“I’ve got the key to the door, never been twenty-one before!” Twenty-one, also known as the age we pretend we are (“twenty-one again”)! Although the age of adulthood has changed to eighteen in the United Kingdom, twenty-one is still the age of majority in many countries. Other than age-related things, where else does the number twenty-one appear in our lives?
Twenty-one is the atomic number of scandium, a rare-earth element. There are a total of twenty-one spots on a standard die (1+2+3+4+5+6). It is the highest winning score in a game of Blackjack. There were twenty-one shillings in a guinea.
There is a discrepancy about the meaning of the number twenty-one in the Bible. Some say that as twenty-one is the result of three times seven, both considered perfect, the number is perfect by default. Others, however, believe twenty-one represents wickedness, rebellion and sin.
In 2 Timothy 3, the apostle Paul lists twenty-one sins that humans will fall prey to during the end of days:
Also in relation to sin, 1 and 2 Kings reference the sins of Jeroboam, the first King of the Northern Tribes, twenty-one times.
It has been recorded that the number twenty-one only appears seven times in the Bible, however, I have only been able to locate one of them:
There are, however, times where the number twenty-one has been substituted for another phrase, for instance, three weeks (7 days x 3 = 21 days):I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. (Daniel 10:3, NIV)
The most interesting thing I have discovered while conducting my research is there are a total of twenty-one dreams in the Bible. They are as follows:
There are several words that appear twenty-one times in the Bible:
The numbers 16, 2000, 5000 and 20,000 are each used twenty-one times.
There are twenty-one chapters in the Gospel of John and the book of Obadiah contains a single chapter with only twenty-one verses. The book of Hebrews contains twenty-one references to the Old Testament. There are twenty-one epistles in the New Testament: Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Jude. (Paul wrote the first thirteen listed.)
So, does the number twenty-one represent sin, perfection, both, neither or something else? I welcome your thoughts.
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon