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What Is the Number 56 Meaning in the Bible?

What Is the Number 56 Meaning in the Bible?

The number 56 is mentioned several times in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments.

But what is the deeper spiritual meaning and significance behind this number?

In this article, we’ll explore the symbolism of the number 56, analyzing several Bible verses where it appears, its connection to the number 7, and what it may represent in terms of biblical numerology.

We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about what 56 means in the Bible. Read on to discover the multiple layers of meaning behind this intriguing number.

Meaning and Symbolism of the Number 56

The number 56 refers to two key ideas in the Bible:

  1. A quantity of particular things – 56, whether years, men, cities, etc., denotes a large number or sum.
  2. The multiplication of 7 and 8 – 56 is a multiple of 7 (7 x 8) and as such, points toward the spiritual symbolism of the number 7 along with the numerology of 8.

The number 7 signifies fullness, spiritual perfection, completion, and the work of God.

While the number 8 is connected to new beginnings, resurrection, salvation, and the person of Jesus Christ.

Together, 56 represents a large amount connected with spiritual perfection, new beginnings, and salvation.

Let’s look at several ways this numerical symbolism plays out in biblical passages.

How the Number 56 Appears in the Bible

Here are key Bible verses that mention the number 56, along with analysis of their meaning:

56 Years – Exile in Babylon

2 Chronicles 36:20-21

“He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.”

These verses reference the length of the Jewish exile in Babylon at 56 years (70 total years minus the 14 years between the first capture and final destruction of Jerusalem).

This span points to a large but incomplete period of judgment (70 years full punishment) and signifies an imperfect captivity.

The number 56 is one phase along the path to the fullness of punishment for Israel’s disobedience.

It also indicates a specific time when “the land enjoyed its sabbath rests”, suggesting 56 marks a period appointed by God to bring spiritual refreshment amidst judgment.

56 Men in Acts 27

Acts 27:37

“Altogether there were 276 of us on board.”

The 276 aboard Paul’s storm-tossed ship included the 56 crew members spared in the account along with all the prisoners and soldiers (plus Paul).

56 here refers to a defined quantity of men – a relatively small amount.

Again, the presence of 7 as a factor (8 x 7) may point to God’s provision and protection amidst a time of “new beginnings” (sea voyage) and salvation (all saved from shipwreck).

56 Cities for Tribe of Israel

1 Chronicles 2:22-23

“Segub the father of Jair, who had twenty-three cities in the land of Gilead…But Geshur and Aram captured Havvoth Jair, as well as Kenath with its surrounding settlements–sixty towns.”

This passage references 56 cities (60 minus the 4 mentioned) captured from the Israelite tribe of Gilead by enemy armies.

The number represents a large amount of geographic territory and centers of population lost in battle.

It signifies incomplete inheritance and conquest as the promised land was overrun.

56 As Measure of Valued Gemstone (Jasper)

Exodus 28:20

“and the fourth row shall be a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold filigree.”

The specific dimensions of the sparkling jasper gem adorning the priest’s breastplate is described in detail in this and surrounding verses.

The number 56, as part of these dimensions, quantifies the value and beauty of the stone.

It signals God’s attention to precision and splendor in aspects of both earthly and spiritual realms.

As with other examples, 56 combnes with 7 (another dimension was 4 fingers or 7 handbreadths wide) to reflect the completion and perfection of God’s detailed creative work.

Connection Between 56 and the Number 7

As highlighted in the preceding passages, 56 has close ties to the number 7, which signifies spiritual perfection.

How is this numerical connection shown in Scripture?

  1. Mathematical – The number 56 is a multiple of 7 (7 x 8). Numerologically it blends the meanings of both numbers.
  2. Scriptural – The Bible associates 56 together with 7 in the dimensions of the jasper breastpiece gem (Ex. 28:20) and in totaling the 70 year exile, of which 56 were spent in Babylon (2 Chron. 36:20-21).
  3. Symbolic – Because 7 represents completion, the joining of 56 and 7 conceptually links the significance of a large amount or time period that is marked out and appointed by God, but not yet entirely fulfilled.

What Does 56 Mean in Terms of Biblical Numerology?

In the study of biblical numbers, 56 represents:

  1. Large quantity – As a composite number comprised of multiples of 2, 7, and 8, 56 symbolizes a divinely appointed large sum, whether of years, men, cities, dimensions, etc.
  2. Incompleteness moving toward completion (7) – The 56-year portion of Israel’s exile and the capturing of 56 cities from Gilead demonstrate that while setting apart an ordained amount, 56 indicates remaining phases required to reach spiritual perfection and completion.
  3. Spiritually significant new beginnings (8) – The multiple mathematical connections between 56 and the numbers 7 and 8 link it to the profound concepts of spiritual fullness, resurrection, salvation, and a new era marked out by God for divine blessing.

Frequently Asked Questions About 56 in the Bible

Here are answers to some of the most often asked questions about the biblical meaning of the number 56:

What is the spiritual meaning of 56?

The spiritual meaning of 56 centers on large quantities and time periods appointed by God that, while not achieving completion or perfection, are moving in that prophetic direction according to His divine plans.

Why is 56 linked to 70 and 7 in the Bible?

The association of 56 with 70 (years of exile) and 7 (dimensions of a gemstone) connects 56 mathematically and conceptually to symbols of spiritual perfection, completion, and new beginnings working toward God’s intended finish line.

What other numbers is 56 related to in the Bible?

In addition to 7 and 70, 56 has connections to numbers like 4 (dimensions), 23 (cities captured), 60 (total towns), 276 (men aboard Paul’s ship), and 8 (56 breaks down into 7 x 8). Exploring these numerical relationships sheds more light on its metaphoric biblical meanings.

What verses mention the number 56?

Key Bible passages that include the number 56 are: 2 Chronicles 36:20-21 (56 years of exile), 1 Chronicles 2:22-23 (56 cities captured), Acts 27:37 (56 crewmen spared from shipwreck), and Exodus 28:20 (56 as dimension of breastpiece gemstone).

Why does 56 sometimes symbolize incompleteness?

The capturing of 56 cities and 56 years spent in exile before returning to the promised land demonstrate that while God appoints an exact time period or amount, 56 can signify remaining phases still needed until reaching the threshold of promised blessing and spiritual fruition.

Conclusion – More Than Just a Number

Far from being randomly used, the number 56 in Scripture often conveys deeper theological truth. It consistently embodies large but incomplete amounts culminating in representations of spiritual perfection.

The multiplicity of 56 crosses paths with other symbolic numbers like 7, 4, and 70, providing narrative puzzles for Bible readers to piece together.

At the same time, the lives and events connected to 56 number occurrences tap into profound biblical themes of judgment giving way to salvation, slavery yielding freedom, defeat overtaken by victory, and exile transformed into homecoming.

By understanding the spiritual implications behind the Bible’s numerical language, we can better grasp the covenant faithfulness and precision of God as He works out His redemptive plan.

So next time you come across 56 in biblical stories or prophetic writings, consider it more than just a number!

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