When do signifcant numbers cross the line to numerology?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by KeithS, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. KeithS

    KeithS
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    In the Final Authority thread in BV/T the subject of numbers came up. A poster supported an argument by suggesting a significance in the number of occurances of some particlular words. Another poster called it mumbo-jumbo.

    I was saved in high school and went to a conservative Baptist church with a very good exository preaching pastor. Never taught numerology per se, but the subject of significant numbers did come up from time to time - such as 40 for completion, 7 for perfection, 6 for man, etc. My question: When does the significance of numbers cross the line to numerology (which I would consider errant unless it can be shown otherwise)?
     
  2. Pastor Larry

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    When a number is made to represent anything more than a number.
     
  3. KeithS

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    What about John in Revelation saying the number of man is 6?
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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    What about it? He is speaking of the identification of antichrist, a person.
     
  5. natters

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    I was the poster who called the other post "mumbo jumbo". [​IMG]

    In my opinion, if the Bible itself applies meaning to a number, fine. As well, I don't really see a big problem with finding general application (7 being "complete", etc.).

    But once you start to determine hidden meaning and significance, you have definitely crossed the line. Especially once you start counting words and letters in English or other languages that didn't exist at the time scripture was written. It's all arbitrary and guesswork, no rules, no verifications. You can find any meaning you want to find. Mumbo jumbo. And even if there was real meaning in such cases, it is technically occultic (the real meaning of "occult" is "hidden") to try and "divine" those meanings.
     
  6. KeithS

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    Pastor Larry,

    I guess I never really gave it a lot of thought before but you are right. In context the number is given of a person, not of people in general. So, is 6 the number of mankind? Is 3 the number of trinity? 7 perfection? Is 40 the number of completion?

    natters,

    I hope I did not offend you with the post - none was intended. I really did not pay attention in the other thread who posted what - it just got me to thinking. And I tend to agree with your statements. Obviously things can easily move toward "higher meanings". I don't buy the Bible Code stuff.

    My curiosity is regarding less explicitly defined examples such as those in the questions above? Is it a coincidence that Moses was on the mountain 40 days? What about Jesus after his baptism? Is there significance to the number 40? If not, why not 28 days?

    Is the number of God 3? Why? Because God is a trinity? Is 6 the number of mankind? If it is, why? Because man was created on day six? Is there a tie-in to the number of the beast (three sixes)? Does this also imply the beast (a man - 6 - is trying to be a god - 3 - by faulty means - 666)? Or is all of this an invention of early "Christian" mystics that has been carried over to the present day by well meaning teachers?

    Sorry if this is hard to follow. And I am not trying to create a hidden meaning or significance that does not exist. Just curious as to where others find the line is drawn and how they draw it.
     
  7. Marcia

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    I used to do some numerology before I was a Christian, and I think the bottom line is that we don't know why Moses was on the mountain for 40 days, or what 666 means. As a new believer, I used to hear people say that 40 meant something, 3 meant something else, and 7 was completion, etc., and I accepted it until I found out the Bible does not tell us what these numbers mean. I think unless God makes it clear in his word what a number means, we should not go too far afield trying to figure it out.

    Numerology, as Natters said, is seeking a hidden meaning that is not apparent. The Kabbalah uses numerology with the Old Testament, by giving a number equivalent to each letter of the Hebrew alphabet and then working out numbers for names of biblical characters, etc. (I think this is called gematria). This is how numerology is done today -- each letter has a number equivalent and meaning is read into the numbers. Dates are also reduced to numbers.

    It's fine to observe how often 40, 7, and 12 are repeated in the Bible, but I don't think there is hidden meaning that we are supposed to uncover. Some correlations seem obvious - like 12 tribes and 12 disciples. But that is not a hidden meaning. Observing these correlations is one thing, but trying to read a meaning into them is another. [​IMG]
     
  8. mioque

    mioque
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    Keith
    "Is there a tie-in to the number of the beast (three sixes)? Does this also imply the beast (a man - 6 - is trying to be a god - 3 - by faulty means - 666)? Or is all of this an invention of early "Christian" mystics that has been carried over to the present day by well meaning teachers?"
    "
    Call me oldfashioned, but I think those early "Christian" mystics where right when they came up with the notion that 666 referred to Nero Caesar.
     
  9. KeithS

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    So...generally speaking the consensus is that numbers only have a significance if the text gives them one under divine inspiration - similar to types in the OT and their anti-type in the NT.

    Although I have not done a thorough study of 666 it may be a unique case in that John very well could have been giving a code to refer to Nero...or not.
     
  10. Marcia

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    How did they come up with Nero being 666?
     
  11. KeithS

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    Marcia -

    Perhaps this is not what mioque was referring to, but as I recall if you convert 666 to Hebrew letters it spells out NeRON QeSR (or something similar). Some manuscripts of Revelation have 616 instead of 666. In that case if you drop the final nun in NeRON you have NeRO QeSR which adds to 616.

