“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Here we will look at the Spirit, the second person listed in John’s Trinitarian greeting at the start of Revelation.
“From the seven Spirits which are before his throne.” We know clearly from the Scriptures there is one Spirit of God, who is the third member of the Trinity. So what is meant by this phrase, “The seven Spirits which are before His throne?”
The Spirit’s Ministry in the Church
“And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”
The angel explains to Zerubbabel that God desires to accomplish the rebuilding of the temple through his people, by His Spirit. Zerubbabel is given a vision from an angel in which God’s people, the church, are signified as a lamp stand with seven lamps. These lamps have their oil supply not from any human work, but from the Spirit of God in His fullness. God does all the work in both our salvation and in the work of his church. God’s church, in its totality, is supplied with the fullness of the Spirit in order to fulfill its ministry.
The Holy Spirit’s filling and empowering work in the church is represented by the number seven, symbolizing completeness. God creates a world that he declares good in seven days and uses this number throughout the Bible in reference to the qualitative fullness of something. Similarly, we will see the number 10, and variations of it, used to show the quantitative fullness of something.
And lets not forget that there are seven churches being addressed here in Revelation. So these seven churches, represented as a lamp stand, each have their own pipe, their own supply of the eternal, life-giving Spirit. There is no lack of Spirit empowerment in Christ’s church, but a fullness.
Worship in Church is Worship in Heaven
And this work is done before His throne. The Spirit’s work in the church is done before the throne of God. It is done under God’s sovereign dominion. God, as ruler of all things, governs the work of his church. Paul teaches us in Ephesians that we have been made rulers with Christ, and John will say in verse 6 that Jesus has made us kings and priests unto God. And it is Christ who rules over all things now. It is the Spirit who fills and empowers the church perfectly to accomplish Christ’s dominion mandate.
Revelation is a book about the church conquering the world and taking dominion through Christ by the power of His Spirit, all under the sovereign plan of God.
The word throne at the end of verse 4 is typically used in Scripture to refer to God’s official court (Ps 132:7-8, 13-14) where he receives official worship from His people on the Sabbath. John receives this revelation on the Lord’s Day, which is the Christian Sabbath. The drama of this prophecy takes place before God’s throne, and therefore worship to the Sovereign God is central to history.
The Spirit’s primary communication of grace and peace is not here speaking of individuals, but it is speaking of the gathered body of believers in official, corporate, Lord’s Day worship. Christianity, relationship with Jesus, apart from His church, is a complete joke. It is a non-Christian idea that does not have its grounding in the Word of God. I am not denying God’s work within each individual Christian, but I am denying a separation of the Spirit’s work in an individual from the Spirit’s work within the corporate body of Christ in corporate worship.
Do not ever separate yourself from Christ’s body. We need the means of grace offered to us on the Lord’s Day. We need the grace and peace given by the Spirit in a special way before the Throne of God in corporate worship. Church is not an accessory to your life; it is to be the focal point of your life, as worship will most certainly be the focal point of all eternity. So plan around being in the church. Trips aren’t bad, but trips that leave you in the middle of the woods on the Lord’s Day is a neglecting of what God has declared to be central to all that you do.