The number seven recurs throughout Scripture. Whilst we should avoid anything like numerology (the study of numbers and mathematics in the belief that they reveal secret and esoteric messages) we cannot avoid noticing that certain numbers are repeated throughout Scripture. Peter Sammons investigates.

This short series looks at three numbers in particular; twelve, three, and supremely, seven.


This is always a reference in some way to Israel. We note that the Lord Jesus chose twelve apostles, being somehow the inaugurators of a new, enlarged Israel comprised of all those who place their trust and faith in Jesus the Messiah and live as His disciples (with all that this implies!), whether they are Jews or non-Jews. Israel itself consisted of twelve tribes.

Jerusalem had twelve gates, and this is replicated in the New Jerusalem which will be given by God in the future (Revelation 21:21). In the book of Revelation there are 144,000 Jewish people “marked” with God’s seal on the foreheads – that is 12*12 = 144. We might say it is Israel*Israel. We should note in this passage from Revelation we find that the 144,000 of Revelation 7:4 is immediately followed by a statement that there was an enormous crowd that “no one could number”, from every race, tribe, language and nation.

It seems in some mysterious way, that Israel is the opening point, or even the “gate” through which all of human-kind encounter the risen Lord Jesus. We only need to reflect that Jesus is David’s son, and so Israel’s eternal king, to see the reality that, in some way, Israel as God’s chosen people provides the instrument of reconciliation of all peoples to God the Father, through God the Son. Never forgetting, of course, that Jesus described Himself as “the Gate” (John 10:9) as well as His Father as the gate-keeper (John 10:3).

Whether the fact that there are twelve months in the year is also in some way to encourage us to reflect upon Israel is a question to which there is no definitive answer. Should we be reflecting on God’s gracious mercies in and through this chosen people month by month?

Peter Sammons continues his investigation next month, with the number three. His book, The Messiah Pattern, contains a fuller exploration of patterns in the Bible: