Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance
by E.W. Bullinger
Six is either 4 plus 2, i.e., man's world (4) with man's enmity to God (2) brought in: or it is 5 plus 1, the grace of God made of none effect by man's addition to it, or perversion, or corruption of it: or it is 7 minus 1, i.e., man's coming short of spiritual perfection. In any case, therefore, it has to do with man; it is the number of imperfection; the human number; the number of MAN as destitute of God, without God, without Christ.
The Hebrew #$#$' (shaish) is supposed to be derived from the root #$da#$af (shah-dash), but nothing is known about its origin or signification.
At any rate it is certain that man was created on the sixth day, and thus he has the number six impressed upon him. Moreover, six days were appointed to him for his labour; while one day is associated in sovereignty with the Lord God, as His rest.
Six, therefore, is the number of labour also, of man's labour as apart and distinct from God's rest. True, it marks the completion of Creation as God's work, and therefore the number is significant of secular completeness.
The serpent also was created on the sixth day.
The Sixth Commandment relates to the worst sin,—murder.
The sixth clause of the Lord's prayer treats of sin.
Six is the number stamped on all that is connected with human labour. We see it stamped upon his measures which he uses in his labour, and on the time during which he labours. And we see this from the very beginning.
The number six is stamped upon the measurements of the Great Pyramid, the unit of which was the inch and its sexagesimal multiples. The first multiple is the foot, 12 inches (2x6); and after this the rises are 18 (3x6), 24 (4x6), 30 (5x6), and 36 (6x6 or 62=the yard).*
* On the other hand, the sacred cubit, though not a round number, was a multiple, indeed the square of 5, being 25.3 inches.
Corresponding to these measures we have the first division of the natural time-spaces which measure man's labour and rest,—the day, consisting of 24 hours (4x6), divided into the day and night of 12 hours. The multiples and subdivisions are also stamped by the number six. The months being 12; while the hours consist of 60 minutes (6x10), and the minutes of 60 seconds (6x10).
The base of the Great Pyramid shows that the unit-inch* was obtained by a division of the original circuit, 36,000 inches or 1,000 yards.
* Differing from the Pyramid inch by only 1 in 40,000.
On account of the curse (Gen 3), the number six tells not only of labour, but of "labour and sorrow," and it specially marks all that is "under the sun," all that is "not of God." The true "sabbath-keeping," now, is in reserve; for there is no rest apart from "peace with God"; the rest which God gives and which we find (Matt 11:28).
But now to turn to the Scripture examples and illustrations, we note first that
are given only as far as the sixth generation.
When twelve (the number of governmental perfection) is divided, it indicates imperfection in rule and administration. Solomon's throne had six steps (1 Kings 10:19), and his kingdom was soon divided. The 12 loaves of the Shew Bread were divided into two sixes (Lev 24:6), and the Twelve Tribes were divided tribes.
Abraham's six intercessions for Sodom (Gen 18) marked man's imperfection in prayer, which falls short of that of the Divine Intercessor.
THE BURNT OFFERING IN GENESIS 22
is mentioned six times (vv 2,3,6,7,8,13) because the seventh was that of the Divine Substitute which God Himself would provide (v 8).
"THE MAN OF THE EARTH."
In Psalms 9 and 10, through which there is a running alphabetical acrostic, uniting the two Psalms, six letters of the alphabet are wanting (m to c). It is the Scripture which describes "the Man of the Earth" (Psa 10:18), the coming Anti-Christ, and the Apostasy which marks his presence, called the "times of trouble" (Psa 9:9, 10:1).
are mentioned:—Exodus 19:18; 1 Kings 19:11; Amos 1:1 (Zech 14:5); Matt 27:54, 28:2; Acts 16:26.
THE SIX YEARS OF ATHALIAH'S REIGN
were six years of usurpation of the throne of David (2 Kings 11; 2 Chron 23). Athaliah slew all the seed-royal, as she thought; but God in His providence over-ruled events so that one son, Joash, was "rescued from among the king's sons that were slain." He was hid in the house of God during the six years with Jehosheba, who was shut up with him, her affections being centred upon him, while Jehoiada her husband was occupied for the king, going about and securing loyal adherents by his simple repetition of Jehovah's promise, "Behold, the king's son shall reign, as the LORD hath said of the sons of David" (2 Chron 23:3). This promise was the support of the hearts of the faithful during those six years of usurpation, until the seventh year came, and Joash was manifested upon his throne and all his enemies destroyed. Which things are a type of the King's son, even Jesus, who was rescued, by resurrection, from among the dead, and is now hid in the house of God on high. While He is seated and expecting, (Heb 10:12,13), all who are "in Christ" are hid with Him (Col 3:3); and while, in this aspect, their hearts (like Jehosheba's) are occupied with the person of the King, their activities (like Jehoiada's) are going out for Him, witnessing and testifying to the blessed truth that the King is coming again and will surely reign, and the seventh year of blessing will come at last. Until that moment arrives, the promise of Jehovah will be their support, that the Seed of the woman shall in due time crush the serpent's head (Gen 3:15).
SIX TIMES JESUS CHARGED WITH HAVING A DEVIL
- Mark 3:22, and Matthew 12:24, "He hath Beelzebub."
- John 7:20, "Thou hast a devil."
- John 8:48, "Say we not well that...Thou hast a devil?"
- John 8:52, "Now we know that Thou hast a devil."
- John 10:20, "He hath a devil, and is mad."
- Luke 11:15, "He casteth out devils by Beelzebub."
This is most significant. Man's enmity to the Person of the Lord Jesus is thus branded with man's number. It will repay careful study to note the chronological order of these occasions and speakers. The very order and structure is important.
A. 1. Beelzebub, and casting out devils.B. 2. A simple charge, "Thou hast,"A. 6. Beelzebub, and casting out devils.B. 5. A simple charge, "He hath."
C. 3. Introduced by "Say we not well," [in John 8]
C. 4. Introduced by "Now we know." [in John 8]
THE SIX-FOLD OPPOSITION TO THE WORK OF GOD
on the part of man is seen in the opposition to Nehemiah. It forms a lesson for all time, being enacted every day where any, like Nehemiah, begin a work for God.
- Grief, 2:10.
- Laughter, 2:19.
- Wrath, indignation, and mocking, 4:1-4.
- Fighting and open opposition, 4:7,8.
- Conference, 6:1,2.—"Come and let us meet together." "Let us take counsel together" (v 7). This attempt was to "weaken them from the work" (v 9). But Nehemiah refused to parley with the enemies, or meet them in conference.
- False friends, 6:10-14.—Here was the greatest danger of all. Satan, "as an angel of light," seeking to mar, and hinder, and stop the work.
The careful study of these six steps in man's opposition to the work of God will yield great spiritual profit, and arm us against the wiles of the Devil.
Now let us pass to the number, as it concerns words, and first note that there are
SIX WORDS USED FOR MAN
in the Bible. Four in the Old Testament, and two in the New.
1. Md) (ad-dahm). Man as a human being (Lat. homo), having regard to his being created, and to his earthly origin. This is the word used of Messiah as the "Son of Man." See a few examples:—
- Gen 1:26, "Let us make man."
- Gen 2:7, "God formed man of the dust of the ground."
- Gen 3:24, "So He drove out the man."
- Isa 2:11, "The lofty looks of man shall be humbled."
- Isa 2:17, "The loftiness of man shall be bowed down."
- Isa 2:9, "The mean man boweth down."
- Isa 2:9, "The great man [Ish, see next word] humbleth himself."
- Isa 5:15, "The mean man shall be brought down."
- Isa 5:15, "The mighty man [Ish] shall be humbled."
- 2 Sam 7:19, "Is this the manner of man, O LORD God?"
- Psa 8:4, "What is man [Enosh, see the third word] that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?"
2. #y) (Ish). Man, as strong and vigorous of mind and body. Man with some degree of pre-eminence of strength and endowment.
- Zech 6:12, "Behold the man whose name is the Branch."
- Psa 22:6, "I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men [Adam, see No. 1], and despised of the people."
- Psa 25:12, "What man is he that feareth the LORD?"
- Psa 39:11, "When Thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity: surely every man is vanity."
- Psa 90 Title, "The man of God."
3. #wn) (Enosh). Weak man, as mortal and subject to suffering and death; the heir of corruption.
- Psa 8:4, "What is man that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man" [Adam, see No. 1].
- Psa 73:5, "They are not in trouble as other men."
- Psa 103:15, "As for man, his days are as grass."
4. rbg (Gehver), a strong man, a man of might and valour. Man as distinct from God (Job 22:2), and from a woman or wife (Prov 6:34).
- Zech 13:7, "Awake, O sword, against...the man that is My fellow, saith the LORD of Hosts."
- Exo 10:11, "Go now, ye that are men."
- Exo 12:37, "Six hundred thousand on foot that were men."
- Psa 52:7, "Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength."
- Jer 17:5, "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man" [Adam, see No. 1].
- Jer 17:7, "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD."
Then in the New Testament we have the two words:
5. anqrwpoV, which answers to Adam (No. 1), and
6. anhr, which answers to Ish (No. 2).
It is worthy of note that these four Hebrew words are each used of the Messiah, and that the Holy Spirit has revealed a blessing for each in and through the man Christ Jesus.
- Md) (Adam), Psa 32:2, "Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity."
- #y) (Ish), Psa 1:1, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful."
- #wn) (Enosh), Job 5:17, "Happy* is the man whom God correcteth, therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty."
* The same word as in the other passages, viz., r#) (Ashrai), blessed. Lit. Oh, the blessednesses of.
- rbg (Gehver), Psa 94:12, "Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of Thy law."
THE SERPENT HAS SIX NAMES
The Talmud calls attention to this fact, and gives the following:—
- #xn (nachash), a shining one (Gen 3:1; Job 26:13. See also No. 6 below).
- bw#k( (ak-shoov), from #k(, "to bend back," "lie in wait." Translated adder, Psa 140:3.
- h(p) (ephah), any poisonous serpent. Translated adder; also viper (Job 20:16; Isa 30:6, 59:5).
- yn(pc (tsiph-ohnee), a small hissing serpent (Isa 11:8, 59:5; Prov 23:32), from (pc, to hiss. Translated viper.
- Nynt (Tanneen), a great serpent, or dragon (from the root "to stretch out" or "extend"), on account of its length (Exo 7:9,10,12).
- Pr# (Saraph), from root "to burn"; a venomous, deadly serpent, from the heat and inflammation caused by its bite. Translated serpents, Num 21:8; Isa 14:29, 30:6.
THE LION HAS SIX NAMES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
and all are found in the Book of Job (Job 4:10,11 and 28:8).
- yr) (Aree), the roaring lion (Gen 49:9; Num 23:24, 24:9, etc.).
- lx# (Shachal), the fierce lion, with special reference to his voice (Job 4:10, 10:16, 28:8; Psa 91:13; Hosea 13:7).
- rypk (K'pheer), the young lion—not a whelp as in Eze 19:2—(Judg 14:5; Job 4:10, 38:39; Psa 17:12, 34:10).
- #yl (Lah-yish), the old lion—not from age, but brave and strong—(Job 4:11; Prov 30:30; Isa 30:6).
- )ybl (Lahvee), the old lioness (from root to roar) (Gen 49:9; Num 23:24; Deut 33:20, etc.).
- Cx# (Shachatz), the lion's whelps (Job 28:8, 41:34; translated "of pride").
SOME WORDS THAT OCCUR SIX TIMES
- Nwdb) (avad-dohn), destruction.
- +wm (moht), bar, staff, or yoke.
- Mtkm (mich-tahm), Michtam (Psa 16, 56, 57, 58, 59 and 60). This word is connected with death, and at the same time with resurrection also (3x2). It is from Mtk, to cut in, engrave (LXX, sthlografia, a sculptured writing; sthlh was the word for grave-stone). Hence "Michtam," like our "Resurgam," indicates that these six Psalms, though connected with death, point to the hope of resurrection. This is notably true of Psalm 16, and may be traced in the others also.
- aiscunh (aischunee), shame.
- allattw (allatto), to change.
- asebeia (asebeia), ungodliness.
- atimazw (atimazo), entreat shamefully.
- bdelugma (bdelugma), abomination. Three in Gospels: Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14; Luke 16:15. Three in Revelation: Rev 17:4, 5, 21:27.
For the combinations of 6, 66, and 666, see further under the number Six hundred and sixty six.
ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS ILLUSTRATIONS
Six times our Lord was asked for a sign:—
- The Pharisees, Matt 12:38; Mark 8:11.
- The Sadducees, Matt 16:1.
- The Disciples, Matt 24:3; Mark 13:4.
- The people, Luke 11:16.
- The Jews, John 2:18.
- The people, John 6:30.
Six persons bore testimony to the Saviour's innocency:—
- Pilate, Luke 23:14.
- Herod, Luke 23:15.
- Judas, Matt 27:3.
- Pilate's wife, Matt 27:19.
- The dying thief, Luke 23:41.
- The centurion, Luke 23:47.