Biblical numerology

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For information on non Judeo-Christian numerology, see Numerology. For information on translating the bible using numbers, see Kabbalah. For information on decoding the bible using different decoding methods, see Bible code. For information on decoding the bible using other methods, see Bible Numerics.

Biblical numerology refers to the interpretation, by some biblical scholars, of numerical values used in the Pentateuch and, consequently, the New Testament that they believe relate to symbolism, which imply quality or attributes, of the value rather than to an actual quantity. While studied by theologians, not all agree with this interpretation. Others, preferring a more fundamental approach, believe that the numbers represent the literal quantities. This article explains the interpretation of those who believe that numbers sometimes represent attributes and not the number itself. According to the theory, these numbers were purposely inserted by their authors to emphasize a particular message. Numerical symbology is most often found in Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation, but is not confined to those books.

While many ancient languages, religions, and philosophies contained numeric interpretation of events, words, and names, this article is concerned with those uniquely affecting Judeo-Christian beliefs. Although Greek culture was well-known to scholars in the first centuries BC and AD in the Middle East, Greek ideas about numerology do not seem to have permeated Jewish and Christian beliefs.

Numerical meaning[edit]

One implies "unity." (e.g. Deut 6:4 Eph 4:5, )[1]

Among other definitions, two can imply "witness."[1]

The implication of three is "divine perfection" or "holiness."(e.g. (Matt 12:40).[2]

Examples include:

  • Three major feasts appear in Jewish Tradition (Exod 23:14-19)
  • Prayer was urged three times daily (see Dan 6:10 and Ps 55:17)
  • Three-year-old animals were prized for special sacrifices (Gen 15:9)
  • In Christianity, there are three persons in the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Four signifies "the world," preeminently in the Book of Revelation.[3]

Both Hebrew[4] and Christian sources believe six indicates "imperfection," "man", or "evil."[2] For Christianity, this occurs preeminently in the Book of Revelation.[3] Some Christians believe that 666 is the Number of the Beast.(see Rev 13:18) However, a secular source, Britannica, reports that it means "perfection" in religion.[5]

Both religions[4] believe that seven implies "totality of perfection," "completeness."[3]

Examples:

Eight means a "new life" or "resurrection".[4]

Examples include:

Twelve implies "governmental perfection."[6][7]
Examples include:

1,000 signifies "immensity" or "fullness of quantity", preeminently in the Book of Revelation.[3]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Meanings of numbers in the Bible
  2. ^ a b How to read the Bible - Catholic Bible 101
  3. ^ a b c d Senior, Donald; Mary Ann Getty; Carroll Stuhlmueller (1990). The Catholic Study Bible. New York City: Oxford University Press. pp. 398, 399. ISBN 978-0-19-528391-4. 
  4. ^ a b c [1]
  5. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ [3]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]