Revelation 22:9 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.
How is this possible?
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
και λεγει μοι ορα μη συνδουλος σου γαρ ειμι και των αδελφων σου των προφητων και των τηρουντων τους λογους του βιβλιου τουτου τω θεω προσκυνησον [TR] Revelation 22:9.
The Englishman's Greek New Testament - interlinear and literal translation - best demonstrates the real meaning of this text :
And he says to me, See [thou do it] not : fellow bondman of thee for I am, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. [EGNT]
Translations which add 'with' to the genitive (rather than 'of') are not helpful as it confuses the English concept.
It is clear from the literal (also see Robert Young's Literal, below) that the angel is saying he is the fellow servant of
... and he saith to me, `See -- not; for fellow-servant of thee am I, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of those keeping the words of this scroll [YLT]
The text of Rev 22:9 says this -
And he says to me, "See that you not do this. I am your fellow servant, and with your brothers the prophets, and with those keeping the words of this book. Worship God!"
The angel is NOT saying that he is one of the prophets. What he DOES say is that he, the angel, is a fellow-servant of the Lord just as John and his (John's) brothers the prophets.
That is, the angel is claiming to be a servant of God just as the John and all the prophets were servants of God. Note the remarks of the Expositor's Greek Testament -
The warning against any Christian θρησκεία τῶν ἀγγέλων is not, as in the parallel passage, an indirect exaltation of the prophetic order as equivalent to the angelic in religious function, but an assertion that even ordinary Christians who accept the Apocalypse are equal to the hierophant angel. Unlike Nebo, the angelic interpreter of Marduk’s will in Babylonian religion, he is not to be worshipped, for all his importance.
While the angel was not a prophet, nevertheless, the angel's task was similar to a prophet in revealing the messages of God. Note the comment of Matthew Poole:
For I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets; whose employment is the same with thine, to reveal the will of God;
A neutral translation runs thus:
And he said, Look—no! I am thy fellow servant, and that of thy brethren the prophets, and them that keep the words of this book: worship God!
The idea being conveyed is that the angel is the fellow-worker in expounding the revelation of God to His people (John being an Apostle, and the angle, likewise, being a revelator, just as the prophets were).
The Prophets are the co-servants of the Apostles, just as much as the angels are their co-servants, serving God in the work of making known His will and works.
Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God
It's not saying that the angel is of John's brethren the prophets (i.e. one of them); the word "fellowservant" in this translation also goes with the phrase "of thy brethern..." and with "...of them which keep...". So the angel is basically saying that he's John's fellowservant, and a fellowservant of John's brethern the prophets, and a fellowservant of them which "keep the sayings of this book". It just doesn't repeat the word fellowservant each time. That's implied. This is more clear in more modern English translations (it's also clear from the Greek for what it's worth).