The Right to the Tree of Life

Revelation

The Right to the Tree of Life

September 15th, 1963 @ 10:50 AM

Revelation 22:14

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.
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THE RIGHT TO THE TREE OF LIFE

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Revelation 22:14

9-15-63    10:50 a.m.

 

On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the eleven o’clock message entitled The Last Beatitude, or The Right to the Tree of Life.  In our preaching through the Bible, after these many years, we have come to the Revelation.  In our preaching through the Revelation, we have come to the concluding verses of the last, the twenty-second chapter.  There is this sermon and three others.  This coming Sunday, I shall preach on Revelation 22:17: “The Spirit and the bride say, Come . . . And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”—God’s Last Invitation.  Then the next Sunday, the sermon will be on The Words of This Prophecy.

And then the last Sunday, the third Sunday, the last sermon after seventeen years and eight months—it will also coincide with the nineteenth anniversary of the pastor’s shepherdly assignment with this congregation—the first Sunday in October, my nineteenth anniversary, I shall preach the last and the concluding message from these seventeen years and eight months of preaching through the Bible.  It will be God’s Last Promise: “He which saith these words, He which saith these words”—what’s the matter with me?  I can’t remember it!—“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly” [Revelation 22:20].  That will be the last message after these years of preaching through the Bible.  “Surely I come quickly.” Then the prayer, answering prayer of the apostle John, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” [Revelation 22:20].

Now the message this morning:  in the fourteenth verse of the twenty-second chapter of the Revelation, and if you would turn in your Bibles to the passage, you can easily follow the message of this morning’s hour.  Revelation 22:14:

Blessed are they—the last beatitude in the Book—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.

That is the way you have it written here in the King James Version, the Authorized Version of the Bible:  “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” [Revelation 22:14].  That’s the way it reads in the Textus Receptus, the Greek text that is used as the basis for the translation of this Authorized Version—this King James Version.

But that’s not the way John wrote it.  When John wrote that verse, this is the way John wrote it:

 

Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

[Revelation 22:14]

And a scribe who copied the Bible saw that passage in the Revelation, “Blessed are they who wash their robes,” plunontes tas stolas; you have an English word like that Greek word, stole.  The Greek word for robe is stole, stolas.  “Blessed are they that plunontes tas stolas, that wash their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life.”  That’s what John wrote.

But when a scribe read that, copying the Greek text—hundreds and hundreds of years before printing was invented—when a scribe read that, he said to himself: “No man could be saved just by trusting Jesus.  You can’t go to heaven and enter in through those beautiful gates just by washing your robes in the blood of the Lamb.  A man has to win heaven,” said that scribe to himself.  “You have to do and obey the laws and the commandments of God in order to be saved.”  So he took it upon himself to change that plunontes tas stolas—“washing your robes”—into poiountes tas entolas—“doing His commandments” [Revelation 22:14].

The Textus Receptus is the Greek text that Erasmus, the great Renaissance scholar, published in 1516.  It was the first Greek text ever published.  And the basis for the Textus Receptus was three minuscules, three cursive manuscripts that Erasmus had before him.  One was copied in the tenth century AD.  The second was copied in the twelfth century AD.  And the third, the one he mainly relied on, was copied in the fifteenth century AD.  And the Textus Receptus, the Greek text that Erasmus published in 1516, and which was the standard Greek text for over three hundred years—the Greek text had in it this passage: “Blessed are they that do His commandments” [Revelation 22:14].

Since 1516, the world of study and archaeology has discovered thousands and thousands of other Greek texts.  The great uncials—testaments that were put together from the very beginning, when the letters and the Gospels of this New Testament were first gathered into one—the great uncials have been discovered, and thousands of other manuscripts.

For example, we have in Greek, manuscripts in Greek; we have thirty-two written on papyri.  One hundred seventy of those great uncials—an uncial is a Greek text that is written in large, square capital letters.  We have two thousand three hundred twenty manuscripts written cursively.  They are called minuscules.  The writing with uncials—big, square letters—was slow and difficult.  And in the seventh century, there was invented a way to write cursively, like you write longhand in English, written in a running hand.  And after the seventh century, all of the manuscripts were written in that cursive style.  There are two thousand three hundred twenty minuscules.  There are one thousand five hundred and sixty one lectionaries; that is, sections of the New Testament that were chosen, from which a man would teach a lesson or preach a sermon.  We have then four thousand eighty three Greek manuscripts of this Bible—all of it or part of it.

