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People obsessed with numbers

Why is there a fascination with numbers in the Bible? Are modern people creating patterns from numbers found in the text, or have specific numbers been intentionally selected by the Bible writers for a reason? Can the roots for use of important/"holy" numbers be found at a date prior to the Bible? What is the historical significance or importance of three, seven, etc. outside of the context of the Bible? Were numerical meanings hijacked from elsewhere for Biblical use, or was the symbolism attributed to the Bible after it was written?

Three and seven seem to be the most commonly used. Three is the holy trinity. Jonah was in the belly of a whale for three days and three nights. Jesus rose after the third day. (I recall someone pointing out that if Jesus died on Good Friday around 3pm and rose after the third day, people should be celebrating Easter Monday after 3pm.) Seven is another number which is supposedly an important "Biblical" number. There are seven days in a week, seven seals, seven brethren.

Why? and where did this symbolism come from? Those of you not interested in numbers may also comment on the symbolism of color in the Bible. ;)


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