Revelation 22:19 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.
Denunciations against those who add to or take from the Scriptures (The New Topical Textbook, subheading under the main topic “The Scriptures,” page 240).
Taking something away from the written Word of God is a perilous action, for anyone who does so will lose his part in the book of life, the holy city, and the promises written in the Word of God.
Once again, while this warning is appended to the book of Revelation specifically, its position in the Bible being at the very end of the Bible, may providentially have been designed to have the warning applicable to the whole Book.
The Apostle John was the last living Apostle of Christ. It is possible, but not certain, that the Apostle John was the person God provided in the early Church to certify which writings belonged in the completed New Testament. That is an idea discussed and supported by a most interesting appendix to volume two of Townsend’s Analysis, a nineteenth century Chronological Bible which is very well done.
Just how does this warning not to take anything away from the Word of God apply? The warning might well apply historically to certain heretics of the second century or so who devised their own edition of the New Testament or Gospel account to suit their system of errors. They took out those portions of the Gospel text which recorded miracles and other things they did not like.
In our own day the Jehovah’s Witnesses have published The New World Translation which attempts to remove all evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity, the personality of the Holy Spirit, and the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ from the text. This surely would fall under the condemnation of the warning in Revelation 22:19 not to take away from the words of the Bible. This would also suggest that the translators, the organization and its leaders, and any of their followers or adherents who are deceived by this translation into not believing in the deity of Jesus Christ, and the personality of the Holy Spirit, are very likely to be devoid of any hope of eternal life.
I challenge anyone who may be affiliated in any way with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower Society to make a very careful examination of their belief as it compares with the Bible itself, properly translated. I have had Jehovah’s Witnesses challenge me to examine my beliefs with what the Bible teaches, appealing most correctly to Romans 14:12 to justify such a challenge. I say, respectfully, that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. The challenge of Romans 14:12 surely applies to me. But it also applies to everyone else, including every Jehovah’s Witness. Every one of us will have to give account of ourselves to God.
In times past, and just lately here on this website, I have been challenged by Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim “Jesus is NOT Jehovah.” If this is what you believe, I have some rather shocking news for you. A careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture will demonstrate to anyone who will go by what the Bible itself says that Jesus is identified as Jehovah in the New Testament in several ways. There is not space in this post to fully explore this truth, but I will point to where anyone can learn more later in this post, and as necessary, in subsequent posts once my series on “The Scriptures” from the outline in The New Topical Textbook is completed. I have written over 95 Bible Nuggets on the theme of “The Scriptures” from this outline. This outline greatly impressed me in my Bible studies as a teenager about the supreme importance of the Bible in our spiritual lives. I trust you have gained a similar perspective from reading my posts, a perspective that will anchor your faith in the written Word of God.
Some students of the false cults have identified several such groups by the term “Name Cults.” By this term reference is made to the claim of such cultic groups to have a special and more correct focus and understanding of God’s name than the rest of us poor souls. To know God’s names and their meaning is a wonderful study, and taken directly from Scripture, is most instructive.
The Watchtower Society’s New World Translation brings the Divine Name, Jehovah, into the text of the New Testament, which on linguistic and textual evidence in the original manuscripts is invalid, though well-intended on their part. To support such a claim, they provide in an appendix photographic copies of a Greek manuscript of the New Testament which does contain the name Jehovah where our ordinary translations use the word “Lord,” as in New Testament quotations of Old Testament passages which in the Hebrew text do contain the name Jehovah.
There is one very striking exception where the New World Translation fails to apply this general principle. The exception is found at 1 Peter 2:3.
1 Peter 2:3 is certainly a quotation from Psalm 34:8. Equally certain it is that Psalm 34:8 contains a reference to the Divine Name, Jehovah.
The Watchtower arguments to justify an exception here to their general principle are unconvincing. I would rather believe that they are lamely trying to hide the fact that Peter in this quotation from Psalm 34:8 is applying it to our Lord Jesus Christ, and so in some sense equating Jesus with Jehovah. This comparison or equation is quite frequently done. I have provided a rather complete listing of the examples I have found in my note at 1 Peter 2:3 in both The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and the same note preserved in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible.
Another text the Watchtower and its followers like to use to reduce the honor we are to give the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:9, 10) is John 20:17. This verse, the Watchtower claims, proves that Jesus cannot be God, for He refers to “My Father, and your Father, My God and your God.” If Jesus calls the Father “my God,” He can hardly Himself be God. This is hardly the proper inference to be drawn from the words of Jesus here, for later in this same chapter, John 20:28, we have the climax of John’s Gospel, where John records that Thomas in devout worship said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.”
When we consider John 20:17, I would ask a Jehovah’s Witness, and anyone else who has bought into the same error, “Why did Jesus not more simply say, “to our Father and to our God”?
The correct answer is rooted in a correct understanding of the Person of Christ–something the Watchtower and its followers do not have!
The New Testament reveals that Jesus Christ possessed two natures in His one Person at the same time. Jesus Christ clearly possessed a human nature (Philippians 2:7), something we might expect, having been born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18, 23) in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Jesus Christ clearly possessed a Divine nature (Philippians 2:6), having been conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35).
Therefore, though Jesus Christ was and still is truly a man (Philippians 2:7; 1 Timothy 2:5), he certainly had a relationship with God the Father which is different than we as fallen creatures have, for He was possessed of a perfect, unfallen, and sinless human nature (John 14:30; Hebrews 4:15).
This being the case, Jesus is always cognizant of this difference, so He NEVER EVEN ONCE uses the expression of Himself, “Our Father,” but always speaks as at John 20:17, “say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God” and again at Revelation 3:12, “my God,” but never “our God.”
