The Design of Scripture
The Numbers Sixteen and Seventeen
The Number Sixteen
The number sixteen appears some 23 times in scripture. For the most part, it refers to the numbers of offspring or the reign of kings. I believe that this number speaks of love and there are a couple of occurrences that I wish to highlight. For example, in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, there are sixteen things said about love, and of course, this is the famous 'love' chapter, even though verses 8-12 are some of the most divisive verses commented on in the 'church'. The sixteenth time Sha’ul's name is mentioned in scripture is in Acts 15:25:
"It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our BELOVED Barnabas and Paul."
The most provocative use of the number sixteen is found in the constructing of the boards and sockets in the tabernacle. In Sh'mot chapters 26 & 36, we have the account of the boards and sockets that make up what is sometimes called the tabernacle proper, or the structure that contains the Most Holy Place and the Holy Place. I go into much greater detail of this part of the tabernacle in the teaching archive. It is there that I use the Hebrew language to show the picture of the heart (Most Holy Place) and the soul (Holy Place) of man being surrounded by the unity of the body of Messiah or the brethren in Messiah. This is pictured in many ways, not the least of which is the wooden boards, each having two feet or silver sockets. The longer North and South sides have twenty boards with forty silver sockets or feet. The description of the west side is in much more detail.
"And for the sides of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards. And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides. And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring: thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners. And they shall be eight boards and their sockets of silver, SIXTEEN sockets; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.
Now that may sound a bit confusing, so let me translate. The shorter west side will have six boards to support it. However, at each corner there shall be two boards doubled for support and strength, making a total of eight boards with two sockets under each one. It is no coincidence that the west side is given more attention and detail. The east side, the side of entrance, will also be given special attention in verses 36 and 37. Why are the east and west sides given more detail? Because these are the two directions that represent the tribe of Judah (house of Judah) and the tribe of Ephraim (house of Israel), the two tribes that make up the Brit Chadashah or New Covenant. (See B'midbar 2:3,18.) It is those from these two houses and their companions (Yechezk'el 37:15-28) that will be the bride of Messiah, those who LOVED Him because they kept His commandments (Yochanan 14:15). It is those who glady responded to the shed blood applied to the door by the hyssop. The gematria for this hyssop is SIXTEEN, and the numerical value of LOVE is EIGHT. Sixteen is, of course, a multiple of eight. Am I getting a little kabbalistic? Perhaps.
The Number Seventeen
This particular number is not without some difficulties, in my mind. It is traditionally taught that 'seventeen' represented victory and resurrection because Yahshua rose on the 17th day of Aviv, 3 days and 3 nights after Pesach. First, let me say that I do believe that the number '17' does represent victory and resurrection, but let me elaborate for a moment. According to tradition, the Messiah's resurrection was a fulfillment of the Feast of First Fruits, the 17th of Aviv. Well, yes and no. The 'passion' week, which is this week by the way, is not without it's controversies. In every scenario I have studied and read, there is at least one death knell. My sense of this period is not without it's holes as well. So, in defense of the meaning of the number seventeen, I will state that it is my opinion that the particular week that Messiah was crucified, He did rise on the 17th of Aviv. Yes, I teach a 'Saturday' evening resurrection. However, the only numbers attached to the season of unleavened bread is the 14th and 15th of Aviv. I believe there is a perfectly logical reason for this. I believe that the 'head of the harvest' which is the scriptural title used in Vayikra 23:10, occurs the day after the weekly Shabbat. This means that it is different every year and that no 'date' can be applied to it. It is just that timing of the new moon coupled that year with the Passover was prophesied to occur 3 days and 3 nights before the 17th of Aviv. If five years later the 14th of Aviv falls on a Monday, then the waving of the sheaves will not take place until the following Saturday evening, which would not be the 17th of Aviv. This is why dates are only given for Passover and the first day of Unleavened Bread. Did that make sense?
Well, my point is that the time of Messiah's resurrection fell on the 17th of Aviv in the year He was tried and crucified. The next six years would be different. It is clear to all that call on the name of Yahshua that His resurrection was victory for all and the beginning of our rest in Him. This victory and rest was pictured when the ark of Noach and his family rested upon Mt. Ararat on the 17th day of the 7th month. For you see, in Noach's time the beginning of the year was still in Tishri. The commandment for Aviv to be the beginning of the year did not occur until the time of Mosheh. This meant that in Noach's time the 7th month from Tishri was Aviv. So the ark actually rested on the 17th of Aviv. We are also told a detail of one of the most obvious types of the Messiah, Yoseph, that he was 17 years old when he had the dream concerning the prophecy of the Messiah and the 11 other tribes in B'reshith 37:2-14. I believe that it can be shown that the Israelites crossed the Gulf of Aqaba on the 17th of Aviv. We are told that Yoseph lived in Egypt 17 years, B'reshith 47:28. The city Jerusalem appears in the Tehillim 17 times and there are 17 things unable to separate us in Romans 8:35-39. Yirmeyahu's 17 prayers ended in Yirmeyahu 32:9, when buying the field for 17 shekels. There are 17 appearances of angels in the gospels and the book of Acts. And finally, we must not forget one of Frank Sinatra's greatest hits was, 'When I was Seventeen'.