The Symbolism of Numbers – Pt. 2

Revelation

The Symbolism of Numbers – Pt. 2

February 12th, 1961 @ 10:50 AM

Revelation 1:4

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
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THE SYMBOLISM OF NUMBERS

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Part 2 of 2

Revelation 1:4

2-12-61     10:50 a.m. 

 

You are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the morning message entitled The Symbolism of Numbers.  This is the second part of one message, the first part of which was delivered last Sunday morning.  And because of an inability to begin to encompass it in one hour, it was broken up into two.  And because of the inability to encompass it in two hours, it is written out.  It will take us a week to go through all of these references, so I have written them all out so that we can do our best to present the thought and the idea as a whole.  Next Lord’s Day morning, the sermon in the first chapter of the Book of the Revelation is John’s first doxology:

Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.

[Revelation1:5-6]

That will be the sermon next Lord’s Day morning.  Then the next Lord’s Day morning will be the verse that immediately follows:

 

Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.  Even so, Amen.

 [Revelation1:7-8]

 

Now, the sermon this morning is based on the fourth verse of the first chapter of the Apocalypse.  I heard somebody in a little group talking this morning, and they said, "Did you know that at long last, our pastor has got beyond the first three verses of the Revelation?"  We’ll be preaching through it for at least two years.  And even then, we shall but touch the hem of the garment.  In verse 4:

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace,peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne.

[Revelation1:4]

 

Twice in that introductory salutation there are numbers used.  "To the seven churches of Asia" [Revelation 1:4], there were many other churches in the Roman province of Asia besides seven, yet he uses the word seven.  Then he speaks of "the seven Spirits of God" [Revelation 1:4].  Who ever heard of the seven Spirits of God? There’s only one Holy Spirit of God [Ephesians 4:4], yet it says seven.  And so through all of this Apocalypse, you will find those numbers.  There are four cherubim [Ezekiel 1:5; Revelation 4:6].  There are twenty-four elders [Revelation 4:4].  There are two beasts [Revelation 13:1, 11], and two witnesses [Revelation1 1:3] that testify for God.  There are one hundred forty-four thousand that are sealed [Revelation 7:4].  There are twelve gates to the city [Revelation 21:12], and twelve foundations [Revelation 21:14], and there are – and it is a cube of twelve-thousand furlongs on each side [Revelation2 1:16]; there is an eighth beast [Revelation 17:11].  All through the book you will find these numbers.  And not only in the Book of the Revelation, but you will find them interwoven into the very fabric, and woof, and warp of the Holy Scriptures themselves.  All through the Bible, from the beginning to the ending, you will find those numbers. 

Now last Sunday morning, and practically all of you were here, you listened to the introduction of this message.  And I wish I had time to repeat it.  In God’s great book of creation we find His hand, a characteristic; we find an authorship that is consistent through all that God has wrought.  He has an affinity for, He has a predilection for numbers.  In the astronomical world above us, there are those great numerical ratios, mathematical laws that govern the movement of the heavenly bodies.  He likes them.  And the harmony and the ratio that they exhibit and manifest; God likes that apparently.  So in the world around us – in the world of chemistry, the world of physics, the world of biology – all of it can be reduced to number, and to ratio, and to mathematical facts and factor and law.

Therefore, it would be an unusual thing if God has written the other Book, and I found His law for numbers in the world above us, and I didn’t find it in the world of the Holy Scriptures.  But again, here is a mark of the authorship of the great almighty, omnipotent Creator.  What I find in the world above and around me, I find also in the world of the Scriptures, this other Book of God.

Now last Sunday morning we took just one of the numbers, seven.  And that’s all the time we had for, seven.  Six hundred times and more, you’ll find it used in the Bible; seven.  That’s the perfect and sacred and holy number, seven.  Multiplied is 14 and multiplied by itself, it is , "and the fiftieth day" [Leviticus 23:16].  And then cut in two – half, incomplete – it’s three and a half.  Sometimes the Bible will refer to 42 months [Revelation 11:2, 13:5], three and half years; sometimes 1260 [days] [Revelation 11:3], three and half years; sometimes the time, and times, and half of a time [Revelation 12:14], or a dividing of times [Daniel 7:25], three and half years.  The incomplete: seven cut in two. 

