Tag Archives: Revelation

Do Not Add to God’s Word

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“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18)

This very sober warning right at the end of the Bible was given by Christ Himself (note verse 20) to indicate that the written Scriptures were now complete, and it would be a serious sin for some pseudo-prophet to come along presenting some alleged new revelation from God. That this warning applies to the entire Bible, not just to the book of Revelation, should be obvious but is made especially clear when it is remembered that Jesus promised His chosen disciples that the Holy Spirit “shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance,” and furthermore, that “he will guide you into all truth: . . . and he will shew you things to come” (John 14:26; 16:13).

This special revelation to the “apostles and prophets” of the New Testament would constitute the “foundation” of the church, and would be complete when the last of these “holy apostles and prophets” were gone. (Study carefully Ephesians 2:19–3:11.) When John completed the Apocalypse, he was very old; all the other apostles and prophets of the New Testament had already died (all by martyrdom), so God’s written Word was now complete. No new revelation would be needed before Christ returns. We shall do well if we just learn what we already have received from His holy apostles and prophets.

Note also the emphasis on “the words,” not just the concepts. God was able to say what He meant, and we are wise if we take His words literally. Jesus warned about “false prophets” who would come after He left (Matthew 24:24), and there have been many of these through the centuries. The Bible as we now have it is sufficient for every need. HMM

The Integrity of the Written Word

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“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2)

In addition to the numerous times when the writers of the Bible asserted that what they wrote came directly from God (e.g., Leviticus 1:1; Jeremiah 1:4; Revelation 1:1), there are at least four warnings against tampering with these revealed words.

The first is our text above, in which Moses commanded neither to add to nor diminish from anything he had written. This warning was supplemented later with the following: “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32).

Moses was the first writer of the Bible and it was appropriate that he should give such a warning. The last was John, and his warning was even more severe, at the very end of the whole body of Scripture. “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Revelation 22:18-19).

Since John was the last apostle, it is clear that this warning is against any later attempt to add some new “revelation” to the now-complete Word of God.

Then, very near the middle of the Bible, there is this: “Every word of God is pure: . . . Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6). And remember also the words of Christ: “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). So don’t mess with the Word of God! HMM

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