Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance
by E.W. Bullinger
The number nine is a most remarkable number in many respects. It is held in great reverence by all who study the occult sciences; and in mathematical science it possesses properties and powers which are found in no other number.*It is the last of the digits, and thus marks the end; and is significant of the conclusion of a matter.
* Among others may be mentioned (1) that the sum of the digits which form its multiples are themselves always a multiple of nine; e.g., 2 x 9 = 18 (and 1+8=9); 3 x 9 = 27 (and 2+7=9); 4 x 9 = 36 (and 3+6=9); 5 x 9 = 45 (and 4+5=9), etc., etc.; and so with the larger numbers: 52843 x 9 = 475587 (and 4+7+5+5+8+7=36, and 3+6=9). (2) The sum of its multiples through the nine digits = 405, or 9 times 45.
It is akin to the number six, six being the sum of its factors (3x3=9, and 3+3=6), and is thus significant of the end of man, and the summation of all man's works. Nine is, therefore,
THE NUMBER OF FINALITY OR JUDGMENT,
for judgment is committed unto Jesus as "the Son of man" (John 5:27; Acts 17:31). It marks the completeness, the end and issue of all things as to man—the judgment of man and all his works.
It is a factor of 666, which is 9 times 74.
The gematria of the word "Dan," which means a judge, is 54 (9x6).
"th orgh mou" (tee orgee mou), my wrath, = 999 (Heb 3:11).
The solemn amhn (ameen), amen, or "verily," of our Lord, amounts also to 99, summing up and ending His words.
The sum of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet is 4995 (5x999). It is stamped, therefore, with the numbers of grace and finality.
The sum of the Greek alphabet is 3999.
THE FIRST CONTEST (Gen 14)
is a battle between the 4 kings and 5 (=9).*
* The Gematria of verses 3 and 4, Gen 14, which describe the rebellion and the battle, is 5655 (13x435). And verses 4 and 5, which describe the coming of the four kings, = 5590 (13x430). Thus the rebellion verse binds the war and its cause together. Verse 9, also, which describes the battle, is 4732 (132x28).
The swift vengeance of Abram, verses 13-16, = 10738 (13x7x118).
The standing of Abram before Melchisedech = 19019 (13x7x11x19). Thus with Abram we find not only the 13, but 7 marking the spiritual character of himself and his mission.
Genesis 19, recording the judgment of Sodom, is marked by multiples of nine. Verses 4-29 amount to 89550 (9x9950, or 9x50x199). The same is seen if we divide it into sections:—
- Verses 4-18. From the riot in Sodom to Lot's plea for Zoar is 50733 (9x3x1879).
- Verses 19-25. From Lot's plea to the overthrow is 24543 (9x9x303).
- Verses 26-29. From "Lot's wife" to the end of the history is 14274 (9x2x13x61).*
* It is interesting to note that in the midst of all this, the words which refer to the deliverance of Lot, "Haste thee" (v 22) to "out of the midst" (v 29), give a multiple of 8, the Dominical Number; it is 25304 (8x3163); while four of the verses of this section (25-28) are each separately multiples of 8; their total sum being 11312 (8x1414). The sum of the whole chapter is a multiple of 13.
We see the same phenomena in the account as given in the Second Epistle of St. Peter. As we do also in the judgment pronounced upon Jerusalem.
THE SIEGES OF JERUSALEM
have been 27 in number, or three times nine, and they are stamped with the number of Divine completeness (3) and the number of judgment (9). As the significance of other numbers is involved and illustrated in these 27, we give a complete list of all Jerusalem's sieges.
1. By the children of Judah against the Jebusites (Judg 1:8) about 1425 BC, and as this is the first, we may note the solemn words which so vividly stamp, from the first, what was to be the after-history of the city,—"Now the children of Judah had fought against Jerusalem, and had taken it, and smitten it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire." This was about 1400 BC, or 700 years before Rome was founded. This siege was only partial, for in David's reign we still find the Jebusites occupying the citadel.
2. By David against the Jebusites (2 Sam 5:6-10; 1 Chron 12:23-39), about 1046 BC.
3. By Shishak, king of Egypt, against Rehoboam (2 Chron 12:9; 1 Kings 14:25,26), about 971 BC. To this there was only a feeble resistance, and the Temple was plundered.
4. By the Philistines, Arabians, and Ethiopians against Jehoram (2 Chron 21:16), about 887 BC. In this siege the royal palace was sacked, and the Temple again plundered.
5. By Jehoash, king of Israel, against Amaziah, king of Judah (2 Kings 14:13,14), about 826 BC. The wall was broken down and the city and Temple pillaged.
6. Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah, king of Israel, against Ahaz (2 Chron 28), about 841 BC. The city held out, but Ahaz sought the aid of Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria, who stripped the Temple.
7. By Sennacherib, king of Assyria, against Hezekiah (2 Chron 32), about 713 BC. In this case the siege was raised by a Divine interposition, as foretold by Isaiah the prophet. (See the significance of this No. below.)
8. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, against Jehoiakim (2 Chron 36:7), about 606 BC, when the Temple was partly pillaged.
9. By Nebuchadnezzar again, against Jehoiachin (2 Chron 36:10), about 599 BC, when the pillage of the Temple was completed and 10,000 people carried away.
10. By Nebuchadnezzar, BC 590-585, against Zedekiah (2 Chron 36:17-20), when the overthrow was complete, the Temple burnt with fire,* and the city lay desolate for 50 years. After some 58 years, it was again besieged.11. By Ptolemy Soter, king of Egypt, against the Jews (320 BC). More than 100,000 captives were taken to Egypt.*
* It was in the ninth year of Nebuchadnezzar that the House of God was burnt; and on the ninth day of the fourth month that the famine prevailed (2 Kings 25). It may be noted also here, that it was in the ninth year of Hosea that the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away (2 Kings 17:6).12. By Antiochus the Great, about 203 BC.
* Where the Septuagint Version was afterwards made for Philadelphus, the successor of Ptolemy Soter.
13. By Scopus, a general of Alexander, about 199 BC, who left a garrison.
14. By Antiochus again, 168 BC, the worst siege since No. 10. The whole city was pillaged, 10,000 captives taken, the walls were destroyed, the altar was defiled, ancient manuscripts perished, the finest buildings were burned, and the Jews were forbidden to worship there. This was the Preteritist fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy (9 and 11), and a foreshadowing example of what the Futurist fulfillment will yet be.
15. By Antiochus again, about 162 BC, against Judas Maccabaeus. This time honourable terms were made, and certain privileges were secured.
16. By Antiochus Sidetes, king of Syria, against John Hyrcanus, about 135 BC.
17. By Hyrcanus (son of Alex. Jannaeus) and the Priest Aristobulus. The siege was raised by Scaurus, one of Pompey's lieutenants, about 65 BC.
18. By Pompey, against Aristobulus, about 63 BC. The machines were moved on the Sabbath, when the Jews made no resistance. Only thus was it then reduced; 12,000 Jews were slain.
19.* Herod with a Roman army besieged the city in 39 BC for five months.20. By Titus AD 70. At this memorable siege the conquest was complete. The Second Temple (Herod's) was burnt (in spite of Titus' orders). The tenth legion was left to carry out the work of destruction, and for another 50 years the city again disappears from history, as it did after the tenth siege.
* Antigonus, son of Aristobulus, with a Parthian army took the city in 40 BC; but there was no siege, the city was taken by a sudden surprise.
21. The Romans had again to besiege the city in 135 AD against the false Messiah, Bar-Cochebas, who had acquired possession of the ruins. Not much is known of this, perhaps the most awful of all the sieges. So great and severe was the struggle, that Hadrian, in announcing to the Roman Senate the conclusion of the war, refrained from using the usual congratulatory phrase. The city was now obliterated. Its very name was changed, and it was renamed Aelia Capitolinus. A Temple was erected to Jupiter, and a statue of Hadrian placed on the site of the Holy of Holies. For 200 years the city passed out of history, no Jews being permitted to approach it.*This siege was foretold by our Lord in Luke 19:43, 44 and 21:20-24.
* So great was the relief which Rome experienced by this suppression of Jerusalem and the Jews, that the toast became common at Roman feasts, "Hierosolyma Est Perdita," "Jerusalem is destroyed," the guests immediately greeting it with the shout Hurrah. This is the origin of our "Hep! Hep! Hurrah," H, E, P, being the abbreviation of the three words, formed by their initial letters (on the principle known as Notarica, or Notricon). To this day Hep or Hip is said by only one person, the rest joining in the shout which greets it!
