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John worships the angel - Artist Unknown

The angel told John,

“These words are trustworthy and true. God sent his angel to show his servants what things must soon take place and tell them, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

John confirmed in his epilogue that he personally witnessed the things he wrote of. When his vision ended, John fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing the events to him. The angel said,

“Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant like you and as with your fellow prophets and all who keep the words of this scroll, worship God only!”

Mighty angel with John and the bookThe angel instructed John,

“Do not seal up the words of this prophecy because the time is near. The one who does evil must continue to do evil, the one who wallows in moral filth must continue to wallow in moral filth, the one who does good must continue to do good, and the one who is holy must continue to be holy.”

What the story means to us today

Revelation – a message inspired by God

As we near the end of Revelation, the angel confirms that the visions John sees came from God. John confirms to the readers that he accurately wrote what he saw. Thus, we can be confident that what we read in Revelation is inspired by God and intended for our consumption. Not all will believe, however. Those that are evil will continue to be evil and those that are good will continue to be good while they wait for his return.

Additional thoughts and considerations

The sealing of the vision

The angel tells John, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll.”

This differs from the scroll given to Daniel in the Old Testament. It also differs from apocalyptic literature in general which tends to apply to events in the far future. Rather than sealing up the scroll, John must ensure it is available to all Christians from his time to all those in the future.

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John’s attempt to worship the angel

John’s “worship” of the angel was not intended to be an affront to God. He simply got caught up in the moment. This can happen to any of us. Just remember, we don’t worship “goodness” in people or anything else but rather God and God only.

The things in John’s vision must take place “soon”

John and the angel - Unknown artistJohn is told that God sent his angel to show his servants “the things that must soon take place”. How soon is soon?

This closing is typical of apocalyptic literature. Rather than specifying an immediate timetable of events, the angel simply says they will take place soon to suggest the events are imminent.

Notes on Biblical translation

“Let the ones who are evil continue to be evil”

The verses tell us “the ones who do evil will continue to do evil while the ones who do good must continue to be good”. Some translate this as “the ones who are evil will continue to be evil”. To some, this implies a lack of choice or a sort of fatalistic view of things. This is not the case. The original Greek is difficult but implies a sort of evangalistic message, not one that implies bad people must continue to be bad. The gist of the message is this: there is a choice to be made between good and evil.

Bible Text

NIV

6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”

10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The NET Bible

22:6 Then the angel said to me, “These words are reliable and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon.”

22:7 (Look! I am coming soon!

Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy expressed in this book.)

22:8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things, and when I heard and saw them, I threw myself down to worship at the feet of the angel who was showing them to me. 22:9 But he said to me, “Do not do this! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets, and with those who obey the words of this book. Worship God!” 22:10 Then he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy contained in this book, because the time is near. 22:11 The evildoer must continue to do evil, and the one who is morally filthy must continue to be filthy. The one who is righteous must continue to act righteously, and the one who is holy must continue to be holy.”

John worships the angel - Unknown artistBiblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

New King James Version

6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

The Message

The Angel said to me, “These are dependable and accurate words, every one. The God and Master of the spirits of the prophets sent his Angel to show his servants what must take place, and soon. And tell them, ‘Yes, I’m on my way!’ Blessed be the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

8–9 I, John, saw all these things with my own eyes, heard them with my ears. Immediately when I heard and saw, I fell on my face to worship at the feet of the Angel who laid it all out before me. He objected, “No you don’t! I’m a servant just like you and your companions, the prophets, and all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

10–11 The Angel continued, “Don’t seal the words of the prophecy of this book; don’t put it away on the shelf. Time is just about up. Let evildoers do their worst and the dirty-minded go all out in pollution, but let the righteous maintain a straight course and the holy continue on in holiness.”

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. 10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archaeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database

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