Revelation 19:10
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See you do it not: I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) And I fell at his feet . . .—The impulse to worship the messenger who had unfolded such visions was not unnatural: the immediate checking of it here and in Revelation 22:8-9, on the part of the angel, supplies an indirect evidence of the genuineness of the whole book, and gives it a moral tone immeasurably superior to the vision-books of pretended revelations. And he saith to me, See (or, take heed) not (i.e., to do it); I am a fellow-servant of thee and of thy brethren who have the testimony of Jesus: worship God; for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. One bond of service unites angels and men: to be servants of God is the highest title they can attain; worship is for God alone. The words “worship God” are most emphatic: “to God give thy worship, and not to me, who am but thy fellow-servant.” The angel is his fellow-servant, and at that time he was emphatically so, as he and the Apostle were engaged in one common work—“the testimony of Jesus.” The Apostle’s work in the world was the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 1:2; Revelation 1:9), and the Spirit of prophecy which moved (2Peter 1:21) the angel was likewise the testimony of Jesus. One work and one worship belong to both. He whom Apostles worshipped unrebuked (Matthew 28:9; Matthew 28:17) was the one whom all the angels of God were bidden to worship (Psalm 97:7; Hebrews 1:6). It is wonderful, with this emphatic witness to our Lord Jesus Christ, any should have undervalued this book of Revelation, as one which failed to honour Him.

19:1-10 Praising God for what we have, is praying for what is yet further to be done for us. There is harmony between the angels and the saints in this triumphant song. Christ is the Bridegroom of his ransomed church. This second union will be completed in heaven; but the beginning of the glorious millennium (by which is meant a reign of Christ, or a state of happiness, for a thousand years on earth) may be considered as the celebration of his espousals on earth. Then the church of Christ, being purified from errors, divisions, and corruptions, in doctrine, discipline, worship, and practice, will be made ready to be publicly owned by him as his delight and his beloved. The church appeared; not in the gay, gaudy dress of the mother of harlots, but in fine linen, clean and white. In the robes of Christ's righteousness, imputed for justification, and imparted for sanctification. The promises of the gospel, the true sayings of God, opened, applied, and sealed by the Spirit of God, in holy ordinances, are the marriage-feast. This seems to refer to the abundant grace and consolation Christians will receive in the happy days which are to come. The apostle offered honour to the angel. The angel refused it. He directed the apostle to the true and only object of religious worship; to worship God, and him alone. This plainly condemns the practice of those who worship the elements of bread and wine, and saints, and angels; and of those who do not believe that Christ is truly and by nature God, yet pay him a sort of worship. They stand convicted of idolatry by a messenger from heaven. These are the true sayings of God; of Him who is to be worshipped, as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit.And I fell at his feet to worship him - At the feet of the angel. See the notes on Revelation 19:9. This is a common posture of adoration in the East. See Rosenmuller's "Morgenland, in loco." notes on 1 Corinthians 14:25. John was entirely overcome with the majesty of the heavenly messenger, and with the amazing truths that he had disclosed to him, and in the overflowing of his feelings he fell upon the earth in the posture of adoration. Or it may be that he mistook the rank of him who addressed him, and supposed that he was the Messiah whom he had been accustomed to worship, and who had first Revelation 1 appeared to him. If so, his 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. It should be observed that there is not the slightest intimation that this was the Messiah himself, and consequently this does not contain any evidence that it would be improper to worship him. The only fair conclusion from the passage is, that it is wrong to offer religious homage to an angel.

And he said unto me, See thou do it not - That is, in rendering the homage which you propose to me, you would in fact render it to a creature. This may be regarded as an admonition to be careful in our worship; not to allow our feelings to overcome us; and not to render that homage to a creature which is due to God alone. Of course, this would prohibit the worship of the Virgin Mary, and of any of the saints, and all that homage rendered to a created being which is due to God only. Nothing is more carefully guarded in the Bible than the purity and simplicity of worship; nothing is more sternly rebuked than idolatry; nothing is more contrary to the divine law than rendering in any way that homage to a creature which belongs of right to the Creator. It was necessary to guard even John, the beloved disciple, on that subject; how much more needful, therefore, is it to guard the church at large from the dangers to which it is liable.

I am thy fellow-servant - Evidently this was an angel, and yet he here speaks of himself as a "fellow-servant" of John. That is, he was engaged in the service of the same God; he was endeavoring to advance the same cause, and to honor the same Redeemer. The sentiment is, that in promoting religion in the world, we are associated with angels. It is no condescension in them to be engaged in the service of the Redeemer, though it seems to be condescension for them to be associated with us in anything; it constitutes no ground of merit in us to be engaged in the service of the Redeemer (compare Luke 17:10), though we may regard it as an honor to be associated with the angels, and it may raise us in conscious dignity to feel that we are united with them.

