Spiritual Symbolism of the Cardinal Numbers*
Dear Reader, I have been “much pushed” on finishing my book and my blogging has suffered. Hence, I hope this little offering will be an encouraging touch at Christmas. Our Lord was a “Perfect 10”! He was born at a perfect time, in a perfect way, in a perfect place to become a Perfect Savior! No one would have guessed it so unless they possessed the Mind of the Father. May our Lord give you a wondrous Christ Christmas. Let us recognize that our greatest gift is to have more of the Mind of Christ. (I Cor. 2:15-16)
It is obvious that numbers … their use, value, symbolism, power and mystery … are rooted in the intensions of our Creator. They are used throughout Scripture, not only as signs of physical quantities, but, even more importantly, as symbols of spiritual reality. Understanding the symbolic message of “God’s numbers” is critical to the Disciple’s growth to most fully live out the meanings and mysteries of their Savior Lord’s revelation. There is a theological danger of making too much of “numbers,” but it is equally risky and arrogant to ignore them.
Books have been written on Biblical numerology and they are fascinating. I have several in my library. Secular numerology is the practice of foretelling the future and/or interpreting history by the study of supposedly meaningful numbers or their combinations based on special factors as determined by the “numerologist.” A Biblical numerologist believes that God has used numbers in His Scriptures and creation to forth-tell His purposes and wisdom!
Every Disciple, to some degree, should be a Biblical numerologist. This is necessary if he or she is to assess and calculate the numbers the Savior has put before us in His Scriptures and our experience of living. His symbols are numerous indeed, and eye-openers as to His wondrous purposes for our daily practical reality. Many are the discoveries that are ours through the numbers of science as they reveal His creative and prophetic intent to bless us! For starters, think of the “two wings” of a great eagle, forty-two months, 666, 144,000, the three angles of Revelation 12-14. What is the message of 14:20 where blood is as high as horse’s backs (around 5 feet) for a distance of 1,600 stadia (about 180 miles)? This is the approximate north-south length of
Keeping certain “basic numbers” in mind is essential for the beginner. They will serve as a key which opens our minds to the vast implications of the Godhead’s use of numbers in His revelation of Himself as our Creator-Redeemer-Perfecter. This is no place to argue the pros and cons about number interpretation other than to say extremism and literalism must be guarded against. We should, however, take the numbers seriously and pray for that knowledge. The Lord God is One but expressed as Three is a good place to start our adventure of understanding Biblical numerology.
“He” is One: Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4, “The Lord our God … He is God alone … the only One.” David in Psalm 96:10, “… You alone are God.” Isaiah in 44:6, “I Am the first and the last! Apart from Me there is No God.”
“He” is more than One: In “partial” revelation Jesus “makes Them Two,” “The Father and I are One.” (John 10:30) In “fullest” revelation Jesus “makes Them Three,” “Go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19)
Welcome to the insightful world of Biblical numerology. The numbers below will not only get you started but carry you a long way toward seeing, enjoying and responding to His Mind for you through His numbers! They are outstanding and essential pointers on how Disciples relate to the realities set before them in the “gardens of earth” in which we are “placed.”
0 – Initialization – Zero is the number unknown. The Lord God made, began, initiated everything “from nothing” … “In the beginning God created…” (Gen. 1:1) As the philosophers put it… ex nihilo = out of nothing. (Heb. 11:1-3)
1– Ultimation – One is the number of God. The Lord our God is One … “I Am” (Deut. 6:4) He is supreme over everything and “… the Only God ….” (I Tim. 1:17)
2– Distribution – Two is the number of division, diversification, separation. He divides and distributes the elements of His creation: land/water, night/day, male/female, sun/moon, animal/mineral, etc. (Gen. 1:2-24)
3– Revelation – Three is the number of Triune intent communicated to man! Let Us make man and tell him what he is to think, be and do to exist in Our Image (Gen. 1:26-30) – Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19) “These three; faith, hope, love.” (I Cor. 13:13)
4– Application – There are four issues or options for every decision we face. Each should be recognized, comprehended, unified and then applied to our life reality. There are four directions, four seasons, four life stages, four time periods in each 24 hours … sunrise, day, sunset, night… etc. In political and personal decisions there are always the four positions of liberal, radical, conservative, passive.
5– Illumination – By the Holy Spirit and the light of truth to see all things with the eyes of God. Revelation (3) gives division (2) divine meaning so that together (3+2) we see the grace (5) of God’s initiatives. Many see but do not understand what they see without illumination. (Matt. 13:13-17)
6– Fragmentation – Six is the number of our enemy, Satan. He forces his multiplied lied (666) on everyone he can! (Rev. 13:16-18) The “evil” allowed by God will, in the long run, exalt His glory and vindicate His purposes. Satan’s area of power against us is most powerful (6) when we are ignorant of the reality of grace (5) and visionless about our union with the Godhead (7).
7– Redemption – Seven is the number of God (3) and mankind (4) together. All of us who are saved have positionally become One and will become experientially One with the Godhead. We are now a holy people made holy be the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
8– Completion – As there are 8 notes to the musical scale, the Lord’s progress always goes higher or lower with the same sound (notes) fulfilling their purpose for eternities’ score! Every “octave” of our living can be complete in itself (childhood, career, marriage, motherhood, retirement, etc.). When all the octaves are joined together … the bass notes of heaviness and the treble notes of lightness … the full sound of our music and our life are heard.
9– Multiplication – Triune blessing keeps repeating itself in richer fullness and purpose as man fulfills his role as a Triune Thinker. In Galatians 5:22-23 the Fruit of the Spirit is nine fold (3 x 3).
10– Perfection – The babies’ 10 fingers and 10 toes; a man’s full life or rule of 40 years … Saul, David, Solomon … The number of man (4) times God’s perfection (10)… 10x4=40… the perfection and completion of God’s purpose for their lives; 10+2=12, the perfection purpose of uniting creations and mankind’s divisions (2) with ultimate Divine intent (10) , 12 Tribes, 12 Disciples; and He shall rule 1000 years over mankind in a perfect government 10x10x10=1000 year kingdom – The divine mystery and wonder of perfection multiplied! Truly Jesus is Lord… Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. In these perfect (10) titles (4) – He answers mankind’s four greatest needs perfectly – Perception about all things, Power over all things, Patience with all things, and Peace above all things!
*By definition a Cardinal Number is any number used to count values or show quantity. For our purposes, Cardinal Numbers are limited to the whole numbers (integers) 0 through10. All other numbers are derived from these nine (1-9) plus 0 at the front also giving us 10 at the end. As we discuss Spiritual Symbolism, these basic numerals are always before us with both their physical (science, economics) and spiritual (revelation, wisdom) meanings.
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’” Romans 11:33-34