“Numbers constitute the only universal language.” Nathanael West
“Nature’s great book is written in mathematics.” Galileo
“Mathematics is a more powerful instrument of knowledge than any other that has been bequeathed to us by human agency.” Descartes
Whatever you think about the quotations above, it is an inescapable fact that the creation was formed with great mathematical precision. Galileo declared that mathematics is the language in which nature’s book is written. If anything, the famed astronomer is guilty of understatement. Yahweh not only has fashioned the heavens and the earth with a remarkable degree of mathematical precision and order, He also uses numbers to communicate spiritual truth.
Numbers in the Bible are not random. They are associated with ideas. Numbers in Scripture are utilized consistently to demonstrate a type of coded communication. Those who understand their meaning are able to recognize the divine design that has chosen certain numbers in specific associations. Patterns that are recognized in this way guide the reader to further insight into the message God is communicating through His word.
An example of a number being associated with a specific idea is observed in the number twelve. Yahweh has chosen this number to communicate an idea of “divine election and perfected government.” Jacob had twelve sons who became the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel. Yahshua chose twelve men to be His disciples and to serve as apostles to establish the first foundations of the church. In the book of Revelation we read of the overcomers who stand with the Savior on Mount Zion. These overcomers will rule and reign with Christ during the millennial period. Their number is given as 144,000 – 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. This repetition of the number twelve is not mere coincidence. Yahweh has determined that this number convey the idea of election and government.
Another profoundly significant number invested with divine meaning is seven. In the very first chapter of the Bible we learn that the creation “week” consisted of seven days. The first six days were full of creative activity and on the seventh day God rested. This seven day “week” has remained pervasive throughout man’s history as a basic unit of counting time. Whether men are Christian, or non-believers; whether they regard the Bible as divine truth, or nothing more than fable and superstition, the week of seven days is observed by all. The number seven continues to be featured prominently to the last book of the Bible. In Revelation we read of seven churches, seven stars, seven angels, seven lampstands, seven spirits of God, seven seals, seven horns, seven eyes, seven trumpets, seven peals of thunder, seven thousand people who perish in an earthquake, a dragon with seven heads and on his heads seven crowns, seven plagues, seven golden bowls containing the wrath of God, and seven mountains. Only the naive could dismiss the number seven as bearing no particular significance to God.
The number seven is intrinsically tied to this present creation of the earth. In the book Number in Scriptures, E.W. Bullinger provides insight into the profound significance of numbers throughout the creation. He remarks on the fact that the number seven is linked to a divine chronology of events.
The first natural division of time is stamped by the Number seven. On the seventh day God rested from His work of Creation.
When He ordained the ritual for Israel which should show forth His work of Redemption, seven is again stamped upon it in all its times and seasons. The seventh day was the holy day; the seventh month was specially hallowed by its number of sacred festivals; the seventh year was the Sabbatic year of rest for the land: while 7 x 7 years marked the year of Jubilee (Lev 25:4,8)…
God’s dealings with His people have to do with actual duration of time rather than with specific dates; and we find that His dealings with Israel were measured out into four periods, each consisting of 490 (70 times 7) years. Thus:—
The 1st. From Abraham to the Exodus.
The 2nd. The Exodus to the Dedication of Temple.
The 3rd. From the Temple to Nehemiah’s return.
The 4th. From Nehemiah to the Second Advent.
It is clear that these are periods of duration having regard only to Israel, and to Jehovah’s immediate dealings with them. For in each one there is a period of time during which He was not immediately governing them, but in which His hand was removed, and His people were without visible tokens of His presence with them.
You can see how Bullinger arrived at the calculation of these four periods of time in his book. http://philologos.org/__eb-nis/chap01.htm#2 Bullinger continues to demonstrate how the number seven is stamped upon other aspects of this present creation.
We see the same law at work in various departments of nature. Sometimes one number is the dominant factor, sometimes another. In nature seven is found to mark the only possible mode of classification of the mass of individuals which constitutes the special department called science. We give the seven divisions, with examples from the animal and vegetable kingdoms. The one specimen of an animal (the dog) and one specimen of a flower (the rose).
I. KINGDOM Animal Vegetable
II. SUB-KINGDOM Vertebrata Phanerogamia
III. CLASS Mammalia Dicotyledon
IV. ORDER Carnivora Rosiflorae
V. FAMILY Canidae Rosaciae
VI. GENUS Dog Rosa
VII. SPECIES Spaniel Tea-rose
offers a vast field for illustration, but here again the grand impress is seen to be the number seven. The days of man’s years are “Three-score years and ten” (7×10). In seven years the whole structure of his body changes: and we are all familiar with “the seven ages of man.”
There are seven Greek words used to describe these seven ages, according to Philo:—
1. Infancy (paidion, child).
2. Childhood (pais boy).
3. Youth (meirakion, lad, stripling).
4. Adolescence (neaniskos, young man).
5. Manhood (aner, man).
6. Decline (presbutes, old man).
7. Senility (geron, aged man).
The various periods of gestation also are commonly a multiple of seven, either of days or weeks.
With INSECTS the ova are hatched from seven half-days (as the wasp, bee, etc.); while with others it is seven whole days. The majority of insects require from 14 (2×7) to 42 (6×7) days; the same applies to the larva state.
With ANIMALS the period of gestation of—
The mouse is 21 (3×7) days.
The hare and rat, 28 (4×7) days.
The cat, 56 (8×7) days.
The dog, 63 (9×7) days.
The lion, 98 (14×7) days.
The sheep, 147 (21×7) days.
With BIRDS, the gestation of—
The common hen is 21 (3×7) days.
The duck, 42 (6×7) days.
With the Human species it is 280 days (or 40×7).
Bullinger remarks on another number that pervades the creation. It is the number 3.
It is not always seven, however, which is the predominant factor in physiology or natural history.
In the case of the BEE, it is the number three which pervades its phenomena—
• In three days the egg of the queen is hatched.
• It is fed for nine days (3×3).
• It reaches maturity in 15 days (5×3).
• The worker grub reaches maturity in 21 days (7×3).
• And is at work three days after leaving its cell.
• The drone matures in 24 days (8×3).
• The bee is composed of three sections,— head and two stomachs.
• The two eyes are made up of about 3,000 small eyes, each (like the cells of the comb) having six sides (2×3).
• Underneath the body are six (2×3) wax scales with which the comb is made.
• It has six (2×3) legs. Each leg is composed of three sections.
• The foot is formed of three triangular sections.
• The antennae consist of nine (3×3) sections.
• The sting has nine (3×3) barbs on each side.
Is this design, or is it chance? Why should it be the number three instead of any other number? No one can tell. We can only observe the wondrous working of supernatural laws, and admire the perfection of design…
It is most impressive when it is observed that sound and color (light) are marked by both the numbers three and seven. In music we find that all sound is naturally divided into three octaves of seven notes each (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti). In the realm of light we find that all colors can be formed from three primary colors (Red, Blue, Yellow)
The visible spectrum of light that the human eye can see is often observed in the rainbow. The colors of the rainbow appear as seven in number. In school they taught us to remember these colors by imagining the discover of this phenomena as being named ROY G. BIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet).
ROY G. BIV
One might ask why God should choose to stamp the creation with the numbers three and seven? What is the significance of these numbers? The answer leads back to what the Bible reveals of the nature of God. There are three numbers that are peculiarly found in descriptions of God. These numbers are one, three, and seven.
“Hear, O Israel! Yahweh is our God. Yawheh is one!”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…”
And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
It appears that Yahweh chose to imbue the creation with those same attributes and numbers that are characteristic of His own being. Consider that Christ, the visible manifestation of the invisible God, is called both “the Word of God,” and “the Light of the world.” Since the Son of God is compared to that which is both heard and seen, it is fitting that both sound and light should be marked with the numbers one, three, and seven. When we listen to a song, we may say we heard one song, yet the musical tones of that song can be broken down to its constituent seven notes in three octaves. When we observe the colors of the rainbow displayed across the heavens, we may say that we saw one rainbow, yet the rainbow can be subdivided to seven distinct colors, and all colors visible to the eye of man can be formed of three primary colors. Thus, all that mankind can hear and see is peculiarly stamped with the numbers of God.
