The Seven Spirits of God: Holy Spirit, Angels, or Both? (Part 2)

The Seven Spirits of God

The Seven Spirits of God: Holy Spirit, Angels, or Both? (Part 2)

Who are the mysterious “seven spirits of God” that appear in the book of Revelation? In our previous article, we examined the chain of custody for John’s visions and found evidence indicating that the seven spirits are seven angels who collectively constitute the Holy Spirit. But what about the primary Old Testament background for these figures? Does it corroborate or invalidate our findings?

In this article, we’ll dig into two key texts identified by scholars as the basis for John’s portrayal of the seven spirits. Zechariah 4:2-10 is generally seen as the source of the “seven eyes” and “seven torches of fire” metaphors that describe the seven spirits, and Isaiah 11:1-3 LXX is a secondary text thought to shed additional light on the discussion. We’ll examine each of these passages in turn.

Zechariah

Prophet Zechariah

Scholars usually focus on Zechariah 4 when evaluating John’s “seven eyes” and “seven torches of fire” imagery. But Zechariah mentions YHWH’s “eyes” on more than one occasion, and we need to examine all of these if we are to gain a complete picture. In particular, we’ll look at Zechariah 3, 4, and 12.

Zechariah 3

Zechariah 3:8-9 — Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day.

This vision takes place at the end of the Babylonian exile. The high priest Joshua ben Jehozadak has been admitted into the heavenly temple – the location of YHWH’s “eyes” (Ps. 11:4) – to participate in a divine council meeting of angels regarding the fate of Jerusalem.1   

Joshua is purified of his sin and recommissioned to serve in the earthly temple about to be rebuilt (3:4-7). But the vision is not merely historical. We are told that Joshua represents the “Branch,” a title for the Messianic Davidic ruler to come. In this role, Joshua is given a stone with seven eyes and YHWH promises to remove the iniquity of the land (3:8-9).

Mark Boda points out that this vision almost certainly has Isaiah 3:16-4:6 in view, since the Isaiah passage similarly mentions the Messianic Branch, the fate of Jerusalem, and the removal of iniquity from the land.2 Boda doesn’t catch this detail, but in Isaiah 1:15-16 we are also told that God’s “eyes” observe the iniquity taking place in Jerusalem:

Isa 1:15-16 — 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil.

 

Isaiah 4:2, 4-5 — 2 In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. 3 And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, 4 when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. 5 Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy.

The sequence in Isaiah is striking: 1) YHWH’s “eyes” observe the iniquity of his people, 2) he judges the rebels, and 3) his presence returns via cloud and flame. This recalls the activity of the angels who functioned as YHWH’s “eyes” during Israel’s wilderness wanderings and throughout her history (see our previous article for more on this). 

We may therefore summarize the parallels between Zechariah 3 and Isaiah 1-4 as follows:

Zechariah 3 Isaiah 1-4

YHWH promises that he has “chosen Jerusalem” (3:2) and Joshua’s iniquity is removed by a group of angels in the heavenly temple where YHWH’s “eyes” are located. (3:4-5). 

A stone with seven “eyes” is presented to Joshua, who symbolizes the Messianic Branch. Iniquity is removed from the land and peace ensues (3:8-10)

YHWH’s “eyes” observe iniquity in  Jerusalem (1:15-16) and we are told iniquity will be removed from Jerusalem by a “spirit of burning” (3:16-4:4)

The Messianic Branch dwells in the land, which is protected by pillar of cloud by day and flame by night (4:2,5)

These connections suggest the possibility that the stone in Zechariah 3 represents Jerusalem, which is cleansed of sin by YHWH’s seven “eyes” and presented to the Messiah. We might reasonably conclude that the “eyes” are the group of angels who removed Joshua’s sin in the heavenly temple, since this is where YHWH’s “eyes” are located.

The sequence in Isaiah appears to support this identification, since it recalls the activity of the angels who protected Israel but also judged her sin during the exodus in their capacity as YHWH’s “eyes.” These angelic “eyes” who remove sin function similarly to the purifying “spirit of judgment” and “spirit of burning” in Isaiah 4:4 that many interpreters take to be the Holy Spirit.3

Zechariah 4

Zechariah 4:2, 10 — 2 And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it. . .” 10 “. . .These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range through the whole earth.”

