“I love numbers. If I hadn't pursued art my next choice would have been math or science. Unfortunately, the adage if you don't use it you lose it applies. I am not where I was in college, but I still love numbers, math, and numerology, and it ends up in my art. Every number has a connotation and a specific energy to it. I keep lists of things that come in each number - 3 graces, 4 elements, 5 senses, 12 apostles, etc. Each number has a life of it's own.”
For several years now, it has been noticed that Michael Jackson has an apparent fascination with a very specific number that has reappeared several times on his own outfits and stage costumes. For example, the metallic plated leg guards Jackson wore during his 1996/1997 'HIStory' World Tour had a raised number ‘7’ etched on the lap on either side. Perhaps, like Mark Ryden, Michael Jackson feels ‘7’ has a specific connotation and energy?
Michael Jackson has expressed his personal belief in God on many occasions throughout his life and it seems as though faith is a vital part of it. It’s possible that he may have focused on ‘7’ so much because it appears in the Bible on several occasions and may be part of his own belief system.
The number of perfection is widely held to be the number ‘7’, God’s number. It is also symbolic of completion as God rested on the seventh day according to the Book of Genesis, so the easiest meaning of ‘7’ is that of completion of work. The other idea of completion within the Bible comes from the death of Lamech who was apparently 777 years old when he died. This is the only occasion in the Bible where we see ‘777’ like this.
The Apostle Peter asked Jesus how many times he would have to forgive someone who had done wrong against him. Jesus’ response was simple and direct, "I tell you, not just seven times, but 77 times!” Here, we have ‘7’ as the number of perfect forgiveness instead of it being equated with perfect work ethnic as might be assumed with the Creation account where ‘7’ reflects a perfect completion of work.
Michael has been considered to be satisfied with his work only when it’s been completed to his high standards and ‘7’ could point to his own work ethnic. But many have also commented that he seems to be a very forgiving person, going so far as to forgive both Jordy Chandler and Gavin Arvizo while condemning their parents. Michael has said he tries to do what Jesus said and to carry it through in his actions, so it’s possible Michael considers that the number ‘7’ gives him the energy to forgive other people for their behaviour towards himself. One might argue he may well believe it also gives him the energy to work to a high standard which he has proven many times in the past.
Michael Jackson has also had ‘777’ on his jackets as well as on the album cover to his 1995 'HIStory' album. Some fans have suggested that this might be a way for Jackson to boost the power of the number ‘7’. While a possibility, retired US Army Colonel Jim Coy offers us a different way to look at ‘777’:
“I decided on the number 777. My reasoning was spiritual. Many Bible scholars believe the number 7 to be an important number because of its use in the Bible. I felt the number 777 would be easy to remember because I would remember the number 7 for God the Father, the next 7 as God the Son and the last 7 as God the Holy Spirit.”
Jim Coy goes on to relate this to Gideon’s famous battle recorded in the Bible and he firmly believes that God uses small numbers of men to do things in his name on Earth. Coy got the message he was looking for in relation to his role in the US military from the Book Of Judges. This is the seventh book of the Bible, but it was chapter seven and verse seven that was of interest to him. For Coy, these small numbers of men that God would use to win battles against larger armies represent what he called “Men Without Fear”. Coy says that “I believe that God separates His people by selecting those who are WITHOUT FEAR, those WILLING to be used, those SEEKING to be used, those who have PREPARED themselves to be used by God and possibly most important: those WILLING TO GIVE GOD THE GLORY for the victory.” Basically, he believes that only a small number of people will have a mission to accomplish on Earth which has been entrusted to him by God.
A Google internet search will also show up several churches with ‘777’ in part of their address, e.g. Grace Bible Church in Phoenixville, USA is located on 777 Starr Street while Wooded Hills Bible Church is located at 777 State Road, Wisconsin, USA .
Michael Jackson has also stated he believes he is on Earth to fulfil a mission given to him by God:
“I must seek truth in all things. I must endure for the power I was sent forth, for the world for the children…And my goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance…But I will never stop helping and loving people the way Jesus said to.”
He has viewed himself as an “instrument of Nature” and he seems to see his role in the world as that of peacemaker as well as to bring joy to people; not just to forgive people as commanded in the Bible. Michael may even view himself as a man without fear as he considers himself to be “unbreakable” and that “I have rhinoceros skin”, affirming again that he has “been to hell and back”. His long time friend, Jesse Jackson has confirmed that Michael’s belief in God has helped him to endure whatever comes his way.
It is likely that ‘777’ could be a way of acknowledging the presence of God within his own life, especially in times of personal trouble.
Another symbolic meaning for the number ‘7’ is that of good luck, or good fortune, for this reason it is believed by many to be a magic number. In his 1988 autobiography ‘Moonwalk’, Michael Jackson wrote about his belief in the power of dreams, positive thinking, but also acknowledged that good fortune can be granted at the same time. Another famous image for good fortune is that represented within the female form and personified as ‘She’. Michael Jackson used Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna Imperiatrix Mundi” as part of his ‘Dangerous’ World Tour opener; translated into English this means “O Fortune Empress Of The World”. While the music is primitively powerful and agonised, the lyrics themselves reveal the agony of Lady Fortune turning against you over time which is pain in itself because it was She who favoured you above all others for a while. “O Fortune like the moon changeable, always waxing or waning…now is harsh and then is caring on a whim…for through Fate the strong is laid low, all of you weep with me!” The famous imagery of Fortune appears later in his track entitled 'HIStory' as the date given for the Statue Of Liberty which simultaneously confirms and denies Fortune Empress Of The World as found in Orff’s “O Fortuna”. The Statue Of Liberty’s inscription, written by Emma Lazarus, resembles Michael Jackson’s own dream of healing the poor and oppressed as well as granting them security, but the last line of the inscription is telling, "I lift my lamp beside the Golden Door." Maybe, possibly one reason for one of three sevens could be a reminder that good fortune and success should never be taken for granted lest the Empress Of The World decreed that you should no longer wear “prosperity's varied garland crowned, yet however I flourished happy and blessed, now I have fallen from the height, deprived of glory“. Fortune’s other face may be that of God and Michael Jackson has referred to God as ‘She’ AND as ‘He’ in the past in his book, “Dancing The Dream”.
Perhaps one of the sevens is a reference to track 7 on his solo albums pre-dating 'HIStory' as this was the first time we noticed ‘777’ on the album cover instead of the singular ‘7’. ‘She's out of my life‘, ‘Billie Jean‘, ‘Man In The Mirror’ and ‘Heal The World’ are all the seventh tracks on the respective albums they each appear on. The songs reflect parts of Michael Jackson’s personal feelings as he acknowledged in ‘Moonwalk’, teach a lesson and at least two of them are relevant to his own belief system in God. ‘Man In The Mirror’ and ‘Heal The World’ reflect the teachings of Jesus such as the Good Samaritan or the Sermon On The Mount’s Beatitudes. The idea of working together to make ourselves better, to treat each other respectfully and to appreciate the concept of love as well as to mourn the absence of all these things. In one of his reflections from “Dancing The Dream”, Michael wrote, “So the elephants march on, and every tread beats out words in the dust: "Watch, learn, love. Watch, learn, love." Can you hear them? One day in shame, the ghosts of ten thousand lords of the plains will say, "We do not hate you. Don't you see at last? We were willing to fall, so that you, dear small ones, will never fall again.…”
This could be a possible reason for a second ‘7’, but there is also a third theory we must take into account. Michael Jackson is the seventh child of Joseph and Katherine Jackson, so it is equally possible that a third ‘7’ might be a nod to his own place within the Jackson family. His brother, Marlon, is roughly a year younger than Michael, but his twin died at birth. His name was Brandon and it’s possible this made the Jackson siblings realise just how lucky they were to be alive to live life. Being a sensitive child, it’s possible Michael realised that at some point in his life and never forgot the value of living each day to the maximum. A third ‘7’ could be an appreciation of the Jackson family.
On balance, I believe that ‘777’ is a reference to the Holy Trinity and Michael Jackson’s belief on its influence within his own life through the years. The main things the Holy Trinity represent are reflected in everything I have said so far; the concept of love, family, healing, good fortune, taking the good with the bad. As a symbol of the Holy Trinity, ‘777’ could serve as a reminder to Michael Jackson that there is only one who is truly Great and who can support those He loves through any hardship; something that is important to any human being who has a belief in a Deity. That any man who is exalted as a King is subject to eventually falling from grace to be broken, but only God can save the soul of Mankind.
Since Michael Jackson has worn ‘777’ through his heavily publicised trial in 2005, we can take the view that he may gain strength from these three numbers because “Every number has a connotation and a specific energy to it…Each number has a life of it's own.”
Perhaps the future bodes well for Jackson with the release of his anticipated seventh solo album since “Off The Wall” was released on Epic Records in 1979.