Numbers In Scripture: Friday The 13th Edition

Ok, so I know that it's uncommon for a Confessional Lutheran to travel down the path I'm going walk down today, but I'm going to ask you to indulge me for just a few minutes.

It's funny how so many Christians still make comments on a day like yesterday ("Friday The 13th") that seem to suggest that they still have some worldly superstitions that they're holding on to.

Superstitions, of course, are not the substance of faith nor the product of being anchored to Christ and the very Word of God that proclaims His promises and truths to us.

And yet, superstitions are often the sins that stain our hearts and minds; hearts and minds that are constantly bombarded by mysticism from so-called men and women of God too.

So I guess it's no surprise then that these stains are hard to wash out of our hearts and minds, but wash them with the waters of our Baptism we must!

But this entry isn't about "superstitions" per se even if yesterday was Friday, March 13th, 2015. Instead, I thought we could take a quick look at each and every time the number 13 appears in Scripture.

Now, I'm not sure if this is considered a "no-no" in Confessional Lutheran circles or not. The last thing I want to do is be accused of promoting some form of divination, the occult, or witchcraft even if I refer to it as "Biblical Numerology" instead.

Keep in mind that I'm not asking anyone to put their faith and trust in a number let alone to look at numbers as some sort of "sign from God" either, but I'm simply asking you to spend a few minutes with me in marveling at the cohesiveness and completeness of every single aspect of God's Word.

A Christian by the name of E.W. Bullinger wrote what is probably considered the most famous treatise on numbers and their appearance throughout the Bible.

In his famous work "Number In Scripture" he wrote this about the number 13...



As to the significance of thirteen, all are aware that it has come down to us as a number of ill-omen. Many superstitions cluster around it, and various explanations are current concerning them. 
Unfortunately, those who go backwards to find a reason seldom go back far enough. The popular explanations do not, so far as we are aware, go further back than the Apostles. But we must go back to the first occurrence of the number thirteen in order to discover the key to its significance. It occurs first in Genesis 14:4, where we read "Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and the thirteenth year they REBELLED." 
Hence every occurrence of the number thirteen, and likewise of every multiple of it, stamps that with which it stands in connection with rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption, disintegration, revolution, or some kindred idea. 
The second mention of thirteen is in connection with Ishmael, Genesis 17:25. He was thirteen years old when Abraham circumcised him and admitted him into the covenant to which he was a stranger in heart, and which ended in his rebellion and rejection. 
We see it stamped upon the very fore-front of Revelation. For while the opening statement of Genesis 1:1 is composed of seven words and twenty-eight letters (4x7), the second verse consists of fourteen words, but fifty-two letters; fifty-two being 4x13 tells of some apostasy or rebellion which caused the ruin of which that verse speaks. 
But it is when we come to Gematria that the most wonderful results are seen. These results may be stated thus, briefly: That the names of the LORD's people are multiples of eight, while the names of those who apostatized, or rebelled, or who were in any sense His enemies, are multiples of thirteen. This statement, if it be proved, is one of the greatest evidences of verbal inspiration which the world has yet seen. The discovery of the great principle is due, we believe, to the late Dr. Milo Mahan, of New York, who has given many examples of it in his work already referred to, now long out of print. The effect of this law can hardly be estimated in establishing the presence of an ever-present working of the Holy Spirit in inditing the very words and even the letters of Scripture. No human foresight or arrangement could have secured such a result beforehand; no human powers could have carried it out in such perfection. No matter where we look, we find the working of the law without cessation, without a break, without a flaw from beginning to end. Only one conclusion is possible, and that is that the Bible has but one Author, an eternal, omniscient Author, designing, superintending, working, and carrying out His own infinite plans. 
The destruction of Jericho is also stamped with the number thirteen, though not by Gematria, for the city was compassed once each day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day, making 13 times in all (6+7). 
In the 13th year of Josiah, Jeremiah began to prophesy against the apostasy of Judah. 
Solomon was 13 years building his own house, which was so full of apostasy. 
The number of occurrences of the word zumh (zumee), "leaven," in the New Testament is thirteen, and it is significant of its connection with corruption, as denoting apostasy from the truth. 
It is surely impossible to explain all this evidence on the doctrine of chances. There must be design. And design so perfect, so uniform, so significant can only be Divine. And being Divine is an unanswerable argument in favour of the verbal and even literal inspiration of the Scriptures of Truth.


Now, I get that many of you might feel very uncomfortable and uneasy taking a closer look at this sort of thing. Don't worry though. This is probably going to be the first and the last time I do a piece on Biblical Numerology.

So, no, I haven't gone all "Fruit-Loop-Dingus" on you today. I just wanted to come at the whole Friday The 13th superstition from a decidedly and unique Christian perspective and so I hoped I've succeeded in that regard.

That's about all I want to say about his research and work though.

What do you think? Do you find it as compelling as I do? Is it a legitimate field of study for a Christian? Worthy of our additional investigation perhaps?

In a Lutheran layman's terms, let me break it down for you in a way I think we can all agree: The number 13 reminds me that there is 1 God The Father, 1 Jesus Christ The Son, and 1 Holy Spirit Who all make up the Holy Trinity (3).



NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

Share|
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with...Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all mature spiritually (myself included) then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!