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What are some important symbolic numbers in the Bible?

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Quick Answer

Many numbers have meaning in the Bible, such as the number one, which signifies unity and monotheism as seen in the declaration in Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one." In the Bible, one is the number of unity, two is division and three is divine perfection.

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Full Answer

The Bible features many instances that assign meaning to various numbers. For example, four denotes universality. Revelation 7:1 states, "Four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth." Six denotes imperfection and sin. The Old Testament describes a giant with six fingers and six toes. The wild beast of Revelation has the name 666, "a man's number," indicating imperfection and sin to the third degree.

Seven, on the other hand, appears to denote perfection or completeness. It may carry the idea of a complete cycle, as with the earth's creation in six days and God's resting on the seventh to complete the cycle. Eight represents an abundance beyond that which is sufficient. Yahweh promised to rescue his people from Assyria by raising "against them seven shepherds, even eight commanders" in Micah 5:5. Twelve represents organizational completeness. There are twelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles, and New Jerusalem has twelve foundation stones.

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