“Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”
6 is the second number which is not a prime number. Divided, its factors are 2 and 3, which easily yield the thought of the manifestation of evil, or of the enemy’s work.
6 is the number of the days of man’s work-day week, the appointed time of his labor, type of this life labor, his “few and evil” days-limited because of sin.
In its full meaning, it seems to speak of sin in its full development, limited and controlled by God, who thus glorifies Himself in the issue of it. The discipline of God for His own would come under this.
In the number of the beast, we find in it three successively higher powers of the decimal scale-evil in its fullest activity; yet its feebleness over apparent, and God’s hand controlling it: it increases only responsibility and judgment. Its number is “the number of its name”-stamps it as what it is, and is only the “number of man” vainly and impiously aspiring to be as God.
In the tenth Psalm is the description of this “wicked one” (vv. 2-11). It is, conjointly with the preceding one, an alphabetic Psalm, from which in this place exactly six cubits; a giant of his race has six fingers and six toes.
Nebuchadnezzar’s idolatrous image was sixty cubits high, six broad.
One sixth of Gog’s host is spared (Ezek. 39:2). That is, six parts are the measure of the host, of which God spares one in divine sovereignty.
Lastly, the darkness at this cross began at the sixth hour and ended at the ninth (3x3)-
Is the symbol of perfection-the sense, however, being sometimes evil, though prevailingly good. It is in Scripture, where divided, in general 4 + 3-numbers which speak evidently of the creature as manifesting the Creator, which, being attained, is for the creature its perfection, and for God His rest.
It often seems merely to indicate a complete view or accomplishment, as the parables of Matthew 13 give a complete view of the kingdom of heaven: the first four, the external world-aspect; the last three, the divine mind. The seven addresses to the churches give in like manner the complete inspired church-history. The seven seals secure the book completely. In the seven vials is “filled up the wrath of God.” The seven more wicked spirits which the unclean spirit associates with himself (Matt. 12:45) is an example of the bad sense; as are the seven heads of the beast in Revelation.
Perfect divine accomplishment we may take as the meaning of this number in a good sense.
Simply showing that it is complete by indicating a new beginning, as the eighth day is the first of a new week. It thus speaks of what is new in contrast with the old, and thus of the new covenant, new creation.
Thus circumcision was to be performed the eighth day: “the putting off the body of the flesh” (Col. 2: 11), and is connected with the new creation in Christ Jesus unto good works (Eph. 2: 10).
So seven days are occupied with the consecration of the priesthood, and on the eighth day they enter on their work.
So the transfiguration on the eighth day (Luke 9:28) begins, as it were, the new age with “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet.1: 16-18). And the eighth Psalm announces His kingdom (cf. Heb. 2: 5-9).
But this, like other numbers, can be applied to what is evil; and so we have-
The “seven other spirits” associated with the first “unclean spirit” making eight, and introducing the “last state” of the man into whom they enter.
So the ten horns of Daniel’s fourth beast have three uprooted before the little horn, becoming, thus, eight with this; the last state of the beast being thus brought about, in which judgment falls upon the whole. And in Rev. 17, where from another side the same things are recounted, the eighth head gives to the beast its blasphemous form, and “goes into perdition.”
It is, in Scripture, at least as commonly divided into 4 x 3 as 7 is into 4 + 3. The factors are the same; but whereas in the one case they are added, in the other they are multiplied. It is only in the relation of the two numbers to one another that it differs from 7: the number of the world, and that of divine manifestation, characterize it; but these are not side by side merely. It is God manifesting Himself in the world of His creation, as 7 is, but now in active energy laying hold of and transforming it. Thus 12 is the number of manifest sovereignty, as it was exercised in Israel by the Lord in the midst of them, or as it will be exercised in the world to come.”
1 and 5 are also governmental numbers; but 1 speaks simply of supremacy-of sovereign will and power, while 5 speaks of God’s governmental ways. Both apply to providential as well as manifest government.
In the new Jerusalem, it is plain why the number of manifest sovereignty is everywhere apparent-twelve gates, twelve foundation; twelve thousand furlongs its compass every way. This is its blessedness, that God here rules entirely. Upon earth, according to the Lord’s promise, the twelve apostles “sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28.)
And now looking back at this series of numbers, we can easily trace in it a connection of thought, which unites it together, and manifests also its completeness as a series. It will serve as confirmation of the meaning of the whole, and of each separate part also. The order of thought gives it a new beauty, and its fullness becomes a demonstration. It is plain that the sum of all truth is contained in it, and that we cannot go beyond it for any thing.
In the first three numbers, thus, we have God in His fullness-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God must, if our thoughts are right, take precedence in them of all else, and the display of Himself is what is accomplished and designed in all that follows.
We have next in the number 4, the creature; and here the display of God in it is noted and emphasized in the Scripture division into 3 and 1 which has already come before us. The connection of the first three numbers with the fourth is here made plain to us.