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.

Biblical numerology refers to the interpretation, by some biblical scholars, of numerical values used in the Hebrew Bible and 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]

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

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

3: The implication of three is "perfection"[2]:1505 or "holiness."(e.g. (Matt 12:40).[3]

Examples include:

4: Four signifies a sense of totality[2]:1252 or "the world," preeminently in the Book of Revelation.[4] It derives its meaning from there being four cardinal directions, as also attested in Mesopotamian literature.[2]:1252

  • Four corners of the earth (Rev 7:1)
  • Construction of the altar: four corners, four pillars, etc. (see Exo 27:1-8 and Exo 27:16); many of these altar construction guidelines are still used today

6: Both Hebrew[citation needed] and Christian sources believe six indicates "imperfection," "man", or "evil."[3] For Christianity, this occurs preeminently in the Book of Revelation.[4] Some Christians believe that 666 is the Number of the Beast. The significance of three 6s shows eternal imperfection of Lucifer.[5][clarification needed][citation needed] However, a secular source, Britannica, reports that it means "perfection" in religion.[6]

7: In both Jewish and Christian traditions, seven signifies "totality of perfection," "completeness."[4][2]:382

Examples:

8: Eight means a "new life" or "resurrection".[citation needed]

Examples include:

12: Twelve implies "governmental perfection."[7][8]

Examples include:

1,000 signifies "immensity" or "fullness of quantity", preeminently in the Book of Revelation.[4]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Meanings of numbers in the Bible
  2. ^ a b c d Berlin, Adele; Brettler, Marc Zvi; Fishbane, Michael, eds. (2004). The Jewish Study Bible. New York City: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195297515. 
  3. ^ a b How to read the Bible - Catholic Bible 101
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Rev 13:18
  6. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]