THE BOOK OF LIFE
Among the most precious revelations
written in the Holy Bible is the discovery of “the Book of Life.” In this book are recorded the names of every
soul who has given his or her heart to virtuous living: always striving to bless: ever
seeking the best for all people.
who set their hearts to follow Jesus Christ and enter His field of labor have their names in the book of life, as Jesus said:
“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names
are written in heaven.” Lu.10:20
there are those virtuous individuals throughout history who never heard His name, nor of the Ten Commandment Law. The Apostle
Paul reveals the great mercy of GOD in this: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the
law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles [every non-Jew], which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in
the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their
conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” Rom.2:13-15.
These words of the Apostle Paul assures us of
GOD’S perfect design and full breadth of salvation through Christ, declaring that multitudes will be in heaven who had
never heard the name of Jesus, nor had any knowledge of the great controversy between Christ and Satan over the Ten Commandment
Law and how its transgression is called sin, as the Apostle John said: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also
the law: for sin is the transgression [willful violation] of the law.” I Jn.3:4. But these men and women lived up to
the light of their understanding and they refused to violate their conscience concerning the leading of the Holy Spirit in
their lives. And while Scripture declares that there is no other name “given among men whereby we must be saved”
(Acts 4:12), this must never be used to disannul the other passages of the Bible allowing for the innocently ignorant or even
those who reject a sinful and corrupt version of Christianity (as the brutal history of the church bears witness), but remain
obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading in their lives. Many will be surprised who is in heaven and who is not because
GOD looks on the heart and knows who allows His Spirit to lead in their lives and those who refuse His Presence with hatred
of any trace of His Presence (I Sam.16:7).
The Bible assures us that many will hear the Gospel of Jesus for the first time in heaven, as it is written: “And
one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the
house of my friends.” Zech.13:6. All throughout time, GOD has known His own in every walk of life and in every religion.
And in our day, He will gather them “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev.5:9) when
the last great test comes to the human race as the end of our present history draws near. A last message will go forth where
the LORD “will plead with all flesh” (Jer.25:31) that they not stand with those who have eternally determined
to remain in sin, both in and out of the church.
Many a churchman is going to stand before Jesus and declare: “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Matt.7:22. These false shepherds,
“deceitful workers” will be turned away on Judgment Day by “the Lord Jesus:” “I never knew you:
depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (v.23).
Of this class of men the Scriptures give every boundary of their danger:
it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the
Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of GOD, and the powers of the world to come, [v.6] if they should fall away, to
renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of GOD afresh, and put Him to an open shame."
To “fall away”
in the Greek text does not refer to a “backslider” in the church (Jer.3:12) nor one who has fallen into sin (Mal.3:6,7).
It means to “forever renounce” or “apostatize” one's faith in GOD and His Word and thus blaspheme
against the Holy Spirit as Jesus said: “But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but
is in danger of eternal damnation” Mk.3:29. There are many examples in Scripture of men who fell prey to all manner
of temptations leading to sin and wickedness, but who returned to hear GOD'S voice once more and rejoiced in His renewed
call to salvation. His “still small voice” led them to repent of their great and many sins, and thus receive pardon
and the restored Presence of His Holy Spirit, as GOD so mercifully said, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy
transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee.” “And I will put my spirit
within you.” Isa.44:22; Eze.36:27. It is wise to note that His forgiveness comes first; then comes the call to believe,
as it is written, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom.5:8. Scripture then admonishes us: “Let
not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” Rom.6:12.
It was on this great danger of eternal loss that Moses,
who “was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” stood before “the LORD”
to intercede for the sins of the children of Israel (as did Jesus Christ), between sinful man and Holy GOD. Said Moses, “Yet
now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”
Ex.32:32. When the children of Israel stood on the brink of eternal death, Moses paused and sobbed before GOD in their behalf.
That is what took place in that long pause (represented by the hyphen in the verse). It is the only hyphen in all of Scripture.
And then there is the prophetic utterance of
king David as he shared the heart’s cry of Jesus Christ on the day He was nailed to a tree and left there to die. This
stands among the most profound moments of all eternity:
hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters,
but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. Let their table become
a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened,
that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake. Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger
take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. For they persecute him whom thou hast
smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded. Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come
into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. But I am
poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify
him with thanksgiving.” Ps.69:20-30.
In closing, there are several verses that call our attention to the value of having our names written in the Book of
Life as well as the danger of having our names removed:
“He that overcometh,
the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his
name before my Father, and before his angels.” Rev.3:5
I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other
my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.” Phil.4:3
I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book
of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Rev.20:12
“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless
pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life
from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” Rev.17:8
“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.” Rev.13:8
if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life,
and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev.22:19
there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but
they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” Rev.21:27
whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Rev.20:15
“Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.
Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the LORD; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be
before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. Because that he remembered not to shew
mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart. As he loved cursing, so let it
come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.” Ps.109:13-17.
May the GOD of heaven draw from our hearts the unending desire
to know and to understand the boundaries of salvation. And through the power of the Holy Spirit Who carries the Presence of
the Father and the Son into the willing heart, we may overcome as Jesus overcame (Rev.3:21). It needs to be understood that
in the legal framework of GOD’S salvation, only the Father of Adam had the right to redeem the children of Adam. We
are His offspring, His children, created in His Image and Likeness. And because He is the “Everlasting Father,”
and now, “the last Adam,” our inherited condemnation that none of us gave our consent to receive has been removed
and replaced with the new inheritance: the sinless history of Christ! His history is now our history! His resurrection is
our resurrection! And His eternal life is now our eternal life! This is the Gospel! And we are called to simply believe this
truth, “as the truth is in Jesus” (Eph.4:2).
This is what GOD has accomplished for every man, woman and child who has ever lived! It also explains why the Great
Judgment must take place where every man will stand before GOD in the end of time to give an account of their deeds done in
life, whether of benevolent love for others or of self-indulgence to the sacrifice of others. In the end, it is love that
GOD measures in the heart of a man. GOD offers to all this threefold freedom through Jesus Christ: from sin’s condemnation
(of death); its power (our self-destructive nature); and its very presence (the continual temptations of devils to commit