The Numbers of the Book


   Diligent students have long since noted that the Bible is structured mathematically. This structure is enhanced by the fact that in both Hebrew and Greek there are no separate symbols for numbers, each letter serving a dual function of letter and number. Thus the letters of the alphabet A, B, C are used for 1, 2, 3This gives rise to each word, phrase, clause and sentence in the Bible having a distinct numerical value producing a mathematical structure to the whole. This is known as gematria. My intention is not to pursue this matter further, deeply interesting though it is, as it requires some familiarity with the original languages and also a fair amount of mathematical patience. However, on a more simple plane it can be said that the numbers used in the text are never employed in a haphazard fashion and have their own significance. Not only that but the number of times a word or a phrase occurs in the Bible is not without meaning. My object is to offer the reader a few suggestions as to the significance of Gods use of numbers.

   In 1 Cor. 11: 14, concerning a certain matter, the apostle Paul asks Does not even nature itself teach you?. Without doubt, consideration of the natural world often gives an insight into the spiritual world. Let me introduce our subject by asking a few questions about numbers. Why is it universally recognised that there are there
seven days in the weeknot six or eight? Why does the year have twelve months and the day and night each have twelve hours? Again, why has the year just four $JLӲt-&&PyTLĖ"A!iSI5PRRLhQ e4.4EH))-kE)A( )%(| GJ&(BR%(>`_ҷHB!騇ϸJbA7;@0$>4}M4I|4C_)M@Ϫ>)|Akf.PG]Ws9YII[0QnZV"4B.@M)JJV,V e GVoJ ((GM/)4JP5/ɥQTQI|QBJiIOYI(2PQ JiISJi~a`$P*[D"SI5(]KK!IlVTLӠJH@$5&JSJ@LU!/!  ғ"`6`Iu(RH&HD@%%s2IvQ.%ےIDkY9)5\CeVxȦv # O¨~JZIk:t i )$E%b($w9rZԏl,& & $d! y-iI B%S2`@b )2J_EJBLP3I&T 8@ 9T!2JAaUFH%Q5RZ!Y'hR0PdȀAJdDJ @J% P H`PR)PtR(I];($'&BPI(+T }L0h)A!()@JPJVRP奵()}o|HABBM(BnACJi% ?(aU4&PE(O(%4>o|R||_&Q2 iKUPi P`!L? H!M$҄`*,APE !m%jJ * >L&PPRJ &&$mn"$H +4H($ `TL4U BQf C HTT2j0 U$ Z$M5 j;T\()t!@zBj ęGH=JlD^ 薎@'TH͟ah@xbi$Cdhtou||@z[zC ?8|q桁G[; 1:&*{E8EE=Fqzdh ;;4숗v;sy&hV:SG$>K PICRJ] ?|4-mr`+q -)|`i2 C]:6إ!  05 ᠠDDAA!HMK`aT% A((uDPFDUAHIBh~($BF!:(HH! JFuL$  B`:J&$H$!!(e  A1qA 0& AAB`Z![vAPDlBM %H(hHC ށVSE4J(I% CD$ PPM R/A:2 *@J*%(5BPVM (5 He/A$ JhK嵥 A(HJ&BPU43b RUBj&C)}HL$ hH "@"4AAanF:{Ai "PDHҭH"A^ Ab:菠1]4EސBL` )l4KbX`ޠ,j+bYPBJ\*mV"Hr%(XGrΓSlM$QJR4ؙ 0֛țJ>HiKDYP2[Đ6%bc PrV.^6LYNND9IeH|!O:D,%! IMj2xhb *$, @E,b8EidVT#EPP%2N%H灅%\폑S*]TĹʤwpE.|oI/7c[Qk`?"3V8PU)I->a>$]P([ $a!H)V$~$U h$KI>D@4RҶRVD!/+M45I[" T`II&AI$(TI$NHAEZL BEQt 4%BAEQHK Q TVT(0 A  2H$U%iIJb[-2܁VY!)"dlI`X F ) $ԡM  D4)QPjiHB$ET"dM/ҔS0a8JL2I S)@-d0 "AX",E JS ύ`)))0%% ȁRbvYF "a$ 2Ɖ4HEJi! ZR fRCCHLEV;  Y&*#sfH&`\B6@"jKIxO; 5 U졍V}uOt.SP:I'.ֲn{$CLXA.S"":)97胭.u~eEb}bq4,#%XaUA^1S1&_Ip"n hY[,ѢD]<7ˍՄBpaExeh!P b #"HHp,r"QBibYXCaQ4)#|\cq2 h-2]y8E idr"%Ew/)+ 1iDD P1 e2[eI 80IE^ZD6 AoRĊ[i>eyMtY q'!"ŋP[2rĞ[>` `$-f>ǎ#,l(-60)臂F6FH bz$Fr|}azvVNYqw'`\n*ֿ}DIZgmoÊ mT-~@>d($V30릂C( j $I  M HA]DДAR3Q$B)ULfA1N%|R:(HM+=@5­@$tA;~,leiLJ j ڃqɔ4 He%n*e!~֐!LU1 2&--, L )$SI5́@j_Б a(2R-pN$U(C0!T!d4Ԣ))-2D4]u!M$Hd$.KfLI"A\whi2@)Йn:&JX )a31;MXL&tt6D ȂDZ 9dT [&#U{-.tڧӈ( 5HA#=ER.ȸ]4MBEQAUPYęgA=ςȤҐ{_t&=0P6O3P2# R4q\$zm`u; *Px4#jdJQ%Y)v0A@=&iBb誚@ $vJM(@F$Q!@C$2DhJA 47dDRW<Ɣ`D`  ~I KSɸ I$ʈ V"Y I |5l!kI5*Ї4E0ɘh|ARt%(2̀KT8ZFD L!3- @t#wlPI)H `Z 6D*kP-2# !YnԄ4! 0*d"$H!0ThAUnjbX[;F 2,D_ dH`<>q5z@j(X>}-IYq e 惴L2Z,;3=F u [m:5ފ˛]Z5&nqyFg̕įz O,Z^#Z^x 2#yw X]Kj[SwWw9RڻIՁX%O\W NvA$8EB!/Y]dYs9|Z 7非\G >V"`ګ6n,?Yک ;INP:\djd&%Ḃ1XUwr䜲仒朲xR_,^&Iq#䤿Z')_hVa VUyK{n Pm~ bm]H9>uB3Q?fZiҩ@a-! <$dIi%y*鉙BBJ(J!aBHB00"A)2d(_TG";)$@&iZ~ 3dDC$k䂂D(0(H0t4atZDa%5P闠 eKē0A'L $4 l3m{'5ᵝ/Y"OzC.hU' vfqH%3<E"ʏ<lB;EtjxwQu"UHiF(HSp@ 1fmirst number that we can use to divide and get a different answer (while six divided by one is still six, six divided by two is three). Just as one excludes all difference and thus denotes what is sovereign, the number two clearly affirms that there is a difference. The fundamental concept in the number two is division or differencea difference which may be for good or evil. The second day of creation had division as its main characteristic: And God said, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it be a division between waters and waters (Gen. 1: 6). Hence God made a difference between the waters below and the waters above the expanse.

