How Should We Explain Revelation 22:18–19

By Chiheng

Editor’s Note: A good friend of Christian Xu Min sends her a book—she feels spiritually freed after reading it, and it seems to her like a book of God’s utterance. However, her pastor says that according to a prophecy in Revelation 22:18–19, no one can add anything to or remove anything from the Bible, so God couldn’t possibly speak aside from through the Bible. Xu Min is really confused and wonders, what does the verse about not adding things in Revelation 22:18–19 really mean? Does “not adding things” apply to the entire Bible or just the Book of Revelation? After a fellowship, she understood the truth and mystery in it. Read this article to understand the truth within, lest we miss His return due to treating the Lord’s return according to our notions and imaginations.

Nowadays, disasters are unfolding on a larger and larger scale. At the most crucial time for receiving the Lord’s coming, only The Church of Almighty God publicly testifies that the Lord Jesus has already come back, speaking and doing the work of judgment with the house of God. Many people who truly believe in the Lord come to seek and investigate. After reading the words of Almighty God, they feel these words have the same authority and power as the words of the Lord Jesus. They are all truths and sound like the voice of God. The Revelation 22: 18–19 say: “For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add to these things, God shall add to 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” (Revelation 22:18–19). According to this, the pastors and elders say, “The Book of Revelation says that nothing can be added or removed from the Scripture. If there are people now bearing witness that the Lord has returned and uttered new words, that would be adding something to the Bible. Thus, any of these claims absolutely cannot be investigated—this would be a betrayal of the Lord.” This is exactly how they attempt to prevent others from seeking and investigating Almighty God’s work in the last days, and after hearing their words some people don’t know what to do. Next, we will fellowship how to purely understand the prophecy about not adding things that John said in Revelation 22: 18–19 so as to be in harmony with God’s will.

Revelation 22:18–19,Christian fellowship

First, we must know the context of these words in Revelation. In fact, the Book of Revelation was written about 90 years after the Lord. At Patmos Island, after John saw a vision of the last days he recorded it; at the time the New Testament didn’t exist, much less the entire Bible, the Old and New Testament as one book. The New Testament wasn’t put together until 300 years after the Lord. So the book mentioned in Revelation 22:18–19 was not a reference to the complete Bible, but was a reference to that prophecy in the Book of Revelation. And if we take another close look at it, these verses are talking about people adding something to that prophecy, not to the Bible. From these two facts we can know that saying not to add anything to it doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be any new work or words from God outside of the Bible, but it was telling us that we can’t arbitrarily add or delete anything from the prophecies of the Book of Revelation.

Plus we need to be clear on the true meaning of these words in Revelation. It is written: “If any man shall add to these things….” We can see that this was a warning for us: Humans cannot arbitrarily add anything to the prophecies. This is because they are things that God Himself will do in the future, so people cannot know how they will actually be fulfilled until God Himself comes to work. If people arbitrarily layer their own ideas over this foundation, that is distorting God’s words and is an offense to God’s disposition—they will suffer God’s punishment. We must know that these words in Revelation were aimed at us, mankind, not at God. God is the Creator and everything is in His hands. He is qualified to do His own work outside the bounds of the prophecies, and this is something that no created being can possibly obstruct, nor can they delimit this at will. For example, the Bible says in Deuteronomy 12:32, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” Here, Jehovah God explicitly tells us that people cannot add anything to His commands, but the Lord Jesus’ work and words in the Age of Grace had not been recorded in the scriptures, and they were even entirely different from some requirements of the law. Just like the requirement in the Age of Law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but when the Lord Jesus was working, He said: “You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue you at the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also” (Matthew 5:38–40). Plus, Jehovah God told people in the Age of Law to hate their enemies, but in the Age of Grace, this is what the Lord Jesus said: “But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). As those who stuck to the Old Testament saw it, a great deal of what the Lord Jesus said was outside the bounds of the law and was an addition to the law, thus they did not follow the Lord. The Pharisees in particular clung to the Old Testament law to condemn the Lord Jesus, committing the monstrous sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Isn’t that great rebellion on the part of humans? God saying in His words that nothing can be added or removed is His requirement for mankind—how could we impose the requirements of God’s words upon God Himself? God is the ruler of all things and His work is done according to His plan. It is not constrained by any man, nor is it limited to the words of the Bible.

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God says, “The work done by Jesus during the time of the New Testament began new work: He did not work according to the work of the Old Testament, nor did He apply the words spoken by Jehovah of the Old Testament. He did His own work, and He did newer work, and work that was higher than the law. Thus, He said: ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.’ Thus, in accordance with what He accomplished, much doctrine was broken with. On the Sabbath when He took the disciples through the grain fields, they picked and ate the heads of grain; He did not keep the Sabbath and said ‘the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.’ At the time, according to the rules of the Israelites, whosoever did not keep the Sabbath would be stoned to death. Jesus, however, neither entered the temple nor kept the Sabbath, and His work had not been done by Jehovah during the time of the Old Testament. Thus, the work done by Jesus exceeded the law of the Old Testament, it was higher than it, and was not in accordance with it.” It’s clear that God does not adhere to rules. In every age, God does new work and utters new words—He is not held back by the laws and ordinances of the previous age. God acts according to the requirements of His work as well as what we as humans need. He is constantly uttering new words; this is the only way to lift mankind up to a higher plane so that we may fully escape from the forces of Satan and ultimately attain God’s salvation. This is why we cannot think of God’s work and words as limited to what the Bible contains, and we particularly cannot make demands on God based on His demand of human beings not to add or take away anything, or determine that outside of the Bible, there cannot be any new words from God.

If people lack a pure understanding of that passage of the scripture, cling to their absurd notions, and then through that delimit the work of God, won’t they likely offend God’s disposition? Just as the Pharisees concluded that the Lord Jesus deceived people because they clung to the old law and thought that His words were adding to the law. Not only did they not accept the Lord’s words and work, but instead they crucified the Lord Jesus, and were eventually punished by God. We have to learn the lessons of the failure of the Pharisees. We cannot delimit God in the Bible and believe that there is no God’s work beyond the Bible. God is the Ruler of all things, and God will utter new words according to His plan and the needs of mankind. The Lord Jesus predicted: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13).

:revelation 22 18-19 meaningThere are also the prophecies of the Book of Revelation: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it” (Revelation 2:17). “And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders said to me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Revelation 5:1–5). “What the Spirit says to the churches” and “the hidden manna” mentioned here, the scroll with seven seals that is to be opened, and so on and so forth, all prove that when God returns in the last days He will have more words to utter and more work to do; He will unveil all the mysteries that we have never before understood. So, can we really conclude that anything outside of the Bible cannot be God’s words because of the words “If any man shall add to these things…”?

Finally, the prophecy in Revelation 22: 18–19 clearly states that “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.” This tells us that the content of the prophecy cannot be deleted. If we refuse and do not believe the fact predicted in the revelation that God will speak and utter words when He comes again, isn’t this deleting the content of the prophecy? Isn’t it denying the coming of the Lord and denying the prophecy of the coming of the Lord? In this way, how can we get God’s salvation in the last days and enter into God’s kingdom? Therefore, in the important matter of welcoming the Lord’s return, we must maintain a heart that hungers and thirsts for righteousness, and a heart of seeking the truth and purely understand the meaning of Revelation 22: 18–19. We cannot be hindered by any of our notions or imaginings—that is the only way to welcome the Lord’s appearance in the last days, be the intelligent virgins, and be raptured up before God’s throne. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. … Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. … Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:3, 6, 8).

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In recent years, disasters around the world are growing larger and larger in scale. The Philippines is hit by one disaster after another. As the pandemic is still spreading, here come famines, and in some places, people do not have food. Facing the frequent disasters, are you reflecting on the following: Now is the end of the last days, and the signs of the Lord’s return have appeared. Accordingly, the Lord should have returned. So, how can I welcome the Lord’s return and avoid falling into disasters?

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