1) Symbolizes the unity of God (there is one God) (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4: Gal. 3:20). The number also represents the unity between the Father and the Son (Jn. 10:30), the singular sacrifice of Christ, and Christ’s being the one Mediator and Shepherd (1 Tim. 2:5; Jn. 10:16).
2) Symbolizes the duality of man, consistent of both spirit and flesh (Gal. 5:16-18). The number two also represents the union of two parties, the verification of two witnesses (Mk. 6:7-13; 1 Tim. 5:19), the union between Christ and the church (1 Cor. 12), and the Old and New Testaments. The number two can also represent comparison and contrast between two things.
3) Symbolizes the triune nature of God. By no surprise, three can also represent completeness. Three may also represent God’s perfect design as there are three heavens (2 Cor. 12:2), three time frames (past, present, future), three points of measurement (beginning, middle, end), three kinds of sacrifice (sin, peace, and praise), three kinds of laws (moral, ceremonial, and civil), three things that were placed in the Ark of the Covenant (Ten Commandments, Aaron’s staff, and a jar of manna), three gifts of grace (faith, hope, and love), and three parts to salvation (justification, sanctification, and glorification).
4) Symbolizes the creative work of God and universal truth: 4 corners of the earth (Rev. 7:1); 4 rivers of Paradise (Gen. 2:10); 4 winds of heaven (Jer. 49:36); 4 acts of judgment (Ezek. 14:21—sword, famine, evil beasts, and pestilence); 4 horsemen (Rev. 6); and 4 winds (Matt. 24:31); and four guardians of God’s throne.
5) Represents God’s goodness and grace upon humanity and teaching. There are two divisions of five in the Ten Commandments; five offerings given to God (Burnt—Lev. 4; Sin—Lev. 4; Trespass—Lev. 5:14-19; Grain—Lev. 2; and Peace—Lev. 3); the five divisions of Psalms; and the five books of the Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
6) Represents the fallen nature of humanity. God created human beings on the 6th day. Six days were given to work. 666 is the number of Satan. Babylon used heximal system of counting (see Ezek .40:6, Daniel 3:1) and represents the antichristian world rule of antichrist.
7) 7 is one of the most important numbers in the Bible. It symbolizes completion, perfection, God’s covenant and rest. God finished creation in 7 days. There are 7 great land masses. 7 colors of the rainbow. 7 notes make a perfect scale. 7 days in the feast of Passover. 7 weeks between Passover and Pentecost. 7 days for the Feast of Tabernacles. God had 7 covenants with humanity (Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Levitic, Davidic, and Messianic). In Revelation, one finds 7 churches, 7 letters, 7 candlesticks, 7 stars, 7 angels, 7 Spirits of God, 7 Seal Judgments, 7 horns, 7 eyes on the Lamb, 7 trumpets, 7 thunders, 7 mountains, 7 bowls, 7 kings, and so on.
8) The number eight is also of great importance as it symbolizes new life, resurrection, a new covenant, and new beginnings. God spoke 8 words to bring forth creation (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26). Jesus rose on the 8th day—the first day of the week (Sun. Apr. 5, 33 AD). Eight people were resurrected besides Jesus’s own resurrection. If you take the numerical value of Jesus’s name, it comes to 888.
9) Nine, a multiple of three, symbolizes the finality of faith or divine completeness. Christ died in the ninth hour (3 pm). Yom Kippur occurs on the 9th day of the 7th month (Lev. 23:32). The fruit of the Spirit consists of nine qualities (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control—Gal. 5:22-23).
10) Like 7, 10 symbolizes completion. For instance, there were Ten Commandments. In the end times, 10 kingdoms will exist. 10 spies were sent out (Num. 13:32). 10 men were needed to form a quorum in the Sanhedrin.
11) Represents chaos, disorder, and judgment. The number 11 is used twenty-four times in Scripture and “11th” can be found 19 times, all denoting chaos. John saw 11 things connected to the final judgment (Rev. 20:12-14).
12) Another major number in Scripture, 12 symbolizes God’s government. God brought about 12 tribes from Jacob’s 12 sons. There are 12 lunar cycles corresponding to 12 months of one year. Jesus called 12 apostles (Matt. 10:2-4). 12 is seen quite frequently in Revelation.
14) Implies a double measure of spiritual perfection due to the fact that it is seven doubled and that there are three sets of 14 generations in Jesus’s lineage.
20) May imply a time of waiting. Jacob had to wait 20 years to marry his wives and be freed from Laban’s control.
21) May imply great wickedness and sin. Advocates hold that Satan is released on the 21stday of the seventh Hebrew month at the end of time. Satan will rise and will finally be defeated once and for all.
22) May imply disorder, chaos, and disorganization since 22 is 11 doubled.
23) May imply evil. Jezebel, an evil woman, is mentioned 23 times compared to Eve who is referenced 19 times.
24) Implies priesthood and the worship of God. 24 is a multiple of 12. David divided into 24 divisions (1 Chron. 24).
25) Implies grace doubled. In Ezekiel’s vision of the future temple, which was seen in the 25thyear of captivity (Eze. 40:1), he gives 5 measurements of the temple which are 25 cubits long (Eze. 40:13, 21, 25, 29-30).
30) Represents a person’s calling. Aaronic priests were dedicated at 30 years of age. Jesus was around the age of 30 when he began his 3 ½ year ministry (Lk. 3:23).
33) May imply the promises of God. Often, 33 may be linked with divine judgment. 33 is the numeric equivalent of the term amen. Other links are found with 33 in the 33rd use of a particular name in Scripture (e.g., 33rd time Abraham is mentioned, he had Isaac).
40) Symbolizes testing and trials. Genesis notes that it rained 40 days and 40 nights upon the earth during the time of Noah’s testing. Moses was in Egypt 40 years, in Midian 40 years, and served God 40 years. Moses was on Mt. Sinai 40 days as God gave him the law. Saul, David, Solomon, and Josiah ruled for 40 years. Israel was in the wilderness 40 years. Jesus fasted in the wilderness 40 days. Jesus taught his disciples for 40 days following his resurrection.
42) Symbolizes the antichrist and time cut short. The antichrist will be allowed to have authority for 42 months (Rev. 13:4-5) half of 7 years.
50) Symbolizes power, celebration, and joy. The Year of Jubilees came on the 50th year (Lev. 25:10). Pentecost occurred 50 days after Jesus’s resurrection, was on the 50th day after the first harvest of grain, and was the time that the Holy Spirit filled believers with his presence. David has a connection with 50 in 2 Samuel 24.
70/72) Symbolizes human leadership and judgment. Moses appointed 70 elders (Ex. 24:1). The Sanhedrin consisted of 70 men. Jesus chose 70 or 72 disciples (Lk. 10:1). Jesus told Peter to forgive 70 times 7.
120 Implies a divine time of waiting. 120 disciples were gathered when Matthias was chosen as Judas’s replacement (Acts 1:14-26). God gave a 120 year period to allow humanity to repent of their evil before engaging in judgment against them (Gen. 6:1-3).
153) May imply God’s overflow of blessing as it is linked with the 153 fish that were caught at one of Jesus’s resurrection appearances (Jn. 21:11).
200) May imply insufficiency. Achan sinfully takes 200 shekels of silver in Jericho (Josh. 7). The Romans escort Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea with 200 soldiers (Acts 21-23).
390) Represents separation. Ezekiel is commanded to lie on his side for 390 days to represent Israel’s sins and separation (Eze. 4:1-5).
400) May imply a divine time period (time Jews in Egypt)
666) Symbolizes the antichrist and the kingdoms of humanity opposing God. 666 is oddly a triangular number, thus representing a counterfeit trinity. The number is identified as the mark of the beast in Revelation 13:18.
1000) Symbolizes a long time period and the conclusion of a time. Jesus ascended rules in “the millenium” a symbolic time frame between his first and second comings at the end of which Satan will launch one last effort against Christ that will prove fatal for Lucifer (Rev. 19:16; 20:4, 6).
144,000) Symbolizes totality and the church. David’s army consisted of 12 sets of 144,000 in 1 Chronicles 27. More indicative of the numerical meaning is the reference of 144,000 end-time believers whom God saves from the tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:4-9).
More numbers could be given. However, the numbers mentioned in this article represent the most impressive numbers symbolized in the Bible. The intricate detail of Scripture and the numerical connections add to the impressive revelation that is found in God’s word.
