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2013 09-22 rv02 symbolic numbers in revelation

2013 09-22 rv02 symbolic numbers in revelation



Lesson 2 in a study of the Book of Revelation. Presented September 22, 2013, at Palm Desert Church of Christ, by Dale Wells.

Lesson 2 in a study of the Book of Revelation. Presented September 22, 2013, at Palm Desert Church of Christ, by Dale Wells.



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  • Amen! Hallelujah! – A Study of the Book of RevelationBy Dale WellsCopyright © 2013Dale R. WellsScripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. www.bible.org. All rights reserved. This material is available in its entirety as a free download or online web use at http://www.netbible.org/.All rights reserved.
  • “Seven” occurs more often in the Book of Revelation than in the rest of the New Testament.It also occurs more often in the Book of Revelation than in any Old Testament Book.
  • “Seven” symbolizes God finishing his work. (“Seven Days of Creation” by Safina Walsh)Genesis 2:1-3 The heavens and the earth were completed with everything that was in them. 2 By the seventh day God finished the work that he had been doing, and he ceased on the seventh day all the work that he had been doing. 3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he ceased all the work that he had been doing in creation.
  • Revelation 1:4 From John, to the seven churches that are in the province of Asia... Revelation 1:11 “Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches- to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
  • These seven spirits are seen elsewhere.Revelation 1:4... Grace and peace to you … from the seven spirits who are before his throne …
  • Revelation 15:1 Then I saw another great and astounding sign in heaven: seven angels who have seven final plagues (they are final because in them Gods anger is completed).
  • There are seven blessings in the Book of Revelation.Revelation 1:3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it, because the time is near! Revelation 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead, those who die in the Lord from this moment on!”Revelation 16:15 (Look! I will come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays alert and does not lose his clothes so that he will not have to walk around naked and his shameful condition be seen.) Revelation 19:9 Then the angel said to me, “Write the following: Blessed are those who are invited to the banquet at the wedding celebration of the Lamb!” He also said to me, “These are the true words of God.”Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who takes part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. Revelation 22:7 (Look! I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy expressed in this book.)Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes so they can have access to the tree of life and can enter into the city by the gates. There are seven “I Am” sayings in the Book of Revelation.Revelation 1:8 I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God- the one who is, and who was, and who is still to come- the All- Powerful!Revelation 1:17 … “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last, Revelation 1:18 … I was dead, but look, now I am alive- forever and ever- and I hold the keys of death and of Hades! Revelation 2:23 … I am the one who searches minds and hearts. I will repay each one of you what your deeds deserve.Revelation 21:6 … I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the one who is thirsty I will give water free of charge from the spring of the water of life.Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end!) Revelation 22:16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star!”Seven kinds of men hide from God’s judgment.Revelation 6:15-17 Then the kings of the earth, the very important people, the generals, the rich, the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?”There are seven things the Lamb is worthy to receive.Revelation 5:12 … “Worthy is the lamb who was killed to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise!”There are seven aspects of worship toward God.Revelation 7:11-12 And all the angels stood there in a circle around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Praise and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving, and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”“Seven” affirms that God will accomplish his purpose.
  • “Three-and-one-half” is opposed to “seven”.“Seven” is God accomplishing his will. “Three-and-one-half” is a time of opposition by God’s enemy.
  • Daniel envisioned a three-and-one-half year oppressionFour beasts; fourth beast has ten horns; 11th horn uproots three; he opposes God and oppresses the saints, till God has had enough.Daniel 7:25 He will speak words against the Most High. He will harass the holy ones of the Most High continually. His intention will be to change times established by law. They will be delivered into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.A year (“time”) + 2 years (“times”) + 6 months (“half a time”).
  • Three-and-one-half years is a time of oppression and provision.It was the length of the drought during the reign of Ahab.James 5:17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and there was no rain on the land for three years and six months!But during that time, God provided for Elijah.1 Kings 17:3-6 “Leave here and travel eastward. Hide out in the Kerith Valley near the Jordan. 4 Drink from the stream; I have already told the ravens to bring you food there.” 5 So he did as the Lord told him; he went and lived in the Kerith Valley near the Jordan. 6 The ravens would bring him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he would drink from the stream.
