We are getting close to the end of the Revelation; while some may yell hooray, this book has become a close friend of mine, and I feel like I am about to say goodbye for a time. You might think this journey would have answered all our questions; it has not, and I find I have more.
I also told one of my family members, who still remember the prophetic word I gave them about our mother’s death, about how I felt like the Holy Spirit told me that He would come back for His church when I finish this study. So that family member said, please let me know when you get to the last verse.
Do you realize how close we are to me finishing my study on Revelation and the soon return of Jesus to catch His bride away?
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, but I am telling you, He is coming back for those who are anxiously awaiting His return.
I don’t know if you have noticed it, but it sure seems that God is separating the wheat from the chaff regarding church bodies across, at least, this nation of America. Folks, we are a mess.
Revelation 22:8 NLT “I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me.”
Pay attention to how John opens this sentence; it is as though he is reinforcing a close relationship with good friends.
If there is such perceived relational involvement, why then does he have to say – “I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things.”?
There would be no reason at all, as someone familiar with John’s style of teaching and the life he lived would probably find him most believable. Perhaps the reality is not a problem of intimacy or the lack thereof, but with false prophets and teachers in the church. ( Even though it has been little more than sixty years since Jesus’ death, false teachers and prophets have become very real problems in the church; and still are today, if not more so.)
In trying to understand the Revelation, I have also come to understand that the writings of James, Peter, John, Jude, and finally Paul would have been read, copied, and redistributed among the known churches (howbeit not prolifically); this knowledge alone seems to invalidate the friendship point of view.
Note how John feels it is necessary to explain, “And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me.”
I remember the first time I heard the Mercy Me song, “I Can Only Imagine.” It was at a memorial service for an uncle of mine. I only bring this up because I knew of religious people who would speak as though you merely charge up to God and tell Him what to do. I shudder when I think about that kind of attitude.
How would that kind of action translate (when we get to heaven😉 if you angrily tell God what you think about Him when He did not heal someone you know, as you saw fit?
Yes, I know, I am putting human emotions on the characters in heaven and on God, and God is NOT moved by our human emotions.
When I had the opportunity to visit with this precious uncle, he would almost always have his Bible open, and I would ask him, what are you studying now? It did not matter what it was because he would make it interesting as he retold the story, and he often spoke of what it would be like to stand in the presence of Jesus. It may have been after this memorial service that I began to realize that I can’t even imagine what I will do in the presence of Jesus. Most of the time, I see myself clinging to His legs and weeping in gratitude that He would even let me into the kingdom.
The problem is that John (though the Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ) was NOT now looking at Jesus; it was an angel.
Notice what the angel says to him.
Revelation 22:9 NLT “But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!”
You may not find this interesting, but I do. The translators tell us that the angel tells John NOT to worship him. But when you look up the simplest of words, you occasionally find something entirely different.
The Greek word for worship is horaō which means to behold or look.
Perhaps John has been perceived, by the angel, as looking in awe.
Where have we seen John doing something like this before?
“And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.” (Revelation 17:6-7 NASB)
“When I saw her, I wondered greatly”
Wonder is not the same word as horaō, but John was found looking at this woman in a strange manner. Perhaps here in Revelation 17, the woman is meant to demonstrate how seductive the Babylon system is. The word wondered is the Greek word thaumazō, and it means to admire.
Are you kidding me?
Admiration, among other things, means to regard with esteem. Considering what the Babylon system is currently pushing on us, this makes me want to vomit. You would think John had lost his mind, but you know that is not true. The Babylon system works because of seduction. Think about the fact that John wondered greatly and not just for a fleeting moment.
One other thing I need you to pick up on. After the angel explains that he is a servant of God, he adds –
“I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book.”
“just like you”
I ran through the possible explanations just like some of the commentators did. Finis Jennings Dake assumed that it was a dead saint, a follower of Christ who was now with Christ.
Albert Barnes says it “may be that he mistook the rank of him (this angel may have had a rank, but the scriptures do not support that assertion) who addressed him, and supposed that he was the Messiah whom he had been accustomed to worship, and who had first [Rev. 1] appeared to him. (If you go back and read Revelation 1:1, you will see that it was God that gave John the Revelation of Jesus. Now, if I wanted to make a case, it is the same John that laid his head on Jesus’ breast there in the upper room. So it seems reasonable to think that John would recognize the Messiah if he saw him. But when John does get to see Jesus, the only one worthy to open the seals, this is what he sees.
“Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders *said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.”
Revelation 5:4-7 NASB
To continue Barnes’ quotation,
“If so, his (John’s) error was soon corrected. He was told by the angel himself who made these communications that he had no claims to such homage, and that the praise which he offered him should be rendered to God alone.”
David, the Psalmist said this about the man.
“What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!” (Psalms 8:4-5 NASB)
So, if an angel has a rank, then they, being messengers, are below humanity, and I would think that John knew that. This train of thought still doesn’t explain what we see in Revelation 22:9.
“and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book.”
It may be difficult to picture yourself as being among the prophets, but you need to know that the testimony of Jesus Christ is the Spirit of prophecy. So giving testimony of or about Jesus would be prophetic.
“Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
(Revelation 19:10 NASB)
So, not only does this come across word for word, but it validates the idea of testimony. Testimony is the Greek word marturia and means evidence.
If this does not convince you that you have a place with the Father, then maybe, as the Amplified Bible tells us “and with those who are mindful of and practice [the truths contained in] the messages of this book.”
Revelation 22:9 ends with this, Worship God!
In all things and at all times, whether it hurts and seems like God is not there or you are rejoicing, the wise thing to do is to worship God.