Numerology is a form of divination or fortune telling. It is in league with astrology, although, maybe not as popular. But it was quite popular in the ancient world. The Hebrew people of ancient Israel apparently had their own form of Numerology.


Oh! Numerology is based on the idea that numbers have certain magical properties, some are blessed, some are curse, some tell your future or your personality, etc. [Perhaps the superstitous fear of the number 13 is related to numerology?] 


Anyhow... the writers of the bible [especially the old testament] used Hebrew Numerology in their writings. I found a guide online of the meanings of different numbers to the ancient Hebrew people [and early christians]. Strangely this source came from an apologist site. I find this odd because the fact that the Hebrews used symbolic Hebrew Numerology in their texts when describing events, numbers of people, amounts of time, ages of people, etc... to mean something that would only be understood in a symbolic way by those who knew their "number code" ... doesn't this work against the apologists who claim Biblical inerrecy? Apparently they don't seem to think so. But I do... and I will explain after I provide the link to their guide:

A Guide of Hebrew Bible Numerology


Why do I think it works against them? Simple! If the numbers were placed there to indicate the personality of a character, the nature of an event, or some kind of protection spell or prayer... how can they possibly be literal?!


For example:

1. Adam lived 930 years, right? [Genesis 5: 5] ... Maybe not... let's see what this number might mean.

From what I know of Numerology [which is not much] - the individual numbers in the full number might hold the key to its meaning.

So the individual numbers here are either 9 or 900:

Nine : 9 - Biblical Meaning of Number: deals with judgment or the finality of things. Basically, it's used when judging man and all of his works. (Added Christian Viewpoint: This number has also been used to describe the perfect movement of God.

[900 isn't listed in the guide]


Then we have either 3 or 30:

Three : 3 - Biblical Meaning of Number: deals with approval, viewing things within its entirety, and things that have become solid and complete.

Added Christian Viewpoint: The number three is also used when describing the Trinity or the Godhead (divine perfection). The number three has also been associated with the concepts of spirit and life.


Thirty : 30 - Biblical Numerology Meaning: deals in reference to the marking of the right moment.


So what could this possibly mean? [Obviously I can't read the minds of the writers] but maybe they were trying to use the number 930 to say something like: [9=Final things] "When Adam died it was his final action." [He remained dead? - Does this mean he didn't have an afterlife?] or maybe "Adam's death marked the end of the beginning of mankind and the sealing of the curse of the original sin from the fall that would haunt his children forever" [These are just guesses... Numerology is a form of divination... so... the symbolism might not be completely clear]. [3 = completion, viewing things in their entirity] "Adam's death completed God's initial dealing with his creation?" "Adam was representative of humanity as a whole... and thus merely a symbol?" [30 = marking of the right moment] "Adam died at the right time for his kind?" "A moment of change for humanity?"


I suppose this form of divination could be viewed in many ways....

So why am I bringing this nonsense up? That's quite simple! What Biblical Hebrew Numerology means is that these stories are not really literal. Anyone ever notice that numbers are almost as "numerous" in the bible as "begat, begat, begat?" Could this be because the writers of the old... and most likely new... testament were attempting to establish folk lore with numbers meant to show meanings or lessons to ancient people who understood the code... which would be mostly lost on us today?


Ironically, the apologists who made the site seemed to have missed that this "Hebrew Number Game" is fatal to fundamentalist Christianity's reading of the Bible.


Of course I think that Numerology [aka Arithmancy] is complete bunk and woo woo. But I do think that the Hebrew Numerology in the Bible is useful to Bible critics because it can show that the way people wrote the Bible was never intended to be word-for-word literal and that this number game makes it even more likely that the Bible is a set of legends and myths. [Which... of course... it is].

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Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on February 16, 2011 at 6:51pm
I heard somewhere that Ancient Middle-Eastern Numerology translates the "Mark of the Beast" [666] into a specific name: Ceasar Nero.
Comment by Eoganacht on February 16, 2011 at 7:19pm
Me too. I thinl that translated in to hebrew and using tha numbered hebrew alphabet the letters add up to 666. A number used now for the devil once represented a major christian enemy.
Comment by SteveInCO on December 8, 2012 at 10:50pm

Slightly different version.

The Greeks used a numbering system not unlike the Hebrew system, every letter had a value. Alpha = 1, Beta = 2, etc.  They included some obsolete letters, as well.  When you got to iota=10 the values of the letters started going up by tens, so the next letter, Kappa, was 20, and so on.  By bringing in those obsolete letters, they got Omega to equal 800 and (obsolete letter) Sampi=900.  By writing three different letters you could express numbers up to 999 this way, and if your number was, say, 800 then you could do it with one symbol (ω) instead of the three we use today.  (Don't get me wrong, our current system is better!)

Lots of cultures did this, including the Russians, Hebrews, and Georgians (those are the ones whose pre-modern systems I've had personal exposure to--Georgian has enough letters to get to 9999!).  Many Russian coins and the like from the first half of Peter the Great's reign (1682-1725) still used this system for dates (getting away from it was one of his reforms), and Israel still dates some of their coins this way.

Order is not important, you could write 11 as either αι or ια in theory, but if a language tended to say "three and ten" for 13 but "twenty and one" for 21 [English does exactly this], you'd see the numbers written that way more often than not, with whatever letter is 3 before the letter for ten, not afterwards, but the other way around for 20+1.

Most early Christians spoke Greek, and they took Nero's name (in Greek), transliterated it into Hebrew, and added the Hebrew letters together, to get 666.  Others would take the Latin version of the name, transliterate it into Hebrew, and add those letters together to get 616.

In any case it's evidence that Revelations was written as a prophecy of the immediate future, at the time of its writing.

Comment by Strega on December 8, 2012 at 11:22pm

Did you know that 666 is the sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel? (1+2+3+.....34+35+36).


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