GOD — (A.S. and Dutch God; Dan. Gud; Ger. Gott), the name of the Divine Being. It is the rendering (1) of the Hebrew
The arguments generally adduced by theologians in proof of the being of God are:
(1.) The a priori argument, which is the testimony afforded by reason.
(2.) The a posteriori argument, by which we proceed logically from the facts of experience to causes. These arguments are,
(a) The cosmological, by which it is proved that there must be a First Cause of all things, for every effect must have a cause.
(b) The teleological, or the argument from design. We see everywhere the operations of an intelligent Cause in nature.
(c) The moral argument, called also the anthropological argument, based on the moral consciousness and the history of mankind, which exhibits a moral order and purpose which can only be explained on the supposition of the existence of God. Conscience and human history testify that “verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.”

The attributes of God are set forth in order by Moses in Ex. 34:6,7. (see also Deut. 6:4; 10:17; Num. 16:22; Ex. 15:11; 33:19; Isa. 44:6; Hab. 3:6; Ps. 102:26; Job 34:12.) They are also systematically classified in Rev. 5:12 and 7:12.

God’s attributes are spoken of by some as absolute, i.e., such as belong to his essence as Jehovah, Jah, etc.; and relative, i.e., such as are ascribed to him with relation to his creatures. Others distinguish them into communicable, i.e., those which can be imparted in degree to his creatures: goodness, holiness, wisdom, etc.; and incommunicable, which cannot be so imparted: independence, immutability, immensity, and eternity. They are by some also divided into natural attributes, eternity, immensity, etc.; and moral, holiness, goodness, etc. 1

GODHEAD — (Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:20; Col. 2:9), the essential being or the nature of God. 1

GOD. God is and he may be known. These two affirmations form the foundation and inspiration of all religion. The first is an affirmation of faith, the second of experience. Since the existence of God is not subject to scientific proof, it must be a postulate of faith; and since God transcends all his creation, he can be known only in his self-revelation.

The Christian religion is distinctive in that it claims that God can be known as a personal God only in his self-revelation in the Scriptures. The Bible is written not to prove that God is, but to reveal him in his activities. For that reason, the biblical revelation of God is, in its nature, progressive, reaching its fullness in Jesus Christ his Son.

In the light of his self-revelation in the Scriptures, there are several affirmations that can be made about God.

I. His Being

In his Being God is self-existing. While his creation is dependent on him, he is utterly independent of the creation. He not only has life, but he is life to his universe, and has the source of that life within himself.

Very early in biblical history this mystery of God’s being was revealed to Moses when, in the wilderness of Horeb, he met with God as fire in a bush (Ex. 3:2). The distinctive thing about that phenomenon was that ‘the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed’. To Moses this must have meant that the fire was independent of its environment: it was self-fed. Such is God in his essential being: he is utterly independent of every environment in which he wills to make himself known. This quality of God’s being probably finds expression in his personal name Yahweh, and in his self-affirmation: ‘I am who I am’, that is, ‘I am the one that has being within himself’ (Ex. 3:14).

This perception was implied in Isaiah’s vision of God: ‘The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary. . .. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength’ (Is. 40:28-29). He is the Giver, and all his creatures are receivers. Christ gave this mystery its clearest expression when he said: ‘For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself’ (Jn. 5:26). This makes independence of life a distinctive quality of deity. Throughout the whole of Scripture God is revealed as the Fountainhead of all there is, animate and inanimate, the Creator and Life-giver, who alone has life within himself.

II. His nature

In his nature God is pure spirit. Very early in his self-disclosure as the author of the created universe, God is represented as the Spirit who brought light out of darkness, and order out of chaos (Gn. 1:2-3). Christ made this disclosure of God as the object of our worship to the woman of Samaria: ‘God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth’ (Jn. 4:24). Between these two affirmations there are frequent references to the nature of God as pure spirit and as divine spirit. He is called the Father of spirits (Heb. 12:9), and the combination ‘the Spirit of the living God’ is frequently used.
In this respect we must distinguish between God and his creatures that are spiritual. When we say that God is pure spirit, it is to emphasize that he is not part spirit and part body as man is. He is simple spirit without form or parts, and for that reason he has no physical presence. When the Bible speaks of God as having eyes, ears, hands and feet, it is an attempt to convey to us the senses that these physical parts convey, for if we do not speak of God in physical terms we could not speak of him at all. This, of course, does not imply any imperfection in God. Spirit is not a limited or restricted form of existence, it is the perfect unit of being.

