Saturday, 28 May 2011 10:04

Pt. 24 - Seven Spirits and the Sea of Glass

From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. (Revelation 4:5-6)

Lightning, Rumblings and Thunder

LightningWhen we read from the Psalms or Job, we certainly get the idea that lightning and thunder are symbolic of God’s power and majesty, and in the Revelation there are several instances that build on that idea. For instance, “peals of thunder” are mentioned six times and “thunder” is mentioned once, with each of those seven instances accompanying seven pivotal moments in the drama. It’s as though they were symbolizing a pronouncement of a course of action dictated by God himself. And that is probably the case, since the “seven thunders” that we’ll read about in Revelation chapter 10 seem to confirm this idea;

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke.  (Revelation 10:1-3)

So as we read along in the Revelation, we’ll have to pay special attention to the moments where “thunder” is heard, since those are the moments where God is roaring and moving in the world.

The Seven Spirits of God

In Chapter 1 of the Revelation we found a reference to the “seven stars” that Jesus holds in his right hand, and these seven stars turned out to be seven angels or spirits. However it’s highly unlikely that those spirits are the same “seven spirits” that are in view in this passage. Here we are probably looking at the seven-fold Holy Spirit of God that we find represented in Isaiah 11;

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. (Isaiah 11:1-3)

Seven_LampsIn the example of the “seven stars”, each of those angels were related to one of the seven menorahs or “lampstands” that constitute the Tree of Life that the Revelation is built upon.  But in this instance, the seven spirits of God are represented by seven “lamps” (Lappideem) not seven “lampstands” (Menorot). This would suggest and entirely different set of seven spirits that we’ll explain with a Hebrew pictographic study. 

‘Lappideem’ is the plural form of ‘Lappid’, which simply means lamp. Lappid is comprised of the Hebrew letters Lamed, Pey, Yud and Dalet. In modern Hebrew letters, the word would look like this, reading from right to left;


However, in the original pictograph form of Hebrew, those same letters with their corresponding meanings would look like this;

AA_-_LamedThe ‘Lamed’ is a shepherds staff and carries the potential meanings of teach, yoke, bind, or to. For reasons that will become obvious, we will choose the meaning ‘to’ in this instance.

AA_-_PeyThe ‘Pey’ is a picture of a mouth, and has the various meanings of blow, scatter or edge.  In this instance we’ll choose ‘scatter’, or more to the point, ‘spread’.       

AA_-_YudThe ‘Yud’ is a picture of an arm and hand, which can suggest the meanings work, throw, or worship, and in this case it’s ‘worship’ that we’ll lock on to.

AA_-_DaletThe ‘Dalet’ is a picture of a hanging door on a tent, which has the potential meanings of move, hang or entrance.  Here we will choose ‘entrance’ or simply ‘enter’

When we assemble the four meanings that we’ve chosen for our four pictographs, we then have the following;  TO-SPREAD-WORSHIP-ENTER

On the surface this may not seem like anything significant, but consider what this would mean if our seven ‘Lappid’ or lamps really DO represent the seven-fold Holy Spirit. Ask yourself, WHO is it that draws men to God so they can enter into his rest?  It’s the Holy Spirit, whose purpose according to these pictographs would be;

“to spread worship that enters”

From this, we can develop the clear relationship between the seven lamps that represent the seven spirits. These lamps were designed “to spread worship that enters”, which is one of the primary roles of the Holy Spirit. 

The Sea of Glass, Clear as Crystal

In most commentaries on the Revelation this ‘sea’ is described as a floor of glass in front of the throne, but the truth of this symbol is actually something quite different. The Sea was simply the large metal laver standing in front of the Holy Place where the priests would wash to make themselves ceremonially clean. Only then would they be able to enter into the service of God in the Temple. 1Kings describes the Sea in this way;

SeaHe made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. Below the rim, gourds encircled it—ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea. The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths. (1Kings 7:23-26)

From scripture we can easily deduce that the temple in heaven served as the inspiration for the temple in Jerusalem, and as such, we should expect to find the same symbolic furnishings in both places. Scriptures makes it quite clear that these things appear very pure and clear like glass or crystal in heaven, which is an obvious allusion to heaven‘s purity. But these corresponding components were made of various metals in the earthly temple. With that distinction aside, consider the similarities between earth’s Sea of bronze, and heaven‘s “Sea of glass“;

Sea_of_Bronze1) The Temple on Earth
   - Priests symbolically washed in the Sea of bronze
   - The Sea of bronze contained ‘living water’
   - Priests could not serve in the Temple until they are washed

Sea_of_Glass2) The Temple in Heaven
   - Saints symbolically wash in the “Sea of Glass”
   - The “Sea of Glass” contains ‘living water’
   - Saints can not serve in the Temple until they are washed

It’s important to note that the Sea of glass is merely a symbolic laver in heaven intended to represent the washing that Christians receive when they accept Jesus as their Messiah. In fact, almost the entire Revelation is written as a ‘vision’ where the symbols provided to us are intended to represent a greater truth, rather than merely a literal thing. And before we leave this particular vessel, there is one more greater truth about the Sea that needs to be revealed; during the tribulation, it will be mixed with fire.

The Sea of Glass, Mixed With Fire

While heaven’s Sea of glass was “clear as crystal” in the example above, a bit later in the Revelation we find this same Sea “mixed with fire”;

Sea_of_Glass__FireAnd I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. (Revelation 15:2)

Once again, while most commentators portray this sea of glass as a glass floor before the throne, that misses the point entirely. Instead, it’s the same laver full of water that we saw above. But why would it be “mixed with fire” at this point in the drama?  The answer is simple.

In the first instance in chapter 4 we read about the Sea BEFORE the great tribulation has begun, therefore saints were entering heaven peacefully and without travail. But by chapter 15, the rapture will have come and gone, and those that make it to heaven will now have to suffer through the fire of unprecedented persecution by the Beast. This means they will have to be martyred to enter the presence of God. This fact is mentioned quite notably in the pronouncement occurring just before Revelation 15;

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

Those who miss the rapture will be those who did not yet believe in Jesus and his Gospel message, and the Lord refers to them as "the dead" in this instance. They are dead to him because they did not believe in his message or his Son's atoning death at the cross. But God is a God of second chances, or in this case, last chances, so the ‘dead’ that finally come to him during the great tribulation will still be saved. But this time they will have to die for the honor of entering his heaven. They will be martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ during a time when the Beast is eliminating all Jews and Christians from the earth.


In the next post we’ll examine the ‘four living creatures’, which require an entirely separate study due to their importance in the overall scheme of things.
Read 6126 times

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated.
Basic HTML code is allowed.