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

Why is seven a complete number?

Red Dice with Black NumbersNumbers 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" indicates "completeness or fullness" as in the "seven days of Creation" and Revelation's "seven Golden Lampstands." "Seven" means that this process, number, or act, whatever it is, 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."

Where is the seventh heaven?

The New Testament's "seventh heaven" is related to the Muslim conception of "Paradise." The Biblical concept has deep Jewish and Christian traditional roots. The Hebrew words "heaven" and "sky" appear only in the plural form as "heavens" or "skies." 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. Whether it was in the body or out of the body, I do not know - 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 here 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 disciple.

Why is three and a half special?

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," indicating "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 was not yet complete.

What does times, time, and half a time mean?

Similarly, the woman in Revelation 12.14 is "given the two great eagle wings to fly to her prepared desert place, 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 "1,260 days." 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." "1260 days" is the Jewish equivalent to the modern western calendar's three and a half years. To be mathematically accurate, it would be today equal "1,277.5 days!" The Jewish calendar is not the same length as the Western solar calendar used today. The earth's rotation on its axis takes approximately one day, the moon's revolution about the world is one month, and the earth's revolution about the sun is one year.

What do three, ten, and twelve mean?

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 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."✞

Why are 666 and 616 unusual?

Six hundred and Sixty SixThe beast number "666" was the forehead or forearm mark 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 adherents with "666," which is the Greek form of Nero's name. 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 writing has "616" written out in full as "six hundred and sixteen" as if the writer wanted to make the point!✞

What is 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, "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!✞

"Do you understand Revelation's devotional numbers?"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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