I think of a word as a way to communicate. It would be useful to know how that relates to the use of Word in Exodus 9:20 and John 1:14. Would you please help me with this?
May the blessings of the second person of the Trinity be upon you,
That sounds fine. The Hebrew word at Exodus 9:20 is the most common Hebrew word for "word", dabhar (דבר), while the Greek word for "word" at John 1:14 is the most common Greek word for "word", logos (λόγος). Either can also be translated as "message", so that in theological terms they are not merely means, but the message, and the content of the message – which is far more than "text" since Jesus is the Message and the Messenger in One of God's Plan of salvation. Here is a snippet of what will be forthcoming next year in BB 4B Soteriology on this:
In short, the Plan of God is salvation: its (strategic) declaration (Logos – Plan of the Father), its (operational) completion (Logos – Person and Work of the Son), and its (tactical) fulfillment in the lives of individual believers (Logos – Message of Good News or Gospel mediated by the Holy Spirit). Thus, the Plan of God is the Logos, Jesus Christ, the One who perfectly represents the thinking and the planning of the Father (1Cor.2:16), the One has perfectly carried out the plan (Heb.1:3), and the One who is the message or Logos which must be believed in order to be saved when the Holy Spirit makes this truth of the gospel understandable to the person in question (Jn.3:18-19). As the Word of God, therefore, Jesus Christ has been given a place of honor in the plan even above the hallowed Name of God Himself, for it is only by responding to Jesus Christ that the Father is truly honored and His plan fulfilled for His creatures who possess free will.
I will bow myself in worship toward your holy temple, and I will give thanks to your holy Name on account of your mercy, and on account of your truth, for You have magnified Your Word above Your entire Name.
In Him who is the Word of God, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Please be so kind as to consider the following. In Zech. 3:9 we prophetically read with respect to the '7 Eyes' that they were/are upon the 'stone' which could be a reference to the Stone Christ and the 7 Eyed Church.
Zech. 3:9: For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Matthew 16:18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Meanwhile, as suggested before in Matt. 6:22 we read that the '. . .light of the body is the eye'. Which however in its greek neuter form would be better translated as '. . .light to the body is the eye'. It should be noted here that the eye in literal terms is NOT the light itself but rather the mechanical vehicle by which the light to the body is received and disbursed. To this end, the light then being separate is produced from the oil which in turn is transmitted to the eye for distribution to the whole body. In Exodus 25:33 we read regarding the candelabra the following:
Exodus 25:33: Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.
What we see in the above Passage is that the 'bowls' which held the oil for the light were attached to the branches of the candelabra and shaped like 'ALMONDS'. The interesting aspect of this almond shape and structure of the oil holding bowls is that an almond has the symbolic shape of a human 'EYE'. In summary, while figuratively the light is the Word Christ and the Oil in each of the suggested seven Eyes (bowls) is indeed the Holy Spirit they are in and of themselves nonetheless respectively different. It is the Word Christ that has the 7 Eyes and the 7 Horns in Rev. 5:6 that are perhaps NOT the 7 Holy Spirits of God but rather the 7 Eyes (angels/messengers/stars) spirits of God (Rev. 1:20) – one each filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit and attached to each of the 7 branches of the candelabra for the dispersion of light to the whole body.
Rev. 5:6: And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
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, occurring as they do in-between the Father and the Son (please see the link: in CT 2B, "The Seven Lamps of Fire"). Although it is true in scripture that angels are sometimes described as spirits, these seven angels are said to be stars, but not spirits, whereas in the context the term seven-spirits is a synonym used for the Holy Spirit, demonstrating His perfection. The seven eyes on the stone I take to be the Spirit's anointed of the Messiah (the Rock), as in Is.11 (where the Spirit is likewise described in seven-fold fashion):
(2) And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him (i.e., the Messiah), the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
In Revelation 5:6, the seven-spirits are said to be 1) "of God" (an odd representation for angels who of course belong to Him, but an important identifier for this otherwise potentially confusing designation for the Spirit), and 2) to be "sent out into the entire earth"; only God can be omnipresent; seven angels, no matter how energetic, would be hard pressed to keep track of all that is going on in the world at all times, even with large a group of subordinates.
