THE BOOK OF LIFE
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: What is “the book of life,” and what is meant by names being written in “the book of
Answer: The expression “book of life” is found seven times in the King James Version of the
Bible (Philippians 4: 3) and Revelation: (3: 5) (13: 8) (20: 12) (20: 15) (21: 27) (22: 19). “The
book of life” is not a literal, but a symbolic book.
There are two books of life – one for the elect and another for the non-elect (Revelation 20: 12).
According to this passage, during the Gospel Age the 66 books of the Bible are gradually opened
to the understanding of God’s people. This is the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 13: 8). But in
the Millennium, “another book . . . the book of life” (Revelation 20: 12) will be opened (made
clear). That Millennial book will be the New Covenant revelations. Since the Bible is really an
elaboration of God’s great Covenants, the two books of life, generally speaking, correspond to
the all-embracing Abrahamic Covenant, especially in its Oath-bound features (Genesis 12: 3)
(Genesis 22: 16-18), and to the New Covenant, the Millennial Covenant (Jeremiah 31: 31-34).
Regarding the second part of our question, one’s name being written in “the book of life” refers
to one’s character being inscribed into a covenant by fulfilling its obligations. In other words,
developing a Godlike character in harmony with a covenant, thus enabling one to become a
partaker of the covenant’s promises and their fulfillment.
During the Gospel Age, God’s consecrated people began to inscribe their characters into the
Oath-bound Covenant. For the Little Flock, some failed to continue this good work by allowing
sin, error, selfishness and/or worldliness to interfere to such an extent that they fell into the Great
Multitude, the secondary spiritual elect class (Revelation 7: 9-17). Thus, they were blotted out of
their places as Little Flock members (Revelation 3: 5). If unfaithful as Great Company members,
they were blotted out of their places as such, and out of existence entirely, in the Second Death.
God’s truly consecrated and faithful people before the Gospel Age – the Ancient Worthies (see
Hebrews 11, etc.) inscribed their names into the earthly elective features of the Oath-bound
Covenant. And those who consecrate at this time, between the Gospel and Millennial Ages,
begin to inscribe their characters into the earthly features of the Oath-bound Covenant.
In the Millennium, the Restitution class will have to develop their characters in Christlikeness in
harmony with the New Covenant revelations (which will then be given), in order to receive
everlasting life on earth. As they progress up the Highway of Holiness (Isaiah 35: 8-10), they
will be symbolically writing their names, inscribing their characters into the New Covenant by
fulfilling its provisions. The Goat class (Matthew 25: 41-46), who die the Second Death, will
have their names blotted out of that Millennial “book of life.”