What Hundredfold Means
by John Avanzini
Copyright © 1999 by International Faith Center, Inc., P.O. Box 917001, Ft. Worth, TX 76117-9001.
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What Hundredfold Means
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.
For emphasis, the author has placed selected words from the Bible quotations in italics.
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…abundantly above all that we ask or think….
For many years, the Lord has focused my ministry on the hundredfold return. This emphasis began with a special anointing He bestowed on me during a very personal experience 1 had with God.(For details of this experience, call 1-800-DEBTFREE and ask for your free copy of Miracle Money by John Avanzini.) It took place in the country of Nigeria. However, since that time thousands of believers on every continent have been effected by it.
During this life-changing encounter, God gave me specific instructions to speak the hundredfold return over the offerings of His people. To this date, I have done my best to be faithful to the Lord’s instructions.
During the early years of this special anointing, many people asked, “What does hundredfold really mean? Is it simply one hundred times? Could it be 100 percent? Maybe it’s double. Brother John, tell us what hundredfold really means.”
Before attempting to answer this question, I think we should locate the places in Scripture where hundredfold appears. The Strong’s Concordance shows that the word hundredfold appears seven times in the Authorized Version of the Bible. It appears in both the Old and the New Testaments.
The first time we find hundredfold in Scripture, Isaac is sowing seed at God’s command. However, he is not sowing in ideal conditions. He is sowing in the midst of hostile Philistines and a raging famine (Genesis 26). The next time the word hundredfold appears, it’s associated with King David’s rebellious numbering of the people of Israel. These are the only two instances of the word hundredfold in the Old Testament.
In the New Testament, Jesus is the only one who uses the word hundredfold. It appears in Matthew and in Luke when Jesus describes the good ground in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13 and Luke 8). Our Lord once again speaks of hundredfold in Mark 10, when He tells of the reward that awaits those who give up possessions and relationships for the gospel’s sake.
One of the important things about the hundredfold return is that it fust appears in the Book of Genesis. According to most Bible scholars, when a subject finds its beginning in Genesis, it takes on special significance.
In Chapter 26 of Genesis, we find Isaac in a dilemma. There is a famine in the land. It is especially distressing because the
Philistines have stopped up the great water wells that Isaac’s father had dug.
For all the wells which his father’s servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth.
As the crisis worsens, natural thinking begins to affect Isaac’s decisions. Like his father, Abraham, he is ready to go to Egypt (a type of world system) for help. However, in this time of shortage, God appears to him and discourages him from going to the world
system for help.
… the Lord appeared unto him [Isaac], and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee: for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father.
Keep in mind that Isaac is in a famine-ridden land. Nothing is growing for anyone. However, Isaac receives a promise that gives him an advantage over the heathen.
Let me draw your attention to a principle of Bible interpretation. In verse 4, we find a situation in Scripture called “duality.” Duality occurs when the same words give two separate and distinct messages. Notice carefully what God says to Isaac.
… I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven….
The primary meaning of this statement is that the seed of Isaac’s loins (his offspring) will grow to be a great nation. However, I believe there is also a secondary meaning. God is telling him the famine will have no effect on the agricultural seed he is about to sow. If Isaac obeys and sows during the famine, he will experience a massive supernatural increase.
Notice the confirmation of this truth in verses 12-14.
Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the Lord blessed him.
And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great:
For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants: and the Philistines envied him.
This is a beautiful example of God’s ability to multiply back to the obedient sower in larger-than-normal proportions. In these verses we see hundredfold for the first time in Scripture.
The next use of the word hundredfold in the Holy Bible, comes to us from the Book of 2 Samuel. It is spoken this time by one of King David’s most trusted associates. As he pleads with King David not to number Israel, Joab says:
… Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?
2 Samuel 24:3
At this point, Joab encouraged the king to trust God’s promise that Israel would be very great in number. If David numbered Israel, he would be basing his confidence on the strength of his army and what he could see in the natural realm. King David should have simply believed God’s promise. God promised there would be more than enough Israelites for any enemy He asked them to defeat.
The punishment for numbering Israel was severe.
…the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men.
2 Samuel 24:15
With this brief overview of a most unfortunate event in King David’s life, we find the second time the word hundredfold appears in the Word of God.
