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 Seven, In seven days

That holy things are signified by seven is evident from what has been said before respecting the seventh day, or the sabbath (from AC 84-87), namely, that the Lord is the seventh day; and that from Him every celestial church, or celestial man, is a seventh day, and indeed the celestial itself, which is most holy because it is from the Lord alone. For this reason, in the Word, seven signifies what is holy; and in fact, as here, in the internal sense partakes not at all of the idea of number. For they who are in the internal sense, as angels and angelic spirits are, do not even know what number is, and therefore not what seven is. Therefore it is not meant here that seven pairs were to be taken of all the clean beasts; or that there was so much of good in proportion to evil as seven to two; but that the things of the will with which this man of the church was furnished were goods, which are holy, whereby he could be regenerated, as was said above.

[2] That seven signifies what is holy, or holy things, is evident from the rituals in the representative church, wherein the number seven so frequently occurs. For example, they were to sprinkle of the blood and the oil seven times, as related in Leviticus:--

Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them; and he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its vessels, to sanctify them (Leviticus 8:10, 11).

Here seven times would be entirely without significance if what is holy were not thus represented. And in another place: When Aaron came into the holy place it is said:--

He shall take of the blood of the bullock and sprinkle with his finger upon the faces of the mercy-seat toward the east; and before the mercy-seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times (Lev. 16:14).

And so at the altar:--

He shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and sanctify it (Lev. 16:19).

The particulars here, each and all, signify the Lord Himself, and therefore the holy of love; that is to say, the blood, the mercy-seat, and also the altar, and the east, toward which the blood was to be sprinkled, and therefore also seven.

[3] And likewise in the sacrifices, of which in Leviticus:--

If a soul shall sin through error, and if the anointed priest shall sin so as to bring guilt on the people, he shall slay the bullock before Jehovah, and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before Jehovah, toward the veil of the sanctuary (Leviticus 4:2, 3, 6).

Here in like manner seven signifies what is holy; because the subject treated of is expiation, which is of the Lord alone, and therefore the subject treated of is the Lord. Similar rites were also instituted in respect to the cleansing of leprosy, concerning which in Leviticus:--

Of the blood of the bird, with cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop, the priest shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall make him clean. In like manner he was to sprinkle of the oil that was upon the palm of his left hand seven times before Jehovah. And so in a house where there was leprosy, he was to take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet, and with the blood of the bird sprinkle seven times (Leviticus 14:6, 7, 27, 51).

Here any one may see that there is nothing at all in the cedar wood, the scarlet, the oil, the blood of a bird, nor yet in seven, except from the fact that they are representative of holy things. Take away from them what is holy, and all that remains is dead, or profanely idolatrous. But when they signify holy things there is Divine worship therein, which is internal, and is only represented by the externals. The Jews indeed could not know what these things signified; nor does any one at the present day know what was signified by the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet, and the bird. But if they had only been willing to think that holy things were involved which they did not know, and so had worshiped the Lord, or the Messiah who was to come, who would heal them of their leprosy-that is, of their profanation of holy things-they might have been saved. For they who so think and believe are at once instructed in the other life, if they desire, as to what each and all things represented.

[4] And in like manner it was commanded respecting the red heifer:--

The priest shall take of her blood with his finger and sprinkle of her blood toward the face of the tent of meeting seven times (Num. 19:4).

As the seventh day or sabbath signified the Lord, and from Him the celestial man, and the celestial itself, the seventh day in the Jewish Church was of all religious observances the most holy; and hence came the sabbath of sabbath, in the seventh year (Lev. 25:4), and the jubilee that was proclaimed after the seven sabbaths of years, or after seven times seven years (Lev. 25:8, 9). That in the highest sense seven signifies the Lord, and hence the holy of love, is evident also from the golden candlestick and its seven lamps (Exod. 25:31-33, 37; 37:17-19, 23; Num. 8:2, 3; Zech. 4:2) and of which it is thus written by John:--

Seven golden lampstands; and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like unto the Son of man (Rev. 1:12, 13).

It very clearly appears in this passage that the lampstand with the seven lamps signifies the Lord, and that the lamps are the holy things of love, or celestial things; and therefore they were seven.

[5] And again:--

Out of the throne went forth seven torches of fire, burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God (Rev. 4:5).

Here the seven torches that went forth out of the throne of the Lord are the seven lights, or lamps. The same is signified wherever the number seven occurs in the Prophets, as in Isaiah:--

The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah bindeth up the breach of His people (Isaiah 30:26).

Here the sevenfold light, as the light of seven days, does not signify sevenfold, but the holy of the love signified by the sun. See also what was said and shown above respecting the number seven (Genesis 4:15). From all this again it is clearly evident that whatever numbers are used in the Word never mean numbers as was also shown before (Genesis 6:3).

from AC 716

That in yet seven days here signifies the beginning of temptation, is evident from the internal sense of all things mentioned in this verse, in that the temptation of the man called Noah is treated of. It treats in general both of his temptation and of the total vastation of those who were of the Most Ancient Church and had become such as has been described. Therefore in yet seven days, signifies not only the beginning of temptation, but also the end of vastation. The reason why these things are signified by in yet seven days, is that seven is a holy number, as was said and shown before (Gen. 7:2; 4:15, 24); (AC 84-87). In seven days, signifies the Lord's coming into the world, also His coming into glory, and every coming of the Lord in particular. It is an attendant feature of every coming of the Lord that it is a beginning to those who are being regenerated, and is the end of those who are being vastated. Thus to the man of this church the Lord's coming was the beginning of temptation; for when man is tempted he begins to become a new man and to be regenerated. And at the same time it was the end of those of the Most Ancient Church who had become such that they could not but perish. Just so when the Lord came into the world-the church at that time was in its last state of vastation, and was then made new.

[2] That these things are signified by in yet seven days, is evident in Daniel:--

Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people, and upon the city of thy holiness, to consummate the transgression, to seal up sins, and to purge away iniquity, and to bring in the righteousness of the ages, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies. Know therefore and perceive, from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks (Daniel 9:24, 25).

Here seventy weeks and seven weeks signify the same as seven days, namely, the coming of the Lord. But as here there is a manifest prophecy, the times are still more sacredly and certainly designated by septenary numbers. It is evident then not only that seven thus applied to times signifies the coming of the Lord, but that the beginning also of a new church at that time is signified by the anointing of the holy of holies, and by Jerusalem being restored and built. And at the same time the last vastation is signified by the words, Seventy weeks are decreed upon the city of holiness, to consummate the transgression, and to seal up sins.

[3] So in other places in the Word, as in Ezekiel, where be says of himself:--

I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that sat by the river Chebar, and I sat there astonished among them seven days; and it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of Jehovah came unto me (Ezekiel 3:15, 16).

Here also seven days denote the beginning of visitation; for after seven days, while he sat among those who were in captivity, the word of Jehovah came unto him. Again:--

They shall bury Gog, that they may cleanse the land, seven months; at the end of seven months they shall search (Ezekiel 39:12, 14).

Here likewise seven denotes the last limit of vastation, and the first of visitation. In Daniel:--

The heart of Nebuchadnezzar shall they change from man, and the heart of a beast shall be given unto him, and seven times shall pass over him (Daniel 4:16, 25, 32),

denoting in like manner the end of vastation, and the beginning of a new man.

[4] The seventy years of Babylonish captivity represented the same. Whether the number is seventy or seven it involves the same, be it seven days or seven years, or seven ages which make seventy years. Vastation was represented by the years of captivity; the beginning of a new church by the liberation and the rebuilding of the temple. Similar things were also represented by the service of Jacob with Laban, where these words occur:--

I will serve thee seven years for Rachel; and Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and Laban said, Fulfill this week, and I will give thee her also, for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years; and Jacob did so, and fulfilled this week (Gen. 29:18, 20, 27, 28).

Here the seven years of service involve the same, and also that after the days of seven years came the marriage and freedom. This period of seven years was called a week, as also in Daniel.

[5] The same was represented too in the command that they should compass the city of Jericho seven times, and the wall would then fall down; and it is said that:--

On the seventh day they rose with the dawn and compassed the city after the same manner seven times, and it came to pass at the seventh time the seven priests blew the seven trumpets and the wall fell down (Josh. 6:10-20).

If these things had not likewise had such a signification, the command that they should compass the city seven times, and that there should be seven priests and seven trumpets would never have been given. From these and many other passages (Job 2:13; Rev. 15:1, 6, 7; 21:9),

it is evident that in seven days signifies the beginning of a new church, and the end of the old. In the passage before us, as it treats both of the man of the church called Noah and his temptation, and of the last posterity of the Most Ancient Church, which destroyed itself, in yet seven days, can have no other signification than the beginning of Noah's temptation and the end or final devastation and expiration of the Most Ancient Church.

from AC 728

As seven signifies what is holy, so too in the opposite sense it signifies what is profane; for most of the expressions in the Word have also an opposite sense, and this for the reason that the same things that take place in heaven, on flowing down toward hell, are turned into the opposite things, and actually become opposite. Hence the holy things signified by seven there become profane.

[2] That by seven both holy and profane things are signified, may be confirmed from the passages in the Revelation alone where seven is mentioned. First, that holy things are signified:--

John to the seven churches, Grace and peace from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come; and from the seven spirits that are before His throne (Rev. 1:4).

These things saith He that hath the seven spirits, and the seven stars (Rev. 3:1).

Out of the throne went forth seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God (Rev. 4:5).

I saw upon the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals (Rev. 5:1).

I saw and behold in the midst of the throne stood a Lamb, as thou it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth (Rev. 5:6).

To the seven angels were given seven trumpets (Rev. 8:2).

In the days of the voice of the seventh angel the mystery of God should be consummated (Rev. 10:7).

The seven angels that had the seven plagues went forth from the temple, clothed in linen white and shining, and girt about their breasts with golden girdles. Then one of the four animals gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials (Rev. 15:6, 7).

[3] That in the opposite sense seven signifies profane things is plain from these passages also in the Revelation:--

Behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems (Rev. 12:3).

I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads a name of blasphemy (Rev. 13:1).

I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. Here is intelligence, if anyone hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, where the woman sitteth upon them; and they are seven kings. The beast that was, and is not, is himself the eighth king, and is of the seven; and he goeth into perdition (Rev. 17:3, 7, 9-11).

from AC 5268

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info