I’m sure each number in the Word of God has great significance. Many books have been written on that topic, including a great one I had in a college course years ago. But during these last few years, as I’ve read the Bible, I’ve been stunned by the way the number 17 pops up over and over.
This week, it all started with my friend and creation science mentor, Dr. Henry Morris’s notes at Psalm 23 in the New Defender’s Study Bible (KJV) at Psalm 23:3 at the words “my soul.” His note says that there are 17 occurrences of the personal pronoun (I, me, etc.) in these six verses, all speaking of the absolute confidence of the “sheep” in his “good shepherd.” Similarly, the word “sheep” is used 17 times in the great New Testament parable of the sheep and the shepherd (John 10:1-30), again speaking of the sheep’s perfect security in the shepherd’s care. On the significance of the number 17 as associated with our security in Christ, see note on John 21:11.
THAT caught my attention! I next went to John 21:11 where his note says, “an hundred and fifty and three.” The reason why the disciples were careful to count, and John was careful to record the number of fishes brought to shore must again involve symbolism. There seems no other reason for it. It has been calculated that there were 153 distinct nations in the world at the time of Christ. The number is not much different at present. These were represented at Pentecost by 17 ethnic, when the disciples first began to carry out the Great Commission, preaching to the world in miniature, as it were. groups (See Acts 2:8-11.)
The number 17 is also symbolic when all the numbers are added up through 17 (that is, 1+2+3+…+16+17), they add up to 153. Furthermore, the digits in 153 (i.e., 1+ 5 + 3) add to 9, which when multiplied by 17, again makes 153. It is also interesting that there are three digits in the number, and if each is multiplied by itself three times, then the total once again adds to 153. That is: (1X1X1)+(5X5X5)+(3X3X3)=153. There seems no other number that could possibly be more appropriate to represent all the peoples of the world than this number, and it is surely more than coincidence (in fact, providential) that the Creator saw to it that exactly 153 great fishes entered the “gospel net.”
Well, being a former math teacher, I’m hooked! Over the years while reading Dr. Morris’s notes, things in God’s Word keep getting my attention. It is like I have found even more gold!
Like many gold strikes, I’m sure I’ve just discovered the outcropping of a vein of truth that runs deep, maybe even forever! The few nuggets I have found so far excite me! You are encouraged to send me things you find as well!
Here, from my eclectic mind, are the random nuggets in no particular order. I think I have the numbers right, but this is a work in progress. Please be understanding as you help me dig in this gold mine.
1. The Genesis account records God speaking 17 times.
2. There are 17 Old Testament books of prophecy.
3. In Job 1:12, God spoke 17 words that allowed Satan to go after Job, change Job’s life, and enter Job in history forever!
4. Jeremiah bought the field for 17 shekels (Jeremiah 32:9). Could this have something to do with God’s promise of getting the land back?
5. Henry Morris’s notes at Pro. 1:8: “My son.” In the first nine chapters of Proverbs there are 17 specific “lessons” (1:8, 10, 15; 2:1; 3:1, 11, 21; 4:1, 10, 20; 5:1, 7; 6:1, 20; 7:1, 24; 8:32) each beginning with either “my son,” or “hear ye children,” always emphasizing the importance of heeding the words of the teachings.”
6. On the 17th day of the month the flood started (Gen. 7:11) and the ark rested on the 17th day of the 7th month (Gen. 8:4).
7. There are three very interesting pages of notes about the numbers “7” and “ten” and the way they are often combined in Appendix 19 on pages 2134-2136 of the New Defender’s Bible Study Bible.
8. There are 17 things that cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:35-39).
9. There are 17 “works of the flesh” in Gal. 5:19-21 and 9 (the middle number) fruits of the spirit in verse 22-23.
10. “Joy” or “rejoicing” occurs 17 times in Philippians.
11. I, II, and III John use “witness” or the equivalent 17 times.
12. In Revelation 13:1, seven heads and ten horns (17) were all controlled by the beast.
13. The angel spoke 51 words (3×17) to Peter.
14. Joseph was 17 when he was sold into slavery (Genesis 37:2).
15. Jacob lived in Egypt 17 years (Genesis 47:28).
16. I was 17 when I met my wife and she was 17 when we got married!
17. It appears from the data given that David was 17 when he slew Goliath in I Samuel 17. It looks like David had 17 wives.
That’s just the number 17 on the surface. If you do some digging and find more, please write and let me know. This could be like a Wikipedia project where everyone gets to contribute—that is unless you try to correct all the lies about Kent Hovind on Wikipedia! Wikipedia claims that the facts on that site can be edited by anyone. HA! Try to change Kent Hovind’s and see what happens! Oh, well. Rejoice when they say all manner of evil against you falsely…(Matthew 5:12-13). So… PRAISE GOD!