The Book of Life and All Books of Life
The Lambs Book of Life: Not everyone has his or her name written in the Lamb's Book of Life! One's name is not written in at birth, nor does he or she have it written in by the sovereign choice of God. A person's name is written in the Lamb's book of Life only because he or she chooses to ask God to place it there. Jesus Christ offers us eternal life if we receive Him, if we invite Him into our hearts. And God knew everyone who during the ages would come to Him and their names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life, even before the foundation of the world.
Note: The concept of God electing those who will be saved isn't controversial, but what is controversial is how and in what manner God chose those who will be saved. Throughout church history, there have been two main views on the doctrine of election (or predestination). One view, teaches that God, through His omniscience, knew those who will in the course of time choose of their own free will to place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. On the basis of this divine foreknowledge, God elected these individuals "before the foundation of the world" (Foreknowledge (see Ephesians 1:4-5). This view is held by the majority of American evangelicals.
The Books of One's Deeds Opened: At this point we find a set of books and a book being opened. Notice the wording (in Rev 20:12):
Revelation 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works". Book of Life - All Books (see Revelation 12:12-13).
For the identity of these "books" we must look beyond our immediate text to another passage in God's word. (Galatians 3:10), contains the description of the second book by which the human race will be judged. Those who have lived under the hearing of the law of God will be judged by it. Unless people accept the mercy of God in the person of His Son, there is no way they can be found righteous, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
Revelation 20:12 indicates that some of the books at this Great White Throne Judgment will be the books of a person's works, for "the dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." The same thing is said (in verse 13b). In some way every person must have a recording angel who in this life is tabulating everything he or she does. In connection with this though it is well to consider:
Ecclesiastes 12:14: "For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil." In this final hour the books of one's works or deeds will be opened.
The Book of Life Opened: Verse 12 indicated not only that the dead will be judged out of the books according to their works, but that another book is opened, which is the Book of Life. Here we discover that a recording angel maintains a book called the Book of Life. The New Testament refers to this Book of Life eight times; and although the Old Testament does not call it the Book of Life, three times it mentions a book in which names are written.
To properly understand the Book of Life, you must realize that there are really two Books of Life. One is called "the book of life"; the other, "the Lamb's book of life". These are the books in which are entered the names of those who have received eternal life. Only (in Rev. 21:27), is this referred to as the Lamb's book of life in the King James Version of the bible.
Rev. 13:8 indicates that during the Tribulation period the people who will worship the Antichrist are "all those whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world." Rev. 21:27 tells us that the only people who will enter into the Holy City are "those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of Life." It is therefore essential that one have his or her name written in this book.
The 8 times that "book of life", is found in the New Testament are here: (Note: in the KJV Lamb's is found only once).
Philippians 4:3 "And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and [with] other my fellow laborers, whose names [are] in the book of life".
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".
Revelation 13:8 "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world".
Revelation 17:8 "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". Check out the notes on Rev. 13:8 for the Lambs Book of Life).
Revelation 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works".
Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire".
Revelation 21:27 "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".
Revelation 22:19 "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 the Old Testament, the book of life is called a number of things:
After the people sinned and made the golden calf, Moses interceded for them:
Exodus 32:31-33 "And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold." "Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written." "And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book".
David's prayer against his enemies: Psalms 69:27-28 "Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness." "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous."
Daniel 12:1 "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt."
From the last book of the Old Testament we find this:
Malachi 3:16-18 "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard [it], and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name." "And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." "Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."
NKJV Description from John MacArthur's study bible: The book may be a reference to the "book of life" in which the names of God's children are recorded. The Persians had a custom of recording in a book all acts of a person that should be rewarded in the future. The psalmist knew of such a book as well.
This can be a very confusing subject as there are many descriptions concerning this and a lot of disagreement that can be found. However, it is an interesting subject, but I believe what is written here should be able to help.
An interesting side note is that the book of life or the Lamb's book of life was never mentioned in the Old Testament as such. Of course, the "mystery" regarding the new covenant concerning the Law of Grace was not to be known to those of the Old Testament. Therefore, you will see many different descriptions in some of the verses I've mentioned. There are others as well.
A good place to search the bible is at: http://www.biblehub.com.choose from some 20 plus books of the bible scriptures such as KJV, NIV, NASB, etc. Also, it has cross references for each scripture, plus free on-line commentaries.
An overcomer here is one clothed in the white garments of Christ, for he or she is a believer to whom is imputed the righteousness of Christ. Therefore, that person's name will not be blotted out of the Book of Life.
Exodus 32:33 "The Lord replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book." It is therefore possible to have one's name blotted out of the Book of Life (not to be confused with the Lambs Book of Life, which was written before the foundation of the world), because of sin as in the days of the Old Testament times people were under the law, not under grace.
But it is impossible to have one's name removed from the Lamb's Book of Life." And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book (Rev. 22:19).
We see, then, that the Bible offers three reasons for having one's name blotted out of the Book of Life:
- For sinning against God;
- For not being clothed in the righteousness of Christ through the new birth; and
- For taking away from the words of the book of this prophecy.
Rev. 20:15 establishes the importance of the Book of Life, for it tells us, "If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." In a sense this is God's double check at the Great White Throne Judgment, for as a person comes forward, he or she will be judged by the book of law, by the Book of Life, and by the deeds done in the flesh taken from the books of human works. Then, just before that person is cast into the lake of fire, he or she is given a double check. The recording angel will look through the Book of Life, and "if anyone's name was not found written in the Lamb's book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."