Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance
by E.W. Bullinger
Religious Online Books
ITS SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE
We come now to the great number of spiritual perfection. A number which, therefore, occupies so large a place in the works, and especially in the Word of God as being inspired by the Holy Spirit.
In the first part of this book we have enlarged somewhat on the importance of this number in Nature and in Grace, so that we need not here repeat many of the interesting facts already given.
As a number the actual word and number "SEVEN" is used as no other number is. Seven and its compounds occur in multiples of seven in the Old Testament.
Seven occurs 287 times, or 7 x 41.
"Seventh," the fractional part, occurs 98 times, or 7 x 14.
"Seven-fold," occurs 7 times.
The above three numbers together are of course a multiple of seven, but a very remarkable one, 287 + 98 + 7 = 392, and 392 is 72 + 73, or 8 times the square of seven (72x8).
Then again seven, in combination with other numbers, is remarkable, such as fifty and seven, a hundred and seven, etc. There are 112 of these combinations, or 7 x 16.
"Seventy" occurs 56 times, or 7 x 8.
"Seventy," in combination with other numbers, occurs 35 times, or 7 x 5.
It is, however, when we come to consider its significance that the true glories of its spiritual perfection are revealed.
We have just seen that six is the number which is stamped upon all things human, as being emphatically the number of man. Let us first observe the use of the two numbers.
as combining and contrasting what is human and what is spiritual.
A remarkable illustration of this is seen in
- In Matthew God says to us, "Behold thy King" (Zech 9:9).
- In Mark He says, "Behold My Servant" (Isa 40:1).
- In Luke He says, "Behold the Man" (Zech 6:12).
- In John He says, "Behold your God" (Isa 40:9).
Now a servant need not produce his genealogy; neither can God have one. It is a King who must have one, and a Man who should have one. Therefore it is that we have two genealogies, and not more than two. And that is why we have one in Matthew giving the Royal genealogy of Jesus as King; and one in Luke giving the Human genealogy of Jesus as Man. Hence also it is that Matthew's is a descending genealogy, while Luke's is an ascending one. For kings must trace their descent, all power in the world being derived from God, who says, "By Me kings reign": and man must trace his ascent to some particular ancestor. Matthew's, therefore, begins with Abraham, and comes down to Joseph, the son of Heli; while Luke's starts from Joseph, and goes up to Adam and God.
As far as David both the lists agree. But here an important divergence takes place. In Matthew, after David, we have his son Solomon; while in Luke we have another son, Solomon's elder brother, Nathan. From this point, therefore, we have two lines. One (Matthew) gives the royal and legal line through Solomon; the other (Luke) gives the natural and lineal line through Nathan. The former is the line according to legal succession; the latter is the line according to natural descent. The former was the result of the will of God in choosing Solomon, a younger son; while the latter was the result of the will of man, and in the order of human birth. Both lines meet in Joseph, the son of Jacob by birth, and the son of Heli by marriage with Mary, Heli's only daughter.* Thus the two lines are united and exhausted in Jesus Christ; for by His death they both became extinct, and thus He was the King of Israel by right; became, and was declared to be, the Son of God by resurrection from the dead (Rom 1:4; Psa 2:7; Acts 13:33 and Heb 1:5, 5:5).
Now the wonderful fact is that we have in the genealogy of Luke 3 exactly 77 names, with GOD at the one end, and JESUS at the other. This is indeed stamping it with the number of spiritual perfection.
* This is supported by the true reading of Luke 3:23, which, according to Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, Westcott and Hort, and the RV, should read, "Jesus when He began to teach was about thirty years of age, being the son, as was supposed, of Joseph, the son of Heli." The verb nouizw (nomizo) means to lay down a thing as law, to hold by custom, or usage, to own as a custom, to take for granted. Here it refers not to any supposition as to Jesus being Joseph's son, but to the legal sanction and customary practice which reckoned Joseph as Heli's son through marriage with his daughter Mary. See Ruth 1:11-13, where Ruth by marriage with Naomi's son was called her daughter; Nehemiah 7:63, where Hakkoz by marriage with Barzillai's daughter was "called after their name"; and Numbers 36, where the daughters of Zelophehad, by Divine counsel, "were married to their father's brothers' sons...and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father" (vv 11,12). This is exactly what took place with Mary, who, according to the Jerusalem Talmud (Chag. 77,4), is called the daughter of Heli, and by her marriage with Joseph, who was the real son of Jacob, caused Joseph to be called, according to custom (nomizw), the son, or rather son-in-law, of Heli.
On the other hand, although the genealogy in Matthew is artificially constructed (according to a recognised custom amongst the Jews, instances of which we have in the Old Testament), it is so arranged that it contains 42 generations, or SIX sevens (6x7).
These 42 generations contain—
|Forty-one* names that are named in Matt 1||41|
|Four which are omitted*||4|
|If we add the twenty-one names before Abraham (from Luke 3)||21|
|We have in the royal line through Solomon||66|
So that while Jesus is the 77th name in the line which comes through Nathan, it is the 66th name in the line which comes through Solomon.
* There are only 41 names:—Jechonias being given at the end of the second list, and repeated at the beginning of the third. There are three divisions (the stamp of Divine perfection), with 14 names in the first, 14 names in the second, but with 13 names in the third. For the significance of this, see under the number thirteen, marking Jesus as the Saviour who was made sin for His people.
These three divisions are in themselves remarkable. The first ends with the happy condition of the people under David; the second with ruin; the third with the Saviour.
The first begins with Abraham, the recipient of the unconditional covenant of the Land (Gen 15), and ends with David, the recipient of the unconditional covenant of the Throne (2 Sam 7). The second begins with Solomon, and ends with the Captivity; i.e., with the building of the Temple at the one end, and the destruction of it at the other. The third begins with the Captivity, the promise of the Messiah through Daniel (chap. 9), and ends with His birth in the person of Jesus.
** The four names omitted are the three immediate successors of Jehoram, between Jehoram and Uzziah.
- Ahaziah, or Jehoahaz, 2 Kings 8:29-10:27; 2 Chron 22:39.
- Joash, 2 Kings 11:2-12:20; 2 Chron 24:1-25.
- Amaziah (or Ahimaaz), 2 Kings 14:8-20; 2 Chron 25:7-27. And one between Josiah and Jeconiah, viz.—
- Jehoiakim, 2 Kings 23:36-24:6; 2 Chron 36:5-8. It was he who cut to pieces and burnt the roll which contained the words of Jehovah (Jer 36:23). The Talmud says that the reason why his name is not mentioned generally in the genealogies is because it was said concerning him (2 Chron 36:8), "And the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and the abominations which he did, and that which was found ON HIM." Rabbi Jochanan says it means that "he caused an image to be engraved on his body." He was "Childless" as to the throne; for though he had seven sons (1 Chron 3:17,18), it was his grandson Zerubbabel who became ruler over Israel (2 Kings 25:29,30).
When we remember that six is the human number, and seven the Divine, can we doubt that we are thus pointed to the fact that Jesus was both Son of God and Son of Man?
His two names have the same significant stamp and seal: for 'IhsouV, JESUS, the birth name of His humiliation as Man, is composed of six letters; while CristoV, Christ, His Divine title as the Anointed of God, is composed of seven letters.
On carefully comparing the two genealogies again, we find that certain names are common to both lines. Of these there are exactly 36, or 6 x 6, i.e., the square of 6 (62).
|The names to David*||34 names|
|Salathiel and Zerubbabel||2 names|
Here we have a marvelous interlacing and combination of the numbers six and seven, which serve to stamp both genealogies with the Spirit's seal, and to set forth the human and Divine natures of Jesus our Lord, as perfect Man and perfect God.
* The names actually named as common to both are 16 (42); viz., from Abraham to David are 14; Zerubbabel and Salathiel, 2.
Matthew and Luke
Names in common
|Aram (or Ram)|
|[Ahaziah or Jehoahaz]||Joseph|
|Ozias (or Uzziah)||Levi|
|Achaz (or Ahaz)||Jorim|
|Ezekias (or Hezekiah)||Eliezer|
Salathiel or Shealtiel
(the real son of Jechonias,
the legal son of Neri)
(the real son of Pedaiah,
1 Chron 3:19,
the legal son of Salathiel,
JOSEPH (the real
son of Jacob)
JOSEPH (the legal
son of Heli)*
Joseph was the husband of Mary, "of whom was born Jesus which is called Christ" (Matt 1:16). That is to say, Joseph, who was the real son of Jacob (for it says "Jacob BEGAT Joseph," Matt 1:16), could become the legal son of Heli only by his marriage with Heli's daughter Mary. Hence it does not say, in Luke 3:23, that Heli begat Joseph, but that he was "the son of Heli." The words, "the son," it will be observed, are in italics, and being thus a wider expression, denotes that he was legally the son-in-law of Heli, by his marriage with Mary, Heli's real daughter.
* See note, pp. 159, 160.
While Jesus, therefore, was the real son of Mary, He could be reckoned as the legal son of Joseph, and was descended from Nathan through Heli, as well as from Solomon through Jacob.
The number six is further associated with Christ as the Son of Man, in that His birth was announced in the sixth month (Luke 1:26): and the sixth hour is specially marked at His crucifixion (Matt 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44).
Beni-ha-Elohim, "sons of God," occurs six times:—
- Genesis 6:2
- Job 2:6
- Job 38:7
- Psalm 29:1
- Psalm 89:6
- Daniel 3:25
Beni-El-hai, "sons of the living God," once:—
- Hosea 1:10
Seven times in all, but not seven exactly alike. There are six in one form (used of angels), and one in another (used of men), to mark the fact that the sons of God, whether angels or men, fell from the spiritual perfection of their original position.
This interesting illustration is not the only example of the contrasts presented between these two numbers, six and seven. Mr. Samuell* instances others:—
* Seven the Sacred Number, by Richard Samuell, p. 438.
The two names Shem and Japheth, who received their father's blessing, occur together seven times; but six of these are in connection with Ham whose posterity was cursed!
is given in six items (Num 11:5), viz., fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlick; whereas the enumeration of the Divine provision of Emmanuel's land is marked by the number seven (Deut 8:8),—wheat, barley, vines, fig-trees, pomegranates, olives, and honey.
are represented as giving to her six things (Hosea 2:5),—bread, water, wool, flax, oil, and drink; while Jehovah speaks of His own precious gifts of love to His people by contrast as being seven in number (vv 8,9),—corn, wine, oil, silver, gold, wool, and flax.
In the Creation we have the six days and the seven. The six of labour and the seventh of rest.
2 Kings 18:32: Rabshakeh, in describing the land to which he would take the people captive, enumerated six things; but as he mentions them as being like their own land, there are seven as well:
|"A land like your own land,||7|
|a land of corn||6|
|a land of bread|
|a land of oil olive|
|and of honey."|
Psalm 8:6-8: Six sets forth the perfection of human authority, and seven marks the fact that the six defined particulars were of Divine gift:
|"Thou hast put all things under his feet:||7|
|yea, and the beasts of the field;|
|the fowl of the air,|
|and the fish of the sea,|
|and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas."|
Isaiah 11:2: Six here marking that Christ would be perfect man, and seven that He was perfect God; the first statement being marked off from the rest by its form:—
|"The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,||7|
|the Spirit of wisdom||6|
|the Spirit of counsel|
|the Spirit of knowledge|
|and of the fear of the LORD."|
Joel 2:28, 29: The "all flesh" is the Divine inclusion; but six particulars mark the definition. It need hardly be added that this blessing refers (by interpretation) only to the house of Israel.
|"I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh|
|and your sons||6|
|and your daughters shall prophesy,|
|your old men shall dream dreams,|
|your young men shall see visions;|
|and also upon the servants,|
|and upon the handmaids, will I pour out My spirit."|
Romans 9:4: The one defining who they were by Divine calling and standing, the six setting forth what pertained to them as men, thus called and blessed:—
|"Who are Israelites;||7|
|To whom pertaineth the adoption,||6|
|and the glory,|
|and the covenants,|
|and the giving of the law,|
|and the service [of God],|
|and the promises|
had six branches out of one central stem, making seven in all, marking, and in harmony with, the fact, that the light was the light of God's people in the world, but that its source was Divine.
