He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Revelation 3:5
I am always appreciative of the thoughtful questions which are submitted by our readers. And I am doubly appreciative that at least some of our readers do not simply accept the answers which I propose to difficult texts. They study the answers and search the Scriptures to be sure that these answers agree with the Word of God. That can only be of benefit to the saints and to the church of Christ.
Such people remind me of the Bereans who "received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).
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One such reader sent in a follow-up question to something I had written on these pages.
The reader had originally asked about the text quoted above, and specifically about the question of whether one could be blotted out of the book of life, seeing that the book of life referred to the eternal decree of divine election.
I answered that question, apparently to the satisfaction of the reader, who wrote: "I am entirely agreed with the treatment of Rev. 3:5."
However, I made some statement to the effect that the Scriptures did not often speak of being blotted out of the book of life. I am not sure exactly what I did write, and I do not have the original article before me. But it was something to that effect.
And so the reader responded: "[Your response] leaves me with a problem: Why is it that you are not aware of texts which specifically speak of God blotting out their names? Rev. 22:19, (Cf. Deut. 28:15ff.), Ex. 32:33, Ps. 69:28?"
Let us take a brief look at each one of these texts.
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Rev. 22:19 reads: "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
I probably should have explained myself a bit more because the AV surely speaks here of God taking away a man's part from the book of life.
The reason why I did not refer specifically to this passage is that the original Greek does not use the expression "book of life," but uses instead, "the wood of life." The Greek word for "book" is "biblios," from which we get our English word, "Bible." While the KJV translators translated this expression, "book of life," other translations translate the expression, "tree of life," a translation closer to the Greek. The same word is used, e.g., in Gal. 3:13, where the text reads: ". . . cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree."
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I can find no reference to the book of life in Deut. 28:15ff. Perhaps the reader can write again and be a bit more specific.
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Exodus 32:33 reads: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book."
The reader surely has a point here. While the expression "to blot out of book of life" is not used, the "book" referred to by God in speaking to Moses is surely "the book of life."
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The final verse quoted is Psalm 69:28: "Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous."
I did not include this verse because I interpreted the expression "the book of the living" to be a figurative reference to those who are living upon the earth, and not to the decree of election. I took the expression to mean that the wicked who are described in the Psalm shall be driven out of the world and, when they die, they will not be numbered among the righteous.
So this is my answer. The reader may write again.
- Volume: 5
- Issue: 23
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
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