Everyone who has ever read the book of The Revelation has noticed all the sevens: seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls. The entire letter is addressed to the Seven Churches of Asia, i.e. present day Turkey.
The very first time we are introduced to the idea of seven is in the days of creation; God’s resting and His requirement that we rest as well.
So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation. Gen. 2:3
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it. Ex. 20:8-11
Many of the sacrifices and cleansing rituals of the temple were spoken of as sevens. The Temple/Tabernacle was the place where one could approach God. This corridor of communication was to be kept open by continual sacrifices and rituals. It had to be maintained in order for the relationship between God and man to be one of strength and vigor. Sin was a constant threat to maintaining that openness, it was disrupting, threatening and disturbing to the relationship. These seven sacrifices and cleansings were to maintain and restore that relationship.
. . . and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle part of the blood seven times before the LORD in front of the veil of the sanctuary. Lev 4:6
. . . and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD in front of the veil. Lev 4:17
Then Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. And he sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them. Lev. 8:10-11
And on the seventh day he shall shave all his hair off his head; he shall shave off his beard and his eyebrows, all his hair. Then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe his body in water, and he shall be clean. Lev 14:9
“But if the priest comes and makes an examination, and the disease has not spread in the house after the house was plastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, for the disease is healed. And for the cleansing of the house he shall take two small birds, with cedarwood and scarlet stuff and hyssop, and shall kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water, and shall take the cedarwood and the hyssop and the scarlet stuff, along with the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the bird that was killed and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times. Lev. 14:48-51
“Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house; he shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself. And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small; and he shall bring it within the veil and put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat which is upon the testimony, lest he die; and he shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times. Lev. 16:11-14
And he shall sprinkle some of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel. Lev 16:19
“He who touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days; 12 he shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean; but if he does not cleanse himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean. Num. 19:11-12
and the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; thus on the seventh day he shall cleanse him, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean. Lev 19:19
Then Hezekiah the king rose early and gathered the officials of the city, and went up to the house of the LORD. And they brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven lambs, and seven he-goats for a sin offering for the kingdom and for the sanctuary and for Judah. And he commanded the priests the sons of Aaron to offer them on the altar of the LORD. 2Chr. 29:20-21
It is interesting that when we study the New Testament, specifically the Kingdom of Heaven scriptures, the rules of seven become that of forgiveness.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Matt. 18:21-23
And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” Luke 17:1-4
A Sign of Faithfulness
The children of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days with seven shofars.[Josh 4]
Naaman is to dip in Jordan seven times. [2 Kings 5:10]
It is the number of reward to those that are faithful in the covenant
“The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you; they shall come out against you one way, and flee before you seven ways. Deut. 28:7
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. 1 Sam. 2:5
For those who injure people in the light of making amends, a readjusting of the disturbed balances of justice is required; and so also a restoring of harmony between the sinner and the outraged (law of) God.
Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him. Gen 4:15
If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” Gen 4: 24
Seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile. Ex. 7:25
Return sevenfold into the bosom of our neighbors the taunts with which they have taunted thee, O Lord! Ps 79:12
And if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house. Prov. 6:31
To those who fail to keep the covenant, there is a punishment of seven times under beastial government [Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28; Dan 4].
And if in spite of this you will not hearken to me, then I will chastise. Lev. 26:18
. . . that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom he will. Dan. 4:25
Ordination and Consecrations
And he sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them. Lev. 8:11
And you shall not go out from the door of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for it will take seven days to ordain you. Lev. 8:33
At the door of the tent of meeting you shall remain day and night for seven days, performing what the LORD has charged, lest you die; for so I am commanded.” Lev. 8:35
No one is quite sure what this disease was. Modern leprosy is nothing like what the Bible describes. It was some kind of skin condition that was contagious in some circumstances and not in others. The priest would take seven days to determine which it was. At the end of seven days the priest would either pronounce them unclean and put them out of the camp of the people, or they would be pronounced clean and allowed to return home.
Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is a sabbath, there will be none.” Ex. 16:26
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses, for if any one eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly; no work shall be done on those days; but what every one must eat, that only may be prepared by you. Ex 12:15-16
“You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you first put the sickle to the standing grain. Then you shall keep the feast of weeks to the LORD your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the LORD your God blesses you; Deut. 16:9-10
“You shall keep the feast of booths seven days, when you make your ingathering from your threshing floor and your wine press; you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your manservant and your maidservant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. For seven days you shall keep the feast to the LORD your God at the place which the LORD will choose; because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful. Deut. 16:13-15
“At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. Deut. 15:1
“And you shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall send abroad the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall send abroad the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his family. Lev. 25:8-10
And you shall make the seven lamps for it; and the lamps shall be set up so as to give light upon the space in front of it. Ex. 25:37
And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps which are on the top of it. Zech. 4:2
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, Rev. 1:12
The Spirit of God
In the Persian Empire, the king had seven councilors who were before his face [Esth. 1:14; Ezra 7:14]. Some commentators believe that the Persians understood the Holy Spirit as Councilor, was always mentioned as sevens. The king was possibly, in a human way, mimicking God or claiming deity.
Some Futurist expositors teach that these spirits are angels. Since the foundation of the futurist position is Roman Catholic in origin, and as such, still contains a zeal for angel worship. However, throughout The Revelation angels are referenced repeatedly and they are never called spirits. Further, angels always stand or fly before the throne. These spirits ARE before the throne. They are something equal to God.
And 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 the fear of the LORD. Is. 11:2
“These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range through the whole earth.” Zech. 4:10b
. . . and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, Rev 1:4b
From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God; Rev. 4:5
Seven in The Revelation
Throughout the Old Testament, the number seven had to do with cleaning and consecration. Keeping that in mind, the message in the letters to the Churches are about how their faith is not pure, clean, nor consecrated. Berated for fraudulent loyalty by God for having left their first love, for holding to the teachings of the Nicolaitans, for tolerating Jezebel. The lukewarm Churches are rebuked.
The Churches must be cleansed. These sevens, are purifying and cleansing the church since John set down his pen.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John. Rev. 1:1
Seven Churches Rev. 1:4
Seven Spirits Rev. 1:4
Seven Lampstands Rev. 1:12
Seven Stars Rev. 1:16
Seven torches of fire Rev. 4:5
Seven Seals Rev. 5:1
Seven Horns of the Lamb Rev. 5:6
Seven Angels Rev. 8:2
Seven Trumpets Rev. 8:6
Seven Thunders Rev. 10:3
Seven thousand people killed in the earthquake Rev. 11:13
Seven Heads on the Dragon Rev. 12:3
Seven Diadems on those Heads Rev. 12:3
Seven Plagues Rev. 15:1
Seven Golden Bowls/Vials Rev. 15:7
Seven Kings Rev. 17:10
The eighth is the day that the cleansing is recognized by God. It is on the eighth day that the leprous person can return to the congregation. It is on the eighth day that the priest may begin His service. Circumcision is the binding of the covenant and can only be accomplished after the seventh day.
And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house, or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money, shall be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” Gen. 17:9-14
Law of Redemption
You shall do likewise with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall be with its dam; on the eighth day you shall give it to me. Ex. 22:30
Only on the eighth day is there solemn rest.
“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD seven days; on the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. Lev. 23:39