Man himself is marked by these same numbers. This is to be expected, for Yahweh Elohim said, “Let us create man in Our Image, after Our likeness.” I am one man. Yet I am comprised of three distinct parts.
I Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete…
The spirit, soul, and body of man can be further divided into seven constituent parts.
Body (Sensory life)
As we look throughout the Scriptures we find that Yahweh has repeated this same pattern in manifold ways. The Temple and the Tabernacle were both divided into three sections. There was the Outer Court (corresponding to man’s body), The Inner Court (corresponding to man’s soul), and the Holy of Holies (corresponding to man’s spirit). These three areas of the Temple and Tabernacle also relate to the three members of the Godhead: Christ/The Outer Court; The Holy Spirit/The Inner Court; God the Father/The Holy of Holies.
Inside the Temple we also find a remarkable item that reveals further the divine numbers one, three, and seven. This is the Golden Candlestick.
Moses was given a commandment by Yahweh to form the candlestick of a single piece of “beaten gold.” Thus the body of the candlestick was formed all of one piece. The body of the candlestick is representative of the Son of God. His body was also beaten, yet He was pure and holy like refined gold. The candlestick was fashioned into seven individual branching candles. The candlestick did not hold wax candles as we think of them today. Rather, it burned the pure, beaten oil derived from the crushed flesh of the olive. The olive oil was poured into the hollow candlestick and each branch was lit. The oil represents the Holy Spirit. Oil is used to signify anointing throughout the Bible, and John refers to the Holy Spirit as the “anointing” (I John 2: 20, 27). The flames represent the seven spirits of Yahweh.
In the candlestick we clearly see the numbers one, three, and seven. We may say truly that there is only one candlestick. Yet the one candlestick has three distinct parts. It has the body of gold. It has the holy oil. It also has the flame (for our God is a consuming fire). In the book of Revelations we see that Christ is walking among the seven candlesticks representing the seven churches of Asia Minor. It is fitting that the candlestick should serve both as a symbol of God, as well as the people of God. Yahweh has determined that His people should be conformed to His image and likeness.
I will give but one more example of how Yahweh has used these three numbers in the Scriptures. The feasts of Yahweh are three in number. They are the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). Just like these other examples, these three feasts are further divisible into seven, for both Passover and Tabernacles are three part events.
Feast of Passover
Feast of Unleavened Bread
Feast of Firstfruits
Feast of Pentecost
Feast of Trumpets
Day of Atonement
Feast of Tabernacles
Observing that Yahweh has established this pattern of numbers in the creation to denote that which is full and complete, is there a similar testimony to be observed in the earth? After all, man’s flesh was formed of the dust of the earth. Should we not then expect to find the numbers one, three, and seven to have as clear an association to the earth as it does to humanity? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
I first came across this tertiary (three fold) and septenary (seven fold) design of the earth when I was in my early twenties. A sister of mine was attending LeTourneau College (now LeTourneau University) in Texas. This is an engineering school founded by a Christian man. I remember my sister saying, “I don’t care if I get a Bachelor of Science, or a Bachelor of Arts, as long as I get a bachelor.” My sister was single at the time, and LeTourneau’s student body was about 90% male. She was successful in her aim, marrying an engineering student from the College.
More important to this study, however, is that my sister’s curriculum included Bible classes. An Old Testament Survey course she took was taught by a man by the name of Kenneth F. McKinney. Mr. McKinney had written a book titled Scanning the Plan. My sister showed me the book, and I soon acquired a copy for myself. Mr. McKinney taught the Ruin/Restoration view of Genesis, also known as “the Gap Theory.” Inside the cover of the book was a fold out banner showing the seven stages of the earth, and displaying three separate creations of the earth.
If, and only if, one adopts the ruin/restoration doctrine of Genesis do we find that the earth conforms to the divine pattern we have observed where that which Yahweh creates is stamped with the numbers one, three, and seven. Following are the three creations of the earth as set forth in the Scriptures.
The First Earth
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
This is the first earth which was created before the fall of Satan. It is the earth of the dinosaurs and other pre-Adamic creatures. This earth was destroyed when Satan rebelled and was cast down. This first earth suffered catastrophic judgment, becoming formless, void, and covered in darkness.
