The Meaning of Numbers in the Bible - part 1

By Michael Pearl

Scripture: Topics: Numbers in the Bible

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The Meaning of Numbers in the Bible-Part 1

We are going to have fun tonight. I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time. Numbers in the Bible. Now this is an amazing subject. There's been several books written on it, none of them have been real popular. It's a subject that's hard to make interesting to the layman. You can really get into the weeds on this subject if you're not careful, so I'm trying to keep it simple and make it where it is very understandable, even for children.

I am Michael Pearl, and you are at The Door. The Door is a place where we study the words of God found in His Holy Book. All scripture is given by inspiration of God and it contains many, many words and many numbers. We're going to be looking at the numbers that are found in the Bible.

God is the author of numbers

You see, God is the author of numbers. In fact, the entire universe is made up of math. It is structured based on math. Your brain is structured based on math. The signals that your brain sends are all based on math. It's digital just like a computer and so everything has a structure and an order, from the scale of a fish to your DNA and it's all mathematically explainable and reducible. Everything except the soul that is. So when God wrote the Bible, you would expect to find it to be mathematically perfect. You'd expect to find it consistent with the rest of nature if His fingerprints are on it.

My Journey

Let me tell you about my journey in making some of these discoveries. I went to Bible college in 1965, maybe it was '66 when I started in the winter, and in 1967, I was a sophomore and down at the bookstore a book just came in, a brand new one by Bullinger called, I think it was Numbers in Scripture. The bookstore owner gave me the book because it was this shelf copy. I took it and read it and I was very excited at first, very, very excited about what I was seeing, but by the time I got about halfway or two thirds of the way through the book, I began to lose confidence in his methodology. I began to feel like it was sort of looking at the clouds and seeing a bear, a bird, or something and saying that God produced the bird. If you look long enough and hard enough, you'll start seeing patterns in about anything. I felt like maybe that's what he was doing. Now part of that was due to my own lack of knowledge and understanding of the subject, but part of it I think too was the way it was being handled.

Do Numbers in the Bible Have Meaning?

I continued to study the words of God and continued to read the Bible. I got out of Bible college and I came across another book by a guy named Peter Ruckman on numbers in scripture. I read it, and again, I was excited and stimulated by it but I noticed that Ruckman differed with the other book that I'd read by Bullinger on some, not all, but on some of his definitions as to what different letters meant in the Bible, different numbers. For instance, I think it was Bullinger said that the number five was the number of grace, and Ruckman said number five was the number of death. Well, now those are two opposite extremes. Each one of them gave about 20 different verses, and sure enough, their 20 verses gave death or grace. But what I noticed was about half of their verses they shared in common, Christ died and that's grace. It was kind of a different side of looking at the same thing.

But I again was not highly impressed that this was an absolute science that we could go into. I kind of put it aside, but over the years I taught through most every book of the Bible, I studied every book in the Bible, and I taught portions of every book in the Bible and some books I taught 10 or 15, 30 or 40 times. In the process of this study, I just realized my mind had become imprinted with this symbolic meaning of Bible numbers.

The Meaning of the Number 40

That is when I came across the number 40, I knew all right away that that meant that there was some testing or probation or trial that was taking place. For instance, Noah's 120 years was divided into three 40s. The ark, 40 days in 40 nights it rained, and then Moses wandered was 40 years in Egypt tried and tested, 40 years in the wilderness, tried and tested, then he came back and led the children of Israel out in another 40 years.

You see those 40 year periods of testing throughout the Old Testament. Then you come the New Testament, you find fastings taking place 40 days in 40 nights. Automatically without intending to your mind just sort of get this impression that when God uses the number 40, that it has some symbolism behind it. So it was with all of the numbers, without intending to, I accepted the fact that the Bible used numbers symbolically.

Now, I had not examined it academically, that is taken all 637 times that a word was used or 956 times that a word was used, looked up every single one of them to see if that carried all the way through. That was the beginning of my journey looking into the different numbers.

The Meaning of the Number 13

Now you're aware that many people say that 13 is a number of sin, death, and judgment. It's interesting that the number 13 appears in the Bible just 13 times and they're also the ordinal 13th appears 11 times. 11 and 13 would make 24 altogether. Of that, only about half of them can be clearly without question, sin, death, and judgment. But it is the least, the least proven number of all the numbers in the Bible. In other words, many of them 100% are clearly defined in a certain way, whereas 13 some of them are not so clear. But it is, in the majority, the number of sin, death and judgment and the number of 40 we have found ... Where did 40 go to? Oh, I covered 40. Okay, let me go back. Got messed up here, forgotten where I was. Okay.

