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 Seven Churches

Since seven signifies all things and all, by the seven churches are meant all who are in the Christian world where the Word is, and by it the Lord is known. These, if they live according to the Lord's precepts in the Word, make the church itself. Hence it is that the Sabbath was instituted on the seventh day, and the seventh year was called the sabbatical year; and the seven times seventh year the Jubilee, by which was signified everything holy in the church: for this cause, also, a week, in Daniel, and elsewhere, signifies an entire period from beginning to end, and is predicated of the church. Similar things are signified by seven in the following passages, as by:--

The seven golden candlesticks, in the midst of which was the Son of Man (Apoc. 1:13).

The seven stars in his right hand (Apoc. 1:16, 20).

The seven spirits of God (Apoc. 1:4; 4:5).

The seven lamps of fire (Apoc. 4:5).

The seven angels, to whom were given seven trumpets (Apoc. 8:2).

The seven angels having the seven last plagues (Apoc. 15:5, 6).

The seven vials full of the seven last plagues (Apoc. 16:1; 21:9).

The seven seals with which the book was sealed (Apoc. 5:1).

In like manner in the following places that:--

Their hands should be filled seven days (Exod. 29:35).

They should be sanctified seven days (Exod. 29:37).

When they were consecrated they should go clothed in the garments of holiness seven days (Exod. 29:30).

They were not to go out of the door of the tent seven days, when they were initiated into the priesthood (Lev. 8:33, 35).

An atonement was to be made seven times upon the horns of the altar (Lev. 16:18, 19).

The altar was to be sanctified with oil seven times (Lev. 8:11).

The blood was to be sprinkled seven times before the veil (Lev. 4:16, 17).

And also seven times toward the east (Lev. 16:12-15.)

The water of separation was to be sprinkled seven times towards the tent (Num. 19:4).

The passover was celebrated seven days; and unleavened bread was eaten seven days (Exod. 12:15; Deut. 16:4-7).

In like manner:--

The Jews were to be punished seven times more for their sins (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28).

Wherefore David says:--

Recompense unto our neighbor seven-fold into their bosom (Ps. 79:12).

Seven-fold is fully. Likewise in these places:--

The sayings of Jehovah are pure sayings, silver purified in the furnace seven times (Ps. 12:6).

The hungry ceased, so that the barren hath borne seven, but she that hath many children lacketh (1 Sam. 2:5).

The barren is the church of the Gentiles, who had not the Word; she that hath many children is the church of the Jews, who had the Word.

She who had borne seven languisheth, she shall breathe out her soul (Jer. 15:9).

In like manner:--

They that dwell in the cities of Israel shall set on fire and burn up the arms, and they shall kindle them with fire seven years: they shall bury Gog, and seven months shall they be cleansing the land (Ezek. 39:9, 11, 12).

The unclean spirit will take with him seven other spirits worse than himself (Matt. 12:45).

Profanation is here described, and by the seven spirits with which he would return, are signified all the falsities of evil; thus the plenary extinction of good and truth. By the seven heads of the dragon, and the seven diadems upon his heads (Apoc. 12:3), is signified the profanation of all good and truth. From these things it is evident, that seven involves what is holy or profane, and signifies all and full.
from AC 10

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