By Jack Kinsella
The Book of Life is but one of the books maintained in Heaven that is opened at the Great White Throne, bearing the record of our sojourn upon this earth.
Understand that the Great White Throne Judgment is not a New Testament doctrine — it is a universal doctrine. The Prophet Daniel described it in his vision exactly as the Apostle John described the same scene 700 years later.
“I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, Whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like the fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. 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.” (Daniel 7:9-10)
Compare Daniel’s vision to John’s.
“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. 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.” (Revelation 20:11-13)
Notice that both Daniel and John refer to “the books” — plural. The best-known of the books is the Book of Life — but there are others. But if your name isn’t in the Book of Life, then the rest of them don’t matter.
“And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)
The Book of Life is the ticket into heaven. Anyone whose name is not in there will join the antichrist and false prophet in the Lake of Fire.
What are the other books? There is the Book of Tears.
“Thou tellest my wanderings: put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?” (Psalms 56:8)
The Book of Tears records our pain and disappointments and sadness — Who we trusted and how we dealt with the trials and tribulations of this life.
“In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. . . . For Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” (Psalms 56:11,13)
God also keeps a Book of Remembrance:
“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His Name. And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” (Malachi 3:16-17)
The Book of Remembrances is where God records that which sometimes man forgets. The Scriptures promise that:
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)
My Dad fought in every theater of battle during WWII. Dad wasn’t a religious man, but I cling to the hope that at some point during one of those battles he cried out to Jesus for salvation and that his plea was recorded in the Book of Remembrance.
Perhaps I may yet see him at the Bema Seat.
To recap, there is the Book of Life, the Book of Tears, the Book of Remembrance, and finally, the Book of Births.
“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy Book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalms 139:16)
The Scriptures say that our names were recorded in all these books ‘before the foundation of the world’.
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:” (Ephesians 1:4)
“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.” (Revelation 17:8)
God foreordained my birth and my name was therefore recorded in the Book of Births before the foundation of the world. The Book of Tears contains the record of my trials and tribulations and disappointments.
My name was recorded in the Book of Life as well, even before I came to Christ. And my plea for salvation was recorded in the Book of Remembrance.
Revelation 3:5 says that he that overcomes will be clothed in white rainment and that Jesus will not blot his name out of the Book of Life. Does that mean that a saved person’s name can be blotted out if they fail to ‘overcome’?
How does a saved person “overcome” the world?
Answer: He can’t. He couldn’t if he wanted to. And he doesn’t have to. If a person could overcome the world, then why would we need a Savior?
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Babies who die as babies go to heaven, so their names must also be recorded in the Book of Life. Paul writes to the Romans:
“I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Romans 7:9)
Your name remains in the Book of Life as long as you are alive. If your sin isn’t covered by the Blood of Christ by the time you leave this earth, then your name is blotted out of the Book of Life.
But it is still recorded in the Book of Births, the Book of Tears and especially in the Book of Remembrances.
So the records of your birth, your trials and tribulations and those things God remembers but you forgot will all be opened — and you will give an account for what is recorded against you.
But if your name is blotted out of the Book of Life, it means you were convicted in absentia — the Great White Throne Judgment is, in reality a sentencing hearing.
Nobody that appears before the Great White Throne will have their names recorded in the Book of Life.
The Bible calls the Great White Throne judgment the ‘second death’. So in summary, the Bible outlines four different books in which our names are recorded and against which we are judged, either at the Bema Seat or the Great White Throne.
The books record our births and our trials in this life. We are judged according to what is written in those books, and we are saved according to what is written in the other two.
God records the day we called out to Him in His Book of Remembrance or He blots our name from the Book of Life if we fail to do so in this life. If our names are still recorded in the Book of Life then we will appear before Christ at the Bema Seat for the believer’s judgment.
We will still be judged based on what is written in those books, but our judgment is to determine our rewards rather than our punishment.
Stop with me here for one second. Note again the criteria for appearing before the Bema Seat. Those who stand before it trusted Jesus rather than themselves. The small and great in Christ will all be there.
Some will receive great rewards, others will receive no reward whatever apart from being permitted entry into the Kingdom. But they will be permitted into heaven.
“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1st Corinthians 3:15)
Then there is the Great White Throne. Those who appear before it will be judged for all their works, but they will be sentenced based on just one criteria. Where their name should appear in the Book of Life — there is an ink blot.
Salvation isn’t difficult. It is what God created us for. Every person who ever lived is (or was once) recorded in all four books.
If it were left up to the individual Christian to overcome the world, the Book of Life would only have One Name in it. So be of good cheer. He has overcome the world. And if you trust in Him, you have, too.
The question here is a simple one. How does one overcome the world and keep one’s name in the Book of Life?
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5)
Trust Jesus and do your best. He knows the difference. He keeps the Books. And He promises that when you trust in Him, your name is recorded using indelible ink.
You can’t fool the Bookkeeper. And neither can the Enemy. The best that he can do is to try and fool you.
That’s why there is a fifth heavenly Book. But this one is written to us, rather than about us. That’s where all the answers are.
That one is called “the Bible.”
This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 15, 2012.