Numbers in the Bible part 7

By Michael Pearl

Scripture: Topics: Numbers in the Bible

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Numbers in the Bible part 7

The Meaning of the Numbers 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20

Numbers in the Bible, episode six. We're going to be going through 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 tonight. Got a whole lot on our plate, but we're going to be moving pretty fast through all of those numbers. I am Michael Pearl and you are at The Door located in Lobelville, Tennessee.

The Symbolic meaning of numbers

When you read the word of God, be you an adult or a child, the mind becomes imprinted with the symbolic meaning of numbers. You can't help it. It's the flavor, it's the odor, it's the color, it's the texture of each number is special and unique. Without intending to, you come to understand and feel the meaning of each number as you go through them. We're going to be looking tonight at number 15 to start off with.


  1. We've already covered one, that's supremacy, unique above all others and
  2. Two is the number of division.
  3. Three is the number of divine control, election sovereignty, volition, ordering, perfection. It's all about God.
  4. Number four is wholeness in structure or nature.
  5. Number five is divine appointment, special number.
  6. Number six is the number of man. Most Bible readers know that right off.
  7. Number seven, a very popular number in the Bible, is the program of God on behalf of man.
  8. Number eight is new beginnings. Most everyone knows that.
  9.  Number nine, less well known, is termination or fulfillment. Some people say it's fruitfulness, but you can see fruitfulness would be a synonym for fulfillment.
  10. Then number 10, number 10 is the whole unit.
  11. Number 11 is dissolution or incompleteness.
  12. Number 12 is headship or rule as in the 12 tribes, 12 apostles.
  13.  Number 13 is the number of sin, death, and judgment.
  14. Number 14 is the number of divine guidance and blessing.

The Number Fifteen - Positive and full of grace

Tonight we come to number 15. It's positive all the way through. It's a very positive number. It's full of grace so I like 15.

  • 18 Cardinals
  • 18 Ordinals

The cardinal is used 18 times and the ordinal is used 18 times, 36 in all. Fifteen is always a very positive event in the life of God's people. In many cases it becomes a memorial full of grace.

  • The Fifteenth day of the first month is found three times in the scriptures. It speaks of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. That was a special blessing, a special time in the life of the Jews, the feast days. (Leviticus 23:6, Number 28:7; 29:12)
  • The Fifteenth day of the second month is when they departed out of Egypt, left their slavery behind and became a new nation, special time. (Exodus 16:1)
  • Then the Fifteenth day of the seventh month, used four times, is the Feast of Tabernacles, which was a fun celebration when all the family came together and dwelt in booths and ate and had just a hilarious holy day. (Lev. 23:6; 23:34, 39, Ezek. 45:25)
  • Fifteen in the Tabernacle or Temple is found six times, quite popular.

Exceeds the principle(9)

Beyond the Norm

More, with Grace

Exceeds the principle nine times. We'll see that in a moment and you'll see what that means. It's beyond the norm. It's more. It comes with grace, exceeding the principle.

Fifteen in the Bible

Let's look at the scriptures. Genesis 7:20 "Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail and the mountains were covered."  This is the beginning, the use of 15, which is a great blessing to Noah. He's in the arc. He has found grace in the eyes of the Lord. He save's and also this is exceeding.

Then we come to 2 Kings 14:17 "And Amaziah, the son of Joash, King of Judah lived after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel, fifteen years."  You see the excess there, living beyond, and it was a blessing to get those extra years. He was going to die and God gave him 15 extra years.

2 Kings 20:1-6 "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz came to him and said unto him, Thus saith, the Lord, set thine house in order for thou shall die and not live."  He just got an announcement, you're a dead man. "Then he turned his face to the wall and prayed unto the Lord saying, I beseech the O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee, in truth."  It's a good thing he had that record. "And with a perfect heart and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore."  He's begging God to live longer. "And he came to pass that before Isaiah was gone out that the word of the Lord came to him saying, turn again and tell Hezekiah, the captain of my people, thus say the Lord, the God of David thy father, I've heard thy prayer, I've seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee on the third day, thou shall go up under the house of the Lord and I will add unto thy days."  That's excess above the principle. That's the blessings of number 15. "fifteen years I will add and I will deliver them in this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria."  Not only that, but he's going to save them from the impend judgment that was announced. "And I will defend this city for own sake and for my servant David's sake."  Think about it. He saved a whole nation for 15 more years. He saved himself for 15 more years by simply turning his face to the wall and praying.

