Meaning of Numbers: The Number 68
Part of the meaning of the number 68 is derived from its relationship to two of the most influential Christians who have ever lived!
The Apostles Paul and Peter died as martyrs around the same time. Peter, whose martyrdom was hinted at by Jesus (John 21:18 - 19, 2Peter 1:14), met his demise in 67 or 68 A.D. The belief he was crucified upside-down is not a Scriptural fact but rather is upheld based mostly through church traditions. Additionally, although it is commonly believed he died in Rome, the possibility exists that he was martyred in another location.
The time and manner of the Apostle Paul's death is far more certain than Peter's. During his final missionary journey, he is arrested, yet again, and brought back to Rome in 67 A.D. His treatment as a prisoner in Rome is harsher, and his trial would be held in a far more chaotic and dangerous political environment, than his first imprisonment from 61 to 63 A.D.
Finally, in 68 A.D., just prior to Nero's suicide in June, Paul receives the death penalty for preaching the gospel. His Roman citizenship earns him the right not to die an ignominious death of lingering torture but rather from the swift blade of being beheaded.
Appearances of Number Sixty-Eight
King Amaziah of Judah was 57 years old when he placed his son Azariah as co-ruler of the kingdom. Amaziah lived another eleven years until his death at the age of 68, which made him the oldest king who would rule the Kingdom of Judah. His son became sole monarch in his place.
Roman Emperor Nero, who would initiate the first of ten Roman state supported persecutions of Christians, reigned from 54 to 68 A.D. He committed suicide on June 9.
Number 68 and the Psalms
The Hebrew word rapha (Strong's Concordance #H7495) is written 68 times in the original language text of the Old Testament. It is found the most in the book of Jeremiah (13 times) followed by 2Kings and the Psalms (both with 7). The word means to heal, to mend, cure or repair, or can refer to a healer such as a physician or God. King David frequently prayed for God's healing.
Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal (rapha) me; for my bones are vexed (Psalm 6:2, KJV),
I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal (rapha) my soul; for I have sinned against thee (Psalm 41:4, KJV).
What is known as the Song of Deborah (Judges 5) recalls God's encounter with his people on Mount Sinai. Sections of Psalm 68 also write about this event.
O God, when You marched before Your people, You marched through the wilderness. Selah. The earth shook, indeed the heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel (verses 7 - 8 of Psalm 68).
This Psalm also contains symbols. The phrase "plentiful rain" in verse 9 represents something that is refreshing and delightful (Isaiah 5:6). The "chariots of God" recorded in verse 17 represents the angelic host (Zechariah 6:1 - 5).
Additionally, the somewhat rare shortened form of Jehovah used for God's name, Jah (Strong's #H3050), is found in this Psalm.
Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him (verse 4 of Psalm 68, KJV).
More Info on Biblical Meaning of 68
68 is the product of 2 x 2 (2 squared) x 17. Both 2 and 17 are prime numbers.
The Greek word sabbaton (Strong's #G4521) is recorded 68 times in the original language of the New Testament. It is written the most in Luke's gospel (20 times) followed by the book of John (13) then Mark (12). The word refers to the seventh day of the week, the Bible Sabbath, which occurs from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Jesus referenced the fourth commandment several times during his ministry.
For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day (sabbaton, Matthew 12:8, KJV).
Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath (sabbaton) day? (Luke 14:5, KJV).
The Apostle Paul's ministry last for 35 years, from 33 to 68 A.D. During this period he produced 14 epistles (letters) that would become part of the Bible, an amazing number that is almost triple that of Moses! He also conducts at least five missionary journeys that take him to Asia Minor, Syria, Greece, Italy, Spain, Britain, and elsewhere.
Paul evangelizes countless cities and helps train others to preach such as Timothy and John Mark. He ends up spending at least five years in prison, is whipped five times and beaten with rods thrice. He even endures a shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea!
The only Biblical chapter that contains 68 verses in the King James Bible is Deuteronomy 28.