Biblical numerology is the use of numbers for their symbolic value and what they represent in biblical texts – for example, the seven days of creation in Genesis 1.
Although many ancient languages, religions, and philosophies contained a numerical interpretation of events, words, and names, this article is concerned with those that exclusively affect Judeo-Christian beliefs. Although Greek culture was well known to scholars in the early centuries BC and AD in the Middle East, Greek ideas about numerology do not appear to have permeated Jewish and Christian beliefs.
Meaning of Numbers in the Bible
An essential key to understanding the Word of God and its conception is the meaning of the biblical numbers. Their connections and patterns, when we seek and understand them, reveal the work of the hands of God. While the disposition of some is obvious, others are not and require extensive Bible study. The patterns found do not exist by chance, but by design. Each has a particular symbolism attached to it by our Creator.
Research has found patterns in certain words and phrases in the original language that reveal a meaning hidden behind the biblical text. This discovery offers further evidence that God inspired every word used in the book which boldly proclaims the revelation of His will, plan, and purpose for man. The Eternal calls out to us through Isaiah: He alone is the Creator.
The amazing complexity of the earth itself, as well as the infinite vastness of the universe (which man cannot begin to understand), are silent witnesses to the existence and wisdom of a Master. Creator. God designed and created the universe on the basis of mathematical laws and numbers, principles that continue to govern all of creation.
In fact, God has revealed Himself wonderfully through His creation (Romans 1:20). Although the scientific community has discovered many of these immutable laws, in reality humans know little or nothing of God’s unlimited universe.
Just as God used mathematical laws to create everything, he used numbers in the design of his word. The scriptures present a digital design that can only be explained by direct inspiration from a Creator. Edward F. Vallowe, in his book Biblical Mathematics, writes the following.
Significance of Numbers in the Bible
Numbers and colors have meaning in interpreting Scripture (read also: The Meaning of Colors in the Bible). The Word of God is clear in what is written and deep in what is revealed through patterns, types and symbolism. Hebrew hermeneutics has an approach to interpretation that includes something called “remez”. A remez is a suggestion of a hidden message or a deeper meaning that lies below the surface or behind the words. Numbers and colors are a remez.
Believing that everything in Scripture has meaning, and knowing that everything has been placed there by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we must approach the symbolism of biblical numbers and colors with a desire to understand what God reveals through them. We’ll get to the numbers here and the colors next week.
Numbers in the Bible
“If God gave all things their meaning and defined their limits according to time, space, power and number, and if he designed certain measures to regulate things and times, biblical numbers must be symbolic and worthy of our own. and if it is a suitable subject of study, the laws by which this symbolism of numbers is controlled, must be verified. “- Patrick Fairbairn, Scottish minister and theologian, 1805-1874
The symbolism of numbers is defined by the identification of patterns throughout the Bible. As standards vary, some numbers are not as clearly defined as others. The symbolism of the numbers 1, 3 and 7 is the most accepted, while variations may occur with others.
Remember that the meaning of numbers in the Bible is not perfect, but the meaning of the written Word is always perfect. This list of numbers and biblical meanings is by no means exhaustive. It is provided to give a basic understanding of the patterns that reveal what these numbers represent.