HEBREW NUMEROLOGY - ONE, TWO AND THREE
Refers to HaShem (God), Who is One. This number can also refer to unity. The first place the number “one” occurs is in Genesis 1:5. There one reads, “And there was an evening and there was a morning— one day”. Later on in this same book of Genesis, it is stated concerning the man and his wife, “And they became one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). It is very significant that in both of these examples there was a multiplicity for the subject. In the first example, the evening and the morning became one day and in the second example, it was Adam and Eve who became one flesh.
One of the most famous passages in the Torah concerning HaShem is Deuteronomy 6:4 which states, “Hear O Israel the Lord your God the Lord is One.” The question which a person must ask himself is what is the connection between the use of the Hebrew word אחד” one” which identifies a multiplicity being one and the fact that the Lord God of Israel is One? The answer is that the Hebrew word אחד can relate to the concept for one as in “unification”. There is another Hebrew word which could have been used if the author wanted to refer to an absolute oneness or a singleness. This is the Hebrew word יחיד .
In fact, there is a well-known prayer in Judaism which states, “כיחודו יחיד ואין אחד .”This phrase should be translated as, “(God is) One and there is no singularity as His singularity.” The idea that is being expressed in this prayer is that the Lord God of Israel is One; but not an absolute One; rather there is a uniqueness and a complexity to His Oneness. The number one is frequently employed to express in the Scriptures one object, such as one man or one tabernacle. This usage would be the simple or common purpose that the number one or for that matter any number, would appear in a Biblical text.
Often the appearance of a number does not contain any of the significance that Hebrew numerology might offer. Therefore, the reader must always consider when coming across a verse which contains a number, that the number only expresses an amount and no additional significance. Because the number one is often associated with God, there is a unique phenomenon in the Scriptures concerning this number. Sometimes the number one is employed to express a unique relationship that the object has to HaShem.
For example, “And it will be one day, it will be known to HaShem….” Zechariah 14:7 In the text above, Zechariah could have stated simply, “And it will be a day….” The fact that the prophet said “one day” is to convey that this day is uniquely related to God. Similarly, it is stated by the prophet Ezekiel in chapter 37 “one King”, “one nation” and “one Shepherd” (see Ezekiel 37:22, 24). Each of these objects—King, nation and Shepherd—have a connection to HaShem. The King and Shepherd is Messiah Yeshua, the Son of God and the one nation is Israel, the people of God.
The classic example for the number “two” is found in Matthew chapter 26. There Yeshua says to His disciples, “You know that after two days comes the Passover, and the Son of Man will be given over for crucifixion.” Matthew 26:2 The phrase “after two days” is somewhat meaningless because after two days can mean three or more days. The period is unspecified. The reason for such ambiguous language is because the purpose of the number two in this passage is not solely numerical. This means that the text is not intending to provide the reader with some definite information concerning a time period. Rather, the purpose of the number two in this context is one of the numerological meanings of the number two.
Often the number two relates to two divergent opinions. In the aforementioned verse, the author wants to inform the reader that there are two very different understandings for this coming Passover. Yeshua wants to emphasize that He is going up to Jerusalem in order to die as the true Passover sacrifice. Even though Yeshua states this emphatically, the disciples did not receive this. In fact, the disciples did not perceive at all what was going to take place during Passover in regard to Yeshua. In other words, Yeshua and the disciples have two divergent opinions concerning the Passover.
This same principle is also found in the Hebrew Bible (Old Covenant). In the book of Amos one reads, “Can two walk together without them having agreed” Amos 3:3 The word which was translated into English with the phrase “them having agreed” is נועדו .The root of this word is יעד which relates to a specific destination. The word which precedes this word is בלתי and in this context the word implies a change to the condition. In other words, had there not been a change in the condition, then the two could not walk together, i.e. they could not have arrived at the common destination. The concept of divergent or different is also seen in the book of Genesis. In speaking about the sun and moon one reads, “And God made two great lights….” (Genesis 1:16). Obviously the sun and moon are very different, as one is a source of light, while the latter just reflects light.
Also in the book of Genesis, one encounters the account of the flood. Here Noah is commanded to bring onto the ark two sorts of each type of animal. In this passage, the two relates to two different (or divergent) kinds of the same sort, i.e. male and female. Likewise two angels came to Sodom, demonstrating that the people of Sodom had a very different way of living from that of the Law of God. Once again, the reader should not assume that every occurrence of the number two in the Bible demands this interpretation. However, one will find in a great majority of Biblical passages, the reader will be assisted in arriving at the proper interpretation, when he considers this divergent quality for the number two.
The number “three” is one of the most significant numbers in the Scriptures. Its primary purpose is for the sake of revealing or documenting something as fact (testing in order to validate something). It is also connected to the outcome of the will of God. One of the most famous occurrences for the number three is found in the book of Jonah, where Jonah is in the belly of the fish “three days and three nights.” A major aspect of the book of Jonah is that the prophet was fleeing from the presence of HaShem. Instead of Jonah going to Nineveh as God had commanded, the prophet desired not to obey this commandment, even if it meant that his relationship with God would be destroyed.
HaShem decided to test in order to see if Jonah really preferred to end his relationship with God rather than go to Nineveh. By placing Jonah in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, it would be revealed whether or not it was true that Jonah wanted to end his relationship with God over this commandment to go to Nineveh. It is most significant that immediately after (in the next verse) the reader is informed that Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. What does Jonah do? The text states that Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from within the fish. Hence, the three days and three nights ultimately revealed, proved, or documented that what Jonah said he wanted was not true.
One could also say that Jonah was tested for those three days and three nights and the test results showed that he did not want to end his relationship with God and in the end Jonah went to Nineveh. In a similar manner, Peter rejects Yeshua’s statement that he will deny Him. Therefore Yeshua says to Peter that he will deny Him three times. These three denials prove, document, and reveal to the reader that Yeshua’s statement was factual. It is not a coincidence that when Yeshua reinstated Peter after the resurrection, He asked him three times, “do you love Me?”
In this context, Yeshua was testing the validity of Peter’s statement. Yeshua also revealed that He, in a similar manner to Jonah being in the belly of the fish three days and three nights, would be in the belly of the earth three days and three nights and then rise from the dead. In this passage, the number three not only documents the fact that He died, but also the resurrection. It is also very significant that Yeshua rose on the third day.
The number three also relates to victory, as in the completion of God’s purposes and plans. In the book of Genesis, one reads about the offering of Isaac. This passage has great theological significance and is one of the first passages which is read in the morning synagogue service each day. This section begins with HaShem commanding Abraham to offer his son as a burnt offering on one of the mountains in the land of Moriah.
The climax of this portion of Scripture comes about on the third day. It was on the third day that HaShem provided the ram so that Isaac would live. In this passage, Isaac represents the promise (of God) which would have died (ended) had not HaShem acted. There is not a conflict between the two concepts for the number three of victory (the fulfillment of God’s will) and revelation or documentation. Often, it is the climax of what HaShem is wanting to do which is simply being revealed or proved with the use of the number three. Please note that when the number three is applied to God, then it can relate to holiness; whereas the number seven relates to holiness when this number is in reference to man (see explanation for the number seven).