You Shall Not Add To Or Take Away From God’s Word
A short study of Revelation 22:18-19
If our church is indeed a church where the true Gospel is preached, then you can count on it that the Devil and his angels are pounding at the door, trying to break in. The Devil does not stand idly by when the true Gospel is preached. We need to know that the wolves are at the door. These wolves are not the secular world. They care less whether we preach the true Gospel or not. But the religious world does. To most of them the Gospel that we preach is an offense, it is a threat. It is my job to feed you with the Word of God in such a way that you can defend yourselves against the wiles of the Devil. There is not much time left. I am older than anyone of you. And so, it is my job to prepare you so that you can stand on your own and make wise decisions in my absence. That is why I need to warn you for many false Gospels that are the result of ignorance concerning Revelation 22:18-19.
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:
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, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
What is God saying here?
You do not have to be a genius to understand these words. God says: “This is the End. Don’t tamper with it. The Word of God is now complete. No more messages from God are to be expected. This is the last message from God to the last of the Apostles just before he died. No more prophecies from God will be added.”
Paraphrased God says very plainly in Revelation 22:18, “If anyone comes to you claiming that he or she has a new message from God, which has come to that person in a dream, or in a vision, or in an angel visitation, or in a tongue, or even if not a word was spoken but that person saw a comforting light somewhere in the middle of the night, or saw any other supernatural manifestation from God, then know that this person is lying, for God will not give any more Divine revelations or messages; that person is a false prophet, and I have not send them, and he or she deserves to be tormented in the Lake of Fire, so that the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever”.
Therefore if anyone comes to you claiming that he or she has a new message from God, that person has added to the Word of God, the Bible, for the Bible is this One Book that God mentions in Revelation 22:18.
Here, on the last page of the Bible, God gave a last warning that the Bible is now complete; no one should add words to it, and neither will God add any more words to it. We must realize that the Bible portrays the image of God, and whosoever has additional Divine revelations has added to the words of the Bible, and is guilty of tampering with the image of God. Moreover, if any man shall take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God shall deny him entrance to the New Jerusalem, for he or she has also tampered with the image of God.
Did you notice how God has turned these words around?
In verse 18 God said, “the words of the prophecy of this Book”.
In verse 19 God says, “the words of the Book of this prophecy”.
The prophecy and the Book are interchangeably used, indicating that the prophecy of Revelation is an integral part of the Bible, and the Bible is the Book that contains all these prophecies from God. Always the entire Book is in view, because the Bible is One Book.
If anyone comes to you with the theory of evolution, then understand that if you believe this theory you have in your mind crossed out the first 11 chapters of Genesis, and you are guilty of having tampered with the image of God, even though it was only in your mind.
Someone modifies the doctrine of sin, and claims that the root problem of sin is essentially a weakness or a helplessness, or an inability to trust anyone, and therefore an inability to love or to be loved. And thus people possess a poor self-image and are beset with a tragic sense of their own worthlessness. Therefore people are without self-esteem, and so they are desperately unhappy about themselves. Perhaps you have met someone who believes these ideas. They are preached in many churches in this country, but they rely on human wisdom; not the wisdom that comes from God. And mentally they have taken many verses out of the Bible; verses that deal with the total depravity of man.
The list of examples I could give is endless. What it boils down to is that people have in their mind added to or taken away from the Word of God, but when confronted they deny that they have ever added to or taken away from the Bible.
This is a problem that is as old as the Bible is. Already in Deuteronomy 4:2 God said, “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”.
God anticipated that the children of Israel would tamper with the Word of God. But Deuteronomy 4:2 is not as strongly worded as Revelation 22:18-19, because Deuteronomy 4:2 only concerns the commandments of God. We also read in Proverbs 30:5-6 the equivalent of Revelation 22:18, where God says, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar”.
And as you know, “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone”.
What is the main problem with adding or taking away from the words of the Bible?
There Is No Fear of God Before Their Eyes (2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
In the second letter of Peter God addresses the problem of false teachers who quietly shall bring into the church damnable heresies.
Why will they do that?
It is because there is money to be made in those heresies, and moreover, “There is no fear of God before their eyes”.
2 Peter 1:20
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2 Peter 1:21
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Verse 20 says that we may not approach the Bible with our own interpretation. We may not come to our neighbor and say, “Whatever the Bible means to you is the truth for you”, for the next verse says that the words in the Bible are words from God. God spoke in old time through the mouths of holy men of God, and what they said and what they wrote are words that were given them by God the Holy Spirit.
Therefore we may not invent an interpretation that comes out of our own mind, or invent an interpretation that came from the culture of those days. It must be an interpretation that harmonizes with the remainder of the Word of God, for God cannot lie. And thus we must approach the Bible with awe and respect, and with fear and trembling, as if God was speaking to us personally.
A passage that is often quoted in support of 2 Peter 1:21 is 2 Timothy 3:16-17, where God says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works”.
What it all boils down to is this:
God spoke the words of the Bible, and we better listen carefully, or else we may be guilty of contempt of God. At any time that we encounter a passage that we must understand, or a problem that we face in our life we must ask:
What did God say?
What is God’s opinion about this matter?
Holy men of God spoke and wrote the words that God moved them to write. In the Old Testament God’s words were written in Hebrew, and in the New Testament God’s words were written in Greek. We have in our hands the KJV, which is as close as possible a word by word translation out of the Hebrew Masoretic Text and out of the Greek Textus Receptus. These are the two most reliable documents of the Word of God.
Which God Are We Worshipping? (John 1:1, Revelation 19:11-13, James 3:1)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Here in this verse the Lord Jesus Christ is called “The Word”, the Logos. Moreover, when God says “the Word was God” He underscores that Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but He is fully God.
In many other parts of the Bible God identifies “the Logos” with the Word of God, the Bible. And thus we come to recognize that the Bible, the Word of God, is identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. God confirms this conclusion in Revelation 19:11-13, where Christ appears as the Judge of all the world, and He is given the name: “Word of God”
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
What does this tell us about the Word of God?
It tells us that the Bible, the Word of God, from cover to cover, is a description of the Lord Jesus Christ. And now the adding or taking away from the Word of God enters into the equation. The Bible is our Authority. Not only is it a description of the Lord Jesus Christ, but it also has become the Authority that we obey. If then we would add or take away from the Bible we would produce another authority over us, and thus another god which rules over us.
Let us consider a vivid picture of our actions:
When we add to the Bible by claiming additional messages from God, like the Roman church has done through the centuries by adding the utterances of the saints as if they were inspired by God, then we have changed the face of Christ.
Every time we add another message from God, it is as if we have produced another lump on the face of Christ, and thus we have produced another god, which does not look at all like Christ.
Every time we take away from the Word of God it is as if we have gouged out a piece of flesh out of the face of Christ, and thus we have produced another god, which does not look at all like Christ. And thus we would engage in the sin of idolatry. The sin of idolatry is the sin that God hates most of all.
Revelation 21:8 says that idolaters have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. And the false teachers who have created these idols, who lead others with them into Hell, shall receive the hottest place in Hell according to James 3:1. And thus we can see that the doctrine of Revelation 22:18-19 is a most useful doctrine, for it gives us the discernment to know right from wrong. This is the sharp edge of the sword of the Spirit. This is the most useful tool God has given us to defend ourselves against the wiles of the Devil and against all the evil forces that try to persuade us to come to their side. Even if one day we would stand all alone, we would still see right from wrong. Praise God that He has given us this tool of discernment.
By Alfred Chompff