Satan has always worked to undermine the authority of the Word of God. His first words addressed to man were those in his exchange with Eve, which cast doubt on the veracity of God: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1). It is small wonder, then, that the Bible closes with a sober and repeated message regarding the value and authority of the Book. In a time when the professing church seems to be smitten with an increasing spirit of slumber, we would do well to give heed to the following words found in the last inspired book.
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Rev. 1:3). “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the saying of the prophecy of this book” (Rev. 22:7). “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand” (Rev. 22:10). “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” (Rev. 22:18, 19).
The nature of inspiration is such that these words apply in large degree to the entire Bible, but they have particular reference to the Book of The Revelation. Many today who are diluting or distorting the prophetic message of the Word of God regarding the believer’s imminent hope should give heed to the encouragements and warnings of God in that regard.
Note the nature of the Book. “Seal not the sayings,” the “fellowservant” of John instructs him, thus indicating that the Bible, and specifically the much-maligned Book of the Revelation, is an “open” book: one that God expects believers to know and understand. In light of this verse alone, those who suggest that any portion of the Word of God is either incomprehensible or irrelevant are actually rejecting the Word of God.
Note the actions and responses to the Word that promise blessing. Those who read the book are blessed. John wrote in a time when few had copies of the Word of God in hand. With rare exceptions church gatherings were the only occasions that afforded opportunity to read the Word. Be that as it may, a blessing is attached to those read the Word of God with a desire to convey its truth accurately. Those who hear the words are blessed. Hearing the voice of God speaking through His Word is a privilege that many even to this day have never received. We should be mindful of this great benefaction. But the ultimate blessing belongs to those who “keep,” or heed His Word, in other words those who believe and thus obey it.
Note the actions regarding the Word that assure judgment. Anyone who adds or takes away from the words of the Bible—God’s words—will suffer dire judgment from God. This warning need not be read as applying merely to someone who would deny the inspiration of all or any of the Bible or someone who would add non-canonical books (such as the Apocrypha); it surely includes teaching and preaching that deny the literal interpretation of the Book and that deny its present-day relevance or applicability.
God highly exalts His Word (see Psa. 138:2); we must do so as well.
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