The numbers three in scripture

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Hi P____,

Thank you for your question about the number three.

It is good to see that God’s spirit is opening your eyes to what is actually being said in the meaning behind the words of scripture.

Yes, three does denote a completion of that with which this number is connected, be it the flesh of Gentiles as with Peter in the book of Acts or with Christ’s admonition to Peter to “feed my sheep” in the gospel of John. But this completion is a process, and it is the fact that it is not to be expected to be done and over with all at once which is the greater significance of the number three.

Exo 23:14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.

The “three times in the year” are the three seasons of spiritual growth we will all experience in our spiritual walk. However, it is also the three seasons of God’s working with mankind:

1) “from the beginning:”

Mar 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

2) Moses and the law of Moses:

Mat 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Luk 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

3) The “time of reformation”

Heb 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

This “time of reformation” is the time in which God concludes His work as He reforms this vessel of clay. But what is impossible for the carnal mind to understand is that as this part of God’s work with the flesh is completed, a new spiritual man is brought forth in a resurrection. We experience this now only in down-payment (“earnest”) form:

Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

This “redemption of the purchased possession” is the first resurrection. It is the shedding of this vessel of clay once and for all. It is not just an “earnest” or down-payment, but it is taking full possession of a spiritual body in resurrection from among the dead, as the captain of our salvation has already experienced.

I looked at those study notes, and I see that I need to add the word ‘process’ to all of those subheads about the spiritual significance of the number three.

Thank you for this letter which has brought this to my attention. Yes, Peter was in a process of feeding Christ’s sheep. During that process he was shown that this also included Gentiles. Even this was a slow and trying process for Peter as he struggled many long years, after having this vision you reference thrice repeated, to extricate himself from the “carnal commandment” Israel had been given to separate themselves from the Gentiles.

This is not just a history lesson about Peter’s struggles. This is an admonition for you and me to guard against any tendency to be respecters of persons because of income, race or any other social standing. Our only consideration is to please our Lord. We are not to be men-pleasers. If we seek to please men, we are not fit to feed Christ’s sheep:

Gal 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

I hope that this helps you to see that the number three has to do primarily with a process, which leads to completion. The thought of completion is connected more with the number seven while three carries the thought of an ongoing process.

Mike

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