The Book of Life, and The Books of Judgement
What's in Your Biography?
Years ago I took a job working in a high-end department store. I had to attend four days of training sessions where everything was covered from how to handle a disgruntled customer to handling different situations involving co-workers.
The man who was training all of the new employees was very philosophical. He would often jumped from speaking about our duties as employees, to huge subjects about life.
On the first day of training, he handed out all sorts of paperwork, along with tests about how we would handle a whole array of situations involved with the job. As we were filling out the forms, he was speaking about life in general and he said something that has always stuck with me.
He said, "you are your own story, and you write your own book. You decide the beginning of each chapter, and you decide the end of each chapter."
I was 20 years old at the time, and I thought that what he said was incredibly deep.
Some people write biographies about themselves attempting to capture who they are and what their lives were about. When we read those biographies, we can gain a general idea about the writer. However, every thought, every choice, every feeling and every motivation can't possibly be recorded.
Think about what you would write in your own biography. Some might be gifted enough to capture their lives right down to the core of who they are. Still, to record every detail of every experience would take a lifetime to write, and still couldn't cover who a person is completely.
In the second to the last chapter of the bible, the scriptures go into books that will be opened when we leave this world and stand before God.
Revelation 20: 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.
The passage says that the "books were opened, and then another book was opened which is the book of life... and everyone was judged according to their works."
Revelation 20:13 And 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.
Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 20: 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
In John's vision, "the sea gave up the dead," and everyone stood before the judge, even those whose names are written in the book of life. Everyone was judged by what was written of them, "according to their works."
How in-depth that book must be. God doesn't see us like we see ourselves, or like we see others.
God sees right down to the core of who we are. He knows every single detail about each one of us. There isn't a single thing about us that is hidden from Him.
So when this judgement comes, there will be no arguments, no debates and no excuses. The ruling that comes forth at that time will be altogether right and just.
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Corinth's about judging what's right while we're still in this world :
1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Even before the day that we all will stand before God, He's judging and correcting us. Paul wrote that if we be without chastisement we are not sons, (and daughters,) of God. God does correct us, and for there to be correction there has to be judgment in whatever matter we receive correction. If we face chastisement, repentance is most definitely needed.
Scriptures testify of themselves. In this case; Daniel also wrote about a vision where he saw a great judgment. In His vision, he also saw these "books" opened. Not just one book, but "books."
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.
What is written in these books is determined by each one of us.
Paul told the Corinth's that if they would judge themselves they would not be judged.
The church was going through some turmoil at the time. There were divisions, among other things that were not Christ like. Paul wrote that they were eating and drinking in the church and showing little care for those who had little.
1 Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
Later, Paul told the same church:
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
And again Paul told them:
1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Paul first corrected them on their behavior in the house of God. Then he corrected them for how they lived on an individual basis. No matter where a child of God may be, our words and actions are significant in that, if we are in Christ we should live a life that reflects Him in everything we do.
That doesn't mean we don't fall short. We all do.
Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
When we do fall short, God corrects us. Through repentance we can rise up again rather than fall further into mischief. The goal is to overcome this world, and not get entrenched in it.
With God, we're an open book. Nothing is hidden from Him.
Though we all sin, there is a way to have our transgressions blotted out.
God told the Prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Notice that God said, "I, even I am He that blotteth out thy transgressions..."
Blotting something out would imply that writing is removed. If a transgression is blotted out of the book that God judges us from, God says that He won't even remember that sin. Hopefully at this point, whatever circumstance were involved will be corrected in us through repentance. Some of us are a little hardheaded and sometimes we need a good smack in the back of the head to wake up to our own errors.
He doesn't blot out sin because a person is special in some way, He does it for His sake.
The book of Hebrews confirms this:
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Repentance, and examining ourselves and our motives at all times is of the utmost importance.
I've heard people speak of repentance lightheartedly by saying, "repentance only means to turn from something."
It's actually not that simple. Like the Prodigal son, he openly acknowledged his sin. He saw for himself where his own self-focused choices took him and he reasoned in himself what he would say to his father upon returning home. (Luke 15:11-32)
Repentance is completely acknowledging sin, confessing it, and removing it completely from our existence.
Nobody is without sin. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
Repentance is imperative if we're continuing and growing in Christ.
It's also completely necessary in order to have our transgressions removed from the book that we are judged out of.
Even More Important
The Book of Life
If a person is not in Christ to begin with, I imagine that person's biography is a great big mess filled with selfish motives, self gratification, crimes and a whole slew of things that most people don't want others to know about. Before anything can be "blotted out," our names must be in the book of life. Without Christ, there is no forgiveness. Without forgiveness there are no changes and everything stays recorded on the pages of our books.
The first mention of the Book of Life is in Exodus. Moses was on the mountain communing with God for 40 days and 40 nights.
The people had become restless and they gathered to Aaron and asked him to make them "god's which would go before them"
This has always amazed me. The very people who wanted Aaron to make them idols had seen the real power of God with their own eyes. They saw how the plagues had struck Egypt, and none of their houses were touched. They saw how God parted the sea in order for them to cross over to dry land, and they saw the pillar of cloud by day, and fire by night that went before them.
Yet they went to Aaron and asked him to make them idols. Aaron went along with them, and did as they requested.
Moses had come down from the mountain to find the people dancing and worshiping their newly formed idols. He knew that the wrath of God would come upon the people, and he went back up the mountain to make atonement for them.
Exodus 32: 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.
Moses saw the great sin they had committed, and when he asked God to have mercy on the people, he said, "...and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of they book which thou hast written."
Think of the magnitude of that statement. He cared so much for the Hebrew people, that he was willing to have his own name removed from God's book if their sins would not be forgiven.
Exodus 32: 33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
In the book of Psalm 69, David called for God to strike the names of his enemies from the book of life:
Psalms 69: 18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.
Psalms 69: 19 Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.
Psalms 69: 20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
Psalms 69: 21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Psalms 69: 22 Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.
Psalms 69: 23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.
Psalms 69: 24 Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
Psalms 69: 25 Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.
Psalms 69: 26 For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.
Psalms 69: 27 Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.
Psalms 69: 28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
It's interesting to consider that not only was David facing persecution, but what he wrote was prophetic. He spoke of events Jesus would face even before Jesus walked this earth.
When someone wrongs us, we naturally want them to face strong consequences. David asked that their names to be "...blotted out," from God's book.
It takes a lot more strength to pray for people who wrong us, rather than to hold on to anger. Thankfully, when we're weak, Jesus is strong. He strengthens us according to His word. That is real strength.
The Apostle Paul also spoke of others who are written in the book of life.
In the book of Philippians Paul called on the church to help the women who labored with him in the word along with his "fellow-laborers," whose names are in the book of life.
Philippians 4: 3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
In Revelation ch. 3 Jesus spoke of those who are over-comer's who will not be blotted out of the book of life.
Revelation 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.
The only way to be an "over-comer," is by being in Christ Jesus. We can't do it on our own. Jesus said that in this world we would have tribulation, but he also said "be of good cheer, I have overcome this world." John 16:33
In the end, those who are not written in the book of life will worship the beast:
Revelation 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.
In the very end, the beast will come up out of the Abyss, and go to his destruction. Those whose names are not written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished.
Revelation 17:8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.
Is Your Name Written in the Book of Life?
Jesus is the Only Way
The only way to have our names written in the book of life is by being in Christ and abiding in Him. As Revelations 3:5 says, those who overcome will be dressed in white raiment and their names will never be blotted out.
In the same chapter Jesus addressed the Church of the Laodiceans. This passage addressed a Christian church. Anyone can say that he or she is a Christian. Going to church every Sunday does not actually make a person a Christian. Remember, Jesus addressed seven churches and each church had issues. The church of Philadelphia was the only church that walked in obedience to God.
If any of the issues that Jesus addressed the end time churches with fits something lacking in the lives of anyone, take courage and seek it out in Christ. It isn't over until it's over.
Jesus gave the Laodiceans this advice, and every believer should heed it.
Revelation 3: 14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Revelation 3: 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Revelation 3: 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Revelation 3: 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Revelation 3: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Revelation 3: 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Some might think that they don't have a chance of entering into God's Kingdom.
The enemy doesn't want anyone finding God's truth. Nor does he want anyone taking refuge in Christ Jesus.
Do not believe the devil!
If you're breathing, the book of Ecclesiastics tells us there is hope among all of the living. As long as you have breath, there is hope. (Ecclesiastics 9:3-5)
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. If you haven't sought out a relationship with God in Christ Jesus, today is the day to begin! Don't wait. Seek, knock and ask with all your heart, and you'll find the truth. Don't give up. Never give up.
John 8: 31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
John 8: 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Each day, with every choice we make, we should ask ourselves how our choices would look in our own biographies, especially when we know that God will be reading it in the end. If there are things in our books that we'd rather see gone, repent with a true repentance, and have those things removed and forgotten as promised by God's word.
Keep God first in everything.