Jun 19, 2009

What Is Gematria?

Arnold Fruchtenbaum
By Arnold Fruchtenbaum

Q. I have heard a teaching on the Devil's Algebra speaking of the mathematics of the Word and it mentions gematria. I have looked in the encyclopedias but cannot find an explanation. Could you please explain this?

A. To answer your question, the word gematria, is a term referring to the numerical value of the Hebrew alphabet which in turn means that every Hebrew word and every name in Hebrew characters has a numerical value.

In Ancient Classical Hebrew there was no separate system for letters and numbers, so every letter was also a number. There are 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the first ten go in sequences of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. It then skips in sequences of 10 to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100. Finally it skips by 100's to 200, 300, and 400.

Since every Hebrew letter is also a number, it means every Hebrew word and every name in Hebrew characters equals a numerical value. That is the point of Revelation 13:16-18 that teaches the numerical value of the Antichrist's name in Hebrew characters will equal 666.

Now there is a right way and a wrong way to practice gematria. The right way is to recognize that certain numbers have Hebrew symbolic meaning, such numbers for example as 4, 7, 12, etc. However, the wrong way to practice gematria is to try to find a special meaning to every single number. Assigning imaginary meanings to numbers and playing guessing games goes well beyond biblical gematria, and this is never a way to handle Scripture.