Asher and Anna
Jacob’s last words to his sons, the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 49:28), contain the following short statement to his son Asher.
Genesis 49:20 (NKJV) “Bread from Asher shall be rich, and he shall yield royal dainties.”
Asher was the eighth son of Jacob – the number ‘eight’ speaking of resurrection – and there is a link to Asher in the New Testament. The prophetess Anna, who ‘came in that instant’ to Jesus when he was a baby (being presented in the Temple in Jerusalem) was from the tribe of Asher.
Luke 2:36-38 (NKJV) Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Anna’s life of faith and prayerful service in the Temple having tragically lost of her husband after seven years of marriage, was divinely rewarded. At the end of her very long life, the Lord allowed her to be in the physical presence of Messiah – the Word become flesh. The truth of ‘redemption’ which Anna prophesied over the very young Jesus was ‘rich bread’ indeed for those present at that time.
Importantly, there is more to understand about Anna because of the numerical details stated about her life. Why do we need to know her marriage was seven years and why do we need to know that Anna served day and night in the Temple for 84 years in anticipation of Messiah?
Straight away, the confusion about the age of Anna must be addressed. Was Anna 84 years old or was she 84 years older after her husband died? The original Greek is ambiguous; however, Hebrew writings provide a precedent for the older age. Assume Anna’s age, at marriage, was 14 years old (which was not unusual for the culture of the day); seven years marriage and then 84 years would age Anna at 105 years old (14 + 7 + 84 = 105). This great age of 105 years seems unreasonably old until it is remembered that another significant lady (in Hebrew history) also lived to 105 and in similar circumstances to Anna. In the apocryphal ‘Book of Judith’, Judith lived to 105 (Judith 16:23) and Judith, like Anna, lost her husband and had an extended period of widowhood without remarrying. Both Judith and Anna performed an extraordinary service for the Israel of their day. Judith facilitated a great victory against the Assyrian invaders and Anna announced in the Temple the arrival of Messiah for the redemption of Israel.
There is also a numerical equivalence between Anna and Judith in that they both had a ‘seven’ as part of their life journey to do with ‘death’. Anna’s marriage lasted seven years before the death of her husband and Judith’s death was mourned by the House of Israel for seven days (Judith 16:24).
All these associations between Anna and Judith make it more reasonable that Anna lived to the greater age of 105.
Anna and Messiah and Timing of Rapture
Why are Anna’s numbers important? It is because Anna’s circumstances (and numbers) relate to Messiah. Both Anna and Messiah were cut off from their spouses after seven years. Anna lost her husband after seven years and Messiah lost Israel, for whom he came, after seven years of combined ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus. John’s Gospel states:
John 1:11 (NKJV) He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
Are the 84 years for Anna, after the death of Anna's husband when she waited to be in the physical presence of Messiah, related to the number of years that Messiah has to wait before He is in the physical presence of His bride (the Body of Christ) at the Rapture? If so, this ‘bread’ from Asher may become very rich indeed. Asher as the eighth son of Jacob may be directly linked to the timing of the Rapture of the Bride of Christ.
Moreover, the numbers ‘seven’ and ‘84’ are important numbers in the biblical watch. The number ‘84’ is a pyramid number and it is biblically known that pyramid numbers conclude the ‘prime-fulfilment pattern’ for groupings or large bodies of people, with whom God will dramatically intervene. For example, the intervention of the Lord upon the Body of Christ at the Rapture is marked with a pyramid number. For those who are 'scripture watching’, careful note must be taken when pyramid numbers appear on the surface of the Biblical narrative.
As though the Lord is underlining this assertion, the number ‘84’ isn’t any old pyramid number (in mathematics), it is the seventh pyramid number – another seven!
Jacob’s Hebrew Words and ‘84’
Back with Jacob’s statement to his son Asher. Are there any indications in the original Hebrew of Jacob’s death-bed words to Asher which speak of these 84 years of Anna – the 84 years during which Anna prayerfully and faithfully waited before being in the physical presence of Messiah?
First, the Hebrew word for ‘bread’, used by Jacob, has a numerical value of 84. This is a strong link because it is the ‘bread’ from Asher (as a metaphor for the word of God) which is rich and forges a conceptual link with the deeper meaning of Anna's life, circumstances and numbers.
Secondly, the numerical value of the Hebrew words which Jacob used to speak to Asher in Genesis 49:20 is 1762 and there are precisely 1762 words in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek text of the whole Bible which have a numerical value of ‘84’. For context, there are only nine verses in the whole Bible which have a numerical value of 1762.
Thirdly, if you multiply the digits of the number 1762 (the numerical value of Genesis 49:20), the result is 84 (because 1 x 7 x 6 x 2 = 84)!
Enoch and the ‘Wonderful Numberer’ are ‘84’
I hope the association of Jacob’s words to his son Asher may now be seen to emphasis the (seventh) pyramid number ‘84’. This number ‘84’ is intensely linked to the faith and service of Anna before she was in the physical presence of Messiah – just as the Body of Christ is called to a similar level of dedication, faith and service before being in the physical presence of Messiah at the Rapture. The number ‘84’ may also be a key number in the timing of this ‘wait’ of the body of Christ.
Finally, the Hebrew name of Enoch, who was the first man chronologically to be raptured, has a numerical value of 84. Also, the name of the ‘Wonderful Numberer’ (in Daniel 8:13) who answers a ‘when’ or ‘timing’ question has a numerical value of 84. Both Enoch and the ‘Wonderful Numberer’ are very important persons in the biblical watch of Messiah’s return.
When Jacob stated that bread from Asher would be rich, his statement carried great weight and prophetic insight regarding a distant descendant – the prophetess Anna. Bread from Asher would be rich indeed as the life of Anna brings glorious insight into the timing of the royalty of Messiah being in the physical presence of His bride, the Body of Christ at the Rapture. It was not a coincidence that Asher was the eighth son of Israel.
As an afterthought, the meaning of the Hebrew name ‘Asher’ speaks of 'happiness' and 'joy' – emotions which will most certainly be present at the upcoming wedding of the Bride of Christ!
The diagram below illustrates some of the numerical values discussed above: