(ver 1.1) This is Part 3 in a Bible study series dedicated to the subject of understanding Biblical Division. In this lesson we will be focused on the subject of “The Book of Life” also known as “The Book of the Living. We have already explored a great amount of vital foundational information in this series. Therefore, if you have not read from the beginning I would highly recommend that you go back and start with “Part 1”. However, I will say that I believe that the information found in this lesson will stand alone concerning the subject of the “Book of Life”. If you came across this lesson by searching the internet on this subject, it would be fine to begin your reading with this lesson. Please just keep in mind that I included this Bible lesson subject on the “Book of Life” in a greater series that is based upon Biblical Division.
Earlier in this series I taught on the truths that Jesus spoke of concerning division which the Bible claims was one of God’s first acts of the creation of our present world in Genesis 1. It very clearly states on day 1 of creation when God said “let there be light” that He was dividing the day from the night (light from darkness). I later showed how Jesus said in Luke 12:51 that division was one of His primary motivations and reasons for coming to the earth in the flesh. This information was a vital foundation to learn and embrace on the subject. Then I taught on further statements of division that Jesus taught to us in the Gospels. Many of these were in symbolic parable form but the truths behind them are still very profound.
According to Jesus not everyone that thinks that they are saved and going to heaven are going to make it. This type of statement that I just made gets a lot of people upset with me. I have had some of the most negative comments because someone believes in a false doctrine of “Universal Salvation”. In this false teaching the sovereignty and power of God overrules all human responsibility to receive salvation by faith and forces everyone into salvation, including Satan himself. That is exactly what Satan wants everyone to believe. This false belief causes people to be easily tricked into doing nothing for God including receiving salvation by “His grace through our faith” (Eph 2:8).
In part 2 of the series we covered several parables that Jesus spoke directly about the act of division including 1) separating the sheep from goats, 2) separation of the wheat from tares and 3) God separating the good fish catch from bad taken out of the waters in the same net. There are others that we may get into later in the series like the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, the wise man who built his house on the rock versus the foolish man building on sand, and the parable of the wedding feast to name a few. There are so many lessons on division taught by Jesus for us to learn about this vital subject, how could anyone miss it and believe everyone is going to be with the LORD forever? But, that is how deception works. Review this warning from Paul written about the days we are living in:
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
I think the numbers of people who do not desire to hear God’s rightly divided balanced Bible truths are increasing (2 Tim 4:3) as the Bible warns. I believe that it easy to observe how the darkness of the present world is growing increasingly darker and darker resulting in greater and greater spiritual deception (Luke 21:8). The wickedness and perversion that we can clearly see all around us appears to be out of control (2 Tim 3:2). It is obvious to me that this darkness is even creeping into the Church.
But, I do not wish to focus only on the evil work of the enemy in people (Eph 2:2) because we should also be able to see how God is increasing the spiritual light of His knowledge and revelation within His people (2 Peter 1:19). Praise the LORD! I am a very firm believer that the kingdom of darkness will grow darker while the Kingdom of Light will increase in His glorious brightness. If you do not believe in the existence of two separate kingdoms you need to dig deeper into your Bible and ask God to show you. I will warn you up front that this is a long Bible study. It might be good for you to break it into sections. First, I plan to introduce the overall concepts of the “Book of Life” in this introduction. Then I will follow this section by the revealing of God’s definition for “eternal life”. Next, I plan to be ending the lesson with the supporting detail verses in the final sections. That is the overall lesson plan today and I pray that you are ready to receive. Here are the sections being addressed today:
- INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF LIFE
- THE INTRODUCTION TO ETERNAL LIFE
- GOD’S DEFINITION OF LIFE ETERNAL
- THE BOOK OF THE LIVING
- BOOK OF LIFE – CONCLUSION
Are you read to learn? Get your Bible, your concordance and your dictionaries and follow along closely or just use your computer with all of these tools on it as I do.
INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF LIFE
Today, we will continue to learn about God’s prophesied division of the living being separated from the dead. I personally believe that this is one of the most important Bible lesson on this website. I hope and pray that it motivates all readers to make sure that their names are written in the Book of Life and is never erased.
We will discover according to the Bible all of humanity beginning with Adam until his last human born descendant at the end of this age (1 Cor 15:22) will be divided into two detached groups of people with continuing eternal existence but, within separated spiritual realms of life or death existence. We will see clearly how the first group that I will call “the living” or those that received “eternal life” by faith in Jesus Christ (John 20:31, Rom 6:2) will be completely separated from the second group of those people that make the choice to not believe in Jesus Christ (Mk 16:16). The second group I will name as “the eternal dead” simply because that is the legal and logical opposite name of the term “eternal life” used many times in the Bible (Mat 25:46, John 3:15, John 5:24). But, technically speaking a more Biblically accurate name for this group of non-living individuals should be called the “eternally damned” (Mar 3:29). That name places the proper emphasis of “eternal existence”, “mental awareness” combined with characteristic of “never ending agonizing punishment”. Wow! I do not think there are enough people that believe this truth in the world and there are even a lot of people in churches that choose to not believe in an afterlife and hell.
Please allow me to teach concerning a very real story that Jesus gave to us that will very clearly illustrate this point of separation, division and eternal comfort versus never ending punishment. We are going to read the story of a real unnamed rich man and another real man named Lazarus that lived at the same time found starting in Luke 16:19. Please read it carefully with an open mind to receive the facts being given to us:
Luk 16:19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
Luk 16:20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
Luk 16:21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried,
Luk 16:23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
Luk 16:24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’
Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.
Luk 16:26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’
Luk 16:27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house–
Luk 16:28 for I have five brothers–so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’
Luk 16:29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
Luk 16:30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
Luk 16:31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'”
I’ll start by teaching that whenever verses conflict with a previous belief, the conflicting verses must either be explained away, ignored or our belief must be changed to align and conform to the Word of God. Which would you think is the right choice? Many people that believe a false narrative where every human will be saved simply explain these words of Jesus away as being just a parable that teaches a moral lesson. However, that would be wrong! Jesus never gives the names of any real actual people in any parable. The introduction of a factually named individual forces the statement to be a true or a false account about that named person. Since it is impossible for God to lie (Heb 6:18), we are obligated to conclude that Jesus did not deceive us and what is stated to have had happened to Lazarus as well as to Abraham must have actually happened or we must call Jesus a liar. Therefore, if Jesus was a liar we can’t trust anything that He taught us, can we? This is the logic behind why I believe this story is a real factual account of things that actually happened to individuals that lived before Jesus did and who still exist today in one of two divided realms of spiritual existence.
I am not going to teach this entire true story in this lesson on the Book of Life. But, I want you to observe the primary truths being spoken from the lips of our Creator. He describes two real men that lived on the earth together at the same time. Also both men lived potentially hundreds of years after Abraham died. We technically do not know the actual date but it has to be after Abraham’s physical death and before the day the story was being related to people on the earth.
One unnamed man was rich and lived very well his entire life on the earth. The other man named Lazarus was extremely poor with great physical ailments who sat desiring even crumbs from the rich man’s table to eat. Wow, these are two radically different types of natural people in the world. Both men died within a short time of each other with their bodies being buried, but their spirits were carried away to two different places that could not be traveled between because of a “great gulf” that separated them and confined them to be apart. Also it is vital to notice that Lazarus after he died was carried to be with Abraham and the rich man was not.
The rich man is revealed to be in anguish in a great flame wanting to be given just a drop of water to cool his tongue. Lazarus is stated to be in a different state of comfort not experiencing any pain or anguish. Remember this is NOT A PARABLE! This is a real live true story of real people that Jesus observed. This was also before Jesus had been crucified and therefore, the reason why both groups were closer together in the under regions of the earth within sight of each other. Righteous people today that die go immediately to heaven to be with the LORD (2 Cor 5:8). I am just not going to teach everything that we need to know about this story, it would take a lot of time and I have more information in other lessons on this website.
What Jesus is introducing in this story is a factual spiritual reality that takes place after physical death. Human spirits leave their bodies and go to one of two very different locations. The righteous now go up to the place of the living in heaven to be with Jesus and the unrighteous leave earth and go down and go where the rich man is still to this day. The righteous people we will find are those that have their names written in the “Book of Life” and the unrighteous, do not. How can we verify this statement of truth? I’ll give you a scripture that will place us on the path of learning the truth about the living group:
Mat 22:32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”
In this statement given by Jesus to answer a question that was testing him about his knowledge of human spirits at the resurrection, Jesus provides us an amazing declaration of truth. Jesus is quoting from the book of Exodus 3:16 where God spoke to Moses about being the God of their father’s Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But Jesus adds the explanation and correct interpretation of the verse in Exodus to his quotation saying “that God is not the God of the dead but of the “living”. This is a revelation and a lesson in correct Bible interpretation from the mouth of God that made every person that was listening to him to be amazed at His wisdom and knowledge. Jesus just taught us that there were two different groups, one called the living and the other the dead in this verse.
When Jesus was speaking this statement he is indicating very clearly that each of these named men that were thought to be dead men (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) were all very alive at that moment and in the same spiritual location where Lazarus was being described to be carried to. Therefore, all of these people are being called members of a “mathematical set” named collectively as “the living”. This statement further points us to the fact that all of their names must have been written in the “Book of Life” since they were living after physical death. Wow, that is awesome.
I will quickly talk about mathematical basics because God created their design for a purpose to help us understand more advanced spiritual realities. A “set” is defined in mathematical terms as being a “collection of distinct objects that is considered to be a greater combined object simultaneously”. It is very much like every cell in your human body is an individual separate unit/object but collectively they are named together as the greater complete object called “your human body” at the same time. This is exactly what Jesus is teaching in this verse. Jesus states Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are all individual separate members in a much larger collection of human beings called the “living”. Let’s review a picture of the message lesson we just found and learned in Luke 16:
This is a picture diagrammed overview of the basic information that we just learned from the LORD Jesus in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. This story further points us to the fact that the unnamed rich man was not a part of the “living” member set of humans and was now forever to be in torment in the “eternally damned” member group. I am amazed at the fact that God does not name the rich man in hell. I believe that this is the mercy of God to not place his relatives and descendants in painful torment. It also causes us all to think if one of our relatives could be in hell right now asking for someone to be sent to me or you asking us not to come to this place of torment. This is truly so very important to learn and to embrace. Which group do you want to be in? It is completely up to you.
THE INTRODUCTION TO ETERNAL LIFE
I believe that the Spirit of God will be speaking to us in both direct and literal spiritual terms in this Bible lesson. In order to comprehend any spiritual Bible subject correctly humans must rise to a higher spiritual way of thinking and seeing the divinely spoken Words. After all, we should know that the Bible says these word are God inspired (God breathed) (2 Tim 3:16). According to God’s inspired word, no carnal/natural thinking human can possibly understand the Bible (1 Cor 2:14). Since God is a Spirit (Jo 4:24) and His ways and thoughts are far above lowly human ways and thoughts (Isa 55:8) we are challenged to grow up spiritually. Of course I’m not diminishing God’s awesome ability to come down to our level of thinking through His mercy when we are mere spiritual infants. But, I still believe that our God desires us to mature spiritually and expects us to know more Word today than we knew when we first received our salvation (1 Peter 2:2, 1 Cor 3:2).
We have had too many Bible teachers that attempt to understand the Bible through mere human reasoning and definitions and this will never work. One of the key ways of determining God’s spiritual truth is to use God’s spiritual definitions of the words being studied. This is what we are going to do now in this section by searching for God’s spiritual definition for what “Eternal Life” represents in His eyes. We might be surprised to find that this God definition does not match our human dictionary definition. Are we prepared to rise to a higher way of spiritual thinking? If so, let’s proceed.
First, it is important to know that ALL created spiritual beings (humans and angels) will NEVER DIE (MAT 25:36, MK 3:29, 2 PET 2:4, REV 20:10); as in cease to exist or even go into a suspended state of spiritual sleep or mental unawareness. We have already learned this true fact of spiritual life after natural death simultaneously being mentally aware very clearly in the previous section introduction of Luke 16. But, I am going to quickly go over some concept verses that are always given to me by someone to counter what I teach about spiritual life that are found in the Old Testament. These people misinterpret natural truth to be spiritual truth and are guilty of mixing spiritual apples with natural oranges to call them all a message of fruit truth. I hope I didn’t lose anyone with that analogy. Please let me give you an example verse that is wrongly divided to say something that it does not say:
Ecc 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
What I am trying to say is that there are verses like this that are used to claim that dead people do not know anything after they are physically dead. However, that is not what this verse says. Notice the beginning of the statement. God is speaking of a living and moving human body that the spirit inside them knows that their body is going to die someday. You know that right? Are you alive? If you are reading this you are. What if you were physically dead laying in a casket or a grave and I sat a smart phone, tablet or computer screen in front of you? Would you be able to read the screen? The correct answer is absolutely not. Therefore, would your dead body know how to read and understand any natural things after you died? Again, the correct answer is absolutely not. That is what this verse is talking about. God gives a natural truth from a natural human perspective that does not contradict to speak against what we know in the afterlife in any way. These types of verses are not conflicting truths to Luke 16. Their two bodies of these dead men were in the ground knowing nothing, could do nothing, say nothing, move nothing, etc. But, their spirits could still do all of these even without their bodies. Please Wake UP and see the truths of the Bible that do not conflict when rightly divided.
A carnal thinking individual will reason largely in natural terms based upon natural human experiences and natural educational teachings. This is a great mistake when reading spiritual truth. If we attempt to define “death” as seen to God the same as “death” as seen to the human point of view we will be 100% wrong. For example, human “death” can be defined as a permanent cessation of vital signs and senses required to be alive. This would include but would not be limited to mental awareness, feelings, emotional response, a heartbeat, a pulse, respiration, etc. However, that is not what death represents to God many times in the Bible. I will say that many times in the Bible this physical description and definition of “death” is called “sleep”. But that is only a label from a human point of view because the body of any dead persons just looks like they are sleeping. Let’s read additional statements of Jesus that can be easily misunderstood about life and death:
Joh 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Joh 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Here are some very strange words when viewed from only the human definition of “death”. Jesus speaks some things here that appear to conflict with other Bible verses. For example, if we know Hebrew 9:27 God says “It is appointed to man once to die…”. Yet, Jesus said if you believe in me you will never die. Both verses use the exact same Greek word G599 translated as “die”. Now this is a problem unless these words have either differing definitions or differing perspectives or viewpoints. Could it be like what I said earlier that one is from a divine heavenly viewpoint and the other from a natural human viewpoint? I believe very firmly that this must be the truth in order for there to be no conflict in the two inspired verse statements. I believe this is why God commands us to “rightly divide the Word of Truth”. Both are true statements one from a natural definition/viewpoint versus the other from a spiritual definition/viewpoint. I pray that you are receiving this and understanding this.
I will ask you to pay close attention to the statement that Jesus made. He says very clearly that if you do not want to ever die, you better believe in Him. To never die is another synonymous way of claiming to possess eternal life. Therefore we must understand what this concept of “eternal life” is defined to be in order to understand this verse correctly. But, the other verse in Hebrews is clearly a verse that is literally speaking of physical death. The verse in John speaks of spiritual death and the other verse in Hebrews is speaking of the natural human body death experience that EVERYONE will experiences regardless of whether or not you believe in Jesus. The only two men in the Bible that are exceptions to that last statement are Elijah and Enoch and both of these men were carried away from the earth without ever physically experiencing death (at least yet to experience it). Of course people that will be taken in the rapture will also miss out on experiencing physical and spiritual death. This discussion of the types of death and the types of life is where we are going next in this section. Let’s look at a very important verse of truth to consider in our study of “eternal life”:
Jas 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
I am only going to focus on the beginning fact of truth and not mention the comparison that is being made to faith without works. God very clearly inspired the writer to tell us that a human body without a spirit being inside is “dead”. That compares to the definition of natural death that we just read. This is a body that does not breath, does not have a heartbeat, does have a pulse, is not moving, is not feeling anything, is not aware of the circumstances and cannot respond. But, God says very plainly that this is a body that has no “spirit” in it. This is exactly what happened to the rich man and to Lazarus in Luke 16. Both men’s bodies died when their spirits left and they were found to be in hell and Abraham’s bossom still living as spirits. These spirit beings had responses, feelings, emotions, could talk, communicate, think and reason. Only the physical senses were left with their physical body. This teaches us very clearly that “spirits” are alive.
We are about to discover that God simply defines “(spiritual) death” as a state of human existence that never fully desired and committed to know Him on the earth in their past natural life and this is combined with a no possibility of ever knowing Him throughout their afterlife in eternity. This describes the rich man in Luke 16 perfectly. Conversely God defines “(spiritual) eternal life” as a state of human existence that desired and committed to know Him in their natural life on the earth combined with a never ending continuing desire to grow in knowing Him in the eternal future. This is a more difficult definition to associate with the man Lazarus, because we are not told about his heart and spiritual practices of hearing the Bible taught in his life on earth. We are only informed of his extreme poverty and him being in great physical need and suffering. We have to deduce the rest based upon our knowledge of scriptures.
There is a third group of people that are uniquely implied to exist as a part of the previous other two groups. This group of people came to a saving “knowledge” of Jesus Christ personally in their past natural life on the earth but then before their natural death they turned back away from following Him to be forever damned to NEVER know Him further. Jesus spoke about these types of people and said something very powerful and concerning:
Mar 14:21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
Wow, this is such a powerful message of warning. Jesus was specifically talking about the man named Judas Iscariot in this verse but the warning message is also for anyone that follows after the same Judas pattern. You see Judas walked closely with Jesus for three and half years, heard all of the Words taught by Jesus and saw all of the miracles that He did. Judas even did miracles himself being sent out by Jesus. Yet this man desired wealth in this life and turned away to follow after Satan to betray Jesus. This exact same thing can happen to any born-again real saved Christian, believe it or not. There is more than one verse in the NT that will describe this situation but this is not my main subject today. I will point you to a few verses to help someone today. Please read about this situation concerning a Christian knowing God but turning back to Satan to be lost. For example, read in 1 John 5:16 to help verify what I just said about a Christian saved brother who has eternal life but is still able to sin a sin unto “death” (damnation).
1 Jn 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
This is an amazing verse of truth. There are two types of sins being compared. According to God, a Christian brother could commit either of these broad categories of sin. But, God says DO NOT PRAY for the brother that chooses to commit a “sin unto death” because He will not give them life. Both terms “death” and “life” are from God’s point of view definitions that we are about to study.
The second Bible example of human people that were saved but have turned back to be damned is found in 2 Peter 2. This chapter is a prime confirmation of the division that occurs between the unrighteous and righteous angels and humans of this world. For example verse 4 informs us that God did not spare the angels that sinned and through them into hell locked in chains. I believe this is referring to Genesis 6 when the “sons of God” took the “daughters of men (Adam)” to procreate a race of giants on the earth.
Verse 5 speaks directly about God saving Noah out of the reprobate evil world where all of them were destroyed but Noah and his family were declared to be righteous and spared. In Mathew 12:24 Jesus is quoted to say “that like it was in the days of Noah so it will also be in the coming of the Son of Man”. This simply means the righteous are treated much differently than the unrighteous. Righteous people will be saved and the unrighteous damned. There are other examples of division in this chapter but, I want to get to these two verses of warning written about Christians that were saved:
2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2Pe 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
This verse 21 statement sounds very similar to what Jesus taught us on the man named Judas. These Christians being described found the “Way” (Jesus Christ) and had escaped the polluted trap of sin in this world. God goes on to say they have come to the “knowledge” of Jesus Christ which is a key covenant relationship terminology that we will find soon is the main part of the definition of having “Eternal Life”. But, now these people being mentioned have turned back to become connected into the evil trap of sin and Satan. Wow, that is a very strong warning statement not to be ignored. God then very clearly states that their ending outcome will be worse than their beginning sinful life and that it would have been better if they had never known Jesus at all. Wow, Wow and Wow! I’m going to give you one other great scriptural verification for the fact that a saved Christian can depart and be forever lost:
Heb 6:4 FOR IT IS IMPOSSIBLE for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6 IF THEY SHALL 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.
There is absolutely no way that this passage is not speaking about real saved Christians. I know I just used a double negative and that forces us to change it to a positive statement like “This verse is absolutely speaking about real saved Christians. I repeat important points a lot. This sometimes annoys some readers but I believe it helps others. If it annoys you please just try to consider someone else other than yourself. We are all different and need to show each other a lot of mercy.
So many people claim that in these types of verses that we just read, they are only speaking about people who were only Christian in name only and have not really been fully saved, but that is not what this says at all. Notice in verse 4 these people were once enlightened (2 Peter 1:19) meaning brought out of the darkness of Satan into the Light of Jesus. They have tasted of the heavenly gift meaning salvation (Eph 2:8). Then they were made to be partakers of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 1:17) meaning one Spirit w/ Christ. Then God says they have tasted of the Good Word (1 Peter 2:2) meaning they desire the milk of the Word that they may grow spiritually. Finally they have tasted of the powers of the world to come (Rom 8:11) meaning they may have performed miracles by the Spirit of God. All of these qualities describe a real saved Christian.
Verse 6 should be the real warning message to ALL saved Christians that have received Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins through His shed blood on the cross. This verse warns us that it is IMPOSSIBLE for any Christian IF they “fall away” which simply means to make the choice to depart from the narrow path that leads to eternal life to ever be saved again. The reason for this is given that this person would put the one time work of Jesus’ forgiveness on the cross to open shame. God is teaching us that saved people can still turn back either out of deception, stupidity, ignorance, lust, desire or probably many other reasons to fall away from being saved with no way back to repentance. This is when their names will be forever erased from the Book of Life.
Take note of another very concerning teaching from the LORD Jesus. He said these words to people who clearly believed that they were saved and felt secure in their beliefs and works for God:
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, 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?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
I included these verses in Part 2 of the series. But these are so important that I wanted to go over them again for emphasis. I believe these statements should be viewed as some of the most fearful words that ever came out of the LORD Jesus’ mouth. Jesus is speaking a direct warning to believers about a coming day of judgment when the book of life will be used to judge us and He very clearly says some people will say “I called you LORD”. They will continue by saying “I did this and I did that in your NAME”. These people clearly thought they were eternally secure in their own efforts and works for God. But, Jesus turns and tells them “DEPART FROM ME, I NEVER KNEW YOU”. WOW, WOW, and WOW! This is exactly why I want to make sure I have a right understanding in my Bible beliefs and I hope you feel the same way after studying this Bible lesson series. Let’s move on with the vital important definition of “Eternal Life” from God’s point of view.
GOD’S DEFINITION OF LIFE ETERNAL
We are now going to confirm GOD’s definition of “life eternal”. Please read this definition of “life eternal” given to us by the lips of the LORD Jesus:
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
This verse contains scriptural and spiritual truth that is essential to learn. We could teach a whole book just on this verse by digging very deeply into it. This verse states significant truth given directly to us in plain sight as well as hidden, antithesis and implied truths that must be searched for, found, considered and applied. God very clearly states that “Life Eternal” is defined to be those people that “know Him and Jesus Christ that He sent”. That statement teaches us that everyone lives but only those with “eternal life” know the real God. It implies that those that “do not know Him” are in the spiritually dead/damned category of eternal existence.
Do you understand the concept of “implied unstated” or “implied unstated antithesis” truths from scripture? These are equally as true as the plain stated truth but, they are just not directly stated. For example, if I said to you “I live north of town” you know by implied antithesis truth that I do not live south, east or west. This is simple basic logic and reasoning. There are so many unstated Bible truths to learn from utilizing this technique, if we choose to look for them. There is another logical method of understanding scripture called “implied unstated” truth. These are inferred ideas and concepts that are not directly mentioned in the passage but, can be understood to be a part of the message by subject inference.
Consider one implied unstated truth from Jesus in this verse. Jesus is implying in this verse that it is a direct human will and right of choice to make the decision to desire to “know” God. This knowledge should throw all extreme theological predestination beliefs directly in the trash. Jesus implies that this human right and freedom of choice to know Him is based upon a divinely given “freewill” right. Jesus implies that a human must desire and make the commitment and effort to seek after knowing the True God. If you need additional scripture confirmation to show that man has the right to choose, please search your Bible for the word “whosoever”. Most verses with the word “whosoever” implies human choice and the right to make that choice. For example, Jesus said “whosoever looks at a woman…”, “whosoever shall put away his wife…”, and “whosoever believes in me…”. These are all verses that show a right to choose with responsibilities and consequences for choice that we made.
But, there are other implied rights of choice. You see I could at first want and desire to go to school and take a class to learn the German language but when I get there, sign up and begin the process I could totally turn around and make the complete opposite choice to not learn it and to even leave the class. I could also want to learn how to play football and go out to join the team but then when I find all of the hard work that is necessary to be good at it I can quit and leave that also. These are all choices that I can make. So it is with knowing God.
This fact of truth further implies that there must also be many other gods not called the True God that can also be desired and sought after. Clearly Jesus is implying that it is our human right to choose to know Him that will initiate a process to place us on a narrow path to obtain this defined “eternal life”. Let’s quickly verify this statement with the source verse:
Mat 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Ok, do you see the parallels between John 17:3 and Matthew 7:14? In Matthew 7:14, Jesus recommends all humans to seek to find the one narrow pathway that leads to “life”. This is a clear example of human choice and the right to make that choice. This verse also comes after a warning to choose to not enter into the “wide gate” that leads to “destruction” (damnation). It is very clearly stated to be a binary human choice! If you don’t understand “binary” that means that there is only one right narrow way of choice to obtain “life” and all other wrong choices are gathered into the set called the “wrong wide way” that leads many people to eternal death (separation from God).
If you are reading this and have not made this choice to find the narrow path to life, it would be a great time to do it. However, notice there are more unstated implied truths in this statement also. If someone can choose to enter into the wrong wide path, they have the right to turn around to find their way back to the right narrow path. The antithesis truth is also true. Anyone choosing to enter the narrow pathway to find life can at any time be deceived to turn around to find their way back into the wide pathway leading to death. Wow, this is profound. Please do not let it slip from your mind ever. This knowledge will definitely help you to stay on the right path way.
Our name written in the “Book of Life” will insure our eternal security at judgment day and it clearly establishes the fact that we initiated the process somewhere in our past to desire to “know” God (a desire, choice and act of our freewill) and as a result we became “known” by Him. This right choice placed us on the narrow pathway leading us to life eternal.
Do you believe that you can never be deceived to turn away from desiring and seeking to know God? I mean think about it. Think back when you were first born again and saved and compare that to now and ask are you still as excited and joyous about it as now? Do you read your Bible more now or back then? Do you pray as much or more now as back then? Do you go to church as much now as back then? If the answer to any of these is no you are slipping away from your desire to know Him more.
If you believe you can never lose or as I call it be deceived and walk away from your salvation and you are right and I’m wrong then I have absolutely nothing to lose for believing the way that I do. I could change and believe your way and no longer need to guard myself from falling into deception. I could do absolutely nothing for the LORD including read the Bible, teach the Bible or pray to the LORD for you and have no great penalty since I would be guaranteed to make it to heaven. What I do or do not do wouldn’t mean anything. What motivation would I have to better myself or for improving my character and moral convictions? Why would I even need to ever pray to God? Why would I need to even read the Bible? Why would I need to witness to anyone? Why would I need to go to church? Why would I need to hear and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit? And why would you also?
But, if I’m right and you are you are wrong and any Christian can be deceived to turn away from the Grace of God and stop believing in Christ for whatever reason or wrong desire, what would be the consequences for you to hold firm to your beliefs that you or Satan can do nothing to cause you not to be saved? Do you get my point? I have nothing to lose and you have everything possibly to lose. Me being wrong is of no consequence to me or to you if you are right. But, if I am right and you are wrong in your beliefs of eternal security it could be of major significance if Satan was able to trick you into doing just one thing that could cause you to be lost forever. I mean please think with me!
I am going to use a common natural example of truth to help us understand the reality of taking your eyes off of our desire to seek for truth. What if I am driving my car and I get a text on my phone and my curiosity causes me to look at it and the reading of the message causes me to become even more distracted to answer the message immediately and an 18 wheel truck pulls out in front of me while I’m going 70mph and suddenly I die! Was the message of distraction worth the cost? This example is exactly what is happening with some Christians today. They get a message of deception from a really great preacher and they buy into it so easily because this is what their mind and flesh really desires to hear. But, this distraction causes them to not look into the Bible for themselves to see if it is true or not and the next thing they know Satan has pulled his big spiritual truck in front of them and bam it’s too late.
May I ask you to please try to understand the great spiritual advantage that Satan would gain over anyone, if they believe that there is absolutely nothing that he can ever do to deceive them, defeat them and cause them to fall or turn away from Grace? How would anyone with such a belief ever be able to see the lie or trick of deception that was coming at them? How would anyone with that belief not be so blinded and distracted to even look for the deception seen though their very limited Bible knowledge windshield? I believe that this belief of unlimited security would make it so much easier for a deception to occur that could cause someone’s name to be omitted/erased from the book of life that we will be learning about today. What would be the consequence of someone’s name not being found in the Book of Life? We will soon learn that it means eternal separation from God and His family.
I would personally rather error on the safe side of being alert and vigilant while looking out for any distraction of deception in order to guard against Satan’s text messages of possible death. Rather than err on the side of possible pleasurable distracted damnation and die by a trick message sent from the enemy. Do you remember what God warned Christians in 1 Peter 5:8?
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Why are there any warnings written to Christians in the Bible if there was nothing that Satan could do to hurt, harm, trick or deceive them? Why would God suggest that we keep our eyes looking down the road through the windshield of His Word if there was no other distraction that could take our life? Being sober and being alert to any satanic possibility of deception or trickery is the same as not being drunk, sleeping or distracted when you are driving an automobile. Being eaten as a meal by a hungry lion is the exact same as a big truck pulling out in front of you while you are distracted by what appears to be a great text message. I hope and pray you are getting this warning message along with the analogy of truth being taught here today.
We have just been introduced to God’s definition of “Eternal Life”. God says desiring to know Him is part of the initiating life producing process. This further implies that you believe in Him. Remember Hebrew 11:6 “He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him”. I pray that you have begun this journey into the narrow path of seeking to KNOW Him. This is the only pathway that does not lead to “eternal damnation”. Let’s keep learning more and move deeper concerning the existence of a book called the “Book of the Living”.
THE BOOK OF THE LIVING
There are only a limited number of verses in the entire Bible that God has used to reveal the truth about the existence of this very important book called the “Book of Life”. I have found at least 3 to 5 verses in the O.T. that point us to the existence of this book of the living. I found at least 7 verses in the N.T. referencing the “book of life”. The vast majority of the N.T. “Book of Life” references are written about in the book of Revelation. We should already know that Revelation is the final described conclusion of God’s present created age. The book of Revelation describes clearly things that will shortly take place including rapture, antichrist, tribulation, judgment and a division between all of the righteous (clean) spirits being separated from all of the unrighteous (unclean) spirits. This book takes place in a period of seven years followed by the return of Christ to earth with the saints to rule on the earth for 1000 years the symbolic 7th day of creation called God’s Day of Rest in Genesis 2. It is important to keep the timing in mind later when e read about the Book of Life in Revelation.
What does the existence of the Book of Life mean? I believe that it literally informs us that God keeps very detailed good records. It also means that God is very legal minded. I believe that God does everything in a lawful righteous manner such that no devil could ever accuse Him of being unjust. I do not believe that the existence of this book is for God’s sole usage to remember what has happened on the earth. No, in fact we should learn from our study that the existence of this book provides evidence that God already knows everyone that will ever live on the earth (Jer 1:5). I am a very firm believer that God is omniscient meaning all knowing (Isa 46:10).
We will begin our detail study of the “Book of Life” in this section with this verse found in the Book of Psalms:
Psa 69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
This verse has a lot of basic truths in it that are essential to our subject of “division”. God inspires the writer David to speak of a book that has the implied recorded names of all spiritual living beings, past, present and the future to come. This is an amazing thing to think about. I said that it implies the existence of every natural human being’s name in it because David asks God to not include the unrighteous names with the righteous names. David is more direct in his request by asking God to “erase” their names meaning they must clearly all be there in order for any one name of an unrighteous being to be erased. This information is truly amazing.
I believe we will see that the Bible indicates this truth of erasing names from this Book of Life in more than one place. This indicates that God knew and desired everyone in the world to be saved (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9) from Adam to the last human born. This further means that these “unrighteous people” can have their names erased by not repenting and believing in the LORD Jesus (John 3:16). Wow, I think that is a chosen hidden warning to everyone including saved Christians.
There are three key Hebrew words that I wish to focus on in this verse. The first is H5612 that was translated as “book”. This Hebrew word literally means “writing”. Therefore it can be used for any collection of writings that are formed together to be called a “book” as it is done frequently in the O.T. Knowing this we can conclude God is speaking of a literal book when referring to the “Book of Life”. The next Hebrew word is H2416 that was translated as “living” and it literally means “alive”. This Hebrew word can also be used as “life”. God uses this Word in the Bible to describe natural living plants, animals, birds, fish and humans it appears that it can be extended to also refer to a spiritual application.
The next Hebrew word to focus on is H4229 that was translated as “blotted out” in this verse. This Hebrew word implies “erasing written lettering by rubbing them out”. This concept infers that something was previously written down in order for it to be erased. Do you ever remember the old fashioned days of typewriters? We used to use a product called “White Out” to remove our typed mistakes. By painting a white substance over the mistake and letting it dry the paper would once again appear as if it was clean. I’m not saying God makes mistakes whatsoever. I am just saying people’s right or wrong choices will determine if their name remains in this book. I believe that God is a faith filled optimist and desires everyone to be saved so He records the name of every person. However, when the door is closed for any further opportunity to repent and receive forgiveness that person’s name must be removed from the book in order to conform to divine justice. Let’s look at another O.T. verse:
Exo 32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Here is a very similar Old Testament reference of names being blotted out of a book. Even though the word “life” or “living” is not included in the verse, it is definitely implied to be the same book by God’s common subject parallels, references and associations. God very clearly states that those that “sinned against Him”, their name will be blotted (erased) from the book. The names of the sinner had to be first written down in order to be removed. I understand that these verses and statements will possibly shake up many people. But, I believe very sincerely that every miscarried baby and aborted child had their names already recorded in the “Book of Life”. These children when killed or upon their death have not reached the legal age of accountability but due to the fairness of God, I believe that He takes them all to heaven as being righteous. If this offends you I’m not going to apologize for this belief. We will eventually all find out later after we go and see for ourselves. Let’s keep studying this verse.
Also notice the word “whosoever” in this verse because I believe that it is important to relate us again to John 3:16 and other verses that I previously used as reference verses for freewill human choice. In John 3:16, God says “God so loved the world (all sinners) that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believes in Him should not perish (be damned) but have eternal life”. We are connecting so many dots of the puzzle together. It would appear to me that one primary sin against God is choosing not to believe in His Only-Begotten Son”. I believe very firmly that this factor of unbelief in Jesus is potentially the main reasons why someone’s name will be blotted out of the Book of the Living! Let’s move our study to a new verse found in the New Testament:
Luk 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
This is a very interesting statement. If you choose to read the context you should notice that Jesus was speaking to the 70 disciples that he sent out to prepare people for his physical coming into their cities. Jesus gave all of these 70 men the authority to heal the sick and to cast out devils. Then when they returned from these city trips they give Jesus the report and are excited that devils were subject to them. But, Jesus instructed them to focus and rejoice on a much higher spiritual truth that their names were written in heaven. This statement implies that there are potentially names that will NOT be written in this book. This statement aligns with the O.T. verses that unrighteous names will be erased.
Have you ever noticed what Jesus said in this statement? It is an amazing statement since it was spoken before He had died on the cross to forgive or save anyone! Jesus states very clearly that while He was living physically as a man on the earth, that their names were already written in a book in heaven. This appears to confirm what I taught before. First, I DO believe that this reference being made to a book in heaven is to the “Book of Life”. I know it does not say that directly but we can infer it indirectly by the statement. Why would a man rejoice? Would anyone be happy if this was a list of unrighteous and unsaved names? I really do not think so.
I have read where some Bible teachers claim that a saved person’s name is only written in heaven after they are saved to receive Jesus as their LORD. However, that belief just does not align with what we are reading in the Bible. These 70 unsaved men that Jesus was speaking to are told clearly to rejoice by faith that their names were already written down in heaven without seeing the book or their names written in it. That is called “faith”. It is like shouting before the walls fall down around Jericho!
This further aligns with the statement that someone’s name can also be erased if they choose to turn and no longer follow Jesus. We will see more references of this as we continue. Let’s move to the Book of Revelation next:
Rev 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Rev 3:5 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.
