After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. Revelation 7:9
Over the years, there has been much study devoted to the significance of numbers found in the scriptures, most especially as they relate to prophecy and eschatology. This particular line of study is known as Numerology. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2Tim 3:16) Since we believe that the Bible is the verbally inspired WORD of GOD, (which is recorded for the benefit of GOD’s people); then we are certain that there are no insignificant numbers found within its pages, yet we are not convinced that any man has ever arrived at a complete understanding of them.
Much can be gained by this particular line of study, but one can easily become enamored with the intricacies of it, making it an end in itself, seeing numerical secrets under every rock and in every hair of the horses tail. Regardless of what “mysteries” we might discover in the study of Biblical numbers, if they do not lead us to the place where we fall upon our faces and worship the ONE who is the SUM and SUBSTANCE of all prophecy then we have missed their significance and are merely repeating words without profit.
The Psalmist was overwhelmed with the grandeur and majesty of the LORD’s perfections and declared that he was unable to number them. “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-
The LORD appeared unto Abraham and said, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” (Gen 15:1) HE is speaking of the numberless blessings which HE had laid up for Abraham. Isaiah spoke of the exact same thing, “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.” (Isa 64:4) This was repeated by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. (see 1 Cor.2:9)
The very existence of numbers testifies to the unfolding of the purpose of an ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGN. Numbers are precise. Two plus two equals four. Not almost four but exactly. So in all things, GOD ordains whatsoever comes to pass and the “sum” of HIS purpose can be seen demonstrated in the unfolding of all events.
Job refers to GOD’s predestination of all things when he said, “Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?” (Job 31:4) Solomon spoke of the same thing saying, “A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” (Pro 16:9) Jeremiah said, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jer 10:23) There are no random steps taken in this world by man or beast, but all are numbered by HIM who knows the end from the beginning.
This is exactly the same line of thought which the LORD JESUS set forth: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”(Luke 12:6-
Yet the greatest of all mention of “numbers” that can be found in the scriptures is in Isaiah’s prophecy and repeated in Mark’s gospel. “He hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isa 53:12) “And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.” (Mar 15:28)
Oh who can count the magnitude of this event? “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2Cor 5:21) HE hung on Calvary’s cross between two thieves that this scripture might be literally fulfilled, but of far greater import is the fact that HE has imputed (i.e.; accounted) HIS righteousness to HIS elect even while HE did take their sin upon HIMSELF and counted every jot and tittle of the broken law as HIS own. In this HE was “numbered” with the transgressors. This is a wonder which cannot be “counted” by men. We are overwhelmed at the thought of the great love wherewith HE did love those who were hidden in HIM from before the foundation of the world.
At the appointed time; not one day before nor one day after the day HE had numbered, HE did come into the world to fulfill the purpose for which HE created it. That HE might demonstrate the glory of HIS grace and HIS everlasting love of HIS chosen Bride, in effecting her redemption by the offering up of HIMSELF once and for all. In one grand stroke HE declared that HE had finished that work and promised to return to claim the possession which HE purchased.
Addition. “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” (Heb 8:1) How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” (Psa 139:17-
Subtraction “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” (1John 3:5) “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Rom 11:27) “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa 25:8)
Division. “And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.” (Isa 34:17) “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong. (Isa 53:11-
Multiplication. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.” (2Pet 1:2) “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (Titus 3:5-