True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 211

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211. That is why three in the Word means in the spiritual sense complete and perfect, as well as the whole taken together. This meaning of the number three explains why it is used so many times in the Word, whenever anything of this sort is mentioned; for instance, in the following passages. Isaiah was told to go naked and barefoot for three years (Isa. 20:3). Jehovah called Samuel three times, and Samuel three times ran to Eli, and the third time Eli understood (1 Sam. 3:1-8). Jonathan told David to hide in the country for three days; Jonathan later shot three arrows beside the stone, and David then bowed down three times before Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:5, 12-42). Elijah measured his length three times upon the widow's son (1 Kings 17:21). Elijah ordered them to pour water on the burnt-offering three times (1 Kings 18:34). Jesus said that the kingdom of the heavens is like yeast, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole should be leavened (Matt. 13:33). Jesus said to Peter that he would deny Him three times (Matt. 26:34). Jesus said three times to Peter, Do you love me? (John 21:15-17). Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). Jesus said that they would destroy the Temple and He would rebuild it in three days ([John 2:19;] Matt. 26:61). In Gethsemane Jesus prayed three times (Matt. 26:39-44). Jesus rose again on the third day (Matt. 28:1). There are many other passages where the number three is mentioned, in each case where a finished and perfect work is described, because this is the meaning of that number.

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