Numbers in the Bible and Their Meaning
The Bible contains many numbers and they have special meanings. In fact, some of the numbers have similar meanings.
For example, there are several numbers that mean completion and perfection in some way. Even though three, four, seven, ten, and twelve mean completion, it is a different type of completion
- Three means “divine perfection.”
- Four is a creation number that signifies "completeness and universality."
- Seven means “spiritual perfection.”
- Ten indicates “divine order.”
- Twelve means “governmental perfection.”
The number one denotes unity and uniqueness. There is only one God. Noah's ark had only one window. It was in the top of the ark.
Two is needed for comparison and separation. There are two sections of the Bible. Jesus sent disciples out two by two
Three is a number of divine fullness or completion. It is the minimum number to establish a pattern. The Trinity consists of three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Jonah was in the belly of the big fish for three days. Paul was blinded for three days. Jesus rose from the dead after three days.
Four is a creation number of the earth that signifies completeness and universality. For instance, there are four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. There are four elements: earth, air, water, fire, and water. There are four divisions of the day: morning, noon evening, and night.
Five represents God's grace. It is half the perfect number of 10. The first five books are included in the Pentateuch.
Six is the number of man because Adam was created on the sixth day. Because six is one less than the perfect number seven, six indicates human incompleteness. Therefore, man can never measure up to God.
Seven is the number of spiritual perfection, divine fullness, completeness, and totality. The number seven appears about 600 times in the Bible. It is seen throughout the Book of Revelation: seven churches, seven seals, seven vials, etc.
Eight is the number of new beginnings. Noah's family consisted of eight people on the ark who survived the flood.
Nine is the number of judgment and finality. It is the last of the single digits which represents the end. It marks the conclusion of a matter. According to Galatians 5:22-23, there are nine fruits of the Spirit. In I Corinthians 12:8-10, there are nine gifts of the Spirit.
Ten is a perfect number meaning divine order as in God's Ten Commandments. The number ten is part of our anatomy based on God's order for us. We have ten fingers to do God's works and ten toes to walk upright.
Eleven is the number of disorder, imperfection, and incompleteness. It is a state not yet full. After Judas hanged himself, another disciple had to replace him because the group was left incomplete with only eleven disciples.
Twelve is a judicial number. Jesus had twelve disciples to follow the pattern of the twelve tribes of Israel. There are twelve gates in Jerusalem. Twelve is one of the perfect numbers. That's why there are twelve people on a jury.
Superstitious people consider thirteen to be an unlucky number. The twelve disciples plus Jesus make up a group of thirteen. Also, Jacob had one daughter, Dinah, to go along with his twelve sons. Joseph was slavery in Egypt for thirteen years. When he was freed, he didn't think thirteen was unlucky.
Fourteen is twice the perfect number of seven. Jacob knew this all too well. He worked a total of fourteen years in order to marry Rachel. There are fourteen generations in the division of Israel's history from Abraham to David, from David to the exile in Babylon and from the exile to the coming of Jesus Christ.
The number fifteen indicates addition. When Hezekiah was sick, he prayed and God added fifteen more years to his life
Sixteen is a special number in the life of a person. That's why most kids have a special 16th birthday party. Uzziah became king at the tender age of sixteen and reigned fifty-two years longer than any king of Israel before him.
Seventeen is the sum of 7 and 10 which are two perfect number. Joseph was seventeen years old when his brothers sold him into slavery. At the time, Joseph didn't think seventeen was perfect. However, it was all in God's timing.
Eighteen is the number of affliction and bondage. Satan has kept a certain woman bent over for eighteen years until Jesus saw her in the temple and set her free.
Nineteen is connected with judgment since it is a combination of ten and nine. Only three scriptures in the Bible mention nineteen. In 2 Samuel 2:30, nineteen of David's men were killed in battle. That might seem bad, but it was a small number to lose in battle.
Twenty is a number that represents waiting and expectancy. Jacob expected to leave Laban one day, but he waited 20 years before leaving. After 20 years, Samson delivered Israel from the Philistines
Twenty-one is two perfect numbers multiplied by themselves. When three is multiplied by seven, the sum adds up to something good. God responded to Daniel’s prayer the first day he prayed but it took twenty-one days for Daniel to receive the answer because it was held up until a messenger was sent to help release the answer. That's why the Daniel Fast lasts 21 days.
Twenty-two is double the number what the number eleven that stands for disorder, imperfection, incompleteness, disorganization, and disintegration.
The number twenty-three doesn’t appear that often in the Bible. It points to physical, financial or spiritual prosperity. Psalm 23 speaks of having everything we need based on God’s provisions.
In Revelation 4:4, John reports that he saw twenty-four elders sitting on twenty-four thrones in heaven. The twenty-four represent those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. The twelve tribes of Israel in the Old Testament and twelve disciples in the New Testament add up to be twenty-four.
Abraham and Sarah waited twenty-five years for God's promise to be fulfilled for them to have their son Isaac. Therefore, twenty-five represents the number of grace multiplied five times while wait for something.
Thirty is the product of two good numbers. When three is multiplied by ten it denotes a higher degree of divine perfection and divine order. It marks the right time. Jesus was baptized and began His ministry when He was thirty (Luke 3:23). Joseph also began His ministry at thirty (Genesis 41:46). David began to reign on the throne at age thirty (2 Samuel 5:4).
The number thirty-three is not found in any version of the Bible. That's odd considering that Jesus was crucified at the age of thirty-three.
Forty is seen throughout the Bible. It represents probation, testing, and trial. Moses' life was divided into three distinct periods of forty years each. It rained for forty days and forty nights, but Noah and his family were safe inside the ark. Jesus fasted forty days before starting His ministry. Moses received the Ten Commandments from God after being on the mountain for forty days.
Fifty is the number of freedom, deliverance, and jubilee. Fifty is used approximately three hundred times in the Bible. The fiftieth year is known as the Year of Jubilee when the Israelites were free of all debts, slaves were released and the land was returned to the proper owners. In Genesis 18, Abraham prayed that God would save Sodom if fifty righteous people were found there. Fifty is the number of days from Jesus’ resurrection to the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
Seven denotes perfection, maturity, and completion, but the number seventy denotes a full state of perfection. Seven is one of the perfect numbers multiplied by another perfect number (seven and ten). Seventy is a full state and the lifespan of a person. That's why the Israelites were in exile in Babylon for seventy years.
Moses was eighty years old when he was called to deliver the slaves out of Egypt.
Ninety in the Bible represents both election and a new order. Sarah was ninety years old when Isaac was born. In other words, Sarah and Abraham started "a new order.”
One hundred is a nice round number that indicates fullness and completeness. It equals ten tens. The number represents not only what is full but also what is to be returned. When one of the one hundred sheep wandered away, the remaining number was an incomplete one. When the shepherd found and returned his lost sheep, it brought the total back to exactly one hundred (Luke 8:8; Matthew 13:8; and Mark 4:20).
One Hundred and Twenty
The number one hundred and twenty is made up of three forties like in the life of Moses. Since forty is the period of probation, one hundred and twenty signifies a divinely appointed period of probation and waiting. One hundred and twenty believers followed Jesus' instruction and stayed together on one accord and waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, according to Acts 1:15.
One Hundred and Fifty
It rained forty days and forty nights, and the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days (Genesis 7:24). There have been many local floods since then, but not a flood that lasted for one hundred and fifty days as in the days of Noah and the ark that he built according to God's instructions.
One Hundred and Fifty-Three
One hundred and fifty-three is a number that represents unexpected plenty. Peter whose occupation was fishing for a living had toiled all night when fish normally bite, and he had caught nothing. When he and the others followed Jesus’ instructions, they were able to catch 153 large fish. That was Peter's unexpected plenty.
Since twenty is the number of expectancy, then the expectancy is tenfold with the number two hundred. It is also the number associated with insufficiency. Achan’s 200 shekels were not sufficient enough to save him from the consequences of his sin, according to Joshua 7:21. Neither was Absalom’s hair that weighed 200 shekels enough to save him. Instead, it caused his destruction (2 Samuel 14:26, 18:9).
Three hundred is a divine number. In Judges 7:6, 8b, Gideon started out with 32,000 men in his army as they went to defeat the Midians. God showed Gideon that only three hundred men were needed to win the battle.
There are 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. They are often referred to as the “silent years.” The last prophet God spoke to was Malachi in the Old Testament. He spoke to no one else until He spoke to John the Baptist in the New Testament. Therefore, John the Baptist is the link between the two testaments.
Six Hundred and Sixty-Six
Just as there is a trinity with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; there is also a trinity with Satan consisting of Satan himself, the first beast, and the false prophet. Therefore, 666 is referred to as the mark of the beast and a counterfeit trinity (Revelation 7:3).
We refer to the thousand-year period as the millennium. It is mentioned in connection with Christ’s coming to reign with the saints over the earth (Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-9). During that thousand-year period, Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit so he will not deceive. After the thousand-year period is over, Satan will be released to resume his work of deceit (Revelation 20:3, 7-9).
Three thousand people died after criticizing Moses who was doing God’s work in Exodus 32. Peter preached the first sermon on the Day of Pentecost and three thousand souls were saved in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost.
The feeding of the four thousand in Gentile territory should not be confused with the feeding of the five thousand in Jewish territory. The feeding of four thousand was to a much smaller crowd.
The feeding of the five thousand took place first before the feeding of the four thousand. Jesus used what was available: five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Jesus blessed the meager meal.
One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand
One hundred and forty-four thousand is the highest of the biblical numbers. It symbolizes completeness. This number represents totality, perfection and the organization of God’s people.
- Forty: The Number of Probation
Forty is the number of probation. Not only is forty the number of probation, it is also the number for testing and trials.
- Ten: The Number of Divine Order
Ten is one of the four perfect numbers in the Bible that denotes completion or perfection. Three, seven, and twelve all mean completion and perfection. Ten is the number that represents divine order.