Last week while having lunch with a couple of pastor friends our conversation surprisingly turned to spiritual matters. One pastor threw on the table for discussion the topic of the Lamb’s Book of Life. There are many opinions on what exactly the Lamb’s Book of Life is and its purpose. In this blog I will share with you what I believe the Bible teaches and what I believe about the Lamb’s Book of Life.
1. WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE LAMB ‘S BOOK OF LIFE.
A. There are seven passages of Scripture in the New Testament that mention The Book of Life or Lamb’s Book of Life: Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12-15 and 21:27.
B. Sometimes we read in the Bible of the Book of Life and at other times we read about the Lamb’s Book of Life.
C. Believers cannot have their names blotted out of the Book of Life. We read in Revelation 3:5 of the Lord promising the over-comers at Sardis He will not blot out their names. The totality of Scripture teaches the Christian has an eternal security. This passage is often used in defending this position. Luke 10:20 seems to speak also of the Book of Life and our eternal security. Look at what Jesus said to His disciples in Luke 10:20 (HCSB), “However, don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” “Written” is in the perfect tense and gives the idea of a permanent record. Jesus is telling His disciples to rejoice that their names are permanently recorded in heaven.
2. WHAT WE SPECULATE ABOUT THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE.
A. Some speculate there are two books, one being the Book of Life and the other being the Lamb’s Book of Life. Under this interpretation everyone who is born has their name written in the Book of Life. When a person is saved they have their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. In this interpretation a person will have their name removed from the Book of Life upon their death. This interpretation is probably the most traditional and certainly is the view of our Calvinistic brothers who embrace limited atonement and view the Lamb’s Book of Life as containing only the names of the people Jesus died to redeem. In the Calvinist view those names not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life are people for whom Jesus did not die.
B. Others, myself included, view the Lamb’s Book of Life and the Book of Life as being one book. Examine a few passages that influence my thinking. One is the Messianic Psalm, Psalm 69. This Psalm describes the suffering that Jesus would endure. In describing the enemies of Jesus who tormented our Lord, David makes a statement in verse 28, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” David appears to be praying not merely for their death but their names not be recorded or remain in the Book of Life along with the righteous. Those who crucified our Lord were not struck dead when He died so physical death is not what is in view in this Psalm. David’s prophetic eye did not see the enemies of Jesus dying; he saw them as unbelievers and Christ rejecters whose names were to be removed from the Book of the Living. He prayed their names would not remain recorded next to the righteous.
A second passage that leads me to believe the Book of Life and the Lamb’s Book of Life is one book is Revelation 3:5. The Lord promises the overcomers in Sardis He would not blot out their names. There is an implication in this verse that names can be blotted out of the Book of Life. So it is my speculative opinion that everyone Jesus died for has their name written in the Book of Life. According to John 3:16 and I John 2:2 He died for the sins of the entire world. As unbelievers die they have their names removed from the Book of Life and this book becomes the Lamb’s Book of Life at the end of time. Some do not have to die in order to have their names removed from the Book of Life. Revelation 13:8 reads in the KJV, “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.” A group of people during the tribulation will worship the beast rather than the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world which is Jesus. According to Revelation 13:8 their names are already removed from the Book of Life. Some translations, in my opinion in error, attach “from the foundation of the world” to names not written in the Book of Life thus making it seem that these people have not had their names written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world. I believe that is a mistake. This verse is teaching those who worship the beast and take the mark of the beast have crossed a line and cannot be redeemed. Therefore their names are removed from the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world.
3. FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE.
A. Your name must be in this book if you are going to have eternal life in the presence of God. Revelation 20:11-15 teaches of the Great White Throne Judgment. On this day everyone whose name is not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire.
B. God knows your name. I will never get over the fact that God knows my name. I have met some people who the world says are fairly important. I am convinced seconds after these important people heard my name they had forgotten it. GOD KNOWS YOUR NAME AND HAS IT WRITTEN DOWN!
C. The emphasis of the Book of Life is on the redeeming work of Jesus and not human efforts. We can do nothing that merits our names being recorded in this book for eternity. Some are trying to be honest enough, loving enough, faithful enough, good enough to have a relationship with God. Praise be to Jesus for what He has done on Calvary to redeem us. Through His redeeming work followers of Christ have their names recorded forever in the Book of Life.