The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
The Book of Life
“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
+ A Book of Great Importance +
In the New Testament the Book of Life refers to the roster or roll of all who shall inherit eternal life. It is the record of the redeemed saints of all ages. This book is also called the Lamb’s Book of Life in Revelation 13:8 and 21:27, showing a connection between it and Jesus Christ’s death on Calvary’s cross. It is a book of salvation and of eternal life. Scriptures speak of those whose names are in the book and those whose names are not in the book. Only those whose names are written in the book shall enter into the Kingdom of God. Song's like, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” and “A New Name Written Down in Glory” have more meaning when considering the Book of Life.
God is a great record keeper. As we will see, there is a record of every physical birth and every spiritual birth. According to Revelation 17:8, records are kept from the foundation of the world, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” The Bible itself is a book of names; literally thousands of names are listed. In the Old Testament, names and genealogies were very important and carefully recorded. Births and deaths were kept by God, especially those who were a part of his people.
The Book of life is a book that pertains to life; for in the day of the final judgment only those whose names are written therein will be saved. Because of this, we will consider many references throughout the Bible on the book that God has written. In Exodus 32:32, Moses knew of a book that had been written by God, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” In the immediate context, the reference to being “blotted” out may refer to an untimely death, that is, someone being removed from the list of the living. But, whether it refers to physical life or spiritual life, God assures Moses that only the wicked will be blotted out.
David knew about the book, Psalm 69:28, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” According to Psalm 139:13-16, each day of our physical life is recorded. David knew that His entire life was written down even before he was born. Other references in Psalms showing that God keeps records of the events of our lives are in Psalms 56:8, 87:6. The book of Daniel also speaks of a book with names written in it that shall receive everlasting life (chapter 12:1-2). In Malachi 3:16, there is a reference to a “book of remembrance” which has to do with God’s people. The context (chapter 3:13-4:2) compares the righteous with the wicked. The wicked will be destroyed and the righteous saved. The righteous are remembered in the Day of Judgment and spared. In verse 17, God’s people are referred to as “jewels.” They are his treasured, peculiar people (Exodus 19:5, Titus 2:14, Deuteronomy 7:6, 14:2, 26:18, I Peter 2:9). In Proverbs 10:7, “The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.”
In the New Testament, the Book of Life is referred to many times. The Lord Jesus alluded to it in Luke 10:20, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” The disciples were rejoicing over the fact that the devils were subject unto them through the power of God. But, Jesus said, rather rejoice, because your names are written in Heaven. Also, in Philippians 4:3, we have reference to the Book of Life, “And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlaborers, whose names are in the book of life.” In this verse, particular ones are mentioned whose names were written in the book. In Hebrews 12:23, we have reference to the church of the firstborn (saints of God) recorded in Heaven, “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.” In the context, verse 18-24, there is a contrast between the saved and lost.
The book of Revelation has several references to the Book of Life. This is interesting, considering it is the last book of the Bible, which deals with life and judgment. The first reference is in Revelation 3:5, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” This is a promise to the believer and a warning to the unbeliever. The overcomer will not be blotted out of God’s book. The question is who is the overcomer? According to I John 5:4-5, the overcomer is the true believer in Jesus Christ that has genuine faith, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” The following scriptures bear out the same truth: Revelation 2:11, 12:10-12, 21:7-8, I John 2:13, 4:4. In Revelation 13:8, those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will follow and worship the beast. These will ultimately suffer the wrath of God according to Revelation 14:9-11 and Revelation 16:1-2. Again in Revelation 17:8, we see the mention of those whose names are not in the book.
The Bible in Revelation 21:27 speaks of the New Jerusalem and its inhabitants are those whose names are written in the Book of Life, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” In this verse, it is called the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” I believe the Lamb is mentioned in association with the Book of Life in order to show the importance of the cross in relation to those who possess eternal life. In other words, it is the blood of the New Covenant that seals the believer’s name in the book. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). There also may be a connection between the Lamb’s Book of life and the book with seven seals mentioned in Revelation 5. The Lamb of God is the only one worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof.
According to Revelation 22:19, all who reject the Word of God are in danger of having their part taken out of the Book of Life, “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.” In other words, their opportunity of eternal life is forever lost when they turn from the truth contained in Holy Scriptures. We now come back to where we started, Revelation 20:11-15. In the final judgment, the Book of Life will determine our destiny. In verse 11, the Great White Throne Judgment is mentioned and the Book of Life is opened in verse 12. This book has been sealed and not until the end of all things will it be opened. Then in verse 14, the second death and the lake of fire are mentioned, that is, eternal damnation. Last of all, verse 15 speaks of the Book of Life, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” It is essential that your name be in the book in order to enter into God’s kingdom. The question is not so much as to when a person’s name was written in the Book of Life, but has your name been written in the book.
In conclusion, an invitation to salvation is given in Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” But, if that invitation is rejected, we will be eternally lost, Revelation 22:11, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” This verse reveals the permanence of character of each individual whether saved or lost. There will come a time when it will be impossible to change what we are and no further opportunities for repentance will be given. As someone once said, “When we die, we leave behind all we have and we go with what we are, for we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out (I Timothy 6:7), Amen.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523