Eternal life is promised to converted Christians. These truly converted people are set apart as sons and daughters of God. Legal heirs of the Kingdom of God.
The question that you and I need to know is, how is this done, how is setting apart done? As we all know, God is not the author of confusion, God did not leave the records of those who are to inherit eternal life in disarray.
The legal recording of those who have become sons and daughters of God is a real facet of God’s plan of salvation. This recording process becomes clear only when you and I understand the God-ordained purpose for the Book of Life.
You don’t really hear that much about this particular book, for one reason, today’s religions have not known God’s intent for this book. The chances are, those who claim to be Christians, probably have never ever even known of its existence. And those who have seen it mentioned in the Bible are confused as to its meaning and ignorant of its purpose.
God doesn’t want us to be ignorant of His Truth: “Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:4). To have all men to come to the knowledge of the truth was God’s ultimate purpose from the beginning and that has never changed.
God intended that mankind be born into His family, before Adam was created. God intends it today, and qualifying humans to share eternal God-life with Him will continue to be His unswaying purpose. Until everyone who has ever lived has had his or her chance to become God’s Sons.
The prophet Daniel understood God’s purpose for mankind. Notice what he wrote: “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Dan. 12:3).
This prophecy also mentions a Great Tribulation which will bring about the Day of the Lord and the resurrection of the dead. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands 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” (Dan. 12:1).
The Book of Life, those people whose names are found in this book shall be given eternal life and entrance into the Kingdom of God, so you and I want to make sure that our names are in this book.
In I Peter 4:17 the apostle Peter tells us that judgment must begin at the house of God. In other words God’s only true Church, His called out ones, are being tried and tested now in preparation for eternal life.
Why is God’s Church being judged now? Why, of all the people on the face of the earth, is God deciding our qualifications for birth into His Family on the basis of our actions now? At what precise moment does eternity come to hang in the balance for you and me?
Notice the example of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other servants of God. God did call some few people in the first 4,000 years of world history, and they did have their chance for salvation. These Old Testament servants of God were judged in their lifetime. They, like us, had God’s Holy Spirit and these people were His true people, but why?
There is an important and often overlooked bond these people of the Old Testament had which have in common with us today.
Do you know what it is? It is a special legal document which determines when each servant of God officially begins his preparation for eternity. “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth neither whatsoever works abomination, or makes a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev. 21:27). This is a legal document, every one who will inherit eternal life in the Kingdom of God, must have their names in this book.
In Matthew 8:11 Jesus Christ said: “And I say unto you, that many shall come from the East and the West, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of God.” These three men represent the faithful men and women in the past who were tested and who qualified for eternal life. They will become members of God’s family. Why? Because their names were found in the Book of Life.
Now notice an experience in the life of Moses. The people of the ancient House of Israel had committed a grievous sin against God, forsaking the covenant God so generously made with them. Because of their sins, God was ready to punish by death the entire nation. Moses understood the punishment coming to Israel, and he went before God to plead for mercy for the nation. Notice what he did, he offered to relinquish his legal document, the legal right to membership into God’s family. “And Moses returned unto the Lord and said Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet not, if thou wilt forgive their sin, and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou has written” (Ex. 32:31-32).
Did you notice that Moses had already had his name in the Book of Life? Moses recognized it to represent his legal right, if he remained faithful to enter God’s Kingdom that was much later to come to this earth. Moses offered to substitute his opportunity for salvation to redeem the nation of Israel.
God told Moses that this was not possible; God rejects no man, unless he personally chooses to reject God. “And the Lord said unto Moses, whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book” (v. 33).
The New Testament reveals the existence of this book. In the Book of Philippians, the apostle Paul is giving various instructions to the church at Philippi, but he also told us of some Christians whose names are in this book. “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true companion, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the Book of Life” (Phil. 4:2-3).
God’s plan to add members to His Family has always included the Book of Life, but the purpose has remained hidden knowledge. God’s elect in every age have known of the existence and solemn purpose of this Book. Having your name, my name, in the Book of Life is the legal difference between eternal life and eternal death.
Some people may think that the Book of Life is just another name for the Bible. This explanation may satisfy the curiosity of some, but it is not scriptural. In the first place, it is self evident that all the people who will be in the resurrection do have their names written in the Bible.
The Book of Revelation establishes a separate identity for these two books. “For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book (Bible). 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” (Rev. 22:18-19).
From the forgoing statement, Moses and Paul and John who wrote the Book of Revelation, the Book of Life is a real book apart from the Bible. It is to be taken very serious.
Whose names are included in the Book of Life? When are these names registered? Can they be taken out? If so, how? And just as important, whose names are not there?
Just when does one become a member of God’s Family? Notice what the apostle Paul told the Ephesians Church. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest (downpayment or deposit) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:13-14). The receiving of God’s Spirit, this downpayment, spiritually begets us as members of God’s family.
The apostle Paul tells the Church at Rome: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). The Spirit itself (not a 3rd person) bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (v. 16). God places within each human being that has truly repented His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
God’s government is not tangled with confusion and needless bureaucracy. Jesus Christ keeps records using the Book of Life much the same way a community keeps records of births.
The Book of Life is an authoritative legal record that the names written in this book are begotten members of the royal Family and will be given eternal life upon the return of Jesus Christ. This Book of Life records in effect that a person has truly repented, been baptized, their sins have been forgiven, and they have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to remember that the Book of Life is specifically mentioned in the Bible only eleven times. Every facet of its role in God’s plan is not clearly revealed, and because of that there appears to be exception to the rule.
“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (The Book of Life) Luke 10:20. These 70 men formed a group unique in all history, Jesus Christ dealt with them face to face during His earthly ministry, and their lives and work were to be the foundation of the New Testament Church.
From this verse, it seems that these men had their names written in God’s Book of Life before they received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
Another case is the apostle Paul, the Bible doesn’t mention in relation to the Book of Life, but notice what the Bible does say about Paul. “But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace” (Gal. 1:15). From this verse we can assume that Paul’s name was written in the Book of Life before receiving the Holy Spirit.
Paul lived an unusual life in the service of God, by his own words he said “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time” (I Cor. 15:8).
The Book of Revelation presents us with another problem: “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” (Rev. 18:8).
It sounds like that this verse supports the predestination of specific people, the phrase “from the foundation of the world” does not refer to names, but that the Book of Life was in the very beginning.
After the first resurrection, we all know (or at least I hope we know) that there is another one coming. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away: and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books (the Bible – Old and New Testament) were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life, was opened, and the dead were judged out of those things which are written in the books (the Bible), according to their works” (Rev. 20:11-12).
This is a time when salvation is offered to the billions of people who have never been called by God. And, God has called very few during the last 6,000 years of earth’s history. The majority of people that have died didn’t even know that this book even existed, much less have their names written in it.
No matter what modern Christianity teaches, salvation has never been generally offered to man. Only a select few in the Old Testament and those whom God calls now. The vast majority of people have yet to have their names written in the Book of Life.
The people in the great white throne judgment are brought back to physical life for the express purpose of being judged worthy or not worthy by Christ to receive eternal life. “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them and they were judged every man according to their works” (v. 13).
The Book of Life opened at this time (v. 12) reveals that the opportunity to gain eternal life still exists for billions of people who can yet have their names inscribed in the Book of Life. This will occur when these people are brought to repentance and receive God’s Holy Spirit. The chances are the vast majority will make the right choice when it is offered to them.
Once a person who has qualified to have their names written in the special book, is it possible to have it removed? “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (disqualified) (I Cor. 9:27). Yes, we can disqualify ourselves and lose out completely on God’s wonderful promises.
When one is granted repentance, is baptized, and receives God’s Holy Spirit, that person receives his or her only chance of salvation. At that time Jesus Christ places their name in the Book of Life, this legal attestation that this person is a begotten son or daughter of God qualifying to be born into His Family.
If that person rejects God’s way of life, disqualifying that person, he or she forever loses this opportunity. “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” (Heb. 6:1).
(v. 4) “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come. If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh (again) and put him to an open shame.”
If a person commits this unrepentable sin that person has abandoned their opportunity to enter God’s Kingdom. That person has forsaken and lost God’s Holy Spirit. That person is no longer a member of God’s Church and their names will be blotted out of the Book of Life.
“He that overcomes, 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” (Rev. 3:5).
What if a person’s name is blotted out of this book? This blotting out symbolizes the eternal punishment to be given out to reprobate sinners in the Lake of Fire. Jesus Christ is returning soon to govern this earth. At that time He will grant eternal life, to all those from the time of Adam until His return, whose names are found written in the Book of Life
Think of the privilege, the glory and the life that God offers His begotten children. His gift to mankind is membership in the Family of God forever recognized in the great Book of Royal records.
Is your name written in the Book of Life, it is the difference between life and death for eternity!