Numbers in the Bible part 8

By Michael Pearl

Scripture: Topics: Numbers in the Bible

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Numbers in the Bible Part 8

The Meaning of the Numbers 23, 24, 30, 40, 42, 50, 70, and 120

All right, Numbers in the Bible, episode eight. We're going to cover a lot of tracks tonight. We're going to go through 23, 24, 30, 40, 42, 50, 70, and 120. Now we're going to hit some of those that are in between, but they only appear once or twice, so we're just going to mention them. A lot of the numbers just don't appear in the Bible and so no way to tell what they mean when they do appear one or two times.

I am Michael Pearl and you are at The Door located in Lobelville, Tennessee. This is a ministry of No Greater Joy Ministries.


  1. We've covered one, supremacy are that which is unique apart from all others.
  2. Two is the number of division in the Bible.
  3. Three in the Bible is a number of divine control, election, sovereignty, evolution, ordering, our perfection.
  4. Four, number of wholeness in structure or nature, like the four legs on an animal or the four corners of the world, four parts of a building, a square with four corners.
  5. Five is a number divine appointment.
  6. Six is a number of man and
  7. seven is the number of the program of God owned behalf of man, like he made the Sabbath for man.
  8.  Eight is a number of new beginnings.
  9.  Nine is the number of termination or fulfillment where
  10. Ten is the number of that which is whole like the whole unit.
  11. Eleven is a number of dissolution or incompleteness.
  12. Twelve is the number of headship or rule like government, like the 12 tribes, like the 12 apostles.
  13. Thirteen is a number of sin, death, and judgment in the Bible.
  14. Fourteen is the number divine guidance and blessing.
  15. The number Fifteen, it's a very positive number and it's full of grace.
  16. Sixteen is a number of reigning or government, especially reigning.
  17. Seventeen is the number of reigning, but it's always negative. It's in a negative light, negative reigning. And then,
  18. Eighteen is a number of oppression or judgment.
  19. Nineteen is a number of destruction like annihilation.
  20. Twenty we covered last week is the number of maturity. That's the point at which a human being reaches maturity. That would be 19 in our figuring. 20 in the way the Jews figured dates.

Notice the contrast in the different meanings of these numbers and we'll find usually 85 to 95% of the times that that number appears, it carries these meanings.

The Number Twenty One in the Bible

So we come tonight to the number 21. It's only used once, so there's no way to tell for sure what it means.

Now, if you look it up in a dictionary or a Bible dictionary or concordance, you may find it more than that. But those, if you look at, it's part of a larger number. And when we say 21, appears one time. We're talking about the ordinal 21.

The Number Twenty Two in the Bible

And 22 has six cardinals, no ordinals, all concerning reigning as well. There's no use in going into those. We'll just show you one for an example.

2 Kings 21:19 “Amon was twenty and two years old when he began to reign and he reigned two years in Jerusalem.”   Now that's pretty clearly about reigning, isn't it? Well, there's five more just like it and that makes up the six that have to do with reigning.

The Number Twenty Three in the Bible

Then we come to the number 23. Three cardinals and it's also reigning, just very clearly. Won't go into them, let you do that if you want to study it.

The Number Twenty Four - Chief Representative

And then, 24 is chief representative. I struggle to find a way to put that into words and that's the closest I could get to it, a chief representative. It really would require a little more explanation, so we'll just look at some of those. The 11 cardinals, just 11 of them.

Revelation 4:4Around about the throne were four and twenty seats. And upon the seats, I saw four and twenty elders clothed sitting in white raiment and they had on their heads, crowns of gold.”  There's six more just like that, so that makes seven of them in all. Four and 20 elders sitting on four and 20 seats. So you see the symbolism in it there.

7-Twenty four Elders

2-Goliath’s Fingers and Toes

1-Reigned 24 years

1-24 Bullocks in Sacrifices

 So we've got seven, 24 elders and you've got two times Goliath's fingers and toes or 24, all total. They had six on each hand and foot.

And then one time, someone reigned 24 years and one time, their 24 bullocks offered in sacrifice. So it's in all cases, it's the representative. The 24 elders represent the church, the entire church and Israel. And the Goliath represented the Philistines. And if he would defeat the man that Israel sent out, then all Israel would surrender to him. So he was their representative that day. And then of course, reigning would be a representative and the bullock there, represented the one for whom was offered a sacrifice.

So we have 26, it doesn't appear. 27 appears twice. Both times, it speaks of provinces, 27 provinces. And then, 28 appears four times. And again, they're varied and so there's no way of knowing really what it means. And 29 appears just four times, so we won't struggle with those.

The Number Thirty - Commencement

79 Cardinals

1 Ordinal

And then, we come to the number 30. It's got 79 cardinals and one ordinal. That's a whole lot more than the others, isn't it? So we can make something out of that and we find it's commencement. 30 is the number of commencement. What's commencement? That's the point at which something begins, the point at which it starts. And it's very bold about that.

About half of the 80 references can be viewed as commencement readily.

The other half are more varied and don't necessarily appear that way. So I'll have to say that God only used 50% of the time with 30 as commencement, and the other 40 just seemed to be incidental or random. Maybe if we look at it closer, we would see something. Now, there's some patterns of four or five among those 40 that could mean one thing or the other, but I'm not interested in that. I want to know what the overall meaning of the number is.

So let's open the Bible and look at some of those commencements.

Notice this, Numbers 4:3 "From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation."  You can absolutely see commencement there. Starting at 30 years of age, a man was old enough to become active as a priest in the temple and he did so until he was 50 years old, at which point he retired. So that gave him just 20 years of active service in the priesthood and that appears seven times out of our 40.

30 years old and upward until 50 years old, appears seven times all in reference to the priest.

Genesis 41:46 "And then Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt."  Now if you go back and put that in the context and read it, that's the point at which Joseph's ministry began on behalf of his people, so that he eventually brought them down to Egypt. So that's when he commenced his reign with Pharaoh.

Deuteronomy 34:8 "And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses was ended."  Now that's the point at which Moses died. He finished his work. He saw the promised land, but he was not allowed to go into it. He finished the 40 year job God gave him to do and he goes up into the mountain and that was the end of it. They commenced their journey into the promised land there.

2 Samuel 5:4 "David was thirty years old when he began to reign and he reigned  fourty years."  So that's the commencement of David's reign.

You find often in the Bible, that 30 is the age at which a priest or a king or someone begins their work. So 20 years old is just a little bit too self-possessed and arrogant. It takes a man to get to about 30 years old before he is humbled enough to take some kind of a leading role.

Luke 3:23  "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being as was supposed the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli..."  So this is the last usage of 30. And so Jesus began his ministry at 30 years of age. Now having looked at that, that lets you know why he waited till he's 30, because that was the proper age among the Hebrews to commence a priest, to commence his ministry. And John the Baptist also was 30 years of age when he began his.

The Number Forty - Testing and Probation

All right, now we come to the number 40. Now this is a very obvious one and I've never known any preacher or commentator that understood it differently from this. Everyone has agreed that 40 is a number of testing and probation. People who know nothing about numbers except that 13 is a number of sin, death, and judgment, also know that 40 is the number of testing or probation.

95 cardinals and ordinals together.

So let's look at a few of those. These are very significant.

Genesis 7:4 "And yet seven days, I will cause it to rain up on the earth forty days and forty nights and every living substance I've made, will I destroy off the face of the earth."  So you see this time, this probation period or this time that God has set aside, this special 40 span in which testing takes place.

Genesis 25:20 "And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister of Laban the Syrian."

