Unless you are a mathematician, there is very little of note about the number thirty-five. It is the atomic number of bromine and those interested in puzzle games, such as Tetris, may be interested to know it is possible to make thirty-five different shapes or hexominoes with six squares. If you have been married for thirty-five years, you celebrate your coral wedding anniversary.
The German philosopher and Lutheran Protestant theologian and mystic Jakob Böhme (1575-1624) called the number thirty-five “the eternal residence of the soul,” although I am not sure why. Looking at the appearances of the number in the Bible, of which there are five, there is no obvious meaning or symbolism attached.
According to the visions of Mary of Jesus of Ágreda (1602-1665), it was on the thirty-fifth day of Jesus’ forty days in the desert when the devil began to tempt him.
The number thirty-six holds more meaning for Christian theologians. If we add up all the numbers from one to thirty-six we reach a total of 666, which as we know is believed to be the number of the devil.
In Jewish tradition, the number thirty-six has a couple of special significances. The first is the belief that when God created the light on the first day, it shone for exactly thirty-six hours. Secondly, in the Torah, Jews are commanded thirty-six times to love, respect and protect the stranger.
Before we look for the number in the Bible, I have found out a few interesting things about the number thirty-six. Firstly, it is the atomic number of Krypton, which comes from the Greek word kryptos, meaning “hidden one”. It is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas.
There are thirty-six inches in a yard. A pipe wrench is also thirty-six inches long. A standard beer barrel can hold thirty-six gallons (163.7 litres). There are thirty-six possible outcomes when rolling two dice.
The number thirty-six only appears twice in the Bible:
In the Book of Revelation, there is a record of thirty-six visions; perhaps this is another reference to the devil? Speaking of the devil, the word “beast” is used thirty-six times in Revelation and the name “Satan” appears both thirty-six times in the New Testament and thirty-six times in the Old Testament.
Finally, it is thought there were a total of thirty-six years between the crucifixion of Christ and the death of Saint Paul.
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon