The Number 10

There are certain patterns in the Bible or certain themes we run across as we read the story of God’s redemption and grace for humanity. Numbers hold significance and meaning in the Bible. Certain numbers like 3, 7, or 12 may be more well-known numbers from Scripture. But there is another number that holds incredible meaning and holds a pattern throughout the Bible. The number 10. Why is this number significant? Well let’s start with the beginning of the Bible where this number first shows up.

In the Genesis 1 narrative, God directly speaks 10 different times in this poetic narrative. They usually start with the words, “And God said…” or “Then God said..”depending on the version you are reading from. God speaks into existence the entire universe as we know it. Here are the actions he speaks of: 

  1. Let there be light
  2. Let there be an expanse
  3. Let the water be gathered
  4. Let the land produce vegetation
  5. Let there be lights in the sky
  6. Let the waters teem…fish and birds
  7. Let the land produce living creatures
  8. Let us make man in our image
  9. Be fruitful/increase/fill earth/rule
  10. God gives seed-bearing plants and trees of fruit with seeds for food

With these ten phrases, God speaks all of creation into being and creates order. As we will see with the next set of 10, God is going to bring disorder and de-create what he has made with his words. 

In Exodus, Moses is being God’s representative to the people of Israel and trying to save them from Egyptian bondage. Pharaoh is not letting the people go, so God through Moses, is bringin disaster upon Egypt with what we call “plagues”. These plagues destroy land and crops, animals and even humans. It’s a story of God bringing chaos and disorder in a world that He created to be otherwise and of course, there’s 10 plagues. 

  1. Blood of the Nile
  2. Frogs
  3. Gnats
  4. Flies
  5. Livestock
  6. Boils
  7. Hail
  8. Locusts
  9. Darkness
  10. Firstborn

If we look at these closely, we’ll see that every part of creation that we saw in Genesis 1 is being affected.

Light (Day 1 & 4)- Plague of Darkness

Sky (Day 2)- Gnats, Flies, Locusts

Land/ Sea/ Vegetation (Day 3)- Blood in Nile, Hail, Locusts

Fish & Birds (Day 5)- Blood, and Insects

Animals (Day 6)- Livestock, Boils

Humans (Day 6)- All plagues

In these plagues, we see that some of them affect some of the creation order God established. However, all of them affected humans in some way, the most potent being the plague of the firstborn. These plagues are seen as God bringing disorder on His creation to save His people Israel. As we will see in the next set of 10, God reestablishes order. 

The ten commandments are one of the most famous aspects of the Bible. They are quoted everywhere and they are the basis for most law systems in the world. But these ten commandments are more than just laws. After God rescues His people, He gives them these commands that will be with them forever on stone tablets. These commandments are seen as God bringing order to His people so they will remain holy. They hit at the heart of the human condition and of course they are ten. 

  1. No other gods
  2. Do not make or worship idols
  3. Do not misuse the name of the Lord
  4. Remember the Sabbath
  5. Honor your father and mother
  6. Do not murder
  7. Do not commit adultery
  8. Do not steal
  9. Do not lie or make false testimony
  10. Do not covet

The last set of 10 we are going to look at are the ten passages in the gospel of John where Jesus begins with “I Am…”. We did a series on these a while ago but they are always good to revisit. John wants his readers to know that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and prophets and Jesus is everything we need. Here are the ten statements Jesus uses to define Himself. 

  1. I am the bread of life
  2. I am the light of the world
  3. I am the door/gate
  4. I am the good shepherd
  5. I am the resurrection and the life
  6. I am the way, truth, and life
  7. I am the true vine
  8. I AM (John 8:58)
  9. I am he who testifies 
  10. I am he (John 18:4-5)

Jesus claims these things about Himself. He is the life, He is the resurrection, He is everything we could ever want or need. Jesus is the Son of God and He is the way to eternal life. Through this study of the number 10, it all leads to Jesus. Creation, the plagues, and the commandments all lead to Jesus being what we never could and bringing us forgiveness and life. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.