The first mention of hundredfold in the New Testament comes from the lips of Jesus. He uses it as He teaches the parable of the sower. This parable appears in three of the four gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
… other fell on good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.
… he that received into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
… other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold….
… these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty[fold], and some an hundred[fold].
Our Lord once again uses the word hundredfold when He describes the enormous return you can expect when you give into the ministry of the gospel. Hear Matthew’s account.
… every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Mark gives more information in his account, for he includes our Lord’s answer to Simon Peter’s question.
Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the gospel’s,
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
I believe it is important to notice that God does not reserve the hundredfold for some distant pie-in-the-sky reward system after life on earth has ended. Jesus states plainly that the hundredfold return is an event that takes place right here and now on earth.
… he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time….
For a long period of time, the only answer I could give to the question, What does hundredfold actually mean? was that 1 didn’t know exactly what it meant. I was forced to answer that way, because at the time, I had not received any specific revelation from the Lord about the numerical aspect of hundredfold.
Recently, God has given me further revelation in this area. Let’s take a look at what He has shown me.
It is easy to understand what thirtyfold and sixtyfold mean. Thirtyfold means thirty times, and sixtyfold means sixty times. However, hundredfold is different. Notice that in telling the story of the sower (Mark 4), Jesus abruptly breaks the mathematical progression He uses after reaching sixtyfold. He has been progressing by thirty numbers at a time. That is, until He goes beyond sixtyfold. Then instead of adding another thirty to His count and coming to ninetyfold, He jumps forty numbers and ends with a hundred (Mark 4:8 & 20).
When our Lord makes this abrupt change, it should be obvious that something of significance is taking place, for one hundred is a unique number. It is the only number that can represent many other numbers. Not only does it mean one hundred, it can also signify that something is complete, whole, or the best possible.
In the realm of the classroom, one hundred represents the best possible score on an examination. If you were to take a test with one hundred questions, the best possible score would be one hundred. If the test had twenty-five questions, the best possible grade would not change to twentyfive. It would still be one hundred. Let’s go one step further. Suppose an exam contained two hundred questions. The best possible grade would not be two hundred. It would still be one hundred.
Let’s now take this thought to the agricultural realm. When a little apple seed is planted in good ground, it increases far more than one hundred times.
One little apple seed produces a great big apple tree. Please remember, you planted an apple seed. So, you must measure the increase by the number of apple seeds the tree produces. To determine the yield, it is necessary to count all the seeds the apple tree brings forth in its lifetime.
As nearly as I can determine, the average apple has at least five seeds in it. This being true, we would have to conclude that if hundredfold meant only one hundred times, a hundredfold apple seed would bring forth only twenty apples. The mathematics to prove this are as follows. Twenty apples times five apple seeds in each apple, equals one hundred apple seeds. However, we know that an apple tree can live many years, and it can produce 5,000 or more apples. In the case of apple seeds, hundredfold would easily mean 25,000 times (five seeds per apple, times 5,000 apples = 25,000 apple seeds).
It is plain to see from this illustration that hundredfold return can mean much more than just one hundred times.
Let’s look at another illustration. This time let’s take our example from the realm of livestock reproduction. If hundredfold had to strictly mean one hundred times, never more, never less, it would be impossible for a cattle rancher to experience the hundredfold return from a cow.
Think this through with me. The average cow produces only one calf per year. Therefore, if a cow had to bring forth one hundred calves, it would take one hundred years. That would be much longer than the cow’s natural life expectancy. It might even be longer than the rancher’s life.
As I understand it, a good breeder cow will have about nine calves during her productive years. If she has any more than nine, she is considered exceptional. The best possible yield of calves from a cow would be about nine to thirteen calves. If this is true, hundredfold in the livestock industry would mean much less than one hundred times.
From these illustrations, you can see that hundredfold can be only a few times, or even thousands of times. I think it is clear from these examples that hundredfold means the best possible yield.
Before you can consider something to be the best possible, you must take circumstances into account. I personally came to understand this truth in a dramatic way. It happened in 1981 as my wife and I were moving away from Southern California. We had to sell our home in San Diego to accomplish the move. You can imagine our disappointment when we had to move before we had sold the house. We left it in the hands of a capable Realtor.
