Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.
Five – Death
In the scriptures, the number five is often associated with the subject of death. For instance, in the fifth chapter of Genesis (sometimes known as the obituary column of the bible) in the fifth verse after Adam's name was mentioned five times we are told that he died. All but five individuals in chapter five have their names mentioned exactly five times followed by the statement "and he died." Enoch was mentioned six times but he was translated that he should not see death. The lives of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth extended beyond the flood and their deaths are not recorded until later in the scriptures. In addition, in 2nd Samuel several individuals were pierced under the fifth rib and subsequently died. Furthermore, in the book of Revelation, John recorded that when the fifth seal was loosed he saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and the testimony they held.
There are five deaths mentioned in the scriptures: death of the body; second or eternal death; death in trespasses and sins; death to fellowship; and dead to sin. The one who has the power of death, Satan, has his name, Satan mentioned fifty five times in the scriptures. The desires of Satan are set forth for us as five "I wills" in Isaiah, chapter 14.
The pride of the flesh that is dead in trespasses and sins is illustrated in the five "I's" of the Pharisee. The excuses of the flesh nature is set forth in the five "I's" of Adam.
Next, there is a five-part
covenant, sometimes called the covenant of redemption or covenant of
grace, which shows forth God's remedy for death thru the death of his
The persecutions of those dead in
trespasses and sins against the gospel ministry are manifest against
Paul as five times he received forty stripes save one for preaching the
First, the death of the body is one of the punishments that God declared against sin: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." The number five is often associated with corporeal death as we see in Genesis chapter 5 in the obituary column of the bible. Adam and many of his descendants are mentioned five times in that chapter and after the fifth mention of their names, we are told, "and he died." Similarly, we read of some who were smitten under the fifth rib, which caused their death:
1. 2 Sam. 2:23 "Howbeit he refused to turn aside: wherefore Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place: and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still."
2. 2 Sam 3:27 "And when Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib, that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother."
3. 2 Sam 4:6 "And they came thither into the midst of the house, as though they would have fetched wheat; and they smote him under the fifth rib: and Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped."
4. 2 Sam 20:10 "But Amasa took no heed to the sword that was in Joab's hand: so he smote him therewith in the fifth rib, and shed out his bowels to the ground, and struck him not again; and he died. So Joab and Abishai his brother pursued after Sheba the son of Bichri."
Second, death in trespasses and sins, describes a condition of fallen man before he is born of the Spirit of God. This condition resulted from the fall of man in Adam in the Garden of Eden. Eph. 2:1-3 reads, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
Rom. 3:9-17 gives a detail description of the nature of fallen man, who is dead in trespasses and sins: What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes."
The second death is described in Rev. chapter 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." The second death is that eternal punishment of the non-elect (those whose names are not written in the book of life). There is a lake of eternal torment awaiting the non-elect because of sin.
Fourth is the death to fellowship. This principle is illustrated in Luke chapter 15 in the account of the prodigal son: 21 "And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry." Obviously, the body of the son was not dead, but the son was dead to the fellowship of the Father while he was wasting his substance with riotous living. Additionally, we read in 1 Tim. 5:6 "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth."
Fifth is to be dead
to sin: Rom. 6:2 "How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer
therein?" We are not dead to sinning as our lives plainly testify. Yet
we are dead to sin in that Christ died on the cross to redeem us from
the condemning affects of sin. Through the sacrificial atonement of
Christ, we are dead to the condemning effects of sin. As Rom. 8:33, 34
tells us, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is
God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died,
yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God,
who also maketh intercession for us."
Five Part Covenant
As we have otherwise shown there are five deaths taught in the scriptures: death of the body, death in trespasses and sins, second or eternal death, death to fellowship, and death to sin. The covenant of redemption overcomes the first four deaths and establishes the fifth death. The centerpiece of the covenant of redemption is the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Corporeal death or death of the body is ultimately overcome by the resurrection of the dead at the last day when God fully and completely glorifies the elect.
The bondage of death in trespasses and sins is overcome when we are effectually called into Spiritual life by the still small voice of Christ who quickens us to life. The sin nature of the flesh is ultimately destroyed in the resurrection or glorification.
second or eternal death was overcome for the elect when Christ justified
us by his atoning sacrifice for us on the cross. By Christ atoning
sacrifice the wrath of God because of our sins was satisfied and no more
charge can be made against the elect: Rom. 8:33, "Who shall lay any
thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he
that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen
again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh
intercession for us."
Being dead to sin is established by the covenant of redemption. All five parts of the covenant bring us to the position where sin can no longer have a condemning effect upon us. Thus thru the covenant of redemption we are dead to the condemning effects of sin.
The covenant of redemption is not only a covenant thru which we receive life, but it is also a covenant thru which death is overcome.
The number five is sometimes used in the scriptures to illustrate the depraved nature of man who is dead in trespasses and sins.
After Adam had eaten of the forbidden fruit and had died in trespasses and sins, the Lord accosted him in Genesis Chapter 3. Adam selfishly excused his evil deed by using the word "I" five times: 9 "And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." Adam tried to blame first the woman and then God.
The proud self-righteous Pharisee went to the temple to pray and greatly bragged upon himself using the proud selfish "I" five times: Lk. 18:11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess." Pride is a sin of the flesh and one of the worst enemies that all of God's children must war against daily. Pride leads to the condemnation of others as being inferior to ones self and leads us to desire praise and glory for ourselves.
Being dead in trespasses and sins leads those not born of the Spirit to persecute those who are seeking and following the truth. Paul was persecuted for preaching the gospel of Christ and one of the persecutions he suffered was to be beaten with a whip: 2 Cor. 11:24 "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one." Furthermore, we read in Rev. 6:9 "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" Depraved man hates the doctrines of salvation by grace and persecutes those who preach it and hold to it. Many who hold to the word of God are slain for their beliefs by those who are dead in trespasses and sins.