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Isaiah 11:1-3 (ESV):

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

How many spirits are in view? One, four or seven?

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This marvelous passage in Isa 11:1-3 is actually part of an inverse chiasm which we will not go into here. Suffice to say that it appears to be the basis for several NT passages about the Holy Spirit. But before quoting them I note that Isa 11:2 lists seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit:

  1. Spirit of the LORD
  2. Spirit of wisdom
  3. Spirit of understanding
  4. Spirit of counsel
  5. Spirit of strength
  6. Spirit of knowledge
  7. Spirit of fear of the LORD

Let us note the following from the NT:

  • 1 Cor 12:9 - and to a different one faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
  • 1 Cor 12:13 - For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given one Spirit to drink.
  • Eph 2:18 - For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
  • Eph 4:4 - There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;

There appears a more specific reference in Rev 4:5 -

From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings, and peals of thunder. Before the throne burned seven torches of fire. These are the sevenfold Spirit of God.

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Isaiah 11:2

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—

The parallelism likely refers to the same Spirit of the Lord as in 1 Corinthians 12:

8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,

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I would say just the one, the Spirit of the Lord. The other spirits, to me, denote aspects of the Spirit of the Lord.

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  • Hi Will, welcome to Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. We generally look for a little more detail in an answer; could you expand on your thoughts? Please be sure to take the site tour and read up on how this site is a little different than other sites around the web. Thanks! Apr 28 at 1:36

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