The first mention of the “Book of Life” is in Exodus 32:31-33 and the thread weaves throughout the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament) into the New Testament.
I have found much analysis in teachings on if the “Book of Life” in the Hebrew Scriptures is the same as the “Lamb’s Book of Life” in the New Testament, and furthermore if the “Book of Life” is the same as the “Book of the Living” mentioned in Psalm 69:28-29 Tanakh (69:27-28 OT). As a side-note on that Psalm 69 verse, some translations say the “Book of the Living” (Psalm 69:28-29 Tanakh, 69:27-28 OT) and others say “Book of Life” (Psalm 69:28-29 Tanakh, 69:27-28 OT.)
In analysis of what God says in the entirety of Scripture, this is what I learned.
The Israelites had genealogical records. Genesis 5:1 “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” Nehemiah 7:5 “And my God put into my heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of them that came up at the first, and I found written therein…” Nehemiah 12:22-23 “The Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, and Johanan, and Jaddua, were recorded heads of fathers’ houses; also the priests, in the reign of Darius the Persian. The sons of Levi, heads of fathers’ houses, were written in the book of the chronicles, even until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib.”
The Israelites also had a book of the living. Psalm 69:28-29 “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.” In this book, the book of the living, God recorded the names of the living, specifically those who desire to be a part of His people (Psalm 87) and those upon who He has bestowed favor. Favor bestowed not by anything the individual did, but because God chose to bestow favor, even before the individual was born (Psalm 139:16 “Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance, and in Thy book they were all written even the days that were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” Sinners are blotted out of this book as Psalm 69:29 states, and this concept is also referenced in Exodus 32:31-33 state, “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said: ‘Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them a god of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written.’ And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book. “
The Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament) points forward to the future, the fulfillment which is to come regarding being written in, or blotted out of, the book of the living or the book of life.
Isaiah 4:3 “And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written unto life in Jerusalem…”
Ezekiel 13:9 “And My hand shall be against the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies; they shall not be in the council of My people, neither shall they be written in the register of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.”
Daniel 12:1-2 “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who 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 reproaches and everlasting abhorrence.”
Malachi 3:16-21 “Then they that feared the LORD spoke one with another; and the LORD hearkened, and heard, 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 the day that I do make, even Mine own treasure; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. For, behold, the day cometh, it burneth as a furnace; and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall set them ablaze, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear My name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings; and ye shall go forth, and gambol as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I do make, saith the LORD of hosts.”
And into the New Testament
Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 21:27
“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. And to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.“
The names of God’s elect were written in the “Book of Life” from the foundation of the world. Even before we were born, God’s elect were written in the Book.
So how can YOU ensure you are truly written in? Please visit: Our Glorious Inheritance” If you want to first analyze this Book of Life concept further, please remain on this page. Thank you!
What does it mean to be elect? The “elect of God” is irrespective of national origin, religion, race. While Jews as a “nation”, the “collective group” are God’s “chosen people” we as a collective group were chosen for particular purposes. As a nation and group we do receive unique divine protection, however that is separate from being chosen for salvation in the eternal sense.
Jewish religious teachings do teach the concept of sin and the “Book of Life”, especially during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, focusing mainly on “missing the mark” and practical steps to take to make amends to any people affected. The teaching continues that if amends is made with a sincere heart, the sin is forgiven by God.
In Judaism, being inscribed or erased from the “Book of Life” is taught to be an annual event; inscribed, not inscribed, inscribed, not inscribed… over and over and over again. The focus is more on life on earth in the here and now.
Modern Judaism in general does not teach that mankind is born sinful, separated from God. There are no teachings on what a person would need to be saved from, or to. There is little focus on the afterlife; heaven or hell, and what forgiveness from God results in other than blessings on earth.
Although, in Orthodox Judaism and in examining the Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh) we do find: We are made from dust (Genesis 2:7), and to dust we will return to an eternal destiny (Genesis 3:19.) Many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awaken, some for eternal life [heaven], and some for disgrace, for eternal abhorrence [hell] (Daniel 12:2.)
So, back to the elect. Those are the people whom God has chosen, predestined to salvation (deliverance from destruction.) God loves all of His creation and we see tremendous evidence of that in the Bible. However, we also see God’s hatred of evil. We also see instances where God raises up an evil leader or an evil doer for purposes that are not exactly apparent to the people afflicted at the time, but as we see the complete scene unfold in the Bible, we read about how it brings about a bigger picture of good, and displays God’s goodness, love, mercy, glory (Pharaoh is one prime example.)
We always have to remember, this world is God’s, not ours. God is sovereign, which means in complete control of every aspect of everything. Regardless of what we see with our natural eyes, God does have a plan and a purpose, and it is truly all detailed in the Bible.
Psalm 65:5 Tanakh [65:4 OT] “Happy is the man whom Thou choosest, and bringest near, that he may dwell in Thy courts; may we be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, the holy place of Thy temple!” And Psalm 139, in depth details the sovereignty of God and His foreknowledge of us. We also see from David in this passage, a man who desires to be in God’s will, a man who has been given that desire from His maker, a man who we can glean from this psalm, would be found among God’s elect.
God is the main character and focus in this love story through the huge, continuous thread of 66 books describing who God is, what God created and why, as well as showing God meeting us where we are at; rebellious, sinful, failing, guilty, striving yet never reaching. God meets us with His rescue, His salvation, His favor, His grace, His mercy, His goodness.
The Bible tells us of the perfect standard that God is, as well as the realization that we will never be able to reach that perfection. No matter how good we “behave”, there is always something in what we do, or in our motive, that is not “perfect”.
However, every book in the Bible, right from Genesis on, is love-filled, mercy-filled, grace-filled, as it contains His Gospel (Besorah, Good News) message. The deeper this message seeps and sinks into us, the more we will reflect just who God designed us to reflect, Him!
What does it mean when we read God “chose us”? Looking at a tangible example, let us go to 1 Samuel 17:40. “And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his scrip; (“scrip”is a pouch) and his sling was in his hand; and he drew near to the Philistine.”
Was there any willingness of the stones to be “chosen”? Did the stones move in a certain way, respond to David’s looking at them in a certain way? Of course not. The choice of which stones to select was completely David’s decision based on those that best suited his purpose, we might say a “sovereign” choice.
The way David chose those stones is exactly the way God chose Israel out of all other nations, and exactly the same way God chose specific individuals for salvation, by His grace, in His sovereignty, for His purposes, not by anything a person said or did.
Yes, we are flesh and blood human beings, not lifeless stones, however, what is the scriptural definition of our hearts before salvation? Ezekiel 36:26 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” That is an interesting comparison.
Salvation, being written in the Book of Life, cannot be lost, a child of God’s name can never be blotted out, because it is never about us, it is always about God and what He did. One to whom God has given the new heart and spirit described in Ezekiel 36 will persevere to the very end.
The scriptures talking of erasing, or blotting out of a name in the Book is the same concept as Hosea 8 and Matthew 7:15-23. Not everyone who believes they are in the “Book of Life” or who says they are, truly is. Their fruits (their outward words, actions, behaviors) are the best indicators, of the reality of their situation.
Psalm 40 tells us that there is nothing God requires us to do to be written in the Book of Life. His elect are already written in, and we are drawn by God, to God, when He gives us that revelation (opens our ears). When that occurs, the rest of what is stated here is the natural outflow.
How can YOU ensure you are truly written in?
Please visit: Our Glorious Inheritance” Thank you!