There's one more phrase to consider in Revelation 1:4, which I did not cover in the previous post. This topic is important enough that it deserves a blog of its own.
I'll quote Revelation 1:4 for your review--"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come; AND FROM THE SEVEN SPIRITS WHICH ARE BEFORE HIS THRONE..."
The thought in verse 4 EXTENDS into the verse 5, which INCLUDES Jesus Christ in the blessing of the SALUTATION..."Grace and peace" therefore COMES from God the Father, the Holy Spirit and from Jesus Christ. The entire TRINITY is involved in the blessings which are being sent to the seven Churches in the form of this Revelation.
SEVEN SPIRITS TO NETZER AND BACK!
As we already saw, John recorded a salutation to the seven Churches in Turkey, saying grace and peace be unto them from He Who is, and which was, and which is to come...AND FROM THE SEVEN SPIRITS WHICH ARE BEFORE HIS THRONE.
What are the SEVEN SPIRITS? Isn't this a reference to the Holy Spirit Who is said to be before the throne of God? How can there be SEVEN Holy Spirits?
We need to remember the meaning of SEVEN. It shows "completion.
Therefore, this phrase speaks of the COMPLETE Holy Spirit. The phrase does NOT mean that there are seven Holy Spirits.
We'll find an explanation for the SEVEN spirits in Isaiah 11:1-2. We will also take the time to develop TWO FASCINATING FACTS about the Lord Jesus. As always, in this study, we discover how Revelation OPENS for us a wealth of insight--IF WE WILL TAKE THE TIME TO PURSUE THE THREADS THAT'S OFFERED TO US.
Isaiah 11:1-2--"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord."
Because I want to expand upon TWO BLESSINGS (brought through Jesus) which are shown in Isaiah--chapter 11 (which will relate back to an idea that I introduced in the previous blog), I'll add Isaiah 11:11 (first part of the verse).
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set His hand the SECOND time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left..."
The FIRST blessing of Jesus in Isaiah 11 indicates the ministry of His FIRST COMING. The first detail shows Jesus' LINEAGE, His bloodline as the Son of man, as He came to dwell in a human body. The prophecy then EXPANDS to show THE SPIRIT which would be upon Jesus as He performed this ministry. The SECOND blessing (seen in Isaiah 11:11), flashes forward to His work in the events of His SECOND COMING as the nation of Israel is regathered--and restored to a position of right standing with God.
Prophecies about Jesus Christ in the Old Testament OFTEN FOLLOW this structure. They speak of something that will be accomplished in His FIRST COMING--then they SKIP AHEAD to His SECOND COMING. Therefore, people who studied the scriptures at the time of Jesus' FIRST COMING got the message MIXED UP. They FAILED TO SEE the big GAP between two SEPARATE fulfillments. For instance, Jesus' DISCIPLES asked Him if He were going to set up His Kingdom on earth at that time of His first coming. They FAILED to see the GAP in the prophecy--that SOME of the prophesied events referred to the FIRST COMING, and THEN the details skipped ahead to the SECOND COMING. This is something that can EVEN OCCUR in the VERY SAME verse (or in the verses immediately following).
We now have the benefit of 20-20 HINDSIGHT. We can LOOK BACK on those prophecies and see HOW their fulfillments are DIVIDED between first and second comings of Jesus. (This has been described as climbing a mountain peak, only to discover that the climb is NOT YET finished. At the top of the FIRST PEAK, the climber discovers a valley and a SECOND PEAK yet waiting to be climbed beyond. The FIRST PEAK represents prophecies fulfilled in the FIRST COMING. The valley represents THE GAP of the Church Age. The SECOND and HIGHER PEAK represents prophecies of the SECOND COMING yet to be fulfilled. There's also the fact that there are MORE prophecies about the SECOND COMING than the FIRST ONE!)
Let's look closer at Isaiah 11:1-2.
"And there shall come a rod (shoot) out of the stem (stock) of Jesse, and a Branch (netzer) shall grow out of his roots." Isaiah 11:1.
JESSE was the FATHER of King David, so we discover Jesus' lineage in the bloodline of King David, on His mother Mary's side of the family. The phrase "stem (stock) of Jesse" is repeated in Revelation 5 and 22 as "the root of David" and "the root and offspring of David" which is the SAME picture we see in Isaiah--Jesus' lineage in the bloodline of King David, through David's father, Jesse.
