Revelation 22:18, 19
For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add to these things…
I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man, etc. In these very remarkable words we have two things - the possibility and the penalty of a great crime. The great crime is adding to and taking from the Word.
I. THE POSSIBILITY OF A GREAT CRIME. What is the possible crime so solemnly addressed to all who peruse this Apocalypse - this Apocalypse of unseen and eternal truths?
1. There is a sense in which things can be added to this book. By giving interpretation which misrepresent it. There is a sense in which things cannot be added to or taken from this book. What are those things? The absolute truth, the immutable love, the eternal rectitude, and the moral excellence of God. You cannot add to these. They are the spirit, the essence of all - the all pervading and indestructible element of the whole book. Who can destroy or add to the rudimental elements of the material universe - the elements that build up and remove mountains, that create rivers and oceans, that spread out the landscapes, plant the forest, and cause the atmosphere, the waters, and the earth itself to teem with untold millions of living things, the forms of all we see in the heavens above, and around, and beneath us? Were they all to vanish away, the rudimental element that produced all will remain indestructible - remain to produce all these objects, and ten thousand more. So in the moral domain of truth, rectitude, and love. You cannot add anything to them, nor can you take anything from them - "not one jot or tittle."
II. THE PENALTY OF A GREAT CRIME. "If any man shall add unto them, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book," etc. What does he put upon this book? Vain and fanciful glosses; makes it speak of things trifling, or, still worse, makes it speak things untrue to fact; or yet worse still, makes it curse those whom God has not cursed, those whom prejudice and party spirit alone have wilfully and uncharitably set up as foes. Does he not add to the words of the prophecy? And what, again, does he who closes his Bible at the Epistle of St. Jude, and never studies or ponders the solemn or momentous pages which follow? Does he not practically take away from the words of the prophecy, and forget, at least, the blessing of those who keep and love it? From these, and all such errors, on the right hand and on the left, may God of his great mercy preserve us all! (Dr. Vaughan). - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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: