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What Is the Number 4 Meaning in the Bible?

What Is the Number 4 Meaning in the Bible

The number 4 resonates throughout both the Old and New Testaments as a representation of God’s flawless design and intent. Though not exhaustively explored here, the scriptural pattern of four gives modern readers a glimpse into the Almighty’s purpose and message.

God’s Creation in 6 Days, Rested on the 7th

In the Genesis creation narrative, God creates the heavens and the earth in 6 days, resting on the 7th day. This foreshadows the importance of certain numbers, including 4, as having symbolic meaning. The 7 days of creation connect to the number 7 representing spiritual perfection and completion. The 4th day marks an important transition – the creation of the sun, moon and stars which govern times and seasons.

Examples of the Number 4 in the Old Testament

Beyond the Genesis account, the number 4 appears symbolically throughout the Old Testament.

The Four Rivers of Eden

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. (Genesis 2:10)

The four rivers perhaps connect to the four corners of the world, representing God’s provision for the earth through this garden paradise.

Four Faces of God’s Living Creatures

As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle. (Ezekiel 1:10)

These four magnificent faces reflect attributes of God and His creation. They also connect to the four Gospels portraying Christ’s nature: Matthew as the Lion of Judah, Mark the Ox of Service, Luke the Human face of the Son of Man, and John the soaring Eagle of the divine Son of God.

Examples of the Number 4 in the New Testament

The significance of the number 4 continues in the New Testament.

The Four Gospels

The New Testament canon contains four accounts of Christ’s life and ministry. Together they provide a complete testimony of the Savior.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer… And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword… (Revelation 6:2,4)

Out of the seven sealed judgements in Revelation, the first four unleash dreadful horsemen bringing conquest, war, famine and death.

Connection Between 4 and 7 in Biblical Numerology

The numbers 4 and 7 connect throughout Scripture. 7 often represents completion, while 4 suggests creation (4 – earth, matter, 7 – completion).

There are:

  • 4 Gospels / Evangelists
  • 4 Rivers of Eden
  • 4 Horsemen
  • 4 faces of God’s 4 living creatures

Whereas there are 7:

  • Days of Creation
  • Trumpets
  • Bowls of Wrath
  • Seals

So the numbers 4 and 7 work together, with 7 marking the end of 4.

Four Cornerstones

Christ the Chief Cornerstone

Christ embodies the number 4 as the chief cornerstone the builders rejected:

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? (Matthew 21:42)

This connects back to Eden, where the river went out to the 4 corners to water the garden. Jesus provides the living water that quenches eternal thirst.


In Scripture, the number 4 resonates with deeper meaning than may first meet the eye. Like different facets of a diamond flashing brilliant colors, the four Gospels radiate Christ’s nature. The four living creatures glow with divine imagery. The four rivers water all corners of God’s created world. Four horsemen unleash conquest, war, famine and death – only to give way to the Lion and Lamb who is worthy: Jesus, the chief cornerstone.


  • God created the world in 6 days, rested the 7th
  • 4 represents creation, 7 completion
  • Examples in Old Testament: 4 rivers of Eden, 4 creature faces
  • Examples in New Testament: 4 Gospels, 4 Horsemen
  • Christ the rejected cornerstone
  • Throughout Scripture, 4 suggests God’s perfect design

By exploring the symbolic pattern of four in God’s Word, we can grasp richer meaning and insight into His flawless plans and vision for humanity.

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