18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. ~ Revelation 22:18-21
Today, we complete our study of the book of the Revelation. In today's text the Lord Jesus Himself offers an extended word of testimony regarding the authority and finality of this prophesy. He had commissioned John to write it, but He was the author of it. You will remember that the book of the Revelation is a prophecy. In Revelation 1:3 we read, "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy."
In v.18 of today's text we read, "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. "
With this last book of the Bible, the canon of Scripture is closed. And, the warning here, is to those who add to Scripture. Those who tamper with truth to falsify it, to mitigate its message, to alter it are going to feel the vengeance of God.
In v.19 we read, “And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.”
It’s equally dangerous to take away from Scripture. There are some people who wouldn’t want to add to it, they just want to take away from it.
Interestingly, the words "takes words away" is a play on words. You take away from the words of this book, and God’ll take away your part in heaven, the part you might have had if you hadn’t tampered with Scripture. Now, a true believer would not tamper with Scripture. Anyone who is on the way to heaven is going to treat Scripture with great respect.
You see, God’s word is absolute, true, faithful, permanent, and complete, not to be altered, not to be changed, not to be added to, not to be taken away from, and true believers understand that.
The fact that this warning is here indicates people would be prone to tamper with Scripture. It also indicates that men would deny its validity because it is so specific prophetically, and that has been true. But it also indicates to me that the Holy Spirit wants to make a final sweeping statement about what you do with Scripture altogether. And the bottom line is God has written it; don’t erase it and don’t expand it.
In v.20 we read, "He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."
At the writing of 2 Peter, there were false prophets who scoffed at the coming of Christ, they mocked the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2 Peter 3 they asked, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation."
In v.21 we read, "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen."
It is just like the Lord to end this book with "grace." His point is everybody, all the time, be ready, watchful and alert, because He comes in an hour that no man knows, and in an hour when you think not. Until that hour, there is grace.