Something Strange about the Bethlehem Location?
Was Bethlehem located by the hand of God? Does the latitude of Bethlehem point to Jesus?
Jesus and Numbers
Early civilizations did not have numbers and instead they used the letters of their alphabet to express numbers. The idea applies to the Hebrew and Greek languages of the Bible, and so each of the 26 letters of the Greek alphabet has a number. For instance, the Greeks wrote “kappa” for 20. It follows that each word and phrase in the Bible also has a number and some use these numbers to try and find hidden meaning or gain more insight into the text (a system called Gematria).
The Greek word for Jesus (Ιησούς) comprises six letters, each with a numerical value:
iota = 10, eta = 8, sigma = 200, omicron = 70, upsilon = 400, sigma = 200
Reference to the Greek alphabet shows that the form of sigma changes when it appears at the end of a word, but its numerical value is still 200. The significant point here is that the arithmetic sum of these six letters is 888 . This is intriguing. The number 8 in scripture denotes a new beginning and Jesus gave new birth to mankind. Also, triple 8 could imply a new beginning given by a triune God, through Jesus.
The Phrase “Lord Jesus Christ”
Now consider the numerical value of the phrase “Lord Jesus Christ“. This phrase occurs over 80 times in the Bible, link and so is significant. The three words in Greek are:
- Lord: kappa,upsilon,rho,iota,omikron,sigma: arithmetic sum = 800
- Jesus: iota,eta,sigma,omicron,upsilon,sigma: arithmetic sum = 888
- Christ: chi,rho,iota,sigma,tau,omikron,sigma: arithmetic sum = 1480
Total sum: 3,168. Is this number significant? First note that 3 × 1 × 6 × 8 = 144 or 12 × 12. Now 12 and 12 is symbolic of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21.10-14) with its 12 gates (the 12 tribes of Israel) and 12 foundation stones (the 12 apostles). Also note that the number 12 denotes governmental perfection and Jesus is returning to rule the earth as King with perfect justice from Jerusalem (Zech 14.9).
The number 3,168 appears in other scriptures, each time underscoring the attributes of Christ. Is all this coincidence, or God’s design? For more, see Numbers in the Bible.
A Mystery: the Bethlehem Location
Then there is the curious relationship between man’s measurements and gematria. Consider the town of Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus. The town was precisely foretold (Mic 5.2), and so maybe the geographic location of Bethlehem is significant? The public domain latitude of Bethlehem varies from about 31.5° to 32.7°. But a commonly accepted latitude for GPS purposes is 31 degrees 42 minutes (31.70 degrees), link, link.