Have you ever noticed that on elevators they skip the 13th floor? You ever noticed that? Why is it they don't have a 13th button? Because there's so many people that are superstitious about the meaning of 13. Same thing with the number 666. So many people are superstitious. It's interesting that the Canon G 12 camera, when they upgraded it, they didn't have a G 13, they went to G 15. Why? Because there's so many people who wouldn't have anything with a number 13 on it. Now, I'm not superstitious about numbers. I don't think that numbers carry any kind of power for good or for ill, but there has developed over the centuries this knowledge and understanding that the Bible uses 13 in a negative light.

The Number 666

Have you heard about the barcode 666? I remember back 25 years ago people were scared to death of the barcode because in some cases it ended with a 666 and that was supposed to be really freaky, kind of like getting the mark of the beast. Listen, I wouldn't care if my license plate ended was 666, my telephone number, my address, it wouldn't bother me whatsoever because in Christ there's only 888 and so that 666 is meaningless until the antichrist comes along and that's the numerical value of his name.

Does the Bible Tell us to pay attention to numbers?

Now, where does the Bible say we should pay attention to numbers? Some people say, "Well, the Bible doesn't say anything about numbers," but it does. Revelation 13, notice the chapter? 13 about the antichrist?

Revelation 13:17 "And that no man might by ourselves, save he that hath the mark,"  by the way, that word mark right there is the 666th word in the Greek New Testament, 666 word. "The mark or the name of the beast are the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that have to understand and count the number of is 600 threescore and six." The Bible does tell us that we will know antichrist when he appears by the numerical value of his name, which will be 666. This 66 has become a freaky concept to many people.

Hebrew Alphabet

Now here is the Hebrew alphabet. You see, they didn't have numbers. They made their numbers with their alphabet. You see them side by side compared there. Back about 10 or 12 years ago, I guess I was looking at Jerusalem Post, Israel was having an election, and they gave the numerical value of the names of the people running. This was in their national newspaper. Why? Because the people understanding Hebrew automatically added up the numerical value and it had some significance to them. It's still a big part in Israel of the numerical value of names.

Roman Numerals

Now you understand it better if we look at it in Roman numerals. You remember:

I = 1   V=5    X=10  L=50   C=100          D=500          M=1000

II=2    III=3   IV=4   VI=6   VII=7  VIII=8 IX=9


 I equals one, V equals five, X equals 10, L equals 50, this is in the Latin language. C equals 100, D equals 500, and 1,000 is M as in millennium. Now two is two ones and three is three ones, but four is five minus one or minus one five, which is four. Then six is five plus one, seven plus two, eight and 10 is 10 minus, excuse me, nine is 10 minus one. Now in a larger number like 917, you've got 100 subtracted from a thousand, that's the M, plus 10, five, and two, 17. Comes out to 917. Anytime a name was written, you could take the different letters of the name with exception of s. S is always thought of as kind of evil like a serpent or snake and so it didn't have a new numerical value in Latin.

Antichrist is a man whose name has a numerical value

Okay, antichrist is a man whose name has a numerical value. You add it up and it comes out to 666. By the way, there are only three different Greek words in the Bible that come out to 666. They're all negative. It's not very common when you think about it. Out of a 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000 possible, that means only about one out of every 2 or 3000 words are going to come out totalling 666. The Greek Bible has about 6,000 Greek words in the New Testament and three of them total 666, that's one out of 2,000. Here's the word Latinos which is in Greek is for Latin and it totals 666, giving us an indication of where the antichrist is going to come from.

What does “Vicarious Filii Dei” Mean?

Vicarious Filii Dei, which is Latin for vicarious son of God, which has been written on Catholic popes' throne, hat, and everywhere else, and it means in place of the son of God and vicarious adds up to 112, Filii adds up to 53, and Dei adds up to 501, and if you put all those together, it comes out to 666. A very rare thing indeed.

Roman kingdom

Romith, Roman kingdom in the Hebrew language now, we looked at Greek, in the Hebrew language, comes out to 666. It's unheard of that two languages should yield the same numerical value when the letters are different and the values of those letters are different.

What is the Number of Jesus Christ?

Now what's interesting is Jesus Christ totals 888. Jesus does it, that is, just Jesus. Revelation has 888 Greek words in it in the Greek language, 888. The 666th word being mark and Jesus equals 888. There are hundreds of little tidbits like that that have to do with numbers that just coincidentally seemed to fall out but they have the odds are significantly against it taking place.

How Many Words in the Book of Revelation?

Now let's open the Bible. Revelation 22:18 "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written therein and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life and of those things and out of the holy city and those things which are written in the book."

When I was studying the book of Revelation several years ago, when I read that passage, I decided to count the words in the book of Revelation to see how many there were because if you add to them or take them away, then you're in trouble so you need to know how many there are, right, so you don't end up losing any of them. I counted them on my computer in the King James Bible and I came out to 11,996, four short of 12,000. Now I knew that 12 is the number of rule, especially of Israel, and its 12,000 is the number for nations in the Bible. The book book of Revelation is about the nation's and it's about Israel. I knew that there were four words that should be in there that weren't in my computer.

Is the 1611 Bible the same as the Modern Bible?

I went back and got a photostat copy of the original 1611 and I got a little clicker, I've still got that clicker, in fact, I used it this week, and I sat there and I counted each paragraph and totaled it up, each column and totaled it up, each page and totaled it up. I counted it three times, if I got it three times alike, I stuck with that number. If I got one that was not right, I kept going till I got it three times right, and if I got two or three times wrong, I'd go till I had six times straight in the row right. I was very careful to count them and I added up all of them in the original 1611 and I came out to exactly 12,000 words. The only thing I already knew that the type setters had left out four words, just accidentally dropped them like for and unto. When you add those back in two years later, that should have made 12,004 but I counted those and there was still just 12,000 two years later after adding those back in.

What had happened was in the first one they had taken words like first fruits and kept it two words. In the second edition adding those four back in, they took those four combinations and said firstfruits and made it one word, so God maintained exactly 12,000 in the original with four mistakes in it and in the next one. Then I took my English computerized Cambridge version and I counted every word in it by looking at the Hebrew original 1611 and going word by word through the whole book and comparing it to what was on my computer. What I found was that the computer was reading first fruits and first begotten as one word each instead of the four words that they were in the text so there was still 12,000 in my computerized version, it's just the computer counted them as one word. Things like that are not an accident. They're a statement that the hand of God is on it, even on the translations themselves. Here is the 12,000 words, that's your copy of the original 1611. After reading it in about a half hour, you get to where you can read it fluently. By the way, those people that tell you that it's changed through five different printings, they're they're lying to you. It is not changed. It's the same exact text that we have today in our Bible that was in 1611. All we have is clean up of spelling and maybe some punctuation with a different five translations of it.

How are Numbers Significant in the Bible?

Okay, three ways numbers are significant in the Bible. Number one is symbolic meaning now symbolic meanings like the number five, as somebody said it was grace, somebody said it was death, it's neither. Then the second way is numerical values of words like antichrist we showed you with the Latinos where you add it all up and you come out with 666. The third way numbers is significant are the number of times words are used, which we just talked about, the 12,000 words.

What I did in the book of Revelation was I counted every single word in the book of Revelation and I have a chart, a table, and I have each word and I have a number that tells me how many times that word appears in the book of Revelation. I also have a copy of the book of Revelation with a number beside each word, did it on a computer, a little bitty, one of those little superscripts, and I put a number beside each word telling me exactly how many time it appears. What I found out was that words are used in the book of Revelation, the number of times that fits the meaning of the context of the word, which take a genius, take a bunch of geniuses to create a book like that, where when you're talking about sin and death, it's 13 times, when you're talking about different meanings of different numbers, they come out to their symbolic meaning.

The Number 1- The Number of Supremacy

All right. The number one is found in the Bible 1,697 times. Over a three day period I studied each one context in all. It's kind of like reading the whole Bible all the way through. I spent many, many hours, and I have never gotten as good a blessing as I did reading the word one throughout the whole Bible. It's an amazing thing to do. Now we're going to go through one and two tonight, only one and two. These two numbers have an innate meaning that would be true even in secular writings. Now, not to the extent it is in the Bible, but the basic meaning of one is true in anything that you'll read. As a number, one is used as a number like I have one car, one is used as a determiner, which I went to the one store in town that's not numbered, and then as a pronoun, one must study to gain knowledge. We're not looking so much at the determiners and the pronouns, we're looking at the numbers, the number one, not two, not three, but one. The numerical number. That is the I, the one the standalone.

What is the Meaning of Number One in the Bible?

