When one reads the Bible from beginning to end, certain themes become clear. You’ll find a lot of numerical patterns in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments. It is not a fluke if a certain number keeps popping up in seemingly meaningful contexts.
In God’s Word, numbers can be prophetic, spiritual, or symbolic, all of which can add depth to the story being told. Some examples include 7, 12, and 40. Three is yet another important number—small yet with big significance. In fact, the Bible has 467 references to the number 3, which is less than the holy number 7 but more than many other significant numbers.
Throughout the Bible, the Almighty Father consistently uses the numeral three, demonstrating His perfection and holiness. The Trinity, Christ’s time in the tomb, and Jonah’s time in the belly of the great fish are all examples of this.
What Is The Number 3 Meaning In The Bible?
What do numbers, such as 3, mean in the Bible? One of the multiple meanings of “three” in the Bible is a task’s completion. Before being arrested by Roman soldiers, Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36–46), and three times He asked the three disciples who came with Him, most notably Peter, to pray as well.
It was the third hour (Roman time) when Jesus was arrested and put on the cross; He breathed His last in the ninth hour (3 p.m.). From the sixth hour, when He began to suffer, to the ninth hour, when He finished suffering, a total of three hours passed in complete darkness.
Three days and three nights passed after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and death before He was raised on the third day, demonstrating a symbol of completion as He triumphed over death and ushered in a new beginning.
Also, the fact that faithful Christians view God as three entities—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—in the name of the Triune God suggests that the number three is associated with wholeness and completeness.
Another biblical meaning of number three is the power of God. For instance, only Ahaz, Jesus Christ, and Solomon—three people—were allowed to question God (Isaiah 7:11; 1 Kings 3:5).
In these three words, the Father reveals who He is: “Which is, and which was, and which is to come” (Revelation 1:4). That’s why we need to recognize the significance of the number 3. Keep in mind, too, that the third heaven is where you’ll find God’s throne.
What Is The Prophetic Meaning Of The Number 3?
The rebirth of Christ is prophesied in the book of Revelation, and the number 3 appears prominently in these predictions. At the outset, you’ll learn that God has commanded an angel to warn humans of the upcoming difficulties by crying out “three woes” (Revelation 8:13).
Moreover, the devil is eternally attempting to mimic God’s work. It’s important to note that the evil trinity exists alongside the Holy Trinity of God: the Antichrist, the Beast, and the False Prophet (Revelation 16, 19, and 20).
These three unclean spirits will emerge from the beast and rally the entire world to oppose the second coming of Jesus during the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:13–16). Last but not least, God will fashion a square New Jerusalem with three gates on its sides (Revelation 21:13).
What Is The Significance Of The Number 3?
Many times when He wants to reveal something about Himself, God uses groups of three to do so since the Trinity is intrinsic to who God is. Some of Israel’s patriarchs, for example, foreshadowed Jesus’ crucifixion. When Abraham offered up his son as an act of loyalty to God, the Almighty intervened and instead gave the father a ram as a substitute.
To redeem the whole world from sin, God was willing to sacrifice His Son, and Jesus was willing to be that sacrifice, as foreshadowed by this deed. As the Holy Spirit descended after Jesus’ ascension to aid in the global dissemination of the Gospel, Jacob, the third patriarch, arrived after Abraham and Isaac to become the founder of the nation of Israel.
Sometimes God would repeat Himself three times to drive a point home. Samuel, one of his most influential prophets, was responsible for crowning the foremost king of Israel, Saul, and its greatest ruler, David. When Samuel was a young kid, God called him three times while he was serving as a priest in the temple. There was always Samuel, declaring, “Here I am!” Each affirmative response Samuel gave God demonstrated his willingness to serve him.
Several times in the Bible, we see God saying the same thing three times in a row. Three times Jesus says to Peter, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15–17).
4 Significant Ways Of The Number 3 In The Bible
Obviously, we can’t examine all 467 occurrences of the number three; however, exploring some of them may give us an insight into their importance in the Bible. There are four ways number three is significant in Scripture:
1. Three Gifts
In Matthew 2, the three Magi bring three gifts to Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts signify His journey on earth: gold for earthly royalty, frankincense for divinity, and myrrh for death.
2. Third Day
Jesus’ resurrection after three days is an essential part of any discussion of the number three. According to Jewish culture, a person’s death is considered final once three full days have passed after the time of death. As a result, Jesus’ resurrection on the third day was proof that he had really conquered death and started a new life.
3. Three Patriarchs
Matthew 22:32 says that there are three patriarchs in the Scripture, namely, Father Abraham, Father Isaac, and Father Jacob. These fathers would go on to form the Israelite nation, which would become God’s people.
4. Three Angels
There are three guardian angels mentioned in the Book of Revelation. The first angel commands that every person on earth should worship God. The second announces that Babylon has been destroyed. Meanwhile, the third warns that anybody who accepts the Beast’s Mark will face the Father’s wrath.
When searching the Bible for truth, Christians should always be on the lookout for trinities. It’s either placing a strong emphasis on the core of something or highlighting its wholeness.
In the Bible, numbers have great significance. However, because we don’t place the same value on number symbolism as Biblical scholars, we often miss these.
But when we look closely, God’s Word isn’t only full of stories and symbols; He also employs biblical numerology to explain everything. Proof of his all-knowingness and mastery of the intricate details of the creation of the universe may be seen in His command of the most precise calculations.