THE BOOK OF LIFE
Q. What did Jesus say was a requirement to enter the Kingdom of God?
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
Q. What did Peter call this experience?
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;”
Q. Was Peter himself converted the night he denied Jesus?
“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”
Answer: Peter was not yet converted the night he denied knowing Jesus three times. Thus Peter was not yet fit to see the Kingdom of God.”But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Mt 10:33 .
Q. Where was Peter’s name written though he was not yet converted?
“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
Q. When was Peter’s name written in Heaven?
“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.”
Peter’s name was not written in the Book of Life at the moment of his conversion. Rather it was written in the Book of Life at the foundation or beginning of the world. Our names are not written in the Book of Life at the moment of conversion. Rather they were written in the Book of Life at the foundation or beginning of the world.
Q. Because Peter had denied Jesus what did he himself need to do in order to receive the Holy Spirit and eternal life? What did Peter himself prescribe?
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
Q. What would have happened if Peter had refused to repent and persisted in disobedience to God’s words thus continuing in sin?
“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.”
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”
“Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.”
Peter’s name was written in the Book of Life from the beginning of the world.
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
If Peter had persisted in disobedience He would of left God no other choice but to blot out his name from the Book of Life and thus also remove his right to become a citizen in the Kingdom of God. Judas Iscariot had an opportunity to have his name as one of the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem and forfeited that honor and privilege see Revelation 21:14). Peter too might have lost his name from among those twelve foundations had he not confessed and repented of his sins.
Q. What must all men do to prevent their names from being blotted out of the Book of Life?
“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
How do we get this victory? “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4
Q. What promised sacrifice made it possible for Peter’s name to be written in the book of Life from the foundation of the world?
“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 13:8
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,” 1 Peter 1:18-20
Jesus Christ promised to be our sacrifice and substitute for our sins at the beginning of the world. At this time the Book of Life was written placing with in its pages the names of all men for whom the Lamb of God would shed His blood.
Q. Does the Bible anywhere mention any names ever being written in the Book of Life after the beginning of time or at “the foundation of the world?”
Answer: No. According to the Bible all names that will ever be found in the book of life were placed there at the foundation of the world. There is no record of any names being added to the book after the time it was written. There is no scriptural evidence that names have been added since the “foundation of the world.” However there is clear evidence that shows that there are names placed in the Book of Life that have been blotted out.
Christ was “foreordained before the foundation of the world” to be the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” 1 Peter 1:20, John 1:29. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,” 2 Corinthians 5:19. God knows all things even things not yet done the things still in our future. The Creator of all life is “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity.” Isaiah 57:15. In the Book of Life God is “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done” Isaiah 46:10. He is declaring the names of all those whom would ever be born among the children of men long before they would ever breath there first breath. ““Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5.
God knows each child of His creation intimately. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30. “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. Isaiah 43:1; 45:4. The Bible depicts Christ as the “Good Shepherd” calling after His sheep. “The sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” John 10:3.
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” Luke 15:4
Calvin’s notion, that some are predestined by the sovereign will of God to damnation, and have no choice in the matter, portraits most of the world as sheep that are not only lost, but as sheep that are excluded from the fold from the beginning. It further portraits Christ as an uncaring shepherd towards them, that not only has no intention of seeking them out, but as a shepherd that would close the gate to them even if they did try to come home. And then punishes them with eternal torment for not being inside with the rest of the flock!
Imagine a Principal, that determined that 99% of the students in his school would receive an “F” on their report card at the end of the school year, and that there was absolutely nothing they could do about it. Furthermore this principal, locked the doors of the school, so that none of these kids could even go to class even if they wanted to. They were not only deprived of all hope for a future, they were deprived of an education, thus they could not have possibly passed any of the tests even if they were permitted to take them, which they were not! To top it all off, the principal then calls the police and has them all placed in Juvenile Detention centers for not attending school. And that somehow the principal was able to convince the judge that their “crimes” against the educational system were so grievous, that their sentence handed down by the gavel, is life without the possibility of parole!
This is exactly how Calvinism portraits God! Why do millions zealously defend this position? Because the same principal in this story has guaranteed them a passing grade of “A+” on their report card, whether they attend class or take any of the tests. Those whom I have debated about this topic using the very same arguments I present in this article are offended at the doctrine of repentance, and teach that it is completely unnecessary! They could not possibly be lost even if they wanted to be, and there is absolutely nothing they could ever do to forfeit their guaranteed “A+.” NOTHING! Not fornication, adultery, homosexuality, idolatry, murder, drunkenness, denial of Christ, absolute nothing can cause the Calvinist to forfeit their guaranteed “A+” by their beloved principal. In order to hold to this view, the rest of the world has to have a guaranteed “F” regardless of anything they ever do too.
