Saturday, July 13, 2013


The Book of Revelation, unique in so many ways, contains two phrases which have always puzzled me:  "the seven Spirits" (v. 1:4), and "the seven Spirits of God" (v. 3:1; 4:5; 5:6).  It is clear from the rest of God's Word, that there is one Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:18; and especially Eph. 4:4).  When I checked to see if there were any clues in the original language, this is what I found:

*   "seven":  the Greek ἑπτά (hepta), is always translated "seven."
*   "Spirits":  the Greek πνεῦμα (pneuma), depending on the context, is translated "Spirit" (111x); "Holy Ghost" (89x); the human "spirit" (49x); and an evil "spirit" (47x).
*   "God":  the Greek θεός (theos), is always translated "God."

So, is there anything about the context in the four instances, where the phrase is used, that explains the meaning?  Let's see: 

*   Verse 1:4 - "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne."  The phrase "the throne" occurs twenty-seven times in Revelation and all those around it have chosen to serve the One seated upon it.  That would mean, like Jesus, the seven Spirits have humbled themselves (Phil. 2:5-8).

*   Verse 3:1 - "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead."  Again, the seven Spirits are under the authority of the One on the throne.

*   Verse 4:5 - "And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire (see also Dan. 10:6) burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God."  The seven lamps are a metaphor for the seven Spirits.

*   Verse 5:6 - "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes (see also Zech. 3:9; 4:10), which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."  The seven horns (horns represent power in the Word), and the seven eyes are also metaphors for the seven Spirits.

Perhaps the best explanation for the phrase is found in Isaiah 11:2, which reads, "And the spirit (1) of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit (2) of wisdom and (3) understanding, the Spirit (4) of counsel and (5) might, the Spirit (6) of knowledge and (7) of the fear of the LORD."

The seven-fold work of the Holy Spirit is:
Rest, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Might, Knowledge, and Fear! 

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