Author: Ron Graham
The Seven Spirits
The Revelation of Christ (Revelation 1-5) >The Prologue >The Introduction >The seven spirits explained
In his introduction to the book of Revelation, after giving a blessing of grace and peace from "him who is, was, and is to come", John says that the blessing is also from "the seven spirits who are before his throne" (Revelation 1:4)..
¶“4...from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6And has made us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion, for ever and ever, Amen. 7Behold he is coming with clouds, and every eye shall see him... Even so, Amen.” (Revelation 1:4-7).
seven spirits We look at the above passage again in other lessons, but for now we will consider the seven Spirits mentioned in Revelation 1:4 and who are referred to in the first two visions.
- In the first vision (where the glorified Christ addresses the seven churches) Jesus Christ is described as "He who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars" (Revelation 3:1).
- In the second vision scene 1 (where the elders worship around the throne) seven lamps of fire burning before the throne are "the seven Spirits of God" (Revelation 4:5).
- In the second vision scene 3 (where the Lamb opens the sealed scroll) the Lamb's seven eyes are "the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth" (Revelation 5:6).
What the Seven Spirits Represent
There are seven Spirits to match the seven churches addressed by the Revelation. Each Spirit is a representation of the Holy Spirit's personal work through prophets ministering to each of the seven churches, delivering to them the God-breathed testimony or gospel of Jesus.
The expression "the seven Spirits of God" (Revelation 5:6) is parallel to the expression "the God of the spirits of the prophets" (Revelation 22:6).
By representing the Holy Spirit and his work as seven spirits, the visions reassure us that God has a personal relationship with each congregation of Christ, and each congregation has its own independent responsibility in that relationship.
The Seven Spirits and the Seven Churches
There are three aspects to the relationship between the seven Spirits and the seven churches.
1 The Origin of the Churches
Each church had its origin in the gospel. Churches came into being in each place through the message of the gospel being preached in that place.
This was true from the establishment of the first church of Christ in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit gave utterance to men, signifying it by tongues of fire which rested upon each of them, and they preached the gospel to bring the first church into being (Acts 2:1-5).
The origin of any congregation of Christ should be the work of the Holy Spirit not the work of men. Any congregation, in order to be true, must be true to the Spirit of that congregation.
This means that the congregation builds itself upon the testimony of Jesus, his gospel or new testament. A church built on anything else is allowing a false spirit into its midst. So each congregation has the responsibility to go back to the true origin.
2 The Commission to the Churches
Each church was commissioned to spread the gospel message further afield. This is the great commission Jesus gave to his disciples (Mark 16:15-16).
The seven spirits are before the throne, and are "sent out into all the earth" (Revelation 5:6). The gospel is a message to mankind on all the earth. The message comes from God, from the very throne of Heaven.
You will recall the chain we discussed in Revelation 1:1. The revelation came from God. It was passed on through Christ, through the ministry of angels, through the prophet John, to the churches. The churches become the last link in that chain through which the gospel is passed on to the world.
Each congregation must ensure that it is not a weak link in the chain, and that it honors the commission it has received from the throne of Heaven to spread abroad the revelation of Christ.
3 The Faithfulness of the Churches
Each church needed to remain faithful to the gospel. It is not something of man's own making which he is free to treat and change as he pleases (see Revelation 22:16-17).
In the first vision, through a series of short messages in chapters 2 and 3, Jesus rebukes most of the seven churches for being unfaithful to the gospel instead of adhering to the message and delivering it as they had received it.
One of the purposes of Revelation is to strengthen the churches. Jesus is a faithful and true witness to us. We must be faithful and true to him and his testimony, living it and teaching it as best we can.
The life of every congregation, and of each of its members, depends upon faithfulness —the faithfulness of God to us, and our faithfulness to him. He said, "Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).
As we said, the seven spirits represent the Holy Spirit in each church of Christ. The first responsibility of any church is this: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 2:29).