Revelation's Devotional Numbers
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2. Revelation's Devotional Numbers

Complete Seven

Red Dice with Black NumbersNumbers have symbolic meaning in the Biblical text, both for Jewish and Christian readers. This assigning of a numerical value to a word or phrase is technically known as "gematria" from the Greek word meaning "geometry." For example, the number "seven" indicates "completeness or fullness" as in the "seven days of Creation" and the "seven Golden Lampstands" in Revelation. "Seven" means that this process, number, or act, whatever it is, has been completed. The seventh day is the day on which God finished the Creation and rested. In Genesis 2.1-3, we read, "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing, so he rested from all his work on the seventh day. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because, on it, he rested from all the creating work that he had done."

Seventh Heaven

The "seventh heaven" is related to the Muslim conception of "Paradise." The Hebrew words for "heaven" and "sky" appear only in the plural form as "heavens" or "skies" having multiple layers. The Biblical concept has deep Jewish and Christian traditional roots. Saint Paul refers to an unusual experience in 2 Corinthians 12.2-3 "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body, I do not know - God knows. And I know that this man - whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows - was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell." Perhaps Saint Paul referred to John of Patmos, who received a revelation of heaven in a vision that forms the Book of Revelation. Saint Paul may have also been thinking of some other disciple.

Jewish Calendar Numbers

Eagle in FlightThe number "three and a half" seems odd because it characterizes an "imperfect or incomplete time" or an unfulfilled event. It is the opposite of the number "seven," which indicates "completeness." For example, Elijah's famine lasted three and a half years, according to James 5.17, which explains, "Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He intently prayed that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years." Even after three and a half years, the judgment is not yet complete.

Times, Time, and Half A Time

Similarly, the woman in Revelation 12.14 is "given the two great eagle wings so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach." The phrase "time, times and half a time" is another way of saying "three and a half" and may also be found elsewhere as "forty-two months" or even "1,260 days." In Revelation 12.6, "the woman fled to a wilderness place God prepared for her, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days." "1260 days" is the Jewish equivalent to the modern western calendar's three and a half years, but to be mathematically accurate, would today equal "1,277.5 days!" The Jewish calendar is not the same length as the solar calendar used today. The earth's rotation on its axis is equal to one day, the moon's revolution about the earth is equal to one month, and the earth's revolution about the sun is one year.

Three, Ten, and Twelve

Number TwelveThe number "Ten" is the symbolic number for "eternity." "Twelve" indicates the "Kingdom of God" with "three," being God's signature multiplied by the human beings identity "four" to equal "twelve." The number "twelve" delineates in the Gregorian calendar units of time in clocks today and even some currencies, such as the old British Imperial System of "pounds, shillings, and pence."✞

666 and 616

Six hundred and Sixty SixThe beast number "666" was the mark placed on the forehead or forearm of a fourth-century Constantine soldier who worshipped the emperor's image. If the number "666" connects with the beast, it means that those who worship the beast from the sea are his devoted followers. The "beast number 666" is "humanity's number," according to Revelation 13. In this passage, the beast tattoos or brands his adherents with the number "666." The Greek form of Nero's name strangely adds up to "666." A few early manuscripts have the number "616" in place of "666." "616" interestingly also points to Emperor Nero for the Latin form of Nero's name adds up to "616!" in "Papyrus 115," which is the Book of Revelation's oldest preserved manuscript from c317 AD. Other ancient sources like "Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus" give the Beast number as "616," not "666." Another very early manuscript has "616" written out in full as "six hundred and sixteen" as if the writer wanted to make the point!

Jesus' Number

Interestingly, "888," when added up in the same way, is the Greek number for "Jesus." Whatever the specific application of "666" or "616", whether to Adolf Hitler or the "world's unified governments" or "Emperor Nero" or not, "666" symbolizes worldwide dominion and an unholy force's full evil designed to undo Christ's work and overthrow his followers deceitfully. Jesus' number outdoes them all in the end! Watch for these Revelation numbers as you read, understand their intended interpretation, and view them in their context accordingly to add understanding to your reading!✞

"Revelation's Devotional Numbers"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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