“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” Rev. 1: 10. “The seven Spirits which are before his throne.” Rev. 1: 4. “And before the throne seven lamps of fire, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Rev. 4: 5. “Having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” Rev. 5: 6.
The book of Revelation is the last message of the Holy Ghost to the Church of Christ. It was given after the first generation of Christians had passed away, and only John was left of all the immediate followers of the Lord. Christ had been half a century in heaven, and He came back once more to visit the Apostle at Patmos, and give the final unfolding of His will to His followers of these last days of the dispensation. It is peculiarly, therefore, the message of Christ to us; and it is called in the Apocalypse itself, the message of “the Spirit unto the churches.”
In the passages that come before us now we have a picture of the Holy Ghost Himself as He came to John in this Apocalypse.
I. THE SEVENFOLD FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT.
The seven Spirits which are before the throne cannot mean any created spirit, for it would be blasphemy to associate any lower beings than divine persons with the Father and the Son in the ascription of glory and worship given to the Trinity in this passage.
It is evidently the Holy Ghost represented as a sevenfold Spirit. Seven, the number of perfection, is used to denote the perfect fullness of the divine Spirit in His attributes and works. He is the Spirit of all power and wisdom, all life and love, all grace and fullness, all that we can ever need for the fulfilling of life’s duties and the accomplishing of God’s perfect will for each of us.
We might stop to specify the seven great attributes of the Holy Ghost, as the Spirit of Light, the Spirit of Life, the Spirit of Holiness, the Spirit of Power, the Spirit of Joy, the Spirit of Love and the Spirit of Hope; but when we have named these seven glorious aspects there are yet as many more that we might still name, for, like the love of Jesus, the love and grace of the Holy Ghost pass our knowledge.
Can you think of anything you need for your spiritual life, your physical being, or your service for God and man? You can find it in the Holy Ghost. Is there any place where you have failed, or others have failed? That is just the place that He is equal to with the grace that never fails. “He hath given to us ALL THINGS THAT PERTAIN TO LIFE AND GODLINESS,” and “He is able to make all grace abound unto us, so that we always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work.”
Then the mention of the seven Spirits in connection with the seven Churches would seem to suggest the beautiful truth that there is a separate aspect of the Holy Spirit for each separate Church. He is not the same to all; He is direct and specific in His relation to His Churches and to His people, and the whole of His love and grace is given distinctively to each one. Just as a fond mother with a dozen children gives her whole heart to each of her children, so the Holy Ghost gives Himself to each of us specifically, and you and I can press up to the place where John lies upon the Redeemer’s breast, and dare to call ourselves the “disciple whom Jesus loved.”
Beloved are we fully proving the sevenfold Holy Ghost?
II. THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT OF LIGHT.
“Seven lamps of fire before the Throne.” Rev. 4:5.
This is a picture of the fullness of the Spirit of light. It comes in the midst of a scene of grandeur and terror. A door is opened in heaven, and John beholds the throne of the eternal Jehovah, surrounded with the insignia of majesty and the manifestations of God’s avenging wrath and power.
Judgment is about to begin upon a wicked world, and the spirits of wickedness that have so long possessed it. There are voices of thunder and lightnings of wrath gleaming from the central throne, but in the midst appear these seven lamps of fire, shedding their benignant light upon the lurid scene, and immediately all is transformed. Before the throne is a sea of glass like unto crystal, and the scene of judgment becomes changed to one of peace. And then “the Lamb in the midst of the throne” appears, and the songs of the whole creation arise to God and to the Lamb.
These seven lamps before the throne remind us of the vision of Zechariah in the fourth chapter of His prophecy, representing the Holy Ghost as the sevenfold light of the Church, and the oil of that supplies the ever-burning lamps. We have no other light but the Holy Ghost, and His is perfect light, sevenfold effulgence, shining upon every mystery, every perplexity, and every step in life’s pathway.
He gives to us the light of the Holy Scriptures, revealing the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation, and the will of God for our conduct. He is the light of life, giving guidance in our pathway, and showing us how to walk through the tangled mazes of life. He is the Light that searches and reveals our heart, and then shows us the precious blood that cleanses, and the promise suited for every time of need. He is the perfect Light that never deceives, that never exaggerates, that never evades or hides the most painful truth, that never changes, fails or leaves us in darkness.
And He is not only the Light, but He is also Peace and warmth, He is “a burning,” as well as “a shining Light.” He gives life as well as light, power as well as direction, love as well as truth, and when we receive His light we become also “burning and shining lights,” and our lives will be living illustrations of the truths that we profess and the principles that we hold.
III. THE HOLY SPIRIT AS THE SOURCE OF PERFECT SIGHT.
“Having seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” Rev. 5 : 6.
