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8.   The Number 22

The purpose of this page is to investigate appearances of the number 22 in the Bible and its timepaths, and then to consider any possible spiritual significance based on common thematic contexts.

This material is by no means exhaustive of all 22s relative to the Bible (which, coincidentally perhaps, contains 22 x 3 = 66 books).   Rather, this study is put forth for review, consideration, and correction.  It is not authoritative, and is not passed along from any recognized teaching source.

Psalm 22

There are many ways in which the Bible conveys numbers:

   Numbers given as words (Enoch lived 365 years; twelve apostles)
   Numbers implied by repetition ("Babylon is fallen, is fallen" = 2 = the churches)
   Numbers implied by a number of events (Satan tempts Christ three times)
   Numbers implied by a list (ten sins of 1 Cor. 6:9,10;  23 sins of Romans 1:29-31)
   Numbers implied by addition (6+7 trips around Jericho = 13)
   Numbers implied by grouping (three crosses at Calvary)
   Numbers implied by similar people or items (four gospels; gold, frankincense, myrrh)
   Numbers discovered by timeline research (13,000-year earth history)

It is accepted that the numbers disclosed in the Bible invite spiritual interpretation.
Catalog of spiritually significant numbers and their associated themes

Yet in our Bibles today we also have numbers that are not part of the original message from God-- namely, the chapter numbers and verse numbers, which were added years later by scholars, to assist in the study and use of scripture.  These numbers bear no known spiritual significance.

However, consider the book of Psalms.  This is a collection of separate songs, with many having a brief dedication before the first line.  Hence their division into "chapters" is not by man's arbitrary choice; it is how they were written.  (Notably, we do not even refer to them as "chapters", but as psalms.)  There are 150 of them-- and such an even number hints again that God gave us a determined number of them.

Still, our task will be to show that their actual numbering, and sequential ordering, is from God, and not man.

In Acts, we read:

Acts 13:33  God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
Though it was Paul who spoke these words, they are still contained within the Bible, which is the Word of God.  It refers to what we call "Psalm 2" as "the second psalm", indicating the Psalms' ordering was:  A) approved by God;  B) determined before the Bible was completed.

Therefore it is suggested here that a psalm's number can be open to spiritual interpretation.

Consider the 22nd Psalm.  Whatever we know about the number 22 might connect with the spiritual essence of Psalm 22.  Conversely, if we lack particular understanding of the number 22, then a reading of Psalm 22 may be able to impart a certain meaning to that number.

What is the essence of this psalm?

Psalm 22 contains several unmistakeable tie-ins with the crucifixion of Christ, recorded later in the New Testament:
Psalm 22:1a  My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Psalm 22:16b  ...they pierced my hands and my feet.
The laments of the Savior, suffering under the wrath of God, are alternated with utterances of faith in God's ultimate deliverance:
Psalm 22:14  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint:  my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

Psalm 22:24,25  For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.  My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation:  I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
References are made to the "seed" coming into great blessing:
Psalm 22:23  Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.

Psalm 22:30,31  A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.  They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
Isaiah foretold how Christ would suffer, thereby bringing redemption to His seed:
Isaiah 53:10,11  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:  when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:  by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Abraham to Christ

The span of years from Abram's birth in 2167 BC, to the death of Jesus in 33 AD, is 2200 years, inclusive.

Abraham (Abram) is the one to whom the promise was made concerning the seed; Christ was the one who fulfilled it.

22 = 2 x 11

If 22 = 2 x 11, then perhaps the spiritual meaning of 22 is a doubling-up of the spiritual meaning of 11.

What does 11 signify spiritually?  Bible teacher Harold Camping associates it with "The first coming of Christ (11,000 years after creation)".

Though recently, we are understanding the Bible to teach that Christ endured God's wrath twice*-- once, as the lamb slain before the foundation of the world, making payment for sin; and a second time here on Earth, as a demonstration-- to man, and to principalities and powers:

Eph 2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
* See the booklet by Harold Camping, To God Be the Glory

On a second level:  the act of doubling, in the Bible, can also emphasize the certainty of God's plans.  God's plan involving Christ was deliberate and immutable.

God projects such certainty in the doubling of Pharaoh's dream:

Genesis 41:32  And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice;  it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.

If 11 refers to Christ's time as a servant on earth, then perhaps 22 denotes a doubling of the same message-- to include both times the suffering servant submitted Himself to God's wrath.

Perhaps, then,  22  might represent  Christ's complete satisfaction of God's wrath.

David's Wars Against Syria

From an online article, we learn:

"The Scriptures record two major campaigns against Syria.  In the first, Davidís forces killed 22,000 Syrians from Damascus (2 Samuel 8:5-8; 1 Chronicles 18:5-8)."

"In the second, David gathered all Israel together, passed over the Jordan, slew 700 charioteers and 40,000 horsemen and forced the Syrians to make peace and to serve Israel (2 Samuel 10:15-19)."  [1]

[1] "David the Warrior King", by Daniel Goldberg, Th.D., D.D

We see the number 22 appear in casualty totals from both wars:

1.     22,000  =  22 x 1000


2.        700 
    +  40,000  
    =  40,700  

    =  11  x  37  x  100

    =  22  x  37  x   50
A table of many numbers frequently pointed to by Bible content (e.g., 37) and their significance, appears on the About-Help-Contact page of this website.

In truth, one could express 22,000 and 40,700 as multiples of the prime number 11 rather than 22.  Yet the first figure (22,000) leads us to consider both numbers' possible relationship with the number 22.

22 Letters in Hebrew Alphabet

The Hebrew alphabet consists of 22 letters.  This is a fact impressed upon the reader's mind by Psalm 119, with its 22 stanzas of eight lines.  In its original Hebrew form, the first word of the first eight lines begins with an "a".  Each subsequent stanza takes the next letter, until all 22 letters are used.

The whole psalm is a tribute to the Bible itself, with nearly every one of the 176 verses referring to God's Word, using many synonyms-- such as Word, Law, Testimonies, Statutes, etc.

By this complete tour of the Hebrew alphabet, we are reminded of Christ's statement in Revelation, associating Him with the first and last letters in the Greek, or New Testament, alphabet:

Revelation 22:13  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
In Christ we find complete deliverance from God's wrath; this great work was done by Him alone:  from beginning to end; from first to last.

2,200,000 Days

In the Genesis flood account, certain "dates" are offered.  Looking at Genesis 7:11, if we equate the ["second month" / "seventeenth day"] to ["February 17th"], a curious timeline results when choosing a possible date for Creation.

(Consult Seeking an Actual Date for the Flood for details on the possibility of interpreting Flood "dates" as literal Gregorian dates.)

We know the Beginning was in 11013 BC.  We also know the first day was a Sunday... but which Sunday?  Consider 2-17-11013 BC (a pre-anniversary of the deluge-- also a Sunday).  This puts the creation of Man on 2-22-11013 (the Sixth Day; Friday).

Going forward 2,200,000 days gives us 7-17-4990 BC.  This then would be the seventeenth day of the seventh month (Genesis 8:4), precisely 150 days after 2-17-4990.  This marked the end of when "the waters prevailed upon the earth" (Genesis 7:24) to destroy man.  On this day the waters were finally abated and the ark rested (Genesis 8:3,4).  Perhaps the number 22 signifies God's wrath being satisfied.  In this case, 22 is multiplied by 100,000.

For perspective on the rarity of 100,000-day intervals, know that they occur only every 273 years.

In the year 4990 BC, 7-17 is the 198th day-- also a multiple of 22:

    198 =  2  x  3^2  x  11

        =  22  x  9
For an explanation of the propriety of studying dayspans between important events and "benchmark" dates peculiar to the Gregorian calendar (i.e., beginning of year, decade, century, or millennia) see the study Further Validation of Gregorian Dating on this website.

(The above section on 2,200,000 days also appears in this site's study, Seeking an Actual Date for Creation .)

Read more on the treatment of Flood dates in Genesis as literal Gregorian dates:  Seeking an Actual Date for the Flood, also on this website.


What have we learned about the number 22 as it appears-- either overtly or hidden-- in the Bible and its timelines?

We considered the 22nd Psalm, poinnting to the suffering of Christ (both on the cross and in spirt), and yet anticipating God's deliverance for His seed.  The cautious objection some might have, to drawing spiritual meaning from a Psalm's number, was also addressed.

A span of 2200 years was noted between the birth of the recipient of a great covenant (Abram) and the tangible manifestation of its fulfillment (Christ's death).

We noted that 22 = 2 x 11, and sought to modify our current definition of 11 to allow its meaning to be preserved, when doubled to 22 in reference to Christ's two encounters with God's wrath.

David delivered Israel twice from the Syrians in great battles where thousands of God's enemies were slaughtered.  The enemy killed in the first battle was 22,000, a number that shouts of 22.  The second victory, even greater, required some math:  40,000 horsemen and 700 charioteers, totalling 40,700:  a number divisible by 22; and also by 37 (a number associated with judgment and God's wrath), whose presence further indicates God has vested these numbers with spiritual meaning, which we can rightly mine for understanding.

As there are 22 letters in the Hebrew language of the Old Testament, the number 22 symbolizes beginning through end, completeness, and totality... aspects of the perfection required to satisfy God's law and to make payment for sin.

The formality of structure in the 176 verses of Psalm 119 (22 stanzas of 8 verses), a psalm in praise of the law, seem to emphasize the inescapable breadth of perfection required to fulfill God's law.  And by extension, we are reminded of the grand scope of the work done by the Savior who bore the weight of this law on His shoulders alone, to save His people:

Job 31:35,36  Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.  Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.
We learned of a timespan of 2,200,000 days (a number rare for its evenness) between:  the possible Creation of man; and the possible 150th day of the Flood-- the end of God's destruction of man-- when the waters were finally abated and when the ark rested.

The number 22, a multiple of 11, seems to take the meaning of its "parent" number-- what Christ came to do at the 11,000th year of our planet's history-- and double it.  Associated with 22 are:  Christ's fulfillment of the law; His keeping of the covenant; the vanquishing of God's enemies; the satisfying of God's wrath... all of which, as we now know, were attended to doubly by the Savior:  both before the foundation of the world, and in His latter appearing unto man.

John O'Leary /