Besides that there are more than eight thousand Latin versions, and besides that, there are more than one thousand other versions, which means that there are more than thirteen thousand manuscripts from which a man can study to find the true and original text written by the apostle.  That is an astonishing and an amazing thing, when you remember there is only one manuscript of the Annals of Tacitus, the great Roman historian.  There is only one manuscript of the Greek Anthology.  And so much of the literature of the ancient world—from Plato and Sophocles and Euripides—so much of the literature of the ancient world will depend upon one or two manuscripts.

There are thousands and thousands and thousands of manuscripts of this Greek New Testament and its versions into Latin, Syriac, Coptic, other languages.  By comparing those thousands and thousands of manuscripts, it is easy to see, it is easy to find the original text, what the apostle wrote.  For as you compare those thousands of manuscripts, you can see where a scribe emended a text here, where he wrote a little explanation of a text there, where he changed a word here.  It is very apparent.

For example, the Gospel of Mark was lost from the beginning its conclusion.  Nobody knows how the Gospel of Mark ended.  It was broken off at the eighth verse of the sixteenth and last chapter [Mark 16:8].  So the scribes, as they copied the Gospel of Mark, some would write one kind of an ending, some would write another kind of an ending, some would write another kind of an ending.  And the one you have in the Textus Receptus, which is the basis of the translation of the Authorized Version I hold in my hand, the one that you have here is one that a certain scribe wrote sometime, somewhere—don’t know when.  But it is not a part of Mark, and it is not a part of the Word of God.  For example, that scribe wrote in ending Mark, he said that the disciples of Jesus shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them [Mark 16:18].  That is manifestly unadulterated superstition!  And when you read of these sects over there in the mountains in Kentucky who take up serpents at certain seasons and do all of those things in honor of the Lord, that is an aberration of the message of Christ and the worship of Jesus beyond anything you could describe.  And it is not a part of the Word of God.  Some scribe, somewhere, unknown, decided he wanted to end it, and that’s the way he did it.  But the end of Mark has been forever lost.

Another instance of a scribal interpolation is the fourth verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of John [John 5:4].  When you go to Jerusalem, there is the Gihon Spring, the virgin spring.  And it pours into Siloam through the Siloam tunnel.  It’s an intermittent spring.  It gathers under those subterranean passages, and then when those passages are full, it pours over.  It spills over.  It is a perfectly natural phenomenon.  But when this story was told, a scribe had heard of an explanation of why that spring overflowed, and this is what he wrote down on the side of the text: “For an angel,” he said, “went down in a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water” [John 5:4].  That’s another unadulterated piece of superstition!  That thing just doesn’t happen, not like that nor ever, not that.  “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever the first got into that troubled water was healed” [John 5:4].  Now a scribe wrote that on the side.  He’d heard that story, and he wrote it on the side of the text there in John.  Then the next scribe, when he copied that manuscript, thought the previous scribe had left it out, had forgotten to put it in and therefore written it on the side.  So the following scribe put it in the text.  Then it became a part of the Textus Receptus, and so is translated here in the New Testament.

A third instance of that is this Trinitarian formula you find in the seventh verse of the fifth chapter of the first letter of John.  John wrote: “There are three that bear witness in earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood” [1 John 5:8].  So a scribe, when he read that in the text, he said, “Now that’s a grand place to announce and to emphasize the doctrine of the Trinity.”  So he wrote there, “And there are three that bear record in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” [1 John 5:7].  That’s perfectly fine, perfectly true, but it is not a part of the original text written by the apostle.

These emendations, and these additions, and these changes can be easily seen as you compare those thousands and thousands of manuscripts.  Now, essentially, practically, doctrinally, for all worship purposes, for our own reading and edification, the King James Version, the Authorized Version, the Textus Receptus, is about as good as any.  But sometimes, once in a while, you will see where a scribe has made a change, has interpolated, has emended, has what he thought corrected.  And when you see those things, they are apparent, and they’re not a part of the Word of God.

