Note: This section of the glossary of images relates
specifically to the use of numbers within the Book of Revelation.
Today, numbers are used not only for
mathematical purposes, but also to convey thoughts
or concepts. For example, in some countries
the number "13" might mean "unlucky." The
number "911" may represent an emergency (e.g., a 911
phone call) or the World Trade Center disaster that
occurred on September 11, 2001 (9/11/01). The
number "1" to many might mean "unity."
Included below are some of the more
common numbers used by the Jews and Christians in
the Bible that came to have meanings other than the
normal mathematical values:
Glossary of Numbers and Their Meanings
||Things of the world. Falling
short of perfection.
- Seven was considered to represent total perfection (see below).
One less than seven would be less than perfect...or falling short of
perfection. For example, six days of labor did not make a complete
week. Only when the six days of labor were followed by a day of
rest was it a full or complete week.
Seven-Day Creation and Rest - According to the
account of the creation (Genesis chapters 1-2), God created all things
in six days and then rested on the seventh day, blessing that day as a
day of rest.
Seven days in a week - the original week as
recorded in the Bible consisted of six days of work and then a day of
Seven days of unleavened bread in the feast of the
Passover (Exodus 12:15-17).
Seven days of atoning sacrifices on the altar (Law
of Moses - Exodus 29:30-37).
Sprinkled seven times before the veil of the
sanctuary, altar, etc. (Law of Moses):
Seven days for priests to remain within the tent
of the meeting (Leviticus 8:33-35).
Seven day period for quarantine during periods of
disease, impurity, etc. (Leviticus chapters 13-15).
Seven day offering of fire before the Lord
Counting of Seven Sabbaths (7X7) - Leviticus 25:8.
70 times 7 - Jesus said that you should forgive
someone 70 X 7 times in Matthew 18:21-22.
||A sacred number. Sometimes
used to represent the entirety of an organized religious group.
- 12 tribes of Israel.
- 12 apostles of Jesus.
- 12 foundations of the eternal city in Revelation.
- 12 apostles to sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel
(see Matthew 28:19, Luke 22:30)
"For every beast of the forest is Mine (God's),
the cattle on a thousand hills." Psalm 50:10 (NAS)
'Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens
and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing
is too difficult for Thee, 18 who showest lovingkindness to
thousands, but repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their
children after them, O great and mighty God. The LORD of hosts is His
name; Jeremiah 32:17-18 (NAS)
"For the LORD has driven out great and strong
nations from before you; and as for you, no man has stood before you to
this day. 10 "One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for
the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you.
Joshua 23:9-10 (NAS)
* This is the non-numerical
meaning that is oftentimes (but not always)
attributed to this number in the Bible. The
meaning would not apply in all instances used.
For example (using a modern-day illustration), if
you were reading a book where it referred to a
farmer that had a total of nine hundred and eleven
cows, you would not normally assume that the
writer's use of the number "911" was for the purpose
of referring to an emergency or the World Trade
Center disaster on September 11th. However an
individual cow with the brand of "911" on its side
might be referring to something other than the
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