Biblical Interpretations for The Numbers 1 through 10
Today I would like to speak with you about biblical number interpretations or meanings. If any of you know the Lord, you know that He is structured and loves symbolism that points to Him. He likes to make things obvious in order for people to see Him in whatever they are doing, learning, and thinking. Therefore, lets talk about how the numbers one through 10 show God’s plan or will in numbers.
The biblical interpretation for the number one stands for unity or God. God said that He created mankind in His image, male and female He created them. Ironically, when Adam, who is a male finds Eve his wife, who is a female, he says that in marriage, the two of them shall become one. This is a direct reference to the image of God along with the number one. The first commandment tells us to not have any other gods before God as He is the only God, or the only One. Jesus, who is God in the New Testament says that He and the Father are One. In society, if a person is number one, they are considered to be the best. In our life as believers in Christ, we are continually told to make God our number one or our first priority.
The number two in the bible represents differences, division, or witnessing. Differentiations as well as divisions involving the number two are seen immediately in the bible starting in the book of Genesis. First there is Adam (interpreted as mankind) who is all sufficient but in need of companionship. To give Adam a suitable companion, God causes a deep sleep to come over him, takes him apart, and makes another human. Once God replaces Adam’s flesh, Adam wakes up and now there are two people with different sexual orientations as one is a man and the other is a woman who Adam names Eve. Adam and Eve eventually have two sons (Cane and Able) who differentiate in their honor towards God as Able offers God a worthy sacrifice and Cain does not. This shows us a picture of two matters known as good and evil. Later, the patriarch Isaac has twin sons named Esau and Jacob. Esau is loved by Isaac for what he can do when it comes to preparing meat. Jacob is simply loved by his mom for who he is. These two examples are a representation of the law and grace where the law presents a standard for justification and grace is a free gift.
In reference to witnesses concerning the number two, in the second book of Corinthians, chapter 13 verse 1, Paul states that every word must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. This verse alone helps to shed light on why Jesus would keep Peter, James, and John near Him to serve as witnesses to Him raising Jairus’ daughter, His transfiguration, and His praying in the garden of Gethsemane. On a side note, each occasion had something to do with a resurrection (God is so good). Also, in Matthew chapter 18 verse 20, Jesus said that where two or three gather in His name, there He is with them. This scripture has to do with praying for something as God likes when believers, two or more, agree in prayer serving as witnesses to what God will do.
The number three in the bible stands for divine completeness. It is one of the most important numbers in the bible, even though many people choose to focus on the number seven. On that note, here are 10 examples of the number three being used in scripture:
I. God has three main identities in The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
II. On the third day in the book of Genesis, God called forth dry land, vegetation, and fruit, hinting at a springing or resurrection on a future significant third day (Genesis 1:9-13).
III. There are three central fathers of the Old Testament in Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
IV. Daniel, a saint who experienced angelic intervention, prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10).
V. Jonah was in the belly of a large fish for three days (Jonah 1:17).
VI. Jesus had three core or inner circle disciples in Peter, James, and John.
VII. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him and to feed His sheep and ironically Peter denied knowing Christ three times before that (John 21:15-17).
VIII. Jesus said He would die and be raised to life in three days (John 2:19).
IX. Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-44)
X. There were three hours of darkness that covered the earth during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Mark 15:33)
The number four in the bible represents creation. Many examples in creation have four things or a combination of such showing the number four.
The first example that comes to mind has to do with a day in itself as there are four parts of it. We have a morning, afternoon, evening, and night all in one day. The earth has a north, south, east, and west. There are four seasons in a year consisting of summer, fall, winter, and spring. The four elements of life are earth, air, water, and fire. Jewish scholars note that the fourth book of the bible, the book of numbers in Hebrew is called B'Midbar, interpreted as wilderness. Once again, another reference to creation. Last, but definitely not the least, the fourth commandment of the ten commandments is the first one having to do with the earth concerning keeping the Sabbath day holy.
The number five in the bible has to do with God’s grace covering us and how good He is to us. Ironically, there are five books in the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy which represent the law. These books help us as well as Jews to see the need for God’s grace as the law convicts us of sin. God in His love toward mankind gave us five fingers on each hand, five toes on each foot, and five senses so we can function. David took five smooth stones with him to fight Goliath as if he was carrying grace to the battle. Grace through the number five was seen in the Old Testament again as there were five main offerings Israel conducted in the burnt, sin, grain, trespass, and peace offerings. The Old Testament’s Tabernacle in the Wilderness, also known as God’s dwelling place had grace written all over it as there were five curtains, five bars, five pillars and five sockets. There was also an altar made of wood that was five cubits long and five cubits wide and the height of the court within the tabernacle was five cubits as well. The Holy anointing oil used to consecrate the tabernacle’s furniture was composed of five parts which were myrrh, sweet cinnamon, Kaneh-bosem, cassia, and olive oil.
The number six in the bible represents mankind, his shortcomings, and specific matters having to do with Satan or devil. Mankind was created on the sixth day. God’s original plan was for mankind to work six days and rest on the seventh day. To further speak on the number six and mankind’s work allotment, there are 24 hours in one day, which is four, the number of creation, times six, the number of mankind. With the number seven representing perfection, mankind being represented by the number six, falls short of perfection. The sin that slays a person known as murder, is addressed in the sixth commandment. The number 12 represents perfect governance. When 12 is divided by two, we get two number sixes which can be seen as two parties not working together to become 12 or perfect governance. Also, you may have heard of the mark of the beast in the book of Revelation which is 666.
The number seven in the bible represents perfection. There are multiple uses of the number seven in the bible. Therefore, in order to save some time, I will point out some of the most significantly noted matters.
There are seven days in one week. God’s original plan for mankind was to rest on the seventh day and remember Him, showing that perfection had nothing to do with mankind working. A perfect rainbow, better known as God’s promise to never flood the earth, has seven colors which are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Before taking Jericho, Joshua was commanded to march around it for seven days, and then march around it seven times on the seventh day and have seven priests blow seven trumpets outside the city walls. There are seven things the Lord hates in Proverbs chapter 6 verse 16 and seven woes to the teachers of the law and the Pharisees in Matthew chapter 23.
The number eight in the bible signifies a new beginning. Jesus Christ arose on the first day of the week. As there are seven days in a week, if we were to keep counting, Jesus technically arose on the eighth day signifying a new beginning for all who accept Him. Also, Jesus’s resurrection on the eighth day strikes a major claim to Him being the Lamb of God as an animal could not be accepted as an offering until the eight day or more.
One of my favorite verses is found in Proverbs chapter 24 verse 16. It says, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” As I studied the number eight, I realized that this scripture spoke of arising an eighth time for a new beginning.
One of the most significant proclamations to the number eight can be seen in Judaism, where Christianity has its roots. Jewish scholars like to point out the covenant of circumcision given to Abraham and how it is to take place on the eighth day of a male’s life. This covenant of circumcision was to signify a new beginning between God and Abraham and the generations of Abraham as Abraham went from being a pagan to a believer. The Jews hold so fast to this covenant that baby boys are not named until the eighth day of their life when circumcision takes place. This is seen in the book of Luke chapter two verse 21 pertaining to the naming of Jesus, and in Luke chapter one verses 59-60 pertaining to the naming of John, Jesus’s cousin, who would be known as John the Baptist.
The number nine in the bible symbolizes finality or finalization. To dive right into defining the number nine’s significance with finalization, Jesus Christ gave His life up on the cross at the ninth hour. In Acts chapter three verse one, we see Peter and John going up to the temple at the hour of prayer. This hour of prayer was the ninth hour or three o’clock pm, the same hour for sacrifices in Judaism. When Daniel in the book of Daniel prayed at the ninth hour, God sent him an angel to answer his prayer. When Cornelius prayed at the ninth hour in the book of Acts, God sent an angel to visit him as well which led to his salvation as the angel told him to request for Peter to come by. Wow; knowing these things can make a convincing argument for praying at three o’clock p.m. which in eastern culture is still the ninth hour of the day. I know this personally from the time I spent in Kuwait, which is a Middle Eastern country.
The last king to rule for Israel was Hoshea and he ruled for 9 years, once again signifying a type of finalization. Last but never the least, Jesus spoke of nine beatitudes and Paul in the New Testament speaks of nine fruits of the spirit and nine spiritual gifts.
The number 10 in the bible represents testimony, law, responsibility, or altogether, order. In the book of Exodus, as Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go, God sent 10 plagues on the Egyptians as a direct smite at the gods or things they worshipped proving that He was the I AM and none of the Egyptians gods were a match for Him. Later, He gave the Israelites ten commandments further displaying law, order, and responsibility. The number four which represents creation and the number six which represents mankind, when added together equal the number ten or in other words, responsibility, showing mankind’s purpose to the earth as a testimony to God’s workmanship. In order for us to be forgiven, a Passover lamb must be sacrificed, as Jesus was for us. That Passover lamb was selected on the 10th day of the first month.
Day 10 of the seventh month is the Holy Day known as the Day of Atonement in Judaism, as stated earlier, the faith where Christianity finds its roots. Think about it, where the number seven for the seventh month represents perfection and the number 10 represents law and order, it would make sense that the day of atonement be the most Holy day as a total depiction of perfect law and order. A tithe is 10% of one’s income or goods, and as the number 10 represents responsibility, the Israelites were responsible for giving 10% of their goods to the Levites who were known as Lord’s priests. Jesus was very familiar with the number 10 as He told stories of the 10 virgins, lepers, talents, and minas which were stories all having to do with being responsible. Finally, to complete our tasks, God determined for bodies to have 10 fingers and ten toes.
As you can see, even numbers have a purpose. Let us be wise about the Holy Bible and pay close attention to the numbers in our lives.