THE NUMBER 7 IN THE BIBLE
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© July 2019, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is solely the opinion of the author and for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
This is a somewhat technical article. The number 7 is extremely important in the Old And New Testaments of the Bible. Here are some examples:
God created the world in seven “days” and rested on the seventh day. – Genesis 2:2. Seven here represents culmination, completion, and perfection.
“For in six days, the Lord made heaven and earth and the sea and all that was within them, and on the seventh day he rested. Therefore he blessed the seventh day and made it holy.” – Exodus 20:11.
The seven heavens. “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the Third Heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.
– 2 Corinthians 12:2
The Seven Heavens are described in numerous Judeo/Christian Apocryphal books including: 3 Baruch, 2 and 3 Enoch, the Testament of Levi, the Revelation of Moses, the Martyrdom and Ascension of Isaiah, the Apocalypse of St. Paul, and the Apocrypha of John.
They are also found in numerous official texts of Judaism too numerous to count. According to Jewish teachings, mainly from the Talmud, the celestial realm is composed of seven heavens called Shamayim.
Jesus admonishes us to forgive seventy times seven times. – Matthew 18:22. This number indicates boundlessness.
“Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan (river), and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” – 2 Kings 5:10.
“Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days…” – Exodus, 22:30.
“March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of ram’s horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.” – Joshua 6:3-4.
The following is excerpted from Wikipedia because we can’t say it any better:
Revelation 1:4: John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
Revelation 3:1: And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Revelation 4:5: And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
Revelation 5:6: And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
The sevenfold ministry of the spirit:
In one interpretation, the "Seven Spirits" represent the sevenfold ministry of the Spirit as depicted in the Book of Isaiah. As it is written: "The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD, and He will delight in the fear of the Lord." Isaiah 11:2–3 (NASB).
The spirits of God are:
1. The Spirit of the Lord
2. The Spirit of wisdom
3. The spirit of Understanding
4. The spirit of counsel
5. The Spirit of might
6. The Spirit knowledge
7. The Spirit of fear of the Lord.
An alternative view is that the seven graces ("charisma") of Romans 12:6–8 reflect the seven spirits of God. The Holy Spirit manifests in humankind through these graces, reflecting the seven spirits of God. The seven graces are:
1. Insight (prophecy);
2. Helpfulness (service or ministry);
3. Instruction (teaching);
5. Generosity (giving);
6. Guidance (leadership);
7. Compassion. This agrees with Isaiah 11:2–3 if "the Spirit of the Lord" is recognized as categorical and "the delight in the fear of the Lord" is added.
Seven distinct spiritual beings:
In the New Testament, the Greek term "Dynamis" (translated by some as "Virtues") suggests a class of exalted spiritual beings, perhaps parallel to the "chief Princes" (Sar rishown) in the Old Testament, of which the Archangel Michael is stated to be one (Daniel 10:13).
"Dynamis" is used by the Apostle Paul to refer to spiritual beings in Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12; and Colossians 1:16, 2:10, 2:15. "Powers and principalities" can apply to both angelic and devilish beings, but more often in the New Testament to devilish beings. However, it should be noted, most modern Protestant translators take "Dynamis" to mean "strength", "power", or "ability", whereas the ancient and modern Catholic conception of activity or power was often understood as "virtues". Others follow this line of thought, though find the connection to "dynamis" referred to by Paul less likely.
The seven angelic beings. It is possible that these seven angels are a special entourage charged with special duties by the Lamb, about whom we have little to no specific knowledge.
Still others look to the apocryphal work 1 Enoch which refers to seven angels who are "watching" creation: Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sarakiel/Suriel (in 9.1), Gabriel, and Phanuel, who is mentioned as one of the four chief angels in 40.9.
Symbolic of perfection
Sevenfold may also be connected with the Biblical understanding that the number 7 represents perfection. The "Seven Fold Spirit of God" could be the "perfect" Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.