In Ephesians 6:14-18, the Christian's panoply consists of six pieces; but there is a seventh without which they are of no avail, and that is "the Spear," which is Prayer:—
- The Girdle of Truth, John 14:6, 17:17.
- The Breastplate of Righteousness, Jer 23:6; Phil 3:9.
- The Sandals of the Gospel, Eph 2:10.
- The Shield of Faith (i.e., Faith's shield, which is Christ), Gen 17:1; Rom 13:14; Psa 91:4.
- The Sword of the Spirit (i.e., the Spirit's sword, which is the Word of God), Rev 19:13.
- Prayer—which keeps the armour bright and enables us to use it effectually.
In Ezekiel 40 the measurements of God's Temple are given, which is yet to be erected in His land. The measuring rod used by "the man" was "six great cubits" in length (41:8). But the great cubit was one cubit and a hand-breadth long (40:5, RV); therefore as six hand-breadths went to one cubit, there were really seven ordinary cubits in "the full reed of six great cubits."
Thus whenever six and seven are used together the difference between their respective significations is most marked.
But now turning to the number Seven, we must first consider the meaning of the word.
In the Hebrew, seven is (ba#$e (shevah). It is from the root (ba#$&af (savah), to be full or satisfied, have enough of. Hence the meaning of the word "seven" is dominated by this root, for on the seventh day God rested from the work of Creation. It was full and complete, and good and perfect. Nothing could be added to it or taken from it without marring it. Hence the word tba#$af (Shavath), to cease, desist, rest, and tb@af#$a Shabbath, Sabbath, or day of rest. This root runs through various languages; e.g., Sanscrit, saptan; Zend., hapta; Greek, epta (hepta); Latin, septem. All these preserve the "t," which in the Semitic and Teutonic languages is dropped out; e.g. Gothic, sibun; Germ., sieben; Eng., seven.
It is seven, therefore, that stamps with perfection and completeness that in connection with which it is used. Of time, it tells of the Sabbath, and marks off the week of seven days, which, artificial as it may seem to be, is universal and immemorial in its observance amongst all nations and in all times. It tells of that eternal Sabbath-keeping which remains for the people of God in all its everlasting perfection.
In the creative works of God, seven completes the colours of the spectrum and rainbow, and satisfies in music the notes of the scale. In each of these the eighth is only a repetition of the first.
Another meaning of the root (ba#$af (Shavagh) is to swear, or make an oath. It is clear from its first occurrence in Genesis 21:31, "They sware both of them," that this oath was based upon the "seven ewe lambs" (vv 28,29,30), which point to the idea of satisfaction or fulness in an oath. It was the security, satisfaction, and fulness of the obligation, or completeness of the bond, which caused the same word to be used for both the number seven and an oath; and hence it is written, "an oath for confirmation is an end of all strife." Beer-sheba, the well of the oath, is the standing witness of the spiritual perfection of the number seven. The number meets us on
The first statement as to the original Creation in Genesis 1:1 consists of 7 words, and 28 letters (4x7).*
* But we ought to note in passing that the next statement, Genesis 1:2, which tells of the ruin into which this Creation fell, though it consists of 14 words, yet it has 52 letters. Now 52 is 4 times 13, and 13, as we shall see further on, is the number of apostasy. Thus the cause of that ruin is more than intimated by the number 13 appearing so significantly in the second verse.
are pure words. They are not angelic words (2 Cor 12:4; 1 Cor 13:1), not words pertaining to heaven; but words used by men on this earth, human words, and therefore they have to be perfectly purified, as silver is purified in a furnace. In Psalm 12:6, there is an ellipsis which requires the word "words" to be repeated from the previous clause. Then we can take the preposition l, (Lamed), which means "to," in its natural sense. The AV translates it of ("a furnace of earth"); and the RV renders it on ("a furnace on the earth"). Both are wrong through not seeing and supplying the ellipsis which would have enabled them to translate the l to, or pertaining to, literally. Thus:—
Here we have the four lines complete, in which "a" corresponds to "a," the subject being the words of Jehovah. While in "b" and "b" we have the purifying: in "b" of silver, and in "b" of the earthly words which Jehovah uses.
a. The words of Jehovah are pure words,b. As silver tried in a furnace:a. [Words] pertaining to the earth,
b. Purified seven times.
Jehovah takes up and uses words "pertaining to this world," but they require purifying. Some words He does not use at all; some He uses with a higher meaning; others He uses with a new meaning: thus they are purified. Now, silver is refined "seven times." So these words have to be perfectly purified before they can be used as "the words of Jehovah."
in Genesis 12:2, 3:—
"I will make of thee a great nation,With this we may compare
And I will bless thee,
And make thy name great;
And thou shalt be a blessing;
And I will bless them that bless thee,
And curse him that curseth thee:
And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
in Exodus 6:6-8. Seven times does the expression, "I will" occur in these few verses, stamping the whole with spiritual perfection. These are preceded by "I have" three times repeated (vv 4,5), giving the Divine basis on which the blessing was based:—
I have established My covenant with them, etc.Then follows the seven-fold blessing:—
I have also heard their groaning, etc.
