What Does the Number 7 Mean in the Bible and Why is it Important? (2024)

Numbers in Biblical times were often symbolic of a deeper meaning and siginifcance. The number seven is especially prominent in the Bible, appearing over 700 times. From the seven days of Creation to the many “sevens” in Revelation, the number seven connotes such concepts as completion and perfection, exoneration and healing, and the fulfillment of promises and oaths.

While the Bible abounds with examples of the number seven’s use, this article discusses the following three categories in which the number often appears.

1. Number 7 as Completion and Perfection

In the Bible the number seven often symbolizes completion or perfection. Genesis tells us that God created the heavens and the Earth in six days, and, upon completion, God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 1; 2:1-2). Based on this cycle of work and rest, God commands us to also labor for six days and then complete the week by resting on the seventh day, the day God set apart as the holy Sabbath (Exodus 20:9-11).

The number seven also has meaning and denotes completion at the Crucifixion, when Jesus spoke seven statements in agony from the Cross at the completion of His earthly duties:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).

“Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26-27).

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

“I thirst,” (John 19:28).

“It is finished” (John 19:30).

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46).

In the context of perfection, Jesus spoke in a grouping of seven when He was asked how we should pray (Matthew 6:9-13). In response, Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer, surely a perfect way to pray considering that the words came from Christ Himself! Notably, the Lord’s Prayer contains seven petitions:

Hallowed be thy name; Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven; Give us this day our daily bread; Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; Lead us not into temptation; and Deliver us from evil.

Jesus again spoke in a grouping of seven when He used seven metaphors to describe Himself as the path to salvation, the perfect reward for a good and faithful servant. Jesus tells us He is:

The bread of life (John 6:35); The light of the world (John 8:12); The gate to salvation (John 10:9); The good shepherd (John 10:11); The resurrection and the life (John 11:25-26); The way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6); and The vine (John 15:5).

In addition, King David referenced the number seven in describing the perfect nature of God’s words when he wrote that the Lord’s words are flawless, “like gold refined seven times” (Psalm 12:6). Likewise, when the prophet Isaiah described the coming Messiah, he listed seven qualities that the Savior would embody (Isaiah 11:1-2).

2. Number 7 as Exoneration and Healing

The meaning of the number seven in the Bible is also linked to exoneration and healing. Deuteronomy tells us that on every seventh year, the Israelites were to cancel all the debts they had made with each other and free their slaves (Deuteronomy 15:1-2, 12).

We further see seven’s connection with exoneration when Peter asks Jesus how many times we are to forgive each other and Jesus replies, “seventy times seven” times (Matthew 18:21-22). In that instance, Jesus isn’t telling us to literally forgive someone 490 times. Instead, Christ is instructing us to forgive each other wholly, as His Jewish audience would’ve understood the emphasis on the number seven in this teaching to indicate complete forgiveness.

In the context of healing, the prophet Elisha referenced the number seven when he directed Naaman the leper to bathe in the Jordan River seven times to be healed (2 Kings 5:9-10, 14). Moreover, we see a link between seven and healing in the seven healing miracles that Jesus performed on the Sabbath, or, the seventh day of the week. Specifically, Jesus healed the following seven people on the seventh day:

A man with a deformed hand (Matthew 12:9-13); A man possessed by an unclean spirit (Mark 1:23-26); Peter’s mother-in-law with fever (Mark 1:29-31); A woman crippled by a spirit (Luke 13:10-13); A man with abnormal swelling of the body (Luke 14:1-4); A lame man by the pool of Bethesda (John 5:5-9); and A man born blind (John 9:1-7).

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3. Number 7 as Fulfillment of Promises and Oaths

The number seven also frequently accompanies the fulfillment of promises or oaths. In fact, the Hebrew word for swearing an oath (shaba) and the Hebrew word for seven (sheba) both derive from the Hebrew word meaning satisfaction or fullness (saba).

In Genesis, God promises not to destroy the Earth again with a flood and memorializes this covenant with the rainbow, which is comprised of seven colors (Genesis 9:8-15). Later in Genesis, we learn that Abraham swore an oath of ownership over a certain well of water (Genesis 21:22-31). Abraham satisfied the oath with a gift of seven lambs and named the site of the oath “Beersheba,” which interchangeably means “well of the oath” or “well of seven.”

The Book of Joshua gives us another example of seven’s correlation with promises. There, God promised Joshua that He’d bring down the fortified walls of Jericho if Joshua and his army marched around the city once for six days and seven times on the seventh day with seven priests blowing seven trumpets. After Joshua followed the Lord’s commands exactly, the walls of Jericho fell, just as the Lord had promised (Joshua 6:1-20).

Seven is also associated with promises in the Book of Revelation. In particular, we read of seven letters addressed to seven churches (Revelation 2-3). In the letters, Christ assures each church community that if its members repent and live according to Jesus’s instructions, each community will receive its promised reward.

Further, Revelation often invokes the number seven in its discussion of God’s promise to save those whose names are written in the Book of Life and condemn those whose names aren’t (Revelation 20:15; 21:1, 27). The fulfillment of this divine promise is ushered in by groups of seven: seven seals, seven trumpets sounded by seven angels, and seven bowls of God’s promised wrath carried by seven angels (Revelation 6, 8, 11, 16).

