Arkiv | 2012/04/22

There is only ONE Book of Life, and names can be REMOVED from it

bible 4There is ONE book of life, and that is the book of the lamb

Book” is a translation from the Greek word βίβλῳ (bibliō, Strong’s 976).

Only those who overcome the sins of this world will be clothed in white raiment, and they will not risk getting their names blotted out of  the book of life. It’s in the end of the ages where the Christians will get their new white clothes, and at that point they will no longer risk to get their names removed from the book of life – because they enter the kingdom of God and remain there for ever.

Revelation 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.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.

Some people suggest that there are two books of life, and that the first book is a book into which everyone’s name is supposedly entered by default – the universal book of life. They suggest that the second book – ”The Lamb’s Book of Life”- is the book where only the true believers’ names are written and whose names will never be blotted out. The two-book proponents seem to reason that if a particular scripture passage speaks of names being added to the Book of Life, then this must be the Lamb’s Book of Life, but if a passage speaks of names being removed from the Book of Life, then surely it must be referring to the Universal Book of Life. Applying such selective reasoning is dishonest.

If people end up in the Universal Book of Life by default at birth (or at conception?), at which point will they be removed from this Universal Book of Life if they refuse to believe in Jesus Christ throughout their entire lives? Will they be removed as soon as they are adults (and remain unbelievers), and when exactly does this happen? And what if another person starts to believe in Jesus Christ when he is 50 years old. Does this mean he was in the Universal Book of Life the entire time before he turned 50, when he was also added in the Lamb’s Book of life? I suppose the two-book opponents couldn’t believe that a person can be removed from the Universal Book of Life at 15 (if he at this point refuses to accept Jesus as Savior) and then added again when he becomes a christian at age 50?

There is no Biblical evidence for two Books of life

The Bible does talk about books in plural that we will be judged by, but Daniel is referring to the books which record the deeds of every human being who has ever lived. Rev. 20:12 states that the dead are judged on the basis of the things written in the books which include their deeds, so these are not books of names but books of DEEDS, and these books of deeds are distinct from another book (singular) which in the same passage is called the Book of Life. If there are indeed two Books of Life, then it might have been helpful to know which one was being opened here – the book of the true believers, or the universal book of life? In reality, no such distinction needs to be made because there is only one book of life.  

Daniel 7:10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.12 And 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. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the BOOK OF LIFE was cast into the lake of fire. 

Also Moses seems to believe there is only one book of life, because he refers to it as ”thy book which thou hast written”, and God lets Moses know that each person is responsible for his own entry in that book. God refuses to accept Moses’ ”blotting out” as a substitutionary offering for the sin of the people.

Exodus 32:30 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.31 And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin — and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book

If people are automatically included in the universal book of life, it wouldn’t be a big deal if also Clement and Paul’s other coworkers had their names there too along with every one else – so why even mention it?

Philippians 4:2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. 

Below is the only place, apart from Rev. 21:27, where the term The Book of Life of the Lamb” appears. It’s rather natural that the book of life belongs to the lamb, so the extra detail ”of the lamb” (Jesus Christ) must not be taken as a sign of that it’s a completely different book than the already mentioned ”the book of life”.  Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and he will be judging all people according to their deeds. Compare the below passage with Rev. 17:8.

Revelation 13:And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.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.9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

Maybe Rev. 17:8 is the passage that is most commonly used as an attempt to support  a universal book of life, since we can read ”the book of life from the foundation of the world”, but it’s the BOOK that is from the foundation of the world and not necessarily the names in it (before man even started to spread on earth). Word for word from the Greek it’s ”the names in the book of life from foundation of world”. Furthermore, it seems like ”the book of life of the lamb” in Rev. 13:8 is the same book as the one below in Rev. 17:8, even if the term there is only ”the book of life”, because both places talk about people who are not included in this book, and who are amazed (wonder, marvel) over this beast and even worship it. We can read about  ”the foundation of the world” in both accounts, and even a clarification in Rev. 13:8, that it’s the lamb that is slaughtered from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 17: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.

If you don’t have your name in the book of life, you will ultimately be thrown in the lake of fire and that is true both when it comes to the book of life as well as the lamb’s book of life. Again, we are likely talking about the same book.

Revelation 20:1515 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:27 And 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.  

If a person could never lose his salvation, then he could absolutely afford to both add and delete things from the Book of Life and still get away with it, but clearly that would be a false assurance. A person can be disallowed from getting his promised PART of the Book of Life and OUT OF THE HOLY CITY, despite that he had an opportunity to receive such blessings to start with.

Revelation 22:18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19And 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. 

Why would God need two books with names, and why would a universal book of life be referred to as the book of life and confuse honest Bible readers? It doesn’t make sense for God to automatically include people in a universal book of life despite knowing that he would he removing some of these names at a later occasion. It makes a lot more sense to have an opportunity to be included in the book of life (through repentance, faith and obedience) and also to risk deletion if we choose to live in sin.

Prophets or blood did not exist from the foundation of the world, even though we can read about them below in relation to their blood shed from the foundation of the world. Most people have no problem accepting this to be true without maintaining that prophets have been around since the very day of creation:

Luke 11:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, may be required of this generation

What about Psalm 69:28?

Ps. 69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. 

This verse cannot be compared with the verses of the book of life in Revelations, partly because it is a translation from Hebrew, and partly because we have to take into account that the book of Psalms often contains truths expressed in poetry, songs, parables, hyperboles etc. Still, this psalm confirms the picture of losing previous rights. In psalm 69 we can see David urgently praying for his safety to God, with many ”Let them …” and ”Let me …”, and he is speaking about his present situation and the distant future. David is concerned about his enemies who are working against everything that is good. He might have the picture of the civil lists of registers of the Jews in mind, and his feeling that his unrighteous enemies should not have the same rights as the righteous (Ez. 13:9, Jer. 22:30). At one point Jewish individuals and families were written in, but they could also be removed which normally occurred when they died. This system was evidently not about eternal souls but concerned the rights among the Jews living on earth. Do read more about the the house of Israel in the Bible.

The tree of life

We can also read about the ”tree of life” of course, and that’s the tree that we found in Eden and which we will also find in God’s new Jerusalem.

Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 22:2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.—14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Annonser

Sealed UNTO the day of redemption, but a seal can be broken Eph. 4:30

 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed UNTO the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30)

Based on the Greek text, the latter part of the above sentence can be translated ”by whom you were sealed FOR the day of redemption”. The preposition ”for” is a translation from the Greek word εἰς (eis, Strong’s 1519) and apart from ”for” it can mean into, in, among and till. The text does not say ”sealed and saved unconditionally all the way UNTIL the day of redemption no matter the conduct”. Were sealed” in the verseis a translation from ἐσφραγίσθητε (esphragisthēte, Strong’s 4972).

There is nothing that suggests that a seal can absolutely not be tampered with. When someone places a seal on something – like the one in the picture above to the left – he doesn’t do this with the idea that no one can remove the seal, but rather to show a unique mark and/or ownership of something. The aim might very well be to see the seal untouched until there is a proper time to remove it, but there is no guarantee that it will remain as it is until that day.

The Greek word sphragizó can mean seal, or set a seal upon, or mark with a seal. We are indeed uniquely ”marked” when we as christians have the Holy Spirit in our lives, and we are separate and different from those without this mark. The word is from sphragís (a seal) – to seal (affix) with a signet ring or other instrument to stamp (a roller or seal). ”Sealing” in the ancient world served as a ”legal signature”, and it was sometimes done by the use of religious tattoos – again signifying ”belonging to”. The same word is used for the stone which was blocking the grave of Jesus – and which  was later REMOVED.

2 Cor. 122Who hath also SEALED us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Matt. 27:66So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, SEALING the stone, and setting a watch.

Rev.  10:4And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.

The book of Ephesians talks about a corporate election and about the promised future for the body of Christ. The CHURCH or the BODY OF CHRIST was predestined, before the creation of the world, to enter the Kingdom of God and inherit the promises. The question is if we as individuals choose to belong or not.

Eph. 1:22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the CHURCH23Which is his BODY, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Eph. 4:4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;—  16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Eph. 1:13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

or:

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13, 14; 4:30).

Read the many warnings in the same chapter of Ephesians 4. The warnings are addressed to believers. The sealing of the Holy Spirit is conditional since we can ”grieve” and eventually ”insult” the Spirit of Grace which means total apostasy.

Hebr. 10 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Only believers can possess the Holy Spirit and no one can enter the Kingdom of God without the Spirit. He is therefore the guarantee of an inheritance for believers and not unbelievers. Through union with Christ we are ”predestined” to adoption and an inheritance as children of God, being ”joint heirs” with Christ (Eph. 1:5, 10-11, cf. Rom. 8:17; Gal. 3:29; 4:7). This is what is in view when Paul speaks of being sealed ”for the day of redemption”, but we must not assume that this sealing is unbreakable which the text does not claim.

What is a guarantee? Guarantee receipts normally have conditions which you can often read in the ”fine print”. If you get a guarantee receipt for a certain product and you would like to make a claim, the store might request that you bring both the product and the receipt before they are willing to look at your claim. They might also request that you do this within a certain time frame and that you state what’s wrong with the product. Another example might be if someone buys you a bus ticket which guarantees that you will get to a certain city PROVIDED that 1) you don’t throw away your ticket, 2) that you embark the right bus on the right time, and 3) that you STAY ON the bus until it arrives at the destination. The BUS will arrive at the destination as promised, but the question is if YOU will choose to be among the bus passengers.

1 Samuel 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

Psalm 5:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me

A circumcision was also a ”seal” for those under the old covenant.

Rom. 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a SEAL of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also

This seal WAS broken and guaranteed nothing when those who were circumcised broke the covenant and were cut off from the people of God.

Rom. 2:25For circumcision verily profiteth, IF thou keep the law:but IF thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. 26Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? 27And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

As you can see, this seal was conditioned on continued faith and obedience. The Holy Spirit marks us as God’s children of the new covenant, but if we would totally abandon the faith and/or live in disobedience with no plan to repent, then the Holy Spirit might no longer have a reason to remain and then we are no longer sealed. Also circumcised (sealed) Jews were broken off through unbelief as Rom. 11 tells us.

Acts. 5:32And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

John 14:15If ye love me, keep my commandments.16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever

Rom. 8:9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, IF so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10And IF Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Rom. 11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

God speaks of the Israelites who ”grieved” His Holy Spirit in their rebellion. These Jews were cut off from the promise of entering God’s rest and they became God’s enemies.

Isaiah 6310But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: THEREFORE he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. — 14As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.

In the NT the ”rest” is the eternal rest that all believers will attain. The book of Hebrews continually speak of the promise of eternal rest, in combination with WARNINGS to believers not to miss out on this promised rest through hardening their hearts in unbelief, just as the Israelites did who rebelled against God during the Exodus.

Hebr. 3:6But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end7Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebr. 4:1Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebr. 6: 11And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Jude 1:5I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not

The word ”called” below in Gal. 1:6 is the same word as in Rom. 8:30 – καλέω (kaleó Strong’s 2564). Paul marvels at the fact that some Galatians despite being called are deserting Christ and turning to another gospel. Paul noticed that these Galatians were true believers who were apostatizing from the faith. Despite being chosen, called elect they risked falling away. If kaleo refers to the elect in Rom 8:30 then it must also refer to the elect in Gal 1:6.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that CALLED you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

If you’re trapped in Calvinism, do read about the contradictions within TULIP here.

Church Fathers

The Shepherd of Hermes 6(72):3 I say unto him, ”Sir, now then show me concerning those that have given up their rods, what manner of man each of them is, and their abode, that when they hear this, they that believed and have received the seal and have broken it and did not keep it sound may fully understand what they are doing, and repent, receiving from thee a seal, and may glorify the Lord, that He had compassion upon them and sent thee to renew their spirits.”

Clement 7:6 For as concerning them that have not kept the seal, He saith,`Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be for a spectacle unto all flesh’. 

Clement 8:6 So then He meaneth this, Keep the flesh pure and the seal unstained, to the end that we may receive life.