In this vision, Zechariah sees a menorah with seven lamps flanked on either side by an olive tree. The fact that there are seven lamps implies a connection with the seven eyes of YHWH mentioned a few verses later. Revelation 4-5 similarly connects the seven torches of fire (Rev. 4:5) with the seven eyes (Rev. 5:6). Many scholars therefore think John’s vision alludes to the “eyes” and “fire” images from this passage in Zechariah.

But Zechariah 4 also connects the menorah vision with a figure named Zerubabbel, who was Judah’s governor at that time. After a mountain is leveled before him, he brings forward a stone to complete the temple building project. This sequence is depicted as an act of grace accomplished by the Holy Spirit (Zech. 4:5-6). Scholars widely recognize the implication that the seven lamps or eyes are a symbol for the Holy Spirit:

Zechariah 4:5-6 — 5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” 6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.

Lamps and Eyes: The Precedent

The Zechariah 4 connection between “lamps” and “eyes” may actually have an earlier OT precedent. A generation before Zechariah, the prophet Zephaniah delivered a warning about the imminent destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. His prophecy specifically features “lamps”:

Zephaniah 1:12, 3:11-12At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.’. . .3:11 “On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. But I will leave in your midst a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the LORD. . .

Commenters generally regard the “lamps” as a reference to the Babylonians who would soon invade Jerusalem. Yet, the prophecy stipulates that the prideful would be punished while the humble would be protected. This was well outside the capability and agenda of Nebuchadnezzar’s army. Therefore these “lamps” are most likely symbolic of the spiritual realm, which could discern who deserved punishment and influence the Babylonians to act accordingly.4 

The prophet Ezekiel, a contemporary of Zephaniah, gives us further insight into the spiritual realm at the time of the Babylonian invasion. He similarly prophesied the imminent fall of Jerusalem, but instead of lamps, Ezekiel listed seven angels who would search Jerusalem in their capacity as YHWH’s “eyes”:

Ezekiel 7:9 — And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the LORD, who strikes.

 

Ezekiel 9:4-64 And the LORD said to [the man clothed in linen], “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.” 5 And to the others he said in my hearing, “Pass through the city after him, and strike. Your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity. 6 Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. . .

By comparing Ezekiel 7:9 with Ezekiel 9:4-6, we see that the seven angels in Ezekiel 9 function as YHWH’s eyes. The latter scene clearly describes events that would occur in the spiritual realm at the time of the Babylonian invasion. Taken together with Zephaniah’s prophecy, we are given a picture of YHWH’s “lamps” or “eyes” – depicted by Ezekiel as angelic beings – judging the city of Jerusalem by the hand of the Babylonians.

YHWH’s Eyes and the Holy Spirit

Jewish tradition identifies the unnamed figure in Ezekiel 9 who marked the righteous for protection as the angel Gabriel.5 Perhaps this tradition arose due to the biblical account of Gabriel’s interaction with Daniel in Babylon, since Daniel was a righteous inhabitant of Jerusalem who was protected from harm throughout the Babylonian captivity.

Gabriel was sent in response to Daniel’s prayer of repentance at the end of the exile. In this prayer, Daniel asked YHWH to favorably direct his “eyes” toward Jerusalem:

Daniel 9:17Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face [Heb=paniym] to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.

Daniel connects YHWH’s “eyes” and “ears” with YHWH’s paniym, which is rendered “face” or “presence” in English translations of the OT. We find the very same parallelism in Psalm 34:15-17:

Psalm 34:15-17 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face [Heb=paniym] of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Here again we see that the “eyes” and “ears” of the Lord are equivalent to his paniym. This passage is focused upon YHWH’s deliverance of the righteous, and it builds upon vss. 6-8, where we are given another crucial piece of information:

Psalm 34:6-8 — This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Thus the deliverance achieved by YHWH’s “eyes” and “ears” – his paniym – in vss. 15-17 is accomplished by the angel of the Lord in vss. 6-8. This indicates that in Psalm 34, YHWH’s “eyes” and “ears” are figuratively describing an “angel of his paniym” (cp. Is. 63:9), who was sent in response to David’s cry for deliverance. In similar fashion, Daniel cried out for deliverance by seeking favor from YHWH’s “eyes” and “ears,” and Gabriel was sent in response.

