THE TEMPLE is marked by three, as the Tabernacle is by five. The Holy of Holies in each was a cube; in the Tabernacle a cube of ten cubits; in the Temple a cube of twenty cubits. Each consisted of three parts: The Court, the Holy Place, and the Sanctuary. The Temple had three chambers round about. The Brazen Sea or Laver held three thousand baths; and was compassed by a line of thirty cubits on which were 300 knops (1 Kings 7:24). It was supported by twelve oxen (3×4); three looking north, three looking west, three looking south, and three looking east. This order in naming the points of the compass occurs nowhere else. It is the same in both accounts of Kings and Chronicles (see 1 Kings 7:25; 2 Chron 4:4,5). Why is this? Is it because this was the order in which the Gospel was to be afterwards preached throughout the world? Whether this was the reason or not, the fact remains that the Gospel was preached first in the north (Samaria, Damascus, Antioch); then in the west (Caesarea, Joppa, Cyprus, Corinth, Rome); then in the south (Alexandria and Egypt); then in the east (Mesopotamia, Babylon, Persia, India).
THE GREAT FEASTS were three; Unleavened Bread, Weeks, Tabernacles (Deut 16:16).
THE SHEET let down three times to Peter was the fullness of the testimony as to the admission of the Gentiles into the Church (Acts 10:16).
THE OLD TESTAMENT testimony was complete and perfect in its three-fold division– Law, Prophets, and Psalms (Luke 24:44). The same three divisions mark its character to the present day.
“TWO OR THREE” As three marks completeness and perfection of testimony, so it marks the number of spiritual worshippers; and intimates that true spiritual worshippers would always be few.
COMPLETENESS OF PEOPLE
Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Gershom, Kohath, and Merari.
Saul, David, and Solomon.
Noah, Daniel, and Job.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Peter, James, and John, etc.
COMPLETENESS OF APOSTASY (Jude 11)
“The way of Cain.”
“The error of Balaam.”
“The gainsaying of Korah.”
COMPLETENESS OF DIVINE JUDGMENT (Daniel 6:25-28).
Mene. God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it.
Tekel. Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting.
Peres. Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
THE THREE GIFTS OF GRACE:
Faith, Hope, and Love, five times repeated.
THE THREE-FOLD NATURE OF MAN: Spirit, and Soul, and Body, the man consisting of neither separately, but of the whole three together.
THE THREE-FOLD NATURE OF TEMPTATION (1 John 2:16)
“The lust of the flesh.”
“The lust of the eyes.”
“The pride of life.”
These seen in our first parents when Eve saw (Gen 3:6) that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was–
“Good for food,”
“Pleasant to the eyes,”
“To be desired to make one wise.”
THE THREE-FOLD CORRUPTION OF GOD’S WORD
By taking from, adding to, and altering.
This led up to the first sin.
God had said, “of every tree in the garden thou mayest FREELY eat” (Gen 2:16). In repeating this, Eve omitted the word “freely” (3:2), making God less bountiful than He was. God had said, “But of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thou shalt not eat of it”(Gen 2:17). In repeating this Eve added the words, “NEITHER SHALL YE TOUCH IT” (3:3), making God more severe than He was.
THE FIRST OCCURRENCE of the number is in Genesis 1:13. “The third day” was the day on which the earth was caused to rise up out of the water, symbolical of that resurrection life which we have in Christ, and in which alone we can worship, or serve, or do any “good works.” Hence three is a number of RESURRECTION, for it was on the third day that Jesus rose again from the dead. This was Divine in operation, and Divine in its prophetic foreshowing in the person of Jonah (Matt 12:39,40; Luke 11:29; Jonah 1:17). It was the third day on which Jesus was “perfected” (Luke 13:32). It was at the third hour He was crucified; and it was for three hours (from the 6th to the 9th) that darkness shrouded the Divine Sufferer and Redeemer. The “loud voice” at the end of those twice three hours, when, “about the ninth hour,” He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me” (Matt 27:46), shows completely that nothing of nature, nothing of the light or intelligence of this world, could give help in that hour of darkness. Does not this show us our impotence in the matter? Does it not prove our incapacity to aid in delivering ourselves from our natural condition?
He raised three persons from the dead.
GOD’S ATTRIBUTES ARE THREE: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.
There are three great divisions completing time–past, present, and future. Three persons, in grammar, express and include all the relationships of mankind. Thought, word, and deed, complete the sum of human capability. Three degrees of comparison complete our knowledge of qualities. The simplest proposition requires three things to complete it; viz., the subject, the predicate, and the copula. Three propositions are necessary to complete the simplest form of argument— the major premise, the minor, and the conclusion. Three kingdoms embrace our ideas of matter–mineral, vegetable, and animal.