Glossary of Images and Related Explanations in the Revelation:

The Seven Spirits of God

It is unclear as to why the Holy Spirit is described in Revelation as "the seven Spirits of God."  Isaiah, in the famous prophecy of Jesus...and the Spirit that would rest on Him, describes the Holy Spirit in seven different ways.  Other searches of scripture provide another seven ways to define the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps these different aspects of the Holy Spirit are why He is referred to in a plural sense.  The text of the revelation does not give any detailed explanation.

Prophecy of Isaiah:

The prophet Isaiah, prophesied of God (the Father) sending the Messiah (Jesus, who descended from Jesse, the father of David) and the Holy Spirit resting on Jesus:

New American Standard Version of the BibleThen a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. Isaiah 11:1-2 (NAS)

In this prophecy, the Spirit is described in seven different ways:

  1. Spirit of the Lord.

  2. Spirit of wisdom.

  3. Spirit of understanding.

  4. Spirit of counsel.

  5. Spirit of strength.

  6. Spirit of knowledge.

  7. Spirit of the fear of the Lord.

Seven General References to the Holy Spirit in the Bible:

  1. Spirit of God (or of the Lord) - e.g., Genesis 1:2, Isaiah 11:2.

  2. Spirit of wisdom and understanding or truth - e.g., Isaiah 11:2, John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13, Ephesians 1:17.

  3. Spirit of counsel and strength - e.g., Isaiah 11:2.

  4. Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord - e.g., Isaiah 11:2.

  5. Spirit of grace and of supplication - e.g., Zechariah 12:10, Hebrews 10:29.

  6. Spirit of holiness - e.g., Romans 1:4.

  7. Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, or the Spirit of Jesus - e.g., Romans 8:2, Philippians 1:19.

Where Can I go From God's Spirit?

It is also possible that the Holy Spirit being referred to in a plural sense is intended to illustrate how the Spirit can be with each of the seven churches at the same assurance of the presence and comfort of the Spirit in the lives of these congregations.  Psalm 139 says:

New American Standard Version of the BibleWhere can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? 8If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there. 9If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10Even there Thy hand will lead me, and Thy right hand will lay hold of me. Psalm 139:7-10 (NAS)

Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit as a helper or comforter to aid His disciples until Jesus was to come again.  Jesus said:

New American Standard Version of the Bible "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; 11and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14"He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. 15"All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you." John 16:7-15 7(NAS)

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