This is the most sublime vision of the Lord Jesus Christ in the whole book of Revelation. As the evangelist stands looking into heaven, he beholds a scroll containing, it would seem, the purpose and the will of God for the future ages, sealed. No man in earth or heaven was able to open the scroll, or loose the seals. Suddenly an angel turning to him, explained that the mystery was about to be solved and that One had been found that was able to loose the seals and open the scroll. It was the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who had prevailed to loose the seals “and open the book.”
As John stood looking for the Lion, lo! it was a Lamb, bearing the crimson marks of suffering and death, and yet, on closer inspection, wearing also the insignia of infinite power and wisdom, for he had seven horns and seven eyes, the types of perfect power and perfect knowledge.
These seven eyes represent the seven Spirits of God, that is the sevenfold Spirit of God, sent forth into all the earth. We need more than light; we need sight to see the light, the power of an inward illumination, the creation and quickening of a new set of spiritual senses that can take cognizance of the new spiritual realities that the Holy Ghost reveals, and that can recognize the person and the presence of the Lord Jesus, whom it is the Spirit’s great delight to make manifest. And so the Holy Ghost is represented here as the eyes of Christ, the eyes of God within us for our illumination.
This suggests the beautiful expression in one of the Psalms, “I will guide thee with Mine eye.” God gives us His very eyes, and in His light enables us to see all spiritual truth and all divine realities. Therefore, it is quite significant that when our Lord Jesus Christ had revealed Himself in the Gospel of John as the light of the world, He immediately follows His beautiful teaching by healing a blind man, thus suggesting to them that what they needed was vision, even more than truth. And then He proceeded to tell them that He had come into the world, “that they which see might be made blind, and they that were blind might see, “and that their very confidence in their own wisdom was the cause of their blindness and their inability to understand His teaching.
This is what the Holy Ghost brings to us, the vision of the Lord, power to see divine things as God sees them. Not only does He give us the knowledge of the truth, but the realization of it. Not only does He reveal to us the promises, but He enables us to appropriate them. Not only does He show us the living bread and the flowing water of life, but He opens our mouths to drink, and gives us the taste to receive and know the blessedness of these things. Not only does He speak to us; He speaks through us, thinks in us, gives us divine instincts and intuitions, and enables even our own sanctified judgment to act under His influence and by His suggestion, so simply and yet so perfectly that it is not so much God speaking to us, as God speaking through us, and “working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.”
These seven eyes, we will notice, are the eyes of the Lamb as well as the eyes of the Holy Ghost. Perfect unity between the Spirit and the Son is most strikingly expressed in this strong and sublime figure. The seven horns represent the power of the enthroned Christ and the seven eyes represent the wisdom of the indwelling Holy Ghost. Between these horns and eyes, between the infinite power of Jesus and the infinite wisdom of the Holy Ghost how can we ever fall or fail?
Let us ever recognize the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of Jesus, and let us ever honor the slain Lamb, as we honor the Holy Ghost.
Again, the eyes of the Lord are represented as “sent forth into all the earth.” The Holy Ghost is operating not from heaven, but from earth. The infinite wisdom of God is present with His Church to direct, guard, and energize all her work for Him, until the mystery of redemption shall be accomplished, until the seals of the scroll shall all have been opened, and the vision all fulfilled in the glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
IV. IN THE SPIRIT ON THE LORD’S DAY.
Having given us this account of the fullness of the Holy Ghost, he next speaks of His relation to us. John says, “I was in the Spirit.” Observe he does not say — “The Spirit was in me.” This is also true but the other expresses a greater truth. A Spirit so sevenfold, so vast in His resources and attributes, is too large even for the whole of the human heart, therefore, he becomes an ocean of boundless fullness in which we are submerged and in which we dwell. As we listen to the expression it seems as if we were standing beside a spring, and we drank from it until we were filled. Then it still kept flowing on until it became a pool, and then an ocean, a great and boundless flood into which we were plunged until we could find neither fathoming line nor shore, but laved [washed] and drank, until we were lost in the ocean of His infinite fullness. This is the divine conception. The Holy Ghost is the very element and atmosphere in which we live, as the mote in the sunbeam, as the bird in the air, as the fish in the sea, as our lungs in the ether whose oxygen we inhale, and on whose breath we live. Not only are we filled with the air by a single inspiration, but the air is all around us still, and we can breathe and breathe and breathe again, and yet again, until it becomes the source of our ceaseless life, and only limited by our capacity to receive it.
It is our privilege not only to be thus in the Spirit in seasons of holy rapture and special elevation, but we may dwell there, abiding in Him and He in us, so that it shall be true, indeed, in a spiritual sense “in Him we live and move and have our being.” Then will every day be “the Lord’s day”; then will all life be one ceaseless Sabbath of holy rest and heavenly fellowship, and every place be a sanctuary, every season a Sabbath, and every moment a heaven of peace and joy and love.
- “Come blessed, holy, heavenly Dove,
- Spirit of light and life and love,
- Revive our souls we pray,
- Come with the power of Pentecost,
- Come as the sevenfold Holy Ghost
- And fill our hearts today.”