Revelation 22:6-9 – John Rebuked for Worshipping an Angel

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POSTED 11 FEBRUARY, 2018

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume II

“And he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true’; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. ‘And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.’ I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.’”

The Apostle John is given a surety that the revelation he has been given is something reliable and steadfast. In Revelation 22:6, it is contextually deduced that the One God of Israel is the entity which is speaking: “These words are true and trustworthy: ADONAI, God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must happen soon” (CJB/CJSB). In the dialogue which immediately follows, though, who is speaking? It is said, “And behold, I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:7), or “And behold, I am coming soon (RSV/ESV), kai idou erchomai tachu. Contextually, this can only be Yeshua the Messiah speaking of His return to Planet Earth. As far as it involves the nature of the Messiah, the statements spoken in Revelation 22:6 and 7 are represenative of the close interconnectivity of the Father and Son seen throughout the text. The thought of Isaiah 40:10 is worthwhile to consider here: “Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him and His recompense before Him.”

John has an assurance that what he is shown is something which is sure and Divine, and so he proceeds to venerate the angel or messenger which had been directing him. Revelation 22:8 notably includes usages of both the verbs piptō or “to fall,” and proskuneō or “to worship.” It was not sufficient for John to just fall down to honor the angel; it is clear that John’s intention was to worship the angel: epesa proskunēsai emprosthen tōn podōn tou angelou, “I fell to worship before the feet of the angel” (Brown and Comfort).[1] This is a repeat of what had taken place earlier in Revelation 19:10.

John is appropriately rebuked for trying to worship a created being or entity: “but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book’” (Revelvation 22:9, NRSV). Here, the angel or messenger is to be regarded as a colleague in the Kingdom of Light, who serves the interests and purposes of God the same as redeemed humans such as John. John is directed by the angel, “Worship God,” tō Theō proskunēson. When however, veneration is issued toward Yeshua the Messiah involving the verb proskuneō or “worship,” one does not see any rebuke issued.


NOTES

[1] Brown and Comfort, 912.