And of thy brethren - Of other Christians; for all are engaged in the same work.

That have the testimony of Jesus - Who are witnesses for the Saviour. It is possible that there may be here a particular reference to those who were engaged in preaching the gospel, though the language will apply to all who give their testimony to the value of the gospel by consistent lives.

Worship God - He is the only proper object of worship; he alone is to be adored.

For the testimony of Jesus - The meaning here seems to be, that this angel, and John, and their fellow-servants, were all engaged in the same work that of bearing their testimony to Jesus. Thus, in this respect, they were on a level, and one of them should not worship another, but all should unite in the common worship of God. No one in this work, though an angel, could have such a pre-eminence that it would be proper to render the homage to him which was due to God alone. There could be but one being whom it was proper to worship, and they who were engaged in simply bearing testimony to the work of the Saviour should not worship one another.

Is the spirit of prophecy - The design of prophecy is to bear testimony to Jesus. The language does not mean, of course, that this is the only design of prophecy, but that this is its great and ultimate end. The word "prophecy" here seems to be used in the large sense in which it is often employed in the New Testament - meaning to make known the divine will (see the notes on Romans 12:6), and the primary reference here would seem to be to the preachers and teachers of the New Testament. The sense is, that their grand business is to bear testimony to the Saviour. They are all - whether angels, apostles, or ordinary teachers - appointed for this, and therefore should regard themselves as "fellow-servants." The design of the angel in this seems to have been, to state to John what was his own specific business in the communications which he made, and then to state a universal truth applicable to all ministers of the gospel, that they were engaged in the same work, and that no one of them should claim adoration from others. Thus understood, this passage has no direct reference to the prophecies of the Old Testament, and teaches nothing in regard to their design, though it is in fact undoubtedly true that their grand and leading object was to bear testimony to the future Messiah. But this passage will not justify the attempt so often made to "find Christ" everywhere in the prophecies of the Old Testament, or justify the many forced and unnatural interpretations by which the prophecies are often applied to him.

10. at—Greek, "before." John's intending to worship the angel here, as in Re 22:8, on having revealed to him the glory of the new Jerusalem, is the involuntary impulse of adoring joy at so blessed a prospect. It forms a marked contrast to the sorrowful wonder with which he had looked on the Church in her apostasy as the harlot (Re 17:6). It exemplifies the corrupt tendencies of our fallen nature that even John, an apostle, should have all but fallen into "voluntary humility and worshipping of angels," which Paul warns us against.

and of thy brethren—that is, a fellow servant of thy brethren.

have the testimony of Jesus—(See on [2737]Re 12:17).

the testimony of—that is, respecting Jesus.

is the spirit of prophecy—is the result of the same spirit of prophecy in you as in myself. We angels, and you apostles, all alike have the testimony of (bear testimony concerning) Jesus by the operation of one and the same Spirit, who enables me to show you these revelations and enables you to record them: wherefore we are fellow servants, not I your lord to be worshipped by you. Compare Re 22:9, "I am fellow servant of thee and of thy brethren the prophets"; whence the "FOR the testimony," &c., here, may be explained as giving the reason for his adding "and (fellow servant) of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus." I mean, of the prophets; "for it is of Jesus that thy brethren, the prophets, testify by the Spirit in them." A clear condemnation of Romish invocation of saints as if they were our superiors to be adored.

And I fell at his feet to worship him: prostration, or falling at the feet of superiors, to pay them an homage in consideration of their superiority, was ordinarily used in those Eastern countries, Genesis 44:14 1 Samuel 25:24 2 Kings 4:37 Esther 8:3. To worship him, therefore, here must be understood of prayer or praise, which are pieces of Divine adoration, which it is not probable this great apostle would have offered, had he not mistaken him, and thought him an uncreated angel.

And he said unto me, See thou do it not; but the angel doth not only refuse it, but with some indignation; Ora mh, Have a care you do it not. From whence we may observe, what a fig leaf they have made to cover the papists’ idolatry, in worshipping the bread in the eucharist, who (to show us their great skill in divinity) think they may be excused from idolatry in it, because they think the bread is turned into the body of Christ; idolatry is not to be excused by think so’s.

I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: the angel gives him a reason why there was no adoration due to him, because he was his equal in office, though not in nature; he was both his and all their brethren’s fellow servant, who by preaching the gospel give a testimony to Christ. Well, therefore, Revelation 2:1-3:22, may the ministers of churches be called angels.

Worship God; there is no prayer, no praise, due but to the Creator.

