Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance
by E.W. Bullinger
Philologos Religious Online Books
It has been already pointed out that ten is one of the perfect numbers, and signifies the perfection of Divine order, commencing, as it does, an altogether new series of numbers. The first decade is the representative of the whole numeral system, and originates the system of calculation called "decimals," because the whole system of numeration consists of so many tens, of which the first is a type of the whole.
Completeness of order, marking the entire round of anything, is, therefore, the ever-present signification of the number ten. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.
completed the antediluvian age in the tenth generation from God.
contain all that is necessary, and no more than is necessary, both as to their number and their order, while
is completed in ten clauses. *
* These clauses have the significance of their respective numbers:—
The first, God's sovereignty.
The second, Jehovah's manifested Name.
The third, the realization of God's kingdom.
The fourth first mentions the earth.
The fifth, the gift of grace supplying our need.
The sixth treats of man's sin.
The seventh pleads for spiritual guidance.
The eighth pleads for final deliverance from all evil.
The ninth sums up the divine glory (32), while
The tenth completes the eternal cycles.
represent the whole of what was due from man to God, as marking and recognisiing God's claim on the whole.
was ten gerahs, and thus was acknowledged both what God claimed, and what man was responsible to give. Now ten gerahs was half a shekel (Exo 30:12-16; Num 3:47). Every male that was numbered, over 20 years of age, must pay this sum and meet God's claim. *
* When David numbered the people (2 Sam 24 and 1 Chron 21), this payment was not made and God's claim was not met. Hence the judgment which followed.
But the first-born were to pay ten times as much; for when God took the Levites instead of the first-born of Israel, there were found 22,273 first-born males, but only 22,000 Levites. So that 273 had to pay the ransom money, which amounted to ten times ten gerahs. Thus, though the five shekels looked like a variation, the significance of ten is sustained, for the five shekels were ten times the "half shekel." (See Numbers 3:12,13,40-51).
were representative of the complete circle of God's judgments on Egypt. Exodus 9:14, "I will...send all my plagues."
is comprised in the ten kingdoms, symbolized by the ten toes on the feet of the image of Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Dan 2:41), and by the ten horns of the fourth beast of Daniel's vision (Dan 7:7,20,24, etc.; Rev 12:3, 13:1, 17:3,7,12).
imply the whole of the nations which are to be the scene of Abraham's covenant possessions (Gen 15:19).
was proved by a completed cycle of ten trials:—
of Israel in the wilderness (Num 14:22) mark the completed series of Israel's perversities.
which formed the foundation of the Tabernacle were 10 x 10 (Exo 38:27). These were made of silver, and silver is significant of redemption (1 Peter 1:18,19). *
* Ten also completed the number of the curtains (Exo 26:1).
ten times, six of which were in judgment:—
- Genesis 19:24, on Sodom.
- Leviticus 9:24, on the first offerings.
- Leviticus 10:2, on Nadab and Abihu.
- Numbers 11:1, on the murmurers at Taberah.
- Numbers 16:35, on Korah and his company.
- 1 Kings 18:38, on Elijah's offering at Carmel.
- 2 Kings 1:10, on Elijah's enemies.
- 2 Kings 1:12, on Elijah's enemies.
- 1 Chronicles 21:26, on David's sacrifice.
- 2 Chronicles 7:1, on Solomon's sacrifice.
- Leviticus 9:24, when the fire from heaven consumed the first sacrifices.
- Joshua 6:20, at the taking of Jericho.
- 1 Samuel 4:5, when the Ark was brought into the camp.
- 1 Samuel 10:24, when Saul was chosen king.
- 1 Samuel 17:20, when Israel went to fight the Philistines.
- 1 Samuel 17:52, when pursuing them.
- 2 Samuel 6:15 (1 Chron 15:28), when the Ark was brought back from the house of Obed-edom.
- 2 Chronicles 13:15, when God smote Jeroboam before Abijah.
- 2 Chronicles 15:14, when Asa and the people heard Oded's prophecy.
- Ezra 3:11, when the foundation of the second Temple was laid.
represent the whole of the nation of Israel (as distinct from the elect remnant, which is the Bride); * while the five denotes those who by grace will be able to say, "This is our God, we have waited for Him."
* The popular interpretation of this parable cannot be the correct one, for we cannot, in one parable, take two totally different classes of persons as representing one and the same person. It is impossible to take the Church as represented by both the Ten Virgins and the Bride! If the Church is the Bride, then it cannot be the Virgins. If the Church is represented by the Ten Virgins, then it cannot be the Bride. The only escape from the dilemma is not to read into the Gospel of Matthew that which was the subject of a subsequent revelation (Rom 16:25,26; Eph 3:1-11; Col 1:26,27); but to interpret Matthew by what was already the subject of previous revelation in the Old Testament about the Bride.
are completed in a series of ten:—
- Genesis 3:14, 15, on the serpent.
- Genesis 3:17, the ground.
- Genesis 4:11, Cain.
- Genesis 9:25, Cainan.
- Joshua 6:17, Jericho.
- Joshua 6:28, Achan, Joshua 7:12, Achan.
- Joshua 9:23, Gibeonites.
- Judges 9:57, Shechemites.
- 1 Kings 16:34, Hiel the Bethelite.
- Mark 11:21, The Fig-tree.
Ten * persons complete the series of those who uttered this confession, and acknowledged their desert of divine judgment:—
* Of these ten, six were individual (the number of man), while four were on behalf of the nation—"We."
is spoken of ten times as the "Tabernacle of Witness," or "Tabernacle of Testimony." Of these, five are Nk@#:$mi mish-kahn, Exodus 38:21; Numbers 1:50,53 (twice), 10:11. This has special reference to the Tabernacle as the dwelling-place of God, from Nka#$af shahcan, "to dwell." Mish-kahn means the dwelling-place of God (Exo 25:8), and is therefore never used by the Holy Spirit of "whole congregation."
The other five are lhe)& oh-el, Numbers 17:7,8,10, 18:2; 2 Chronicles 24:6. Oh-el means simply a tent, and has special reference to the meeting-place of the people by appointment or at appointed seasons. This is the word which is used by the Holy Spirit of the "tent of the congregation."
complete the cycle of the Divine description of His Word. One or other of these ten words occurs in every verse (except 122), viz., Way, Testimony, Precepts, Commandments, Laying, Law, Judgment, Righteousness, Statutes, Word. These, the Massorah says, "correspond to the Ten Commandments."
completed and represented the whole existence of the family or nation. In Deuteronomy 23:3 we read that "an Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever." The reason is given in verses 4 and 5. See also Nehemiah 13:1.
are ten in number in the Gospel of Matthew. Seven in chapter 13, and three in chapters 22 and 25.
the kingdom of God are enumerated in ten particulars (1 Cor 6:9,10).
is set forth in a ten-fold enumeration, which completes the whole cycle of assurance to all who are "in Christ," Romans 8:38,39. They are given in two fives:— "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers; nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature."
- "I am the Bread of Life" (6:35).
- "I am the Bread of Life which came down from heaven" (6:41).
- "I am the Living Bread" (6:51).
- "I am the Light of the world" (8:12).
- "I am One that bear witness of Myself" (8:18).
- "I am the Door of the sheep" (10:7,9).
- "I am the Good Shepherd" (10:14).
- "I am the Resurrection and the Life" (14:6).
- "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (14:6).
- "I am the True Vine" (15:1,5).
Ten completes the perfect cycle of the repeated Names. Moreover we shall note that these are divided significantly. Of these ten, seven are spoken directly to individual human beings, while three are spoken by the Lord in different connections. Of these seven, four are in the Old Testament, and three are in the New Testament.
- Abraham, Abraham, Genesis 22:11.
- Jacob, Jacob, Genesis 46:2.
- Moses, Moses, Exodus 3:4.
- Samuel, Samuel, 1 Samuel 3:10.
- Martha, Martha, Luke 10:41.
- Simon, Simon, Luke 22:31.
- Saul, Saul, Acts 9:4.
- Lord, Lord, Matthew 7:21,22, 25:11; Luke 6:46; 13:25.
- Eloi, Eloi, Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46; Psa 22:1.
- Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34.
among these may be mentioned:—
- rz (zair), the crown of the Ark of the Covenant.
- rwyk (keeyor), Laver, ten times in Exodus and Leviticus with regard to the Tabernacle; and ten times in Kings and Chronicles with regard to the Temple.
- Nk (kain), the foot or base of the laver.
- agiasmoV (hagiasmos), holiness.
- agion (hagion), holy (7 of these are in the plural for the Holy of Holies).
- dikaiwma (dikaioma), righteous requirement.
- pantokratwr (pantokrator), Almighty, used only of God (9 times in Revelation).
- katabolh kosmou (katabolee kosmou), the foundation of the world. (See pp. 120 and 190.)
- legei kuriou (legei kuriou), saith the Lord (omitting Heb 10:30 with RV, T., Tr., W. & H., and RV).
calls attention to the fact that there are:—
- Ten different words used for Idols.
- Ten for Prophet, viz., Ambassador, Faithful, Servant, Messenger, Seer, Watchman, Seer of Vision, Dreamer, Prophet, Man of God (Avoth, ch. 34).
- Ten designations are applied to the Word of God, viz., Scripture, Proverb, Interpretation, Dark Saying, Oracle, Utterance, Decree, Burden, Prophecy, Vision.
- Ten different words for Joy.
- Ten generations from Adam to Noah; and
- Ten from Noah to Abraham.
- Abraham was tried with ten trials. See page 244.
The observance of ten passovers are recorded:—
- In Egypt, Exo 12.
- In the wilderness, Num 9:5.
- Plains of Jericho, Josh 5:10.
- Hezekiah's, 2 Chron 30:1.
- Josiah's, 2 Chron 35:1.
- Ezra's, Ezra 6:19.
- When our Lord was twelve years of age, Luke 2:41.
- John 2:13.
- John 6:4.
- Matt 26:2.
Ten deaths occasioned by women:—
- Sisera, Judg 4:21.
- Abimelech, Judg 9:52, 53; 2 Sam 11:21.
- Sheba, 2 Sam 20:1, 21, 22.
- The harlot's child, 1 Kings 3:19.
- The prophets of the land, 1 Kings 18:4.
- Naboth, 1 Kings 21:9, 10.
- The son boiled by his mother, 2 Kings 6:29.
- The seed royal, 2 Kings 11:1.
- Haman's ten sons, Esth 9:13, 14.
- John the Baptist, Matt 14:8.
Ten instances in the Old Testament of younger sons being preferred before the elder:—Abel, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Joseph, Ephraim, Moses, David.