Revelation 22:8-16 (ESV):

8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

I'm searching in vain trying to find a justification for switching between different people speaking to John; first, an angel who tells him not to worship him but God, and then Jesus saying he will come soon. What justifies an understanding of one verse being the angel, and the very next statement coming from Jesus, yet Jesus is not that very angel?

In verse 10, speaking of the angel, John says, "And he said to me...," then continues the quote all the way to the end of verse 13. Reading it as it is seems a bit confusing because John quotes someone speaking to him in verse 10 and that quote doesn't end until the end of verse 13, yet we are told that it is one person speaking in 10 and 11, but someone else in verses 12 and 13. Where is the justification for that?


5 Answers 5


Frequently, an "Angel of the LORD" will appear in passages throughout the Bible to bring a message to an individual. In these instances, the speech used is always that of God himself. Tradition held that messages came with the full authority, weight, and force of the person who sent it. This messenger was an extension of the originator of the messenger himself, which is why you "don't shoot the messenger".

This occurs in Exodus 3, for example, in verse 2, it states "The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from within a bush. He looked—and the bush was ablaze with fire, but it was not being consumed!" yet a little later in verse 6, it states that the angel of the LORD says "'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God."

So this is not an altogether uncommon occurrence. There are numerous other examples, but in short, It is Jesus speaking, but through his vessel, his messenger, the Angel of the LORD who is delivering the message to John. In fact, the word "Angel" can be and often is translated as "messenger".

Thus, when the messenger states that he is the LORD and that he is God, the messenger is not making a claim, he is simply reciting and delivering the message. We are not to understand that the angel himself is God, but that the one who spoke the message is God. This is why the angel refuses worship - it is inappropriate to worship him because he is not God, merely his messenger

  • 1
    It is clear from the context of the reference that you gave that it was not merely a created angel of God that appeared to Moses, but God himself. It also seems clear from the context of Revelation 22, and without prior knowledge of other Scriptures, that the angel speaking is clearly denying worship because he is not God, yet a few lines away expresses himself as though he is. Is it to be understood that the angel stopped speaking and God began speaking telling us that his second coming would be soon? Or, is it that there is only one other person speaking in this passage besides John?
    – MiamiDan
    Sep 1, 2015 at 7:52
  • Expanded my answer based on your questions Sep 1, 2015 at 15:36
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    Hmm... that is an interesting perspective. Thank you J Shewey. I will have to give some consideration to that point of view since it is new to me. However, off the top of my head, I have reservations about the angel of the Lord with Moses was, in this particular case, God himself since Moses was commanded to take off his shoes because he was in God's presence. But I will give it some further thought, as well research that a bit more. I wonder if anyone else has any other input they could share about my question(s). Thank you again James!
    – MiamiDan
    Sep 1, 2015 at 22:44
  • Actually, the bible states that he was to take off his shoes not because he was in God's presence, but because he was standing on holy ground. Notwithstanding this fact, the question remains, why is this passage unique in requiring the removal of footwear. This is an excellent question. So excellent, I took the liberty of posting it here: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/19782/… Sep 1, 2015 at 23:38
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    James, this is an interesting theological reflection on the authority of angelic messages generally, but in your opinion, which voice is speaking in each of the verses of this passage? Who said what?
    – Schuh
    May 4, 2016 at 18:47

This question highlights a genuine textual challenge: ancient Greek texts did not include quotation marks.

Michael Palmer, a Hellenistic Greek linguist, notes, “While it’s usually very easy to see where a quote begins, finding the end of the quote is much more challenging because there was no punctuation, and no grammatical convention, to indicate this.” This problem is compounded in Revelation 22 which includes at least three different voices – an angel, Jesus, and the narrator. Where do the quotations begin and end, and who is speaking them?

English translations vary. Most simply, the King James Version followed the Greek and didn't offer quotation punctuation. While this frustrates casual readers, it’s good for serious readers to recognize their own contribution to the interpretation. KJV advocates see this as a strength, rightly stating that “Quotation marks are editorial guesses” and so “false assurances.”

But most modern English translations add quotation marks and so reveal the translators’ opinion as to where quotations begin and end and may also suggest the speaker. For example, the ESV, NRSV, and NASB formatted this Rev.22 passage into four quotations: v.9, vv.10-11, vv.12-13, and v.16. The first quote was attributed to the angel, the second to an unclear ‘he’, the third was unattributed, and v.16 was spoken by “I, Jesus.” These translations formatted vv.14-15 as narration, as were vv.17 and following.

The NIV similarly separated v.9 (angel) and vv.10-11 (unclear ‘he’) but then combined all of vv.12-16 into a single quotation of Jesus, followed by narration. The NIV not only added vv.12-15 to the Jesus quote but inserted a header before them, making the distinction even clearer. This seems to reflect a theological choice rather than anything in the Greek text itself.

