Many Biblical characters found in the Word teach us so much about God's plans for humanity and how the Creator interacts with His creation. Though the Maker's nature never changes, the circumstances and stories involving real people in Scripture are varied and show how uniquely the Lord handles the personalities of those He created. The Gospel characters are wonderful examples of how mortal men and women can interact with a living, breathing God that eventually walked on earth and brought forth the plan of salvation for all mankind. Because our Lord desires to fellowship with created beings, He has given us extraordinary illustrations of His involvement in the lives of people. And when we take a close look at the people in the Bible, we find that the Creator has a very real and personal relationships with a variety of personalities. God's Word is exciting and the relationships among the people in the Word are dramatic, heart breaking, inspirational, and sometimes even funny. When we take the time to closely study how the Lord spoke to, cared for, and redirected people, we find that our Creator will do no less with each of us living today.
A quick study of humanity according to the Word reveals that the Lord communes with people despite their imperfections or their continued lack of faith. In the Old Testament we find men and women who, time and again, acted from human strength and neglected to believe the promises of their Maker. Abraham and Sarah, two well-known Biblical characters, both demonstrated great faith and are listed in the infamous hall of fame sited in Hebrews, chapter eleven. Yet, both Abraham and Sarah attempted to rush the promises of God by creating circumstances outside of God's will. Abraham agreed to Sarah's plan to bring about the promised son through her maid servant, Hagar, instead of believing that Sarah would be the one to give birth to the son promised Abraham (Genesis, chapter 16). And still, the Lord continued to fulfill His plans to make Abraham and Sarah the father and mother of a great people, the nation of Israel. These stories and others from the Old Testament serve to inspire us and teach us about the nature of our Maker. They also remind us that even when we are in doubt, our Maker will not falter. The God of Heaven and earth understands sinful man and has made a way to reconcile these fallen creatures to himself.
The New Testament hosts stories and parables about men and women that loved and followed Jesus, wrestled with Christ's teachings, and even betrayed the Son of Man. Readers receive an in-depth look at how Gospel characters related to the Maker of the Universe when He walked on earth, teaching and preparing the world for His kingdom. Throughout the Biblical books that contain the Good News, Jesus closely relates to ordinary men and women. Christ had real relationships with those he encountered, challenging cultural traditions and long-standing doctrine. He offered a most dynamic of personal relationships. He loved and convicted His followers. The disciples trustingly followed Christ leaving their jobs and families behind. These men spent years in the presence of the promised Messiah, experiencing his teachings, witnessing miracles, and seeing lives transformed. And just as quickly as they followed, they turned away when Jesus stood before the Jewish leaders and was tried, beaten, and ultimately crucified.
There are stories throughout the New Testament that deal with Jesus using seemingly foolish things to confound wise people. These tell of kings, government officials, and religious leaders challenging Jesus' authority and challenging His teachings. There are also wonderful stories of common people in the Gospels. Simeon is revealed as one who knew he would see the coming Messiah; a woman at a well learned how true worshippers would worship. There's the story of Martha who worked tirelessly and was rebuked and Mary who sat quietly and was commended. Other Gospel characters include a Pharisee who sought Jesus in the secrecy of night and a Synagogue leader who sought to kill the Savior of mankind. Who could forget the account of the woman caught in adultery and was told to "go and sin no more?" Some were bold, others meek, but those who sought Jesus found the love of a lifetime and the Savior of mankind. All of the Biblical characters found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John illustrate humanity discovering a loving, forgiving Savior. It is thrilling to learn that each personal encounter with Christ in the New Testament has something to teach each of us.
The Bible tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instructions in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16) This revealing passage includes the lives of the people within the pages of the Bible and their interactions with Scripture and also their relationships with Christ himself. Students of God's Word will discover fascinating truths in the dramatic stories of common people as well as noble men and women. Gospel characters and the saints of the Old Testament continue to teach us about the sovereignty of God and salvation for the world today. Take a close look at Biblical characters and discover how the Lord uniquely relates to the men and women He created and find a Creator who is intimately involved in the lives of His people.
Biblical Meaning Of NumbersThe biblical meaning of numbers has fascinated scientist, theologians, and Bible readers for thousands of years and there have been many attempts at finding not only the meaning of certain numbers, but also attempts at identifying numeric rhythms throughout Scripture. Mathematic phenomena in the Scripture is compelling but not surprising when we consider that the Author of the Bible has also designed our complex universe. He has measured waters, determined heavenly spans, and is capable of counting the sand grains on the sea shores and the hairs on any one person's head. The natural order of our world is precise and orderly. Therefore, it is not surprising to discover that the written Word, too, has mathematical structure. There are many explanations and opinions biblical numbers and some are without concrete merit. But there is fascinating evidence of numeric significance and we will take a look at a few of the most obvious ones in this brief article.
One of the most notable examples of numeric significance in God's Word is the number seven and it occurs in Scripture more than any other of the biblical numbers. From Genesis to Revelation, this numeral is used to symbolize completion or fullness. The value of seven is seen in the creation account at the beginning of the Bible. "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." (Genesis 2:3) There is another interesting occurrence of this number in the first book of the Bible: God makes seven declaration of who He is in Genesis. Another set of seven declarations are found in the New Testament book of John as well as in the book of Revelation. When looking into the biblical meaning of numbers and specifically, seven, we also find in Revelation interesting developments gathered around groupings of sevens. There are seven churches, seals, trumpets, vials, thunders, years, and more! It would appear that these numerical clusters in the last book of the Bible point to a completion or fullness of events.
Another numerical value used with totality or completeness is ten. Certainly, man's numeric systems are structured around ten, but we find in biblical numbers, ten plays an important role as well. Consider that there are the Ten Commandments. God also caused ten plagues on Egypt when Pharaoh refused to let Israel go. There are the ten kings in the prophecies of Daniel and Zechariah had ten visions. Ten, as with seven are both used with the concept of fullness which can also imply judgment. Combining the numbers ten and seven in multiplication also refer to a fullness of events or time. When Israel left Canaan to enter into Egypt, there were seventy souls and in the book of Numbers, there were seventy elders appointed to judge the people. Seventy was also the number of years that Israel spent in captivity in Babylon. The biblical meaning of numbers is especially fascinating when looking at the multiplication of seventy and seven. There are 490-year periods in history concerning Israel which begin with the birth of Abraham. There are different schools of thought about these cycles, but without a doubt, the last 490-year period ends with the fulfillment of the original promise of a millennial kingdom.
Still there are other numbers that hold significance. Another which indicates completeness is the number twelve. However, this value of the biblical numbers identifies closely with divine ordinance or governing. There are twelve months in a year, twelve tribes of Israel, and Jesus chose twelve disciples to work closely with. The number six seems to be associated with the idea of man or being short of perfection and completeness. Man was created on the sixth day and in the six-hundredth year of Noah's life, the flood destroyed most of mankind. Because man is disobedient, this number is also identifies with rebellion, the most notable of which is the number of the man of perdition: 666. In contrast, the number eight is associated with new beginnings or resurrection. Jesus was raised from the dead on the eighth day and there are an additional eight resurrections recorded in Scripture.
The study of numerology in Scripture can reveal much about the nature of our Creator in regards to science, and precision. Mathematical structure proves a God of order and not chaos. Looking closely at how He uses the meaning of numbers and their values, we can also use mathematical systems found in the Bible to help us discover more about prophecy. A perfect example of this is the prophetic word concerning the numerical value of the Anti-Christs name which seems to indicate that some will be able to identify this man before he is publically revealed. However, the mathematical patterns found in the Bible are too numerous and uncertain to use as a basis for support of doctrine, mystical or otherwise. Biblical numbers should never be used to prove a doctrinal position. The truth that some number values and systems found in the Word of God are significant and have meaning make their purposes apologetic as opposed to doctrinal. In other words, numerical values found in the Bible are used to prove God exists and that the Word, which was penned by many writers over a span of thousands of years, is supernaturally inspired by the Holy Spirit.