What does the number 9 mean in the bible

What Does the Number 9 Mean in the Bible

Are you wondering what does the number 9 mean in the bible?

In the Bible the number 9 means divine completeness or finality, harvest, fruitfulness, hidden good, inverted good, concealment, truth and judgment. The number nine has a duality to it as well, it can be very dependant on the context.

Before delving into the details of any particular number, it bears mentioning that the Hebrew language 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 symbols.

You might also like – The Biblical meaning of the Number 4

The Number Nine’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’.

tet

The ninth Hebrew letter is tet, or sometimes thet or tes.  It has the numerical value of nine.  The pictograph of nine is a basket with an inverted rim.  It is also described as a snake coiled inside a basket, which hints at the duality of the number nine.  More on that later.   The number nine is understood in Judaism to express the concepts of work, deed, outcome or result.

Notable Instances of Nine

  • The first time tet appears is in Gen. 1:4, in the word tov or good, which is used numerous times throughout the creation story.  
  • Abram was 99 when God changed his name to Abraham.  At that moment, God also gave him the covenant of circumcision, and predicted Isaac’s birth. (Gen. 17)
  • Sarai was 90 when God changed her name to Sarah; this was the moment when she was promised a son (Isaac). (Gen. 17)
  • Yom Kippur is on the ninth day (of the seventh month).  (Leviticus 23:32).  This is the only one of God’s annual feast days of worship that requires believers to fast for a day, 
  • The first war recorded in the Bible involved four kings opposing five kings, for a total of nine kings. (Gen. 14)
  • In the old testament, there are nine people recorded as having leprosy (Moses, Miriam, Naaman, Gehazi, King Azariah and the four lepers of Samaria found in 2 Kings 7:3).
  • The final king of (the divided kingdom of) Israel before the kingdom fell to the Assyrians in 723 B.C. was Hoshea, who reigned for just nine years. (2 Kings 17)
  • Jesus told a parable about leaving the 99 sheep to go after one. (Mt. 18:12)
  • Out of ten cleansed lepers, nine do not give praise to God. (Luke 17)
  • Jesus gave up His Spirit at the ninth hour. (Mt. 27:46)
  • The ninth hour is the hour of prayer.  (Acts 3:1; 10:30)
  • It was at the ninth hour of the day that Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, had a vision he was to contact the apostle Peter. (Acts 10).  (Cornelius would eventually become the first recorded gentile convert to Christianity.)
  • There are nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:8-10)
  • There are nine fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22 – 23)
  • Some pretty important Hebrew words reduce to nine. The gematrias of Adam, a-men, covenant, light, Shabbat, and chesed (loving-kindness) all equal nine when reduced. 
  • The Hebrew feast cycle covers nine months.
  • The total destruction of Jerusalem’s temple began, on the Hebrew Calendar, on Ab 9, also known as the ninth of Av.  The second temple (built by Herod) was burned to the ground by the Romans in 70 A.D. on the same day, the ninth of Av.
  • Human gestation lasts nine months.
  • The mathematical properties of nine are unlike any other number. 

The Duality of Nine

Before delving into the meaning of the number nine, it’s illuminating to explore its duality.  Nine conveys the idea of duality, which is not the same as meaning ‘duality’.

  • The form of the letter tet is “inverted”, suggesting hidden goodness, like a woman who is pregnant.  However, sometimes the potential for goodness is inverted, and impurity or filth results.  Tet is the first letter of both ‘goodness’ and ‘filth’.  
  • As mentioned, the Hebrew words for ‘pure’ and ‘impure’ (technically, ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’) both begin with the letter tet.  Neither state of the physical body implies evil, but they do suggest dualism; one body, different states.  (In Hebrew tradition, women move in and out of purity and impurity in their monthly cycle, and after giving birth.  During these times, a woman is considered ‘impure’ but not evil).  It’s worth pointing out that only God, the ultimate Divine Goodness, has the power to make the unclean clean again. In this way, tet unites both the pure and impure in duality to create one renewed entity.
  • The pictograph for tet can be viewed as either serpent-tailed man crowning himself, or man bowing to “crowned man with sword of the Spirit”.  In this, tet demonstrates the two postures of man as illustrated here:
tet-dual

We, as human beings, are builders or destroyers, displaying good and/or evil.  Every one of us, like tet, is a vessel of duality, with the potential for goodness or wickedness

  • The Hebrew words satan and seduce also contain the letter tet
  • Gen. 1:4 even has a dualism: God separates light from darkness, two opposites.  (And then He calls it “good” or tet).

What Does Nine Mean?

Finality, fruitfulness, hidden revealed

  • When what has been concealed is revealed, there is fruitfulness, a harvest, evidence of unseen actions or processes.  
  • The bringing to light of what has been hidden implies finality, the conclusion of something, or its final state.
  • God made Jesus sin for us, so we could become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).  The Bible consistently makes the connection between sin and death.  Jesus gave up His Spirit on the cross in the ninth hour, so it is also at the ninth hour that the consequence or fruitfulness of sin is revealed.
  • One way in which we connect to the Creator to effect a changed life is through prayer. The ninth hour is the hour of prayer, but is also the hour that Jesus died.  The timing of the final moment of His life on earth – the ninth hour – symbolized that He made possible the ultimate connection between us and the Creator – prayer.  What was concealed – God’s redemption of mankind – was, at last, revealed.  
  • Frank Seekins’ Hebrew Word Pictures suggests that the imagery of tet could also be a coiled snake, implying something that surrounds, like a woman’s womb. Human beings give life in a nine month gestation cycle.  Also, the festivals that testify to eternal life span a nine month period. This aspect of the meaning of nine or tet – finality, fruitfulness, hidden revealed – is illustrated in these two examples.
  • If it can be asserted that the feast cycle is representative of birth and new life (salvation), it’s worth noting that this cycle covers nine months.  The final outcome of these nine months is the fruit of salvation, and outer evidence of a concealed process (conviction of the heart and a turning to God).

Truth

  • The gematria of the word emes (meaning ‘truth’) equals 9.  Specifically, the gematria of emes is 441: alef=1, mem=40, tav=400. 4 and 4 and 1=9. Nine repre­sents the number of truth.
  • Not only does ‘truth’ reduce to nine, but the Hebrew spelling of ‘truth’ contains the first, middle, and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  Hebrew teachers suggest that something that is true cannot be altered and must be true throughout, from the beginning, to the middle, and through to the end.  Like our awesome God, truth is immutable.  Interestingly, the number nine implies this reality in the natural through mathematics.
  • Nine is a “true” number.  What makes it so?  If you multiply any whole number by nine, then add together the individual digits that make up the answer, the sum of those digits is also nine; e.g., seven times nine is 63; six plus three is nine. Thirty-two times nine is 288, two plus eight plus eight is 18 and one plus eight is nine.
  • In the natural – the accounting world, specifically – nine can define error.  If an accountant’s figures are out and the error is evenly divisible by nine, a transposition error has occurred.

Judgment

  • The final end of all things is an end time harvest and a separation of “the wheat and the chaff”.  The concepts of finality, fruitfulness, and even the hidden being revealed are aspects of this event.  Therefore, some have argued that one of the meanings of the number nine is ‘judgment’.
  • The Hebrew word that spells the number nine (as opposed to tet, which is a pictograph of the number nine) is tayshah. The root of tayshah is sha’ah, which means ‘to look to, regard or gaze upon’.  It is first used when God regarded Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s.  Thus, the number nine also implies righteous judgment and discernment.

Conclusion for Number 9 in The Bible.

As you look to understand what nine means in the context that you have encountered it, you might wonder, “Does it mean ‘finality’…or ‘fruitfulness’… maybe ‘truth’?”  Or, is it a situation where duality is at play, where both ‘truth’ and ‘untruth’ are playing a role?  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.

FAQ

What is The Prophetic Meaning of Number 9

The prophetic meaning of the number nine has a lot to do with the context surrounding how the number enters your life. When it comes up our first thought is finality, or is something finished? This would align with the biblical prophetic meaning, and if you are exiting a season or if you have been praying for something to be over this makes a lot of sense.

However, it can also bear the other meanings as listed above, and based on what is happening in your life or how the number was presented to you could give it other meanings. However truth is known to split things, divide the bone and the marrow, and judgement also not only means a finality but also justice and truth. Something is revealed or completed.

What does the Number 9 Mean Spiritually

The Spiritual Meaning of the number nine is the same as its Biblical meaning, that is finality, completeness, truth, judgment and a hidden good. It speaks of something coming to an end, and something that needs to be revealed is revealed.

What does the Number 9 mean in a Dream

If you see the number 9 in a dream is likely means that something is coming to an end either good or bad, or something is about to be revealed in truth or judgement. Because of the duality of the number 9 it really depends on what is happening in the dream and what is happening in your life. God is intentionally trying to show you something and you will likely need to look at the surrounding symbols or context to confer meaning on the number 9 in a dream.

Further Reading

Are you interested in what the number 4 means Biblically? Check out our article on the What Does The Number 4 Mean in the Bible?

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