The Book of Life

What is the Book of Life?

It is a divine journal recording the names of all those whom God has chose to save and who, therefore, possess eternal life. God pre-chose and pre-registered those names who were to be saved.  He calls them the “Elect,” “Predestined,” or “Called.”

When was the Book of Life written and who does it belong to?

The Book of Life belongs to the Lamb (Jesus).  It was written before the creation of the world.  God pre-registered all the names of His elect in this book.  (Rev 3:5, Dan 12:1, Mal 3:16 3:17, Luke 10:20, Rev 17:8, 20:12 Eph 1:4, 2 Thes 2:13, See listed verses under “Can someone be added to the book?”

  • Rev 13:8 ” 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.”
  • Rev 21:27 “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.”

Is there more than one Book of Life?

-No.  Several books are discussed in the Bible, but only one Book of Life.  There are books of law, books of disaster/plagues, books of deeds (each person’s life,) books of kings, books of prophesy, etc. 

The Book of Life is also called the Book of Remembrance in Malachi:  All the talk of judgment caused some fear amongst the Israelites, so Malachi made sure that they knew they were ‘remembered’ and not forgotten, that they were written in a book that the Lord would review and save…  

  • Malachi 3:16-18 “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. They will be mine, says the Lord of hosts, on the day that I prepare my own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.  So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”
  • (Example: books of each person’s life/deeds) Psalm 139:16 (David) “You saw me before I was born, All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
  • (Example: books of deeds) Rev 20:12 “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.”
  • (Example:  book of deeds) Neh 13:14 “Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out my loyal deeds which I have performed for the house of my God and its services.”
  • (Example:  book of prophecy) Rev 22:19 “…And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy,”

Can someone be added to the Book of Life?

The Book of Life was established before the creation of the world (Rev 13:7-8, Eph 1:4, 2 Thes 2:13).  God pre-chose and pre-registered those names who were to be saved.  He calls them the “Elect,” “Predestined,” or “Called.”

  • Acts: 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of God; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
  • Romans 8:28-30 “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.  And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.“
  • Romans 9:11-13 “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call, [Rebecca] was told, “The elder will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (Jacob was chosen, but Esau was not)
  • Romans 11:6-8 “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. What then? Israel failed to obtain what it sought. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear, down to this very day.”
  • Ephesians 1:4-6 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
  • Ephesians 1:12  “We who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.”
  • 1 Thes 1:4-5  “For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”
  • 2 Thes 2:13-14  “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • 2 Tim 1:9 “[God] saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago,”
  • 2 Tim 2:10 “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.”
  • 1 Peter 1:2 “chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:”  (Peter knew he was chosen and destined by God)
  • 1 Peter 2:9  “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
  • Rev 13:7-8  “and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain”.
  • Rev 17:8  “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition; and the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will marvel to behold the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.”

Can someone be erased from the Book of Life?

Under no circumstances will God erase names from His original Book of Life as city officials often did of undesirable people in their books.  God is not like human rulers. 

  • Philip 4:3 (Paul) “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.”
  • Luke 10:20 “…but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”

There are two instances when people requested that names be blotted out from the book:

  • (Ex 32:32-33) Moses requests that he be blotted out from God’s book in order to save the Hebrews.  God responds with a comment that anyone who sins will be blotted out.  If we take that literally, then not one person would not be in the Book of Life.   Exodus 32:33 “The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book.”
  • (Ps 69:28) David is pretty desperate in this passage.  His enemies hate him and are out to kill him.  He begs God for rescue and calls down curses on his enemies – one of which is asking God to remove his enemies from the Book of Life.  Psalm 69:28  (David’s request) “May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be recorded with the righteous.”  God does not respond to this request.  So, would God actually change His book?  He does not reference one person in scripture who was removed from the book. 

There are so many scriptures listed that support His list was established before creation, that it is impossible to prove or justify the idea that God will change His mind and remove someone based on works since God saves people solely based on His grace.

Instead, God reassures His people that He will not, in fact, change His mind…  Revelation 3:5 “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.”

Is everyone listed in the Book of Life?

No – Only those whom God has saved are listed in this book.

  • Daniel 12:1 (The End Times Prophesy) “At that time Michael, the archangel 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.”
  • Philip 4:3 (Paul) “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 ” 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.”  :10 “If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes…”
  • Rev 17:8 “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.”
  • Rev 20:12 “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.”
  • Rev 20:15 “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
  • Rev 21:27 “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.”

So, if God has already chosen those who will be saved, why do we need to do anything about it?  Won’t it just happen on its own?

God wants participation in His plan.  He’s set it up that way.  Yes, He could do it on His own, most definitely.  But, God wants a relationship with us, so He’s chosen to allow us to ‘help him out.’  If you love someone, you don’t just say it, but there are actions that follow to prove your love.  God wants us to take action to prove our love for Him.

God’s plan for our participation is to share the gospel.  He’s set it up so that the “Elect” must hear the gospel in order to be converted…

  • Romans 10: 14-17  “But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?  And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!”  But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”  So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.”

What if my loved one isn’t in the Book of Life?  Why waste my time trying to ‘save them’?

  • Deut 29:29 “There are secret things that belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our descendants forever, so that we may obey these words of the law.”

God has chosen to keep it a secret from us who is in the book and who is not.  But, as described in Deut 29, He’s told us what we are suppose to do – obey God.  So, He wants us to share even though we do not know the outcome.  That’s true faith!  You can’t trust and have faith if you know the outcome.  Faith comes in the unknown, not in certainty.

  • 1 Tim 2:4 3  “This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • 2 Peter 3:9  “The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

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