2 Chronicles 25:25 "And Amaziah, the son of king of Judah lived after the death of Josash, son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years."  There's the excess beyond the principle, the extra time that he lived.

Esther 9:18 "But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof."  You see, it was announced that anybody could go and kill them and take whatever they wanted from the Jews on that day. 13th: sin, death in judgment. "And on the fourteenth thereof and on the fifteenth day of the same, they rested and made it a day of fasting and gladness."

Hosea 3:2 “So, I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver."  This is his wife who went out and gave herself to whoredoms, ended up sold on a slave block and he pays for her, some woman that was already his 15 pieces of silver, and for a homer of barley and a half homer of barley. The guy made him throw in a little bit of grain there for her as well.

Galatians 1:17-18 "Neither went up to Jerusalem to them, which were apostles before me. But I went up under Arabia and returned again in Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and abode with him fifteen days." This is the only time the apostle Paul came to Jerusalem, met with Peter and the apostles. He was there 15 days, a time of blessing, which exceeds the principle, very positive experience.

Now, 2 Kings 14:23-24 "In the fifteenth year of Amaziah, the son of Joash, King of Israel, began to reign in Samaria and he reigned 40 and one years and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord."  Now does that seem like 15, a blessing, something positive? You have to keep reading. This guy, the 15th year of Amaziah, the guy who did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, "he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who made Israel to sin."  It looks like judgment should follow that, right? But look what happens. "He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath under the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet which was of Gathhepher."  Even though he was a wicked man, God used him. Why? For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel that it was very bitter for there was not any shut up nor any left nor any helper for Israel. He's all God had. He was a wicked king, but he's all God had, so God used him to bless the nation of Israel. God used him to express grace even though he was a wicked man.

A lot of times the meaning is not obvious unless you read the context or search other places in the scripture for the context of it.

Numbers 33:3, "And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month on the morrow after the Passover, the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians."  Now high hand because they had spoiled the Egyptians of their jewels and gold and diamonds and stuff like that. On the 15th day, what a blessing, the grace of God, they departed and ceased to be slaves.

Ezekiel 32:7 "It came to pass also on the twelfth year, in the fifteenth day of the month, that the word of the Lord came unto me saying..."  So, God's word comes on the 15th day, which is going to be a time of blessing and deliverance.

You find 15 five times in regard to hangings inside the tabernacle, the curtains, the decorations that are inside of the tabernacle.

Galatians 1:18 "Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and abode with him fifteen days." 

Incidental Fifteens

All right, here is an incidental one. By incidental, I mean there's somewhere between five, 10, 15% of times that each number will have an incidental use. That is, not the number does not originate with a prophecy, originate with some work of God. Look at this one, you'll see.

1 Chronicles 24:14 "The fifteenth of Bilgah..."  Now what he was doing, he was going through a list of the first, the second, the fourth, the fifth, sixth on up, the 12th, 13th, the 14th, the 15th, and talking about divisions of things. It's in a sequence of numbers and it has no particular prophetic or symbolic meaning, at least that we don't know of it. It could have been that it did have in its personal experience that's not recounted in the scriptures, but there are some that are incidental like that, that didn't originate with God.

Here's another one that could be incidental. Paul is in a ship and they're headed to Rome.

Acts 27:28 The ship comes under a storm, it's about to sink “and they sounded,” checked the depth of the water, “and found it 20 fathoms. And when they had gone a little further, they sounded again and found it fifteen fathoms." After this, the ship wrecks, but God says he is going to save everyone on the ship. He does. They're all blessed, they're all saved. It could be just an incidental use, but it could also be pointing to the salvation that occurred in that instance.

Here's another possible incidental use.

Luke 3:1-4 "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,... the word of God came into John.... and he came into all the country about Jordan preaching the baptism repentance for the mission of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophets saying the voice of one crying in the wilderness to repair you the way the Lord make his paths straight." Going back, it's the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. God didn't necessarily appoint that, it's just telling us when he reigned, but it is in a context of him coming and preaching the way of the Lord. That could be an incidental one.

