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Eschatology Issues III:

Over-focusing on Revelation, the Seven Churches,
Enoch versus Elijah, and the Symbolism of the Menorah

Word RTF

Question #1: 

Dear Bob,

A lot of churches are now pushing the Scriptures of Revelation as being more important than other parts of the bible. With the presumption that to be saved we must have this future event as the main guide. I really think this is scaremongering and one can be easily deceived, what is your view on this? And by the way Bob, I've searched for a long time for biblical information that fits with my way of reasoning. I'm really happy to have found your site.

Response #1: 

Good to make your acquaintance. As my old pastor used to say, Revelation is the "grand central station" for prophecy, so that a person can't really understand the book at all without examining a plethora of passages from all over scripture.

I certainly encourage Christians to read their Bibles voraciously and to do so by reading several different books in both testaments at once (please see the link: "Read your Bible"). I would also agree with you that over-focus on any aspect of scripture is always a mistake if it results in overlooking any other area (let alone all other areas). That is why I have been attempting, in addition to my e-mail response ministry which deals with the entire gamut of the Bible and Bible teachings, to continue with the Basics series at the same time as I work on the Coming Tribulation series. So while there is no question but that the Tribulation will be a terribly difficult period for the Church, one in which fully a third will fall away for lack of faith, it is important to understand that the building up of faith must be accomplished by careful attention to and diligent response to the entire Word, not just to select portions of it. Revelation should motivate spiritual growth, but it is not a substitute for it, not even if memorized, not even if correctly interpreted. Our safe passage through that difficult time to come will result from the solid foundation of faith we have built on the whole truth of the Word, not on an esoteric understanding of time-tables and interpretations – even if they are completely accurate. Understanding and believing what the Bible has to say about eschatology is an essential complement to the whole, but exclusive study of it is no substitute for deficiencies in other areas of biblical doctrine.

About the only up side to the phenomenon you report is that at least you have found some churches which are intersecting with the Bible occasionally. Most places I am aware of alternate between pop-psychology sermons dealing almost exclusively with marriage/divorce/dating/family matters, and of course "stewardship" (= "if you have any money, give it to us"). But I do see your point. It may not be as effective as the threat of hell to get people to show up and join and give, but it's a good fall back.

Wouldn't it be nice if Christian churches were for the most part dedicated to learning everything that is in the Bible and to teaching it to all who were interested? But it is a symptom of our Laodicean age that few are.

Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. I will strive to live up to them.

In the One who died for us, the Word of Truth, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob Luginbill

Question #2: 

Shalom Bob,

As you well know, I have been pouring over your internet publications with respect to our conversation regarding ‘The Seven Spirits of God’ as they relate to the Seven Churches, and as such I have intently read your summation of related supporting data regarding this subject.

Are you suggesting that the Tribulation will begin in the year of 2019 A.D. and the 2nd Advent of the Coming of the Lord will occur in the year of 2026 A.D (immediately following the Tribulation) – all with reference to 7 ‘Eras’ of Church dispensationalism?

Matthew 24:29-30: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: [30] And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

In your posted internet article entitled The Seven Churches of Revelation: Revelation 2:1 - 3:22 you make the two following statements:

"…the Age of the Church comprises two millennial days or two thousand years (the last seven of which are coterminous with the Tribulation). In broad-stroke terms, the seven eras of the Church run from the end of the apostolic age to the beginning of the Tribulation, that is, from 70 A.D. to 2026 A.D., a total of 1,956 years. This total excludes the seven years of the Tribulation as well as the first 37 years of the Church Age, the "age of the apostles" (of whom John was the last)…"

7. Laodicea: 144 years 1882 to 2026 A.D. "The Era of Degeneration"

Meanwhile, in your published article entitled The Heavenly Prelude to the Tribulation: Revelation 4:1 - 7:17 you reemphasize this:

2. The Church Age will last for two millennial days or 2000 years.

5. The Tribulation belongs to both the Church and Jewish Ages and is therefore to be subtracted from the 2000 year total when calculating the start of the Tribulation.

