“The Number Seven”
by Karen Thompson
Third in a Four-Part Series
We’re now in our third post in our four-part series on numbers in Scripture. In this post, we’re going to look at the number seven. The most conspicuous number in Revelation is the number seven. It’s repeated over and over and over. You could say Revelation was built around the number seven. When you understand the significance of the number seven, you understand why its presence is so prevalent. According to E.W. Bullinger in his book Number in Scripture, the number seven signifies something that is full and complete. The number seven is prominent throughout the Bible from beginning to end. In fact, the Bible begins with seven creation days and it ends with a book centered around the number seven.
The most significant thing about the number seven is its connection with time. In the creation story in Genesis chapter one, God tells us that He created time. God, who exists in timeless eternity, created the concept of time for mankind. His first element in marking time is the creation of day and night:
“And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:4–5).
Then in verses 14–18, we see His purpose for creating time:
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.”
The lights in heaven are for the purpose of dividing the days and nights. Furthermore, they are for signs, for seasons, for days, and for years. The word “seasons” in verse 14 means something else other than the seasons of the year as we know them. It is the Hebrew word moed, and it means an “appointed time.” Time was an invention created solely for man’s sake, to give him signs and seasons, or appointed times. As you study the Bible, it becomes obvious why God created time and why it’s important for mankind. We see a purpose for the creation of time in the creation story. We see God worked for six days and rested on the seventh. Then He ordained this same seven-day week pattern in which the children of Israel were to live their lives. He said, “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord…” (Exo. 31:15). The Lord gave His people the responsibility to keep track of time, to count the weeks. In addition to counting days in seven-day cycles, they also count the years in seven-year cycles, with the seventh year called the shemitah year.
The number seven is found in many significant time designations. For instance, in Leviticus chapter 23, the Lord instructed the Israelites about His seven appointed feasts, or moeds, that all take place in seven months. Within these seven appointed feasts, we see the number seven in several time designations. The Lord’s Passover occurs on the 14th day of the first month, a multiple of seven (v. 5); then the Feast of Unleavened Bread is observed for seven days. The Day of Pentecost is observed seven Sabbaths (or weeks) and one day. (v. 16). Then in the seventh month, the last three feasts are observed. The last feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, is observed for seven days.
Two more examples where the number seven is involved in important time designations have to do with judgments. When Babylon invaded Jerusalem and took captive thousands of the Jews and brought them back to Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah prophesied they would be released in 70 years. Then when those 70 years were up, Daniel began to seek God. While he was in prayer, an angel appeared and told Daniel about another judgment involving the number seven. The Lord said that after 70 weeks, all His plans for the Jewish people and for Jerusalem would be accomplished. But this judgment of 70 weeks was actually 70 weeks of years, so it was 490 years.
What’s more, the Jewish people live their lives in cycles of seven. For instance, weddings are celebrated for seven days. When someone dies, they mourn for seven days. The Levitical system is centered on a series of sevens. And let’s not forget the battle for Jericho which was won when seven priests marched around the city for seven days and blew their seven trumpets seven times on the seventh day. Those are just a few examples of the number seven associated with the element of time.
The Number Seven in Revelation
Let’s go on and consider all the ways the number seven appears in the book of Revelation. Revelation is about the great consummation! Consummation is the very essence of fulfillment, perfection, and completion. That’s why the number seven permeates Revelation, because as Daniel 9:24 states, it is when every vision and prophecy ever uttered about the covenant people will be consummated!
