And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30

Numbers,  Colours  &  Materials in the Bible

Numbers, colours and materials all have significance in the Old Testament and Jewish culture.  Thus the constructional details recorded and numbers in scripture convey spiritual messages.

Much of the following information may be found in "Seeing Christ in the Tabernacle" by Ervin N Hershberger.  He points out that some are widely accepted while others are deduced from context.  His interpretations concern mainly the way in which these things are pictures of Messiah.  Some are obviously New Testament in application.
Gold Deity and Glory
Silver Atonement, redemption
Brass  Judgment
White Purity, repentance and forgiveness (see Yom Kippur)
Blue Heavenly, heaven  (sky )

A reminder of the commandments (Num 15 v37-41)

Purple Royal colour
Scarlet Atonement - Atoning blood
Fine linen the righteousness of the saints
Rams' skins died red consecration
Shitim wood Incorruptible
Water Life from God, cleansing
Oil the Holy Spirit
Sweet spices Fragrant life


The book also looks at the symbolism used in numbers and measurements.  

One Unity
Two Fellowship       (Two witnesses required)
Three the Trinity
Four Earth  ( four winds, four corners, four points of the compass )
Five Grace
Six Man, human weakness, short of perfection
Seven Perfection, completeness
Eight New beginning (new world after flood with 8 people,  new week
Nine Fruit of Spirit  (Gal 5), 9 beatitudes, self repeating ( multiply 9 by any number, add the digits in the answer and the result always ends in 9)
Ten Responsibility on earth, completeness
Eleven Human failure, confusion, judgment
Twelve Earthly government  (12 tribes, 12 apostles)
Forty Testing
Fifty Jubilee  (follows seven times seven Sabbath years.   see Lev 25 v8-17)


The letters of the Hebrew Alefbet have numerical values.  There is a Jewish discipline known as Gematria devoted to finding hidden meanings in the numerical values of words.  For example 18 is the numerical value of Chai (meaning Life) so donations to Jewish charities are routinely made in denominations of 18.           (

The value for "mother" plus the value for "father" equals 44,  which is also the value for "child".

Have you ever wondered why John records in his Gospel (chapter 21) that the miraculous catch of fish numbered 153 ?   The value of 153 is obtained from "ANI ELOHIM"   -  "I AM GOD".

It can be possible to take this too far.  For instance, some say that, since the letter waw or vav has the value of 6,  www = 666  ( the mark of the Beast ) which means that the Internet is the Antichrist or something similar.   This is nonsense since gematria works by adding the values so "www" will equal 18, which is Chai or "life".


The cardinal points of the compass also have significance

The Hebrew phrase translated as "to the north" –  (tsafonah) – is connected to Mt. Tsaphon in modern Syria (see Isa. 14:13), which lay to the north of Abram when God told him to look in all directions.

The Hebrew term negbah, traditionally translated as "to the south," literally means "to the Negev" – the name of a wilderness in the south of Canaan/Israel.

The phrase yamah, translated as "to the west" means "to the sea."

Similarly, kedmah , translated as "to the east," evokes an image of "going back to something from a time long ago", namely to the Garden of Eden that God planted in the beginning of history (Gen. 2:8).


Various verses speak of going in the direction, or to territory  "to the left" or "to the right".   This ancient convention is referring to direction when facing towards the rising sun (East), hence "left" is North and "right" is South.

Updated 10/04/18

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