Meaning of Numbers in the Bible
The Number 3

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Biblical Meaning of Numbers
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Meaning of Numbers: The Number 3

The English word "three" used for the number 3 is recorded 485 times in 426 King James Bible verses. It occurs 410 times in the Old Testament and has 75 occurrences in the New Testament. The Old Testament writings that use "three" the most are the book of 1Chronicles (35 times) then Numbers (33). The New Testament books that use the word the most are the book of Acts (17 times) followed by Matthew (12). The first use of the word is found in Genesis and its last is in Revelation.

And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters (Genesis 5:22, KJV).

On the east (of New Jerusalem) three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates (Revelation 21:13, KJV).

The number 3 conveys the meaning of completeness, though to a lesser degree than 7. It derives its symbolism from the fact that it is the first of four spiritually perfect numerals (the others being 7, 10 and 12).

The 3 righteous patriarchs before the flood were Abel, Enoch and Noah. After the deluge, there was the three righteous "fathers" of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (later renamed Israel).

There are 27 books in the New Testament, which is 3 cubed, or completeness to the third power.

Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest. He was placed on the cross at the 3rd hour of the day (9 a.m.) and died at the 9th hour. There were 3 hours of darkness that covered the land while Jesus was suffering on the cross from the 6th hour to the 9th hour. Christ was dead for three full days and nights, a total of 72 hours, before being resurrected on Saturday, April 8, just before sunset.

Appearances of the Number Three

Jesus took only 3 of his disciples, James, Peter and John, up a large hill in order to view his transfiguration (Matthew 17:3 - 9). What the men saw, in a vision, were 3 people in their glorified form (Jesus, Moses and Elijah).

The apostle Paul was an exceptionally well-educated person. In three different occasions he quotes directly from Greek poets (Acts 17:28, 1Corinthians 15:33 and Titus 1:12). He also was privileged to visit the location of God's throne, which is in the third heaven (2Corinthians 12:2 - 4).

The three words that appear only once in Scripture are "reverend" (Psalms 111:9), "eternity" (Isaiah 57:15) and "grandmother" (2Timothy 1:5).

Only 3 people were allowed to ask God anything. They were Solomon (1Kings 3:5), Ahaz (Isaiah 7:11) and, of course, Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:9). The gifts given to Israel by God were his law, the land of their inheritance, and their calling (the world to come).

The Bible only mentions the name of three angels (Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer).

Dying in a Foreign Land

Surprisingly, there were three rulers over the Kingdom of Judah who died in a foreign land.

The first was King Jehoahaz who, at age 23, was taken as prisoner by the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco in 609 B.C. Jehoahaz had only served as king for 3 months when he was captured and taken out of the land. He ultimately died in Egypt (2Kings 23:31 - 34).

Jehoiachin, the second from last king over Judah, also reigned for only 3 months when he was taken out of the land. King Nebuchadnezzar captured him in 597 B.C. and took him back to Babylon (2Kings 24:12). In 561 he was released by Evil-Merodach (2Kings 25:27) and died in the country.

King Zedekiah assumed the throne as the last ruler over Judah when he was 21. In 586 B.C., eleven years later, he is captured by the Babylonians. They not only perform the gruesome acts of gouging out his eyes, they also bind him with fetters and take him to Babylon. He dies while in captivity (2Kings 25).

Number 3 and Sex Sins

There are 3 places in the New Testament where sex sins are specially referenced. The first is in Romans 1:20 - 32, where certain people who reject God are given over to defile themselves in a variety of ways that includes homosexuality (male and female) and overall sexual immorality.

The second mention of sex-related sins is in 1Corinthians 5:1 - 13, where the apostle Paul had to deal with the local church allowing open incest to be committed. The third sex issue dealt with in the New Testament is in Revelation 2:19 - 25. A female who considers herself a prophetess within the Thyatira church, in the spirit of Jezebel, was teaching believers to commit sexual immorality and spiritual adultery.

Prophecy

Next to seven, 3 is the most commonly used number in Revelation. An angel is charged to cry three woes to those who live on earth to warn them of more trials to come (Revelation 8:13).

The Two Witnesses, after their end time ministry runs its course, will be murdered by the Beast power. Their bodies will then be left exposed to the elements for all the world to see. After 3 1/2 days they will be miraculously resurrected from the dead and will rise to meet God!

And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them (Revelation 11:11, KJV).

A triple threat of unclean spirits will be allowed to deceive the whole world to fight the returning Jesus Christ in what is called the battle of Armageddon.

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty (Revelation 16:13 - 14, KJV).

God, when all prophecy has been fulfilled, will create a new Jerusalem which will be shaped like a square with 3 gates on each side (Revelation 21:13).

More Info on Biblical Meaning of 3

A triangle, which is a polygon with 3 sides and vertices, is considered the most stable physical shape. Its stability allows it to be widely used in construction and engineering.

The Greek word abba, Strong's Concordance #G5, is found only three times in the Greek New Testament. Left untranslated in the King James, the word means Father and is only used in reference to God.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father (Galatians 4:6, KJV, see also Mark 14:36 and Romans 8:15).

The Greek word halizo, Strong's #G233, appears only 3 times in 2 Greek New Testament verses. Halizo is translated as "salted" and is famously used in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount admonition for believers to make a difference in the world.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted (halizo)? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men (Matthew 5:13, KJV, see also Mark 9:49).

King David attracted to himself 3 men of war who would prove invaluable during the battles he fought. Known as the "three mighties" (1Chronicles 11:12), Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah, they had exceptionally distinguished themselves in battle. They repeatedly showed they were fierce and fearless warriors willing to perform astonishing acts of courage and bravery.

The Apostle John is the only one of the New Testament writers to record three epistles (1John, 2John, 3John).

The Bible books of Joel, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, 2Thessalonians, Titus and 2Peter contain 3 chapters. The only chapters to number three verses are Psalm 131, 133, 134 and Esther 10.

God is described, in the very beginning of the book of Revelation, as a Being with the three-fold characteristic, "which is, and which was, and which is to come" (Revelation 1:4).

There are 3 great periods of God's annual Feast days of worship. They are the spring festivals (Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread), the summer festival (Pentecost) and the fall festivals (Feast of Trumpets, Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles).

Recommended Articles
List of the Kings of Israel and Judah
Where Did the Transfiguration Take Place?
Who Were King David's Mighty Men?
What Are God's Annual Feast Days?
What Does God Think About Homosexuality?
How Incredibly Wealthy Was Solomon?
What Are the Prophetic Songs of Revelation?
Is the Universe Infinite?

Biblical Meaning of Numbers
Introduction   -   Book of Numbers
Forgiveness Numbers  -  Abraham's Numbers
Mysterious Numbers of the Jubilee Year!
Sevens and the Worship of God
Numbers of Israel's Kings   -   Lucky 13!
Infinity   -   Zero
One Tenth   -   One Third   -   One Half
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144000   -  500000   -  The Largest!
Prophecy Numbers   -   Numerology
Creation's Numerics   -   Further Study

Series References
Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural
Design and Spiritual Significance

Some information on the
meaning of the number 3 derived from
Holy Bible Faithful Version (HBFV)