Last week’s post, (January 23, 2013), I wrote about the Book of Life that God has for His people. In Christianity and in Judaism, the Book of Life is the book mentioned in the Bible where God records the names of every person who is destined to be in His Kingdom and beyond.
But why will God need to use a book? Look around you, books today are becoming outdated. We have computers that handle Excel spreadsheets, electronic databases, and the Internet. Because of this, should we view the Book of Life as a symbol or as an actual book?
God has a powerful mind, a vast intellect. He is aware of everything around Him. He knows when a sparrow falls to its death. He knows the number of hairs on each of our heads. He knows the names of the stars and can call by name each of the angels. He does not need a book. He is everywhere! His memory is excellent, perfect.
According to Barclay’s Daily Study Bible Series, “In the ancient world, a roll-book of living citizens were under the control of the king or ruler. When a person in his kingdom died, his name was removed from the roll. Once a person’s name was removed, it was like he or she never existed.”
In the same way, those whose names are in the Book of Life are those who are living, active citizens of the Kingdom of God. The Book of Life is the portal for the abundant life. It is the doorway into immortality with God and His creation. But again, why a book?
Will we see God actually thumbing through this book looking for our names when the time comes or will God be using a computer of some kind? Well, God can use whatever method He chooses. But I will dare – and I can be very wrong here – to say that most likely God is now, and will be, literally using a book with names written in it just as stated in the Bible. Here are my reasons:
The first reason is because even though we are living in the last days, (I believe we truly are), when Jesus Christ returns, almost everyone resurrected would have lived prior to the computer age. Most of humanity that has ever lived will understand exactly what this book is when they see it. They will not have to figure out or be told what electronic media such as a DVD is all about.
My second reason is because the Book of Life is referred to at different points in the Bible. Again, quoting Barclay:
* Moses was willing to have his name be blotted out of the Book of Life if it meant saving the Israelites (Exodus 32:32).
* David prayed that the wicked be blotted out of the Book of the Living and not be written with the righteous (Psalm 69:28).
* The prophet Isaiah spoke about those who are written among the living (Isaiah 4:3).
* The apostle Paul wrote about his fellow-laborers whose names are written in the Book of Life (Philippians 4:3).
* The apostle John, in the book of Revelation (the last book of the Bible), said it is the promise of the risen Jesus Christ to the Sardis Church that the name of him who overcomes will not be blotted out of the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5).
My third reason is because the Book of Life is never described as being alive. It is an inanimate object. It is not a beast with ten horns or a swift moving leopard waiting to devour you. The beasts mentioned in the Bible books of Daniel and Revelation, I believe, are representations of kings, empires or nations with great power. The Book of Life, however, represents an object whose job it is to record names according to God’s will.
The fourth reason is similar to my first reason. The names of those in this book are said to be written in the book – not typed, not digitized, not etched nor engraved in it. The handwriting form has been around for most of mankind’s existence. The resurrected will have no difficulty comprehending handwritten manuscript.
The more I think about this subject, the more questions come to mind. And the more questions I have about this, the less I have satisfactory answers for them. For instance, when are our names written into the Book of Life? Is it when we accept God or Jesus Christ into our lives? Is it when we receive the Holy Spirit? Or, have our names already been written in the book long before we were ever born? Did God foreknow who will be in this Book of Life before the foundation of the world – predestination – and wrote their names before creation? (I will write more about predestination in the future.) But I do not know the answers here.
Also, how were our names recorded into this book? Were they randomly written in? Were our names entered as genealogies of families going back to Adam and Eve? Are the names in alphabetical order? Will God be the only one to have access to the Book of Life or will we be able to turn its pages also? Will this book continue on through eternity or will it be just a temporary registry? Will it be in God’s library or in a “public” library such as the temple? Will copies of it be made? If so, will it be sold at Amazon.com? I know, I am getting carried away.
I must stop here. I hope this will be a start to your own study about the Book of Life. Please keep in mind that the points and questions I posed here are trivial and not important for any to have serious debates over. Yet, there have been many – especially non-believers and so-called “scholars” – who have questioned the Bible in like manner and discouraged many away from God and His Word. Well, God is going to have a surprising answer for these critics who teach that the Bible is out of date, archaic and should not be believed.
In the meantime, what is important is not whether or not the Book of Life is literal or symbolic. What matters most is that we be close to God and have our names be written in this Book of Life.