In summary, with all due professional theological respect this is the concern that I have with the ‘speculation’ and widely promoted teaching regarding the Seven Churches of Asia addressed by Christ, intended to be understood as ‘dispensational eras’ – it inevitably results in dating the 2nd Advent of Christ. Why do I say that ‘dispensationalism’ in this context is speculative? It is because there is not ONE single supporting Scripture in the entirety of the Bible that ‘directly’ suggests this. Therefore, ALL summations (mine, yours, as well as all others) as to actually why those particular seven Churches were chosen by Christ are ‘implied’ interpretations.

Yes, I do AGREE that those individual seven Churches would seem to have been intended to represent more than just seven mere Churches located in Asia/Turkey – but we are not given that ‘specific’ information.

Response #2: 

Actually, since the crucifixion most likely took place in 33 A.D., I calculate 2,000 years to 2033 for Christ's return, and subtract seven years for the Tribulation to get its commencement date (adding six months for the half hour of silence in Revelation 8:1 which switches the calendar appropriately from the spring crucifixion to the fall Day of Atonement et al.). I do appreciate your caveats and share them. Here is what I have written about that (in part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series; see the link):

"The most potentially controversial piece of information developed below, that is, the projected date for the commencement of the Tribulation, is based upon the following suppositions (all of which are treated within the context of this study):

1. The seven millennial day interpretation is taught in scripture and meant to be understood and applied (see SR 5: the Seven Days of Human History).

2. The Church Age will last for two millennial days or 2000 years.

3. The Church Age commences following the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

4. These events took place in 33 A.D.

5. The Tribulation belongs to both the Church and Jewish Ages and is therefore to be subtracted from the 2000 year total when calculating the start of the Tribulation.

6. The half hour of silence in heaven at the breaking of the seventh seal (Rev.8:1) signifies a half year grace period that shifts the start point from spring to fall.

7. Scripture gives no indication of either shortening or lengthening of this time-line, and therefore no such change of schedule is anticipated.

The above points are all presented here as true, and the analysis upon which they are based is set forth below. Clearly, deviation from any of the above will alter the entire scheme. It is also true, as we have already said, that alteration of the schema presented below is certainly within the power and authority of the Almighty. The very end of the Tribulation, for example, will be shortened by some undisclosed amount of time (Mk.13:20). Rather than undermining the theory advanced in this study, however, Mark 13:20 in actuality supports the importance of paying heed to the Bible’s chronological information. For if "the days are shortened", then surely this means that there was a definite heavenly timetable in the first place. Secondly, Mark 13:20 indicates that the shortening mentioned is a matter of days, weeks at the most (i.e., not enough to change the general time-line given below). This is certainly in line with the very specific tally of days and months given in Daniel and Revelation (Dan.7:25; 8:14; 12:7; 12:11-12; Rev.11:2-3; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5)."

Apropos of this discussion is also what I say in footnote #60 of the same study:

The "unknown day and hour" of Matt.24:36 and Mark 13:32 merely indicates that we may know an event is imminent without knowing the precise day of the year and hour of the day in which it will occur. After all, this comment occurs immediately following the parable of the fig tree where we are told by our Lord in no uncertain terms precisely to pay attention to scripturally significant events and not to ignore what the Bible has to say on these matters (cf. Matt.24:32-35; Mk.13:28-31). Acts 1:7 is often mistranslated "It is not for you to know", but should be rendered "It is not for you to decide the times and the seasons". The Greek verb gignosko commonly has this meaning of "decide" especially when it is in the aorist as it is here. The context strongly supports this revised translation since our Lord immediately adds "which the Father has ordained by His authority". That is to say, Jesus’ point is that it is the Father who has decided these matters; they are not to be decided by your wishes. For our Lord’s disciples had just very clearly expressed the wish through their question in the preceding verse six for Him to establish the Kingdom immediately. Therefore our Lord’s reproof in verse seven is not a commendation of complete ignorance about the Father’s timetable, but rather a reminder to them that it is His will in these matters that counts, not theirs; they would have to remain patient, even though from their perspective the time seemed ripe for the commencement of the Messiah’s kingdom. We must also take into consideration the fact that this statement was given to the apostles prior to the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit is the agent of inspiration, chronology included, who, as Jesus had already made clear, would be the One to relate to them "the things to come" (Jn.16:13; cf. 2Pet.1:16-21). Since they will later come to understand the "things to come", verse seven must also be understood in conjunction with verse eight: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you . . .", a statement that clearly includes the previously promised further revelation of the Spirit (not excluding information about the end times). This is why, a few short years later, Paul can tell the Thessalonians the exact opposite of Acts 1:7 (that is, as it is generally misconstrued): "concerning the times and the seasons, you have no need that anyone write you, for you know very well . . ." (1Thes.5:1-2).

As I say, I do accept the qualifications above as true, and, as I hope you will see by considering the detailed exegesis in The Satanic Rebellion part 5 (see the link), this is more than just speculation. These are matters to which we are directed by scripture to attend, and which are indeed capable of being understood through diligent exegesis. The essential interpretation advanced in this study has a very long pedigree – not only is it biblical in my view (and there is no better pedigree), but historically it also goes back all the way to Irenaeus (2nd - 3rd cent.). While I am by no means alone in this view, I do hope you will find that the study referenced presents the interpretation in a very straight-forward and understandable way – whether or not one wishes to be persuaded of the truth of it (as I clearly am).

. . . until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, (15) which God will bring about in his own time . . .
1st Timothy 6:14b-15a NIV

Yours in Jesus Christ -- Marana Tha!

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Wow, I am humbled by your GREAT internet article (book) regarding detailed information with respect to the descriptions and ‘dispensations’ of the Seven Churches.

After reading through this exciting body of info I must respectively ask, have not all of these same Seven Church characteristics been present throughout the entire history of the Church Age, at any given time, even at the time of John’s writing of the Book of Revelation? Even today, isn’t it possible to find all of these same seven aforementioned Church characteristics alive and well within the Church Body?

Going forward, to digress back to another point you referenced regarding the ‘two witnesses’ of Jesus revealed in Rev. 11:3 as being Moses and Elijah, I must say that I also agree respecting their characteristic abilities.

However, here is something that I have lately pondered. In Rev. 11:4 the ‘two witnesses’ are described as ‘two olive trees’ which is also referenced in Zech. 4:11-12 that additionally describes them as ‘two olive branches’.

Rev. 11:4: These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Zech. 4:11-12: Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? [12] And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?

Meanwhile, we have another reference to ‘olive trees’ with respect to the ‘wild olive tree’ and its branch and the ‘natural olive tree’ and its correlating branch. As such, Apostle Paul describes in Romans 11:24 the ‘Gentiles’ as being a branch from the wild olive tree that was grafted in among the temporarily broken off natural olive tree branches of the ‘Jews’ (emphasis added).

Romans 11:24: For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

That being said then, are the ‘two witnesses’ (olive branches – wild vs. natural) representative of both a Gentile and a Jew – i.e. Elijah and Enoch rather than Elijah and Moses?

Response #3: 

Glad to hear you are enjoying CT 2A. It is certainly true that to some degree there have always been and will always be all types of believers present in all generations of the Church, even before the seven churches, and even after them. However, these messages give important trends that dominate the spiritual landscape during the respective eras and are therefore important for us to understand as such, especially in regard to whatever era we find ourselves living in. For us today, knowing that the trend is lukewarmness is incredibly helpful. It means that we are not crazy and are not "bad Christians" because we can't seem to find a local church where things seem right.

