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The Biblical Meaning of Numbers

This is the compliment/companion to the book titled "The Genesis Book of Psalms". This came as a result of the study done in the above mentioned book after realizing that there needed to be more work done on this subject. Enjoy!

Category - Long Book

Chapter 2

Numbers 1-10

One (aleph)

Unity

Aleph is an ox in Hebrew. It signifies strength or being first or “Number One.”

The number one signifies unity or that which is first. Bullinger says that “in all languages it is the symbol of unity.”

Genesis, the first book, is entitled, “In a Beginning.” There can only be one beginning.

The first Commandment is, “ Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” It expresses the unity of God and the fact that this one God is the Creator of all.

In the Hebrew language, there are two words for the number “one.” Yacheed means an absolute unity, or an only one (Gen. 22:2); echad is a compound unity (Gen. 2:24; Deut. 6:4).

 

Two (beth)

Division, Double Witness

Beth is a house or household in Hebrew. God established the household with Adam and Eve, two people in a marriage. This provided direction, a double witness in the family to know the will of God. It takes two points to make a line and establish direction.

The number two signifies either division or a double witness. God established two covenants in the Bible, first as a double witness of truth, but also to establish direction. Going from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant shows a progression of revelation from the lesser to the greater.

This same principle is found with Hagar and Sarah, Ishmael and Isaac, with Jacob and Israel, with David and Saul, and (in the New Testament) in the contrast between Saul and Paul. In each case, there is division with a resulting conflict between the two characters, yet also God establishes the pattern of moving from one point to another.

 

Three (gimel)

Divine Fullness, Perfection

Gimel is a camel in Hebrew. It signifies to be lifted up. Pride is its negative side; being glorified or elevated to a position of authority is its positive side.

The number three is the number of divine fullness, completeness, or perfection. Whereas it takes two lines to fix a position by an x-y axis, it takes three to give shape and to enclose a geometric area—in this case, a triangle.

Because the law establishes truth on the basis of two or three witnesses (Deut. 19:15), the number three may be considered to be a complete witness. Two witnesses are enough to establish truth, but three brings completeness, clarity, and shape to it.

For this reason, there are three primary feast days in Israel : Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. It takes all three feasts to perfect a man with the fullness of the Spirit. Each feast is an aspect of salvation for man's three-fold nature: spirit, soul, and body (1 Thess. 5:23).

In Luke 13:32 Jesus said, “Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.”

Jesus was the Good Shepherd in death, for John 10:14, 15 says, “I am the good Shepherd … and I lay down My life for the sheep.” Jesus was the Great Shepherd in resurrection, for we read in Heb. 13:20,

20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the Great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord.

Finally, Jesus is the Chief Shepherd in glory, for 1 Peter 5:4 says,

4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

So we see that three is the number indicating completeness and perfection.

 

Four (daleth)

The Earth, Material Creation

Daleth is a door in Hebrew.

In biblical numerology, four is the number of the earth, or the material creation of God. On the fourth day of creation the material world was finished (Gen. 1:14-19), thereby allowing God to furnish it with living creatures. The gematria of the Hebrew phrase, h'eretz, “the earth,” is 296, which is 4 x 74.

There were also four great divisions of mankind represented by the cherubim (Ez. 1:5), or the four “beasts” around the throne (Rev. 4:6). These represent all creation.

Likewise, there are four gospels, each corresponding to a different “beast” around the throne. Matthew presents the Lion, saying, “Behold the King.” Mark presents the Ox, saying, “Behold the Servant.” Luke presents the Man, saying, “Behold the Son of Man.” John presents the Eagle, saying, “Behold the Son of God.”

In accordance with this also were four colors in the curtains of the Tabernacle of Moses. The purple proclaimed, “Behold your King.” The scarlet proclaimed, “Behold the Servant.” The white proclaimed, “Behold the Son of Man.” The blue proclaimed, “Behold the Son of God.”

In geometry, a four-sided square represents the earth, while a circle represents heaven, eternity, and the realm of spirit.

The fourth book of the Bible is the book of Numbers, whose Hebrew title is B'Midbar, “The Wilderness.” The wilderness symbolically represents the earth. On the Day of Atonement the second goat (Christ) was led into the wilderness by a “fit man” to remove sin from all the people (Lev. 16:10, 21). Thus, after His baptism on the Day of Atonement, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the devil. This was to fulfill the law of the second goat.