  • The picture comes from military sieges. (Picture is of siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC)Sieges are measured in months.The Roman army would surround a city, cutting off its water and supplies. Then they would build siege-works and starve the city.This was what happened during the Jewish Revolt. Hostilities began in 66 AD. Jerusalem fell forty-two months later in 70 ADThis time period represents a time when Satan tries to stop God’s work, but God is still in control!
  • Consider both the oppression and provision during the three-and-one-half years in Revelation 11.The Gentiles besiege God’s city for forty-two months.Revelation 11:1-2 Then a measuring rod like a staff was given to me, and I was told, “Get up and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and the ones who worship there. 2 But do not measure the outer courtyard of the temple; leave it out, because it has been given to the Gentiles, and they will trample on the holy city for forty- two months. During that same period, God’s witnesses preach for 1,260 days.Revelation 11:3 And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth.The beast kills God’s witnesses, but after three-and-one-half days, God raises them from the dead.The implied message is that Satan has the power of death, but God has the power of life!Invaders measure a siege in months, but inside the besieged city, survival is day-by-day.Protection and provision are expressed in days.Matthew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread …From the perspective of the army, the city is trampled for forty-two months, but from the perspective of the witnesses in the city, God cares for them for 1,260 days.
  • Three-and-one-half years as 1,260 days and “a time, times, and half a time”.God cares for the woman for 1,260 days.Revelation 12:6 and she fled into the wilderness where a place had been prepared for her by God, so she could be taken care of for 1,260 days.Satan tries to get at the woman for a time, times and half a time.Revelation 12:13-14 Now when the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. 14 But the woman was given the two wings of a giant eagle so that she could fly out into the wilderness, to the place God prepared for her, where she is taken care of- away from the presence of the serpent- for a time, times, and half a time.But Satan can’t get to her, because God is protecting her.The outcome is always the same – God wins!
  • “Twelve” and its multiples (24, 12,000, 144,000) is the second most prominent number in the Book of Revelation.
  • Twenty-four elders sit on thrones surrounding God’s throne.Revelation 4:4 In a circle around the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on those thrones were twenty-four elders. …These elders are likely God’s people under two covenants, pictured as the twelve patriarchs of the Old Testament, and the twelve apostles of the New Testament.
  • 144,000 people are marked with God’s seal of approval.Revelation 7:4-8 Now I heard the number of those who were marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from all the tribes of the people of Israel: 5 From the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand, 6 from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand, 7 from the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.The number is not intended to be taken literally.This is a convenient place for us to consider the symbolism of numbers in the Bible.
  • Jacob had twelve sons and Israel had twelve tribal land divisions, but they were not identical. Israel actually had thirteen tribes!Jacob adopted Joseph’s two sons in the place of their father. Instead of a tribe of Joseph, there were two tribes: Ephraim and Manasseh.Genesis 48:5 “Now, as for your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, they will be mine. Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine just as Reuben and Simeon are.But when Israel arrived in the Promised Land, they only awarded twelve tribal land divisions. The Levites did not get a tribal land division, but they got towns and lands distributed within the other tribal land divisions.Numbers 35:2 “Instruct the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in from the inheritance the Israelites will possess. You must also give the Levites grazing land around the towns.
  • Jesus had twelve apostles.But Judas was a traitor and was replaced by Matthias.Acts 1:26 Then they cast lots for them, and the one chosen was Matthias; so he was counted with the eleven apostles.Then God added Paul to make thirteen.Galatians 1:1 From Paul, an apostle (not from men, nor by human agency, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised him from the dead).Yet, we always speak of the twelve apostles and the twelve tribes.
  • How does John get 144,000 if there were actually thirteen tribes?John gets to that number by leaving out Dan (and he calls Ephraim Joseph).The point is not that no one is redeemed from Dan, but that all of God’s people are accounted for!The number is not intended to be literal.Don’t judge the Biblical writers for making numbers come out the way they wanted them to.To apocalyptic writers, numbers were symbols. They were not interested in scientific accuracy, but in the concepts represented by their symbolic use of numbers.
  • Here is another example from Jesus’ genealogy, as recorded by Matthew.Matthew 1:17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to Christ, fourteen generations.
  • Matthew says there are three groups of fourteen generations, but the numbers don’t add up!^ In the first group, you have to count both Abraham and David to get fourteen generations. In other words, you count the first and last names inclusively.^ The second group actually has fifteen names, so you have to exclude David to reach fourteen. But that’s okay, since you included him in the first list.^ However, in the third group, you must include both Jeconiah and Jesus in order to reach fourteen. So, the third group must be counted inclusively, like the first group, but the second group must be counted differently than the first and third groups, in order to reach the threefold repetition of “fourteen generations”.
  • There are other problems with the accuracy of Matthew’s genealogy.^ Matthew omits Ahaziah, Joash and Amaziah.Matthew 1:8 … Joram the father of Uzziah …The complete royal line at this point was: Joram, Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, then Uzziah.^ Matthew dropped Jehoiakim from the genealogy.Matthew 1:11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. The complete royal line at this point was: Josiah, then Jehoiakim, who was replaced by Jehoiachin (aka Jeconiah).^ Matthew says Zerubbabel was Shealtiel’s son, when he was really his nephewMatthew 1:12 … Shealtiel the father of ZerubbabelZerubbabel was the son of Shealtiel’s brother, Pedaiah1 Chronicles 3:19 The sons of Pedaiah: Zerubbabel and Shimei.Why would Matthew make these changes and deletions?To ancient writers numbers were not a matter of scientific accuracy; they represented important concepts.
  • In Matthew 1, the key is the name of David.Ancient alphabets were not like our modern alphabetsHebrew and Greek alphabets consisted of characters that served a dual purpose as letters and numerals.Thus “a” could be used as the numeral “1”, “b” could be used as the numeral “2”, etc.Ancient writers would sometimes encode words using a practice called “gematria” (Greek isopsephia).They took a name, assigned the proper numerical values to each letter, then added the values. The sum was the “number” of the name.The sum represented the name. By using the number instead of the name, initiates would know of whom they were speaking, while others would not.
  • This is important to understanding the number “666” in Revelation 13:18.Revelation 13:18 This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has insight calculate the beast's number, for it is man's number, and his number is 666.
  • Archaeologists have discovered examples of gematria from the First Century.^ Graffiti in Pompeii: “I love her whose number is 545.” Only the couple would know about whom he was writing.^ A Roman inscription describes a man named Gaius as both holy and good.Gaios = 3 + 1 + 10 + 70 + 200 = 284.(Ha)gios = 1 + 3 + 10 + 70 + 200 = 284.Aga(th)os=1 + 3 + 1 + 9 + 70 + 200 = 284.The words are gematrically interchangeable.
  • The name “David” consisted of three letters – equivalent to our “DVD”“D” was the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and “V” was the sixth letter. Ancient Hebrew had no vowels.^ D+V+D = 4+6+4 = 14.^ Matthew lists fourteen names from Abraham to David, fourteen Davidic kings, and fourteen generations from the Davidic dynasty to the Son of David!Revelation follows an accepted practice using numbers as symbols to represent concepts.
  • The radiant woman in Revelation 12 wears a crown of twelve stars.Revelation 12:1 Then a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet, and on her head was a crown of twelve stars.We saw this woman earlier as an idealized picture of Mary.The twelve stars represent God’s people – her crowning glory.
  • “Twelve” dominates the description of the holy city.Revelation 21:10-17 So he took me away in the Spirit to a huge, majestic mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. 11 The city possesses the glory of God; its brilliance is like a precious jewel, like a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12 It has a massive, high wall with twelve gates, with twelve angels at the gates, and the names of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel are written on the gates. 13 There are three gates on the east side, three gates on the north side, three gates on the south side and three gates on the west side. 14 The wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 The angel who spoke to me had a golden measuring rod with which to measure the city and its foundation stones and wall. 16 Now the city is laid out as a square, its length and width the same. He measured the city with the measuring rod at fourteen hundred miles (its length and width and height are equal). 17 He also measured its wall, one hundred forty-four cubits according to human measurement, which is also the angel's.It is a cube 12,000 stadia on each side, with 12 gates, having walls 144 cubits thick. The city has plenty of access (gates), room (dimensions), security (angels at the gates), and protection (walls).The New American Standard Bible & NET Bible miss the point entirely, here, but curiously, they keep the thickness of the wall in cubits, rather than converting it to 216 feet (@ 18”/cubit)!NET calculates the dimensions literally and gives the length of the sides as 1,400 miles. That would yield a volume 64% as large as the moon! The dimensions are not literal; they describe a city sufficient to house, provide for and protect all of God’s peopleIt follows the use of the number “twelve” in the rest of the Book of Revelation.
  • “Six” stands in opposition to “twelve”. It depicts man’s attempt to dispense with God.“Twelve” is God’s faithful people protected by him.“Six” is man in rebellion against God.Like Satan’s attempts to stop God (“three-and-one-half”), man’s rebellion against God always fails!
  • The most infamous use of “six” is the number of the beast in Revelation 13:18.Revelation 13:18 This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has insight calculate the beast’s number, for it is man’s number, and his number is 666.This is rebellion compounded. It is man’s attempt to usurp God’s throne.
  • 666 is a gematrical number.The number concealed a name. The original readers knew the name, but history quickly forgot it.As early as the Second Century, Irenaeus (2nd Century) puzzled over the number, but he could not state with any certainty the original name behind the number.
  • There are some possible names that make sense in light of the historical setting of the Book of Revelation.^ Lateinos = “Latin” = 30+1+300+5+10+50+70+200 = 666.This would refer to Rome, either the city or the empire.^ Teitan = “Titus” = 300+5+10+300+1+50 = 666.This was the common name of the Flavian Emperors, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. Many people believe that the immediate focus of the Book of Revelation was persecution of Christians under Domitian.^ Kaisarsebaston = “Caesar Augustus” (“worshipful Caesar”). = 20+1+10+200+1+100+200+5+2+1+6+70+50 = 666.This was the imperial name that was common to all the Roman emperors.Note: this requires using the obsolete letter stigma (= 6) in the place of the letters sigma (= 200) and tau (= 300). I do not regard that as a particular problem, since the book was intended to be read aloud, and the hearers would be accustomed to associating the “st” sound with the value of 6.
  • As an interesting side note, eight represents resurrection and contrasts with six in other early writings.Early writers said Christians met on “the eighth day of the week, which is also the first”, because of Jesus’ resurrection.The Sybilline Oracles (Second Century) made a point of the fact that the number of the name “Jesus” (Ἰησοῦς) is 888.The one who is 666 can never measure up to the one who is 888!
  • Revelation 8:7-12 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there was hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was thrown at the earth so that a third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. 8 Then the second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain of burning fire was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea became blood, 9 and a third of the creatures living in the sea died, and a third of the ships were completely destroyed. 10 Then the third angel blew his trumpet, and a huge star burning like a torch fell from the sky; it landed on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 (Now the name of the star is Wormwood.) So a third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from these waters because they were poisoned. 12 Then the fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. And there was no light for a third of the day and for a third of the night likewise.
  • The Old Testament background of this picture is Ezekiel 5 where the prophet was told to shave his head.Ezekiel 5:1-2 “As for you, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor. Shave off some of the hair from your head and your beard. Then take scales and divide up the hair you cut off. 2 Burn a third of it in the fire inside the city when the days of your siege are completed. Take a third and slash it with a sword all around the city. Scatter a third to the wind, and I will unleash a sword behind them.Ezekiel 5:12 A third of your people will die of plague or be overcome by the famine within you. A third of your people will fall by the sword surrounding you, and a third I will scatter to the winds. I will unleash a sword behind them.
  • Emissaries were often sent in pairs.Mark 6:7 Jesus called the twelve and began to send them out two by two.Mark 11:1-2 … Jesus sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, "Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here.