Now this morning, just as rapidly as I can go through this, we’re going to take the other numbers that are symbolical in the Bible, numbers that have great inherent meaning.  They reflect the mind and the genius of God.  They’re not arbitrary, they are not far-fetched; they are consistent.  And as God uses them, they are apparently used, lucidly used, plainly used. 

So we begin.  One, the number one: one is unity and independent existence, one; unique, separate, apart, alone.  The unit underlines all continuation, and in God all things consist, and in God all things continue [Colossians 1:17].  It stands for God in the most hidden absoluteness of His being.  One speaks of primacy, and sufficiency, and omnipotence.  It speaks of harmony and all parts and attributes.  It speaks of individuality and  personality; it speaks of headship and sovereignty.  Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." Zechariah 14:9: "And the Lord shall be King over all the earth:  and in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name shall be one."  Did you know that was the name for God, like Jehovah, like Adonai, like Jesus?  One, "and His name shall be one."  Mark 12:32, "For there is one God; and there is none other but He.  Ephesians 4:4-6, "There is one body, and one Spirit" – yet he said seven Spirits [Revelation 1:4] – "one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all," one [Ephesians 4:4-6]; the symbol and the sign of personality, of unique sovereignty, of separateness, of apartness, of God; one. 

Two, in the Bible, is a symbol for ambition; for increase.  And it pertains to health, and confirmation, and fellowship.  In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, the beginning of it, "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow."  Two: confirmation and testimony.  In our parliamentary procedures, a man makes a motion and other one stands and says, "I second the motion."  That is, "I confirm it."  Two: testimony.  There are two testaments, the Old and the New Testament, God’s great witness to men.  The second man, John 8:17, "It is written in the law, the testimony of two men is true." Mark 6:7, "And He called the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two"; that they might confirm each other’s witness. In Luke 24:4, there are two angels at the tomb to testify that the Lord has risen indeed.  In Acts 1:10, on the mount of ascension, the Mount of Olivet, there are two angels that confirm to the apostles the same Lord shall come again.  In Revelation 11:3: "And I will give power unto my two witnesses [the two olive trees, the two olive branches], and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth." And as good can be confirmed, so evil is confirmed; there are two beasts of evil in the thirteenth chapter of the Revelation [Revelation 13:1, 11]. 

Now the number three, three is the number of divinity.  Three is the Trinity of God.  "Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" [Matthew 28:19].  When Patrick came to Ireland to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus, they asked him how could it be, three Gods in one?  And Patrick stooped down and plucked a shamrock, a three-leaf clover, and said, "Behold, three in one." The number three is a symbol of the divine, a complete and ordered whole. 

There is beginning, middle, and end.  There is heaven, earth, and sea.  There is morning, noon, and night.  There is right, middle, and left.  There is knowledge, action, and experience.  There is body, soul, and spirit.  There is length, breadth, and height.  Or, as the author of Hebrews said in 13 and [verse] 8, "Jesus the same yesterday, and today, and forever" [Hebrews 13:8].  Three, the number of God: Genesis 18:1 and 2, "And the Lord," singular, look, "And the Lord," what? |"And the Lord walked, and the Lord appeared unto Abraham in the plains of Mamre,and he lifted up his eyes . . . and lo, three men stood by him" [Genesis 18:1-2], one God in three.  Numbers 6:24-26, there is the threefold benediction of Israel, "The Lord bless thee,the Lord make His face to shine upon thee,the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee." In Isaiah 6:3 there is the threefold Trisagion of the seraphim, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts."  In Psalm 55:17 there is the thrice-daily prayer: "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice."  And in Daniel 6:10, "Now Daniel kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before God." In Exodus 29:20 there is the consecration of the priests, and in Leviticus 14:14 there is the cleansing of the leper by the blood of sacrifice and atonement, and the blood was placed thrice on the lobe of his right ear, on the right thumb, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the great toe of his right foot.  That is, the entire man, three, is consecrated to God, to hear the Word of God, to do the will of God, and to walk in His blessed way. 

In Matthew 28 and following, the third day He was raised, our Lord was raised from the dead [Matthew 28:1-7].  In 1 John 5:8 there are three witnesses: I quote, "There are three that bear witness in the earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three are one."  

Three is the simplest compound unity; it forms the simplest compound figure in geometry, the equal-sided triangle which is indivisible, unresolvable into anything else.  It is the first and fixed compound unit of mathematical science.  The sanctuary, God’s dwelling place, is a cube, a perfect cube; length, breadth and height are the same.  In the tabernacle, it was ten cubits each way [Exodus 26:15-25].  In the temple of Solomon, it was twenty cubits each way [1 Kings 6:20].  And in the final city, the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:15-16:

And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city,  And the city lieth a perfect cube.  The length, and the height, and the breadth of it are equal. 

 

That is, and the glory of God lightens it, and the counsels of God there are realized, and the holiness, and fullness, and completeness of God is attained; three, the perfect cube, the perfect city of God, and His perfect and redeemed people. 

All right, the number four.  The number four is the number of the world of creation, of earthly completeness and universality.  In ancient Oriental philosophy, four is the symbol of the world.  There are four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter.  There are four parts to the compass: north, south, east, and west.  There are four walls to the ancient town.  There are four phases of the moon.  There are four primary elements of earth, and air, and fire, and water. 

And in the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, when Ezekiel sees the cherubim, he calls them; they are four in number, with four faces and four wings, and four sides, and they move on four wheels [Ezekiel 1:3-21]; that is, they are a representation, they are a symbol of God’s providence and God’s creation.  And when in Revelation 4:6-7, you read of the four zoë, they are the four cherubim of Ezekiel [Ezekiel 1:5].  And they represent, when they bow down to worship before God – they represent the worship of all creation, of the great Author and Creator of it all [Revelation 4:6-8], the stars sing His praises, and the universe proclaims His deity, and all creation accords Him sovereignty, and devotion, and honor, and dominion, and glory, and power, forever and ever.  That’s what they mean.  Four of them; the created world of God, worshiping the Lord [Revelation 4:6-8]. 

In Genesis 2:10 and following, the river of Eden has four heads and it is divided into four parts [Genesis 2:10-14].  In Matthew 13:19 and following, in the parable of the sower, there are four kinds of soil [Matthew 13:19-23]; and there are four kinds of hearers in all God’s created people.  In Jeremiah :36 and in Ezekiel 37:9, there are four winds.  So in Revelation 7:1, "After these things, I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth." Four is the number of the world.  In Daniel 2:36-40, the four kingdoms of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream; and in Daniel 7:3 and following, the four beasts which correspond to the four kingdoms in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream; those four beasts sum up the Gentile empires with sovereignty over all of the earth [Daniel 7:3-7].  It’s a number of the world; four.  And in Revelation 6:1-8 the four horsemen of the Apocalypse sum up the destructive powers of the world at war.  The world in which men live, and die, and work is symbolized by the number four. 

It is also a representation of us who live in this world.  It is the first number that can be divided by two.  It can be broken.  It is a symbol of weakness of the creature in contrast with the Creator.  It is a symbol of our failure and trial.  The Book of Numbers is the fourth in the Pentateuch, and is a type of our pathway and trial in the wilderness of this world.  And whenever any number is intensified by ten, it carries through the same meaning of the number.  So ten times four, the meaning extends to its multiple, forty.  Forty is the time in the Bible referring to trial and testing in the earth.  For example, in the days of Noah it rained forty days and forty nights [Genesis 7:4, 17].  And in the days of Moses, while he was on Sinai, forty days and forty nights [Exodus 24:18, 34:28], down there Israel was gathered around the golden calf [Exodus 32:1-6].  In the days of Jonah, he came preaching: "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be destroyed" [Jonah 3:4].  And our Lord Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil forty days [Matthew 4:1-2].  It’s a world number; it’s a number of us. 

Now the numbers five and ten – I wish I had opportunity to expatiate upon these numbers as we go along – but they are not arbitrary, they’re not far-fetched, but they lie in the genius of God as He has created this universe.  He has done it in ratio with meaningful numbers, mathematics.  Now, five and ten: I haven’t thought of that, but when I spoke of it this morning, five and ten, why, man!  I’ve been going by five and ten all my life.  I never feel so rich as I do when I go in a five-and-ten-cent store.  I can buy anything in it, and I just feel like the Lord of all I survey in the five-and-ten.  Well, that’s exactly what five and ten means in the mind of God.  He made it that way. 

