The Book of Life
Let us see what the Bible teach us about this:
What is Book of Life?
This is the book that contains list of names who will not thrown into hell during the final judgment.
Rev 20:15 - And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
In other words as the name says it contains list of names whom are all going to live with the Lord in Heaven forever and ever.
Rev 21:27 - But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
It is also called Book of Living in OT.
Ps 69:28 - Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous.
In what basis He adds the names? What is the basic qualification/requirement needed to be added in that Book of Life?
That person need to believe and accepted Jesus Christ as a Personal Savior.
Acts 4:12 - Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Heb 12:23 - to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
John 6:28-29 - 28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
John 3:5 - 5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
John 3:16-18 - 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Let us see few scriptures about names written in this Book:
When our names are written in this Book of Life?
Simple answer is God adds the names whenever a person believes in Him (born again) and enter into the kingdom of God.
Luke 10:20 - Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."
Philip 4:3 - And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.
But the truth is true believers names are written before the foundation of this earth.
Psalm 139:13-16 - For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 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.
Psalm 22:9 - But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother's breasts10 I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother's womb You have been My God.
Jer1:5 - "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."
Eph 2:10 - 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Eph 1:4-5 - 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
2 Tim 1:9 - who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
KJV: 2 Tim 1:9 - Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
NLT: 2 Tim 1:7-9 - 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 8 So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don't be ashamed of me, either, even though I'm in prison for Christ. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the proclamation of the Good News. 9 It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan long before the world began – to show his love and kindness to us through Christ Jesus. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the coming of Christ Jesus, our Savior, who broke the power of death and showed us the way to everlasting life through the Good News. 11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News.
Matt 25:34 - 31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Rev 13:8 - All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
NLT: Rev 13:8 - And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life, which belongs to the Lamb who was killed before the world was made.
Rev 17:8 - The beast 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 are 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.
NLT: Rev 17:8 - 8 The beast you saw was alive but isn't now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life from before the world began, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died.
John 15:16 - You didn't choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.
John 6:65 - And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."
How God add names in the Book of Life?
There are different ways theologians explain this...
Interpretation I: He Add when we believe and follow Him and remove when we do wrong and go away from Him.
Assume if He follows this pattern. In this scenario assume one person accepted Christ and followed Him on and off so Jesus adds him and removes him from the book based on his deeds.
Just before he dies if he is faithfully following Him then Jesus will add his name in the book and he goes to heaven after his death.
At the time before he dies if he is not faithfully followed due to pain and suffering that he gone through or for any reason then Jesus will remove his name in the book and he will not goes to heaven after his death.
Is this fair? or Is this what Bible teaches?
This approach emphasize the Sovereign power and
discount many of our God's attributes
makes us to believe that our God is busy adding and removing names based on our deeds
In other words discounts the Grace of our God and teaches based on our deeds we earn or lose salvation.
Interpretation II: God has all human beings names in the Book of Life and removes one person's name after his death based on acceptance of Christ and the behavior thereafter of that person.
Matt 20:16 - 11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12 saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.' 13 But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?' 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."
Matt 22:14 - 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 For many are called, but few are chosen."
This approach seams great but discount the All knowing ability of our God so it denies the verses such as God choose and saved us for a specific purpose before the foundation of the world.
KJV:2 Tim 1:9 - Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Interpretation III: God has only names in that Book of Life that are going to be with Him forever. By Sovereign power He chose some group of people and added their names.
This approach emphasize the Sovereign power, and
makes us to believe that our God shows partiality
discount many of our God's attributes and it also discount the All knowing ability of our God.
Interpretation IV: God has only names in that Book of Life that are going to be with Him forever. He does this as per His foreknowledge.
This approach never discount Sovereign power or any other attributes of our God.
How God elects/choose/add names in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world?
He is a Sovereign God and so He can choose whomever He wish before the foundation of this world.
Rom 9:10-16 - 10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
Jer 1:5- "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."
God’s plan of redemption was set in place before He even created the beings who would be redeemed. God wasn’t “surprised” by the fall of Adam or any other evidence of the fallen nature of man. God isn’t making it up as He goes along. It is all going according to plan.
God the Son had a relationship of love and fellowship with God the Father before the foundation of the world (John 17:24)
The work of Jesus was ordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20)
God chose His redeemed before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4)
Names are written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world (Revelation 17:8)
The kingdom of heaven was prepared for the redeemed before the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34)
At the same time God is also Loving, Compassionate, Kind, Humble, Gentle so he respect our Free Will so He knocks at our hearts gently and waits for our response instead of forcing us.
Rev 3:20 - Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
John 3:16-18 - 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Eph 1:13-14 - 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
So how then He elect/choose us before the foundation of this world and without forcing us to accept Him?
Our God is also the All knowing God so .... He foreknew before the foundation of the world through His foreknowledge that who will open their heart and accept Him when He knock at our hearts and who will not accept Him forever:
1 Peter 1:2 - elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
God know who will believe in Him and follow Him in response to their belief in Him (ie faith that produces fruit). God demonstrated His election through foreknowledge in following verses
Paul explains this through Abraham' Faith in Gen 15:6
Rom 4:1-4 - 1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
NLT: Rom 4:1-4 - 1 Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What were his experiences concerning this question of being saved by faith? 2 Was it because of his good deeds that God accepted him? If so, he would have had something to boast about. But from God's point of view Abraham had no basis at all for pride. 3 For the Scriptures tell us, "Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous." 4 When people work, their wages are not a gift. Workers earn what they receive.
Abraham's Faith Produces the fruit...
Gen 22:2 - "Take your son, your only son – yes, Isaac, whom you love so much – and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will point out to you."
God touches Paul and open his Spiritual blindness:
Acts 9:4-18 - 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." 7 And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. 8 Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." 11 So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. 12 And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight." 13 Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name." 15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." 17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
God knows who will never believe in Him forever:
Rom 1:18-21 - 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Rom 1:28-32 - 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.
John 6:64-71 - 64 But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 70 Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?" 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.
This final world dictator will demand and receive worship from the whole earth. But those who worship him pay the price: they are whose names have not been written in the Book of Life.The idea is that worshipping the beast and having your name in the Book of Life are mutually exclusive. (David Guzik)
God has given equal opportunity to both believers and non believers:
Mat 25:31-46 - 31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' 41 Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' 44 Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' 45 Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Sure He is the Sovereign God so He can do whatever He wants at the same time He is also All Knowing God and He knows everything beforehand!
He is sovereign enough to remove the names from the Book of Life anytime but He will not play a game removing and adding because He added them by foreseeing our life before the foundation of the world.
At the same time in the following verses God warns all of us so that we should not take this as granted.
Ex 32:33 - And the Lord said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.
Rev 22:18 - 18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, 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 3:5 is more of assurance from God than warning.
Rev 3:5 - who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his nme before My Father and before His angels.
Similar scriptures in the Bible:
Ex 32:32 - Yet now, if You will forgive their sin--but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written."
Rom 9:3 - (similar to Ex 32:32) - 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
Ps 69:28 - Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous.
Finally: Is your name in that Book?
Rom 10:9-11 - 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
Eph 1:13-14 - 13In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Rom 8:9 - But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
NLT: Rom 8:9 - But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.)
Rom 8:15-16 - 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
1 Cor 12:3 - Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
1 John 5:12-13 - 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.