Revelation's Devotional Numbers
Next Previous Index Tellout Home

Revelation's Devotional Numbers

Complete Number

Red DiceNumbers have symbolic meaning in the Biblical text, both for Jewish and Christian readers. Assigning a numerical value to a word or phrase is technically known as "gematria" from the Greek word meaning "geometry." The number "seven" symbolically indicates "completeness or fullness" as in the "seven days of creation" and Revelation's "seven golden lampstands." "Seven," or in its movie title "se7en," about the seven deadly sins, means that this process, number, or act is complete. The seventh day is the day God finished the creation and rested. In Genesis 2.1-3, we read, "Thus God completed the heavens 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."


SevenSeven of the following appear in the Book of Revelation: golden lampstands (1.12), stars (1.16), torches of fire (4.5), seals (5.1), angels and their trumpets (8.2), last plagues (15.1), golden bowls (15.7), thunders (10.3), horns and eyes (5.6), diadems (12.3), kings (17.10), seven spirits of God (1.4, 4.5, 5.6), and seven literal churches (1.11). We also find seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12.6-8), seven deadly sins, and seven suicides in the Bible. There are many references to seven in the Old Testament, including seven pairs of every clean animal entering Noah's ark and the child who sneezed seven times after Elisha raised him from the dead (2 Kings 4.35).

Seventh Heaven

Seven Golden LampstandsThe number "seven" features prominently in the New Testament also with seven loaves (Matthew 15.32-37), seven times to forgive, seven demons driven out of Mary Magdalene (Luke 8.2), the seven last sayings on the cross. The "seventh heaven" may be related to the Muslim concept of "paradise." The Biblical concept has deep Jewish and Christian traditional roots. Saint Paul referred to an unusual experience in 2 Corinthians 12.2-3 "I know a man in Christ whom God caught up to the "third heaven" fourteen years ago. I do not know whether it was in the body or out of the body. God knows. And I know that this man" "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 heavenly vision that forms the Book of Revelation. Saint Paul may, however, have been thinking of some other person.

Three and a Half

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 this time, the judgment was not yet complete.

Time, Times, and Half a Time

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 "1,260 days." The woman in Revelation 12.14 "would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach." In Revelation 12.6, "the woman fled to a wilderness place God prepared for her, where God might take care of her for 1,260 days." The Jewish equivalent to the modern western calendar's three and a half years is 1,260 days. To be mathematically accurate, it should be "1,277.5 days!" The Jewish calendar is not the same length as the Western solar calendar used today. It is based upon the earth's rotation on its axis which takes approximately one day, the moon's revolution about the world as one month, and the earth's revolution about the sun as one year.

Three, Ten, and Twelve

Number TwelveThe number "ten" is the symbolic number for "eternity." A gold wedding ring is a symbol of eternity as the band goes on forever. "Twelve" indicates the "kingdom of God" with "three," being God's signature multiplied by the human number "four" to equal "twelve." The number "twelve" in the Gregorian calendar delineates time units in clocks today and even some currencies, such as the old British Imperial System of "pounds, shillings, and pence." ✞

Six Hundred and Sixty-Six

666A fourth-century Constantine soldier who worshipped the emperor's image sometimes had a forehead or forearm tattoo mark. Similarly, if the number "666" connects to the beast, it means that those who worship the beast from the sea are his devoted followers. John writes that the "beast number 666" is "a human's number" in Revelation 13. In this passage, the beast tattoos or brands adherents with "666," which is the Greek form of Nero's name.

Six Hundred and Sixteen

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 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 writing has "616" written out in full as "six hundred and sixteen" as if the writer wanted to make a particular point by it!

Jesus' Number

JesusInterestingly, "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, "888," is more significant and outdoes them all in the end! Watch for these Revelation numbers as you read, understand their intended interpretation, and view them in their context to add understanding to your reading!

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

^Top Page Next Previous