Does 5 Mean Death?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Recently, some e-friends and I heard a sermon by an Independent Fundamental Baptist on You Tube. He asserted that 1.) Real men pee standing up (with Bible and verse to support it, and that was the topic of his sermon, I kid you not!) and 2) the number 5 signifies death in the Bible.

Now, I am familiar with the way several numbers are used in Scripture. (6 is the number of creation, and the number of man; 7 is the number of completion; 9 is the number of angels; 40 is the number of repentance; 3 is the number of the Trinity.)

I have never heard that 5 is the number of death. And because I'm a nerd with nothing better to do on Saturday morning, I thought I'd look into it.

Most online sources I looked at say that 5 is the number of Grace. Nowhere could I find 5 is the number of death. (It seems just the opposite). Jesus multiplied 5 loaves and 2 fishes; David killed Goliath with 5 stones, the parable of the talents, the wisest servant was given 5 talents.

I don't know how this squares with Catholic teaching, as there isn't much numerology in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Catholics do have a devotion to the Five Wounds of Jesus, however, and altars are consecrated in 5 places in remembrance of them.

The preacher cited three reasons 5 is associated with death in the Bible:
  • People killed under the 5th rib
  • Genesis 5:5
  • Acts 5:5
So, let's take a look. Scriptures quoted are from the NIV, copy and pasted from BibleGateway.

First, I must add, that the numbering of the Bible is not inspired. The chapter and verse system was introduced hundreds of years (in the 13th century) after the Canon was codified, in order to aid study and exegesis. There really would be no reason to see significance in a verse 5:5, or a verse 6:66 for that matter.

Several people are killed by being stabbed under the fifth rib in the KJV, in 2 Samuel. The NIV translates it simply as "stomach", and the Douay-Rheims calls it a "groin".

Genesis 5:5
Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.
Genesis is full of geneologies noting how old people were when they died. The number 5 doesn't have much to do with it. Other places in Genesis recording people's deaths: 5:8, 5:11, 5:14, 5:17, 5:20... I could go on, but I can't even type all of the non-5 references.

Other verses recording important men's deaths:
Noah - Genesis 9:50
Abraham -Genesis 25:8
Joseph and his brothers (the twelve tribes of Israel) - Exodus 1:6

Acts 5:5
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.

Other deaths in Acts occur at chapter/verse: 5:10, 7:60, 12:23,
Hmm... the numerology doesn't work so well for those.

Some other "5:5" verses in the New Testament -
And Matthew 5:5 is this:
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Mark 5:5
Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
John 5:5
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years

Revelations 5:5
Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.

Nothing to do with death, there, either.

Well, how about the fifth book of the Bible? Deuteronomy 5:5
(At that time I stood between the LORD and you to declare to you the word of the LORD, because you were afraid of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said:
Yeah. Not seeing the connection.

Mama Says:
One doesn't have to add superstition to the Bible in order to make it more meaningful.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 10/18/2008 10:07:00 AM | Permalink | |