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Revelation’s visions often put the Son with the Father, but the Holy Spirit is generally absent. For example:

RECEIVING THE BOOK OF REVELATION

“GOD” gave the visions of Revelation to “JESUS CHRIST” and Jesus gave it to His angel to give to John (Rev 1:1). The Holy Spirit is absent from this sequence. There-after, Revelation itself is referred to as “the word of GOD and to the testimony of JESUS CHRIST” (Rev 1:2).

WORSHIP

Both “HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE, and … THE LAMB” are praised and worshiped (Rev 5:13-14; 7:10) but the Holy Spirit is never praised or worshiped.

In Revelation 4, the Holy Spirit is present in the throne room, described as “before the throne” (Rev 4:5) but the beings in the throne room ignore the Holy Spirit and “give glory and honor and thanks (only) to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever” (Rev 4:9-10).

In Revelation 5, as Jesus enters the throne room, the Holy Spirit departs “sent out into all the earth” (Rev 5:6). Now, while the Holy Spirit was not praised previously, both “HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE, and … THE LAMB” are praised (Rev 5:13).

ON THE THRONE

Jesus sat down with His Father on His throne (Rev 3:21; 12:5) but the Holy Spirit never sits on the throne. Rather, the Holy Spirit is “before His throne” (Rev 1:4; 4:5); apparently subordinate to “God who sits on the throne” (Rev 19:4).

GOD’S PEOPLE

The saved are described as “first fruits to GOD and to the LAMB” (Rev 14:4); “a kingdom, priests to His GOD (Jesus’ God) and Father” (Rev 1:6); With His blood, Jesus has “made them to be a kingdom and priests to our GOD” (Rev 5:9-10). No Holy Spirit involvement.

THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

“The seal of the living God,” which is put on the foreheads of God’s servants (Rev 7:2-3), is “HIS (the Lamb’s) NAME and the name of HIS FATHER” (Rev 14:1).

The Christian faith is often portrayed as consisting of two parts, referring to God and Jesus; e.g.:

  • “The word of GOD and the testimony of JESUS” (Rev 1:9; cf. Rev 6:9);
  • “The commandments of GOD and … faith in JESUS” (Rev 14:12);
  • “The commandments of GOD and ... the testimony of JESUS” (Rev 12:17);
  • “Their testimony of JESUS and … the word of GOD” (Rev 20:4).

Apparently, faith in the Holy Spirit is not required.

CHRIST’S VICTORY

Through Christ’s death, “the kingdom of our GOD and the authority of HIS CHRIST have come” (Rev 12:10). No Holy Spirit.

JUDGMENT DAY

On Judgment Day, while the saved will stand “before THE THRONE (representing the Father) and before the LAMB” (Rev 7:9), the lost will attempt to hide “from the presence of HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE, and from the wrath of THE LAMB” (Rev 6:16-17). The saved do not stand before the Holy Spirit and the lost do not hide from the Holy Spirit.

On that day, Jesus will tread “the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty” (19:15).

THE NEW EARTH

On the new earth, “HE WHO SITS ON THE THRONE will spread His tabernacle over them” and “THE LAMB … will be their shepherd” (Rev 7:16-17). No Holy Spirit.

The “kingdom of the world … (will) become the kingdom of OUR LORD and of HIS CHRIST” (Rev 11:15).

“The Lord GOD THE ALMIGHTY and the LAMB are” the temple of the New Jerusalem. (Rev 21:22).

“The glory of GOD has illumined it, and its lamp is the LAMB” (Rev 21:23),

“A river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of GOD and of the LAMB” (Rev 22:1; cf. Rev 22:3). In other words, only God and the Lamb will sit on the throne; no Holy Spirit.

CONCLUSION

In Revelation 1:4-5, John mentions the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a triadic passage but that is not part of the visions of Revelation. It is part of John’s own introduction to and context setting for the book.

From a Trinitarian perspective, in which the Holy Spirit is a third Person; co-equal with the Father, how does one explain the absence of the Holy Spirit from key moments in the visions of the Book of Revelation?

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    Worship is from the redeemed, the born again in whom is the Holy Spirit who fills all in all, filling the whole Body of Christ. He does not speak of himself. God is glorified through him. This is so self evident from scripture that this is a comment, not an answer.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 8:45
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    This looks like a theological question precisely because it has a theological basis (the trinity).
    – Dottard
    Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 21:02
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    "In Revelation 1:4-5, John mentions the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in a triadic passage" — that text refers to "the seven spirits, with no implication of their being God's holy spirit (a substance or force), much less The Holy Spirit (a member of the Trinity). That paragraph seems to be irrelevant to the question. Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 0:19
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    If the book of the Revelation allocates the Holy Spirit "such a subordinate role", how come the Holy Spirit is at work in every chapter? Ah, but one would need to know how the Holy Spirit works since Christ's ascension, to then send the Spirit to do invisible work helping Christ's Church and bringing plagues on Christ's enemies. I've answered my own question.
    – Anne
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 7:58
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    Does this answer your question? Who is speaking to the Churches in Revelation 1:10-11, Jesus or the Spirit?
    – Anne
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 8:52

1 Answer 1

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The Book of Revelation is not an overtly trinitarian work in the sense that it never mentions the three persons of Trinity as such. (The reference in 1:4-5 is not to the Holy Spirit but the "seven spirits who are before his throne.") That is not to say that its author would deny the existence of the Trinity. But the Trinity as such only does not play an overt role in this particular scripture.

Why is the Trinity never overtly mentioned? The answer might be phrased as another question: "Why does it need to be?" The Holy Spirit is not mentioned in several other NT scriptures such as Galatians, Colossians, I Timothy and Philemon. Neither is the Holy Spirit worshiped as such in these and other NT writings. For that matter several scriptures do not speak of Jesus as the object of worship. So the absence of the term and the Spirit's apparently subordinate role should not be particularly problematic for believers in the Trinity. This is especially so if one accepts that John of Patmos is the same writer as John the Apostle. After all, the HS is not mentioned in several Pauline epistles, but it is definitely spoken of in others.

However, there is reason to doubt that John of Patmos and John the Apostle are the some person. The other works by "John" have a remarkable unity of language and theology, especially focused the importance of love, rebirth and the sacraments. But these concepts are not emphasized in the Book of Revelation. It is full of apocalyptic visions and dire warnings. Forgiveness is hard to find. The saints even pray for vengeance against their persecutors: '“O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” (6:10) This is a stark contrast to the attitude of John's Gospel:

he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.” (John 20:22-23)

Indeed, the word "forgive" cannot be found in the Book of Revelation. Neither can the word "mercy." The absence of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Trinity in Revelation can be explained by similar absences in other NT scriptures. But the seeming absence of the fruits of the Spirit is harder to explain.

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  • John was the "son of thunder". This was another side of his quiet character (Luke 9:54)
    – HoRn
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 2:54
  • that presumes the John the son of Zebedee is the same as as John of Patmos and John the Beloved. What the basis for that, since there are several John's mentioned in the NT? Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 4:03
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    You might as well doubt that Jeremiah wrote both the prophecy and the lamentations. (And, perhaps, you do.) Some men have a vastly broader capability (especially when gifted in the Spirit) than you, perhaps, are aware of.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 8:49
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    I edited the question in the hope that it will be reopened. It is now a fact based question that seeks to understand the meaning of the text based on a particular interpretation. Indeed this seems always to be the case if the last sentence is read--"From a Trinitarian perspective, in which the Holy Spirit is a third Person; co-equal with the Father, how does one explain the absence of the Holy Spirit from key moments in the visions of the Book of Revelation?" Commented Sep 9, 2022 at 12:19

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