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3 – Three: Perfection, Emphasis, Completeness


THREE

(PERFECTION, EMPHASIS, COMPLETENESS)

According to the Biblical numerology, three stands for perfection, emphasis (superlative like Holy, Holy, Holy meaning Most Holy) or completeness. Number three appears 467 times in the Bible and is the first of the four numbers that stand for spiritual perfection (3, 7, 10 and 12). Examples of the importance of three in the Bible are:

OLD TESTAMENT
– Though God is one, there are three persons in Him.
– Jesus asked the disciples to baptize the new converts “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19).
– There were three righteous patriarchs before (Abel, Enoch and Noah) and the three righteous “fathers” after the deluge (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob).
– Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen 6:10) from whom the post deluge people emerged.
– Three divine men appeared to Abraham (Gen 18:2).
– Jonah was inside the belly of a great fish for three days and three nights (Jon 2:1).
– God called Prophet Samuel thrice (1 Sam 3:8).
– The heavenly hosts acclaim God “Holy, holy, holy” (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8).
– Jeremiah repeated “land” thrice (Jer 22:29).
– The contents of the Ark of the Covenant were three: “the gold jar containing the manna, the staff of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant” (Heb 9:4).
– The major feasts of the Israelites were three: Passover, Pentecost, and Feast of Tabernacles.
– Daniel had the “custom of going home to kneel in prayer and give thanks to his God in the upper chamber three times a day, with the windows open toward Jerusalem” (Dan 6:11).

NEW TESTAMENT
– The Magi presented three gifts to Infant Jesus: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Mt 2:11).
– The Holy Family comprised three members: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
– Jesus successfully overcome three temptations (Mt 4:1-11).
– Jesus took three disciples (Peter, James, and John) to witness special events (like the Mount of Transfiguration, rising of Jairus’ daughter, and to the Garden of Gethsemane).
– Jesus spent over three years for his public ministry and training his disciples.
– Jesus prayed thrice in the Gethsemane and requested thrice his three disciples to join him (Mt 26:36-46; Mk 14:32–42; Lk 22:39–46).
– Peter denied his relationship with Jesus thrice (Lk 22:54-62; Jn 18:15-27).
– Jesus was crucified at the third hour of the day at 9:00 A.M. (Mk 15:25).
– Jesus was fixed on the cross with three nails.
– Two criminals were crucified with Jesus numbering three crosses.
– There were three hours of darkness from noon to 3:00 P.M. while Jesus was on the cross (Lk 23:46).
– Jesus died on the cross at 3:00 P.M. (Mk 15:34; Mt 27:46).
– Jesus rose from the dead on the third day (Lk 24:7; 1 Cor 15:4).
– Peter expressed his love of Jesus three times when Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection (Jn 21:15-19).
– Jesus ascended to the third heaven that is the abode of God (2 Cor 12:2).
– The Holy Spirit came on the disciples on the day of Pentecost at the third hour of the day (Acts 2:15).
– Paul’s concluding words of blessing comprises a Trinitarian formula: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).
– John in his revelation present the Lord as the one “who is and who was and who is to come” (Rev 1:4).
– “Woe!” is repeated thrice in Revelation (8:13).
– Three angles make declarations in Revelation (14:6-16).

REFLECTION

People doubt why we repeat some prayers and religious gestures three times. That becomes meaningful when we understand the Biblical importance of number three.


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