So he begins his life, if you read the story, you noticed at the point that he took her, is the point at which God begins to work with him and test him. And he goes through lots of testing. You remember what the Bible says, Jesus said, "Pray this. Lead us not into temptation." (Luke 11:4) Because God does lead us into temptation, not sexual impurity or desire to steal, but he leads us into the temptations, the trials, the difficulties, the burdens of life in order to test us, in order to perfect us. The trying of your faith works patience and let patience have its perfect work. I'm starting to preach, let me keep going with numbers.

Genesis 50:3 "And forty days were fulfilled for him and so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days."  Joseph died and the Egyptians mourned for him. After 40 days, he was embalmed and they mourned for 40 long days.

Exodus 16:35 "And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years."  So that 40 years was a time of testing for the children of Israel.

Exodus 24:18 "And Moses went into the midst of the cloud and got him up into the mountain and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights."  You see, those of you that read the Bible, you see this word 40 in these contexts repeatedly. And anytime you see it in a new passage you're not familiar with, you automatically can associate it with testing or trials because you know that's the way the Bible uses it.

Numbers 14:33 "And your children shall wonder in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, and your carcass will be wasted in the wilderness." 

Then he says, Deuteronomy 9:9 "When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you and I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, neither did eat bread or drink water."  Certainly a time of testing, a probation period for him.

Deuteronomy 25:3 " Forty stripes he may give him and not exceed, lest if he should exceed and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee."  This is when Moses was giving the words God gave to him, he was imparting them to Israel, that in a court situation where a man did something worthy of punishment, he was not to be beaten with more than 40 stripes because 40 was the point at which more than that, everybody would say this is just cruel and unusual punishment. I would think four or five would be pretty cruel, but 40 was the maximum. That's why the Jews reduced it to 39. They wanted to make sure they didn't transgress that 40, so they would give 40 minus one. And that's how come Jesus got 39 stripes.

Joshua 14:7 " Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart."  Now that's 40 years old, was he when Moses sent him. That's what Joshua says. And that was the beginning of a trial and a test for him because he took over after Moses.

Judges 3:11 "And the land had rest forty years and Othniel, the son of Kenaz died."  Now that was a period of time in which God spared them. Before that, they run to bondage and persecution. After that, they run to bondage and persecution. So this was a probation period of 40 years that God allowed them.

Judges 13:1 "And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years." Again, a probation period. A period of testing. So for 40 years, they escaped the wrath of the Philistines. But after 40 years, they fell into their hands once again.

1 Samuel 17:16 "And the Philistines drew near morning and evening and presented himself forty days."  That's Goliath parading up and down, daring someone to come out and fight him. And he'd been doing that for 40 days when David showed up. So we know the testing period was over with. It was time for some things to change.

1 Kings 19:7-8 "And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him and said, arise and eat because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose and he did eat and drank and he went in the strength of that and meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God."  This is Elijah fleeing for his life from Jezebel and God gives him something to eat and he was able to be sustained and have strength 40 days over what he ate. Now, God's got some pretty good food. If we'd get ahold of that, we'd have some real energy bars, wouldn't we? I'd hate to have to just eat every 40 days though. I like to eat more often than that.

Ezekiel 29:11-13 "No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years..."  Talking about Egypt. "And I'll make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years and I'll scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and I'll disperse them through the countries." And this is exactly what he did. This was the prophecy. It was fulfilled. "Thus saith the Lord God, at the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people where they were scattered."  And thus he did. So that was 40 years of testing for the nation of Egypt.

Jonah 3:4 "And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey and he cried and said, yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown."  That was the probation period. If they had repented after 40 days, they would've been killed. They did repent and they were not destroyed.

Matthew 4:2 "And when he fasted forty days in forty  nights, he was afterward an hungred." That's Jesus, 40 days and 40 nights. That's a long time.

Acts 1:3 "To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days."  So between his resurrection and Pentecost, 40 days he was seen by up to 500 people at one time, so that was a period of probation.

2 Corinthians 11:24 "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes."  Paul said, “save one.” Testing, no doubt.

