This article continues our Prophecy Q/A series, where I do my best to answer questions from readers like you.
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Q: Can you explain the 7 candlesticks and the 7 spirits in Revelation? Revelation 1:20 states the 7 candlesticks are the 7 churches. But Rev.4:5 states the lamps (not candlesticks) are the 7 Spirits of God. Revelation 5:6 speaks of the 7 Spirits which are “sent forth into all the earth”. Can you please clarify the candlesticks, lamps, and the 7 churches as it relates to the 7 Spirits of God?
A: I take it to mean that the lampstands represent the churches (and the Church at large) as stated in the context of ch. 1. The flames represent the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit was present in those churches on earth. (Remember that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a Church Age condition.)
Then Revelation 4:1 is (I believe) indicating the moment of the rapture. (John sees an open door, hears a trumpet, hears a voice. Cross reference that with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.)
Following that event, the lamp stand/Church is seen next in Heaven along with the Holy Spirit. Compare that with 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 regarding the restrainer (the Holy Spirit-indwelled Church) being removed prior to the revealing of antichrist and the start of the tribulation period.
The reference to the 7 spirits of God (most expositors agree) is essentially saying, the fullness of the Holy Spirit (7 is the number of completeness a la 7 days of creation etc.) is with the Church in Heaven after the rapture. The restrainer has been removed. Also, the “7-spirits” is a direct allusion to a few key Old Testament passages. Isaiah 11:2 in particular describes the Holy Spirit as:
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 power
6) The Spirit of knowledge
7) The Spirit of the fear of the Lord
The mention of the “7 Spirits sent forth” (I believe) is basically saying that the Holy Spirit (in all of his aspects/fullness) is sent into the earth. So, even though the Church is now in Heaven and the Holy Spirit is no longer restraining evil on Earth through the Church—He is still omnipresent and active in the world.