Number 2, which is the smallest prime number, has a huge significance in the Bible. From as early as the Genesis account of creation and then throughout the rest of the Bible, number 2 is used to depict a hidden message. Let us investigate this number to know more about what it symbolizes in the Bible.
Number 2 symbolizes unity. This stems from the first account of marriage where God said the male and the female will unite to become one. However, number 2 can also signify division or duality. This is clear from creation where God separates light from darkness, earth from water, and waters in the firmament from waters on earth.
2 as a symbol of unity
The number 2 is often used to symbolize unity. The classical example of this symbolism is found in Genesis when God is introducing the covenant of marriage. According to Genesis 2:24, the male and the female will unite in holy matrimony and the two will become one. The symbolism here is that the husband and the wife will be united together in marriage. This explains why Jesus was adamant about divorce. When approached with a question on the legality of divorce in Mathew 18, Jesus posits that if two have united to become one, then no one should separate them.
Marriage is also used in scripture as a metaphor for the relationship between God and the Church where Christ is the groom and the church is the bride. Some Bible scholars believe the Book of Song and Solomon should be interpreted as such. However, there are other illustrations of these in the Bible including the parable of the virgins (Mathew 25), Paul’s admonishing to husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesican 5:25), and John the revelators description of rapture as the marriage of the lamb (Revelation 19). This symbolism is meant to portray the unity of the church. Paul admonishes believers to endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).
In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 72 of his disciples to spread the gospel in the villages and towns around him. During the commissioning, he pairs them in twos. The reason for sending them in twos was to symbolize unity in mission and partnership in spreading the message of the Gospel. Jesus said that “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) to illustrate the unity he enjoyed with God. By sending his disciples in twos, he wanted them to not only appreciate the unity in the Trinity but also to foster a sense of unity amongst them. Just before he ascended, he prayed as much for them.
that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:21
The disciples’ shared purpose and cooperation exemplify how the number 2 represents a united effort towards a common goal.
2 as a symbol of division
The number 2 can also symbolize division. The word division is made of two root words – di (which means two) and vision (which has to do with the goals of a person or organization). When a vision is split, it creates division.
The theme of division appears from as early as the second day of creation. The Bible shows how God separated the light from the darkness and divided the waters above from the waters below. This decision, also known as duality, continues to play out through scripture. Here are some examples:
- Old and New Testament
The Bible is divided into two – the old testament and the new testament. The old testament is based on the law of Moses whereas the new testament is based on the grace of Jesus. The Old Testament demonstrates man’s futile attempt at reaching God while the New Testament shows God bridging the gap between man and him.
- Light and Darkness
Light represents the truth of God’s word while darkness represents sin, ignorance, or the kingdom of Satan (darkness). This theme is introduced in the creation account, where God separates light from darkness, and continues throughout the Bible. In Corinthians, Paul admonishes the church to walk in the light and not in darkness because the two have nothing in common (2 Cor. 6:14).
- Good and Evil
Division or duality is also seen in the fight between good and evil. Just before Cain killed Abel, God warned him that evil was crouching near him and admonished him to choose good.
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:6
The duality of good and evil underscores the importance of free will and the ethical choices individuals make. It also highlights the redemptive message of seeking goodness and reconciliation. Here are some other examples of the theme of duality that plays out in the scriptures:
- Light and Darkness/ Night and Day
- Death and Life
- Israel and Gentiles
- Old and New
- Holy and unholy
- Clean and unclean
- Heaven and hell
- Heaven and earth
- Satan and God
- Angels of darkness and angels of light
To wrap it up, the number two can have to main symbolism in the Bible. First, it can symbolize unity. When two people unite, they form one (e.g. in marriage). However, the number 2 can also denote disunity or division. The Bible uses the theme of duality and division to help illustrate the power of God as well as demonstrate God’s salvation plan for mankind. For instance, we are in a battle between evil and God where the flesh is always contending against the spirit.