I have remembered My covenant.
I will bring you out from Egypt.
I will rid you of their bondage.
I will redeem you.
I will take you to Me for a people.
I will be to you a God.
I will bring you in unto the land.
I will give it you.
(Num 13:22). Egypt was "the house of bondage." Zoan was that city in it where its wise men were shown to be fools (Isa 19:11-13). It was also the place where God's miracles were performed which brought out the folly of that human wisdom (Psa 78:12,43).
But Hebron, which means fellowship, was a place in Canaan, the city of Abraham, "the friend of God," still called today the city of El Khulil, "of the Friend." In its valley, Eschol, grew the finest fruit of Emmanuel's land.
"Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt." This phrase, thrown in parenthetically, at the moment when His people first discovered the existence of Hebron, contains the intimation of a deep spiritual truth, as shown by the significance of the number seven.
It shows that the sphere of Divine friendship and fellowship and of heavenly delights was established in eternity, seven years marking the spiritual perfection of time, before the wisdom of this world had any existence or place. (See Psa 90:2, 103:17; Prov 8:22-31; Micah 5:2; John 17:5-24; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 1:4-3:11; 2 Tim 1:9: Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:19,20).
implies that it was perfectly and spiritually efficacious.
On the great Day of Atonement the blood was sprinkled "ON the mercy-seat eastward." This was Godward, and therefore it was once done and on the mercy-seat. But "BEFORE the mercy-seat" it was to be sprinkled seven times. Before* the mercy-seat seven times, because this was the perfect testimony for the people that the atonement for their sins was accomplished.
The directions for the Day of Atonement are given in Leviticus 16; but from other Scriptures we learn that there were seven sprinklings on that great day, to mark the perfection of accomplished atonement:—
* It was "directly before the Tabernacle" that the blood of the red heifer was sprinkled seven times, Numbers 19:4. The leper also was cleansed in the same place with a seven-fold sprinkling of the blood of the killed bird (Lev 14:7,11).
- On the mercy-seat (Lev 16:14).
- Before the mercy-seat (Lev 16:14).
- Before the veil (Lev 4:17).
- On the horns of the golden altar (Exo 30:10).
- On the horns of the brazen altar (Lev 16:18).
- Round about upon the altar (Lev 16:19).
- The blood that was left poured out at the foot of the brazen altar (Lev 4:18).
are in many ways stamped with this number of spiritual perfection.
There are 126 Psalms which have titles. That is 7 x 18.
There are seven names mentioned in the titles as the authors of these Psalms, viz.:—
- David, 56 (7x8).
- The Sons of Korah, 11 (Psa 42, 44-49, 84, 85, 87, 88).
- Asaph, 12 (Psa 50, 73-83).
- Heman the Ezrahite, 1 (Psa 88).
- Ethan the Ezrahite, 1 (Psa 89).
- Moses, 1 (Psa 90).
- Solomon, 1 (Psa 72).
There were 14 Psalms (2x7), all David's, which were written on historical occasions; viz., Psalm 3, 7, 18, 30, 34, 51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 60, 63, and 142.
specifically, by name:—:
- Psalm 2 in Acts 4:25, "Who by the mouth of Thy servant DAVID hast said, Why did the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing."
- Psalm 16 in Acts 2:25, "For DAVID speaketh concerning Him, I foresaw the LORD always before my face, for He is on my right hand that I should not be moved."
- Psalm 32 in Romans 4:6, "Even as DAVID also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works."
- Psalm 41 in Acts 1:16, "This Scripture must needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of DAVID spake before concerning Judas."
- Psalm 69 in Romans 11:9, "And DAVID saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling-block, and a recompence unto them."
- Psalm 95 in Hebrews 4:7, "He limiteth a certain day, saying in DAVID, Today, after so long a time, as it is said, Today if ye will hear His voice."
- Psalm 109 in Matthew 22:43, "How then doth DAVID in spirit call him Lord, saying, The LORD said unto my Lord," etc.
It will be observed that these seven quotations are arranged like the golden candlestick, in 2 threes with one in the centre, viz.:—
3 in the ActsOr, like the candlestick—
1 in the Gospels, and
3 in the Epistles;
|Acts 1:16 -----||¦||----- Rom 4:6|
|Acts 2:25 --------||¦||-------- Rom 11:9|
|Acts 4:25 -----------||¦||------------ Heb 4:7|
show that this Psalm is one of great importance, and mark its spiritual perfection, in connection with the Lord Jesus.
- Verse 4. The Lord Himself quotes this when the Eleven are gathered round Him just after the institution of the Supper, after telling them to expect the hatred of the world, because He had chosen them out of it. John 15:18-25.
- Verse 9. Again, concerning the Lord, His disciples remembered that it was written. John 2:13-17.
- Verse 9. The Holy Spirit uses it to hold up Christ as a pattern, even as Christ pleased not Himself. Romans 15:3.
- Verse 21. At the crucifixion this was fulfilled. Matthew 27:34, 48.
- Verses 22 and 23. The Holy Spirit, referring to the fact that Israel had not obtained that which it sought for, but only the elect remnant, the rest being blinded, says Romans 11:7-10.
- Verses 24 and 27. Referring to the persecution of Christians by the Jews, the Holy Spirit says 1 Thessalonians 2:15, 16.
- Verses 25 and 27. The Lord, in His last denunciation, closing His testimony against Jerusalem, says Matthew 23:29-38.
This seven is divided into the usual four and three; four of the quotations being in the Gospels, and three being in the Epistles. Further, they occur in the first and last of the Gospels, and in the first and last of the Epistles written to Churches. Thus they are stamped by the number of spiritual perfection.
|In Matthew 2||4 in the Gospels||7|
|In John 2|
|In Romans 2||3 in the Epistles|
|In Thessalonians 1|
There are seven so-called in the Old Testament:—
- Moses, Deut 33:1, and 5 other times.
