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What is the warning in Revelation 22:18,19?

The Warning – Revelation 22:18,19

The apostle John in Revelation 22:18-19 gave a warning: “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

In this passage, Jesus is verifying the book of the Revelation; He warns against intentional changes in the words of the book. The one who takes away from the words of the Revelation is equally guilty as the one who adds to the words (verse 18). The guilty person will experience three great losses:

  1. The loss of immortality, and the resulting suffering of eternal death.
  2. The loss of life in the glorious city of the New Jerusalem and the new earth.
  3. The loss of all the gifts and promises of Revelation. This is a great loss that nothing in this earthly life can make up for.

The Message of Revelation

The book of Revelation declares itself as an apocalypse, an unveiling of the mysteries of the future culminating in the final victory of Jesus Christ. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John” (Revelation 1:1).

The book of Revelation is mainly one that reveals Jesus in His heavenly ministry after the ascension. Therefore, it is complementing to the message of the Gospels. The book also records the occurrences leading to the second coming of Christ describing the great war between good and evil that began when Lucifer rebelled against the Creator.

It is a revelation of Jesus Christ working to perfect His faithful on earth so that they may reflect His pure character. And it shows Christ leading His church through history towards the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. In this book, more fully than any other book, the veil that separates the invisible from the visible is laid open to show, through all the human schemes, the plans of the compassionate God, working out His good will towards man.

In Revelation, all the books of the Bible meet and end in a unique way. Revelation has references from, or allusions to, 28 of the 39 books of the Old Testament. And it completes the book of Daniel. Most of what was sealed in the book of Daniel (Daniel 12:4) is unsealed in the book of Revelation. Therefore, the two books need to be examined together.

The Warning Applies to the Whole Bible

Although the apostle John is writing about additions or subtractions to the book of Revelation, the same warning applies to any book of the Holy Bible. In the Old Testament, the Lord instructed His people: “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you;” “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32).

Josephus says concerning the 22 books forming the Hebrew Old Testament; “For, although such long ages have now passed, no one has ventured either to add, or to remove, or to alter a syllable” (Against Apion i. 8 [42]; Loeb ed., pp. 179, 180).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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