It is not uncommon to encounter an insistence that Rev. 3:5 is a proof text which supports the errant teaching that a born again believer in Jesus Christ can lose their salvation. Quoting from Revelation we read, "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." To properly understand the meaning of this prophecy a careful study is required of what the Scriptures teach about the record books which God will use in His final judgments of mankind.
Our journey through the Bible to understand the judgment books of God begins in Exodus 32:33. We quote, "the Lord said to Moses, Whosoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My Book." This Book of the Lord has the name of every person ever born written within its pages and later as we will learn bears the full title of "The Book of Life."
Romans 3:23 reveals to us that, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Therefore by the Lords Word to Moses about the fate of sinners everyone is destined to have their name blotted out of the Book of Life.
So then, what is the purpose of this record? We must first recognize that God did not record our names in His Book for any personal need. God has perfect recollection of all who have, or ever will live. The Book has been recorded for the benefit and detriment of mankind and for all of the heavenly host.
Why? Because God is just. When final judgment of an individual is pronounced all of the records will be made known in meticulous detail. From the beginning of ones life to the very end a perfect record will be on file. The Book of Life is just one of the books which will be presented at the final judgment.
Moving ahead to the intriguing pronouncement made by Jesus regarding this Book of Life in Rev. 3:5, we read once more, "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." Here we have what appears at first glance to be a discrepancy. In Ex. 32:33 God told us that whosoever has sinned against Him will have their name blotted out of the Book. Rom. 5:12 & Psalm 14:3 tells us that all have sinned. Yet Rev. 3:5 says that those who overcome will not have their name blotted out of the Book!
How is this status of becoming an overcomer achieved if all of mankind is trapped by the innate propensity to sin against God? Jesus boldly declared in Rev. 3:5 that instead of blotting a sinners name out of the Book of Life, He will in contrast confess an overcomers name before His Father and His angels.
How one obtains this glorious title of an overcomer is found in the harmonization revealed in the Lords word in Rev. 3:5 and those He spoke in Matt. 10:32 & Luke 12:8. We quote, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, Him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God."
Therefore the means by which a person becomes an overcomer of sin and keeps their name from being blotted out of the Book of Life is by confessing their faith in Jesus Christ. It is just that pure and straight forward of an instruction. Nothing else is necessary, only genuine faith in Him (Eph. 2:8-9).
We will now look into the second book of God, the Lambs Book of Life. This Book is dedicated to Jesus Christ the Lamb of God and is a record of all those He has redeemed from the curse of sin by His blood. This is the Holy record which keeps a believers name from being blotted out of the Book of Life. It is the lifeline of every overcomer which is being held fast by the mighty nail pierced hands of Christ their Savior. None who are recorded in this ledger can ever be removed from the Book of Life.
Rev. 21:27 tells us that no one will be permitted to enter the City of God, "but only those who are written in the Lambs Book of Life." Hebrews 12:2 tells us of the scribe Jesus is "the author and finisher of our faith."
We now come to the most frightening section of Gods library of eternal fates where the remaining records of mens deeds will be carefully looked at, the books of works. Overcomers in Jesus Christ will have been judged out of these books only for their eternal rewards and losses after the Rapture/Resurrection at the Bema (that is Judgment) seat of Christ (I Cor. 15:50-53 & II Cor. 5:9-10).
This judgment will be based on what believers did with their lives after they confessed their faith in Jesus Christ. All pre-salvation records of sin will have been expunged by the blood of the Lamb (Rom. 6:1-18 & I Pet. 1:17-19). Believers who trust in the Lord after the Rapture of the Church during the 7-year Tribulation Period and during the Millennial Reign of Christ will likewise by judged accordingly from out of these books.
We read of this final great Day of Judgment in Rev. 20:11-15. Verse 11 first tells us the final judgment will take place at the great white throne of God Almighty. Quoting verses 12-15 we read, "And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."
Rev. 20:12 reveals to us that this is the judgment of all the dead who had not been resurrected (or raptured) earlier and that they are to be evaluated by two criteria. First by their works which are documented in the books, then secondly, to see if their name remained recorded in the Book of Life at the moment of their physical death.
Verse 13 emphasizes that all those remaining in death (that is the grave) along with their spirits and souls which were held in Hades will be present for this great court date to be judged according to their works.
Earlier we spoke of how frightening it will be to look into these books. The reason is that the content of these books determines the degree of eternal punishment the wicked dead will exist in for the countless ages (Matt. 25:46).
Rev. 13:8 & 14:9-11 reveals to us that those who have not chosen to have their names written in the Lambs Book of Life by a certain point during the tribulation, will turn to worship the Anti-Christ and will forever seal their fate in the sorrows of Gehenna.
Once more we find Gods solemn warning of everlasting judgment upon unbelievers in Rev. 22:18-19. If anyone dares to add too, or take away from the Holy Words recorded in the prophetic book, God promises that persons name will be removed from the Book of Life and all which that entails. In addition every plague written in the book will be added to their judgment.
Gods omniscience foresees that those who would tamper with His Word will never be pardoned by having their names written in the Lambs Book of Life. They are those spoken of in Rom. 1:28 whom God will give over to a debased mind.
Returning to Rev. 20:14 we are shown when Death and Hades are also thrown into the Lake of Fire where the Devil, the beastly Anti-Christ and the False Prophet were cast 1,000 years previous. Those who were committed there earlier continue to be tormented to that day and forever more. Since there will be no more death, there will be no more need for a holding place for the dead in the new heaven and earth which will be eternally established after the Great White Throne Judgment (see Rev. 21).
Concluding with verse 15 of Rev. 20 we find that anyone whose name was not found written in Gods Book of Life will be cat into the same great Lake of Fire that eternally imprisons the Devil, the Anti-Christ, the False Prophet, Death and Hell. Rev. 20:6&14 refers to this as "the second death."
These unforgiven unbelievers will have physically died once before and then will be resurrected body, soul and spirit to witness the unspeakable glories of the heaven they spurned for a season of rebellion. After the judgment they will die for the second time, never to experience the ecstasy of Heaven, nor the pleasures of life again forever conscious of their damnation. Gods righteous judgment demands to be met at the level the unsaved have chosen.
Deceased believers in God before Jesus came and died on the cross were retained in a place called Paradise or Abrahams Bosom (Lk. 23:43 & 16:22). A record of their qualification for eternal salvation was made in a "Book of Remembrance" according to Malachi 3:16-18.
For the redeemed in Christ, Rev. 20:6 tells us that they are "Blessed and Holy" and "over such the second death has no power." They are of the company of immortal believers who are of the first resurrection.
The first resurrection began on the day Jesus of Nazareth rose from the grave and culminates with the start of the glorious reign of this same Jesus Christ according to I Cor. 15:19-26. The first resurrection only entails the giving of eternal life while the last resurrection will include resurrections unto everlasting perdition.
As much of a plea that can be made by the simple written word, we ask by the love of the Lord that this moment you meet with Jesus Christ, "the author of eternal salvation" (Heb. 5:9) so that you might have your name forever recorded in the Lambs Book of Life and that your name will not be blotted out of the Book of the living "And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" (Rev. 22:17).