The angel who showed John the visions in the book of Revelation identified himself as a prophet. He said to John, ‘I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets’ (Rev.22:9). Which prophet could this have been? Was it Elijah, Moses? And why was the prophet described as an angel? Could this justify the belief that when some holy people die they become angels?
Some believe the angel was one of the Old Testament prophets, and others have an extreme cultic view of presenting their beloved preacher to have pre-existed as an angel who revealed the Apocalypse to John [There is one in Puerto Rico who holds such a claim. I have heard of some people who believe that angel to have been William Branham]. Well, in the absence of true light (knowledge), speculation and strange teachings thrive.
Here is what Revelation 22:8-9 says: “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. 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.” A wrong understanding of this passage may arise by a misunderstanding of the English used in the King James Version Bible. Reading other versions like NIV, Amplified or the New American Standard makes plain what the verse states. NIV:
“I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book”.
The Jerusalem Bible is even more clear:
“I am a servant just like you and like your brothers the prophets and like those who treasure what you have written in this book.”
It should be clear here to see that the angel was telling John that he too was merely a servant of God just like John, the prophets, and all those who keep the Word of God; he did not identify himself as a prophet but as a fellowservant like the prophets are also servants. Now, even when we read the angel’s words to be “I am of thy brethren the prophets” this is what it would come to:
First, it is important to know that a phenomenon which occurs in the world, whether in the realm of politics, religion, or among God’s people, is influenced by spiritual forces. In the scriptures we read about the nation of Israel having an army which had a captain but whose victories were actually influenced by angelic beings. In Joshua 5:13 we read about the commander of the army of Israel meeting a soldier whom he asked, “Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” The soldier he met turned out to be an angelic being. He answered: “as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come” (v.14, NIV). What was this “army of the Lord” that the angel presided over? Let’s look into the book of Samuel for we find the same term there.
In 1 Samuel 17 we read about the story of Goliath of Gath challenging Israel. He called out saying, “I defy the armies of Israel this day” (v.10). Now notice the following words in the response of David: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he could defy the armies of the living God?” (v.26). Yes, the armies of Israel were armies of the living God, not merely by description but because there was actually a spiritual army (host) led by the angel Michael, who fought against spiritual warlords of the Gentile nations (Dan.12:1). The visions of Daniel make this clear.
When the prophet Daniel had fasted for 21 days and at last angel Gabriel came to him, he explained: “Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia” (Dan.10:12-13). Please note that what Gabriel calls princes (or kings) are not earthly ones but angels of darkness that ruled over earthly empires. Now, just as Gentile nations have principalities (or captains of spiritual armies over them), the nation of Israel also has angel Michael. In Daniel 12:1 Michael is described as “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people”. By this statement we would certainly be in order to describe angel Michael as being of the armies of Israel because that’s what he has been anointed of, to fight for that nation’s army!
It is in the same light, as what has been explained above, that we can read Revelation 22:8-9. Just as Michael can be described to be of the armies of Israel, so the angel who ministered to John can be said to be of the prophets.