In the natural world there is strength, safety and security in numbers (Eccl 4:9-12; Prov 15:22). However God often has used a small minority, committed to Him, to bring about His purposes. In one battle the army under Gideon was reduced from 32,000 to just 300 men so it would be plainly obvious the Lord brought about the victory and men could not boast of their own achievements (Jdg 7:2-7). It is not by natural might or power but by the Lord’s Spirit that spiritual battles are won – provided we are doing all we should (Zech 4:6).
Working corporately, as a unified group with a common goal, has greater influence or effect than can individual efforts (Lev 26:8; Deut 32:30). As no one can always stand alone, do I co-operate with those of like mind in mutual support, accountability and encouragement to see God’s Kingdom advance?
Specific numbers often have symbolic or theological significance in the Bible, although caution must be exercised not to attach unwarranted meanings to them, viewing them as codes when used in certain combinations or patterns.
One conveys the uniqueness of God and of unity or singleness of purpose and action (Gen 2:20; Deut 6:4; Lk 10:42; Rom 5:12,15; Heb 7:27).
Two can be a figure of unity and companionship – the two tablets of stone, and the disciples sent out in pairs (Ex 31:18, 34:1; Mk 6:7). It can also can relate to division – “How long will you waiver between two opinions” (1 Kgs 18:21).
Three is associated with the Trinity, or the Godhead, and with some of their mighty acts (Ex 19:11; Jnh 1:17; Mt 28:19; 1 Cor 15:4).
Four is a symbol of completeness. The divine name Yahweh has four letters in Hebrew YHWH, four Gospels, four corners of the earth (Rev 7:1).
Five, Ten, and their multiples occur frequently. The 10 plagues in Egypt, the 10 commandments, the five wise and five foolish virgins (Ex 7:14-12:33, 20:2-17; Mt 25:2). The fraction 1/10 being the tithe (Gen 14:20).
Six is closely associated with ‘man’ who was created on the sixth day, and instructed to only work six days a week in labour (Gen 1:26-31; Ex 20:9).
Seven indicates completion, fulfillment and perfection. God rested on the 7th day and humans should too (Gen 2:2,3).
Twelve is linked with the elective purposes of God. Jacob had 12 sons that became the 12 tribes of Israel; Jesus had 12 specific disciples (Gen 35:22-26; Mt 10:1-5).
Forty is associated with God’s mighty acts and considered the length of separation or trial. It rained for 40 days at the flood, Moses spent 40 days up the mountain, the Israelites were 40 years in the desert, Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert (Gen 7:4; Ex 24:18; Deut 29:5; Mt 4:2).
Fifty was the year of Jubilee (Lev 25:10). The Feast of Pentecost was 50 days after the Passover and it was on this day the church was founded (Lev 23:15,16; Act 2:1ff).
Seventy is often connected with God’s administration of the world (Gen 46:27; Num 11:16; Jer 25:11).
Symbolising evil and total opposition to God, 666 is the number of the beast in the last days (Rev 13:18). However, all that which is not holy is finally destroyed, along with all who submit to the beast’s control.