I was looking through one of my files I have on my family tree. In it, I came across a copy of records listing all those baptized at my home church, the Brush Creek Church of God (Abrahamic Faith), Tipp City, Ohio, since it was founded in the 1860’s.
The records show I am sixth generation in that church. Scanning the list, I recognized a lot of my ancestor’s names going all the way back to my great, great, great grandmother. Where available, some dates of the members’ deaths are also recorded.
I was impressed to see so many familiar names of the members and the dates they were baptized. I was equally moved to read the list of pastors who baptized them including the one who baptized me. My baptism was performed by Pastor Francis Burnett on July 24, 1966, in a local river. I was thirteen years old.
As I look down the list, many church members come to mind who had a big impact on my Christian life when I was growing up. They not only include my great grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins but a large number of other close friends. A lot of them were my teachers, youth leaders, and all-around role models I genuinely looked up to. They, along with the officiating pastors during those years, had a great influence in my life as a Christian. They also played a big part in my becoming a minister, as well.
The baptismal records of my church reminded me of another record of names God has been keeping since creation. It has to do with the names of every person who will be saved in God’s Kingdom when Jesus, his Son, comes to rule the earth. It’s called “the Lamb’s book of life”:
“…and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life,” (Revelation 21:27, New American Standard Bible, NASB).
The Bible says that on the day of judgment, the dead who are not raised to received eternal life in the first resurrection, will be raised to mortality and will stand before the great white throne of God (Rev. 20:11). Many books or scrolls will be opened including “the book of life.”
It says, “…and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, everyone of them according to their deeds. And 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 fire,” (Rev. 20:12-13, NASB).
All the dead, both small and great, will be raised from “death and Hades.” The English word “hell” comes from the Greek word, “Hades,” and it means, “the grave.” Those who are not raised from their graves to immortality in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6) will be resurrected after the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth and judged according to their deeds as recorded in God’s books, or more accurately, scrolls. If their names are not found to be written in “the book of life”, they will be thrown into the lake of fire, which is the second death.
Revelation 21:8 lists those who will be sentenced to the second death: “…the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolators and all liars.” (See also Romans 1:18, 28-32; 1 Corinthians 6:8-11; Galatians 5:19-21.) These are among “the unclean” in Revelation 21:27 which includes anyone “who practices abomination and lying.”
Note, also, that those who worship the beast or antichrist and receive his mark will likewise be judged and sentenced to eternal death in the lake of fire (Rev. 13ff; 19:20; 20:4-6). Revelation 13:8 says that those who worship this beast will not have their names “written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”
Only those names who are in “the Lamb’s book of life” will receive eternal life and enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God (John 1:29; Rev. 5:8-14). He was sent to redeem us and cleanse us from our sins so that we could be forgiven. He died in our place on the cross so that we will not have to die the second death (Romans 5:8-9; 1 Peter 3:18). If we confess Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives (1 John 1:9) and are converted to him through faith, repentance, and baptism we will be saved by God’s grace (Romans 6:1-23; 1 Pet. 3:21-22).
Revelation 3:5 says, “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.” Once believers have overcome (Rev. 3:20-22) and are “clothed” with the glory of immortality in God’s Kingdom (Isaiah 61:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:50-58), their name will never be blotted out of the book of life.
God’s membership record is a long list of names who will enter the Kingdom of God. I look forward with great anticipation to that day when I will see those faithful members who are listed on the Baptismal Records of my church, especially those who are now asleep in death awaiting the Lord’s wake up call (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) — relatives, friends, and even those I never met yet. And it will the same with all those who’ve put on Christ in all the churches throughout the ages. Let me ask you, friend: Will YOUR name be found in God’s membership records? Will YOUR name be written in “the Lamb’s book of life?”
Good News to YOU!