In contrast to translations that include one or two unclearly attributed quotes, Young’s Literal Translation offered just two clear quotations: v.9 (angel) and vv.10 all the way to 19 (Jesus). Importantly, both YLT quotations begin with “he said to me ...”, which is the only clue in the text itself that a new quotation is beginning. In Young’s rendering the speaker of each quote is clearly identified.

For these reasons I’d go with Young’s choices, but again, the Greek text is unclear. As Michael Palmer goes on to say, wrestling with punctuation is part of the exegetical task:

“If we don’t struggle with the punctuation, we are simply handing that responsibility off to the editors of those texts. While that is a reasonable thing for students early in the study of the language to do, it is not a reasonable thing for accomplished readers to do. Question the punctuation. Struggle with it. Ask how the text would change if we punctuated it differently. What options are reasonable? Which ones are not? This is a part of what it means to read seriously.”

  • Great write-up! We are reading translations. Of course, if one is astute, one can tell the translators take liberties all over the place. I think we mess up the whole thing here. The angel of God spoken of is a special messenger who is not Jesus, the Incarnate Word. He refuses worship! And the real kicker is, "Surely I am coming soon..." Who's that? Surprise. I think it's not Jesus. It's another servant of God. And yes, all the big titles the text gives this being are pretty amazing. But it's not God, not a person of the Trinity. Nov 14, 2018 at 18:14
  • We got all hung up on this idea that God rules like a human king. Why do we do this! God loves to share authority with his imagers, divine imagers. He's not a tyrannt barking orders and waiting for stuff to get done. "And they will reign forever and ever." God doesn't reign, his holy saints do. He delights in giving this to them. Just watch most Christians panic when you quote John 10. It's because they still delight in sin and the death it brings. They don't want to be what they were made to be, divine imagers. Nov 14, 2018 at 18:17

We need to recognize that there were 3 parties in Rev 22. First was Lord Jesus who sent His angel to show those things to John, the angel (Rev 21:9, Rev 19:10), John. The angel and John both had duty to show the messages from Lord Jesus. The angel had duty to show them to John, John to the 7 churches, to us also today. Thus regardless who brought the messages, they were the messenger and fellow servant. The speaker whom the speeches were brought is the most important and main Person here that was Lord Jesus. Thus, it certainly was not appropriate to worship the fellow servant since the angel was not deity. Worship only God. The angel just spoke as His Master to him to speak and showed to John. So bu this we know that the angel brought the messages to John and revealed all those ghings to Him which was the content was Lord Jesus speech. Worship the Boss, not the scretaries.


Rev 1:1 - Jesus sent and Signified it not through but by His angel.

Notice verse 1, God gave Jesus to show His Servants, it was given to Jesus but shown (signified) to John. Jesus sent and (signified) it by His angel the revelation given by God.


Good Question, first of all lets review some verses :

Revelation 21:5

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

so Here he who was seated on the throne (Jesus Christ) said that

Revelation 21:9-10

9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God

so Here an angel of God

Revelation 22:8-9

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!”)

here is the angel teling him he is not God , he is a messenger from God

Revelation 22:10-19

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

  1. Most Probably He who was seated on the throne (Jesus Christ) said that

He said that after the angel told John not to worship him (the angel), So he who was seated on the throne said that after the speaking of the angel and after showing him all this .. he who was seated on the throne reveals him self in (revelation 21:16 ) He is God who sent the angel

Revelation 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Revelation 1:1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John

Those two verses are Helpful in this point

  1. also another Probability is that Jesus spoke in the speakings or in the tongue ( if we can say so ) of the angel, Because He is God , He is found everywhere , he can do anything

Revelation 22:7 "Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll."

Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

  1. so every one who Testifies To These things would say "Yes, I am coming soon."

So it may be the the language of the heavenly creatures ...

  1. Last Important thing

God’s name is almost always translated LORD (all caps) in the English Bible. But the Hebrew would be pronounced something like "Yahweh," and is built on the word for "I am." So (I am ) always means "yahweh " ---> GOD That's why when Jesus said to the soldiers who wanted to arrest him ( I am ) they kneeled to worship him so " I am coming " said by the angel can mean " yahwah is coming "

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    – Steve can help
    May 3, 2016 at 7:36
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    I've cleaned up the formatting of your answer so it reads a little bit easier, but this still does not make a clear answer to the question. Your conclusion is rather strange too, that because Yahweh means "I am" that therefore "I am" always means Yahweh. This is a mistake, because there are lots of times "I am" is used by people without any reference to God. e.g. Stephen means 'crown', but that doesn't mean that anybody who says 'crown' is actually saying my name.
    – Steve can help
    May 3, 2016 at 7:40

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