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Biblical numerology

Biblical numerology refers to the interpretation by some biblical scholars of numerical values used in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament that they believe relate to symbolism, which imply quality or attributes, of the value rather than to an actual quantity. While studied by theologians, not all agree with this interpretation. Others, preferring a more fundamental approach, believe that the numbers represent the literal quantities. This article explains the interpretation of those who believe that numbers sometimes represent attributes and not the number itself. According to the theory, these numbers were purposely inserted by their authors to emphasize a particular message. Numerical symbology is most abundantly found in Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation, but is not confined to those books.

While many ancient languages, religions, and philosophies contained numeric interpretation of events, words, and names, this article is concerned with those uniquely affecting Judeo-Christian beliefs. Although Greek culture was well-known to scholars in the first centuries BC and AD in the Middle East, Greek ideas about numerology do not seem to have permeated Jewish and Christian beliefs.


Numerical meaningEdit

1/3: In the Book of Revelation the fraction one-third is used sixteen times in reference to a divine curse or punishment.

  • and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. (Rev 8:7)
  • and the third part of the sea became blood (Rev 8:8)
  • And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. (Rev 8:9)

3: The implication of three is "perfection"[1]:1505 or "holiness."(e.g. (Matt 12:40).[2]

Examples include:

4: Four signifies a sense of totality[1]:1252 or "the world," preeminently in the Book of Revelation.[3] It derives its meaning from there being four cardinal directions, as also attested in Mesopotamian literature.[1]:1252

  • Four corners of the earth (Rev 7:1)
  • Construction of the altar: four corners, four pillars, etc. (see Exod 27:1-8 and Exod 27:16); many of these altar construction guidelines are still used today

6: Both Hebrew[citation needed] and Christian sources believe six indicates "imperfection," "man", or "evil."[2] For Christianity, this occurs preeminently in the Book of Revelation.[3] Some Christians believe that 666 is the Number of the Beast. The significance of three 6s shows eternal imperfection of Lucifer.[4][clarification needed][citation needed] However, a secular source, Britannica, reports that it means "perfection" in religion.[5]

7: In both Jewish and Christian traditions, seven signifies "totality of perfection," "completeness."[3][1]:382


8: Eight means a "new life" or "resurrection".[citation needed]

Examples include:

1,000 signifies "immensity" or "fullness of quantity", preeminently in the Book of Revelation.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Berlin, Adele; Brettler, Marc Zvi; Fishbane, Michael, eds. (2004). The Jewish Study Bible. New York City: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195297515. 
  2. ^ a b How to read the Bible - Catholic Bible 101
  3. ^ a b c d Senior, Donald; Mary Ann Getty; Carroll Stuhlmueller (1990). The Catholic Study Bible. New York City: Oxford University Press. pp. 398, 399. ISBN 978-0-19-528391-4. 
  4. ^ Rev 13:18
  5. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit