The Books of Life │ Expository Bible Studies │ Christ Assembly

Revelation 17:8, Page 1934

The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.

In Revelation 17:8, 1See page 1934 of the Study Bible. we learn that “those who dwell on earth 2Notice the limitation here: only people alive on  earth at that time. The focus here is not upon spiritual acts in heaven, but rather physical acts of spiritual worship on earth. and “whose name had not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world 3The Greek phrase “had not been written” (“οὐ γέγραπται“–perfect tense) describes an act in the past with continuing results. The significance of the perfect tense here emphasizes those names were not written in the past and then removed from the Lamb’s Book of Life. Therefore, the verse indicates that those names, before the foundation of the world, were never written the Book of Life of the Lamb, and they have not been written since then in the Lamb’s Book of Life. will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.” This verse ties in closely with Revelation 13:8 4See page 1929 of the Study Bible.  because we see there very similar descriptions of people who worship the beast: (1) they dwell upon earth; and (2) their names have not been written in either the book of life of the lamb or the book of life; and (3) they will worship or wonder at the beast. 5Two Greek phrases need attention here: (1) “whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain” (“οὗ οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ ἀρνίου τοῦ ἐσφαγμένου ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου“) (Revelation 13:8, page 1929); and (2) “whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” (“ὧν οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνομα ἐπὶ τὸ βιβλίον τῆς ζωῆς ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου“) (Revelation 17:8, page 1934). Notice several similarities: “not written,” “before the foundation of the world,” “book of life” (dative and accusative cases, both with the definite article)–all of these phrases are nearly identical in the Greek text. Based upon these similar descriptions, these verses may refer to the same book, using the short name Book of Life (Revelation 17:8, page 1934) or the longer name Book of Life of the Lamb.

The question arises: is the Book of Life the same as the Book of Life of the Lamb? We certainly have evidence here that both books were written before the foundation of the world, and that anyone who worships or wonders at the beast never had their names written in the Book of Life or the Book of Life of the Lamb. Based upon the substantial similarities between the two verses, a strong claim can be made that the Book of Life in Revelation 13:8 6See page 1929 of the Study Bible. is the same as the Book of Life of the Lamb in Revelation 17:8. 7See Page 1934 of the Study Bible. In both contexts, born-again believers distinguish themselves by their reaction to the beast. Those people do not worship the beast or wonder at the beast, like all the unsaved people. The other uses of the term “book” in Revelation also support the conclusion they are the same Book. Only the names of born-again believers have their names written in the Book of Life and the Book of the Lamb. Only those born-again believers will not worship the beast (Revelation 13:8). 8See the page 1929 of the Study Bible Only those born-again believers will not wonder when they see the beast. Therefore, the born-again believers are linked to being in the Book of Life, and the Book of Life was written before the foundation of the world, just like the Book of Life of the Lamb was written before the foundation of the world. Because of these similarities between the two books, they appear to be same Book with similar names.

Apparently, in Revelation 13:8 9See page 1929 of the Study Bible. the names were written in the book of life before the foundation of the world (and not emphasizing that the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world).  In that verse, we read that the people there worship the beast because their names were not written in the “book of life of the Lamb.”  God emphasized in that verse that all unbelievers will worship with beast. God identified these people as those people whose names were never written in “book of life of the Lamb.” 10Notice the words “had not been written.” The Greek phrase for “had not been written” (“οὐ γέγραπται“) is a perfect, passive indicative. The use of the perfect tense here means that  those names were not written in the past and then removed, but rather they were never written in the book of life of the Lamb. Please remember that the book of life of the Lamb was written before the foundation of the world. Therefore, this verse shows that those names of the unbelievers were never written in eternity past, before the foundation of the world. Please recall that the names of the people written in the Lamb’s Book of Life were written into that Book before the foundation of the world. God knows all things and by His sovereign power He ultimately controls all things, so that He can reveal the future without error.

References │ Page Numbers Below Footnotes   [ + ]

1. See page 1934 of the Study Bible.
2. Notice the limitation here: only people alive on  earth at that time. The focus here is not upon spiritual acts in heaven, but rather physical acts of spiritual worship on earth.
3. The Greek phrase “had not been written” (“οὐ γέγραπται“–perfect tense) describes an act in the past with continuing results. The significance of the perfect tense here emphasizes those names were not written in the past and then removed from the Lamb’s Book of Life. Therefore, the verse indicates that those names, before the foundation of the world, were never written the Book of Life of the Lamb, and they have not been written since then in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
4, 6, 9. See page 1929 of the Study Bible.
5. Two Greek phrases need attention here: (1) “whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain” (“οὗ οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ ἀρνίου τοῦ ἐσφαγμένου ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου“) (Revelation 13:8, page 1929); and (2) “whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” (“ὧν οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνομα ἐπὶ τὸ βιβλίον τῆς ζωῆς ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου“) (Revelation 17:8, page 1934). Notice several similarities: “not written,” “before the foundation of the world,” “book of life” (dative and accusative cases, both with the definite article)–all of these phrases are nearly identical in the Greek text. Based upon these similar descriptions, these verses may refer to the same book, using the short name Book of Life (Revelation 17:8, page 1934) or the longer name Book of Life of the Lamb.
7. See Page 1934 of the Study Bible.
8. See the page 1929 of the Study Bible
10. Notice the words “had not been written.” The Greek phrase for “had not been written” (“οὐ γέγραπται“) is a perfect, passive indicative. The use of the perfect tense here means that  those names were not written in the past and then removed, but rather they were never written in the book of life of the Lamb. Please remember that the book of life of the Lamb was written before the foundation of the world. Therefore, this verse shows that those names of the unbelievers were never written in eternity past, before the foundation of the world.