Jesus got his BLOODLINE from being born of the Virgin Mary. The Son of God was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit (by God) but the BLOODLINE that made Jesus a Man came through the fleshly womb of Mary--who is prophesied in Genesis 3:15 as "her seed"--the "seed of the woman." ("Seed" normally is spoken of in scripture as coming from a man. The "seed of the woman" prophesies the Virgin Birth of Jesus, even at the very beginning!)
Where in the Old Testament Is Jesus prophesied as being a Nazarene? This will tie in to our look at Isaiah 11:1-2.
In Matthew 2:23, we read: "And He (Jesus) came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be FULFILLED which was SPOKEN of by the PROPHETS [note the plural], He (Jesus) shall be CALLED a Nazarene."
This passage sounds simple enough to understand UNTIL we go back to the Old Testament prophets and try to find WHERE Jesus was PROPHESIED to be a Nazarene. It CAN'T be found--stated EXACTLY like that! In other words, it's NOT a plainly recorded prophecy, which states simply--"Jesus will be called a Nazarene." Instead, it takes some digging. (The best NUGGETS, remember, can only be found by the extra effort of research.)
The difficulty arises when we look for "Nazarene" in ENGLISH. What happens here is that the term "Nazarene" is a pun, a Holy Spirit PLAY on words, as covered in THE HEBREW language! The Hebrew word is "netzer" which is translated into ENGLISH as "BRANCH" in Isaiah 11:1--and the terms "rod" or "shoot" also mean the SAME thing, as they speak of a "descendant"--exactly as it's amplified in Isaiah 11:1.
Let me try to make this a little clearer:
The passage in Isaiah could be written like this--"the rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a NETZER out of his roots." Netzer, the way it's pronounced, SOUNDS LIKE Nazarene. "The Nazarene (netzer) out of Jesse's roots." It's very subtle, but the understanding is there.
Matthew was the disciple who wrote that Jesus dwelled in a city named NAZARETH, to FULFILL what was spoken of by the prophets--("NETZER" as SPOKEN, sounds SIMILAR to "Nazarene," and becomes a PUN in the same way that a FLASH OF STRUMPETS--a pun--sounds SIMILAR to a CLASH OF TRUMPETS).
We must remember that Matthew was from the tribe of Levi--those Jews who attended to things of God in the temple. As a Levi, Matthew was a HOUND for detail--DETAILS from the Old Testament which PROVES that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah. Matthew, as a Levi, had knowledge concerning THE USE of the Hebrew pun (a play on words)--and understood how Jesus was a NETZER, a BRANCH (decendent) from Jesse, AND a "Nazarene" to boot--the Netzer!
I took much space to show Jesus as THE BRANCH (and Nazarene), from Isaiah 11. Now, the focus will shift to the SECOND blessing found in this chapter, BEFORE I backtrack to explain the SEVEN SPIRITS of Revelation 1:4.
Remember, from what I quoted near the top of this blog--from Isaiah 11:11--that Jesus would set His hand THE SECOND TIME to recover the remnant of His people (the Jews), which shall be left...
The FIRST time the Lord recovered the remnant of His people, Israel, was after their 70 years of Babylonian captivity. They were allowed to return to Jerusalem, to rebuild the fallen temple and the walls around the city.
After the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Jews were taken away from their land again--this time DISPERSED into ALL the world. The Roman, Titus, attacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D. The temple was AGAIN destroyed. And THIS TIME, the Jews remained scattered, UNTIL the 20th century--the early 1900's.
Israel has been REBORN as a nation, and it happened on ONE DAY--May 14, 1948 (as prophesied in Isaiah 66:8). AT THAT TIME, THE EVENTS IN THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS BEGAN! Jesus has INDEED set His hand A SECOND TIME to recover the remnant of His people!
Prophecy is IN THE PROCESS OF BECOMING FULFILLED--EVEN NOW, ESPECIALLY MORE SO NOW--IN 2011--THAN EVER BEFORE! The return of Jesus to earth in His Second Coming is so much closer NOW! The time in which we live is very special!
What does Jesus setting His hand a SECOND TIME to recover the remnant of His people (the Jews) have to do with today's topic?
Recall, that in my previous blog, I taught HOW Revelation 1:4 showed a greeting to the Church, but ALSO FOCUSED upon a HEBREW term for God, JHVH (a structure which brings out an Israeli focus in the Revelation). THUS, we gather another HINT at HOW Revelation is structured. It BEGINS with prophecy for the Church, but then switches to the Jews.
