“…And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world…”
As the angel explains the images John sees, he makes reference to the Book of Life. This book is mentioned again, in Revelation 20:15, as the guest list of heaven. All, whose names are written in this Book, will have access to heaven; those who do not, will be cast out to eternal judgment. If there is one thing you want to be certain of in this life, it is that your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The question is, how do we get our names in that Book?
The Bible is very clear. Salvation is received free of charge, when we put our trust in Jesus Christ. It is something that cannot be acquired any other way. Jesus declared, He is the way, and no one could go to heaven apart from Him (John 14:6). Therefore, it is clear, our names are placed in the Book of Life when we put our trust in Christ for salvation. Since Jesus said He knows those who are His and no one can snatch them out of His hand (John 10:27-28), we conclude that our names are not written in pencil, ready to be erased at our first failure or doubt. They are written in permanent ink; we might even say, they are written in the blood of God. That being said, there is another interesting thought presented by the angel, as he refers to the Book of Life.
“…whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world…”
The angel suggests our names were actually written in the Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. Before we existed, before we sinned, before we cried out to Christ for salvation, our names were already written in the Book. This suggests that God has every intention and desire that you and I should go to heaven. Jesus said He was preparing a place for us (John 14:3), and all we need to do to ensure our arrival is put our trust in Christ. How tragic, that some resist the grace of God, ignore the message of the Cross, deny the pleading of their loved ones, and end up with their names removed from the book; all because they were unwilling to bend their knee in surrender to Jesus. The only thing that can remove your name from the Book is a failure to accept the forgiveness Christ provides.
Don’t let that be you.
Questions for Revelation 17
Verses 6-16 have detailed the time known as the Great Tribulation. We have seen many terrible judgments poured out on the Christ rejecting world. Several times we have seen the city Babylon mentioned. Here we will see the details of her fall. This chapter is another that is loaded with symbolism. As usual it is important that we give priority to what is clear, not what is unclear. Although Babylon was an actual city, when the Bible speaks of Babylon, the vast majority of the time it is speaking of the world system that is aligned against God. The “world” as opposed to the kingdom of heaven and God’s city of Jerusalem.
- Look at verses 1-2. What is this woman guilty of? The fornication mentioned here is a spiritual unfaithfulness to God as her creator. Notice especially the effect she has on others. Also see Rev 14:8
- In verses 3-6 many details of this woman:
a. In verse 3, what is the beast that she rides full of?
b. Notice the wealth of the woman in verse 4. She is very comfortable. What is her golden cup full of?
c. Perhaps the most important thing about her is her name. What is her relationship with spiritual adultery toward God?
d. In verse 6, how does she feel about the persecution of God’s people?
- Verses 7-13 seem to speak of Babylon’s rule upon the earth. The most important thing to note is verse 13. How does Babylon and the people of her kingdom relate to God. Read James 4:4. How should we relate to this world?
- In verse 14 we see that this attitude ultimately leads to an outright war with God. What will the results of this war be?
- Read verse 15 and 18. This show the global influence of Babylon. As Christians it is so important that we align ourselves with God and the values of His kingdom as revealed in His Word. Read Romans 12:1-2. Also read Philippians 2:14-16, and ask God for help to live this way.