A friend recently asked me what the symbolism and meaning for number 21 in the Bible was, so I decided to do a quick study and am posting some of my notes here to share to my readers. To begin with, let me first say that I discovered a long time ago the theme for number 21 is also related to themes for numbers 777 and 37. All relating to sanctification, cleansing, making clean, salvation and of opposite meanings such as evil, unsaved and things unclean. This pattern of number relationships is also found with other numbers such as 666, 36 and 18. The Bible is very consistent in how number meanings relate. I sometimes refer to this perfection of the Bible numbering as “the DNA of the Bible”.
Patterns of 777, 21 and 37…
Three of my favorite verses showing how the number 777 is related to these sanctification/salvation themes are found by examining Bible verses that have a cross Bible verse number containing the number 7777. With 31,102 verses in the Bible there are only three verses containing 7777 as part of the cross Bible verse number. By limiting my research to these very specific verses that are not arbitrarily chosen I can validate if I’m on the right track to understanding a number’s description. If any of these verses did not pretty clearly fit my idea of the symbolism for number 777 I would have to seriously question my thinking. These three verses are the 7777th, 17777th and the 27777th Bible verses. Not coincidently, each of these verses point very clearly to themes of sanctification, consecration or things being cleansed. I’ve shown them below:
· The 7777th verse: is: 1Samuel 21:4 The priest answered David and said, "There is no ordinary bread on hand, but there is consecrated bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women."
· The 17777th verse is: Isa 6:7 He touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven."
· The 17777th verse is: Act 24:7 "But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands,
The first of these verses speaks of bread that is consecrated or made holy. The second is in Isaiah and speaks of how the Lord has cleansed Isaiah by touching a coal to his mouth forgiving him of sin. In the third example found in the book of Acts, the verse tells how a commander had forcefully removed Paul from the temple which, in the priest minds, was removing an unclean person from the holy place. Can consider these examples for yourself. If you want more evidence consider looking at other examples such as finding the 777 verse of each book of the Bible. They will have similar related themes. These are just a small sample of evidences I found that relate the number 777 to being sanctified or purified or made holy.
Getting back to the number 21, I find numbers 777 (7-7-7), number 21 (3 times 7) and number 37 (3 sevens) are all related in their symbolism. There’s lots of evidence for this that I’ve documented in other of my writings that’s too much to cover in this article. For the purpose of this post, I’ll just ask you to trust me that these numbers could all be related in their symbolism.
To show some evidence for the theme of number 21, I’ll give two examples of verses that suggest that number 21 also fits the similar theme to 777. First, the 21,000th Bible verse is Eze 22:24 "Son of man, say to her, 'You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on in the day of indignation'. Second, the 21021st Bible verse is Eze 23:13 "I saw that she had defiled herself; they both took the same way. Note how both these verses that come from the same chapter of Ezekiel and refer to a woman unclean and has defiled herself. It is not just coincidence that these verses have very strong cross Bible verse numbers (1-31,102) related to number 21. I often use thousand based cross Bible chapter numbers as part of my first investigation into a numbers meaning. I’ve found they are always a great start to getting an idea of what they are about. For example, to investigate number 6 I examine the 6,000th Bible verse and for number 11 the 11,000th verse. With this basic idea of what number 21 may symbolize, we can take another of my favorite methods for confirming the symbolism of a Bible number – chapter numbers.
Bible Chapter Numbers as Evidence
In what I refer to as the DNA of the Bible, every number has meaning and all the number meanings are consistent wherever they are used in the Bible. So I can use chapter numbers to see how the contents of the chapters might relate to numbers I’m investigating. Chapter numbers are very easy way to investigate number meanings as they are available to anyone (unlike other numbers such as cross Bible verse numbers). I didn’t want to make this article too long and complex so I’ll conclude my evidence for the theme for number 21 by giving a brief summary of chapter 21 from the first six books of the Bible. Using my descriptions below, notice how they very consistently refer to things being made perfect, things unclean, promises made and fulfilled or other aspects of being saved or losing salvation. There are 24 chapters of the Bible with number 21. Since I did not have time to summarize each one I decided to take the first six chapters so as not to appear to arbitrarily choose the best chapter 21s fitting my proposed symbolism. To verify this more for yourself, look at the other chapter twenty-ones in the Bible for similar themes. The pattern is true for both the Old and New Testament books.
· Genesis 21 -- Promises and Covenants made and kept. Promise of a Son to Sarah fulfilled. Hagar and Ishmael driven out(cleansing). God's promise to make Ishmael a great nation. Abimelech and Abraham covenant over the well at Beersheba.
· Exodus 21 -- Making things right. Rights of slaves to go free; restitution for losses...life for life, eye for eye... Death penalties; redemption of life lost, repayment for things taken.
· Leviticus 21 -- Priests are to be pure and undefiled, free from Harlots, Holy, Consecrated, no defects, not divorced
· Numbers 21 -- Saving Israel, cleansing the land. Israel vows to the Lord to save them. The bronze serpent saves those bit by serpents. The Lord provides a spring of water. King of Bashan and his people killed leaving no remnant of them.
· Deuteronomy 21 -- Israel to ask forgiveness people God redeems; Israel is to remove evil from their midst; death is required for sins worthy of death; washing hands over shed blood to remove guilt; Cleansing of women taken captive
· Joshua 21 -- The LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and rested there. Cities of refuge given for manslayers. Chapter ends saying God had fulfilled every promise made to the House of Israel.
The objective of this article was to simply demonstrate what I believe to be God’s symbolism or meaning related to the number 21 and how knowing this information helps us get further interpretation of the scriptures beyond what we currently know. It is pretty commonly stated that the Bible helps interpret itself and these examples help demonstrate that. To understand the meaning of a number you can first look at many examples related to that number and try to find a common thread of meaning running through them. Once you do this, you can verify or prove your thoughts by looking at even more examples to confirm they also fit. Once you have established a somewhat confident description of the Bible’s number meaning then we can use that meaning whenever we encounter that number for interpretation in our Bible study. For this article, to come up with these examples I first began with my original understanding that number one was related to sanctification and salvation. Then, using this information I reviewed chapters of the Bible watching for a thread of meaning that might fit this number. By finding the theme in each chapter I became aware of an entirely new knowledge of meaning contained in each chapter. This new knowledge does not change what we previously knew about it. It simply added to our understanding and helps us gain further clarity in the messages contained.
Are we contriving meanings?
Of course we all know about any research, that once we have a desired conclusion in our head, without intentionally doing so we might make our results fit the desired conclusion. That’s just the way the mind works so we have to be very conscious of watching for this error in our work. I’ve done thousands of hours of Bible study and I’m always trying to confirm very clearly the conclusions of the patterns I study. It’s hard to explain how I can be confident in the consistency of these number meanings except to say that once you’ve looked at hundreds of examples it’s pretty easy to see that the patterns are very clear and actually somewhat obvious once you know what you’re looking for. If you wonder if the symbolism for 21 could be found in other differently numbered chapters of the Bible then go examine them for yourself. I think you’ll see that the wording and themes of the text in other chapter numbers just don’t quite fit the number 21 like these do.
As you study your Bible be aware of chapter numbers and the possibility that the chapter numbers may suggest themes relating to the contents therein. Once you begin to experience these patterns for yourself it will open incredible new insights into the contents of Scripture.