Numerical symbolism refers to the use of numbers not merely to express their literal value but to express a symbolic meaning as well. This practice was widespread in the ancient world. The presence of numerical symbolism in the Bible cannot reasonably be doubted (though some have gone too far in their speculations on the subject). The numbers that are unmistakably used with symbolic meaning in the Bible are 7 and its multiples, as well as 3, 4, 10 and 12.

John loves the number seven. From his story of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection (John’s gospel) we see the number seven used repeatedly: Jesus performs seven signs; Jesus gives seven discourses; and Jesus identifies Himself with seven “I Am’s.”

Add to this the Book of Revelation and it becomes obvious that John loves the number seven—7 letters to 7 churches, 7 seals, trumpets, bowls of God’s wrath, golden candlesticks, stars, angels, lamps of fire, spirits of God, thunders, plagues, a lamb with 7 horns and 7 eyes, a dragon with 7 heads and 7 diadems, a beast with 7 heads, and a scarlet-colored beast with 7 heads which are 7 mountains and 7 kings.

For John and other biblical writers the number seven represents fullness, completeness, or perfection. Jesus performed only seven miracles during His lifetime? No, but these seven demonstrate that Jesus is perfect power. He is all you need. Only seven discourses? No, but these seven reveal that Jesus is the perfect teacher. He offers all the wisdom you will ever require. Only seven “I Am’s?” No, but these seven prove that Jesus is perfect as God is perfect. He is all that you should desire in life.

Who is Jesus? For John He is the Perfect One come down from heaven to accomplish God’s perfect will perfectly. That’s why John loves the number seven. It helps him communicate his high view of our Jesus.

Who is Jesus for you? As disciples we must be allowing His perfection to touch us, heal us, and drive us in our imperfect lives. And not just on Sundays—every day. Seven days per week!

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