We had an email question from a reader which asked about whether or not our names can be blotted out of the lamb's book of life. Below is the question and our response.
"I am a believer (has accepted Christ). I used to believe as you that once saved always saved. And I think I still DO believe that. However, recently, a man at work who belongs to the Assembly of God church tells me that we can lose our salvation and have our names blotted out of the lamb’s book of life. He says that if you are back-slidden and don't repent you will NOT go to heaven, and that you WILL LOSE your salvation. He states Revelation 17:8 and Revelation 3:5 pertaining to "those blotted out" are believers, otherwise their names would not have been written in the book. Please decipher this message for me. Now, all of a sudden, I feel that I have lost the joy of my salvation and am extremely worried that sins I have committed or am going to will make me lose salvation"
First of all, we must understand that before the foundation of the world, the names of every person who would ever be born had their names written in the Book Of Life! Our names ARE NOT written in when we get saved! They are blotted out at the end of our life if we have not received Christ as Savior!
Salvation IS NOT something that will happen but rather has ALREADY happened, God having made provision through Christ BEFORE the foundation of the world!
John 17:24 (KJV) “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”
Ephesians 1:4 “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:”
1st Peter 1:20 “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,”
My friend, this IS how much God loves you! Before anything was created, God made provision FOR EACH OF US who would accept His love!
THE LAMB’S BOOK OF LIFE!
People DO NOT realize this, but every person who would one day be born, was known before creation, and their names WERE WRITTEN in “The Lamb’s Book of Life!”
Our names ARE NOT written in when we get saved, but ARE REMOVED (Blotted out) if we do not get saved!
Exodus 32:31-33 (KJS) “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”
Psalm 69:28 (KJS) “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.”
Philippians 4:3 (KJS) “And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the book of life.”
Revelation 3:5 “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 13:8 “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Revelation 17:8 “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”
Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
Revelation 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Whatever you do, DO NOT pass up your DAY OF GRACE and at the end of your life have your name removed from the Book of Life!
Revelation 21:27 “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomi-nation, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Revelation 22:19 “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.”
Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.”
Now, back to your original question:
I am not sure what your friend from the Assembly church is trying to do with those verses, but they do not say that any believer has ever had their name blotted out of the book of life. In fact, they say just the opposite, that no believer will ever be blotted out.
Let’s look at them again from newer translations:
Revelation 3:5 “He 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 17:8 “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.”
They might be trying to make the word "overcome" sound as if it means that we must "work" to overcome and keep our names in the book of life. However, we know from Scripture that is not true. Who is it that overcomes? He who works for it? No. The Scripture tells us plainly.
1st John 5:5 “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”(NIV)
That is how we overcome, we believe. And if we overcome, which means if we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then we will never have our names blotted out of the book of life.
As we can see, it is essential that we test all of man’s teaching against the Scripture. The exact Scripture they were using to make their point actually contradicted it. Never take any man's word for it, but go to the Word of God and read it, in its entire context. If it contradicts what they are teaching then what they are teaching is wrong. It's that simple.
SALVATION IS NOT OF WORKS!
“Preacher, are you saying we are saved BY OUR WORKS?”
NO! A thousand times no!
Salvation IS NOT obtained by works and it IS NOT kept by works. Salvation IS A WAY OF LIFE.
It’s like the word “Christian.”
Again, the word “Christian” IS NOT a label to wear, but rather A LIFE to live!
Nor is salvation a “balancing act!” We ARE NOT saved through a system of God’s keeping “score” on us!
By this I mean, “If at death, we have done more “good” than we have done “bad,” we will go to Heaven, nor the other way around!”
If, at the end of our life, we have chosen to follow Christ, God WILL NOT remove our names from the Book of Life.
If we have chosen NOT TO follow Christ, then our names WILL BE REMOVED (blotted out) from the Book of Life!
Revelation 3:5 “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.”
Exodus 32:32-33 “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, BLOT ME, I pray thee, OUT OF THY BOOK which thou hast written.
(33) And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I BLOT OUT OF MY BOOK.”
Psalm 69:28 “Let them be BLOTTED OUT of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.”
Revelation 22:19 “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.”
CHRIST DIED FOR ALL!
When Jesus died on the cross, He died FOR EVERY PERSON. This was actually accomplished “before the foundation (creation) of the world” and was carried out on Golgotha’s hill!
He DID NOT DIE just for those who would “receive” Him as their Lord and Savior. He died for everyone!
This is why EVERY PERSON’S NAME is in the book of life!
It IS NOT ADDED when we receive Christ.
It IS REMOVED if we do not receive Him!
If you have breath, there IS still hope for you!
I Corinthians 12:1 (KJV) "Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant."
We attend the Gaither concerts when they are anywhere within driving distance. We love Gospel music!
----It is so inspirational!
----People from all walks of life and every denomination worshiping God together!
----It’s kinda like a foretaste of Heaven!
I’ve been in church services that are that way
----I just wanted to take off and start running!
----I was so happy! I would have danced, IF I COULD!
However, when it was all over and I had wiped off the perspiration, I DID NOT have one single thing to take with me that would help me DEFEAT SATAN the next day!
I had received absolutely NO KNOWLEDGE, but I had been inspired! And folks, you cannot live on inspiration (someone else jacking you up all the time)!
I. TO LIVE VICTORIOUS, WE MUST HAVE KNOWLEDGE!
A. Text, "Brethren, I would not have you ignorant!"
Say with me, "God does not want me to be ignorant!"
James 2:14-20 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
Note verse 16:
"And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?"
2. It’s the SAME SPIRITUALLY!
Inspiration IS GOOD, but it WILL NOT build up your SPIRITUAL MAN!
That takes KNOWLEDGE!
B. And yet, we have people that hop from church to church looking for entertainment!
----Living for inspiration!
----Want to feel good!
----Want to be knee deep in goose bumps!
NEVER MIND THAT:
----The Devil has their children!
----Their home is falling apart!
----Their pocket book is empty!
They want to have a good time in Church! I call them Goose Bump Baptists. A preacher friend calls them Charismaniacs!
C. Folks, the problem IS NOT the Church we attend! It’s US!
We don't need another Church! We just need to HEAR THE WORD where we are and get busy and put it to work in our lives!
We need knowledge and that comes ONLY FROM HEARING THE WORDCAND APPLYING WHAT WE HERE!
1st Corinthians 14:18-20 "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
(19) Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that [by my voice] I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an [unknown] tongue.
(20) Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men."
1. One of the questions the church at Corinth had written Paul about was the use of tongues in the church service.
I Corinthians 7:1 (KJV) "Now, concerning the things about which ye wrote me---"
2. He starts dealing with the subject in chapter 12 and continues thru chapter 14.
3. I Corinthians 14:1-5
Paul said, Self-edification is great. Inspiration is wonderful, but 5 words spoken that can be understood is worth more than 10,000 that just inspires!
II. IN ORDER TO REIGN IN LIFE, WE MUST HAVE AND USE KNOWLEDGE
A. It’s good to be inspired, but we CANNOT live on inspiration.
1. And this is why people change churches, or just drop out.
2. Oh, they attend for a while and everything is fine, but they have been living on inspiration AND NOT THE WORD!
3. Then they GET HUNGRY SPIRITUALLY and they think it’s the church they are attending that is starving them!
B. They have been dieting on the DESERT of the Word instead of feasting on the MEAT of the Word!
Beloved, we would be better off to have ONE VERSE of Scripture,
----MEDITATE on it
----HIDE it in our heart
----And PUT IT to work in our lives, than to have all the inspiration in the world!
C. We need to know what is RIGHTFULLY OURS and put it to work in our lives!
Luke 10:19-20 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
(20) Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Ephesians 4:1-16 “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
CONCLUSION: God wants His children to GROW UP so we may KNOW HIS WORD, put it TO PRACTICE in our lives and SHARE IT with a lost and dying world.
Are you grown Spiritually or are you still looking for the best show in town?!
Luke 2:7 “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Luke 2:10-12 “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
To enquiring minds, the question arises, “Why would a baby in Swaddling clothes be a "sign" to the shepherds that this was the Christ-child?”
