The Books of Life │ Expository Bible Studies │ Christ Assembly

Revelation 20:15, Page 1939

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Notice here that if anyone was not found written in the Book of Life, 1The Greek term phrase for “was not found written” (“οὐχ εὑρέθη . . . γεγραμμένος“) indicates that the name was not in the book of life. Taking the phrase in two parts, the “not found” (“οὐχ εὑρέθη“–aorist indicative) shows the person was completely missing from the book. The Greek term for written (“γεγραμμένος”–perfect passive participle) indicates, in conjunction with the verbal phrase “was not written,” that the name of the person was never written in the book, and the name of the person has not appeared in the book of life since then, and remains absent from the book of life at the time of judgment at the great white throne judgment. he was thrown into the lake of fire. The Holy Spirit in the Bible teaches that unbelievers go to a temporary place of torture at the moment of death. 2Jesus taught that “the hell” (“τὴν γέενναν“) was a place of fire (Matthew 5:22, page 1507), which is unquenchable (Mark 9:43, page 1576), and the place where God is able to destroy (“ἀπολέσαι“) both the body and soul (“ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα“) (Matthew 10:28, page 1517); God throws unbelievers into hell after he has killed them, and so people should fear God, and not satan or any man (Luke 12:5, page  1624). Jesus also denounced the Pharisees and scribes because they made their proselytes “twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (“υἱὸν γεέννης διπλότερον ὑμῶν”). James tells us that hell (“τῆς γεέννης“) sets the tongue on fire which, in turn, sets on fire the course of our lives (James  3:6, page 1890). In passing, we should also note that God did not spare evil spirits who sinned, but cast them into hell (“ταρταρώσας”) kept for judgment; tartarosas there means the place of pits of darkness (“σειραῖς ζόφου“) where the evil spirits are kept (“τηρουμένους”), awaiting judgment; this passage provides the only time the word  tartarosas appears in any form in the New Testament. At the great white throne, Jesus judges unbelievers based upon the names written in the Lamb’s book of life. Because they are guilty of unbelief in the gospel and person of Jesus Christ, their names were never written in the Book of Life. Therefore, Jesus condemns them to eternal death, and they are cast into the lake of fire for eternity. Based upon the entire context, this Book of Life in Revelation 20:12, 15 3See Pages 1938-1939 of the Study Bible. contains only the names of people who are going to heaven, because they have eternal life. We know the Book of Life (also called the Book of Life of the Lamb) only contains the names of believers, and it was written before the foundation of the world. No believer’s name will ever be erased from that book. 4See the discussion of Revelation 13:8 above. As Jesus told His disciples, they should not rejoice that even the spirits are subject to them, but they should rejoice 5The Greek term for “rejoice” (“χαίρετε”–imperfect tense indicates a continuous action) has an interesting usage as a command in the New Testament. In Matthew 5:12, page 1506, believers should rejoice because their reward in heaven is great, because they endured persecution upon earth. In 2 Corinthians 13:11, page 1819, Paul commanded the believers to rejoice as part of his final greeting to that church. In Philippians 2:18, Paul commanded the Philippians to rejoice with Paul because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached, whether in pretense or in truth. In Philippians 3:1, page 1938, Paul commanded the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord as Paul turns to warnings about the life, in light of the goal of life, which is to know Christ and power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. In Philippians 4:4,  page 1839, Paul commanded the Philippians to rejoice always, because the Lord is near. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16, page 1850, Paul commanded the Thessalonians to rejoice always. In 1 Peter 4:13, page  1899, Peter commanded the believers living as aliens scattered abroad to keep on rejoicing as they share in the sufferings of Christ, so that they may rejoice in great exultation at His appearing. We understand that in all these passages, God commands rejoicing as a continuous activity (imperfect tense). This command of continuous rejoicing God directed only to believers, because only believers have the Holy Spirit living within them, who can produce joy even in difficult circumstance.  Only in Matthew 28:9, page 1556, Jesus “greeted” His disciples after His resurrection with the term for “rejoice” (“Χαίρετε”). As we have seen, everywhere else in the New Testament that particular term means “rejoice.” becasue their names are recorded in heaven. 6The Greek phrase “your names are recorded in heaven” (“ἐγγέγραπται” perfect passive indicative) means here that their names were written in the past and their names continue into the present to be recorded. Therefore, in this passage, Jesus encourages His disciples to rejoice in their everlasting life built upon faith alone, so that their names are recorded forever in heaven. Jesus taught His disciples that it was far greater to have your name written in heaven, than having demons subject to you on earth. The phrase “recorded in heaven” means here that their names were written in the Book of Life, because of the contrast between earthly spiritual power on earth and eternal spiritual life in heaven. Jesus meant that their names were written in the Book of Life, because it contains the names of every born-again believer. If Jesus was only talking about an earthly book of the living, the blessing would not fit this context of rejoicing over temporal earthly powers granted to the disciples. According to Jesus, and the words of His apostles, we should rejoice everyday, especially knowing that our names are recorded forever in the Book of Life. This promise of living with Jesus forever appears also in Revelation 21:27. 7See page 1940 of the Study Bible.

