“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;” (Revelation 1:4)
At the beginning of the book it is addressed in a specific manner to seven congregations located in Asia, yet the language throughout the whole book implies the intended audience is everyone. To imply that the only ones that need to take heed to the book are those seven congregations is extremely irresponsible and false. The same logic would say that the Gospel of Luke, the Acts of the Apostles, and most all of the epistles can also be ignored because they were addressed to specific individuals or congregations.
Consequently one must conclude there is a deeper purpose of the address to the seven churches, and the specific instructions to each of those congregations (shown in the second and third chapters.) For very important reasons, in 4 separate but related instances, Revelations categorizes the contents of the message into 7 parts (the number 7 is used to denote “completeness“ in numerous places of the Bible):
- 7 church congregations (representing God‘s church in every age of time), each having an angel/messenger responsible to deliver Jesus’ message (the preached Word of God) to them (Rev 2). These seven churches also represent seven different church ages, showing the principle need of the church during each age: starting with the Ephesus church age.
- 7 Seals (the door into true understanding) on the book (the Word of God) held in the right hand of God that only Jesus, the Lamb of God, was worthy to open to men understanding in – by true salvation (Rev 5). These seven seals also open understanding into the battles that the church faced (especially against church hypocrisy) during the seven ages of the Gospel day of revelation of Jesus Christ: starting with the First Seal being opened.
- 7 angel/messengers whom God gives trumpets to sound out his message (the warnings from the Word of God for the servants to gather together as one in true worship) (Rev 8). These warnings also cover much of the seven days of the Gospel day, starting with the First Gospel Trumpet warning.
- 7 “plague” angel/messengers assigned by God to each pour out a golden vial (the judgments of the Word of God against sin and false worship) “full of the wrath of God.” (Rev 16). These last vial judgments are poured out by a true and faithful ministry that has been prepared in these last days for this purpose.
It is all about delivering the true message of the Word of God. But it can only be properly done within the context of worshiping God under the true direction of his Holy Spirit. Letting the true and pure Holy Spirit of God rule in the heart of the worshipers. Therefore in this scripture (Rev1:4), and in Rev 4:5, en 5:6-7 it speaks of the “seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth”. Jesus told his disciples to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) This denotes not 7 different spirits, but rather (matching the 4 other categorizations of the message into 7 parts) the one Holy Spirit working through God’s true servants/messengers to preach the Word of God in every age of time. It also shows where true preachers anointed by the Holy Ghost get their messages from, by worshiping “before his (God’s) throne.” (Note: these are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” Heb 1:14)
- Note: The message divided up 4 different times into 7 parts also reflects the manner in which God promised the Old Testament Israelites in Leviticus 26:18-28 that he would correct them if they forsook him. Four different times he said he would correct them “seven times.”
By God’s Word and his Holy Spirit is the only way to properly worship God. Jesus said “the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) So any message of God preached by a true messenger/angel of God must be done under the anointing of the Holy Spirit that attends where the true servants of God meet and worship the King of kings.
Again, why seven Spirits? Because when Jesus speaks to each of the seven churches, he ends each message with this exact same warning: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” In every one of the 7 churches of Asia, and in every one of the 7 church ages, people must have spiritual ears to “hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” The Holy Spirit works through a true ministry in all seven churches. That’s one reason the scripture states: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (I Corinthians 12:4-6) But note: there could be differences in: gifts, administrations, and operations. But the same Word and the same Spirit of God directing it all.
Finally, Revelations 1:4 also states “from him which is, and which was, and which is to come” Jesus Christ has always “been”. He did not just come into existence when he came to earth to bring the Gospel and die for us on the cross. “Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:57-58 ) The Revelation is of Jesus himself, it would be better for us to see and honor who he is now, than to do it at the final judgement!
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:16-19)