As the Lord of heaven and earth (Acts 17:24), God has the right to give commands to people and expect them to submit to His message. If the Lord has told us to do something, we need to do it. If He has told us where to do it, then we need to do it in the place He has designated. The same would apply to the time element: we need to do whatever He tells us to do and we need to do so when He says to do it.
As we study the Scriptures, we also see that in a number of instances, the Creator has given instructions to humans which involve numbers. In many instances, the Lord has designated how many people, animals, or things should be involved in carrying out a particular task. In other cases, He informs us how many of something are a part of His arrangement. As we consider such matters, let us recall that the God of heaven is all-wise (Romans 11:33). He knows what He is talking about. He knows what is in man’s best interest. We may not always completely comprehend why He chose a particular quantity, but we trust in His judgment and recognize the need for humans to comply with every aspect of His expressed desire.
How many animals did Jehovah want Noah to take into the ark? Seven and two – for clean animals and birds, he was to take them by sevens, while the unclean animals were to be taken by twos (Genesis 7:2,3).
For the Passover lamb, what time frame did the Lord designate? A single lamb was to be selected (that would be one, not two or seven like Noah was told). It was to be chosen on the tenth day of the first month, but it was not to be killed and consumed until the fourteenth day of the same month (Exodus 12:1-3,6-8).
On the Day of Atonement, how many kid goats were to be used? “. . . take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat” (Leviticus 16:7,8). God said to select two goats. Did the quantity really matter? It did to the Lord!
God wanted the Israelites to have trumpets “for calling the congregation and for directing the movement of the camps” (Numbers 10:2). How many silver trumpets were they supposed to make and employ? Jehovah said two (Numbers 10:2). Did the number of trumpets matter? It did to God.
Under the law of Moses, God gave provision to protect the life of one who accidentally killed another person. From the cities which were granted to the Levites, God’s instruction was to appoint some of them to be “cities of refuge” to which one could flee and appeal for judgment if he unintentionally had killed someone. How many such cities were there to be? God said, “. . . you shall have six cities of refuge,” and He designated where they were to be (Numbers 35:13,14). If someone suggested, “Well, I think four would be sufficient,” or, “If one-half dozen is good, surely a full dozen would be twice as good,” both of those ideas should be rejected. Why? Because God said “six” and He meant “six!”
When Naaman sought healing for his leprosy, what instructions came to him from the Lord? “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times . . .” (2 Kings 5:10). Why did he need to dip his body seven times? Because that is what the Almighty said!
How many mediators are there between God and mankind? Not two. Not five. Not one hundred. Hear what the Bible says: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Who does not understand what “one” means?
How many spiritual bodies does the Lord have? “There is one body” (Ephesians 4:4), which is His church (Ephesians 1:22,23). A woman recently told me and a friend that John (she meant John the Baptizer) established many churches. I have never read that in my Bible, have you? God’s plan was for Jesus to build one church. Why not accept God’s idea? Again, when God says there is one baptism/ immersion (Ephesians 4:5), why would we not want to embrace and endorse what He says?
Math may not “be your thing.” But when it comes to matters in which the Lord has designated numbers, we need to be ready to accept totally what He says without doubt, disagreement, or delay.
— Roger D. Campbell