Rev 22:18-19                       The Last Messages of Jesus                  10/1/2006      ßà   

  • The Last Testimonies of the True Witnesses (Rev 22:14-21)

 

 

 

 

#1.       The Word of God to Hosea (Hos 1:6-10, Eph 2:3,12)

 

 

 

 

  • The Mercy and the Grace of God (Eph 1:4, Hos 1:10, 2:23, )

 

 

 

 

  • The Bible is One Book (Hos 1:10, Rom 9:23-26, 1Pet 2:9-10)

 

 

 

 

#2.       Do Not Add or Take Away (Rev 22:18-19, Deut 4:2, Prov 30:5-6)

 

 

 

 

  • There Is No Fear of God Before Their Eyes (2Pet 1:20-21, 2Tim 3:16-17)

 

 

 

 

  • Which God Are We Worshipping? (John 1:1, Rev 19:11-13, Jam 3:1)

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 22:14 (2X). We have here in the closing statements on the last page of the Word of God some remarkable warnings from the Lord to the church. Just think of it: When a loving Lord gives His disciples the last few warnings concerning the end of times, would He not choose to give those warnings that are of the utmost importance? And that is certainly true. In the passage before us the Lord speaks through the angel who leads John around. This is not an angel, as we have seen a week ago. This is a fellow saint through whom the Lord gave His last important messages. Therefore the title of this sermon is The Last Messages of Jesus(2X)

  • Let us now read of The Last Testimonies of the True Witnesses (Rev 22:14-21)

Re 22:14-15  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.                 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Re 22:16  “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, (and) the bright and morning star”.

Re 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Re 22:18  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:

Re 22:19-21  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.        He which testifieth these things saith, “Surely I come quickly. Amen”. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.                   The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Verses 14 and 15 indicate a contrast: Blessed are they which on earth do Christ’s commandments. They may enter into the Paradise of God. Keep in mind that their reward is always a reward of grace. The work of Christ was done on their behalf. On the other hand dogs (meaning: false teachers) and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and liars shall receive the just reward for their works, that is, the Lake of Fire. Verse 17 points out that the Spirit and the Bride have been united. The Spirit of the Bridegroom dwells in the Bride, and together the Spirit and the Bride invite us: Come. The response of all those who have received spiritual ears is in turn a call to others who are following them: Come. But when we come to the last part of verse 17, we may not infer that this is a call to all mankind. When God mentions “the water of life”, we should keep in mind that this refers to the water of life in the Paradise of God. And thus the words “whosoever will” do not refer to whosoever will in this life on earth, but to all those in the New Jerusalem. They all may take the water of life “freely”, for eternal life is a free gift. Then in V. 18-19 the Lord gives two stern warnings with dire consequences. It is amazing how many churches explain these warnings superficially, almost unconcerned. For instance most of us come out of churches where we have been brainwashed with the idea that the Bible is a collection of 66 books. Of course! The Belgic Confession clearly says so in Articles 4 and 5. And from there it is only a small step to declare that the warning of Rev 22:18-19 applies only to the Book of Revelation. But is that really so? If these words come directly from God should we not thoroughly search the Bible to see if we have understood these verses correctly, rather than believe a single man’s work such as the Belgic Confession? Let us therefore prove a very basic principle of the Bible, that the Bible is One Book and that the Book mentioned in Rev 22:18-19 must refer to the whole Bible.

#1.       The Word of God to Hosea (Hos 1:6-10, Eph 2:3,12)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Hosea, Hos 1:6 (2X). You find Hosea right after Daniel. The sequence is Isa, Jer, Eze, Dan, and then Hosea. In this chapter God commanded the prophet Hosea to marry a harlot. This was repulsive to an Israelite. But God commanded this to Hosea to make the family of Hosea a spiritual picture of God’s magnificent salvation plan. This is initially how all of us came into the world. Spiritually we were harlots in the sight of God, for none of us began his life worshipping the true God. Then we read that Hosea took Gomer to be his wife, and she bore him three children. The first one was named Jezreel. And so we read in Hos 1:6,

Ho 1:6-7  And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah (Lit: No Mercy), for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.     But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.

Ho 1:8-9  Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.       Then said God, Call his name Loammi (Lit: Not My People), for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.

Ho 1:10  Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

In verses 6-7 God made a distinction between the house of Israel and the house of Judah, because historically the nation of Israel was not brought back from Assyria, whereas the nation of Judah was brought back from Babylon. But the main theme throughout this chapter is a spiritual picture of Hosea as God and Gomer as the elect of God. Out of the elect of God came Jezreel who is a picture of Christ, and Loruhamah who is a picture of the elect among the Jews, and Loammi who is a picture of the elect among the Gentiles. This is what God has decreed as the complete plan of God for “the Israel of God.” The name Hosea means “Salvation”. The name Gomer means “Complete”, for God is picturing the complete plan of salvation for His elect. The name Jezreel means “God sows”, for Christ is the Seed that was promised to Abraham. Then the two children who represent the elect of God from all mankind are Loruhamah, “No Mercy”, and Loammi, “Not My People”. Historically first came the elect among the children of Israel, and then came the elect among the Gentiles. And notice the sequence here: first came Loruhamah and then came Loammi. This sequence is deliberately turned around when God quotes this passage in the NT. Is it not fearful that God says to any group of people that He has no mercy on them? It reminds us of the words God spoke to His elect in Eph 2:3, where He says that “WE ALL were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”. This was our condition before we were saved, because God’s righteousness demanded that all sinners must be under His wrath. Indeed, what God said in verses 6-7 came to pass spiritually as well as literally. The Northern kingdom of Israel was totally eliminated by the Assyrians. Everyone, including those who remained faithful to Jehovah, were killed or scattered throughout the kingdom of Assyria. How can it be that we have a God who shows no mercy? Does not God delight in mercy? In fact: God’s Righteousness, or God’s Justness, demands that God may not gloss over any sin! If God is a Righteous Judge then: Nobody gets away with anything! Indeed, God delights in mercy, but at the same time God may not show partiality. If God is a just Judge, He must punish every sin. In that sense God has no mercy. Every Sin must be paid for! Think of our own case: In time past, before we were saved, we were dead in trespasses and sins and under the Wrath of God.  We were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”. We were on the way to Hell! This is what we deserved. Only then would the righteousness of God be satisfied.  And is it not fearful that God says to any group of people that they are not His people? It reminds us of the words God spoke to the Gentile Ephesians in Eph 2:12, were He says that before our salvation, “We were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world”. We were not His people for we were under the wrath of God, on the way to Hell. This is what we indeed did deserve, and this is what everyone in the world deserves. It is only by the grace of God that anyone of us is saved, for none of us would on his own accord choose to turn to Christ to ask for salvation. This is an amazing thing:

  • The Mercy and the Grace of God (Eph 1:4, Hos 1:10, 2:23, )

Now we come to verse 10. And what do we see there? The grace of salvation is shining through for Loruhamah and for Loammi. Paraphrased God says to them in verse 10, “There will come a time when I will have mercy upon you sinners, and I will give you the grace to rise in My favor: I will forgive your sins (that is mercy), and I will lift you up (that is grace) to the status of sons of God”. God says in:

Ho 1:10  Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

We shall see from the NT that “the children of Israel” who are mentioned here does not refer to the physical descendants of Jacob but refers to the Israel of God, the elect of God, which is the remnant chosen by grace out of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues. Does God now suddenly set His righteousness aside by some hand waving for His elect? No, not at all! How then can their sins be forgiven?          There is only one day in history when sins were forgiven. That was when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross. That was the only time in history that sins were forgiven; that sins were paid in full. In fact: This is the only way any sin can be forgiven. The NT Greek has a word for it: “Exagorazo”. What does this mean? The Agora means “the market place”. Agorazo means, “to buy” especially “to buy from the market”. Exagorazo means, “to buy out of the slave market” with the purpose of setting the slave free. That is what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us: He Redeemed us: He bought us out of the Slave Market of Sin to set us free. Christ redeemed US from the curse of the Law to which we were bound from birth, and the Law as our master was able to condemn us to Hell. We were enslaved to Sin, and therefore we were willing slaves of Satan. The Law of God demanded that we be sent to Hell for our sins. That was the price that the Law of God demanded as full payment for our sins. That was the price that the Lord Jesus paid to buy US out of the Slave Market of Sin. When He was crucified God showed that the Lord Jesus had become accursed by God. Not for His own sins. He never sinned. That is why He could be our substitute. But He suffered for each one of US, in our place, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. On the Cross, when He said: “It is finished”, the full price had been paid. When He rose from the Grave it was the proof that the full price had been paid. All those for whom the full price had been paid would never again stand before the Judgment Throne of God, because all their sins have been paid. Moreover, not only were all our sins paid, but God bestowed on US the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His grace to elevate us to the status of sons of God. Who are all these who have been Redeemed and are called  sons of God? God says in Eph 1:4 that “He hath chosen US in Him before the foundation of the world. God repeats again in Hos 2:23 the complete plan of God, insofar as what God has decreed from before the foundation of the world:

