Interpreting the seven spirits of God

The following image is considered to be the most historically accurate interpretation of the 7 lamps of the menorah as described in Exodus 25:31-32. It is a likeness of the golden candlestick robbed from the Herodian temple by the soldiers of Titus in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. It would go on to become the emblem for the State of Israel.

Arch of Titus

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Exodus 25:31-32 31 “You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. 32 And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side.”

While these are of one piece (God is one), I want to suggest to you that the seven branches are not all of the same weight. If you look carefully at the symbol and the language of the text, six flow out of the sides. The one in the center, supports the other six.

“So what?”, you ask. We are commonly taught in churches that the seven spirits of God as described in the book of Revelation map to the seven spirits of God in Isaiah 11. As I read the text in Isaiah 11 below, I read it as the Spirit of the Lord with an enumeration on six different branches that flow out of the one. How can we separate the spirits of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord from the spirit of the Lord? For example, isn’t the spirit of wisdom part of the spirit of the Lord? I believe the spirit of the Lord supports the other six.

Isaiah 11:1-2 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
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

Seven is a symbol of fullness or perfection in the Bible. However, it doesn’t prescribe that perfection looks like uniformity. On the seventh day, God rested for example. 

Recall that in the book of Revelation, the number six is given threefold to the antichrist (Revelation 13:18).  Six is described as the number of man (who was created on the sixth day).  It was considered that on the sixth day that the creation of man was very good, however it’s one short of fullness.  Man without Christ is incomplete.  Without things flowing from the spirit of the Lord, knowledge, power, understanding are all lacking and fall short of the glory of God.

For this model, Jesus gives us instruction and insight on abiding as described in the book of John.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Jesus describes himself as the vine, or in other words, the stem or main branch and root. We have to stay connected to the source or main branch to be effective.  Man (the six) flowing out of the one (Christ). 

I believe that the six spirits in Isaiah 11 (wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord), flow out of the spirit of the Lord – the main branch. 

I hope this is helpful in perhaps looking at some scripture from a different perspective. May the spirit of the Lord lead us into all truth!

Author: tdieterich

As someone who is getting to know and try to follow Yeshua, I'm trying share deeper things in the scriptures.

2 thoughts on “Interpreting the seven spirits of God”

  1. Loved this, Tim! Makes perfect sense to me! And love that we need to be “plugged in” to be complete and to receive these. Hugs, Maureen ________________________________

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