Note please, the angel didn't mention the manger first, he mentioned the swaddling clothes!
What is it about swaddling clothes that would be a sign?
The Swaddling Clothes were not a blanket as we would think. It was more like the wrappings we find on those who have been mummified.
The origin comes as a result of the harsh countryside in the Middle East. As people took off on trips that often lasted days into months, it was not uncommon for sickness or accident to take place. There were deaths on these journeys.
The Middle Eastern culture developed a way to deal with in-journey deaths. Each person would take a long, thin, gauze-like cloth and wrap it around their waist many times. This would be one of the bottom layers of clothing. This cloth would be reserved for death. If someone died during the journey, their friends or family would remove the "swaddling cloth" and wrap them from head to toe so they could then compete the journey.
The baby Jesus was probably wrapped in Joseph's death cloth, even though this cannot be proven. Where else would it come from, other than Joseph or Mary?
Back then at birth, the mid-wife would bathe the baby, pack the child in salt power and then wrap it in a long, thin, gauze-like cloth! The salt was a purifying agency and was used to kill any kind of bacteria or anything that might harm the child. The wrappings were to keep the babies arms and legs growing straight, as well as for warmth and protection.
But let’s get to the most important question our text raises:
How would the Swaddling Cloth be a “sign” to the Shepard’s?
Folks, this is “shouting grounds!”
For the yearly sacrifice, Shepherds would take a baby lamb that was just born and wrap him in much the same manner to keep it calm so it would not hurt itself and be blemished in any way. This way, it could then be used in sacrifice for the sins of the people!
EXODUS 12:5 “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:”
1st Peter 1:19 “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
The sign for the shepherds wasn't that they'd find a baby wrapped in a blanket in a manger. The sign was that they'd find a baby prepared for death, at least in the Shepherds eyes. Jesus came to earth to die for our sins!
That was his purpose. This was shown even from the instance of his birth. GOD’S SACRIFICAL LAMB HAD ARRIVED!
What a Mighty God we serve!
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
These words, some of the most famous in the English language, are found in the Declaration of Independence of what would become the United States of America, adopted on July 4, 1776—a pivotal point in human history.
Notice a truth that is self-evident in the words above: The men who wrote and signed this famous declaration believed that "all men are created" and that they have a Creator! The Declaration also refers to "Laws of Nature and of God" and to "the Supreme Judge of the world." Obviously God was very much in their thinking at that pivotal time.
What would the nation's Founding Fathers think if they could see their nation today?
They would obviously be profoundly impressed at the material wealth and prosperity of the country. Our houses, highways, cities and communications would astound them. Our standing as the world's lone superpower would amaze them. The sheer size of the country—"from sea to shining sea"—would astonish them.
But many other things would shock them, and clearly not in any positive way.
What would they think of the fact that we murder more than a million helpless, innocent, unborn children every year through abortion?
What would they think of the shocking plagues of immorality, adultery, sexually transmitted diseases, drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, sexual perversions, violence and crime that rot our nation?
What would they think of the staggering amount of debt run up by our governments—currently totaling more than half a million dollars per U.S. household—with no realistic way to pay it off?
Why is this nation, so strong for so long, now facing problems seemingly at every turn? Why does it seem that things have suddenly gone so wrong in so many ways all at once?
Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence and later the third President of the United States, wrote this warning: "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."
Jefferson knew enough about history to know that a nation that forgets God will reap the consequences of rejecting our Creator—a lesson the United States is increasingly learning the hard way.
Another famous American President, Abraham Lincoln, said: "We have forgotten God . . . We have become . . . too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."
What did these men know that we don't? One thing they understood is the eternal truth of Proverbs 14:34: "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."
They understood that ultimately a nation's strength is only as strong as its faith in and obedience to its Creator. And they warned of exactly what we are seeing today.
WORDS CHANGE IN MEANING OVER TIME!
The kingdom of heaven suffers “violence”
Matthew 11:12 "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force."
This sounds really bad for Christians and Christ's Kingdom (Government). However, this is a gross coincidence of meaning change over time.
The word "suffer" in William Shakespeare's Day meant "allow" rather than "to endure pain and injury" as it does 400 years later.
When Jesus said 'Suffer' the little children to come unto me and forbid them not..." His meaning was "'ALLOW' the little to come unto me and forbid them not ..."
When John the Baptist didn't feel worthy to baptize Jesus, Jesus said unto him: 'Suffer' it to be so..." His meaning was 'ALLOW' it to be so ...."
When God said to Moses: "Thou shalt not 'suffer' a witch to live...." his meaning was "'ALLOW' not a witch to live..."
There are literally over 100 such examples in Scripture to tell us the literal meaning of archaic words! We don’t have to guess!
Using this simple fact, let us now re-state the Scripture with what we now know:
Matthew 11:12 "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven ALLOWS violence, and the violent take it by force."
So we see the Kingdom of Heaven ALLOWS violence: is this swords and spears? It would seem that Jesus wants His kingdom establish by waging and winning literal war. Let's consider further.
The words 'violent' and 'violence' also do not mean the same as they did just 400 years ago! In the generation of AD 2013, violence includes causing physical pain.
However, in Shakespeare's day a violent person simply meant forceful or aggressive, even if one never used physical means. The word 'forceful' is a better definition in AD 2013.
We see the word 'force' in the King James version with the words violence and violent. This is a powerful verse, whatever it means!
'Forceful' can mean using physical harm and destruction, but it equally means being aggressive and doing whatever needs to be done to achieve a thing - while not breaking the law.
A prosecuting attorney can forcefully prosecute drug-dealers without ever lifting a finger to inflict a striking blow. Such can do it lawfully and by acceptable means.
A politician can forcefully pursue "War on Poverty", War on Cancer" and "War on Drugs" without ever lifting a finger to inflict a striking blow. Such can do it lawfully and by acceptable means.
A minister - such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., - can forcefully pursue "Civil Justice", "Social Justice", "War on Discrimination in Housing and Jobs", etc., without ever lifting a finger to inflict a striking blow. Such can do it lawfully and by acceptable means.
These and many other examples are commonly understood and basically meant the people involved are going to be as follows:
Very aggressive in pursuing their goals;
As forceful as words, courts and social pressure allows;
As forceful as the law physically allows;
Will use every means available including protest marches, demonstrations, social pressure;
Will even use civil disobedience at times, breaking the law - if the law is deemed unjust - but without physical destruction of people or property;
Such is the Scriptural teaching of Jesus in our text:
Matthew 11:12 "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven ALLOWS forceful aggression, and the forceful establish it by aggression."
Thus we see the Apostles follow this principle:
they would not be silenced when ordered by "the Law";
they would not be silenced, when threatened with being whipped in public;
they would not be silenced, even when whipped in public;
they would not be silenced when threatened with prison;
they would not be silenced, even when put in prison;
they would not be silenced when threatened with death by public execution;
they would not be silenced, even when publicly executed;
Thus the Apostles OBEYED Christ's teaching of "forceful aggression." Where is His church today?
Matthew 11:12 "And the Kingdom of Heaven ALLOWS forceful aggression, and only forceful men can establish it, and only by being aggressive."
Thus many were whipped, imprisoned, stoned, beaten, martyred and shed their blood and even their very lives, to seek to establish Christ's Kingdom by aggressive, forceful action of preaching and practicing Christ's Commands.
Jesus said to us: “Go thou and do likewise!”
Sadly, as it is misquoted today, it implies the VERY OPPOSITE of what Christ taught, and has produced generations of weak, wimpy, cowardly, effeminate type Christian leaders!
Some translators translate it this way:
New International Version 1984:*
"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of (lead) it.” [*the later 2005 Version (and now the 2010 version) is Pro-Gay Liberal - disgustingly evil)
New Living Version:
And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.
God's Word Translation:
From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people (leaders) have been seizing it.
New Century Translation:
Since the time John the Baptist came until now, the kingdom of heaven has been going forward in strength, and people have been trying to take it (forward) by force.
As you can see, words change in meaning over the years and if we are to be true Bible Scholars, we have to study God’s word with an open mind, shut out our denominational views, and simply go by the Word of God Almighty!