Ho 2:23  And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

Literally God says in this verse, “And I will sow her to Me in the earth, and I will Ruhamah (Mercy) upon Loruhamah, and I will say to Loammi, Ammi (My People), and he shall say, My God”. The personal pronoun “Her” refers to Gomer, representing the elect, or the Israel of God. What does it take for God to have mercy upon all those for whom He did not have mercy? Christ had to go to the cross to pay for their sins. What does it take for God to transform Not My People into “My People”? Christ had to go to the cross to pay for their sins before God can apply the next step of making them sons of God.

Let us now focus on our objective:

  • The Bible is One Book (Hos 1:10, Rom 9:23-26, 1Pet 2:9-10)

There is one more thing God said in Hos 1:10. Let me read it again:

Ho 1:10  Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 9:23 (2X). What is the place where this

was said to them? Hosea preached in Samaria, the capital city of the Northern kingdom Israel. And thus, if this prophecy is to be fulfilled, there in Samaria shall in the future another prophet preach and turn this curse around, and he shall speak the words that God shall give him in his mouth that God will have mercy upon those that have not obtained mercy (Loruhamah), and God will call them His people who were formerly not His people (Loammi). God said that the time would come that in the same place where it was said to them “No Mercy” and “Not My People”, there in the same place the curse of the Law would be lifted and they would be called “Mercy” and “My People”. Now we read in Rom 9:23,

Ro 9:23-26  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,        Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?     As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.          And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

In this Epistle to the Romans the Apostle Paul addresses both Jews and Gentiles. The overriding theme throughout this letter to the Romans is the transition that has occurred at the time of the cross. The OT Messianic religion, which was primarily Jewish in character, has transitioned into a religion which encompasses both Jews and Gentiles as one entity, wherein only a remnant of the Jews and only a remnant of the Gentiles is considered the people of God. It is the main theme throughout this Epistle to the Romans that this transition took place. This remnant is called “the vessels of mercy” in verse 23. And these same vessels of mercy are named in verse 24 as “not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles”. And then in verse 25 God quotes from Hos 2:23, where God uses the word “beloved” instead of the word “mercy” that He uses in Hosea. Those whom God loves are the same ones on whom He bestows His mercy. They are the ones for whom Christ suffered and died. But deliberately God turned the sequence of these two children of Hosea around. First He refers to Loammi, “Not My People”, and then He refers to Loruhamah, “No Mercy”, as if God is no longer placing the Jews first on His list. And then in verse 26 God quotes almost literally from Hos 1:10. “And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God”. God plainly says that this prophecy of Hosea is now fulfilled, and He purposely quotes “The Place” as being the same place where Hosea declared his Prophecy. However, Paul was not in Samaria when he wrote this letter. Most likely, Paul was at Corinth when he wrote this letter to the Romans. If this was a mistake, keep in mind that it was God who let this mistake stand in the Bible. Many commentators have interpreted “The Place” in some philosophical terms. But the Greek word is “Topos”, from which we derive the word topography. The Greek word literally means “the location”. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle of First Peter, 1Pet 2:9 (2X). You find First Peter just before Second Peter, and after the epistles of Hebrews and James, toward the end of your Bibles. To whom is God addressing this Epistle? To the strangers scattered throughout the region of Asia Minor. Who are these strangers? We, who are the elect of God, are those strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Heb 11:13 and 1Pet 2:11). And in 1Pet 1:2 Peter specifies that he is speaking to the elect. And he says:

1Pe 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

1Pe 2:10  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

The Apostle plainly says that the Prophecy of Hosea is not just for the Jews, but is for all the elect of God. The Prophecy of Hosea has now been fulfilled in these NT believers. Where was Peter when he wrote this letter? Most likely Peter wrote this letter from Rome, for in 1Pet 5:12 he mentions Silvanus, which is Silas, who is the carrier of this letter, most likely when Silas departed from Paul in Rome. Moreover in 1Pet 5:13 he mentions Babylon. But Babylon was destroyed in 330 BC by Alexander the Great. The ruins of Babylon continued to deteriorate, and by the time Peter wrote this letter the historical Babylon was no longer in existence. Most likely Peter referred to evil city of Rome as the Babylon of his days. Now, let us sum this up: Hosea wrote his Prophecy most likely from Samaria. Paul wrote the letter to the Romans most likely from Corinth, but definitely not from Samaria. Peter wrote his letter most likely from Rome, but definitely not from Samaria. What is God telling us in these four passages? God is not a liar. If we cannot harmonize these four passages because we are stuck with trying to find a common city where all three writers have been, then we know we are looking in the wrong places. God is telling US that the proper interpretation of “The Place” in Hos 1:10 is not Samaria, or any other real estate, but it is the Bible. That is the only way we can harmonize these four passages. The Bible is the only place that the Prophecies of Hosea and of Paul and of Peter have in common. And thus: the Bible is ONE PLACE, it is ONE BOOK, it is ONE ENTITY. Now, let us apply this principle in Rev 22. Please turn in your Bibles to Rev 22:18 (2X). There the message is:

#2.       Do Not Add or Take Away (Rev 22:18-19, Deut 4:2, Prov 30:5-6)

If our church is indeed a church where the true Gospel is preached, then you can count on it that the Devil and his angels are pounding at the door, trying to break in. The Devil does not stand idly by when the true Gospel is preached. We need to know that the wolves are at the door. These wolves are not the secular world. They care less whether we preach the true Gospel or not. But the religious world does. To most of them the Gospel that we preach is an offense, it is a threat. It is my job to feed you with the Word of God in such a way that you can defend yourselves against the wiles of the Devil. There is not much time left. I am older than anyone of you. And so, it is my job to prepare you so that you can stand on your own and make wise decisions in my absence. That is why I need to warn you for many false Gospels that are the result of ignorance concerning Rev 22:18-19. Let us now read this:

Re 22:18-19  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.

What is God saying here? You do not have to be a genius to understand these words. God says: “This is the End. Don’t tamper with it. The Word of God is now complete. No more messages from God are to be expected. This is the last message from God to the last of the Apostles just before he died. No more prophecies from God will be added.” Paraphrased God says very plainly in Rev 22:18, “If anyone comes to you claiming that he or she has a new message from God, which has come to that person in a dream, or in a vision, or in an angel visitation, or in a tongue, or even if not a word was spoken but that person saw a comforting light somewhere in the middle of the night, or saw any other supernatural manifestation from God, then know that this person is lying, for God will not give any more Divine revelations or messages; that person is a false prophet, and I have not send them, and he or she deserves to be tormented in the Lake of Fire, so that the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever”. Therefore if anyone comes to you claiming that he or she has a new message from God, that person has added to the Word of God, the Bible, for the Bible is this One Book that God mentions in Rev 22:18. Here, on the last page of the Bible, God gave a last warning that the Bible is now complete; no one should add words to it, and neither will God add any more words to it. We must realize that the Bible portrays the image of God, and whosoever has additional Divine revelations has added to the words of the Bible, and is guilty of tampering with the image of God. Moreover, if any man shall take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God shall deny him entrance to the New Jerusalem, for he or she has also tampered with the image of God. Did you notice how God has turned these words around? In verse 18 God said, “the words of the prophecy of this Book”. In verse 19 God says, “the words of the Book of this prophecy”. The prophecy and the Book are interchangeably used, indicating that the prophecy of Revelation is an integral part of the Bible, and the Bible is the Book that contains all these prophecies from God. Always the entire Book is in view, because the Bible is One Book. For example: if anyone comes to you with the theory of evolution, then understand that if you believe this theory you have in your mind crossed out the first 11 chapters of Genesis, and you are guilty of having tampered with the image of God, even though it was only in your mind. Another example: someone modifies the doctrine of sin, and claims that the root problem of sin is essentially a weakness or a helplessness, or an inability to trust anyone, and therefore an inability to love or to be loved. And thus people possess a poor self-image and are beset with a tragic sense of their own worthlessness. Therefore people are without self-esteem, and so they are desperately unhappy about themselves. Perhaps you have met someone who believes these ideas. They are preached in many churches in this country, but they rely on human wisdom; not the wisdom that comes from God. And mentally they have taken many verses out of the Bible; verses that deal with the total depravity of man. The list of examples I could give is endless. What it boils down to is that people have in their mind added to or taken away from the Word of God, but when confronted they deny that they have ever added to or taken away from the Bible. This is a problem that is as old as the Bible is. Already in Deut 4:2 God said, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you”. God anticipated that the children of Israel would tamper with the Word of God. But Deut 4:2 is not as strongly worded as Rev 22:18-19, because Deut 4:2 only concerns the commandments of God. We also read in Prov 30:5-6 the equivalent of Rev 22:18, where God says, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar”. And as you know, “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone”. What is the main problem with adding or taking away from the words of the Bible?

  • There Is No Fear of God Before Their Eyes (2Pet 1:20-21, 2Tim 3:16-17)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Second Epistle of Peter, 2Pet 1:20 (2X). You find the Epistle of 2Pet right after 1Pet. In this second letter of Peter God addresses the problem of false teachers who quietly shall bring into the church damnable heresies. Why will they do that? It is because there is money to be made in those heresies, and moreover, “There is no fear of God before their eyes”.

2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

2Pe 1:21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Verse 20 says that we may not approach the Bible with our own interpretation. We may not come to our neighbor and say, “Whatever the Bible means to you is the truth for you”, for the next verse says that the words in the Bible are words from God. God spoke in old time through the mouths of holy men of God, and what they said and what they wrote are words that were given them by God the Holy Spirit. Therefore we may not invent an interpretation that comes out of our own mind, or invent an interpretation that came from the culture of those days. It must be an interpretation that harmonizes with the remainder of the Word of God, for God cannot lie. And thus we must approach the Bible with awe and respect, and with fear and trembling, as if God was speaking to us personally. A passage that is often quoted in support of 2Pet 1:21 is 2Tim 3:16-17, where God says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works”. What it all boils down to is this: God spoke the words of the Bible, and we better listen carefully, or else we may be guilty of contempt of God. At any time that we encounter a passage that we must understand, or a problem that we face in our life we must ask: What did God say? What is God’s opinion about this matter? Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John, John 1:1 (2X). Holy men of God spoke and wrote the words that God moved them to write. In the OT God’s words were written in Hebrew, and in the NT God’s words were written in Greek. We have in our hands the KJV, which is as close as possible a word by word translation out of the Hebrew Masoretic Text and out of the Greek Textus Receptus. These are the two most reliable documents of the Word of God.

  • Which God Are We Worshipping? (John 1:1, Rev 19:11-13, Jam 3:1)

Joh 1:1 ¶  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Here in this verse the Lord Jesus Christ is called “The Word”, the Logos. Moreover, when God says “the Word was God” He underscores that Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but He is fully God. Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 19:11 (2X). In many other parts of the Bible God identifies “the Logos” with the Word of God, the Bible. And thus we come to recognize that the Bible, the Word of God, is identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. God confirms this conclusion in Rev 19:11-13, where Christ appears as the Judge of all the world, and He is given the name: “Word of God

Re 19:11-12 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.          His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

What does this tell us about the Word of God? It tells us that the Bible, the Word of God, from cover to cover, is a description of the Lord Jesus Christ. And now the adding or taking away from the Word of God enters into the equation. The Bible is our Authority. Not only is it a description of the Lord Jesus Christ, but it also has become the Authority that we obey. If then we would add or take away from the Bible we would produce another authority over us, and thus another god which rules over us. Let us consider a vivid picture of our actions: When we add to the Bible by claiming additional messages from God, like the Roman church has done through the centuries by adding the utterances of the saints as if they were inspired by God, then we have changed the face of Christ. Every time we add another message from God, it is as if we have produced another lump on the face of Christ, and thus we have produced another god, which does not look at all like Christ. Every time we take away from the Word of God it is as if we have gouged out a piece of flesh out of the face of Christ, and thus we have produced another god, which does not look at all like Christ. And thus we would engage in the sin of idolatry. The sin of idolatry is the sin that God hates most of all. Rev 21:8 says that idolaters have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. And the false teachers who have created these idols, who lead others with them into Hell, shall receive the hottest place in Hell according to James 3:1. And thus we can see that the doctrine of Rev 22:18-19 is a most useful doctrine, for it gives us the discernment to know right from wrong. This is the sharp edge of the sword of the Spirit. This is the most useful tool God has given us to defend ourselves against the wiles of the Devil and against all the evil forces that try to persuade us to come to their side. Even if one day we would stand all alone, we would still see right from wrong. Praise God that He has given us this tool of discernment.   AMEN.

Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.