The Book of life


The Book of Life is not always named explicitly. For example:

*   (Dan 12:1-2 NIV)  "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. {2} Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

This same Michael appears again in the Book of Revelation and is found protecting God’s people just as Daniel says. Then we see the Book of Life mentioned in the following chapter 13.

*   (Rev 12:7-10 NIV)  And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. {8} But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. {9} The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. {10} Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

An interesting thing about the Book of Life is the idea of names being entered in the Book of Life and then being removed or blotted out.

*   (Psa 69:28 NIV)  May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.

*    (Rev 3:5 NIV)  He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

What does this make you think about the idea of people being predestined in terms of salvation? Would blotting out a name be consistent with being predestined to salvation or damnation? Does God change His mind?

*   (Num 23:19 NIV)  God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

Back to the book of life.

*   (Phil 4:3 NIV)  Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

*    (Rev 13:8-9 NIV)  All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. {9} He who has an ear, let him hear.

*   (Rev 17:8 NIV)  The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come.

Now this next verse is particularly interesting in as much as it occurs after the resurrection that occurs during the time of Jesus’ return to rule on the earth. The dead in Christ have risen and been met by those alive and in Christ. They have ruled and reigned for a thousand years already.

*   (Rev 20:12-15 NIV)  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. {13} The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. {14} Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. {15} If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Now we have a new heaven and a new earth and we learn about the new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven.

*   (Rev 21:27 NIV)  Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

The book of life can be understood in at least two ways. The first and most obvious is as a book that contains the names of everyone that receives salvation. This is the concept we have been considering to this point. A second and less obvious understanding is as a book that shows the way to salvation, the Bible. You could even think of Jesus as the book of life in as much as He is known as the “Word.” It is from the Word that we obtain salvation. If we are not in Him and Him in us then we will not be found in the Book of Life!

*   (John 5:24 NIV) "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

*   (John 1:1 NIV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

*   (Acts 13:46-49 NIV)  Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. {47} For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" {48} When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. {49} The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.

*   (Phil 2:14-16 NIV)  Do everything without complaining or arguing, {15} so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe {16} as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

*   (1 John 1:1 NIV)  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.

This may be an interesting tidbit to ponder but the Bible shows us the way to life and the way to death. It is not a book with names of the saved and the damned. It asks us to make a decision and choose.

*   (Josh 24:15 NIV)  But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."


Now I think the following verse is interesting and reveals something profound.

*   (Exo 32:32-33 NIV)  But now, please forgive their sin--but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written." {33} The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.

It sounds to me as if the original state of man is to have his name in the book of life. This is contrary to a lot of theology that would have us believe that we are born sinners. God desires that none should perish and so He reluctantly will blot a name out of the book of life. If sin is transgression of the Law then it takes a transgression of the law to sin.

*   (1 John 3:4 NIV)  Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.


It is good to know that God is fair and also just. He is on our side and wants the very best for us.

(John 3:16-21 NIV)  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. {17} For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. {18} Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. {19} This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. {20} Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. {21} But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."



Choose today whom you will serve. Choose to have your name in the Book of Life and to keep it there!