No sooner had we moved than the real estate market began a downward trend. Housing prices dropped, and sales came to
an abrupt halt.
I must say that in the natural realm, it didn’t look good for us. Finally, after ten long months, the house sold. By then we had dropped our price a considerable amount. It especially impacted me, because we had expected a fast, full-price sale. I remember rehearsing my disappointment to the Father. Little did I know how ungrateful my whining must have sounded to Him.
It was over two years later before I realized my ingratitude. It happened when I came back into contact with our California Realtor. He began to tell me what a miracle the sale of our house had been. He went on to explain that ours had been the only house in the area to sell during a two-year period. He also told us the local Realtors were still referring to our former home as the miracle house. They said it was the house God had sold for the preacher when no other houses were selling!
Can you imagine how small I felt? Why, as soon as I was alone, I got down on my knees and asked God to forgive me for being so ungrateful. I had murmured and complained while God was giving me the best possible return. I now realize that in the sale of that house, we had experienced the hundredfold return. God had truly blessed us exceedingly, abundantly above anything the heathen had experienced under those same circumstances.
By the way, there is more. Because our house didn’t sell before we moved from California, we had to take a large mortgage on our new home in Missouri. When I finally sold my home in California, I offered the individual who held the mortgage on our new home a half-price payoff in cash, which he accepted. This purchase quickly made up for anything I thought I had lost in the reduced-price sale of our California home.
Several years ago, the Lord again confirmed this dynamic principle to me in a dramatic way. It happened during a conversation with a Texas cotton farmer who is close to our ministry. As usual, I asked him about his cotton harvest. He seemed disappointed and reluctant to say much.
As I pressed him for details, he related to me that hail had destroyed some of his crop. Dry weather and other adverse conditions had taken much of the rest. He summed up that he had broken even for the year, just barely meeting expenses. When I asked how the other farmers in his area had done, he said most of them had suffered total loss.
Then it hit me. 1 said, “Why, you had hundredfold!”
You can imagine the surprise my farmer friend expressed upon hearing that I thought breaking even was hundredfold. Then I explained the revelation I was beginning to understand.
Farmers need ideal conditions to reap big crops. The weather had been horrible. Most farmers in my friend’s area had no harvest at all. However, the Christian farmer had broken even. He was a godly man, and even in the worst possible weather, God gave him enough harvest to meet all of his obligations. He had given him the “best possible increase under the circumstances.”
Now comes the good part. In a previous harvest, my friend had put a great amount of cotton seed into storage. It had just been laying there, bringing no benefit to him. Then after this bad year, a seed shortage developed that shot up the price of cotton seed, and you guessed it. Since my farmer friend had a warehouse full of cotton seed, he made a big profit selling it. Yes, he actually feasted in that famine.
Please remember, sometimes your return is thirtyfold, sometimes it is sixtyfold. However, if you walk faithfully in God’s principles of seedtime and harvest, your return will always be hundredfold—the best possible return under the circumstances.
Before you ever again judge God to have fallen short in your harvest, stop and check up on how the heathen came out with theirs. Then lift up your head and boldly say, “My God is the God of thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and no matter what the circumstances, He always gives me the best possible return! He always makes it hundredfold!” God likes to always make it exceeding, abundantly above all you can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
When you read the account of the sower in Luke 8, the true meaning of hundredfold becomes even clearer, for Luke doesn’t even mention thirtyfold and sixtyfold.
And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold….
When you compare the account in Luke with the one in Mark, there can be no question that they are describing the same event. In Mark’s account, our Lord says thirtyfold, sixtyfold, then hundredfold. However, Luke uses only the word hundredfold. This proves from Scripture that hundredfold can mean many different amounts of increase.
My dear friend, I hope you can see that with the hundredfold return, it will be possible for you to manifest the superabundance that Jesus teaches. If you keep yourself in a position to receive the best God has, it won’t take long for every promise of blessing and abundance in God’s Word to become yours. It will be as the Scripture says.
… If God be for [you], who can be against [you]?
Remember, God promises hundredfold to all of His children who walk in the Kingdom principles of super-abundance.
For other books by John Avanzini, or to contact this ministry, write to:
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