Studies in Revelation
Part 4 - The Seven Spirits of God - Part 1
Revelation 1:4 (NKJV)
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne…
As we see, the seven Spirits of God are first mentioned in Revelation 1:4.
Revelation 1:16, 20 (NKJV)
16 He had in His right hand seven stars… 20 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 which you saw are the seven churches.
Though they are called the “angels of the seven churches,” I believe these seven angels are the “seven Spirits” “before His throne.” The seven Spirits are mentioned next in Revelation 3:1.
Revelation 3:1 (NKJV)
1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, 'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars…”
Now, notice that we read “He who has the seven Spirits of God AND the seven stars.” If we consider this passage from Jonathan Mitchell’s New Testament, it reads as follows.
'The One having (or: holding) the seven spirits and attitudes of God – and (or: even) the seven stars – is presently saying these things…
If we accept how Jonathan Mitchell has rendered this passage, instead of “and the seven stars,” it would be “even the seven stars,” telling us that the “seven Spirits of God” are the “seven stars” which the Lord states are the “angels of the seven churches” in Revelation 1:20. So who are these “seven stars” or “angels”? Let’s go to Isaiah, Chapter 11, verses 1 through 4, for understanding.
Isaiah 11:1-4 (NKJV)
1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom (1) and understanding (2), the Spirit of counsel (3) and might (4), the Spirit of knowledge (5) and of the fear of the Lord (6). 3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; 4 but with righteousness He shall judge the poor (7), and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
First, know that this prophecy concerns the Lord Jesus Christ long before He came to the Jews, and that we are told that the one “Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,” which is then given in six particulars; rendered as “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” When we bring these six attributes together, they are summed up in the seventh or fullness of God as “with righteousness He shall judge.” In regard to the spiritual meaning of the number six, Bullinger states, “Six is either 4 plus 2, i.e., man's world (4) with man's enmity to God (2) brought in: or it is 5 plus 1, the grace of God made of none effect by man's addition to it, or perversion, or corruption of it: or it is 7 minus 1, i.e., man's coming short of spiritual perfection.” With this in mind, let me share the following illustration with you.
In this illustration, we have an idea of the golden lampstand which was found in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of Witness, which instructions were given by God to Moses and Israel; see Acts 7:44. The instructions for this tabernacle and its furnishings begin in Exodus, Chapter 25, while the instructions for the lampstand are recorded in verses 31 through 40 of this same chapter.
As shown, there are seven branches on the lampstand, three on the left and three on the right, each joined at the central branch. At the top, I have numbered each of the branches in consecutive order according to the seven churches in Revelation while the “stars” or “Spirits” of God are numbered in agreement with Isaiah, Chapter 11.
Using our top row of numbers, we see that the Spirit of wisdom and understanding are the first and seventh branch, the Spirit of counsel and might are the second and sixth branch, and the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord are the third and fifth branch. This is due to the fact that each of these six Spirits of God are given in pairs, joined by the conjunction “and.” In agreement with our conjunction, each pair connects at the central branch.
The main branch of the lampstand is marked as “4” according to the seven churches, but “7” according to the “seven Spirits of God” in Isaiah. Being the seventh, this indicates that God’s wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear are all fulfilled within the parameters of His “righteous judgment.”
Now, notice the outline of the cross and how it follows the structure of the lampstand. As we see, the central branch of the lampstand coincides with the vertical beam of the cross. This agrees perfectly since Christ Jesus took the judgment of all humankind upon Himself; see John 9:39, John 12:31, Romans, Chapter 5, and 2nd Corinthians 5:21. As we also see, the horizontal beam of the cross goes from left to right.
When we consider the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, we have the first and seventh branch. This totals eight. The same is true for the Spirit of counsel and might, which is the second and sixth branch, and the Spirit of knowledge and fear, which is the third and fifth branch. Regardless of which branch we consider, we arrive at eight. Here’s what Bullinger wrote in Number in Scripture concerning the spiritual meaning of eight. “It is 7 plus 1. Hence it is the number specially associated with Resurrection and Regeneration, and the beginning of a new era or order.
“When the whole earth was covered with the flood, it was Noah ‘the eighth person’ who stepped out on to a new earth to commence a new order of things. ‘Eight souls’ passed through it with him to the new or regenerated world.
