God’s Orchestration and Purpose For Numbers...
And his tail drags the third of the stars of the heaven, and he casts them to the earth. And the dragon stands before the woman about to give birth, that whenever she should give birth, he should devour her child.
In Revelation 12:4 we’re presented with a dilemma. When reading this verse and seeing how Satan (the dragon) maliciously sweeps away a large group of God’s angels, how is it possible that exactly “One Third” of these divine beings fell from God’s presence? Could it be that God’s gift of freewill and freedom of choice is nonexistent? And if this is true, could it be that this event was precisely planned and choreographed by God? And what exactly was the reason of this downfall in the first place, causing so many angels to be involved?
In spite of the fact that it appears God may have scripted the event referenced with no other variables permitted, the plain and simple truth is, He did not. As a loving Father and gracious Creator, God has always allowed freedom of choice to those whom He has allotted life. And this holds true, no matter whether our life choices be good or bad.
God’s true intent with giving us this verse is to give us insight into something valuable. But the problem is, we don’t completely apprehend the message being relayed, nor do we fully grasp the number associated with it. So in order to disclose what’s being implied, we must rely on God for an explanation and remember that every thought, idea, and concept included within Scripture is described by Him.
Now, when taking into account the vast extent of angels involved in such a downfall, the simple explanation is that God does not rationalize, or use, numbers in the same manner as we do. When we think of a “Third”, we automatically get a mental picture of a mark referenced on a number line or a pie chart plotting out 33%. We perceive this number as it equates to an amount that can be physically counted and set within an established worldly boundary. But God’s definition of “Third” is much different. As with all numbers He implements, the “Third” is targeted more towards a spiritual aspect and defines a place under His Kingdom relating toward His people and a step of faith achieved through belief. In other words, God’s definition of “Third” is not just an impersonal number, but rather, represents an act of coming before Him in sincerity and humbleness as one of His devoted children. Thus, the word “Third” can effortlessly be replaced by a definition of “God’s People”, or “Place of God”.
To better demonstrate this idea and how we might derive this concept, let’s consider a couple examples. In Mark 14:58, Jesus speaks of raising His Temple on the “Third” Day… and in Exodus 19:11, it mentions being prepared for the Lord on the “Third” Day. Then, in 2 Kings 20:5, the author talks of being healed through prayer and ascending into the house of God within the same referenced time frame. Daniel 5:1-29 is another account where Daniel asks God for wisdom in order to give Belshazzar the interpretation of a handwritten message which mysteriously appears on the wall. As Daniel was accustomed to praying “Three Times” a day (Dan. 6:10), we are taught how his devotion and praise of God resulted in great knowledge and allowed him to disclose an answer for the king’s vision. As a result, and in reward for accomplishing this, Daniel was placed “Third” within the kingdom indicating a sign of authority and honor.
Time and again, the number “Three” is represented by a godly trait that falls directly in line with a God-fearing people. The simple and clear meaning behind this reverent number, however, may be best disclosed within Zech. 13:9 where the “Third” is clearly defined as “God’s People” and represents those who have been refined and purified to call upon God’s Name even amidst the fires and trials of life.
Zec 13:9 And I shall lead the Third part through fire, and I will purify them as [is fired silver], and I will try them as [is tried gold]. He will call upon my name, and I will heed him. And I will say, this is my people. And he shall say, The LORD is my God.
Investigating further into the mystery of Rev. 12:4, we can also determine that the “Stars” being referred to, just as the “Third, also speak of God’s Children. From passages like Deut. 1:10, we see how God refers to His people as the “Stars of Heaven, and from inclusions like this, it helps to give a more targeted definition of who these angels really are.
As is easily seen, references to the “Third” abound within Scripture and every inclusion consistently gives the impression of being noted as something special that sets it apart from conventional layman numbers and everyday thinking. Consequently, and in each of these cases, the word “Third” has nothing to do with percentage, but instead, talks about an established place of faith in one’s walk with God. And this importance can never be stressed enough. For next to God's Two Witnesses of His Divine Word and Holy Spirit which testify to our soul, we become a viable “Third” witness on earth in doing God’s will and spreading the Gospel to others.
