Numerology has been a widespread practice in Africa, Asia, and the Americas since ancient times. It's got a certain allure, even in modern society, because it claims to be able to accurately predict information on one's traits and future, or show patterns and codes you wouldn’t otherwise understand. Many Christians are now using numerology to predict their own lives, or use it in an effort to decode the Bible. However are these practices something God would approve of? Can they be used for fun, or does that cross a line? Here is what the Bible really has to say about numerology.
Numerology For Yourself
One of the uses of the study of numerology is using numbers to interpret a person’s character or their divine future. When it is used in this way it is strictly forbidden by the Bible. There is not a single piece of scripture where numerology is taught or approved of. Rather, divination and the like, which numerology falls under because it is predictive in nature, is repeatedly condemned throughout the Bible.
Many Christians think the act of looking at astrological charts, turning to mediums for guidance, and the like are just harmless forms of entertainment. The Israelites often made the same mistake and turned from God, although God clearly warned them about this.
Deuteronomy 18:9-14 says: "When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so."
New Testament Christians turned to sorcery in Acts 19, and Saul, Israel’s first king, also sought out mediums (1 Samuel 28, 31). These verses are given to us as warnings. God wants us to learn from the examples He gives in the Bible, and to avoid making the same mistakes.
Turning to numerology makes us forget the true power that God has over our lives. He already knows what great things are in our future, and we should be relying on Him for guidance rather than numbers. Zechariah 10:2 says: “The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd.” We won’t find true comfort through numerology.
Numerology in the Bible
Numbers in the Bible can often be taken literally, but they are sometimes used as symbols. Many scholars have used numerology to see patterns and codes in the Bible. You yourself may be able to find lots of verses with numbers in them. Numerology attempts to explain the meaning of these numbers to see what God may be telling us by using them. However, nowhere are we taught to look for systems of numbers in the scripture much less told what those numbers signify. The Bible is supposed to be authoritative. Yet, when we start looking for numerical patterns, the best anyone is doing is guessing.
The truth is numerologists can find whatever they want in the Bible. The Bible is a huge book, and once someone begins adding up and dividing numbers they are bound to find some types of patterns. This would happen with any long book – like a dictionary or encyclopedia. If you look hard enough or manipulate the numbers well, patterns can be constructed anywhere. At this point it really transforms form being a student of the Bible to being a conspiracy theorist.
There is only one place that may have some legitimate play in numerology, and that is the mark of the beast in Revelation. However that one piece of scripture doesn’t give us further authority to start messing around with other numbers in the Bible. When we add up Bible Verses in an effort to find hidden meanings, we are taking authority away from God’s Word.
Many Christians that use numerology do so because they think that it proves that God's Word is divine, but you don't need numerology to prove that God's Word is perfect. Fulfilled prophecy, historical accuracy, and longevity would all be more helpful than numerology, but even these are unnecessary. The biggest evidence that God's Word is breathed out by God is the fact that God's Word breathes life into those who hear it.
When people try and convince you that numerology is of importance, remember that you should lean on God instead. There is no need to try and use numbers to predict your future, or decode some secret meanings in the Bible. God is already planning you great things for your life, and He has nothing to hide.