The Number Forty Two -Terminal Judgment

Now we come to the number 42 and this just appears seven times, but it's terminal judgment every single time that it appears, terminal judgment. In other words, judgment that results in death. So we'll look at several of those.

Numbers 35:6 "And among the cities which you shall give under the Levites, there shall be six cities for refuge, which you shall appoint for the manslayer that he may flee thither to them, he shall add forty and two cities."  So this is when someone had committed an act of not murder but manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter. And they could be killed by the family members of the one that he killed, unless he fled to one of these cities. So his life was always in jeopardy. If he ever left that city boundary, they could catch him and put him to death. So there were 40 and two cities and it had to do with terminal death.

2 Kings 2:24 "And he turned back and looked on them and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood and tare forty and two children of them."  Now you know what happened there? They went out to Elisha and they said, "Go up thou bald head. Go up thou bald head." The children were mocking the profit and God sent bears, two of them, out of the woods and tore 42 children. That's a terrible story. 42 children. But notice the number of 42, it's not 37, it's 42. Why? Terminal judgment.

2 Chronicles 22:2 " Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign."  Now, that's not what you think it is. " Ahaziah when he began to reign and he reigned one year in Jerusalem and the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram whom the Lord had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab."  So we're talking about terminal death here, 40 and two years.

Revelation 11:2, "But the court which is without the temple leave out and measure it not, for it is given under the Gentiles and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months." So this is a prophecy of what's going to happen during the tribulation. When the holy city is going to be tread under foot and Jews are going to be put to death wherever they're found, along with anyone else who doesn't have the mark of the beast, his number, or his name. 40 and two months, terminal judgment. Couldn't be any stronger than that.

And here's the last one.

Revelation 13:5 "There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months."  That's Antichrist continues in killing off a great portion of the world's population and he has 42 months to do it. Can you see how that 42 just across the board is terminal judgment? I find it fascinating that these numbers are used so consistently with the Bible being written over a 1600 year period by over 40 different men writing in three different languages at least, and they all use numbers with the same symbolism all the way through.

The Number Seventy - God's appointment to rule

Now we come to the number 70, God's appointment to rule. 41 cardinals and ordinals together. 70 is found 41 times. 70 years is found 10 of those times. 10 of the 41, 70 years. 70 as a measurement of something is 15 times and 70 as just different context, but it's always God's appointment, is another 16 times. And in that 16 times of God's appointment, there are 70 elders mentioned six different times, the number of man. So let's look at a few of those.

 Exodus 1:5 “And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls, for Joseph was in Egypt already."  Now this is the seed of the nation, these 70 souls. These are the ones God chose to create the Jewish race.

Exodus 24:1 "And he said unto Moses, come up under the Lord, thou and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and the seventy of the elders of Israel and worship me afar off."  So 70 elders were appointed over the nation and they were the rulers, the elders of the nation. So they're divinely appointed in that regard to hold office. There're six references just like this. We won't read any more of those.

Judges 9:56 "And thus God remembered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did under his father in slaying his seventy brethren."  Now these 70 brethren were destined to rule and by killing them, he kept them from ruling.

2 Kings 10:1 "And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria and Jehu wrote letters and sent to Samaria under the elders of Jezreel to the elders." And the rest of the context says they slew these 70 sons who are destined to rule to prevent them from ruling.

Ezekiel 8:11 "And there stood before them seventy  men of the ancients of the house of Israel..."   These 70 men of the ancients were also rulers in Israel.

Then we read Daniel 9:24 , "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people..."  Now we know that 70 again, has to do with this God's appointment to rule, destined to rule. " Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people upon the holy city to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision, and to anoint the most holy."  And when the most holy is anointed, he begins his millennial rule, a thousand years long.

Luke 10:1 "After these things, the Lord anointed other seventy also..."   This is the early church. "And sent them two and two before his face under every city in place, whither he himself would come."   So there were 70 of the believers appointed to take the kingdom message to all of Israel.

