“Then I saw a Great White Throne and Him who 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, standing before God, and Books (of men’s works) were opened. And another Book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:11-15).
There are two kinds of Books involved in the Final Judgement:
(1) The Lamb’s BOOK of LIFE. This is God’s family album of names of those saved through the Blood of the Lamb. However all those who will stand before the White Throne ('the dead') will have rejected God's offer of salvation, choosing instead to trust in and stand upon their good works (this is self-righteousness).
(2) Therefore God opens the BOOK of their WORKS to see if their works are sufficient to save them: "and books were opened..and the dead were judged according to their works by the things which were written in the Books...and they were judged, each one according to his works." Their sins were covered by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross - the only sin sending them to Hell is the sin of rejecting Christ. Of course, their works, being mere 'filthy rags' are not sufficient to save them (God’s standard is perfection) and all who are not in the Book of Life go into the Lake of Fire.
God's Book of Life determines your eternal destiny:
'Another Book was opened - the Book of Life. ..Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire' (Rev 20:12,15). "But there shall by no means enter it (Heaven) anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life" (Rev 21:27)
It is the Lamb’s Book for their names are only there because of His sacrifice - their names are written in His blood (in which they trust).
"There shall be a time of trouble (the Tribulation), such as never was since there was a nation even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered (saved) - every one who is found written in the Book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:1).
"He who overcomes (a true believer) shall be clothed in white garments, and I will (surely) not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name (as a son of God) before My Father and before His angels” (causing our resurrection unto life) - Revelation 3:5.
This Book of Life is mentioned in Malachi 3:16-4:3: “Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A Scroll (Book) of Remembrance was written in His Presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honoured His Name. "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer (who are not written in the Book of Life) will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere My Name (who are written in the Book of Life), the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.”
See also Psalm 139:16: “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your Book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
The final list of names in the Book is known and fixed by God’s Omniscience from the foundation of the world (election): "The beast (anti-christ) that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel - whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is" (Revelation 17:8).
God foreknows from eternity those (the believers) who are written in the Book eternally (from the foundation of the world), and He knows which names will be blotted out because of their rejection of Christ (cf: Ephesians1:4). Those who follow the antichrist and take his mark do not have their names in the Book (they are blotted out): "All who dwell on the earth will worship him (antichrist), whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb - slain from the foundation of the world' (Rev 13:8:). Their heart will be revealed by whether they take the mark or not. Only unbelievers will take it, and by doing so they make their final choice to reject God (committing the unforgivable sin), and thus seal their fate.
Revelation 13:8 can also be read as: “All who dwell on the earth will worship him (antichrist), whose names have not been written from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain.”
The popular idea that our name is written down in the Book of Life when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour is not supported by Scripture, which only talks of names of people BLOTTED out for rejecting God, rather than written in for accepting Him: “Yet now, if You will forgive their sin- but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written. The LORD said to Moses,"Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My Book" (Exodus 32:32,33).
"If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy
(rejecting the Bible) God shall take away his part from the Book of Life,
from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Rev 22:19).
How does this 'blotting out' fit with the fact that the Book of Life was written from eternity? This is a manifestation of the parallel truths of Divine Election and human Free-Will, both of which are taught in the Bible and so both influence the Book of Life. “Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows (from eternity) those who are His" (Divine Sovereignty) and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness (Human Free-Will)" (2Timothy 2:19).
From eternity, God knows those who are His - those who are forever written within His Book. When you were born, your name was written (provisionally) in the Book of Life (because you are physically alive and under God's mercy with a chance to respond to God), but if you die having rejected Jesus Christ, it is blotted out. You have this life-time to decide. When you believe in Christ, your name is in the Book and stays in, even when you die. From God's viewpoint your name was engraved from the foundation of the world. From our viewpoint, when you were born your Name was written down, but when you were saved, it was established forever in the Book. God writing our Name in His Book when we are born signifies that His grace in Christ is upon us in this life (2Cor 6:2, Rom 5:18) and if someone dies before their age of accountability (e.g: a baby), he will go to heaven.
Psalm 69:28: "Let them be blotted out of the Book of the Living, and not be written with the righteous." This scripture implies all those who are alive physically are written in the Book of Life (which therefore changes with time), but if they die godless (after the age of accountability) they are blotted out. It therefore records those who are living in His sight, either physically or spiritually -who have not passed the point of no hope. The people in Psalm 69:28 are those who have rejected Jesus Christ (it is a Messianic Psalm). They have already commited the unforgivable sin (a final choice to reject Christ and His salvation). They have sinned so badly they (already being dead spiritually) are consigned to physical death at which point their names are also blotted out (their chance to repent is gone forever). Ultimately it is only the righteous (through receiving the righteousness of Christ) who are permanently (eternally) written in the Book signifying that they are sealed into eternal life in the presence of God. Those who have believed in their life-time remain written in the Book even beyond physical death because they remain alive before God. Thus, at the end of time, as time moves into the Eternal State, the Book assumes its eternal (fixed) form, only containing the names of believers and will do so for all eternity-future. Thus the names in the Book established from eternity past agree with the names written for eternity future, being exactly the names of those born into the human race who were not blotted out because of unbelief.
Thus the Book can be seen from the two viewpoints of eternity and time. Some scriptures clearly refer to the eternal form of the Book, and others to its temporal (changing) form. There is no contradiction because ultimately the temporary records come into agreement with the eternal. The eternal Book of Life is unchanging (because of God's Sovereign Election) but its manifestation in time necessarily changes because of human sovereignty (free-will).
Psalm 69:28 brings together both aspects of the Book: Let them be blotted out of the Book of the Living (the temporal form of the Book recording those now alive before God- physically or spiritually)and not be written (in the Book of Life) with the righteous (in the eternal form of the Book, thus they are excluded from eternal life). Thus the first clause is a prayer for their physical death, resulting in the removal of their name since they will die in sin. The 2nd clause describes the necessary consequence: that their names won’t be in the Book eternally for only the names of the righteous will stand forever.
Don't be blotted out! Is your name eternally written in the Book of Life?
- you can know for sure by believing on Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God: "Rejoice because your names are written in Heaven" (Luke 10:20).
“Help...the rest of my fellow workers whose names are in the Book of Life” (Phil 4:3).
"See, I have engraved you (eternally)on the palms of My hands” (you can have assurance of salvation - Isa 49:16)
"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” (John 3:16).
Either your SINS will be blotted out (through faith in Christ) or your NAME will be!
"I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you" (Isaiah 44:22).
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19).