I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. – Revelation 22:18-21
This devotion comes on the last day of the 14 day fast which has had a special emphasis on reading the New Testament. Revelation 22:18-21 are the last verses of the New Testament and the last words of the Bible. How interesting that the Bible would conclude with a warning to not add to God’s words! The book of Revelation itself is warning and encouragement for Christians to stay faithful and obedient to Yahweh no matter the intense persecution and apostasy of others. That entails vigorous attention to God’s word, knowing what He says and what He doesn’t say. The reader is warned not to add to the prophecies of the book of Revelation, which is similar to the directive in Deuteronomy 4:1, 2: “And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.”
It’s human nature to be casual or even flippant about God’s commands, but it must always be remembered that He’s the God of God and Lord of Lords, and therefore to be obeyed fully. Even some Christians today don’t talk about righteous and unrighteous behavior, but “regular” behavior and “ideal” behavior. It’s only human arrogance that can take the very words of God and make them negotiable or something to be debated instead of how we are to take them: words to be treasured, prized and followed to the letter. It’s not legalism to follow God’s commands as diligently as possible. Legalism is when we think obeying God can merit His favor, which of course is impossible.
It’s worth remembering too, that these concluding verses don’t mean that God doesn’t continue to speak to His people through supernatural means, whether via angels, dreams and visions, but that such revelations are not at a peer level to Scripture and nothing revealed can contradict Scripture and still be considered from God since God does not contradict Himself.
Where would humanity be without the wise words of God in the Bible? One Jewish friend told me that in His view Christianity is the means by which God took moral behavior to the whole world and I agree with that, although it’s more than that of course. Humanity needs not only instruction in ethical behavior, but forgiveness of sins and power by the Holy Spirit to keep the commands of God all of which comes by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Amen, come Lord Jesus, and may Your kingdom be established fully on the earth!
Lord, we praise, honor and revere You in every way. Thank You for sustaining us during this 14 day fast and thank You that You are the rewarder of those who draw near to You. Thank You for the words of the New Testament - beautiful words that bless and strengthen us, communicating Your supernatural love to each one of us. We love You and praise You! Amen.
Yours in Christ,
Founder and CEO of Christian Union
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