Numbers as Factors
We find God uses numerical factors in illustrating spiritual truth:
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:21-22)
Is Jesus teaching that Peter needs to forgive his brother 490 times and then he can stop? No, of course not. He is multiplying significant numbers together to illustrate spiritual truth.
John chapter 21 tells us of the disciples casting out a net and catching 153 fish. We know that fish represent believers:
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)
Interestingly, the number 153 breaks downs to 3 x 3 x 17. We have discovered that the number three signifies God’s plan and the number 17 appears to signify Heaven. It is God’s salvation plan that brings people to Heaven and that fact fits very well with the context of this verse.
We also find the number 666 in the Bible used in connection with the unsaved:
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Revelation 13:18)
The number 666 breaks down into 37 x 6 x 3. Based on what we’ve learned, in these numbers we find judgment, work, and God’s plan. Most people who are not saved think they can get to Heaven through their good works or some other thing they can do themselves to get themselves saved. However, these people will not find salvation, but instead will find God’s judgment. <,/p>
If there remains any doubt that God permits the use of math n search of spiritual truth we can look at the following verse:
And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. (Leviticus 25:8)
God is clearly doing some arithmetic here. The equation 7 x 7 = 49 is plainly spelled out.