  • The Jewish law of evidence required two witnesses to obtain a conviction.Deuteronomy 19:15 A single witness may not testify against another person for any trespass or sin that he commits. A matter may be legally established only on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
  • The only significant usage of “two” is in Revelation 11:3-11.Revelation 11:3-11 And I will grant my two witnesses authority to prophesy for 1,260 days, dressed in sackcloth. 4 (These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.) 5 If anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouths and completely consumes their enemies. If anyone wants to harm them, they must be killed this way. 6 These two have the power to close up the sky so that it does not rain during the time they are prophesying. They have power to turn the waters to blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague whenever they want. 7 When they have completed their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss will make war on them and conquer them and kill them. 8 Their corpses will lie in the street of the great city that is symbolically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was also crucified. 9 For three and a half days those from every people, tribe, nation, and language will look at their corpses, because they will not permit them to be placed in a tomb. 10 And those who live on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate, even sending gifts to each other, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth. 11 But after three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and tremendous fear seized those who were watching them.
  • The image comes from Zechariah 4.Zechariah 4:2-3 He asked me, “What do you see?” I replied, “I see a menorah of pure gold with a receptacle at the top and seven lamps, with fourteen pipes going to the lamps. 3 There are also two olive trees beside it, one on the right of the receptacle and the other on the left.”Zechariah 4:11-14 Next I asked the messenger, “What are these two olive trees on the right and the left of the menorah?” 12 Before he could reply I asked again, “What are these two extensions of the olive trees, which are emptying out the golden oil through the two golden pipes?” 13 He replied, “Don’t you know what these are?” And I said, “No, sir.” 14 So he said, “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”
  • The two in Revelation 11 are Moses and Elijah, as representatives of the Law and Prophets.Recall that Jesus was visited by Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration.Matthew 17:3 Then Moses and Elijah also appeared before them, talking with him.In Revelation 11, these same two are sent to proclaim God’s word.
  • There are many backgrounds of this numberFour compass points, four wind directions and four seasons.In Babylonian mythology: four signs of the Zodiac, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius, were regarded as powerful figures who supported heaven by four corners, or as the beasts of burden of the four-wheeled heavenly chariot.
  • Ezekiel 1 described four creatures of God’s heavenly entourage.Ezekiel 1:4-28 As I watched, I noticed a windstorm coming from the north -- an enormous cloud, with lightning flashing, such that bright light rimmed it and came from it like glowing amber from the middle of a fire. 5 In the fire were what looked like four living beings. In their appearance they had human form, 6 but each had four faces and four wings. … 8 They had human hands under their wings on their four sides. … 10 Their faces had this appearance: Each of the four had the face of a man, with the face of a lion on the right, the face of an ox on the left and also the face of an eagle. 11 Their wings were spread out above them; each had two wings touching the wings of one of the other beings on either side and two wings covering their bodies. 12 Each moved straight ahead -- wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. … 15 Then I looked, and I saw one wheel on the ground beside each of the four beings. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their construction was like gleaming jasper, and all four wheels looked alike. Their structure was like a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they moved they would go in any of the four directions they faced without turning as they moved. … 26 Above the platform over their heads was something like a sapphire shaped like a throne. High above on the throne was a form that appeared to be a man. 27 I saw an amber glow like a fire enclosed all around from his waist up. From his waist down I saw something that looked like fire. There was a brilliant light around it, 28 like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds after the rain. This was the appearance of the surrounding brilliant light; it looked like the glory of the LORD. …
  • John saw four creatures around God’s throne worshiping him.Revelation 4:6-8 … In the middle of the throne and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second creature like an ox, the third creature had a face like a man’s, and the fourth creature looked like an eagle flying. 8 Each one of the four living creatures had six wings and was full of eyes all around and inside. …The four creatures worship the Lamb in Revelation 5:6-14.Revelation 5:6-14 … 8 … the four living creatures and the twenty- four elders threw themselves to the ground before the Lamb. … 11 Then I … heard the voice of many angels … 12 all of whom were singing in a loud voice: “Worthy is the lamb who was killed … 14 And the four living creatures were saying “Amen,” and the elders threw themselves to the ground and worshiped. Throughout the Book of Revelation the four creatures worship & serve God.Revelation 7:11-12 And all the angels stood there in a circle around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Praise and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving, and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”Revelation 14:3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. …Revelation 15:7 Then one of the four living creatures gave the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God who lives forever and ever,Revelation 19:4 The twenty- four elders and the four living creatures threw themselves to the ground and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne, saying: “Amen! Hallelujah!”
