...sefer hachayim (the Book of Life)
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"The next day Moses said to the people, 'You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to YHVH and, perhaps, I can make atonement for your sin.' So Moses returned to YHVH and said, 'Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if You will forgive their sin - but if not, please blot me out of Your book.' But YHVH said to Moses, 'Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot out of My Book. But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my Presence shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them'."
The Book of Life has been the subject of many misleading ideas. For example, evangelical preachers often link the book of life to an emotional appeal, urging people to "accept Jesus as their personal savior" so their names will be written in the book of life and they will "go to heaven when they die". Of course, there are several things wrong with this appeal. For one, the scriptures never tell people to accept "Jesus" as their personal savior so they can "go to heaven". Neither do the scriptures say that if they do so, their names will then be written in the book of life. Most think they know what these words mean because they have heard from someone they knew and trusted - who was simply repeating what they heard from someone they knew and trusted. But, how many of us have actually researched the words? Words mean things and, if we are to build our faith upon a firm foundation we need to know for ourselves what these words say and mean - not what traditional religion tells us they mean. We are called to be like those early Believers in Berea (click on highlighted words to view content) and verify that whatever is being proclaimed is Truth - or not. The way they did that was to search the scriptures. The only scriptures they had access to that spoke of the Essence of Truth was the Torah and the Prophets - the Messianic scriptures had yet to be written. It is, therefore, the duty of everyone seeking Truth to open the whole of the scriptures, to call upon the Father (YHVH - Who is Truth) for understanding and to find out for themselves if what is being taught is Truth - or not (1John 2:27).
There are many voices calling for our attention in the spirit realm these days and the nearer this coming age approaches those voices will only multiply and intensify. Finding Life in Truth is what this quest is about. The Father has given us an instruction manual as a map to help us find our way through this maze to Him - the Source of Life. Life is not the instruction manual itself - the manual only speaks of that Life (John 5:39). Life is found in an intimate relationship with the One Who is Truth manifested in the Life of the Son. It is imperative that we use the manual to dig for Truth ourselves and not settle for anything less than the excellence of Truth as exampled by the Son just because it might be easier to do so (Romans 3:4). The sole purpose of these articles is to encourage you to simply look at the words written on the pages of scripture for the meaning they contain in the light of the original language, the context they were assembled in, and with an appreciation of the Hebrew culture and mindset they were written from. The refusal to look at scripture just for what it says without overlaying a pre-conceived theological template upon it is the definition of tradition Yeshua gave in Mark 7:13. The embrace of tradition is the ONLY attribute Yeshua ever pointed to that He said would bring to "none effect" the Power of the Living Word in our lives. To Know Him is to Know Him in Truth (John 8:31-32).
The first mention of a "book" in which names were retained or blotted out, is found in Exodus 32:30-34 above, the first of six mentions in the Tanakh (OT). Whether these words refer to a physical book or scroll is not the point - it is what the words mean that we need to pay attention to. The Hebrew word translated "book" is sepher, the root of which is saphar and that Hebrew word actually means "take account of, to reckon." There are several interesting points here. First, it is not "Christ’s" book (as most preacher’s would have you believe), but YHVH’s reckoning. Second, there is no mention of when or how the names are added or subtracted, only that YHVH has such an accounting and that he reserves the right to blot out the names of those who sin against him. We are told in 1John 3:4 that "Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices LAWlessness; sin is lawLESSness" (see Torah or "the Law"? for further explanation). The "book" spoken of here is obviously an indication that there are different consequences awaiting those who are obedient to YHVH's Words and those who are not. There will be something positive for those whose names are in the book, and something negative for those whose names are not in the book.
Some believe that only the names of the spiritual elites, i.e, the "giants of the faith" are written in the book. However, this raises a question of why names would be blotted out if only the spiritual get their names in the book in the first place. Neither does this position seem consistent with 1Peter 1:17. In other words, YHVH does not play favorites, but gives everyone a fair chance. Therefore, a better position seems to be that all names - all people created - were recorded in the book before the foundation of the earth. Now, to understand what it means to be "before the foundation of the earth", one must first understand the Perpetual Nature of the Present Presence. The concern, then, is not how to get our names in the book, but how to prevent our names from being erased from the book.
|"Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous." Psalm 69:27-28|
...the Kingdom of Life
This passage in Psalm 69 is the first explanation of the positive and negative aspects associated with being in the book of the Source of Life. In other words, those whose names are in the book (those who are one with YHVH) will gain entry to the Kingdom of YHVH. This is a powerful point. The whole thrust of the message preached by Yeshua and the apostles concerned the kingdom of YHVH (Luke 4:43). Many years before that, however, David said that only the people whose names are in the book of life would gain the kingdom. This is just another case where the "New Testament" is not "new" at all, but simply an expression of the Original Words of YHVH in the light of the Resurrection of the Messiah of Israel and His fulfillment of the promised restoration of YHVH's Kingdom to His Family of Israel (Matthew 15:24 - see how there has always only been One Covenant). Given this, a prime concern should be how our names remain in the book of life.
The last passage in the Tanakh (OT) to mention YHVH’s book is in Daniel 12:1-3. These verses mention that entry into the kingdom is a blessing for those whose names are in the book - nothing is said about heaven. Yeshua said in Luke 17:20-21 that the Kingdom is "within" or "among" YHVH's family. The actual phrase, book of life, was first used by the apostle, Sha'ul (Paul), in Philippians 4:3. Sha'ul evidently believed that the names of those laboring with him were still written in the book of life. It does not say how he knew this, but he knew the Original Writings and could certainly have discerned it from there. All the other scriptures pertaining to the book of life are in Revelation and, as just seen in the last paragraph; these verses in Revelation reinforce the message in the Original Writings, updated in the light of Yeshua's accomplishment.
In Revelation 3:5, Yeshua said, "He that overcomes, 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..." The word translated "confess" comes from the Greek word, exomologesomai, which means to acknowledge that someone is in agreement with you, or with someone who serves your cause. Please note that Yeshua did not say He would add the names to the book of life. He simply affirmed that he would not blot them out. He also said that he will acknowledge their names before the Father. What a promise! The message here in Revelation is the same as the one delivered by David and Daniel: The overcomers will be the ones who actually enter the kingdom of YHVH. The emphasis here is on the positive aspects for those who have bent their will to becoming obedient to the Words of Yeshua - and Yeshua said that His words were not His but those of His Father. On the other hand, this verse clearly implies that there is a definite possibility that our names can be erased, or blotted out of the book through disobedience.
So, to keep our names in the book of life requires us to be an overcomer. The question then becomes - how do I become an overcomer? An overcomer of what? Revelation 21:27 says, "But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life." A more literal Greek rendering would be "the book OF THE LIFE of the lamb" that is now written on the hearts of those who embrace Yeshua's Life. The Book belongs to YHVH. Those entered into it have embraced the testimony of the Life of the Lamb. Those who embrace the testimony found in the Life and words of the Son are to live as He lived - overcoming the temptation of the world by becoming pure even as He is pure.
Part One: Scriptural Salvation
Part Two: Grafted In
Part Three: the Book Of Life
"No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing;
but I have called you friends,
for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." |
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.