The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 70
Seventy has a sacred meaning in the Bible that is made up of the factors of two perfect numbers, seven (representing perfection) and ten (representing completeness and God's law). As such, it symbolizes perfect spiritual order carried out with all power. It can also represent a period of judgment.
70 elders were appointed by Moses (Numbers 11:16). After reading the covenant God gave him to read to the people, Moses took 70 elders, along with Aaron and his sons, up Mount Sinai to have a special meal with God himself (Exodus 24:9 - 11)!
Ancient Israel spent a total number of 70 years in captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:10).
Seventy is also specially connected with Jerusalem. The city kept 70 years of Sabbaths while Judah was in Babylonian captivity (Jeremiah 25:11). Seventy sevens (490 years) were determined upon Jerusalem for it to complete its transgressions, to make an end for sins and for everlasting righteousness to enter into it (Daniel 9:24).
Appearances of the number seventy
Terah, the father of Abraham (who was not his oldest son), had his first male child at seventy. Cainan, the fourth Biblical patriarch mentioned in scripture, had his first son at the age of 70.
Israel in Egypt had its beginnings with Joseph rising in power in Pharaoh's court and Jacob migrating his entire household into the land. A total of 70 Israelites started a nation WITHIN another nation that would grow to more than two million by the Exodus.
Seventy elders (not counting the High Priest) composed Israel's great Tribunal (Exodus 24:1, Numbers 11:16) which was eventually called the Sanhedrin. It was this body of elders that HATED Christ so much that they were THE driving force in the New Testament to have Jesus killed by whatever means available (e.g. by betrayal, lying witnesses, false accusations, lying to the Romans that he broke Roman laws, etc.).
Seventy disciples were sent out by Christ on a 'training mission' to preach the gospel to the surrounding area (Luke 10).
How is the number 70 related to Jesus' parables?
The Bible records Jesus Christ giving at least 70 parables during his ministry. These parables, listed by the first gospel they are found in, are below.
The book of Matthew
Salt of the earth (5:13)
Light of the world (5:14)
Birds of the air are fed by God (6:25 - 26)
Consider the Lilies and amazing flowers God has created (6:28 - 30)
They will be known by their fruits (7:16 - 23)
House built on a rock (7:24 - 27)
The good physician (9:12 - 13)
Friends of the Bridegroom (9:15 - 17)
New cloth on old (9:16)
New wine in old bottles (9:17)
Children in the marketplace (11:16 - 17)
Wisdom justified by children (11:18 - 19)
Kingdom divided against itself (12:25 - 29)
The unclean spirit that wanders and returns home (12:43 - 45)
The Sower (13:3 - 23)
Shine your light before the world (5:15 - 16)
The Mustard seed (13:31 - 32)
Kingdom of God like leaven (13:33)
Treasure hidden in a field (13:44)
The costly pearl (13:45 - 46)
Kingdom of God like a net (13:47 - 50)
Scribe is like man who brings out old, new things (13:52)
The Blind religious leaders of the blind (15:14 - 20)
Become as little children (18:3 - 6)
Offensive hands and eyes spiritually speaking (18:7 - 9)
The lost sheep (18:12 - 14)
The unforgiving servant (18:23 - 35)
The workers in the vineyard (20:1 - 6)
- One faithful and one rebellious son (21:28 - 32)
The evil servants in God’s vineyard (21:33 - 46)
The wedding feast (22:1 - 14)
Vultures and the carcase (24:28)
Fig tree seasons like seasons of prophecy (24:32 - 35)
The watchful servants (24:42 - 51)
The Ten Virgins (25:1 - 13)
The talents (25:14 - 30)
The Sheep and the Goats (25:31 - 46)
The book of Mark
- The growing seed (4:26 - 29)
The book of Luke
Creditor owed by two people (7:40 - 47)
Good Samaritan (10:30 - 37)
A friend needs food at midnight (11:5 - 8)
Ask and it shall be given (11:9 - 10)
The Giver of good gifts (11:11 - 13)
The rich fool (12:16 - 22)
Life is more than food and the body more than clothes (12:22 - 24)
Barren fig tree (13:6 - 9)
- Narrow gate of salvation (13:24)
Master refuses to open door of those who knock (13:25 - 30)
Be humble (14:8 - 14)
Cost of discipleship (14:26 - 33)
The lost coin (15:8 - 10)
Prodigal son (15:11 - 32)
- Friends of mammon (16:1 - 9)
Lazarus and the Rich man (16:19 - 31)
Mustard seed faith (17:6)
Unprofitable servant (17:7 - 10)
The widow and the Judge (18:2 - 8)
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (18:10 - 14)
Nobleman pays his ten servants (19:12 - 27)
The book of John
The wind is like Holy Spirit (3:8)
Fields are white for harvest (4:35 - 38)
The Son follow the Father (5:19 - 20)
Servant of sin freed by repentance and forgiveness through Jesus (8:35)
The Good Shepherd (John 10:1 - 18)
Make the most of your 12 waking hours of daylight (11:9 - 10)
Wheat must die to live (12:23 - 25)
Walking in the light (12:35 - 36)
A place prepared (14:2 - 4)
Christ is the True Vine (15:1 - 8)
Weeping and rejoicing (16:20 - 22)
Additional info on the Biblical Meaning of 70
The prophet Ezekiel was taken by God, in vision, to Jerusalem to be shown 70 elders of Israel defiling themselves by offering incense to their idols (see Ezekiel 8).