What does the number 4 mean in the bible

What Does the Number 4 Mean in the Bible

Are you asking what does the number four means in the bible? In the bible, the number four represents completion, door, creation, dominion (authority). The number four is a complete number, and if you are seeing the number four in your life or dreams read on to find out what it might mean prophetically for you.


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The Hebrew Alphabet and the Number

Before delving into the details of any particular number, it bears mentioning that the language of Hebrew uses its letters as numbers, and also that the letters are words and concepts (pictographs) that can be used either in the literal sense, or as symbol(s).

Four’s Pictograph

A pictograph is a symbol or an image that represents a concept or an idea. For example, a graphic of a cigarette with a red circle around it and a slash through it is a pictograph; it commonly means ‘No smoking’.

The fourth Hebrew letter is dalet.  It has the numerical value of four.  The pictograph of four is a door, typically meaning entry, path, draw out or in.  In Hebrew, it can also represent dominion, control, bough and branch.

Biblical meaning of the Number Four.

The Bible has so many instances of the number four in a context of completion or fullness that a dominant theme of the number four is ‘completion’.  Here is a partial list of Biblical examples where the presence of four (of whatever the below item is) signifies something is complete:

  • Hebrew name of God (JHVH) 
  • Compass points
  • Seasons
  • Corners, horns and pillars of His altar
  • Sides of the Tabernacle (Exodus 25 and following)
  • Thread colours in priestly garments
  • Gospels of Jesus
  • Points of the cross
  • Creatures
  • Horsemen
  • Beasts
  • Corners of the earth
  • God’s division of humanity (Revelation 5, 10 and 13: people, nation, tribe and tongue)
  • Four angels holding four winds
  • Sides of the New Jerusalem

Biblically speaking, another word for ‘completion’ is ‘perfection’.  Since God is a perfect God without fault or sin, how perfectly fitting that His name is four letters long, the symbol of perfection or a ‘complete God’.

Much research of the number four points to God having completed His creation of the earth, sky and celestial bodies on the fourth day (Genesis 1:14 – 19).  The physical world was complete on that fourth day.

Not only was physical creation complete, but the elements of that creation naturally defined day and night, years and seasons which, in time to come, defined months, celebrations and feast times.  Time and its measurement was complete on that fourth day.  

Also, the King of the universe is the One in control of each person’s time on earth.  Every second of our lives is in the palm of His hands, regardless of whether or not we recognize His authority.  Therefore, the idea of authority is connected to the number four as God’s authority is proclaimed with the establishment of time on the fourth day of creation

On the sixth day of creation, when God had completed all that He wanted to create, He rested.  The fourth commandment God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai was that we should rest, keep the Sabbath Day following our week of work (Exodus 20:9-11).  This commandment is a reference to creation and to completion in Genesis.  It’s also one of the earliest formal ‘commemorative’ days prescribed by God on which His people were to do (and not do) certain things, an act of creation.

The number four is repeated several times in the creation of the Tabernacle of God: sides, corners, horns, threads, pillars, etc.  In addition to the Tabernacle being complete – our perfect God planned it, after all – the Tabernacle is an act of creation, establishing the means by which people can interact with God until Jesus pays the ultimate price.  The Tabernacle is, therefore, also a doorway, the way to access God.

The Bible has four gospels, describing the life of Jesus with four different themes: Matthew (Jesus as King), Mark (Jesus as Servant), Luke (Jesus as Man), John (Jesus as God).  Altogether, the Gospels are a complete account of the fullness of who Jesus was (king yet servant, etc).  The concept of four as ‘door’ can be seen in the fact that there are four gospels telling the life of Jesus, the only way of salvation.

The cross that Jesus hung on had four points, signifying the completeness of the salvation that He purchased for us on that cross.  The four points of the cross also point to the meaning of number four of ‘door’ or ‘pathway’, Jesus is the only door to our salvation.  According to John 19, four soldiers divided up his clothes into four parts, a further emphasis of the completeness of Jesus’ salvation act.

Hebrews 2:4 describes the four witnesses of God on earth as miracles, wonders, signs and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We can be confident that the witnesses of God are complete, we are lacking nothing.

The number four is seen many times in the prophecies about the Day of Judgment and the end – or completion – of the world and its purpose for existing.  For now, judgment and destruction of the earth is delayed for a while.  However, when the trumpet sounds, the four angels will be allowed to empty the four winds upon the world to destroy the wicked.  Again, indication of completion.

As you look to understand what four means in the context that you have encountered it, you might wonder, “Does it mean ‘completion’…or ‘creation’… maybe ‘doorway’?”  As you seek to understand what God might be communicating to you, and/or seeking to discern the times and seasons we are in, no conclusion can be complete without inviting the Holy Spirit’s voice into your research and reflections.

In the Bible, number 4 means creation. This number directly relates to the creative ability of God. 

The earliest mention of number 4 in the Bible is in the Book of Genesis. During the creation week, God finished the creation of what is termed the ”material universe” on the 4th day. 

On that day, he made the stars, the moon, and the sun. These three things were created to give light to the world and to divide the days. 

Day and night would become the mark of time, from days to weeks to months, and to years. It would also be the mark of seasons which was used to identify different celebrations and feasts in the Bible.

Among everything that was created are 4 important elements which are earth, air, fire, and water. There are also four major cardinal points on earth which are North, South, East, and West as is seen in the Book of Revelations chapter 21 verse 13. 

Also, the 4th commandment given to Moses on Mount Sinai says that we should keep the Sabbath Day holy at all times. This Sabbath Day commandment is a direct reference to creation in the Book of Genesis. 

After creating the world and the heavenly bodies in 6 days, God rested on the 7th day and instructed man to always keep that day holy to signify the completion of the creation process.

In the Bible, the number 4 represents the perfect creation of God. Every element of creation resonates with number 4.  

One of the biggest indications of number 4’s representation as the perfect creation is found in the Book of Revelations 10:11, 5:9, and 13:7. In these Bible verses, humanity was divided into fourfold by God.

The division includes people, language, tribe, and nation. On earth, God refers to humans by any of these creation divisions.

Number 4 also represents the completeness of God’s revelation. 

It means God doesn’t work halfway. He will not suddenly disappear after helping you for a period of time. 

This revelation can be seen in the life of Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. The Bible recorded 4 times angels visited Joseph to send him a message concerning baby Jesus and how to keep him safe.

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What is the Biblical Significance of Number 4?

Completion

Number 4 signifies completeness in the Bible. 

The Bible talks about the new Jerusalem having 4 sides as it represents the new earth that is to come. The Bible speaks of the earth having 4 corners in the Book of Revelations, and there are also 4 rivers flowing out from the Garden of Israel. 

Also, when God gave the instructions for constructing an altar, he instructed the priests to construct an altar that has 4 corners and 4 pillars. To date, altars are still constructed with 4 corners and 4 pillars, a representation of the completeness of God.

the number 4 in the bible on a fence line
heart puzzle adding last piece complete 4 bible

Ministry of Jesus

One of the most important significances of number 4 in the new testament is the life and ministry of Jesus Christ which was shared in detail in 4 different gospels. There is the gospel of Jesus according to the book of Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John. The gospel of Jesus according to Luke describes Jesus as a perfect man, Mark describes him as a servant who suffered for the sins of man, John speaks about Jesus being the only son of God, while Matthew spoke about Jesus being the son of David.

In the Bible, number 4 symbolizes certain important elements of the Christian religion. They include:

Name of God

People commonly refer to the name of God as Jehovah. However, the correct spelling is a bit different. 

The Hebrew word translated to English presents the name of God as JHVH which is without any vowel. What you’d notice is that JHVH only has 4 letters which are 4 consonant sounds. 

It is only natural that God’s name is in 4 letters as number 4 represents completion which is another word for perfection. Throughout the Bible, God has been described as a perfect God without blemish and sin.

The Cross

Another symbolic use of number 4 in the Bible is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 

As is well known, Jesus was tried and condemned to die on a cross. He was nailed to the cross and died to bring salvation to mankind. 

The cross has 4 points. There is a left side, right side, top, and bottom. Hence, number 4 symbolizes the price of salvation.

Every prophecy on number 4 points to the Day of Judgment. This is also befitting as the judgment will bring to an end everything on earth. 

According to number 4, judgment and destruction of the earth is delayed for a while. When the trumpet sounds, the 4 angels will be allowed to empty the 4 winds upon the world to destroy the wicked. (Source – biblestudy.org)

The number 4 derives its meaning from creation. On the fourth day of what is called ‘creation week’ God completed the material universe. On this day he brought into existence our sun, the moon, and all the stars (Genesis 1:14 – 19). Their purpose was not only to give off light, but also to divide the day from the night on earth, thus becoming a basic demarcation of time. They were also made to be a type of signal that would mark off the days, years and seasons.

The 4th of the Ten Commandments is to remember and keep God’s holy Sabbath day (Exodus 20:9 – 11). The Sabbath day is tied directly to the creation week. God himself made the period between Friday sunset and Saturday sunset extra special when he rested on it after bringing everything into existence the previous six days (Genesis 2:1 – 3, Exodus 20:11).

The apostle Paul was a man familiar with 4 major first century cultures. He was a Roman citizen, he was a Jew who spoke Greek as well as Hebrew, and he was a Christian.

The Garden of Eden had a river which parted into the headwaters of four other rivers. These rivers were the Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel and the Euphrates (Genesis 2:10 – 14).

After Jesus was nailed and hung on a cross, Roman soldiers divided up his clothes into four parts (one for each soldier – John 19:23).

The four witnesses of God on earth are miracles, wonders, signs and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 2:4).

The number of times rainbows are referenced in scripture are four (Genesis 9, Ezekiel 1:28, Revelation 4:3, 10:1)

In Ezekiel’s well-known ‘wheel in the middle of a wheel‘ vision (Ezekiel 1, 10) he sees four living creatures transporting a throne with four sides and four wheels. Each of the living creatures (likely Cherubim, a class of angels) has four faces (the face of a man, lion, ox and eagle) and four wings (1:6).

Later in the book that bears his name, Ezekiel is told to proclaim to Israel that an end is coming upon ‘the four corners of the land’ (Ezekiel 7:2). In chapter 14 the prophet is told by the Eternal to ask Israel’s unrepentant elders to repent or else four sore judgments will come upon Jerusalem. They are the sword, famine, wild beasts or animals, and pestilence (14:21)

There are 4 gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry. Each of these emphasizes a unique aspect of his sacrifice and ministry. Matthew’s focus is on Christ being the son of David and a King. Mark highlights the suffering servant aspect of his ministry. John proclaims Jesus is the One and Only begotten Son of God. And Luke showcases him as the Perfect Man. (Source Biblestudytools.com)

“Four” (cardinal number) was a sacred and complete number with the Hebrews, as well as with several other peoples. It occurs very frequently in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

(1) It indicates completeness. We have the four rivers of Paradise (Genesis 2:10); the four winds of heaven (Ezekiel 37:9; Daniel 7:2; 8:8; 11:4; Zechariah 6:5, the Revised Version, margin “spirits”; 2 Esdras 13:5); “the four winds” (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27); “the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12; Revelation 7:1; 20:8, the King James Version “quarters”); “the four corners of the house” (Job 1:19); Jephthah’s daughter was bewailed four days a year (Judges 11:40); “four cities” are several times mentioned in Jos in the allotment of inheritances (19:7; 21:18, etc.); Nehemiah’s enemies sent to him “four times” (Nehemiah 6:4); “four kinds” (the Revised Version, margin “families” of destroyers were threatened, Jeremiah 15:3); Yahweh’s “four sore judgments” (Ezekiel 14:21); “four generations” were seen by Job (Job 42:16).

(2) “Four” is frequent in prophetic visions:

Daniel saw “four …. beasts” arise, representing four kings (7:3,17); “four notable horns” (Daniel 8:8,22; compare 2 Esdras 11:39); “four gates” (2 Esdras 3:19; four wings, 12:2 the King James Version); “four horns” were seen by Zechariah, as the powers that had scattered Israel, and “four smiths” (Revised Version) as powers that would cast the four horns down (1:18-21); “four chariots and …. horses” represented the “four spirits,” the King James Version and the Revised Version, margin (better than “winds”), that went “forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth” (Zechariah 6:1-5); in the visions of Ezekiel, “four living creatures,” each with four faces, four wings, etc., were the bearers of the throne of God (1:5,23); so, in the visions of John there were “four living creatures” before and around the throne (Revelation 4:6; 5:6,8,14; 6:1; 15:7; 19:4); John saw “four angels” of destruction loosed for their work (Revelation 9:14).

(3) “Four” occurs frequently in the measurements of the sacred buildings, etc.

(a) of the tabernacle (Exodus 25; 26; 27; 28:17; 36, etc.);

(b) of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:2; 1 Chronicles 9:24);

(c) of Ezekiel’s temple (Ezekiel 40:41; 41:5; 42:20; 43:14).

(4) “Four” is used as an alternative with “three” (Proverbs 30:15,18,21,24,29); we have “three or four” (2 Esdras 16:29,31); “the third and …. the fourth generation” (Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 5:9).

(5) Ten times four, or forty is also a special and sacred number, e.g. forty years did Israel eat manna (Exodus 16:35); forty years in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33; 32:13);, “the land had rest forty years” (Judges 3:11; 5:31); Israel was delivered unto the hands of the Philistines for forty years (Judges 13:1); Eli judged Israel forty years (1 Samuel 4:18); Moses was forty years old when he visited his brethren (Acts 7:23); the flood continued for “forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:4); Moses was in the Mount “forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 24:18; 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9); Jesus fasted in the desert forty days and nights (Matthew 4:2); He remained with His disciples forty days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3).

(6) Fourscore is also frequent (shemonim) (Exodus 7:7; Judges 3:30; Jeremiah 41:5, etc.; ogdoekonta, Luke 2:37; 16:7).

(7) Four hundred represents a large number, e.g. the years of the oppression in Egypt (Genesis 15:13); Esau’s company (Genesis 33:1); the men with David (1 Samuel 22:2; 25:13; 30:10,17); the prophets of Baal “four hundred and fifty,” of Asherah, “four hundred” (1 Kings 18:19,22); the prophets of Israel (1 Kings 22:6). Four thousand represents a larger number, e.g. the musicians and porters of Solomon’s temple (1 Chronicles 23:5); the stalls for horses in Solomon’s stables (2 Chronicles 9:25); the Assassins who made insurrection under an Egyptian (Acts 21:38); Christ fed “four thousand men, besides women and children” (Matthew 15:38). Four hundred thousand represents a very large number, e.g. the congregation of Israel that gathered at Mizpah, “four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword” (Judges 20:2,17); Abijah’s army (2 Chronicles 13:3; Jeroboam’s, twice that number).

(8) The fourth part also frequently occurs (Exodus 29:40; Leviticus 23:13; Numbers 23:10; Revelation 6:8, etc.).

In addition to 4 seasons, corners of the earth, angels, and 4 living creatures…

The Four Rivers of Eden

Just as in the New Jerusalem that descends out of heaven, there were four rivers in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:10–14).  These rivers names were Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel and the Euphrates and their names in the order given mean “increase,” “bursting forth,” “rapid,” and “fruitfulness” which is relevant to the Garden of Eden and the New Jerusalem or the Kingdom of Heaven that will come down to earth after Christ’s return and His judging the world (Rev 21).

Arbah [f.], arbahah [m.] Authority, government, rule, dominion, calendar, time, creation, kingdom, fullness, giving of the Torah (Law) and Holy Spirit. The most holy Name of G-d has four Hebrew letters (yohd, heh, vav, heh – YHWH). Judah was the fourth born son and has the scepter of rule. Pictures completeness much like seven. Four matriarchs, four corners of the earth, four horns on altar, four tassles (tzit-tziyot) are to be worn on one’s garment/robe, four living creatures, four horsemen, Four rivers of Eden, four winds, four gospels, etc.

  • Fourth Hebrew letter: Dalet Numerical value of four. Pictographic meaning door, draw out or in, knock, path, way, portal to heaven, dominion, control, bough, and branch.

On the fourth day of creation, YHWH declared His GOVERNMENT of the earth and all who dwell in it by creating the sun, moon, and stars. These celestial bodies faithfully keep and proclaim His calendar, His months, His weeks, and His holy days to the world. Only the Creator of the Universe has the ability to define and regulate a man’s clock and calendar. Our life (time) is limited and decreed by the King of all Creation. Every second of our lives is in the palm of His hands whether we recognize His authority or not. Thus, TIME and AUTHORITY are intrinsically linked with day four.

The fourth feast day, Shavuot, the Feast of weeks (time), or Pentecost arrives after one counts fifty days and seven times seven weeks of TIME. It is the fullness of all the feast days as it commemorates Adonai giving His people His Torah (Covenant) and His Spirit (Seal). Again, this is about TIME and AUTHORITY, which declares Adonai’s GOVERNMENT of the Universe (this is mirrored by the Sabbath day – a weekly feast day that is also about Time and Authority).

The fourth piece of furniture in the covered place of the Tabernacle/Temple/House is the Ark of the Covenant. The Most Holy Place could only be entered ONCE in a YEAR. One must know the Creator’s calendar given on day four in order to live and not die in this sacred space. The mercy seat is a type of Throne, another picture of Authority and Government. Four Living Creatures surround the Throne of Elohim, always declaring, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.” (Is. 6:3, Rev. 4:8)

Meaning of Number 4 – research

Becca’s doc:

The Hebrew language uses their letters as numbers, and the letters are also words and concepts that can be used either literally or symbolically

4: Daleth (a door = opening, entry, pathway)

There were also four great divisions of mankind represented by the cherubim (Ez. 1:5), or the four “beasts” around the throne (Rev. 4:6). These represent all creation.

Likewise, there are four gospels, each corresponding to a different “beast” around the throne. Matthew presents the Lion, saying, “Behold the King.” Mark presents the Ox, saying, “Behold the Servant.” Luke presents the Man, saying, “Behold the Son of Man.” John presents the Eagle, saying, “Behold the Son of God.”

In accordance with this also were four colors in the curtains of the Tabernacle of Moses. The purple proclaimed, “Behold your King.” The scarlet proclaimed, “Behold the Servant.” The white proclaimed, “Behold the Son of Man.” The blue proclaimed, “Behold the Son of God.”

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tags – biblical numerology, Jesus Christ, Jesus life, four wings, sacred and complete number, God created, creation week, the number 4, what does the number 4 mean biblically, certain aspect, number means.

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Abigail Swaby
Abigail Swaby
2 months ago

WOW! Thank you for this biblical insight! All praise to the Lord of Heaven and Earth ♥️