The number four and groups of four connect with our sense of place in the horizontal world. Everything around us is in one of four directions: east, west, north, or south. In the worldview of the Old Testament, complete descriptions were often developed in sets of four. When the tax collector Zacchaeus expressed his practical faith in Jesus, he included a promise to “pay four times as much as I owe to those I have cheated in any way” (Luke 19:8). Jesus accepted that commitment as a sign of genuine repentance, symbolic of completeness. And there are four Gospels, a complete picture of the life of Christ.Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (FOUR/4)
Outside the Bible, the recognition of twelve months in the lunar calendar made the number twelve an important symbol for the annual cycles of life. In the Bible, this number usually symbolizes completeness, especially with regard to the people of God. Once the twelve tribes of Israel were established, uses of the number twelve became a symbol pointing to the entire people of God.