of divine grace.
- 15 is 7 + 8 = Covenant (7) and Resurrection (8); when Jesus manifest himself as God and defeated death and Aatan (Resurrection was on Sunday, the 8th as well as the 1st day).
- 15 is a special mark of the energy of divine grace issuing in glory.
- The 15th day of the 1st month = Feast of Unleavened Bread begins at sundown after the Passover sacrifice (Sundown begins the next day for the Hebrews). It is the day of the Last Supper
- The 15th day of the 7th month is the final feast of the liturgical year, the Feast of Tabernacles
SEVENTEEN: Perfection of spiritual order
- The 7th prime number.
- 17 is also the sum of two perfect numbers -- 7 (Spiritual perfection and fullness or completion) + 10 (Perfection of Divine order) = perfection of spiritual order. For example see
Romans 8:35-39 =
series of 7 blessings in the form of questions followed by 10 answers. Also see
where Old Covenant and New are contrasted. 7 Statements refer to Old Covenant and 10 to the New. In both of these New Testament passages the New (10) is superior to the Old (7).
- The 17th of Nisan of Passion Week was the Feast of Firstfruits and Jesus' Resurrection when He defeated sin and death 9which was Sunday the 8th day)
TWENTY: This number is the double of 10, and may in some cases dignify its concentrated meaning. But its significance seems to be connected with the fact that it is one short of 21. 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 expectancy, and there are numerous illustrations in Scripture to support this explanation.
- 20 years Jacob waited to get possession of his wives and property
- 20 years Israel waited for a deliverer from Jabin's oppression
- 20 years Israel waited for deliverance through Samson
- 20 years the Ark of the Covenant waited at Kirhath-jearim
[1 Samuel 7:2].
- 20 years Solomon was waiting for the completion of the Temple and Palace
[1 Kings 6:10;
2 Chronicles 8:1].
- 20 years Jerusalem waited between its subjugation and its destruction
2 Chronicles 36:1-10;
- 20 years Jeremiah prophesied concerning the destruction of Jerusalem
THIRTY: Being 3 x 10 this number denotes, in a higher degree, the perfection of divine order, as marking the right moment.
- Jesus was 30 years of age at the commencement of His ministry
- Joseph was thirty when he began to be Vizier of Egypt
- David was also 30 when he began his reign
[2 Samuel 5:4].
- A priest began his duties at age 30 (he was a "deacon" for 5 years from age 25-30), and he retired by age 50.
FORTY: This number is recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence and with the uniformity of its association both as a time of consecration and as a period of trial.
- 40-day epic periods during the great flood
- 40 days Moses was on the Mountain to receive the Law of the Sinai Covenant
- 40 days the children of Israel were tested while Moses was on the mountain.
- 40 days Moses was on the Mountain after the golden calf
- 40 days of Jonah in the Assyrian city of Nineveh
- 40 days Ezekiel lay on his right side to symbolize the 40 years of Judah's transgression
- 40 days Jesus fasted in the wilderness before his trial of temptation by Satan
- 40 days Jesus taught His disciples after the Resurrection. On the fortieth day He ascended to the Father
- 40 years was the age of Isaac when he married Rebekah
- 40 years from the first Pentecost at Sinai to the taking of the Promised Land
- 40 years from the Resurrection to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD
- 40 years of Moses in Egypt (by Jewish Tradition).
- 40 years of Moses in Midian before his return to Egypt.
- 40 years Israel ate manna
- 40 years was Joshua's age when Moses sent him to reconnoiter on Canaan
- 40 years Eli judged Israel
[1 Samuel 4:18].
- 40 years of war between Israel and the Philistines.
- 40 years of David as King
[2 Samuel 5:5;
1 Chronicles 29:26-27].
- 40 years of Solomon as King
[2 Chronicles 9:30].
FORTY-TWO: is a number connected with the Beast in the book of Revelation. An important part of his career is to last 42 months
or 3 1/2 years. Another number associated with the Beast is 1,260, which is the sum of 30 x 42. In Scripture the number 42, or the relationship between 42 (months) and 3 1/2 (years/days or days of years), seems to be associated with God's divine plan especially climaxing in a short but intense period of tribulation/judgment as the numbers are used in Daniel and Revelation
[see Daniel 7:25 and
This number is also associated with the number 1260: 3 1/2 years = 42 months = 1,260 days, in
Revelation 11:3 and
In the Book of Revelation there is a chiastic pattern formed with these numbers: A. 42 months =
B. 1260 days =
C. 3 1/2 days =
C. 3 1/2 days =
B. 1260 days =
A. 42 months =
FIFTY: is the number of jubilee or deliverance. It is the issue of 7x7+1 or 7 squared + 1, and points to deliverance and rest following on as the result of the perfect consummation of time.