The Number Sixteen - Reigning, Governing

  • 18 Cardinals
  • 3 Ordinals

Now we come to the number 16. 16 is reigning or governing and it's found as a cardinal 18 times and as an ordinal three times.

Sixteen in the Bible

2 Kings 13:10 "In the thirty and seventh year of Joash, king of Judah, began Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel and Samaria and he reigned sixteen years."  That's pretty clear that's about reigning, isn't it?

2 Kings 14:21 "And all the people of Judah took Azariah, which was sixteen years old and made him king instead of his father Amaziah." Again, reigning.

2 Kings 15:2 " sixteen years old was he when he began to reign and he reigned two and thirty years in Jerusalem."  Reigning.

2 Kings 16:2 "Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, did that which was right in the sight of the Lord as God like David his father." 

Now, reigned 16 years. I won't read them all, but just to point out there's eight more just like this one all having to do with reigning.

1 Chronicles 24:4 "And there were come chief men found of the sons of Eleazar that than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided among the sons of Eleazar that were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers".  That could be incidental but maybe not, could be about reigning.

2 Chronicles13:21 "And Abijah waxed mighty and married fourteen wives and he begot twenty and two sons and sixteen daughters."  Now that could be incidental. It just happens to be how many daughters he had, but it could have to do with reigning too because they might have been some really bossy daughters.

2 Chronicles 26:1 "Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah."  Another clear reigning.

2 Chronicles 26:3 " sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign. He reigned 50 and two years in Jerusalem."

Here's another probably incidental one, Exodus 26:25  "And they shall be eight boards,"  this is inside the temple. "And their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board and two sockets under another board."  This could have to do with reigning. It could be God's reigning in the temple. I don't know, it's not as clear, but it could be incidental.

1 Chronicles 24:14 "The sixteenth to Immer..."  Here's a governor of the sanctuary that was the 16th was a governor of the sanctuary.

Sixteen & Sixteenth are not found in the New Testament

Sixteen & Sixteenth are not found in the New Testament, not once either one of them.

The Number Seventeen - Reigning in a Negative Light

Now we come to a very special number, 17, reigning in a negative light. This is all negative in the reign of 17. Now it's found in the Jewish dictionary and it's spoken of as negative, too. Encyclopedia rather, by the Jewish encyclopedia. Cardinal is found six times, ordinance is found six times.

  • 6 Cardinals
  • 6 Ordinals

Of the six mentions of Seventeen, three of them are the number of years a wicked king reigned and two are in connection with a king not doing that which was right in the sight of the Lord. The last of the six is used in connection with a wicked king reigning over Jerusalem.

Summation of them. It is negative all the way through. Let's open it up and see what we can find.

Seventeen in the Bible

Genesis 7:11 "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day where all the fountains of the deep broken up and the windows of heaven were opened and the rain was up on the earth 40 days and 40 nights."  The rain ruled here. This was the end of the human reign of man, the beginning of a new reign of Noah.

Genesis 8:4 "The arc rested in the seventh month on the seventeenth day of the month on the mountains of Ararat."  At now as few times as 17 is found that it both begins and ends the flood. The flood began on the 17th and it ends on the 17th. I'll show you some more numbers that makes that more relative.

1 Kings 22:51-52 "Ahaziah, the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel and Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat King of Judah and reigned two years and he did evil in the sight of the Lord." It's a bad reign.

2 Kings 16:1-2 "In the seventeenth  year of Pekah, the son of Remaliah Ahaz, the son of Jotham, king of Judah, began to reign twenty years old."  That's as mature as he was, Ahaz, when he began to reign. "And he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem."  Reigning, number 16. So, 17th year he began to reign. "And did not that was right in the sight of the Lord is God like David his father."

All right. Now here's an incidental use of it:

1 Chronicles 24:15 "The seventeenth  to Hezir...”  They cast lots determine the governors of the sanctuary.  It could have been incidental, but they were casting lots for the governing.

Seventeenth in the Jewish encyclopedia

  • 17th The first day of the flood
  • 17th  Last day of the flood
  • 17th Tammuz, Moses broke the 10 commandments
  • 17th  of Tammuz, the priest were forced to cease the sacrifice
  • 17th  Tamamuz Jews fast and mourn in the Fast of Displeasure
  • 17th  King Menasheh had an idol placed in the Temple's holy sanctuary
  • 17th  A Roman General placed an idol in the same place and publicly burned the Torah.
  • 17th  Nebuchadnezzar breached the walls of Jerusalem
  • 17th  the Romans broke into the city.
  • 17th  Apostemus burned the law and put an idol into the holy place
  • 17th  in 70 AD, the Romans catapulted stones into the rebuilt temple, killing many priests and stopping the sacrifice.

 Now here's some things you can get out of the Jewish encyclopedia. The first day of the flood was the 17th. The last day of the flood was the 17th. The 17th of Tammuz, Moses broke the 10 commandments when he came down off the mountain. The 17th of Tammuz, the priest were forced to cease the sacrifice. The 17th Tamamuz Jews fast and mourn in what's called the Fast of Displeasure still to this day.

The 17th King Menasheh had an idol placed in the Temple's holy sanctuary. It's the same month as the 17th of Tammuz. Roman General placed an idol in the same place and publicly burned the Torah. The 17th Nebuchadnezzar breached the walls of Jerusalem. The 17th, the Romans broke into the city. The 17th, Apostemus burned the law and put an idol into the holy place. The 17th in 70 AD, the Romans catapulted stones into the rebuilt temple, killing many priests and stopping the sacrifice.

All of those seventeens, I find amazing. 36 usage of 15 express something positive in the life of the Jewish nation and every use of 17 expresses something negative. The contrast between those two numbers is stark.

The Number Eighteen - Oppression or Judgment

Now we come to the number 18. 18 is oppression or judgment. The cardinal is found 12 times, the ordinal is found 11 times.

  • 12 Cardinals
  • 11 Ordinals

"Twenty three occurrences of eighteen or eighteenth, and every single one of them denotes judgment and/or oppression"

23 occurrences of 18th or 18, and every single one of them denotes judgment and/or oppression except for several that could be incidental and have no inherit or innate meaning.

We opened the scriptures.

Eighteen in the Bible

Judges 3:14  "So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years."  Now that's oppression, children of Israel serving this wicked king for 18 years.

Judges 10:8 "And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel, they're on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead."  Oppression again 18 years.

2 Kings 24:8-12 "Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign... He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father done... and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign," started something new. Oppression again.

Jeremiah 52:21 (52:17) “Also the pillars of brass."   Now you'll hear many preachers point out that brass is symbolic of judgment in the Bible. "Also the pillars of brass inside the temple that were in the house of the Lord and the bases and the brazen sea that was in the house of the Lord, the Chaldeans break and carried all the brass of them to Babylon and concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits."  Here we have these brass pillars, judgment, were carried into Babylon, 18 cubits.

Eighteen in the New Testament

Only three eighteens in the New Testament, only three. Look at these. They're they're stark.

Luke 13:4 "Of those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and slew them, think ye they were sinners of all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem?"  That's certainly oppression, judgment, 18.

Luke 13:11 "And behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen  years and was bowed together and could in no wise lift herself up."  That's oppression.

This is the final and last one in the New Testament, Luke 13:16  "And ought not this woman being a daughter of Abraham whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years be loosed from this bound on the Sabbath day?"  Again the oppression. All three of them in the New Testament.

The Number Nineteen - Destruction

  • 2 Cardinals
  • 4 Ordinals

Now we come to the number 19, which is destruction. Cardinal is found twice and the ordinal, four times. We're moving quite a bit faster. There's less times these numbers are used.

Nineteen in the Bible

2 Samuel 2:30 "And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David's servants, nineteen men and Asahel."  They were killed in battle, destruction.

2 Kings 25:8, "And the fifth month on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, king of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon under Jerusalem. And he burnt the house of the Lord,"  destruction, "and the king's house and all the house of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire."

