Biblical numerology

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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.

Numerical meaning

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


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:
  • Eight people on Noah's Ark (see Gen 7:7 and 2 Peter 2:5)
  • Circumcision on eighth day (Gen 17:12)

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

See also




  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. ^ How to read the Bible - Catholic Bible 101
  3. ^ a b c 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

External links

  • Number symbolism on Encyclopædia Britannica
  • Jewish Encyclopedia
  • the Theology of Arithmetic
  • Symbolism of Numbers in the Bible
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