   Now Scripture presents many things in
pairs so that we may learn by comparison and contrast. A few examples among the many are two goats (Lev. 16: 7); two opinions (1 Kings 18: 21); two vessels (Jer. 18: 4); two masters (Matt. 6: 24); two foundations (Matt. 7: 2427); two covenants (Gal. 4: 24); two sons (Luke 15: 11); two men (Luke 18: 10). The difference inherent in two may be for oppression or hindrance or it may be for association and help, but there will always be a difference. Thus we read of Rachel and Leah Which two did build the house of Israel (Ruth 4: 11). In the Gospels you will remember that the disciples were sent out in pairs and the Scripture says Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and who hath not another to lift him up! (Ecc. 4: 9, 10). Hence in a secondary sense the difference between two may serve as a testimony. The Lord said that the testimony of two men is true. (see John 8: 17, 18). If two different persons agree in testimony, then the matter is conclusive. Thus in the law it was said At the mouth of two witnesses (Deut. 17: 6). The whole testimony of the law hung on two commandments (Matt. 22: 40). However, the difference inherent in two may also indicate opposition, enmity and division. Examples of this are the use of the word double as in James 1: 8: a doubleminded (literally twosouled) man unstable in all his ways. Similarly in Ps 12: 2 we have a double heart and in 1 Tim. 3: 8 doubletongued. The basic thought in the number two is always difference or division which may also introduce the idea of testimony as a secondary thought.