At the end of Psalm 4, we find that it is “to the chief Musician upon Nehiloth,” which means inheritances. It has to do with inheriting the earth (Matt. 5:5), beginning with our own “earth,” our own “ Canaan,” our Promised Land, the glorified body. Yet before the righteous can inherit the earth, they must be trained and disciplined in the earth, often suffering to test their faith. Thus, Israel had to be tested in the wilderness (Ps. 95:8; Heb. 3:8) before they could inherit the land of Canaan.

Five (hey)

Grace, Favor

Hey at the beginning of a Hebrew word means “the” or “behold.” In the middle of a word it signifies inspiration or revelation. At the end of the word it signifies “what comes from.”

Five is the number of grace, or favor. The number is found 318 times in the Bible. The number 318 is significant, because it is the number of armed servants in Abram's house who rescued Lot (Gen. 14:14). It is grace that rescues us and sets the captives free.

There were five sacrifices portrayed in Gen. 15:9 by which the promise to Abraham was secured: a heifer, a goat, a ram, a dove, and a pigeon. These typified Christ's sacrifice on the cross to secure the promises for mankind.

To bring grace in the Old Testament there were five offerings (Lev. 1-3): Burnt Offering, Sin Offering, Meal Offering, Trespass Offering, and Peace Offering, each representing a different aspect of Christ's sacrifice of Himself in the New Testament.

The fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is hey, which is spoken by breathing. When placed in the middle of a word, it indicates inspiration, something that is God-breathed. God put the hey in Abram's name to make him Abraham. He put the hey at the end of Sarai to make her Sarah. God also did this with Joshua, changing his name to Jehoshua (Num. 13:16).

This is the Grace that God give to us whereby we may receive the Holy Spirit.

The fifth time Noah's name is used is in Gen. 6:8, “But Noah found favor [Heb., chen, “grace”] in the eyes of the Lord.

The fifth time the name Ruth is found in the Bible, it speaks of grace:

Ruth 2:2— And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor [Heb., chen, “grace”]. And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.”

The fifth time the name Boaz is found in the Bible, it also speaks of grace:

Ruth 2:8-10— Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids. 9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw.” 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, “Why have I found favor [Heb. chen, “grace”] in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”

The fifth time that the book of 1 Samuel mentions David is in 1 Sam. 16:22,

22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David now stand before me; for he has found favor [Heb. chen, “grace”] in my sight.”

In 1 Sam. 17:40 David chose five smooth stones with which to fight the Philistine giant, Goliath. This was because Goliath represents the world's oppressive system, as well as the “giants” in our own lives that keep us in bondage to sin. David's actions set forth the idea that only by Grace—the indwelling of the Holy Spirit—can these giants be overcome, setting us free from the sins of the flesh.

Six (vav)

Man; Humanity

Vav is a nail or peg in Hebrew. It is also a conjunction (“and”), for it takes a nail to connect two things.

Six is the number of man, for man was created on the sixth day (Gen. 1:24-31). Man was also to labor for six days before entering into the Sabbath rest (Ex. 20:8-11), and the Hebrew slave was to serve for six years (Ex. 21:2).

Moses had to wait for six days before he was allowed to go up the mount to meet the Lord (Ex. 24:16-18). Even so, has man had to wait six thousand years to meet the Lord in the second coming of Christ.

Israel compassed the walls of Jericho for six days before the city fell on the seventh (Joshua 6:14, 15). This is a type of 6,000 years of labor in spiritual warfare before the world system falls.

In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon erected an image of gold by which the gold standard was created. Verse 1 says that it was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide. The dimensions of this image are too thin to be the statue of a man. It was more likely something else with a gold object on the top or head. But it does speak of man's effort to establish a system of economic control by means of the worship of gold and money in general.

Hence, Paul writes in 1 Tim. 6:10 that “the love of money [greed] is the root of all evil.” Also, the works of the flesh in Gal. 5:19-21 lists witchcraft as the sixth vice. Witchcraft is simply man's attempt to manipulate others against their will. For this reason, Saul's rebellion against God was “as the sin of witchcraft ” (1 Sam. 15:23). What is not generally understood is that man's religion is largely a matter of doing rituals to manipulate one's god (or gods) into doing things that are beneficial to them.

