Bible numerology overview
Biblical numerology is a fascinating topic behind the numerical meaning hidden within the word of God. Numbers have long-held biblical meanings hidden in plain sight. The goal of this article is to provide a complete guide to demystify the secret behind the numerology seen in the Bible.
Bible numerology is the symbolic use of numbers used throughout the Bible - for example, the three in the triune nature of God.
The early church recognized that the Bible had four layers of interpretation, called the quadriga. They are:
Literal (sensus tropologicus)
Allegorical / Symbolic (sensus allegoricus)
Moral (sensus moralis)
Anagogical / mystical (sensus anagogicus)
In this way, numbers are often used symbolically to reveal the truth in the Bible verses. Understanding the numbers will give you great awareness in your Christian life on the divine perfection of God's word.
The number 1 symbolizes the unity of the one God. In 1 Timothy 2:5 NIV:
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus
Also in James 2:19 NIV:
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.
The number 2 symbolizes the dual nature of mankind. In Galatians 6:8 NIV:
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
It may also represent the union, such as in marriage or in Jesus Christ and His church. In Ephesians 5:31 NIV:
“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.
The number 3 symbolizes the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Three most often stands for wholeness. You will see this often such as in the Ark of the Covenant, where three things were placed: Ten Commandments, Aaron's staff, and the jar of manna. You might also find it in the three gifts of grace: faith, hope, and love. In 2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV:
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
The number 4 symbolizes God's work and universal truth. In Revelation 7:1 NIV:
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments—sword and famine and wild beasts and plague—to kill its men and their animals!
The number 5 represents God's teaching and grace. For example the five-division of the Book of Psalms, or the five books of the Laws: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The number 6 represents the fallen nature of man. God created humans on the sixth day. You often hear the reference of 666 to Satan, the adversary.
7 is one of the most important numbers used throughout the Bible. It symbolizes spiritual perfection, the entire creation, and rest. In Genesis 2:2-3 NIV, it took God seven days to create the universe:
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
The number 8 symbolizes rebirth, resurrection, and new beginnings. In the Bible, eight people were resurrected beside's Jesus. If you look at the numerical value of Jesus's name, it comes out to 888.
9, which is 3 x 3, symbolizes the faith and divine completeness. In Galatians 5:22-23 NIV, there are 9 fruits of the spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
The number 10 symbolizes completeness. There were Ten Commandments. In the end times, there will be 10 kingdoms. 10 men were needed for a quorum in the Sanhedrin.
The number 11 is connected to chaos judgment. John sees 11 things connected to the final judgment (Revelation 20:12 NIV). The "11th" is used throughout the bible to denote chaos.
The number 12 holds a major numerical value in the Bible. It was representative of God's government. Jesus had 12 apostles. In Revelation 21:10-14 NIV:
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The number 13 often implies rebellion. Nimrod, the 13th descendant of Ham. He is associated with the Tower of Babel and had a reputation as a king who was rebellious against God.
The number 14 implies a double measure of spiritual perfection (7 x 2). There are 3 sets of 14 generations within Jesus's lineage.
Implies God's perfect order (10 + 9). Eve was mentioned 19 times in the Bible and the house of Israel had 19 kings before the Northern Kingdom was taken.
The number 20 may imply a period of waiting. Jacob had to wait 20 years to marry, in Genesis 31:38:
I have been with you for twenty years now. Your sheep and goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks.
The number 25 implies doubled grace. In Ezekiel's vision for the future temple (Ezekiel 40:1):
In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city—on that very day the hand of the Lord was on me and he took me there.
This is the number of a person's calling. Jesus started his 3 1/2 year ministry around the age of 30.
The number 40 represents trials. In the story of Noah in Genesis 7:12 NIV:
And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
With Moses, God punished the Israelites for 40 years to wonder the wilderness.
Jesus Christ was tested in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights in Matthews 4:1-3 NIV:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
The number 42 is linked to the antichrist. In Revelation 13:4 NIV:
People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.
The number 50 symbolizes celebration and joy. Jubilee came on the 50th year, as seen in Leviticus 25:10 NIV:
Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.
The number 70 symbolizes leadership and judgment. In Exodus 24:1 NIV:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance
The number 120 implies a a time of waiting. For example, God gave humanity 120 years to repent for their evil (Genesis 6:1-3 NIV):
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
This may imply an overflow of God's blessing. In John 21:11 NIV:
So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
The number 390 symbolizes separation. In Ezekiel 4:1-5 NIV:
“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel. “Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.
This number symbolizes the antichrist and the kingdoms that oppose God. In Revelation 13:18 NIV:
This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
The number 1000 symbolizes a conclusion of a period. For example, Jesus will return to establish a 1000 reign on earth after which Satan will launch one last rebellion against God.
The number 144,000 symbolizes the church. In Revelation 7:4 NIV:
Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
The Holy Bible has symbolic meanings for many different numbers. Now that you have an indepth understanding of what numbers mean in the Bible, use this new ability to reflect on verses during your Bible study. May this skill bring new eyes to your Bible reading.