John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come…
are here ascribed to the seven spirits which are before the throne.
1. They are called seven spirits symbolically. The number seven is the symbol of blessedness. He sanctified the seventh day; He made it a holy day. The number seven is the symbol of holiness. He rested on the seventh day; He made it a day of sacred repose. The number seven is the symbol of rest. He rested and was refreshed on the seventh day, because His work was finished. The number seven is the symbol of perfection.
2. They are called seven spirits typically, in allusion to the typical use of the number seven in the law of Moses and in the Old Testament.
3. They are called seven spirits prophetically. We find the sevenfold spirit described in prophecy as resting upon Christ (Isaiah 11:2). And we find a sevenfold effect of the manifold gifts of the Holy Spirit described by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-3).
4. They are called the seven spirits emblematically. The seven lamps and the seven eyes (Zechariah 4:2, 10), are explained to be the spirit (vers. 6, 7). The seven lamps are applied in the same sense in Rev.
4. and 5.; and the seven eyes are explained in this sense in chaps, 5. and 6., all of which refer to the Spirit of God.
5. They are called the seven spirits officially (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Zechariah 12:10).
6. They are called the seven spirits relatively, in reference to the symbolical number seven applied to the Churches. As there are seven Churches, so there are seven spirits. The number of the one corresponds with the number of the other. The fulness of the Spirit is commensurate with the necessities of the Church. But amid this variety there is still a blessed unity. As the seven Churches are the symbol of the one Church of Christ, so the seven spirits are the symbol of the one Divine Spirit.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;