When is a believer’s name written in the Book of Life?



Article copyright by Bob Rogers.

Revelation 20:15 says that everyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. From this passage, Christians conclude that God has a record of followers of Jesus Christ– the Book of Life– and that we do not have to fear Judgment Day, because if our names are written in the Book of Life, we will receive the gift of eternal life in heaven by God’s grace.

But exactly when is a believer’s name written in the Book of Life– at birth, or at the time we believe? I have always thought of it as written at the time that we believe in Christ, since it is a record of those who believe. However, I recently learned I was wrong.

We were discussing this in my Bible class recently. My friend Allen Steele pointed out Revelation 13:8 and 17:8. Both passages refer to unbelievers as “everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb…” If unbelievers names were not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life, then it would follow logically that the names of believers were written from the foundation of the world in the book of life.

If we think this through, it makes perfect sense. After all, God speaks of our salvation as being “chosen in Him, before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), and that “those He foreknew He also predestined” (Romans 8:29), since we are “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1 Peter 1:1-2). In other words, God in His omniscience already foreknows what we will do, so He can speak of us as “chosen,” and He already has our names in the book even before we were born.

Does this mean our salvation is predetermined, without any choice on our parts? No, we “sealed” that entry in the book when we believed. As Ephesians 1:13 says, “When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” Thus Revelation 7:4 refers to believers as those “sealed.” So God foreknew who would believe, and already has their names in His book, but when we believe, we “seal” the deal.


About Bob Rogers

Hospital chaplain in Mississippi. Adjunct history professor (online). Formerly a pastor for 33 years in Mississippi and Georgia. Avid cyclist.

Posted on November 15, 2018, in Bible teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Chabby Alfred Chabala

    Dear Saint of the Most High God,
    Special Christian greetings to you in the Name Of Our Lord and Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ who is soon to come. Please I need more information from you soon. Iam an Independent and Self-Supporting Elder in Zambia-Luapula Province. To be honest your Ministry really contains the accurate truth of the Bible nothing but the whole truth which is needed in these last days of the Earth’s history. Let us be faithful and Jesus will come soon. Continue being faithful to Him who called you and sent you for many be called but very few are chosen who are blessed like you. Continue the tremendous work you are doing by spreading proclaiming Everlasting Gospel in these last days of the Earth’s history and very soon you will be rewarded. Iam looking forward to hearing from you soon and God bless you all and your beloved families and may His coming rejoice your hearts.

  2. Thank you for the post. I am curious how the following Scripture fits in.

    Revelation 3:5 (NIV)
    He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

    Would blotting out a name from the book of life be the equivalent of someone losing salvation?

    I would appreciate your thoughts

  3. Yes, I imagine blotting out a name from the book of life would be equivalent of losing salvation, but notice that the verse is a promise to never blot out his name– in other words, that losing salvation would not happen.

    • Verses 3 and 4: That promise was meant for the “few” who have not “defiled” themselves, and for those who would repent within the Sardis church as a result of this warning. Implying that there may be unrepentant “Christians” (who are the majority). There is a presence of the word “if” (verse 3) which show this is a conditional promise. Otherwise, this will not be a warning at all, and no one will need repentance.

    • There would be no need for a warning if people will think salvation is never lost. God is faithful, but man was given free will. There are more “Christians” who turned back from God than those who remain faithful. As many are invited but few are chosen. Rev. 3:3 shows that this promise was meant for the “few” who repent and the “few” who remained faithful. The presence of the word “if” implies that this promise is conditional.

  1. Pingback: The 18 Names Written In The Book Of Life 2022: Must Read - Dream Cheeky

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