ON PROPHECY – REVELATION 22:18-19

The title page of the last book of the Bible - The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

“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; 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.” (Revelation 22:18–19)

It is of great significance that the Bible closes with an affirmation of its truthfulness. Because the words of Scripture are “faithful and true” (22:6), they must not be sealed up, but proclaimed (22:10). Sinners are to be called to respond to the warnings in the Word of the living God or suffer the consequences. All the prophecies of Revelation regarding the doom of sinners will come true. That terrifying certainty should drive people to Jesus Christ to escape the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10).

The speaker who testifies to the authority and finality of the words of the prophecy of this book is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. v. 20).

His solemn warning against tampering with Scripture applies first of all to the prophecy of the book of Revelation (cf. 1:3). Its stern rebukes of Jezebel and her followers (2:20–23), those who had embraced the “deep things of Satan” (2:24), and those of the “synagogue of Satan” (3:9) would have prompted them to assault it. Down through the centuries there have been others who have both attacked Revelation and seriously misinterpreted it. But in light of the repeated warnings against altering God’s Word, Christ’s warning must be broadened to include all of Scripture.

In Deuteronomy 4:2 Moses cautioned, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” In Deuteronomy 12:32 he added, “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.” Proverbs 30:5–6 warns, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.”

Thus, the prohibition against altering the Apocalypse by implication extends to all of Scripture. Because Revelation describes the entire sweep of history from the close of the apostolic age to the eternal state, any alteration of it would be an alteration of Scripture, as Robert L. Thomas notes:

“The predictive portions project from John’s lifetime all the way into the eternal state. Any type of prophetic utterance would intrude into the domain of this coverage and constitute either an addition to or subtraction from Revelation’s content. So, the final book of the Bible is also the concluding product of NT prophecy. It also marks the close of the NT canon since the prophetic gift was the divinely chosen means for communicating the inspired books of the canon.”

The canon of Scripture was closed at the end of the first century when Revelation was finished. Thus, any false prophet, fraud, or charlatan who adds alleged new revelations to it (as the Montanists did in the early church and Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, and other false prophets have done in recent times) will face divine vengeance. God will add to such people the plagues which are written in the book of Revelation. God’s judgment will be equally severe on anyone who takes away from the words of Scripture (as the heretic Marcion did in the early church and liberal higher critics have done in modern times)—God will take away their part from the tree of life and from the holy city. Both warnings contain a play on words. Those who add to Scripture will have plagues added to them; those who take away from Scripture will have the blessings of heaven taken away from them.

No true believer would ever deliberately tamper with Scripture. Those who know and love God will treat His Word with the utmost respect. They will say with the psalmist, “O how I love Your law!” (Ps. 119:97; cf. Pss. 119:113, 163, 167; John 14:23); and, “I delight in Your law” (Ps. 119:70; cf. Pss. 1:2; 119:77, 92, 174). That does not, of course, mean that believers will never make errors in judgment or mistakenly interpret Scripture incorrectly or inadequately.

The Lord’s warning here is addressed to those who engage in deliberate falsification or misinterpretation of Scripture, those whom Paul denounces aspeddlers of the Word of God (2 Cor. 2:17).

At the conclusion of his commentary on Revelation, J. A. Seiss expressed the humble reverence for Scripture that marks true believers:

“O, my friends, it is a fearful thing to suppress or stultify the word of God, and above all “the words of the prophecy of this Book.” To put forth for truth what is not the truth,—denounce as error, condemn, repudiate, or emasculate what God himself hath set his seal to as his mind and purpose, is one of those high crimes, not only against God, but against the souls of men, which cannot go unpunished.”

With an honest and ever-prayerful heart, and with these solemn and awful warnings ever before our eyes, we should endeavour to ascertain what our gracious Lord and Master has been so particular to make known and defend it.

Revelation and the rest of Scripture are true, and the redeemed will believe the Bible, guard the Bible, love the Bible, and obey the Bible. That Scripture speaks truly when it describes the joys of heaven and the terrors of hell should motivate sinners to heed God’s gracious call to salvation.

