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Seven Spirits?

Query for the Month

of

May 2009

Next up-date: June 1st 2009 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!
 

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read!

(Unfortunately, the above book is no longer available as a free download.  I will endeavour to find a site where you may buy it, for it's really good!)

In the meantime, try this site.    And here's one where you can read it online.

 

Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.


Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.

Query:               

Revelation 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.

Why are there seven Spirits of God mentioned here?

 

Answer:

In this verse it looks as though there are seven different Spirits in God’s kingdom, so first let us establish that there is really only one Spirit of God by reading some other scriptures. Writing to Gentile believers, Paul explained:

***************(Begin Quote)

1 Corinthians 12:13

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.   

***************(End Quote)

 

Another time he told us one of the jobs of the Spirit, while explaining what Christ has done for us.

***************(Begin Quote)

Ephesians 2:15-20

Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances [rituals, or works of religion]; for to make in Himself of two [divine and human] one new Man, so making peace [between us and God]; and that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off [Gentiles], and to them that were nigh [Jews].  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner Stone . . .

***************(End Quote)  

 

Then he went one step further, emphasizing the oneness:

***************(Begin Quote)

 Ephesians 4:4-6

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; one LORD, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

***************(End Quote)  

But, as we have seen in previous queries, in human terms there are actually three baptisms; one by water, one by the Spirit, and one by persecution.  John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water to repentance: but He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire . . . Matthew 3:11.  In God’s mind they are all one, just different manifestations of the same spiritual truth.

In like manner, there are three aspects of our one Saviour that we need to recognise: while on earth He was a Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15); after His ascension He became our High Priest (Hebrews 8:1); and soon He will return as our King (Revelation 19:16).  This not to say that He was not all three at the same time BEFORE His sojourn on earth, but that men have only recognised these three positions as they were fulfilled.

Again, there are three faiths: saving faith when we are reborn; living faith as we progress in Christianity; and translation faith as the ultimate expression of trust in the LORD.   Of course, these “three” are just extensions of the same “one”.

So we can see that in God’s eyes “one” can mean more than “one”!

In The Revelation the verse in the query comes after we have been told of the “one body” (the church of God), through the experiences of seven literal towns in Asia Minor.  (Chapters 2 and 3.)  These seven local branches were chosen to illustrate the seven major conditions in THE church through two millennia stretching from the first advent to the second.  Thus the “one” becomes “seven”.  

Behind each one of these groups was an “angel” (verses 2:1; 8; 12 etc.) as the invisible guide to the people in it.  It is written: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him, to show to His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John . . .  Revelation 1:1.  And, of course, working through each angel was the Holy Spirit, for He is the real Teacher.  “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me . . .   John 15:26.  Thus we have “seven” Spirits.

We need also to recognise that John as a Jew was used to the idea of a temple and its furniture in which God manifested Himself.  [Moses was told] “Now this is that which you shall offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually.  The one lamb you shall offer in the morning; and the other lamb you shall offer at even . . . This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there to you.  And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory.  And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to Me in the priest's office.  And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God”.   Exodus 29:38-45.

So when he was invited into heaven, he was not surprised to find it as pictured in the tabernacle/temple.  “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first Voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, ‘Come up hither, and I will show you things which must be hereafter’.  And immediately I was in the spirit [in a vision]; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne”.  Revelation 4:1-2.

That’s when he saw the Spirit standing before God’s throne. “And He that sat [on the throne] was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone [John saw only colours]: and there was a rainbow round about [above] the throne, in sight like to an emerald [Ezekiel 1:28]. . . And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices [it was hive of activity]: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God”.   Revelation 4:3-5.  Because John was in a representation of heaven based on the temple, the Spirit was where he would have expected it and in the guise he could recognise, a seven-branched lampstand, or candlestick.

Paul had earlier written of this scene; “Then verily the first covenant [the Old Testament] had ALSO ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.  For there was a tabernacle made; the first [room], wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called “the sanctuary [the holy place”].  And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called “the Holiest of all”; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold [the base of God’s throne], wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant [the Ten Commandments]; and over it the cherubims [angels] of glory shadowing the Mercy Seat [the throne]; of which we cannot now speak particularly”.   Hebrews 9:1-5.

John knew that he was “seeing” God the Father on His throne in the colours;  the Holy Spirit as the golden candlestick; and many other people sitting and standing around as kings on thrones (Matthew 19:28), and “beasts” or “living creatures”, but one Person was missing – the “priest”.  No temple could be complete without such a being, and this was no exception. 

However, when he was shown that Person he saw Him in character with the rest of the scene.  “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts [creatures], and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had [just] been slain, having seven horns [all power] and seven eyes [all knowledge], which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.  And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne”.  Revelation 5:6-7.

As John watched, “All the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, ‘Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be to our God for ever and ever.  Amen’.  And one of the elders answered [spoke], saying to me, ‘What are these which are arrayed in white robes?  And whence came they?’ And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know’.  And he said to me, ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation [in the world], and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes’.”  Revelation 7:11-15.

So the whole scene was a picture in miniature of what heaven will be like after the second coming and the triumphal return to heaven.  At His ascension after the first advent, our Saviour took with Him a multitude of those who had been captives of the grave, in fulfillment of the prophecy, “You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive: You have received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them”.  Psalm 68:18. (See Ephesians 4:8.)

Who were they?  “Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the Ghost [3pm Friday].  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection [Sunday morning], and went into the holy city, and appeared to many”.   Matthew 27:50-53.

They are the ones John saw around the throne.  It is they who have been in heaven for over two thousand years as a “firstfruit” of the final harvest.  In John’s vision they were occupying the positions that all the redeemed will hold into eternity.  “And Jesus said to them [His disciples], ‘Verily I say to you, That you which have followed Me, in the regeneration [the new world] when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging [guiding] the twelve tribes of Israel”.   Matthew 19:28.

 

Conclusion:     

So the whole scene in The Revelation chapters 4 and 5 is a revelation of heaven as it will be one day.  The characters in it are shown in symbolic forms to illustrate their works and positions, and are not meant to be taken literally.

 


Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.

Next query. To be discussed from June 1st, 2009.

Revelation 14:6-7

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment IS COME: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters”.

 Why did this message go out to all the world in the 1840’s, and who gave it?    

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