Wisdom, Number, Measure, Hunger, Thirst

(written 9-29-2000)

When we dwell as pedestrians in a land, we behold the scenery from the most intimate detail and perspective, but that very closeness and intimacy in perspective prevents us from seeing symmetry, intention and design on a grander scale, bearing profounder implications. If we ascend to a mountain peak, we lose discernment of much of the finer details, but we can begin to recognize the “lay of the land” and its geography. From an orbiting space station, we can perceive global structure. And from vantage point of another galaxy, we may comprehend cosmic design.

When we seek Divine intention, design, laws, and principles in Nature, we consider NUMBER to be the highest authority of truth. We seek mathematical certainty. Mathematical proof is the hallmark of modern science.

The Bible also associated “wisdom” with “number”. We find “wisdom” and “number” mentioned together in three verses of the King James Bible:

Job 38:37 Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,

Psalms 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Revelation 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

In Job, it is our inability to number and measure creation which exhorts us to humility and surrender to the Divine Will.

In the Psalms, it is the measure of our temporal finitude which gives us pause for the reflection which leads to wisdom.

In the Book of Revelation, it is a precise number which reveals to us that person who is an embodiment of evil.

We never find “wisdom” and “measure” mentioned in the same verse in the Bible, not even in the Books of Apocrypha. Measure is a human activity and not a Divine activity.

We first encounter the word “measure” conjunction with “cubit” in Exodus 26:2 “The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure.” When King Solomon is in the act of consecrating the newly finished Temple, he suddenly exclaims: 1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? ”

A “cubit” is the length of a man’s forearm, which is subjective and variable, not objective, absolute and unchanging.

In Hebrew, cubit is ‘ammah; i.e., “mother of the arm,” the fore-arm, is a word derived from the Latin cubitus, the lower arm. It is difficult to determine the exact length of this measure, from the uncertainty whether it included the entire length from the elbow to the tip of the longest finger, or only from the elbow to the root of the hand at the wrist. The probability is that the longer was the original cubit. The common computation as to the length of the cubit makes it 20.24 inches for the ordinary cubit, and 21.888 inches for the sacred one. This is the same as the Egyptian measurements. A rod or staff the measure of a cubit is called in Judg. 3:16 _gomed_, which literally means a “cut,” something “cut off.” The lxx. and Vulgate render it “span.”

The earliest mention of “measure” is in conjunction with the precise instructions for building the Tabernacle: Exodus 26:2 The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure.

The third mention of “measure” occurs together with the first appearance of the word “unrighteousness” in relation to dishonesty in trade: leviticus 19:35 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.

Mathematicians consider “Number Theory” to be the Queen of all Mathematics. Number Theory deals with such properties of number as Odd or Even, Perfect numbers (which are the sum of their prime factors), and with such properties as “excess” and “deficiency” in multiplication.

The number Nine is a number with several very interesting properties. Nine is a Trinity of Trinities, in the sense that it contains the number three thrice times. In a Greek Orthodox liturgy, the priest or deacon will incense a Bishop NINE times, but the icon of Christ only three times because the Bishop, when vested and serving in his sacerdotal capacity, is considered to be the “Living Icon” of Christ.

Hindus consider NINE to be a divine number, because it may interact with any other number in multiplication, and yet somehow, retain its identity. Two times Nine equals 18, and 1 + 8 = 9. Three times Nine equals 27, and 2+7 = 9. Four times Nine equals 36, and 3 + 6 = 9. So Nine is perfect in this respect, whereas the other numbers are sometimes “excessive” in this respect and other times “deficient”. Two times Seven equals 14, and 1+4=5. Three times Seven equals 21, and 2+1=3. Therefore Seven is deficient in these equations. Three times Five equals 15, and 1+5 = 6. Five times Five equals 25, and 2+5=8. Number Five is excessive in these equations.

If you look at all the sacred scriptures of all the Religions, you will discover that there are only certain sentences or phrases in which is a WHOLE WORLD OF THEOLOGY.

For example, Mother Theresa put Christ’s final words from the Cross, “I thirst”, on her convent wall.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, “I thirst”.

How many times in our lives might we read this verse, and pass it by, not seeing the entire world hidden in two words?

A world hidden in a word is a pearl hidden in a field.

Hidden, amidst all the other verses of the Gospels, “out of context”, is something which opens up a whole world in the mind.

In a certain way, the very nature of our thought processes, is a non-sequitur. Hence, structure and form in writing is, in a sense, illusion, or maya. But we come to think of that ordered “structure” as the nature of reality.

Regarding the “I Thirst” of Mother Theresa, Jallaladin Rumi once said, “Do not seek water, for water is EVERYWHERE! Seek THIRST!” For without the THIRST the water is of no value to you.

In the Psalms, “O Lord, I have thirsted after Thee like a deer in a waterless land.”

I have written the preceding as a prelude to the consideration of the motif of “hunger” and “thirst” in the Scriptures.

It is most curious that there are a total of NINE verses in the entire King James Version which mention “hunger” and “thirst” in the same verse. The word “hunger” always appears first, followed by the word “thirst”.

It is significant that the word hunger should always appear first in these verses. We know that thirst will afflict us much sooner than hunger, and the pangs of thirst are far more intense and severe than hunger pangs. We can endure a much longer period of time without food than we can without fluids. Why is it that Hunger is always mentioned first, and not Thirst? Perhaps “thirst and hunger” is the human order, whereas “hunger and thirst” is the Divine order.

The word “hunger” makes its first appearance in Scriptures (Exodus 16:3) PRIOR TO the first appearance of the word “thirst” (Exodus 17:3 ).

This same consistent word order may be observed in the Apocrypha as well; “hunger” always precedes “thirst”. In the Apocrypha, we also find this most unusual verse: 2 esdras 15:58 “They that be in the mountains shall die of hunger, and eat their own flesh, and drink their own blood, for very hunger of bread, and thirst of water.” We may see in this verse the beginnings of the imagery of the Eucharist.

Because NINE is an ODD number (rather than an EVEN number), there is a mid-most verse, the FIFTH of the verses: 5.) John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

Indeed, this is a most central verse, portraying Jesus as the Bread of Life and the Living Waters.

The first occurance of hunger, (which appears BEFORE the first occurance of THIRST), Exodus 16:3 “And the children of israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

The first occurance of thirst, which inspires murmuring against Moses and God: Exodus 17:3 “And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? ”

We see here the totally Human aspect of hunger and thirst, the fallen nature of humanity, driven by appetites and desires.

The second occurance of “hunger and thirst” is 2.) Nehemiah 9:15 “And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.”

This is the totally Divine aspect of God, who provides food and drink, and sustains all creatures.

The third occurance of “hunger and thirst” is 3.) Isaiah 49:10 “They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.”

Here we see a prefiguring of the Book of Revelation, the New Heaven and New Earth, where there are no more tears, no more hunger or thirst or desire.

The fourth occurance is 4.) matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

We see a UNIFICATION of hunger and thirst as ONE, no longer two, and the object of the desire is no longer physical food and water, but Righteousness. But what or Who is that Righteousness?

The fifth occurance is 5.) John 6:35 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

Remember that this is the MIDDLE-MOST of the nine verses, about which the other eight verses are symmetrically balanced. This verse answers our previous question “Who is that righteousness for which the blessed hunger and thirst.”

We may note that at the Last Supper, or Mystical Supper, the Institution of the Eucharist, Christ offers the broken bread FIRST, and afterwards the Cup. It is logical that the Bread or Body must be broken first, before there is Blood.

The sixth occurance of “hunger and thirst” is 6.) Romans 12:20 “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

This is the fulfillment of seeing the Divine Image of God in all others, even enemies. And it is We, the Mother Theresa, who now assume the role of the God-Man Christ, as we minister unto our enemies and are perhaps rent asunder, bleeding. St. athanasius said “God became man, so that Man might become God”.

The seventh occurance of “hunger and thirst” is 7.) 1 Corinthians 4:11 “Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place”, which is the Disciples/Apostles in “imitation of Christ”, taking up their cross.

The eight occurance is 8.) 2 Corinthians 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

The ninth occurance is 9.) Revelation 7:16 “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.”. Here we see that time and space, heaven and earth, pass away, and all souls dwell in the very fabric of God, which now becomes their space, light, raiment, sustenance and all things. These souls dwell in “the bosom of abraham”.

The verses ‘The Kingdom of God is WITHIN’ and ‘in my Father’s house are many mansions’ are thought provoking verses. I recently learned that it may also be translated “the kingdom of heaven is AMONG you” , which has very different implications.

If we look at the Book of Revelation, in the chapters surrounding ch. 10…. (where it says…’God shall wipe away every tear’)…. we see that THERE SHALL BE TIME NO LONGER (CH 10, verse 6), and “heavens and earth shall be rolled up as a scroll” (no more SPACE).

So, time and space ceases, and God becomes raiment, light, air, food, etc. An image which is faithful to St. Paul’s words, “..in HIM we live and move and have our being–Acts 17:28” and, Acts 17: 27 “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.”

This passage, Ch. 10:6 in Revelation, depicts time and space itself passing away, and all dwell WITHIN God, within the “fabric of God” so to speak.

We do see in the parable of lazarus and the rich man that Lazarus is “in the bosom of Abraham”, which is metaphorical, but supports the notion of what is described in Revelation

What is interesting is that Christianity condemns notions of Pantheism, that God IS the universe; yet in the final analysis, based on what the Book of Revelation describes, God literally BECOMES the Universe, once the Universe passes away.

In light of the above understanding of Revelation, it would seem that the “many mansions” are WITHIN God Himself.

(a reader’s reply):

Interesting study! Indeed

John 4,10

10. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knowest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

11. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; from whence then hast thou that living water?

12. Art thou greater than our father jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

13. Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

14. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (!)

I have come across a nine pointed form of star. It could be called a master blueprint.

The Seal of Solomon (six pointed star) is said to be all time and space.

Is not the manifest universe a great cycle arising out of the Source? Is not this cycle eternal? Who could count the number of mansions within Gods creation?



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