Therefore, to suggest that Jesus so spoke at John 20:17 to Mary Magdalene who was first to witness Jesus after His bodily resurrection from the dead, that He spoke in this manner so as to deny His Deity is very wide of the mark, and surely a gross misinterpretation of this text, in an attempt to take away a precious affirmation of Who Jesus is and His proper relation in His true humanity to the Father.
Those who take away from the Person of Christ by denying Who He really is are surely in grave danger of having no part in the promise of eternal life with God and His Divine Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, as clearly threatened in Revelation 22:19.
For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:
(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 1521 for Revelation 22:19.
(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 1538 or in Logos 5 Bible software for Revelation 22:19.
(3) Lacking access to those two resources, consult the cross references for this passage as I have developed them as given below:
Revelation 22:19. And if. FS184C, +Mt 4:9. take away from. See on Re 2:18. *Je 26:2. Mt 19:9n. Lk 11:52. Jn 3:7n. +*Ga 1:8, 9. 1 Th 4:2n. God. See on +*Re 3:5. +Re 13:8. Ex 32:33. **Ps 69:28. shall take. *Lk 8:18. his part. %Dt 18:1. Jsh 22:25, 27. +*Ep 1:11. out of the book of life. Re 13:8. >Ps 69:28. or, from the tree of life. See on ver. Re 22:2, 14. +Re 2:7. >Ge 2:9. >Ge 3:22. and out. See on Re 21:2, 22-27. holy city. Re 21:2, 10. >Is 52:1. +Mt 4:5. *He 12:22. and from. ver. Re 22:12. Re 1:3. 2:7, 11, 17, 26. 3:4, 5, 12, 21. 7:9-17. 14:13. 20:15.
For Further Study:
1 Peter 2:3. If. FS184A, +1 Cor 15:2. 1 P 1:17. Mt 6:30. Lk 12:28. Ro 6:8. tasted. Gr. geuomai (S#1089g, Mt 16:28). Aorist tense, ye tasted. “A taste excites the appetite” (Bengel, cited by Vincent). 2 S 19:35. Jb 12:11. +**Ps 9:10. >Ps 34:8. 63:5. *SS 2:3. Zc 9:17. Lk 5:39. Jn 4:14. +*Ro 12:3. 2 Cor 12:16. *He 6:4-6. *1 J 5:10. the Lord. The Hebrew text underlying this quotation from the Old Testament reads “Jehovah” (Ps 34:8h); this is therefore a very clear instance of the Divine Name of Jehovah being applied directly to Jesus Christ by the apostles in the New Testament, for the following verse (ver. 1 P 2:4) shows unmistakably that this reference is to Jesus (Ac 11:21n). The following pairs of references will show that this identification is very frequently made in the New Testament:
(1) Mt 3:3 with Is 40:3.
(2) Jn 12:41 w Is 6:1.
(3) Ep 4:7, 8n w Ps 68:18.
(4) 1 P 3:15 w Is 8:13.
(5) 1 Cor 2:8 w Ps 24:7, 10.
(6) James 2:1 w Ps 24:7, 10.
(7) 1 Cor 1:30 w **Je 23:5, 6.
(8) Jn 3:31 w Ps 97:9.
(9) Re 1:17 w Is 44:6.
(10) Phil 2:6 w Zc 13:7.
(11) He 13:20 w Is 40:10, 11.
(12) Col 1:16 w Pr 16:4.
(13) Lk 7:27 w Ml 3:1.
(14) He 1:8, 10-12 w Ps 102:24-27.
(15) Titus 2:13 w Ho 1:7.
(16) 2 Tim 4:1 w Ec 12:14.
(17) Re 1:5 and Re 17:14 w Da 2:47.
(18) Jn 1:3 w Is 40:28.
(19) Col 1:17 w +*Ne 9:6.
When I present the above information to Jehovah’s Witnesses, the reaction I get is the question, “How could Jesus be Jehovah? Is that what you are claiming?” The answer is that in the Bible there is more than one Person in the Triune Godhead who is called Jehovah (**Ge 19:24n; +*Ex 3:2n). For Scripture evidence establishing the divinity or deity of Christ, see Topic Numbers 74-82, the sets of references gathered at Mt 28:19n, and the following related notes and references: (1) Deity of Christ, Col 1:16n. (2) Christ received worship, +*Mt 14:33. +*Jn 20:28, 29n. +*Ac 7:59n. (3) Christ is not a lesser god, or entitled to a lesser degree of worship, +*Jn 1:1n. Phil 2:6n. (4) Jesus called God, +**Jn 20:28, 29n. (5) Charged with blasphemy for his claim to deity, Jn 10:32n. (6) Only a divine Savior possessing full deity could qualify as our substitute, better, sacrifice, in the atonement for sins, He 10:4n. **Je 23:5, 6. gracious. Gr. chrēstos (S#5543g, Ep 4:32), employed, that is, (by implication) useful (in manner or morals) [Strong]; delicious to the taste. Je 24:2-5. Mt 11:30g. Lk 5:39g (better). Lk 6:35. Ro 2:4. 11:22. +*Ep 4:32g.
We must carefully observe that to say Jesus is Jehovah does not mean Jesus is the Father. In the Bible the Father is called Jehovah; the Son is called Jehovah, and it may be (though at this time I have not conducted a study on this aspect) that the Holy Spirit is called Jehovah, but I’ll have to determine by further study whether in fact the Holy Spirit is ever called Jehovah or not. But that the Father is called Jehovah, and the Son is called Jehovah can be proven absolutely from Scripture.