- David, 2 Chron 8:14, and twice.
- Samuel, 1 Sam 9:6, and 3 times.
- Shemaiah, 1 Kings 12:22, and once (2 Chron 11:2).
- Elijah, 7 times.
- Elisha, 2 Kings 4:7, and 29 times.
- Igdaliah, once, Jer 35:4.
One in the New Testament on Resurrection ground (Timothy), making eight altogether.
used by God as instruments of deliverance, marking and stamping the spiritual perfection of His work:—
- A left handed man (3:21),—Ehud delivering from Moab's oppression.
- An ox-goad (3:31) in the hand of Shamgar, delivering from the Philistines.
- A woman (4:4), and
- A tent-peg in the hand of Jael (4:21) [delivering from Jabin, king of Canaan].
- A piece of a millstone (9:53), thrown by another woman, and delivering the people from Abimelech's usurpation.
- The pitchers and trumpets of Gideon's 300 (7:20), delivering from the hosts of Midian.
- The jaw-bone of an ass (15:16), by which Samson delivered Israel from the Philistines.
So in later times, whenever God has "done wondrously," He has chosen "the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (1 Cor 1:27). It was so in Apostolic days, and has been so in all ages. It was Luther, a miner's son, by whom God "shook the world." It was Calvin, a cooper's son in Picardy, by whom God built up His church in the Faith. It was Zwingle, a shepherd's son in the Alps, by whom God established the Reformation in Switzerland. It was John Knox, the son of a plain burgess in a country town, who caused Scotland to be known as "the Land of Knox."
And so through all the ages God has made it clear that it is He who is the worker, and that the instruments He chooses to use are nothing. He usually rejected man's firstborn, and chose a younger son. He took David, the youngest, from the sheepfold, to be ruler over His people, as He had chosen Gideon, the least member of the poorest family in Manasseh, to deliver Israel from the Midianite hosts.
This is seen in Gideon, Judges 6.
- Conviction as to his own humiliating condition, verse 11, as shown in verse 15.
- An exercised heart, verse 13, as caused probably by the prophet's testimony, verse 8.
- No confidence in the flesh, verse 15.
- Peace with God through grace; the peace of God through gift, verses 17, 18, 22, 23.
- Worship, verse 24.
- Obedience in small things, verses 25-27.
- Power for great things, verses 33-35 and chapter 7.
are mentioned in the Old Testament; the seven being divided into four and three—the first three being connected with burial.
- Genesis 35:4. Jacob buried teraphim.
- Genesis 35:8. Rachel's nurse.
- 2 Samuel 31:13. At Jabesh Saul and his sons buried.
- Joshua 24:26. Joshua set up the stones of witness.
- 2 Samuel 18:9. Absalom's oak.
- Judges 6:11. At Ophrah, where the angel appeared.
- 1 Kings 13:14. Where the man of God sat.
passed before Samuel (1 Sam 16) to show that the perfection of nature can yield nothing for God.
- 2. The water turned into wine.
- 4:47. The nobleman's son.
- 5:4. At the pool of Bethesda.
- 6. The feeding of the 5,000.
- 9:1. The man born blind.
- 11. The raising of Lazarus.
- 21. The draught of fishes.
These formed the spiritual perfection of the "signs" that Jesus was the Christ.
in John 4 are full of interest, and the perfection of Christ's dealings with her is thus stamped.
- 4:7. Attracting her attention by His question, "Give Me to drink?"
- 4:10. Leading her to ask it of Him.
- 4:13,14. Describing the water which He gives.
- 4:16. The arrow of conviction, "Go," "call," and "come."
- 4:17. Increasing the conviction.
- 4:21-24. Answering her questions and her doubts.
- 4:26. Revealing Himself.
during the life of Jesus on earth.
* There were three appearances before the birth of Jesus:—(1) to Zacharias (Luke 1:1); (2) to Mary (Luke 1:26); (3) to Joseph (Matt 1:20). Altogether there were ten, which completes the perfection of Divine order. It would prove a fruitful source of profit to make a close study of all the words and sayings of angels.
- To the shepherds (Luke 2:9).
- To Joseph (Matt 2:13).
- To Joseph (Matt 2:19).
- After the Temptation (Matt 4:11).
- In Gethsemane (Luke 22:43).
- At the Resurrection (Matt 28:2).
- At the Ascension (Acts 1:10).
They come "out of the heart," and complete the picture of spiritual defilement, emphasising the fact that spiritual defilement is caused, not by that which goeth "into the mouth," but by that which cometh "out of the heart" (Matt 15:19).
There is no end to the mere enumeration of the groups of seven things which are to be found in the Bible. Many students have noted them, and some have published lists of their discoveries. This part of our subject is so well-known and well-trodden, that we may here leave it, merely noting a few miscellaneous examples. Mr. Samuell points out some curious facts in connection with
These were written with the finger of God, and would, therefore, be specially stamped with this symbol of spiritual perfection.
- Seven of them commence with the word )l, not.
- The word Mwy, day, occurs seven times.
- The preposition b, in, seven times.
- The preposition l, to, 14 times.
- "Upon" and "above" together, seven times.
- "Serve," "servant," "maidservant," together, seven times.
- The relationship of "father," "mother," "son," "daughter," "wife," together, seven times.
- The numbers "third," "fourth," "six," "seventh," and "thousands," together, seven times.
- "Lord" and "God," together, 14 times.
There are seven different pronouns used, in all 49 times (72)*
* Omitting "thy" before "stranger" (Commandment 4) with LXX and Vulgate.
- The 3rd person singular pronoun occurs seven times.
- The conjunction "and" seven times in Commandment 2.
- The definite article seven times in Commandment 4.