THREE

   In the natural world, two dimensions cannot
fully describe a physical object. We need the third dimension; we need length, breadth and height (or depth). The number three then suggests completion. Again, two straight lines joined together cannot completely enclose any space. A third line is needed to complete the figure (a triangle). Past, present and future give the complete expression of time. Human capability is fully expressed in thought, word and deed. All that is in the natural world is completely embraced by animal, vegetable and mineral. Thus three is identified with completeness.

   The number
three is also used in Scripture to denote what is complete, but complete in relation to God. It is the number of divine perfection. While the number one expresses Gods uniqueness and independence (There is one Godsee Mal. 2: 10) and the unity of the Godhead (God is onesee Gal. 3: 20 and 1 Tim. 2: 5), the number three gives His fulnessHis complete manifestation as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As man was created in the image of God, he is complete in spirit, and soul, and body (1 Thess. 5: 23). While man is identified with the earth, God is identified with the heavens of which there are three (see 2 Cor. 12: 2). Gods attributes are completely expressed as omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence.

   The number
three not only suggests what is of God and complete but also entirety of opposition to God. The world is against the Father (1 John 2: 15, 16), the flesh is against the Spirit (Gal. 5: 17) and the devil is against the Son (Matt. 4: 1 etc.). The entirety of the fleshs opposition to God is seen in its three facets: the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2: 16). When God took Israel out from Egypt, they had to go three days journey into the wilderness (Ex. 3: 18)the separation from that which was against God must be complete! Again, it was three years of seeking fruit that witnessed to Israels complete failure to provide anything to satisfy God (Luke 13: 7). The three languages of the inscription on the cross fully testified to the Lords complete rejection by manwhether religious (Hebrew), cultured (Greek) or vulgar (Latin). Mans apostasy from God is completely manifest in the way of Cain the error of Balaam and the gainsaying of Core (Jude 11). The vicarious sufferings of the Lord were completed in three hours (see Mark 15: 33 and John 19: 30). The Lords death (not just His dying) was complete in that He lay in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights (Matt. 12: 40) and so the Scripture says that it was on the third day that He was perfected (Luke 13: 32). Thus three is also the number of resurrection because it is in resurrection that Gods power is fully manifest (see Rom. 1: 4). The essence of the meaning of the number three is the manifestation of what is complete in relation to God.


  Up to now we have looked at the first three numbers and I have sought to show the essential symbolic meaning of them. To summarise: One suggests uniqueness or unity, two indicates difference or division and three what is complete in relation to God. One, two and three are primary numbers and are unique in that they are the only primary numbers that follow one another in an unbroken sequence.
 
FOUR

   When we come to
four we have the first number that can be divided. However, its only possible division is by two, which, as we have seen, is the number of difference and division. Indeed, four is unique among numbers in that it is the only number in which a sum (two plus two) gives the same result as the same number multiplied by itself (two by two) and this serves to intensify the thought of division that is associated with two. It was on the fourth day that the sun and the moon were set in the heavens to divide between day and night and between light and darkness (four things) and to be for signs, seasons, days and years (again, four things) (Gen. 1: 1418). The number four is the great number of creation and its divisions. The earth has four regions: North, South, East and West (see Gen. 28: 14). The year has four seasons, which in Biblical terminology are seed time, harvest, summer and winter (Gen. 8: 22). The night has four divisions, given in Mark 13: 35 as evening, midnight, cockcrow and morning. The nations have a fourfold division according to their land, every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations (Gen. 10: 5, 20, 31). The order of land, tongue, family and nation varies but the number of the division is always four. The number four thus has regard to what is universal in relation to man on the earth but which can be divided. It is the worlds number.

   Often when
four things are given, they divided into three plus one in which the one is the outstanding part of the four. The river that went out of Eden was parted into four main streams (see Gen. 2: 1015). Only one of the rivers (Euphrates) has retained its original name throughout time (see Rev. 16: 12). Creations division into its four heads is expressed by the living creatures of Ez. 1: 512 and Rev. 4: 68 which have four faces. Of these three (lion, ox and eagle) are animal but the dominating one is man (see Gen.1 : 26). In Daniels dream of the four beasts (Dan. 7) representing the four great worldpowers, three are named (lion, bear and leopard) but the dominant fourth power is only described. There are four Gospels, which divide into three plus one, since Johns Gospel is distinct from the other three. All four present the Lord as man in the world but John uniquely presents Him as God manifest in flesh. Thus four is the universal number of the world and man in it. There are many, many more examples of the number four in the Bible but these few examples should be sufficient to indicate its meaning.

