Twelve versus Seven

Sunday Morning’s sermon was very interesting.  It was on the feeding of the four thousand… not to be confused with the feeding of the five thousand.  Yeah – Jesus fed the multitude TWICE with fish and bread.  Only there were some marked differences.  ((Which is why it can’t be construed as a re-telling of the same story, as some would like to think.))

The first was that the crowd was different.  When He fed the FIVE thousand, they were Jews.  When He fed the FOUR thousand, they were Gentiles.  That in itself is pretty dadburn interesting.  His message and His miracles were never just for the Jews… it was for all man.  You, me, him, and her.  That’s reasssuring and encouraging.

Second, it was the little boy’s lunch that fed the FIVE thousand.  Easy for the disciples to give over to the Lord.  But with the FOUR thousand, it was their own food they had to cough up.  It’s a little tougher, then.  This is interesting because Jesus is drawing the disciples further into ministry thru these events.  First they just distributed the food he broke, but now they have a hand in the ingredients of the miracle.  Little did they know that in the not too distant future, they would be working the miracles in the name of the Lord.

Third, was the response of the disciples when asked what should be done about the people’s hunger.  With the FIVE thousand, they said “Send them home”.  With the FOUR thousand, Jesus nips that one in the bud by saying “What shall we do, we can’t send them home, they’ll faint on the way”.  The irony of it is that the first time, they see Jesus feed the multitude with scant food, and the second time, they have *no clue* what to do.  He did it before, yet they don’t seem to remember last time (which was only 3 months past).

But the thing I liked best about this lesson was the baskets.  When the FIVE thousand were fed, there was enough food left over (from 2 fish and a few cakes of bread!) to fill twelve baskets.  But with the FOUR thousand, there was enough to fill seven baskets.  And pastor added that the word ‘basket’ in the story of the FIVE thousand meant a basket the size of a lunchbox.  He said the word ‘basket’ in the story of the FOUR thousand was the same word ‘basket’ used when Paul was lowered over the wall in a ‘basket’.  That’s a BIG BASKET!!

Now, I’m kinda into Biblical numerology.  There is order and pattern to everything God does, from DNA to the feasts to prophecy.  And it’s the same with numbers.  And I looked at the difference – twelve baskets… seven baskets… and saw something I never saw before.  And this is pure Anna, not my pastor, here… ((grins))

Twelve is a very significant number.  There were 12 sons of Israel, 12 sons of Ishmael, 12 priests in Chronicles, 12 stones taken from the Jordan, 12 stones in Elijah’s altar, 12 apostles, 12 disciples, 12 shewbread, 12 gates at the new Jerusalem, and the its walls measure 12 X 12 cubits high and the sides are 12,000 furlongs in length.  Further, it was at the age of 12 boys became men.  Going on all of this (and I’m sure there’s more), twelve seems to be a number of is the number of what is completed, which forms a whole, a perfect and harmonious unit.

Seven is also a very significant number.  7 notes in music, 7 colors in the rainbow, 7 days of the week, 7 feasts, 7 days of creation, 7 words spoken on the cross, 7 requests in the Lord’s prayer, 7 churches of Revelation (a lot more 7s than I want to mention in Revelation…!)  The list goes on and on.  Seven is the number of perfection or the accomplishment of something. 

So your question would be… and your point is…?  Here’s what I saw (and Brian says I should just listen to the pastor and not write so much, or think so much, during sermons):  Twelve baskets left over from the Jewish feeding – one for each disciple, and/or each tribe of the Jews.   It signifies that Jesus completed the picture for the Jews – He fulfilled the law, just as the OT predicted He would.  It’s like a hint to the Jews, only they didn’t get it.  ((Have they ever?))  But the story doesn’t stop there.

With the seven baskets (BIG ONES) of food collected after the feeding, I saw that there was a harvest regarding the Gentiles illustrated here, too.  There are WAY MORE Gentiles than Jews, so of course the baskets would be bigger, no?  And not only that, but the number… it signifies the accomplishment of Christ’s plan being brought to perfection for the Gentiles.  Is that NOT WAY KEWL????

I’m sorry.  I geek easily over this stuff.  I just had to share.  ((blush!))

NoTe:  For those of you who don’t see my frontpage (SIRs), I fiddled with some HTML coding yesterday and put up a really handy, very sleek looking Bible search on the sidebar.  It allows you to search by keyword (ie, ‘conform’ or ‘Judas’) or by passage (Romans 4, Psalm 1:1)… and you can pick your version.  At the moment I only have NIV, KJV, and NASB coded, but I can add versions.  If there’s one you’d like to see – don’t be funny and ask for MSG or something – I can add it for you.  Enjoy!

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