“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3: 3-18)
Our society has inundated the populous about the concept to become saved in Christ so that you can gain entrance into heaven. We are told to evangelized and spread the gospel so that the entire world will witness the salvation provided by Christ. History has shown the expansion of the gospel until every corner of the globe has heard the teachings of God.
The desire to spread the gospel makes sense considering the teaching that once an individual becomes saved, they get their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and are granted entrance into Heaven:
“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
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.
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.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20: 11-15)
Understandably, every man, woman, and child would want to have their name written in the Book of Life as no one would want to live eternity in the lake of fire. Also, knowing that God himself wishes for no one to perish provides comfort to those who understand the Word. God does not want anyone to receive the same judgment as the fallen angels and Satan. He wishes for all to gain entrance into His eternal presence.
We are also told that during the time of judgement, mankind will be judged according to their works. Every human being will be subject to this judgment, with some receiving eternal life while others eternal death, depending on which book their name is written in.
This is where it becomes difficult for many to understand and has led to the teaching that some are chosen from the beginning of time to have their name written in the Book of Life while others are not. This would be in complete contradiction to the teaching that once you become saved, you are always saved:
“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.
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.
If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Revelation 13: 7-10)
Looking at the Scriptures at face value, it would seem that we have some contractions happening as it would not make sense to spread the Gospel if only those who had their name written from the beginning of time are granted entry into heaven. Plus, we are told that everyone will be judged by our works, but we are specifically told that we cannot gain entrance into heaven by our works alone:
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2: 4-9)
But Scripture also states that faith without works is dead:
“So, speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit?
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Ye, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Seeth thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise, also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2: 12-26)
It’s easy to see how these passages can be seen as contradictions based on our current understanding on salvation and the Book of Life. From what we understand: God does not want anyone to perish; that we cannot gain entrance to heaven on works alone but that faith without works is dead; that we will be judged upon our works and how we treated others; and that those who have their name written in the Book of Life have had it written before the beginning of the world; This is very confusing especially with the belief that we need to become saved to gain entrance into heaven. How can anyone have their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, who did not have their name written in it prior? Are there any examples in Scripture of anyone having their name written in the book after the beginning of time? The answer is no, and you cannot.
There are no examples within Scripture of anyone having their name written in the Book of Life due to their accepting of salvation or their belief in God. There are only examples of people having their names removed from the Book of Life:
“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.
And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin-; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou has written.
And the Lord said unto Moses, whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Therefore, now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless, in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.” (Exodus 32: 30-34)
“Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.
For they persecuted him whom thou has smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou has wounded. Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.” (Psalm 69: 24-29)
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Thou has a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
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.” (Revelation 3: 1-5)
How can the current teaching within the Church and world be that we need to have our names written within the Book of Life when Scripture states that we need to not have our names removed from the book? Why does the Evangelistic community focus on winning souls when they should be focusing on teaching mankind on how to not lose its soul?
Scriptures makes it very clear that from the beginning of the world, mankind had their name written in the Book of Life, but through our lack of faith and works, many have had their name blotted from the record. God stated that he loves everyone and wishes for none to receive the judgment reserved for the fallen angels. We have forgotten that lesson and have forgotten the words from Jesus on what we are to do every day, to receive his validation and salvation!
“And he said to them all, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9: 23-27)
We are to take up our cross ever day and show ourselves approved. We are to judge as we want to be judged and show mercy as we want mercy shown to us. We must be the living example of our faith so that God himself knows our love and obedience toward Him. He has granted salvation to all of us. The problem is that many will refuse this gift and have their name removed from the Book of Life!
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12: 1-4)
Ps: A special thanks to Wayne for recommending this topic. I enjoyed the study and I hope you do too.