Such a view proceeds from the assumption that God does not want to do what man thinks He ought to do. Thus, men set out to change His mind, either by bribery, appeasement, or even by going “on strike.” Saul was a type of Pentecostal, being crowned on Pentecost, the day of wheat harvest (1 Sam. 12:17). Thus, he serves as a type of the leavened Church that often operates unknowingly by a spirit of witchcraft today.

Psalm 6 describes the voice of all the martyrs beginning with Abel. Yet the oppressed condition of the martyrs is only part of the general condition of all oppressed men in the earth. It is the condition of all men since Adam who labor six “days” in bondage to sin.

Seven (zayin)

Completion, Spiritual Perfection

Zayin is a weapon in Hebrew. The perfect weapon is the Sword of the Spirit, by which spiritual warfare is accomplished, for “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal ” (2 Cor. 10:4).

Seven is the biblical number of completion and spiritual perfection. As such, Psalm 7 speaks of the two floods by which the earth is cleansed and brought to the perfect order of the Kingdom.

Seven days completes a Sabbath cycle. In Rev. 10:7 the mystery of God is finished when the seventh angel blows his trumpet. In Rev. 16:17 “it is done” when the seventh angel pours out the seventh vial into the air. It took seven days to consecrate Aaron and his sons to the priesthood (Lev. 8:31-35) before emerging from the tabernacle on the eighth day. Joshua and the Israelite army had to march around Jericho seven days (Joshua 6:15) before the city fell.

Eight (chet)

New Beginning

Chet is a fence in Hebrew. It can also signify an inner room, even the heart itself.

Eight is the number of new beginning. The sons of Abraham were to be circumcised on the eighth day (Gen. 17:12), because the eighth day was the lawful time for the presentation of the firstborn (Ex. 22:29, 30). It took a full seven days to consecrate the priests (Lev. 8:33), and then they emerged from the tabernacle on the eighth day. God then manifested His presence to the people on the eighth day (Lev. 9:1, 4, 24).

In the New Testament, Jesus was raised from the dead on the eighth day to fulfill the law of the wave-sheaf offering (Lev. 23:10, 11). Likewise, Pentecost occurred seven weeks later on the fiftieth day, which was also the eighth day (Lev. 23:15-17). As we showed earlier, Jesus prophesied on the eighth day of Tabernacles (John 7:37-39) about the outpouring of the Spirit. These examples all fulfill the law of the presentation of the firstborn on the eighth day in Exodus 22:29, 30.

Nine (teth)

Visitation

Teth is a snake in Hebrew. It can also signify being surrounded, for the snake was often pictured in a circle swallowing its tail.

The number nine speaks God's “visitation.” This is a Hebraism that pictures God as an Investigator “visiting” a person, city, or nation to expose the hearts, gather evidence, and “see” firsthand, as it were, the truth of a matter. It is much like a divine court case where the evidence is uncovered and presented to the judge for judgment. In Luke 19:43 and 44, Jesus says to the temple in Jerusalem,

43 For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44 and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation [Greek: episcope, “bishopric, overseer”].

In this case, the time of visitation was the three-year period of Jesus' ministry from 30-33 A.D., where God manifested in human flesh to “visit” Judea and Jerusalem and to test the hearts of the people. (Jesus is called a Bishop or Overseer in 1 Peter 2:25.) In another sense, Jesus was the Heavenly Fruit Inspector. Jesus found a few whose hearts were right, and these formed the branches of the good fig tree that brought forth good fruit (Jer. 24:5-7). The majority, however, along with the religious leaders, were of the evil fig tree (Jer. 24:8-10). The good figs were Jesus' disciples and the converts of the early Church, who were expelled from the land (by persecution), in order that God might spare them from the coming judgment forty years later.

The idea of “visitation” is shown in the Old Testament. For believers, it has a positive connotation, as in Gen. 50:24, 25, Psalm 106:4, and Jer. 27:22. Their visitation results salvation or deliverance. However, for unbelievers, it carries a negative result, as we see in Ex. 32:34, Lev. 18:25, Isaiah 10:3, and Jer. 10:15. The Hebrew word for “visitation” in the Old Testament is peqadah, and the Septuagint Greek equivalent is episcope.

As the Heavenly Fruit Inspector, Jesus was sent to taste of the fruit being given to God at the temple in Jerusalem to see (and judge) if it was good. He was gathering evidence to be presented to the divine court that would determine the fate of Jerusalem.

At the same time, He was also training and testing the hearts of twelve disciples. Divine visitation is God's judgment in the life of the believer by which the Holy Spirit trains them in obedience. By His guiding voice, He shows them the will of God and writes His law upon their hearts. So we see that divine visitation, or judgment, has a positive outcome for the believer and a negative outcome for the unbeliever. And yet, even the negative outcome is not permanent, for the purpose of judgment is ultimately to correct men and bring them into alignment with the will and mind of God.

The Greek word for Comforter is parakletos, which means an intercessor, an advocate, or helper in a court of law—that is, a defense attorney, one who knows the law and can show sinners the lawful way to avoid God's judgment. The lawful way, Jesus said, is to through the Door, rather than over the wall (John 10:1-10). Going over the wall (avoiding Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice for sin) is how many religions advocate salvation, but they will lose their case when they stand before the Great White Throne.

It is the job of the Comforter (Holy Spirit) to discern, judge and convict men of sin according to the evidence. The Comforter is a defense attorney to a believer, but a witness against the unbeliever. In John 16:7, 8, we read that He is also the Judge:

7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [Gr., parakletos ] shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict [elengkos] the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment [Gr., krisis, “decision for or against; justice”].

The Greek verb translated “convict” above is elengkos. Its noun form is elegmos, which means “proof or evidence.” So the verb means to convict or judge according to the evidence that has been gathered during the time of visitation, or investigation. For the world in general (unbelievers), this evidence will convict them of sin. But for the believers, the evidence will show proof of righteousness.

During Jesus' earthly ministry, the time of His visitation was to decide the fate of Judah and to divide the good figs from the bad (Jer. 24). The majority were bad figs by God's definition in Jeremiah 24, because they refused to submit to Rome according to God's judgment and desired a military messiah who would throw off the Roman yoke. Jesus found only a minority who could accept the Prince of Peace as their Messiah. These were the good figs of Judah. These were promised “another Comforter,” the Holy Spirit, who would come on Pentecost to begin the next “time of visitation” in the Pentecostal Age leading to Christ's second coming.

It is the job of the Holy Spirit to help advise sinners who stand convicted by the law (Rom. 3:19) to find justification—that is, be pronounced not legally guilty. Jesus trained His disciples during His time of visitation. And then toward the end of His ministry, He spoke of “another Comforter” (John 14:16) that was yet to be given. The use of the term “another” indicates that Jesus Himself was a Comforter prior to the time when the Holy Spirit was given in Acts 2. In fact, at the beginning of His life, Simeon called Him “the consolation of Israel ” (Luke 2:25). The word is paraklesis, the same word as the Comforter.

His advice includes presenting Christ's Sacrifice as payment for sin. The Holy Spirit reveals this as the way to avoid the penalty of the law for sin. There is only one Door into the Kingdom, and this is it. Happy are those who believe what He says.

Once a sinner goes through that Door, the Holy Spirit continues to take an active role in our lives to teach us the difference between sin and righteousness. This is not for the purpose of justification in the divine court, but rather for the purpose of sanctification in our personal lives. Justification is when a sinner is pronounced not guilty before the law, even though he is actually guilty of sin. Sanctification is the next step—the work of the Spirit to teach us to conform our lives to the image of Christ—that is, being made not guilty by nature. Sanctification is pictured by the feast of Pentecost. His very presence is a continuing “visitation” that gathers more evidence of our justification.

As we said earlier, Jesus is the Heavenly Fruit Inspector, gathering evidence for the divine court. The fruit of the Spirit takes nine forms, as listed in Gal. 5:22, 23,

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love (1), joy (2), peace (3), patience (4), kindness (5), goodness (6), faithfulness (7), 23 gentleness (8), self-control (9) ; against such things there is no law.

The fruit of the Spirit show us the evidence of the character change within those who grow into spiritual maturity.

There are also nine gifts of the Spirit. They are listed in 1 Cor. 12:8-10,

8 For to one is given the word of wisdom (1) through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge (2) according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith (3) by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing (4) by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles (5), and to another prophecy (6), and to another the distinguishing of spirits (7), to another various kinds of tongues (8), and to another the interpretation of tongues (9).

The gifts of the Spirit are supernatural tools to be used to make the “tree” more fruitful. They are not an end in themselves. The purpose of a tool is to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. Yet because these spiritual gifts are of a supernatural quality, many carnally minded people desire them above the fruit. This is like a farmer who bought a new plow and then preferred to keep it in the show room where men could admire it, rather than use it to plow the field.