    So the obvious question is whether John was slyly implicating Nero for those with "wisdom" to interpret. They claim this would keep him safe from prosecution from Rome (although being boiled in oil and exiled to Patmos does not make it seem to me that Nero would be too concerned about niceties if he were convinced of John's guilt).

    Seems like a view that preterists would hold. I really don't know though. Others more versed in this view are certainly invited to correct me.
     
  12. Marcia

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    This sounds like NUMEROLOGY. I really don't think God gives us answers through numerology. Hebrew doesn't have vowels, so that messes this up anyway. It seems one can manipulate the name several ways to get the 666. And why convert Nero's name to Hebrew in the first place? :confused:

    I don't think we have a clue as to what the 666 means and we may not even know when it's in front of us (this is for those who think it's in the future) since we don't know what God means by this.
     
  13. Ed Edwards

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    ARITHMETIC - the science or art of computing
    byh positive, real numbers, specif, by adding,
    subtracting, muyltiplying, and dividing.

    Mathematics such as the Calculus, probiblaity,
    and set theory go beyond arithmetic.
    Most people who barely passed 8th grade "math"
    didn't understand when (if?) the teacher
    explained the difference between arithmetic
    and mathematics. Arithmetic is a subset of
    mathematics.

    IMHO the most evil of the current misuses of
    arithemetic and the Bible is the gematria
    (devination by Bible letter order) AKA:
    Bible code.
     
  14. mioque

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    Marcia
    "This sounds like NUMEROLOGY."
    "
    Ofcourse it does, it is.

    " I really don't think God gives us answers through numerology."
    "
    In this particular case it is spelled out in the text itself that there is a hidden meaning that can deciphered by those who have discernment. The problem with numerology is that random hidden meanings get read into texts where there is no hidden meaning. In this case there certainly is a hidden meaning

    "Hebrew doesn't have vowels, so that messes this up anyway."
    "
    Revelations is however in Greek.
     
  15. KeithS

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  16. KeithS

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    Here is an alternative view against Nero. Has a lot of background info and presents some decent arguments, but seems to lean toward the Papacy. Not so sure about that.

    http://www.bibleonly.org/proph/rev/666.html
     
  17. Marcia

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    Well, numerology is divination.

    I think God saying the number is 666 and you need wisdom to understand this does not in any way mean it is connected to numerology. I've heard that the 666 might be the opposite of the Trinity, and that's why it's the number of man, or humanity. I'm not necessarily agreeing with that. But that is not numerology.


    Yes, I know that [​IMG] , but look at the post where I asked how they came up with Nero being 666. KeithS said:
    Since he specifically said Hebrew letters, I responded with the answer above about the Hebrew alphabet. ;)
     
  18. Gregory Perry Sr.

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    :rolleyes: Well...I'm gonna apply a little "logic" to this whole subject without getting too technical(since 10th grade math was MY limit).
    Mathematics is a pretty "exacting" science and God is an "orderly"God so if He choses to do things in a mathematically "orderly" way it should come as no surprize since like everything else,He invented MATH TOO!I think that there may well be some significance to the recurring appearance of certain numbers like 3,6,7,40,etc,and lessons to be learned from each.BUT,the very miracles we see in the Bible such as the parting of the Red Sea,the sun standing still for a day,wine out of water.Jesus walking ON water...and many others PROVES that our Creator CAN and often DOES change the rules we understand that govern our existence.Why...He even violated the law of GRAVITY by bodily ascending into Heaven!
    Numbers in the Bible may have some hidden significance...but God is not bound to mathematical exactness so the study of this kind of stuff should not be made into a law of some sort or carried too far.JMO

    Greg Sr. :D [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  19. Gregory Perry Sr.

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    I guess I said all that to say this...God IS in CONTROL...so it is NOT POSSIBLE to bind Him by any set of rules or mathematical "formula" that the mind of man can invent or deduce.Just about the time man thinks he has it all figured out...God can and will do something to show him how dumb he really is...lol....JMO

    Greg Sr.
     
  20. mioque

    mioque
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    KeithS
    That last link of yours, didn't link 666 to the pope but to that notorious threat to early Christianity Gnosticism. I think that the explanation in the article is a bit to complex, but it's certainly a viable alternative.

    To a significant number of American baptists on this board.
    Many of you have no problem whatsoever believing the most convoluted constructions featuring multiple Biblebooks written centuries apart. It's amazing that folks who believe in things like the pre-trib rapture, or that the feet of a statue described by the prophet Daniƫl refer to the EU have difficulty believing something as simple as the notion that some numbers (like 3, 7 and 40) have a certain special significance, despite the fact that the same numbers show up again and again and again.
     

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