What is perfection? I have heard that the numbers 7 and 12 are perfect numbers.


What is perfection? I have heard from many teachers over the years that the numbers 7 and 12 represent perfection or completeness. Being a numbers and math nerd, this intrigued me. But none of these teachers cared to be so bold to speculate why God might pick these numbers to represent perfection. However, these teachers gave many examples from the Bible.  Here are a few examples.

There are 12 tribes of Israel, 12 months in a year, 12 apostles, 12 hours of daylight, and 12 spies sent to explore Canaan (Numbers 13:1-15). Many more examples of twelves can be found in the Book of Revelation.

There are seven days in a week (Genesis 2:2), seven branches of the Menorah lampstand in the tabernacle (Exodus 37:17-24), and seven colors in the rainbow (Genesis 9:13). Israel marched around Jericho seven times while seven priests blew seven horns before the walls came crashing down (Joshua 6:3-4). There are seven annual holy feast days observed under the Law of the Sinai Covenant (Leviticus 23) and Paul lists seven unity statements (Ephesians 4:4-6).

Jesus spoke seven utterances from the cross, concluding with “It is finished” (John 19:30). Since the number seven and the Hebrew word for “oath” are closely connected, Jesus could be interpreted as saying “It (the oath) is now complete“. God fulfilled His promise.

Still, why these two numbers? I have my own theory. I’ve never seen this written or heard it taught. So, if this is wrong, blame me. The connection between seven and twelve are the numbers three and four. Seven equals three plus four (3 + 4) and twelve equals three times four (3 x 4). Three, of course, represents God (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). They are three in one. Four represents man and woman. Men and women have four limbs (two arms and two legs). We live on a planet with four corners (N, S, E, W). The Israelite camp was divided into four parts when camping around the Tabernacle (Numbers 2: 1-34). And the river coming out of Eden, the birth place of man and woman, divided into four rivers (Genesis 2:10).

Therefore, when God and any person come together it is perfection. That is to say, God and man or woman in relationship is perfection.  And when Jesus, our perfect savior, was sacrificed on the cross this relationship with God was made possible. Perfection!