The Book of Life

“Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” Revelation 20:15

This unambiguous statement was written by John as a description of what God was revealing to him. The purpose of the occasion was that John record this for people to read, understand, believe and act upon. If the statement is not true then God is a deceiver and not to be trusted. No wonder John wrote at the beginning of this book, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Revelation 1:3).

Since the lake of fire is the destiny of all whose names are not in the Book of Life and only those whose names are in this Book will enter the new creation (Revelation 21:27) it is a matter of highest priority and greatest urgency for every person to be sure their name is in that Book.

In John 3:18 we read, “He who believes 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.” Twice in this verse it says that the dividing factor is faith in Jesus Christ. Everyone’s name is written in the “books” as condemned but upon exercising faith in Jesus Christ one’s name is written in the Book of Life. Jesus called this being “born again” (John 3:3, 7). Paul called it a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).

Condemnation is God’s sentence upon sin and since condemnation came when Adam sinned we are all born in sin and “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), all are condemned and God’s wrath abides on us. However, the one who believes is no longer condemned because he has trusted that Jesus Christ died for his sin (John 3:36; Romans 5:8; 8:1). This is the reason Jesus came (John 3:17).

Only in Jesus Christ can condemnation for sin be removed because He bore the sentence for our sin on the cross. Forgiveness of sin and deliverance from wrath is only through Jesus Christ who died in our place (Hebrews 9:22, 26-28).

Anyone who denies this truth reveals that their name is not yet in the Book of Life. Their destiny is the lake of fire but that is not God’s desired destiny for anyone. Jesus bore the sin of everyone so that all might be saved but only those who believe Him will have their names written in the Book of Life.

Again I write, this is of the highest priority and the most urgent concern to anyone who is not assured that their name is written in the Book of Life.

Choosing a Destiny

“God is not a man that He should lie” Numbers 23:19

The basis of all the covenants that God has ever made is that He speaks the truth with no hidden agenda. To doubt or reject God’s word is to call Him a liar. An example of this can be seen in Romans 3:10 where Paul writes, quoting from Psalm 14, “There is none righteous, no, not one” and in 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There are those who reject these truths and thus call God a liar. John writes as much in his letter, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).

Jesus claimed to be Truth (John 14:6; cf. 1:17; 8:32) and God’s word to be truth (John 17:17). In so doing He was saying that God does not lie and therefore His word can be relied upon. Men do lie so when it comes to a choice whose word are we going to believe?

In his greeting to Titus, Paul states clearly that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). The best a man can say is that he is not lying or will not lie but he cannot truthfully say that he cannot lie. Paul gives us the reason God cannot lie in 2 Timothy 2:13, “He cannot deny Himself.” What this means is that God always speaks and acts according to His Divine Nature. We can observe this in His Creation. All creatures and plants conform to their kind and can do nothing else. In breeding animals and growing crops we rely on this fact.

When it comes to God’s covenants and promises we can rely on them because God cannot lie. If we create an image of God in our minds that is like people we will not be inclined to believe His word. As such we call Him unfaithful and a liar. Jesus said that Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). He lied to Eve (Genesis 3:5) and he has been lying to people ever since.

In creating us in His image God has given us free will to make our own choice. We can choose to believe God or we can choose to believe Satan. Our choice will determine the course and destiny of our lives. Believe God to eternal life (John 5:24) or believe Satan’s lie to eternity in the “lake of fire and brimstone” to be “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). We are choosing to be either in Christ’s presence or Satan’s.

Precious to God

“’Get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die?’ ‘For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,’ says the Lord. ‘Therefore turn and live’” Ezekiel 18:31, 32

How often do we hear people who do not know the Lord criticize Him? Because His ways are not our ways He is criticized as unworthy, unjust, unrighteous and unloving by people who do not know Him. One of the frequently asked questions is why God allows people to suffer and die. He is considered to be unjust, vindictive or cruel, one who enjoys punishing people.

God did not turn away from people first. People first turned away from Him. These days He has been cast out of our schools, government and now there are those trying to remove him from conversation – especially in the media. That same media reports the consequences almost daily.

The above words of the Lord state a principle of His Divine Nature that is fully expressed in the cross of Jesus Christ. God invites every person to turn to Him and live with Him eternally. There is no reason for any person to go to hell since Jesus Christ has died for all sin. Why should you die? says the Lord and invites everyone to come to Him. People are only separated from God because they choose not to come to Him. They have been seduced by Satan’s lie to Adam, you will be like God.” His door is always open to anyone who will turn to Him. As Paul writes, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). No one is excluded. That door will only close upon bodily death but then it closes forever.

If God found pleasure in punishing people He would never have sent the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, to take away our sin. This one act is an act of love and compassion. To confirm His desire He says again, “’As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die?’” (33:11). There is much passion in these words that express the heart desire of God.

On the other hand, the Lord says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15). These are those who accepted His invitation to turn from their ways. These are those who know the love, kindness and grace of God. They know that He is not cruel or vindictive but rather He is a loving Father who wants His children to have all that is good and best for them. The moment believers die bodily they are in the presence of Jesus and see Him face to face. What a glorious moment that will be and it is “precious in the sight of the Lord.”

Look Ahead

“O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they should consider their latter end” Deuteronomy 32:29

It is through reading these parts of the Bible that we can learn some important principles to guide us in many areas including parenting. Before speaking the words of this song to Israel, Moses had been warned by God that Israel would depart from following His word. In this verse of Moses’ song he is grieving over this future failure and crying out for the people to respond to God’s word. If the people were wise they would consider where their choices and actions were leading them.

God is going to bless those who are with Him and He is going to curse those who oppose Him. Considering the two consequences that lead to two different destinies or “latter ends,” which one would a wise person choose? This is the choice each generation of Israel would make in the future. It is seemingly a relatively simple choice. Identify with the Lord or identify with His enemies. The consequences and outcome of each group is given – blessing or cursing – so that they can “consider their latter end.”

This is a principle that parents will find beneficial in training their children. Teach them to look ahead to the consequences and where their choice will lead. All too often we tell our children what to do or not to do without teaching them how to evaluate the choices available so as to make the best choice.

In giving us the Bible the Lord has made available to us the opportunity to understand where our choices will lead so that we may choose wisely. That Israel has so far failed to enjoy the full blessings of the Lord is testament to the fact that they have made wrong choices and placed themselves at enmity with God. The same could be said of some Christians and certainly of the Gentiles as a whole. One has only to compare many of the choices our contemporary society is making and compare them to God’s word to see that we are placing ourselves at enmity with God.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). This is a warning for people to consider where the path they have chosen will lead and what its consequence will be. Their present living and their eternal destination depend on the choice they make.

A generation of Israel will arise that will heed the warnings and wisely choose Messiah Jesus as the way and their destiny. In the mean time anyone who will look ahead and consider where their choices will ultimately lead has the opportunity to choose Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28) and “the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). Joshua put it this way, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15).