When we say that God is infinite spirit, we pass completely out of the reach of our experience. We are limited as to time and place, as to knowledge and power. God is essentially unlimited, and every element of his nature is unlimited. His infinity as to time we call his eternity, as to space his omnipresence, as to knowledge his omniscience, as to power his omnipotence.

His infinity likewise means that God is transcendent over his universe. It emphasizes his detachment as self-existing spirit from all his creatures. He is not shut in by what we call nature, but infinitely exalted above it. Even those passages of Scripture which stress his local and temporal manifestation lay emphasis also on his exaltation and omnipotence as a Being external to the world, its sovereign Creator and Judge (cf. Is. 40:12-17).

At the same time God’s infinity implies his immanence. By this we mean his all-pervading presence and power within his creation. He does not stand apart from the world, a mere spectator of the work of his hands. He pervades everything, organic and inorganic, acting from within outwards, from the centre of every atom, and from the innermost springs of thought and life and feeling, a continuous sequence of cause and effect.

In such passages as Is. 57 and Acts 17 we have an expression of both God’s transcendence and his immanence. In the first of these passages his transcendence finds expression as ‘the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy’, and his immanence as the one who dwells ‘with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit’ (Is. 57:15). In the second passage, Paul, in addressing the men of Athens, affirmed of the transcendent God that ‘the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything’, and then affirms his immanence as the one who ‘is not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’’ (Acts 17:24, 28).

III. His character

God is personal. When we say this we assert that God is rational, self-conscious and self-determining, an intelligent moral agent. As supreme mind he is the source of all rationality in the universe. Since God’s rational creatures possess independent character, God must be in possession of character that is divine both in its transcendence and immanence.

The OT reveals a personal God, both in terms of his own self-disclosure and of his people’s relations with him, and the NT clearly shows that Christ spoke to God in terms that were meaningful only in person to person relationship. For that reason we can predicate certain mental and moral qualities of God, such as we do of human character. Attempts have been made to classify the divine attributes under such headings as Mental and Moral, or Communicable and Incommunicable, or Related and Unrelated. Scripture would seem to give no support to any of these classifications, and in any case God is infinitely greater than the sum of all his attributes. *God‘s names are to us the designation of his attributes, and it is significant that God’s names are given in the context of his people’s needs. It would seem, therefore, more true to the biblical revelation to treat each attribute as a manifestation of God in the human situation that called it forth, compassion in the presence of misery, long-suffering in the presence of ill-desert, grace in the presence of guilt, mercy in the presence of penitence, suggesting that the attributes of God designate a relation into which he enters to those who feel their need of him. That bears with it the undoubted truth that God, in the full plenitude of his nature, is in each of his attributes, so that there is never more of one attribute than of another, never more love than justice, or more mercy than righteousness. If there is one attribute of God that can be recognized as all-comprehensive and all-pervading, it is his *holiness, which must be predicated of all his attributes, holy love, holy compassion, holy wisdom.

IV. His will

God is sovereign. That means that he makes his own plans and carries them out in his own time and way. That is simply an expression of his supreme intelligence, power and wisdom. It means that God’s will is not arbitrary, but acts in complete harmony with his character. It is the forth-putting of his power and goodness, and is thus the final goal of all existence.

There is, however, a distinction between God’s will which prescribes what we shall do, and his will which determines what he will do. Thus theologians distinguish between the decretive will of God by which he decrees whatsoever comes to pass, and his preceptive will by which he enjoins upon his creatures the duties that belong to them. The decretive will of God is thus always accomplished, while his preceptive will is often disobeyed.

When we conceive of the sovereign sway of the divine will as the final ground of all that happens, either actively bringing it to pass, or passively permitting it to come to pass, we recognize the distinction between the active will of God and his permissive will. Thus the entrance of sin into the world must be attributed to the permissive will of God, since sin is a contradiction of his holiness and goodness. There is thus a realm in which God’s will to act is dominant, and a realm in which man’s liberty is given permission to act. The Bible presents both in operation. The note which rings through the OT is that struck by Nebuchadrezzar: ‘He does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What doest thou?‘‘ (Dn. 4:35). In the NT we come across an impressive example of the divine will resisted by human unbelief, when Christ uttered his agonizing cry over Jerusalem: ‘How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!‘ (Mt. 23:37).
Nevertheless, the sovereignty of God ensures that all will be overruled to serve his eternal purpose, and that ultimately Christ’s petition: ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ shall be answered.

It is true that we are not able to reconcile God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility because we do not understand the nature of divine knowledge and comprehension of all the laws that govern human conduct. The Bible throughout teaches us that all life is lived in the sustaining will of God in whom we live and move and have our being’, and that as a bird is free in the air, and a fish in the sea, so man has his true freedom in the will of God who created him for himself.

V. His subsistence

In his essential life God is a fellowship. This is perhaps the supreme revelation of God given in the Scriptures: it is that God’s life is eternally within himself a fellowship of three equal and distinct persons, Father, Son and Spirit, and that in his relationship to his moral creation God was extending to them the fellowship that was essentially his own. That might perhaps be read into the divine dictum that expressed the deliberate will to create man: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,‘ that it was an expression of the will of God not only to reveal himself as a fellowship, but to make that life of fellowship open to the moral creatures made in his image and so fitted to enjoy it. While it is true that man through sinning lost his fitness to enjoy that holy fellowship, it is also true that God willed to make it possible to have it restored to him. It has been observed, indeed, that this was probably the grand end of redemption, the revelation of God in Three Persons acting for our restoration, in electing love that claimed us, in redeeming love that emancipated us, and in regenerating love that recreated us for his fellowship. (*Trinity.)

VI. His Fatherhood

Since God is a Person he can enter into personal relationships, and the closest and tenderest is that of Father. It was Christ’s most common designation for God, and in theology it is reserved specially for the first Person of the Trinity. There are four types of relationship in which the word Father is applied to God in Scripture.

There is his Creational Fatherhood. The fundamental relation of God to man whom he made in his own image finds its most full and fitting illustration in the natural relationship which involves the gift of life. Malachi, in calling his people to faithfulness to God and to consideration of one another, asks: ‘Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us?‘ (Mal. 2:10). Isaiah, in a plea to God not to forsake his people. cries: ‘Yet, O Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand’ (Is. 64:8). But it is, more particularly, for man’s spiritual nature that this relationship is claimed. In Hebrews God is called ‘the Father of spirits’ (12:9), and in Numbers ‘the God of the spirits of all flesh’ (16:22). Paul, when he preached from Mars’ Hill, used this argument to drive home the irrationality of rational man worshipping idols of wood and stone, quoting the poet Aratus (‘For we are indeed his offspring’) to indicate that man is a creature of God. The creaturehood of man is thus the counterpart of the general Fatherhood of God. Without the Creator-Father there would be no race of man, no family of mankind.

There is the Theocratic Fatherhood. This is God’s relationship to his covenant-people, Israel. In this, since it is a collective relationship that is indicated, rather than a personal one, Israel as a covenant-people was the child of God, and she was challenged to recognize and respond to this filial relationship: ‘If then I am a father, where is my honour?‘ (Mal. 1:6). But since the covenant relationship was redemptive in its spiritual significance, this may be regarded as a foreshadowing of the NT revelation of the divine Fatherhood.

There is Generative Fatherhood. This belongs exclusively to the second Person of the Trinity, designated the Son of God, and the only begotten Son. It is, therefore, unique, and not to be applied to any mere creature. Christ, while on earth, spoke most frequently of this relationship which was peculiarly his. God was his Father by eternal generation, expressive of an essential and timeless relationship that transcends our comprehension. It is significant that Jesus, in his teaching of the Twelve, never used the term ‘Our Father’ as embracing himself and them. In the resurrection message through Mary he indicated two distinct relationships: ‘My Father, and your Father’ (Jn. 20:17), but the two are so linked together that the one becomes the ground of the other. His Sonship, though on a level altogether unique, was the basis of their sonship.

There is also the Adoptive Fatherhood. This is the redeeming relationship that belongs to all believers, and in the context of redemption it is viewed from two aspects, that of their standing in Christ, and that of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in them. This relationship to God is basic to all believers, as Paul reminds the Galatian believers: ‘For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith’ (Gal. 3:26). In this living union with Christ they are adopted into the family of God, and they become subjects of the regenerative work of the Spirit that bestows upon them the nature of children: one is the objective aspect, the other the subjective. Because of their new standing justification) and relationship (adoption) to God the Father in Christ, they become partakers of the divine nature and are born into the family of God. John made this clear in the opening chapter of his Gospel: ‘To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power (authority) to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God’ (Jn. 1:13). And so they are granted all the privileges that belong to that filial relationship: ‘if children, then heirs’ is the sequence (Rom. 8:17).

It is clear that Christ’s teaching on the Fatherhood of God restricts the relationship to his believing people. In no instance is he reported as assuming this relationship to exist between God and unbelievers. Not only does he not give a hint of a redeeming Fatherhood of God towards all men, but he said pointedly to the cavilling Jews: ‘You are of your father the devil’ (Jn. 8:44).

While it is under this relationship of Father that the NT brings out the tenderest aspects of God’s character, his love, his faithfulness, his watchful care, it also brings out the responsibility of our having to show God the reverence, the trust and the loving obedience that children owe to a father. Christ has taught us to pray not only ‘Our Father’, but ‘Our Father who art in heaven’, thus inculcating reverence and humility.

Bibliography. T. J. Crawford, The Fatherhood of God, 1868; J. Orr, The Christian View of God and the World, 1908; A. S. Pringle-Pattison, The Idea of God, 1917; G. Vos, Biblical Theology, 1948; H. Bavinck, The Doctrine of God, 1951; J. I. Packer, Knowing God, 1973; J. Schneider, C. Brown, J. Stafford Wright, in NIDNTT 2, pp. 66-90; H. Kleinknecht et al., in TDNT 3, pp. 65-123. 2

Numbers are also used with a symbolical or theological significance.

One is used to convey the concept of the unity and uniqueness of God, e.g. Dt. 6:4, ‘The Lord our God is one Lord’. The human race stems from one (Acts 17:26). The entry of sin into the world is through one man (Rom. 5:12). The gift of grace is by one man, Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:15). His sacrifice in death is a once-for-all offering (Heb. 7:27), and he is the first-born from the dead (Col. 1:18), the firstfruits of the dead (1 Cor. 15:20). ‘One’ also expresses the unity between Christ and the Father (Jn. 10:30), the union between believers and the Godhead, and the unity which exists among Christians (Jn. 17:21; Gal. 3:28). ‘One’ further expresses singleness of purpose (Lk. 10:42). The concept of union is also found in the saying of Jesus concerning marriage, ‘and the two shall become one’ (Mt. 19:6).

Two can be a figure both of unity and of division. Man and woman form the basic family unit (Gn. 1:27; 2:20, 24). Animals associate in pairs and enter the ark in twos (Gn. 7:9). Two people often work together in companionship, e.g. Joshua’s spies (Jos. 2:1), and the Twelve and Seventy disciples were sent out in pairs (Mk. 6:7; Lk. 10:1). In addition, at Sinai there were two stone tablets, and animals were often offered for sacrifice in pairs. By contrast two is used with separating force in 1 Ki. 18:21, as it is also implied in the two ‘ways’ of Mt. 7:13-14.

Three. It is natural to associate the number 3 with the Trinity of Persons in the Godhead, and the following references among others may be instanced: Mt. 28:19; Jn. 14:26; 15:26; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:2, where this teaching is implied. The number 3 is also associated with certain of God’s mighty acts. At Mt Sinai the Lord was to come down to give his Law on ‘the third day’ (Ex. 19:11). In Hosea’s prophecy the Lord would raise up his people ‘on the third day’, probably meaning a short time (Ho. 6:2). There is a similar usage of ‘three’ in Lk. 13:32, where ‘third day’ is ‘poetical for the moment when something is finished, completed, and perfected’ (N. Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, 1950, p. 384, n. 4). Jonah was delivered (Jon. 1:17; Mt. 12:40), and God raised Christ from the dead, on the third day (1 Cor. 15:4). There were three disciples admitted to special terms of intimacy with Christ (Mk. 9:2; Mt 26:37), and at Calvary there were three crosses. Paul emphasizes three Christian virtues (1 Cor. 13:13). A further instance of three being used in connection with periods of time is the choice offered to David of 3 days’ pestilence, 3 months’ defeat or 3 years’ famine (1 Ch. 21:12). The deployment of Gideon’s army furnishes an example of division into three (Jdg. 7:16), and the fraction, a third, is employed in Rev. 8:7-12.

Four, the number of the sides of a square, is one of symbols of completion in the Bible. The divine name Yahweh has 4 letters in Heb. (YHWH). There were 4 rivers flowing out of the garden of Eden (Gn. 2:10) and there are 4 corners of the earth (Rev. 7:1; 20:8), from whence blow the 4 winds (Je. 49:36; Ezk. 37:9; Dn. 7:2). In his vision of the glory of God, Ezekiel saw 4 living creatures (ch. 1), and with these we may compare the 4 living creatures of Rev. 4:6.

The history of the world from the time of the Babylonian empire is spanned by 4 kingdoms (Dn. 2; 7). Four is a prominent number in prophetic symbolism and apocalyptic literature, as the following additional references show: 4 smiths and 4 horns (Zc. 1:18-21), 4 chariots (Zc. 6:1-8), 4 horns’ of the altar (Rev. 9:13), 4 angels of destruction (Rev. 9:14). In addition, there are 4 Gospels, and at the time when the gospel was extended to the Gentiles Peter saw in a vision a sheet let down by its 4 corners.

Five and ten, and their multiples, occur frequently on account of the decimal system used in Palestine. In the OT 10 Patriarchs are mentioned before the Flood. The Egyptians were visited with 10 plagues and there were Ten Commandments. The fraction one-tenth formed the tithe (Gn. 14:20; 28:22; Lv. 27:30; 2 Ch. 31:5; Mal. 3:10). In the parable of Lk. 15:8 the woman possessed 10 coins, and in the parable of the pounds mention is made of 10 pounds, 10 servants and 10 cities (Lk. 19:11-27). Of the 10 virgins, 5 were wise and 5 foolish (Mt. 25:2). 5 sparrows were sold for 2 farthings (Lk. 12:6); Dives had 5 brothers (Lk. 16:28); the woman by the well had had 5 husbands (Jn. 4:18), and at the feeding of the 5,000 the lad had 5 loaves. There are 10 powers which cannot separate the believer from the love of God (Rom. 8:38f.) and 10 sins which exclude from the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:10). The number 10, therefore, also signifies completeness; 10 elders form a company (Ru. 4:2).

Six. In the creation narrative God created man and woman on the 6th day (Gn. 1:27). 6 days were allotted to man for labour (Ex. 20:9; 23:12; 31:15; cf. Lk. 13:14). A Heb. servant had to serve for 6 years before he was freed. The number 6 is therefore closely associated with man.

Seven has an eminent place among sacred numbers in the Scriptures, and is associated with completion, fulfilment and perfection. In the creation narrative God rested from his work on the 7th day, and sanctified it. This gave a pattern to the Jewish sabbath on which man was to refrain from work (Ex. 20:10), to the sabbatic year (Lv. 25:2-6), and also to the year of jubilee, which followed 7 times 7 years (Lv. 25:8). The Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles lasted 7 days (Ex. 12:15, 19; Nu. 29:12). The Day of Atonement was in the 7th month (Lv. 16:29), and 7 occurs frequently in connection with OT ritual, e.g. the sprinkling of bullock’s blood 7 times (Lv. 4:6) and the burnt-offering of 7 lambs (Nu. 28:11); the cleansed leper was sprinkled 7 times (Lv. 14:7), and Naaman had to dip 7 times in Jordan (2 Ki. 5:10). In the tabernacle the candlestick had 7 branches (Ex. 25:32).
Other references to be noted are: the mother of 7 sons (Je. 15:9; 2 Macc. 7:1ff.); 7 women for one man (Is.4:1); a loving daughter-in-law preferable to 7 sons (Ru. 4:15). The Sadducees proposed a case of levirate marriage whith 7 brothers (Mt. 22:25). The priests encompassed Jericho 7 times (Jos. 6:4). Elijah’s servant looked for rain 7 times a day (1 Ki. 18:43). The psalmist praised God 7 times a day (Ps. 119:164), and Gn. 29:18; 41:29, 54 and Dn. 4:23 mention 7 years (times). The early church had 7 deacons (Acts 6:3) and John addresses 7 churches in the book of Revelation, where there is mention of 7 golden candlesticks (1:12) and 7 stars (1:16). At the miraculous feeding of 4,000 from 7 loaves and a few fishes (Mk. 8:1-9), the 7 basketsful collected afterwards may indicate that Jesus can satisfy completely. The complete possession of Mary Magdalene is effected by 7 demons (Lk. 8:2), while the dragon of Rev. 12:3 and the beast of Rev. 13:1; 17:7 have 7 heads.

Eight. 1 Pet. 3:20 records that 8 people were saved in the ark of Noah. Circumcision of a Jewish boy took place on the 8th day (Gn. 17:12; Phil. 3:5). In Ezekiel’s vision of the new Temple the priests make their offering on the 8th day (43:27).

Ten. See Five.

Twelve. The Heb. year was divided into 12 months, the day into 12 hours (Jn. 11:9). Israel had 12 sons (Gn. 35:22-27; 42:13, 32) and there were 12 tribes of Israel, the people of God (Gn. 49:28). Christ chose 12 apostles (Mt. 10:1ff.). Twelve is therefore linked with the elective purposes of God.

Forty is associated with almost each new development in the history of God’s mighty acts, especially of salvation, e.g. the Flood, redemption from Egypt, Elijah and the prophetic era, the advent of Christ and the birth of the church. The following periods of 40 days may be listed: the downpour of rain during the Flood (Gn. 7:17); the despatch of the raven (Gn. 8:6); Moses’ fasts on the mount (Ex. 24:18; 34:28; Dt. 9:9); the spies’ exploration of the land of Canaan (Nu. 13:25); Moses’ prayer for Israel (Dt. 9:25); Goliath’s defiance (1 Sa. 17:16); Elijah’s journey to Horeb (1 Ki. 19:8); Ezekiel’s lying on his right side (Ezk. 4:6); Jonah’s warning to Nineveh (Jon. 3:4); Christ’s stay in the wilderness prior to his temptation (Mt. 4:2), his appearances after his resurrection (Acts 1:3).

For 40 years, the general designation of a generation, the following may be quoted: the main divisions of Moses’ life (Acts 7:23, 30, 36; Dt. 31:2); Israel’s wandering in the wilderness (Ex. 16:35; Nu. 14:33; Jos. 5:6; Ps. 95:10); the recurring pattern of servitude and deliverance in the era of the judges (e.g. Jdg. 3:11; 13:1); the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon (Acts 13:21; 2 Sa. 5:4; 1 Ki. 11:42); the desolation of Egypt (Ezk. 29:11).

Seventy is often connected with God’s administration of the world. After the Flood the world was repopulated through 70 descendants of Noah (Gn. 10); 70 persons went down to Egypt (Gn. 46:27); 70 elders were appointed to help Moses administer Israel in the wilderness (Nu. 11:16); the people of Judah spent 70 years of exile in Babylon (Je. 25:11; 29:10); 70 weeks, ‘sevens’, were decreed by God as the period in which Messianic redemption was to be accomplished (Dn. 9:24); Jesus sent forth the Seventy (Lk. 10:1); he enjoined forgiveness ‘until seventy times seven’ (Mt. 18:22).

666 (or 616) is the number of the beast in Rev. 13:18. Many interpretations of this number have been proposed, and by gematria, in which figures are given the value of corresponding letters, the number 666 has been identified with the numerical values of the names of a variety of personalities from Caligula and Nero Caesar onwards, and with such concepts as the chaos monster.

For a full discussion, and of ‘thousand’, see commentaries on the book of Revelation, especially NBCR; H. B. Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John, 1906, pp. 175-176; J.-J von Allmen, art. ‘Number’ in Vocabulary of the Bible, 1958; D. R. Hillers, BASOR 170, 1963, p. 65.

Rev. 7:4; 14:1 records the number 144,000 ‘which were sealed’. It is the number 12, the number of election, squared, and multiplied by 1,000, an indefinitely large number, and symbolizes the full number of saints of both covenants who are preserved by God.
Bibliography. E. D. Schmitz, C. J. Hemer, M. J. Harris and C. Brown, NIDNTT 2, pp. 683-704 (extensive bibliography). 2

1. Easton, M. G., M. A. D. D., Easton’s Bible Dictionary, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1996.

2. The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1962.








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