It's used consistently throughout the whole Bible is just one and no more, one above all, supremacy, unique, apart from all others in its class. Of course it would be that way in most anything you'd read if you said, "They caught one fish," that was the supreme fish. You says, "I just have one car, I have one wife," or whatever you might be saying, you're saying, "I have one and no more," and that's supreme and unique. But in the Bible it is used in a special way, as you will see as we go through a few of the verses.

Here it is.

Genesis 10:8 "And Cush begat Nimrod, he began to be a mighty one in the earth." That's the pronoun, that's the person, that's not number. I'm just giving you an example. "He began to be a mighty one in the earth."  Here he it is a pronoun again.

Numbers 7:89 "And when Moses was gone to the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, he heard the voice of one speaking unto him," as like person, one person, "Unto him from the mercy seat."

Okay, here it is a number:

Number One in the Bible:

Deuteronomy 6:4  "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord." That's a blessing right there. He's one Lord, he's not two, he's not many gods, he's just one.

Psalm 16:10 "And for thou will not leave my soul in hell, neither will thou suffer then Holy One to see corruption."  He is the one and he's holy and God wouldn't allow him to be corrupt. Now the word the term holy one or mighty one appears 48 times, four times 12, throughout the entire Bible. Holy one, mighty one.

Psalm 27:4 "One thing have I desired of the Lord that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house the Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple."  One thing and that was supreme above all others, unique. That's the one thing he desired and nothing else.

Ezekiel 37:2 "And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel and one king shall be king under them all."  God is very emphatic. "And they shall no more be two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms anymore at all."  We're going to come back to that verse cause it's got the two in it when we come to number two.

Daniel 8:3 "Then I lifted up mine eyes and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns and the two horns were high, but one was my mightier than the other," say they got two horns, "But one was mightier than the other and the higher came up last." We're going to go hit that one again I think when we come to two. One supreme, higher than the other.

Zechariah 14:9 "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth, in that day there shall be one Lord and His name one." He won't be called all of them, He'll have just one name and it will be Jesus Christ.

Malachi 2:10 "Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us?" One father, one God,

Matthew 13:46 "Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” 

Matthew 23:8 “But be not ye called rabbi for one is your master even Christ and you're all brethren."

Matthew 10:21 "Then Jesus beholding him, loved him and said unto him, 'One thing thou lackest, go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give it to the poor. Thou shalt have treasure in heaven, come take up your cross and follow me.'"  One thing, you lack one thing supreme above all others.

Luke 10:42 "But one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part which will not be taken away from her."  Just one thing is needful, everything else is not needful. That's the one thing, which was sitting at Jesus' feet and listening to him talk.

John 9:25 "He answered and said, 'Whether he be a sinner or no,'" this is the blind man healed. "'I know not. One thing I know that whereas I was blind, now I see.'"  This man knew one thing for sure. I used to be blind. He made me see.

John 10:16 "And other sheep I have which are not of this fold and them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.”

John 10:30 “I and my father are one." Not two, just one.

John 11:50 "Now consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for all the people, not the whole nation should perish."

John 12:48 "He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him."

Acts 2:27 "Because thou will not leave my soul in hell neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption."

Romans 3:10 "As it is written, there's none righteous, no, not one."

Romans 3:30 "Seeing it is one God, which will justify the circumcision by faith, uncircumcision through faith."

Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed of all men for the all of sin far not as the offence who also is the free gift for if through the offence of one," that's Adam, "Many be dead, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace, which is by one man,” Jesus Christ, ”hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned," Adam, "So is the gift, for the judgment was by one," Adam, "To condemnation but free gift is of many offences under justification for if by one man's offence," Adam's, "Death reigned by one," Adam, "Much more they would receive abundance of grace of gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one,” Jesus Christ. “Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came up all men to condemnation so the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."

Now that passage just sprinkled with supremacy. One man did something that caused the whole world to be in sin, one man did something that provides righteousness to all who believe.

I Corinthians 8:6. "But to us there is but one God and Father of whom are all things and of Him and one Lord Jesus Christ."

Ephesians 4:4-6 "There's one body, one spirit even as you're called in one hope you're calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in you all."  Now if that's not supreme, above all others, standing alone. Can you see that?

You see, when you read the Bible enough, you come across the word one and you know what the subject is. You know what the theme is. You know what to expect out of the passage. This is the least obvious of all the numbers because it's such naturally the meaning of it is natural. The others you'll find when we get to them are supernatural. There's nothing innate in the number that would imply the meaning of it.

I John 5:7, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, the Holy Ghost, and these three are one."  That's a patch scripture for which there's lots of Greek support.

