The number 17 in the scriptures has a very interesting usage. It is the seventh prime number. It is the sum of the numbers 10 and 7 and seems to take on a combination of the symbolic meaning of these 2 numbers. The sum of the digits is 8 (the number of resurrection or new beginnings). It is remarkable how many of the most theologically important passages of scripture are marked by the number 17.
Genesis 17 – Abram’s name is changed to Abraham and circumcision was instituted as a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham.
Leviticus 17 -Blood sacrificed as atonement for the soul.
1 Samuel 17 – David kills Goliath.
2 Kings 17 – Samaria captured and Israel carried away to Assyria.
Matthew 17 – The mount of transfiguration
John 17 – The high priestly prayer of Jesus. The true Lord’s prayer.
Revelation 17 – The Roman church as mystery Babylon, the Great Harlot.
The number 17 surrounds the rapture of the church in the scriptures because the numbers 10 and 7 describe what the rapture is: the completion of the age of the gentile church. Here are some examples of the number 17 and the rapture.
The order of the books of the Old Testament is prophetic. What I mean by this is the book of Job is a type of the Jew in the great tribulation. Job has 42 chapters for the 42 months of the great tribulation. It mentions both behemoth and leviathan which are types of anti-Christ and Satan. It also has Job getting his children back which is a type of the post tribulation rapture. The book of Esther is the book before Job in the Bible. In the beginning of the book of Esther, the king calls queen Vashti to the feast and she refuses to come. She is a type of the lukewarm, Laodicean church. The king then rejects his gentile queen (spews her out of His mouth, see Revelation 3) and then chooses a Jewish queen (Esther). After the end of the church age, Jesus will once again choose Israel as His people. If you move further back in the Old Testament, you will see that the Jews will be back in their land and will rebuild the temple before the rapture of the church (Ezra and Nehemiah). Esther is the 17th book of the Bible and it marks the rapture of the church.
In Isaiah 51 and 52, you will see the phrase, “Awake, awake” three times. These mark the three parts of the resurrection or harvest. They are the firstfruits (Jesus and O.T. saints), the harvest (the church), and the gleanings (the tribulation saints). Verse 51:9 is the firstfruits, verse 51:17 is the harvest (church) and 52:1 is the gleanings. It should be noted that 51 is 17 X 3.
1 Corinthians 15, which is the definitive chapter on the resurrection in the Bible, describes the mystery of the rapture and the verses which describe this mystery are verses 51 and 52 (see above for discussion on 51). Verse 51 also has 17 words.
The other clear description of the rapture of the church is in 1 Thessalonians 4. In fact, we get the word rapture from the Latin for “caught up”. The phrase, “caught up” is in verse 17 of chapter 4 of 1 Thessalonians.
Genesis 24, which is one of the greatest prophetic chapters pertaining to the Church in the Old Testament, has a description of the rapture in verse 51 (3 X 17). Verse 51 says, “Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the Lord hath spoken.” In this chapter, Abraham is a type of the Father, Isaac is a type of Jesus the Son, and the servant is a type of the Holy Spirit. Rebekah is a type of the bride of Christ, the Church.
Luke 17:34 has another description of the rapture of the church. It says, “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.” This verse is one of the verses in the Bible where we get the phrase, “left behind.”
In John 1:51 (3 X 17) you have a type of the rapture of the church and then in the next verse, John 2:1, you have a type of the marriage supper of the Lamb. The mother of Jesus in John 2:1 is a type of Israel.
In John 21:11, after the Lord has been resurrected and appeared to His disciples on the sea shore, He tells Simon Peter to pull in his fishing net (bring of the fish which ye have now caught). The number of the fish was 153, which is 17 X 9.
The final connection between the number 17 and the rapture is in the year for the rapture of the church. The church began at Pentecost in 30 A.D. The second coming of Christ will happen in 2030 (2000 years or 2 days later). The tribulation will last for 7 years and is before the second coming of Christ. This puts the rapture of the church in 2023. 2023 is 17 X 17 X 7. The sum of the digits (2 + 2 +3) is 7.