The biblical meaning of 44
Oct 17, 2011
I showed earlier that the number 43 speaks of "contention" in Scripture. That number figures prominently in the rivalry between those who wanted to be the chosen inheritors. As we saw, the number also applied to the two covenants, under which men contend with each other.
The number 44 naturally follows 43 as if in sequence, because 44 is the number of "chosen people." For this reason, the contentions of number 43 are designed to bring us the resolution of the conflict that is manifested in the number 44.
For example, in the transfiguration scene on the mount we see first how God contends with Peter, and then resolves the dispute with the resolution: "This is My Son, My chosen One; listen to Him" (Luke 9:35).
Hence, when Luke mentions the name "Jesus" for the 43rd time in verse 33, it is followed by the contention. When Jesus is mentioned for the 44th time in verse 36, "Jesus was found alone," because the divine decree had settled the issue forever.
The number 44 is rooted in the number 4, which is the number of the creation, particularly the earth. But the four is doubled, almost as if to illustrate to us the contention between two people who each have the desire to be chosen to rule or inherit the earth. Yet 44 is also a double 22. The number 22 is the number of the Sons of Light. So the true chosen ones (44) are closely linked to the Sons of Light (22).
Likewise, there is a Holy Spirit factor involved in this as well. The 44th time that Peter is mentioned in Scripture is in Acts 8:14, 15,
(14) Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them PETER and John, (15) who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
There is no Sonship apart from the Holy Spirit. In fact, there are three levels of Sonship that spring from our levels of experience with the Holy Spirit. Our Passover experience brings us to birth as spiritual babes in Christ. Our Pentecostal experience brings us to the next stage, corresponding to the Jewish bar-mitzvah, when a son reaches the age of 13. That is when his training begins in earnest.
Thirdly, only a Tabernacles experience can bring us to full Sonship (huiothesia), which is the mature Son that inherits the estate of the Father.
In the book of John, the name of Jesus appears for the 44th time in John 4:50 when He tells the Nobleman, "Go your way; your SON lives." This too shows the connection between 44 and 22. The number 22 is about the Sons of Light, but 44 has to do with chosen ones who are Sons that have been given Life.
The various levels of Sonship are well illustrated in Scripture and are bound up in the number 44. As most of you know, God often added the Hebrew letter hey in a person's name in order to indicate the breath of God and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So Abram was renamed Abraham, and Sarai was renamed Sarah. It was only after Abram became Abraham that he was able to beget Isaac, the Son of inheritance.
Abram begat Ishmael; Abraham begat Isaac. Both were genealogical sons of the same Father, but Abraham was later told to sacrifice his "only son" Isaac (Gen. 22:2). It is not that Isaac was an only child, but rather that Isaac was the only Son of Inheritance, the chosen one. The two sons, of course, contended for the inheritance. Even today the Islamic Koran tells us that the "only son" was Ishmael whom Abraham brought to Mount Moriah as a sacrifice to God. This contention has continued to the present day.
The 44th time Abram's name is mentioned is in Gen. 16:1,
(1) Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar.
This is the beginning of the story of Sonship, showing first the natural and then the spiritual. The story begins with Abram, not with Abraham. As Abram, he brought forth Ishmael, "born according to the flesh" (Gal. 4:23). It was a natural childbirth. Only later, as Abraham, would he bring forth Isaac, who was born supernaturally when Sarah was already beyond child-bearing years (age 90). Isaac was the child born "through the promise" (Gal. 4:23).
So we see that the 44th time Abram is mentioned begins the account of how Ishmael was conceived through Hagar, the Egyptian. Abram's bright idea about how to have a son was brilliant, but fleshly. Ishmael was a believer, but he was not the chosen one (inheritor), according to Scripture. He represents all children of the flesh, including fleshly and immature believers.
It is striking that the 44th time Abraham's name is mentioned is in Gen. 21:14, where Ishmael and his mother are cast out.
(14) So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave them to Hagar, putting them on her shoulder, and gave her the boy, and sent her away. And she departed and wandered about in the wilderness of Beersheba.
This occurred immediately after the final contention between the boys, where the book of Jasher says Ishmael threatened to kill Isaac. When we compare the 44th mention of Abram with the 44th mention of Abraham, we see an important pattern in determining the "chosen one" who was to inherit all things. Without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Abram intended to make Ishmael the chosen one, but Spirit-filled Abraham cast out the child of the flesh in order to establish the child of promise as the true chosen one.
Paul tells us in Galatians 4 that this was an allegory, a historical account that had spiritual meaning and application to us today. He relates this to the conflict between the two covenants, represented by Hagar and Sarah. The "children" of those two covenants are Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmaelites, Paul says, are the children of the flesh in Jerusalem who practice Judaism. The children of Isaac are the Christian believers who have come under the New Covenant and have been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Paul makes it clear that the Christians were to "cast out the bondwoman and her son," even as Abraham did. This was grievous to Abraham (Gen. 21:11), even as it was grievous to the Jewish believers of the early Church. Yet Isaac could not come fully into his calling while the conflict remained unresolved. So also is it today. Much of the Church again has given up its Isaac identity in favor of the adherents of Judaism. Ishmael is once again contending for the inheritance, and Hagar-Jerusalem is once again claiming to be the mother of the chosen ones.
Hence, once again, Hagar and Ishmael will be cast out in another catastrophe similar to the destruction of the city in 70 A.D. It appears to be the only way to resolve the issue once and for all.
The 44th time that Joshua's name is mentioned is in Josh. 4:8,
(8) And thus the sons of Israel did as Joshua commanded and took up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan...
These stones were to be a "witness" in Gilgal that the chosen inheritors of the Promised Land had passed through the Jordan (death and resurrection). It was the same location where Jesus (Yeshua, or Joshua) was later baptized. One can only be an inheritor through the process of dying with Christ and being raised with Him in newness of life (Rom. 6:5). One must acknowledge Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant. Apart from this, no man is an inheritor, regardless of his genealogy.
Finally, if Christian believers are still contending in their minds over this issue, let the issue be fully resolved as Paul instructs us. Cast out the bondwoman, and look to Sarah, the New Jerusalem, as your mother.
Dr. Stephen Jones