What are the Seven Spirits of God?

What are the Seven Spirits of God? The seven Spirits/spirits are either seven angels or, more likely, a picturesque way of representing the Holy Spirit. Let’s see how the Bible answers this great question.

John mentions the seven Spirits of God four times in the first five chapters of Revelation

These are the only times the Bible uses this specific phrase.

  • “John to the seven churches that 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 (Revelation 1:4).”
  • “He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead (Revelation 3:1).”
  • “Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God (Revelation 4:5).”
  • “And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth (Revelation 5:6).” 

The Seven Spirits of God Explained

The Bible doesn’t make the reference clear. But a couple of interpretations seem probable.

Seven Angels of God

In Isaiah

One is that this refers to the seven angels of God. When Revelation 4:5 refers to “seven lamps of fire,” it may be a reference to seven seraphim. Seraphim are a class of angels, and the word seraphim means burning ones. The Bible only names this class of angels in Isaiah 6:1-7:

“Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven (Isaiah 6:6-7).”

As in the Revelation 4:5 passage, this seraph is associated with burning. In this case, he had a lump of coal taken from God’s altar in heaven. So, it may refer to angels.

In Zechariah

The Holy Spirit

Also, Zechariah chapter 6 describes four angels going out to patrol the earth just as Revelation 5:6 says the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.

In Acts

Another interpretation is that it refers to the Holy Spirit. The translators of the NASB version of the Bible capitalized Spirit, so they thought John meant the Holy Spirit. If so, this is one way the Holy Spirit manifests Himself. In Acts 2, at Pentecost, His presence on believers was as a flame of fire, so He, like the seraphim, is associated with fire or burning.

In Revelation

In Revelation 1:4, John gives greetings from Him who is and who was, and who is to come (Jesus/God), then immediately introduces the seven Spirits who are before His throne in the same way that he introduced Jesus. This implies Someone equal to Jesus.

In Zechariah

Also, in Zechariah 4:1-7 the number seven is prominent, and when the angel explained what the symbols meant, he said it referred to the Spirit of God:

The angel…said to me, “What do you see?” And I said, “A lampstand all of gold…and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts ….The angel…said to me, “Do you not know what these are?…“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”

Conclusion

So, the seven Spirits/spirits are either seven angels or, more likely, a picturesque way of representing the Holy Spirit.

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