"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."
The 15th and last prophecy in Revelation (22:18-20) came upon me as I considered the opportunity to offer a devotion to Church of the Holy Spirit. Unfilled, it maintains a solemn warning that applies not only to this Book, but to the entire Bible. As presented, aside every human consideration, no one person may ever change or escape the scope of God's eternal charge. ".... If any man shall add to the words of this book of the prophecy, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book." (The plagues are those of eternal loss, as well as many others disclosed in Holy Scripture) And, "if any man shall take away the words of this book of the prophecy, God shall take away his part of the book of life." (This includes all the provisions and benefits found in the Bible.) Literally, one cannot add to the Word of God, nor can one take from God's Word without fulfilling John's testimony. (John as named and considered herein was known, in part, as a Palestinian Jewish Christian Prophet of Ephesus writing in 95-96 AD). I hence began to consider deeply why this illumination from the only apocalyptic document of the New Testament canon was upon my heart. Historically, it is not a book of accommodation. This work is considered as both accepted and disputed in commentary. I believe it is due to the fact that during our present pandemic, teachings within the scope of biblical wisdom need to be restated and revalued as we each confront a true humanitarian crisis. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of people may ultimately perish, many without judicial awareness of free moral agency. This reading ends with a divine epilogue; an invitation to all with a final warning. Christ assures those who accept Him as Lord will be saved and blessed. As such, we are chastened not to tamper with these true and righteous words of Holy Scripture. This Book was not sealed, as today is the day of repentance and blessing, whereby this sacred beatitude is verified as a conditional promise before humankind. The issue of free moral agency is paramount in our time, where human will is an exercise aligned to divine accountability. It is God's will that all persons who desire to be, shall be saved in, by and with Christ's precious blood and name. Therefore, all humans are commanded to live in choice to His plan and will, or be lost. Scripture remains clear; we cannot serve two masters. Provisions and promises are given to everyone upon the basis of choice. This decision is entirely voluntary. Mankind is free to choose his own destiny and moral actions during the pandemic. This fact attends to all humans, for whom true believers are called to serve and share forward the abiding and eternal "Good News." Let us pray: In prayerful obedience to a renewed heart, Father God, in the precious name of Your only Son, we come before you with a mind established by Holy assurance and divine expectations. In humility, we acknowledge the reality of this day and time, seeking from your Spirit the wisdom and conviction to hasten our servant heart for others, considering a testimony to know and acknowledge the triumph of Jesus Christ through righteous living and spiritual accord unto eternal blessing. Amen, amen and again we say amen.