For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy: there are divers senses given of the last phrase; but of all given, there are two which seem to me most probable: either:

1. The spirit of this prophecy, by which I have revealed these things to thee, is not mine, it is the testimony of Jesus; he therefore is to be adored, not I. Or:

2. Thy preaching the gospel, which is thy testimony to Christ, is as much from the Spirit of God, as my spirit of prophecy: we are therefore equals, and I am not to be worshipped more than thou art.

We have the same, Revelation 22:8,9, to let us know that even good men may twice run into the same error; and to let us know, that by the mouth of these two witnesses this truth ought to have been establisled, so that papists should not after this have paid any Divine adoration to angels, much less to saints; and if invocation be no Divine adoration, nothing is. This deserveth the consideration of them, who think it so easy to excuse the popish religion from idolatry. And I fell at his feet to worship him,.... Being transported with the news he brought him of the marriage, or conversion of his countrymen the Jews, and struck with reverence and awe of the glory and majesty in which the angel appeared to him; and forgetting himself, that worship was only due to God, he behaved in this manner; which is not to be excused nor justified, as appears from the angel's words:

and he said unto me, see thou do it not; the words are in the original very short and concise, and are spoken in an abrupt manner, and in great haste; as fearing he would be guilty of idolatry, before he could speak all his mind, and use the arguments that were necessary to dissuade from it:

I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus; if this was one of the ministering spirits, he was a servant of the same Lord as John; and if he was a minister of the Gospel, he was still more literally a fellow servant of his, and of the apostles, and preachers of the Gospel; which is meant by the testimony of Jesus, that bearing testimony to the person, office, grace, obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ, and the glory following; and therefore being but a servant, and a servant in common with John and his brethren, was by no means to be worshipped; not the servant, but master; not the creature, but the Creator:

worship God and him only, even God the Father, Son, and Spirit; not the Father to the exclusion of the Son, the firstborn, whom all the angels are called upon to worship; nor of the Spirit, who is equally joined with the Father and Son in baptism, a part of religious worship, and in other parts of it also; but this excludes all creatures, angels, and men, things animate or inanimate, and images of them; the worshipping of which will now be no more, or at least will be quickly at an end.

For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy that is, the testimony of Jesus, or the Gospel which John and his brethren had, is the very spirit, life, and soul of the prophecy of this book; for as all the prophets bore witness to Christ, so does the Spirit of God in this; or the testimony which they had, and bore to Christ, was equal to the spirit of prophecy with which this angel was endowed; so that he and they were upon an equal foot; and he was no more a proper object of divine and religious adoration than they were.

{11} And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the {c}testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of {d} Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

(11) The particular history of this verse is brought in by occasion, and as it were besides the purpose that John might make a public example of his own infirmity and of the modest sanctimony of the angel, who both renounced for himself the divine honours, and recalled all the servants of God, to the worship of him alone: as also Re 22:8.

(c) Who are commanded to bear witness of Jesus.

(d) For Jesus is the mark that all the prophecies shoot at.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 19:10. Jewish eschatology at this point has much to say of the return of the ten tribes and the general restoration of Zion’s children from foreign lands but these speculations were naturally of no interest to the religious mind of the Christian prophet. As hitherto the command to write has come from Christ, the seer perhaps thinks that this injunction also proceeds from a divine authority (Weiss), but his grateful and reverent attempt to pay divine homage to the angelus interpres (cf. Revelation 22:8) is severely rebuked. The author’s intention is to check any tendency to the angel-worship which—(whether a Jewish practice or not, cf. Clem. Alex. Strom. vi. 5, 41; Lightfoot on Colossians 2:18; and Lueken, 4 f.)—had for some time fascinated the Asiatic churches here and there. If even a prophet need not bow to an angel, how much less an ordinary Christian? A contemporary note of this polemic is heard in Asc. Isa. vii. 21 (Christians): et cecidi in faciem meam, ut eum (the angelus interpres, who conducts Isaiah through the heavens) adorarem, nec siuit me angelus, qui me instruebat, sed dixit mihi ne adores nec angelum nec thronum. In Asc. Isaiah 2:11 the angelic cicerone even rebukes the seer for calling him Lord: οὐκ ἐγὼ κύριος, ἀλλὰ σύν δουλός σού εἰμι. The repetition of this scene (Revelation 22:8 f.), due to the Oriental love of emphasis by reduplication, is significant in a book where angels swarm (cf. Daniel 2:11).—ἡ γὰρ κ.τ.λ., “for the testimony or witness of (i.e., borne by) Jesus is (i.e., constitutes) the spirit of prophecy”. This prose marginal comment (see above) specifically defines the brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus as possessors of prophetic inspiration. The testimony of Jesus is practically equivalent to Jesus testifying (Revelation 22:20). It is the self-revelation of Jesus (according to Revelation 1:1, due ultimately to God) which moves the Christian prophets. He forms at once the impulse and subject of their utterances (cf. lgnat. Rom. viii.; Eph. vi.). The motive and materials for genuine prophecy consist in a readiness to allow the spirit of Jesus to bring the truth of God before the mind and conscience (cf. Revelation 3:14; Revelation 3:22). The gloss even connects in a certain way with τῷ θεῷ προσκύνησον. Since angelic and human inspiration alike spring from the divine witness of Jesus, therefore God alone, as its ultimate source, deserves the reverence of those whom that inspiration impresses. The prestige of the prophets lies in the fact that any one of them is, as Philo called Abraham, σύνδουλος τῶν ἀγγέλων. An angel can do no more than bear witness to Jesus. Furthermore, there is an implicit definition of the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 11:7, etc.) in its final phase as a revelation of Jesus Christ. Even the O.T. prophetic books, with which the Apocalypse claims to rank, were inspired by the spirit of the pre-existent Christ (see on 1 Peter 1:11; Barn. Revelation 19:6). But now, by an anti-Jewish and even anti-pagan touch, no oracular or prophetic inspiration is allowed to be genuine unless it concerns Jesus who is the Christ. Such is the triumphant definition or rather manifesto of the new Christian prophecy.The Error of the Seer, Revelation 19:1010. to worship him] Perhaps understanding from the last words that the speaker was God Himself. In the O. T. God had revealed Himself to men by means of angels, and men had, by falling at the feet of angels, rightly worshipped the God Who was present in them (see esp. Hosea 12:4 compared with Genesis 32:30). But since a more perfect revelation of God has been given by the Incarnation, no such divine presence in an angel is to be looked for. (So Jer. Taylor, Dissuasive from Popery, Part II. 11. Revelation 8:3.) We have therefore no need to suppose that the holy apostle was in intent guilty of idolatry; he meant the worship for God in the angel, but this being an angel and nothing more, it follows of course that he ought not to be honoured as God. See Revelation 22:8.

