The Books of Life │ Expository Bible Studies │ Christ Assembly

Book of Rescue

In Daniel 12:1, Daniel received a revelation from God about a future time of unprecedented distress. Daniel prophesied that at that time, Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the people of Israel, will arise. 

Daniel 12:1, Page 1411

Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.

Daniel described the time of distress such as never occurred since the nation until that time. But Daniel also provided good news: everyone who is written in the book will be rescued. 1The Hebrew term for “in [the] book” (“בַּסֵּפֶר”) is a common term for book in the Old Testament. This time of rescue appears linked to the time when these believers rescued from distress will be awakened and raised to eternal life. Others will be awaken to disgrace and everlasting contempt. 2The Hebrew phrase for “disgrace and everlasting contempt”  (“לַחֲרָפוֹת לְדִרְאוֹן עוֹלָם”) describes the resurrection to judgment, followed by eternal shame and suffering. See the discussion of Gehena and the Lake of Fire below. The rescue may be purely a resurrection to life or to judgment (with disgrace and everlasting contempt). 3In Zechariah 12:10, page 1491, God pours out the Spirit of grace and supplication, which causes the living Jews to look upon Jesus who they have pierced, and mourn for their rejection of Messiah. Then, God will bring eternal life to those Jews so that from the least of them to the greatest of them, they will all know the Lord. See Jeremiah 31:34, Page 1238 for the New Covenant promise with the house of Israel and the house of Jacob. Also, only one third of the Jews in the land of Israel will survive the tribulation period (Zechariah 13:8, page 1292).  We know that this Book of Rescue had the names written in it sometime before the time of distress; the exact time remains unclear. Only born-again believers have their names written in the Book of Rescue. The Book of Rescue only has names from the nation of Israel written in it.

Book of Rescue–Summary

1. Distress. Daniel prophesied concerning a time of distress never before experienced in Israel, and he had lived through the total conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Everyone having their names written in the Book of Rescue will be raised.

2. Rescue. The Book of Rescue contains the names of everyone who will be rescued from the time of great distress, but those names will only be born-again believers. 

3. Content. The names recorded in the Book of Rescue contain only Jews from the nation of Israel, and those Jews were apparently alive at the time of the unprecedented distress. 

Book of Living Contrasted. The Book of the Living contains the names of everyone alive on earth at any given time. The Book of Rescue, in contrast, was written before the time of great distress coming upon Israel in the future. Furthermore, the Book of Rescue only contains the names of Jews from the nation of Israel. Therefore, the Book of the Living is not the same book as the Book of Rescue.

Book of Remembrance

In Malachi 3:16, page 1497, we read about a Book of Remembrance. 4The Hebrew phrase there for “Book of Remembrance” (“סֵפֶר זִכָּרוֹן”) means a book used to remind the reader. Malachi described a book concerning people who feared the LORD.

Malachi 3:16, Page 1497

Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem Him.

In the same verse, we also learn about the exclusive nature of that book. Only those who “fear the LORD” and “esteem Him” will have their names written in the Book of Remembrance. 5The Hebrew phrase for “fear the LORD” (“לְיִרְאֵי יְהוָה”) (notice the masculine noun for “fear” in construct with Yahweh) used a common word for “fear” and here it stands directly related to “esteem Him” (“לְחֹשְׁבֵי שְׁמוֹ”–qal participle).  Taken together, only those who have an abiding “fear” of Yahweh and “esteem” Yahweh will have their names recorded in the Book of Remembrance Yahweh directed that those names be written down in the Book of Remembrance before Him. 6The Hebrew term for “before Him” (“לְפָנָיו”) means literally before His face, and in this context indicated that Yahweh had the Book of Remembrance written down before Him, apparently at the time the living men “feared” and “esteemed” Yahweh. Notice in Malachi 3:17, page 1497 that the book appears to be written after the people on earth speak to one another as people who fear Yahweh; they speak and then Yahweh gave attention and heard it, and then the book was written. The sequence of events here distinguishes this Book of Remembrance from the Book of Life mentioned in the New Testament. The Book of Life in the New Testament was written before the foundation of the world. Therefore, this Book of Remembrance may focus more upon the works of those people who fear and esteem Yahweh.  The purpose behind the Book of Remembrance may be seen clearly in Malachi 3:17, page 1497.

In Malachi 3:17, page 1497, we read: They will be Mine.” This phrase summarized well the purpose for memorializing the people who “feared” and “esteemed” Yahweh. When Yahweh prepares His possession, He will spare the people named in His Book of Remembrance as a man spares his son who serves him. 


Notice that we learn further in Malachi 3:18 7See page 1497 of the Study Bible. that Yahweh will rely upon this Book of Remembrance when He “again will distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”  This time of judgment seems very similar to the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46. 8See pages 1548-1549 of the Study Bible.  At that time of judgment, Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep will inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world, while the goats will be cast into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Likewise, the sheep gained favor with Jesus when they helped the foreigner, hungry, naked, thirsty and imprisoned.  To honor those people was the same as honoring Jesus.  Likewise, to ignore those people, would be to dishonor Jesus.  The righteous enter eternal life, and the wicked enter eternal punishment. 9In Revelation 20:12, page 1938, Jesus sits upon a great white throne for judgment. Only unbelievers appear for judgment at the great white throne (see discussion below concerning the Book of Life). Books will be opened, including the Book of Life, which was written before the foundation of the world, and contains the names of the righteous (Philippians 4:3, page 1839; compare Psalm 69:28, page 921). Therefore, it seems likely that Book of Remembrance will also be opened at that time, because God will use it to judge the unsaved, as He said in Malachi 3:18, page 1497.

References │ Page Numbers Below Footnotes   [ + ]

1. The Hebrew term for “in [the] book” (“בַּסֵּפֶר”) is a common term for book in the Old Testament.
2. The Hebrew phrase for “disgrace and everlasting contempt”  (“לַחֲרָפוֹת לְדִרְאוֹן עוֹלָם”) describes the resurrection to judgment, followed by eternal shame and suffering. See the discussion of Gehena and the Lake of Fire below.
3. In Zechariah 12:10, page 1491, God pours out the Spirit of grace and supplication, which causes the living Jews to look upon Jesus who they have pierced, and mourn for their rejection of Messiah. Then, God will bring eternal life to those Jews so that from the least of them to the greatest of them, they will all know the Lord. See Jeremiah 31:34, Page 1238 for the New Covenant promise with the house of Israel and the house of Jacob. Also, only one third of the Jews in the land of Israel will survive the tribulation period (Zechariah 13:8, page 1292).
4. The Hebrew phrase there for “Book of Remembrance” (“סֵפֶר זִכָּרוֹן”) means a book used to remind the reader.
5. The Hebrew phrase for “fear the LORD” (“לְיִרְאֵי יְהוָה”) (notice the masculine noun for “fear” in construct with Yahweh) used a common word for “fear” and here it stands directly related to “esteem Him” (“לְחֹשְׁבֵי שְׁמוֹ”–qal participle).  Taken together, only those who have an abiding “fear” of Yahweh and “esteem” Yahweh will have their names recorded in the Book of Remembrance
6. The Hebrew term for “before Him” (“לְפָנָיו”) means literally before His face, and in this context indicated that Yahweh had the Book of Remembrance written down before Him, apparently at the time the living men “feared” and “esteemed” Yahweh. Notice in Malachi 3:17, page 1497 that the book appears to be written after the people on earth speak to one another as people who fear Yahweh; they speak and then Yahweh gave attention and heard it, and then the book was written. The sequence of events here distinguishes this Book of Remembrance from the Book of Life mentioned in the New Testament. The Book of Life in the New Testament was written before the foundation of the world. Therefore, this Book of Remembrance may focus more upon the works of those people who fear and esteem Yahweh.
7. See page 1497 of the Study Bible.
8. See pages 1548-1549 of the Study Bible.
9. In Revelation 20:12, page 1938, Jesus sits upon a great white throne for judgment. Only unbelievers appear for judgment at the great white throne (see discussion below concerning the Book of Life). Books will be opened, including the Book of Life, which was written before the foundation of the world, and contains the names of the righteous (Philippians 4:3, page 1839; compare Psalm 69:28, page 921). Therefore, it seems likely that Book of Remembrance will also be opened at that time, because God will use it to judge the unsaved, as He said in Malachi 3:18, page 1497.