The basis of the decimal system originated in counting with the fingers: five and ten are the secular digits.  It is a significant number in all ages and in all history.  The tithe is the Lord’s, we say [Leviticus 27:30-32]; that is, God looks upon everything as being in ten parts: and a tithe, a tenth, is a symbol of His sovereignty, and lays upon us the burden of our responsibility.  Now, five and ten came from the ancient practice of counting with the fingers; five and ten.  And in the consecration of the priests and in the cleansing of the leper [Leviticus 14:14], when the blood was on his ear – five senses; and when the blood was on his thumb – five fingers, the hand that executes His will; and upon his toe – five toes to walk in God’s blessed, elective purpose.  Now in the ancient day, men were so often maimed and crippled through accident and disease and other reasons, that it came to be that a "full-rounded" man was a man who had all his fingers and all of his toes; that is, ten.  And in the law, no man could be consecrated a high priest who was maimed [Leviticus 21:16-23]; so five doubled to ten came to stand for human completeness.  The whole duty of man is summed up in Ten Commandments [Exodus 20:1-17], not in thirteen nor in nine, but in ten.  The picture of complete human power in human government would be a beast with ten horns as you find in the Revelation 13:1.  And in Daniel 2, the great world empire vision of Nebuchadnezzar stands on ten toes [Daniel 2:41-42]. 

Now the multiples of ten intensify the meaning of the basic number.  Four times ten, seven times ten, a hundred times ten, a thousand; a thousand equals the ultimate completeness and completion raised to nth degree.  And in Revelation 9:16, "the horsemen were two hundred thousand, thousand," that is, the raising of tens into millions indicates how great and immense that army was.  The number is twice ten thousand times ten thousand, two hundred million.  That is an immense army, intensified to the decimal use of that word, ten.  That is, ten stands for intensity.  In Genesis 31:7 Jacob complains to Laban that he changed his wages ten times.  And in Nehemiah 4:12 the discouraging Jews spoke to Nehemiah "ten times." In Daniel 1:20 the king found Daniel and his companions "ten times better." And in Revelation 2:10, Jesus said the church of Smyrna is to have tribulation "ten days," that is intense tribulation and persecution, like the ten plagues of Egypt in the Book of Exodus [Exodus 7:14-12:30]. 

Ten stands for this thing down here in this world, human completion.  Matthew 25:1-13, the ten virgins represent the churches in their entirety.  In their mixed and slumbering and earthly condition; the ten virgins – all of the people in all of God’s churches – some of whom are sound asleep.  Luke 19:13: the nobleman calls his ten servants and entrusts to them ten pounds saying, "Occupy until I come," the ten parts.  Luke 15:8: the woman in the parable has ten pieces of silver representing what she possesses, and losing one.  And in Genesis 18:32 ten righteous men would have saved Sodom. 

Now the number eight: eight, eight is the number in God’s Book and in God’s symbolism, eight is the number of the new order, the new departure, the new beginning.  Seven completes it.  Seven is a sacred, and holy, and perfect number, and eight is the new beginning.  

I tried it this morning, I didn’t do so well,  "Do – re – mi – fa -so – la – ti," and law me, you have the jimjams and the Willie if he does’t say it, "do!"  You tell that illustrious musician who’s going to teach you all how to do better, you tell him you’d better get me in the choir.  Wouldn’t I add to it? Seven notes in the music scale are the basis for all of our music, seven! God’s harmonious complete world; God’s world, God’s universe, God’s Book is musical with its numerical impress, the harmony of God’s creation; seven.

 Now the eighth is but the octave, the beginning again of the series in a new and a higher and a different key; eight.  The eighth day is the first day of the new week.  The seven days of the week, and the eighth is the beginning of the new.  It speaks of what is new in contrast with the old.  Thus it speaks of the New Covenant and the new creation.  In Genesis 17:12: "He that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you." At the end of seven days, then beginning anew on the eighth day, it symbolized in circumcision the eighth day, a new race, cut off from the old Adamic headship and a new relationship with God, the Abrahamic Covenant.  So, in Colossians 2:11, "Ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." Or as he would say in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If any man shall be in Christ, he is a new creation," the eighth day, upon which our Lord was raised from the dead.  Second Peter 2:5, "Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness."  First Peter 3:20, his family of eight persons were saved; that is, in Noah we had a new beginning, a new family, a new race, and a new population; eight [Genesis 7:13, 23]. 