Finally, and perhaps decisively, Revelation 3:1 states: "These are the words of Him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars". This verse distinguished carefully between the two, so that ipso facto they cannot be the same.
In the Name of the One who oversees our every need in the perfect Holy Spirit, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
You must have known that simple little me would ask – are the seven spirits of God and the seven stars synonyms, joined by the conjunction 'and', i.e. Matt. 3:11?
Matthew 3:11: I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.
No problem. On the contrary, the "and" tells us in English as well as in Greek that they are separate. Were they in apposition (as in "Dave, my brother") they would be the same thing; but with "and" they cannot be (as in "Dave and my brother"). This is also the case in your example where being baptized with the Spirit is wonderful, but being baptized with fire means being thrown into the lake of fire (i.e., the two contrasting eternal possibilities are contemplated therein).
I have a small concern with the 7 Lamps of Zechariah's candelabra symbolizing the perfect seven-fold (fullness) of the Holy Spirit as you suggest in your internet article under the section of the 'Two Witnesses'. You say,
". . .In all these cases, we have to do with the perfect seven-fold witness of the Holy Spirit, shedding forth God's light to illuminate the darkness of this world, making use of human agencies, but always in behalf of Him who is the true Light, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ("Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit": Zech.4:6). . ."
In Zechariah's illustration the OIL, which I take to symbolize the Holy Spirit, is piped through 2 interconnected pipes and flows outward (poured out) from the two Olive Trees (Moses and Elijah – which you suggest above as the Holy Spirit making use of human agencies) into the interconnected golden bowl (reservoir – NOT Lamp) on top of the menorah/ candelabra, which in turn is interconnected by 7 other pipes leading to the 7 Lamps on each of the 7 Branches of the candelabra. You say,
". . .This is the point behind the symbolism in Zechariah 4:12 where the two olive trees pour out their oil into the lampstand's golden bowl. . ."
Zech. 4:2-3: And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof:  And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.
However, IF the aforementioned 7 Lamps are symbolic of the fullness of the Holy Spirit as suggested here, then the Holy Spirit itself is being 'empowered' by the Two Witnesses, rather than the Two Witnesses being 'empowered' by the Holy Spirit. You say,
". . .Empowering this tribulational witness of light are the "two anoint-ing ones", the two witnesses, Moses and Elijah. . ."
This scenario would then suggest that the Holy Spirit is not flowing outward from Himself but rather back into Himself – the golden bowl and the interconnected 7 Lamps. A literal example would be high-voltage electricity flowing back into its source which in and of itself creates an explosive 'resistance'. Although, IF the aforementioned 7 Lamps are human agencies (angels/messengers/stars) analogous to those in Rev. 1:20 attached to 7 (branches) Churches/congregations/assemblies then the OIL (Holy Spirit) that flows from the two Olive Trees (Moses and Elijah) would then flow into a non-resistive common reservoir (the bowl) from which each of the 7 Lamps interconnected by pipes would extract/receive their OIL for the generation of their Light (the testimony of Jesus to a dark Tribulation world).
With all due respect, I think you may be reading a little too much into the mechanics here. That certainly puts you in good company (as a quick consultation of major commentaries on this passage will easily show). Indeed, I still remember a very elaborate sermon given by one of my seminary professors in chapel many years ago (complete with handout) where he attempted to make a very big deal out the Hebrew and its "real" meaning here. I was thrilled that at least one person was intent on teaching the Bible from the pulpit, but was left a little cold by the particular exposition which was fairly convoluted (and essentially wrong, as I have since come to find out).
The symbolism and the underlying meaning of Zechariah 4 is indeed strikingly unexpected. It is therefore prone to confusion, especially since one first has to get by the (admittedly) interesting Hebrew Zechariah uses to describe the situation he saw. The NIV version has it right, although only by leaving the situation in verse 12 somewhat ambiguous. Here is the picture: the two olive trees stand higher than the menorah (as we would expect). They each have a branch which stretches out towards a receiving conduit; into this conduit they pour their golden oil; the oil flows down into the bowl which sits atop the menorah, and thence it flows down into the seven lamps providing a witness of light. There are clear differences here from the menorah of the temple which had no such bowl sitting on top, no such twin conduits to receive oil from an immediate source, and was of course never positioned out in the open next to olive trees.
You make a good point that it is the Spirit who provides the power and the energy to accomplish everything we do, and this point was emphasized very clearly by the Lord in the context here in verse six: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit", perhaps just so that there might not be any confusion on that point because of the details of the symbol. What we have here is a unique, particular symbol that nonetheless fits perfectly into the overall symbolism of the temple, the Tribulation, and the Holy Spirit. The menorah in the temple actually represents Christ who is the Light of the world (and we do not find this menorah anywhere in Revelation for that reason), but Christ was of course uniquely anointed by the Spirit who empowered Jesus' witness even though He is the Son of God (cf. Jn.3:34). The oil or anointing refers to the Spirit's empowering and the light to the witness the Spirit proclaims to the world concerning Jesus Christ. During the Tribulation, the witness about Christ (i.e., the light coming off of the lampstand) is uniquely propagated by the two witnesses and the ministry of the 144,000 they organize and direct (which explains the flow into the lamp; please see the link: in CT 3A "The Two Witnesses"). They would not have oil to give to this ministry in the first place, of course, were it not for the Spirit. The oil they send forth (really, mediate) flows into the unique tribulational witness of their ministry and the 144,000's ministry which they direct (no doubt represented by the conduits), and is then shed abroad through the illuminated lampstand – the gospel message of Christ illuminating the world (whom/which the lampstand represents). This is easily confirmed when one considers that in this symbol the light would stop without the trees; when the two witnesses are removed, their ministry and that of the 144,000 will come to an end, the Great Tribulation will begin (the 144,000 to be martyred immediately thereafter as the first wave of the Great Persecution), and this historically unique witness of light during the Tribulation's first half will cease.
I find all this entirely consistent with the other ministries of the Spirit and His modus operandi throughout scripture of working behind the scenes.
In Him who is the Light of the world, our dear Savior Jesus Christ.
Here are some examples of a plethora of synonyms with the same meanings that are joined by the conjunction 'AND':
These things saith he that hath the student and pupil.
These things saith he that hath the boy and lad.
He is Dave and my brother.
In Scripture we find a Passage with two 'figurative' synonyms of the same exact meaning joined by the conjunction AND.
Rev. 5:6: And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
Thus, symbolically and figuratively: seven horns = seven eyes which both in turn mean the 'seven spirits of God'. Therefore, perhaps as I earlier suggested with respect to Rev. 3:1: seven spirits of God = seven stars and are synonyms which mean. . .?
Well you have a point that there are exceptions to everything. However, it is not for nothing that we have the saying "the exception proves the rule". In the first two examples you provide, please note that 1) we have rather archaic English here (not modern spoken English), so the chances that we are really understanding what is being said here is a bit more remote; and in any case, Greek usage resembles modern English in respect of the point we are considering so that this is an apples and oranges comparison; 2) note that in both of the first two cases the definite article is used to signal the equivalence; that is to say, "has the student and pupil" = "has the student-who-is-also-the-pupil" or "has the-student-and-pupil"; we understand (or did when this sort of language was in vogue) the essential hyphenation because the first element has the definite article but the second does not. Therefore "has a student and a pupil" would be two not one, and "has the student and the pupil" would be two not one, and it is to these last two pairs that our examples in Revelation comport; 3) in both of these two examples, it is possible to pass on the meaning of the two phrases being synonymous only because the two elements really are synonyms outside of the context; that is, a student IS a pupil, and a boy IS a lad (and vice versa in both cases); however, a horn is not an eye, and a star is not a spirit; therefore, were I to wish to communicate equivalence to someone in the case of such naturally disparate sets, it would take much more than connecting them by "and" which, on the contrary, communicates precisely the opposite in standard usage; apart from these examples which are not really applicable as just explained, "and" signs that the two are separate and not the same (q.e.d.). As to "he is Dave and my brother", this is a completely different situation where we are using a copula (i.e., the verb "to be" which has different rules such as the predicate nominative). Copulae by definition define the subject by the predicate so that there is always some sort of equivalence in such cases (e.g., "Frank is an astronaut" is a very different sentence from "I see Frank and an astronaut"). Moreover, even in such a situation the signal that we have an equivalence and not two things is the fact that subject and verb are singular; however, that is not necessarily the case; consider: "they are Dave and my brother", is identical from the standpoint of the syntax at issue, but this time the plurals clearly indicate that the two are not the same, but different. According to this logic, the passages would have to read something like "they are seven horns and also seven eyes" or "the seven horns which are also seven eyes" (same with stars/spirits) – but that is not what we have of course. Finally in regard to example #3, Dave may not be a natural synonym of brother, but the two words both refer to singular males and so readily admit to equivalence; whereas horns have very little in common with eyes in a semantic sense (or stars with spirits). If a person wanted to express in Greek (or I would guess in any language) that a horn was the same thing as an eye, or a star the same as a spirit, that would have to be spelled out very particularly in order to avoid ambiguity. Connecting the two with "and", according to all normal canons of language (since the two things are naturally disparate) rules out their being synonyms.
Thank you for your kind response. With regard to the 7 Horns and the 7 Eyes being seemingly non-synonymous I agree with you. However, it is God who is figuratively defining in this particular case what these to words/terms mean – the seven spirits of God. Meanwhile, here is another Scripture where the definite article 'the' is used with each of the synonyms, once again, figuratively defined words – 1) the two olive trees 2) the two candlesticks.
Rev. 11:4: These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
Nonetheless, they both (the two olive trees and the two candlesticks) are defined by God's Word as The Two Witnesses. In summary, with respect to these aforementioned words, Strong's nor Webster's is NOT the applicable dictionary/lexicon at work here but rather God's Word.
Since we are getting deep in the weeds here, let me just make sure that I am understanding your argument aright. It is, if I am not mistaken, that the seven horns represent the Spirit as well as the seven eyes, and that the two groups are therefore to be considered synonyms in Revelation 5:6. If so, 1) I feel there is sufficient difference in the interpretative distinction between horns on the one hand and eyes and spirits on the other to weigh against that view, whereas eyes and spirits as we have seen are clearly similar in their symbolic function; 2) while parallels may perhaps be adduced, it seems to me beyond question that such a synonymous equivalence would be at the very least unusual (even if possible) and thus would thus call for some semantic cue in the context if we were meant to understand such a thing (and of this we find no trace); 3) Revelation 11:4 is an example of an unusual equivalence, but one which is cued, for we know from Zechariah and elsewhere in scripture that the two witnesses are represented by olive trees and are also closely connected with the light-giving ministry of the Spirit; in light of Zechariah chapter four, while lampstands and olive trees are not identical, they are in fact very close to being synonymous for our interpretative purposes since both are known to us to be involved in the revelatory function of spreading the light of the gospel (oil-suppliers and oil-burners) and are intimately connected in that passage (whereas I know of no place in scripture where horns and eyes are seen to be essentially synonymous); and finally 4) I would place Revelation 11:4 in the same category as the last example of your previous e-mail: this is a question not of a transitive verb (as we have in Rev.5:6), but rather of a copula whose lead-in by definition requires the entire predicate to refer to the subject; that is to say, I can have five apples and five oranges and it will be understood that these are two different groups, but when I say "these are five apples and five oranges", the meaning is fundamentally changed; now I have either a ten item group or (as in the case of Rev.11:4), or I am describing the apples as also somehow being the same as oranges (equating the two) – context will have to decide which is which when a copula is involved, but in the case of "have" or any other transitive verb, I have yet to see a parallel which even admits the possibility of equivalence; these constructions are not interchangeable, even in the Bible, and it is important to point out that the Bible is written in languages meant to be understood as such.
My apologies in advance if I have misconstrued your argument in any respect.
Keep on fighting the good fight of faith in Jesus Christ.
