The Book of Life

Book of Life

The book of life is one of the books that will be opened at the day of judgment (Revelation 20:12). What is this book? How do we have our name added to it? How important is it that our name is found there? Let us notice a few things the Scriptures teach about this book.

The Book Belongs to the Lamb – Earlier in Revelation, this book was described as “the book of life of the Lamb” (Revelation 13:8). The Lamb, of course, is Christ (cf. John 1:36). Our salvation depends upon Him. Through His sufferings, He was perfected as the author of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10). Without His death on the cross, we were “helpless” (Romans 5:6). The book of life belongs to Christ. Therefore, those whose names are contained in it will have been included on His terms.

We Can Have Our Name Added Now – At the judgment, the book of life will be opened (Revelation 20:12); yet no mention is made of names being added at that time. The reason is because the time for names to be added is now. Paul spoke of ones “whose names are in the book of life” (Philippians 4:3). They were not waiting for their names to be added. They were in the book at that time.

How to Have Our Name Added – We already noticed that this book belongs to Christ. Who will be added to this book? The Hebrew writer explained that Jesus is “to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9). We must follow the commandments of Christ in order to have our name in the book of life, including His instruction to believe and be baptized (Mark 16:16).

We Can Have Our Name Erased – This is an important point. The Scriptures do not teach that once one is saved, his salvation is forever guaranteed. Jesus told the faithful in Sardis, “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life” (Revelation 3:5). The implication is that if we do not overcome, but become unfaithful, then Jesus will erase our name from the book.

If Our Name Is Missing, We Will Be Condemned – At the judgment scene in Revelation, we are told of the fate of those whose names are absent from the book: “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Jesus described this as “the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). It is called a place of “outer darkness” with “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30). Paul indicated that it is “away from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). “This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14). The consequences for not obeying the Lord are severe.

If Our Name Is There, We Will Be Rewarded – In describing heaven, John revealed that it is only for “those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). In this place, we will be free from tears, death, and pain (Revelation 21:4). We will have access to the tree of life (Revelation 22:2). In heaven, we will remain in the presence of God (Revelation 21:23; 22:1, 4). This is the reward for which we are striving.

Is Your Name Written There?

We have briefly noticed the importance of having our names included in the book of life, as well as the terrible consequences if our names are missing. We have also seen what one must do to have his name added. So ask yourself: Is your name in the book of life?

After describing the judgment with its subsequent reward or punishment, Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book” (Revelation 22:7). A few verses later He said, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12). Elsewhere, the Lord’s return is likened to a thief that comes in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10) – unexpected and unannounced. Therefore, we must remain in a constant state of readiness.

For this reason, an invitation is extended: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” (Revelation 22:17). If you need to obey the Lord so that your name can be included in the book of life, then do it now while you have the opportunity to respond to this invitation.


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