Summary: God’s use of numbers is intriguing and to understand them is to better understand His word. This message was developed after reading Dr. Rogers & Dr. Merritt and is very helpful for study.
Numbers is the Name of the Game
Revelation 1:4, 20
* Years ago schools embraced a simple form of education which was jokingly referred to as the 3 R’s of learning; reading, ‘riting, & ‘rithmetic. Remembering this reminds me of a story which my dad tells and declares to be the truth. In rural Marion County he had a friend who came over to play after breakfast one morning. The friend said, “Guess what I had for breakfast? It starts with an N.” When no one could guess he said, “It wasn’t a ‘napple or ‘norange it was a ‘negg.”
* Whether it goes by arithmetic, math, algebra, geometry, calculus, trig, or any other name, NUMBERS are foundational for our society. Numbers tells us much. Numbers describe our age, weight, BP, Cholesterol, triglycerides, and more. Have you ever considered where we would be without numbers? We’d be in chaos. READ TEXT.
* In our verses, repeatedly we read the number SEVEN. Seven is a Key number in the scripture. In fact, Dr. James Merritt suggests that Revelation can be divided into Seven Sevens;
Chapter 1- 3 - Churches
Chapter 4-7- Seals
Chapter 8-11- Trumpets
Chapter 12-14- Personages
Chapter 15-16- Bowls/Vials
Chapter 17-20- Judgments
Chapter 20-22- New Things
* These seven sevens are not by blind chance, but divine choice. God has a plan and numbers give us a backdrop or a frame of reference to see.
1. Practical Science of Numbers - God has written two books for mankind. One is the Bible and the other is “nature.” For years men have attempted to figure out & understand both books. In nature, the more tools we acquire the more we come to understand. Today we basically understand that the universe is driven by numbers. Whatever you study seems to have, in some form, numbers in it. Astronomy, chemistry, biology, botany, and more are loaded with the numbers of some kind. Just to be clear, man didn’t invent the numbers, we simply discovered them & are trying to learn the best way to use the numbers of nature. Numbers intimidate some people. A little boy couldn’t get his math so he seemed to stop trying. His teacher asked him, “Jimmy, if you have $21 in one pants pocket & $29 in the other pocket, what would you have?” Without thinking little Jimmy said, “Someone else’ pants on.
The message today is don’t be put off or put out by numbers because the Bible is replete with numbers. Jesus fed 5000, at Pentecost 3000 were saved, and the fourth book of the Bible is ‘Numbers.’ Both God’s word and God’s world are by the numbers, it’s fundamental.
2. Providential Symbolism of Numbers -
a. One - is the “Cardinal number” which signifies God. It speaks of Unity & Primacy. There is One God. Everything is divisible by ONE, it is the foundation of it all. (Deut. 6:4, Zech 14:9, Eph 4:4). While there exist many local church fellowships, there is one body, one spirit, and one God.
b. Two - is the number of “Witness & Confirmation”. John 8:17 says, “In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid.” The Bible has 2 ‘Testaments’ and the New is a confirmation of the Old. In the Old Testament there could be no capital punishment based on the testimony of one man, there had to be two. In our present day business meeting, there is a motion & a second. Jesus is the second person of the Holy Trinity, Luke tells us there were 2 angels at the tomb and 2 more at the ascension. On the Mount of Transfiguration there were two appearing with Jesus and, as we will see later in Revelation 11 there are 2 witnesses who testify and confirm that Almighty God is who He says He is. It is on the voice of these two that some power things happen.
c. Three - speaks of ‘deity, divinity, & trinity.’ Obviously this is seen in the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) as the three in one. Perhaps we do not understand it, but that does not make it reality. Most of us don’t understand the internal combustion engine but we still drive a car or electricity but we still use it. Think of the parts of God’s creation which have 3 parts; Time has past, present, & future. Space has height, width, & depth. The world has animal, mineral, & vegetable. A Person has mental, physical, & spiritual which is seen in his ‘mind, body, & soul.’ Even the enemy, the counterfeit of God is seen in the way. Sin manifests itself in word, thought, & deed. And we are tempted by the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are even told of the three sins which plague us; the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. However, never forget that the Holy Trinity is in control. (Matthew 28:19-20) Maybe this is why we sing like Isaiah, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”