I fell at his feet to worship him - Great as this angel was, St. John could not mistake him either for Jesus Christ, or for God the Father; nor was his prostration intended as an act of religious worship. It was merely an act of that sort of reverence which any Asiatic would pay to a superior. His mistake was, the considering that he was under obligation to the angel for the information which he had now received. This mistake the angel very properly corrects, showing him that it was from God alone this intelligence came, and that to him alone the praise was due.
I am thy fellow servant - No higher in dignity than thyself; employed by the same God, on the same errand, and with the same testimony; and therefore not entitled to thy prostration: worship God - prostrate thyself to him, and to him give thanks.
The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy - As this is a reason given by the angel why he should not worship him, the meaning must be this: I, who have received this spirit of prophecy, am not superior to thee who hast received the testimony of Christ, to preach him among the Gentiles; for the commission containing such a testimony is equal to the gift of the spirit of prophecy. Or, the spirit of prophecy is a general testimony concerning Jesus, for he is the scope and design of the whole Scripture; to him gave all the prophets witness. Take Jesus, his grace, Spirit, and religion out of the Bible, and it has neither scope, design, object, nor end.
And I fell at his feet to worship him - At the feet of the angel. See the notes on Revelation 19:9. This is a common posture of adoration in the East. See Rosenmuller‘s “Morgenland, in loco.” notes on 1 Corinthians 14:25. John was entirely overcome with the majesty of the heavenly messenger, and with the amazing truths that he had disclosed to him, and in the overflowing of his feelings he fell upon the earth in the posture of adoration. Or it may be that he mistook the rank of him who addressed him, and supposed that he was the Messiah whom he had been accustomed to worship, and who had first Luke 17:10), though we may regard it as an honor to be associated with the angels, and it may raise us in conscious dignity to feel that we are united with them.
And of thy brethren - Of other Christians; for all are engaged in the same work.
That have the testimony of Jesus - Who are witnesses for the Saviour. It is possible that there may be here a particular reference to those who were engaged in preaching the gospel, though the language will apply to all who give their testimony to the value of the gospel by consistent lives.
Worship God - He is the only proper object of worship; he alone is to be adored.
For the testimony of Jesus - The meaning here seems to be, that this angel, and John, and their fellow-servants, were all engaged in the same work that of bearing their testimony to Jesus. Thus, in this respect, they were on a level, and one of them should not worship another, but all should unite in the common worship of God. No one in this work, though an angel, could have such a pre-eminence that it would be proper to render the homage to him which was due to God alone. There could be but one being whom it was proper to worship, and they who were engaged in simply bearing testimony to the work of the Saviour should not worship one another.
Is the spirit of prophecy - The design of prophecy is to bear testimony to Jesus. The language does not mean, of course, that this is the only design of prophecy, but that this is its great and ultimate end. The word “prophecy” here seems to be used in the large sense in which it is often employed in the New Testament - meaning to make known the divine will (see the notes on Romans 12:6), and the primary reference here would seem to be to the preachers and teachers of the New Testament. The sense is, that their grand business is to bear testimony to the Saviour. They are all - whether angels, apostles, or ordinary teachers - appointed for this, and therefore should regard themselves as “fellow-servants.” The design of the angel in this seems to have been, to state to John what was his own specific business in the communications which he made, and then to state a universal truth applicable to all ministers of the gospel, that they were engaged in the same work, and that no one of them should claim adoration from others. Thus understood, this passage has no direct reference to the prophecies of the Old Testament, and teaches nothing in regard to their design, though it is in fact undoubtedly true that their grand and leading object was to bear testimony to the future Messiah. But this passage will not justify the attempt so often made to “find Christ” everywhere in the prophecies of the Old Testament, or justify the many forced and unnatural interpretations by which the prophecies are often applied to him.
Preachers and people have looked upon the book of Revelation as mysterious and of less importance than other portions of the Sacred Scriptures. But I saw that this book is indeed a revelation given for the especial benefit of those who should live in the last days, to guide them in ascertaining their true position and their duty. God directed the mind of William Miller to the prophecies and gave him great light upon the book of Revelation. EW 231.1
If Daniel's visions had been understood, the people could better have understood the visions of John. But at the right time, God moved upon His chosen servant, who, with clearness and in the power of the Holy Spirit, opened the prophecies and showed the harmony of the visions of Daniel and John and other portions of the Bible, and pressed home upon the hearts of the people the sacred, fearful warnings of the Word to prepare for the coming of the Son of man. Deep and solemn conviction rested upon the minds of those who heard him, and ministers and people, sinners and infidels, turned to the Lord and sought a preparation to stand in the judgment. EW 231.2
Angels of God accompanied William Miller in his mission. He was firm and undaunted, fearlessly proclaiming the message committed to his trust. A world lying in wickedness and a cold, worldly church were enough to call into action all his energies and lead him willingly to endure toil, privation, and suffering. Although opposed by professed Christians and the world, and buffeted by Satan and his angels, he ceased not to preach the everlasting gospel to crowds wherever he was invited, sounding far and near the cry, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” EW 232.1Read in context »
The Greater and Lesser Lights—Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.—The Colporteur Evangelist, 37 (1902). Ev 257.1
Illustration: Presenting the Spirit of Prophecy—Elder _____ enters into no controversy with opponents. He presents the Bible so clearly that it is evident that anyone who differs must do so in opposition to the Word of God. Ev 257.2
Friday evening and Sabbath forenoon he spoke upon the subject of spiritual gifts, dwelling especially upon the Spirit of prophecy. Those who were present at these discourses say that he treated the subject in a clear, forceful manner.—Letter 388, 1906. Ev 257.3Read in context »
In His teachings while personally among men Jesus directed the minds of the people to the Old Testament. He said to the Jews, “Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me.” John 5:39, R.V. At this time the books of the Old Testament were the only part of the Bible in existence. Again the Son of God declared, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.” And He added, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:29, 31. PP 367.1
The ceremonial law was given by Christ. Even after it was no longer to be observed, Paul presented it before the Jews in its true position and value, showing its place in the plan of redemption and its relation to the work of Christ; and the great apostle pronounces this law glorious, worthy of its divine Originator. The solemn service of the sanctuary typified the grand truths that were to be revealed through successive generations. The cloud of incense ascending with the prayers of Israel represents His righteousness that alone can make the sinner's prayer acceptable to God; the bleeding victim on the altar of sacrifice testified of a Redeemer to come; and from the holy of holies the visible token of the divine Presence shone forth. Thus through age after age of darkness and apostasy faith was kept alive in the hearts of men until the time came for the advent of the promised Messiah. PP 367.2
Jesus was the light of His people—the Light of the world—before He came to earth in the form of humanity. The first gleam of light that pierced the gloom in which sin had wrapped the world, came from Christ. And from Him has come every ray of heaven's brightness that has fallen upon the inhabitants of the earth. In the plan of redemption Christ is the Alpha and the Omega—the First and the Last. PP 367.3
Since the Saviour shed His blood for the remission of sins, and ascended to heaven “to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24), light has been streaming from the cross of Calvary and from the holy places of the sanctuary above. But the clearer light granted us should not cause us to despise that which in earlier times was received through the types pointing to the coming Saviour. The gospel of Christ sheds light upon the Jewish economy and gives significance to the ceremonial law. As new truths are revealed, and that which has been known from the beginning is brought into clearer light, the character and purposes of God are made manifest in His dealings with His chosen people. Every additional ray of light that we receive gives us a clearer understanding of the plan of redemption, which is the working out of the divine will in the salvation of man. We see new beauty and force in the inspired word, and we study its pages with a deeper and more absorbing interest. PP 367.4Read in context »