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  #1  
Old Oct 25, '06, 12:34 pm
Mommyof02green's Avatar
Mommyof02green Mommyof02green is offline
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Default What is the meaning of the number 24?

I know that in the Bible different numbers have different meaning.
Examples being:

3- everything perfect. "Jesus rising on the 3rd day"
7- makes everything complete. "7 days of creation"
12- universal completeness. If you have 12 of anything you have all of it. --12 tribes of Israel.

The number 144,000 in Rev 7:4 is 12x12x1000 and from what I read and understand it signifies completeness or totality. It was never meant to be taken literally.

So my questions is what is the meaning behind the number 24 in this passage from Revelation?????
Quote:
Revelation 5:7-9 He came and received the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones. They sang a new hymn: "Worthy are you to receive the scroll and to break open its seals, for you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. (NAB)
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  #2  
Old Oct 25, '06, 12:46 pm
davidv davidv is offline
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Default Re: What is the meaning of the number 24?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommyof02green View Post
I know that in the Bible different numbers have different meaning.
Examples being:

3- everything perfect. "Jesus rising on the 3rd day"
7- makes everything complete. "7 days of creation"
12- universal completeness. If you have 12 of anything you have all of it. --12 tribes of Israel.

The number 144,000 in Rev 7:4 is 12x12x1000 and from what I read and understand it signifies completeness or totality. It was never meant to be taken literally.

So my questions is what is the meaning behind the number 24 in this passage from Revelation?????
I am currently in a Catholic Scripture Study of Revelation. Our leader, Jeff Cavins, offered this explanation of the 24. 12 for the twelve tribes representing the old covenant and 12 for the twelve appostles representing the new covenant - both joined in worship at the eternal banquet of heaven.
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Last edited by davidv; Oct 25, '06 at 12:46 pm. Reason: corrected spelling
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  #3  
Old Oct 25, '06, 12:48 pm
VociMike VociMike is offline
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Default Re: What is the meaning of the number 24?

First let me be very clear -- I don't know.

But, I'd like to go with the two ideas that were floated in the other thread, because I think they all tie together very nicely. Using the concept of 24 = 12 + 12:

1) The 12 tribes of Israel (that is, all the Jews) and the 12 tribes of the gentiles (that is, all the gentiles).

2) The 12 tribes of Israel (that is, all of God's people before the coming of Christ) and the 12 apostles (that is, all of God's people after the coming of Christ).

#1 represents all believers geographically. It represents God calling the entire world.

#2 represents all believers throughout time. It represents the entire history of God and humanity.

Now, we can even do a little symbolic artwork:


...1 2
....|
12--+--12
....|
....|
...1 2



Here we have all believers throughout the world, united by Christ and His cross, and we have all believers throughout history, united by Christ and His cross. So 24 represents all believers in time, and all believers throughout the world, and that Christ draws them all to Himself.
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Old Oct 25, '06, 1:01 pm
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Mommyof02green Mommyof02green is offline
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Default Re: What is the meaning of the number 24?

Okay now I have 2 more questions:

1) Is the term Apostles and Gentiles interchangeable?? In the VoiceMike post he said first: tribes of Israel and the gentiles second: tribes of Israel and Apostles. So are the terms interchangeable or is there double meaning like the women in chapter 12???? The women in Chapter 12 can be seen as Mary and/or it can be seen as the Church.

2) I understand and interpret the Elders to be the "Saints". So does 24 Elders mean all the Saints?????
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  #5  
Old Oct 25, '06, 1:54 pm
VociMike VociMike is offline
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Default Re: What is the meaning of the number 24?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mommyof02green View Post
Okay now I have 2 more questions:

1) Is the term Apostles and Gentiles interchangeable?? In the VoiceMike post he said first: tribes of Israel and the gentiles second: tribes of Israel and Apostles. So are the terms interchangeable or is there double meaning like the women in chapter 12???? The women in Chapter 12 can be seen as Mary and/or it can be seen as the Church.
I wasn't using them interchangeably. The gentiles represent "the other half of the world", the peoples outside of tribes of Israel. In this case, the 12 tribes of Israel represents God's first chosen people. The apostles represent Christianity, all those believers from the time of Christ. In this case, the 12 tribes of Israel represents all those believers who lived before the time of Christ. Thus the 12 tribes of Israel represent both the people of God (as opposed to all the other people in the world) and the time before the Incarnation. In the symbolism of 24, the 12 tribes of Israel represent both their contribution to the spread of God's people in the world (span, breadth) and to the history of God's people in the world (time).

If you look at the cross figure I drew, imagine the time axis running from bottom to top (bottom = 12 tribes, Judaism; top = 12 apostles, Christianity). Then imagine the "nations of the world" axis running left to right (left = 12 tribes, the Israelites; right = "12 tribes" of gentiles, all the other peoples of the world).

Of course, given how Hebrew is written, maybe I should swap "left" and "right" in the analogy...

Quote:
2) I understand and interpret the Elders to be the "Saints". So does 24 Elders mean all the Saints?????
Makes sense to me.
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  #6  
Old Oct 25, '06, 2:08 pm
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Rolltide Rolltide is offline
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Default Re: What is the meaning of the number 24?

I'm not a Biblical scholar by any means, but I am a historian, and what I can tell you is that the ancient Mesopotamians were among the first peoples on the Earth to do computations and figure out measurements of time. However, unlike our modern society that uses a base-10 system, they used a base-12 system. That system has been passed down to us today in many ways (2 sets of 12 hours in a day, there are 60 seconds and 60 minutes which is 5x12, 12 months, and so on...). The ancient Hebrews were *heavily* influenced by Mesopotamian culture. Abraham himself lived in the region around Ur, one of the earliest Mesopotamian cities. It's likely that there is some sharing of culture going on, and that 12 was important because it would have been considered a round number, just as we like things grouped in tens.
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  #7  
Old Oct 25, '06, 2:39 pm
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Mommyof02green Mommyof02green is offline
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Default Re: What is the meaning of the number 24?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VociMike View Post
I wasn't using them interchangeably.
I didn't think you were. I was just by it all.

You made 2 points about the number 24 the first point being that the number stood for the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 tribes of the gentiles. The second point being that the number stood for the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles. That is why I asked if they were interchangeable or if it was a double meaning similar to the women in Chapter 12.

Quote:
The gentiles represent "the other half of the world", the peoples outside of tribes of Israel. In this case, the 12 tribes of Israel represents God's first chosen people. The apostles represent Christianity, all those believers from the time of Christ. In this case, the 12 tribes of Israel represents all those believers who lived before the time of Christ. Thus the 12 tribes of Israel represent both the people of God (as opposed to all the other people in the world) and the time before the Incarnation. In the symbolism of 24, the 12 tribes of Israel represent both their contribution to the spread of God's people in the world (span, breadth) and to the history of God's people in the world (time).

If you look at the cross figure I drew, imagine the time axis running from bottom to top (bottom = 12 tribes, Judaism; top = 12 apostles, Christianity). Then imagine the "nations of the world" axis running left to right (left = 12 tribes, the Israelites; right = "12 tribes" of gentiles, all the other peoples of the world).
Okay, I think I get it now... the 24 has a double meaning similar to the women in chapter 12. It can be seen as "Judaism" and "Christianity" or it can be seen as "God's chosen people" and "all the other people of the world".

Quote:
Of course, given how Hebrew is written, maybe I should swap "left" and "right" in the analogy...


Quote:
Makes sense to me.
So I take it that you would agree that 24 elders means all the saints. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one that sees it that way.

God Bless.
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