Number 7 in Christianity
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Seven gifts as defined by Saint Thomas Aquinas. The first four gifts deal with the intellect. The last three gifts deal with the will towards God.
1. Wisdom – The ability to see God at work in our lives.
2. Understanding – The ability to comprehend how to live as followers of Jesus.
3. Counsel – The ability to use right judgment, to know the difference between right and wrong.
4. Fortitude – The gift of courage. To overcome fear and take risks as a follower of Jesus.
5. Knowledge – The ability to understand the meaning of God’s Revelation.
6. Piety – The gift of reverence, to have deep respect for God and the Church.
7. Fear of the Lord – The fear of separating oneself from God.
“The Annunciation” 1434 Painter: Jan van Eyck.
The Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit descend on the Virgin Mary on seven rays of light from the upper window.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
The Seven Sacraments
There are seven sacraments in the Catholic Church set by the Council of Trent (1545-63).
- Anointing of the sick
- Holy Orders
The Seven Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Sins were the teaching of early Christians to educate their followers. The list was used by among others, Pope Gregory and of Dante in his work “The Divine Comedy”
Lust – Gluttony – Greed – Sloth – Wrath – Envy – Pride
Number Seven in the Bible
Seven is mentioned countless times in the Bible.
Cain is protected “Then the Lord said to him: Not so! If anyone slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold”. Genesis 4:15
Elisha aids the dead boy back to life.
The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. 2 Kings 4:35
Ruth is worth more than seven sons. Ruth 4:15
Na’aman, the leper, dipped himself seven times in the Jordan and was cleansed. 2 King 5:14
After Moses fled from Egypt, he stayed in the land of Midian. The priest of Midian had seven daughters. He gave Moses his daughter Zipporah.
“I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt.” Exodus 23:15
The seventh Day
“And on the seventh day God finished his work. -and he rested on the seventh day. So God blessed the seventh day” Genesis 2: 2-4
“The Lord has given you the Sabbath therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days; remain every man in your place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day” Exodus 16:29-30
“Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals..” Genesis 7:2
“and seven pairs of birds of the air..” Genesis 7:3
“For in seven days I will send rain upon the earth..” Genesis 7:4
“He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came back in the evening, and lo, in her mouth a freshly plucked olive leaf” Genesis 8:10-11
“Then he waited another seven days, and sent forth the dove; and she did not return to him anymore.” Genesis 8:12
The taking of Jericho
Seven priests with seven trumpets walked around the city walls seven times on the seventh day.
Joshua chapter 6
The Seven Nations
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you are entering to take possession of it, and clears away many nations before you,
the Hittites, the Gir´gashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Per´izzites, the Hivites, and the Jeb´usites, seven nations greater and mightier than yourselves,..” Deuteronomy 7:1
Consecration of the Priest
Aaron was the brother of Moses. Aaron became the first High Priest of the Israelites. Aaron and his sons became the first priests in a consecration that lasted seven days.
“and you shall not go out from the door of the tent for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for it will take seven days to ordain you.” Leviticus 8:33
Miriam was the sister of Aaron and Moses. Aaron and Miriam complained that Moses had a Cushite wife.
They also questioned his exclusive authority.
For this God punished Miriam.
She turned “white as snow” and had to live in seclusion outside the camp for seven days. Numbers chapter 12.
Seven Years for Love
Jacob had just arrived at his uncle Laban’s home. By the well he met his cousin, Rachel.
He fell in love with her and asked his uncle for her hand in marriage. His uncle agreed to let Jacob marry Rachel after he had worked seven years in his duty.
“Jacob loved Rachel; and he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Genesis 29:18
When the seven years were up, Laban deceived Jacob. Jacob found he had been tricked into marrying Leah, the older sister of Rachel.
Laban then agreed to let Jacob have Rachel for his second wife, if he worked another seven years for his uncle. Jacob ended up being married to both Leah and Rachel.
Leah and Rachel. 1855
Jacob returned to Canaan to meet with his twin brother, Esau. He was worried that Esau was angry. Jacob bowed to the ground seven times in front of Esau.
As it turned out, Esau did not bear any grudges against his brother. Their reunion was happy and emotional. Genesis, chapter 33.
“For six years you shall sow your land, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat.” Exodus 23:10
Of course there is also the well-known story of Pharaohs dream about the seven fat cows and seven thin cows.
The seven thin cows ate up the seven fat cows.
He also dreamt of the seven full and good ears growing on one stalk and the seven thin ears which swallowed up the seven good ears.
Josef interpreted the dreams and told of the seven good years to be followed by seven years of famine. Genesis chapter 41
Seven Days to Solve the Riddle
Samson was the man with enormous strength. He once killed a lion with his bare hands. He later found bees and honey in carcass of the lion.
Samson made a wager with the Philistines during a feast.
If they could solve a riddle in seven days he would give them 30 linen garments and 30 festal garments, if not they had to give him 30 linen and 30 festal garments.
“Samson and the lion” Altarpiece in Klosterneuberg, Austria.
They realized they were not able to solve the riddle and threatened his wife to tell the answer, if not they would burn her and her father’s house.
Samson’s wife begged Samson to share the secret with her.
She wept before him the seven days the feast lasted; and on the seventh day he told her. She passed the answer on to the Philistines.
The riddle was “Out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet.” Judges 14:14
Seven Locks of Hair
The Philistines yearned to find out how Samson got his strength. They offered to pay Dililah eleven hundred pieces of silver for the secret to Samson’s strength. She was Samson’s lover.
Dililah learned his strength came from his seven locks of long uncut hair.
“Samson and Dililah” Rubens 1609 National Gallery, London
When Samson was asleep on her lap she called for a man to shave off the seven locks of hair. Samson immediately lost all his strength. Judges chapter 13 -16
“-and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out..” Luke 8:2
Forgive 70 X 7 times
“Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven:” Matthew 18:21-22