The Design of Scripture
We are going to spend some time with a subject that I find of great personal interest. To say the use of particular numbers in the written word of YHVH is strategic and by design, is an understatement. Many great students of scripture have pursued this subject only to find themselves overwhelmed with numberless rabbit trails. The testimony of this extra-terrestrial design is ubiquitous. Not only are the scriptures filled with numerical patterns, now commonly known as equidistant letter sequencing, but each word has it's own mathematical coding, commonly known as gematria. The ancient rabbi's have taught these numerical designs for hundreds of years, long before computers arrived.
We are going to study several aspects of the use of numbers in scripture. Each lesson will address one or more numbers. We are going to talk about each number assignment to a consonant, the overall meaning of each number, and it's most common application and association throughout scripture. I hope to show that the reason why the creation is mathematically designed, is because the Word that created it is mathematically designed. In the words of E.W. Bullinger: "As He is perfect, so His works and His words must also be perfect. And when we see number used, not by chance, but by design; not at haphazard, but with significance; then we see not so many works and words, but the Living God working and speaking."
When we peer into His perfect design, we see and experience a deeper understanding of our perfect Designer. The magnificent perfection of His creation is seen even more clearly today, as we can now peek into powerful microscopes to capture a glimpse of His blueprints. We can actually view today some of what was spoken as words and given to His prophets some 6,000 years ago. The extraordinary perfection of DNA, and the intricate detailed structure of the so-called simple cell. The designed dance of the sperm and the egg, and the mathematical pattern of a snowflake makes it so obvious that all this tiny architecture requires an architect. Those of you who are reading this teaching are making use of a complex visual wonderland that is being produced by designed mathematical sequences of two numbers, zero and one. When you step outside your door and gaze upon a skyscraper, or even your local post office, you are seeing with your eyes something that began with numbers. When you look at magnificent structures you do not see numbers, but they are there. When Iyov said "... in my flesh shall I see God" (Iyov 19:26) was he just referring prophectically to the resurrection? Or should we perhaps take him literally? When man looks into the inner workings of our bodies, does he witness the awesome design of an omniscient God?
Most of us probably take the idea of the use of numbers in our everyday life for granted. As I have already mentioned, numbers and combinations of certain numbers are what begins the process of the great things that we build. Everything is measured, and not only that, but all those who participate in a building project must all agree on the system of measurement. The same is true with time. We mark time with numbers, and there must also be a spirit of agreement and cooperation with the numbers we use to keep track of time. We use numbers to tell us how fast we can drive or how fast we are going. We use numbers to determine how successful or unsuccessful something was, i.e., the score of a ballgame, the attendance of a movie, or how fast someone ran. Many cultures put a great deal of faith in lucky numbers or sacred numbers. We use numbers to call someone on the telephone, or to find the location of a television show. Numbers are used to help us get from one place to the next, such as a highway sign or a flight number. We use numbers to determine the population of towns or the altitude of something. Obviously, numbers are used to gauge our financial status or to determine profit and loss in business, or how much oil and gas to put in our cars. All right, enough already, you have made your point. Numbers are important in all cultures, everywhere on the planet. No one escapes the need to use numbers. So I would ask you to consider one of Newton's laws. Every cause is equal to or greater than it's effect. If numbers play such an important role in creation (the effect), how much more would they mean with the Creator (the Cause)?
Are Numbers in Scripture by Design?
I think most of us are familiar with the ubiquitous use of the number seven. The number three is also taught quite liberally. But what do the actual words for 'seven' and 'three' mean? And what is the significance of 40 days and 40 nights, 3 days and 3 nights, or the 70 weeks of Dani'el. Why 12 tribes, and why rest on the 7th day? The counting of the omer, 50 days, what is up with that? What is the point of Yochanan telling us that Kefa pulled up 153 fish in his net? Why are we told that the number of the beast is 666? It is these kinds of questions that we will study for the next little while.
Before we begin the numbers, I would like to take the time to identify and define the English word, 'number' or 'counting', so we can understand it's scriptural use and purpose. The word 'number' comes from basically four Hebrew root words. Why four? All right, one thing at a time. The first one is manah. It means to 'apportion out' or 'divide out'. From this word comes the Greek metron, from which we get the word 'meter'. It is used a handful of times in the scriptures. It's most infamous appearance is in Dani'el 5:25-26:
"And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath NUMBERED thy kingdom, and finished it.
