THE COVENANTAL SABBATH
With the exception of two, four, six, ten, twelve and their multiples, most other numbers, such as five, nine, eleven, thirteen and from sixteen onwards, appear to have little or no Biblical significance at all, although five and its multiples do feature (chiefly as measurements in cubits) in the tabernacle, the temple of Solomon, and in Ezekielís vision of the new temple (cf. Ex. 26:3-37; 27:1-18; 30:23-4; 38:18, 28; I Kgs. 6:6-24; 7:2-49; Ezek. 40:1-48; 41:2-20; 42:2-8; 45:1-12; 48:8-34); and eleven, insofar as it has any symbolical significance at all, seems to represent (as twelve minus one) incompleteness (e.g., the eleven children of Jacob before the birth of Benjamin, the eleven brothers of Joseph after his "decease! ", and the eleven disciples after the suicide of Judas (Gen. 32:22; 37:9-11, 26-36; 42:8-13; Acts 1:16-26). Here, however, this naturally excludes the most important apocalyptic numbers, like those of Daniel (for e.g. the 70 weeks (= 7 + 62 + 1 weeks), the 2,300 mornings and evenings and the 1,335 days), and of Revelation (for e.g. the 3 Ĺ days, the 1,260 days and the 1,600 furlongs), which cannot be discussed in this work. Such numbers would require a lengthier analysis than their importance for the present purposes of this book would warrant (cf. Dan. 8:14; 9:24-7; 12:2; Rev. 11:3, 9, 11; 12:6).
The figure TWO, although sometimes used in respect of the articles in the tabernacle (Ex. 25:12, 18: 26:17, 19; 28:7, 9; 28:14) and the Levitical rites (Ex. 29:1, 13; Lev. 5:7; 12:8; 14:4, 10 etc.) or as "two days" as a period of waiting (Hos. 6:2; John 4:40, 43; 11:6; Matt. 26:2), as opposed to the number one, frequently suggests disunity, failure or sin (cf. Eph. 2:15; Mark 14:30, 72; Jude 12; Josh. 5:2f; John 3:4; Rev. 2:11; 20:14; 21:8; Ex. 22:4-9; Ps. 12:2; Jas. 1:8; 4:8). For there is Lamech, the first polygamist, and his two wives (Gen. 4:9): the two daughters of Lot and their sin (Gen. 19:30); the strife between the two sons of Abraham; between the two sons of Isaac; and between the two wives of Jacob (Gen. 16-33). The failure of the first covenant necessitated a second (Heb. 10:9); two cannot walk together, except they be agreed (Am. 3:3); no man can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24); and two shall be in the field at the second coming ó the one taken up, the other left behind (Matt. 24:40). Two false witnesses betrayed the Lord (Matt. 26:20); He was crucified between two thieves, only one of whom repented (Luke 23:32); and Paul was hard pressed between the two ó whether to live or to die (Phil. 1:23). (Per contra, however, see Job 42:10; Eccl. 4:9-12 and Matt. 18:19, 20). The number two therefore has little positive significance in the realm of re-creation.
The figure FOUR has some significance in the completeness of redemption, sometimes particularly in respect of the redemption of the non-human creation. The Messianic line runs through Judah, the fourth son of Jacob. In the tabernacle there were four rings of gold for carrying the ark and the table of shewbread; four corners of the ark; the four-legged table; and four bowls in the golden candlestick. Each curtain was four cubits broad and was hung upon four pillars of gold resting on four silver sockets. The breastplate of the priest was foursquare and had four rows of stones; and the altar was foursquare (Ex. 25:12, 26, 34; 26:2, 8, 32; 28 :46-7; 38:1). Solomonís palace was built on four rows of cedar pillars, and the figure four figured prominently in his temple (many measurements of four cubits; four wheels for each stand, four hundred ( 4 x 100) pomegranates for the network, etc.) (I Kgs. 7:2, 19, 29, 30, 42). Ezekielís four living creatures each had four faces, four wings, four wheels and four sides, reminding one of the four beasts of Revelation, whereas Ezekielís vision of the new temple featured four tables and an altar with four horns, and he envisioned the re-birth (re-creation!) of his people from the four winds (Ezek. 1:5-18; 10:9-21; Rev. 4:6, 8; 5:6, 14; 6:1; 7:11; Ezek. 40:41; 43:15; 37:9). Zechariah prophetically beheld four horns, four carpenters, four chariots and the four spirits of the heavens (Zech. 1:18, 20; 6:1-5). Minor property thefts were required by the law to be restored fourfold, as did Zacchaeus (Ex. 22:1; Luke 19:8; II Sam. 12:6), and in the last day, Christís angels will gather His elect from the four winds to inhabit the heavenly city, which lies foursquare (Matt. 24:31; Rev. 21:16).
The figure four (signifying completeness), when used as a multiple of ten [which latter often alludes to a time of waiting or of trial (thus the Pilgrim Bible, p. 1707)], i.e. as forty, would signify the completion of a time of trial or waiting. At the time of the flood, it rained for forty days and nights (Gen. 7:4, 12, 17); Joseph mourned the death of his father for forty days (Gen. 50:3); and Moses left Egypt for Midian at the age of forty, and forty years later at the age of eighty (= 40 x 2) he returned to lead his people through the wilderness for forty years and to spend forty days and nights on Sinai with the Lord (Acts 7:23-30). Joshua (then forty) and Caleb returned from their spying expedition after forty days (Nu. 41:33; 13:25 cf. Josh. 14:7); and, after the occupation of Canaan, the land four times had rest for forty years under the four judges Othniel, Deborah, Gideon and Eli (Judg. 3:11; 5:31; 8:28; I Sam. 4:18). The four kings Saul, David, Solomon and J(eho)ash each reigned for forty years (Acts 13:21; II Sam. 5:4; 1 Kgs. 11:42; II Kgs. 12:1). Elijah journeyed forty days and nights unto Sinai (I Kgs. 19:8); Ezekiel described both Jerusalem as being besieged and Egypt as being desolated for forty years (Ezek. 4:1-6; 29:11-3); and Jonah warned the people of Nineveh that their city would be destroyed in forty daysí time (Jonah 3:4). Finally, the Lord fasted and was tempted by the devil for forty days and nights (Matt. 4:2; Luke 4:2), and instructed His Apostles during the forty days which elapsed between His resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:2, 3). [See too "one hundred and twenty" (= 40 x 3) under "twelve" below].
The number four, then, symbolizes the completeness of redemption, particularly that of the redeemed creation or nature, whereas its multiple forty signifies the completion of a time of trial or waiting, again generally in connection with redemption or re-creation.
The figure SIX has some significance in respect of the tabernacle (six branches of the candlestick, six names of the tribes of Israel engraved on each stone in the priests breastplate ó Ex. 25:32; 28:10), and in respect of certain measurements of the new temple (Ezek. 40:5, 12; 41:1-8; 46:1-6). Sometimes the number signifies safety (the six Levitical cities of refuge ó Nu. 35:6f), or cleansing (the sixty-six daysí cleansing period of a mother after the birth of a daughter, or thirty-three days [half that period], after the birth of a son ó Lev. 12:1-5).
The chief meaning of this figure, however, appears to be that of the labour of man, (in conjunction with the sabbath number seven) and indeed, of man himself in his power and dominion (when six is never used in conjunction with seven). Regarding the labour of man, six is chiefly used in connection with the Sabbath Commandment (Ex. 16:26; Ex. 20:9; 23:12; 31:15; 34:21; 35:2; Deut. 5:13) ó indeed, the phrase "six days" is but rarely used apart from the Commandment ó (Ex. 16:5, 22, 26, 29; 20:9, 11; 23:12; 24:16; 31:15, 17; 34:21; 35:2; Lev. 23:3, 34-42; Deut. 5:13; 16:8; Josh. 6:3, 14; Ezek. 46:1; Matt. 17:1; Mark 9:2; Luke 13:14; John 12:1), or with six years of service or slavery (Ex. 21:2; Deut. 15:12, 18), or of sowing oneís land (Ex. 23:10; Lev. 25:3), or six days of eating unleavened bread (Deut. 16:8), coupled with the idea of release or change in she seventh year or on the seventh day respectively.
Finally, six, when not used in conjunction with seven, sometimes signifies the power and dominion of man himself, frequently in his apostasy from God. Man was created on the sixth day, given dominion over all creation, and he fell away from God (Gen. 1:26-31; 3 :17). So great were the power and riches of the apostasizing Solomon, that his yearly income was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold (I Kgs. 10:14; II Chr. 9:13)! In the sixth year, in the sixth month, Ezekiel was shown the vile abominations and creeping things and loathsome beasts and idols in the temple of the Lord, foreshadowing the man of sin, the word of man, the devil made flesh, the politico-religio-economic world dictator, Antichrist, whose number shall be six hundred and sixty-six (Ezek. 8:1, 9-11; 9:1-6; cf. II Thess. 2:3,4; cf. Rev. 13:1-18)!! Cf. too p. 82.
Lastly, it may not be altogether out of place to point out that Islam has appointed Friday, the sixth day of the week, for its religious observances. In the Koran (Sura 62:9-11, cf. Sura 2:65, 66 & 7:163, where the Jews are accused of sabbath-breaking), it is stated that the believer is called "to prayer on Friday, the day of the Assembly". (Cf. further, Sura 4:47, 154 and 16:124). This fact affords interesting material as to the possible identity of the little horn of Daniel, "who speaks words against the Most High (= Christ), and who wears out the saints of the Most High (= Christians), and thinks to change the times and the law", and to the identity of the false prophet (cf. Dan. 7:25; Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10; cf. I John 4:1-6; Matt. 24:16 esp. ff. vv. 24, 26a!), particularly in the light of Seventh-day Adventist attempts to apply these passages to Sunday worship (cf. Andrews and Conradi: op. cit., p. 13; and "Questions on Doctrine", Review and Herald Pub. Co., Wash. D.C., 1957, pp. 179-82).
The figure six then, has a varied symbolical content, referring sometimes to redemption, although generally to the labour of man; where divorced from the number seven it seems to refer to man as apostate from God, labouring in his own strength, and refusing to rest in Jesus Christ as his true sabbath! Like two, six therefore has little positive significance in the field of re-creation.
The figure TEN is used by itself, but also in its multiples. By itself, it has some significance in the tabernacle (Ex. 26:1, 16; 27:12; 38:12) and in the temple of Solomon (I Kgs. 7:10, 24-7, 38), and is quite frequently used (particularly by Jesus) to denote a relative completeness in respect of a number of things ó e.g. ten virgins, ten talents, ten servants, ten pounds, authority over ten cities, tithes etc. (Gen. 18:32; 24:10, 22; 31:7, 41; Ex. 34:28; 18:21, 25; Matt. 25:1, 28; Luke 11:42; 15:8; 19:13-7; Rev. 2:10; 12:3; 13:1; 17:12). In its multiples, it is particularly used as twenty, forty, one hundred and twenty, and as one hundred and multiples of the latter. As twenty, it is particularly used in measurements of the tabernacle (Ex. 26:18-20; 27:10-6; 30:13-4; 36:9-25; 38:10-26) and the temple of Solomon (I Kgs. 6:1-20). As forty, it signifies the completion of a time of trial or waiting (see under "FOUR", above), As one hundred and twenty, see under "TWELVE" below. As one hundred and its multiple one thousand, it signifies a large, complete whole (Gen. 5:32; 7 :6; 15:13; 17:17; 23:15, etc., Ex. 18:21; 20:6; 34:7; Nu. 7:85; 31:4; 35:45, etc.), and as ten thousand in particular, it is widely used to denote a massive, almost innumerable completeness (Ezek. 45:3-14; 48:9-18; Dan. 7:10; Jude 14, etc.). Finally, it should perhaps be noted that the Lord began His earthly ministry at the age of thirty (= 10 x 3), commenced it by fasting for forty days (= 10 x 4), finished it by ascending forty days (= 10 x 4) after His resurrection, and continued it by pouring out His Holy Spirit on the Church ten days later, or fifty days (= 10 x 5) after His resurrection (Luke 3:23; 4:1, 2; Acts 1:3; 2:1 cf. Lev. 23:15-6).
Ten, then, appears to signify a relative completeness by itself, and in its multiples, a massive, almost innumerable completeness.
The figure TWELVE seems to denote the completeness of the plan of redemption. There were twelve tribes of Israel (Gen. 49:28), twelve pillars at the foot of Mt. Sinai built by Moses (Ex. 24:4), twelve stones in the high priestís breastplate (Ex. 39:14), twelve cakes of shewbread in the tabernacle (Lev. 24:5), twelve stones placed in the Jordan (Josh. 4:3), twelve spies sent into Canaan, twelve days of dedication of the altar in the wilderness, twelve captains in the army and twelve classes of priests as divided by David (Nu. 7:11-78; I Ch. 24:1-19; 27:1-15), twelve lions in the temple of Solomon (I Kgs. 10:20), and twelve stones in the altar built by Elijah on Carmel (I Kgs. 18 :31). Jesus first manifested His learning when twelve years old, taught that there were but twelve hours in one day in respect of work for His Kingdom, gathered twelve disciples, and had twelve legions of His angels who could rescue Him at His command (Luke 2:42; John 11:9; Matt. 10:5; 26:53). The heavenly city has twelve angels guarding its twelve gates, upon which are inscribed the names of he twelve tribes of the sons of Israel; the wall of the city has twelve foundations adorned with twelve kinds of jewels, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; and in the middle of the city is the tree of life, with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month, which months number twelve in the present dispensation (Rev. 21:12-6; 22:2; 1 Ch. 27:1-15).
The most prominent multiples of twelve in Scripture are twenty-four, one hundred and twenty, twelve thousand and one hundred and forty-four thousand. for example, the twenty-four singers of David (I Chr. 25:31), the twenty-four elders round the throne of God (Rev. 4:l0f); the one hundred and twenty years of grace before the flood (Gen. 6:1-4); and the one hundred and twenty disciples of Jesus who prayed together immediately prior to the day of Pentecost Acts 1:15); the twelve thousand horsemen of Solomon (I Kgs. 4:26); and the twelve thousand stadia of the heavenly city in its length, breadth and height Rev. 21:16); and the one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed by the seal of the living God; and the wall of the heavenly city which measures one hundred and forty-four cubits (Rev. 7:4; 21:17). Indeed, the figure twelve is also the product (3 X 4) of the meaning of its divisors 3 (denoting Messianic redemption, completeness, and sanctification) and 4 (denoting the completeness of redemption), even as the holy figure seven is the sum of these numbers (3 + 4).
The figure twelve then, appears to denote the
completeness of the plan of redemption.