Can we detect geographic mysteries in Israel?
Do we see the hand of God in Israel’s geography? Does the latitude of Bethlehem and the latitude and elevation of Mount Moriah in Jerusalem point to the hand of God? Are these numbers geographic coincidences, or mysterious spiritual signs pointing to the true Messiah?
First we need to review the letter-number concept in the scriptures. 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.
Two Geographic Mysteries
1. Bethlehem’s Latitude
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, link.
2. The Elevation and Latitude of Mount Moriah, Jerusalem
Here’s another of Israel’s geographic mysteries. Mount Moriah is a ridge running N-S just west of the Kidron valley in Israel, see map. It is where King David purchased Araunah’s threshing floor to build the first Holy Temple of God, and where King Solomon completed the Temple in 953 BC.
The mountain is the location of the sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-2), and the northern and highest part of Mount Moriah is likely where Jesus was crucified, link. Moreover, in the coming millennial age the temple area in Jerusalem will be from where Christ rules the world. Referring to the millennial temple, the Messiah says:
Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet … And the Lord shall be King over all the earth in that day (Ezek 43.7, Zech 14.9)
Moriah’s Elevation and Location: The ridge elevation ranges from about 600 meters at the south end of the junction of the Kidron and Hinnom valleys, to a maximum of approximately 777 meters in the north, link, link. Moreover, the latitude of Mount Moriah is stated as 31.77 degrees north, link – numerically very close to the latitude of Bethlehem at 31.7 degrees north!