Belgic Confession Article 24: Of man’s Sanctification and Good Works.
We believe that this true faith being wrought in man by the hearing of the Word of God, and the operation of the Holy Ghost, doth regenerate and make him a new man, causing him to live a new life, and freeing him from the bondage of sin….(this) faith worketh by love, to the practice of those works, which God has commanded in his Word. Which works, as they proceed from the good root of faith, are good and acceptable in the sight of God, forasmuch as they are all sanctified by his grace: howbeit they are of no account towards our justification. For it is by faith in Christ that we are justified, even before we do good works; (and) we do good works, not to merit by them, (for what can they merit?) nay, we are beholden to God for the good works we do, and not he to us, since it is he that worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure; for we do no work but what is polluted by our flesh, and also punishable; (were it not for the grace of Christ one sin would be sufficient to make God reject all our good works thus we only rely) on the merits of the suffering and death of our Saviour.
A.W.Pink in his studies 1946 is excellent:
“God’s acceptance of our services”-our obedience and worship. We realise that our works even as a regenerate man are defective and defiled. Even though wrought by the Holy Spirit they are performed by us…even the purest water is fouled as it passes through a soiled pipe! Check what the Scripture says concerning Abel, “the Lord had respect unto Abel AND to his offering.”(Gen.4:4). First the worshipper is accepted and then his worship.
Pink then draws our attention to the golden plate atop the High Priest’s mitre. The inscription, “Holiness to the Lord” was worn that he might “bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts, and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.” (Ex.28:36-38). Christ our great high priest bore the defects of our holy things and because of his holiness God accepts from us whatever is sincere. The sinful failings of our best actions are hid and covered and our sincere obedience and reverent worship ascends to God perfumed with the merits of Christ (Rev. 8:3). Thus it is “by him” that we offer the sacrifice of praise to God (Heb.13:15) and our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:5).
Consecration of Levites (last meeting)
Final write up
Sung Psalm 134
Reading Isaiah 66:15-24
Note that verse 21 endorses God’s irresistible grace in calling us Gentiles to be the New Testament equivalent of Old Testament Levites. Levites and priests saved in the New Testament included Barnabas (Acts 6:7, 4:36) among others. The most infamous was the Levite who passed by the wounded man on the Jericho road (Luke 10:32). Verse 22 indicates the permanence of this calling showing that it does not refer to some millennium but rather to the New Testament age and into the new heavens and earth.
There are three “worlds” or ages described in Scripture:
- The pre-diluvian
- The post-diluvian
- The new heavens and earth
The final verses in this chapter (vv. 23,24) describe the eternal state (II Peter 3:13, Is.65:17, Matthew 25:41, Mark 9:44,45). Is.65:20 is describing eternal life in the re-creation which takes place after Christ returns and we see Romans 9:21 and Rev.21:1-3 played out, not in the annihilation of the cosmos but it’s recreation and redemption just as in our own lives. All believers are the seed spoken of, whether Jew or Gentile-they are the seed of Christ (Is.53:12) and Abraham (Gal.3:28,29)-the true Jews or Israel. Jer. 33:17-21 is fulfilled in Christ and the church.
Levi means “joined” (Gen.29:34, Num.18:2,4)-the priests and Levites were joined, Jew and Gentile are now joined and all believing are joined to Christ.
These verse do not refer to keeping the ceremonial law which when done even formally, but without faith, were to God an abomination (Is.1:13) but rather to continual worship in glory where we shall confirm God’s righteous judgment of all men which includes the eternal awful destruction of the wicked in bodies fitted to eternal punishment.
Consecration of the Levites
Sung Psalm 135:14-21 (note Levi)
Read Numbers 8:5-22
The consecration of these warrior-priests included:
- Cleansing-sprinkling of water (? From laver or acc.to Lev.14)
- Shaving most of body of hair.
- Washing of clothes
- Sacrifices-two bullocks (sin and burnt offerings), and meal offering
- No special clothes
- Laying on of hands (of representatives of all the congregation whom they represented).
- Wave offering (of all of them)
Comparing their consecration to that of the priests, with the priests there were more sacrifices, special clothes etc and with that of the congregation there was a different sprinkling and the book of the covenant was involved. Theologians speak of a graded holiness with High Priest top (multi-coloured vestments), then priests (white linen garments), then Levites (own clothes) then people, then outsiders. This also is reflected in the graded access they had to holy places and things.
But every New Testament believer whether Jew or Gentile is a priest AND a Levite-set apart, belonging to God and called to serve in his church (Mal. 3:3, Isaiah 66:21).
New Testament Priesthood
Sung Psalm 141|:1-5 (note refs to incense)
Reading I Peter 2:1-10 (note esp.vv5,9)
We have incontrovertible Scriptural evidence that all believers in the New Testament age are priests.
What was the work of Old Testament priests? What is the New Testament equivalent?
- Offered sacrifices……we offer ourselves, praise, thank, do good works, share (Heb.13:15).
- Offered incense……we pray for ourselves and others.
- Light the lamp………walk in the Spirit.
- Prepare the showbread and eat it……we partake of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.
- Teach………we teach one another.
- Pronounce clean/unclean……we discern between good and evil.
- Judge……we judge all things.
Hebrews 10:19-25 is the most extended teaching on our New Testament priesthood, full of typology now realised in us.
The major prophets clearly allude to the end of ceremonial law and the New Testament age, see Isaiah 61:6 where true believers who are in Christ (vv1-3) are made priests and this includes Gentiles (Is.66:21).
Malachi 3:3 speaks of Christ purifying a priesthood which must be his church and I John 2:2 and 20 show that our anointing as priests is lifelong.
The permanent offices in the New Testament church all include elements of priesthood-pastors teach (office of prophet), elders rule (office of king) and deacons (office of priest who mercifully dispense aid), (Heb. 2:17, Acts 6)
Consecration of Israel’s priests.
Sung Psalm 132:7-14
Reading Exodus 29:1-37 (carried out in Leviticus 8)
Remember the stages in the consecration of the priests:
- smearing (of blood)
The Aaronic priesthood was: *hereditary, with public ordination (Lev.8:3) and ceremonial (ceremonial liquids, objects e.g. altar and garments .
Consecration of Christ
We looked at Hebrews and the contrast of Christ’s consecration and calling (Heb.5:5, Acts 13:33, Psalm 2:7). It had none of the above* characteristics. He was called severally-in eternity, at his birth, baptism, resurrection/ascension. He has an eternal priesthood given him under an oath from God the Father which is none other than a divine “fiat” or decree-“Thou art a priest for ever…” What a wonderful High Priest we have and what priviledges and responsibilities have church office bearers and members who are also called into office as priests.
“All humanity is at war with God since the first act of treason.” Humans hate and fight each other, wars, genocide, killing the unborn and terrorism. God and Satan are at war, and since Satan cannot affect God he wars against God’s church. Man has no peace internally (Isaiah 48:22) because of guilt. Perfect peace comes only with perfect love, the love in the trinity. Religion and good works cannot expunge guilt, neither the numbing effect of drugs or alcohol or the distraction of entertainment and pleasure. Christ alone earned peace and righteousness for us. Reconciliation comes by faith in his finished work and the acknowledgement we are vile depraved sinners who must repent.
Sung Psalm 132;7-14
Reading Leviticus 8 (obeying Exodus 29)
With the institution of the Aaronic priesthood five men are consecrated namely Aaron and his four sons Eleazar, Ithamar, Nadab and Abihu. These and all subsequent priests had to go through this process. It was the first public ordination into the office.
- Washing–at the laver-hands and feet (c.f. Titus 3:5).
- Clothing—nine parts (believers and ministers now need no special clothes Psalm 132:9, Isaiah 61:10, we have the whole armour, righteousness of Christ, the new man etc.
- Anointing—with oil (Ex.30:23-31) typifies the Holy Spirit (I John 2:9, I Tim.3, Gal.5:22-23)
- Sacrificing –of animals: a bullock (sin offering v14), a ram (burnt offering v180 and another ram (peace offering v22).
- Smearing—of blood on earlobes, right thumb and right big toe (consecration of our walk).
- Sprinkling –with oil and blood (v30)
- Waiting—seven days in tabernacle courts (John 15 abiding).
So we see that each of these stages in their exclusive physical consecration mirrors our inclusive spiritual consecration as a priesthood in Christ.