The number 22 holds special meaning in scripture. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The number 22 in the Bible is often associated with disorder, chaos, and judgment.
In this comprehensive article, we will explore the symbolic significance of the number 22 throughout the Bible. We’ll look at key passages and verses that feature this number, analyzing what it represents in biblical numerology.
The Number 22 in the Old Testament
Genesis Chapter 11 – The Tower of Babel
The number 22 is significant in Genesis 11, which tells the story of the Tower of Babel. This chapter starts by telling us the whole world spoke one language and worked together to build a tower that reaches to the heavens. God was not pleased with the prideful motivations behind this endeavor.
As a result, God confounded their language into 70 different languages and scattered the people all over the earth.
The Tower of Babel story emphasizes the power of human collaboration, but also the danger of unchecked human pride. God limits the potential of human construction by introducing division through language. The number 70 symbolizes the diversity of languages created.
The number 22 relates to this story in two ways:
- There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. With language divided, different writing systems emerged.
- The total generations from Adam to Jacob is 22. The division of languages separated humanity into distinct people groups.
So the number 22 connects to the origin of diverse languages and the differentiation of humanity into tribes and nations. The universal human race was divided and changed fundamentally after the Tower of Babel. Studying ancient languages and archeology continues to shed light on early human history.
1 Kings Chapter 11 – The End of Solomon’s Reign
First Kings Chapter 11 records the decline of King Solomon. At the start of his reign, Solomon was renowned for his wisdom and wealth. But in his later years, Solomon’s many foreign wives turned his heart from the Lord to false gods.
As punishment, God told Solomon he would tear the kingdom from him, leaving just one tribe for the sake of his father David. This came to pass when Solomon died and his son Rehoboam became king. The ten northern tribes rebelled and formed the separate nation of Israel, while the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained under Rehoboam’s rule.
The number 22 relates to this chapter in the following ways:
- Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel for 40 years (1 Kings 11:42). Forty is made up of 10 x 4. The kingdom split into 10 tribes and 2 tribes after Solomon.
- Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). 1,000 is made up of 10 x 10 x 10. Again, the kingdom divided into 10 and 2.
- The 22nd chapter in 1 Kings is when the prophet Ahijah tells Jeroboam he will rule over 10 tribes (1 Kings 11:31). The number 22 marks the prophecy of division.
So the number 22 signifies the fractioning of a united kingdom into rival northern and southern nations. This fracture was a turning point in Israel’s history that led to centuries of strife before the people were reconciled.
The Number 22 in the New Testament
Revelation Chapter 13 – The Beast’s Number
In the book of Revelation, the number 666 is famously known as the “number of the beast” (Revelation 13:18). Interesting to note is that the number 22 is related: In gematria, which assigns numerical values to letters, 666 is equal to the 22nd triangular number.
This connection suggests there may be spiritual symbolism in 22 relating to the end times conflict between God and evil forces as depicted in Revelation. Though the meaning is not spelled out, seeing 22 in personal experience may signify events unfolding according to Bible prophecy.
The 22 Books of the New Testament Canon
The New Testament canon as we know it today contains exactly 22 books, covering the four Gospels, Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation. This number reflects divine order and completeness regarding inspired Scripture on Christ’s life and the early Church.
The establishment of the New Testament documents was a extended historical process. But their final canonical acceptance demonstrates that “the number 22” ultimately played a role. God providentially superintended the process that resulted in 22 writings to sufficiently tell the story He wanted conveyed.
So when we encounter “22”, we can remember there are 22 inspired accounts that comprise the New Testament record and carry divine authority for Christian living.
The Significance of 22 in Biblical Numerology
22 as a Representation of Disorder and Chaos
The number 22 holds great significance in biblical numerology. It is often associated with disorder, chaos, and judgment.
In the Bible, 22 represents a disorganization of systems and order. According to some scholars, it signifies imperfection, disorder, and unrest. For example, the 22nd book of the Bible is the Song of Songs, which some view as out of place given its secular nature.
The 22nd chapter of Genesis describes the disintegration of Abraham’s family. In 2 Kings, chapter 22 depicts King Josiah’s disruption of the status quo religious practices.
The number 22 also relates to judgment and turmoil. In Revelation, the 22nd and final chapter points to the final judgment. The 22nd verse of Luke 11 shows Jesus casting out a demon, representing spiritual judgment. Overall, the number 22 conveys a sense of necessary destruction before renewal.
The Number 22 and Judgment
Beyond disorder and chaos, the number 22 also carries themes of judgment in biblical numerology.
There are 22 books in the Hebrew Bible, reflecting Judaism’s canon. This demonstrates God’s judgment and organization. The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet also represent God’s creative power. In Kabbalah, 22 is linked with the judgment of man’s sins.
Some associate 22 with judgment because it is double 11, which represents transgression of God’s laws. The 22 chapters of Revelation detail God’s final judgment. Abraham’s pleading for Sodom highlights 22 as an important number – he begged God not to destroy the city if 22 righteous people lived there.
The 22nd book of Revelation has 22 chapters. It is the last word of God, emphasizing final judgment. Overall, 22 represents the completion of God’s wrath and judgment.
In summary, while not frequently mentioned, the number 22 carries important symbolic meaning in the Bible. It is often associated with chaos, disturbance, and judgment. Key passages featuring this number reinforce these themes and reveal the significance of 22 in biblical numerology.