In the Bible, the number 17 signifies complete and perfect victory.
I would have thought that this number would be more pronounced in the Bible. The usual, human response to complete victory is loud and colorful with lots of attention drawn to it.
But the type of occurrences of the number 17 quietly leads people to understand God’s stance on victory. I feel this way because the dates of events on the 17th are not directly stated but computed, nor is the meaning obvious through direct scriptural reference like you’ll find with the number 6. It does not have multiple parallels with another number to emphasize its importance like how the number 9 does with the number 6 (link to articles).
I think there is purpose in this. It reminds me of the curious and thought-provoking absence of God’s name in the book of Esther, even as He was keenly involved in every detail and guiding every moment to fulfill exactly the purposes He intended.
Because the fullness of victory is almost shrouded, folded up in a piece of knowledge, it brought me to really contemplate and appreciate God’s mastery and majesty.
Before I explain this piece of knowledge, let’s glimpse at what the number 17 means in popular culture.
The Number 17
In numerology, the number 17 is a “powerful sign of power and opportunity, the appearance of this number in your life indicates a time of conscious awareness and intent.” (numerologist.com)
The Meaning of the Number 17 in the Bible
What is this “piece of knowledge” I’m referring to above? It is found in Exodus 12:1-2. Through Moses, God had unleashed plagues on the Egyptians because of Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Israelites leave Egypt to worship Him. The last plague would be death of the firstborn.
God showed His people and the Egyptians that there was only One God, and it was He who had the power to control nature and the breath of life.
On the eve of sparing and taking life, God told Moses and Aaron, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.”
From that day forward, the Hebrews had a civil and a religious calendar, which the Jews still keep today (scripturerevealed.com/prophecy/the-mystery-of-17).
Then the 14th day of Nisan came (Exodus 12:18) – those with lamb’s blood on their lintels and doorposts kept the lives of their sons, those without, lost their sons (Passover).
Three days later (Exodus 5:3), which would be the 17th day of Nisan of the new calendar God had instituted, the Israelites went unharmed to freedom while their pursuing enemies drowned in rolling waves of sea.
But there is another, more significant 17th day of Nisan.
Significant Mentions of the Number 17 in the Bible
Jesus Christ was resurrected near sunset on the 17th of Nisan.
These events take place on a new calendar year God had made, saying in effect: new life of freedom from Egypt! New life of freedom in Christ!
Each layer of symbolism waves like another victory banner with God’s complete and utter victory over sin, death, and evil.
The Meaning of 17 in the Old Testament
Here’s another banner: Noah’s ark landed on the mountains of Ararat on the 17th day of Nisan. (biblestudy.org) This event, as well as the exit by sea, involves water–baptism—a wonderful rebirth.
For those who might be unfamiliar, people had become so wicked (except for Noah who remained God-fearing) that God washed the earth clean and began again through Noah and his family and all the animals he’d brought on board.
Another victory banner: through Queen Esther, having beseeched her husband and king’s permission to counteract a law that permitted genocide of her people, God had saved the Jews and had Haman, who plotted the massacre, hung on the 17th of Nisan. (scripturerevealed.com/prophecy/the-mystery-of-17, Esther 3:1-12)
The Meaning of 17 in the New Testament
In the book of 1 Corinthians, when love is mentioned for the 17th time, the apostle Paul is saying it is the greatest of gifts. (biblestudy.org)
What Does the Number 17 Mean in the Bible?
The number 17 in the Bible symbolizes God’s total and perfect victory over the enemies of sin, death, and evil.
He did all of this, and wrote it out to us, and demonstrated it through the painful sacrifice of His Son and his miraculous rising, because He loves us and love never fails.