The Divinely Determined Completeness of God’s Plan or Purpose (7) (Part 1)
If I was a gamblin’ man (which I’m not), I would wonder why so many 7’s would keep rolling up on the dice. So many in fact, that I would begin to think the game was fixed (which it is!). In effect, the dice would be loaded to keep coming up 7’s. A quick flyby read through John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ will introduce the reader, who hopefully has a degree of discernment, that there are a number of sevens (7s) that become quickly evident and sort of jump-out at you. 7 churches, 7 trumpets, 7 vials, etc. These tend to be fairly well understood by most Christians who take the time to read the book of Revelation and perhaps have read a commentary (or two) that speak of these 7’s. However, most commentaries miss a number of other 7’s in Revelation, several that are somewhat hidden (by that, I mean can very easily be skipped over or missed). As a student of bible prophecy, a deeper and more detailed study of Revelation will reveal many more concepts that indicate they exist in a state of seven (7). So what?, the Bible is filled with varying numbers of events, images, concepts and verses that all contain a number of some sort. Why is seven (7) so special, specially in Revelation? My partial answer to this question is that God is being repetitive, among other things, to get mankind’s attention. It is not enough just to provide a list of 7’s, but rather, it is an absolute necessity to provide context and insight so these words of God come alive and have more meaning than just a grocery list of numbers.
Seven (7) denotes God’s divinely determined completeness to his plan or purpose.
7 Churches in Asia-Minor: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatria, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea.
These churches are so named in Revelation (2:1–3:22) and are generally understood to symbolically represent the spiritual condition of the Church throughout the ages (past, present, future). The spiritual condition of each of these churches existed at the time John received the Revelation from Jesus. Interestingly, before the various prophecies of woe are revealed later in Revelation, Jesus first chose to reveal and address the spiritual condition of His churches, before he addressed the state of the world and the rest of mankind. Two churches could be considered good and faithful (Smyrna, Philadelphia), the other five (Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Laodicea) had varying conditions of sin that resulted in Jesus admonishing them. Jesus choosing to start Revelation by evaluating his church follows a general pattern in scripture where Jesus starts with his ‘own house’ first before moving onto the rest of humanity. Much of what the seven churches faced in their day, we also face today as Christians, whether it is the seductive pull of something secular in our culture or a strong opposition from our culture.
Categories: Revelation of Jesus Christ