Apocalypse Revealed (Coulsons) n. 10

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10. [verse 4] 'John to the seven Churches' signifies to all who are in Christendom, where the Word is, and through it the Lord is known, and who accede to the Church. By 'the seven Churches' are not understood seven Churches, but all who belong to the Church in Christendom; for in the Word numbers signify things, and 'seven' signifies all things and all people, and thence also what is full and perfect, and it is mentioned in the Word where it treats of a holy thing, and in the opposite sense of a profane thing. This number therefore involves what is holy, and in the opposite sense what is profane. Numbers signify things, or rather they are as certain adjectives to substantives, imparting some quality to things. This is because number in itself is natural, for by means of numbers natural objects are limited, but those that are spiritual are limited by means of things and their states. He, therefore, who does not know the signification of the numbers in the Word, and especially in the Apocalypse, is unable to know the many arcana that are contained therein. Now, since all things and all people are signified by 'seven', it is plain that by 'the seven Churches' are understood all who are in Christendom, where the Word is, and through it the Lord is known. These, if they live in accordance with the Lord's precepts in the Word, make the Church itself. [2] It is for this reason that the Sabbath was instituted on the 'seventh day', and the 'seventh year' used to be termed the Sabbatical year, and the 'seven times seventh year' the Jubilee, by which everything holy in the Church was signified. For the same reason '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:-

The seven golden lampstands, in the midst of which was the Son of Man Rev. i 13.

The seven stars in His right hand Rev. i 16, 20.

The seven spirits of God Rev. i 4; iv 5.

The seven lamps of fire Rev. iv 5.

The seven angels, to whom were given seven trumpets Rev. iii 2.

The seven angels having the seven last plagues Rev. xv 5, 6.

The seven phials full of the seven last plagues Rev. xvi 1; xxi 9.

The seven seals with which the Book was sealed Rev. viii 2. Similarly in the following:-

Their hands were filled seven days* Exod. xxix 35.

They were sanctified seven days Exod. xxix 37.

When they were inaugurated they used to march seven days clothed in the garments of holiness Exod. xxix [29,] 30.

For seven days they might not withdraw from the tent, when they were being initiated into the priesthood Lev. viii 33, 35.

The altar was atoned for seven times upon the horns Lev. xvi 18, 19.

The altar was sanctified seven times in succession Lev. viii 11.

Blood was sprinkled seven times in succession in the direction of the veil Lev. iv 16, 17.

And also seven times in succession towards the east Lev. xvi 12-15.

The water of separation was sprinkled seven times in succession in the direction of the tent Num. xix 4.

The Passover was celebrated for seven days, and for seven days unleavened [bread] was eaten Exod. xii 1 seq.; Deut. xvi 4-7.

In like manner:-

The Jews used to he punished sevenfold for their sins Lev. xxvi 18, 21, 24, 28.

Therefore David says:-

Render unto [our] neighbours sevenfold into their bosom Ps. lxxix 12.

[3] 'Sevenfold' is fully. Again in these places:-

The sayings of Jehovah are pure sayings, silver purified in the furnace seven times Ps. xii 6 [H.B. 7].

The hungry ceased, so that the barren has borne seven, but she who has many children has failed 1 Sam. ii 5.

'The barren' is the Church of the Gentiles, who did not have the Word; 'she who has many children' is the Church of the Jews, who had the Word.

She who has borne seven languishes, she shall breathe out her soul Jer. xv 9.


They who dwell in the cities of Israel shall set on fire and burn the weapons, and they shall light them up with fire for seven years; they shall bury Gog, and seven months shall they be cleansing the land Ezek. xxxix 9, [11,] 12.

The unclean spirit will take with him semen other spirits worse than himself Matt. xii 45.

Profanation is described there, and by the 'seven spirits' with whom he was going to return are signified all the untruths of evil, thus the complete extinction of good and truth. By the 'seven heads of the dragon' and the 'seven diadems upon his heads' (Rev. xii 3) is signified the profanation of all good and truth. It is plain from these things that 'seven' involves what is holy or what is profane, and signifies all and what is full. * AV has 'seven days shalt thou consecrate them', but Hebrew has 'seven days shalt thou fill their band'. See also AC 10.110 and 10,120.

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