In Revelation 1:4-5a we read:
“John, to the seven assemblies that are located 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, and from Jesus the Messiah, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.”
Are these seven spirits before the throne of God really one Holy Spirit?
First, the traditional interpretation connects the seven spirits in Revelation with the seven “aspects” of the Spirit in Isaiah 11:2:
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 fear of the Lord (NASB).
In reality there are six aspects, not seven, because the “Spirit of the Lord” is not one of the aspects. A better translation is provided by the NET Bible translators, rightly showing that each pair is really one concept. This reduces the “six” aspects to a total of three: The Lord’s spirit will rest on him – a spirit that gives extraordinary wisdom, a spirit that provides the ability to execute plans, a spirit that produces absolute loyalty to the Lord.
Second, in non-canonical Jewish books such as 1 Enoch (which has many references to the Jewish Son of Man traditions), we repeatedly encounter an otherwise unfamiliar phrase, “the Lord of the Spirits.” For example, we read in 1 Enoch 46:1-2:
There I beheld the Ancient of Days, whose head was like white wool, and with him another, whose countenance resembled that of man… Then I inquired of one of the angels, who went with me, and who showed me every secret thing, concerning this Son of man; who he was; whence he was and why he accompanied the Ancient of days. He answered and said to me, This is the Son of man, to whom righteousness belongs; with whom righteousness has dwelt; and who will reveal all the treasures of that which is concealed: for the Lord of Spirits has chosen him; and his portion has surpassed all before the Lord of spirits in everlasting uprightness.
This common Enochian phrase, “the Lord of the Spirits,” may be connected with, “…the seven spirits who are before his throne,” in Revelation 1:4.
As a side note, it is interesting that the technical term, “Holy Spirit,” seems to be a phrase that characterizes many (sectarian) writings found in the Dead Sea Scroll collection. The Dead Sea Scrolls predate the New Testament, where the term Holy Spirit is used both freely and generously, showing its presumed full acceptance by the first-century Jewish and Christian communities. Israel’s God and His Messiah are described in the New Testament as those who direct the Holy Spirit to do variety of things.
A third interpretive possibility, however, presents itself when we once again compare the book of Revelation to 1 Enoch. The seven spirits may also be seen as seven angelic figures who serve before the throne of God. This is a concept found in some such Jewish extra-canonical texts. It is significant that these seven figures appear not only in 1 Enoch, but also in other Jewish books – both Biblical and para-biblical.
While we may be tempted to make too much of this connection, we must keep things in perspective. Whether or not the names of the seven key angels are Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, Raquel, Remiel and Saraquel (as is stated in the book of Enoch) it is at least conceivable that first-century Jews (including John, the Jew, who authored the book of Revelation) had a similar concept in mind when he spoke of the Seven Spirits that are before the throne of God (compare Revelation 1:4-5 with 1 Enoch 20:1-8). In so doing, John may have been describing the Heavenly Court assembled and ready to act:
Israel’s God, His Anointed Messiah, and these seven powerful angelic beings were sending both a message of hope and a challenge to endure to the first century followers of Jewish Christ who were struggling under extreme pressure to find their social identity in the unapologetically and forcefully polytheistic Roman society (Rev. 1:4-5). There are even more hidden treasures just waiting for you to unearth when you begin to read the scriptures from a Jewish perspective.
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One problem with Biblical canon is that only the High Priest could determine canon, and if necessary hide books which he felt could lead to angel worship etc. The Sadduces hold the claim to the High Priesthood being descended from the elder son of Zadok (Sadoc). The Hamodeans aka the Maccabees, and the Herodians aka the Pharisees were descended from the younger son of Zadok. When the temple fell in 70 AD Yochanin ben Zakkai got permission from emperor Vespian to start a religious academy at Jamnia. ALL of rabbinical Judism comes from the Pharisees. It should be Hasmodeans not Hamodeans. Sorry for the typo Hi Mark, I'm a colleague of Dr El's here at the Israel Bible Center. We have to be a bit cautious about drawing some of these conclusions. History is just never quite that simple! And while the Pharisees were a part of what later coalesced into Rabbinic Judaism, there were many others involved in that process as well. Thanks for being a part of the forum! Isaiah 11, Zechariah 4:2-3,6 and 10, Revelation 5:6. They are all prophecies performed as a sign by Yeshua, first during His baptism in the Jordan when the Spirit rested on Him John 1. Afterwards in John 2:11 it was recorded that the miracle at the wedding at Cana is a sign. Sign of what? The outpouring of the 7 spirits. The six stone jars and Jesus is the 7 spirits physically manifested in another way, pretty much like the 7 lampstands. I'd rather stay with Yeshua and look at its connections altogether. We don,t worship Angels but G-d Ruach ha Kodesh Is the one Christ spoke of as another like Himself working in this world toward the salvation of mankind but within the spiritual world. He would be a singular spirit and I would think the seven spirits would be the Archangels that head the divisions of the angels. Interesting suggestion - but of course we have to be tentative about such ideas. I've wondered if the seven is symbolic of heavenly realms. Kinf og a counteract to the seven-headed beast and 10 crowns of revelation. Hence the seven representing church authority combined with Father, Son and Holy Spirit equalinv 10 while obviously there is a counterfeit as well. The same seven spirits that are presented in the Book of Isaiah....1)the Spirit of Presence Upon,2-3)the Spirits of Wisdom and Understanding,4-5)the Spirits of Counsell and Might, 6-7)the Spirits of Knowledge and the Knowledge of the Fear of the Lord ......Amen & Amen Well, what can I say to that other than - Amen! Thanks for being a part of the Forum. Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including Exodus and The New Testament and Revelation in a Jewish Context II : Discovery. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today! Shalom Dr. Eli ! Allow me to address simply. I love your explanations. So poor my knowledge on words of God, Bible, I am thankful. I would like to know the role of 7 Angels. And I will try to contact Israel Bible Center when I come to Jerusalem, during Easter this year. By the way, I would like to study in Jerusalem, and if that is within my means. Shalom Santosh! As I mentioned above, I am a colleague of Dr Eli's here at the Israel Bible Center. Please do come and visit this amazing "classroom" called Israel. We will show you around, share a cup of coffee and study the Scripture together. I thought scripture interpreted scripture. Seeing Enoch writings are not part of the cannon should we use them to elucidate this passage? Interestingly in the book of Jude, reference is made to Enoch.The references in the book of Enoch regarding the Son of Man highlights the prophesies of the coming of Yeshua and His relationship with His and our Father Rev 4:5 and 5:6 tell us what the 7 spirits are. John wrote what he's saw, the author is Jesus Christ as noted in Rev 1:1. Let the Bible interpret itself. Yes, but being too confident in one's own interpretation is not a good thing :-). From John, to the seven churches that are in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from “he who is,” and who was, and who is still to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ—the faithful witness... (Rev.1:4-5a) Jesus is our Rededeemer, saviour and king. Seven is consistently tied with "rest", God's rest which all of us seek, and which remains to come to full enlightenment at the end of the Age. When I read this article the "ah ha" moment for me is the beginning statement, "The Spirit of the Lord will REST on Him". Is His Rest the Seventh Spirit that remains to be fulfilled at the end of the Age. Look at the story of Ruth. In chapter 3 we see this theme of Naomi(Israel) seeking rest for Ruth(Church). Your ministry is consistent with this. RUACH NUACH is a beautiful theme throughout scripture. חור roo'-akh "Spirit", חונ noo'-akh "rest" Numbers 11:25 …when the Spirit rested (roo'-akh noo'-akh) on them, they prophesied… 2 Kings 2:15 …The roo'-akh of Elijah is noo'-akh (resting) on Elisha… Isaiah 63:11, 14 They were given noo'-akh (rest) by the roo'-akh of the LORD. Ezekiel 37:1 … he brought me out by the roo'-akh of the LORD and noo'-akh (set) me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. John 1:32 …"I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and rest on him.” Acts 2:3-4 Tongues of fire came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit…
For me it is natural to believe that God has chosen the most influensic and powerful angels to be at the board of His Kingdom! I would not be surprised if Elijah is there! We are talking about the highest court and everything that is was and shall be for ever! I like your reply , Dr Eli ...and I enjoy having my mind opened by your articles . Thankyou . WE are go into the systematic madzab that created to follow by the learning. Christ it self have mentioned in blessing that only people who are ignorant (Fools) people who have not or have not yet learned about the Torah. That is why we are all steer to learns Matthew as the first to understand, but, then get an several error if we are compare to John, Luke and Mark written book. If we are start with learn John and continue into the letter from John, and ending with Revelation (Apocalypse) in which proclaimed as Christ apocalypse to be used. In Rev (Apocalypse), when listing of 7 church compare to Paul (Saul) Journey, only one Ephesus was visiting by Paul, Laodecea. If we taken frm John, Mark, Mat, last Luke, we may understand that Revelation (Apocalypse) are intent to is used to accomplish what is left of all Christ's teaching to know Christ, and to know Adonai (Kore'os). By that, Rev 3:1 acknowledge that These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits = Pnyoomah) of G-d = Theh'os, proclaimed that the 7 Pnyoomah is the Pnyoomah Theh'os who keeps the seven churches alive.
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1Pet 4:14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
Also note another similar play on words in Genesis 1:2 …and the roo'-akh of God was rakhaph (hovering) over the waters.
07363a. ףחר rachaph (934b); to relax, to hover (to rest in motion)