Has biblical numerology any relevance to us today?
It would appear that many Christians today shy away from numbers in the scriptures.
Numerology tends to be linked to occult practices or Gnostic beliefs and is looked on by many Evangelicals as something to be avoided.
However, I am not convinced that this should be the case. The baby should not be thrown out with the bath water.
Whether or not, numerology has anything to do with prophetic events, I do not know but what I do know is that the Bible is full of numbers that must have some relevance.
Of course there are those that attempt to use numerology in the Bible to predict or try to predict future events.
I am not sure that this is what the numbers are there for.
What I believe, is that for whatever reason these numbers are included in the text, they are there for some reason. God is not the author of confusion but a God of order and whether we like it or not, human life cannot get away from the relevance of numbers.
We are faced every day with the reality of numbers, days, weeks, years, dates, weights and measures, numbers surround us in nature, the binary code is made up of numbers. We see this in computers, digital codes, bar codes etc.
When I read the Bible, I find that certain numbers are repeated time and time again.
The numbers 3, 6, 7, 12, 40, 49, 50, 70,120, 1000 are all examples of numbers that appear over and over again.
There are many examples of numbers being used in scripture that obviously have some relevance.
i.e. As Jonah was in the belly of the whale for 3 days, so shall the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth, 3 days.
Why would Jesus quote this if it was not to be used as a type of burial and resurrection? The same with the quote, Destroy this temple and in 3 days, I will raise it up.
God created the Heavens and the earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th.
We see the number 7 over and over in scripture.
Used 735 times (54 times in the book of Revelation alone), the number 7 is the foundation of God's word. If we include with this count how many times 'sevenfold' (6) and 'seventh' (119) is used, our total jumps to 860 references.
Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God's creation of all things. The word 'created' is used 7 times describing God's creative work (Genesis 1:1, 21, 27 three times; 2:3; 2:4). There are 7 days in a week and God's Sabbath is on the 7th day.In Matthew 13 Jesus is quoted as giving seven parables (Matthew 13:3 - 9, 24 - 30, 31 - 32, 33, 44, 45 - 46, 47).
In the book of Revelation there are seven churches, seven angels to the seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpet plagues, seven thunders and the seven last plagues.
These are just a few of the countless examples of the use of the number 7.
It seems that there is a pattern that comes to light when reading the scriptures.Mentioned 146 times in Scripture, the number 40 generally symbolises a period of testing, trial or probation.
For example, there appears to be a pattern that emerges in the life of Moses. Moses was 40 years old when he fled Egypt. 40 years later when Moses was 80 years old, God called him to go back to Egypt and deliver the Israelites out of bondage. The next 40 years Moses wandered in the wilderness and died at the age of 120 years.
We read about the flood of Noah, it rained for 40 days and nights.Jesus was tempted in the wilderness 40 days and nights.
Elijah went 40 days without food or water at Mount Horeb.
The prophet Jonah powerfully warned ancient Nineveh, for forty days, that its destruction would come because of its many sins.
Jesus also appeared to his disciples and others for 40 days after his resurrection from the dead.
We could go on and on, looking at the many different numbers throughout the Bible and we would come to the conclusion that there is a pattern in the way that numbers are constantly repeated.
We could say that these are co incidences. However I believe that that would be naïve. They are there for a purpose.
Take the Ark that Noah built. God gave Noah specific instructions for the dimensions of the Ark. Noah could not have known the perfect dimensions for a floating boat. Even today, ship builders agree that the perfect dimensions for a floating craft is the same as Noah’s Ark.In Genesis 6:15, God instructed Noah to build an ark that was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. This is a ratio of 30 to 5 to 3 (length to breadth to height).
Until about 1858, the ark was the largest floating ship ever created. In terms that we understand better, the ark was about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.
In 1844, a man named Isambard K. Brunnel built his giant ship, the Great Britain. He used almost the exact ratio of the ark—30:5:3. As it turns out, these dimensions are the perfect ratio for a huge boat built for seaworthiness and not for speed. Obviously the ark was not built for speed, since it had nowhere to go!
We see then, that God’s words had relevance.
Also we see this in God’s instructions for the Ark of the Covenant and even in the way that the twelve tribes of Israel should camp.God gave all the instructions, numbering the tribes.You can see it has relevance. It formed a cross in the desert.
Over the years there have been people that have tried to find out when certain prophetic events would happen by using calculations. Especially the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Many of them have failed miserably because the Bible is very specific concerning these things.
No man knows the time or the hour.
However there is significance in numbers and history. This again shows design and God’s hand on the affairs of men and nations.
An interesting example of this is what is known in Judaism as Jubilee.
Jubilee years follow the 49th year. The 50th year being the Jubilee.
The Jubilee (Hebrew: יובל yūḇāl; Yiddish: yoyvl) year is the year at the end of seven cycles of shmita (Sabbatical years), and according to Biblical regulations had a special impact on the ownership and management of land in the Land of Israel; there is some debate whether it was the 49th year (the last year of seven sabbatical cycles, referred to as the Sabbath's Sabbath), or whether it was the following (50th) year.
Did you know that near the start of Jesus' public ministry he quoted Scripture related to the Jubilee?
He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17. And there was given Him the book of the prophet Isaiah . . . 18. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; for this reason, He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal those who are broken hearted, to proclaim pardon to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth in deliverance those who have been crushed, 19. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4)
Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 61, verses 1 and 2. His reference to the "acceptable year of the Lord" is a Biblical synonym for the Jubilee year.