- Commandment 4 forbids the doing of any work on the seventh day to seven persons and things.
- Commandment 10 forbids coveting to seven persons and things.
- Commandment 3 contains 21 (7x3) simple words.
- Commandment 9 contains 7; and
- Commandment 10 contains 28 (7x4).
is generally noticeable. It is specially so in the Apocalypse.
are seven in number. Each contains the solemn exhortation, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." In the first three epistles the promise (which refers to the past in its imagery) follows this exhortation; while in the latter four the promise (which has reference to future blessings) precedes it.
Our attention is thus called to this great exhortation. It tells us that when these epistles were sent, the Church and the churches had all failed in their corporate capacity. They are addressed not to the churches, but to individuals; and all through, individuals are exhorted. It is the same with John's Epistles, written, like his Gospel and the Apocalypse, at the close of the first century. So that we must not and cannot do as we are bidden on every hand,—"Go back to the first three centuries," and "hear the voice of the Church"; for before the close of the first century we are bidden to hear not what the church or the churches say, but to "hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."
are thus divided; the first four being marked by the command "Come,"* given to the horseman, while the latter three are altogether different.
* The verb means "to come," or "go."
are also divided into three and four, the first four being severed from the latter three by the angel flying saying, "Woe, woe, woe."
are also thus marked, as already shown on page 128.
The division is still further marked by the three commencing with the word "Again" (vv 44, 45, and 47), while the four are separated by the word "Another"; thus indicating that in the four we have four different revelations in their relation to the world, while in the three we have a repetition of the one truth in different forms in its relation to God's people.
The seven gifts of Romans 12:6-8.
The seven unities of Ephesians 4:4-6. (See p. 59.)
The seven characteristics of wisdom, James 3:17.
The seven gifts of Christ in John's Gospel:
- His flesh, 6:51.
- His life, 10:11.
- His example, 13:15.
- The comforter, 14:16.
- "My peace," 14:27.
- His words, 17:8,14.
- His glory, 17:22.
- Testament, 7:22.
- Promises, 8:6.
- Substance, 10:34.
- Hope, 7:19.
- Sacrifices, 9:23.
- Country, 11:16.
- Thing 11:35.
The seven titles of Christ in Hebrews:
- Heir of all things, 1:2.
- Captain of our salvation, 2:10.
- Apostle, 3:1.
- Author of salvation, 5:9.
- Forerunner, 6:20.
- High Priest, 10:21.
- Author and finisher of faith, 12:2.
The seven-fold "once," apax (hapax). Once for all, in Hebrews (9:7,26,27,28, 10:2, 12:26,27).
The Seven exhortations in Hebrews, "Let us," 10:22, 23, 24, 12:1, 28, 13:13, 15.
The seven graces of 2 Peter 1:5-7.
The seven-fold ascriptions of praise in Revelation 5:12, 7:12, etc.
The seven "eternal" things in Hebrews:
- A priest for ever, 5:6.
- Eternal salvation, 5:9.
- Eternal judgment, 6:2.
- Eternal redemption, 9:12.
- Eternal spirit, 9:14.
- Eternal inheritance, 9:15.
- Everlasting covenant, 13:20.
The seven firstfruits of—
- Resurrection, 1 Cor 15:20-23.
- The Spirit, Rom 8:23.
- New creation, James 1:18.
- Israel, Rom 11:16.
- The "redeemed from the earth," Rev 14:5.
- Missions, Rom 16:5.
- Ministry, 1 Cor 16:15.
The seven-fold "blessed" in Revelation: 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7, 14.
The seven "mysteries" or secrets:
- The kingdom, Matt 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10.
- The partial blindness of Israel, Rom 11:25.
- The Church or Body of Christ, Rom 16:25; Eph 3:3,4,9, 5:32, 6:19; Col 1:26,27; Rev 1:20.
- The first Resurrection, 1 Cor 15:51.
- The secret purpose of God, Eph 1:9; Col 2:2; Rev 10:7.
- The secret purpose of the devil, 2 Thess 2:7.
- Babylon, Rev 17:5, 7.
The seven steps in the humiliation of Jesus and the seven in His exaltation in Philippians 2.
The seven words of Jesus from the Cross:
- "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," Luke 23:34.
- "Verily, I say unto thee today: Thou shalt be with Me in Paradise," Luke 23:43.
- "My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken Me," Matt 27:46.
- "Woman, behold thy son...Behold thy mother," John 19:26.
- "I thirst," John 19:28.
- "Father, into Thy hand I commend My spirit," Luke 23:46.
- "It is finished," John 19:30.
Seven-fold occurrence of the expression "in Christ," in 2 Timothy: 1:1, 9, 13, 2:1, 10, 2:12, 15.
The mystery of God is completed in the seventh vial of the seventh trumpet of the seventh seal.
The "seventh" man "from Adam" "was not, for God took him" (Gen 5:24).
The day of atonement was in the seventh month (Lev 16:29).
The clean beasts were taken into the Ark by sevens (Gen 7:2). (The others were taken by twos, 6:19).
Seven steps lead up to the temple in Ezekiel 40.
Seven washings are typical of our complete spiritual cleansing (2 Kings 5:14).
Turning now to another department we come to a large subject, which has already been touched upon (see chapter 2).
Some writers see seven everywhere and in everything in the Bible. But this is to deny, practically, the significance of all other numbers, and to lose all their instruction. Still we must admit that in the structure and outward form of Holy Writ, as being the special work of the Holy Spirit, we do see this stamp of spiritual perfection in a very remarkable manner. Mr. Samuell calls attention to the number as we see it:
- In the occurrences of single words.
- In the occurrences of important phrases.
- In groups of words from the same root.
- In groups of words from different roots, but with similar meaning.
And this not merely in the Bible as a whole, but sometimes very markedly:
- In the Old Testament.
