Scripture tells us that the names of believers in Jesus were written down in what is called the book of life. This was done before the foundation of the world. (The “it” in the passage below is the anti-Christ who is to appear in the last days.)

“And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” (Revelation 13:7b–8).1

This is a stunning, incomprehensible truth. How is it possible that my name and countless others were written down in a book millennia ago?

Great question. I have no idea whatsoever. However, I know that the Christian God exists apart from time, as difficult as that is for us to understand. I searched the Bible for information about this book, and to my surprise, I found several references. The first time we learn of it is from David, who was pleading before the Lord about his enemies who were trying to kill him.

“For they persecute him whom you have struck down, and they recount the pain of those you have wounded. Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous” (Psalm 69:26–28).

“The book of the living” shows up again hundreds of years later in Daniel’s vision about the last days.

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:1–2).

The next we see it is hundreds of years later when Jesus walked the earth. He warned His disciples, whom He had sent out to minister, when they came back rejoicing that the demons were subject to them:

“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:19–20).

However, the verses that should give everyone the most cause for concern is in the last book of the Bible, almost at its very end.

“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12–15).

This is terrifying. At least it should be. Most of the world couldn’t care less.

Finally, I find the most comfort about it here, but it contains an added word of caution:

“The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5).

Father, please cause us to conquer. Please help us to walk the narrow path and know You and love You fully, truly, and deeply.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Edge images.