The Second Earth
The second earth is the one we now live on. Its creation, or rather “restoration,” began in Genesis 1:3 as Yahweh said “Let there be light.” With this declaration God began to remove the curse upon the original earth and to fashion things anew, culminating in the creation of Adam on day six. This present earth will be destroyed by fire, as the apostle Peter prophesied.
II Peter 3:7, 10
But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men… But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
The Third Earth
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the former heaven and the former earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
There is a parallel in these three earths to mankind that I would draw the reader’s attention unto. In a sense, the first two earths were a single entity, for the first earth that was judged by God was not annihilated, or done away with. It was merely made formless, void and covered in darkness. Yet, the third earth is a completely new earth, and in a true sense it can also be called the second true earth, and the last earth.
I find in this a remarkable parallel to Adam and his descendants, and to “the last Adam” who is Christ. Like the first earth, Adam was created blameless. However, Adam rebelled against God, fell into sin, and suffered judgment. The condition of the first earth under judgment bears a remarkable likeness to Adam and his descendants under judgment. Adam was created to bear the likeness and image of God, but this likeness was lost and no longer attainable after Adam sinned. In this regard, Adam became formless, having lost the form of God. There was no man born of Adam who could say, “If you have seen me you have seen God.” The first man to be able to speak these words in truth was Christ. He alone had the form of God.
Adam was also void. That is to say, he was empty. Mankind was created to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. This purpose was left unfulfilled due to the sin of Adam. It would not be until AFTER Christ died on the cross and rose again that the Holy Spirit would be given to indwell humanity. Until Christ, the Holy Spirit had been “with” many men and women, but it would only be after Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended that He would be “in” men and women.
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.”
Due to Adam’s sin, mankind also became darkened in their understanding.
This I say therefore, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God…
Thus, man’s condition was that he too was formless, void, and covered in darkness. There came a time, however, when God began to move to re-create the earth under judgment. The first thing He had to do was to send light upon the earth, for it had been sealed up in darkness.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
Similarly, in order to redeem mankind Yahweh had to begin by sending him light.
John 12:44, 46
And Yahshua cried out and said, “I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness.”
Each of the six days of the re-creation of the earth in Genesis chapter one finds its spiritual correspondence in mankind and is set forth in the Gospels. I have set forth the parallel between the days of the reformation of the earth and the re-birth of man in the book The Mark of the Beast as well as in the teaching titled The Seven Days of Man. I will not repeat that information here, but would point out that the second earth is intended by God to serve as a parable for regenerated man. Those who are born again of the Spirit of Christ are said to be “new creations” even as we consider the earth that was reformed beginning in Genesis 1:3 to be a new creation.
II Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
In actuality, however, regenerated man is the Adamic man re-born. We still inhabit the same bodies in which sin is present, but light has now come, and the presence of God is making all things new for us. Similarly, in the second earth we find that light returned, but there was still evil present among the creation, for the serpent was in the Garden, and Satan was actively seeking to lead humanity into sin.
As Christians we live an existence that parallels the second earth. There is warfare present in our members between good and evil, light and darkness. This condition cannot continue forever, even as this present earth, even when it is under the rule of Christ as it will be in the Millennial period, cannot continue in its present form. A complete and final end must be made to sin, darkness, and evil.
Peter tells us that this present heaven and earth are being reserved for fire. They must be consumed. This will be a far more thorough judgment than what occurred in Genesis 1:2 when the earth was made formless, void, and sealed in darkness. This present physical world must be completely done away with. Similarly, these mortal bodies that know sin and death must also be destroyed in order than we might receive new glorified bodies that will no longer no sin or death.
I Corinthians 15:53-54
For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
The third and last earth which has no seas and no darkness is symbolic of the final and glorious state of man. Seas represent death throughout the Scripture. When the Israelites crossed through the sea after departing Egypt, the apostle Paul states that they were “baptized into Moses” (I Corinthians 10:1-2). Baptism is symbolic of dying and being resurrected to new life. When we go under the water we die. When we come back up out of the water it is symbolic of entering into new life. The last earth cannot have any seas, for there will be no death. Similarly, mankind must lay aside these mortal and corruptible bodies and put on that which is immortal and incorruptible.
The illustration above shows the three creations of the earth and man. There is the first man Adam in his innocence. He corresponds to that first earth that was before the fall of Satan and prior to sin entering the creation.
There is the fallen man. He finds his correspondence to the earth after sin. Everything is formless, void, and covered in darkness.
We then see redeemed man, those who are new creations in Christ. This new creation man finds his correspondence to the earth that has been created anew in Genesis 1:3 and following. It is the earth we now live on, and the condition of this man is observed in those who have been born again of the Spirit of Christ and have become partakers of the divine nature. Nevertheless, these ones find that sin still dwells in their flesh. Death is still at work in the physical body.
Finally, we see the glorified man who has laid aside the body made of dust and has received a new immortal and incorruptible body. This man finds his correspondence in the new earth that will appear after this present earth is consumed in fire. It is an earth without seas, without death, without sin. All is radiant, glorious, righteous and holy.
At this time, there is only one man who has arrived at this final, glorious state. That man is Yahshua the Messiah. He has passed through death into life. Death no longer has any hold over Him. He is never to die again. The apostle Paul refers to Christ as “the last Adam” and the last earth serves as a symbol of His glorious condition. This glorified condition is also the promised future condition of those who have been born again of the Spirit of Christ, and who are putting the flesh to death.
I John 3:2-3
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
How then do we complete the divine numerical pattern by identifying seven distinct divisions of the earth’s existence? Kenneth F. McKinley, in his book Scanning the Plan, breaks down the three creations of the earth into seven subsidiary states.
(1) Original Earth
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This earth was created prior to sin’s appearance. Satan had not yet fallen, and the heavens and earth were at peace.
(2) Chaotic Earth
“But the earth became formless and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2). This is the earth after the fall of Satan. The length of time which the earth lay under this judgment is not known. Being sealed in darkness, this was likely a period in which the earth was covered in ice, corresponding with evidence of an ancient ice age.
(3) Adamic Earth
“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’” (Genesis 1:3). This is the re-created earth as described in Genesis chapters one and two, before the fall of man. The earth is a paradise. There is no rain, but a mist arose from the ground to water the earth (Genesis 2:6). Mankind has not sinned, but Satan is present upon the earth.
(4) Pre-Flood Earth
“Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you shall eat the plants of the field by the sweat of your face…” (Genesis 3:17-19). This is the earth after Adam sinned. Sin and death have now entered the creation. The earth no longer gives forth abundantly.
(5) Present Earth
This is the earth after the flood of Noah. It is an earth under human government. After the flood Yahweh shortened man’s life span from a thousand years to one hundred-twenty years (Genesis 6:3). This present state of the earth will continue until the millennial reign of Christ.
(6) Millennial Earth
“Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6). During this period Satan will be bound. Christ will reign upon the earth with His overcoming saints. Sin and death will still be present, but greatly mitigated.
There shall no more be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who dies prematurely; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner who dies when only a hundred years old shall be [thought only a child, cut off because he is] accursed.
After a thousand years Satan will be loosed and war and judgment will result once more. The present earth will be consumed with fire. Then will come the third and final creation of the earth, which will also be the seventh state of the earth.
(7) New Earth
There will be no sea on the new earth. Seas represent death, and death will be no more. These seven states of the earth conform to the septenary (seven fold) design which God has imprinted upon the creation.
It is apparent that in each of these seven stages of the earth that a significant change has occurred. The creation cannot be complete until it fulfills the divine numerical design. Even as the Creator has revealed Himself in the numbers one, three, and seven, so too must the earth, and the man who was formed from the dust of the earth, bear this same imprint. All that is full and complete is marked by these numbers.
Consider how this divine pattern is broken when one rejects the ruin/restoration doctrine of Genesis chapter one. We are left with only two distinct creations of the earth, and there are only five distinct states of the earth. The numbers two and five are not used by Yahweh to denote the perfection and completeness of the creation.
By itself, the evidence I have presented here of the mathematical pattern Yahweh has designed into His creation is insufficient to establish, or prove doctrine. Yet, when such a profound pattern is observed as one studies the Scriptures, it can serve as one more affirmation of the truth.