SIX: The number “six” relates to the Grace of God. It is not a coincidence that man was created on the sixth day of the week. The fact that man became a living being on the sixth day reveals that only by means of the grace of God will man experience true life, i.e. eternal life, through a relationship with God. In the book of Isaiah, there is a passage which is rich in theological truth. In chapter six, one reads about the death of King Uzziah. It is this statement about Uzziah’s death that sets the context for this passage. Next, the reader is given a vision of heaven with the Lord sitting on His throne. It is said about God that He is; “high and lifted up.” The sages understand that the purpose of this phrase “high and lifted up” is to convey to the reader that there is a large separation between man and God. There is also mentioned in this vision of heaven that there were seraphim (a type of angel) present around the throne. It is revealed to the reader that each of the seraphim had six wings. The seraphim would call to one another saying:
"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts, full is the entire earth of His glory."
Because of this proclamation concerning the Holiness of God, the heavens shook and were filled with smoke. To this, the man Isaiah stated:
"Woe is me, for I am undone, for a man of unclean lips am I and in the midst of a people with unclean lips I dwell; for the King— the Lord of Hosts, my eyes have seen." Isaiah 6:5
Isaiah is responding to the fact that he has just heard that the whole world is going to be full of the glory of God. It was this vision of a Holy God, Who was high and lifted up, that revealed to him his own sinfulness and the sinfulness of his people. His statement in verse five shows his hopelessness in and of himself. However, the next occurrence in this vision focuses upon the seraphim, which had six wings. One of the seraphim flew to the altar and removed a burning ember and then touched the lips of Isaiah with it. Because of this act, the reader is informed that the iniquity of Isaiah is removed and his sin has been atoned. The point is that there is a direct connection to the six-winged seraph (seraphim in the plural) and the removal of iniquity and the atoning of sin. Theologically, one knows that the removal of iniquity and the atoning of sin are only the result of the grace of God.
Another reason that the number six is related to the grace of God is seen in the fact that there were six cities of refuge. A city of refuge was a type of
safe-haven for one who had killed an individual without direct intent of doing so. It was not seen as an accident; rather the Torah calls the killer a murderer. A family member of the one killed was commanded to slay the murderer; however, the murderer could flee to one of the six cities of refuge and be safe within the walls of this city. In other words, although the murderer should die as the consequence of his action, he finds "grace" in the city of refuge. It is not a coincidence that there are six cities of refuge.
In the book of Ruth, the concept of redemption is a major theme. When Boaz agrees to act as the kinsman redeemer to Ruth, the reader is told that he gives her six measures of barley (Ruth 3:15). This again is not a chance happening. It is to reveal to the reader the relationship between grace (that which the number six expresses) and redemption. When speaking about the Exodus from Egypt, which also came about through redemption (the Passover sacrifice), one finds that 600,000 men from the Hebrews came out of Egypt, i.e. experienced redemption (see Exodus 12:37). Once again the number six appears (600,000) to emphasize the connection between grace and redemption.
In the New Testament, there are several places where the number six appears and once again the context is grace. In John's Gospel, the writer begins to speak about Passover. It has already been stated that Passover is known as the Festival of Redemption. To remind the reader of the connection between redemption and grace, John writes:
"Therefore Yeshua, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany…."
Another interesting occurrence of the number six is also found in John's Gospel. Here the context is also Passover. In this section, Yeshua speaks about the destruction of the Temple, which took forty and six years to build. He states that He will raise it up in three days (Here Yeshua is referring to His body). How do these numbers assist the reader to arrive at a proper interpretation of the passage? Although we have yet to study the significance of the number forty, we will learn that forty relates to a transition or change. John chapter two alludes clearly to the destruction of the Temple. Why will the Temple be destroyed? The answer is multifaceted. First, the message which the Temple service was supposed to convey to the people, was so distorted by the corruption that characterized the Temple in Yeshua's day. Second, the time was at hand for the grace of God to be revealed. It is important for the reader to remember that when Yeshua alluded to the Temple, He mentioned the forty and six years that it took for it to be built. Why was this fact necessary to be included in this passage? It is a hermeneutical aid to the reader. Forty and six speaks about a change or transition (the significance of the number forty) to grace (the meaning of the number six) and away from the sacrificial system of the Temple. The number three also appears in this discourse (see John 2:19). As we have already learned, the number three expresses a revealing or documentation. Hence, Yeshua was revealing (3) this change (40) from the sacrifices at the Temple, to the grace (6) of God, that His resurrection would document (3).
The final example, which we will examine from the New Testament is in Matthew's Gospel. In Matthew chapter 27, the context is once again Passover. In the passage in question, one reads,
"And from the sixth hour darkness was upon all the earth until the ninth hour." Matthew 27:45
Matthew's Gospel was written in a way those from a Jewish background could easily grasp the significance of what he was stating. Jewish sages of old pointed out that because the Exodus from Egypt took place in the night, there was a connection between darkness (the night) and redemption (the Exodus from Egypt). To convey to Israel that this One Who hung upon the Cross was in fact the Redeemer, HaShem caused a miracle to take place. As the verse states, there was darkness upon all the earth until the ninth hour. Although we have yet to study the significance of the number nine, let it suffice to say now that the number nine relates to "outcome" or "deed". Hence, the sixth hour is mentioned to relate to the grace of God and the ninth hour is recorded to reveal what was the outcome of the death of Yeshua, i.e. Redemption.
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