In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul describes a meeting with a man who briefly entered heaven. That man had an astonishing experience. What he saw and heard there was very wonderful.
John had seen so much more than that man did. John entered not just heaven, but the New Jerusalem. He had seen God upon his throne (royal seat). He had been the witness of God’s plans for future ages.
John has told us what he saw and heard. He has told us that these things are very wonderful. However, he cannot explain how wonderful they are. Our words simply could not express that. Only God can show it to us, by his Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
This experience was too wonderful, even for such a holy man as John was. We can see that from his wrong reaction towards the angel who had shown him such wonderful things. John lowered his body to the ground and he began to praise that angel. The angel had to remind John that angels are only servants of God. John should praise God alone, and not the angels. It is God to whom all honour is due (4:11).
Revelation 19:10 is very similar to Revelation 22:8-9. Perhaps John describes the same experience twice; or perhaps he made the same mistake twice. When the Bible repeats something, the purpose is usually to emphasise it. However, in this later passage, the angel’s words are slightly different. In both passages, the angel first tells John that he too is a servant of God, like John and his ‘brothers’. The ‘brothers’ means other Christians, because they, like John, are members of God’s family. In the first passage, the angel calls them ‘witnesses of Jesus’. In other words, the lives of Christians give evidence of what Jesus has done. However, the later passage refers to prophets (people who speak on behalf of God), and people who ‘keep’ the Book of Revelation. That is, they consider it important (22:7). They read it with great care and they trust its message.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.