The Loud Cry Ministry teaches eternal security, forgiveness of sins, past present and future, salvation through faith alone, and that works have absolutely nothing to do with our justification. However at the risk of offending millions of people, Calvinism my dear friends offends the character of God Himself. Who with any sense about themselves, could define the principal in this story as a loving person who is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34-35) other than the kids who received the guaranteed “A+” – What college student wouldn’t love a university, where you could party all the time, never attend class, never take any tests, and still get your diploma, and in fact will be awarded with a Magna cum Laudae?
Luke 15:4 teaches us that Christ is the Good Shepherd and that He is seeking all that are lost, seeking to bring healing and everlasting life to “whosoever will.”
Read our article: Forgiveness of Sins Past Present and Future
“When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
To continue the analogy of our school principal, Christ did not come to educate those who already had PhD’s but those who were failing every class with an embarrassing grade of “F” across the board! Those who understand their Bibles realizes that actually applies to every last one of us. There is no one that has a passing grade of any kind with out Christ’s report card being accounted to them as their substitute!
All those that are lost and sick because of sin He came to save. He knows each one and calls them all by name. He is right now calling you by name too. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
Q. How many souls did the “Lamb of God shed His blood for?”
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2
“And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” John 4:42
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19
Q. To how many was the Gospel to be preached?
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Luke 11:9-10
The Gospel is freely offered to all that “dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,” Revelation 14:6. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13.
“The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” died “for the sins of the whole world.” To every soul He shed His precious blood he did foreknow by name. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Ro 8:29 . This was God’s original purpose in making Adam “the firstborn among his brethren.” “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26
After the fall of Adam all men had received a sinful nature, fallen from the glorious image of Christ, of which they were originally created. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23 . Christ did not come to save the Righteous but sinners. All have sinned; hence Christ came to save all mankind. “Whosoever will.” “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst . . . him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:35,37.
Notice how many the Father loves. ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Jesus taught us to “love your enemies,” “for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44,45.
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.”
Q. John Calvin taught that it was God’s “sovereign will” that some should perish. That God predestined some to this future. Is this The Lord’s Will for some?
2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Were God to exercise His “Sovereign will” which is that NONE should perish then all mankind would be saved. Listen to the pleading of our tender loving Father in Heaven.
“Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”
“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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”
“Adam, which was the son of God” Luke 3:38) Placed all mankind under the bitter adversary of all good, the Father of all lies, the Devil John 8:44). “All have sinned.” Romans 3:23. “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Ps 14:3 . Jesus came to save the sick not those that are whole. There are none that are whole! We are all since Adam and Eve sick with the sickness of sin, stubbornness and rebellion against the “holy just and good” will of God Romans 7:12). Despite all this God is “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,” therefore, “he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” and “predestined” us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,”
2 Timothy 1:9
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”
“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:”
CALVINISM’S THOUGHT QUESTIONS ABOUT PREDESTINATION ANSWERED
“That is all well and good David, but what do you do with Romans chapter 9 when Paul talks about Jacob and Esau and then the statement about God hardening the heart of Pharaoh?” a Calvinist minded person would no doubt ask me. Well lets look at these texts of Holy inspired Scripture. For man is to live by every word of God.
“10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Jacob had not yet wrestled with the Angel of the Lord, and Esau had not yet sold out his birthright nor had he yet married his Canaanite wife. “Neither having done any good or evil” were “according to election” declared to be of two classes of character by the Lord. One loved, and the other hated. Let us remember that “God is no respecter of persons” He makes His goodness known to both the good and the evil. And that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” And lets also remember the warning of Peter, that Paul wrote “some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16.
Q. Now lets ask the question then, what does this teaching about “election” have to do with the example of Jacob and Esau? Did God choose one to be evil and choose one to be good, or did God know in advance who would humble them selves and also knew in advance who would rebel against Him by their own choice?
“ Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” (1Peter 1:2)
“ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Ro 8:29)
God knew in advance that Jacob would serve Him and knew in advance that Esau would rebel against Him. God loved Jacob’s service towards Himself and hated Esau’s rebellion, for God hates sin. Jacob had not earned God’s love through His service. Oh no! On the contrary “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9) “ We love him, because he first loved us.” (1John 4:19) “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” (Ro 2:4). As for Esau God loves the sinner and hates the sin.
Lets look at the next couple “hard to understand” texts in Romans 9
14 “¶ What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
This phrase is from Exodus. We will need to read it to understand this declaration of God.
“ And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” (Ex 33:19)
Immediately after stating this to Moses He passed by before Him while Moses was in the cleft of the rock and said, In Exodus 34
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
Confession is the act of humbling our selves. The promise is “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9) Moses knew this holy principal in God’s dealings with men. Moses had recognized that Israel had been proud and stiff-necked. He began to make intercession for Israel confessing their rebellious attitudes against the One whom had shown them such great mercy.
“And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.”
God will have mercy upon all who call on the name of the Lord for salvation confessing their sins humbling them selves seeking His mercy. God will also in the end be forced to execute justice upon all who refused to submit to His commandments rebelling against His wisdom thus leaving God with no other choice but to blot out there names from the Book of Life.
What about the scriptures dealing with God “hardening Pharaohs heart”?
16 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
17 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
18 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
19 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
20 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
21 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
22 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,”
This is not such a hard thing to understand. Come reason with me. Jesus taught us to “love your enemies,” “for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44,45. The same sun that shines on wax and melts it shines on clay and hardens it. It is not the fault of the sun rather it is the substance that the material is made from that causes it to react one way or another. There fore Jesus who loved His enemies showed Pharaoh love and mercy as he gave him one chance after another to obey His commandment to let Israel go. Pharaoh’s heart was proud and would not let Israel go each time God had one plague after another cease. God who is all powerful could of in a single manifestation destroyed pharaoh, yet He gave him ten chance to obey God. Finally when Pharaoh had shown that there was no way he would ever obey God no matter how much mercy was shown him it was thena dn only then that God sent the tenth plague and killed all the first born of Egypt so that the Egyptians would be compelled to let Israel go. Even after this Pharaoh went after God’s people with a great army with intentions to force the Hebrews back into slavery. Pharaoh knew this was against God’s will for God had said, “let my people go, that they may serve me.” Pharaoh was not in ignorance of God’s will. Rather He deliberately chose to disobey God. God had extended to Pharaoh as much mercy as He possibly could and ultimately God was left with no other choice but to destroy pharaoh and his army to preserve the Hebrews.
God had manifested through Pharaoh that it is God that “bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust.” (Isaiah 26:5) It was God that made Egypt great through Joseph over 400 years before. During the 7 years of famine God had used Joseph to bring all cattle, lands, and men under the ownership and control of Egypt. As long as Egypt obeyed the leading of God Egypt was blessed and made great. When Egypt began to disobey God, the Lord manifested through the ten plagues that He has power to strip the mightiest nation from all its cattle, lands and men.
It is a fascinating fact that the Hebrew word “chazaq” is translated “hardened” in almost every account of God’s dealing with Pharaoh. But when Pharaoh “hardened” his own heart, the Hebrew word “kabed” is used. Why this difference? Actually the word “chazaq” has a literal meaning of “strengthen, courage.” For example, we read in 1 Samuel 30:6 that “David encouraged himself in the Lord,” but the word translated “encouraged” is “chazaq”—the same word which is translated as “hardened” in this passage. “Chazaq” is also translated as “encouraged” in the following verses: 1 Samuel 30:6; Deuteronomy 1:38; 2 Samuel 11:25; 2 Chronicles 35:2; Psalms 64:5; Isaiah 41:7; Deuteronomy 3:28; Judges 20:22; 2 Chronicles 31:4. When we take the true meaning of the word, we find that God actually encouraged Pharaohs heart to let Israel go. But when Pharaoh hardened his own heart the Bible uses a different word—“kabed”—which means “to make heavy, hardened.”
But why did the “encouragement” of the Lord have the effect of hardening Pharaoh’s heart? We might just as well ask why the same encouraging, inspiring ministry of Jesus could produce a loving John and a traitorous Judas. One was softened and the other hardened. The same sun that softens the wax will harden the clay. Every man is exposed in some degree to the grace of Christ (John 1:9) The Lord is spoken of as a sun (Psalm 84:11) who lightens every man. Some reject light and grow hard (Zechariah 7:12). Some accept and are softened. The end result depends on the response of each individual.
Only those who have their names in the Book of Life during the final time of trouble overcome the mark of the beast.
“ 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.”
Only those today who by grace through faith in Jesus are overcoming sin will not have their names blotted out of the Book of Life.
“ 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.”