Exposition of Revelation: Revelation 19:9–10

Revelation 19:9–10
Then the angel said to me, “Write the following: Blessed are those who are invited to the banquet at the wedding celebration of the Lamb!” He also said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 So I threw myself down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “Do not do this! I am only a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony about Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
(NET Bible)

A messenger from God

The task of being a messenger has its perils. Over the centuries not a few messengers have been sent back to their masters in pieces. On the other hand, messengers for the powerful have sometimes enriched themselves when the recipients of the message attempted to buy influence.

God is not looking for messengers concerned for their own interests; he is looking for those willing to share his message humbly and truly. Do you fit the description?

If you like fine wine, you are going to have a wonderful time at the wedding celebration of the Lamb! When Jesus was sharing the cup of wine with his disciples at the last supper, he said, “I tell you, from now on I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29). The angel says those who share that wine are “blessed” (19:9). The prophet Isaiah described the banquet by saying, “The Lord who commands armies will hold a banquet for all the nations on this mountain. At this banquet there will be plenty of meat and aged wine– tender meat and choicest wine” (Isa. 25:6).

John is momentarily overcome by the revelations he has been given — a common experience when encountering angels — and he worships the angel, who swiftly rebukes him (19:10). Grant Osborne points out that the angel’s reply teaches us that angels are not above human beings in God’s created order because the angel calls himself “a fellow servant with you” (19:10).[1] The angel uses the Greek noun sundoulos meaning “fellow-slave.”[2]

The next issue we face is determining the meaning of the clause “the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (19:10b). First, the term “Holy Spirit” never occurs in Revelation; instead, the word “spirit” — Greek pneuma — generally refers to the Holy Spirit in Revelation. With Osborne,[3] I think the clause in question is best translated: “The testimony about Jesus is Spirit-inspired prophecy.” That makes excellent sense in a context in which abundant testimony is being given about Jesus.

Whose message is it?

There are always a few self-proclaimed “men of God” — women may also qualify — who get confused about whose kingdom they are serving, God’s or their own. They draw attention to themselves. I would not want to be in their place when Jesus demands an accounting (James 3:1).

We are all messengers for God in our role as ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20). Jesus spoke about part of the Spirit’s role when he said, “He will glorify me, because he will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you” (John 16:14). Our role is like that of the Holy Spirit in that we are to testify about Jesus. After all, we are only invited to the wedding feast; the host is the Lamb!

Copyright © 2011 by Barry Applewhite. All rights reserved worldwide. Derived from material created for Christ Fellowship, McKinney, Texas. Used by permission.



[1] Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002) 677.

[2] W. Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3d ed. Revised and edited by F. W. Danker, translated by W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich and F. W. Danker (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2000)  sundoulos, fellow-slave, q.v.

[3] Osborne, Revelation, 678.

Do you have an opinion or a different interpretation? Let me know!