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Discovering Biblical Numerology
Part Three

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The number ten is often seen as the number of completeness and order. This completeness and order may be in regards to: a topical subject in the Bible, a situation or circumstance or a government and authority.

Here are some examples: In the account of creation In Genesis chapter 1, it records “God said” ten times. Abram recognized the authority of Melchizedek and rendered a tenth of the spoil (a tax or tithe) to him. Genesis 14:18-20 God’s rule and order is established before the Egyptian Pharaoh by the ten plagues prior to the Israelite exit. Exodus 7-11.       God has given us the Ten Commandments as the core moral code of human behavior. Exodus 34:28   Joshua, the governmental ruler of Israel that lead them into and as they conquered the “promised land” (one of only two people that survived the journey though the wilderness) lived to be 110 years old. Looking at these numbers in equation form we see (10x10=100+10=110) Joshua 24:29. The prophet Daniel speaks of a vision of a beast having ten horns. Horns represented  government in this society and culture. Daniel 7:7 Ten times in the Old Testament fire came down from heaven. Six (the number of humanity) times they were in acts of judgment. See Genesis 19, Leviticus 9, Numbers 11, Numbers 16, 1Kings 18, II Kings 1, I Chronicles 11, II Chronicles 7.

Jesus told the parable of the ten virgins to show the order of the entire human race at the time of his second advent. Matthew 25:1-2

Jesus refers to himself in the gospel of John ten times as the “I Am”: John 6:35 I am the bread of life; John 6:41I am the bread that came down from heaven.; John 6:51 I am the living bread; John 8:12 "I am the light of the world ; John 8:18 I am one who testifies for myself; John 10:7 I am the gate for the sheep ; John 10:14 I am the good shepherd ; John 11:25-26 I am the resurrection and the life ; John 14:6 I am the way and the truth and the life ; John 15:1 "I am the true vine.

In Romans 8:38 & 39 Paul establishes security for the believer from outside by giving ten things that cannot separate us from the Love of God. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)

The number ten appears 170 times in the Old Testament. The number ten appears 29 times in the New Testament, 11 of which are in the book of Revelation. Eight of those eleven times are closely referenced to horns or crowns or kings. In the symbolism and metaphoric content of the writing in Revelation, it is readily supposed that horns and crowns are connected to governments and authorities.

The number eleven typically represents incompleteness and/or disorder. In Daniel 7:20-22 we read  I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell-- the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.”(NIV)

The eleven remaining apostles attempted to bring in a twelfth apostle to fill the rank Judas vacated. Acts 1:20-26 "For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms, "'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, "'May another take his place of leadership.' Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.(NIV)

The number twelve typically represents Divine government and/or a foundational of rulers. In the Old Testament we see the twelve tribes of Israel. Genesis 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.(NIV) In the New Testament Jesus called twelve apostles to serve in ministry with Him. Matthew 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.(NIV)

The description of the Holy City in revelation is full of the number twelve. Revelation 21:10-21 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Twenty four can be generally considered the number of perfection in regards to priestly activities or divine government. Revelation 4:4-11 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."(NIV)

The number forty is often a summation of completed time and a representation of a human generation. Here are several Biblical examples. It rained for 40 days and nights during the Great Deluge. Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah. Israelites traveled the Sinai wilderness  for 40 years. Moses was on Mount Sinai 40 days receiving God’s laws for the people camped below. King David ruled over Israel for 40 years. Jesus was in the wilderness, tempted by the devil for 40 days. Jesus was alive for 40 days after His resurrection before the ascension.

The number fifty is the Biblical number of Pentecost, Freedom, and Jubilee. Levitcus 25:10-12 Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields. Acts 2:1-2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.(NIV)

               As Christians we believe that the Word of God, the Holy Bible is inspired by God and that it contains and is all truth. God inspired man’s thoughts and hands to write the scripture as we have it today. However, God did not divide the Bible up into chapters and verses. Man did this so that we could read it and understand it easier.  

               The irony of all of this is that even in the human dissection and categorization of scripture by chapter and verse, God still seems to have His hand in its numbering in a very subtle and even relatively humorous way at times. This can be found by casually looking through the scripture and making note of the references as you read them.  

A classic example is the “3:16” pattern. Take special note of the following verses that are found in the third chapter and the sixteenth verse of these books. Matthew 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.(NIV) Mark 3:16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); (NIV) Luke 3:16 John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.(NIV) John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV) The four gospels all portray key elements to foundational Christian faith; The baptism of Jesus Christ; The appointment of the twelve original apostles; The prophetic utterance of Christ form John the Baptist; the “gospel in a nutshell” in the gospel of John. 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,(NIV) I John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.(NIV) Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm-- neither hot nor cold-- I am about to spit you out of my mouth.(NIV)

               There is the “7th verse” pattern Illustrated by some theologians to be helpful in quickly gathering key points throughout a book of the Bible. Here is an example of this process in Paul’s epistle to the Romans. Romans 1:7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.(NIV) Romans 2:7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.(NIV) Romans 3:7 Someone might argue, "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?"(NIV) Romans 4:7"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.(NIV) Romans 5:7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.(NIV) Romans 6:7           because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.(NIV) Romans 7:7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet."(NIV) Romans 8:7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. (NIV) Romans 9:7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."(NIV) Romans 10:7 "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).(NIV) Romans 11:7 What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened,(NIV) Romans 12:7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;(NIV) Romans 13:7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.(NIV) Romans 14:7 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.(NIV) Romans15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.(NIV) Romans 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.(NIV).

               After reading these sixteen verses from Romans, you have a very good perspective of what some of the general themes are that are addressed in the book. It is not comprehensive, but tends to be a fairly accurate summary of some of the topical discussions that are in the text. Again, looking at numbers in chapter and verse is not “gospel” truth. However, it does prove to be an interesting subsequent study for the student wanting a different twist on the composition of Biblical texts.




Bible Translations quoted and used in this publication are :

King James Version (KJV);

The New King James Bible(NKJ);

The New International Bible (NIV);

The New American Standard Bible (NAS)


“Interpreting the Scriptures” by Kevin J. Conner and Ken Malmin

@1983 Bible Press in Portland Oregon

“Numbers in Scripture” by E.W. Bullinger

@ 1967 Kregel Publications in Grand Rapids Michigan

“The NIV Harmony of the Gospels” by Robert L. Thomas & Stanley Gundry

@ 1988 by Harper Collins Publishing of San Francisco, California



Central Institute of Theological Studies
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