   As
three is the number of what is complete in relation to God, and four is the number of mans world, we will next look at the two numbers that are composed of these rather than go on to consider five. These are seven, which is four plus three, and twelve, which is four multiplied by three.

SEVEN

   There is no other number that occurs so often in the Scriptures as the number
seven. In the book of Revelation alone we have more than 50 sevens! If three denotes what is divinely complete, seven denotes what is spiritually complete. Indeed, the Hebrew word used for seven has a root meaning of full or satisfied. As mentioned previously, the week has seven days and the musical scale has seven notesboth examples giving the idea of completeness. In nature too the rainbow has seven colours, three of which are primary colours (red, green and blue) and four secondary colours (orange, yellow, indigo and violet). Like the seven colours of the rainbow, the major sevens in Scripture often divide into three and four. However, firstly let us consider this number as it isseven. It is the number of spiritual perfection (whether in things good or bad). Abrahams complete blessing was seven fold (Gen. 12: 2, 3) and the Lord gave seven things that spiritually defile a man (Matt. 15: 19). Rom. 12: 68 lists seven spiritual gifts and Eph. 4: 46 gives seven spiritual unities. As already mentioned most of the major sevens of the Bible are presented as three plus four. The spiritual completeness of Gods ways is seen in the typical teaching of the seven feasts of Jehovah as given in Lev. 23, the spiritual completeness of the kingdom of the heavens in the seven parables of Matt. 13 and the spiritual completeness of the Churchs testimony on earth in the seven assemblies of Rev. 2, 3. These and other major sevens are divided into three and four. Consider the parables of Matt. 13 to illustrate this. The first four (Sower, Wheat, Darnel and Mustard seed) were given by the sea (Matt. 13: 1, 2) to the crowds, and embrace what is external and universal in the kingdom in relation to man (as suggested by the number four); the last three (Treasure, Pearl and Net) were given inside the house (Matt. 13: 36) to the disciples alone, and give what is complete in the kingdom in relation to God.

