A Facebook Friend Asked, “When Is Our Name Written into the Book of Life?”

A crucial question
since “anyone not found written in the Book of Life

was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

As the Schofield Study Bible III puts it so chillingly:
“an awful blank where the name might have been”

That’s supposed to get our rapt attention!  And our grateful response and action because God desires to save not only all Israel (Rom. 11:26) but all humans (1 Tim. 2:4).

The Book of Life is mentioned eight times in the New Testament, seven of those in the book of Revelation.  That tells us that those of us in the end time need to know about it.  This is literally a matter of life and death—of the eternal variety!

barley harvestIf we keep God’s Holy Day called Pentecost which will be Sunday, June 4, we know that God and the Word planned from the foundation of the world that comparatively few “firstfruits” are entered into the Book of Life up to the time of Jesus Christ returning and starting the Millennium.   Barley harvest equals barely harvest.

Consider the few names honored in the Hall of Faith (Heb. 11).  Note that after all the effort by the Son of God for 3-1/2 years, there were only about 120 disciples (Acts 1:15).  The Great Shepherd leads only a “little flock” (Luke 12:32).  Narrow and  difficult is “the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:14).  The corollary result is few names being written into the Book of Life at this time.

In contrast, the great harvest takes place during the Millennium but especially during the Great White Throne Judgment.

BibleRev. 20:12 tells how:  For the billions in this second resurrection, “books were opened”—the books of the Bible [greek biblion].  As Jesus Christ and His saints open the people’s minds to understand the Bible, another  book—“the Book of Life”—is opened.   The Book of Life had been closed while satan was deceiving many at the close of the Millennium.  It is opened now, and this is when the pages really fill up!

The Book of Life is a different book than the Bible, as Rev. 22:19 confirms.  Most of our names aren’t written in the Bible.   How many Lazaruses, Mephibosheths and Sapphiras do you know!

When written into the Book of Life?

powerShort answer:  When we receive the Holy Spirit.

It was on Pentecost when God fired up His Church by giving His Holy Spirit which is His power, essence, presence, nature, character and truth.

“Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Rom. 8:9).  Just as a human life starts at conception, so real spiritual life begins with conception—begettal—of the Holy Spirit.  This is when the Holy Spirit, which is needed to understand the things of God, combines with our spirit in man which enables us to understand the things of man (1 Cor. 2:11).  Not until we receive the Holy Spirit are we really living!

When the startled crowd cried out on Pentecost “what shall we do?”, Peter gave the process that is still the same for us today:  repent, be baptized and you shall receive the Holy Spirit when the minister of God lays hands on you and asks God to grant it to you (Acts 2:38, 8:17).

Friends, family and brethren rejoice with you at your baptism but not as much as angels in heaven (Luke 15:10).  Woo-hoo, get out the book!

bride of ChristThis begins the process of being born again from above.  This puts us into the spiritual Church of God and engages us to become the Bride of Jesus Christ.  Having your name in this wedding book puts you on course to be not a guest but the Bride!

This writes our “citizenship in heaven” (Php. 3:20).  The Church of God is “the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven” (Heb. 12:23).   It sounds like the Book of Life is like a census record.

Paul said Clement and other fellow workers in the faith were written in the Book of Life (Php. 4:3).  Paul knew about this crucial book.

So did Daniel.  God told Daniel that at the end-time of trouble “such as never was … at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book” (12:1).  “Your people” doesn’t refer to the Jews but to God’s people ready for the first resurrection, which included Daniel (verse 13).

Rev. 17:8 sounds as if  names were written into the Book of Life before the foundation of the world.  C’mon, God knowing about you by name before the heavens and earth were created?  With this wrong notion, this verse would also be saying that many names were not written before they have even lived their life of good or evil?  Bedrock principles of the Bible are impartiality and fairness of God and free moral agency.

Pentecost teaches that this verse is saying that from the foundation of the world God planned end-time events and determined that there would be some people in the Book of Life who would not wonder at the Beast.

Paul explains this in Eph. 1:9-14 (New  Living Translation).  ” God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure.   And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.”  In verse 11 when Paul says “he chose us in advance,  and he makes everything work out according to his plan,” in the next verses he talks about Jews and Gentiles as a group.  From the foundation of the world, God and the Word planned that there would be Jews and Gentiles and some being written into His Book of Life.  Where you come into play, Paul says “when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.”

