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And to the angel of the church of Sardis, write: These things saith he, that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast the name of being alive: and thou art dead.
St. Augustine
The Holy Spirit, therefore, is aptly represented by the septenary number. The prophet Isaiah likewise says, "The Spirit of God shall rest on Him;" and thereafter calls our attention to that Spirit in His septenary work or grace, by saying, "The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety; and He shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of God.(Isa. 11:2-3)" And what of the Revelation? Are they not there called the seven Spirits of God, while there is only one and the same Spirit dividing to every one severally as He will? But the septenary operation of the one Spirit was so called by the Spirit Himself, whose own presence in the writer led to their being spoken of as the seven Spirits. [On the Gospel of John Tract 122 Verse 8]
And many such instances are found in the divine authorities, in which the number seven is, as I said, commonly used to express the whole, or the completeness of anything. And so the Holy Spirit, of whom the Lord says, "He will teach you all truth,(John 16:13)" is signified by this number seven, as in “the seven spirits.” [City of God Book 11 Chapter 31]
Concerning the 7 stars, which he now calls the spirits of God, an explanation has been given in 1:16. It is customary in Holy Scripture to call dead those who are involved in sins, as Paul in his great wisdom writes about those who have changed from unbelief to the faith of Christ: “And you who were dead in your transgressions he made alive together with Christ.(Col. 2:13)” And the Shepherd of Hermas says that some have gone down into the water of the font as dead and have come up again living.(Similitude 9:16;4).
St. Andrew of Caesarea
The seven stars, we said previously, are the divine angels, and the seven spirits are either the angels themselves or the acts of the life-giving Spirit, both of which are in the hand of Christ. On the one hand if the stars represent angels, as the Master, he rules them; and on the other hand if they represent the Spirit He bestows the Spirit, being of the same essence as the Spirit. He also reprimands the church for having only the bare name of living faith, having become dead with respect to good deeds.
St. Bede
Sardis. He reproves this angel, that is, the bishop, as not sufficiently diligent in correcting the bad. He commends him, however, as having some who walk in white, and the name Sardis agrees with these, as that of a precious stone.

name. To thyself, indeed, thou seemest to be alive. But if thou art not watchful in the correction of the wicked, thou wilt henceforth be numbered among the dead.


Bulus al-Bushi

The seven spirits mean the orders of the church, and the seven stars mean that he holds all things as was stated above. He said that He knows your works, that ism, that he examines everything. It was for this reason that He said, “You have a reputation for being alive but you are dead.” He means, as a lesson for all, that the dead is not in accordance with the reputation but is in fact opposed to it.


Nicholas of Lyra

And to the angel of the church of Sardis Some expositors say that this was St. Melito, whom they assert was Bishop of Sardis at the time and was perfected by martyrdom there. Granting the things that are said concerning him there-that he was a martyr and bishop-this does not confirm their interpretation. These things saith he, that hath the seven spirits That is, all of the angels assisting Him. and the seven stars That is, all of the bishops, as it has been said in Chapter 1. and thou art deadSpiritually, according to the truth.

Cornelius a Lapide
Many there are who externally appear to be kind, affable, eminent, because they pay great attention to the external worship of the church, the ornaments of the altar, the splendor of the architecture, large eleemosynary donations, &c.; but their own internal state, such as their vices, their ignorance, their hazards of salvation, they pay no attention to; although this is the principal office of a bishop.
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