Articles Grief Dreams

It is intriguing to study how numbers can represent a whole new set of symbols in our dreams. From personal experience as well as Biblical examples numbers can appear in a variety of ways.

The first example is numbers attached to objects, as in the case of Joseph’s dream interpretations in Genesis 40:12-18. When Joseph interpreted the baker’s and the cupbearer’s dreams, the three branches and three baskets represented three days. Later, when Joseph was presented with Pharaoh’s dream, Genesis 41:1-36, the seven healthy cows and seven gaunt ugly cows represented seven years. In these examples, the numbers of objects represented periods of time, days and years.

But numbers can signify other measures, for example, depth (in terms of character), and height (in terms of influence) as was in the case of my wife’s dream of the elevator going to the 168th floor

I also had an elevator dream where I was constantly pushing the button for the 22nd floor. After prayer and reflection it became clear to me that the number 22 was significant in terms of the situation I was in at the time. Things had been difficult and I was attempting to put 2 and 2 together and getting nowhere. The other significant metaphor that was applicable was that of being in a ‘catch 22’ position.


Numbers repeating themselves in a series or sequence can be an indicator that areas of your life are coming into alignment. As an example, my wife dreamed that she was glancing at the clock and it showed the time as either 3:33 or 5:55.

Numbers may also refer to your age. Some years ago I had a dream where three visitors knocked on my door asking if they could walk through the house. They inspected both the inside and outside of my house and were pleased with how it was presented. It was clean and tidy, and in good order. Before leaving they asked me how many squares it was. I told them it was thirty squares. When reflecting on this dream, I associated the thirty squares to my age. I had just turned 30 and believed the three visitors were of divine origin and had come to inspect and commend me on the way I was living my life.  

Numbers can represent personal development, growth and fruitfulness. Once, when my daughter was seven, I asked her to close her eyes as I prayed for her. I encouraged her to wait and see if the Holy Spirit would give her a vision or picture of her life. When I finished I asked her whether she had seen anything. She told me she had seen a small tree with two apples on it.

Encouraged by this exercise, and interpreting what she had seen, I explained to her that she was that small tree and the two apples were a sign of her fruitfulness and effectiveness in life. I opened up the passage of Scripture in John 15:1-5 and pointed out the four levels of fruitfulness: No Fruit, Some Fruit, More Fruit and Much Fruit. I said to her it was God’s way of showing her that she had begun making a difference to other people’s lives.

We have observed that numbers can represent quantity, quality, value, dates, times and possibly more. There is no prescribed formula to understanding what a number may signify in a dream. The Holy Spirit is the one who brings revelation to the hidden mysteries in dreams. Always consult Him when you reflect on dreams and are seeking interpretation.

Avoid the mistake of thinking that a number will hold the same meaning for everyone. As with other symbols personal, social and cultural contexts will influence what a number might mean to an individual, and this of course, differs from person to person.

There are many resources and websites identifying what different numbers might represent from a Biblical perspective. As helpful as this might be, it is important not to restrict your thinking and insisting that it applies to every person’s dream.

For example:

The Biblical number 3 stands for ‘completeness’. However there are other possibilities of what 3 might mean in your life. You might be the third child in the family, your house is number 3, you might be working on the 3rd floor, your football jumper is number 3.

A good friend with a prophetic edge to her ministry once contacted me about three creatures, which appeared in her dream, a hippopotamus, an elephant, and a Bengal tiger.

Bengal Tiger: Is known for its speed (Fast worker in short bursts). The Tiger has very keen senses (Discerning and Prophetic). The Bengal tiger purrs when it is happy or in pain. (The ability to remain content in both good and challenging times)  

Hippopotamus: In Greek, hippopotamus means “river horse.” They are fearlessly protective of their turf and young; they are known to be assertive and aggressive though mostly a relaxed creature. (A pastoral and protective personality with a restful spirit)  

Elephant: In combination with its strength, the qualities of the elephant are patience, perseverance and continuity.

In Summary these three creatures were an accurate prophetic description of her attributes and calling. In this situation, there were three creatures – each creature a symbol of attributes that described this person. The Biblical meaning of the number three – completeness – adds a seal to the dream.

Whenever numbers appear in a dream it is important to ask the Holy Spirit for insight as to how the symbol may apply to your own personality and unique set of circumstances.