22. After 400 years of so-called Christian colonization, Chosroes the Persian (about 559 AD) swept through the country; thousands were massacred, and the church of the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed. The Emperor Heraclius afterwards defeated him, and restored the city and the church.
23. The Caliph Omar, in 636-7 AD, besieged the city against Heraclius, and after a feeble resistance, followed by capitulation on favourable terms, the city passed into the hands of the Turks, thus marking one of the most important events connected with it and with chronology.*24. Afdal, the Vizier of the Caliph of Egypt, besieged the two rival factions of Moslems, and pillaged the city in 1098.
* See The Witness of the Stars, by the same author.
25. In 1099 it was besieged by the army of the first Crusade.
26. In 1187 it was besieged by Saladin for seven weeks.
27. The wild Kharezmian hordes, in 1244, captured and plundered the city, slaughtering the monks and priests.
It seemed necessary to give this brief outline, because of several points which arise out of it. The list was made, in the first instance, without any reference whatever to "Number in Scripture." It was not till some time after, in considering the number nine as the number of judgment, that we noted the fact, that the number of these sieges was 27, or three times nine, and thus we saw the significance of the number.
Then, without looking at the list, we anticipated that there would be something peculiar about the numbers 10 and 20, ten being the number of ordinal perfection, and marking some cycle of completeness. So it proved on examination, for both the tenth and twentieth sieges were marked by the destruction of the Temple by fire! The tenth witnessed the destruction of Solomon's Temple by Nebuchadnezzar; the twentieth saw the destruction of Herod's Temple under Titus!
It was next felt that seven being the number of spiritual perfection, there would be something to mark off the seventh, fourteenth, and twenty-first sieges from all the others, and to connect them in some way with the perfection of Divine Revelation. So it proved on examination. These three were each the subject of Divine Prophecy! The seventh in 2 Chronicles 32; the fourteenth in Daniel 11; the Twenty-first in Luke 19:43, 44. And there is a siege yet future—a twenty-eighth siege— which is also foretold in Scripture (see Zech 14, etc.). These four form an epanodos, the first corresponding to the fourth (the first and fourth sieges in each case being raised by Divine interposition); while the second corresponds to the third in the terrible character of each, thus:Thus, four are the subjects of prophecy—the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th.
A. The 7th—Sennacherib. The siege raised by a miraculous interposition by an angel from heaven. (2 Chron 32)B. The 14th— Antiochus (Dan 11)—one of the most awful.A. The 28th—Antichrist. Yet future. But the siege will be raised by a glorious deliverance, not by an angel, but by the Lord Himself coming from heaven. (Zech 14)
B. The 21st—Hadrian (Luke 19:43,44)—one of the most complete.
Two mark complete cycles—the 10th and 20th, when the Temple was destroyed, each being followed by fifty years of silence.
Fourteen (7x2) are recorded in the Scripture.
Thirteen are non-Biblical, and are recorded only in profane history.
Surely there is something more than chance in the occurrence of these significant numbers.
of God in Haggai 1:11* are enumerated in nine particulars:There are nine words used from the root dikh, right or judgment:—
"And I called for a drought upon the land,
and upon the mountains,
and upon the corn,
and upon the new wine,
and upon the oil,
and upon that which the ground bringeth forth,
and upon men,
and upon cattle,
and upon all the labour of the hands."
* Note in this verse an illustration of two figures of language—Zeugma and Polysyndeton.
- dikh (dikee), right, right proceeding, judgment (Acts 25:15, 28:4; 2 Thess 1:9; Jude 7).
- dikaioV (dikaios), right, just as it should be.
- dikaiow (dikaioo), to make dikaioV (No. 2), to account righteous.
- dikaiosunh (dikaiosunee), the state, or quality, or condition of him who is dikaioV (dikaios).
- dikaiwV (dikaios), justly, rightly.
- dikaiwma (dikaioma), a righteous act or requirement.*
- dikaiwsiV (dikaiosis), is the action of the judge in promulgating a decree, in declaring or recognizing a person as dikaioV (Rom 4:25, 5:18).
* It is important to distinguish the 10 occurrences of this word, which is variously translated, but which should be thus rendered:—Luke 1:6, righteous ordinance.
Rom 1:32, the righteous sentence of God.
Rom 2:26, the righteous requirement of the Law.
Rom 5:16, righteous acquittal.
Rom 5:18, righteous act.
Rom 8:4, righteous requirement.
Heb 9:1,10, righteous ordinances.
Rev 15:4, righteous sentence.
Rev 19:8, righteous awards given.
The difference between dikaiwma (dikaioma) and dikaiosunh (dikaiosunee) points us to the fact that the latter word relates either to the quality, attribute, or condition of those acceptable before God, or to God's own relative attribute of righteousness; while the former word shows that the righteous requirement of the Law is fulfilled by those who are not under the Law, either for condemnation or a rule of life, but who are, as the apostle was, ennomoV Cristou (ennomos Christou), i.e., under obedience to Christ's commands (see pp. 88,89, and 1 Cor 9:20, RV, where the Apostle distinctly says he was not upo nomon (hupo nomon), i.e., under law-principle, the word law not having the article). The Law condemned every one under it. But Christians who realize (subjectively) that they died with Christ and live as those alive from the dead, walking in the Spirit and in the power of Christ, carry out practically (though with many failures, doubtless) the righteous requirement of the Law.
- dikasthV (dikastees) is the judge (Luke 12:14; Acts 7:27,35).
- dikaiokrisia (dikaiokrisia) is the righteous judgment of the judge (Rom 2:5).
OCCURRENCES OF WORDS
The following words, among others, occur 9 times, and are all connected in some way with judgment:—
abussoV (abussos), bottomless pit, or deep.
asebhV (asebees), ungodly.
aselgeia (aselgeia), lasciviousness.
astraph (astrapee), lightning.
All calling for, or connected with judgment.
Enough has been said to show that the signification of the number nine is judgment, especially divine judgment, and the conclusion of the whole matter so far as man is concerned.
But nine is the square of three, and three is the number of Divine perfection, as well as the number peculiar to the Holy Spirit. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that this number denotes finality in divine things.
"Fruit (not fruits) of the Spirit" comprises nine (32) graces: (1) love, (2) joy, (3) peace, (4) longsuffering, (5) gentleness, (6) goodness, (7) faith, (8) meekness, (9) temperance,* while
* It will be noticed that in this fruit of the Spirit "temperance" is put last; while in the "works of the flesh" (vv 19-21), which are sixteen in number (42, the earth number), "drunkenness and revellings" are put last! Truly man's ways are not God's ways, nor God's thoughts man's thoughts (Isa 55:8).
THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT
in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are also nine in number, viz:—
The word of wisdom,
The word of knowledge,
The working of miracles,
Discerning of spirits,
Divers kinds of tongues,
The interpretation of tongues.
ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS ILLUSTRATIONS
Nine persons "stoned."
- The blasphemer, Lev 24:14.
- The Sabbath-breaker, Num 15:36.
- Achan, Josh 7:25.
- Abimelech, Judg 9:53.
- Adoram, 1 Kings 12:18.
- Naboth, 1 Kings 21:10.
- Zechariah, 2 Chron 24:21.
- Stephen, Acts 7.
- Paul, Acts 14:19.
Nine widows are specially mentioned:—
- Tamar, Gen 38:19.
- Woman of Tekoah, 2 Sam 14:5.
- Hiram's mother, 1 Kings 7:14.
- Zeruah, 1 Kings 11:26.
- Woman of Zarephath, 1 Kings 17:9.
- The poor widow, Mark 12:42.
- Anna, Luke 2:37.
- Widow of Nain, Luke 7:12.
- The importunate widow, Luke 18:3.
Nine persons afflicted with blindness:—
- The men at Lot's door, Gen 19:11.
- Isaac, Gen 27:1.
- Jacob, Gen 48:10.
- Samson, Judg 16:21.
- Eli, 1 Sam 4:15.
- The prophet Ahijah, 1 Kings 14:4.
- The Syrian army, 2 Kings 6:18.
- King Zedekiah, 2 Kings 25:7.
- Elymas, Acts 13:11.
Nine were afflicted with leprosy:—
1. Moses, Exo 4:6.
2. Miriam, Num 12:10.
3. Naaman, 2 Kings 5:1.
4. Gehazi, 2 Kings 5:27.
5-8. The four lepers at Samaria, 2 Kings 7:3.
9. Azariah, 2 Kings 15:5. number13.htm