Bearing in mind Rev. 22:18-19,
V. 18 "I testify to everyone that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If anyone shall add to them, God shall add to that person the plagues that are written in this book:
V.19 And if any one shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away that person's part out of the Book Of Life, and out of the Holy City, which are written in this book".
The emphasis in V. 18 of adding to, and V. 19 of taking away is indeed a dire warning.
However, when the motive of the writer or reader is pure before God Almighty, i.e. only to attempt to understand the Truth of God's Word, then there is nothing to fear.
The warning is given because demonic and satanically inspired people will try to pervert the words, for many and varied purposes, all of which are anti-God and anti-Christ; especially as the prophecies regarding the return to Earth of Christ Jesus grow closer; which, with the world events now showing regarding militant Islam, the Arab Nations, and Israel; is probably quite close to fruition!
The anti-God forces now showing in the world, are not new, and often seem to be very "official" as is seen in the Gospels.
(The Lord thus condemned the Pharisees in Matthew 12:32, as they stated His "Holy Spirit" Power was of Satan. This is clearly defined by the Lord as the "unforgivable sin". The same verse states that the same condemnation would apply to "the world/Age to come". This may well have been the Acts period, but may also (probably) have future application).
There are now around the world, teachings from the Bible that when compared, are different, and which conflict! This leaves people in the many Churches, Denominations and Groups, in a state of reliance on their leaders, and with conflicting emotions, and in many cases, anger! Witness Northern Ireland, the history of religion in Europe over the last few hundred years, etc!
This need not be!
The cause is the lack of true understanding of different 'times' (Ages) (Administrations) (Dispensations), which are linked to God's dealings with mankind (Israel and the Gentile Nations), and the changing priorities from one to the other!
A very clear example is the change at Acts 28:25-28, when the Nation of Israel was 'put to one side' (Lo-Ammi), because of their rejection of Jesus Christ, their long awaited Messiah!
At that stage (Acts 28:28), the Gentiles became prime object for the Almighty, as His chosen people, the Jews, were put to one side for a period of time; (Lo Ammi); until the "times of the Gentiles" is completed (Rom. 11:25-27)! Since then a 'new man' (Eph. 2:15) was begun to be formed, which process is still underway!
When that 'new man' is complete, Israel will become 'prime-object' again in the next Age time (Dispensation)!
There are many probably sincere attempts to teach and understand Scripture and Revelation and prophecies, which do not do justice to the Inspired Word of God, which probably applies to most human efforts. However, it is the writers conviction that where sincere but maybe feeble effort is exerted by a person, the Holy Spirit enables, and gives energy and understanding. Unfortunately we weak humans can tend to dogmatism, but when our hearts are open and sincere before our Lord, we can expect reward in the understanding of the Word.
Also to be considered is the reference in 2 Peter 1:20 "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scriptures is of any private interpretation". This is badly translated, and from the original text means that Bible prophecy did not originate from men, but from the Holy Spirit through men of God, as is made clear in verse 21; and its correct interpretation is always with the aid of the Holy Spirit and prayer to Him!
Peter's comment in the above quote, has also been used by the Churches through the Ages to stop individual people from thinking that they can understand Scripture on their own. The Church of England translators were following the Roman Church pattern, introducing priestly control of the Word, which started under Constantine and Helena, in the 4th century AD. The implication that only the Church, English, Roman, or others and their leaders, could interpret Scripture and particularly prophecy, gave control to them for many centuries, excluding the common man from God's Word.
This phenomenon is still active, and many cults and so called "Churches", will not allow questioning of their doctrine and teachings! An organisation which will not allow questioning of itself against Scripture, needs to be questioned! This is particularly the case were non-Biblical teaching is propagated!
The Roman Church’s teachings reached down into Protestant revisions and translations, and show in the confusion in Protestantism regarding the teaching of Jesus, and His appointed successor, the great Apostle Paul (See: The Sermon on the Mount; Apostle Paul: & Apostle Paul's Accusers).
