257. Because in this prophetical book numbers are often mentioned; and as no one can know the spiritual sense of what is contained in those numbers unless he knows what the particular numbers signify; for all numbers in the Word, as well as all names, signify spiritual things; and because the number seven is often mentioned amongst others, I am desirous here of showing that seven signifies all, and all things, also what is full and complete for that which signifies all, and all things, signifies also what is full and complete. For what is full and complete is said of the magnitude of a thing, and all and all things of multitude.
That the number seven has such a signification is evident from the following passages. In Ezekiel:
"The inhabitants of the cities of Israel shall set fire to and burn the arms, the shield also and the buckler, with the bow and the arrows, and with the hand-staff, and with the spear; and they shall kindle a fire with them seven years; and they shall bury Gog and all his multitude, and they shall cleanse the land seven months" (39:9, 11, 12).
The subject here treated of is the desolation of all things in the church. The inhabitants of the cities of Israel signify all the goods of truth, to set on fire and burn signifies to consume by evils. The arms, the shield, the buckler, the bows, the arrows, the hand-staff, the spear, denote everything pertaining to doctrine; to kindle fire with them seven years denotes to consume them all and fully by evils. Gog signifies those who are in external worship, and in no internal worship; to bury them and cleanse the land denotes to destroy them all, and completely to purge the church of them.
 In Jeremiah:
"Their widows shall be multiplied more than the sand of the seas, and I will bring to them upon the mother of the youths the waster at noon-day. She who hath borne seven shall languish, she shall breathe out her soul" (15:8, 9).
By the widows which will be multiplied are signified those who are in good and desire truths, and, in the opposite sense, as in the present case, those who are in evil and desire falsities. By the mother of the youths is signified the church; by the waster at noon-day is signified the vastation of that church, however much they may be in truths from the Word. By she that hath borne seven shall languish, she shall breathe out her soul, is signified that the church, to which all truths were given because the Word was given them, should perish; for she that hath borne seven signifies those to whom all truths were given. This is specifically said concerning the Jews.
(References: Jeremiah 15:8-9)
 Similarly, in the first book of Samuel:
"They that were hungry ceased, so that the barren hath borne seven, and she that hath many children hath failed" (2:5).
The hungry who ceased denote those who desire the goods and truths of the church; the barren who hath borne seven signifies those who are outside the church and are ignorant of truths because they have not the Word, as the Gentiles, to whom all things will be given; she that hath many children failing signifies those who have truths, from whom they will be taken away. Again, in David:
"Render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom" (79:12).
And in Moses,
That the Jews should be punished seven times for their sins (Leviticus 26:18, 21, 24, 28);
seven times here signifying fully.
 In Luke:
"And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent, thou shalt forgive him" (17:4).
Here, to forgive seven times, if he shall return seven times, denotes to forgive as often as the offender should return, and thus at all times. But lest Peter should understand seven times to be meant by these words, the Lord explains His meaning to him, as recorded in Matthew:
"Peter said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times, but until seventy times seven " (18:21, 22).
Seventy times seven is always, without counting. In David:
"Seven times a day do I praise thee for the judgments of justice" (Psalms 119:164).
Seven times a day denotes always, or at all times.
(References: Matthew 18:21-22)
"The sayings of Jehovah are pure sayings, as silver refined in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Psalms 12:6).
Here silver signifies truth from the Divine: purified seven times denotes that it is altogether and fully pure.
 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" (30:26).
The light of the sun signifies Divine truth from Divine good: and that this light should be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, signifies that the Divine truth in heaven should be without any falsity, thus that it should be altogether and fully pure.
 In Matthew,
The unclean spirit "shall take with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and he shall dwell there" (12:45; Luke 11:26).
Here profanation is treated of, and by the seven other spirits with which the unclean spirit is said to return are signified all falsities of evil, thus a plenary destruction of good and truth.
 Similar is the signification of the seven times which were to pass over the king of Babylon, in Daniel,
"His heart shall be changed from man, and the heart of a beast shall be given unto him; while seven times shall pass over him" (4:16, 25, 32).
By the king of Babylon are signified those who profane the goods and truths of the Word. By his heart being changed from that of a man to that of a beast is meant that nothing spiritual, that is, truly human, should remain with him, but that instead there should be everything diabolical. By the seven times which were to pass over him is meant profanation, which is a complete destruction of truth and good.
 Because the terms seven, and seven times, signified all things, and also what is full, the following commands were given to the children of Israel:
Seven days their hands should be filled (Exodus 29:35).
Seven days they should be sanctified (Exodus 29:37).
Seven days Aaron should put on the garments when he was being initiated (Exodus 29:30).
Seven days they should not go out of the tabernacle when they were being initiated into the priesthood (Leviticus 8:33, 34).
Seven times expiation should be made upon the horns of the altar (Leviticus 16:18, 19).
Seven times should the altar be sanctified with oil (Leviticus 8:11).
Seven times should the blood be sprinkled before the veil (Leviticus 4:16, 17).
Seven times should the blood be sprinkled with the finger towards the east, when Aaron went in to the mercy seat (Leviticus 16:12-15).
Seven times should the water of separation be sprinkled towards the tabernacle (Num. 19:4).
Seven times should blood be sprinkled for the cleansing of leprosy (Leviticus 14:7, 8, 27, 38, 51).
The lampstand had seven lamps (Exodus 25:32, 37; 37:18-25).
Feasts should be celebrated for seven days (Exodus 34:18; Leviticus 23:4-9, 39-44; Deuteronomy 16:3, 4, 8).
Seven days of the feast there should be a burnt offering of seven bullocks and seven rams daily (Ezekiel 45:23).
Baalam built seven altars, and sacrificed seven oxen and seven rams (Num. 23:1-7, 15-18, 29, 30).
They numbered seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, and then should cause the trumpet of the jubilee to be sounded in the seventh month (Leviticus 25:8, 9).
From the signification of the number seven, it is evident what is signified
By the seven days of creation (Gen. i.).
Also by four thousand men being filled from seven loaves, and that seven basketsful of fragments remained over (Matthew 15:34-37; Mark 8:5-9).
Hence now it is clear what is signified in the Apocalypse,
By the seven churches (1:4, 11).
By the seven golden lampstands, in the midst of which was the Son of man (1:13).
By the seven stars in His right hand (1:16, 20).
By the seven spirits of God (3:1).
By the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne (4:5).
By the book sealed with seven seals (5:1).
By the seven angels to whom were given seven trumpets (8:2).
By the seven thunders which uttered their voices (10:3, 4).
By the seven angels having the seven last plagues, (15:1, 6).
By seven vials full of the seven last plagues (16:1; 21:9)
and elsewhere in the Word, where seven is mentioned.
(References: Deuteronomy 16:3-4; Genesis 1, 1:1; Leviticus 4:16-17, 8:33-34, 14:7-8, 16:18-19, 23:4-8, 25:8-9; Matthew 15:34-38; Numbers 23:29-30; Revelation 1:16, 1:20, Revelation 3:22, 10:3-4, 16:6, 21:8-27)