- On the 50th day after leaving Egypt God met Israel at Sinai, = the first Pentecost (this Greek word means "50th day")
- 50 is grace = 5 multiplied by perfect order = 10.
- In the 50th year, known as a Jubilee year, all debts were to be forgiven, all Hebrew slaves were to be freed, and all land returned to the original owner
- On the 50th day after the Resurrection the Holy Spirit came to the disciples in the Upper Room, the second Pentecost
SEVENTY: is another combination of two of the perfect numbers, 7 and 10 and signifies perfect spiritual order carried out with all spiritual power and significance.
- There were 70 nations before the Tower of Babel
- 70 men built up the nation of Israel when Israel first entered Egypt
- 70 elders met God on Sinai and ate a sacred meal
- 70 Elders of Israel comprised the Sanhedrin (court of law).
- Jesus chose 70 disciples
- Daniel's 70 weeks
ONE HUNDRED TWENTY: is made up of 3 forties (3x40=120). Applied to time therefore it signifies a divinely appointed period of probation. Applied to persons it points to a divinely appointed number during a period of waiting.
- 120 priests were present at the dedication of Solomon's Temple
[2 Chronicles 5:12].
- According to the oral law 120 people were required to form a congregation.
- 120 disciples were present in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit descended
- 120 is a factor in the number of those who returned from Babylon, 42,360 (120x353)
- 120 is a factor of the number 144,000 who will be sealed from the 12 Tribes of Israel in the book of Revelation (120x1200=144,000)
- The Great Synagogue was composed of 120 members
ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THREE: An abundance of ink has been spilled in an attempt to
discern the significance of the number. It is a number, which has taxed the minds of some
of the greatest Biblical scholars. All have believed that 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 and drew the net to land full of great fishes, one
hundred and fifty three." St. Augustine has pointed out the comparison and contrast
between the two miraculous catches of fish, one at the beginning and the other at the end
of Christ's ministry (after His Resurrection). He and other scholars see in this number
some connection with the "saved who are "caught up" in Peter's net, meaning the Church.
St. Jerome also saw that there was some deeper meaning in the number, and records that
there were 153 sorts of fish in the Sea of Galilee, which symbolized all kinds of men
enclosed in the Gospel net. Both St. Augustine and Pope St. Gregory the Great noticed that
17 is the sum of the perfect numbers 10 (perfect order) and 7 (spiritual perfection).
St. Gregory multiplied 17 by 3 and again by 3 to get 153. Augustine used addition and took
the sum of all the digits up to and including 17 as amounting to exactly 153. They also
noted that the expression "Sons of God" occurs 7 times, and that the gematria of
this expression in Hebrew is exactly 153. I also found it interesting that if you add the
digits in 153 (1+5+3) we have the number 9 (total) and the number 9 represents finality or
judgment. This could also relate to the fullness of the Gentiles in that when the last fish
(man) is caught in the net (saved) then it will be time for the final events to begin
(rapture followed by the Tribulation and judgment).
As I hope you can see, numbers are very significant in the study of Scripture; not only
for their numerical value but also their meaning. So the next time you are studying the Bible -
particularly prophecy - pay close attention to numbers that appear. Sometimes even the book,
chapter, and/or the verse number relates directly to events. Allow me to leave you with two
I am finding more and more of these types of "match ups" in my studies. All I can say is
that no matter how much we study God's word, the Bible, there is always something new to be
learned. In my opinion, we will never unlock all the secrets hidden in the Bible; which is
why we should be ever vigilent in our studies. When considering the learning curve of Bible
study, I feel I have a long way to go; but I can also say (looking back) that I also feel I have come a
long way since I began my studies of prophecy -- and I always look forward to learning more!!
- The first example is found in Genesis 7:10.... This verse announces that "the waters of the
floods" (that were the first judgment of all mankind on the earth - Noah's flood) were upon
the earth. What's interesting is that, in the 7 feasts, The Day of Atonement (6th Feast) is
associated with Christ's second coming in judgment and falls on the 7th month and the 10th
day of the month on the Jewish calendar (Tishri 10). So what we have is the first judgment of
man (the flood) being announced in the 7th chapter and the 10th verse; which corresponds
directly with the second judgment of man coming in the 7th month on the 10th day of the
month (on the Jewish calendar). Coincidence?
Genesis 7:10...And it came to pass after seven days, that
the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
- The second example is found in Psalm 48.... This chapter tells of the re-establishment
of Israel and Jerusalem. Now consider the fact that the book of Psalms is the 19th book of
the Bible and the verses appear in the 48th chapter. Put them together and we have 1948 -
the year of the rebirth of Israel. Add to this the fact that counting from the beginning of
the Bible, the book of Psalms is the 19th book and counting backwards from the end of the
Bible (beginning with Revelation) then the book of Psalms is the 48th book. Again -