“Hence, too, circumcision was to be performed on the eighth day, because it was the foreshadowing of the true circumcision of the heart, that which was to be ‘made without hands,’ even ‘the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.’ This is connected with the new creation.
“The first-born was to be given to Jehovah on the eighth day. But resurrection is the great truth which is signified. Christ rose from the dead on ‘the first day of the week,’ that was of necessity the eighth day. And it is remarkable that the Bible contains the record of eight individual resurrections (other than the Lord and the saints)."
As stated, eight is the number of a new beginning, and when considered in light of God’s sevenfold Spirit in our illustration, we have a better understanding. Now, what do we have when we add our three “eights” together? 24. Stephen Jones tells us that 24 “is the number of priesthood.” This explains the following from Revelation, Chapters 1 and 5.
Revelation 1:6 (NASB95)
6 … and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 5:9-10 (NASB95)
9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 "You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
Now, when we add our 24 to the fourth branch, we have 28. Stephen Jones tells us that 28 stands for “the leading of the Spirit.”
First, eight or a “new beginning.” Second, 24 or “priests” to our God and Father. Third, 28 or the “leading of the Spirit.” As we see, all of these complement each other! Also consider that 24 is the result of three eights, so in 24 we see the resurrection life of Christ which establishes a new beginning in our hearts and minds.
Next, our illustration shows the three great Feasts of Israel which were part of the divine law which Moses received at Mount Sinai. They are the Feast of Passover, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Passover consisted of three parts; Passover, Unleavened Bread, and the Sheaf of Firstfruits, which correlate with the three branches on the left side of the lampstand. The Feast of Pentecost stood alone, symbolized by the central branch. Finally, we have the Feast of Tabernacles which also consisted of three segments; the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Day or Feast of Tabernacles proper. These align perfectly with the three branches of the lampstand on the right side.
Now, consider where I have labeled each branch with a “3” and the central branch with a “4.” This is taken from Exodus, Chapter 25.
Exodus 25:33-34 (NKJV)
33 Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower--and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. 34 On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower.
As shown, “three bowls” like “almond blossoms” were fashioned on each of the six branches for a total of 18. Jones states that this is the “number of oppression or bondage.” Eighteen is the sum of three sixes or the product of three times six which brings us to Revelation 13.
Revelation 13:16-18 (ESV)
16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
Who hasn’t heard about the mark of the beast? And it is here where it is first described in detail. What is the mark? Three sixes or 18, our number of oppression or bondage. Why is this incorporated into the lampstand? Because the mark of the beast speaks of the law of God which addresses our “enmity” with God, hence the reason we see six branches joined to the seventh. We’ll get more into the “mark” later in this series.
We still have four almond blossoms which were fashioned “on the lampstand itself,” which is the central branch. Added to our 18, we have 22. Stephen Jones tells us that “twenty-two is the number of Sonship, or the Sons of light.” As for the almonds? Jones goes on to share the following.
“Numbers 17:8 says, “Now it came about on the next day that Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms and it bore ripe almonds.
“In this we see that almonds have to do with divine authority. So the almonds on the candlestick (or lampstand) speak of those God has chosen to be the light of the world and to rule in the Kingdom of God. That highest Authority is Jesus Christ, but it also speaks of those called as priests of God to rule with Him. Thus, the candlestick (or lampstand) is more than light; it is authority as well. Putting them together, we see that these things characterize the sons of God. So 22 is the number of Sonship."
For further study about “Sonship,” I would recommend John 1:12, Romans 8:14 and 19, Philippians 2:15, and 1st John 3:1 and 2. Interestingly enough, the phrase “sons of God” is used just six times in the King James.
I don’t know about you, but I am fascinated by the fact that so many of the numbers and their spiritual meanings are incorporated into the golden lampstand and we have not yet considered the numbers in regard to the seven “stars.” Friends, only the wisdom of God could produce such a thing as to testify of His eternal power and divine nature. That being said, consider Romans 1:20.
Romans 1:20 (ESV)
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
Beloved, are His “invisible attributes” His wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear, and judgment? They are, and it is evident in our illustration. In our next video, we will consider the seven “stars” and their spiritual meanings.