Now, what I want you to do is to put this verse on the back burner for a moment while we research the other purposes of numbering, and then I believe this scripture will become a little clearer. There are several appearances of this word in the Brit Chadashah that I would like to highlight.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the MEASURE of faith."
"... Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the MEASURE of the stature of the fullness of Messiah ... "
"Then enter satan into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve."
Another Hebrew word that is used quite often in scripture is the word misepar. This word is from the Hebrew word saphar, and is more commonly seen as the word sefer, or book. In the Greek, this word is biblion. This is the word that is most often translated as 'number'. Here are a few examples of it's use.
"Even unto the next day after the seventh sabbath shall ye NUMBER fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meal offering unto YHVH."
"Yet the NUMBER of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor NUMBERED; and it shall come to pass that, in the place where is was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God."
"Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the BOOK it is written of me) to do thy will, O God." Hmmm.
"And there shall in no way enter unto it anything that defileth, neither he that worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they who are written in the Lamb's BOOK of life."
It may be most noteworthy that this association of the word sefer with numbers is used quite often in the very end of Yochanan's revelation. Do not for an instance think that the command 'not to ADD or TAKE AWAY from the words of this book' is mere happenstance. The revelation of the identity of the 12 tribes AND the number of the beast are found in the BOOK. To know the word is to know these identities. We will be held accountable for knowing or not knowing the time of His visitation.
The next word is used only a handful of times in scripture. It is the Hebrew word mikesah. It's root meaning is to 'pay tribute', to give value or worth. Here are two interesting uses of this word that I will let you draw your own conclusions from. I would even appreciate it if those of you who see the connection here, would email me and share your insights.
"And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the NUMBER of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your COUNT for the lamb."
"Then the priest shall reckon unto him the WORTH of thy valuation, even unto the year of the jubilee: and he shall give thy valuation in that day, as a holy thing unto YHVH."
"And the word of God increased, and the NUMBER of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."
One cannot help but notice the other mathematically related terms directly associated with the increase of the word of God. When the word INCREASES, the NUMBER of the disciples MULTIPLIES GREATLY. The most common Greek word used to translate all the Hebrew words we have used so far is arithmos. Of course, this is where we get the word 'arithmetic'.
The last Hebrew word for 'number' that we will define is the word most often used to express the idea of 'being numbered'. This is the word paqad. This is our most interesting word because it is the word used for expressing the idea of visiting someone. It's root meaning is to 'hold' or 'invest with responsibility', i.e., to visit or number with respect to accountability. This is why the word is used in a negative sense much of the time. When YHVH VISITS His people, look out. When He NUMBERS the people, look out. Remember the words that Messiah spoke to the inhabitants of Jerusalem in Luke 19:44?
"And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy VISITATION (paqad)."
Here are a few other examples of paqad.
"When thou takest the some of the children of Israel after their NUMBER, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto YHVH ..."
"What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou VISITEST him?"
"And what will ye do in the day of VISITATION, and in the desolation which shall come from far? To whom will ye flee for help? And where will ye leave your glory?"
1 Kefa 2:12
"Having your behavior honest among the Gentiles, that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of VISITATION."
"Wherefore, brethern, look among you for seven men of honest report, full of the Ruach HaQodesh and wisdom, whom we may NUMBER over this business."
"Symeon hath declared how God did first VISIT the nations to take out of them a people for His name."
"And I heard the NUMBER of them which were sealed; and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."
"Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the NUMBER of the beast; for it is the NUMBER of a man; and his NUMBER is six hundred threescore and six."
The overriding theme of the root meaning of all of these words is accountability. Neither God nor David numbered the people because they wanted to know how 'many' there were. The purpose of these events was to hold mankind acountable for his actions and choices. When one was 'numbered' he was included among them, and was held accountable for the actions of those he was among. In Yesha'yahu 53:12, we read that the Messiah was 'numbered with the transgressors'. This means he was included among them, and was held accountable for all their actions. This is one of the reasons why the Messiah HAD to come in human flesh, for only when He was counted among us could He take upon our sins and pay the gruesome penalty.
The whole idea of numbering is to call into account. God has given us His word, and will hold us accountable to it. I hope and pray that the study we are about to embark upon will bless you as it has already blessed me. I also pray that since architects use numeric design to build a house, that we will get some insight into the end times and even ourselves.
"But Messiah as a son over his own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end."