Numbers are used in Scripture, not merely as in
Nature, with supernatural design, but with spiritual significance,
which may be summarised as follows 1 :-
ONE. Denotes unity,
and commencement. The first occurrences of words or utterances denote their
essential significance, in interpretation. Words that occur only once, in the originals,
are emphatic and important. First day, Light. The first ocurrences of all important words
and expressions are noted in the margin.
TWO. Denotes difference.
If two different persons agree in testimony it is conclusive. Otherwise two
implies opposition, enmity, and division, as was the work of
the Second day. Compare the use of the word "double" applied to "heart",
"tongue", "mind", etc.
THREE. Denotes completeness,
as three lines complete a plane figure. Hence, three is significant of Divine perfection
and completeness. The third day completes the fundamentals of creation-work. The fourth,
fifth, and sixth days are the counterpart and repetition of the first, second, and third,
and correspond respectively. (See the structure of Genesis 1) The number, three, includes resurrection
also; for on the third day the earth rose up out of the deep, and fruit rose
up out of the earth.
FOUR. Denotes creative
works (3 + 1), and always has reference to the material creation, as pertaining to
the earth, and things "under the sun", and things
FIVE. Denotes Divine grace.
It is 4 + 1. It is God adding His gifts and blessing to the works of His hands. The Hebrew
Ha'aretz (the earth), by "Gematria" (that is to say
the addition of the numerical value of the letters together) is a multiple of four, while Hashamayim
(the heavens) is a multiple of five. The Gematria of charis, the Greek for Grace, is also
a multiple of five. It is the leading factor in the Tabernacle measurements.
SIX. Denotes the human
number. Man was created on the sixth day; and this first ocurrence
of the number makes it (and all multiples of it) the hall-mark of all connected with man.
He works six days. The hours of his day are a multiple of six. Athaliah usurped the throne
of Judah six years. The great men who have stood out in defiance of God (Goliath and
Nebuchadnezzar and Antichrist) are all emphatically marked by this number.
SEVEN. Denotes spiritual
perfection. It is the number or hall-mark of the Holy Spirit's work. He is the
Author of God's Word, and seven is stamped on it as the water-mark is seen in the
manufacture of paper. He is the Author and Giver of life; and seven is the
number which regulates every period of Incubation and Gestation, in insects, birds,
animals, and man.
EIGHT. Denotes resurrection,
regeneration; a new beginning or commencement. The eighth is a new first. Hence
the octave in music, colour, days of the week, etc. It is the number which has to do with
the LORD, Who rose on the eighth, or new "first-day".
This is , therefore, the Dominical number. By Gematria (see above), (Jesus) makes the
numbers 888. It, or its multiple is impressed on all that has to do with the Lord's Names,
the Lord's People, the Lord's works.
NINE. Denotes Finality
of judgement. It is 3 x 3, the product of Divine completeness.
The number nine, or its factors or multiples, is seen in all cases when judgement
is the subject.
TEN. Denotes Ordinal
perfection. Another new first; after the ninth digit, when numeration commences
ELEVEN. Denotes disorder,
disorganization, because it is one short of the number twelve (see below).
TWELVE. Denotes Governmental
perfection. It is the number or factor of all numbers connected with government:
whether by Tribes or Apostles, or in measurements of time, or in things which have to do
with government in the heavens and the earth.
THIRTEEN. Denotes rebellion,
apostasy, defection, disintegration, revolution, etc. The first occurrence fixes
this (Genesis 14:4); and the second confirms it (Genesis 17:25). It, and its multiples, are seen in all numbers, and in the Gematria (see
above) of all names and passages that are associated with rebellion, etc.
SEVENTEEN. Denotes a
combination of spirit and order (10 + 7). It is the seventh
prime number (as 13 is the sixth prime number).
Other numbers follow the laws which govern the smaller numbers, as
being their factors, sums, products or multiples: that is to say 24 is 12 x 2, a higher
form of 12.
25 = 52. Grace
27 = 33. Divinity
28 = 7 x 4. Spiritual perfection in connection with the
29 = 33. Intensifying
of Divine judgement.
30 = 3 x 10. Divine perfection, applied to order.
40 = 10 x 4. Divine order applied to earthly things.
Hence, the number of probation.
The four perfect numbers, 3,7,10, and 12, have for
their product the remarkable number 2,520. It is the Least Common Multiple of the ten
digits governing all numeration; and can, therefore, be divided by each of nine digits,
without a remainder. It is the number of chronological perfection (7 x 360).
1 The whole subject may be studied in Dr. Bullinger's work
on Number in Scripture (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode).