The number five, with its immediate connection to the fingers of one hand, often represents a small amount in the Bible. The idea expressed in modern terms is “just a handful.” When faced with the hunger of five thousand, all Jesus’ disciples could come up with was a child’s lunch of five loaves and two fish (John 6:9). Yet Jesus had no problem multiplying that small gift into abundance for the meal. Isaiah mentions five Egyptian cities that will be unusual as a foreign remnant from that land and that will “swear
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The number 144,000 is used in only one book of the Bible: Revelation. The number relates to a group mentioned in Revelation 7:4-8 made up of twelve thousand people from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The significance of twelve is heightened by using twelve times twelve as a number. This large, exact number is immediately followed by an even larger and more expansive number in verse 9 (“a large crowd from every
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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.
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