A new animated movie is coming out in a few weeks called, "The Book of Life." Seeing the previews and reading the plot summary online, it looks like an innocent enough hour or so of entertainment. There's a hero, a heroine, a villain, quirky characters, and lots of adventures in other make-believe worlds. Good triumphs over evil in the end, I assume, with the young couple living happily ever after. Doesn't sound like something that would have me riled, right?
But it does. It has me very, very riled!
Not the movie itself, but the title. The Book of Life.
If it riles you too, read on.
If it doesn't rile you, read on.
To understand the significance of those four words -- The Book of Life -- we have to look to God's word, the Holy Bible. Most of our knowledge about the real Book of Life is found in the book of Revelation. Jesus, who gave the "revelation" to the apostle John while he was exiled on the rocky Greek island of Patmos sometime around AD 95, gave us quite a lot of information about the real Book of Life.
In the first letter to the seven churches (and to us), Jesus says, "He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life..." (Revelation 3:5) That tells us a special book, a book like no other, exists in heaven. Jesus called it the "book of life." By his own word, we know names are written in this book. Whose names? Our names! The names of people who have lived and walked on this earth. People who have believed and trusted in God. People who have not "soiled their clothes" (Rev. 3:4). They -- and we -- are the "them" in verse 5.
Some people speculate our names are written in the book of life at birth. Some believe our names go into the book when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Some people mistakenly believe that once your name is in the book, it can't be removed. They site Jesus' words in Revelation as proof, but in Exodus 32:33 God makes is abundantly clear that is not true:
"The LORD replied to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book."
This is the very same book Jesus spoke of. King David also mentions names being blotted out of the book in Psalm 69:28 when crying out to God about his enemies: "May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous."
The apostle Paul wrote about the book of life to the church in Philippi when speaking of faithful folks who'd helped him on his journey. He says of them, "whose names are written in the book of life." (Philippians 4:3) Paul didn't have the benefit of reading Jesus' revelation to John when he wrote these words, so obviously the book of life was something that Jews already knew about and believed in.
Daniel's prophecy may be part of the reason. In Daniel 12:1, Daniel writes this about the end times: "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people --- everyone whose name is found written in the book of life --- will be delivered."
Woohoo! Praise God!
If the usage of the term "book of life" for a childish movie didn't rile you at the beginning of this post, I hope you are gaining understanding about why it riled me. The Book of Life is nothing to make light of! The Book of Life is real! Names are written down by God's own hand in this precious book! Names are blotted out by God's hand too. This book is THE most important book that has ever existed! I firmly believe the Enemy of this world is laughing his head off because a stupid movie millions of people will see has hijacked the name of the Lamb's book, perfectly setting up an entire young generation of kids (and adults) to misunderstand what the real book of life is all about.
I leave you with John's vision of heaven from Revelation 20:12-15 and 21:27 and ask you one very important question: Is your name in the Lamb's Book of Life? It matters, my friend. It really, really matters.
"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. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
"Nothing impure will ever enter [heaven], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (21:27)
This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, France, China, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Nigeria, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Canada