In my last article "The Plurality Of God," I explained the terms "Let Us" and "Our" in light of the Trinitarian viewpoint. I discuss the fact that there is only ONE SPIRIT and that the "plurality" spoken of in the four instances in scripture does not prove there are three persons in a Godhead, but that it is just God speaking majestically of His entire Kingdom, which included angels. Now we are going examine a verse that mentions seven Spirits of God to find out if the are individual Spirits or just one Spirit doing many things at once.
Rev 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;
Rev 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.
In the book of Revelation we find various terms relating to the, "seven Spirits" or "seven eyes" of God" before the throne. And as we look into this question, we are going to try and find a satisfactory answer, because the scriptures do not come right out and tell us the meaning of who these seven Spirits are; compared to what the Lord told us who the seven candlesticks were in Rev. 1:20 (the churches). Therefore, we will need to resolve three of the most popular interpretations that exists today, and they are, 1) Seven spirits as related to Isa 11:2, or 2) Angels before the throne; or 3) The work of the Spirit sent out into the world. Let’s look at this closer.
THE EYES OF THE LORD
Since a lot of the book of Revelations can be figurative, we cannot look at this subject in a true physical sense (actual eyes of fire), but equivalent attributes in the spiritual realm. So next, we need to see how much the eyes and fire relate to the seven Spirits of God.
Rev 1:13-16 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. (14) His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; (15) And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. (16) And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
In the above verse, John describes the Son of man (Jesus) walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks (the churches) and He has eyes that are as a flame of fire. Next, we have to see if there is any link between His eyes of fire and anything else; here is the next verse...
Rev 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, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
In the two above scriptures there is now a connection. The Lamb, Jesus has both seven horns-eyes and those horns-eyes are the "seven Spirits of God." Therefore, we can conclude that all seven eyes (figuratively) are eyes of fire. So, up to this point we can conclude that at the very least, the "seven Spirits of God" are directly related to Jesus (the Lamb) having seven flames of fire that are sent into all the earth.
SEVEN LAMPS OF FIRE BEFORE THE THRONE
Rev 4:5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
Now, we have a new connection here. Notice, that we now have seven lamps of fire that are burning before the throne, which is also called the "seven Spirits of God." So now, this adds another dimension to this subject. We now have both the horns-eyes as flames of fire and the seven fire-burning lamps being called the "seven Spirits of God."
In scripture there was a lamp-stand (candlestick) in the Tabernacle (and Temple) in the Old Testament that had seven branches to it. This lamp-stand was only lit by the oil that flowed into each branch. And in scripture, the lamp-stand is symbolic of Jesus (being Light of the World), and the Holy Spirit (Oil) of God that goes forth into the earth.
Zec 4:10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
In the entire chapter of Zechariah 4 (which I won't go through here), an angel talks to Zachariah about a candlestick having seven branches. There is a reference to "seven" in the verse that states that they are the eyes of the Lord which runs to-and-fro through the earth. Because this is the only Old Testament connection that seems to relate to the context of Revelations, the question now is, what and if there is any connections. Now, let’s look at the three most popular interpretations keeping in mind that these seven Spirits are sent into all the earth.
1) THE SPIRIT OF ... RESTED ON THE BRANCH
Isa 11:1-2 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: (2) And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
Some people believe that the above scripture is referring to the "seven Spirits of God" before the throne. And, though it is true that the above "spirits" (qualities) did rest on Jesus (the Branch), there are several things we will have to consider.
If you look at this verse at face value, and at each quality individually, you would only count six actual qualities (spirits) that rested on Jesus in this verse. The reason is because the wording "spirit of the Lord shall rest on him" is not referring to any qualities (as the other six are), but is referring to the Lord himself as a whole; it is an all-encompassing term. So, in proper language structure, Isaiah is first stating that the spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him and then these six qualities will be a part of that Spirit of the Lord (he then list the six attributes). That's one way to look at it.
However, if you take note of the singular use of the word "spirit" (no 's'), you would only see ONE SPIRIT that rest on the Lord. Therefore it is not seven spirits, but ONE!!
The other thing we have to consider, is that this one verse has no supporting verses linking it to the context of the book of Revelations. And another thing to note is that Jesus had way more than six spirits (qualities) resting on Him such as; grace, long-suffering, love, holiness and on-and-on we could go.
So, although it can be applicable because Jesus does possess many qualities; it is still a stretch to say that this one verse is the main interpretation regarding the seven Spirits before the throne, in light of the context of the book of Revelations.
2) ANGELS BEFORE THE THRONE
Heb 1:7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
In scriptures, angels are considered "ministering flames of fire." They often manifested themselves as fire here on earth in the scriptures. So, if we were to make a connection between angels as ministering fire and with the above verses that refer to the flaming eyes of fire (of Jesus), we then could say that angels are in some way connected to the eyes of Jesus. And then we would also have to consider, that there were seven angels that stood before the throne as stated here...
Rev 8:2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
These seven angels are actually one of the main catalysts in the entire narrative of the book of Revelations. These seven angels are mentioned frequently (Rev 15:1, 6-7; 17:1; 21:9) in regards to seals, vials and trumpets. And since angels are ministering flames of fire that stand before the Lord, we have to consider the part these angels play to bring about God judgments.
Rev 16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
In conjunction with Rev 5:6 above, where the "seven Spirits of God" are sent forth throughout the whole earth, we could even say that the "seven Spirits" of God could be the angels. We could make this connection because of the fire in both the eyes of the Lamb and the fact that angels are ministering flames of fire.
Where the difficulty of interpreting this thought comes in, is how do the seven flaming eyes of the Lamb translate into seven angels that stand before the throne? The only connection that would be possible is to figure out what the "horns and eyes" of the Lamb mean.
Figuratively, "horns" in scripture speak of power, authority, might and strength. While the "eyes" speak of vision, purpose, foresight, consumption, light of the body and even lust, wrath or jealousy (there are many ways). And from all these scriptures within this subject, the only real thing we could conclude is that the horn (power) and eyes (vision - light), is that they are figurative of fire and light being sent forth into the earth. So, all it could suggest is that it is either light (God's Spirit) or Angels that are sent forth.
3) THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT
As we look at the last possible interpretation in our study of it being just the work of the Spirit going forth into the earth, we would still have to define what these "seven Spirits" are. And since there is no exact description as to what these are, we then have to either except that there is actually seven Spirits of God or look at symbolism to try and come to a conclusion.
In the New Testament, the "Holy Spirit" is often referred to as a dove, breeze, wind, anointing, wine, comforter, river of life, light and a fire. Since light and fire is part of the context of our discussion, we could easily say that light-fire is figurative of the Spirit of God. And if we were to take the symbolism of the candlestick, with seven branches that are lit by oil; we could also apply the "seven" (branches of candlestick) as being figurative of the Spirit (Oil) going forth (as light on a candlestick) into all the earth.
Let's consider the idea of actually saying there are seven individual Spirits of God. In my study "Spirit of God vs. Holy Spirit" because scripture only teaches that there is ONE SPIRIT of God (Eph 4:5), you cannot divide God up into individual, separate beings. So, in light of this subject, the "seven Spirits of God" are actually just seven manifestations or qualities that are going forth into the world as light. You can prove this by the candlestick, because the candlestick was ONE piece of beaten work of gold and all seven branches flowed with ONE source of oil (Spirit of God)... thus God can easily do seven things at once!
Even though we cannot say for sure exactly what these seven Spirits (manifestation - qualities) are, in light of it just being the work of the Spirit, we can safely say that when God does anything, it is still always a work of the Spirit no matter how He does it. So, we could apply the term "it's a work of the Spirit" pretty much to any conclusions we come to on this subject. But, we can say that this is most likely the best interpetation.
After looking carefully at all angles of this subject, we need to consider these final points...
• We can rule out Isa 11:2 (#1) because this verse isn't really connected to the context and subject of the book of Revelations. We can't use just this isolated verse if there is no contextual connection.
• We could say that the seven horns-eyes of fire that are sent forth into the earth are actually the seven angels (#2) that stand before the Lamb. However, even though it's possible, yet it is still not 100% convincing.
• We could apply the term "it's a work of the Spirit" (#3) to pretty much in anything God does in scripture. But, since we still cannot actually itemize individual the spirits that are going forth, we then have to rely on symbolism and figurative text to lean on.
If you go back and look, Jesus is saying He has "seven Spirits" and "seven stars" (stars are pastors here), and that He walks in the midst of seven golden candlesticks (the seven churches). It is very obvious that He is using these terms figuratively to include pastors and the seven churches in His narrative with His Spirit going forth into all the earth.
We could remotely believe, that angels are a part of this complete work of the Spirit, because there is some connections to the angels that are the main catalyst in bringing about the judgments of God. Though the angel viewpoint isn't the main interpretation, it is still a part of this context, especially since God sometimes (not all the time) may manifest Himself through angels that are ministering flaming spirits.
Therefore, the closest true interpretation of this entire question is that these "seven Spirits" of God are in fact, the ONE Spirit of God coming from the eyes of Jesus and the throne that is sent out into the earth. We can only come to this conclusion because of Zachariah's reference connecting the candlestick (light & oil) to the seven eyes of the Lord in Revelations. Because symbolism can be applied here, we can conclude that the "seven Spirits" are seven manifestations (qualities or actions) of the complete Spirit of God doing a work in the midst of the churches and out into the earth.
So, as far as the Godhead discussion goes, we CANNOT say that there are seven individual Spirits of God, because, that would make the Godhead septuplets. Therefore, according to Trinitarians thinking, that is what they would have to believe. But they don't apply the same reasoning because to say the Godhead is septuplets is ridiculous. So, why apply a Trinitarian idea to three Gods. Is God diviided into seven individual Spirits? No, neither is he divided into three individual Spirits. ONE SPIRIT - multiple manifiestations.
Now, as we move forward, we are going to do more studies and bring us into the New Testament and how we are to maintain the concept of the ONE SPIRIT of God manifesting Himself in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost!
READ: God The Father