TWELVE

   The Lord Jesus asked the question Are there not twelve hours in the day (John 11: 9), the day that the sun was to
rule in the heavens (Gen 1: 16). A fact that Nebuchadnezzer had to be reminded of was the word that the heavens do rule (Dan. 4: 26). Accordingly, there are twelve signs of the Zodiac and twelve months in the year. The number twelve signifies ruleit is the number of governmental perfection. The Lord Jesus chose twelve disciples (Luke 6: 13) who in a day to come will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19: 28). Israel as a nation was divided into twelve tribes and the woman representing that nation in Rev. 12: 1 had twelve stars in the crown on her head. Twelve occurs often in the Bible and like three, seven and IdGO $a=u?1B!Pa ?B R%Mi)!O$ Ihh&LlXI!! aIcdH R&A@,T @,JPR  .D%X2ց $ jFXNP 0 U"$5!jHHs0@l2fN;-h`k&)`a% $@)PU Bd TC@D b#4 &@!Ipf IPK[=in ~B gUC$΀S4[jTj-w]*M]%"7O(O-M4&ԗD AȸUM((ȷVWJJHl  CK=B)Հ%*)D6VAAI?LRb&$7P!J `PvZbLɹ 4N8Dc[SV +". A H$)& ) T"H$VPRA!29M [z"IQ%$lTAhI' "/̤TD7HlHURIK))&4 x$zPe$aD1*KFcBB`ʅPBA @RZ0 !( "0  @h$LVU   AX"ER23Ⱑh$H1jbB$HJĤMlL)C/Sb,y^IzP4S,-%|XψiXl4qłOK5ꅴMBvxߛ"4-4H3OiEHyJBFF 56`44B@0H0%]5(uԿ4Dz 2V &A3%)L"DA ,2MP[ *38DAŜbe[&;@a% 0nC`$ !)0I&HBS19fIIJj:0$ 2j U!J4XiYiIhU)BĤ)L4ɑ-@)4 )jR I$)$$iSP 6F %ڡj,0da& &,(a@Ă IL'gdbJZȄ5*Pi$!Y,ERj50L2 IH@@M5$,i(p4 Ie I'eG) &ߧC iļiO ]v#Hl$44@{#pI!8CjbzDEÔbg(y3 XGa hת~!z ˽|%#e#SP X(/> *& n*叵wr5$^Nww.sREDD??J›~Uek~tҏ (lA ҃Te TJ?˂&FdE(B5G;@ZE;z%!(@:H (5@ T` %]BHUʌY4Xwl̐5dŒJNaA2o$ B€" HTA%*1%Ԋeg0a -T)8d„ň !BJI S5MPIdTJ QBS2P$1F@$,BB` AkL*4tHV`JKHU# T>BB)HH- h@"RQK]I)KXZd"p HET@): @Q5HJf4@lə*kePSpن 1 +caJ{..}cbc?%>%Mp$hE("]AHB6ji,e_>#8[pDxTj^7[e"ggћy1!|>w.iIis4椋ԴSC ]id|gHԘ[Aq`b)F{RoGnH QL8kI &YЗ4R(襍p ۘr0lRIګ8 $AP 9d6V%V5 E$e$4*7Cs0(o :hi1B,B7M9"i$NjHZI;J@5ÂdV>v_:iA0Х>S( YB@N}E& V_'1Ԥg"dLԦT?|cH`$uj) /L&ZI_2*I"* $,u,PI*3*D'RSX E%/KɒRH-ɪ`5j R QdLX P0J԰Hp؊LbB@%@g! vhLPi  FB@`6Z$"fR  !Y hJdae0%MGᨪU FPETI PPPI&PvI' Ȓ0AS @ % $PA%0P% EHH3[rtL i[n`A%KJ/7H79L*ZqV"¼#Idz b71V= 2>NJ?“f1)CTpHPW^(2 9Y}t 1j}|mۼ ,0~eжknZjzI'mi]$!-pltcƷۈ?urka$"ُ4RJRKF,-0_H?2hY@)L+CRkh>Fm$HZEjBI- N7JiM?7`K -Ntu64P%HuvZXcpu0 0RF$Cu0*I2VU۠$%$L 3p@U5+ X$FDI ɔҪn0BC cU1$ ,jI@AMSL!$Q 0 RAؒH 0DISl%՘NJi%7 T~[ j%8HU8@j()B*S0H "཮(*V@KM f K)(@ 6ƨH GMۙ l"ZH"Ra̘AT2t*jh ]&,)1ygQbHuߊ3> lBPn{OAd4 Ҋ*2+Ut(x$kq1Eх?\!Q:jC7 F@+CD^B<{wzQ|Z#Wk4]~| gV8u4q" .ؠI3ưmRF!h`L̢pJ@oc$L "ƈT),0WH^fɥhIH$Ԙh-A$,$NST "d )4 )]B%sZD >t*nIh7$)pI#{$XP(Q$US.- @FdZd 2v`$dQa0J`&$&11k#w֒ѹZa5 :f C/ҒDjɋYM&LJa6[q;UINSPj t0)0.?A C]yi%~7]c}al ACg DMTSe(hCV %TRaHDҰDQY@ 4D!AELP RQ@ &`?H0DP[I$@ H 芕vHbH7%$$ Fdm4J0Լ/iXs*4|(nA A_r$d%HERdFJ ei]Z R-*ـZwBe$ 2K`*B%SLđ1$&Q!})5NuIh2KXc „0$_,@%$&&PS![ tFlD$j0eB0Q72DDm ݞl:*6eex}gW%˗3rˉR}?3+I6& H+u]9q `-`jHo)EfVLr RQQ KX!`≦i II&(Ԫ% EPSUOXd--a@j, iE@QM((KHaQUЉkt `mhU5 BXB DURPP$,$I0(()T2RS4,M01Hj!0 L$̑ AܰLB *D_I$8p BuEQ+&PBH$%)l? 4A4;PƍehƓx(@5*MR% X?JB iMZ&4 L >152$Ȑ@T--2JR& E,å,jj @E4 B* * rogKmTAe8v@'l@€ءVYm!Ov>Oީ|'TTMsQ!0>4S}F&fgZ+>/m`՘>sI!`BK//R\v|L *QMi4G/ڧ)iI5Pɷf-J*B is perfection in divine order and hence the number of human responsibility. We will now consider five, six, eight, nine, eleven and thirteen.

