Law and the Number Five
By: Pastor David Reagan
Design in God's Word
When God creates, He weaves into His creation intricate
details and complex patterns that testify of His greatness. He
“made everything beautiful in his time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Man is “fearfully
and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Of His creation, the psalmist
says, “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them
all: the earth is full of thy riches.” (Psalm 104:24). Of God’s word,
the psalmist testifies, “I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy
commandment is exceeding broad.”
God’s word contains many divine patterns. They
demonstrate the hand of God. Some themes, such as blood redemption
and the kingdom of God, run the length of scripture. God
often uses patterns of objects, colors, words and events to demonstrate
His handiwork. Only God could bring together 66 books written by 40
human authors over 1600 years into such perfect unity.
Design in Biblical
Often God leaves His mark by His use
of numbers in scripture. The number one indicates unity
and two indicates division. Three, being the number
of the trinity, indicates perfection of being while seven indicates
a perfect work. Add three and seven together and you get ten, a
number of completion or fullness. Man was created on the sixth
day and is symbolized by that number. Forty indicates a time
of testing or proving.
The symbolic meaning of some numbers
is easy to determine. Others are the source of controversy. Five is
one of the controversial numbers. Some say it symbolizes grace
while others point to its connection with death. In order to
simplify and pass over this part of the discussion, I will give you
my conclusion on this matter. The number five symbolizes
death in scripture. I do not deny some arguments to the contrary. I
just give you my conclusion without all the reasons.
Death and the Law
Yet death is connected to other themes
in scripture. It is the ultimate punishment man can give to man. Therefore, it is related to judgment, punishment and condemnation. This,
in turn, connect the entire theme to the law. In 2 Corinthians,
chapter three, the law is called the “ministration of death” (v.7) and
the “ministration of condemnation” (v.9). In Romans 7:10, Paul
says, “And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be
The law curses all who do not obey
it in entirety. “For as many as are of the works of the law are
under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth
not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” (Galatians 3:10). Christ
became this curse on the cross in order to redeem us from the curse
of the law (Galatians 3:13).
The Number Five in
As such, the number five not only deals
with death but it also identifies the law. In fact, the number
five is found woven into the entire law, especially in the tabernacle,
the priesthood and the sacrifices. Consider the following evidences
of the relation of the number five to the structure of the law.
of Moses has five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers and Deuteronomy.
heart of the law is in the Ten Commandments, which are written on two
tables of stone. Ten divided by two leaves five commandments
for each of the two tables of stone. That double five, or five by
five, pattern will be seen again.
giving of the Ten Commandments is recorded two times in the Bible:
Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. The second time is found in the
fifth book of the law (Deuteronomy) and in the fifth chapter of that
book. Again we see the five by five pattern.
outer fence surrounding the court of the tabernacle was five cubits
high (Exodus 27:18).
first piece of furniture an Israelite approached when coming to the
tabernacle was the brazen altar where animal sacrifices were offered. This
was a place of death and judgment (brass is a symbol of judgment in
the Bible). The brazen altar was five cubits by five cubits (Exodus 27:1). Once
again we see the five by five pattern.
sides of the tabernacle were reinforced by five bars on
each side (Exodus 26:26-27).
inner covering of the tabernacle was composed of five curtains which
were attached to five other curtains for a total of ten curtains (Exodus 26:3).
Notice the double five pattern.
front entrance of the tabernacle was made up of five
pillars (Exodus 26:36-37).
were five original priests: Aaron and his four sons
The garments of the priests were made up of five different materials:
gold, blue, purple, scarlet and linen (Exodus 28:6).
Leviticus (in the first five chapters) describes the
five major offerings of the law: burnt, meat, peace, sin
The Old Testament mentions five different animals to be
used in sacrifices: cows, goats, sheep, turtledoves and
pigeons (see Genesis 15:9.
first created animals that could be used for sacrifice (the birds)
were created on the fifth day of creation (Genesis 1:26).
Although the tabernacle had seven pieces of furniture,
only five of them were actually inside the tabernacle.
Although the priests wore
seven pieces of special clothing (Exodus 29:5-6), only
five of them were actually worn about their body [the
other two were placed on top of their head].
Those who study and accept the seven
dispensations as commonly taught may remember that the
fifth dispensation is that of the law.
Are all of these fives a mere coincidence? Hardly. They
are another indication of the wonderful design of God as found in His
holy word. They prove once again the presence of the divine in
the holy scriptures.
© Copyrighted by
David F. Reagan. As long as this notice is included, permission
is granted to copy and distribute this material (electronically
or in print form) for individual use or for small groups. All other
rights (such as use in books, periodicals, on web pages, etc.)
are reserved and must be obtained by permission from the author.
Contact David Reagan at Antioch Baptist Church, 5709 N. Broadway,
Knoxville, TN, 37918 – (865) 688-0780
– Fax (865) 689-1611 – email@example.com