The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 32
The number 32 derives part of its meaning from its link to King David's father Jesse and its use to reveal the true identity of the Messiah.
Reu, who lived 239 years, had his first son Serug at the age of 32 (Genesis 11:20 - 21).
The book of Revelation contains material from 32 out of 39 Old Testament books, the most of any New Testament writing! It also houses more references to its individual verses, 278, than any other first century book.
King Jehoram of Judah began his reign over the people at the age of thirty-two (2Kings 8:16 - 17, 2Chronicles 21:5). He ruled for only eight years and died in 841 B.C.
Appearances of the number thirty-two
Part of the spoils of Moses and the Israelites defeating the Midianites were 32,000 (32 x 1,000) virgins (Num. 31:35). Part of the tribute paid to the Lord, out of all the spoils, was thirty-two people (verse 40).
Syrian King Benhadad, along with the military might of 32 kings, besieged the Kingdom of Israel's capital in Samaria (1Kings 20:1). His plans were to level the city and take all its booty for himself. The Lord however, through a prophet, informed Israel's King Ahab that he would protect his people (verses 13 - 14).
God would accomplish the task of saving Ahab and the Israelites through 232 young princes from among the people (1Kings 20:13 - 15). Benhadad and the thirty-two kings with him, when they had gotten drunk in the middle of the day, were attacked. The princes, and the army that followed them, defeated the enemy with Ahab completing the slaughter (verses 16 to 21).
The Messiah and the prophetic number 32
The 32nd patriarch in Jesus' physical lineage is Jesse, the father of King David.
Jesse produced a total of seven sons (including David, the youngest) and two daughters (1Samuel 17:12 - 13, 1Chronicles 2:13 - 16). His name is used in a prophecy predicting that the Messiah would come to ultimately rule over the whole earth. Isaiah 11:10 states, "And in that day there shall be the Root of Jesse standing as a banner for the people . . ."
Jesus, toward the end of his earthly ministry, asked, "How can the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? . . . if David himself called Him Lord (in Psalm 110:1), how can He be his Son?" (Mark 12:35, 37, see also Matthew 22:41 - 45 and Luke 20:41 - 44).
Jesus' inquiry completely stumped the hard-hearted Jewish religious leaders. How could the Lord exist before David yet also be one of his descendants? How could the Messiah be both the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:10) or the root of David and their offspring (Revelation 5:5, 22:16)?
The answer to Christ's riddle is both simple and profound! The prophetic use of number 32 reveals that He was God (the Lord David knew) who willingly decided to be born as a human through a human (Mary) who had a physical connection to King David.
Additional info on the Biblical Meaning of 32
In 32 A.D., a critical turning point was reached in the early New Testament church. It was a year where the first concerted efforts to eradicate Christianity's influence, through the persecution of average believers, took place. It was also a time when Jesus' command to spread the gospel far and wide (the great commission) was beginning to be fulfilled.
Stephen, only two years after Jesus' death, is stoned by an angry mob of Jews (Acts 6 to 7). A young Saul (who would become Paul) then initiates a campaign of terror by barging into homes and arresting any Jew who professes Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 8:3, Galatians 1:13 - 14). The scattering of a large number of Jerusalem Christians in 32 due to persecution, however, also means the gospel is spread throughout Samaria and beyond.