FOURTEEN IN THE BIBLE

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The number fourteen – its significance in the bible and in my own life

The number fourteen in the Bible is symbolic of salvation or rescue. It happens to be twice seven, a number which itself represents divine power and perfecting in the sense of making complete. Thanks to the internet tools at our disposal, we can easily analyse how and when fourteen (or any number) occurs in Scripture. What is important is not so much frequency but context. For example, in the NASB, “fourteen” or “fourteenth” occurs 45 times whilst “fifteen” of “fifteenth” occurs 37 times, but the key is the context of each occurrence. Fourteen more frequently has the more obvious symbolism. Bible gateway lists every occurrence HERE.

Defeating Satan’s seed

The first reference to fourteen years (Gen14:5) concerns the defeat of certain satanic hybrids (Rephaim, Zuzim and Emim) that occupied the territories that would eventually become the promised land. These hybrids/giants originated from the union of the fallen watchers with women referred to in the opening verses of Gen6, and that union was the ultimate reason for the universal flood. Such a drastic remedy had been needed to rid humanity of these hybrids’ corrupting influence. But, as God well knew and intended, they resurfaced again through the seed of Ham (who had uncovered his father Noah’s nakedness) transmitted through his accursed son Canaan. For whilst Noah, his wife and children will have been genetically pure, at least one of the sons’ wives was not.

 As referenced in the previous post this is another example of God utilizing Satan and his seed (Gen3:15) for His own ends. This time it would be so that the territories (i.e. the promised land) He had reserved for His chosen people could legitimately be ethnically cleansed. Bible narrative affirms that God had insisted that all men, women and children of these territories be destroyed in His peoples’ battles with the Canaanites. Cruel and Harsh? No, quite essential, not only for the destiny of His chosen people and to protect the familial lineage of the Messiah, but for the rest of humanity. [The Book of Enoch elucidates – see below]. These hybrids and the people they contaminated had also been responsible for the tower of Babel and the activities of Sodom and Gomorrah – again through the seed of Ham.

God so loved the world that He would later send His Son to redeem it. However, for the best of reasons He does not love Satan and his seed – they have never benefitted from His redeeming purposes for the world, for their patriarch wishes to ruin it and its inhabitants. Consequently, Christ’s Passion does not avail for such as these.  That only benefits (at two levels) those who are of God, having been created in His image; people who are demonstrably human (Mt25:40; 1Jn4:7). I have focussed on this first reference in the bible to fourteen for a failure to grasp the reality of the satanic strain within humanity (who are no longer in the form of giants) distorts the perception both of divine and human nature. And that is exactly what has happened within Western theology. For, on various fronts, what in reality is three has been diminished to two (cf. 1Thes5:23; 1Jn5:6-8; 1Jn2:2). Arithmeticians may take the point.

The Passover

Skimming through the other references to fourteen in the bible, undoubtedly the most significant one in the Old Testament is the Passover (Ex12:18). It commemorates the Jews’ deliverance from the bondage of Egypt and is celebrated on the fourteenth day of the first month. That in turn was a foreshadowing of the Christian Pasch when through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God and the application of the merits of His blood, a way was made for humanity to be freed from the bondage of sin.

Regarding the animals involved in the various Jewish sacrifices, the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles is noteworthy in the numerical context. On each day the number of male lambs to be sacrificed remains at fourteen whilst the number of other animals varied by the day. In the aptly entitled Book of Numbers we read in the 29th chapter that on the first day of the seven-day feast, 13 bulls, 2rams and 14 lambs were to be offered. On day two it was to be 12 bulls, 2 rams and 14 lambs. On day3 it was (you’ve guessed it) 11 bulls, 2 rams and 14 lambs and likewise down to day seven when 7 bulls 2 rams and 14 lambs were sacrificed. The bulls, usually representing peace/reconciliation with God reduced day by day but the number of the day plus the number of bulls is always 14, likewise the number of lambs representing atonement for sin.

New Testament

In the opening chapter of the New Testament, the genealogy concerning “the generations of Jesus Christ”, focusses on the number fourteen. In summary Matthew records: “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations”.

In the most detailed account in Acts of one of Paul’s shipwrecks, the apostle recounts that their deliverance came on the fourteenth day, the whole ship’s company being spared (27:33-35). And in my previous post Paul recounted that it was fourteen years since he had had his revelation from God.

Why fourteen?

Returning to the Old Testament there is a verse which perhaps most clearly affirms the significance of the number fourteen: “Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, for seven days and seven more days, that is, fourteen days” (1Kings8:65). Note the longwinded account of the period being “seven days and seven days more, that is fourteen days”. It is surely to affirm that fourteen is significant because it is twice seven. The perfecting work of God symbolized by the number seven is doubly enforced.

Personal significance

If you read my brief testimony in the previous post you may have noticed that fourteen years (or its multiples) has been significant in my spiritual journey, in fact on reflection since the day I was born. That was the day after my father’s 42nd (3×14) birthday. Like his, my birth was on the last day of February which would normally be the 28th (2×14) but in my case it was the 29th, 1952 being a leap year. In non-leap years I celebrate my birthday on the 28th for, after all, I was born in February, not March. On the spiritual front I was converted in 1970 and remained at the church of my conversion for fourteen years before relocating for work purposes from London to Liverpool (late 1984). That was not especially significant in terms of my spiritual development although my home church had been strictly conservative Evangelical whereas the assembly I moved to in North West England was more Pentecostal (dancing in the isles and the like). My perspective was certainly broadened at that point.

Far more significant was what happened fourteen years after that – Christmas Day 1998. That was the first spiritual encounter I referred to in the last post resulting in my conversion a year later to the Catholic faith. Rounded to the nearest whole year it was then a further fourteen years (Spring 2013) that the second more powerful spiritual experience occurred. That did not affect my denominational allegiance, but it did mean I could no longer support all the Roman Church’s teachings. That especially (hopefully exclusively) applied to those distinctive doctrines that had resulted from Augustine’s substantial input back in the fifth century. In virtually all cases, the doctrines I no longer supported had historically been rejected by the Eastern Orthodox Church. What is more, the harshest of these had effectively been rescinded at Vatican II [concerning the eternal fate of those outside the Catholic Church and unbaptized infants].

That second spiritual encounter occurred almost immediately after I had started writing my first book. At that point I changed its title from “The Gospel of the Kingdom” to “The Fellowship of the Secret” (quoting Eph3:9KJV – mystery/secret same word in biblical Greek). For I came to understand that what Paul was indicating in Ephesians 3 and Romans 11 had wondrous implications to divine providence and also the nature of the age to come; implications that previously I and seemingly everyone else appear to have been unaware of.

So what?

The reason for this seemingly self-indulgent supplementary testimony was prompted by the previous post concerning Paul’s vision and his reference to fourteen years. For unlike the prophets and apostles of the bible I have not been given cast-iron affirmation that what I am seeking to impart through my book and in these posts is from God and is what He intends the churches to hear at this time. Consequently, I have to look for signs and affirmations, including what some Christians would describe as God-incidencies. But having done so I am convinced that what I have been shown is genuinely prophetic. That does not rest on this observation that 7/14/28 have been extraordinarily significant numbers in my life. My primary conviction arises from the two experiences with the Holy Spirit I have mentioned and to a lesser extent the numerous supernatural (likely demonic) audio-messages that have been opposing or seeking to mock what I am doing.

The litmus test

But as previously intimated, the litmus test for any biblical insight, especially one as expansive as mine is its ability or otherwise to provide a coherent synopsis of the whole bible. Better still if in the process it helps to explain or throw light on the ultimate mystery of the universe. That from a Christian perspective is surely the context of evil and suffering within the providence of a God who the bible declares to be love personified. If you have read “The Little Book of Providence” (freely available as a PDF) and are convinced in your mind and conscience that it fails to achieve that, it may safely be ignored. Otherwise continue to watch this space.

And if, as appears to be the case for more Christians today, you are open to examining  the end-time prophecies of the Book of Enoch, then do so.  That literature was revered as inspired by the early fathers of the Church yet it was rightly excluded from the biblical canon in view of the degree of variations in manuscripts. But note the opening verse: “The words of blessing from Enoch by which he shall bless the elect and the righteous who will be alive at the time of tribulation when all the wicked and godless are to be removed (from the Earth)” (Enoch1 ch1 v1). The book throws considerable light on matters referred to at the start of this post concerning the fallen angels’ interactions with humanity. And, as indicated in its opening verse, the book claims to be especially relevant to the generation of Christians who shall live to see the Parousia – on account of what shall be revealed to them.

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