Why does the number seven appear a lot in the book of Revelation? And what does it mean?

The number seven is used extensively in the book of Revelation where there are: 7 churches (1:11), 7 golden candlesticks (1:12), 7 stars (1:16), 7 lamps of fire (4:5), 7 Spirits of God (4:5), 7 seals (5:1), 7 horns and 7 eyes of the Lamb (5:6), 7 trumpets (8:2), 7 thunders (10:4), a dragon with 7 heads and 7 crowns (12:3), a beast with 7 heads (13:1), 7 angels having 7 vials (15:1, 7), 7 last plagues to be poured out on those who follow the beast (15:1), and the beast with 7 heads which are also said to be sitting on 7 mountains and 7 kings (17:3, 9).

Jesus Christ is represented as a “lamb … having seven horns and seven eyes” (Revelation 5:6), which reveals that the number seven is associated with Jesus Christ for it points to Him as the One who made heaven and earth in six days, and who rested on the 7th day (Exodus 20:11; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 1:10,11; 14:12; 22:12-14).

In order to fully understand its meaning, we need to look closely at how it is uniquely used. The first use of the number seven in the Bible appears Genesis 1 in the creation week. God creates the heavens and the earth in six days, and then rests on the seventh day. “By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:2,3). This is how we have the seven-day weekly cycle, which is observed globally to this day. From the beginning of the world, the number seven is identified with something being “finished” or “complete.”

The seventh day appears again in the only document that was ever written by the finger of God in stone (Exodus 31:18) – the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment states: “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 of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11).

Throughout Scripture, the number 7 when used uniquely, is generally understood to indicate completeness, perfection, or to God. By contrast, the number 6 points to that which falls short of perfection or to man. The book of Revelation points to the number 666 as the number of the Antichrist or the beast (Revelation 13:18).

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In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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