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Divine Numbers

Updated: Mar 26

If you’ve seen recurring numbers in your daily walk, it is natural to question what they mean. I have friends that regularly see number patterns like 11 or 444, or 45 on clocks, license plates, and screens around them. The number patterns even appear in dreams. While writing the book Zion Rising, I had moments where I regularly saw 4s, 3s, and 7s. I would regularly awake at 4:37 am, fully alert, as if the universe through the clock was pointing me to some hidden meaning in the numbers.

 

After seeing the same number patterns pop up in my own life, day in and day out, I have asked why. What is the significance of numbers? And why is there an entire book in the Bible dedicated to numbering things in Israel?  I came to question whether the numbers carried messages assuring me of the correctness of my path, or to alert me to something coming.

 

Numbers clearly carry enough significance in the scriptures for them to be recorded. If they carry meaning in the scriptures, do they continue to carry meaning today for those with eyes that see? Why else would the ancient prophets take time to record specific numbers in relation to events, times, sizes, and distances?


Numbers were so important that visions of the temple by Isaiah, Ezekiel, and others specifically reference exact numerical measurements. From the 40 years the Israelites spent in the wilderness, and 40 days Christ fasted, to the 7 days a woman was to cleanse herself ritually (Lev 15:13, 19) or 7 days to prove one was pure from leprosy (Luke 17:11-17). This same number 7 appears routinely in the miracles performed by Elisha an Elijah. Numbers carried significance anciently. 

 

And it would seem unwise not to trust that numbers mean something today – for our God is an unchanging God and He continues to speak to His children. (Amos 3:7 - God reveals His secrets to His prophets; D&C 124:21 - God wants to reveal all things, including those hid from the foundation of the world). Given God’s ongoing restoration of all truth and knowledge until it floods the earth, I have come to believe that numbers contain divine meaning to facilitate the Lord speaking to us in our minds and hearts (D&C 8:2).

 

But if numbers are a way for the Lord to speak to us in the language we understand (D&C 1:24), carrying meaning to our hearts and minds, what does each number mean?

 

In the late 1700s, a prophet figure named Emmanuel Swedenborg, considered a contributor to their renaissance, a contemporary of Immanuel Kant, he influenced Thoreau, Emerson, C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and taught that Christ powers the light of the sun, wrote on the idea of numbers. He taught that angels speak in “pure numbers.”


Why? Because they are more precise and point to God’s celestial purpose.

 

It has been often shown me that the spiritual things of heaven, such as those which the angels think and speak, also fall into numbers. When they were conversing, their discourse fell into pure numbers, and these were seen upon paper; they afterwards said that it was their discourse which had fallen into numbers, and that those numbers in a series contained everything they uttered. (Apocalypse Explained §429)

 

He also wrote:

 

They who are of that [i.e. celestial] kingdom, understand immediately; and this without instruction, as if of themselves. Every single idea has its own number. In general, even numbers correspond to good, as 2, 4, 8, and odd numbers—as 3, 9—to truth. (Spiritual Experiences §5571)

 

It’s curious to me that Swedenborg believed that generally, even numbers (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) represent good, and odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) represent truth. But if numbers are more precise, because every single idea has its own number, what is their focus?

 

My current belief (subject to further light and knowledge revealed to us through God’s Prophets) is that each number means something about God’s purpose on Earth: namely, us becoming like Him. For this is God’s work and Glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39). As such, if God’s entire purpose is to help us have eternal life, and immortality, it would make sense that numbers would carry divine significant related to his eternal work – us. And as ministering stewards to humanity, sent from God to help us awaken and arise, it makes sense that angels would use numbers as shorthand to discuss those here on earth below.

 

In other words, if the sole purpose of life is to rise back from the Fall and be restored to our former pre-mortal state through the grace of Christ, enriched by our earthly experiences… then it makes sense the message of angels would be laser focused on that purpose.  

 

This focus on celestial language, beautifully harmonizes with President Nelson’s invitation for us to “think celestial”. If each number corresponds with goodness and truth, then it stands to reason that numbers are designed – like all things in God’s universe – to point us to God – to call us back to Him, and to help us think, and be celestial!

 

Divine numbers also appear in many simple symbols like the circle (3) and the square (4) and complex symbols like the Egyptian facsimiles translated by Joseph Smith where 4 pillars represent the Earth (see Facsimile 2, No. 6 below).

 

 


I recently had the blessing to tour Egypt and the Holy Land and found these symbols – the circle and the square - everywhere. They will be addressed in another post.

 

Aristotle surmised that numbers represent distinct things. This coincides with the reality that there are octaves (sets of 8) in musical harmony. Later Mathematician Georg Cantor, theorized that numbers don’t actually exist, but represent “distinct objects”. His theories hold that numbers are merely philosophical – holding the meaning we assign to them. However, numbers have held constant meaning for some time.

 

The following is my fumbling effort to create a chart of what numbers mean – and what Angels might use them for when sending us messages. This is far from flawless, let alone doctrine. The Lord speaks to us in our language, plainly, to our understanding (2 Nephi 31:3; D&C 1:24). As such, this is merely my effort to make sense of the numbers I see each day – to align my own understanding – and to help others find Christ’s song of restoration and sanctification in the numbers around them each day as we build Zion (7) (Heaven (3) on Earth (4)) – for all things typify Him – the Lord and King of Zion – especially numbers.


I recently had the blessing to tour Egypt and the Holy Land and found symbols of the circle and the square, like those in Facsimile 2, everywhere, including in the ancient synagogue of Galilee below showing the Magdala flower (think Mary Magdalene), an ancient symbol of Heaven meeting Earth (which will be in another blog post about the circle and the square).



The following chart is my fumbling effort to associate numbers with potential meanings/symbols/ideas. This is far from flawless, let alone doctrine, but rather my effort to make sense of the numbers I see each day – and to help others find Christ in the numbers around them each day as we build Zion (Heaven on Earth) – for all things typify Him – the Lord and King of Zion.  

Number

Symbol or Idea

Merely "Some" References (hyperlinked and summarized for convenience)

1

God / Christ / Eternity / Reconciliation

1 Jn. 5:7; 2 Ne. 31:21; Alma 11:44; 3 Ne. 11:36; D&C 20:28; D&C 93:3 (the Holy Ghost, Christ, and Father are "one"); Genesis 2:24–25, Moses 3:24 (husband and wife are to be one); Acts 4:31–32 (all believers are of one heart and one mind); 1 Corinthians 6:17 (those joined unto the Lord is one spirit); 3 Nephi 19:23, 28–29 (Christ's prayer that we might be one with Him as He is with Father); D&C 51:9 (that ye may be one); D&C 38:27 (if ye are not one, ye are not mine); Moses 7:15-18 (the people of Zion were of one heart and one mind – which allowed Christ to come dwell with them)

2

Unity / Partnership / Companionship / Harmony / Family / Marriage

Deuteronomy 9:11, Exodus 34:4 (10 commandments given on 2 stone tablets); Luke 9:16 (five fishes and two loaves feed 5,000); D&C 107:1 (two priesthoods); JST Mark 16 (2 angels declare Christ's resurrection at the tomb); D&C 6:2 (God's word is sharper than a two edged sword); Alma 57:6 (2,000 stripling warriors); Revelations 11:3-13, D&C 45: 48, 51-55, D&C 77:15 (two "sons", "bulls", “prophets” will defend Jerusalem at Christ's return); Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (two is better than one); Genesis 32:13-14 (Jacob offers Esau 20 and 200 sets of animals to create unity); Acts 1:10 (two angels declare Christ will return as he ascended); Moses 3:24 (the two married as husband and wife are to be one)

3

Heaven (Circle) - D&C 3:1-4 "The Lord's Course is One Eternal Round"

4

Earth [Square] - "Four Corners/Winds/Regions of the Earth"

3 Nephi 5:24, 26; Ether 13:11, Moses 7:62, D&C 135:3, Mosiah 27:6; D&C 45:46, Facsimile 2, "Four Pillars" or "Four Corners of the Earth"; Ezekiel 1:4-6, 23 (four angels, with four faces, wheels, wings, and faces)

5

Covenant / Agency / Change / Conversion / Growth / Progression / Mortality

The fig leaf, a symbol of Israel, has five leaves. Ezekiel 1:1-2 (Ezekiel called on the 5th day of the, 4th month, of the 5th year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity); 2 Nephi 20:19 (Assyrian King's notes his hands have five fingers and when his worldly kingdom is destroyed a child can count the trees that will remain suggesting counting on one or two hands); 1 Nephi 5:11 (Moses wrote 5 books);  Job 1:2-3 (Job restored five hundred oxen and five hundred donkeys); Matthew 25:2 (five virgins were wise, and five foolish); Matthew 14:21, Mark 6:44, Luke 9:14, John 6:10 (the Lord uses five loaves to feed five thousand).

6

Revelation / Light / Lift / Temple (2x3)

Isaiah 6:2 (celestial seraphim have 6 wings); Kirtland temple had 66 steps on each side leading to the top of the tabernacle;

7

Perfection, Purity, Wholeness, Complete / Heaven (3) + Earth [4] = Perfection or Zion - "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." Psalm 12:6.

John 20:25 (Christ had 7 wounds, 2 in each hand, and one in each foot, and one in his side); Psalm 12:6 (the words of the Lord are pure as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times); Job 1: 2-3 (Job was a perfect man with seven sons and three daughters); Job 5:19 (in seven there shall be no evil in thee); Job 42:13-14 (after passing his trial, the Lord restored Job's seven sons and three daughters - fairer than any in the land) Revelations 1:4, 13-16, 20 (Seven churches, and seven candlesticks, and seven stars); JST Revelations 12:4 (dragon with seven heads and crowns); Acts 6:3 (seven men called to serve under the apostles - later seventy); Revelations 5:1, 6 (seven seals, seven eyes, horns, and spirits of God's perfect Lamb); Revelations 15:6-8 (seven angels, deliver seven plagues to cleanse the earth); John 4:52 (healed on the seventh hour); Amos 5:8 (seven stars and Orion); 2 Nephi 21:15 (Egypt's seven rivers smitten and language cursed); 3 Nephi 28:3 (when you lived to seventy and two you shall be twinkled)

8

Renewal / Resurrection / Rebirth/ Restoration / Eternity (3) + Change (5) / Start Again

1 Peter 3:20 (eight souls saved in Noah's Ark); Eight witnesses testified of the Book of Mormon); 2 Kings 22:1 (Josiah began to reign at 8 years old); Zechariah 1-6 (Zechariah had “eight visions”); D&C 6 &C 68:25, 27 (Children are baptized at 8 years old); Genesis 21:4 (Isaac circumcised at 8 days old) ; D&C 84:28 (John the Baptist ordained when 8 days old to overthrow the Kingdom of the Jews); Ether 3:1 (the Jaredites travelled to the promised land in 8 vessels)

9

Rare ("ennui" in French simultaneously means 9 and unique) - 3rd Heaven (3x3) - Celestial

Luke 5:3, Matthew 18:13 (Christ leaves the 99 to get the one); Moses 6:12 (Adam lived 930 years and died); Omni 1:21 (Coriantumr the last of the Jaredites stayed with the Nephites 9 moons/months); Genesis 17:1 (the Lord appeared to Abraham when he was ninety and nine); 3 Nephi 28 (nine of the Lord's disciples are granted eternal life);

10

Remnant - Commandments / Warnings & Woes / Probation / Fullness

Genesis 20 (the 10 commandments); JST Revelation 12:4 (dragon had 10 horns) 2 Nephi 16:12-13 (the people shall be removed and a tenth [remnant] shall return); Isaiah 38:8 (sun returned 10 degrees); Luke 19:3 (10 servants, 10 talents); Alma 10:16 (Alma the Younger repents on the Seventh Day of the Fourth Month of the 10th year); Matthew 25:1-3 ("You know the story. The ten virgins represent members of the Church, and the bridegroom represents Jesus Christ." "Hosanna to the Most High God”, April 2023 General Conference, Elder Rasband)

