What does Revelation 22:18-21 really mean?

Revelation 22:18-21 is about the importance of adhering to the teachings and prophecies of the Bible without adding or taking away from it, concluding with a blessing for those who keep the words of the book.

18 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,
19 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.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.

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Setting the Scene for Revelation 22:18-21

The scene in Revelation 22:18-21 takes place in the heavenly realm, specifically in the presence of God. The participants in this scene are the apostle John, who is receiving the visions and messages contained in the book of Revelation, and an angel who is guiding and revealing these divine revelations to him. John finds himself in this extraordinary setting after being exiled to the island of Patmos for his faith.

Surrounded by the glory and majesty of God, John is overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the heavenly realm. The angel is there to ensure that John accurately records the visions and messages he receives, emphasizing the importance of preserving the integrity of the divine revelations. As the scene unfolds, John is instructed not to add or take away from the words of the book of Revelation, underscoring the sacredness and authority of the message being conveyed.

In this awe-inspiring setting, John is reminded of the imminent return of Jesus Christ and the promise of His coming. The scene serves as a powerful conclusion to the book of Revelation, leaving readers with a sense of anticipation and urgency as they await the fulfillment of God’s ultimate plan for redemption and restoration.

What is Revelation 22:18-21 about?

Understanding the seriousness and sacredness of God’s Word is crucial in this verse. The warning against adding or taking away from the Bible emphasizes the importance of preserving and respecting the integrity of the Scriptures. We must handle the Word of God with utmost care and reverence, just as we wouldn’t alter a masterpiece painting or a historical document. This verse serves as a reminder for us to approach the Bible with humility and obedience, knowing that it carries the divine message from God Himself.

Furthermore, the mention of Jesus’ return in this verse serves as a poignant conclusion and a hopeful prayer for believers. It signifies the anticipation and yearning for the fulfillment of God’s promises and the ultimate return of Christ. This verse reminds us to keep our focus on the eternal hope we have in Jesus as we navigate through the complexities of life and the challenges of the world. It prompts us to live with an expectation of His return, aligning our hearts and minds with the divine plan of redemption and restoration. We should cherish the unchanging truths of the Bible and eagerly await the glorious return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Understanding what Revelation 22:18-21 really means

These verses mark the conclusion of the Book of Revelation and the entire Bible, containing a mix of warning, promise, and blessing. The warning in verses 18-19 sternly cautions against altering the sacred text, emphasizing the completeness and sanctity of Scripture. Drawing parallels to Deuteronomy and Proverbs, the severity of adding or subtracting from God’s words is underscored, highlighting the importance of preserving the integrity of the biblical message. The promise of Christ’s imminent return in verse 20 serves as a beacon of hope for believers, echoing Jesus’ assurance of His coming to gather His followers. The prayer, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” expresses the eager anticipation and longing for the fulfillment of this promise, resonating with Paul’s call for the Lord’s return in 1 Corinthians.

The benediction in verse 21 offers a final blessing of grace, emphasizing the sustaining power of God’s unmerited favor in the lives of believers. This grace, akin to Paul’s benediction in Romans, serves as a reminder of the foundational truth that Christians rely on God’s grace for salvation and daily living. In today’s context, the warning against altering Scripture remains pertinent amidst a backdrop of misinformation and relativism. Anecdotal instances of misinterpretation leading astray highlight the critical need to adhere to the unadulterated Word of God. The promise of Christ’s return continues to provide hope and assurance in a world plagued by uncertainty and suffering, offering believers strength to endure challenging times.

The significance of living by grace, as highlighted in the benediction, speaks to the transformative power of God’s unmerited favor in the lives of individuals. Personal narratives of finding peace and transformation through understanding and embracing God’s grace underscore the practical relevance of this message in daily living. Phrases like “adds to them” and “takes away from the words” caution against human pride and the temptation to modify divine truth, emphasizing the completeness and sufficiency of God’s revelation. The assurance of Christ’s imminent return encourages believers to live in readiness and faithfulness, anchoring their hope in the certainty of His coming.

In essence, these concluding verses of Revelation encapsulate the core themes of Scripture: the integrity of God’s Word, the hope of Christ’s return, and the sustaining grace of God. They beckon believers to embody these principles in their lives, living with integrity, hope, and a deep reliance on the grace that sustains them each day.

Are we focused on God’s Word above all else?

Yes, we should always maintain a priority of focusing on God’s Word above all else. The passage referenced in Revelation emphasizes the importance of not altering the words of the prophecy in that book, as well as the final warnings and blessings for those who heed or neglect this command. We demonstrate our reverence for His teachings and our commitment to following His will by upholding the integrity and truth of God’s Word.

When we keep God’s Word central in our lives, we are better equipped to discern His guidance, receive His blessings, and fulfill our purpose in His Kingdom. Being diligent in studying Scripture, living out its principles, and sharing its message with others allows us to grow in our faith and draw closer to God. We can navigate life with wisdom, strength, and hope by anchoring ourselves in the truth of His Word, remaining steadfast in our devotion to Him despite challenges or temptations that may arise. By treasuring and upholding the authority of God’s Word, we ultimately align ourselves with His divine plan and invite His presence and power to work in and through us. We demonstrate our love for Him and our desire to walk in obedience as we prioritize His Word above all else, trusting in His promises and seeking to glorify Him in all that we do.

Application

Let’s honor and respect God’s Word, keeping it pure and unchanged. We must share its message faithfully, just as we would safeguard what is precious to us in our work and family. Our salvation relies on our commitment to upholding the integrity of Scripture. Will you join in protecting the sanctity of God’s Word and sharing its truth with those around you?