Is it possible to be removed from God's book of life?
Is it possible to be removed from God's book of life?
Although you have asked a straightforward question, it is a complex issue. So I will cover several Bible passages pertaining to God's book of life.
From the following conversation between Moses and the Lord, it would seem that the Lord blotted out of His book of life those who had sinned against Him by worshiping the golden calf:
31So Moses went back to the LORD and said, "Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32But now, please forgive their sinóbut if not, then blot me out of the book you have written." 33The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book." (Exodus 32:31-33)In this narrative, Moses was willing to take upon himself the punishment due the Israelites, who had replaced God by a false god and idol (the golden calf) that they had worshiped. Thus, they had broken God's first and second commandments (Exodus 20:3,4). Essentially, Moses was a type of Jesus in his willingness to take upon himself the sin and the punishment that others deserved.
However, in this case, God was unwilling to allow Moses to sacrifice himself for the other Israelites. Instead, it says that God would blot out of His book (presumably, the book of life) those who had sinned against Him in this way.
Another example is seen when King David's enemies were seeking to destroy him. He made the following request to the Lord:
27Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. 28May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous. (Psalm 69:27,28)In each of these cases, it sounds like names that were in the book of life were removed from the book. It makes me wonder what might have happened if these people had lived after the time of Jesus and had learned that they could attain eternal salvation by acknowledging their sinful natures and accepting, by faith, Jesus' blood atonement for their sins. I suspect that they would have rejected Jesus' gift of salvation and, ultimately, would not have been found written in the Lamb's book of life (Revelation 20:12,15).
Another type of scenario, evidently of those who have believed to some extent but have fallen away from the faith, is shown here:
4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:4-6)Evidently, there are those who have received the knowledge that Jesus is Lord and Savioróand even have experienced some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the goodness of Godóbut have fallen away from the faith. They may have been "religious" but not had a genuine relationship with God. Perhaps they were pleased with God as long as He gave them everything they wanted and expected, but then they became upset that he no longer was meeting their expectations. In any case, they have rejected Him and have refused to repent from this unforgivable sin.
It may be that some of these never had a true, saving faith in God/Jesus in the first place and were not written in the book of life. Others may have confessed Jesus as Lord and believed that He was raised from the dead, thereby attaining salvation (Romans 10:9,10).
If, indeed, they were written in the book of life, then their names may have been blotted out of it when they abandoned their faith and had no intention of repentingóunless somehow, at a later time, they have a change of heart and earnestly do repent. Perhaps then their names might be written back into the book of life, if that is possible. Only God, the final Judge, knows the inclinations of every person's heart, as well as all of the names in or not in the book of life and why they are or are not there.
Those in the church of Sardis had a reputation of being "alive" but they were "dead" (Revelation 3:1). Seemingly, this meant that they were outwardly "religious" but did not really have an intimate relationship with God, nor a will to please and obey Him, so they were spiritually dead. Yet, a few of them were not in that category:
4Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. (Revelation 3:4,5)It seems that those who continually and faithfully are able to overcome the temptations and lures of the world, which can draw us away from God, will be found worthy by Him. Their names never will be blotted out of the book of life.
At the end of the age, those whose names never have been written in the book of life will worship the "beast" or Antichrist:
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. (Revelation 13:8)Another verse again describes those who never have been written in the book of life and their enchantment with the "beast" or Antichrist:
The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. (Revelation 17:8)Just as the Antichrist will be doomed to destruction, so will all of those whose names are not found written in the book of life:
If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)In the case of those who worship the Antichrist (their god) and who receive his mark on their foreheads or hands, they will be tormented with fire and brimstone (Revelation 14:9-11). These will not be blotted out of the book of life; rather, their names never even will have been written in the book since the foundation or creation of the world.
So, considering the names of all people throughout the ages, some never will be written in the book of life, and some always will be written in the book. Some evidently will be written in the book but will be blotted out. Others will be blotted out of the book but, perhaps at a later time, may be added again,
We may wonder how and when God has determined who will be in which of these categories. Basically, I believe that, before the creation of the earth, God preordained those who ultimately would accept, as well as those who ultimately would reject, a saving faith in Jesus and in His blood atonement for their sins. That is, both God's predestination and our free will are true and in effect at the same time.
My views about predestination and free will can be found in a few of my email responses in the following section of my email responses page: Who Is God? Questions and Responses.
I know there are those who will disagree with many of my views about this topic, which is fine. Only God knows the exact details of who will be and who will not be written in the book of life when it is opened at the end of the Millennium.
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