  • Zechariah saw a vision of four nations being broken by four of God’s servants.Zechariah 1:18-21 Once again I looked and this time I saw four horns. 19 So I asked the angelic messenger who spoke with me, "What are these?" He replied, "These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem." 20 Next the LORD showed me four blacksmiths. 21 I asked, "What are these going to do?" He answered, "These horns are the ones that have scattered Judah so that there is no one to be seen. But the blacksmiths have come to terrify Judah's enemies and cut off the horns of the nations that have thrust themselves against the land of Judah in order to scatter its people."
  • Zechariah 6 has four chariots depicting God’s omnipresence & omniscience.Zechariah 6:1-8 Once more I looked, and this time I saw four chariots emerging from between two mountains of bronze. 2 Harnessed to the first chariot were red horses, to the second black horses, 3 to the third white horses, and to the fourth spotted horses, all of them strong. 4 Then I asked the angelic messenger who was speaking with me, "What are these, sir?" 5 The messenger replied, "These are the four spirits of heaven that have been presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth. 6 The chariot with the black horses is going to the north country and the white ones are going after them, but the spotted ones are going to the south country. 7 All these strong ones are scattering; they have sought permission to go and walk about over the earth." The Lord had said, "Go! Walk about over the earth!" So they are doing so. 8 Then he cried out to me, "Look! The ones going to the northland have brought me peace about the northland."
  • In Revelation 6:1-8, four creatures announce four horses with the opening of four seals.Revelation 6:1-8 I looked on when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a thunderous voice, "Come!" 2 So I looked, and here came a white horse! The one who rode it had a bow, and he was given a crown, and as a conqueror he rode out to conquer. 3 Then when the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come!" 4 And another horse, fiery red, came out, and the one who rode it was granted permission to take peace from the earth, so that people would butcher one another, and he was given a huge sword. 5 Then when the Lamb opened the third seal I heard the third living creature saying, "Come!" So I looked, and here came a black horse! The one who rode it had a balance scale in his hand. 6 Then I heard something like a voice from among the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat will cost a day's pay and three quarts of barley will cost a day's pay. But do not damage the olive oil and the wine!" 7 Then when the Lamb opened the fourth seal I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come!" 8 So I looked and here came a pale green horse! The name of the one who rode it was Death, and Hades followed right behind. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill its population with the sword, famine, and disease, and by the wild animals of the earth.
  • The Book of Revelation has four angels at the four corners of the earth holding back judgmentRevelation 7:1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so no wind could blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree.Revelation 9:13-15 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a single voice coming from the horns on the golden altar that is before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel, the one holding the trumpet, “Set free the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates!” 15 Then the four angels who had been prepared for this hour, day, month, and year were set free to kill a third of humanity.Isaiah 11:12 He will lift a signal flag for the nations; he will gather Israel’s dispersed people and assemble Judah’s scattered people from the four corners of the earth.Background The four winds by which God scatters his enemies.Jeremiah 49:36 I will cause enemies to blow through Elam from every direction like the winds blowing in from the four quarters of heaven. I will scatter the people of Elam to the four winds. There will not be any nation where the refugees of Elam will not go.
  • God’s enemies come from the four corners of the earth.Revelation 20:7-8 Now when the thousand years are finished, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to bring them together for the battle. They are as numerous as the grains of sand in the sea.
  • This likely relates to our anatomy: there are ten fingers on the human handOnce you’ve counted to ten, you’ve exhausted all of your fingers, and all of your chances There are many places in the Bible where one counts to ten and then says: “Enough!”