Luke 10:20 seems to not quite agree with the rest of the Bible that we are written in the Book of Life at baptism when we receive the Holy Spirit.  The 70 Jesus sent out may have been baptized by John the Baptist but surely hadn’t received the Holy Spirit yet since the 12 disciples hadn’t yet either.  Did Jesus judge they were an exception?  Or is it a translation issue?  The word “are” is not backed by a Greek word and perhaps should be “will.”  The 70 were undoubtedly part of the 120 at Pentecost.

Rev. 21:27 gives the significant detail that while the Father and Jesus live and work together in perfect harmony and unity,

the Book of Life is the Lamb’s

Jesus came that “they may have life, and … have  it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

How just and fair that the Father “has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22)—the Son of Man who came down and lived as a human.

That’s why we firstfruits are being “redeemed from among men” because we “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Rev. 14:4).  We commit to walking as He walked (1 John 2:6).  We want His mind (Php. 2:5).  We bring every thought into subjection to His obedience (2 Cor. 10:5).  We overcome spiritual lethargy so we can be written into His Book of Life (Rev. 3:5).

Nothing is more important than cooperating with God
to add us to His Book of Life

now as a firstfruit and that we continue to be written into it.  If we want that, we will want to keep His Holy Day called Pentecost June 4.

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The Special Weekend Coming!

thPWAEJ6KIMemorial Weekend?  July 4 Weekend?
No, the special weekend coming 
June 3 and 4.
Yes, on my calendar the squares
are blank.

Nothing marked there!

Funny, you’re special if you even know what’s coming that weekend!

Fifty days after the Exodus, the Lord told Moses to get the people “ready for the third day” when He would “come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people” (Ex. 19:11).

What did this special weekend have in store for Israel?

“You shall be a special treasure to Me above all people … you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (verses 5-6).

10CTradition says it was on God’s Holy Day of Pentecost (Lev. 23:15-22) that the Lord gave His Ten Commandments and judgments (Ex. 20-23).

Since that time, Satan deceives people into claiming they are done away. But Jesus said, “if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17).   Continue to reject them, and we’ll be the ones done away!

David, a man after God’s own heart, wrote “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (Psa. 19:9).   God knew Israel did not have such a heart in them (Deut. 5:29) as a result of Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden and barred from the Tree of  Life representing the Holy Spirit.

Flash ahead to the resurrected Lord appearing to His stunned disciples for 40 days and telling them to wait in Jerusalem to be

“endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49)

Ten days after Jesus ascended, on God’s Holy Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given to fire up the New Testament Church of God (Acts 2). God’s spiritual Israel (Gal. 6:16) is still promised to be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” (1 Pet. 2:9).

The Holy Spirit is the power, essence, presence, nature, character and truth of God that enables God’s people to overcome their human nature and become new in Christ.  We don’t have to wait two more weeks till Pentecost 2017 to receive the Holy Spirit.  Today it’s available if the Father calls us (John 6:44), we repent, believe, get baptized, and a minister of God lays hands on us (Acts 2:38).  There is no greater power for us to wait for!  Time is short, no time for delay.  We must stir up the Spirit, overcome and grow now!

For all three momentous weekends, the One asking the people to get ready is Jesus Christ. He was the God of the Old Testament.   He is the One a Christian must follow today.

Pentecost pictures the harvest of first fruits “who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” and have been “redeemed from among men” (Rev. 14:4).

Tradition says the book of Ruth, one of the five Megilloth (festival) books of the Bible, is read on Pentecost, and its themes of redemption and marriage inspire those becoming the Bride of Christ (Rev. 19).

With all these amazing spiritual themes, lessons, and rewards, no wonder the Apostle Paul was hurrying to be at Jerusalem for Pentecost (Acts 20:16)!

This special Pentecost Weekend coming up June 3 and 4

gives us much to think about and look forward to.

Our lives are so complicated and busy dealing with the cares of this life.  Maybe we silently scream:  Who has time for God?  For what’s really important?

On this special weekend coming, God the Father and Jesus our Brother have consecrated holy time from Friday sunset to Sunday sunset to build our relationship with Them and with our brothers and sisters in Christ during worship services.   We will have time to delight ourselves in doing God’s pleasure, ways and thoughts (Isa. 58:13-14).

OK, we’re special just by knowing about this special weekend.  But what are we going to do about it?

Except respond to God’s grace in becoming part of His Little Flock (Luke 12:32) on the narrow path to life that few find (Matt. 7:13-14)!

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How to Stir Up the Greatest Power

Tsar BombaOn Oct. 30, 1961 Russia detonated
the most powerful nuclear weapon ever,

nicknamed the Tsar Bomba,
which had a yield of 57 megaton TNT

and a potential of 100 megatons.

That’s power!  But nothing like the Holy Spirit, the greatest power in existence.
The incredible truth is that we can have access to this power NOW.
We shouldn’t be putting off Christian victory waiting for some greater help.
How do we “stir up the gift of God?” (2 Tim. 1:6)?

The Holy Spirit is given through the laying on of hands by a minister of God (2 Tim. 1:7, Acts 8:16-17).  This points us toward the synergistic power of working and fellowshipping with the body of Christ and puts us into His Church.

When the Holy Spirit was given to start the New Testament Church of God on Pentecost in 31 A.D., and the crowd cried out “what shall we do?”,  Peter answered “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

rivers living waterAfter you come up out of the water dripping wet, what better way for you to be prepped for receiving the Holy Spirit which is compared to rivers of living water (John 7:38).

If you haven’t yet received God’s Holy Spirit in you, please make it your top priority to let the Holy Spirit “dwell with you” and spur you to baptism (John 14:17).

What is the Holy Spirit?

♥  God’s Power“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7).

One word to sum up your life?  Would it be fear?

“Fear vs. power.  Fear vs. love.  Fear vs. sound-mindedness.  The gift of God’s Spirit has unhealthy fear outnumbered three to one…. It has fear outflanked and outranked on every level” (John Miller, “May the Force (and More) Be With You,” Beyond Today, May-June 2017).

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).

dna♥  Essence & NatureGod the Father and Jesus Christ are Spirit (John 4:24). It’s their nature—spiritual DNA—that you want to replace your human one! (2 Pet. 1:4).

♥  PresenceGod the Father and Jesus Christ live in us through the Holy Spirit.  They don’t come in the door and sit on the couch; they stir us to get up and act like their temple in thought, attitudes and service.

♥  CharacterGod transforms, changes us and makes us a new creation in Christ through the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).  God is love (1 John 4:8) and love leads the list.  “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5, New Revised Standard Version).

♥  TruthTo help us God gives us “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17).  “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17) and we will be wanting to study the Bible if we have the Holy Spirit.

How stir up the Holy Spirit and use it effectively

♥  Ask for it daily—Luke 11:11-13. How much more than a human father loves to give his kids gifts does our Heavenly Father love to give us His Holy Spirit!

It’s like with asking for wisdom.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally” (James1:5).   We worship the God who paves His streets in gold, opens windows of heaven with blessings that are shaken, pressed down and overflowing! (Mal. 3:10, Luke 6:38).

Maybe you’re thinking like I used to: If I ask for love, God won’t just funnel it into me.  He will give me a trial that will force me to grow in the love I don’t have.  Who wants more trials, so no way am I going to ask for more!  God gives me enough without asking!

But several years ago I realized time is short to be developing the character of God and so I courageously in faith—relaxed trust in God—started asking God daily to give me whichever fruits He in wisdom as the Master Timer thinks I need at this time.  Natch, the Merciful God has not inundated me in trials.  He promises not to allow beyond what we’re able (1 Cor. 10:13).

toolbox♥  Use the four Christian tools: prayer, Bible study, meditation and fasting.  For a stubborn situation, combine tools (Mark 9:29)–all four at once for a maximum dose.

♥  When tempted, immediately cry out for God’s help—not wait until you’ve gone and done it.

♥  Ask God to transform your desires so He can give you the desires of your heart.   Ask daily for the mind of Christ (Php. 2:5) so you have power to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).  This is the solution when you find yourself clawing for your spiritual survival because you’re craving a sin.

Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you analyze why you want to do something God’s way instead.  Why it would make good outcomes for not only you but all others.  Experience the powerful miracle of waking up one day to see that you no longer want to do the sin,  and you love God and Jesus so much that you want to please them!

♥  Identify your spiritual gifts (Rom. 12 and 1 Cor. 12). Ask God to direct you into ways to use them in His service.  But don’t get the big head and seek great things for yourself (Jer. 45:5).

♥  Seek God’s will, not own. This was Jesus’ final test in the Garden.  When Abraham showed he was willing to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, then God said “Now I know” (Gen. 22:12).  God will test each of us to see how much we treasure His Holy Spirit and whether He can trust us to be spirit beings for all eternity.  He doesn’t want any more satans!

♥  Be “zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14).   It is so obvious in the Bible that God expects His children to show good works made possible through His grace.

♥  Witness for God. We  must do our part individually and collectively to fulfill the mission of Matt. 24:14 and 28:18-20.  “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me … to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).  When God asks for an accounting of His Church, will we be able to respond “been there!”

The Holy Spirit is limitless.  The Holy Spirit powers us to go beyond our physical capabilities.  Every day we should ask God what He would like for us to do to serve Him.

May we be “filled  with all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph.3:19-20).

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I Never Noticed Until Today That Revelation Mentions Three Lakes of Fire

There’s the one I always paid rapt attention to—
the final one to avoid at all costs in Rev. 20:14.

But I never noticed that Rev. 19:20 and 20:10
also mention a Lake of Fire.

Three Lakes of Fire?   Or the same one?

♦  Rev. 19:20 prophesies that at the start of the Millennium, the beast and false prophet will be tossed into the Lake of Fire when Jesus Christ defeats them.

♦  One thousand years later (20:7), “The devil … was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.  And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (verse 10).

  The third and final Lake of Fire of Rev. 20:14 comes after the Great White Throne Judgment period on the earth.  The Bible doesn’t clearly say how long this hugely significant period lasts except to hint that it might be 100 years (Isa. 65:20).

This means the three Lakes of Fire cover about 1,100 years.  The Bible says the first two lakes are the same—the devil cast into the same one as the beast and false prophet (20:10).  The Bible doesn’t specify that the third one is the same, but that would be the way to bet.

Size

The first Lake of Fire would not have to be very big since only two wicked men are specifically mentioned.  A Pond of Fire would do.  The second one forecasts only the devil, though it probably includes his demons who cast in their lot with him and so probably will also be cast in this unwanted role.   These spirit beings might not even take up space.

The third “second death” lake seems to be expanded earth-wide so it can purge all death, Hades the grave, all material, all flesh and all sin.  Only Gods in the Family will be left so the Father can then come down to the New Earth and make it His eternal home.   That’s why the earth enjoys the sweet spot in the universe as a most privileged planet!

Ever burning?

lake of fireWe know from real life experience that flesh in fire will burn up and become ashes.  And when there’s nothing more to burn, a fire will go out.  How pertinent that Sodom and Gomorrah suffered “the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7), but are not still burning today.   What’s eternal is the lesson, snuffed out by too many today for political correctness.

Malachi so plainly gives the fate of the wicked:  “Burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.  And the day which is coming shall burn them up… You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet” (4:1-3).

In Rev. 20:10 notice that the key word “are” is in italics because it’s not in the original Greek.  Translators, influenced by Greek philosophers such as Plato and horrified by the graphic illustrations of Dante Alighieri, added the word “are” and translated “they” because they privately interpreted that the two wicked men would still be writhing in torture there.   Thanks to Malachi and many other scriptures, we know better.

The New International Version correctly says “had been thrown” and the Revised Standard Version gets it right with “were.”  The  two wicked leaders will probably die quickly from smoke inhalation and will have long ago ashed and wafted.  Will the Lake of Fire go out for the Millennium?

The real mystery is what even fuels the second Lake of Fire since satan and demons are spirit and won’t burn up.  It’s common to question why God would even put spirit beings into a Lake of Fire.  Somehow it facilitates them being “tormented forever day and night” (20:10).  It certainly follows Bible principle that an accuser/deceiver receive the very punishment he conned humans into believing would be their horrific eternal destination (Deut. 18:18-19).

Since apparently the Lake of Fire dies out and the new earth appears (Rev. 21:1), satan and demons are sentenced to be “wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 13).

Why would a loving God

toast and torture His children for eternity?  He won’t!  “God our Savior … desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4).  The Master Timer calls each of His children at their best time to be in His eternal Family.

Who in their right mind would reject such an incomparable future of “pleasures forever more” (Psa. 16:11).

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