Biblical or Bust?
I have been getting bombarded with this whole 7-7-7 thing and it has made me wonder. I bring it up only to cause you all to think. Are we as a church becoming idolatrous to worship numbers? Sound far fetched or even a harsh out-of-control judgment? Let me explain.
We see the number 7 in many fashions. There are 7 days in a week, 7 colors in a spectrum, 7 commandments begin with “not”, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 parables (in Matthew), 7 promises to the church. Some take it even further by adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers until getting the results that they desire. Still yet, others have pulled specific chapters and verses of the Bible which are divisible by 7 in order to find even more meaning.
In all of this chaos, a regular joe like myself can easily notice that numbers are used in the Bible. The question is this: Why are they used and do they have a symbolic meaning? Well, if they are symbolic, Scripture does not teach us that explicitly. Sure, can we assume that God has communicated certain meaningful things using numbers? Sure. A good example would be Jonah’s experience in the great fish.
Jonah was in the belly of the fish for 3 days and nights. Jesus says some thousand of years later that as Noah was in the deep for this duration, so was Christ going to be in the earth. The number 3 had no spiritual meaning here, but it was used symbolically. Jonah’s story was a metaphor for Christ’s burial. It served as teaching tool.
This is quite different than how this modern Christian numerology is being developed. Numbers teach us rather than being used to teach us as a tool. Instead of learning from the Bible, we learn from the Bible’s hidden number codes. But this idea can easily foul up your faith.
The dangers of this can be devastating. Other than the obvious rejection of solas scriptura (Scripture only) and embracing of extra-biblical revelation, there are a variety of ways to fall into false teaching. For example, six is the number of incompleteness according to this idea. It is also said to be the number of Satan (since the mark of the beast is called 666). But the Bible has 66 books in it. So maybe we should believe that the Bible was just a book from man and not God. It is incomplete and maybe even a ply from Satan.
You can see where this could go. My hope is that we just test everything. I am sitting at my desk shuffling through emails and advertisements regarding this coming holiday on July 7, 2007 (the special day of 7-7-7). And what people are missing in all of this is that it is not really 777, but 07072007 (or 772007, depending on how you write it).
Notice, that there is still a real 2 and a real 0. I understand the removal of leading zeros but not leading two’s and following zeros. In fact, if it is permitted that we remove two numbers like the 2 and 0, then why not do the same just 10 years ago and remove the 1 and 9. This would make July 7, 1997 appear as (7-7-7). Then, with a little bit of the imagination, we can celebrate this holiday every ten years.
But, should we stop there? Instead of celebrating a completion of things (which is very man-centered since God can never be incomplete), let us celebrate 3-3-3 (the number of God). That way, when we are worshiping because numbers are guiding us, then we may be a bit more godly in our worship.
Just a suggestion to think. I am convinced that we are making our own idols so that we can feel spiritual. God help us.
(For more reading: compare the Christian pseudo-Numerology with the real cultic Numerology at Wikipedia. The number mean something different, but the idea is generally the same. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerology)