Q: “What does Revelation 5:6 mean when it talks about the seven Spirits of God? Isn’t there only one Spirit?”
A: The Bible is clear in Ephesians 4:4 there is only one Spirit, the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of God; in other words, He is the Spirit of the Father and the Son and is part of the Godhead. This is brought out in Acts 5:3-9, where He is referred to as God (4) and the Spirit of the Lord (9).
In Revelation 5, John is trying to describe what he sees and his explanation of it based on symbols in relationship to the judgment that will be executed on the world in the end days. You need to keep in mind that there are different facets of God when it comes to His sovereignty (His will and power to bring it forth), His wisdom (all knowing in what needs to be done), and the way He will manifest Himself in His work to bring glory to Him.
It is important to point out that John not only makes reference to seven spirits in Revelation 5:6, but also to seven horns and seven eyes. The number “seven” points to God bringing forth a matter to perfection. When you break seven down you have 2 + 5 which equals agreement and grace, 3+4 reminding us that all the working of earth (4) comes under the authority of the Godhead (3) and will be brought to completion (3), and 6+1 points to imperfect man being brought to perfection by his Creator. I have my understanding on what these different aspects of God represent and they may vary or be in agreement with others. My conclusions are based on what these symbols have consistently represented in Scripture.
The first one, are the horns. Horns point to authority and seven reminds us that all authority comes back to one source and that is God. The different facets of what the horns represent begins with authority, and what follows is power, rule (Law), reign (supremacy over all), kingship (kingdom), and lordship (household and owner), which equals that last facet of God’s authority which is sovereignty. Nothing happens without the Lord’s permission and everything will ultimately line up to His providential will, and in the end His perfect will, will be realized not only in heaven but on earth.
The second symbol is that of eyes. Eyes have to do with understanding. We can’t understand what we cannot see or observe. We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:7, that we are to walk by faith and not by sight. Sight points to our understanding. When we consider all eyes in relationship to God, it points to an all-seeing God who is all knowing. Godly knowledge put into practice is wisdom and God is the source of all wisdom. Let us now consider the possible facets that make up the seven eyes. We begin with knowledge that will graduate to revelation which will go on to enlightenment, followed by understanding, inspiration, and edification (application) ending with pure wisdom from above as described in James 3:17.
The final symbol is that of spirits. When we speak of spirit, we are speaking of breath and how it will manifest itself in life. This breath represents presence. When it comes to the Spirit of God, He reveals and expresses His work in various manifestations. Manifestation speaks of appearance, display or exhibit. I believe these seven spirits represent the seven manifestations of the Spirit of God. This is my take on the seven when it comes to the spirits. It begins with the presence of God that leads to truth, and becomes a fire that illuminates, purges, and separates, water that cleanses and saves, producing abundant fruit, empowering His people with gifts to stand, withstand and continue to stand, ever leading to true worship that will bring glory to God.
We also must keep this Scripture in perspective. One was being sought to open the book with seven seals but none was worthy except the Lamb of God who possesses all authority to carry out and complete the task before Him. He also has the wisdom to see it through with such precision and discretion and the abilities to execute all matters in a way that is honorable and will bring the deserved honor and glory to the Father.
This Scripture is a powerful revelation of the Lamb of God in relationship to His part in executing all justice that was entrusted to Him by the Father (John 5:22). Whenever you read the book of Revelation you must keep the main theme of it in focus to appreciate its incredible nuggets, and Revelation 1:1a gives us its theme up front, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”