I’ve mused about the people featured in the Bible. Positive examples like Aquila and Priscilla, negative ones like Alexander the Coppersmith or Diotrephes or the boy that fell asleep during the late night Bible study.
Well it just so happens that God has other books.
Just before the beast power is slain and Christ returns:
Daniel 7:9 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;
Daniel 7:10 A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
Two books for us, written already in them
they are the spiritual books
What is a spiritual book?
Book of Life
About the Author
Revelation 21:27 … but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Who is in it?
Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered [enrolled, written] in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
ties in with what we know about Pentecost and the firstfruits [more on this later]
almost sounds like a registry for a wedding to me
Matthew 22:1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:
Matthew 22:2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,
Matthew 22:3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.
Matthew 22:4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ‘
Now to one of the more controversial aspects of the Book of Life
When was it written?
Converted Christians with God’s holy spirit
Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.
Philippians 4:2 I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.
Philippians 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 [we are co-workers], whose names are in the Book of Life.
But it goes back further than that
Before the coming of the holy spirit:
Luke 10:17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
Luke 10:18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
Luke 10:19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
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.“
But it goes back further than that
Revelation 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.
Perhaps even less understood is:
Not everyone is in it at the moment…
Revelation 13:4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
Revelation 13:5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
Revelation 13:6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name [Malachi], His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
Revelation 13:7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
Revelation 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.
Revelation 20:11 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.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books 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.
Revelation 20:13 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.
Revelation 20:14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 20:15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
First fruits come first then second fruits: [this is their first chance, as we saw they were not previously written in the Book of Life but now they are.]
So now back to the firstfruits, since they are already written in the Book of Life does that mean salvation is sure? Does it mean:
Once saved always saved?
A word of caution
Of course not – we can always commit the unpardonable sin The Unpardonable Sin, Avoiding the Unpardonable Sin, Guarding Others Against the Unpardonable Sin
What does it take to remain in it?
Go back to: Revelation 21:27 But there shall by no means enter it [New Jerusalem] anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
There is a certain bar: the Bible outlines that
Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
Revelation 3:4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
Revelation 3:5 He 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 name before My Father and before His angels.
IF we do not continue to grow in holy righteous character, rooting out sin and replacing it with the righteousness of God then our name can be removed from the Book of Life.
One of the first mentions of this book
Exodus 32:31 Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold!
Exodus 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.”
Exodus 32:33 And the LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.
[Moses sinned yet he was in the book, so it has to be talking about the unpardonable sin]
Psalms 69:27 Add iniquity to their iniquity, And let them not come into Your righteousness.
Psalms 69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous.
Psalms 69:29 But I am poor and sorrowful; Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.
Revelation 22:18 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;
Revelation 22:19 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.
Jesus Christ the final judge
John 5:22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
Who does He want to invite to the wedding supper? How are they to be dressed?
There is a certain standard God expects in the end
Revelation 21:7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” [and then He begins speaking of The New Jerusalem]
Revelation 22:11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”
Revelation 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
Is it possible that God could have known who He was going to save from before the foundation of the world. Actually it is harder to believe that He didn’t. How hard is it for God to plan ahead that He would have certain people with certain characteristics at certain times that He would give the opportunity to have a relationship with Him? On the other hand we would have to believe that God left it to time and chance that people would evolve that would be what He wanted and needed for His plan to work out?
Jeremiah 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.”
Malachi God foreordained Jacob over Esau
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Romans 9:10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac
Romans 9:11 (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),
Romans 9:12 it was said to her, “THE OLDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER.”
Romans 9:13 As it is written, “JACOB I HAVE LOVED, BUT ESAU I HAVE HATED.”
Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not!
Romans 9:15 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.”
Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I HAVE RAISED YOU UP, THAT I MAY SHOW MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MAY BE DECLARED IN ALL THE EARTH.”
Romans 9:18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
Romans 9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”
Romans 9:20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”
Romans 9:21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
Romans 9:22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
Romans 9:23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
Romans 9:24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
Romans 9:25 As He says also in Hosea: “I WILL CALL THEM MY PEOPLE, WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, AND HER BELOVED, WHO WAS NOT BELOVED.”
Romans 9:26 “AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, ‘YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,’ THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.”
A Specific Number Chosen
Baseball team analogy Revelation 7:4-8 where 144,000
Team isn’t finished yet:
This is what makes proselytizing useless, it is God that has pre-ordained the who, what, when, where and how of calling and conversion…so what is it that we would be doing by knocking on the doors of people.
PreDESTINATION does not guarantee success: Unpardonable Sin!
A calling does not preclude our rejection. But God knew what He was doing when He called you.
The Book of Remembrance
Often confused with the Book of Life, but as it will become clear, it is yet another one of the spiritual books that we referred to earlier.
First mention of the Book of Remembrance is in Malachi 3:16 and the reason for today’s message. We touched on it briefly recently in the messages due to the size of the subject.
Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, And the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the LORD And who meditate on His name.
Malachi 3:17 “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.”
Psalms 56:8 You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?
Record of actions, words and thoughts of people on which they will be judged and will receive either rewards or penalties.
Psalms 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.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Acts 13:22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID THE SON OF JESSE, A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART, WHO WILL DO ALL MY WILL.’
Give an account
Matthew 12:36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Matthew 12:37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Romans 14:10 …For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
…stand before substantiate; present, prove, provide, show, yield
… the judgment seat of Christ. Judged on our growth in faith and works
Romans 14:11 For it is written: “AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD.”
Romans 14:12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
Some may have a litany of sins that were committed before conversion and there are the transgressions that still can happen afterwards – how will these affect the judgment that comes upon us? How can we overcome the scale being so decided lopsided – in favor of the sin that we so readily perpetrated once upon a time?
Blotting Out Sins
We find some good news in: (especially since God does not want penance)
Acts 3:19 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,
Sins are wiped away like tears [same word used elsewhere] and erased as other versions put it…from where – From His Book of written records
Part of the promises of the New Covenant
Jeremiah 31:34 ….I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
The converse is true (Nehemiah 4:5) tells us: “Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You…”
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Ephesians 1:4 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,
Ephesians 1:5 having predestined us to sonship by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
Ephesians 1:8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
Ephesians 1:9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
Ephesians 1:10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.
Ephesians 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
There is no guessing, time and chance, happenstance, or accidents
It is a well thought out and executed plan by GOD
In God’s eyes, they were not destined to fail; they were destined to succeed! We read in Luke 12:32: “Do not fear, little flock, for it is [correctly translated: WAS, or: HAS BEEN] your Father’s good pleasure to give YOU the kingdom.”
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
Why does the world not know Him [from the first 2 chapters]
1. Keep His commandments.
2. Keeps His word
have love for one another
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
When we completely understand how special and precious this opportunity is, how should we be acting? With how much vim and vigor?
We know that God had a plan for Jesus Christ and it was fulfilled – so too, it will be with us.