The number eleven is the first repdigit or monodigit, meaning it is the first number to be composed of a recurring digit (1 and 1). It is also the smallest number to be comprised of three syllables in the English language (e-lev-en).
Did you know, if a number is divisible by 11, e.g. 264 = 11 x 24, reversing its digits will result in another multiple of 11, e.g. 462 = 11 x 42? Also, do you know the name of an eleven-sided shape? I didn’t; it can either be called a hendecagon or an undecagon.
What else do we know about the number eleven? Well, obviously there are eleven players on a football team. Eleven is the atomic number of sodium. Apollo 11 was the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon. The eleventh moon of Jupiter is called Himalia. Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the zodiac. The maple leaf on the flag of Canada has eleven points. World War One ended on 11thNovember 1918 at 11 o clock, which is why we hold Remembrance Day on the eleventh day of the eleventh month with a two-minute silence at the eleventh hour.
In the Bible, the number eleven is apparently only used 24 times, and the term “eleventh”, 19 times. The number has come to mean the opposite of the number ten, i.e. breaking the law, disorder and judgement. This is in part due to events recorded in Genesis 11 when men disobeyed God by building the Tower of Babel. As we know, God hindered their progress by causing them to speak in different languages, thus confusing them and resulting in chaos.
Another instance of disorder and law breaking occurs when Judas Iscariot is disgraced, eventually killing himself, leaving only eleven of Jesus’s apostles remaining. Eventually, Matthias was added to bring the total back up to twelve.
Let’s look at a handful of the occasions when the number eleven is mentioned in scripture:
In the Gospel of John, there are eleven important promises:
Often, passages from the Old Testament are referred to in Books of the New Testament; however, there are exactly eleven New Testament books that do not have any direct quotes. These are:
Some Old Testament quotes are repeated again and again in the New Testament and there are two that are cited eleven times:
There are eleven chiefs descended from Esau, the father of the Edomites (Genesis 36:40-43):
Now, a final note about the number eleven: some religious fanatics who are obsessed with the rapture and Armageddon believe the number eleven is a sign of the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy, (i.e. the eleventh hour). As you may remember, there was a scare in 2012 when it was pointed out that the Mayan calendar ended after 5126 years, which happened to fall on 21stDecember 2012. Now, we know this did not result in the end of the world but at the time, many prophesied the end was nigh, using the date as evidence: 21/12/2012 = 2+1+1+2+2+0+1+2 = 11.
Those who believe the number eleven signifies the end times claim there is evidence for this in the Bible. There are four books containing a chapter 11, verse 11 that refer to the end of the world:
Complete hogwash or is there some truth is these conspiracies? I’ll let you decide.
I’ll leave you with a more positive instance of the number eleven: Jesus Christ is eleven letters long.
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon