“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire“
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
The word “found” indicates that God makes a careful search of accounts of the Book of Life. After this careful search, He consigns anyone not in this book to the lake of fire.
Anyone not found to have received Christ as his or her personal Savior and thus not written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire forever. The moment we receive Christ as our Savior, God writes our name in the Book of Life. No one can erase our name out of that Book.
God puts everyone into a roll book of physical life. When people die, He removes them from that book. God opens another book, the Book of Life, only to show that no one standing at the Great White Throne Judgment has his or her name in it. Rejection of Christ places them at this judgment.
It is not the absence of good works for which God casts a person into the Lake of Fire. It is the absence of the “name” that sends a person into the lake of fire. God will write no one’s names into the Book of Life on that day.
The Great White Throne is not a trial. There is no determination to be made at this judgment. All the facts are already in. God accumulated all the evidence. He will ask only one question – “Have you believed in Jesus’ death on the cross as adequate to take away your sins?” Either our name is already in the Book of Life, or it is not. The Great White Throne judgment is simply a proclamation of those who have not believed in Jesus’ death as the only way of salvation.
The reality of eternal damnation should motivate us to share Christ with our friends.
Understanding the lake of fire is crucial for effective motivation for witnessing. God does not condemn people based on their sins, but because they reject Christ as their Savior.
The lake of fire takes place after the Millennium. Only the unsaved will stand at the Great White Throne Judgment. The purpose of this judgment is not to determine who is a believer. Rather, this judgment is against those who stand on their own works instead of the work of Christ on the cross. The result of this judgment is eternal separation from God.
Trent, thanks for your comment. Some times John does not use the phrase “Lamb’s book of life” while referring to the Lamb’s book of life. I believe this is a case and there are a number of other times where the Lamb’s book of life is indicated.
Charles Smith wrote a good article on the “Book of Life” in the Bible not agreeing with my position: Charles R. Smith=Examination of the passages in the OT and the NT speaking of “the book of life” and related phrases reveals that early in the OT the “book” was related to recipients of conditional covenantal blessings. However, by the end of the OT period, there was the beginning of a change of significance pointing to the “book” as a list of the recipients of the unconditional blessing of eternal life. This significance dominates the NT use of the phrase.
Grace Seminary. (1985; 2002). Vol. 6: Grace Theological Journal Volume 6 (219). Grace Seminary.
Dear Dr. Grant Richison,
I'm writing from South Africa. I am a believer and a student of Scripture with no formal training in Theology. I have browsed through your commentaries and I find them insightful. I particularly like your view on James 1:21; 2; 5:20.
On Re 20:11-15 I hold a view which I note that scholars have probably not considered, as far as my own observation goes. I am open to correction if I'm missing something. I believe that the judgement is for BOTH believers and unbelievers (Matt 25:31-46). If these are only believers why is the Book of Life necessary? They are all unbelievers after… why is the book Book of Life involved? Or is there a suggestion that God isn't sure so he needs to double-check to be sure that he doesn't mistakenly condemn a believer(s) among these unbelievers? The believers in this judgement are those who haven't lived victorious spiritual lives, those who lose their rewards (I Cor 3:15; 9:24-27); those who are disciplined with death (I Cor 11:27-32; Acts 5:1-11; Heb 10:26-31); those who wreck their faith and are disciplined (I Tim 1:18-20; II Tim 2:16-18; 4:14-15; I Cor 5:5). Believers with victorious spiritual lives (Re 20:4-6) are exempt from this judgment; Enthroned believers and martyrs are clearly victorious believers (Re 2 & 3); they are ones who reign with Christ. The non-victorious ones are not included in Re 20:4-6. In fact I'm led to believe that they are "my brothers" or "least of these" (Matt 25:40, 45) to whom believers (sheep) rendered service or welcomed (and accepted their Gospel msg) and unbelievers (goats) didn't render service or welcom (didn' accept their Gospel msg). The sheep could also be those initially were enthusiastic but then later lost their zeal (seed sown among thorns) and thus end up losing their rewards; or those sown on thin soil who grow only for a short time and then lose interest. For believers this judgement is not to determine their destiny for that was DECIDED ONCE & FOR ALL when they first believed (FREELY/GRACIOUSLY JUSTIFIED) (John 5:24; Rom 8:1) but to deal with the nature or quality of their entry into the Kingdom (II Pet 1:11; I Cor 3:15). Note that both judgements (Matt 25:31-46 & Re 20:11-15) are for eternal punishment (lake of fire – Re 20) and eternal life; Re 20 implies eternal life for believers by lake of fire for unbelievers.
PS: My understanding of salvation is as follows:
Justification – spirit (Eph 2:1-5, John 5:25; Ezek 36:16-27, etc) – Gracious/free gift – ETERNAL SECURITY, unconditionally)
Sanctification – soul (during life time) (Jas 1:21; 5:20, I Pet 2:1-2; Heb 12:1-2, etc) – Conditional – REWARDS (II Tim 4:8; I Tim 4:8, etc); may lose reward(s) (I Cor 3:15; 9:24-27)
Glorification – body (after death) (Rom 8:23; 7:24, etc) – Unconditional – all believers (Rom 8:29-30, etc)
Muzi, hello. Wow, March 18th is a long time for Dr. Grant to reply, very unusual. Ironically that is also my birthday. Anyway, I can only hope you read this. I’ve been taking a course online taught by a retired professor from Southwestern Baptist Seminary here in the states. An interesting point he made concerning this passage is as follows. At the Great White Throne Judgement the saints will be there standing to the left and right of the Throne. How close to that throne is dependent upon your sanctification works/rewards. (By the way your doctrine of salvation is spot on) The saints are there for a very sad purpose. In Ezekiel 3:17-19 God says that if we fail to warn others of the truth, the blood will be on our hands. In other words at the judgment, those unbelievers that rejected the Word of God will be thrown into the lake of fire by the angels. However, those unbelievers that were never witnessed to, will be thrown into the lake of fire by the saint. example: Is there a relative that you failed to witness to? The blood will be on your hands-you will be the one throwing that relative into eternal death. You still have salvation, but because you knew you should witness(command of Jesus) and didn’t, it is your fault that person (maybe even your daughter or your neighbor) doesn’t have salvation. The saint is not there being judged, because his/her name IS IN the book of life, but if you have failed the great commission it there will be much weeping.
Lets put it back on me. That unbeliever I failed to witness to or share the Truth with, that I just threw into the lake of fire, will be cursing me throughout his/her eternal death saying, “Why didn’t you just warn me and help me understand, I would have believed”. I will be crying because I am responsible for the/my loss of that loved one. However after the Great White Throne Judgment, and in the new Heaven and Earth I will no longer remember him/her.(just a side note)
The Book of Life is for us humans to KNOW that there is an eternal record of our salvation, a permanent log of that event that can never be erased. It is just one part of the promise of eternal life through salvation. More figurative than literal.(my thoughts)
God bless you in your walk Muzi. I hope Dr. Grant returns an answer for you soon. He’s been doing this (well) for some time. Unlike myself.
Muzi and Gregg, sorry that I did not reply in March. I was in Nepal and India during that time without sufficient internet.
The problem with Revelation 20 referring to believers at the Great White Throne Judgment in any sense is that there is no objective statement indicating that this is true. Placing believers at that event is interpolation, not interpretation. Interpolation reads into the text something that is not found in the text.
Grant, thanks for the updates, however I still have some questions
1. Will those who had died before Jesus came to die for our sins be judged at the Great white throne? If yes, on what basis would they be judge because they can only have their names in the book of life if they had accepted Christ
2. You said salvation is a gift but yet the Bible states that we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling, please explain more
3. Will the believers still be judge after the great white throne judgement?
1. Old Testament saints (including those during the Synoptics) go to heaven on the basis of faith in God’s promise (Ge 15:6). God’s promise was the coming of Christ in the Abrahamic covenant (Ge 12-15).
2. The idea about working out your salvation has nothing to do with personal salvation. Go to my study on Philippians 2:12 and note the whole argument of the book in the Introduction.
3. No believer will be judged at the Great White Throne, that is strictly for non-believers. Believers will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (the bema seat, 2 Co 5:10; Ro 14:10).
Dr. Grant Rev 20v15 say whosoever was not found in the book like thrown into the lake of fire.
Reading verse 13-14 talks about death and hell delivering up the dead that are in them for judgement but they themselves are cast into the lake of fire.
Now my question is that does it mean that some of those dead that has been delivered up by death and hell will still be save according to rev20v15 or who are those referred to here sir.
Taiwo, did you go to my previous study on Revelation 20:13-14? If not, read that then get back to me.
It means that the book of life mentioned in Rev. 20:1 is literal?
Herman, you may want to look at this study: https://versebyversecommentary.com/articles/doctrine/the-book-of-life/