If an 'apple' is equal to a fruit AND an 'orange' is also equal to a fruit – then is an apple in any way equal to an orange in this scenario? At first glance we must conclude that NO an apple is NOT equal to an orange however; they are equal in the sense that they are BOTH fruits. Therefore, in the sense that they are both fruits makes them synonymous 'as fruits'. To this end, if with respect to Rev. 5:6 an 'eye' is equal to a spirit of God AND a 'horn' is equal to a spirit of God – then is an eye in any way synonymously equal to a horn in this scenario 'as spirits of God'?
After carefully studying your summation regarding Rev. 5:6, I am compelled to AGREE with you with respect to the following:
". . .in the case of "have" or any other transitive verb, I have yet to see a parallel which even admits the possibility of equivalence; these constructions are not interchangeable, even in the Bible. . ."
It appears that regarding Rev. 5:6 what we have are two symbols/types of the seven spirits of God that are each in and of themselves equal to the seven spirits of God, but are NOT equal to each other – the seven horns are not equal to the seven eyes. Meanwhile, from other Passages we find that the seven eyes are equal to the seven lamps (Zech. 4:2,10) which are also both equal to the seven spirits of God (Rev. 1:4 , 4:5 and 5:6). That being said, it goes without question that Biblically the seven lamps and the seven eyes are both symbols of 'light' bearing objects and is most likely the case here. Although, I think we should differentiate between the light bearing objects and the actual light itself (Christ/Word). Moreover, this leaves us then with the symbol of the seven horns which must be explained because the seven horns are by no means symbols of light. In Scripture the 'horn' is used in various symbolic applications for power, dominion, glory, fierceness, oil flask, as well as for persons of power (kings, rulers, etc.). Therefore, it is from the seven horns of Rev. 5:6 that I am suggesting that these seven horn symbols represent the seven persons of power (including the oil flasks) in Rev. 1:20 which are none other than the seven angels/stars (lights) of the seven Churches. It can therefore be reasonably argued that the seven angles (spirits) of the seven Churches are indeed 'lights' (eyes and lamps) and that they are also flames of power and fire (horns).
Hebrews 1:7: And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
2 Cor. 11:14: And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Thus, I suggest that the seven spirits of God are the seven angels/spirits (human) of the seven Churches.
First, rams have eyes and horns, and these are clearly not the same category of thing, nor are they mutually exclusive. On the topic of horns, here is what I have written (in CT 2B) on the Lamb's seven eyes and seven horns:
Moreover, the seven horns and seven eyes represented on the Lamb are potent symbols of His coming reign, with the horns signifying the completeness of the power that is now His for rulership (cf. Deut.33:17; Ps.18:2; 112:9; Zech.1:18), and with the seven eyes signifying the completeness of His empowerment by the Holy Spirit for rulership (cf. Is.11:1-3; 42:1-4; Zech.4:1-10; Jn.3:34).
Generally speaking, horns in scripture refer to power, and throughout Revelation we see "horns" describing the individual power-blocks which are part of the beast's revived Rome (with the symbolism coming from Daniel – the beast himself is the "little horn").
Eyes, however, as I believe I have mentioned before, have a different symbolism altogether. They speak to issue of perception (natural enough for us as English speakers to understand), but also to representation (i.e., the eye reflects light to the Hebrew way of thinking as well as perceiving it; for that reason the Hebrew word for eye, 'ayin [עין], sometimes means "appearance"; cf. Ezek.1:4-27). The Spirit's ministry is thus clearly connected both to the eyes (not only offering perfect information about everything going on but also perfectly communicating the gospel) and also to the horns, with the number seven indicating the perfection of deity both in the provision of power by the Spirit and in the One possessing the eyes and the horns, our Lord Jesus Christ.
So I would agree with the last bit here as long as it is understood that Spirit rather than spirit(s) is what these images are signaling.
I do not, however, see a correlation between the seven angels and the seven spirits. I take the angels as angels, but the seven spirits as a symbol for the One Spirit (cf. Is.11:2). This can be seen from Revelation 1:4-5 where between the Father and the Son we have the "seven spirits"; since they clearly refer to the Holy Spirit in that initial use, it seems equally clear that we should continue the application of the phrase in an identical way when it occurs later. Notice that these "seven" are always together in one place and are in truth indivisible in spite of their number. The seven angels on the other hand are split between the seven churches, one angel per church. That is true even if one would wish to restrict the meaning of the seven churches only to the literal seven churches of John's day (in fact the seven churches represent the seven eras of the Church following the time of the apostles down to the present day; see the link: CT 2A "The Seven Churches"). However one reads the passage, unlike the indivisible seven spirits, the seven angels do form a college, and they are geographically (and, I would argue, temporally) disparate in their location and operation. Further, the Son of God is served by angels, but not empowered by them. I don't see how the horns (or eyes or spirits) could be described as intimately attached to Him if they were angels.
Finally, the new passages introduced here to support equivalence are really laboring under the same problem of the copula. There is a category of verbs in Greek and in English which while transitive transform A into B. That is to say, A is either described in terms of B or turned into B. In either case A = B, just as in a simple copula. In the sentence, "I see the man", I and the man cannot be the same since "I" am the subject and "the man" is the object. But in sentence "I call the man my friend", "man" and "friend" are the accusative and predicate accusative respectively, that is, they are really one and the same. This also holds true for transformative verbs: "I make the man my disciple" is describing the transformation of A into B, but A still = B. In "Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire", the verb "make" is doing the same thing: A = B; A = B.
I hope I've understood your argument correctly; do feel free to write back if I have not.
In Jesus, the perfect and all-powerful Lamb of God.
If I may be permitted I would like to narrowly address the vision of Zechariah chpt. 4, and its suggested prophetic meaning. Revelation 11:3 reveals that the 'two witnesses' are an equal and direct symbolic reference to the 'two olive trees' of Zechariah's chpt. 4 visionary menorah. Meanwhile, we know then that these two witnesses do not perform their final earthly ministry until during the Tribulation period, and these two men (Moses/Elijah) are currently standing before the throne of God in Heaven along with the Seven Spirits of God (Rev. 4:5, 5:6). Going forward, during their future 42 month earthly ministry in Jerusalem they will serve as a 'medium' through which the Holy Spirit will be poured into a 'common' reservoir (the bowl), from which seven connecting conduits will transfer the symbolic Oil of the Holy Spirit to fuel and feed the attached seven lamps/eyes/lights of Zechariah's unique envisioned menorah (symbol of Christ). It is with respect to the seven lamps (which are equal to the seven eyes) in Zechariah's menorah that we should make an interpretative distinction between these seven lamps/eyes and the seven lamps/eyes which are the seven Spirits of God standing before the throne of God (Rev. 1:4, 4:5). I suggest that Zechariah's college seven lamps/eyes are mortal angels/lights (stars) which will have need of a continuous inflow of the Oil (Holy Spirit) from the two olive trees during their earthly ministry, while the other seven lamps/eyes are created angels/lights which have no need of a continuous inflow of the Holy Spirit to perform their ongoing ministries as informative eyes dispatched from Heaven into all the earth (i.e. Zechariah 1:10, 4:10, 6:5, 7). Therefore, in totality what we actually have are seven mortal earthly lamps and seven created Heavenly lamps (equivalent but not equal). Created angels are referred to in many Biblical Passages as the 'angels of God' in both the Old and the New Testaments (Gen. 28:12, 32:1, Matt. 22:30, Lk. 12:8, etc.) as are these Seven Spirits of God. And with respect to angels being 'spirits' and 'burning lamps' this is also supported in both Ps. 104:4 and Heb. 1:7.
Psalm 104:4: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:
Hebrews 1:7: And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
It is therefore as you have previously suggested with respect to Rev. 3:1 – the Seven Spirits of God are not the same as the Seven Stars. In addition, with respect to the Seven Spirits of God we must then ask are the Seven Spirits of God the same as 'the' (direct object) seven spirits/angels of Rev. 8:2, knowing perfectly well that God created many spirits/angels?
Rev. 8:2: And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.
In closing, you have previously suggested that the seven lamps of Zechariah's unique menorah (which represents Christ) work as a 'college', which I suggest is in affect how the natural seven lamps/stars and Churches function. As such, the seven lamps/eyes/stars of Zechariah's menorah 'belong' to Christ and are in His right hand (Rev. 1:20). However, while the overall complete menorah does indeed represent Christ the seven lamps have an individual meaning – mortal lamps/eyes/stars/angels and are not created beings (angels) as are the seven spirits of God. Thus, if we conclude the abstract of the Seven Spirits of God portrayed to be the 'fullness' of the Holy Spirit acting as the universal agent for light distribution with respect to Zechariah's menorah symbol Christ, we lose the inherent meaning of what the individual seven Oil receiving lamps themselves represent.
I'm not sure I understand. Here is the rub. You say,
It is with respect to the seven lamps (which are equal to the seven eyes) in Zechariah's menorah that we should make an interpretative distinction between these seven lamps/eyes and the seven lamps/eyes which are the seven Spirits of God standing before the throne of God (Rev. 1:4, 4:5). I suggest that Zechariah's college seven lamps/eyes are mortal angels/lights (stars) which will have need of a continuous inflow of the Oil (Holy Spirit) from the two olive trees during their earthly ministry, while the other seven lamps/eyes are created angels/lights which have no need of a continuous inflow of the Holy Spirit to perform their ongoing ministries as informative eyes dispatched from Heaven into all the earth (i.e. Zechariah 1:10, 4:10, 6:5, 7).
My two questions:
1) What is it that moves us away from the divinely provided interpretation in Revelation chapter one to the effect that the seven spirits = the Holy Spirit?
2) What is it that moves us towards the speculation that the these lamps are angels?
I don't see the Spirit empowering angels (cf. Heb.2:16, "For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants."), and I certainly don't see the two witnesses empowering angels. I also don't see any indication that the two witness ministry is connected to angels, and certainly not to a college of seven. Their ministry is carried out by the 144,000.
The examples in scripture of the seven angel college (in my interpretation, the archangels; see the link) always seems to be concerned with something like judgment; never something like evangelism. The seven angels overseeing the seven churches constitutes an exception since it is not a contemporaneous ministry; these churches in their main interpretation do not exist at the same time. Also, there is largely no doubt a protective capacity to their ministry to the seven churches. So while I do think these seven are also the archangels, they will no longer be functioning in their role as messengers to (or protectors of) the seven churches by the time the Tribulation begins.
With respect to your concern regarding the 'Seven Spirits' of Rev. 1:4 as being equal to the Holy Spirit there is no evidence in this chapter to support your conclusion with unchallengeable certainty. It simply states that they are 'Seven Spirits' which are before the Throne of God and in no way describes with unquestionable clarity these Seven Spirits. Moreover, as suggested earlier Rev. 8:2 also reveals 'Seven Angels/Spirits' (Psalm 104:4 & Heb. 1:7 . . .who maketh his angels spirits. . .) which likewise stood before God. Therefore, identity with respect to these Seven Spirits is somewhat ambiguous regarding whether they are The Holy Spirit or Seven Created Angels. Nonetheless, the point I was suggesting is that the Seven Spirits of God (eyes/lamps, etc.) mentioned in Rev. 1:4, 3:1, 5:6, & 4:5 are 'Created Angels/messengers' that need NO anointing of the Holy Spirit with reference to their ministries, whom are dispatched from Heaven. However, the Seven Spirits/lamps/eyes/stars of Zechariah's chpt. 4 menorah are suggested 'Human Angels/messengers' and at the time of their earthly ministries during the Tribulation they DO indeed need the anointing of the Holy Spirit that will be poured out through the medium of the Two Witnesses. As such, this then goes to the very nucleus of Church 'dispensationalism' and my original concern, because in Zechariah's menorah ALL Seven of the Lamps are present and acting as a college with the anointing of the Holy Spirit just as they were in the description of the college Seven Churches and their associated Seven Angels/Stars as initially described in Rev. chpts. 1-3. To reiterate, the Holy Spirit does NOT empower 'Created Angels' but He does empower 'Human Angels/Stars'. Moreover, the Two Witnesses do NOT empower 'Created Angels' either, but they do empty their allotments of the Holy Spirit as mediums into a 'common' bowl through which seven directly attached golden conduits empower the 'Seven Human Angels/Lamps/Stars' of the menorah during the Tribulation. Thus, this is why I suggest that we should not merely assume a broad abstract description of Zechariah's 7 Lamps as the fullness of the Holy Spirit, because in doing so the 7 lamps just simply dissolve into the overall constructive symbol of the menorah, which is of course Christ, losing their 'individual' intended identities. In summary, if the Seven Spirits of God, which would include the 7 Spirits of Zechariah's menorah, are as you suggest in your supposition as the 'fullness of The One Holy Spirit' then, Church Dispensationalism is feasible here however, if the Seven Spirits of God are as I suggest Seven Created Angels standing before the Throne of God being periodically dispatched, and not including the 7 Human Spirits/Angels of Zechariah's menorah which are equivalents but not equals, then Zechariah's menorah reveals that the original Seven CLASSIFICATIONS/TYPES (Rev. chpts. 1-3) of the Church have been and will be present all through the existence of the Church Age.
I certainly do see the seven spirits as described in Rev.1:4 as the Holy Spirit and in fact see no other reasonable application, since they are made equal to the Father and to the Son (and that can only mean the Spirit in my view).
The seven churches are the seven church eras of which we are the last: Laodicea (see the link).
As to the idea that seven humans are being referred to by the seven lights on the golden lampstand, I must confess skepticism. On the one hand, I know of no other scriptures that give seven human beings such a unique evangelistic role during the Tribulation (whereas we do see the two witnesses and their 72,000 pairs of evangelists elsewhere; see the link: "The ministry of the 144,000"); on the other hand, the menorah is a unified piece: whatever it refers to has to be "one" in its most essential symbolism, and to a degree that no group of human beings (or even angels) could ever be.
So while I think the symbolism in Zechariah is descriptive, I do not see it as being limiting in the sense of ruling out other applications. The fact that the Spirit's empowering of the two witnesses who uniquely in turn empower the evangelistic effort of the Tribulation's first half is taught by this symbol does not mean that there are not other individuals or groups involved in any such efforts at all or that the Spirit is not active in any other way at all. I fully expect believers to continue to be indwelt by the Spirit (pace hyper-dispensationlism), and for the Spirit to be fully involved in the ministry of salvation, for example, even when the two and the 144K are not directly involved (as indeed He has always been and will always be).
Apologies in advance if I have misconstrued anything here.
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.
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 begin with the identical preposition ek/from:
(1) Clearly the Father
(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, 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 they 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 (and has already been accomplished; cf. Is.11:2). 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 (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 other biblical descriptions of Him.
We know that the Holy Spirit exists. But the phrase "the Holy Spirit" never occurs in the Book of Revelation overtly; He is present in this passage, but, again, in the 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:
: 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.
The seven spirits
Thank you for your kind patience and concern with my continuing eschatological education. You suggest that with respect to Rev. 1:4-5 that the Holy Trinity is in view with John's expression of peace and joy, and as such you state that phrase of Rev. 1:4, ". . .him which is, and which was, and which is to come. . ." is clearly representative of God the Father.
Rev. 1:4: John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
However, we must read four additional verses forward Rev. 1:8, 11 to get a clear understanding of just who is being addressed by this particular phrase in question.
Rev. 1:8: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Rev. 1:11: Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Meanwhile, in the preceding verse we read:
Rev. 1:7: Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
The symbolism, representation, and naming of Father and Son are always very close in scripture – because the Son represents the Father and is the visible Presence of the Father (see the link: in BB 4A "Old Testament Appearances of Jesus Christ"). For that reason, for example, though Jesus is the One visible in the Old Testament, He is represented as "God" – which of course He is! However, it is the Son, not the Father, who has ever been the One who has visibly appeared in human history.
The Father is also the One being described in verse 11. That the Father is in view with this appellation in verse four is clear as well, since otherwise Jesus would be here twice and the whole passage would make little sense. However, as a statement of the seal of the Trinity in all three Persons upon the unveiling of the conclusion of history the suggested interpretation makes perfect sense.