Josephus, in his monumental work on the history of the Jewish people, discusses historical events that he felt occurred during Jubilee years such as Antiochus' besieging of Jerusalem's Temple. In Herod the Great's thirteenth year of rule there was famine and a corresponding pestilence, the worst since the time of King Ahab. Josephus states it occurred in a Jubilee year.
In history it seems to be made up of a 20 and 30 year cycle.
An historical example of this in modern day is seen in events that have happened concerning the nation of Israel.
1897 - On August 29, 1897, the First Zionist Congress opened in Basel,
Switzerland, a three-day conclave at which the movement that led to the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine a mere half-century later took its first organizational steps.
20 years later.
1917 - On November 2, 1917, Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour writes a letter to Britain’s most illustrious Jewish citizen, Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, expressing the British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Britain’s public acknowledgement and support of the Zionist movement emerged from its growing concern surrounding the direction of the First World War.
30 years on (Jubilee year )
1947 - On 29 November 1947, in Resolution 181 , the General Assembly adopted the majority report of UNSCOP, but with slight modifications. The Plan also called for the British to allow "substantial" Jewish migration by 1 February 1948.
20 years on.
1967 - 1967 war: Six days that changed the Middle East.
30 years on
1997 - May 23, 1997 - Web posted at: 11:34 p.m. EDT (0334 GMT)
KFAR HASIDIM, Israel (CNN) -- Grazing peacefully under the sun munching her cud, Melody seems oblivious to all the stir she is causing.
She may look like an ordinary -- albeit strangely-hued -- cow. But some people in Israel see her birth a year ago on a small farm as a momentous sign from God. Others fear this humble heifer might plunge the Middle East into another round of violence and war.
All because Melody's coat is red.
Under Jewish tradition from the era when the Holy Temple stood allegedly atop
Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the ashes of a red heifer, butchered in her third year, are mixed with water and used to purify Jews before they can approach the temple.
The last temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., and Melody is believed by many to be the first red heifer born in Israel since that time. So some devout Jews see her birth as a sign that the temple can now be rebuilt -- and that the coming of a promised Messiah is nigh.
1997 _ The Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron, also known as the Hebron.
Protocol or Hebron Agreement, was signed on 17 January 1997 by Israel, represented by Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), represented by PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, under the supervision of U.S. Secretary of State, Warren Christopher.
It concerned the partial redeployment of Israeli military forces from Hebron in accordance with the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ("Oslo II"). According to the Protocol, Area H-1 (about 80%) would come under Palestinian control, while Area H-2 would remain under Israeli control. A large Palestinian majority still lives in both Area H-1 and Area H-2. The redeployment started on 16 January 1997.The protocol has never been ratified by either of the contracting parties.
20 years on: 2017 – 7th December 2017. Donald Trump announces that the USA recognises Jerusalem as the Capital City of Israel.
Whether any of these events could have been predicted by the use of numbers, I don’t know.
However there is no doubt that these events did occur on these dates.
Co incidence??? Or, the predetermination of the Sovereign God???
Then there are other unusual things found in the Bible.
There are those that believe that there are hidden codes in scripture that predict future events.
One such book was “The Bible Code”. This book suggests that there are hidden codes that link to future events.
On this I remain sceptical but again there is no doubt that there are numerical mysteries in the scripture.
Take for instance something that is called Equidistant Letter Sequences.
There is an old Jewish tradition about a "hidden text" in the Hebrew Pentateuch (the Five Books of Moses), consisting of words or phrases expressed in the form of equidistant letter sequences (ELS's) -- that is by selecting sequences of equally spaced letters in the text. Since this tradition was passed orally, only few expressions that belong to the "hidden text" were preserved in writing (Rabbenu Bahya, 1492 and Cordovero, 1592)
The Bible declares in Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing but it is the honour of kings to seek out the matter.
Now you may be sceptical at this, however I checked this out and sure enough this does occur.
Looking through the first five books of the Old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, which are known collectively as the “Torah”.
Torah spelling in Hebrew “TORH”.
In the original Hebrew text and beginning with the first “Tav” (T), if you count 49 letters, you come to “Vav” (O), then count 49 you come to a “Resh” (R) and again 49 letters you come to “Hey” (H).
It spells “TORH” (Torah).
Moving on to the book of Exodus the same thing happens “TORH”.
However when you look at Leviticus, this does not happen.
OK, maybe a co incidence!!
Move on to the book of Numbers. In Numbers this sequence occurs but it occurs in reverse.
From the first “Hey”, count 49 letters and you come to a “Resh” another 49
letters you come to “Vav” and another 49 letters you come to a “Tav”.
This spells “HROT” which is Torah in reverse.
On to Deuteronomy, this happens again.
TORH – TORH – HROT – HROT.
Now this causes you to ask the question, why did it not happen in Leviticus?
If you go back and look at Leviticus and go to the first “Yod” (Y).
Count 7 letters, you come to a “Hey” (H). Another 7 letters you come to “Vav” (W) and another 7 letters “Hey” (H).
This spells out the name of God, “YHWH” (Jehovah).
So looking at this again.
Genesis – Exodus – Leviticus – Numbers - Deuteronomy
TORH – TORH – YHWH – HROT – HROT .
The Torah always points to God!!!!
Now, is this accidental, co incidental, Or is this the thumb print of God on His word?
Why is it there, I must admit, I don’t know.
Maybe it is there simply for the glory of God but it cannot be denied that it is there.
There are many examples of things like this in the scriptures and it is not clear why they are there but they are.
My conclusion is that God is a God of design. No letter, no word is in the Bible without having a meaning. No number, whether date, day or age, whether measurement, weight, height or width is there without it having some relevance.