In Rev. 5:6 "... a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth" and also 4:5 and 3:1 Bible speaks about "seven spirits of God".

At the time of writing Apocalypse, was "seven spirits of God" interpreted literally or numerogically (that is substituting numerogical meaning (as "completeness", "perfectness") for "seven") and so considering that the spirit of God is singular (not literally seven spirits)?

Generally, was numerology strongly incorporated in early Christianity?

(This question was "extracted" from Holy Spirit vs Spirit of God in context of Rev. 5:6 by advice of Steve Taylor.)

  • The number 7 is certainly used a lot in the revelation and certainly provides literary effect.
    – Ruminator
    Apr 11 '18 at 6:13

Zechariah 3:9 KJV

For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

Revelation 5:6 KJV

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.

Zechariah 4:2 KJV

And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:

Revelation 1:16 KJV

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.

Revelation 1:20 KJV

The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

It's difficult to know the exact meaning of 'Seven spirits of God'.

What we know:

-7 stars are 7 angels of the 7 churches.

-7 candlesticks are the 7 churches.

-7 eyes on the Lamb are the 7 spirits of God gone into all the earth.

Revelation 5:6

Καὶ εἶδον ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ θρόνου καὶ τῶν τεσσάρων ζῴων καὶ ἐν μέσῳ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἀρνίον ἑστηκὸς ὡς ἐσφαγμένον ἔχων κέρατα ἑπτὰ καὶ ὀφθαλμοὺς ἑπτά οἵ εἰσιν τὰ [ἑπτὰ] πνεύματα τοῦ θεοῦ ἀπεσταλμένοι εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν

The Greek words we're dealing with here are: [ἑπτὰ] πνεύματα τοῦ θεοῦ Seven spirits of the God

So clarity within scripture is not available. Whether these 7 spirits are God, proceeding from God, created by God, etc the exact nature of these 7 spirits are undefined. Any further definition than what is found in scripture is speculation.

Charles H. Spurgeon famously preached in his 'The Lamb In Glory' sermon:

The Lamb also works to perfection in nature and in Providence. For with Him are "the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." This refers not merely to the saving power of the Spirit which is sent forth unto the elect, but to those powers and forces which operate upon all the earth. The power of gravitation, the energy of life, the mystic force of electricity and the like, are all forms of the power of God. A Law of nature is nothing but our observation of the usual way in which God operates in the world. A Law in itself has no power—Law is but the usual course of God's action. All the Godhead's omnipotence dwells in the Lamb—He is the Lord God Almighty. We cannot put the atonement into a secondary place. For our atoning Sacrifice has all the seven Spirits of God. He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him. Let us come to God by Him. He has power to cope with the future, whatever it may be. Let us secure our souls against all dangers, committing ourselves to His keeping.

Greek resources:

Scriveners Textus Receptus 1894

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition © 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart

The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition © 1975, United Bible Societies, London


"And from the seven spirits who are before His throne."

There is no justification for the capitalization of "spirits" here. This is not a description of the nature of God. This statement cannot be understood apart from 4:5 which reads

"And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God;" The seven spirits which are the seven lamps of fire that burn before to throne are the seven churches to whom this revelation is sent (verse 20), "As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches."

Their position is "before" the throne. The significance of "before the throne" could be for the purpose of judgment, particularly in light of the judgment of the seven churches who are weighed in the balances in chapters two and three. Since this is found in the body of the salutation, "before the throne" could also simply represent the position that the church holds as those who belong to God hence the expression "which are the seven spirits of God;" ('Which are' - ἃ - nominative neuter plural).


Numerology refers to a broad number of ways that numbers have sacred, symbolic or mystical significance. It is also a handy number for organization purposes.

Genesis tells us that God made the world in seven days through seven commands. He rested on the seventh day and blessed the day. The tabernacle was dedicated by a series of seven speeches. And on it goes. There is no explicit statement with scripture about the significance of seven that I'm aware of, other than its frequent usage, including "seventy times seven".

Every seventh year was also a sabbath year. And after seven sabbath years came the Jubilee. In the intertestamental period, a scroll called "Jubilees" was written which organized history into these cycles of seven and probably inspired the structure of the Revelation, which features seven bowls, seven trumpets, etc.

After so many of the Jews became immersed in Greek culture after Alexander the Great's conquest they became exposed to the numerology of Pythagoras, whose favorite number was seven.

The immediate background of John's reference to seven pneumati would be the OT references.

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