"Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand;
And meted out heaven with a span;
And comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure,
And weighed the mountains in scales,
And the hills in a balance?" (Isa. 40:12.)
"The works of the Lord are great,
Sought out of all them that have pleasure therein." (Ps. 111:2.)
There can be neither works nor words without number. We can understand how man can act and speak without design or significance, but we cannot imagine that the great and infinite Creator and Redeemer could either work or speak without both His words and His works being absolutely perfect in every particular.
"As for God His WAY is perfect" (Ps. 18:30). "The Law of the Lord is perfect" (Ps. 19:7). They are both perfect in power, perfect in holiness and righteousness, perfect in design, perfect in execution, perfect in their object and end, and, may we not say, perfect in number.
"The Lord is righteous in all His ways: and holy in all His works" (Ps. 145:17).
All His works were (and are) done, and all His words were spoken and written, in the right way, at the right time, in the right order, and in the right number. "He telleth the number of the stars" (Ps. 147:4). He "bringeth out their host by number" (Isa. 40:26). "He weigheth the waters by measure" (Job 28:25).
We may, therefore, say with David: "I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the work of Thy hands" (Ps. 143:5).
In all the works of God we find not only what we call "Law," and a Law-maker, but we observe a Law enforcer. We speak of laws, but they are nothing in themselves. They have no being; they possess no power; they cannot make themselves, or carry themselves out. What we mean when we speak of law in nature is simply this: God in action; God not merely giving or making laws, but carrying them out and enforcing them.
As He is perfect, so His works and His words also must be perfect. And when we see number used not by chance, but by design; not at haphazard, but with significance; then we see not merely so many works and words, but the Living God working and speaking.
In this first part of our subject we are to speak only of design in the use of number; and in the second part, of significance. In this first chapter we will confine our thoughts to design as it is seen in the works of God; and in the second, as it is seen in the Word of God.
When we see the same design in each; the same laws at work; the same mysterious principles being carried out in each, the conviction is overwhelming that we have the same great Designer, the same Author; and we see the same Hand, the same seal stamped on all His works, and the same signature or autograph, as it were, upon every page of His Word. And that, not an autograph which may be torn off or obliterated, but indelible, like the water-mark in the paper; so impressed upon and interwoven with it that no power on earth can blot it out.
Let us turn first to
Here we see number displayed in a remarkable manner. The 12 signs of the Zodiac, each with three constellations, making 36 in all, which together with the 12 signs make a total of 48. There must be a reason, therefore, why the number 12 should thus pervade the heavens. Why should 12 be the predominating factor? Why should it not be 11, or 13, or 7, or 20?
Because 12 is one of the four perfect numbers, the number of governmental perfection; hence it is associated with the rule of the heavens, for the sun is given "to rule the day," and the moon "to govern the night." The significance of this, however, must be deferred till we come to consider the number "twelve" under this head. It is enough for us now to notice the fact here, upon the threshold of our subject, that we have one common measure, or factor, which is seen in the 12 signs of the Zodiac, the 36 (3 x 12) constellations, the total 48 (4 x 12); the 360 (12 x 30) degrees, into which the great circle of the heavens is divided. No one can tell us why the number of degrees was first fixed at 360. It has come down to us from ancient times, and is used universally without a question. And it is this division of the Zodiac which gives us the 12 months of the Zodiacal year. This is called also the Prophetic year, for it is the year which is used in the prophecies of the Bible.
Here, then, is an example of number as it is used in the heavens. Twelve is the pervading factor.