FIVE

   Man has
five senses but people often speak of certain persons having a sixth sense. When they do so, they infer that there is an inadequacy in man with just five senses. In Scripture five very often does indicate human weakness but not always. On the fifth day of creation we have the thought of excess and extremity introduced. The creation of the fifth day had nothing to do with the earth but with the depths of the seas and the heights of the heavensspheres where, even today, man, who was created for the earth, is at his weakest. Twice we read the word multiply and three times we have the word swarm or swarms (Gen. 1: 2023). If five is the number that identifies man at his weakest, it also sets the scene for an excess of divine grace, as perhaps indicated by the apostles word in 2 Cor. 12: 9 My grace suffices thee; for [my] power is perfected in weakness. Human inadequacy and grace Paul knew for he could desire to speak five words with my understanding in the assembly rather than ten thousand words in a tongue (1 Cor. 14: 19). The impotent man lay with a multitude of sick (John 5: 3) at the pool of Bethesda with its five porches and the Lord in grace healed him. The great example of the excess of divine grace in the OT is seen in the story of Mephibosheth (dead dog to kings son) which begins when he fell at the age of five and was subsequently lame on both his feet (2 Sam. 4: 4). Such human weakness is again seen with Davids five stones when he met Goliath (1 Sam. 17: 40) and in the inadequacy of the five loaves of 1 Sam. 21: 3. Yet it is the excess of grace that is seen in Benjamins portion being five times greater than that of his brethren in Gen 43: 34. The weakness of the flesh was seen in the five husbands of the woman at the well along with the excess of grace in that the Lord deigned to converse with her, a Samaritan, on the subject of worship (John 4: 530). Thus while five expresses mans weakness and inadequacy it also often leads on to the expression of divine grace.

SIX

   The number
six is identified with labour and secular (non spiritual or physical) completeness: For in six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth (Ex. 20: 11). Yet it was also the day on which man was created (Gen. 1: 26, 27) and it is his number in a distinctive way. In Rev. 13: 18 we have 666, the number of the beast and we are told that it is a mans number. In regard to work we are told that man was to work for six days (Ex. 23: 12), the land was to be sown and harvested for six years (Ex. 23: 10), a Hebrew bondman was to serve for six years (Ex. 21: 2), and in the wilderness manna was to be gathered for six days (Ex. 16: 26). Viewed negatively, six is seven minus one and as we have seen seven is the number of spiritual perfection. Thus six is often used for imperfection. The Lord spoke of Solomon in all his glory (see Luke 12: 27) and yet it was a glory that came short of the glory of God (see Rom. 3: 23). In 1 Kings 10: 23 we read that king Solomon was greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom, but a few verses later we have one of the pointed buts of the Bible: But king Solomon loved many foreign women (1 Kings 11: 1). Material greatness, but along with it spiritual imperfection. Thus we find that Solomons throne had six steps (1 Kings 10: 19) and the weight of gold that came to him in one year was 666 talents (1 Kings 10: 14). Six is also the number used when man is seen in opposition to God. Pharaoh pursued Israel with six hundred chariots (Ex. 14: 7), Goliath was six cubits high and a span, and had a spears head weighing six hundred shekels (1 Sam. 17: 4, 7), and the man who defied Israel, as recorded in 2 Sam. 21: 20, had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. The Lord Jesus was charged six times with having a demon: Matt. 12: 24 (and Mark 3: 22); Luke 11: 15; John 7: 20; John 8: 48; John 8: 52; John 10: 20. If five is mans weakness, six is mans power and labour, which is sadly often exercised in opposition to God.

EIGHT

   The number
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THIRTEEN

   This is the addition of
one to twelvethe number of government and rule. Its essential meaning is seen in its first mention in the Bible: Twelve years had they served Chedorlaomer; and in the thirteenth year they rebelled (Gen. 14: 4). Thirteen is thus indicative of rebellion, of apostasy, of defection and of opposition to established government. Ishmael was thirteen years old when Abraham circumcised him and thus admitted him into the covenant to which he was a stranger at heart, and before long he was marked by rebellion and rejection (see Gen. 17: 25; 21: 9). While Solomon took seven years to build the house of the Lord, he took thirteen years to build his own house (1 Kings 7: 1) a house that was ultimately to be so full of apostasy. Finally, it was in the thirteenth year of Josiah (Jer. 1: 2) that the prophet began to prophesy against the apostasy of Judah.

   We have looked at the first thirteen numbers and I have sought to indicate their significance in the Word of God. Other numbers such as
twenty, twentyfour, thirty and forty frequently occur and carry their own individual significance. However, I leave these and other numbers to the further study of the reader trusting that, whatever the reader may have gained from this article, he might have gained a deeper appreciation of the fact that Every scripture [is] divinely inspired (2 Tim. 3: 16).

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