Many people are fascinated with the numbers they find in the Bible. Numbers mainly have literal meanings in the Old and New Testaments, yet sometimes their purpose is symbolic. An example of a symbolic meaning of a number is 666, which, according to Revelation 13:18, is associated with the name of the beast. Another number that many people wonder about is 11:11.
The numbers 11:11 and 1,111 are important in some teachings related to the New Age movement, but they don’t have significance in the Bible. 1,111 doesn’t appear in either testament. 11:11 refers to a chapter and verse in certain books (e.g., John 11:11), which are later insertions into the text.
What does 11:11 signify in the Bible? Do chapter and verse divisions have spiritual meanings? Who was Stephen Langton, and what was his contribution to modern Bibles? What number is closest to 1,111 in the Bible? What’s an example of thinking that 11:11 is important? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Where does 11:11 occur in the Bible and why?
The original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts of the Bible don’t include the number 11:11. The chapter and verse divisions common today were inserted into the text over 1,000 years after the last books of the Bible were written (more below). So, while Bibles have the number 11:11 in them, if a book contains 11 chapters with 11 verses (e.g., Gen. 11:11), it isn’t in the original-language texts.
Who made the Bible’s chapter and verse divisions?
Stephen Langton (1150-1228 A.D.), an English cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church and Archbishop of Canterbury for over 20 years, is credited with creating the chapter and verse divisions people find in the Bible today. Many people before him attempted to create such divisions, but they were too complex compared to Langton’s system.
Most devout Jews and Christians don’t believe God inspired the chapter and verse divisions. Among the minority that do believe they are inspired, no reputable scholar, theologian, or denomination finds spiritual significance in 11:11. The type of religious belief that finds importance in 11:11 is certain teachings associated with New Age spirituality, not Judaism or Christianity.
1,111 never occurs in the Bible
The number 1,111 doesn’t appear in the Bible, either in the original manuscripts, English translations, or later additions, like chapters and verses. The Bible’s closest number to 1,111 is 1,100, found three times in the book of Judges.
It appears once in the story of Samson and twice in the story of Micah the Ephraimite (not the prophet). All three times, the nature of the number is literal, not symbolic.
(1) Judges 16:5, “And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, ‘Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver'” (ESV).
(2) Judges 17:2, “And he said to his mother, ‘The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.’ And his mother said, ‘Blessed be my son by the Lord'” (ESV).
(3) Judges 17:3, “And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said, ‘I dedicate the silver to the Lord from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you'” (ESV).
What does the New Age Movement think of 11:11?
People who practice New Age teachings deny the core beliefs of Christianity about the Trinity, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the universe, sin, salvation, and much more. Even if some New Age teaching uses some of the same words and terms as Christianity, their definitions are drastically different.
The New Age movement’s use of the Bible is also radically different from Jews and Christians. While Judaism and Christianity traditionally interpret the Bible literally according to literary genre, many New Age teachings ignore the historical setting, literary context, and straightforward meaning of biblical books.
The example of Revelation 11:11
For example, some people that follow New Age teaching find significance in Revelation 11:11 because of the numbers that Stephen Langton added to the text in the 13th century.
The verse reads, “But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them” (ESV).
To be clear, Langton was a devout Roman Catholic and not a follower of any New Age teaching. But those who subscribe to New Age spirituality find hidden meanings in the verse because of the number 11:11.
In this case, they may pick out words like breath and life but neglect everything else. And then, they apply their ideas according to a New Age worldview, not a biblical one. Yet, the historical setting and literary context have nothing to do with New Age spirituality.
Why are numbers important to New Age teachings?
New Age teachings are incredibly diverse to the point that some scholars hesitate to classify the movement as a single religion or spirituality.
Followers prefer terms like “spirituality,” not religion, denomination, or even “New Age movement.” Such diversity means some practitioners place importance on numbers and others don’t.
For those who find significance in numbers, their insights and convictions often start with “seeing” them. Sometimes, the numbers aren’t there or ordered in a certain fashion. Still, a person “sees” them.
For example, if a person saw a phone number of (431) 410-1931, they may say they “see” the four ones, as in 1,111. There is added significance if they keep seeing the same number in different places, like on a clock, an address, or a dial pad.
The Christian perspective on New Age spirituality
One Christian writer summarized the biblical perspective on New Age teaching this way: “The New Age movement is a loosely-related array of ideas and philosophies that have much in common with both Hinduism and ancient Gnosticism.”
In general, New Testament scholars are familiar with Gnosticism because many biblical authors wrote in opposition to it.
The author continues, “New Age religions are pantheistic (believing in the divinity of creation as well as the Creator), mystical (viewing truth as something one finds within oneself), and syncretistic (blending and merging religious ideas from any number of sources). There is also a large dose of occult superstition in most New Age thought.”
For these reasons, neither the writers of the Bible nor orthodox Jews or Christians find significance in 11:11 or 1,111 like some New Age teachings do.
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