Listing By Titles Old Testament References New Testament References
Cross Symbol

The Curious Number

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

We sat in our Bible Class studying the trial of Jesus. When our leader mentioned the Sanhedrin, ancient Israel's supreme council of chief priests, scribes and elders, she said the number of them was seventy. Along with the high priest, it was those seventy who were to judge Jesus.

The number seventy instantly brought to mind the seventy that Jesus had sent out earlier to declare His ministry.

    "...the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go...whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house...and heal the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.'" (Luke 10:1-9)

Another example of the number seventy is seen from early into the Old Testament when Moses was anointed to lead the Israelites out of bondage from Egypt and into their promised land. The Lord's directions were for Moses to appoint seventy elders to help him govern the thousands of people in what was to be a 40-year trek across the desert.
    "So the LORD said to Moses; 'Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you.

    Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone." (Numbers 11:16, 17)

Here is another instance: Typical of so many people today when they "wonder as they wander", the Israelites murmured and complained because they could not trust the God who delivered them. Because of their unbelief and disobedience, God allowed them to be held captive by the Babylonians for seventy years of desolation, again in bondage, this time to their king.

    "'And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years..." Jeremiah 25:11)

The examples of the number seventy continue on. Perhaps Jesus' answer to Peter's question will give us more of a clue to the meaning of seventy.
    'Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you: Up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21

How does seventy apply to your life? I leave you with this curious "mystery" for your own contemplation. Allow The Holy Spirit to reveal an understanding which would glorify God in your life.

 Archive Page
© Constance Vanides