These gifts of the Spirit are the operations of power variously distributed among believers by the power of Pentecost. They are supernatural tools by which men's hearts are exposed to bring them to repentance as the Holy Spirit brings them into alignment with the Father's mind and will. The effect of these gifts upon believers and unbelievers are different, however. For believers, the gifts represent the supernatural power of God operating in their lives. For unbelievers, the gifts expose the secrets of his heart and cause him to repent. 1 Cor. 14:24, 25 says,

24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

We see from this that the judgment of the Holy Spirit has a different effect upon believers and unbelievers. It can either convict or release. But its primary purpose is to expose the evidence, much like the purpose of a court case prior to the final decision of the judge. The Comforter is the Advocate to a believer but testifies as a witness against the unbeliever.

There are also nine beatitudes in Matt. 5:3-11, which manifest the fruit of the Spirit:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit (1), for theirs in the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn (2), for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the gentle (3), for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (4), for they shall be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful (5), for they shall receive mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart (6), for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers (7), for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted (8), for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you (9) when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.

The ninth time that the name of Abraham appears is found in Gen. 17:24,

24 Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.

Circumcision of the flesh foreshadowed the circumcision of the heart, which is the work of the Holy Spirit judging “the flesh.” Even as Abraham had to receive bodily circumcision in order to bring forth the son of promise, so also must we receive heart circumcision in order to bring forth our own son promise—the Manchild, Christ in you, the Heir of the Promise. The reason Abraham had to wait until he was 99 years old was because 99 indicates agreement with God. The numeric value of the Hebrew word amen is precisely 99. Men say “amen” to indicate agreement with what has been said or done.

Thus, in this we see also the meaning of the number nine. It portrays the judgment and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to bring us into full agreement with God. When all of creation comes into agreement, the four living creatures say “Amen!” (Rev. 5:14).

The Holy Spirit's “baptism of fire” is the latter-day counterpart to the water baptism in Noah's day. The primary difference is that the water destroyed all flesh, while the Spirit baptism of fire destroys “the flesh,” that is, the carnality in man. The water killed in Noah's day; but the fire of God brings life. Each represents the Spirit in different ways, because each convicts the world of sin and righteousness in a different manner.

The “fire” may be painful to our flesh, but it gives life to our spirit. The purpose of the Holy Spirit's work of judgment, then, is to bring all men to repentance. This is the background of Psalm 9, where we see God's judgments upon the rebellious portrayed. When viewed as a revelation of the book of Genesis, Psalm 9 portrays the court case against Nimrod, whereby the secrets of his heart are made manifest.

Ten (yod)

Divine Order, Law

Yod is a closed hand. Because ten is also the number of the law, which brings divine order, it signifies “the works of the law.”

As we wrote earlier, the number eight indicates a new beginning, a new birth in a believer. Nine is visitation and manifests the Holy Spirit's leading, training, and judgment (learning to discern right and wrong) in the life of the believer, and acts as a witness against the unbeliever to expose the secrets of his heart.

Ten is the number of divine order being reestablished one way or another through the judgment of the law (as pictured by the Ten Commandments). In other words, it manifests the actual sentence of the law which follows the gathering and presentation of the evidence. After the Holy Spirit has revealed the evidence to expose men's hearts (i.e., number nine), the Judge reveals the law. That is, he pronounces the sentence (i.e., number ten) according to the law.

Ten is the number that portrays that time of judgment when men either receive reward or come under divine judgment. One way or another, the law must be fulfilled and the divine order reestablished.

The tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is the yod, which means a deed or work. Because ten is also the number of the law, as seen in the Ten Commandments, the yod became a symbol of “the works of the law” (Rom. 3:20). The meaning of the number ten is based upon the divine law, because as Revelation 20:12 and 13 say, all will be judged “according to their deeds.

The tenth time Noah's name is mentioned is in Gen. 6:13, where God said,

13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.”

This speaks of judgment by the divine law in Noah's day, because the people had rejected Noah's message—that is, the message of the Comforter (Menachem).

The tenth time Isaac is mentioned is in Gen. 22:3, where we see his father taking him to Mount Moriah. This pictures the great sacrifice of Christ on the cross, where the law's judgment fell upon the only-begotten Son of God, who paid the penalty for our sin and rebellion.