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 KJV:
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Also in James 2:19 KJV:
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
The number 2 symbolizes the dual nature of mankind. In Galatians 6:8 KJV:
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
It may also represent the union, such as in marriage or in Jesus Christ and His church. In Ephesians 5:31 KJV:
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. In 2 Corinthians 11:2 KJV:
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
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 KJV:
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.
The number 4 symbolizes God's work and universal truth. In Revelation 7:1 KJV:
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
For thus saith the Lord God; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?
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 KJV, it took God seven days to create the universe:
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
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 KJV, there are 9 fruits of the spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such 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 KJV). The "11th" is used throughout the bible to denote chaos.
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
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 KJV
And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them 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 KJV:
This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.
The number 25 implies doubled grace. In Ezekiel's vision for the future temple (Ezekiel 40:1 KJV):
In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the Lord was upon me, and brought me thither.
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 KJV:
And the rain was upon 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 Matthew 4:1-3 KJV:
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
The number 42 is linked to the antichrist. In Revelation 13:4-5 KJV
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
The number 50 symbolizes celebration and joy. Jubilee came on the 50th year, as seen in Leviticus 25:10 KJV:
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
The number 70 symbolizes leadership and judgment. In Exodus 24:1 KJV:
And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off.
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 KJV):
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
This may imply an overflow of God's blessing. In John 21:11 KJV:
Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
The number 390 symbolizes separation. In Ezekiel 4:1-5 KJV
Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel. Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.
This number symbolizes the antichrist and the kingdoms that oppose God. In Revelation 13:18 KJV:
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
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 KJV:
And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children 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.