Chapter 2.

The Value and Significance of Numbers

What has been said as to the place of the Pentateuch as introductory to the entire word of God, and to the Old Testament in a special way, will prepare us for what it will be well to go into with some measure of care before we take up the more minute examination of the Pentateuch as a whole and in its separate parts.

While the entire subject of the structure of Scripture is reserved for a separate handbook, in which we will endeavor to go into it with something of the fulness which it deserves, it will be necessary for us at this point to take up some of the great fundamental principles of numbers, and their relation to revelation, which, through the mercy of God, have been made familiar to us during recent years.

Numbers are perhaps the most elementary form in which the relation of objects is seen. The prime digits have here so distinctive a character that they cannot be confounded with each other. We will look at each of these, and gather some of the evident thoughts connected with them.

1. Numbers in Relation to the Godhead.

Number 1. One excludes everything else. It speaks of that which is alone, with nothing else to compare it with. The Lord our God is one Lord," "To us there is but one God." There can be no question that this thought of "aloneness," of absolute unity, is conveyed as it could be in no other way by this first numeral. Without doing violence to the thought, we have here the exclusion of all others from the place which God alone can occupy. "I am the Lord, and there is none else," "My glory will I not give to another."

Satan's great effort has been to obliterate this thought from the mind of man, and in the multiplication of heathen deities we see him apparently successful; but even in these heathen mythologies there lurks behind all the fantastic, numberless gods, the one supreme Author and Source of all things. Thus the thought is marred indeed and blurred so as to be practically valueless; but God has stamped this for us upon the very nature of man, so that conscience as well as reason cries aloud that it is true. If God be thus alone and with no other, so that He existed before all time, "from everlasting to everlasting," then it follows that everything else that has been called into being is His work. He is the Creator. This suggests the truth which we gather from the ordinal of one — First.

A first suggests not only pre-eminence, but authorship. As the First, our God has brought into being the whole universe of material and spiritual existence. The first excludes from its own domain a second, and yet there would be nothing with which to compare it were there no second. All that follows, therefore, is in that sense in subordination to Him that is first.

If God be thus one, alone, He is sufficient unto Himself. He needed not even the glorious creation which in His goodness and power He has called into being. It was not necessary for His happiness to call the universe out of nothing. This thought of self-sufficiency, in its highest, divinest sense, is linked with the very being of God. "He giveth not, to any, account of His matters." There is no thought of His responsibility, in the human sense. There is no possibility of His being judged: "That Thou mightest . . . overcome when Thou art judged" must, from the very fact of the case, be true.

Such thoughts as these show us, from the very necessity of the case, that the creature can never intrude into the domain of the Creator. True faith recognizes this with joy. That which the enemy of our souls intruded into the heart of man — a poison to which he had himself succumbed, "Ye shall be as God" — is, to one who knows God, torture unutterable. Who could stand where God stands — who is self-existent, independent absolutely of all persons and things, sufficient unto Himself in all the bliss of a perfectness which is divine? Words fail us here, but the thought is a simple one, and meets with a response from every heart of faith. Who, too, could bear the load of the divine consciousness; could have the weight, if we may use feeble human similes to express that which infinitely transcends our highest thoughts, of the divine purposes and counsels as to His intelligent universe; the plans which He has formed, the power which is for Him no effort, which has not only created all things, but upholds them? The very thought of such things well-nigh crushes the spirit, and we ask, in the language of Scripture, "Canst thou by searching find out God?" "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?" And so, with this consciousness right in our very being, we bow at His feet and own Him: "Thou art God alone."

The significance of the number one, as we have already suggested, is inherent in itself. It is so stamped upon our consciousness that it is impossible to avoid it. The fact is that, in a lesser way, man himself is a unit upon whom this mark has been put of individuality and personality. There is none like him in the whole world where he is. Evolution may do its utmost to link him with the lower creation. It may seem to have succeeded when it says that the body in which he dwells is linked with the beasts that perish; but not only does nature cry aloud that man is not simply one of the higher animals, reason refuses to accept it; and this not from any pride of isolation, but from an inherent consciousness that he is not as that which surrounds him; that his very body is not himself; that the subtlest physical processes are but the activities back of which a living will, a reasoning mind, operates and is in control. Evolution thus stands self-condemned not only as a faulty theory as to man, but as a distinct insult to one who cannot be linked with the creation over which he is head. If this be true of man (as no one can deny who, with that very consciousness of which we speak, which asserts its aloofness from the rest of the creation, is constrained to recognize his own limitations and dependence upon the creation from which he must be separated), in how much fuller way does the truth of the absolute unity of the Godhead hold good?

It is this unity of the individual which, we might say, qualifies man for the apprehension of God. The very fact that he stands out distinct from all else enables hint to apprehend the necessity for the same truth in the sphere of the Infinite. He knows what "one" means because he himself is one in the sense we have indicated, and thus in his sphere as a creature the very stamp of the Creator's being has been put upon him. If man is a person, an individual, so also He who enables him thus to recognize his individuality and to be conscious of it, is a Person. It is this which gives us one view, at least, of the truth of that sublime statement that man is made "in the image of God!"

When this great truth of the unity and supremacy of God, the self-existent One, is seen, we are enabled in the light of further revelation to gather other thoughts which He has been pleased to make known to us.

These thoughts, we need not say, are not any contradiction to what He has revealed, for the very thought of unity is self-consistency. There can be no contradiction in it; and yet is there not stamped upon the very being of man, along with his individuality, a going out toward that which suggests companionship? He is alone, and yet not alone. We do not mean here that he is made for God, — an essential truth, but rather that the very faculties of his being call aloud for an association with his equals; a cry which God has met in the blessed relationships which He established in creation, and the infinitely more blessed ones eternally effected through grace.

But this, we almost say, necessity of social intercourse, which is a part of man's very being, leads us to expect, when once the great truth of the divine unity is distinctly apprehended, that this unity without going outside of itself has a relationship in which its perfections are expressed.

We are treading here upon holy ground. God forbid that we should intrude into those things that we have not seen. Faith ever veils its face, and yet opens its eyes to that which God has revealed. We need to walk humbly, but we need not refuse to walk. It is eternal life to know God, and therefore instead of shrinking from the revelation of Himself which in infinite grace He has made to us, we know that it is our happiness to receive it. The truth of the divine unity, therefore, in no wise contradicts the fact that this blessed God is capable of the enjoyment and the exercise of all His attributes in a sphere so absolutely infinite that our feeble minds only apprehend its truth without fathoming its depths.

We are thus prepared for what we find on the very first page of our Bible. The name for God, "Elohim," is invariably a plural here, as it is the chief word for the divine Being through Scripture. There can be no question that this word is a plural. Various explanations have been given of this. It is called "the plural of majesty and pre-eminence," much in the way in which a king would speak of himself as we." Such a use, however, seems unworthy of Him who is above all need of exalting Himself, who could not multiply His greatness for it is infinite already. His majesty needs no such expedient to set it forth. There must be something more than this. A plurality of persons is here suggested. As we see a little later on, in connection with the work of creation: "And God said, Let Us make man." Evidently, there is a counsel here, a plan which, while a single one, is the expression of a perfect concurrence of divine Persons.

The Hebrew language, by its very simplicity, is the divinely selected instrument for the expression of a meaning here which we cannot avoid. While the noun, "Elohim," is plural, the verb is singular. The action is one. The divine work accomplished by the word of the Creator stands alone, and yet it is effected by the Personalities who compose that divine unity. Thus, in the simplest way, God makes known to us the two related truths that He is One — a unity into which the highest created intelligence cannot intrude, a chasm of infinity between the Creator and His whole universe; yet in that ineffable infinity there is a holy companionship, of which our highest conceptions are feeble, where divine Persons in the divine family, if we may be permitted to use such language, find their joy and delight One with Another. Naturally,we can go no further with unaided reason. The stamp upon our own being calls for this much. Other marks also suggest, that which remains for revelation to make known, that this divine fulness is a Trinity. Man himself is that, with distinct departments in his mind, for instance, of knowledge, feeling and will, which we are able to differentiate without separating. He is capable of apprehending; this apprehension affects his feeling, and his will is put forth in relation to what is apprehended; and yet this tripartite character of his mind does not affect his individuality. So, too, in a wider sense, he is body, soul, and spirit, where the very body is recognized as a part of the full revelation of himself. We cannot conceive of man existing as man eternally separated from his body, which is the vehicle, and as we have elsewhere sought to point out, the expression of his whole being.*

{*See Handbook on Human Physiology.}

In like manner, his soul (the seat of desires, appetites, passions, — alas, all perverted in the fallen being) links on one side with the body, and on the other with the higher spirit, including reason and judgment. Thus, there is a relationship within the individual of departments which go to make up his being, and this prepares us, in one sense enables us, feebly indeed but actually, to apprehend the truth of the triune God.

Number 2. This brings us to the consideration of the meaning of the second number. If "one" excludes all others, "two" as equally necessitates another. Where we are dealing with the same class of objects, it in itself suggests equality, — two of the same kind and of equal value. We are already prepared for this in what has been said of the Godhead. There is Another who is not different, of the same kind and essence, God over all, and yet who is as distinct and absolutely a divine Individual, if we may be permitted to use the language of man, as God must be.

But "two" suggests relationship. Passing to the ordinal, a second occupies that relationship to a first. Other thoughts come in here also. The "first" suggests authority and dignity in which the "second" participates, but in the place of second, not exactly subordination, and yet something akin to that. Where will we find this thought of equality, together with relation.. ship in subordination? At every step we have to qualify our expressions, realizing that beyond what God has revealed we are sure to go astray. But He has given us such a relationship of first and second in nature, and in revelation has used the very language. Father and son are in that relationship one to the other. There is identity of nature and yet a distinctness of two personalities, with the order of relationship and yet not a hint of inferiority. If this is true in the relationship between a human father and son, it is divinely the case between those infinitely blessed Persons whom we are taught to know as the Father and the Son? "Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son's name, if thou canst tell?" (Prov. 30:4.) "All things are delivered unto Me of My Father; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him" (Matt. 11:27).

These passages, with many others, show the relationship between the first and second Persons of the Godhead, a relationship that speaks of identity of nature, power, glory, and yet where the thought of Fatherhood and Sonship suggests what we have already intimated. In general the exercise of sovereign will, as in election, is ascribed to the Father — "According as He hath chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4).

Similarly, the execution of that will is ascribed to the Son — "By whom also He made the worlds; (Heb. 1:2); "All things were made by Him," etc., (John 1:3). This, however, cannot be for a moment taken as hinting that there is any difference in authority or position. Speaking of Himself after incarnation and in view of the coming judgment, our Lord reiterates the essential equality of Himself with the Father: "That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father which hath sent Him" (John 5:23).

Of the holy intimacies, the outflow of divine affections, the delight between the members of the divine family, who can speak? We withdraw into the protection of the language of inspiration as given to us by the Holy Spirit who searcheth the deep things of God: "The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning or ever the earth was . . . Then I was by Him as One brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him" (Prov. 8:22, 23, 30). It is of this relationship that the Lord speaks ever to His disciples in the Gospel of John: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father (John 16:28). "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (John 17:5).

The prominent thought here is companionship in relationship, of perfect equality, and yet as we said, the ineffable, inscrutable mystery of Fatherhood and Sonship before which we delight to bow our souls, confessing that while we do not understand, we know it must be true and that the limitation is in ourselves; much of it indeed by our very constitution as creatures, and also much because our eyes are dim.

Number 3. It is this very dimness of the eyes, as well as the limitations of our being, that are themselves the hint as to the necessity of a third element in our knowledge of God. The Scripture already quoted shows us that the mutual knowledge of the Father and the Son is confined to themselves; and yet God has revealed Himself, He has manifested Himself, in such a way that our reason, conscience, and indeed our whole being knows that the revelation is true. This witness has not merely been given, we might say, objectively in the works of God, but is inherent in the very being of man. We have already suggested that man is a trinity in various ways.

There is a certain rhythmic recurrence of the number three that seems to remind us of this triune stamp. There are three persons — only three: first, second, and third; the person speaking, the person spoken to, and the person spoken of. This includes, as we might say, all that is possible in the way of personality. Without the third person, however, there would be a failure to manifest the fulness of what is. We have already referred to the three dimensions in space, of length, breadth and thickness,which enable us fully to apprehend it. Time is measured in this threefold way, the past, present and future. These and other thoughts of three suggest a full view of whatever may be under consideration, whether of persons, space, or time; and it is this thought of fulness of manifestation which suggests to us both the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. He it is who is, not objectively, but by His power, the Revealer of God. He does not display Himself, but He brings home to consciousness, reason, and conscience, the reality of that which is put before them. He is the Enlightener. More than that, He is the life-Enlightener. "The Spirit searcheth all things; yea, the deep things of God," and "God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit." Thus, we find that while eternal life is the knowledge of the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, yet there must be a life imparted. "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Thus our very knowledge of the Godhead is dependent upon Him who, while in the divine family, is the One who reveals in man, in such a way as to make Their fulness known, the blessedness of that knowledge.

"Three" is thus the number of display, and of final display. There can be nothing in the same class co-ordinated with these three in the way in which we have been looking at them. When God is revealed, as He is perfectly, objectively by the Son, the full revelation has taken place, and the witness of this is the presence of the Holy Spirit to bring it home to the heart in living power.

Thus, in answer to any suspicion that there yet remained other divine persons to be revealed, faith, as well as the word of God, declares that we have reached the limit of perfection. There can be nothing beyond the third, nothing beyond that which gives us in its length and breadth and depth and height, the fulness of the Godhead.

As we have before remarked and need ever to remember, we are not seeking to compass the Infinite. None but God Himself can understand God. The creature, by the very fact of his being that, knows that he can never reach into the Infinite. This shows the nature of the fall of Satan, an effort on the part of the creature, of superlative excellence indeed, "full of wisdom and perfect in beauty," to transcend the limits of his creaturehood and pass into the Godhead. The chasm is infinite between them. The most glorious and excellent in wisdom, power, and every attribute of the angels who "excel in strength," has yet but a creature excellence; and, beyond that stretches just as far the infinity of distance to Godhead. Indeed, this is but a poor illustration. There is a different class, whose confines can never be passed; a class, compared with which the distinctions between the various elements in the earth, or of plant and animal life, are as nothing. God is God, and man is man, and his happiness is to know that this is eternally true.

The thought, then, of the Spirit, the third person in the Trinity is, that He is the One who, as our Lord declares, will guide into all truth. He is indeed called "the Spirit of truth," as thus revealing it; also, "the Holy Spirit," as the revelation and embodiment of the essential holiness of God; and yet we have naturally not so much the manifestation of the Spirit as of Christ, who is the display of the divine glory. We do not see light, but that which light reveals; and the Spirit of God is like the light, revealing all things else, while itself invisible.

We have this beautifully in the candlestick in the tabernacle, where the seven lights, symbol of perfection, shed their beams over against the candlestick; as we might say, exhibiting its perfections and beauties. The candlestick is the glorified, risen Christ, and the light is the Holy Spirit who makes these known.

In the New Testament, where only we have the full revelation of God, the full truth as to the personality and Godhead of the Holy Spirit is brought out; there can be no question of His personality. He is spoken of in that way as definitely as the Father or the Son. While, as we have said, His work is that which is prominent; a work indeed which displays the glories of the Son and the truth of God; yet in the very power which thus displays them, we have the witness of His own essential and absolute Godhead, His distinct personality.

Much more might be said upon this most delightful theme, and what mercy it is that we, whose eyes are indeed dim by reason of sin, have been by grace, and the work of this blessed Person of whom we speak, introduced into the knowledge of the Father and the Son! There is a limitation in all that we have said, but it is the limitation of the creature and not of the glorious subject. There is a fulness here which fills our little capacity, and fills the vast universe, and still is as unexhausted as though that universe did not exist. It is the fulness of God.

In what has been said of these first three numbers, we have confined our thoughts to the revelation of God, His being, His personality in trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. This, however, does not exhaust the subject, but rather encourages us to make a fresh beginning in our researches as to the significance of numbers, and it is this further significance that we will find more prominently before us in connection with the Pentateuch.

We must, however, say a word further now as to the number "four." As has already been remarked, the number "three" gives a sense of completeness beyond which there can be nothing; a completeness of kind, if we may so say. Thus, in that revelation which, as the apostle declares, completes or fills up the word of God, we have the full display of Himself, beyond which there can be nothing. All that God is is included in what He is as Father, as Son, and as Spirit. The heavenly city itself, in which the glories of God are set forth in their perfection to sight, even as now to faith in the word of God, is a cube, where the length, breadth and height of it are equal, and where God is perfectly displayed.

It has been said that God has been pleased thus far to reveal Himself in three Persons, but that these are only modal displays of Himself, which could be and will be multiplied far beyond this number. This is the fatal error of Sabellianism, an error which is deadly, because it practically robs us of the sense of our knowledge of God, and indeed destroys any true apprehension of the personality of the Father, Son and Spirit. As a matter of fact, Sabellianism does not hold to personality in any true sense. How could it, if our knowledge of God is not yet rounded out? The Son, and the Father, and the Holy Spirit are but modes of divine revelation and not Persons at all! Sabellianism, therefore, leads to two opposite errors. On the one hand, it gives us a heartless monotheism, in which the divine personality is removed entirely from our knowledge, and we only have Him in some of the many forms in which He is pleased to make Himself known. It is monotheism, without the hope of ever passing into any true knowledge of God. On the other hand, it opens the way for that dreary pantheism which dissipates all thought of divine personality, and makes God an infinite, indeed, and all-pervasive essence, confused however so completely with His creation that, as a matter of fact, we lose both the thought of the creature as well as the Creator.

It is just this that we wish to show is prevented by a true recognition of the significance of the number "four," in relation to the first three. It is in that sense a new beginning. It is the first of the numbers which is capable of a true division or cleavage, made up as it is of the factors 2 x 2. The first three numbers are prime.

They cannot be further reduced. This in itself is significant. "Four," then, can be broken up into other elements, as already indicated; and this in itself prepares us for the thought, already reiterated, that we have now passed from the sphere of the Godhead into that of the creature. This we find abundantly illustrated in Scripture. "Four," is constantly the number of the earth, of creation, of weakness as contrasted with power, and all that we are necessarily compelled to think of in connection with the creature as contrasted with the Creator. This must suffice to show us that we have reached the revelation of the fulness of God in the first three numbers.

2. Numbers in Relation to Man.

We therefore now resume our consideration of the significance of numbers, but now from the standpoint of the creature.

Number 1. This number naturally links closely with its significance in relation to God. It speaks of His supremacy and power as the self-existent One before all worlds. It is He who has created all things. "One," therefore, suggests to us the thought of origin, of beginning, of that time when God spoke and brought into being all that exists. "Through faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Heb. 11:3). In like manner, the number speaks of the beginning of life, and more particularly of the conscious life of responsible man, the offspring of God, in the sense that he is immortal, and capable of knowing who the Creator is. This suggests also the priority of man as head over creation, and of his spirit by which he is differentiated from creation. We thus reach the individual, and naturally his history as an individual biography rather than a narrative of corporate existence. All this anticipates so completely what is the subject of the book of Genesis, that we need say little more to show how necessarily that must be the opening record of the entire inspired volume. It is the book of origins, showing that God created all things, which gives us also the origin of man as responsible, and which is, throughout its narrative, devoted chiefly to a record of individual life. The entire book is, indeed, after the first few pages which are devoted to the origin of things, a series of biographies. All of these thoughts are suggested in the number "one."

We are compelled now to add the further sad truth that, when applied to the creature, the number "one" easily gets a sinister meaning. The moment the creature seeks to intrude into the place of the Creator, as already intimated in connection with Satan and his pride, we have the number "one" dragged out of its proper sphere and the attributes of Godhead applied to man. This is indeed the essence of all sin, — independence, disobedience, selfwill; so that we have here in the earliest book of the Bible the narratives of this rebellion, where man listened to the lie of Satan, and was inoculated with the virus of sin: "Ye shall be as gods (God), knowing good and evil."

Number 2. Evil, when once introduced, does not remain quiescent, and we must be prepared therefore to find that it accompanies as a dark shadow all the primary and proper significance of numerals. Thus, two suggests not merely companionship, but difference, separation, as men say, when alienated one from another, "We are two." It opens up indeed the whole subject of evil as alienation from God and as bondage. Thank God, this is but one side. On the other, we have the primary significance of the number, as already seen, of companionship, of help, and by implication when evil has entered, of salvation and deliverance. The thought of God in the book of Genesis is largely that which the Lord conveyed to Moses, El-shaddai, "The Almighty,"or Himself in His unity. In the book of Exodus, we have the narrative of the bondage into which the children of Israel were brought, of the enslaving power of evil under which they were, and then of the compassion and delivering power of Jehovah. Exodus is thus distinctively the book of redemption, in which the narrative of the Passover lamb and the sheltering blood closes the chapter of the previous bondage, and opens the one into progress in the knowledge of God and of communion with Himself.

Two then puts its mark upon the book of Exodus and we see that it could not occupy any other than the second place. In it, of course, we have typically prominent before us the Son and His redeeming work by the cross.

Number 3. This, as we have seen, is the number of full display in which God is fully revealed — in His holiness and the principles of divine truth upon which He ever acts. The book of Leviticus strikingly illustrates the significance of this number. In it we have the full manifestation of sin, but blessedly brought out with those sacrificial aspects of the work of Christ by which it is duly dealt with and put away. The entire book has the stamp of the nature of God upon it, His holiness. We might say its theme is expressed in those words, "Be ye holy, for I am holy." The sacrifices, the priesthood, the essential requirements for nearness to God, the service connected with the introduction into His presence, all of these are the consistent theme of the book, which, as we might say, thus introduces us into the full knowledge of God. Of course, all is as yet typical. We need the full light of the New Testament, the beams of the Holy Spirit to illumine all the types and shadows of the Old before we could rightly understand those shadows, but this does not alter, only rather confirms, the necessary place of Leviticus as a number three.

Number 4. We have already seen that four suggests division and cleavage in a way which none of the previous numbers would do. It is the first number capable of proper division and if a thing can be divided it suggests a certain measure of weakness in it. If there are seams of cleavage in it, these will locate the place of fractures.

Approaching the significance of this number from the side of Scripture we find that it is that which speaks of the creature, of the earth, as contrasted with the Creator. We have "the four corners of the earth" and "the four winds of heaven." Multiplied by ten (the significance of which will come before us later) we find that four suggests what is inherent in creation and in the creature essential weakness.

The creature cannot rightly manifest the end for which he was created if separated from the Creator. "In Him we live, and move, and have our being" is true of man, and suggests that we must have the revelation of God, and depend upon Him for all if our lives are not foredoomed to utter failure. In like manner, "By Him all things consist" shows that creation itself cannot be thought of apart from Him who has brought it into being and maintains it.

The number "four" is thus the earth number, that which has to do with the creature and his maintenance and, alas, when the added element of sin is brought in, we may be sure of failure. All of this is so suggestive of the book of Numbers that we need not further dwell upon it. It is evidently the fourth book, in which we have God's provision for the proper walk of His people through the world on the one hand, but alas, on the other, their failure to avail themselves of these provisions, with the result that they manifest their weakness and unprofitableness. It is thus the narrative of the wilderness journey of Israel, recounting its failures and how the generation which had been brought out of Egypt was shut out of the land of Canaan because of this failure. "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."

Number 5. Proceeding in the ordinary way, five is formed by the addition of one to four. It is a prime number, but its composition is such as suggests a distinct addition to the number four. An illustration may show the two elements which go to make up five. It is distinctively the number of man as to his capacity. There are five senses which link man with the outside world. His hand, the badge of his capacity, has five fingers. These, however, are not exactly coordinated, but the thumb occupies such a relation to the other four fingers that it controls them. It is this indeed which we might almost say distinguishes man anatomically from the beast. The thumb most suggestively points to the presence of a controlling will and personality, and without it there is no true grasp of things. Spiritually speaking, this is most clear, and prepares us for the significance of the number five. It is the creation as laid hold of by a superior power. Of course, in its highest sense, this would be God laying hold upon His creation, and the number five therefore will be found as we look into it to suggest the incarnation of Him who, while He was God, was "manifest in the flesh," whose name is "Jesus" — "Immanuel," (God with us).

Applied absolutely to man, the number five suggests the responsibility of the conscious, free agent who takes hold of creation. Man is different from all creatures in that he is responsible, and it is the individuality, the free will of man, that constitutes him thus. These are some of the thoughts that we find in the book of Deuteronomy. Primarily, it is God who through His servant Moses takes up and reviews His people's past history, spreading it before them and pointing out, as He alone can,the lessons to be learned. They find there the springs of those sad falls narrated in the book of Numbers, and if rightly exercised would thus be brought into God's presence about their failures. The book further presses upon the people their responsibility to obey God, in view of the past with its lessons, and the future that lay before them. It thus fittingly answers to its place as the fifth and closing book in the series.

Looking on, as it does throughout, to the future, it shows that an end has been reached to the ways of God with man, leading up to his inheritance, that will mark a new beginning in which, in various conditions, the same series will again be gone through with. Our point just here, however, is not to speak of that, but rather to show how Deuteronomy numerically closes the Pentateuch. The wilderness journey is over. Behind us lies the desert; "all behind us lies the darkness, all before the day." It will be found that the closing book of Scripture is, like the one we are speaking of, a Deuteronomy. It is a recounting of God's ways — ways not merely with Israel, but with the world as a whole, and which will end in the introduction of the eternal day in that land which is indeed "the glory of all lands," where the light is that which never falls on sea or land down here, but is reserved for "the inheritance of the saints in light."

This brings us to the end of what immediately concerns us for the present. For a full discussion of what has already occupied us, and the remaining numbers, we must wait for another place.*

{*This subject will be taken up, God willing, in a handbook devoted entirely to "The Structure of Scripture," in which the significance of numerals will be more fully gone into, together with their application not merely to the books as a whole, but to the subdivisions of those books.}

We can, however, scarcely forbear saying a word or two upon those numbers which complete the series.

Number 6. This number, in Scripture at least, seems to be a transitional one from five to seven. It has in it certain characteristics of number four, in that it is capable of true division, being formed of the factors 2 x 3. This very cleavage, as we have seen in four, suggests a certain element of weakness, and indeed we find in Scripture an intimation of this in the number six. It falls short of seven, the perfect number, and in that way seems to be specially appropriate in connection, for instance, with the number of the Beast, which is the number of a man, a thrice repeated six (Rev. 13:18).

From the very fact, however, that it is largely used in an evil sense, as, for instance, in the description of Goliath, a type of Satan, we may expect to find also a divine sense in the number which reminds us that God is still Master over evil. Thus, we find that on the sixth day, man is created and placed in dominion over creation, a type of how Christ is going to reign over the earth and hold all things in His power. It is thus not only suggestive of man's day and of the limit which God puts upon his power and by which He will control it, but dispensationally, it is the number of the Millennium, in which Christ, in association with His Church, will reign over the earth and restrain, although He will not yet banish, all power of evil.

Number 7. This number completes the series. It is so familiar, not only in Scripture, but in nature itself, that few words need be said upon it. It is composed of 4 + 3, the number of the creature combined with that of the Creator. God and His creation gives the thought of that beyond which we cannot go in that direction. There is nothing more. Thus we find that seven is constantly used throughout Scripture as the number of completeness; seven days in the week; seven years; and the constant repetition of this numeral with unvarying meaning, though with many applications, shows that completeness is the thought. But we pause nere to return to our immediate theme.