Thursday, 31 December 2015

The significance of numbers

       Every new year it’s the same. Keenly interested in what the future holds, many people are looking to various forms of divination, causing astrologers, tarot card readers, crystal gazers, psychometrists and psychics of every persuasion to rub their palms with glee and expectation of being crossed with silver.

       One popular method is numerology, described by Wikipedia as “any belief in the divine, mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events." Despite the claims of practitioners, however, numerology is devoid of scientific basis, fails to stand up when examined and, more importantly, as a form of divination conflicts with Bible teachings. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) 

       Nevertheless, the Bible does view certain numbers as significant - figuratively, symbolically or in an illustrative sense – and these can help us to unravel scripture, especially prophetic texts such as Revelation:

Symbolic Numbers 

One. Singleness, uniqueness (Deuteronomy 6:4). This number also denotes unity and agreement of purpose as shared by the Father, His Son and true followers. In an earthly sense, ‘oneness’ is demonstrated by the marriage arrangement. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:6)

Two. Symbolises a legal precedent, solidly confirming a matter through the testimony of 2 witnesses. This precedent is upheld by world judicial systems to the present day. (Deuteronomy 17:6; Revelation 11:3,4)

Three. Emphasis and intensity. If two witnesses can provide enough proof for legal action, then three makes the case even stronger.  (Revelation 4:8; 8:13; 16:13, 19)

Four. Universal number, illustrating the symmetry of the ‘four corners of the earth’. (Revelation 4:6; 7:1, 2; 9:14; 20:8; 21:16)

Six. Imperfection, something abnormal or monstrous, especially when multiplied as in Revelation 13:18 – i.e. 666, the ‘number of the beast’. (See also Samuel 21:20)

Seven. The divine number, signifying completeness of purpose as determined by God (Revelation 1:4,12,16; 4:5; 5:1,6; 10:3,4) It can also denote Satan’s purposes. (Revelation 12:3)

Ten. Earthly wholeness or completeness. Often used to illustrate the entire world’s rulers.  (Revelation 2:10; 12:3; 13:1; 17:3,1,16)

Twelve. Divinely constituted organisation in heaven or on earth. (Revelation 7:5-8; 12:1; 21:12,16; 22:2)

Twenty-Four. God’s whole organisational arrangement. (Revelation 4:4)

For more information about the Bible, visit jw.org

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