God’s purpose conveyed in Rev. 12:4 has no relevance unless we listen to and heed its warning. For the angels mentioned there are not those who were already established and permanently assigned to heaven’s borders… these angels are the “Third” who live upon earth, presently taking steps toward reaching heaven. They are those who have received honor and God’s blessing in heaven (Luke 3:22, 2Peter 1:17) by allowing Jesus to live within, while yet doing His work upon earth.
And on that message we should be concerned. For the other half of the equation in understanding Rev. 12:4 relates to the spiritual and re-emphasizes a warning that is directed straight toward us. For if we are those angels doing God’s work, then we are also subject to being swept away by Satan. This should sound a trumpet as it demonstrates that no one is immune to Satan’s attacks and that the devil is always right there attempting to lead us astray. And if we believe that this is impossible, and falling from God’s grace is inconceivable, then prophets like Amos, Paul, and Jude would have no reason for alerting us of others who wandered from the truth, or stars who have failed to listen to God’s Commands (Amos 8:12; 1Titus 5:13; Jude 1:13).
And upon this point is where Rev. 12:4 shines forth in knowledge. For it cradles another ambiguous word, which, without taking the time to investigate, makes it impossible to fully comprehend. That word is “Tail”, and though we would typically pass right over it without a second glance, God has given us a detailed description of this seemingly insignificant term.
Turning to Isaiah 9:15, we quickly find that a “Tail” is quite plainly described as a “Lying Prophet”. In other words, this “Tail” is not just a fleshly extremity that happens to be positioned towards the rear quarters of the dragon’s physique, but rather distinguishes a hind-most part of deception coming forth as a cancerous growth upon God’s Truths. In translating the gravity of its message and what it distinguishes within God’s Kingdom, this “Tail” could be a teacher, minister, or even a friend speaking carelessly about God, while falsely misinforming others about God’s Word, and who has never bothered to learn His Truths.
And if a person’s main objective in speaking about God is self-gain, stature, or monetary compensation, then they have stepped over a threshold of which they should have never stepped. Masquerading under false pretenses, they deceive themselves and others, while bringing forth a great abomination before God (Mat. 24:15; Mark 13:14) in lies and mistruths as a pride of social status (Luke 16:15) dominates their purpose and precedence. Rest certain though, along with with all the other money changers taking up residence in God’s Temple, they will most assuredly be driven out (John 2:14-15).
Recognizing this abomination and returning to Rev. 12:4, we find that the dragon’s “Tail” is, in actuality, the devil’s way of spreading falsities and deceptions in order to lead God’s angels astray. Hence, the overall tone of this message applies closer to home, and relays a warning we’ve heard many times prior as it speaks of Satan deceiving none other than us, God’s Children. And by tearing us from the truth, the devil’s purpose rings quite clear, as we can no longer be that viable “Third” witness or God. Inevitably, we fall from God in not doing His will.
Though there is a much more detailed explanation embedded within Rev. 12:4 concerning the spiritual birth of God’s Children unto the woman mentioned there, a great deal more time and a considerable degree more learning is required to fully comprehend. Then again… such is the case with all Scripture. But when it comes to searching for that immense wealth of knowledge concerning numbers, “Three” and “Third” are no exception. For what applies to them, applies to ALL numbers. Each and every one relates a spiritual concept, held within a spiritual Book, designed by a Spiritual Being. And although the worldly aspect is easily viewed and can be applied to nearly every number included, within the arena of the spiritual, they specify something far greater than we could ever attain through trivial methods of counting, searching out census records, or calculating statistical figures.
Every integer and digit is a part of God’s great design which has been perfectly transcribed by wise and submissive prophets who understood the significance of God’s intentions and flawlessly recorded them in accordance with His directive. And as each number outlines a virtue of faith, our souls should search for that one true place within God’s kingdom, to not just be another meaningless number, but instead, to undertake a journey where our purpose includes becoming a steadfast witness and an intricate part of God’s “Third”.
NOTE: For all of those interested in obtaining a copy of this post for reference or further Bible Study, it can be downloaded as an e-Sword Topic Notes Module via this Link.