Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Ten is one of the four perfect numbers in the Bible that denotes completion or perfection in some way. Three, seven, ten, and twelve all mean completion and perfection, but each type is used in a different way.
- Three means "divine perfection."
- Seven denotes "spiritual perfection."
- Ten represents "divine order."
- Twelve represents "judicial perfection."
Ten in Creation
God had the number ten in mind when He created the heavens and earth. The phrase “God said” appears ten times in the six days of creation found in Genesis 1.
Creation is proof of God's divine order. It was God's way of speaking the world and everything in it into the order that He wanted it to be.
Ten: Part of Human Anatomy
We can see ten is the number of perfection or completion in God’s “divine order” in our own anatomy. Ten is the only one of the perfect numbers that has something to do with our anatomy. God designed humans with the number ten in mind when He gave us ten fingers and ten toes.
Humans are not part of what three, seven, and twelve represent. We have ten toes to walk upright before God and ten fingers to do God's work. Therefore, we can safely say that God had human beings in mind when it comes to ten as it represents His divine order.
Why not five, fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty, or some other number? God never did anything without a reason. He never did anything haphazardly. God is a God of order. Therefore, He designed the Ten Commandments that contain His divine order.
A study of all ten of the commandments shows that the first four instructions indicate how man is to relate to God. The last six dictate how man is to relate to others.
When the Egyptians refused to let Moses deliver the Hebrew slaves from Egypt, God punished them with ten plagues found in Exodus 7:14-12:36.
Even though the Hebrews were close by, the plagues did not affect them. They were God's punishment to prove to the false gods of Egypt that He was the only one true God.
The ten plagues started out being just a little inconvenience. Then the plagues got increasingly worse than the one before it to show God's judgment.
- Waters turned to blood and fish died
- Frogs left the waters and appeared everywhere.
- Livestock diseased
- Death of the firstborn
Jesus' Use of Ten
Jesus used the number ten many times in his teachings. If you read the parables, you will see that this is true.
- Ten virgins waited for the bridegroom to come. Five of them were wise and five of them were foolish for not preparing in advance. They did not have enough oil in their lamps. They went out to get oil and missed the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13).
- Jesus healed ten lepers. Only one returned to thank Jesus for his healing (Luke 17:11-19).
- Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to the man who had ten talents and distributed them. Not all used the talents the same way (Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-27).
The number ten is the first of the double numbers. It is not a single digit like the numbers that come before it. The number ten is a part of the whole.
When people give God ten percent of their first fruits, it represents part of the whole batch. Ten percent in this instance is known as the tithe under the Old Covenant.
Today the number ten still means divine order. It is the highest ranking in many cases when describing the perfection of something. In some contests, ten is the highest number a competitor can get.
If a ten is in your future, know it is God's number for His divine order. Perhaps it is the date of your birthday or anniversary or something else that concerns you. Know that the number ten is special to God and to Jesus. Therefore, it should be special to you as well.
- Forty: The Number of Probation
Forty is the number of probation. Not only is forty the number of probation, it is also the number for testing and trials.