11

Veil? To be determined…

Mormon 1:16 (Moroni carried to the land southward at age 11); Matthew 28:16 (eleven disciples); Exodus 26:7 (eleven curtains in the temple); Genesis 37:9 (eleven stars bow to Joseph); Deuteronomy 1:2-3 (11 days journey, Moses spoke on the 11th month); Numbers 29:20 (eleven bullocks to be sacrificed on the third day of the Feast of Trumpets/Tabernacles); Ezekiel 40:49 (the breadth of the temple's porch was 11 cubits)

12

Posterity - God’s Family - Descendants

Genesis 29:30 (twelve tribes of Israel); Mark 3:14 (Christ ordained 12 apostles); 1 Nephi 1:10 (12 stars/apostles) 1 Chronicles 25:9 (with his brethren and sons were 12); Revelations 12:1 ("a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."); Revelation 7:4, D&C 77:11, D&C 133:18, (144,000 high priests = 12x12);


 

These numbers take on new meaning when you combine them. 4+3=7 as demonstrated in the image below and discussed in greater detail in Zion Rising.




These types of number combinations lead to greater clarity, and precision in divine ideas - like circling the square. As my childhood friend and gift artist Connor Doxey noted wrote to me about circling the square:


The subject of sacred numbers and finding meaning in them is fascinating to me. The first question in my mind is, how is it done? How do we attribute correct meaning to each number? On one end of the spectrum you can get into the weeds with numerology. Don’t get me wrong, what is plainly observable has been picked up by people of higher intellect than my own, some amazing faith building knowledge is there. But vast opinions are attributed to meaning. On the other end of the spectrum, you will find a mathematics devoid of meaning, or a physics that is pressured to remove the transcendental from the equation. On that note, academics are more often blind to a higher order than their own secular academy.


Second question is why? We have 100’s of verses that link these sacred numbers to scriptural narratives. There absolutely is meaning but why, as it seems, the narrative is written around them. Or more correctly, in my opinion, the layers of meaning and teachings in our scripture are meant to correspond with another language that is deeper and quite mysterious.


My mind is going off on a vast information dump of amazing facts and figures but let’s focus on two shapes, the circle and the square. And what about this number 7. To start we notice that the circle by degrees is 360. The square, its opposite shape is comprised of 4 corners whose sum of inside angles is also 360 degrees. The circle by nature is eternal, transcendental and irrational.


The square on the other hand must only be straight, each side being equal otherwise you cannot call it square. Squares are practical and basic while circles are more complex to quantify and (in my opinion) more elegant. You might be catching on to the Male and Female character traits that are symbolic to these shapes.


As was you noted Circles represent Heaven, squares represent Earth. There you have it, the archetypal Adam and Eve. The same image as the Creator yet so different, with a command to become one. Adam, our principal “square” took Gods commands as literal with no questions. This being problematic as he would remain unconscious to progression. Eve, our “circle” saw the irrational notion of remaining in a state of ignorance not to mention the command to be fruitful and multiply. I will not belabor you with a retelling of the Plan of Salvation, but I would like to point out a major departure to the majority of Christianity. In the LDS perspective there is no tragedy here. A life with no consequence is a life with no purpose. Eve courageously chose knowledge, and therefore accountability and judgment. This opens up our ultimate test in mortality which is to choose light and to choose Christ for redemption. Now that the ball is rolling, with our mortality let’s get more specific with numbers and geometry.


Some may be aware of a so-called impossible puzzle. “Squaring the Circle.” The rules are simple. No measurements or aids can be used to calculate length. The aim of the puzzle is by using only a compass and square can you draw a circle and then calculate the correct size of square that equals the area value of the circle, let’s say (pi) 3.1415 circle is an individual pursuit and ultimately in the divine masculine and feminine joining together in Christ to become one is the perfect symbol of unity and growth.

 

In the spirit of my friend Connor's thoughts, I add that even DaVinci attempted to circle the square - and the divinity of man's design in his Vitruvian Man drawings.




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