Seven Spirits of God

This entry is part 351 of 364 in the series Inquiring Minds
Image by Hebi B. from Pixabay

Does Revelation 4:5, which speaks of the seven spirits of God, invalidate the idea of the Holy Trinity?

This is one of the most extraordinary revelations John receives within the book. We see the true worship of God in his form in this chapter and the next. He begins by describing “the one seated on the throne” (Revelation 4:2-3).

This is God the Father. He is referred to as Lord and God (Revelation 4:11). We must presume that this Lord is the same as Yahweh in the Old Testament, almost always referring to God the Father.

Twice within revelation 4-5, there is a reference to the “seven spirits of God” (Revelation 4:5; 5:6). This may be one of two things, or maybe both. As many scholars have pointed out, there are many references to the Old Testament in the book of Revelation.

It could be that the “seven spirits of God” may refer to the seven full description of the Holy Spirit and Isaiah 11:2. There, he is defined as the Spirit of the Lord, Spirit of wisdom, Spirit of understanding, Spirit of counsel, Spirit of might, Spirit of knowledge, and the Spirit of the fear of the word.

The sevenfold Spirit of God is a way of describing all of the things that the Holy Spirit is and does. So this could be a reference to that passage of Scripture that defines some of his attributes.

Another possibility is that the “seven spirits of God” refers to the perfection of the Holy Spirit. So this is a reference to the Holy Spirit as perfect and complete. The number seven in the Scriptures is often symbolic of perfection, the number of God, and the number of completion.

Just as an example, creation was completed in seven days, referring to the completion of God’s process of creation. Some people take this to mean that they were seven literal 24 hour days and others take it to refer to the completion and perfection of creation. I believe it can be both.

But this number seven is extremely important. It seems to be God’s number to refer to his perfection or the perfection of his works. But it is also used to describe completeness and the finishing of God’s works.

In which case, the “seven spirits of God” refers to the Holy Spirit and his perfection and completeness. As with the seven days of creation, I believe the “seven spirits of God” refers to the Holy Spirit’s perfection and completeness, as well as being a reference to Isaiah 11:2.

This means that this is not some kind of injection of the Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity were messing up the Trinity by any means. John is getting across the ideas of the Holy Spirit’s descriptions in Isaiah 11:2 and also talking about his perfection and completeness.

So as I mentioned in the beginning of the answer, first we see God the Father sitting on the throne, surrounded by the Holy Spirit in the “seven spirits of God” and we will see Jesus, the slain lamb in Revelation 5:6. The entire Trinity is worshiped by the rest of heaven.

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