Number 7 in Holy Scriptures

Seven is one of the greatest power numbers in the Abrahamic Religion startion with Judaism, representing Creation, good fortune, and blessing. A Hebrew word for luck, gad, equals seven in gematria. Another Hebrew word for luck, mazal, equals 77.

The Bible is replete with things grouped in sevens. Besides the Creation and the exalted status of the Sabbath, the seventh day, there are seven laws of Noah and seven Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Several Jewish holidays are seven days long, and priestly ordination takes seven days. The Land of Israel was allowed to lie fallow one year in seven. The Menorah in the Temple has seven branches. The prophet Zechariah describes a strange celestial stone with seven eyes (Chapter 4).

This emphasis on seven continues post-biblically with seven wedding blessings, seven circuits performed about a groom, and seven days of mourning after the death of a close relative.

Events, prayers,and esoteric observances that involve multiples of seven are also common. Entities both natural (gold) and supernatural (angels) are often grouped by sevens (I Enoch 20; II Enoch 19). Seven is a factor in many occult elements and events.

The first verse of the Torah consists of seven words and seven is the recurrent number in Pharaoh’s divinatory dreams in Genesis. The walls of Jericho fall after the Israelites encircle it seven times. In the Zohar, the seven lower sefirot are those aspects of God that are present in asiyah, our world of action. Seven is also the preferred number in spells, magic squares, amulets, and the like (Genesis 7:2; I Kings 18:43; Deuteronomy 16:9; Pesahim 54a; Sotah 10b).

Religion references

Old Testament

  • Seven Hebrew words of Bereishit 1:1 / Genesis 1:1 (28 letters).
  • The number seven in the seven days of Creation is typological and the number seven appears commonly elsewhere in the Bible. These include:
    • Seven days of Creation (Genesis 1) e.g., GOD rested on and sanctified the seventh day (Sabbath)
    • Anyone who dares to kill Cain ‘will suffer vengeance seven times over’ (Genesis 4:15)
    • Lamech in his “Song of the Sword” claims that ‘if Cain shall be avenged sevenfold’, he himself shall be ‘seventy-sevenfold’ (Genesis 4:24)
    • Noah is commanded to bring seven pairs of every clean animal onto the ark (Genesis 7:2)
    • Seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in Pharaoh’s dream (Genesis 41)
    • In regards to the sin sacrifice, the anointed priest was to sprinkle the bullock’s blood seven times before the lord (Leviticus 4:6)
    • Seven days of the feast of Passover (Exodus 13:3–10)
    • Seven-day week and the pattern concerning distribution and use of manna (Exodus 16)
    • The Menorah (Hebrew: מנורה‎‎), is a seven-branched candelabrum lit by olive oil in the Tabernacle and the Temple in Jerusalem (Exodus 25)
    • Seven year cycle around the years of Jubilee (Leviticus 25)
    • Jericho’s walls fall on the seventh day after seven priests with seven trumpets march around the city seven times (Joshua 6:8)
    • King David had seven older brothers (1 Samuel 16)
    • The child sneezed seven times after Elisha raised him from the dead (2 Kings 4:35)
    • Seven things that are detestable to the LORD (Proverbs 6:16–19)
    • Seven Pillars of the House of Wisdom (Proverbs 9:1)
    • The woman with seven sons in 2 Maccabees.

    New Testament

    • Seven loaves multiplied into seven basketfuls of surplus (Matthew 15:32–37)
    • Peter asked Jesus if he should forgive those who sinned against him up to 7 times; Jesus responded by saying to forgive them ‘seventy times seven times’, remembering so the curse of Cain and the song of Lamech in Genesis 4.
    • Seven demons were driven out of Mary Magdelene. (Luke 8:2).
    • The seven last sayings of Jesus on the cross.
    • Seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom (Acts 6:3)
    • In the Book of Revelation, seven is a central figure of quantities: Seven Spirits of GOD, Seven Churches (to which the book is addressed);
    • Seven of the following appear in Revelation: golden lampstands(1:12), stars(1:16), torches of fire(4:5) Seven Seals(5:1), angels and their trumpets(8:2), last plagues(15:1), golden bowls(15:7), thunders(10:3), horns and eyes(5:6), diadems(12:3) and kings(17:10).

    Other sevens in Christian knowledge and practice include:

    • The Seven Corporal Acts of Mercy and Seven Spiritual Acts of Mercy of Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other traditions
    • The Seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride
    • Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
    • The Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary, of Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other traditions
    • The Seven Sacraments in the Catholic faith (though some traditions assign a different number)
    • The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary, of Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other traditions
    • There are seven suicides mentioned in the Bible (OT and NT).
    • The seven terraces of Mount Purgatory (one per deadly sin)
    • The Seven Virtues: chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, kindness, patience, and humility
    • In the genealogy in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is 77th in a direct line
    • The number of heads of the three beasts (7 × 10 × 7 + 7 × 10 × 10 + 7 × 10 = 1260) of the Book of Revelation, and the seven seals

 

Conclusions

The number seven in the Bible represents divine perfection, totality or completion and is mentioned at least 490 times. GOD created mankind and beasts on the sixth day and so six is a number that represents mankind and also represents created things. Even the number 666 mentioned in the Bible where the number of the beast is also called the number of man (Rev 13:18) so just as six is symbolic or representative of mankind, and seven is symbolic of GOD’s work and just as six falls short of seven by one number, so man will always fall short of GOD’s standard (Rom 3:23)

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