  • Ten years was limit of Abram’s patience with God’s promiseGenesis 13:16 And I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone is able to count the dust of the earth, then your descendants also can be counted.Genesis 16:3 So after Abram had lived in Canaan for ten years, Sarai, Abram’s wife, gave Hagar, her Egyptian servant, to her husband to be his wife.
  • Ten was the limit of God’s patience with Sodom.Abraham bargained with God to spare Sodom, testing God’s limits until he reached ten.Genesis 18:32 Finally Abraham said, “May the Lord not be angry so that I may speak just once more. What if ten are found there?” He replied, “I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten.”
  • Ten changes in terms was the limit of Jacob’s patience with Laban.Genesis 31:41 This was my lot for twenty years in your house: I worked like a slave for you- fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, but you changed my wages ten times!
  • The Ten Commandments were the limits God set on Israel’s conductExodus 34:28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did not eat bread, and he did not drink water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
  • Ten plagues showed the limit of God’s patience with Egypt.Egypt suffers for Pharaoh’s refusal to let Israel go. In spite of plague after plague, Pharaoh continues to harden his heart. It is the tenth plague that results in final judgment on Egypt.
  • Ten rebellions test the limits of God’s patience with the Exodus generation.Numbers 14:20-23 Then the Lord said, “I have forgiven them as you asked. 21 But truly, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. 22 For all the people have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tempted me now these ten times, and have not obeyed me, 23 they will by no means see the land that I swore to their fathers, nor will any of them who despised me see it.The Jewish rabbis identified the ten rebellions as follows:(1) At the Red SeaExodus 14:11-13 and they said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the desert? What in the world have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Isn’t this what we told you in Egypt, Leave us alone so that we can serve the Egyptians, because it is better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert! “13 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord that he will provide for you today; for the Egyptians that you see today you will never, ever see again.(2) At MarahExodus 15:23-25 Then they came to Marah, but they were not able to drink the waters of Marah, because they were bitter. (That is why its name was Marah.) 24 So the people murmured against Moses, saying, “What can we drink?” 25 He cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When Moses threw it into the water, the water became safe to drink. There the Lord made for them a binding ordinance, and there he tested them. (3) In the Wilderness of SinExodus 16:2-4 The entire company of Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron in the desert. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this desert to kill this whole assembly with hunger!” 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people will go out and gather the amount for each day, so that I may test them. Will they will walk in my law or not?(4) Hoarding mannaExodus 16:19-20 Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” 20 But they did not listen to Moses; some kept part of it until morning, and it was full of worms and began to stink, and Moses was angry with them.(5) Gathering manna on the SabbathExodus 16:27-29 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather it, but they found nothing. 28 So the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to obey my commandments and my instructions? 29 See, because the Lord has given you the Sabbath, that is why he is giving you food for two days on the sixth day. Each of you stay where you are; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”(6) At RephidimExodus 17:1-7 The whole community of the Israelites traveled on their journey from the Desert of Sin according to the Lord s instruction, and they pitched camp in Rephidim. Now there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So the people contended with Moses, and they said, “Give us water to drink!” Moses said to them, “Why do you contend with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people were very thirsty there for water, and they murmured against Moses and said, “Why in the world did you bring us up out of Egypt- to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?” 4 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What will I do with this people?- a little more and they will stone me!” 5 The Lord said to Moses, “Go over before the people; take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile and go. 6 I will be standing before you there on the rock in Horeb, and you will strike the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in plain view of the elders of Israel. 7 He called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contending of the Israelites and because of their testing the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”(7) At HorebExodus 32:1-6 When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Get up, make us gods that will go before us. As for this fellow Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him!” 2 So Aaron said to them, “Break off the gold earrings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people broke off the gold earrings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 He accepted the gold from them, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molten calf. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it, and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow will be a feast to the Lord.” 6 So they got up early on the next day and offered up burnt offerings and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.(8) At TaberahNumbers 11:1-3 When the people complained, it displeased the Lord. When the Lord heard it, his anger burned, and so the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outer parts of the camp. 2 When the people cried to Moses, he prayed to the Lord, and the fire died out. 3 So he called the name of that place Taberah because there the fire of the Lord burned among them.(9) At KibrothHattaavahNumbers 11:4-20 Now the mixed multitude who were among them craved more desirable foods, and so the Israelites wept again and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we used to eat freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now we are dried up, and there is nothing at all before us except this manna!” … 10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and when the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, Moses was also displeased. 11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you afflicted your servant? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of this entire people on me? … 14 I am not able to bear this entire people alone, because it is too heavy for me! … 16 The Lord said to Moses, … 18 “… say to the people, Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, and you will eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat, for life was good for us in Egypt?” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat. 19 You will eat, not just one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out your nostrils and makes you sick, because you have despised the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we ever come out of Egypt?”(10) The last straw is KadeshBarnea!Numbers 14:1-24 1 Then all the community raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished in this wilderness! 3 Why has the Lord brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder? Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell down with their faces to the ground before the whole assembled community of the Israelites. 6 And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had investigated the land, tore their garments. … 10 However, the whole community threatened to stone them. But the glory of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent of meeting. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me, and how long will they not believe in me, in spite of the signs that I have done among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence, and I will disinherit them; I will make you into a nation that is greater and mightier than they!” 13 Moses said to the Lord, “…19 Please forgive the iniquity of this people according to your great loyal love, just as you have forgiven this people from Egypt even until now.” 20 Then the Lord said, “I have forgiven them as you asked. 21 But truly, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. 22 For all the people have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tempted me now these ten times, and have not obeyed me, 23 they will by no means see the land that I swore to their fathers, nor will any of them who despised me see it. 24 Only my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit and has followed me fully- I will bring him into the land where he had gone, and his descendants will possess it.
  • The uses of “ten” in Revelation.Pergamum would suffer ten days before God said, “Enough!”Revelation 2:10 Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown that is life itself.The devil is limited so that he can only do what God allows him to do!
  • The dragon and the sea beast have ten horns.Revelation 12:3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: a huge red dragon that had seven heads and ten horns...Revelation 13:1 Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, and on its horns were ten diadem crowns, and on its heads a blasphemous name.They have power (horns), but only the power God gives them – God sets their limits!
  • Ten horns are ten kings – God sets limits on the beast’s power.Revelation 17:7 But the angel said to me, “Why are you astounded? I will interpret for you the mystery of the woman and of the beast with the seven heads and ten horns that carries her.Revelation 17:12 The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but will receive ruling authority as kings with the beast for one hour.
  • Psalms 50:10 For every wild animal in the forest belongs to me, as well as the cattle that graze on a thousand hills. God is not exempting the livestock on other hills, nor the livestock in valleys. What he’s saying is that all livestock belongs to him.
  • Apply that reasoning to other passages:Deuteronomy 7:9 So realize that the Lord your God is the true God, the faithful God who keeps covenant faithfully with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations …The message is that God loves everyone who loves and obeys him.Psalms 68:17 God has countless chariots; they number in the thousands. The Lord comes from Sinai in holy splendor.The message is that God has immeasurable power.Psalms 90:4 Yes, in your eyes a thousand years are like yesterday that quickly passes, or like one of the divisions of the nighttime. The message is that time is insignificant to God. Man’s eon is God’s moment.2 Peter 3:8 Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. God’s schedule is not to be judged by man’s.
  • Remember the symbolic use of 1,000 when we get to Revelation 20:2-6.He seized the dragon- the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan- and tied him up for a thousand years. 3 The angel then threw him into the abyss and locked and sealed it so that he could not deceive the nations until the one thousand years were finished. (After these things he must be released for a brief period of time.) 4 Then I saw thrones and seated on them were those who had been given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. These had not worshiped the beast or his image and had refused to receive his mark on their forehead or hand. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who takes part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. The devil’s power is limited – he only has ten horns; but God’s dominion over him is unlimited – it lasts a thousand years!

2013 09-22 rv02 symbolic numbers in revelation 2013 09-22 rv02 symbolic numbers in revelation Presentation Transcript