top of page

Book of Life: Big Question. In or Out?

Book of Life.  Are you there, or will Jesus say, 'Depart from Me.  I never knew you!"
Book of Life: Big ?, In or Out? Where you will spend eternity. Will Jesus blot you out? Make your calling and election sure! 2 Peter 2:10

I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life. Jesus in Revelation 3:5

Two questions come to mind:

1) what is the Book of Life? and
2) why is Jesus blotting names out of it?

The Book of Life records the name of every person destined for Heaven and eternal life.

The exact words appear only eight times in the Bible, but the idea appears many times.

Jesus puts it like this,

Rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20

Who wrote them there?

Psalm 139 makes it clear that it was the LORD.

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. Psalm 139:16

What kind of a book was this, written before there was a material world? It sounds like a dramatis personae for the universe, a list of every life, potential and realized.

The key word for me is “written,” each life was recognized by the Author, and in David’s case the details of his body and a record of his movements and positions “when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest part of the earth.Psalm 139:15

Here is evidence of when this writing was done. St. Paul tells the Ephesians that 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

This makes it clear that the Father did the choosing via His assignment of us “in Him,” i.e., the Beloved, namely Jesus.

Who is in the Book of Life?

The ones chosen in the Belovéd? This raises theological questions, i.e., Can chosen ones be blotted out?

Here is what the LORD said to Moses:

The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven. Deuteronomy 29:20

The children of Israel were God’s chosen people, and here He says when a man turns away from the LORD his name will be blotted out from under heaven.

The word “blot” is purposeful, a writing word denoting a deliberate action. The one that springs first to mind is the opening of Hell to receive those who rebelled against God and Moses in Numbers 16.

Korah was a Levite, purposefully chosen and anointed by the LORD.

Later we see King Saul, chosen and made king by the LORD, rebel and descend into witchcraft and suicide, his life blotted out by sin.

Sadder still is the life of Solomon, the wisest man ever, to whom the LORD appeared twice, the glory, wisdom, and riches blotted out by idol worship.

Ezekiel prophesied about the punishment of idolatry in Jerusalem when God would send swordsmen to execute the idolaters who could only be saved by the man with the inkhorn, a pre-incarnate manifestation of the Lord Jesus. (Chapters 8 and 9)

Later, Daniel too saw a time of violence and evil where a representative of Jesus delivered those whose names were written in “the book.”

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. : Daniels 12:1

We hear no more of blotting out of the book, but in the last book of the Old Testament Malachi mentions another book:

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.- Malachi 3:16

There is much we do not know about the Book of Life and these other books referenced. “blotting” out was common throughout the Old Testament.

But what about in the New?

There is a popular misunderstanding that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New. The Old more angry, wrathful, and severe, the New more compassionate, gentle, and caring.

Jesus dispels this in one verse: Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; - John 14:19

St. Paul makes this explicit:

  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: ...

For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; - Colossians 1:1 and 9

Hebrews puts it like this:

God......Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; - Hebrews 1:1-3

God is good all the time, and all the time He is love, Old Testament and New. In His goodness and love:

God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

Jesus’ mission was to save His people from their sins and His message was REPENT. He warned in the wake of sudden death: except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.Luke 13:5

This was spoken of unsaved people. But what about those who knew the Lord Jesus and were walking with Him?

Judas Iscariot springs to mind, “the son of perdition” whom Jesus acknowledges was lost.

So do Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) and Demas, Paul’s fellow laborer who “hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.” – 2 Timothy 4:10

Hebrews gives this fearful alert:

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. – Hebrews 10:27

More frightening still is our text in Revelation, where He speaks from heaven to His church in His judicial role about blotting out a name from the Book of Life.

This stands in sharp contrast to the name of the overcomer who will be clothed in white raiment and hear Jesus confess his name before my Father and his angels.

Jesus warned about this very thing when He was here on earth:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. – Matthew 7:22-23

These people at Sardis had a name to live, and they thought that their names were in the Book of Life. And when it was opened, lo! a blot…. Take care that you are not building upon past faith, but remember that it is the victor’s name that is not blotted out of the Book of Life. – Alexander Maclaren

Theological Exigencies

Do not let your theology, doctrine, eschatology or tradition override the clear words of the Bible.

Even Ezekiel, Daniel, and St. John could not understand the end times. Neither can you.

Godly men like John Wesley have had trouble with “once saved always saved.”

Our salvation is by far the most important thing we have. Value it and the Word that brings it to us. Follow St. Peter’s admonition:

Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: - 2 Peter 2:1


Lord, I care not for riches, neither silver nor gold;

I would make sure of heaven, I would enter the fold.

In the book of Thy kingdom with its pages so fair,

Tell me, Jesus, my Savior, is my name written there?


Is my name written there

On the page white and fair?

In the book of Thy kingdom,

Is my name written there?

2 Lord, my sins they are many, like the sands of the sea,

But Thy blood, O my Savior, is sufficient for me;

For Thy promise is written in bright letters that glow,

"Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them like snow." [Refrain]

3 O that beautiful city with its mansions of light,

With its glorified beings in pure garments of white;

Where no evil thing cometh to despoil what is fair,

Where the angels are watching, yes, my name's written there.

Yes, my name’s written there

On the page white and fair;

In the book of Thy Kingdom,

Yes, my name’s written there!

Kidder, M. A. (Mary Ann), 1820-1905

About the image/artwork

File: Elizabeth Day McCormick Apocalypse, f171r - Christ promising New Age.jpg

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

Informationabout reusing

No higher resolution available.

Elizabeth_Day_McCormick_Apocalypse,_f171r_-_Christ_promising_New_Age.jpg ‎(291 × 443 pixels, file size: 29 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)

Open in Media Viewer

File information

Structured data



Add a one-line explanation of what this file represents


Description English: The Elizabeth Day McCormick Apocalypse (Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, gms-0931-22) in Chicago, illustrates 69 subjects of an early 17th-century translation of the Apocalypse into vernacular Greek.

Date 17th century

Author Anonymous Greek painter


This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or fewer.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1928.

This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.

File history

37 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page