The early reformers and Bible translators suffered much martyrdom as they wrested the Bible from the Latin into common English and other European languages, away from the Roman Church in Europe. Martin Luther himself whose great uncovering of the Apostle Paul’s "justification by faith alone in Jesus the Christ"; is still not fully understood, and most Churches worldwide mix this profound truth with many of Christ’s teachings; which were for Israel only at that time, (see above link “Sermon on the Mount”). Luther himself was the subject of assassination attempts by the Roman Church, but was protected by a rich and powerful sympathiser.
The purpose of the following work on Revelation; and all our individual studies are intended as a study aid; and not intended to assume absolute accuracy, but there may be many similarities.
It is clear from chapter (1) of Revelation, that the central theme is Jewish, see: Replacement Theology which points to the re-starting of Jewish history, (therefore Jewish prophetic history). This implies that Israel is or soon will be AMMI, (My people) as opposed to LO-AMMI, (not My people), (Hosea chapters 1 & 2). Therefore the prophetic context of the early chapters will probably be the last 7 years (week) of the 70 week prophecy given to Daniel (Dan. 9:24 etc.); see: The 490 years Prophecy given to Daniel by Gabriel .
Some teach that the early chapters of Revelation are historic, and point to the 7 Churches of Asia (i.e. implying that they are the ones of Paul's ministry). That may be the case, however, the writers feel that they are the "first event" of a possible future "filling full" which is common in Scripture. Also, the fact is that 6 of them are of different name which precludes the “historic” argument! It is obviously apparent at the present time that Satan does not reside at Pergamon which is prophetic (Rev. 2:13), with the horrific events of the time that he has his throne there; but as the current conflict in the Mid-East develops (2016); it is not difficult to see that development! (See: The Great River Euphrates).
Also commonly taught is that the horrific events described in Revelation are allegoric and not actual. Although some of the Chapters are over-view and repeat, the whole of Revelation is the mind of Almighty God expressed to primarily the Jewish nation, with consequences for the Gentile Nations.
The title "Revelation", (Greek; apokalupsis) means; the Unveiled Christ. That unveiling is to be for Israel, the Nations, and for the vanquishing of Satan for 1000 years; and the setting up by Messiah Christ Jesus of 1000 years of Earthly reign by Him from Jerusalem (this is called The Millennial Reign of Christ). As will be seen later, Christ's work is not completed until the end of the 1000 years Reign.
The main Bible used in this work is the Companion, which is the Authorised text. Dr. E. W. Bullinger's work has corrections to translations, errors and additions in the margin, which are the result of his and Dr. Ginsburg's scholarship.
The purpose of this joyful labour, is the continuing search for Truth, and to put on record what we believe are necessary re-examinations of worldwide teaching error or omission; and to help if possible the “hurting” of Christendom who are made that way by erroneous teachings.
The Truth of personal Salvation (Acts 4:12), and the future of the world is not sufficiently taught from the Bible; which is the only source of Truth (2Tim. 3:16); and many Churches demand a "works" element to Salvation; mixing the words of Jesus with those of Paul, which confuses those listening, as the Truth is that God’s Salvation in Christ Jesus is free; and by faith only!
Turning to Christ Jesus is always the first step in Salvation. Good works, follow automatically, as our relationship with Jesus grows!
Many College trained and well qualified men, and women stand against the Word of God in Scripture, stating that it is only a book with many changes. The remarkable fact is that the consistency of translation and transmission according to scholars is almost 99%! Almighty God and His Holy Spirit (who is the author of the Bible), oversees this fact, to enable succeeding generations to know His Love for mankind.
Every human being has the right and privilege to find that Truth, without hindrance from others, no matter what position or title they hold in society. The length of time left to accept the Grace of the Almighty in Christ is undoubtedly short, prior to the events described in Revelation!
In our case, Acts 4:12 became a reality in the 1960s. Sorting out Biblical fact and fiction started in earnest in 1986, after the wonderful revealing of Acts 28:28; "The Key that fits". This was after many years of Bible study, and living prayerfully with and through various groups teachings; which led to confusion and perplexity, as they did not hold veracity under scrutiny. In our experience, when some teachers or leaders are sincerely questioned, they can be resistant authoritarian and defensive, holding their group dogma, rather than turning to the Word in sincerity and prayer. (See: A WALK OF FAITH ).
The Ecumenical movement which in principle is laudable, and instigated by Rome, has dulled the senses of many Denominations to the extent that even Salvation by Grace is no longer taught to the congregations, instead the teaching is "there are many ways to God"! This apostasy negates Acts 4:12, and the Bible. This of course plays into the hands of Satan, and his anti-Christ.
The words of Miles Coverdale eventually give the start of enlightenment:
"It will greatly help understanding of Scripture to see what is spoken or written, by whom, to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goes before and what follows".
He was supremely qualified to make such comment, having translated from the Latin (Jerome), to the English.
Following this principle of "what, whom, to whom, what words, what time, where, to what intent, what circumstances, what goes before; and what follows"; will enable any person to differentiate the teachings of Jesus and those of the great Apostle Paul.
Just at the right moment for us, the Companion Bible was presented, (and was an answer to prayer 7 years earlier), which as said is a work of Biblical scholarship which we feel is unique, by Dr. E.W. Bullinger, who was a Greek and Hebrew scholar, who used the Old Testament notes of the well-known Dr. David Ginsburg: This is of particular importance due to David Ginsburg's academic excellence and Rabbinic training. The text is the King James 1611 Authorised, with large margin for comment on the best manuscript comparison. When the understanding of Israel's prophetic position is seen, the Bible unlocks, and The Almighty's message and meanings starts to unfold!
Also prayerfully seen, are that the teachings of Jesus are a re-iteration of Moses and prophets of Israel; and are so due to, Israel’s unfaithfulness from the Exodus to the Crucifixion; and are laid out in detail in Deuteronomy, 4:27; 28:64; Lev. 26:33; Ezk. 22:15 and elsewhere; with the consequences of failure. As Jesus said; "I come only to the lost sheep of Israel" (at that time), and as the One Who had sent His messages to Moses and the Prophets; was in Person re-iterating His standards to Israel!
Also needing to be understood, is the fact that Paul’s teaching does not conflict with Christ’s; but was/is a continuation of Christ’s into the "Gentile Age" after Acts 28:28; and as Paul stated to King Aggripa; was under the instruction of the Risen Lord (Acts 26:16)!
When people see these facts, the study of Paul’s last 7 letters to the Churches becomes joyful, which are the teachings of Christ to His Body (the true Church) until the next "Age"; which terminates with the “Translation”, (1Thess. 4:13-18)!
After the return of Christ Jesus as "Messiah" to Israel; and during the "Millennial Period"; the teachings of Jesus to Israel typified by the "Sermon on the Mount" of Matt. Chapter 5 (see: Sermon on the Mount), but in many forms throughout the Gospels; will become a day to day reality; due to God/Christ’s residing in Jerusalem; and the Holy Spirit’s aid to all Jews and other world residents, who request His aid and help in their decisions and circumstances.
This is partly what is being shown in Chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, where the "Churches" (Ecclesia) are shown they can request help from the Holy Spirit during their testing trials; and was the principle of what was on offer to the Jews from Exodus to the end of Acts. This was evident in the examples in the Old Testament men of God, in Christ Jesus in the Gospel miraculous signs; and in the Acts period up to Acts 28:28, after which that power from God to the Jews ceased; due to their rejection of Jesus, as the Anointed of God (Christ); and their long awaited "Messiah"!
This is evidenced in Paul’s inability to heal various people as shown in 2Tim. 4:20, as that power of healing was a continuation of that shown by Jesus in the Gospels; and that of Acts 2, for the continuing evangelising of the Jews of Palestine and the Diaspora; and did not end until Acts 28:28; when the last of the important Synagogues had rejected Jesus as Messiah! The example of Trophimus (AD 68 approx.), shows Paul unable to heal, which proves the point.
It is reiterated, that it is our prayer and hope, that the use of this material will ease the pain of those who are feeling restricted, contradicted by the confusing teachings of the many Denominations and groups around the world; always using a good Bible translation!
Other works used in these Studies are:
Hendrickson Interlinear Bible with Strong's Concordance Numbers;
New International Version;
Scofield Study Bible;
PeshittA (Victor Alexander),
Things to Come,
New Bible Dictionary,
Youngs Literal Translation of the Bible.
Other references given in full
This work should be read in conjunction with constant reference to Scripture.
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