Meaning of Numbers: The Number 48
The meaning of the number 48 is linked to several facts both in and related to in Scripture.
The tribe of Levi, because they were dedicated to serving God, did not receive an inheritance of farmable land in Canaan (Num. 18:20, Deuteronomy 18:1 - 2). The Eternal, using the tithes and offerings Israelites gave, was to be their primary means of support. They did receive, however, 48 cities in which they could live, six of which were to be designated as cities of refuge (Num. 35:7, Joshua 20, 21:41).
In 48 A.D., both the Apostle Paul and Barnabas reside in the city of Syrian Antioch. They began their stay in the city in 46 A.D. after completing Paul's first missionary journey. Unfortunately, Paul's first tour will be the only one they will carry out together. The pair separate over the issue of John Mark before the second missionary journey starts in late autumn of 49 A.D. Paul takes Silas on his second evangelistic trip while Barnabas takes John Mark on a preaching tour back through the island of Cyprus.
The Apostle Paul was roughly 48 years old when he met Timothy in the city of Lystra during his second missionary journey. Timothy, a young man of 33 in early 50 A.D., would ultimately become Paul's closest and most trusted friend!
Appearances of Number Forty-Eight
The word "milk," in the King James Bible, is recorded 48 times in 48 King James verses. It is found the most Deuteronomy (8 times) followed by Exodus (6 times). The Promised Land the Israelites were to inherit was known as the land of milk and honey since it was excellent territory for raising cattle which also abounded in grasses and flowers.
And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey . . . (Exodus 3:8, see also verse 17, 13:5, 33:3, etc.).
Ezra mentions Jerusalem forty-eight times in the King James translation of his book.
Ham's name (Strong's #H2526) in Gematria (adding the numeric value of each Hebrew letter in his name) is 40 + 8 or 48. Ham was one of Noah's three sons who survive the great flood (Genesis 7:13). Ham is also the father of Canaan whom castrated his grandfather Noah and was cursed for doing so (Genesis 9:24 - 25).
Jubal's name (Strong's #H3106) in Gematria is 10 + 6 + 2 + 30 or 48. He is the first person in Scripture in relation to music and musical instruments. He is considered, "the father of all such as handle the harp and organ" (Genesis 4:21).
Galatians and Number 48
The book of Galatians, written by the Apostle Paul in 53 A.D., is book number 48 found in most modern translations. This controversial work, which covers several subjects, also reveals what was likely Apostle Paul's mysterious "thorn in the flesh" (2Corinthians 12:7 - 9).
Now you know that at first I preached the gospel to you in the weakness of the flesh; And the temptation - namely, my trial in my flesh - you despised not . . . For I bear you witness that, if it were possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me . . .
See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand . . . (Galatians 4:13 - 15, 6:11).
Paul's thorn was possibly an inflammation of the eyes called ophthalmia.
The forty-eighth book of the originally inspired arrangement of forty-nine books, organized by the Apostle John, is Philemon.
More Info on Biblical Meaning of 48
48 is a product of 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 (2 to the fourth power) x 3. Both 2 and 3 are prime numbers.
In the Old Testament, the Biblical chapters of Judges 20 and Psalm 106 contain 48 verses in the King James translation.
In the New Testament, the chapters Matthew 5, Luke 19 and Acts 10 have 48 verses in the KJV.
Only the books of Genesis, Psalms, Isaiah and Ezekiel have 48 or more chapters.
The name "Josiah" is recorded 53 times in 48 King James Bible verses. It is found the most in Jeremiah (18 times) then 2Chronicles (17). King Josiah, who began his reign when he was only eight years old (2Kings 22:1), ruled the Kingdom of Judah from 640 to 609 B.C. He was the last of Judah's righteous rulers before the nation's ultimate demise in 586.
And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers (2Chronicles 34:33, KJV).
Genesis 48 is the pivotal chapter that records Jacob, near death, blessing Joseph's two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. It is through these two sons that God would fulfill a giant part of his promise to Abraham that his descendants, who would number like grains of sand on a beach, would ultimately bless all the nations on earth (Genesis 22:17 - 18)!