532. Since all numbers in the Word signify things and states, and the compound numbers derive their significations from the simple numbers of which they are compounded, and since the simple numbers are principally two, three, five, and seven, it is important to point out their signification in the Word, and at present, that of the number three, because it is said; "Woe, woe, woe, to them that dwell on the earth by reason of the voices of the trumpet of the three angels which are yet to sound!" That all numbers, in the Word, signify something pertaining to a thing and to state, may be seen above (n. 203, 429); and that the greater and complex numbers signify the same as the simple numbers from which they arise by multiplication, and that the simple numbers are two, three, five, and seven, may also be seen above (n. 430).
Mark 16:2; Revelation 8:13; The Apocalypse Explained 203, 429, 430)
 That by three in the Word is signified what is full and complete, and hence an entire period, greater or less, from beginning to end, is evident from the following passages; thus in Isaiah:
"Within three years, as the years of an hireling, the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble" (xvi. 14).
Here by Moab are meant those who are in falsities from evil. His glory, and that great multitude, mean those falsities themselves. By the three years within which his glory shall be contemned, is signified that which is complete and consummated; it is therefore said, "then the remnant shall be very small," which signifies that it shall be no more. Three years are spoken of, which means consummation, thus, from beginning to end. It must be observed, that the same is signified by three years, as by three months, three weeks, three days, and three hours, for times, in the spiritual sense, signify states, and three times, whether greater or less, a full state.
 Again, in the same prophet:
"Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Cush; so shall the king of Assyria lead the captivity of Egypt, and the multitude of Cush that is to be carried away; boys and old men, naked and barefoot" (xx. 3, 4).
Egypt and Cush do not mean Egypt and Cush, but Egypt means the External or Natural as to the Scientific, and Cush the External or Natural as to worship. When these are without an internal spiritual, they are also without truth and good, for all the truth, and all the good in the natural or external man, is from influx from the Lord through the spiritual man; and when it is destitute of truth and good, then the natural or external man, as to the things therein, is like a man naked and barefoot. That there will be only reasonings from falsities, and that these things will destroy, is signified by the king of Assyria leading the captivity of Egypt, and by the multitude of Cush, that is to be carried away naked and barefoot. By the boys and old men, whom the king of Assyria shall lead away, naked and barefoot, is signified that all innocence and all wisdom would perish. Their total and complete destruction was represented by the prophet going three years naked and barefoot; three years signifying an entire period from beginning to end, and therefore, total destruction.
 So in Hosea:
Jehovah "after two days will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up" (vi. 2).
To revive after two days, and to raise up the third day, signifies to reform and restore the church, the third day denoting full reformation and restoration, wherefore it is said, that Jehovah shall then raise them up; that neither two days are meant nor the third day is evident.
 Since the number three signified completeness even to the end, therefore that number was adopted in the representative church, and used as often as completeness was represented, as is evident from these things in the Word. They were to go a three days' journey, and sacrifice (Exod. iii. 18; v. 3); in the third month after their departure from Egypt, they came to mount Sinai (Exod. xix. 1); they were commanded to prepare themselves against the third day, because on the third day Jehovah would descend upon mount Sinai (Exod. xix. 11, 15, 16, 18). For three days there was darkness in the land of Egypt (Exod. x. 22, 23). During three years the fruits of the trees planted in the land of Canaan were to be uncircumcised (Levit. xix. 23-25). No part of the flesh of the sacrifice was to be left till the third day (Levit. vii. 16, 17, 18; xix. 6, 7). The water of separation was to be sprinkled upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh, day (Num. xix. 11-22). Those who touched what was slain, were to be cleansed the third day, and the seventh day (Num. xxxi. 19-25). Joshua commanded the people, that within three days they should pass over Jordan (Joshua i. 11; iii. 2). Jehovah called Samuel three times, and three times Samuel ran to Eli, and the third time Eli understood that Jehovah called Samuel (1 Samuel iii. 1-8). Jonathan told David to hide himself in a field until the third evening, and afterwards Jonathan threw three arrows to the side of the stone, and David bowed himself three times to the earth before Jonathan (1 Sam. xx. 5, 12, 19, 20, 35, 36, 41). Three things, were proposed to David, of which he was to choose one, a famine of seven years, or he should flee three months before his enemies, or a pestilence should be in the land three days (2 Sam. xxiv. 11-13). Elijah stretched himself upon the son of the widow three times (1 Kings xvii. 21). Elijah commanded them to pour water upon the burnt-offering, and upon the wood three times, and they poured it three times (1 Kings xviii. 34). Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights (Jonah i. 17; Matt. xii. 40). Daniel mourned three weeks (Dan. x. 2, 3, 4). The third year was the year of tenths (Deut. xxvi. 12). The Lord said of the man who planted a vineyard, that he sent his servants three times, and afterwards his son (Mark xii. 2-6; Luke xx. 12, 13). The Lord said to Peter, that before the cock should crow twice, he would deny him thrice (Matt. xxvi. 34, 69, to the end; Luke xxii. 34, 57-61; John xiii. 38). The Lord said three times to Peter, Lovest thou me? and feed my lambs and my sheep; and the third time Peter was grieved (John xxi. 15, 16, 17). The Lord said, that the kingdom of heaven was like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened (Matt. xiii. 33; Luke xiii. 21). The Lord said, I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected (Luke xiii. 32, 33). The Lord said that He should be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights (Matt. xii. 40). He said that He should rise again the third day (Matt. xvi. 21; xvii. 22, 23; xx. 18, 19; Luke xviii. 32, 33; xxiv. 46). He said that He was able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days (Matt. xxvi. 61; xxvii. 40; John ii. 19, 20). He prayed three times in Gethsemane (Matt. xxvi. 39, 42, 44); He was crucified at the third hour (Mark xv. 26); and then there was darkness over the whole land for three hours, from the sixth hour to the ninth, when He said, it is finished, and expired (Matt. xxvii. 45; Mark xv. 33, 37; John xix. 30). The Lord rose again the third day (Matt. xxviii. 1; Mark xvi. 2; Luke xxiv. 1; John xx. 1).
1 Kings 17:21, 18:34; 1 Samuel 3:1-8, 20:12, 20:41, 20:19-20, 20:35-36, 20:5; 2 Samuel 24:11-13; Daniel 10:2-4; Deuteronomy 26:12; Exodus 3:18, 5:3, 10:22-23, 19:11, 19:1, 19:15-16, 19:18; John 2:19-20, 13:38, 19:30, 20:1, 21:15-17; Jonah 1:17; Joshua 1:11, 3:2; Leviticus 7:16-18, 19:23-25, 19:6-7; Luke 13:32-33, 13:21, 18:32-33, 20:12-13, 22:57-61, 22:34, 24:46, 24:1; Mark 12:2, 12:2-6, 12:4-6, 15:33, 15:25, 15:37, Mark 16:2; Matthew 12:40, 13:33, 16:21, 17:22-23, Matthew 20:18-19, 20:19, 26:42, 26:34, 26:44, 26:39, 26:69-75, 26:61, 27:40, Matthew 27:15, 27:50, 27:45, Matthew 28:1; Numbers 19:11-22, 31:19-25, 31:19-24)
 It is evident from these references that the number three signified what was consummated or complete to the end, and therefore an entire period, greater or less, from beginning to end. From this simple number many compound numbers derive their significations, as 6, 9, 12, 60, 72, which consequently signify all truths and goods in the aggregate. Similarly the numbers 30, 300, 3000; for, as shown above, the compound numbers derive their significations from the simple numbers of which they are compounded. Moreover, it is to be observed, that the number three, in the Word, is used in reference to truths, and two and four, to goods. The reason of this is that two and four signify conjunction, while three signifies fulness; and spiritual conjunction is love, and all good is of love, and spiritual fulness is formed by means of truths. Those who do not know that all numbers in the Word are significative, think and believe that nothing more is meant when the numbers two and three, also three and four, are mentioned, than two and three, or a few, whereas they denote all who are in good and truth, as in the following passages.
 Thus, in Isaiah:
"Gleaming grapes shall be left in it, as in the shaking of an olive tree, two-three berries in the top of the bough, four-five in the branches of the fruit-bearing [olive]" (xvii. 6).
The subject here is the vastation of the church, and these words are said of the remaining few who are in good and truth. Comparison is made with the shaking of an olive tree, because the olive tree signifies the church as to the good of love, and the branches the truths therefrom. Two-three signify the few who are in good, and thence in truths, two denoting good, and three denoting truths; and four-five signify the few who are in good, four denoting those who are in good, and five denoting few. And because four-five signify the few who are in good, therefore it is said, four-five, in the branches of the fruit- bearing [olive], the fruit-bearing olive signifying those in the church who are in good as to life; and in consequence of this signification of those numbers, it is said two-three, four-five, and not two and three, four and five.
 So in Amos:
"Two-three cities wandered into one city, to drink waters, but yet they were not satisfied" (iv. 8).
This is said respecting the defect of truth at the end of the church, and means that they who then desire truth from a spiritual affection will not find any in doctrines, wherever they may enquire. It is therefore said, "two-three cities wandered into one city, to drink waters, but yet they were not satisfied." By two-three cities are signified those who are in the affection of truth from good. City signifies the truth of doctrine. By drinking waters is signified to learn truths; by wandering is signified to enquire; and by not being satisfied is signified not to find truth which in itself is truth. Two-three cities are mentioned, because by two-three are signified those who are in good and thence in truths.
 So in Zechariah:
"It shall come to pass, that in all the earth, two parts therein shall be cut off, they shall expire; but the third shall be left therein. Yet I will bring the third part through the fire, and will try them" (xiii. 8, 9).
Here also the subject is the vastation of the church as to good. That all good is about to perish is signified by its being said, "In all the earth two parts therein shall be cut off, and they shall expire," in the whole earth denoting the church universal, and two parts all good. That something of truth would remain, but scarcely any genuine truth, is signified by, "The third part shall be left therein, yet I will bring the third part through the fire, and will prove them." By the third part are meant the remaining truths; proving the genuineness of these is signified by bringing them through the fire. To prove by fire is to prove by the affection of love, with which if the truth does not agree it is not genuine truth, for fire, in the Word, signifies love; when the good of love perishes, the truth also becomes not truth, because all truth derives its essence from good.
 The signification of these words of the Lord in Matthew is therefore evident:
"Where two and three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (xviii. 20).
Here, two and three do not mean two and three, but they who are in good and in truths thence; neither by the name of the Lord is meant His name, but all the good of love and the truth of faith by which He is worshipped (see above, n. 102, 135).
Matthew 18:20; The Apocalypse Explained 102, 135)
 From this also the signification of the words of the Lord in Luke is evident:
"From henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three" (xii. 52).
These words mean, that after the coming of the Lord, when He Himself has become known, and the interior things of the Word have been revealed by Him, and with Him, then both in the church in general, and with the man of the church in particular, there will be dissension between good and truth, and between truth and good. This is understood by five being divided in one house, three against two, and two against three; house denoting the church in general, and with the man of the church in particular, and three denoting truths, and two denoting goods. The statement that five shall be divided, signifies that such dissension shall exist with those who are reformed; therefore, it follows also that "the father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother" (ver. 53). For father signifies the good of the church, son the truth of the church, mother the truth of the church, and daughter its good. Who cannot see that the numbers five, two, and three, would not be mentioned here unless they were significative? Five, in the Word, when two and three follow, signifies all those; but when preceded or followed by the numbers ten or twenty, five then signifies some and few.
Luke 12:53, Luke 12:52, 12:1)
 Similar things are meant in the precept of the decalogue by "the third and fourth generation," or by "the third and fourth sons," upon whom Jehovah will visit the iniquity of the parents (Exod. xx. 5; Num. xiv. 18; Deut. v. 9, 10). By the third and fourth generation are signified all who are in falsities from evil. The third generation signifies those who are in falsities of evil, and the fourth generation those who are in evils of falsity; for, in the opposite sense, three signifies falsities, and four evils. Who does not see that it would be contrary to the Divine justice to visit the iniquity of the parents upon the sons, even to the third and fourth generation? For the Lord teaches that "The soul that sinneth, it shall die; the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the justice of the just shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezek. xviii. 20; Deut. xxiv. 16; 2 Kings xiv. 6). It is evident therefore, that the expression third and fourth generation does not mean third and fourth generation, but that which those numbers signify. Similar things are signified by "For three and four transgressions" (Amos i. 3, 6, 9, 11, 13; ii. 1, 4, 6). From this it is evident how great are the interior things contained merely in numbers in the Word, and these things no one can know without the spiritual sense.
2 Kings 14:6; Amos 1:6, 1:11, 1:3, 1:13, 1:9, 2:4, 2:6, 2:1; Deuteronomy 5:9-10, 24:16; Exodus 20:5; Ezekiel 18:20; Luke 12, 12:52-53; Matthew 27:45, Matthew 27:50; Numbers 14:18, Numbers 31:19-24; Revelation 8:13)