Here are some very, very important words spoken from the lips of Jesus that were written down to be read by people in a saved church. Most people that do not believe that a saved Christian’s name can be erased from the Book of Life must not have seen what is plainly stated or they are willingly and on purpose attempting to explain it away to justify their erroneous belief like I spoke of earlier in the lesson. Like I said earlier, if a verse in the Bible does not reconcile or balance with your current beliefs, don’t change the Bible, change your belief. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you why there is a potential conflict and show you how to resolve to change my belief to be in agreement with Him.
Please notice what Jesus said. Jesus said “Some NAMES in the church have “NOT defiled” their garments and walk with me in white”. Jesus then said “these are worthy”. But, in this truth there are those that had clean garments on at one time but have now defiled them by their implied sin. We should really read every verse in context starting at verse 1 to get the full impact of the statements of comparison being made. It is a very clear warning written to “saved Christian people” in the church that at one time had on clean white garments. Jesus is warning all Christians to watch, stay ready, hold fast and repent for their sins in order to remain clean and be ready for His coming.
The main point of these two verses in this lesson is the statement of warning concerning Christian names that can still be blotted out of the “Book of Life” because of their defilement and uncleanliness. This is just more very convincing evidence that no one’s name is safe to remain forever written down in the Book of Life, not even saved Christians.
I would like to stop here and address another false teaching that is going around the church. There has been introduced by some teachers that hold fast to the doctrinal belief of “Once Saved Always Saved” that is used to explain away the erasure of names from the “Book of Life”. Some preachers try to explain that there are two books in heaven called the “Book of Life”. One book are names of people that do not actually receive Jesus as their savior but possibly go to church to look like Christians on the outside to be religious. Therefore, these people are “NOT REAL CHRSTIANS”. This helps them to explain why their names can be erased from the “Book of Life”.
Then they claim that there is another book in the Bible is called the “LAMB’S Book of Life” that Real Christian names are recorded in and these names can never be erased. This belief helps to justify the false doctrine of “Eternal Election” and “Eternal Security” that they so desperately desire to believe in to allow them to live anyway they want on the earth and not to have any fear of consequences that they could drift apart from salvation. But, notice in these verses written to Christians Jesus that is repeatedly called the “Lamb of God” is speaking directly to real saved people about a book He called the “Book of Life”. This has to be His book for Him to warn His people that their names if they defile their garments with impurities can cause that their names could still be erased.
No there are NOT two books of Life in heaven! There is NOT one book of secure names and the other of unsecure names. There is only one book with this title and the Lamb is found to be the owner. What is it that Jesus said to these people? He warned them that they had to overcome and stay clean. Overcome what? Jesus implies it is Satan and Sin which are synonymous terms. Let’s look at another verse in Revelation:
Rev 13:8 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.
Ok, this is another verse with a different perspective being given on the same subject. This verse is speaking specifically about the lost damned people that remain on the earth during the time of Great Tribulation. These people have taken the Mark of the Beast and this mark causes the door to slam on their ability to be saved. This covenant union with Satan will cause every opportunity of salvation to end and thus their names written from the foundation of the earth are now gone from the Book of Life. This is another warning to people NOT to take the Mark. If anyone misses the rapture and can still read this blog this is the time to do everything in your power to not die and go to hell forever.
BOOK OF LIFE – CONCLUSION
This is not that complicated yet people want to change the Bible to make it fit their doctrine of belief instead of changing their doctrine of belief t make it fit the Bible. I’m going to start to conclude this lesson with these two verses written in chapter 20 of Revelation:
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Again we see further confirmation of a division between the living and the dead (damned). Everyone whose names are not found (meaning they were erased as previously stated) will be cast with Satan into the eternal lake of fire. This is the same place that was being described by Luke concerning the rich man being in torment. This is not a good place to exist for eternity yet many will be tricked and deceived by Satan to be there. Do you remember the story of Judas who betrayed Jesus earlier in the lesson? I believe that there is an unstated proportional “regret” factor based upon your level of knowledge and experience in this world that will become an activating agent for greater regret that will cause greater eternal “weeping and gnashing of teeth” that Jesus described would be found present in hell.
Luk 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
If you are a Christian or an unsaved person that is being tempted by Satan to seek worldly fame or fortune and do not run from this temptation very fast back into the arms of Jesus, I believe verses like this are a great warning. It is not worth a few short years of pleasure to spend an eternity in hell in regret. Here is another confirming witness to this truth:
Heb 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
Heb 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
These are my ending verses of warning written about Moses. God clearly says the very limited pleasure found in this world is not worth the never ending painful consequences of being separated from Him. Psalms 84:10 says better is one day in your house than a thousand elsewhere. Moses made the wise choice and later we would see that he was standing on the mountain with Elijah talking with Jesus (Mat 17:3). Moses decided by an act of his own free will to align with God’s Word, purpose, plan and will for his life. A man with short sightedness would not have made the right same choice. A man narrowmindedness or hardheartedness would not have made that same choice either.
Life is full of choices, I have not made all the right choices and probably you have done the same. But, we all have a new day every day to change and make a better choice than yesterday. We all in need of daily course corrections with the help of the Holy Spirit inside us. I am doing the best that I can with God’s help to make changes, corrections and right choices that keep my name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and I pray that you will desire to do the same.
If you enjoyed this Bible lesson and gained some spiritual insight please share it with a friend to help bless them. I could have written a lot more on this subject and I would encourage you to continue to dig deeper to find out what else the LORD says about it. Thank you for reading and studying the Bible with me and I pray God’s blessings on each and every one of you.