Come Spirit Bride
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87. Come Spirit Bride
Revelation 22.17-18

"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let the one who hears say, 'Come!' Let the one who is thirsty come and let the one who wishes take the gift of the water of life. 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." (Revelation 22.17-18)✞

Deepest Spiritual Needs

There are two different interpretations of this passage. The Biblical scholar H. B. Swete (1835-1917) takes the first two parts as an appeal to Christ to fulfill his promise and come quickly back to this world, and he takes the third part as an invitation to the thirsty soul to come to Christ. The second interpretation of this verse is that the whole passage is an excellent summons to come to Christ. There is the call, "Come Spirit and Bride." The bride, we know, is the church. But what are we to understand by the Spirit? The Holy Spirit is operative in the prophets. He is always calling us back to God to receive the water of life! The spirit and the bride are telling the seven churches how to fulfill their deepest spiritual needs and offering them requests to "Come to Christ." The seven letters to the churches in Revelation 2.7 each end with a call to hear the Holy Spirit and a 'come to Christ' invitation. John of Patmos writes, "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victorious one, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." The speaker to the seven churches is the risen Christ himself.

Come and Share

The Holy Spirit and the Bride invite everyone to receive the gift of the water of life. The church is encouraged to join the call to accept everything that the Holy Spirit and the Bride have to offer. They help them saying, "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let the one who hears say, 'Come!' Let the one who is thirsty come, and let the one who wishes take the gift of the water of life." The great truth is that every Christian is to become a missionary. He or she who has been found by Christ must find others for Christ too!

Isaiah's Great Invitation

Invitation CardThe "invitation to come" is issued to all thirsty souls to satisfy their deepest spiritual needs. Jesus repeats this call in John 6.35, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." Isaiah's great invitation in Isaiah 55.1 also says, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and cost." We are all invited to come to Christ!

Changing Word Warning

The Book of Revelation issues a warning to all against altering the text of the Bible. Those who twist, add to, or delete Scripture will find themselves under God's curse. There are certain things to note in this solemn warning against changing the words of Scripture. It warns against distorting the teaching, which the book contains by altering even a single word. It is very much what Saint Paul means when he writes in Galatians 1.8-9, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!" To alter the wording of the truth is such a severe offense that Saint Paul repeats this warning. Changing the meaning and, therefore, the truth itself must not happen. The ending of this ancient book with a warning is far from unique. It is, in fact, the kind of warning with which ancient writers commonly finished their manuscripts. We find similar counsel in other places in the Bible. Deuteronomy 4.2 orders, "Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you." Proverbs 30.5-6 says, "Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar." Finally, in the Book of Enoch 104.10, an ancient religious work ascribed to Noah's great-grandfather dating from BC 300 and included in the biblical canon by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the writer demands that no one should "change or diminish any of my words."

Solemn Appeal

John the ScribeAnyone who adds or omits words or changes the meaning of scripture receives a Revelation curse and a solemn appeal. The Letter of Aristeas 310, 311, tells how the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, called the Septuagint, was translated by seventy Jewish scholars in the 2nd century BC at the request of the King of Egypt. On completion, "they bade them pronounce a curse upon any who should make an alteration or allow an omission or add anything or change in any way the words which had been written!" In the preface to his book "On Origins," Tyrannius Rufinus (340-410 AD), a monk, historian, and theologian, added a similar solemn appeal. "In the sight of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit," he writes, "anyone who read or copied this book is not to add, subtract, insert, or alter anything!" Eusebius (263-339 AD), the Bishop of the Church of Caesarea, writes in "Ecclesiastical History 5.20.2" and quotes how Irenaeus (130-202 AD), the great second-century Christian scholar, ends one of his books. "I make a solemn appeal to anyone who copies this book, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by his glorious advent, when he comes to judge the quick and the dead. Compare what you write, and correct it carefully by this manuscript, and also write this earnest solemn appeal, and place it on your copy!"

The Wicked Bible Error

The wicked Bible error was a terrible omission. In ancient days, since all books were hand-copied by scribes and everyone knew how easy it was for a copyist to make even a single mistake in the copying, it was a regular custom to insert at the end of a book a solemn warning against change. The writer added a blessing as well as to his manuscript. In the Middle Ages, if a scribe found even one error in a document that may have taken months to copy, it was destroyed, such was the importance of adhering precisely to the original text. In the printing press era, the "Wicked Bible," the "Adulterers Bible," or the "Sinners' Bible," was published in 1631 AD. The Royal Printers in London printed a thousand copies. A year later, they discovered a mistake in verse fourteen of the Seventh Commandment omitting the "not" and reading, "thou shalt commit adultery." The Archbishop of Canterbury, in response, wrote, "great care was taken with the printing, the Bibles especially. Grave and learned men were employed with good compositors and the best correctors. The paper and the letters fine, and in every way the best, but now the paper is of nothing, the composers' boys, and the correctors unlearned." A furious King Charles 1 ordered the burning of every "Wicked Bible." Only a few escaped, and only nine copies exist today. One of these was auctioned by Bonhams in London in 2015 and sold. As recent as 2008, a copy of the Wicked Bible went for sale online, priced at $89,500. In 2015, the price of the displayed book was $99,500. A single error like this resulted in a massive fine in those days of $600 or $60,000 in today's money on the publishers Robert Barker and Martin Lewis. They had their licenses taken away, the entire publishing run withdrawn, and every known copy burned. King Charles 1st and the Archbishop of Canterbury made a joint statement condemning the wicked Bible omission. "His Majesties printers, at or about this time, had committed a scandalous mistake in our English Bibles, by leaving out the word "Not" in the Seventh Commandment. His Majesty, being made acquainted with it by the Bishop of London, gave an order calling the Printers to the High-Commission, after which evidence of the fact, the whole Impression was called in, and the Printers harshly punished, as they deserved. With some part of this fine, Archbishop Laud caused a fair Greek Character to be provided, for publishing such Manuscripts as Time and Industry should make ready for the Public view." The omission of "not" is not, however, a rare thing. For this reason, the Associated Press today advises the Press to use "innocent" instead of "not guilty" to prevent misunderstanding in court proceedings should the "not" be omitted by mistake!

Come Jesus Christ

The Holy Spirit and the bride, the church, say 'Come Jesus Christ.' Many Biblical passages say that Jesus is coming soon. John of Patmos writes several times, "Come Jesus Christ." Indeed, Christ may appear at any moment, and that is clear from Revelation 22.7, "Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll." Revelation 22.10 adds, "Then he told me, 'Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.'" Revelation 22.12 says, "Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." and Revelation 22.20 "He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." "Behold, I am coming soon" is the repeated refrain of this chapter. In Jesus Christ alone, the longing of the soul can be satisfied. The Old hymn by Emma Francis Shuttleworth Bevan (1827-1909) reflects this longing, "O Christ, in Thee my soul hath found, And found in Thee alone, The peace, the joy I sought so long, The bliss till now unknown. Now, none but Christ can satisfy, No other name for me. There's love and life and lasting joy, Lord Jesus, found in Thee."

"Come Spirit Bride"
by Ron Meacock © 2020

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