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Bible Interpretation II - Lesson 4


    1. Introduction
      1. Numbers are important to God.
        1. He names an entire book of the Bible Numbers
        2. Many numbers occur in the Bible
        3. Numbers are often used with emphasis (Numbers 14:22; Revelation 13:18)
      2. Numbers have meaning in scripture
        1. Some numbers have natural significance
          1. One portrays unity
          2. Two portrays division
          3. Three and seven have parallels in nature
        2. Some numbers have a clearly identified meaning in scripture
          1. Six is the number of man
          2. Seven is the number of perfection; as in a perfect work
          3. Forty is the number of testing or trial
        3. The meaning of some numbers is disputed
          1. Five is thought by some to picture grace and by others to picture death
          2. Ten is thought by some to refer to the Gentiles and by others to ordinal perfection
      3. Use of numbers in interpretation
        1. The main purpose of numerology is for the purpose of illustration.  As such, they can be a great source of pleasure and understanding
        2. The danger of numerology is in using it to teach new doctrine.  Although numbers may indicate meaning in many cases, they should not be used to develop new doctrines that are not taught plainly elsewhere in the word of God.  This practice can easily lead to many false doctrines.
        3. Biblical numerology also verifies the hand of God on the Bible.  No man could make the numbers work out as strongly and as clearly as they do.  God had to do it.
    2. Number One
      1. One has the natural meaning of unity
        1. It is indivisible; it forms a whole and is united
        2. Those who waited in the upper room after the ascension of Christ “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14)
      2. One also has the meaning of primacy
        1. It is the first number; it indicates first place
        2. The divine title of “Holy One” is used 48 times in scripture (2 Kings 19:22; Isaiah 12:6; Habakkuk 1:12; Acts 2:27)
      3. First mention
        1. Genesis 1:9
        2. “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place”
      4. In marriage, two become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:6)
      5. Before God divided the people at the tower of Babel, He observed that “the people is one, and they have all one flesh” (Genesis 11:6)
      6. The seven unity’s of Ephesians 4:4-6
        1. The unity’s named
          1. One body
          2. One Spirit
          3. One hope
          4. One Lord
          5. One faith
          6. One baptism
          7. One God
        2. The theme of unity proven
          1. The word unity only occurs in the Bible three times (Psalm 133:1 Ephesians 4:3,13)
          2. Two of the three occurrences are in this chapter
            1. Once before the seven unity’s in reference to keeping “the unity of the Spirit” (v.3)
            2. Once after the seven unity’s in reference to us all coming to “the unity of the faith” (v.13)
          3. Since the obvious theme of the passage is our unity in the Spirit, the seven one’s should be understood as seven unity’s.  We should not force all seven items to be limited to one item as in something that we count and it adds up to one.
          4. For instance, Hebrews 6:2 refers to “the doctrine of baptisms” – notice the plural.  The New Testament refers to our baptism by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13) which places us into Christ (Galatians 3:27).  However, it also refers to our baptism by men (1 Corinthians 1:14-17) which places us into water (Acts 1:5).  Yet, it is proper to refer to our “one baptism”, since these two baptisms are one in Christ.  The water baptism is simply the outward picture of what happened inwardly at the moment of salvation when the Spirit baptized us into Christ.
    3. Number Two
      1. Two naturally refers to division; that which is one can be divided in two
      2. On the second day of creation, God created the firmament that divided the waters above from the waters below (Genesis 1:6-8).  In effect, God’s heaven was divided from the earth.  This is the only day of creation in which God does not say that what He saw was good.
      3. First mention: In Genesis 1:16 God makes the “two great lights” to mark the division between the day and the night
      4. Before Rebekah bore Esau and Jacob, the Lord told her, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels” (Genesis 25:23)
      5. The commandments that were written on two tables of stone were a cause of division between God and man (Deuteronomy 9:10-17)
      6. When two are joined together in unity, they become a picture of strength
        1. Genesis 7:15 “And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.”
        2. Deuteronomy 17:6 “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.”
        3. Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.”
        4. Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
    4. Number Three
      1. Three is the first of the numbers to show some aspect of perfection; three indicates perfection of being; i.e., internal perfection
      2. God is a tri-unity or trinity; a three in one being
        1. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19)
        2. The Son being baptized, the Spirit descending like a dove and the Father speaking from heaven (Matthew 3:13-17)
        3. These three are one (1 John 5:7)
        4. The word Godhead, which refers to the three-in-one God, occurs three times in the Bible (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9)
      3. Man is a three-in-one being
        1. He was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7)
        2. He is made up of spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
      4. Satan counterfeits the three-fold nature of God (Revelation 16:13)
        1. Dragon
        2. Beast
        3. False prophet
      5. The perfect message of the gospel has three parts (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
        1. Death
        2. Burial
        3. Resurrection
      6. All the people of the earth descend from the three sons of Noah (Genesis 9:18-19)
      7. The resurrection of Christ occurred after three days and three nights in the grave (Matthew 12:40)
      8. God sometimes does something three times to assure that it is from Him
        1. The warning about hell (Mark 9:44,46,48)
        2. The Father’s witness concerning His Son (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; John 12:28)
        3. The message to Peter (Acts 11:10-11)
        4. God’s witness to mankind (1 John 5:7-8)
      9. Creation is full of indications of God’s touch with the number three
        1. Vegetation is made up of grass, herb and fruit trees (Genesis 1:11)
        2. The heavens are lit up with the sun, the moon and the stars (Genesis 1:16)
        3. Animals are made up of fish, fowl and land animals (Genesis 1:20,24)
        4. Land animals are made up of cattle, creeping things and beasts of the earth (Genesis 1:24)
        5. Earth is made up of lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere
        6. There are three basic colors (red, yellow and blue); when mixed, they make the seven colors of the rainbow
        7. Time is divided into past, present and future
        8. There are three states of matter (gas, liquid and solid)
      10. The Bible refers to three heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2)
        1. Atmospheric heaven
        2. Starry heaven
        3. God’s abode of heaven