Three: Purposes of God in: Testing, revealing, proving, documenting, victory and if applied to God, holiness
The number "three" is one of the most significant numbers in the Scriptures. Its primary purpose is for the sake of revealing or documenting something as fact (testing to validate something). It is also connected to the outcome of the will of God. One of the most famous occurrences for the number three is found in the book of Jonah, where Jonah is in the belly of the fish "three days and three nights." A major aspect of the book of Jonah is that the prophet was fleeing from the presence of HaShem. Instead of Jonah going to Nineveh as God had commanded, the prophet desired not to obey this commandment, even if it meant that his relationship with God would be destroyed. HaShem decided to test to see if Jonah preferred to end his relationship with God rather than go to Nineveh. By placing Jonah in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, it would be revealed whether it was true that Jonah wanted to end his relationship with God over this commandment to go to Nineveh. It is most significant that immediately after (in the next verse) the reader is informed that Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. What does Jonah do? The text states that Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from within the fish. Hence, the three days and three nights ultimately revealed, proved, or documented that what Jonah said he wanted was not true. One could also say that Jonah was tested for those three days and three nights and the test results showed that he did not want to end his relationship with God and in the end Jonah went to Nineveh.
In a similar manner, Peter rejects Yeshua's statement that he will deny Him. Therefore, Yeshua says to Peter that he will deny Him three times. These three denials prove, document, and reveal to the reader that Yeshua's statement was factual. It is not a coincidence that when Yeshua reinstated Peter after the resurrection, He asked him three times, "do you love Me?” In this context, Yeshua was testing the validity of Peter's statement.
Yeshua also revealed that He, in a similar manner to Jonah being in the belly of the fish three days and three nights, would be in the belly of the earth three days and three nights and then rise from the dead. In this passage, the number three not only documents the fact that He died, but also the resurrection. It is also very significant that Yeshua rose on the third day.
The number three also relates to victory, as in the completion of God's purposes and plans. In the book of Genesis, one reads about the offering of Isaac. This passage has great theological significance and is one of the first passages which is read in the morning synagogue service each day. This section begins with HaShem commanding Abraham to offer his son as a burnt offering on one of the mountains in the land of Moriah. The climax of this portion of Scripture comes about on the third day. It was on the third day that HaShem provided the ram so that Isaac would live. In this passage, Isaac represents the promise (of God) which would have died (ended) had not HaShem acted. There is not a conflict between the two concepts for the number three of victory (the fulfillment of God’s will) and revelation or documentation. Often, it is the climax of what HaShem wants to do, which is simply being revealed or proved with the use of the number three.
Please note that when the number three is applied to God, then it can relate to holiness; whereas the number seven relates to holiness when this number is about man (see explanation for the number seven).
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