Let’s look at the overwhelming presence of the number seven that permeates Revelation. There are the obvious sevens and then there are the less obvious sevens. Here are the obvious sevens:
- Seven churches 1:4
- Seven spirits before the throne of God 1:4
- Seven candlesticks 1:12
- Seven stars 1:16
- Scroll sealed with seven seals 5:1
- Lamb with seven eyes and seven horns 5:6
- Seven angels with seven trumpets 8:2
- Seven thunders 10:3
- At the sound of the seventh angel’s trumpet, the mystery of God will be finished 10:7
- Seven thousand men slain in an earthquake 11:13
- Seven angels with seven vials 15:7
- Red dragon with seven heads wearing seven crowns 12:3
- Beast with seven heads 13:1
- Seven mountains 17:9
- Seven kings 17:10
- Revelation covers a span of seven years, Daniel’s 70th week!
Then there are the less obvious sevens and multiples of sevens. Revelation chapter six says that when the sixth seal is opened, a great earthquake will occur, causing men to flee and hide in the caves. It lists a series of seven classes of men that will hide in the caves: “And the 1) kings of the earth, and the 2) great men, and the 3) rich men, and the 4) chief captains, and the 5) mighty men, and every 6) bondman, and every 7) free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains” (Rev. 6:15).
Revelation chapter 19 tells us after the battle of Armageddon, an angel will call the birds to come and eat the flesh of dead men. It lists a series of seven classes of flesh that birds will feast upon: “That ye may eat the flesh of 1) kings, and the flesh of 2) captains, and the flesh of 3) mighty men, and the flesh of 4) horses, and of 5) them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both 6) free and bond, both 7) small and great” (Rev. 19:18).
In two places, we see the beings in heaven speak a seven-fold blessing: “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive 1) power, and 2) riches, and 3) wisdom, and 4) strength, and 5) honour, and 6) glory, and 7) blessing” (Rev. 5:11–12).
The second place is Revelation 7:12: “And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, Saying, Amen: 1) Blessing, and 2) glory, and 3) wisdom, and 4) thanksgiving, and 5) honour, and 6) power, and 7) might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”
There are seven “blessings” in Revelation:
- “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy…” Rev. 1:3.
- “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth…” Rev. 14:13.
- “Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments…” Rev. 16:15.
- “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…” Rev. 19:9.
- “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection…” Rev. 20:6.
- “Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book…” Rev. 22:7.
- “Blessed are they that do his commandments…” Rev. 22:14.
The phrase “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” is repeated seven times: Rev. 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:29, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22.
There are four expressions of eternity in Revelation and these four expressions are repeated 21 times, a multiple of 7: 1) Who was, who is and who is to come; 2) Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, first and last; 3) reign for ever and ever; and 4) live for ever and ever.
There are seven overcomer’s rewards:
- “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7).
- “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death” (Rev. 2:11).
- “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. 2:17).
- “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations” (Rev. 2:26).
- “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life” (Rev. 3:5).
- “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev. 3:12).
- “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (Rev. 3:21).
There are 17 verses that have the word “blood” in them. Seven of those times have to do with God’s judgments on Antichrist’s kingdom.
- Moon became as blood, 6:12
- Fire mingled with blood, 8:7
- Sea became blood, 8:8
- Waters turned into blood, 11:6
- Blood came out of the winepress, 14:20
- Sea became blood of a dead man, 16:3
- Rivers and fountains of waters became blood, 16:4
There’s probably more but that’s all I found so far in Revelation.
Oh… I forgot about this in Proverbs: “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
- A proud look
- A lying tongue
- And hands that shed innocent blood
- An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations
- Feet that be swift in running to mischief
- A false witness that speaketh lies
- And he that soweth discord among brethren” (Pro. 6:16–19).
Fun Fact to Know: I’ll leave you with this fun fact. Did you know that the Latin word “September” means “seventh month”? How weird is it that we call our ninth month the seventh month? The reason the ninth month of our calendar is called by a name that means “seventh month” is because the month of September used to be the seventh month in the original Roman calendar which was only ten months long. In 45 BC, Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar that had two more months. No one bothered to rename September to something more appropriate, and everyone just got used to it.
Can you say lazy?
Question: What does butter and this email have in common? Answer: They both should be spread! Spread the email, people! Far and wide!
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