The Books of Life

Revelation chapter 20 paints a picture of the coming judgment of all of humanity. No matter what your perspective is on the book of Revelation, most people agree that this scene is the culmination of time before we enter eternity. Within this chapter comes a statement that is easy to read past without noticing but it could affect your thoughts on God’s judgment.

Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” (NIV 2011)

There stands all of humanity before the throne of God and the passage says, “and books were opened.” Wait … books?

I thought on the final day that there was only one book that would be read. It is called the Lamb’s Book of Life and in it will appear the name of everyone who accepted Jesus as their Savior.

To be sure, your name must appear in the book of life. Rev. 20:15 says, “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (NIV 2011) The first and most important book on that day will be this one text. If you have not trusted Jesus and have your name written there, then the story is over, and your judgment will be to condemnation.

The problem is that verse 12 says there are books – with an “S.” In fact, the rest of the passage states that we are judged according to what we had done as recorded in those books. This set of books is clearly different from the book of life which is called “another book.”

The general consensus on this passage is that in the final judgment there are two books that God will view. One is the book of life, and the other is the book of your life. Everything you do is written into a book that God will look over in the final day.

Why in the world would he do that? Well, in the Bible everything, especially legal decisions, must be established on at least two witnesses. One testimony is not enough to be legally binding. You need someone or something to corroborate your story.

Let me pull all of this together. At the final judgment, God will look to see if you once stood up and proclaimed Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Then he will flip open the story of your life to see if that was true in your actions. Did your life and your proclamation of faith line up in agreement?

I am afraid that somewhere along the way most people who claim faith have believed a lie. (This is not surprising since Satan is the father of lies.) We think that faith is about a one-time event that I did in my past. When the truth is that true trust in Jesus is lived out every single day.

Today I have a single question for everyone who claims to know Jesus including myself. When the story of your life is written will it reflect that you believed Jesus was my Lord and Savior? The answer is of eternal significance.

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