Revelation, for MOST of its pages, shows Jesus in the act of redeeming Israel, and fulfilling ALL the promises God has given to that nation. Perhaps I BELABOR this point--BUT it's important that we see and understand this structure. When we look at Isaiah 11 to explain the SEVEN SPIRITS, there IT is AGAIN--Jesus fulfilling prophecies that concerns the Jews. I believe this is HIGHLY significant.
Back to the SEVEN SPIRITS before the throne in Revelation 1:4. I quoted from Isaiah 11:2, that the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Jesus--the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Look carefully. You will see SEVEN qualities of the Holy Spirit--which is the PICTURE of the COMPLETE Holy Spirit (which is what the SEVEN SPIRITS before the throne truly means).
1. The Spirit of the Lord
2. The Spirit of wisdom
3. The Spirit of understanding
4. The Spirit of counsel
5. The Spirit of might
6. The Spirit of knowledge
7. The Spirit of the fear of the Lord.
THE SEVEN SPIRITS, THE COMPLETE HOLY SPIRIT, IS DEFINED HERE IN ISAIAH 11:2. When a sign or symbol, a simile or metaphor, is found in the book of Revelation, we can find out what it MEANS (either as it's explained RIGHT where we SEE it, or it's explained SOMEWHERE ELSE in the Bible).
Now, let's APPLY what we understand about the SEVEN SPIRITS. First of all, these qualities were in Jesus Christ. But that's NOT the only application.
Consider that we, as Christian believers, are joined to Jesus, and that we are indeed His Body here on earth. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us. Therefore, we have the Spirit of the Lord living within us, in our hearts and spirits--the Spirit of the Lord is God Himself within us through THE PRESENCE of the Holy Spirit. Through the SEVEN-FOLD Holy Spirit, we have God Himself (the SPIRIT of the LORD), PLUS we possess wisdom and understanding, we know counsel and might, we have knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
We have WISDOM from on high within us, to tap into when we face perplexing situations.
We have UNDERSTANDING of how to speak or act in anything we may face, plus we have the Holy Spirit giving us the UNDERSTANDING of the scriptures. With that UNDERSTANDING, the Bible is NOT Greek (or Hebrew) to us (impossible to comprehend). Instead, we're able to partake of the deep mysteries of God contained in the His Word.
We have COUNSEL--we're able to hear the "still small voice" of God speaking to us, leading and directing our steps.
We have MIGHT, a supernatural strength which rises up as we face temptations or other crises. We are given THE STRENGTH to OVERCOME ANYTHING that might be thrown at us in this wicked and cruel world.
We have KNOWLEDGE--not what men would teach, but that which comes down from above. Godly KNOWLEDGE is far different than what schools, universities or seminaries instruct. We have KNOWLEDGE of facts and figures GIVEN BY GOD--God's perspective on history, on sciences, on religion or philosophies, on earthly matters or heavenly wonders. We even gain God's KNOWLEDGE about ourselves and our motives, which enables us to put aside SELFISHNESS and PRIDE--to walk in HIS WAYS. God's KNOWLEDGE is THE TRUTH, and we do well to pay heed to it.
We have the FEAR OF THE LORD. This does NOT mean that we are afraid of God, or cower and tremble in terror at the thought of Him.
The FEAR OF THE LORD is AWE. We are full of WONDER in God's presence. We RESPECT God. We LOVE God. We bow down to WORSHIP Him. All these ideas are found in the concept of FEARING the Lord. Another word for FEAR of the Lord is REVERENCE!
We have looked at the SEVEN SPIRITS before God's throne here in Revelation 1:4. We see that it refers to the COMPLETE Holy Spirit, in ALL His aspects and characteristics. We see that Jesus was FULL of the Holy Spirit, and lived and operated by His DIVINE empowering. So also, we Christian believers, through FAITH in Christ, have the Holy Spirit within us. We can CHOOSE to walk in Holy Spirit attributes and guidance, or we can CHOOSE to walk in our OWN self, in our OWN understandings, in our OWN flesh with all of its weaknesses and pitfalls.
CHOOSE the HELP of Holy Spirit, Who lives within us--and to KNOW the joy of intimacy WITH GOD!
We have a most powerful ADVOCATE!
Be abundantly blessed today!
Remember--"The WILL of God will NEVER take you where the GRACE of God will not protect you."