In Rev 4:6 and 5:6 it says these are the 7 spirits of God. In Rev 4:5 it states that the lampstands are the 7 Spirits of God then in 5:6 it states that the 7 horns and the 7 eyes are the 7 Spirits of God.

Rev 4:5 - From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits a of God.

Rev 5:6 - Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

But what do each of the seven spirits represent? Like the fruit of the spirit is joy, peace, etc?

  • Hello Kathleen. Welcome to BHSX. Thanks for your excellent question. Please do not forget to take the tour (link below) to better understand how this site works.
    – Dottard
    Oct 25 '21 at 20:26
  • Oooo this is a lekker question I’m enjoying Dottard’s answer and will enjoy writing one too! (Not with Dottard’s level of scriptural facility to be sure, but I will try in my small way.) Oct 25 '21 at 21:50
  • See Isaiah 11:2-3 and amesha spenta.
    – Lucian
    Oct 26 '21 at 5:07
  • In Rev 5:6 it says that God's seven spirits are "sent out into all the earth". Could the fact that the number of God's Spirits and the number of the earth's regions are the same just be a coincident? North America, South America, Europe, Africa, West Asia, East Asia, and Oceania. Oct 26 '21 at 9:53

First, let us be clear about the different words associated with fire in the book of Revelation.

1. λαμπάς (lampas = "torch", "lamp", "lantern") only occurs twice 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 seven Spirits of God.
  • Rev 8:10 - Then the third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star burning like a torch fell from heaven and landed on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.

Note that in Rev 4:5, the torch is used to symbolize the Spirit and in Rev 8:10 it symbolizes a false spirit.

2. λυχνία (luchna = "lamp-stand") and occurs seven times in:

  • Rev 1:12, 13 - Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was One like the Son of Man,f dressed in a long robe, with a golden sash around His chest.
  • Rev 1:20 - This is the mystery of the seven stars you saw in My right hand and of the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
  • Rev 2:1 - “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.
  • Rev 2:5 - Therefore, keep in mind how far you have fallen. Repent and perform the deeds you did at first. But if you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
  • Rev 11:4 - These witnesses are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.

Note that a lampstand always represents a church in some sense, either one of the seven churches or other church. This symbol is a clear reference to the Menorah in the ancient Temple/sanctuary and Jesus' own comment that He (Jesus) was the light of the world, John 1:4, 8:12

"Seven Spirits"

The phrase "Seven Spirits" occurs a number of times in the book of Revelations as follows:

  • Rev 1:4 - John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from Him who is and was and is to come, and from the seven Spirits before His throne
  • Rev 3:1 - “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of the One who holds the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation for being alive, yet you are dead.
  • 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 seven Spirits of God.
  • Rev 5:6 - Then I saw a Lamb who appeared to have been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

[For completeness only, note the same phrase also occurs in Matt 12:45 & Luke 11:26 in one of Jesus' parables concerning evil spirits inhabiting a person.]

Note that these descriptions give us valuable information:

  • the seven Spirits are "of God"
  • the seven Spirits send greetings of grace and peace to the seven churches
  • the seven Spirits are held in the hand of Jesus
  • the seven Spirits are also called the eyes of Jesus
  • the seven Spirits are associated with and near the throne of God
  • the seven Spirits are likened to burning torches

[There also appears to be a counterfeit "torch" that falls from heaven in Rev 8:10 (compare Luke 10:18, Rev 9:1, 12:4, Isa 14:12, etc)]

All these descriptions of the seven Spirits appears to be an allusion to the prophecies of Zechariah:

  • Zech 3:9 - See the stone I have set before Joshua; on that one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave on it an inscription, declares the LORD of Hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day.
  • Zech 4:2 - “What do you see?” he asked. “I see a solid gold lampstand,” I replied, “with a bowl at the top and seven lamps on it, with seven spouts to the lamps.
  • Zech 4:6 - So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts.
  • Zech 4:10 - For who has despised the day of small things? But these seven eyes of the LORD, which scan the whole earth, will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.”

Thus, as many have already observed such as Ellicott in his remarks about Rev 1:4 -

The context makes it impossible to admit any other meaning than that the greeting which comes from the Father and the Son comes also from the Holy Spirit sevenfold in His operations, whose gifts are diffused among all the churches, and who divides to every man severally as He will. ... This unity in diversity is the thought St. Paul seems anxious to keep before the minds of the Corinthians, lest their gifts should become the source of division. All work that one and self-same spirit (1 Cor 12:11).

Some have also suggested that the "seven Spirits" might be better rendered "seven-fold Spirit" (eg, NIV footnote and others) and thus, the seven functions of the Holy Spirit; but I would not be anxious to press this too far nor too strongly - it is mentioned for completeness only. See appendix below.

The extremely close association of the Spirit with Jesus and the Revelation of Jesus is discussed in John 16:13, 14 - The Spirit reveals Jesus to us.

APPENDIX - Work of the Holy Spirit

Jesus bequeathed the Gift of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22, Acts 1:8, 2:1-4) to His church for several reasons:

  1. To produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22 & 23, see especially v24-26) and so to sanctify (make distinct) the church members.
  2. The above changed life is to be a distinguishing sign or seal of God’s ownership of our lives and a guarantee of better things to come (Eph 1:13, 4:30) and the "seal of God".
  3. To provide specific guidance for the church (John 16:7-12, 14:17, 15:26 – namely
  • Convict of sin
  • Instruct in Righteous (= right doing)
  • Convict of judgement to come
  1. To build up the church with spiritual (supernatural) gifts and abilities, 1 Cor 12:7, 14:12, and to influence/teach others John 7:37-39. See Rom 12:6-8, 1 Cor 12:8-10, 28-30, Eph 4:11, 1 Peter 4:10, 11, 1 Tim 4:14, Ex 35:30-33, etc.
  2. To strengthen the members in their daily walk to live the Christian ideals, Eph 3:16, 17, Heb 2:4, and maintain unity in the Christian community (Eph 4:3-6). The Christian must be born of the Spirit (John 3:5) by receiving the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:38) and walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:25, John 6:63, Phil 3:3, John 4:24). In fact the whole life of Christian is to put aside the “psychical” mind and live by the Spirit (1 Cor 2:14, 1 Cor 15:44-46, Gal 5:17, Jude 19, John 6:63, 1 Peter 3:18). In short, the Holy Spirit is the only way we can know God, 1 Cor 2:10, 11, 14, John 16:13.
  3. To teach the church more of the character and work of Jesus and thus, imitate Jesus, John 7:38, 39, 15:26, 16:12-15, Rom 8:4, 11, Eph 3:17, 18, 4:3-6, 1 Thess 1:6, 4:8, 1 Cor 2:14.
  4. The Holy Spirit inspired the prophets to write Scripture, and explains such spiritual truths to us. John 14:16, 17, 15:26, 1 Cor 2:6-16, Eph 1:17-19, 2 Peter 1:21, 2 Tim 3:15, 16, 1 Thess 1:5, Heb 9:8, 1 Peter 1:12, Ps 119:18.

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