The 4000 feeding has similar metaphors as the 5000. The number 4 is representative of order, separation, and change. When Paul started his ministry, many of the apostles did not like the changes he brought to the Faith at that time. But with his obedience to God came about the practical New Testament for which churches mainly follow today. There are also 4 gospels and God’s Kingdom has 4 main arms for sovereignty including God, Jesus, the Spirit and Angels. There are 4 living creatures of 4 different types that surround God’s Throne saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” - Rev. 4:4-7. Interestingly, this description of those around the Throne starts in Rev. 4 at verse 4. Included in the description is the 24 elders; a multiple of 4. How is 4 representative of the Christians and why is “broken meat” taken up in only 7 baskets? Consider the following:
There is no doubt about it, God is into numbers and they are reflective of many physical and Spiritual manifestations. God is number one stating, “I Am”; a singularity of one in every sense of the word and yet by Spirituality, there is the Holy Trinity, where the Holy Spirit and the Word, Jesus; two other entities become one with Him in unity not only in Spirit but of a Spiritual flesh, with the risen Jesus all with a single purpose, thinking, and all Kingdom charters. Numbers are synonymous with God’s declarations, promises and the fulfilling of His prophesies.
The Jews discovered this and continue to use Bible numerology as a means of understanding God; His Kingdom and predicting the future. The Christian ought to do the same; for numbers are significant throughout the Bible and probably will be beyond. It is a part of God’s foundations for His plans, purposes, and prerogatives. This numerology must not be confused, compared or used within the context of the superstition of numbers as in a “lucky number” or having some form of power by certain combinations as in a lottery. Numbers are used by God to signify His dominion of the natural and Spiritual world and any other form or use of it is a counterfeit by satan. Now to be clear, the study of numerology is not a requirement for Salvation but it is a part of rightly dividing the Word. This study does not hinder the gifts and fruits of the Spirit but it provides wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of God’s Kingdom, the Word, and His operational procedures. The numbers provide both an obvious as well as a Spiritual communication for our benefit through our senses and for the spirit. Numbers are indispensable for both the Heavenly and Earthly realms.
When reading the Bible, numbers are included in many verses and are significant in describing the context of the paragraph such as in Genesis stating, “And the evening and the morning were the first day” - Gen. 1:5. The first day as opposed to the second, third and so forth. Yet, this same numbering changes and expands under a Revelation of a single day as stated, “With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” - 2 Pet. 3:8. This is by the Spirit for how could the early Jews and Christians without modern science, technology and theories determine this ratio of 1:1000 which is connected to the speed and traveling of natural light which is a measure of time and reveals God is of the past, present and future; having time under His control and as stated, “For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it passes by” - Ps. 90:4. The Bible may provide physical accounts of history for the past, the present, and future but brings with it, Spiritual Revelations meant only for the spirit of man. For we are essentially spirits with a soul living in a physical body.
Now, having Revelations of how numbers reveal God’s Kingdom plans and His Righteousness for order, stability, physical as well as Spiritual meaning is encompassed and within the preview of all who desire to delight in God and as stated, “seek the Kingdom and all will be added onto you” - Matt. 6:33. Another way to say this is, “search for God and He will give all things contained in His Kingdom”; which includes His way of thinking, administering and ruling. For when we recognize His number 1 status of sovereignty, He is just and generous to release in numerous ways the Blessing into our lives. Numerous being a perfection of His will as Jesus instructed on forgiveness stating, “not just seven times, but seventy-seven times” - Matt. 8:22.
The numbers used alludes to significances for the Jews and the Christians throughout the Bible and will beyond Revelations with the New Jerusalem and God’s Righteous people. After both feedings Jesus gave His apostles a scathing tirade with a tone of sarcasm in reference to the feedings; after He warns them of religious deceptions stating, “Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many baskets ye took up?” - Matt. 16:9. Jesus distinctly reminds them of what the baskets took up because of heeding false doctrines and that we will take personal responsibility for accepting such false teachings. The Jews were to be steadfast on all God’s principle foundations of His Kingdom procedures; of connecting Heaven with Earth for His dispensation of His will and for His Glory. They were studious in this by being religious but did not place their hearts in the right perspective. And is why Jesus in the Parable of the Vineyard workers makes an unusual statement and uses numbering to signify time and reward saying, “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” - Matt. 20:16. Consider the allegory of this parable that is talking about those called to be partakers of God’s Kingdom great commission as directed by Jesus:
1) God is the householder who goes out (seeks) labors (partakers) to work His vineyard (fields of Harvest) with the promise of payment (reward).
2) He agrees to pay a penny for a day. Both these are units of 1. So we can say it's a 1 to 1 transaction or a contractual value. Now there is no monetary reward in Heaven but prosperity value, so the penny is symbolic of Heaven’s reward which is time as a day is also. Remember 1 day in Heaven is like 1000 days on Earth. So a penny for a day’s labor is metaphoric of being rewarded with 1000 days in Heaven for 1 day in God’s fields of harvest. The other symbolism here is that God is prime, being 1st and we are 1 of many partakers that by working in the fields have the Heavenly reward of being in His presence and as stated, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" - Matt. 5:8. The operative word is "see” and as framed and defined by the original language is speaking of seeing God in the Spirit on a continuous timeline as in eternity.
3) The householder went out on the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 11th hours. He went out 4 times which is associated with God’s will for the sinner to be in order of His will; separated onto Him and change from the old to the new. The 3rd hour represents completeness but not perfection as in Genesis with 3 righteous patriarchs before the flood and 3 righteous fathers after the flood. The 6th hour represents man’s sin nature and by it, is enslaved and tied to satan. The 9th hour represents divine finality as when Jesus died saying, “It is finished”. And the 11th hour represents chaos, disorder, and judgment as in God’s (the householder) final review and payment of the labors work. These 4 periods is reflective of Genesis to Revelation and speaks to those brought into His house and will have to be accountable for the work that was done for the harvest.
4) “And when the evening came” as in the end (time of the period or age) of the day; the householder came to pay (reward) those He called starting with the last to the first hired. Here again, we see the 1st as in the chosen people (selected in the 3rd hour) and the last as in the multitude of Christians (selected in the 9th hour by the Blood of Jesus). This also reflects at the end (in Revelations) of those that God will deal with first as with the 7 churches and then the last; the 144,000. So the last will be the first.
5) The phase “last to the first” is used twice in the parable and although the original script did not have verse numbering; here again God’s hand seem to be involved as both reference occur at the 8th - “beginning from the last unto the first”; and 16th - “So the last shall be first, and the first last” verses respectively; both being multiples of the number 4.
The Spiritual Revelation of Biblical numbering is there to demonstrate God’s declarations of the past being fulfilled in the future. We see this recording of the “leftovers” in both accounts as the end of trials and tribulations in Revelations clearly signifying the remnant of the twelve tribes - Rev. 7:4-8 as well as the admonition by Jesus to the seven churches - Rev. 1:4. For the five thousand feeding the term “fragments” is used to describe the leftovers of the meal; meaning separated off or splinter from as in the converting of orthodox Jews to Messianic Jews; recognizing Jesus already appeared and redeemed mankind at the cross. For the four thousand feeding the phase “broken meat” is used indicating something fractured, damaged or not whole to be in working order and is reflective of Jesus’ addressing the seven churches with their failures in unity, inefficiencies, and wrong works.
The inspiration by the Holy Spirit of the historical account of both these feedings is precise in leaving numeric significance. Why are the multitudes of people recorded as whole numbers and at best as an estimate; for who would have taken the time to go around and count these people while they were seeking Jesus. Also, the timing of when as recorded is also interesting. The 5000 is recorded first followed by the 4000. You would think as Jesus’ message and miracles spread, the amount of the multitude would increase and also these accounts were written long after the events took place. It was not as if the apostles were prepared to count the multitudes for their gospels. Some scholars suggest that because the numbering of groups was done in 50’s or 100’s in that time period; this is how these amount of people was derived and as written by Mark for the 5000 saying, “And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties” - Mk. 6:40; but this is not consistent with the 4000. The Bible also indicates these numbers refer only to men with women and children contributing to the multitudes. So the actual number of feedings was not as the Bible indicates which means these numbers have a more prophetic denotation. Again, what is the purpose for the why and when of how these historical accounts are written?
The 5000 feeding occurs first in all four gospels with a “fragment” collected of 12 baskets which are reflective in Revelation of the remnant of God’s chosen people of 12,000 saved from each 12 tribes for a total of 144,000. The second feeding of the 4000 with “broken meat” is collected in 7 baskets, also reflective in Revelation of the 7 candles sticks or 7 churches. The Jews were to be first in God’s representation of His will but by tradition and laws became blinded to the heart of God. So the second set of people were raised up to carry forth His will coming from the gentiles known today as Christians as stated, “A hardening in part has come to Israel until the full number of the gentiles has come in: - Rm. 11:25. The timing of Jesus’ miracles of both multitudes may seem random but when considered as a whole in Biblical context; there are so many allegoric connections that we cannot ignore God’s hand in events and the inspiration of the Gospels. It is not a fluke that for the first feeding a number of 5000 is used with 5 loaves and 2 fishes and for the second feeding; a number of 4000 and 7 loaves is recorded.
We cannot frivolously dispense with and ignore the why and when of numbers being used in the Bible for it is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Take, for instance, the two historical accounts of Jesus’ feeding of the five and four thousand. For the five thousand feeding; it is noted that. “and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full” - Matt. 14:20. Why is the author telling us about the quantity that is essentially leftovers when the miracle of the multiplication is more important? This is also done for the feeding of the four thousand stating, “and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full” - Matt. 15:37.
Jesus who came for all mankind is the 1st “Christian” being of the New Testament and New Covenant and chief mediator between the old and new; what was lost in the Old Testament and reunited in the New Testament between man and God. He was born in the city of Bethlehem which means “house of bread or of meat”. He grew up in Nazareth and is referred to as a Nazarene meaning “a spout or off-shoot of something”. Another way to look at it is Jesus came from meat (substance) and would signal change as a sprout (change) does when Spring begins. Remember we are talking about the number 4 indicating an ordered change. Jesus states, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” - Matt. 10:34. Now, Christ and Christianity has certainly done that challenging and affecting every other religion especially the Jew's and is the last of the great Faiths; just as Jesus was the last great leader and influencer in His time and beyond. Again, the 4000 feeding came after the 5000 feeding both by Jesus who as the Word is in both the Old and New Testaments and is “the author and finisher of our (Jews and Christians) Faith” - Heb. 12:2.
The Church is the continuation of Jesus’ ordered change for mankind and He placed them in responsibility for His message, sacrifice, and works. In the 4000 feeding, only 7 loaves are recorded with no quantity or reference for the amount of fish. The number 7 means completeness or perfection and is associated with God’s foundations for His Kingdom as in 7 days to complete creation; 7th day to honor God and originally 7 major divisions of the Bible with Paul addressing Jesus with 7 distinct titles. Put together the numbers 4 and 7 would indicate an ordered change for perfection with Jesus the Word; loaves or bread of life.
Is it interesting that Jesus is speaking to the 7 churches which are to be the light, candles of His Faith to the world just as a CEO of a company would be addressing his staff for their successes and especially for their failures. This is why the author refers to this 4000 having 7 loaves as “broken meat” collected in 7 baskets or another way to say this is; Jesus gave the church an ordered, balanced approach for separation onto Righteousness with His completed, perfect “playbook” but because the church has not followed or heeded His way; they have become corrupted, incomplete and unworthy of all He did, established and ordained. This scenario is seen as Jesus addresses the 7 churches of Revelation.
The author records multitudes of 1000’s which is an indication of time, payment, justification and judgment. We see this throughout the Bible with Samson slaying 1000 Philistines - Jud. 15:15; and the devil to be imprisoned for 1000 years - Rev. 20:1. This also reflects “a day with the Lord is like 1000 days on Earth” which alludes that God started and finished His creation works in 7 days and His complete redemptive work for mankind from Genesis to Revelation would be 7000 years of Earth time, which most theologians general agree on.
The number 5 is used twice for the 1st feeding as in the 1st chosen people. Number 5 represents Grace as is the period we are in which started from Adam’s fall. It is also the number of offerings types the Jews did to appease God and there are 5 books of God’s law that they observe referred to as the Pentateuch meaning 5. For the 1st feeding, only 2 fishes are represented. The number 2 means duality as in unity or division and as in 2 witnesses or participants required for balance like in a marriage, contract or equity such as Christ and the Church or the 2nd Adam; Christ, who is needed to balance, cancel, set upright what the 1st Adam did.
Both the number 5 and 2 speaks to and points to a chosen people who in disobedience sent the world in turmoil but by the loaves as in bread for life (the 5 books) and the fishes representative of fertility or abundance, they will have redemption. Taken literally, speaking to the Jews by their eating, partaking or absorbing of the 5 loaves and 2 fishes they have Grace or favor with God and will be in unity having prosperity. Now, is it coincidental that this set of people who practice Judaism vehemently is united in their Faith and is also one of the more prosperous peoples in the world.
The Word is filled with numerous metaphors, connections and Revelations concerning numbers and certain numbers repeated more than others with some having a clear defined consequence in their meaning and those affected by it. Numbers are also involved in names and words where each letter corresponds to a number with their summary revealing amazing results. The study of numerology requires a dedicated commitment to fully appreciate and comprehend its complexities and mysteries. Their Revelation leave one with astonishment and awe as to God’s ability to integrate so many moving parts from the past, and present towards a prophetic future and truly give Him the Glory and recognition He deserves. The numbers play an integral part in God’s will and to deny them would be to deny His wondrous ways and to acknowledge as stated, “My ways are higher than your ways” - Is. 55:9.
Flush it Out! - You can count on God.
May. 11, 2017.
By the Numbers.
ChristnMe @ 2013