Biblical Interpretations for the Numbers 11 Through 20
Hopefully you have had a chance to read my article entitled “Biblical Interpretations for The Numbers 1 through 10.” If so, you possibly were enlightened to see how God uses numbers to make points throughout history regarding His matters and purpose. On that note, here are the biblical interpretations for numbers 11 through 20.
The Chosen Disciples
The biblical interpretation for number 11 represents disorder. Jesus selected 12 disciples. However, one of them betrayed Him leaving 11 disciples who were found to be in disorder as they scattered when Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane.
In the Old Testament, 11 of Joseph’s brothers disgracefully sold him into slavery. Later in the Old Testament, we find the Dukes of Edom who were descendants of Esau; Jacob’s twin brother and Joseph’s father. The descendants of Jacob were called Israelites. Ironically, it was 11 Dukes of Edom who were continually at war with the Israelites.
Chaos is found in Genesis chapter 11 when the tower of Babel is built and people are divided. One of the deadliest terrorist attacks in American history happened on September 11th. Also, the terrorist attacks in Madrid of Spain occurred on March 11th, 2004.
The biblical interpretation for the number 12 is governmental perfection. Just as the disciples went from being 12 to 11 in number and witnessing disorder, the Apostle Peter through interpreting a scripture from Psalms understood the need for another disciple in the group. Therefore, in the book of Acts chapter one verses 24 through 26, we are shown where lots were cast and Matthias was chosen as the 12th disciple and Apostle.
12 Gates of the New Jerusalem
In the Old Testament, governmental perfection is seen as their were 12 tribes of Israel. Prophecy in the book of Revelation states that the New Jerusalem will come from Heaven to Earth by God and will contain 12 gates. Each gate will have a name of one the 12 tribes of Israel above it. The walls of those gates will be 144 cubits high, which is 12 times 12.
12 and Bread
When Jesus fed 5,000 men (not including women and children), He used five loaves of bread and two fish. When Jesus fed 4,000 men (not including women and children), He used seven loaves of bread along with fish. If we add the initial start up loaves together from both occurrences, we get 12 loaves of bread. Also, when the 5,000 men (not including women and children) were fed, the disciples picked up 12 baskets of broken pieces that were left over. At the last supper, Jesus passed around a loaf of bread to be broke by His 12 disciples.
Bread is an essential part of our diet, and just as the number 12 stands for governmental perfection in the Bible, bread provides us with complex carbohydrates resulting in our main source of energy helping our bodies to be governed correctly. This is why Jesus made note that man cannot live by bread alone as He understood bread to be an essential dietary need. Could knowing these matters bring a new meaning or insight to Jesus being the “bread of life” who gives us what we need spiritually to function or be governed?
In the book of Numbers chapter 13, 12 spies were sent to scope out the Promised Land of Canaan. King Solomon appointed 12 governors to oversee Israel. Last, but never the least, Jesus is first recorded speaking at the age of 12 after He is found in the temple by His parents.
The biblical interpretation for the number 13 is symbolic of rebellion and depravity.
When it comes to rebellion, in the book of Mark chapter seven verses 21 through 22, Jesus speaks of 13 things that defile a person. Multiple writers point out how the 13th chapter of the Bible’s book of Revelation themes the Antichrist (an ultimately rebellious person against God) and his deceitfulness. Nimrod, a man who put himself before God, was Ham’s 13th son. Ironically, the Semitic root מרד (MRD) of his names means “to rebel.”
Deliverance from Egypt
The number 14 in the bible represents salvation or deliverance. Quick note; Christianity’s root are Jewish. In the Jewish calendar, the fourteenth day of the first month is known as Passover. The number 14 gets its recognition here as a lamb was killed on the 14th day of the first month by the Israelites and its blood was placed on the two side posts and upper door post. On that night, God passed through Egypt and spared the firstborn children of the Israelites when He saw the blood on the door posts and side posts.
As the Egyptians did not participate in the slaying of a lamb and posting of blood, their firstborn children were killed on that night. Therefore, this day is celebrated or remembered as a memorial to when God kept the firstborn children alive amongst the Israelites but killed the firstborn children of the Egyptians in the final plague against them.
There are three sets of 14 generations from Abraham (the receiver of the promise) to Joseph (Jesus’s dad). King David, the first Jewish King in Jesus’ genealogy, has a first name (David) that equals the number 14 based on Hebrew numerology in relation to its letters or consonants. Jesus Himself was crucified on Passover which as mentioned earlier occurs on the 14th day of the first month.
Rest from Toil
The number 15 in the bible is symbolic of rest. It was on the 15th day of the first month when the Israelites were set free from slavery in Egypt, allowing them to rest from the burdensome demands they faced by Egyptian taskmasters. In the 15th chapter of Genesis, God prophesies to Abraham of this special time when his descendants will be set free.
Rest in God’s Love
Hosea, who was called to marry a prostitute, purchased his wife for 15 pieces of silver. God wanted Hosea to marry a prostitute as a demonstration to the Israelites of how His love for them was unfailing, Therefore, they might as well rest in it.
Rest from Sin’s Bondage
John the Baptist, one of the first people in the New Testament to challenge the religious leaders, began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. He not only preached a message of repentance, but went on to baptize Jesus who provided the world with the ultimate rest through salvation.
Two People Falling in Love
The number 16 in the biblical is symbolic of love. When a person gets married, it is a new beginning for them. If you had a chance to read my article entitled “Biblical Interpretations for The Numbers 1 Through 10,” you saw where the number 8 represents a new beginning. Therefore, as one person’s new beginning (number 8) in marriage connects with another person’s new beginning (number 8), the number 16 or love is formed. Ironically, many writers I researched stated that the number 16 in the bible can also stand for marriage or covenant.
In the 16th verse of the gospel of John chapter three, John says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” In the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 13 verses four through eight, the Apostle Paul lists 16 characteristics of love.
The number 17 in the bible represents victory over the enemy or victory over sin. One writer noted how it was on the 17th day of the second month that the flood began in Noah’s day against the sinfulness of mankind. In the eighth chapter of the book of Romans’ verses 35 through 39, 17 things are mentioned that cannot separate from the love of Christ. The seven in the bible represents perfection and the number 10 represents law, order, and responsibility. Knowing this helps to makes sense of the fact that when a person is being responsible and walking in God’s perfect will for their lives, evil is overcome.
The number 18 in the bible is symbolic with bondage. In the book of Luke chapter 13 verse 16, Jesus heals a woman who had been bound for 18 years. An anonymous writer noted that Eglon the Moabite king and the Philistines as cohorts of the Ammonites, oppressed the Israelites for 18 years. As the mark of the beast is represented by the number 666, if a person were to add 6+6+6 together, the sum total is 18. This shows in correlation to the bondage that will coincide with the mark of the beast as mentioned in the book of Revelation.
The biblical interpretation for the number 19 is faith and hearing. This makes sense to why the Apostle Paul says that faith comes by hearing in the book of Romans chapter 10 verse 17. Dr. Stephen E Jones notes that the 19th letter of the Hebrew alphabet is the kof, which stands for “the back of the head.” Throughout the bible we are talk how God speaks to us in a still small voice. Do you find it unique that His still small voice sounds like a soft voice in the back of our heads.
In the book of Genesis chapter 32, we see Jacob fighting with an angel as a representative of God. As Jacob prevailed over the angel, the angel tells him that his name will be Israel because he has struggled with God and with humans and has overcome. Jacob later names his fifth son Naphtali. The Hebrew interpretation for the name Naphtali is fight, struggle, or strive. Ironically, the Israelite tribe of Naphtali was given 19 cities and their villages as their portion the Promised Land. Can you see the correlation between being holding on faithfully and being rewarded for doing so? Last, but never the least, in Hebrews chapter 11 (known to bible lovers as the “Faith Chapter”), there are 19 people mentioned who walked by faith and were rewarded.
The biblical correlation for the number 20 has to do with redemption after waiting. Jacob waited 20 years to be freed from an ongoing agreement with Laban where Jacob received two wives and cattle. Israelites males were able to join their army at the age of 20 to help redeem Israel from their enemies as needed. The book of Judges 4th chapter tells the story of how two women played major roles in the defeat of Jabin’s army to redeem Israel as Jabin had oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. The two women mentioned are Deborah, an Israelite judge, and Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite. A writer named Georgy noted how Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery for 20 shekels of silver and ironically he became their redemption when they needed food.
Book of Ruth
The book of Ruth is a story of redemption. Dr. Stephen E. Jones mentions wrote about how Boaz, a significant redeemer and form of Christ, is mentioned 20 times in the book of Ruth. Also, there are 20 different people noted throughout the book of Ruth.
As you can see, the numbers 11 through 20 have their place in God's order. Let us understand what the Spirit is saying to us and pay close attention to the numbers in our life.