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Biblical numerology is the use of numbers for their symbolic value in biblical texts - for example, the seven days of creation in Genesis 1.
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.
- Examples include:
- Three major feasts appear in Jewish Tradition (Exod 23:14-19)
- Prayer was urged three times daily (see Dan 6:10 and Ps 55:17)
- Three-year-old animals were prized for special sacrifices (Gen 15:9)
- There are three major celebrations in the Easter Triduum (the holiest part of Holy Week, the holiest week in much of Christianity), which lasts approximately three days (Holy Thursday, which includes the Chrism Mass, and the Mass of the Lord's Supper in the evening, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil – on Holy Saturday night – and Easter Sunday)
- According to orthodox Christianity: the Trinity
4: Four signifies a sense of totality:1252 or "the world," preeminently in the Book of Revelation. It derives its meaning from there being four cardinal directions, as also attested in Mesopotamian literature.:1252
- Four corners of the earth (Rev 7:1), where the four corners resemble: North, South, East and West.
- 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
- There are seven sacraments in Western Catholicism, Eastern Catholicism, the Anglo-Catholic rites, and much of Orthodoxy
- There are seven days in a week
- In the Book of Revelation, there are multiple examples, including seven churches, seven bowls, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders and seven spirits
8: Eight means a "new life" or "resurrection".
- Examples include:
- Berlin, Adele; Brettler, Marc Zvi; Fishbane, Michael, eds. (2004). The Jewish Study Bible. New York City: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195297515.
- How to read the Bible - Catholic Bible 101
- 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.
- A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature, David L. Jeffrey, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1992, p.555-557
- Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, edited by Watson E. Mills and Roger Aubrey Bullard, Mercer University Press, 1990, p.621
- Occupy Until I Come: A.T. Pierson and the Evangelization of the World, Dana Lee Robert, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003, p.268-269 - Discusses the theories of Arthur Tappan Pierson, notable example.
- Psalm 119: The Exaltation of Torah, by David Noel Freedman, Eisenbrauns, 1 Jan 1999, p.1-2
- The Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha, by Watson E. Mills and Richard F. Wilson, Mercer University Press, 1 Feb 2002, p.xxxvi-xxxix
- Introduction to the Cabala, by Z'Ev Ben Shimon Halevi, Weiser Books, 1 Nov 1991, p.23
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Biblical Mysteries, by Donald Ryan, Penguin Books, 10 Mar 2000, p. xxiv, 244, 291.
- "Number Symbolism," by Jean-Pierre Brach, in Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, edited by Wouter Hanegraaff, Brill, 2006, p.874-883