Revelation 19:10

I fell at his feet to worship him . . . see that you do not do that!
Later, after seeing the revelation of the New Jerusalem and the eternal state, John falls again before an angel to worship (Rev. Rev. 22:8+). The events John sees, the glory of the angel, and the desire for John to worship are such that he is apparently overcome. Perhaps what transpires is best explained by the divine purpose in what results: a stronger emphasis on the prohibition of the worship of angels.

In our own day, many confuse the uniqueness of the Creator with that which He has created. Angels, like men, are created beings. Thus, they are not to be objects of worship: “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” (Col. Col. 2:18). When we see people placing great emphasis upon angels, even worshiping them (Satan being an angel), we see the effects of the reprobate mind which rejects God. Those who exchanged the truth of God for the lie “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Rom. Rom. 1:25). This Creator/creature distinction is the ultimate reason why Jesus refused to yield to the temptation of Satan—for it would have meant the Creator worshiping one of His creatures (Mtt. Mat. 4:9-10)!

Unlike John, no rebuke was given when Joshua fell on his face to worship the Commander of the army of the LORD. In fact, the Commander said, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy” (Jos. Jos. 5:15b). Earlier, when John first saw the glorified Jesus, he fell at His feet as dead (Rev. Rev. 1:17+). The absence of any rebuke in the foregoing situations indicates that the object of worship was none other than God—Jesus Christ!

I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren
Like the people of God, the elect angels are His servants and do His will (Ps. Ps. 103:20; Dan. Dan. 7:10; Luke Luke 1:19; Heb. Heb. 1:14). Angels can be considered to be John’s brothers in the sense that they share in the mission of carrying out God’s will. They can also be considered his brothers because, like believers, they are “sons of God.” Angels are called “sons of God” (Gen. Gen. 6:2, Gen. 6:4; Job Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Job 38:7) because, like Jesus (Luke Luke 1:35) and Adam (Luke Luke 3:38), they were created by a direct act of God. This can be said for all those who are spiritually born of God (Luke Luke 20:36; John John 1:12; Rom. Rom. 8:14, Rom. 8:19; Gal. Gal. 3:26). It is in this dual sense of doing God’s will and having their genesis in God that the angel could say he was of John’s brethren, the saints.

who have the testimony of Jesus
Although John bore witness to the testimony of Jesus, the testimony provided by Jesus (subjective genitive, Rev. Rev. 1:2+), he suffered exile to Patmos because of what he testified concerning Jesus (objective genitive, Rev. Rev. 1:9+). Later, when John attempts to worship the angel who shows him the New Jerusalem (Rev. Rev. 22:9+), the angel reminds John once again that he is of John’s brethren. Here, the brethren “have the testimony of Jesus.” There, the angel refers to the brethren as those who “keep the words of this book” . If the two phrases are equivalent, then the testimony emphasizes the preservation of the revelation provided by Jesus to John (Rev. Rev. 1:1+). Preservation of the words is of little value if they are not promulgated to those who have yet to hear. Those who come to faith believe the testimony of the Father concerning the Son (Sos. 1:1Jn. John 5:9-10). See commentary on Revelation 1:2.

Worship God!
When Cornelius met Peter, he fell down and worshiped him, but Peter stood him on his feet and explained that, like Cornelius, he was just a man like Cornelius (Acts Acts 10:25-26). After seeing a miraculous healing by Paul, the people of Lystra attempted to sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul. Paul explained that he and Barnabas were also men of the same nature (Acts Acts 14:10-15). The first of the Ten Commandments written by the finger of God specifies that men “shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex. Ex. 20:3). The second commandment prohibits the making of carved images nor bowing down to them. This includes any likeness of something in heaven, on the earth, in the sea, or under the earth (Ex. Ex. 20:4). Therefore, the worship of angels is prohibited. When Satan tempted Jesus to worship him, Jesus replied, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve’ ” (Mtt. Mat. 4:10).

For the testimony of Jesus
Testimony is μαρτυρία [martyria] : “attestation,”1 “with Christ as the content . . . witness of (or about) Jesus.”2 The phrase testimony of Jesus can be understood in two ways. If Jesus is the subject, then Jesus is the source of the testimony (subjective genitive). If Jesus is the object, then the testimony concerns Jesus (objective genitive). Does this verse teach that the testimony from Jesus is the spirit of prophecy? Or that the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy? Both of these statements are certainly true. For it is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ (John John 14:18; Rom. Rom. 8:9; 1Pe. 1Pe. 1:11) Who is the source of all prophecy (see below) and the primary focus of the revelation He provides concerns Jesus. See commentary on Revelation 1:1 and Revelation 1:2.

In the book of Revelation, the testimony (or witness) to Jesus dominates as the reason for the persecution and martyrdom of the saints (Rev. Rev. 1:9+; Rev. 6:9+; Rev. 11:7+; Rev. 12:11+, Rev. 12:17+; Rev. 20:4+). Scripture records the volume of the book is written of Him (Ps. Ps. 40:7; Heb. Heb. 10:7). On the road to Emmaus, Jesus said, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke Luke 24:25a). Then Luke records, “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke Luke 24:25b). Later, Jesus appeared to His disciples and explained, “all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke Luke 24:44). Jesus told the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me” (John John 5:39). Paul said that to Jesus, “all the prophets witness” (Acts Acts 10:43a). Peter said, “Of this salvation [through Jesus] the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1Pe. 1Pe. 1:10-11).

is the spirit of prophecy.
All revelation given by God through His prophets was by the Spirit. “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue” (2S. 2S. 23:2). “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin” (Mic. Mic. 3:8). When Jesus referred to David’s statement in Psalm Ps. 110:1, He said, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord”?” (Mtt. Mat. 22:43). Peter said, “this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas” (Acts Acts 1:16). Jesus said it would be by “the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father” that the apostles would receive testimony concerning Him (John John 15:26), “He will tell you things to come” (John John 16:13). The NT prophet Agabus “stood up and showed by the Spirit that there as going to be a great famine throughout all the world” (Acts Acts 11:28). Later, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles’ ” (Acts Acts 21:11). Two passages written by Peter, by the power of the Spirit, are of particular importance:

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into. (1Pe. 1Pe. 1:10-12)

Peter indicates that it was “the Spirit of Christ who was in” the prophets that testified. Thus, the Spirit of Jesus was the empowering source of their testimony. Yet Peter also indicates that the Spirit “testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” In other words, the message which the Spirit testified concerned Jesus Christ.

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2Pe. 2Pe. 1:19-21)

Peter indicates that all prophecy came by the Spirit. When the prophets spoke, God spoke by His Spirit. They were moved (φερόμενοι [pheromenoi] ) by the Holy Spirit. It was not their own will, but God’s initiative which produced their inspired testimony. They were born along by God’s Spirit much like a ship is driven by wind and weather (Acts Acts 27:15). They were not in ultimate control, but were vessels which God moved according to His purpose (John John 3:8).

Notes

1 Frederick William Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 493.

2 Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 254.

Read Revelation 19:10