In Revelation 21:27,  the tribulation has ended, heaven and earth have passed away, and a new heaven and new earth have been created. Within that wonderful closing of the New Testament, Jesus contrasted life with Him in the New Jerusalem, and life outside of Christ. Only those people whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life shall ever come into the new Jerusalem.

References │ Page Numbers Below Footnotes   [ + ]

1. The Greek term phrase for “was not found written” (“οὐχ εὑρέθη . . . γεγραμμένος“) indicates that the name was not in the book of life. Taking the phrase in two parts, the “not found” (“οὐχ εὑρέθη“–aorist indicative) shows the person was completely missing from the book. The Greek term for written (“γεγραμμένος”–perfect passive participle) indicates, in conjunction with the verbal phrase “was not written,” that the name of the person was never written in the book, and the name of the person has not appeared in the book of life since then, and remains absent from the book of life at the time of judgment at the great white throne judgment.
2. Jesus taught that “the hell” (“τὴν γέενναν“) was a place of fire (Matthew 5:22, page 1507), which is unquenchable (Mark 9:43, page 1576), and the place where God is able to destroy (“ἀπολέσαι“) both the body and soul (“ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα“) (Matthew 10:28, page 1517); God throws unbelievers into hell after he has killed them, and so people should fear God, and not satan or any man (Luke 12:5, page  1624). Jesus also denounced the Pharisees and scribes because they made their proselytes “twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (“υἱὸν γεέννης διπλότερον ὑμῶν”). James tells us that hell (“τῆς γεέννης“) sets the tongue on fire which, in turn, sets on fire the course of our lives (James  3:6, page 1890). In passing, we should also note that God did not spare evil spirits who sinned, but cast them into hell (“ταρταρώσας”) kept for judgment; tartarosas there means the place of pits of darkness (“σειραῖς ζόφου“) where the evil spirits are kept (“τηρουμένους”), awaiting judgment; this passage provides the only time the word  tartarosas appears in any form in the New Testament.
3. See Pages 1938-1939 of the Study Bible.
4. See the discussion of Revelation 13:8 above.
5. The Greek term for “rejoice” (“χαίρετε”–imperfect tense indicates a continuous action) has an interesting usage as a command in the New Testament. In Matthew 5:12, page 1506, believers should rejoice because their reward in heaven is great, because they endured persecution upon earth. In 2 Corinthians 13:11, page 1819, Paul commanded the believers to rejoice as part of his final greeting to that church. In Philippians 2:18, Paul commanded the Philippians to rejoice with Paul because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached, whether in pretense or in truth. In Philippians 3:1, page 1938, Paul commanded the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord as Paul turns to warnings about the life, in light of the goal of life, which is to know Christ and power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. In Philippians 4:4,  page 1839, Paul commanded the Philippians to rejoice always, because the Lord is near. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16, page 1850, Paul commanded the Thessalonians to rejoice always. In 1 Peter 4:13, page  1899, Peter commanded the believers living as aliens scattered abroad to keep on rejoicing as they share in the sufferings of Christ, so that they may rejoice in great exultation at His appearing. We understand that in all these passages, God commands rejoicing as a continuous activity (imperfect tense). This command of continuous rejoicing God directed only to believers, because only believers have the Holy Spirit living within them, who can produce joy even in difficult circumstance.  Only in Matthew 28:9, page 1556, Jesus “greeted” His disciples after His resurrection with the term for “rejoice” (“Χαίρετε”). As we have seen, everywhere else in the New Testament that particular term means “rejoice.”
6. The Greek phrase “your names are recorded in heaven” (“ἐγγέγραπται” perfect passive indicative) means here that their names were written in the past and their names continue into the present to be recorded.
7. See page 1940 of the Study Bible.