|Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove|
Why does there seem to be an obsession with the number ’7′? For some, the explanation derives from the fact that God created the world in six days and, on the seventh, he rested. The ‘Whole Work of God’ is supposedly founded on that number ’7′. Seven denotes ‘completeness’, ‘perfection’. Hebrew (and subsequently Christian) tradition considered ’7′ a special number, sacred (see post: Fun With Numbers). In the Book of Revelation, there are seven churches, seven spirits, seven stars, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven vials, seven personages, seven dooms, seven new things.
There were the Seven Hills of Rome, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
In China, there were Seven Sages (Taoist) of the Bamboo Grove. In mathematics, perhaps, the number ’7′ is special in that it is the lowest number that cannot be represented as the sum of the squares of three integers (only true mathematicians can really appreciate what that means!).
The number of stellar objects in the solar system visible from Earth with the naked eye is seven: sun, moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn.
There are seven notes in the musical scale, the last (eighth note) being a repetition of the first…Unless, of course one considers the pentatonic (five note) scale which is found throughout the world. The list of ‘reasons’ for ‘sacred 7′ is long but it seems that this ‘sacredness’ is more ‘obsessional’ than ‘sacred’, man-made rather than ‘divine’.
In Korean mythology, there is the seven-branched sword. In ancient Egyptian measurement there are 7 palms in one cubit and 4 digits in each palm.
There are also seven days in the week. There are seven bones in the neck (depending, of course, on how one counts them and whether there are any (frequent) anomalies. Babies grow in the womb for 280 days (a multiple of 7) with a variation of normal 38 to 42 weeks (266-294 days, still a variant of seven but that is only because there are 7 days in the week to start with).
|Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse|
According to some religious writers, the number ’4′ is the perfect ‘world number’ (reflective of the 4 cardinal points-north, south, east, west?).
It is in the Book of Revelation that the Four Horsemen appear, from a book held in the right hand of God (sealed with 7 seals, of course), once the first seal is broken, broken by the ‘Lamb of God’ (Jesus Christ).
Revelation, being an apocalyptic text, teaches that the four horsemen are the harbingers of the ‘Last Judgement‘, representing Conquest, War, Famine and Death. All horses have distinctive colors; the first, white; the second, red, the third, black, the fourth, pale or green (see post: The Colors of Faith).
But apocalypse is a theme found in many religions.
|Kalki and White horse|
In Hinduism, the god Kalki, the final avatar of Vishnu, is the one who will bring to an end the present age of darkness and destruction. Some researchers believe that the name Kalki is derived from the Sanskrit for ‘white horse‘.
*The superstition of religion: subject of research for the novel The Tao of the Thirteenth God – Amazon Kindle.