If any man shall add - Shall give any other meaning to these prophecies, or any other application of them than God intends, he, though not originally intended, shall have the plagues threatened in this book for his portion.
For I testify - The writer does not specify who is meant by the word “I” in this place. The most natural construction is to refer it to the writer himself, and not to the angel, or the Saviour. The meaning is, “I bear this solemn witness, or make this solemn affirmation, in conclusion.” The object is to guard his book against being corrupted by any interpolation or change. It would seem not improbable, from this, that as early as the time of John, books were liable to be corrupted by additions or omissions, or that at least there was felt to be great danger that mistakes might be made by the carelessness of transcribers. Against this danger, John would guard this book in the most solemn manner. Perhaps he felt, too, that as this book would be necessarily regarded as obscure from the fact that symbols were so much used, there was great danger that changes would be made by well-meaning persons with a view to make it appear more plain.
Unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book - The word “heareth” seems here to be used in a very general sense. Perhaps in most cases persons would be made acquainted with the contents of the book by hearing it read in the churches; but still the spirit of the declaration must include all methods of becoming acquainted with it.
If any man shall add unto these things - With a view to furnish a more full and complete revelation; or with a profession that new truth had been communicated by inspiration. The reference here is to the book of Revelation only - for at that time the books that now constitute what we call the Bible were not collected into a single volume. This passage, therefore, should not be adduced as referring to the whole of the sacred Scriptures. Still, the principle is one that is thus applicable; for it is obvious that no one has a right to change any part of a revelation which God makes to man; to presume to add to it, or to take from it, or in any way to modify it. Compare the notes at 2 Timothy 3:16.
God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book - These “plagues” refer to the numerous methods described in this book as those in which God would bring severe judgment upon the persecutors of the church and the corrupters of religion. The meaning is, that such a person would be regarded as an enemy of his religion, and would share the fearful doom of all such enemies.
What is it to add to, or take from, the book of this prophecy? Let it be borne in mind that it is the book of this prophecy, or the Revelation, which is the subject of remark; hence the words concerning adding to or taking from have exclusive reference to this book. Nothing can be called an addition to this book except something added to it with the intention of having it considered as a genuine part of the book of Revelation. To take from the book would be to suppress some portion of it. As the book of Revelation could not be called an addition to the book of Daniel, so if God should see fit to make further revelations to us by his Spirit, it would be no addition to the book of Revelation, unless it should claim to be a part of that book.DAR 725.3
Brother Bates was holding the money for our fare in his hand, saying to the captain of the boat, “Here, take your pay.” As he saw the boat moving off, he sprang to get aboard, but his foot struck the edge of the boat, and he fell back into the water. He then began swimming to the boat, with his pocketbook in one hand, and a dollar bill in the other. His hat fell off, and in saving it he lost the bill, but held fast to his pocketbook. The packet halted for him to get aboard. His clothes were wet with the dirty water of the canal, and as we were near Centerport, we decided to call at the home of Brother Harris, that Brother Bates might put his clothes in order. LS 113.1
Our visit proved a benefit to this family. For years Sister Harris had suffered from catarrh. She had used snuff for the relief of this affliction, and said that she could not live without it. She suffered much pain in her head. We recommended her to go to the Lord, the great Physician, who would heal her affliction. She decided to do so, and we had a season of prayer for her. She discontinued the use of snuff entirely. Her difficulties were greatly relieved, and from that time her health was better than it had been for years. LS 113.2
While at Brother Harris's I had an interview with a sister who wore gold, and yet professed to be looking for Christ's coming. We spoke of the express declarations of Scripture against the wearing of gold. But she referred to where Solomon was commanded to beautify the temple, and to the statement that the streets of the city of God were pure gold. She said that if we could improve our appearance by wearing gold, so as to have influence in the world, it was right. I replied that we were poor fallen mortals, and instead of decorating these bodies because Solomon's temple was gloriously adorned, we should remember our fallen condition, and that it cost the suffering and death of the Son of God to redeem us. This thought should cause in us self-abasement. Jesus is our pattern. If He would lay aside His humiliation and sufferings, and cry, “If any man will come after Me, let him please himself, and enjoy the world, and he shall be My disciple,” the multitude would believe and follow Him. But Jesus will come to us in no other character than that of the meek, crucified One. If we would be with Him in Heaven, we must be like Him on earth. The world will claim its own; and whoever will overcome, must leave what belongs to it. LS 113.3Read in context »
There is necessity for every family to make the Bible the book of their study. Christ's sayings are pure gold, without one particle of dross, unless men, with their human understanding, shall try to put it there, and make falsehood appear as a portion of truth. To those who have received the false interpretation of the word, when they search the Scriptures with the determined effort to obtain the very marrow of truth contained in them, the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of their understanding, and the truths of the word are to them as a new revelation. Their hearts are quickened to a new and living faith, and they behold wondrous things out of His law. The teachings of Christ have a breadth and depth to many which they have never understood before. FE 386.1
The doctrines of grace and truth are not really understood by the larger number of our students and church members. Blindness of mind has happened to Israel. For human agents to misconstrue and put a forced, half truthful, and mystical construction upon the oracles of God, is an act which endangers their own souls, and the souls of others. “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.” Revelation 22:18, 19. Those who, by their human construction, shall make the Scripture to utter that which Christ has never placed upon it, weaken its force, making the voice of God in instruction and warnings to testify falsehood, to avoid the inconvenience incurred by obedience to God's requirements, have become signboards, pointing in the wrong direction, into false paths, which lead to transgression and death. FE 386.2
The testimony of the Alpha and Omega in regard to the punishment for making nonessential one word spoken by the mouth of God, is the fearful denunciation that they shall receive of the plagues that are written in the book; their names shall be taken out of the book of life, and from the holy city. FE 387.1Read in context »
“And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” Revelation 11:5. Men cannot with impunity trample upon the word of God. The meaning of this fearful denunciation is set forth in the closing chapter of the Revelation: “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.” Revelation 22:18, 19. GC 268.1
Such are the warnings which God has given to guard men against changing in any manner that which He has revealed or commanded. These solemn denunciations apply to all who by their influence lead men to regard lightly the law of God. They should cause those to fear and tremble who flippantly declare it a matter of little consequence whether we obey God's law or not. All who exalt their own opinions above divine revelation, all who would change the plain meaning of Scripture to suit their own convenience, or for the sake of conforming to the world, are taking upon themselves a fearful responsibility. The written word, the law of God, will measure the character of every man and condemn all whom this unerring test shall declare wanting. GC 268.2
“When they shall have finished [are finishing] their testimony.” The period when the two witnesses were to prophesy clothed in sackcloth, ended in 1798. As they were approaching the termination of their work in obscurity, war was to be made upon them by the power represented as “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.” In many of the nations of Europe the powers that ruled in church and state had for centuries been controlled by Satan through the medium of the papacy. But here is brought to view a new manifestation of satanic power. GC 268.3Read in context »