In Exodus 29:35, seven days are occupied with the consecration of the priesthood, and on the eighth day they entered into their work.  In Leviticus 14:10-23, the leper is cleansed the eighth day.  On the eighth day, he is a new man.  He’s a new creation, he’s cleansed of his leprosy [Leviticus 14:23].  In Leviticus 23:11, "And he shall wave the sheaf of the first fruits before the Lord on the morrow after the Sabbath."  The Sabbath was the seventh day.  So on the morrow after the Sabbath is the eighth day; the first day of the week, the new beginning.  "And on the morrow after the Sabbath shall he wave the sheaf of the first fruits unto God" [Leviticus 23:11].  In 1 Corinthians 15:23 the resurrection of Christ is called, He is "the first fruits." The sheaf of the first fruits is a type of the resurrection of our Lord.  On the eighth day, on the morrow after the Sabbath, on the first day of the week He was raised from the dead [Matthew 28:1-7]; the new beginning, the new dispensation, the new glory.  Fifty days later, on the same day of the week is Pentecost [Leviticus 23:15-16], the new dispensation of the Holy Spirit.  Pentecost came on Sunday, the eighth day, the new day, the new creation [Acts 2:1-4].  Luke 9:28, the transfiguration of our Lord was on the eighth day [Luke 9;28-35].  An adumbration of the new age was the power, coming glory of our Savior.  And John 20:26, "And after eight days, Jesus stood in the midst." He was raised from the dead the eighth day of the week, the first of the new week [John 20:1].  And He appeared to His disciples on that day [John 19:19] and on that same day one week later [John 20:26]; the Lord’s Day, the new beginning, number eight. 

Now the number twelve: twelve is made up of the same factors as seven, except that in seven they are added together; four plus three.  And in twelve they are multiplied, four times three; the number of the world is four, and the number of the manifestation of God is three.  So when they are multiplied, twelve speaks of the manifestation of God in the world of His creation, His active laying hold upon it, His elective purpose in it.  Twelve is the sign and the symbol of God’s manifest sovereignty.  For example, it is a symbol of organized religion, God’s work in the earth; the unity, completeness, sanctioned by divine election. 

There are twelve months in the year.  There are twelve signs in the zodiac.  There are twelve tribes of Israel [Genesis :28].  There are twelve apostles in the land [Matthew 10:1-2].  There are twelve stars in the crown of the radiant woman in the Revelation 12:1.  There are twelve gates in the New Jerusalem [Revelation2 1:12].  There are twelve foundations [Revelation2 1:14].  And there twelve fruits from the tree of life [Revelation 22:2].  Twelve, a symbol of God’s elective work and purpose in the earth, a symbol of religion:

Exodus 24:4: the twelve pillars set up by Moses.

Exodus 28:21, the twelve jewels in the breastplate of the high priests [Exodus 28:15, 21].

Leviticus 24:21: the twelve loaves of the showbread.

Numbers 13:1 and following, the twelve sites at Canaan [Numbers 13:1-25].

 Numbers 17:2: the twelve rods laid up before the Lord.

Joshua 4:9: the twelve stones set up in the bed of the Jordan River over which they passed dry-shod.

I Kings 18:31: Elijah’s altar is made out of twelve unhewn stones [1 Kings 18:31-32].

In Revelation 4:4: "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats, I saw four and twenty elders sitting."

 

Twenty-four.  What are they? They are the twelve patriarchs, representing the redeemed of the Old Covenant, they are the twelve apostles representing the redeemed of the New Covenant; so round about the throne of God are four and twenty seats and four and twenty elders; twenty-four.  Two times twelve: that is the redeemed of God of all ages and all time, and they worship the Lord. The four cherubim, the four zoë, the four living ones representing the creation of God fall down and worship Him that liveth forever and ever [Revelation 5:14, 19:4].  And when they praise the Lord, the four and twenty elders, the "twice twelve," the redeemed of God of the old and the new, bow down and worship Him that liveth forever and ever, the symbolism of the numbers of the Bible. 

In Revelation 7:4, "And I heard the number of them which were sealed …an hundred and forty and four thousand." That is, twelve times twelve times a thousand.  One hundred forty-four thousand sealed that belong to God.  And this doesn’t mean the numbers were not actual, it just reflects the mind of God.  There are twelve tribes [Genesis :23], there are twelve apostles [Matthew 10:1-2], there are one hundred forty-four thousand sealed [Revelation 7:4], God loves the beauty and the harmony and the symbol of numbers. 

Now in this Revelation twenty first chapter, in the New Jerusalem, the New Jerusalem [Revelation 21:2, 10]: twelve:

·         There are twelve gates [Revelation 21:12].

