If you have ever perused the Bible, or read it cover to cover, you know there is a book called Numbers. Since the early Church Fathers, questions have been raised about the use of numbers in the Bible.
The questions spawned a new field of study to dive deeper into the use and meaning of Biblical numerology. Today, most scholars believe there is a meaning behind the numbers God used.
Meaning of Numbers: What Is the Bible Numerology
Bible numerology is the study of numbers in the Bible. It looks at the symbolic value of a number and attempts to understand it’s meaning based on the scripture. Some often used numbers are 7 and 40, while the number 666 appears only once.
Throughout the Bible, we see God’s use of numbers. The number twelve, for example, shows up repeatedly in the Bible. There are 12 tribes of Israel, Jesus chose 12 disciples, 12 gates stand in the New Jerusalem, etc.
Authority and divine government are the defining characteristics of the number twelve. That was an easy one. Now let’s look at a few more difficult numbers to understand their Biblical meanings.
What Does 777 Mean in the Bible
The number seven has a prominent place in the Scriptures. In its first use, it describes the length of Creation (Genesis 1:12:1-3). Here in the number’s first use, we see its meaning. The number seven is defined as completion or perfection. God saw that all He had made was perfect, so His work of creation was complete.
Throughout the Bible, there is example after example of perfection and completion in connection with the number seven. The final book of the Bible, Revelation, contains many examples of things grouped in sevens. There are the seven seals, the seven angels, seven churches, seven keys, seven trumpets, seven candlesticks, and the list goes on as God reveals how He will bring completeness and perfection to the Earth once again.
The only definite use of 777 in the Bible is regarding the age of Noah’s father, who died at 777. However, many believe that 777 is God’s number. We use the word “trinity” to describe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus, 777 is determined to be the numerical definition of the complete and perfect union between the Godhead and creation.
What Does 888 Mean in the Bible
Number eight is symbolic of new beginnings. We see evidence of this in the fact that Noah was one of only eight saved on the ark. Josiah was only eight when he began his reign over Judah and spread revival through the land.
In 2 Chronicles 29:17, on the eighth day, they sanctified the Lord’s house. These are a few examples of the correlation between eight and new beginnings.
If eight stands for new beginnings, what does 888 mean? The number is never used directly in the Bible, yet some connect 888 to Jesus’ name. In the Greek Ionic Ciphered Numeral System, each letter has a number value. Jesus name in Greek is spelled Ιησουσ. The value of each letter is: Ι (10); η (8); σ (200); ο (70); υ (400); σ (200); for a total of 888.
The number eight connects with the idea of infinity because of its never-ending looping circles that don’t change. This idea correlates perfectly to God being infinite and never changing as it says in Malachi 3:6, “I am the Lord, I change not.“
Eight encompasses the Father and Son in the fullness of new beginnings and their never-changing nature, which gives us a foundation on which to build our faith.
What Does 999 Mean in the Bible
Nine is one of the least used numbers in the Bible. It is found a mere 49 times. Nine can symbolize finality or completeness. The best example of finality is in Mark 15:34-37, where Jesus died at the ninth hour. Death brings finality, but we also see completeness as Jesus’ work was completed by His death on the cross.
Galatians 5:22-23, while it does not mention the number nine, speaks of the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. These nine characteristics are symbolic of the Christian character that is produced by the Holy Spirit. If a person contains and exemplifies all of them, they will be complete.
What about 999? The Bible does not contain any direct references to 999. However, Psalm 99:9 in the King James Version (KJV) says, “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.” From this, we might conjecture that 999 means exaltation and worship in addition to finality and completeness.
What Does 911 Mean in the Bible
911 is known as the number to call for emergency help. Previously, we saw that nine means finality or completeness, but what about eleven? Eleven is in stark contrast to the number nine because it symbolizes judgment and disintegration.
A clear example is in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas has already betrayed the Lord, and after Jesus gets arrested, the remaining eleven flee for their lives. Complete disintegration!
Judgment is in view in verses such as Jeremiah 9:11, 19:11, where God has centered His judgment on Judah. Daniel 9:11 calls out the nation of Israel for transgressing and not obeying the Lord. While Revelation 11:9 speaks of Armageddon, where God will finish His judgment on the Earth and bring an end to the Great Tribulation.
Not all verses with the reference 9:11 are so negative, though. There are verses such as Psalm 9:11 and Proverbs 9:11 that speak of praising the Lord and reminding the reader how He increases the years of our lives. 2 Samuel 9:11 shows the mercy of David, “As for Mephibosheth, said the king, she shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons.”
What Does 666 Mean in the Bible
The first man, Adam, was created on the sixth day of creation and was appointed to labor for six days. The number six symbolizes man and his weakness. The number 6 represents imperfection, which brings us to the number 666.
Over the years, the number 666 has been used to inconclusively identify world leaders, cartoon characters, and more as the anti-christ. The reference to 666 is humorously found in the 13th chapter of Revelation, 13 is symbolic of rebellion. In the 18th verse, we see the connection to the number of the beast, “Six hundred threescore and six.” Some believe that 666 is synonymous with Nero.
The number 666 causes such fear in people that they will not live in a house at 666 Maple Lane. They are scared when the stock market falls by 666 points and so on. The number 666 seems to be synonymous with bad things happening. For example, the Section of Highway 666 in New Mexico has proven to be statistically dangerous; it was named Devil’s highway.
What Does 40 Mean in the Bible
Trials and testing. These are the words we think of when we hear the number forty. There are so many examples of this number in the Bible. The children of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness, Moses spent 40 days in the mount with the Lord, Solomon was king of the united kingdom of Israel and Judah for 40 years, etc.
One of the most significant examples of testing is in Luke 4:1-13. Here Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and was tempted by the Devil for 40 days. Jesus teaches us much in this story. He rebukes the Devil, resisting temptation, thereby showing us the path to follow in our times of trial and testing.
What Does 70 Mean in the Bible
What does 70 mean in the Bible? The Bible speaks of 70 elders, 70 disciples, 70 of Jacob’s family members going down to Egypt, and 70 years of captivity in Babylon. The meaning of 70? Order and judgment.
We see order in the 70 elders appointed to help Moses govern the nation in Number 11:16. In Luke 10:1, Jesus appointed 70 additional disciples and sent them out two and two as emissaries before His coming. In both these instances, we can see order.
On the other hand, both Judah and Israel spent 70 years in bondage for refusing to obey the Lord. While Daniel 9:24 speaks of the 70 weeks determined by God to make an end of sin, God’s judgment comes in the form of the number 70.
What Does 153 Mean in the Bible
The Gospel of John in chapter 21, verses 1-14, tell of the final time we see Peter and the other disciples fishing. They have toiled all night and caught nothing when a voice from the shore tells them, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.” They obeyed and caught a great draught of fish, 153 to be exact.
It has long been considered strange that the exact number of fish was recorded. St. Augustine of Hippo and Jerome were two of the Church Fathers to speculate on the meaning. There is no apparent reason given for the use, but there are some fascinating hypotheses, including one about Archimedes.
The Bible contains symbolic significance for many different numbers, with the meaning of some being easier to identify and understand than others. Now that you have a greater understanding of Bible numbers, you are ready to read the Bible anew. May the truths you find in the pages of God’s words draw you closer to an understanding of who He is.