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The Meaning In Numbers

While The Bible has nothing to do with "numerology," God apparently does attach significant usage to certain numbers.

Seven Twelve Forty Twelve

Twelve seems to be used as a "foundation" number e.g. -

  • There were twelve tribes of Israel (see Children Of Jacob), which formed the foundation of the Israelite nation.

  • There were Twelve Apostles which formed the foundation of the Christian church.


Forty seemed to be used as a "time of testing" number e.g. -

  • Moses spent 40 years in the palace of Pharaoh (learning how to rule), and then 40 years in the desert with Jethro (learning how to live in the desert) before returning to Egypt for the Exodus.

  • The Israelites spent forty years in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land (see Wilderness Journey).

  • Jesus Christ fasted 40 days at the time of his temptation by Satan (see Go Ahead, Jump!).


Seven seemed to be used to represent an act of "completion" or "perfection" e.g. -

  • Pharaoh's dream (which led to Joseph's rise to power) had 7 fat cattle and 7 starved cattle.

  • The lampstand in the Temple had 7 branches (as seen today in the Menorah).

  • The Israelite annual holy days were filled with measurements of 7, including the Days of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles which each have 7 days.

  • There are 7 weeks between Passover and Pentecost.

  • The Israelites were to give the land itself a rest every 7th year.

  • The Israelites marched around Jericho for 7 days before its fall, when 7 priests blew 7 trumpets 7 times.

  • There are 7 recorded statements of Jesus while He was on the cross.

  • Coincidently or not, Jerusalem is 777 meters above sea level.

  • The 7 churches, with their 7 spirits, in Revelation.

  • The 7 stars, 7 Seals, 7 trumpets, 7 candlesticks, 7 vials of end-time prophecy.

Perhaps most significant of all for the number seven, God made the week as seven days at the time of creation (see The Seven Days Of Creation), and decreed the seventh day of the week holy (Genesis 2:2-3) according to The Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11). It identifies Him as The God of Creation.

The seven-day week is the only time measurement that cannot be detected by natural means. The length of a day is obvious from sunset to sunset, a month from new moon to new moon, a year from spring to spring, but the 7-day week exists only because it was revealed by God to humanity, according to His Will. If there were no God, there would be no week.

Fact Finder: How many loaves of bread were used in Jesus' "miracle of the loaves?
(a) 1 (b) 7 (c) 14 (d) 77
Matthew 15:36

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