The Book of Life
New Testament References:
“Book of Life” – Luke 10:20; Phil 4:3; Rev 3:5; 17:8; 20:12, 15; (KJV), Rev 22:19
“Book of life of the Lamb” – Rev 13:8; 21:27
Old Testament References:
Ex 32:32-33; Psa 9:5; 69:28; Dan 12:1
Doctrine of the Book of Life
The Book of Life is One Thing in Time and Something Different in Eternity:
- Basically, it is a registry containing the names of every member of the human race in time, Psalm 139:16.
- In eternity, it is the registry of all believers.
- When a person dies as an unbeliever, his name is removed, “blotted out,” from the Book of Life, Psa 69:28; Rev 3:5.
- When a person dies as a believer, his name remains in the Book of Life. Therefore, in eternity, only the names of believers are in the Book of Life, Phil 4:3; Rev 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15, cf. Psa 9:5; 69:28; Dan 12:1; Heb 12:23.
- Since the issue for salvation is receiving Jesus Christ by personal faith, John 1:12, the unbeliever’s name is blotted out at death because of rejection of Christ or negative volition to the grace of God, including the pre‑salvation work of the Spirit of God, (Common Grace), that attempts to lead him to Jesus Christ, Rom 2:4.
- In eternity, this book also contains the new title of royalty for each believer. The Greek word for “name” is ONOMA. It means simply a “name” or can mean “authority.” Royal titles are used in eternity, (compare Rev 2:17), which indicates that there is no equality in heaven. Luke 10:20, “Rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
It is Called:
- The “Book of Life” in Luke 10:20; Phil 4:3; Rev 3:5; 17:8; 20:12, 15; (KJV), Rev 22:19.
- The “Book of Life of the Lamb” in Rev 13:8; 21:27.
The Book of Life is Related to the Function of the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP):
Phil 4:3, “Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women, (Euodia and Syntyche), who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”
The Book of Life is Related to the Last Judgment:
Rev 20:12, Unbeliever’s names are blotted out of the Book of Life. Another set of books, “the books of works,” is referred to, which contain every good deed the unbeliever has ever done.
Rev 20:15 says that those not in the Book of Life are cast into the Lake of Fire.
William Kelly states, “The Book of Life will confirm what is gathered from the books. If the books proclaim the evil works of the dead that stand before the throne, the Book of Life offers no defense on the score of God’s grace.” (William Kelly, The Revelation Expounded, pp. 243~44.)
In Eternity, the Unbeliever is Not Registered in the Book of Life:
Rev 13:8, Failure to have one’s name in the Book of Life is just ground for being cast into the Lake of Fire, as the penalty of that person’s sins, although paid for at the Cross, has not been removed from their account due to their rejection of the Savior, and he or she has not entered into God’s rest.
It is only human to try to find some escape from the rigidity of eternal punishment, but if one dies without salvation, there is no escape as the books of works and Book of Life of Rev 20:12 will show. The Bible clearly pictures eternal punishment as continuing forever, just as heaven will continue forever for those who are saved. As heaven will constitute an eternal reminder of the grace of God, so the Lake of Fire will constitute an eternal reminder of the righteousness of God.
The Book of Life is Related to the Historical Power of the Revived Roman Empire in the Tribulation:
Rev 17:8, “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.”
According to Rev 3:5, Being in the Book of Life Means:
- You can’t lose your salvation.
- The mature believer cannot lose his rewards. “I will never blot his name [royal title] out of the Book of Life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
- It is a source of motivation and encouragement as the Lord personally reminds the overcomer not only of the safety of his heavenly citizenship, but of the special acknowledgment the Lord Himself will give him before the Father and before His angels.
In the Old Testament Moses Pleaded on Behalf of the People of Israel:
He asked that His name be blotted out of the Book of Life rather than the unbelievers of Israel., Ex 32:32-33.
Ex 32:32, “But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” 33The LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.”
Note that sin. (CHATTATH in the Hebrew), is in the singular meaning, “the sin of unbelief,” as they made their own god out of gold in the form of a calf, thereby rejecting the one and only true God.
Rev 13:8 and 17:8 Both Use the Words, “has not been written from the foundation of the world:”
They are in the Perfect Tense which simply means completed past action. What does that mean? Is it contradictory to what we have already noted? Absolutely not!
Simply, God is speaking from His omniscience and speaking from eternity. Just as Jesus was slain before the foundations of the world, (Heb 4:3: 1 Peter 1:20, with John 8:58), even though it literally did not occur until His First Advent on earth, so too are those who are and will remain unbelievers. They are known by the Father from eternity past. Therefore, in God’s omniscience, they are not in the Book of Life from “the foundation of the world,” even though they are literally in the book until their death, at which time they are blotted out.