·         There are twelve foundations [Revelation2 1:14].

·         There are twelve thousand furlongs measuring the cube [Revelation 21:16].

·         There are twelve gates of solid pearl [Revelation 21:21].

·         And the tree of life bears twelve manners of fruits [Revelation 22:2]. 

 

            That is, in the New Jerusalem there is a number of manifest sovereignty and elective purpose everywhere apparent; this is its blessedness, that God rules entirely.  The redeemed of God are there.  This is God’s ultimate and final work, His purpose to bring us to this holy, and symmetrical, and glorious city.  Twelve, God’s redeemed; the elective purposes of the Lord in the earth. 

Now in the moment that remains, we will speak of six; six.  Seven is the sacred number; four, the number of the world; three, the number of God; and put them together and you have the earth crowned with the glory of heaven.  Seven is the sacred and holy number.  Six is the number that falls short.  Six is the number that fails; it is the number of man.  He was created on the sixth day [Genesis 1:26-28], his workday week, his appointed time of labor, is six days [Exodus 20:9].  The Hebrew slave served six years [Exodus 21:2].  As the darkest hour immediately precedes the dawn, as the darkest years are just before the millennial Sabbath, so the number six immediately precedes the perfect number, seven.  It’s the worst of all; the darkness of the cross began at the sixth hour [Matthew 27:45].  And our Lord was crucified on the sixth day, it is the evil number.  It is a failing, short-coming number of man.  In 1 Samuel 17:4 Goliath’s height is six cubits and a span.  In 1 Samuel 17:7, his coat of mail weighed six hundred shekels of iron, and a giant of his race had six fingers and six toes [2 Samuel 21:20].  In Daniel 3:1, the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar was sixty cubits high and six cubits broad.  And in Ezekiel 39:1-2, of the host of God, God destroyed all but one-sixth which alone was spared. 

Now we come to the most famous number in the Bible.  Revelation 13:18, and I quote, "Here is wisdom.  Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred sixty and six" – six units, six tens, six hundreds; three sixes, successively raised in decimals to higher power, 666!  That is evil in its fullest activity, the number of a man vainly and impudently aspiring to be God.  The deification of man which we see today, and the dethroning of the Son of God; he is a leader then, whose labor is without prayer, whose culture is without Scripture, whose song is without psalms, and who rules without reverence.  It is a world without God: 666. 

The sum total of human achievement after six thousand years is ceaseless activity.  Has man reached the Sabbath at last, and has he attained to a seven?  Alas, he’s as far away as ever.  He never gets beyond his number six.  Or, as Browning says,

Oh! The little now, and how much it is,

And the little less, and what worlds away.

[from "By the Fire-side," Robert Browning, 1855]

Six, six: the number of man. 

Well, that concludes the sermon, and we’re already off the air.  I am amazed at how quickly the time passes.  And bless you for your wonderful, interested, attentive listening.  No man ever spoke with a silver tongue who first did not have an audience with a golden ear.  It takes two to make a sermon: somebody to preach, but somebody must listen in earnest and prayerful attention. 

Now next Sunday we pick up the next verses: the glorious doxology [Revelation 1:5-6], and the following Sunday He Cometh with Clouds; and we, "every eye shall see Him" [Revelation 1 :7].  And so on through the glory of the unveiling of Christ in the Apocalypse which God gave unto Him [Revelation 1:1].  Now, may the Spirit of the Lord hallow and seal and sanctify the testimony from His Holy Book. 

At the 8:15 o’clock hour, two lovely families placed their lives with us in the fellowship of this precious and beloved congregation.  If you’ve never given your heart in trust to Jesus, would you this morning? If you’ve never been baptized in accord with His commandment [Matthew 28:19], would you this day? Or is there a family you to come, "Pastor, this is my wife and these are my children, we’re all coming to be with you and this glorious congregation this morning; to pray together, to read God’s Book together, to ask Him to bless us in this study together, to grow in grace together, to make the pilgrimage from this world to the world to come, together."  Would you make it now? If you’re in the balcony, there’s a stairway on either side at the front and the back.  And in this lower floor, aisles that lead down to the front, "Pastor, I give you my hand, I give my heart to God.  Here I am and here I come."  Make it now.  On the first note of the first stanza, come.  And God bless you in the way: while we stand and while we sing.