What if there were no such things as Arabic numerals (0123456789)?
What if you only had your alphabet?!!!
Well...... you could use letters as numerical values. (A=1 B=2 C=3, etc. etc.) (B+B=D means 2+2=4)
Get it? Sure ya do.
In Greek (Alpha=1, Beta=2, Gamma=3, etc.)
This is what HEBREW and GREEK and ROMAN alphabets offered: no (separate symbols) numerals, only letters.
So what? Who cares?
Well, suddenly things get interesting!!
A string of numbers might co-incidentally also be a word....an interesting phenomena to mathematically inclined crackpots!
People of a certain frame of mind (obsessive compulsive mathemeticians, idiot-savants, religious nuts, etc.)
This is called GEMATRIA.
Quite a craze developed among religious savants (i.e. smart fanatics with too much time on their hands) to interpret words in light of their numerical value and interpret numerical value in light of the corresponding words.
Wild and crazy superstitious ideas started circulating!
The Roman God JOVE (Iove) was represented by the Roman letters IV.
To avoid desecrating JOVE'S name, Grandfather clocks don't abbreviate 4 as IV but as four one's IIII.
Ever notice that and wonder why there was no IV?
What about JOHN writing in Revelation?
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” Revelation 13:18
The apostle John gave the numerical concealment of the Beast as 666 in order to disguise the identity during a time of intense persecution. This was not an uncommon practice as we know of many examples of this technique in both Jewish and Greek society. Cryptograms have even been excavated in ancient cities including graffiti love notes such as this one – “philo es anthmos phi mu epsilon" (I love her whose number is 545.) found in the ruins of Pompeii.
So we know that encrypting identities was a well known practice in John’s time when he wrote the Book of Revelation and we know that John wrote the book to the contemporary audience of his day – Rev. 1:1 – “… the things which must soon take place”; Rev. 1:3 – “…for the time is near.” John’s cryptic reference was written to those churches of his day.
A Hebrew spelling of the Roman Emperor Nero’s name is Nrwn Qsr (Neron Kaiser). This name’s numerical value is 666.16 according to Jastrow’s lexicon of the Talmud. Even those who bring up the textual variants of 616 being listed in verse 18 as the number of the Beast (eg. Metzger) have noted that 616 is the numerical value of Nero Ceasar in Latin. It makes sense that perhaps this change was done by certain copyists as to aid in the broader understanding of his identity beyond a purely Jewish reading.
Christian scribes often didn't write the word AMEN, but, only the numerical value of 99.
Certain Jewish sages took this VERY seriously!
The assumption behind this technique is that numerical equivalence is not coincidental. Since the world was created through God's "speech," each letter represents a different creative force. Thus, the numerical equivalence of two words reveals an internal connection between the creative potentials of each one.
Caution: what you are about to read is pure Gematria (numerology). If you are superstitious
and irrational you will instantly get sucked in!
Let's take the number seven as an illustration of the way the patterns work. Seven is the most prolific of the mathematical series which binds scripture together. The very first verse of the Bible "In the begining God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen 1:1), contains over 30 different combinations of seven.
This verse has seven Hebrew words having a total of 28 letters 4 x 7. The numeric value of the three nouns "God", "heaven" and "earth" totals 777. Any number in triplicate expresses complete, ultimate or total meaning.
Also tightly sealed up with sevens are the genealogy of Jesus, the account of the virgin birth and the resurrection. Seven occurs as a number 187 times in the Bible (41 x 7), the phrase "seven-fold" occurs seven times and "seventy" occurs 56 times (7 x 8).
In the Book of Revelation seven positively shines out: there are seven golden candlesticks, seven letters to seven churches, a book sealed with seven seals, seven angels standing before the Lord with seven trumpets, seven thunders and seven last plagues. In fact there are over 50 occurrences of the number seven in Revelation alone.
Divisible by seven
There are 21 Old Testament writers whose names appear in the Bible (3 x 7). The numeric value of their names is divisible by seven. Of these 21, seven are named in the New Testament: Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea and Joel. The numeric values of these names is 1554 (222 x 7). David's name is found 1134 times (162 x 7).
God's seal also pervades creation as though it were woven into the very fabric of nature.
The Bible has declared man's years to be three score and ten (70). The development of the human embryo is in exact periods of sevens or 28 days (4 x 7). Medical science tells us the human body is renewed cell for cell every seven years.
We're told the pulse beats slower every seven days as if it were in accord with the seventh day of rest proclaimed in the Genesis creation week. And God formed man of the dust of the ground (Gen 2:7); science confirms the human body is made of the same 14 elements (2 x 7) found in your average handful of dust.
The light of the sun is made up of seven distinct colours as shown in the rainbow. In music there are seven distinct notes which climax in a chord or octave at the beginning of a new seven.
In almost all animals the incubation or pregnancy period is divisible by seven. Seven is often referred to as "God's seal" or the number of spiritual perfection.
What is the bottom line? A great deal of the organization, wording, writing and composition
of scripture was directly influenced by superstitious believers in Gematria.
Even today, superstitious seekers of arcane esoterica pursue NUMEROLOGY to divine secret "meaning" in their own lives.