What do the numbers 12 and 7 signify in the feeding of the 5,000 and 4,000?

Question / Comment - What do the numbers 12 and 7 signify in the feeding of the 5,000 and 4,000?

Do you have any suggestions as to just what the numbers 12 and 7 are referencing to by Jesus when he admonished the twelve about, "Do you not understand".

Remember, 12 baskets of remnants of bread were picked up after the feeding of the 5,000 and 7 baskets were picked up after the feeding of the 4,000.

To what do the numbers 12 and 7 refer in your opinion?



What do the numbers 12 and 7 mean in this context? In Bible numerics, 12 is the number for government (12 tribes, 12 Apostles etc) and 7 is God's perfect number or God's seal. What do I think they mean in the context of Mark 8:16? In short... nothing! It wasn't the particular numbers that Jesus was pointing them to. They could have just as easily had 8 or 11 baskets left over. The point was this...

Both in the feeding of the 5000 and the feeding of the 4000, there was a test going on. Jesus was testing His disciples. Have a look at John 6:5-7 which specifically says that Jesus was testing them. What was the test? Well, the test was whether the disciples would take Jesus into account when faced with an impossible situation (like feeding all the people with next to nothing to give!) Would they reckon on Jesus? Would they take Jesus into account? That is why in Mark 6:37 He told the disciples 'you give them something to eat'. And what did they reckon on? All they took into account was how much money it would take to do something like this. They had the creator and sustainer of the universe in their very midst and they couldn't see how the people could be fed! They didn't take Jesus into account at all! That was the test. In a way, He tests us all in this manner. With what do we reckon on when faced with a difficult situation? Do we take God into account and reckon on His resources or just look at things in the natural and forget God?

So anyway, Jesus showed them twice in the feeding of the multitudes that He can do the impossible! The amount of bread or resources that they had didn't actually matter. He was the sustainer of all and there would be no lack. That was what He wanted them to learn and apply. So you can imagine what Jesus thought when, only moments later, they are still concerned with how much bread they had!!! (Mark 8:16) No wonder Jesus was basically saying to them 'Do you not understand?' 'Did you not learn anything from the feeding of the 4000?' 'Did you not learning anything from the feeding of the 5000?' 'Can you not see that you don't have to concern yourself with how many loaves we have? I can supply all that you need and have more left over. Do you not understand?'

Good old disciples aye? We laugh at how slow they were to pick things up and take Jesus into account, and then we go and repeat the same things they did over and over throughout our life! Flesh is flesh and it doesn't change.

Anyway, hope that helps.

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