I am thy fellowservant] In a sense, the angels are even servants to the elect on earth, Hebrews 1:14.

and of thy brethren that have, &c.] In the parallel passage, Revelation 22:9, we have “thy brethren the prophets,” and the sense seems to be the same here, from the last words of the verse.

have the testimony of Jesus] Revelation 1:2; Revelation 1:9, Revelation 6:9, and, closest of all, Revelation 12:17. In all these the word rendered “testimony” comes near to the sense that became technical, of “martyrdom.”

for the testimony, &c.] Comparing Revelation 22:9 with the passages last cited, it seems that the sense of the passage is, “Martyrdom like thine” (the seer was at least a confessor, Revelation 1:2, perhaps, as tradition says, a proved martyr in will) “and thy brethren’s involves in it the grace of prophecy, and so places the martyrs in so close communion with God that they need no angel mediator.” But what is said to St John as a prophet is in its measure true of all Christians. All in their measure are witnesses for Christ, and all partakers of His Spirit; and therefore all are prophets in the same sense that they are all priests and kings. Thus all, if not yet “equal with the angels” (St Luke 20:36), are brought too near to God to need angels to bring Him near to them.Verse 10. - And I fell at his feet to worship him. The same thing happens again in Revelation 20:7, 8, and this makes it improbable that St. John imagined the angel to be Christ himself, as some think. More probably (as Alford, Bengel, Vitringa, Wordsworth, and others) St. John was so overwhelmed with the tremendous character of the revelation just made to him, that in his humility he pays undue reverence to the angel who had communicated it to him. This reverence may not have been exactly of the nature of that which he would render to God; but it is evident, from the reproof of the angel, that it was more than could be becomingly and safely paid to a created being. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus; saith... I am a fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren, etc. So the apostles styled themselves (Romans 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1, etc.). (On "hold the testimony of Jesus," see Revelation 1:2, 9; Revelation 12:17.) Worship God. Such also is the command of our Lord (Matthew 4:10). For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Like the words of ver. 8, these words are probably an explanation added by St. John. To prophesy is to understand and proclaim the truth concerning God, especially in the face of prevalent ignorance or opposition; this is also what is meant by holding "the testimony of Jesus." The angel in revealing these visions, the martyrs in openly professing Christ, St. John in receiving and handing on the Apocalypse, were prophesying. Thus it was that the angel announces himself to be the fellow servant of St. John, and a fellow servant with the prophets, and with those "who keep the sayings of this book" (Revelation 22:9). See thou do it not (ὅρα μή)

See not (to do it).

The testimony of Jesus (ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ Ἱησοῦ)

Some explain as the testimony which proceeds from Jesus. Jesus, by imparting this testimony to believers imparts to them the spirit of prophecy. Others, the witness which is born to Jesus. The way of bearing this witness, the substance and essence of this testimony is the Spirit of prophecy.

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