(Source: John MacArthur, Revelation 1-22, MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

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HEAVENLY REMNANT MINISTRIES

THE PURPOSE OF THIS SITE IS TO SHARE OUR INTERPRETATIONS OF IMPORTANT ISSUES RAISED IN GOD'S WORD. WE BELIEVE IN SOLA SCRIPTURA AND NOT IN ANY MAN-MADE DOCTRINE, ADDITIONAL REVELATIONS OR ADDITIONAL PROPHECIES WHICH ARE NOT IN LINE WITH THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. IMAGES DISPLAYING "JESUS" AND ANY CATHOLIC MATERIAL WILL BE DELETED WITHOUT NOTIFICATION. THIS IS A CHRISTIAN BLOG. WE MUST ALWAYS ACT LIKE REBORN CHRISTIANS AND NO UNNECESSARY DEBATES OR PERSONAL ATTACKS WOULD BE TOLERATED. NEVER GIVE UP TRUTH BUT REMEMBER THAT THERE WOULD ALWAYS BE "GRAY AREAS" ON WHICH WE WOULD ONLY GET FINAL ANSWERS ONCE WE ARE WITH CHRIST. HEAVENLY REMNANT MINISTRIES'' STATEMENT OF FAITH IS AS FOLLOWS: 1. There is one living and true GOD, eternally existing in three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory; that this triune God created all, upholds all, and governs all things. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; John 10:30; Hebrews 9:14) 2. We believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, fully inspired without error in the original manuscripts, and the infallible rule of faith and practice. The Word of God is the foundation upon which this church operates and is the basis for which this ministry is governed. We believe that the Word of God supercedes any earthly law that is contrary to the Holy Scriptures. (Isaiah 28:13; Nehemiah 8:8; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:21) 3. We believe in the person of God the Father, an Infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love; that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men; that He hears and answers prayer; and that He saves from sin and death all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalms 90:2; Psalms 102:27; John 4:24; 1 Timothy 1:17; Titus 1:3) 4. We believe in the person of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles and teachings, his substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people and personal, visible return to earth. (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:23; Mark 16:19; Luke 1:34-35; John 1:1-2; John 8:58; John 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 1:2; Revelation 1:8) 5. We believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, Who came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and empower for ministry all who believe in Christ; (Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 16:8-11; Romans 15:13,16; Hebrews 9:14) 6. We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is an abiding helper, teacher, and guide. (John 14:16-17, 16:8-11) 7. We believe that all people are sinners by nature and, therefore, are under condemnation; that God regenerates based upon faith by the Holy Spirit, those who repent of their sins and confess Jesus Christ as Lord. (Acts 8:15-17; Titus 3:5) 8. We believe that God is sovereign and that He elects those He predestined to be saved according to His will (It is not man’s own choice) (1 Thessalonians 1:4, Romans 8:33, Mark 13:27, Mark 13:20, Acts 13:48, Ephesians 1:3-4, James 1:18, James 2:5, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, Romans 9:10-16) 9. We believe in the universal church, the living spiritual body, of which Christ is the head and all who are born again are members. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 4:15-16) 10. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ committed two ordinances to the church: (a) full immersion water baptism, and (b) the Lord's Supper. (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) 11. We believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ which is His personal, visible return to earth and the establishment of His millennial kingdom, in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment and eternal blessing of the righteous and endless suffering of the wicked. (Matthew 16:27; Acts 1:11; Revelation 19:11-16, 20: 11-15) 12. We believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell and that all those who place their faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord, while those who were not elected and rejected Jesus’ free gift of salvation will spend eternity separated from the Lord in Hell. (Matthew 5:3, 25:31-34; Hebrews 12:23; 1 Peter 1:4; Psalm 9:17; Matthew 5:22, 18:9; Luke 12:5) 13. We believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church where all believers will meet the Lord in the air and be taken out of this world prior to the Tribulation that will come upon the earth. (Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 21:36; Romans 1:18, 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 2 Peter 2:7-9; Revelation 5:7-10, 7:13-14) 14. We believe in the literal fulfillment of Bible end time prophecies, although some might be written in a figurative or symbolic manner in the Bible, like the book of Revelation. 

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