Can Names Ever Be Removed from the Book of Life?
Question from a reader:
I have been reading some conflicting opinions concerning the Book of Life and the Lamb's Book of Life. Some say they are the same. Others say the Book of Life has the names of everyone living and that names can be blotted out, and that the Lamb’s Book of Life contains the names of born again believers and those names are eternally secure. What do you think?
Answer from Julia (Stager) Mayo, former EPM Research Assistant:
It seems the main question you’re asking is whether a believer’s name can be blotted out of the Book of Life. The Bible shows us that those who have put their faith in Christ receive eternal life and those who receive eternal life have their name in the Book of Life. I think the important thing to realize is that it’s not having your name in the Book of Life that saves you, rather, we are all saved by our faith in Jesus, and because of His sacrifice and our belief in Him our name is in the Book of Life.
That Bible is emphatic that we are saved by faith (John 3:16; Rom. 10:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9). It is faith that determines whether our names are in the Book. Scholars believe John refers to it as the “Lamb’s Book of Life” in Revelation because it is full of names of those who have life because of the Lamb who was slain. This would imply the “Lamb’s Book of Life” and the “Book of Life” are two names for the same thing.
The concept of the Book of Life seems to less be like this: “If you’re name isn’t in the Book, you can’t get into Heaven.” And more like this: “if you believe in Jesus, your name is in the Book!”
There are indications that a wicked person’s name is “blotted out” (Ex. 32:33; Deut. 25:19; 29:20; Ps. 69:28) of the Book of Life and therefore it is a record of everyone who ever lived, and then those who love the darkness and do not love the light have their names blotted out (see John 3:19-20). Others believe when you put your faith in Jesus your name is then written into the Book of Life, and that the Book of Life does not have any names blotted out in it because it is only filled with the names of those who have eternal life through Jesus. Either way, the important thing to see and remember is that our name will only be in the Book of Life if we believe in Jesus, and those who do or will believe are foreknown to God since He knows all things past, present and future exhaustively.
Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, where she works as an administrative assistant. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.