Why it's Important to Understand the Number 7 in the Bible

The Bible’s extensive use of the number seven, in connection with such concepts as completion, exoneration, and the fulfillment of promises, suggests that God ascribes a sacred nature to the number. However, we must balance this conclusion with the fact that not every mention of the number seven in Scripture has a divine implication attached. In that regard, while it’s reasonable to draw inferences in studying Scripture, we must be mindful that just as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are the Lord’s ways higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).

When we analyze the Bible, we can find a host of numbers that have deeper meanings and threads throughout the passages. These show the intricate handiwork of God's plan and the wonderful ways it unfolds throughout history.

Find inspiration with 15 Bible Verses Every Christian Should Know By Heart HERE for you to download or share with loved ones!

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Terroa

Dolores Smyth is a nationally published faith and parenting writer. She draws inspiration for her writing from everyday life. Connect with her over Twitter @byDoloresSmyth.

What Does the Number 7 Mean in the Bible and Why is it Important? (2024)

FAQs

What Does the Number 7 Mean in the Bible and Why is it Important? ›

Seven was symbolic in ancient near eastern and Israelite culture and literature. It communicated a sense of “fullness” or “completeness” (שבע “seven” is spelled with the same consonants as the word שבע “complete/full”). This makes sense of the pervasive appearance of “seven” patterns in the Bible.

What does the number 7 represent biblically? ›

What is the Meaning of the Number 7 in the Bible? The number 7 is quite significant in the Bible, appearing over 700 times throughout both the Old and New Testaments. In biblical numerology, 7 symbolizes completion or perfection. It is said that God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th.

What is the spiritual meaning of number 7? ›

In the metaphysical philosophy of numerology, the number 7 signifies the Greek deity Athena and the Roman deity Minerva, both goddesses of war and the city protectress. People affiliated with the number seven are believed to be insightful, intuitive, truthful, introspective, intellectual, and wise.

Why is the number 7 so powerful? ›

Classical antiquity

The Pythagoreans invested particular numbers with unique spiritual properties. The number seven was considered to be particularly interesting because it consisted of the union of the physical (number 4) with the spiritual (number 3). In Pythagorean numerology the number 7 means spirituality.

Is 7 the number of the holy spirit? ›

In Zechariah and Revelation, the number seven represents completion and wholeness; so the seven or sevenfold spirit in Revelation could be a symbolic description of the Holy Spirit.

What is the holiest number in the Bible? ›

The number 'seven' is widely used throughout Revelation, including in reference to the seven churches, seven bowls, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven thunders, Seven Spirits of God, seven stars, seven lampstands, seven eyes and horns of the Lamb of God, seven heads and diadems of the dragon, and seven heads of the ...

What are the 7 characteristics of the Holy Spirit? ›

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. While some Christans accept these as a definitive list of specific attributes, others understand them merely as examples of the Holy Spirit's work through the faithful.

What number represents God? ›

1. Not surprisingly, the number 1 is generally treated as a symbol of unity. Therefore, in monotheistic religions, it often symbolizes God or the universe. The Pythagoreans did not consider 1 to be a number at all because number means plurality and 1 is singular.

What is sacred about the number 7? ›

It has had significance in almost every major religion.

The Koran speaks of seven heavens and Muslim pilgrims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca (Islam's most sacred site) seven times. In Hinduism there are seven higher worlds and seven underworlds, and in Buddhism the newborn Buddha rises and takes seven steps.

Why is 777 the number of God? ›

The number refers to a triumph of "God's number" 7 over the Devil's number 666. On the AWB flag, the numbers are arranged in a triskelion shape, resembling the Nazi swastika.

Why is 7 the most magically powerful number? ›

The number seven represents many things, but today it is viewed as the magic that lives within us, the divine soul that makes each of us individual and unique. The number seven represents the pure spirit and the great explorer.

What number is the most powerful? ›

Since the birth of numerology in ancient Greece, the numbers 11, 22, and 33 have been revered as the master numbers – commanding an extra-strength presence in the cosmos.

What is the power of seven? ›

In arithmetic and algebra the seventh power of a number n is the result of multiplying seven instances of n together. So: n7 = n × n × n × n × n × n × n.

Why is 7 significant in the Bible? ›

The idea of resting and the number seven are intimately connected in the Bible. , the word or number "seven" has two key symbolic meanings: seven represents a full and complete world, and getting to seven is a linear journey from one to seven.

What is the 7th gift of the Holy Spirit? ›

The gifts are 1 ) wisdom, 2) understanding, 3) counsel, 4) fortitude, 5) knowledge, 6) piety, and 7) fear of the Lord. This list is based on Is 11:2. The imparting of the gifts of the Spirit is associated with baptism, as well as Confirmation and Ordination.

What are the 7 Spirits of God scripture? ›

Including the Spirit of the Lord, and the Spirits of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of might, of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, here are represented the seven Spirits, which are before the throne of God.

What are the 7 works of the Holy Spirit? ›

The Seven Works of the Holy Spirit
  • The Holy Spirit Transforms our Lives. ...
  • The Holy Spirit Convicts Us of Sin. ...
  • The Holy Spirit Guides Us to the Truth. ...
  • The Holy Spirit Empowers Us to Proclaim Christ. ...
  • The Holy Spirit Gives Us Spiritual Gifts. ...
  • The Holy Spirit Empowers Us to Worship. ...
  • The Holy Spirit Leads Us.
Feb 22, 2022

What is the seven fold spirit of God? ›

The sevenfold ministry of the Spirit

Including the Spirit of the Lord, and the Spirits of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of might, of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, here are represented the seven Spirits, which are before the throne of God.

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