Summary: The anointing of the Holy Spirit on Jesus is available to Christians today.
The Seven Spirits before the Throne
Bible Text: Revelation 1:4-8
To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father--to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
The Book of Revelation begins with these words:
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place." Revelation 1:1
This introduction sets forth two primary purposes for studying this book. First, the book is a revelation of Jesus Christ. Both his person and work are described. He is described as lord of history – past, present and future. There is great value in reading the Book of Revelation as a quest to better know our Lord and learn more about his work.
Second, the book is about the future. Though there are many different interpretations about the various symbols and metaphors found throughout the book, this should not deter us from exploring their meaning.
One very important thing to keep in mind as you read this book is that many of the things about which you read first appear in the Old Testament. By studying the Old Testament counterpart, you can learn a great deal about what is being said. Such is the case with reference to “the seven spirits before his throne”.
The author of the Book of Revelation was the apostle John. At first he was a disciple of John the Baptist (John 1:35), and later was one of the first six disciples called by Jesus in His early ministry in Judea (John 1:37-51). We find later that he had a home in Jerusalem and it was to that home he took Mary, the mother of Jesus. At his death, Jesus entrusted his mother to his care (John 19:26,27). John is referred to as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20). He became known as the “apostle of love” which is most clearly seen by reading the epistles he wrote.
Roman authorities exiled John to the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. It was here that he received the message of the Book of Revelation. His testimony about how this happened is important. He said:
"I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea." Revelation 1:9-11
I do not know of any Christian who cannot relate to John’s experience of suffering in some way or another. As an exile John would have known the pain of separation from his loved ones and his church. Banishment of this type is not easy to overcome and demanded, as he put it, “patient endurance”.
In the midst of his sorrow came the “revelation of Jesus Christ”. Jesus is always the answer to human suffering.
The revelation came during a remarkable occurrence. John was “in the Spirit”. This was not a trance or a stupor resulting from anguish, it was a deep and intense spiritual experience.
Some Christians believe that the Book of Revelation is too difficult to understand. They see it as a mystery that cannot be known more than a “revelation” that can be known. There is, I believe, a need for us to recognize the privilege that God gives to all believers to understand things that transcend the limited scope of human intellect. There is a level of knowledge and understanding available to all believers as a result of “being in the Spirit”. The Bible shows this state as being something more than a remarkable occurrence in the life of a great apostle. Note the following scriptures:
"for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17