The Number 2 – The Number of division

All right, now we come to the number two. Notice the two there is two ones divided by space. You see that, the way it's built? The number of division, things divided, 835 times it appears. That's not counting the ordinal like twice or once with one, that's just the cardinal one and cardinal two, the number of division, things divided, 835 times, okay?

Here's a passage we've already looked at.

Ezekiel 37:22, "And I will make them one nation in the land up on the mountains of Israel. One king should be king under them and all they shall no more be two nations," you see the division? "Neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms at all," and two is the number of division. It uses the number beautifully there. Both of them. Hit the wrong button. A lot of buttons on here.

Daniel 8:3 "Then I lifted up my eyes and saw and behold there stood before the river a ram, which had two horns, and the two horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last." Notice the one supreme, but two horns divided, two separate, different.

Genesis 10:25. "And unto Eber were born two sons, the name of the one was Peleg," that's the name of my dog but I didn't get out of the Bible. I got out of one of his dirty habits. "For in his days was the earth," what? "Divided." So these two sons, division took place. Notice there's no division where the sons are concerned but the division happened where these two sons were, "And his brother's name was Joktan."

Genesis 1:14. "And God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night ... And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, the lesser light to rule the night."  Notice the division, they're two of them, but one is different from the other. One rules the day, one rules the night, two great lights divided.

Genesis 25:23. "Two nations are in thy womb and two manner of people shall be separate from thy bowels and the one people shall be stronger than the other and the elders shall serve the younger."  Here's two divided two of a same kind, but different in their attributes.

Matthew 6:24, "No man can serve two masters, for either he'll hate the one and love the other, else he'll hold the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Can have two masters. God on one side, mammon on the other.

Matthew 24:41 "Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, the other left." Do you see the division in all these passages?

Luke 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee, the other a publican," and we keep reading, we know that one of them went down to his house justified, the other one didn't. Two that were different, divided.

Galatians 4:24, "Which things are an allegory, for these are the two covenants, the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage which is Agar," and then the other one from above. There are two covenants, one from Mount Sinai and the other, a promise from above.

Philippians 1:23 -24 "For I am in a straight betwixt two," Paul said. The Lord said, I am constrained between two options, "Having desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you." Paul was caught between two options, two different extremes, and he was divided between them.

The Two Pillars

The two pillars, now this is an example, there's quite a few of these in the temple, and this is an example of two being used in not so obvious division, but clear division.

1 Kings 7:41 "The two pillars and the two bowls of the chapiters that were on top of the two pillars, and the two networks to cover the two bowls of the chapiters, which were upon the top of the pillars."  Two was divided even though it's not quite as obvious.

Symbolic Meaning?

Sometimes passages, if they stood alone, wouldn't necessarily dictate a symbolic meaning. But when you find 85 to 95% of the usage very strongly symbolic, that other 5 or 10 or 15%, that seems to be just incidental, like the number of measurement of something, we know we can apply the same meaning because it doesn't innately have any other meaning and we can see that division in it as well.

Genesis 31:1. "And he divided the children of Leah and unto Rachel and unto the two handmaids." He divided up his children to try to save some of them.

II Samuel 12:1. "And the Lord sent Nathan unto David and he came into him and he said, 'There are two men in the one city, the one rich, the other poor.”

II Samuel 14:28 "So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem and saw not the king's face." You see, well, there's nothing about division. Yes, there was. He was divided from his father and didn't get to see his face for that period of time. That's one of those places where if you take the meaning of two as division and apply to the text, then the text yields that truth.

I Kings 3:25, "And the king said, 'Divide the living child in two and give half to the one half to the other.'"  Of course, he didn't want that to take place, but he knew he'd exposed the heart of each one of the women.

I Kings 18:21. "And Elijah came onto all the people and said, 'How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him.' And the people answered him not a word."  Two opinions.

Revelation 2:12 "And the angel of the church in Pergamos write these things saith he which has the sharp sword with two edges."  You say, "Where's the division in the two edged sword?" Well, you got another passage of scripture which says that two edges sword pierces to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The two edge sword there, other passages tell us it is for the purpose of dividing and separating the soul from the spirit in our conscious state.

Next Time

Then we come to number three, which we're not going to cover tonight. Now it's going to get a lot more fascinating when we come to three, four, five, six, seven, eight because those numbers don't have any inherent or innate meaning but the Bible has used them just as you saw one and two used to have a carry through meaning. You'll find a meaning carrying through all these other numbers.

Bible teaching with Michael Pearl.
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