We hear referenced in the Bible over and over again the concept of the “Book of Life.” What is it? Is this important? In taking into account all of the words given by God and recorded for our learning, I’d say that it is definitely an important concept to understand. After all, the book of Revelation mentions it eight different times. The ancient Jews had a clear understanding that being written in this Book of Life meant not only that you were righteous, but that you would someday have access to eternal life with God. Let’s take a look to see what we can “know” concerning this book:
Is it predetermined that I am, or I’m not written in the Book of Life?
We can find evidence in both the Old and New Testament that a group chosen by God, has been written into this Book of Life since the foundation of the world. These people have been written there before they ever existed in the flesh:
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 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.” ~ Psalm 139:13-16
Here in the Psalms we see, the psalmist indicates that everything about him was written in “God’s book” before he was even made. Before he was formed in his mother’s womb, God made him “in secret.” We have been created to serve God’s purpose, and have been written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world:
“… 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.” ~ Revelation 17:8
“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 13:8
This reveals that God’s purpose will be fulfilled whether we like it or not. He has chosen and predetermined who is written there, which brings to light the saying of Jesus:
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” ~ John 10:26-28
Remember, Jesus is the alpha (beginning) and the omega (ending). He knows the end from the beginning. Time is not a factor for Him. This may be confusing to some who believe that we can change the future based on our actions today, but wrap your mind around the fact that the future is already written. Our future decisions are already known by the Father. This is why we were urged by the Apostles to work out our salvation before God with fear and trembling. We are but dust, and will return to dust, and should approach our Creator with that in mind.
What are the characteristics of those written in the book of life?
We also see in the evidence of the scriptures, that those written in the Book of Life live a life that is righteous before God:
“Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” ~ Psalm 69:28
The righteous are written down in this book. This we know according to the bible, refers to those that are obedient to the commandments, laws, ordinances etc. of God, and carry the faith of Jesus Christ:
“And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:25
“My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.” ~ Psalm 119:172
“Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law“ ~Isaiah 51:7
“And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” ~ Luke 1:6
”Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” ~ Revelation 14:12
Righteousness is key to being written in this book. When we are born of God and we receive the Holy Spirit (His seed), we by nature begin producing fruits of righteousness (obedience to God’s commandments, laws, ordinances etc), out of love for God and neighbor from the heart!:
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” ~ 1 John 3:9-10
Can our names be deleted from the Book of Life?
Yes, absolutely they can! The Bible tells us that even though we may have been written in the book from the foundation of the world, we are in danger of being blotted out from that book. Our choices, works and actions can condemn us. We can find evidence of this all the way back in the book of Exodus, where Moses offered to be blotted out of the book:
“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.” ~ Exodus 32:32-33
This gives us clear evidence, that when we sin against God, we are in danger of being blotted out of the Book of Life. Sin means to disobey the laws, ordinances, statutes etc. of God:
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” ~1 John 3:4
“… I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” ~ Romans 7:7
Again in Psalms, we see the danger of being blotted out of the Book of Life:
“Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” ~ Psalm 69:28
We are also told, that if we “tamper with” or “take away from” the prophecy of the book of Revelation/change it, etc- we will be blotted out of the Book of Life:
“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.” ~ Revelation 22:19
It is important for us to consider the Word in its entirety, and to teach it to others in its entirety in a responsible way. It is better to refer someone to read the entire book for themselves, than to create a doctrine from it that is packaged and taught. YFT USA encourages all of our readers to search out the scriptures for yourself in their entirety, every word, every letter.
How can we assure that we remain in the Book of Life?
According to the Word, so far we’ve seen that in order to remain in the Book of Life, we have to walk in the righteous path. We cannot live in sin and remain in the Book. Scripture also tells us that we must “OVERCOME” to remain written there:
“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 3:5
We learn how to overcome from Jesus, His life, His walk:
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
The Apostles taught us about overcoming also:
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” ~ Romans 12:21
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” ~ 1 John 4:4 (Understanding your new identity in Christ)
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” ~ 1 John 5:2-5
Overcoming has to do with us knowing who Jesus is IN US. It comes with understanding our new identity once we have been reborn into the new creation. It has to do with keeping the commandments of God, and having faith in Jesus our savior. It has to do with learning to walk in the spirit. When we examine the walk of Christ, we find that he obeyed the commandments of God to the fullest extent. He didn’t diminish the commands of God, rather he raised the standard higher than it ever was before. Instead of “you shall not kill,” Jesus taught that if you are even angry with your neighbor, you are guilty of murder in your heart. Instead of “you shall not commit adultery,” Jesus taught that if we even look at another woman lustfully with the eye, we are already guilty of adultery in the heart. This is a high standard, yet this is what it looks like to overcome the world. We have to renew our minds to the mind of Christ, via this new Holy Spirit that has been placed within us. We must overcome, or we will be blotted out of the Book of Life.
Will our names in this book benefit us during the tribulation?
Yes, absolutely it will. We know from the Word, that it helps us not to be deceived by the Beast and his many deceptions to come, that will have the whole world wondering after him. It will awaken us not to take the “Mark of the Beast” when it comes in whatever form that may be. Those written in the Book, will receive the seal of the living God.
“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 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 13:6-8
“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.” ~ Revelation 17:8
If your name is not written in the Book of Life, you will wonder after the Beast. If your name is written in the Book of Life, you will have eyesight to see clearly what is truly happening. More about the Beast can be found on the Identifying Antichrist page of this site.
What about the last judgment?
“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. 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. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” ~ Revelation 20:12-15
You can see, it is extremely important to be written in this Book of Life. It is a book of the righteous, those that have been reborn through repentance, water baptism, and Holy Spirit baptism. It is a book for those that truly believe in Jesus Christ and have faith in Him. It is for those that walk in the Holy Spirit. It is for those that have come to learn their new identity as a new creation in Christ. It is for the saints.
”And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, 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.” ~ Philippians 4:3
The Saints, believers in Christ under the New Covenant are those that are recorded in the Book of Life, and will enter into the new heaven and the new earth/the Kingdom of God- as long as we are able to overcome this world. Failure to overcome this world as Jesus did, will blot us out of this book. No unrighteousness can enter into the Kingdom of God:
“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 21:27
The Book of Life is written. Those that are chosen have been recorded in this book from the foundation of the world. If we sin against God, we will be blotted out of this book. It is a book for those that believe in Jesus Christ/Yeshua, our Savior and Redeemer. It is a book of the righteous, those that have been reborn through repentance, baptism with water (where former sins are forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ), and baptism with the Holy Spirit. It is a book for those that have a new spirit and walk according to it- in obedience to the commandments of God from the heart under the New Covenant. If one becomes reborn, and turns back to their sin choosing to walk in the flesh, Peter tells us of their condition:
“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” ~ 2 Peter 2:20-22
As we walk in the spirit, God protects us from deception and delusion. He opens our eyes to what is really happening in the world today. He gives us an understanding of the unseen, and protects us from being deceived by the Beast. If you are a sheep of Christ, these Bible texts will fill your heart and your mind with understanding, comfort and sobriety. If you are not, you probably won’t have read this far. Let’s pray for each other, and the Christian body, that we can all be counted as overcomers, preserving our names in the Book of Life.