This article has been contributed by our brother on the subject of the Spirit of God in Revelation.
The word ‘spirit’ (pneuma) occurs 23 times in Revelation, nineteen of which, I judge, refer to the Holy Spirit of God. In the article before us, we shall attend to each of these references, placing them into four distinct groupings by which we hope to elucidate the subject to the spiritual enrichment and enlightenment of the reader.
The Compliments of the Holy Spirit
Four references are listed under this simple heading that contrive to honor the Spirit of God which is indeed evident by the message of the following passages. On reading 11:11 there is evident emphasis upon His accomplishment, when He raises up the two witnesses whose death brought temporary relief to the earth dwellers. Instinctively we recall Ezekiel 38 and remember the power of the “wind” that brought life to the dead bones. Inherent power resides in Him whose power was demonstrated in the resurrection of the Savior (Rom 1:4). Turn now to ch 14:13, and there read of His affirmation as He confirms the blessedness of those who die in the Lord. Ch 19:10 relates to His activity for all those who bear testimony to Jesus within the scope of divine authority, and confess that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of prophecy. The last reference to the Spirit of God in the Bible is found in ch 22:17 which expresses His appeal. Space forbids dwelling upon the first and last mention of the Spirit of God in our Bibles. Doubtless the interested reader will ponder the passages thoughtfully.
The Completeness of the Holy Spirit
Four times in the Revelation we read the informative expression, “the seven Spirits of God.” Allow nothing to mar this glorious expression, for others have misapplied it by suggesting the Seven Angels of the Presence are in view. Ch 1: 4 – 5 clearly disposes of this. How can angels of ever so high degree find such a place of proximity between the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, as is the case in this comforting benediction? The Spirit of God is recognized in this term as having plenitude. However diverse the need, geographically, spiritually, or any other way, He is active in this salutation as ministering all that is needed to maintain the testimony of God. It is His Comfort in Testimony, and this in keeping with the title accorded Him by the Lord Jesus (John 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7).
Revelation 3:1 speaks of the Lord Jesus as having the “seven Spirits of God.” This denotes the Control of the Spirit in Testimony, while ch 4:5 relates to His Consistency in Testimony. Never is there any dimness or dullness attributable to the Spirit and when we claim to be ministering under His leading, should there be such in us or in what we say? If there be, then clearly, it is not of the Spirit. The fourth reference is found in ch 5:6 which unfolds the Conception of the Spirit. Nothing is hidden from Him. As the Son (John 1:48) and the Father (Heb 4:13), so the Spirit. His vigilance is undiminished and unrestricted. Let us move in the consciousness of His all-seeing eye.
The Control of the Spirit
We are obliged to ascertain the difference between the Spirit in me and my being in the Spirit. Four times the expression “in the Spirit” appears in Revelation (1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10) which incites inquiry as to its meaning and message. The Spirit in me is the result of divine imparting (Rom 5:5). But what is it that would qualify me to state that I am in the Spirit? Obviously the answer is in one simple word, condition. It would be appropriate at this point to consider four ingredients of this required and deeply desired condition. Consider the Exercise it involves which can be laid out in three totalities: The Abnegation of Self, The Abstraction of Soul and The Absoluteness of Submission. Then ponder the Evidences it Indicates: Spiritual Interest, Insight and Intelligence. Thirdly, there is the Enlightenment it Infuses: divine things brought within the compass of the mind, and lastly the Encouragement it Inspires: Comfort, Conception and Communication. All of this is clearly discernible in John as he records what he saw “in the Spirit,” which are:
The Resplendent Glories of the Son of Man 1:10
The Regal Glories of the Throne Room 4:2
The Repugnant Glories of the Harlot 17:3
The ResidentialGlories of the Bride 21:10
Confirmation of the Spirit
Seven mentions of the Spirit remain, all of which appear at strategic points in the messages to the Churches. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13, 22). Each message to the respective churches begins with a communication attributed to the glorified Lord, and ends with the voice of the Spirit, a combination we have already noticed in 14:13 and 22:17 which must be recognised as evidence of the words of the Savior in John 16:13.
“He that has an ear” implies capacity, while “let him hear” emphasizes responsibility, “what the Spirit” establishes identity, and “saith unto the churches” denotes continuity. Placing these messages of assurance to the over-corner in a simple category, the Spirit confirms: Admission to the Tree of Life (2:7), Avoidance of the Second Death (2:11), Award of the Hidden Manna and the White Stone (2:17), Authority in Rule (2:29), Apparel of White (3:6), Ascribed Name (3:16), and Association with Him on His Throne (3:22).