Luke 10:17 "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."  So they ruled over devils and they rejoiced that they had that rule, these 70.

Seventy Years
(10 times)
The Program of God on Behalf of the Nations

Now there's also 70 years, appears 10 times and it has another shade of uniqueness. Do you remember the number seven? Is that which God does for man, okay? 70 is the program of God on behalf of the nations or the rule on behalf of the nations. And very clearly, eight out of 10 read this way.

Jeremiah 25:11, "And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years."  Can you see the appointment to rule right there? The appointment to rule.

Daniel 9:2 "The first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereby the word the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolation of Jerusalem."  Those 70 years? They would be ruled by Babylon. God appointed Nebuchadnezzar to do that.

Isaiah 23:15-17 "And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy  years, according to the days of one king: at the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as a harlot. And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years that the Lord will visit Tyre and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth."  And God brings judgment and destroys Tyre. Wipes it off the face of the earth forever, at that point.

The Number One Hundred and Twenty - Sacred

120 is our last number for this lesson. 120 now, it's a prominent number that sticks in the minds of Bible students and it is, if I can find one word, it's sacred. It's hard to sometimes, there's a flavor. How would you describe flavors with one word or colors with one word? But that's as close as I can get to it and you'll catch the flavor as we read these 12 cardinals. 120.

Genesis 6:3 "And the Lord said, my spirit shall not always strive with man for that he also is flesh, yet his days shall be hundred and twenty years."  God announced the destruction of the earth by water. Told Noah to build an ark to save the world and he gave 120 years of life for everyone up on the face of the earth and every animal. At the end of that 120 years, everything would be destroyed. That was a sacred time period god set aside.

Deuteronomy 30:1-2 "And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel. And he said unto them, I am hundred and twenty years old this day. I can no longer go out and come in. Also, the Lord has said unto me, thou shall not go over this Jordan."   So that was a sacred time. He died at 120 years of age. His life was divided into four, 40 year periods and each one of them was a period of testing. And the last one was the wilderness wanderings.

Deuteronomy 34:7 "And Moses was hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated."   It was sacred, that 120 years where God selected, chose him, and used him.

1 Chronicles 15:5  "Of the sons of Kohath..."   This is priestly. "Uriel the chief, and his brethren hundred and twenty “  So these are priests assembled in the context, to carry the arc of the covenant and that was a sacred duty. The most sacred thing in Israel was the arc of the covenant.

2 Chronicles 5:12 "Also the Levites, which were the singers, of them of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar and with them, hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets."   Now don't you know that would be a lot of praise music. 120 priests, they weren't all just blowing like calling up some dog or something. They were making music on these trumpets. So 120 of them, that was a sacred responsibility, a sacred duty. They were the praise and worship there in the temple, the 120 priests.

Daniel 6:1-2 "It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom, hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom..."  You say, but that's a heathen king. How could that be? Well, look at it. "And over these three presidents of whom Daniel was first."  So Daniel was appointed to be over these 120 that were set aside by this man, Darius, whom God brought to the kingdom. And so it was a sacred number of people.

Acts 1:15 "And in those days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples and said the number of the names together about  hundred and twenty."  So that's the early church, that's the ones on whom the spirit of God falls and they begin to preach on the day of Pentecostal. That's the seed for the church, 120 sacred seed.

So putting it together, a grace period before the flood, 120. Gold in the temple. We didn't go into those, but the number of times it refers to the gold in the temple is 120 shekels or 120 pieces. 120 quite a few times in the temple. Number of priests were 120. Number of musicians in the temple was 120. The priest sons are listed as 120. The height of the temple was 120 cubics. And the age of Moses, when he finished his ministry, was 120. And the number of the founding of the church were 120.

 Now that's a summation of all of these passages on 120. Can you see how all of those are sacred things, that God has set aside? And that is the end.

Bible teaching with Michael Pearl.
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