As to the two witnesses, I would prefer to stick with the interpretation advanced for the following reasons: 1) The wild olive of Romans 11 is never said to be a "branch"; Paul studiously avoids calling it this precisely so as not to give it equivalence; in fact, "branches" (pl.) have been broken off and "you" (s.) have been grafted in; therefore the whole tone and tenor here is one of in-equality rather than parallel equivalence, and an impermanent one at that, since the natural branches are easily replaced (if willing), while the wild is only retained as long as it is not unwilling. Finally, this grafting in follows the resurrection, while Enoch belongs to the time before Israel existed. 2) In Zechariah, there are two olive trees, and they are parallel in every way; there is no hint of any differentiation between the two; 3) As the administrators of the ministry of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, it certainly stands to reason that the two witnesses would be Jewish (Enoch was not). 4) Finally, I find all of the positive reasons for identifying Moses and Elijah very persuasive (the only thing I see which would recommend Enoch is his unique departure from life, and in this he is similar to the other two). Possibly the most decisive piece of evidence is the transfiguration; here is a snippet from CT 3A, s.v., "the two witnesses" on that (see the link):

5. The Transfiguration: One of the clearest proofs of the identity of the two witnesses is their appearance with our Lord at His transfiguration (Matt.16:28-17:13; Mk.9:1-13; Lk.9:27-36). That event is expressly stated to have been a prophetic foretaste of our Lord's Second Advent and the coming of His kingdom (cf. Matt.16:28; Mk.9:1; Lk.9:27). Given that the passages which deal with the transfiguration mention both Moses and Elijah, the literal Moses and Elijah, in connection with this preview of Christ's return, it is natural and necessary to connect them with the two witnesses of Revelation chapter eleven who herald that very return. After the event, Jesus' disciples asked Him only about Elijah and He responded in kind. But our Lord's response, that Elijah would come "first" (i.e., before the Second Advent which His recent transfiguration had previewed), gave them (and give us) no reason to suppose that both of His famous interlocutors on the mountain would not do so. Moses' presence on the mountain with Elijah thus serves to demonstrate that, following our Lord's death and resurrection (also represented in this context: cf. respectively Lk.9:31 and Jesus' glorified, resurrection-like appearance), both will precede His return (as the two witnesses to and heralds of that return).

Please see also this links:

Enoch's Walk with God

Moses and Elijah

Thanks again for all your thoughtful words.

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

As you well know the Tabernacle/Temple Menorah patterned from the Heavenly one had seven lamps, which were each shaped like almonds at the top of six arms (branches) with a middle shaft, and all the arms were in a single row and of equal height. As such, the Candlestick was made after the pattern of things shown Moses that were actually in Heaven (Exodus 25:40; Zech. 4:2).

However, the reason for the seven lamps is not given. Nonetheless, the seven Candlesticks of Rev. 1:12-13 and Rev. 2:1 represent the seven Churches (Rev. 1:20), the seven lamps of Zech. 4:2 are symbolic of the eyes of the Lord (Zech. 4:10), and the seven lamps of fire of Rev. 4:5 are symbolic of the seven spirits of God and of His Christ (Rev. 5:6) , which can be suggested by extrapolation to be the seven stars/angels/messengers of the seven Churches. In support of this, we are told in Matt. 6:22, et. al. by Jesus that, "the light of the body is the eye…" hence, the light/lamp of the Church/body is the eye/spirit/angel/messenger.

That being said, can one reasonably suggest that the Tabernacle/Temple Menorah with its seven candlestick branches and their related seven lamps all of which were attached to ONE base (Christ and His One body/Church) with the 7 spirits/eyes/angels/messengers representative of the seven lamps, can this Menorah actually represent the seven different identities of practicing faith of the ONE Church, which can be generalized throughout all of the entirety of the Church age – described in detail by Jesus in the examples of the 7 Churches of Revelation?

(1.) Ephesus - the Church that had forsaken its first love (Rev. 2:4).

(2.) Smyrna - the Church that would suffer persecution (Rev. 2:10).

(3.) Pergamum - the Church that needed to repent (Rev. 2:16).

(4.) Thyatira - the Church that had a false prophetess (Rev. 2:20).

(5.) Sardis - the Church that had fallen asleep (Rev. 3:2).

(6.) Philadelphia - the Church that had endured patiently (Rev. 3:10).

(7.) Laodicea - the Church with the lukewarm faith (Rev. 3:16).

In summary then, does the Tabernacle/Temple Menorah represent one Church with seven distinct behavioral identities with each nonetheless belonging to God and His Christ, or does it simply refer to the fullness of the Holy Spirit?

Response #4: 

To begin, I take the seven spirits of Revelation to be the Holy Spirit (as is clear from the Trinitarian statement in Revelation 1:4), and that is what I see at work in passages like Zechariah 4:2 as well (that is, we have to do with the Spirit who is empowering the two witnesses for Christ, Moses and Elijah, and that is why it says a little latter "not by might nor by power but by My Spirit"). Here is what I write about that in Coming Tribulation part 1:

"The seven spirits which reside before the very throne of the Father are a reference to God the Holy Spirit as is evident both from later instances in the book of Revelation and from elsewhere in scripture as well (Prov.9:1; Is.11:2; Zech.3:9; 4:2; 4:10 with 4:6; Rev.3:1; 4:5; 5:6). The Holy Spirit is, of course, indivisible, and the number seven here most likely connotes the idea of perfection and completion: that is, the continued perfect ministry of the Spirit throughout all seven periods of the Church age promoting spiritual growth and restraining the evil one. That the Holy Spirit is not overtly so named here is in keeping with His role in the Father's plan. The very name "Spirit" or wind (in Greek and Hebrew both) indicates something powerful but unseen, the hallmark of the Spirit's ministry."

In my view, therefore, your second alternative is the correct view, to wit, that the seven-branched candelabra represents, by its branches, the ministry of the Spirit to Christ; for it is Christ (in His divinity) who is represented by the menorah itself: He is the Light of the world, and that light is shed forth into the hearts of men through the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit in a perfect (i.e., "seven-fold") way.

From SR 1 (see the link):

"The Light: The light emanating from the golden lampstand is a picture of Christ the Light of the world (Jn.8:12: "I am the light of the world) being empowered by the Holy Spirit (Is.11:2; Rev.1:4; and cf. Lk.4:18, the anointing oil of the Spirit)."

And from CT 2B (see the link):

"b. The Golden Lampstand: The golden lampstand, fed by the empowering oil, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit (Is.11:2; Rev.1:4; and cf. Lk.4:18), represented the life-giving nature of the message of Christ for all who receive it and accept Him, "the Light of the world" (Jn.8:12; cf. Jn.1:4-9; 3:19-21; 9:5; 12:46; Eph.5:8-15; 1Jn.1:5-7; 2:8-10). As the Word is immaterial and divine in every way, so the lampstand, representing the light of the gospel in the Person of Christ, contains no earthly element (i.e., all gold, no acacia wood). Likely for this same reason, the lampstand lacks the golden "crown" (zer) which the altar and table possess, since this "crown" is indicative of the reign of the Messiah "in the flesh"."

The seven churches are indeed characteristic of the seven eras of the Church following the apostolic period. That is covered at the following link: CT 2A: The Seven Churches.

Thanks as always for your inquisitive spirit, and for your patience with these responses.

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Thank you for your kind response. Please help me to untangle this because I am confused. You state the following:

"…Zechariah's seven lamps which are also seven eyes are identical in symbolism to the seven Spirits of Revelation chapters four (where lamps = spirits) and chapter five (where eyes = spirits)…"

"…Well, the seven eyes are said /to be/ "the Seven Spirits", and the Seven Spirits are described in Revelation 1:4-5 as the Holy Spirit…"

Thus, in summary the 7 Lamps of Zechariah are as suggested none other than the Holy Spirit. This is what provokes my concern: how can the Holy Spirit flow out of the two Olive Trees into the golden bowl which FEEDS the 7 Lamps (Holy Spirit)?

Response #5: 

This symbolism is of course bound to be a bit confusing if it is pressed too far, because we are dealing here with two discrete members of the Trinity on the one hand, and on the other hand with their perfect interaction. To the extent that the Son and the Spirit interact seamlessly, the symbolism can be difficult to disentangle (e.g., "I and the Father are one"). The lampstand represents Christ, but the oil which empowers the witness coming forth in a perfect seven-fold way (the fire in the seven lamps) is a ministry of the Spirit. Since Christ has the Spirit upon Him, the eyes (representing active witness and also perfect perception), can have a joint symbolism since the Spirit is the One who is empowering that witness/ministry. Just as the oil comes from the olive trees (and yet we distinguish between the two witnesses and the Spirit who really produces the oil), so oil being burned in the seven lamps represents the Spirit's witness to Christ shed abroad in the world (even though the lampstand per se speaks of the Son Himself).

Hope this helps,

In our dear Lord, the light of the world.

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Here is where I have been having my concern. I agree with you that the OIL in the 7 Lamps is indeed the Oil of the Holy Spirit that, in this particular case, flows from the 2 Olive Trees. I also agree with you that the Lampstand (the base) is symbolic of Christ, but does this include the 7 Branches and the 7 Lamps? To this end, there is a vast DIFFERENCE between suggesting that the Lamp itself is the Holy Spirit, than suggesting that the Oil in the Lamp is the Holy Spirit. Therefore, my concern is WHAT does that holding the Oil (the Lamp) represent, rather than what is in the Lamp (the Holy Spirit Oil).

Response #6: 

As in the two snippets pasted into a previous e-mail, my position on this is that the light represents Christ, the oil the Spirit, and the lampstand itself the message of Him who is the Light of the world (i.e., the gospel). I believe this explains how the two witnesses and the seven Church eras can also be represented by lampstands: in each instance it is a case of reflecting the Person and the message of Jesus Christ through the empowerment of the Spirit.

In Jesus our Light.

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Please consider this suggestion regarding Zechariah’s vision of his unique menorah. In symbolism I suggest that at the time of the Two Witnesses’ (Moses/Elijah) ministry during the Tribulation, Zechariah’s unique menorah reveals that the Holy Spirit will be channeled through the two aforementioned men which will then directionally flow into an interconnected ‘common bowl’. It should be noted however that at this particular time (during the Tribulation) the Holy Spirit does not flow directly into the individual Seven Lamps (lights/luminaries) but indirectly as stated into a common reservoir. It is therefore from this common reservoir of the Holy Spirit that the Seven Lamps receive their Oil. To this end, we must then ask, what is the symbolism of the Holy Spirit filled common bowl representative off at this given time – the time of the ministry of the Two Witnesses? One possible solution is the geographic location of the common bowl (CUP) into which the Holy Spirit is being poured during the Tribulation is where the Two Witnesses are restricted for the duration of their specified ministries, which is none other than The Great City of apostate (at that time) Jerusalem.

Rev. 11:8: And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

In Zechariah 12:2 Jerusalem is called a ‘CUP’ of Trembling.

Zech. 12:2: Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.

Therefore, during the Tribulation the Holy Spirit will not flow directly into the Seven Lamps (luminaries) but will be channeled through the medium Two Witnesses, then into the common bowl/cup (Jerusalem), and from there it will be channeled into the Seven college interconnected Lamps. As such, during the Tribulation Jerusalem will become the ‘sole’ epicenter (the distribution center) for the confined channeling (not the usual generalized outpouring) of the Holy Spirit to the Seven Lamps who declare the witness of the Saving Blood of Jesus.

