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How do we explain the Book of Mormon’s usage of the number 24 in relation to judgment?

John W. Welch explains important numbers in antiquity:

Certain numbers were clearly meaningful in antiquity: seven was the number of spiritual perfection (as in the seven seals in the book of Revelation); twelve was a governmental number (as with the twelve tribes, twelve apostles). The number twenty‐ four, being a multiple of twelve, was associated with heavenly government, especially priestly judgment and temple service.

At Qumran, judicial disputes were brought before a court called “the council of the community.” This deliberative body was composed of two panels of twelve, twelve priests and twelve laymen, for a quorum of twenty‐four judges. These judges “give light by the judgment of the Urim and Thummim.”

In the New Testament apocalypse, the book of Revelation, twenty‐four elders judge the world. These twenty‐four elders are mentioned twelve times in the book (Revelation 4:4, 10; 5:5, 6, 8, 11, 14; 7:11, 13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4).

In Rabbinic Judaism, local courts having jurisdiction over most capital cases consisted of twenty‐four (or twenty‐three) judges. These “small sanhedrins” were composed of two panels, one for the defense and the other for the prosecution (the odd number twenty‐ three prevented a tie vote and was a minimum quorum requirement). If one of the judges had to leave the trial, “it had to be ascertained if twenty‐three . . . would be left, in which case he might go out; if not, he might not depart.”

John W. Welch – Number 24

It is interesting how the number 24 (or 23 as shown above) is used in the Book of Mormon in relation to judgement, for example:

How would Joseph Smith have known about this symbolism and remembered to use it when dictating the Book of Mormon?


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