If you are not working, then perhaps it behooves you to make the most of your time; therefore, I go to a seniors bible study on Monday mornings. No, you do not have to be of a certain age to go, but I am getting close. On one of those days, every man had something to say and yet we said nothing. This, one might think, was a huge waste of time, but I did make quick notes of several topics which caught my attention. This is one of them.
Do we find the book of life in the Old Testament?
The first occurrence is in Exodus 32 where God has told Moses that he is going to destroy all of Israel and start over with Moses. Moses responds with an interesting statement – ..forgive their sin; and if not, then blot me out your book which you have written.
Exodus 32:32-33 KJV ‘Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. (33) And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.’
Having read something like this your questions should be many.
- Considering Moses' less than stellar background – he did murder a man. How is it that Moses can make the assumption, or know with such confidence, that his name is written in that book?
- Is this book the same book as we see in Revelation 20?
- Because there two sets of books shown to John in Revelation 20 – the Lamb's book of life, and the others - Does that mean that this book Moses speaks of, is the Lamb's book of life? If not, what precludes it from being so? (Jesus has been around as long as the Father has.)
- Are we all in there?
- Because God says to Moses, “him will I blot out of my book”, can I infer that everyone is written in that book and because of some aspect is removed? Now this opens a can of worms primarily because we like to worry over having committed some unpardonable sin which got our name blotted out. Jesus, in speaking to the Jews gathered around him, may have been intentionally speaking directly to this idea when he said - John 10:28-29 NASB “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. (29) "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.”
As a follower of Christ, not just a book-worm studying, because merely saying as Gandhi did, I rather like this Jesus, does not prove a relationship or that you are a part of the tree (Jesus Christ being the tree). If you are honest, and you reflect on Gandhi's life, what did his fruit look like. He looked a lot like Jesus; certainly much more than many so-called Christians I know.
There are other references, but in searching, I used the phrase “thy book”, because the “book of life” produces nothing. If you have an inquiring mind then you picked up on the fact that there is an understanding that God has a book, and it plays a reckoning role in our destiny.
I am not sure why God would record all our moments, both good and bad. From my point of view the good are often associated with selfishness, and the bad have put me in such a tailspin that I wished he had not noticed, but I know now that He cared about all of them.
I know none of this proves where and when these books showed up, but I think right now they are irrelevant, and here is why. I am currently estranged from my girlfriend of 13 years, and yet there are moments, like last night where I end up at the same place she is and I did not know it. The concert in the park is ending as my friend and I are leaning against a railing, under a light, talking. For the second day in a row her grand kids come charging at me, yelling Papa. Of course I have to respond to that, I love them, and though technically not mine, unlike some who might adopt a child so that they can have someone to abuse, I would not hesitate to give my life for any of them. We too have been adopted and I have come to believe that God feels the same way about me, as He too would give his life for me (Oh, that's right, He did.) Now you can understand why David ended with, “This I know, that God is for me.”
Psalms 56:8-9 NASB You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? (9) Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call; This I know, that God is for me.
Psalm 139:16 is a very strong case for predestination, and while I cannot comprehend the how and why of predestination and I am glad that God saw a future and a hope for me. Perhaps we all start out in the book, I do not know for sure.
Psalm 139:16 “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
Isaiah, prophesying of end times, after the end of the seven years of wrath upon the earth, through the Holy Spirit, speaks of “everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem.” I do not believe that having watched the horrid destruction of the Holy City and His people who God pitifully records the names of the survivors as a memorial, but that these are names who have been in this book since the beginning of time.
Isaiah 4:2-3 NASB In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel. (3) It will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy--everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem.
As I consider what Daniel saw, I have to place the books he describes in context. The horns are men of power and kingdoms. Daniel states, I watched this until even the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. All these events had to do with the judgment being set and the books being opened. Now it is not clear on whether the judgment is a declaration of what is found in the books, or perhaps the books contain evidence.
Daniel 7:8-11 KJV I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. (9) I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (10) A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. (11) I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
One of our incessant religious arguments has to do with when we shall be extracted (harpazo = snatched) from the earth. Daniel 12:1 gives us an answer for that as well.
Daniel 12:1-2 NASB "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.(2) "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
As you read through that passage, my hope is that you noticed a couple of things. Initially, he speaks of a time of distress, but in mid-sentence he describes a rescue. If you are aware of the chain of events within the seven-year period, then you know that no one gets rescued during that time period. I could add that Jesus equated the wrath to what happened with Noah. Knowing that story, you would be aware that on the day that the rain came, God placed Noah and his family in the Ark, rescuing them from the wrath that had begun.
The second aspect I was hoping you would have caught, and therefore associated it immediately with scripture you have read where Paul instructs, “the dead in Christ will rise first, and then those that are alive and remain.” Scripture does not consider the dead in Christ to be a resurrection at all. Those that are martyred for their testimony and brought back to life, are the first resurrection. The second happens at the end of the thousand years as they are then brought for the great white throne judgment.
Jumping forward to the New Testament because that is where we see the only direct references to "the book of life."
Philippians 4:3 NASB “Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women 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.”
How would Paul have had the confidence to say and know that their names are "in the book of life?
Revelation 3:5 NASB 'He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.’
“He who overcomes,” many people have overcome many things, how intense is this? The only people described as being in white garments are the martyred saints. Considering the judgmental garbage we religious say about those who go through the years of wrath, one might not expect them to get any mercy because they did not go through the proper religious experience. These people will be vast and varied. There will be Buddhists, Muslims, Chinese, every tribe and every tongue, and they will all, having taken some form of a stand, experience God's mercy.
Having sent the disciples out and their successful return, they rejoiced at demons responding to the Name of Jesus, spoken out of their own mouths. Jesus responded to that with:
Luke 10:19-20 NASB"Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.(20)"Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven."
No, I do not know if Judas was there, and you do not really know where Judas ended up. We tend to get so stinking judgmental, viciously berating the dead, and severely insulting the remaining family, as we tell them their loved one is now in hell. How do you know anything about the shoes that person walked in, or whether it was God's will to rescue them early from more pain. I don't care how mad this makes you. It is time to wake up, and knock that (I want so badly to use a more graphic expletive) junk off.
Why do you suppose Paul thought it necessary to mention the book of life here. Yes, there is an immediate association that they too are followers of Christ, but did they gain that status because they share in Paul's struggle in the cause of the gospel? Not at all. We have already established our names have been written there before time began, but as King David declared,
Philippians 4:3 NASB Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women 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.
Look at Revelation 13:8, as it shows an exclusion of those that have their names written in the book, as they will not worship the beast. I will show you the passage and then discuss why.
Revelation 13:4-8 NASB “they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?" (5) There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. (6) And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. (7) It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. (8) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”
Having lived a bit of life, and seen a lot, I can tell you that many have collapsed and fallen back into sin or old ways. What do you call that? The heart changed the day you came to Jesus, but your flesh remained the same. The only hope for the flesh is for it to be retrained or perhaps restrained from acting out and giving into the world.
The only way to exclude believers, still subject to the weaknesses of the flesh, out of a situation in which they could fold to pressure, is to remove them.
Let me be painfully detailed at this point. Many good people have held their tongues and become martyrs for Christ's name, but Islam has proven itself unusually cruel. While restraining you, they will take your wife and daughters and gang rape them before your eyes; your sons may well be taken for indoctrination, sold, or killed. Your family will be tortured and mutilated as they are dying; all the while, your captors will be screaming god (Allah) is great. In the end, they will kill you as well, regardless of what you say or do because you have proven yourself weak and unworthy of Allah.
In Revelation 17:7-8, Jesus tells the reader that those, whose name has not been written in the book of life, will wonder, seeing the beast.
Revelation 17:7-8 NASB ‘And the angel said to me, "Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. (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.’
Keep something clear in your head. This is speaking toward those who do not have their names written in the book of life. That tends to mean that this revelation will happen during the seven-year period, after the church has been removed from the earth, or this is after the seven years and Christ has returned to earth to set things straight. The latter tends to make sense because after the dust settles there is clearly a time of judgment with no argument, and I believe that God fully intends to show people the foolishness of their ways. To expound upon this concept just dive into the Old Testament and find some of the places were God angrily denounces idols, made to demons, carved out of wood and stone, that cannot talk or see, and yet you foolishly worship that piece of junk and give it a name and though it could respond to you. If you are worshiping anything at all, it is a devil or demon.
This next passage covers the last judgment, and happens at the end of the 1000-year reign.
Revelation 20:11-15 LITV (11) ‘And I saw a Great White Throne, and the One sitting on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled; and a place was not found for them. (12) And I saw the dead, the small and the great, standing before God. And books were opened. And another Book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of the things written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead in it. And death and hell gave up the dead in them. And they were each judged according to their works. (14) And death and hell were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. (15) And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire.’
In this case, there two sets of books. One is the Lamb’s book of life and apparently, you only get your name in there as you accept Him as your life. The others are based upon your actions here on earth; another way of saying this same thing is to say that your works are recorded in these other books, both good and bad.
On the plus side, there is hope for those who did not overtly accept the name of Jesus Christ, but then why not, because, as my friend says, Jesus cannot come back because the gospel has not been preached to every nation, and then proceeds to fire off numbers demonstrating how many people fit that statistic. In response to that, He can come back when He chooses, and who are you to tell God what he can and cannot do. Beside that, smarter men than I have pointed out that there is only one prophecy left to be fulfilled, and that is the return of Jesus Christ to meet his church in the sky. Nevertheless, do not fear, for God has a plan to cover that aspect of the un-churched; he plans on sending an angel to broadcast the gospel around the globe.
Revelation 14:6 ‘And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;’
Considering that you always have that issue of whether your good works outweigh your bad ones, do you really feel comfortable gambling with eternity? Considering that 20:15 states, whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire, one might assume that having found your name in a book of good works might equate to getting your name in the book of life. However, this is the last and final judgment of man before entering into the eternity of peace that we have longed for.
The harshest aspect and finality of this is demonstrated by what we see in Revelation 21:27.
Revelation 21:27 KJV ‘And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatsoever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they, which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
I am really battling to understand what all this talk about predestination is all about, for I see names, my name (and I know what I have done) recorded in this book since the beginning of time. Did God give me a choice? Absolutely. It is clear that he has the right to blot names out of the book, but even with that on his mind, Moses withstood him multiple times and God relented from that decision.
Am I worried about screwing up? No, I have no wish to do that, and trust me, I know how. My desire is to know and love him more on a daily basis. I think what happened within me is that I have come to understand him, know him, know his character, and I cannot imagine a life without him. He is a lot like me. No, better yet, I am becoming a lot more like him.
While understanding the books is not mandatory for my salvation, it sure helps in understanding end times events and the character of a loving God; a God that is for me.