Response #7: 

You may have a point here. It certainly is the case that the two witnesses will be based in Jerusalem (having overseen the rebuilding of the temple) and will apparently dispatch the 72K pairs of witnesses worldwide from this central position. As such, seeing the bowl as representing the centralized spot of spiritual empowerment makes a good deal of sense.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

You suggest that the Seven Spirits of God are made equal to the Father and the Son (the Godhead). However, I must ask how do you know this from Scripture and what is the actual meaning of to ‘Stand Before the Throne of God’?

"…they are made equal to the Father and to the Son…"

It would seem by mere semantics that anyone or anything that stands before the Throne of God does so in a subservient but not equal capacity to God. The only reference to Jesus appearing in the ‘midst’ of (before) the Throne of God and not on the Throne, is when He stands before the Throne in the midst of the four Beasts and the Elders revealing His ‘suffering servitude’ to God hence, the Slain Lamb found worthy and prevailing to the open the Book of Revelation.

Response #8: 

Revelation 1:4-5 reads: John, to the seven churches which are in Asia [Minor]: Grace to you and peace from (1) the One who is and was and is coming (i.e., the Father), and from (2) the seven spirits (i.e., the Holy Spirit) which are before His throne, and from (3) Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth.

Please note: John expresses "joy and peace" which emanate from three sources, all three of which are begin with the same Greek preposition, ek/"from":

(1) Clearly the Father

(2) ???

(3) Clearly the Son

Since #2 is in between Father and Son and equally the source of the grace and peace (which only God can provide) and is otherwise described in identical terms to them, it would seem that only a divine entity can fill the blank. There is only one other member of the Trinity, and that is the Holy Spirit. I cannot see how a college of angels could possibly be made equal to Father and Son (which understanding them here between the two would certainly communicate), nor how such a college could supply grace and peace.

We do have to explain why the seven spirits are not called the Holy Spirit, but that is not a difficult task. The Holy Spirit is by apparent choice and design the Member of the Trinity who is felt but not seen (please see the link: in BB 1, "the Holy Spirit"). He is ever in the background rather than the foreground. He is, moreover, given many names wherein one has to understand that it is He without the specific terminology "Holy Spirit" (e.g., "the Restrainer", the "Comforter", etc.). Seven is the number of perfection, so that placing His ministry in view rather than His Person (i.e., the perfect evangelical ministry He empowers during the Tribulation) is entirely in keeping with His role elsewhere in scripture, not to mention the descriptions of Him we have elsewhere (i.e., this is precisely how His ministry to Christ during the first advent is described in Isaiah 11:1-3).

We know that the Holy Spirit exists, and that He has a major role to play during the Tribulation. Nevertheless, the words "the Holy Spirit" never occur in the Book of Revelation overtly; He is present in this passage in question, but, again, in His very typical one might almost say self-effacing way of ministering to the truth without coming out on stage Himself.

Here is what I have written about this passage in CT 1 (see the link):

The seven spirits: The seven spirits which reside before the very throne of the Father are a reference to God the Holy Spirit as is evident both from later instances in the book of Revelation and from elsewhere in scripture as well (Prov.9:1; Is.11:2; Zech.3:9; 4:2; 4:10 with 4:6; Rev.3:1; 4:5; 5:6; the NIV's alternative reading for this and the other Revelation "seven spirits" passages of "the seven-fold Spirit of God" suggests a similar interpretation). The Holy Spirit is, of course, indivisible, and the number seven here most likely connotes the idea of perfection and completion: that is, the continued perfect ministry of the Spirit throughout all seven periods of the Church age promoting spiritual growth and restraining the evil one. That the Holy Spirit is not overtly so named here is in keeping with His role in the Father's plan. The very name "Spirit" or wind (in Greek and Hebrew both) indicates something powerful but unseen, the hallmark of the Spirit's ministry.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

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