- In the Hebrew or Chaldee portions of the Old Testament.
- In the New Testament.
- In a particular book.
- In all the books of a particular writer.
- In a particular section of a book referring to a special subject.
Let us look at a few examples, and first of the number of words used for a particular thing. We have already seen an example of this under the number six.
As brass is symbolical of judgment (seen in the brazen altar), so gold is symbolical of glory, and glory is grace consummated. "The LORD will give grace and glory" (Psa 84:11). "Whom He justified them He also glorified" (Rom 8:30).
Hence the number of spiritual perfection in the words used for gold:
- bhz (zah-hahv), from root to shine, glitter, like gold. Hence the common name for gold. This is earthly gold, than which the Word of God is more to be desired (Psa 19:7-10).
zp (pahz), fine or refined gold. "More to be desired are they than gold (bhz), yea, than much fine gold (zp)," Psa 19:10.
"Therefore I love Thy commandments above gold (bhz); yea, above fine gold (zp)," Psa 119:127.
"Thou settest a crown of pure gold (zp) upon his head" (Psa 21:3).
This word is therefore rightly used of the perfections of the living and the written Word. For He "knew no sin" (2 Cor 5:21). He "did no sin" (1 Peter 2:22). "In Him was no sin" (1 John 3:5).
rcb (betzer), Job 22:24, 25, and rcb (b'tzar), gold ore or dust, from root to dig out or cut off. Hence used of gold broken up.
The sense of Job 22:24, 25 is completely lost in the AV. In the RV it reads, verse 22.
"Receive, I pray thee, the law from His mouth,
And lay up His words in thine heart.
If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up;
If thou put away unrighteousness far from thy tents.
And lay thou thy treasure (rcb) in the dust,
And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks;
And the Almighty shall be thy treasure (rcb),
And precious silver unto thee."
Cwrx (chah-rootz), from Crx (charatz), to chop or cut off short; then of the instrument which the stone-cutter uses; then of the pieces cut off. Hence gold in
pieces or parts, as preserved in the word carats, specially applied to gold.*
* Job 41:30; Psa 68:13; Prov 3:14, 8:10,19, 16:16; Isa 28:27, 41:15; Dan 9:25; Joel 3:14; Amos 1:3; Zech 9:3.
Mtk (keh-them), from Mtk (kah-tham), to cut in, engrave (only in Jer 2:22, "Mine iniquity is marked before me"). As used of gold it implies that it is true and sterling, having the stamp or mark graved upon it.* As a title of the Psalms it is used with the prefix m, mem. Mtkm (michtam), writing, especially writing cut in or engraved with a stylus (like the LXX sthlografia, "a sculptured writing"**). btkm, michtahv, means simply a writing.*** A writing of David concerning David's Son and David's Lord.
* It occurs Job 28:16,19, 31:24; Psa 45:9; Prov 25:12; Song 5:11; Isa 13:12; Lam 4:1; Dan 10:5.
** sthlh (steelee) was the word for grave-stone. Hence these Psalms point to Resurrection, Psa 16, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60.
*** See Exo 32:16, 39:30; Deut 10:4; 2 Chron 21:12, 35:4, 36:22; Ezra 1:1; Isa 38:9.
- rwgs (s'gohr), from rgs (sah-gar), to shut up, enclose, used of gold as being solid, 1 Kings 6:20, "he overlaid it with pure [marg., shut up] gold," i.e. gold plates, not merely gold leaf or wash. Occurs in Job 28:15, "It cannot be gotten for gold," i.e. the wisdom of God's Word. "Every word of God is pure." "Add thou not unto His words."
- bhd (d'hav, Chal.), meaning same as bhz (see No. 1); occurs only in Ezra and Daniel.
Thus the fact of there being seven words for gold speaks to us of the spiritual perfection of the Word of God, which is so often compared to it.
In Old Testament only:
- "The Holy Land," Zech 2:12 (#dqh tmd), Admath Ha-kadosh; LXX, h gh h agia; early Christian writers, Terra sancta). Very common in Middle Ages, now used only geographically.
- "The Land of Jehovah," only in Hosea 9:3. Compare Lev 25:23; Psa 85:1; Isa 8:8; Joel 1:6, 3:2; Jer 16:18.
In New Testament only:
- "The Land of Promise," Heb 11:9. This title is based of course on the Old Testament and other Scriptures. Compare Gen 13:15; Deut 34:1-4; Gen 50:24; Eze 20:42; Acts 7:5.
- Judea, or the Land of Judah, hdwhy Cr). This name was at first used only of the territory of the Tribe of Judah (2 Chron 9:11), but after the Captivity it was used of the whole land, even including the East of the Jordan, Luke 1:5, 23:5; Matt 19:1; Acts 28:21.
In Old and New Testament:
- "The Land," Cr)h, Ha-ahretz, Ruth 1:1; Jer 12:11; Luke 5:25; Matt 27:45. This was a strictly Jewish name.
- "The Land of Israel," l)r#y Cr). First used in 1 Sam 13:19, and occasionally in later books (2 Kings 5:2, 6:23). In Ezekiel oftener than in all the rest of the Bible. Matt 2:21. This name is also essentially Jewish.
- "Canaan," N(nk (K'naan). So called after the son of Ham, by whose descendants it was at first inhabited (Gen 9:18, 10:15-19). It is therefore the oldest name, and was confined to the country west of the Jordan. See Exo 6:4, 15:15; Lev 14:34; Deut 22:39; Josh 14:1; Psa 105:11; Gen 17:8.
The name Palestine and Palestina, when the AV was made, was equivalent to Philistia. See Psalm 60:8, 87:4; 108:9. It is never used of the whole land, but only of "Philistia." See Kitto, vol, iii. p. 386.
- rwz) (Eh-zor), a girdle, 14.
- hrkz) (az-kah-rah), memorial, 7.
- rk) (ik-kar), husbandman, 7.
- Pn) (ah-naph), to be angry, 14.
- rs) (Chald., esahr), a decree, 7 (all in Dan 6).
- qp) (ah-phak), to restrain, 7.
- rqb (bah-kar), to search, 7.
- rb (bar), clean, 7.
- rb (bar) and rb (bahr), corn, 14.
- yrb (b'ree) and )yrb (bah-ree), fat, 14.
- tyrb (b'reeth), covenant; 7 in Gen 9 of God's covenant with Noah, and 14 in Gen 15 and 17 of God's covenant with Abraham.
- hlwg (goh-lah), captivity, 42 (7 being in the simple form, and 7 with the preposition b, into, prefixed).
- hzg (gizzah), a fleece, 7 (all in Judg 6:37-40).
- Ng (gan), a garden, 42 (14 being in Genesis, and 28 elsewhere).
- )#d (deh-sheh), grass, 14.
- qqz (zah-kak), to refine, 7.
yx (chah'y), living: In Chaldee, 7.
In Hebrew, 168, viz:—
Leviticus 35 168 (7x8x3) Numbers 7 Deuteronomy 21 Samuel 49 Solomon's 56
In Chaldee it occurs 7 times (Ezra 6:10; Dan 2:30, 4:17,34; 6:20,26, 7:12).
hry+ (tee-rah), an enclosure, or castle, etc., 7.
P+ (taph), little children, 42:
Deuteronomy 7 42 (6x7) Rest of Pentateuch 21 Elsewhere 14
- ydwhy (y'hudee), a Jew (singular) 10; Jehudi (proper name) 4 = 14.
- dly (yah-lad), to beget, 28 in Gen 5.
qxcy (yitz-chahk) and qx#&y (yis-chahk), Isaac, 112:
Deuteronomy 7 112 (7x8x2) Rest of Pentateuch 91 Elsewhere 14
- Nhk (Koh-heyn), priest 7 in Gen.
- hnhk (K'hoonnah), the priest's office, 14.
- hnwbl (l'voh-nah), frankincense, 21 (7 being in Leviticus).
- Nm (mahn), manna, 14.
- )n (nah), I pray, or vow, 406 (7x58).
- hnygn (n'gee-nah), a song, 14: In Psalm titles, 7; Elsewhere, 7.
- Ngn (nah-gan), to play on a stringed instrument, 7 in 1 Sam 16-19, all spoken of David.
- My)c)c (tzeh-etzaheem), offspring, 7 in Isaiah.
- Mwc (tzoom), to fast, 21.
tlhq (ko-he-leth), a preacher, 7, all in Ecclesiastes:
3 in beginning, 1:1, 2, 12
1 in middle, 7:27
3 at the end, 12:8, 9, 10
- M(n (noh-gam), beauty, Psa 27:4, 90:17; Zech 11:7, 10: pleasantness, Prov 3:17: pleasant, Prov 15:26, 16:24.
- Ntn (n'than), to give or bestow, Ezra 4:13, 7:20 twice; Dan 4:16, 4:17, 25, 32.
- hml( (al-mah), a maiden, Gen 24:43; Exo 2:8; Psa 68:25; Prov 30:19; Song 1:3, 6:8; Isa 7:14.
- Pr# (sah-raph), fiery serpents, Num 21:6, 8; Deut 8:15; Isa 6:2, 6, 14:29, 30:6.
- hmr (rim-mah), a worm, 7.
- N+# (sah-tahn), Satan, 14 in Job.
- rwt (tohr), a turtle dove, 14.
- El-Shaddai* (God Almighty), Gen 17:1, 28:3, 35:11, 43:14, 48:3; Exo 6:36; Eze 10:5.
* Shaddai (Almighty) without El occurs 48 times (4x12), a number which speaks of perfection of dominion over the earth. (See p. 53.)
- agnizw (agnizo), to purify.
- ahr (aeer), air, 7.
- anastasiV (anastasis), resurrection; 42 times, 21 of which have the article, and seven are in the dative case.
- apath (apatee), deceit.
- apeimi (apeimi), to be absent, 7.
- argurion (argurion), pieces of silver money (7, in connection with Judas).
- asthr (asteer), a star, 14 in Revelation.
- afqartoV (aphthartos), incorruptible, 7.
- basileuw (basileuo), to reign, 21 (seven being in Revelation; 14 elsewhere).
- douloV (doulos), servant, 14 in Revelation.
- epistamai (epistamai), to know, 14.
- epistathV (epistatees), master, 7 (all in Luke).
- epitagh (epitagee), commandment, 7.
- hgeomai (hegeomai), to be chief, 28.
amwmoV (amomos), 7:
without blemish, Eph 5:27; 1 Peter 1:19
without spot, Heb 9:4
without fault, Rev 14:5
without blame, Eph 1:4
faultless, Jude 24
unblameable, Col 1:22
- parousia (parousia), presence or coming, 7 times in 1 and 2 Thess (4 times in the first Epistle and 3 times in the second).
- Siwn (Sion), Zion, 7 times.
- filhma (phileema), a kiss, 7.
- wdh (odee), a song, 7.
- yalmoV (psalmos), psalm, 7.
)nq l) (El quannah) 5 [a jealous God].
)wnq l) (El quannoh) 2 [a jealous God].
My)b Mymy hnh (Hinneh yahmim baheem), Behold, the days come, 21.*
* "Lo" in Jer 30:3; Amos 4:2, instead of "Behold."
- )wh rwh+ (tahor hu), he or it (is) unclean, 7 (all in Lev 11 and 13).
- )wh )m+ (tamey hu), he or it (is) unclean, 7 in Lev 13.
- Mkl )wh )m+ (Tamey hu lahkem), he or it is unclean unto you, 7 (all in Lev 11 and Deut 14).