Now that’s what happened here in the fourteenth verse of the twenty-second chapter of the Revelation.  In copying this Apocalypse, a scribe came to that passage:

 

Blessed are they that plunontes tas stolas, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

[Revelation 22:14]

And that scribe looked at that passage, and he said: “Well, you can’t enter into heaven just by washing your robe in the blood of the Lamb; you can’t be saved just by trusting Jesus.  You’ve got to keep the law, and you have to obey the commandments.”  So he changed it from: “Blessed are they that plunontes tas stolas, that wash their robes,” he changed it unto, “Blessed are they that poiountes tas entolas, that keep the commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life and enter into the gates into the city” [Revelation 22:14].  Why did that scribe do that?  Why did he change that gospel message from one of faith and trust to one of obedience and to works?  Why did he do it?  For the plain and simple reason that there is the everlasting tendency in mankind to try to merit, to try to achieve, to try by self-aggrandizement and self-advancement to find their way into heaven.  That’s a weakness of human nature, and it is everywhere in religion.  That is the great religion of the world.  It is practically all of Christianity.  Practically every doctrine of every church in the Christian faith believes that we are saved by works, that a man works his way into the kingdom of heaven, that he deserves it after he has done certain things that he thinks are acceptable unto God.

Certainly the great religions like the Hindu religion, the Buddhist religion, all of them are religions of works.  An Hindu will keep his hand raised up like that toward heaven until it becomes stiff, trying to deserve the pardon of God; or he’ll lie on a bed of hot coals or spikes that are stuck up through a board; or he’ll crawl on his knees from one city clear to a shrine a thousand miles away; and a thousand other things do they do.

And in the Christian religion, so much of it is built around that thing of trying to deserve the pardon of God:  “A man is saved,” says one, “by trusting in Jesus and by being baptized.”

Another man: “A man is saved by trusting Jesus and doing all kinds of good works.”

“A man is saved by believing in Jesus and by taking the Lord’s Supper,” which they call observing the mass.

“A man is saved by trusting the Lord Jesus and becoming a member of the church and being obedient to all of the commandments of the church.”

In a thousand ways, in every religion known, is that doctrine a reflection of human pride.  “I’ve got to, I’ve got to do this thing myself.  I must merit it myself.  I must work this thing out myself.  And when I’m saved, it’s because I have done it!  Look at me.  Here I am, walking golden streets, going through gates of pearl, mingling with the saints of God, because I did it!  I did penance, and I did good and I obeyed commandments, and I kept laws, and I did these things; therefore am I here in the presence of God.”  That is the religion of the flesh; that is the religion of human pride.  And that was the religion of the scribe who, when he found that passage, changed the text from one of washing robes to one of doing commandments.

Now, for the time that remains, let us see the words and revelation of God, how our sins are forgiven, and how God saves a lost soul, and how it is that a sinner man can one day stand in the presence of God and live—first in the Old Testament and second in the New Testament.  Would you like to turn with me?  Psalm 51, Psalm 51:  this is the psalm of David after his great sin, murdering Uriah [2 Samuel 11:1-17], and God’s curse upon the child that was born through an illicit denial of the home of Uriah [2 Samuel 12:9-10, 14].

Look at it:  What does David do to come back to God?

 

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies, God, blot out my transgressions.

Next verse:

Wash me.  Wash me.  Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin—sixteenth and seventeenth verses—

Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it—

I’d buy the cattle on a thousand hills, if it would wash my sin away—

Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it.  Thou delightest not in burnt offering.

[Psalm 51:1-2, 16]

I’d buy the sheep of the whole nation and offer them unto Thee, if that would blot my transgression away.  How do we come to God?  Listen!  Listen!

 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.

[Psalm 51:17]

The forgiveness of sin lies in the mercies, and the goodness, and the forgiveness, and the love and compassion and the forbearance of God.  All the sacrifices in the world, and all of the commandments that a man could keep—that have ever been written—could never suffice to blot out the stain of the sin in a man’s soul.

Turn to Isaiah 55, Isaiah 55.  Listen to the invitation of our Lord:

 

Ho, ho, ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price—verse 3

Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live.

[Isaiah 55:1, 3]

Come, come, come just as you are, penniless, poverty-stricken, naked, unworthy, sinful; come, come, buy without money and without price . . . “Incline your ear… hear, and your soul shall live” [Isaiah 55:1, 3].

Turn with me to the New Testament, Romans 4, Romans chapter 4; how was it Abraham was justified? Romans chapter 4:

 

If Abraham were justified—if Abraham were declared righteous—by works, by the things that he did and the commandments he obeyed— he hath whereof to boast, to glory.

[Romans 4:2]

“Look what I’ve done.  I have merited salvation, and I deserve heaven!”  But he couldn’t do it before God, for God knew his heart like He knows your heart.  And I could take the sweetest, purest, finest girl that’s in this congregation and put on a screen here all of the secrets of her heart and of her life, and she would blush, indescribably shameful, and seek some way out.

Abraham could boast if he were justified by works: “Look what I’ve done to deserve heaven.”  But he could not do it before God [Romans 4:2]; God knew him like He knows us.  Well then, how was Abraham justified?  Look at the next verse.  What says the Scripture?  “Abraham trusted God.  Abraham believed God, and his faith, it was counted unto him for righteousness [Romans 4:3].  To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” [Romans 4:5].

Turn again.  Turn again—Ephesians chapter 2, Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8 and 9.  Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8 and 9:

 

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.

[Ephesians 2:8-9]

Lest he say: “Look what I did.  I did it!”  It is a gift of God in the grace and mercy of heaven.

Turn once again, Titus chapter [3], Titus chapter [3], verse 5—Titus chapter [3], verse 5:

 

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing—by the laving—by the washing of regeneration.

[Titus 3:5]

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done,” for our works of righteousness in God’s sight are as filthy rags [Isaiah 64:6].  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration” [Titus 3:5].

Now let us turn back to the Revelation.  Turn to chapter 7.  Turn to chapter 7, verses 13 and 14—Revelation chapter 7:

 

And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, Who are these arrayed in white robes?  And where did they come from?

And I said, Sir, I do not know.  That vast throng I have never seen.

And the elder answered to me, and he said, These are they who are coming out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

[Revelation 7:13-14]

“These are they, in the presence of God, saved and redeemed, who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” [Revelation 7:14].

And my text, as John wrote it:

 

Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

[Revelation 22:14]

Blessed are they that wash and are clean [Revelation 7:14; 2 Kings 5:10], who look and live [John 3:14-15; Numbers 21:8-9], who believe and are saved [Acts 16:30-31].

But oh, when that scribe read it, he said: “Not so.  Not so.  For a man can’t be saved by trusting Jesus.  He’s got to work.  He’s got to obey.  He’s got to keep the commandments” [Revelation 22:14].

That was the altercation of the first Jerusalem conference—the passage I had you read in Acts 15.  There in Antioch, down in Antioch, there Paul and Barnabas were preaching to those idolaters, those heathens, those pagans: “Trust in Jesus, turn and be saved.  Look and live.  Wash and be clean.”  That’s what Paul and Barnabas were preaching in Antioch [Acts 13:14-52].

And that pharisaical, the legalistic end of the church came down there and listened to Paul and Barnabas preaching, and they said, “You can’t be saved, you can’t be saved by trusting Jesus.  You must keep the law of Moses first! [Acts 15:5].  And then add this faith to Jesus.”

And that created the altercation, and they had the first Jerusalem conference recorded there, and you read it today [Acts 15:1-29].  That was the great beginning of the Reformation, over that same thing.  There was a monk by the name of Martin Luther, and he, as the people are doing right this minute, as they have done every minute for the centuries that thing has been placed there, the uncounted thousands and thousands and thousands.  I have watched it.  One time I spent half a day looking at it.  It is the most phenomenal thing to me I ever observed in my life.  In front of the church of St. John Lateran, there is a beautiful little worship place, beautifully built, housing what they called the Scala Santa, the Holy Stairs.  It is supposed to be—a million miles away—it is supposed to be the stairway up which the Lord Jesus walked into the judgment hall of Pontius Pilate, and there are supposed to be the blood drops, the blood drops, the blood drops.  And in order to preserve the stairs, lest they wear out with the countless centuries of climbing up them, they have them covered with wood and a little glass, about that big around, a little glass hole like that, and there is supposed to be the blood drops of Jesus.  Here’s a blood drop.  And here’s a blood drop.  And then you kiss those little places there, those little glasses, over the blood drops of Jesus.  And you climb up on your knees and you say certain prayers.  And if you do that, why, you get a reward for it.  You get indulgences, and you get reprieves, and you get rewards.  And so the people, in order to achieve those things, they climb up those steps; hour after hour, climbing up those steps, climbing up those steps, trying to work their way by penance, and by doing good, and saying prayers, and kissing spots, trying to work their way into the kingdom of God.

Martin Luther was doing that.  He was climbing up that Scala Santa on his knees, kissing all of those spots.  And as he was halfway up, like the sounding of a bell, like the booming of a cannon, like a declaration of war, there came into his soul the great text of Habakkuk, which is the basis of the Book of Romans, which is the basis of the Book of Galatians, which is quoted in Hebrews.  There came in his soul that resounding text: “The just—God’s forgiven—shall live by faith!” [Habakkuk 2:4].

Martin Luther stood up.  He stood up.  He turned around.  He walked down those steps.  He went to Wittenberg, Germany, and there on the door of the church he nailed his ninety-five theses, and the Reformation was on.

 

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing, plunontes tas stolas, by the washing of our robes, by the forgiveness of our sins, in the blood of the Lamb.

[Titus 3:5; Revelation 7:14]

May I show you that the best I could from the gospel in the Old Testament?  Naaman was a great man and a mighty [2 Kings 5:1-14].  He was the captain of the host of the king of Syria.  He never lost a battle, not in his life.  By him, the Lord God gave deliverance on every side against his enemies.  He was a mighty warrior and a great general.  But he was a leper.  He was a leper [2 Kings 5:1].  Lived to himself.  Wherever he walked, put his hand over his mouth, crying: “Unclean!  Unclean!  Unclean!” [Leviticus 13:45].  He was a leper.

And the word came, there was a prophet in Samaria able to heal a man of his leprosy!  And the king of Syria called for the captain of his host, and lade him with gold, and silver, and horses, and chariots, and raiment, and sent him down to the prophet in Samaria to buy his cleansing with the wealth and the nobility of his presents [2 Kings 5:3-5].  So the Book said, and Naaman came down to the house of Elisha with his raiment, and his gold, and his silver, and his horses, and his chariot, and he stood there in the might and the grandeur of the great military Napoleon of that age.  Elisha never bothered even to go out and look at him.  He sent Gehazi, his servant, and said to the mighty and proud Naaman: “Go down to the Jordan River and wash seven times.  Your flesh will come again like the flesh of a little child, and you will be clean” [2 Kings 5:8-10].

And Naaman was insulted.  “Here I am, the greatest military leader of my age.  Here I am, the mighty deliverer of my people.  Here I am, with my horses, and my chariots, my gold and my silver.  Here I am—some dramatic, some miraculous, some marvelous thing ought to be done commensurate and in keeping with my character, and my dignity, and my glory, and my honor!” [2 Kings 5:11].

And the Bible says he got in the chariot and he turned and drove away in a rage—a leper, still a leper [2 Kings 5:12].  While he was driving back, his pride so wounded and his spirit insulted by what Elisha said, while he was driving back to Damascus a leper, one of his servants, standing in the chariot with the proud host-captain of Syria, one of the servants put his hand on his arm and said: “My Father, my Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great and mighty thing, would thou not have done it?  If he had said, ‘Crawl on your knees a thousand miles to a certain shrine.’  If he would say, ‘Overcome the entire kingdom of the Medians.’  If he had said, ‘Bring me a hundred thousand talents of gold.’  If he bid thee do some great and mighty thing, would thou not have done it?  How much rather then, when he said to thee, ‘Wash and be clean?  Wash, and be clean.  Look, and live.  Trust and be saved’” [2 Kings 5:13].

And Naaman drew up those mighty steeds and turned them back around and went down to the waters of the Jordan, bathed himself, and when he came up the seventh time from the waters of the river, the Book says, “His flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” [2 Kings 5:14].  And he was clean, and he was clean!

 

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy does He save us, by the washing, by the cleansing of regeneration… [Titus 3:5]

These are they who washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

 [Revelation 7:14]

And that was the great text, and the theme, and the song of the hosts in glory with which we began the preaching of the Revelation:

Unto Him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, unto Him be glory, and honor, and majesty, and dominion, and power forever and ever.

[Revelation 1:5, 6]

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but all thanksgiving and glory to Jesus who, in the blood of His cross, and in the sacrifice of His life, and in the atonement of His blood, washes our sins away [Acts 22:16].  This is the gospel and this is the Book.

“Blessed are they,” plunontes tas stolas, just as John wrote it.  Blessed are they who wash their robes, who look in faith, who open their hearts to the grace of the blessed Jesus, and are forgiven, and are saved, and are blessed.  Blessed are they who wash their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into God’s holy city [Revelation 22:14].

  Oh, we ought to be grateful and thankful!  Were it dependent upon me, I might have missed it.  I might fail in it.  But He never fails.  Trusting Jesus.  Lord, He will see us through and keep us forever [John 10:27-30].  Those nail-pierced hands that open the doors of grace shall someday open for us the gates of glory [John 14:3].  Blessed be His name!

And while we sing the song of appeal, somebody you, trusting Jesus this holy hour:  “Here I come, pastor, and here I stand.  I give you my hand.  I give my heart to Jesus, looking in repentance, in faith and in trust to our blessed Lord.  Here I come.  Here I stand.”  A family you, to put your life in the fellowship of the church—ah, this sweet and precious fellowship, our dear church—you come, you come.  While we sing this hymn of the saving blood of the Lord Jesus, while we sing the hymn, in the balcony round, on the lower floor, into the aisle and down to the front:  “Here I come, pastor, and here I am.”  As the Spirit of Jesus shall say the word and open the way, make it this morning.  Make it now, while we stand and while we sing.

THE RIGHT TO THE TREE OF LIFE

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Revelation 22:14

9-15-63

I.          The change in the text

A.  The Authorized Version has it “they that do His commandments”; what John wrote was “they that wash their robes”

B. Authorized Version based upon TextusReceptus, published by Erasmus in 1516

C.  Erasmus relied mainly on three Greek texts:  one copied in 10th century, one in the 12th century, and one in the 15th century

1.  Since then, we have discovered great codexes, uncials, that go back to the time when New Testament was first put together as such

D. There are thousands and thousands of manuscripts of the Greek New Testament and versions into Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and other languages

1. By comparing them, it is easy to spot where a scribe made changes

2. Examples:  Mark 16:9-20, John 5:4, 8:1-11, 1 John 5:7, Revelation 22:14

II.         Why the scribal attempt to change the text

A.  Because of the tendency of mankind to seek a salvation by works, human merit and achievement

B.  Religion of the flesh, of human pride

III.        The witness of the Word of God – who has the right to the tree of life

A.  Old Testament

1.  Forgiveness of sin lies in the mercy and goodness of God(Psalm 51:1-2, 16-17, 2 Samuel 12:9-10, 14)

2.  Come as you are(Isaiah 55:1, 3)

B. New Testament

1.  Abraham’s faith counted for righteousness (Romans 4:1-5)

2. Saved by grace through faith – a gift of God(Ephesians 2:8-10)

3. Saved according to God’s mercy (Titus 3:5, Isaiah 64:6)

4. Robes made white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:13-14, 22:14)

C.  The first Jerusalem conference (Acts 15)

1.  Altercation between those who preached faith alone and those who required works(Acts 13:14-52, 15:5)

2. Great reformation of Martin Luther began over same issue

a. The Scala Santa

b. Just shall live by faith(Habakkuk 2:4)

3.  The healing of Naaman(2 Kings 5:1-14)

D.  Text, theme and song of the Revelation (Revelation 1:5-6)