But this is not the only way YHWH’s paniym is used. It also refers to his Holy Spirit:

Psalm 51:11  — Cast me not away from your presence [Heb=paniym], and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

 

Psalm 139:7, 16 — 7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence [Heb=paniym]? . . . 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Synthesizing all of this data, it appears that YHWH’s “eyes” – also called “lamps” in Zeph. 1:12 and Zech 4:2 – are a group of angels who represent his presence and therefore in some sense constitute the Holy Spirit.

Zechariah 12

Zechariah 12 describes the final eschatological battle involving the city of Jerusalem. Here we discover that the city will be made a “stone” that is protected by YHWH’s “eyes” (12:2-4), recalling the vision in Zech. 3:8-9. This is our first signal that the “seven eyes” of YHWH are participants in the scene.

Zechariah tells us that the remnant of Judah and Jerusalem will face an invading army of Gentile nations, but YHWH will come to their rescue by fighting against their enemies and granting them supernatural strength:

Zechariah 12:4-5 — 4 On that day, declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. 5 Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts, their God.’

Later in the chapter we are given two vivid comparisons that describe the nature of this strength:

Zechariah 12:6, 8 — 6 “On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch [LXX=lampas pur] among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples, while Jerusalem shall again be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem. . . 8 On that day the LORD will protect the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them on that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the angel of the LORD, going before them.

In these two passages, we learn that YHWH’s “eyes” are involved in supplying his people with a strength that is compared to a “flaming torch” (12:6) and “the angel of the LORD” (12:8).6 In the Greek LXX, “flaming torch” is lampas pur. This same Greek phrase is used to describe the eyes of the angel who visited Daniel in Dan. 10:6 LXX.

Thus it appears that in Zechariah 12, “flaming torch” and “angel of the LORD” are synonymous terms, both related to YHWH’s “eyes.” This is further confirmed by the fact that YHWH’s “eyes” are represented by angels in Ezekiel 7-9 and elsewhere. And it is surely no coincidence that this chapter mentions both “eyes” and “flaming torch” in the same context – the two metaphors John used in Rev. 5:6 and Rev. 4:5. 

Putting the pieces together, Zechariah depicts an eschatological scene in which the people of God are supernaturally empowered to defeat their enemies by a group of angels who are most likely the ones John later identified as the seven spirits of God.

But such supernatural strength has also been given to humans by the Holy Spirit. For example, David performed mighty exploits after his anointing because the Holy Spirit “rushed upon David from that day forward.” (1 Sa. 16:13). David’s supernatural empowerment likely stands in the background when Zechariah compares the strength of the people to that of David in Zech. 12:8.

The Holy Spirit anointing of David is also echoed by the “spirit of grace” that anoints the house of David in Zech. 12:10. Mark Boda identifies this “spirit of grace” as the Holy Spirit:

The pouring out (sapak) of a spirit (ruah) is an expression that appears in two other contexts of the Old Testament, both in prophetic literature (Ezek. 39:29; Joel 2:28–29). In these other instances this spirit is referred to as “my Spirit,” thus indicating more than just “a persuasion or conviction from YHWH that prompts a course of action.”13 God’s pouring out his Spirit is a declaration of his placing his unique and manifest presence upon his people.7

Thus the eschatological scene in Zechariah 12 describes the house of David being anointed with the same Holy Spirit power and grace that was given to their ancestor David in his day. Strikingly, a passage in Revelation 1 may also associate the grace bestowed in Zechariah 12 with the grace bestowed by the seven spirits of God:

Revelation 1:4-5, 7 — 4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth… 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

 

Zechariah 12:10 — 10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

The angelic spirits implicitly involved in the deliverance of Jerusalem function just like the Holy Spirit did when it anointed David and later gave him strength in battle. This provides further evidence suggesting that YHWH’s seven “eyes,” also known as seven “torches of fire” or seven “spirits,” describe a group of angels who collectively constitute the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 

Prophet Isaiah

Isaiah 11:1-3 LXX is a second passage often cited by scholars as a possible backdrop for the seven spirits of God. Beale notes that Rev. 5:5 refers to Jesus as the “root of David” just prior to mentioning the seven spirits of God. This could be an allusion to Isaiah 11:1 LXX, where we find seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit listed:8

Revelation 5:5-6 — 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

 

Isaiah 11:1-3 (LXX) — 1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a blossom shall come up from his root: 2 and the Spirit of God shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom (1) and understanding (2), the spirit of counsel (3) and strength (4), the spirit of knowledge (5) and godliness (6) shall fill him; 3 the spirit of the fear of God (7). . . 

Beale concludes that the seven spirits of God in Revelation correspond to the seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit listed in Is. 11:1-3 LXX. But the idea that we should infer a parallel between the seven spirits and these seven traits is tenuous at best, since the Masoretic Text (used by most English translations) only lists six traits.

Furthermore, the LXX doesn’t organize the seven traits such that each trait corresponds to one spirit. Instead, they are laid out as three pairs of traits with one spirit assigned to each pair, followed by one spirit assigned to the final trait. That’s a total of only four spirits.

But we will assume for the moment that the parallel is legitimate and John did have this passage in mind. It turns out that most of the Holy Spirit characteristics listed in Is. 11:1-3 are explicitly attributed to angels elsewhere in scripture:

Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2-3 LXX)

Angels

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom [LXX=sophia] and understanding. . . (Isa 11:2)

. . .But my lord has wisdom like the wisdom [LXX=sophia] of the angel of God to know all things that are on the earth.” (2 Sa. 14:20)

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the  Spirit of wisdom and understanding [LXX=sunesis]. . . (Isa 11:2)

And I heard the voice of a man in the midst of the Ulai. And he called, and said, Gabriel, bring understanding [LXX=sunesis] for that one [of] the vision! (Dan. 8:16)

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel [LXX=boule] and strength. . . (Isa 11:2)

God is being glorified in the counsel [LXX=boule] of holy ones; great and fearful he is over all the ones surrounding him. (Ps. 89:7)

 

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength [LXX=ischus]. . . (Isa 11:2)

 

Bless the LORD all you his angels, mighty in strength [LXX=ischus], executing his word, to hearken to the sound of his words! (Ps. 103:20)

A spirit of the fear [LXX=phobos] of God shall fill him. . . (Isa 11:3)

 

But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear [LXX=phobos] God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” (Gen 22:11-12)

Since angels possess and impart the characteristics mentioned in this passage, there is no reason Isaiah 11:1-3 would prevent the seven spirits of God from being seven angels who collectively constitute the Holy Spirit. 

The event anticipated by Isaiah 11:1-3 is, of course, the baptism of Jesus. At that event, the Spirit “rested” upon Jesus in the form of a dove and indwelled him for the duration of his ministry. It is noteworthy that the Spirit is signified by a bird, for angelic spirits are also compared to birds in the Old Testament:

Exodus 19:4 — ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore [Heb=nasa] you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.

 

Isaiah 63:9-10 — 9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried [Heb=nasa] them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.

Taken together, these two passages compare the angel who delivered Israel at the exodus to eagles transporting their young. The latter passage also sets this angel in parallel to the Holy Spirit. We find another comparison between angels and birds when God later delivered Jerusalem from the Assyrians by the hand of an angel:

Isaiah 31:5Like birds hovering, so the LORD of hosts will protect Jerusalem; he will protect and deliver it; he will spare and rescue it.”

 

Isaiah 37:33, 35-36 — 33 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. … 35 For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.” 36 And the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.

It is interesting to note that in both examples above, a single angel is mentioned, but the comparison is made to multiple birds. This suggests that the angel mentioned may represent a group of angels who were active in the situation, as we would expect if the seven spirits of God watched over Israel throughout her history.

Given this background, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, a first century Jew would likely have understood it to be angelic in nature. A striking parallel in John’s gospel underscores this point:

John 1:32 — And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend [Grk=katabaino] from heaven [Grk=ouranos] like a dove, and it remained on him.

 

John 1:51 — And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven [Grk=ouranos] opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending [Grk=katabaino] on the Son of Man.”

The only other instance when the Holy Spirit rested upon someone in visible form occurred at Pentecost. At that time it rested upon a group of people in the form of tongues of fire. There is a striking parallel between the account of this event and an OT description of angels:

Ps. 104:4 (LXX) — the one who makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.  

 

Acts 2:2-3 — 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.

In sum, both Isaiah 11:1-3 LXX and the historical event that it predicted find strong parallels in the angelic realm. This adds support to the mounting Biblical evidence that the seven spirits of God are not only angelic in nature but may also constitute the Holy Spirit. 

Conclusion

This two-part study sought to identify the seven spirits of God, based upon the context of Revelation and the Bible as a whole. In part one, we examined the chain of custody for the visions in Revelation, and found that the seven spirits are seven angels who actively functioned as YHWH’s “eyes” throughout Israel’s history. We further discovered that these seven angels occupied the same slot in the chain of custody as the Holy Spirit. 

In part two, we studied the two primary OT texts standing behind the “seven spirits” references in Revelation. Investigating Zechariah 3-12, we discovered that YHWH’s “eyes” are indeed best understood as angels, yet are also associated with the Holy Spirit. And looking carefully at Isaiah 11, we found numerous parallels between the Holy Spirit and angels, adding further support for our conclusions.

This investigation is not intended to definitively prove that the Holy Spirit is angelic in nature, but it does bring forward compelling evidence that has long been overlooked. This evidence contradicts the Trinitarian assertion that the Holy Spirit is the second member of a Triune God; instead it indicates that the Holy Spirit is a body of YHWH’s angelic agents who interact with humans on his behalf. 

  1.  While the heavenly temple is not explicitly mentioned, this scene bears the hallmarks of a “divine council” setting. A similar scene in Isaiah 6 features the commissioning of Isaiah in YHWH’s temple (see especially Is. 6:6-7, cp. Zech 3:3-4). For more on this “divine council” aspect of the scene, see Haggai, Zechariah (The Anchor Bible), Carol and Eric Myers, pp. 190-197. See also Haggai, Zechariah (NIVAC), Mark Boda, p. 251
  2.   Boda, p. 253-254.
  3.   For example, Hebrew scholars Keil & Delitzsch write of Is. 4:4: “The ‘spirit’ is in both instances the Spirit of God which pervades the world, not only generating and sustaining life, but also at times destroying and sifting (Isa_30:27-28), as it does in the case before us, in which the imperishable glory described in Isa 3:5 is so prepared.” See https://biblehub.com/commentaries/kad/isaiah/4.htm. The Benson Commentary states: “The Holy Spirit may well be called a spirit of judgment, because he executes judgment in the church, and in the consciences of men, convincing sinners of sin, leading them to judge and condemn themselves, and humbling them before God. And the same Spirit may be properly called a spirit of burning, because he burns up and consumes the dross which is in the church, and in the hearts of sinners, operates like refiners’ fire, purges believers as gold and silver are purged, (Malachi 3:3,) inflames their souls with love to God and zeal for his glory, and transforms them into his holy nature and image. This was effectually done with respect to those Jews that embraced the gospel in the early days of Christianity.” See https://biblehub.com/commentaries/benson/isaiah/4.htm
  4.   The specific function of these lamps is to “search” (Heb=hapas) Jerusalem by identifying who is to be punished and who is to be protected. It is therefore instructive that YHWH’s “eyes” are similarly said to “search” out (Heb=hapas) and the wicked among his people for punishment in Amos 9:3-4: 3 If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search (Heb=hapas) them out and take them; and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them. 4 And if they go into captivity before their enemies, there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them; and I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good.”
  5.   This is stated in the Babylonian Talmud (b. Sabb. 55a). See https://www.sefaria.org/Shabbat.55a?lang=bi.
  6.   While the passages assign one metaphor to the people of Judah and the other to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, it is clear that the same supernatural strength is being described; the timing and location are different, but salvation through supernatural strength is the end result in both cases.
  7.   Boda, p. 485.
  8.   The Book of Revelation (TNIGC), Greg Beale, p. 355.