Holding to Truth

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What are the Seven Spirits of God in Revelation?

As believers in Christ, we hold dearly the truth in the Bible that our God is one, yet three–Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). How then can we reconcile this divine fact with the apostle John’s vision of the seven Spirits of God in Revelation (Rev. 1:4)?

What are the Seven Spirits in Revelation?


Also how can we reconcile the fact that Ephesians 4:4 speaks of “one Spirit” while Revelation 1:4 speaks of  “seven Spirits”?

This apparent contradiction unfolds a divine mystery of profound significance that affects our present Christian experience. As such, it’s worthy of our consideration.

The Seven Spirits of God in Revelation

How can the Spirit of God be both one and seven?

It’s a matter of essence and function or economy…one in His essence, yet seven in His function.

But let’s look at the context of Revelation…

The Blessing of the Divine Trinity including the seven Spirits of God

John’s opening greeting in Revelation 1:4-5 says,

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is coming, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth.

The blessing to the receivers of Revelation is from the Divine Trinity. “Him who is and who was and who is coming” surely refers to God the Father. “Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth” obviously refers to God the Son.

But how do we see the Spirit?

Undoubtedly, “the seven Spirits who are before His throne” mentioned in this blessing refers to the Spirit in the Godhead. This is because the seven Spirits are ranked with God, the eternal Father and Jesus, His Son.

However, if we acknowledge that the seven Spirits here refer to the Spirit in the Godhead, we must address how the one Spirit of God, was revealed to John as being “the seven Spirits.”

Seven Spirits needed in the condition of degradation

The condition when the apostle John was writing to the seven churches in Asia was very dark. If you read the epistles to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 there was much the churches needed to overcome.

Though their condition is prophetic of the seven stages of church history, it was the actual condition of each church at the time John was writing Revelation.  They are also the degraded conditions we need to overcome today.

Ephesus – the church leaving her first love for Christ – Rev. 2:1-7

There was the leaving of the first love by the church in Ephesus (v. 4)…a condition we also face today. May the Lord recover us to our first and best love for Him. How can we be constrained to return to our first love?…through the operating of the seven Spirits.

Smyrna – the church suffering intense persecution – vv. 8-11

Then there was the church in Smyrna that received no rebuke as she was suffering severe persecution and needed to be faithful unto death (vv. 9-10). How can the church overcome such persecution?…by the empowering of the seven Spirits.

Pergamos – the church in union with the world – vv. 12-17

Then there was union with the world that pervaded the church in Pergamos (v. 13). How can the worldliness within the church be purged away?…by the exposing and operating of the seven Spirits.

Thyatira – the church full of mixture and apostasy – vv. 18-29

The deep things of Satan had corrupted the church in Thyatira (v. 24). How can the church be saved from such mixture and corruption?…only by the burning and judging of the seven Spirits of God.

Sardis – the church in deadness and incompleteness – 3:1-6

The church in Sardis had become dead with none of her works completed before God (3:1-2). She had fallen short of God’s goal. Is this not  also the condition of the church today? How can the church be saved from deadness and incompleteness? …only by the intensified operation of the seven Spirits.

Philadephia – the church in recovery needing to hold fast – vv. 7-13

The church in Philadelphia alone received the Lord’s praise. But she also needed the Lord’s strengthening to hold fast what she had so that no one might take her crown (v. 10-11). How can the church hold fast what she has received?…only by the strengthening of the seven Spirits of God.

Laodicea – the church in lukewarmness and opinions – vv. 14-22

Finally, the church in Laodicea became lukewarm and opinionated, thinking she was rich, but not realizing that she was poor, blind and naked (vv. 16-17). Christ was standing outside this church knocking to gain entrance (v. 20). How can the church be delivered from such a lukewarm, opinionated, and Christless situation?…only by the enlightening and burning of the seven spirits.

Every church needed those who would rise up to respond to the Spirit’s speaking and overcome the degraded situation to be the testimony of Jesus that God requires.

Intensified sevenfold to produce overcomers

Such a dark and degraded situation, caused God to take a particular action in order to fulfill His eternal purpose and economy. The church in general has failed God, so He needs some overcomers, those that will respond to His call and rise up to overcome the prevailing downward current of the church in this age.

To counteract this dark and degraded situation, God came in to intensify His Spirit sevenfold in order to produce overcomers.

In existence God’s Spirit is surely one (Eph. 4:4).  But in His economical function, God’s one Spirit had to become the “seven Spirits of God,” that is, the sevenfold intensified Spirit.

The seven Spirits being seven lamps of fire

Revelation 4:5 says,

“And out of the throne come forth lightnings and voices and thunders. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”

These seven Spirits are for intensified shining, like a seven-way lamp.

When there is plenty of light, you may hardly need any lamps. The darker the situation gets, the more light we need.

Depending on the light we need, we may use a three-way bulb, with three gradients of brightness. A three-way lamp may be sufficient for our home but not for God’s move in this dark age.

To overcome today’s spiritual darkness we need sevenfold intensification, that is,  the function of the sevenfold  intensified Spirit of God.

The seven Spirits being the seven eyes of the Lamb

Revelation 5:6 says,

“And I saw…a Lamb standing as having just been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into gall the earth.

In this verse the seven Spirits of God are the seven eyes of the crucified, resurrected and ascended Lamb, Jesus Christ. What an amazing vision, the intensified Spirit of God, the third of the Divine Trinity is the eyes of the Lamb, the Second of the Divine Trinity.

In The Divine and Mystical Realm Witness Lee explains this profound revelation:

“For producing the church the life-giving Spirit is sufficiently strong, but under the degradation of the church this strong Spirit has been intensified sevenfold. Thus, Christ has become not only the life-giving Spirit but also the sevenfold intensified Spirit. The seven Spirits being the seven eyes of the Lamb (Rev. 5:6) indicates that the seven Spirits and Christ are one person.” (The Divine and Mystical Realm, pp. 11-13,15-16)

This does not change the eternal coexistence of the Three of the Godhead–the Father, the Son and the Spirit. But in carrying out God’s eternal purpose, Christ had to become the life-giving Spirit in resurrection to indwell us. Then to counter the church’s degradation, this one life-giving Spirit had to be intensified sevenfold to produce us as His overcomers.

How can we apply the seven Spirits of God to our Christian experience?

First, we need to ask the Lord to open our ears.

We need to ask Him to grant us ears to hear what the Spirit is speaking to the churches.  Hence, at the end of each epistle to the seven churches it says,

 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

We need to pray, “Lord grant me an ear to hear what your intensified Spirit is speaking to the churches.”

Second, we need to see our desperate need to overcome.

We need to see the degradation of the church today as portrayed by the condition of the seven churches in Revelation 2-3  mentioned above. We also need to be desperate to overcome it.

Third, we need to open ourselves to the sevenfold Spirit’s intensified operation.

We need to open ourselves to the enlightening, searching, burning and infusing of the seven Spirits. His shining must become subjective to us.

We need to allow the seven Spirits which are also Christ’s seven eyes of flaming fire (Rev. 5:6) to search us, expose us, and burn away all the dross of the church’s degradation within us. We also need to allow the seven Spirits to infuse us with what God is, through His Word. For this we need to open to Him in His word every day.

Our Response and His Reward

If we respond to His speaking, the intensified operation of the seven Spirits will make us Christ’s overcomers, those who overcome the downward current of the church’s degradation and complete the building up of Christ’s Body in this age (Eph. 4:15-16).

Christ’s built up Body then becomes His beautiful bride prepared for His wedding at His coming back (Eph. 5:27). The bride prepared by such an intensified work of the seven Spirits will be the New Jerusalem as the overcomers’ reward in the millennium (Rev. 19:7-9), and the eternal portion to all God’s redeemed for eternity (21:2, 9).

May we all respond to work of the seven Spirits to become the overcomers that will bring the Lord back!

If you were helped by this post, please respond with a brief comment to share what you enjoyed.

References and Further Reading

  • This post is based on the ministry of Witness Lee especially his footnotes in the Holy Bible Recovery Version. You can read it online at online.recoveryversion.bible.
  • You can read the quote from The Divine and Mystical Realm in its context at ministrybooks.org.
  • To gain a fuller appreciation for the seven Spirits in Revelation, I also recommend a thoughtful reading of Chapters 8, 22, and 33 of the Life-study of Revelation and Chapter 1 of The Seven Spirits for the Local Churches both by the same author also at ministrybooks.org.
  • The following hymn on the seven Spirits touches the essence of this post:  In Revelation See


About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

18 Replies

  1. Pat

    Thank you for thus explanation brother. It was nourishing and supplying to me. Oh Lord, grant us ears to hear what Your intensified Spirit is speaking!

    1. Tom Smith


      Glad you were nourished and supplied by the post. Yes, may the Lord grant us ears to hear what His intensified Spirit is speaking. Receiving His speaking, will bring in God’s intensified operation in us and make us the overcomers the Lord needs to be His testimony and instrument to consummate this age. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Rev. 1:4 clearly shows that the seven Spirits are in the Godhead. Also, many verses in Revelation speak of “the Spirit” (e.g. 2:7, 14:13). Thus the seven Spirits are not separated but, as this post shows, the one unique Spirit is intensified sevenfold. We have an intensified need and the Spirit is the intensified supply.

    1. Tom Smith


      That’s right. I like what you said, “We have an intensified need and the Spirit is the intensified supply.” We need to enjoy Him in an intensified way to become those who overcome the church’s degradation. Even more, the sevenfold intensified Spirit is needed so that God can gain us to meet His need making us His golden lampstands (His shining testimony), His overcoming bride (that our Bridegroom can return), to consummate the New Jerusalem (for His and our eternal marriage). How crucial the intensification of the Spirit is in fulfilling God’s eternal purpose!

  3. Debby Rose

    Thank you for this explanation truly rewarding to hear such truths and expanding knowledge for the books that speak about what can be confusing subjects

    1. Tom Smith

      Debby, the seven Spirits of God revealed in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:4, 4:5 and 5:6) are for our experience today. We need to beseech the Lord to bring us into the experience of Himself as the seven Spirits in the stage of His intensification. Such an experience will deliver us from the degraded situation of the church today and enable us to be among those overcoming ones (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26-38; 3:5, 12, 21) who meet His need today so that He may have the way to complete His eternal plan and return to end this age. Thank you for your comment.

  4. Mar R. dela Cruz, Jr.

    Hi, Tom!
    May I know your comment about any connection or relevance, if any, of the seven Spirits of Rev. 1:4 and Isaiah 11:2?

    Thank you!


    1. Tom Smith

      I believe that Isaiah 11:2 is a verse confirming the deeper thought of Revelation 1:4 of the unique Spirit of God (Eph 4:4) although one in essence yet manifold in function as this 11:2 indicates. Just like a dark room may need a lamp with various levels of brightness, the darkness of the age caused God to intensify His unique Spirit sevenfold to counteract the degradation of the church, to produce overcomers within the church, in order to build up the Body of Christ so that God can complete His eternal plan. Thank you for your comment.

  5. JoAnn

    really helpful information! will help my walk so much. so desire to overcome and be His beautiful bride!!

    1. Tom Smith

      Our Lord is not only the life-giving Spirit, but the seven-fold intensified Spirit to counteract the darkness and degradation in the church today. May we open to Him praying, “Lord, intensify me, even as You have been intensified. Make me one among your overcomers who cooperate with You to fulfill Your will and prepare Your bride so that You may come back.” Thanks for your comment.

  6. Angelene Samuel

    Praying that I may open up to the seven fold spirits intensified operation. Your reflection was deeply meaningful. Thank you.

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen. We desperately need the function of the seven Spirits of God. That is, we need the sevenfold intensified operation of the Spirit to overcome the degradation not only in the secular world, but in religious world, and even within our own being. Apart from the operation of the seven Spirits we could never overcome this degradation so that the Body of Christ may be built up (Eph. 4:16), the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:26-27; Rev. 19:7-9)made ready and New Jerusalem consummated (Rev. 21-22). May we cooperate with the Lord sevenfold operation so that He may obtain His goal. Thank you for your comment.

  7. Abraham Thiessen

    I came across this wonderful post in regards to reading the first 4 chapters of Revelation and the passages regarding the 7 Spirits… At the same time dealing with the current online post of two church members saying openly, one an author the other a worship leader, they are leaving the church and the teaching, partly due to what they call biblical contradictions… I believe what has happened to persons when they take this path is what these chapters in Revelation describe, it could be all of the conditions of failures described or some of them, but likely first and foremost, losing the first love, diving into the word of God and seeking Him with all one’s heart as most often is the case in a new convergence and then over time it wains and often people likely don’t even open up the Word to hear from God, I too at times realize there have been long periods of time where I have fallen short and not opened the Book, just catching bits and pieces of scriptures on line, in messages or notes or in songs as though that’s enough to maintain my life… It would be like grabbing the odd vitamin blowing in the wind thinking it would be enough supplements to feed our physical bodies, not realizing one is slowing deteriorating and then just drops off the charts… Then one could say, I don’t trust the vitamins, when all long they had a misconception of what is required to remaining strong and healthy… Holding to so called contradictions in my opinion is simply not going deeper into the heart of God… It’s like saying, I don’t understand how the DNA molecular structure works, therefore DNA has no purpose… That’s utter nonsense… The understanding of DNA and all the sciences has in actual fact, whole heartedly disputed and crushed the theories of evolution, as does the study of God’s Word give light to the difficult passages the human mind wrestles with… And I always conclude, only a “born again” is able to start grasping the deeper sayings of Christ… When one speaks Russian and the other English the relationship can’t go to far, somehow they have to get on the same page to begin to understand each other… In that sense we have to get on page with God by being born again, in order for the Spirit to open up for us what He is saying… I agree, the 7 is the fullness of Christ… All in One-Complete…

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post. The seven Spirits of God is God’s intensified function in order to deal with the degradation of the church. It is like one lamp but with multiple levels of intensity—not just 3-way but 7-way. The Spirit of God is surely one in existence (Eph. 4:6), but is seven-fold intensified in function (Rev. 1:4). For God to reach His goal to gain Christ’s beautified bride (Rev. 19:7-9), His bridal army, and to deal with Satan and Antichrist we need to experience the seven-fold operation of the Spirit to deliver us from the church’s degradation and to make us the testimony of Jesus today. For more on the seven spirits, I would recommend the Life-study of Revelation by Witness Lee. You can read it freely online at ministrybooks.org. Thanks for sharing your appreciation in a comment.

  8. Kathy Osburn

    Thank you for a clear explanation of the seven spirits of God. I appreciate your ability to deliver the truth of the Word of God. God bless you.

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m glad you found this post helpful. Seeing the seven Spirits in Revelation is a great matter as it relates to fulfilling God’s purpose to end this age and bring in Christ’s kingdom reign. Due to the degradation of the church, the one Spirit of God was intensified sevenfold in function to make the believers intensely living and shining. It is these overcoming believers that render the Lord the cooperation He is seeking to be His pure testimony, the testimony of Jesus. We need to open to this sevenfold Spirit and ask Him to shine in us, to burn away all the deadness and lukewarmness in our being.

      For more enlightenment on this matter you may enjoy reading this little book: The Seven Spirit for the Local Churches at ministrybooks.org

      Thank you for sharing your appreciation in a comment.

  9. Enid Niven

    Tom thank you thank you. I did an online course with Witness Lee’s ministry. There I saw the need for the sevenfold intensified Spirit. But I would have lost sight of this had I not made a note that we must strive to receive the sevenfold intensified Spirit .. The Lord kept on nudging me to look further online. So to my delight I found mention of Witness Lee in ” Divine and Mystical Realm ” I so want to get this portion ? Do I look on ministry books.org? I can’t wait to get it a I have access to the Recovery and Amana Trust . Thank you again. Greetings, Enid

    1. Tom Smith

      Enid, yes you can find the book, The Divine and Mystical Realm by Witness Lee online on the ministrybooks.org website. Just follow the alphabetical listing under the “Books A-Z” tab. I believe that you could probably obtain a hard copy through AmanaTrust.org.uk Thanks for the comment. Let me know if you need further assistance.

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