Is the warning in Revelation 22:18-19 about the entire Bible or just the book of Revelation?
Revelation 22:18-19 offers a stern warning to readers: "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." The question is regarding to what these words apply. Is this a warning about the Book of Revelation or the entire Bible?
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First, it is clear that this warning at least applies to the Book of Revelation. Revelation 22:18-19 specifically refer to "everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book." Some translations use the word "scroll" in place of "book," which would be the material the book was written upon. This argument is also strengthened by the fact that the warning comes at the end of the book or scroll, noting that it was intended to apply to all that was written prior to it, or the Book of Revelation in this case. The reason for this warning is because the words come from Jesus Christ and the fact that it has to do with coming events: "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place" (Revelation 1:1).
Second, the warning serves as a principle for tampering with God's words in any way. In addition to this warning specifically to the readers of Revelation, Scripture notes in Deuteronomy 4:2, "Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you" (NIV). Deuteronomy 12:32 adds, "See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it" (NIV)
In Proverbs 30:5-6 we read, "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar" (NIV). Instead, for the one who is blessed, "his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2).
According to 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." The Greek word translated "breathed out by God" is theopneustos, literally meaning "God breathed." God's words are an extension of God Himself, offering perfect wisdom for life today and the information needed to find eternal life in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). Hebrews 4:12 reminds us, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
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