Jeremiah 52:12-13 "Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month..."  Now we're going to see something interesting here. Notice the numbers the fifth month, the 10th day of the month. "Which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon, King Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard which served the king of Babylon under Jerusalem and burned the house of the Lord."  Certainly the 19th there is consistent with the destruction, but what I want you to notice is the number 10th, in the 10th day of the month that happened. Okay, notice up at the top, and in the fifth month on the seventh day, okay. Back again. And in the 10th day of the month. Seven or 10, which was it? Well, here's the explanation.

He came "unto Jerusalem" on the seventh day, which resulted in the instruction of Jerusalem. He came "into Jerusalem" on the 10th day. 2 Kings 52 records those events in sequence, you can see that. The temple was burnt august the 17th, there's your number 17 again, 586 BC.

Joshua 19:38, "And Iron, and Migdalel, Horem, and Bethanath, and Bethshemesh, nineteen cities with their villages."  Now that could be incidental. He's just giving you lists there, although these cities did come to destruction, I think probably that's incidental.

The Number Twenty - Maturity

  • 329 instances

Then we come to the number 20, 20th, which is the number for maturity in the Bible. This stands out boldly. Now 20's found 329 times. That's a lot of times. Five minutes, we'll be through it. Relax, we're not going to go through all these.

Twenty in the Bible

Numbers 1:20 "And the children of Reuben, Israel's eldest son, by the generations after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war."  Do you see the maturity in that, 20 years old and upward. That's when they recounted old enough to go to war.

Now by the way, a Jewish 20 is our 19. When you're born, you're one year old at birth. When you reach your 13th month, you're then two years old where we'd say one year old. When someone is 20 years old, they've had their 19th birthday so that'd be 19 years old, would be maturity for us.

“Twenty years old and Upward”

40 times

The age of maturity

20 years old and upward is found 40 times in reference to maturity. That is the age of maturity. Some of you adults, parents out there wondering when's my kids old enough to be on his own? Well, when they're 19 years old, unless you're counting it like a Jew does, then the Bible says they're old enough to go to war and decide what kind of pants they're going to wear, and whether or not they're going to have a ring in their ear. God forbid.

Genesis 31:41, "Thus have I been twenty years in the house."  This is what Jacob is saying to his father-in-law. "I served the fourteen years for thy two daughters."  14 is the number of guidance and divine blessing. God sent him there and he got two wives out of the deal, and 20 was the maturity. 20 years I served you "for thy two daughters and six years for thy cattle.” That's what the man got. He got the cows. "And thou has changed my wages ten times."  That 10 is the whole amount as we learned.

Numbers 10:11 , "And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle of the testimony. And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran."  Now this, they've just received the commandments. The tabernacle has been built and now God is moving them toward the promised land. That's the transition period. That's the 20th when they as a nation have matured.

Judges 4:3 "And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord in that he had nine hundred chariots of iron and twenty  years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel." Now, how would that be maturity? Because, "Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapiodth, she judge Israel at that time." She went out and destroyed these enemies and set Israel free. That was the end of that wicked man's reign.

Judges 15:20 "And he”  that's Sampson “judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years" and he killed his enemies and died after those 20 years. That was the maturity for Sampson. He was a pretty immature character up until then.

1 Samuel 7:2 "It came to pass that while the ark abode in Kirjathjearim that the time..."  I had a preacher years ago, he just called all those words Moses. "That the time was long for it was 20 years and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord."  That was the maturity of 20 years.

Now here's an incidental use of 20, probably.

Genesis 37:28 "Then there passed the Midianites merchantmen, and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver, and they brought Joseph into Egypt."  Now you could conceive of that as maturity. That's the end of Joseph as a child and the beginning of his adulthood, but I don't know.

Here's another possibly incidental one and there's 40 references just like this one. Let's look at it.

Exodus 26:18-20 "And thou shall make the boards for the tabernacle twenty boards on the south side, southward. Thou shall make fourty sockets of silver under the twenty boards." Under the sockets, verse 20, "And for the second side of the tabernacle on the north side, there shall be twenty boards." 40 times in reference to these boards in the temple, we've got use of 20. I don't know if that's just a measurement or if God is saying that this is maturity in the temple. I'm not certain.

That's all folks.

Bible teaching with Michael Pearl.
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