In a recent online debate Dr. Braxton Hunter and myself (Traditionalists) were asked about the Lamb’s book of life by our Calvinistic opponents. As is typical in a formal debate structure, we were not given ample time to fully develop our response, at least not to my satisfaction. (The full debate can be found HERE)
For a more complete answer I have taken a page from my friend’s web site, Richard Coords with http://www.examiningcalvinism.com.
I believe he provides a thorough and biblically sound response to the Calvinistic assertions regarding the Lamb’s book of life:
Revelation 13:8 (see also Matthew 25:34)
“All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”
Calvinist, John MacArthur, comments: “Seven times in the New Testament, believers are identified as those whose names are written in the book of life (cf. 3:5; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; Phil 4:3). The book of life belonging to the Lamb, the Lord Jesus, is the registry in which God inscribed the names of those chosen for salvation before the foundation of the world. (This phrase is used as a synonym for eternity past in 17:8; Matt. 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; Eph. 1:4; Heb. 9:26; 1 Pet. 1:20; cf. 2 Thess. 2:13; and 2 Tim. 1:9.) … Believers are doubly secure, because the book of life belongs to the Lamb who has been slain. Not only the decree of election, but also the atoning work of Christ seals the redemption of the elect forever.” (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11, p.50, emphasis mine)
Thus, the Calvinistic paraphrase of Revelation 13:8: All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written [before] the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
MacArthur comments on Matthew 25:34: “The Lord designed His kingdom from before the foundation of the world and He designed who would be in it from before the foundation of the world.” (Understanding Election, emphasis mine)
Another verse that demonstrates this point is Matthews 19:8: “He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.’” Evidently, “from” the beginning does not mean before the beginning, but from Genesis.
All statements where “before the foundation of the world” is used, is given with reference to Christ. (John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20) All statements where “from the foundation of the world” is used, is given with reference to man, moving us from a point of reference forward. (Matthew 25:34; Luke 11:50; Revelation 13:8)
John Calvin comments: “The book of life is the roll of those who are fore-ordained to life, as in Moses, Exod. 32.32. God has this roll laid up with Himself. Hence the book is nothing but His eternal counsel, determined in His own breast.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, p.286, emphasis mine)
In other words, the book of life is the roll of the Calvinistically elect, but this is reading into the passage.
John Calvin writes: “Those are deleted from the book of life who, considered for a time to be children of God, afterwards depart to their own place, as Peter truly says about Judas (Acts 1:16). But John testifies that these never were of us (I Jn 2:19), for if they had been, they would not have gone out from us.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.151, emphasis mine)
Consider the following verses concerning the Book of Life:
Revelation 3:5: “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
Revelation 13:8: “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”
Revelation 20:15: “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Question: Why do names get written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?
Answer: It is a record of citizenship for the kingdom of heaven.
Question: Is the Book of Life an actual book?
Answer: Revelation 20:12-15 states: “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Therefore, it is evident that the Book of Life is an actual book, located in heaven, and is presented on Judgment Day.
Question: Can names be erased from the Lamb’s Book of Life?
Answer: No, but names can be erased from the Book of Life. Jesus states: “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:5) Those who do not overcome, never even had their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life to begin with. Who are those who “overcome”? 1st John 5:4-5 states: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” Overcoming does not refer to the end of your physical life, but the beginning of your spiritual life. The Lamb’s Book of Life is the book of the redeemed. If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God, then God the Father responded by making you born of God, that is, Born Again, and on that basis, you have overcome the world. Jesus says that as a result of believing in Him, He will never blot out your name from the Book of Life.
Question: What does “from the foundation of the world” mean, and what is the impact of adding “before” the foundation of the world?
Answer: Before the foundation of the world indicates before Genesis, whereas from the foundation of the world indicates from Genesis to present. Therefore, it is incorrect to equate “written from the foundation of the world” with “written [before] the foundation of the world.” Luke 11:49-51 states: “‘For this reason also the wisdom of God said, “I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.”’” If you similarly inserted “before” [Greek: pro] then you would have to conclude that the prophets were martyred before they were born. Therefore, it’s reasonable to conclude that the names that were written into the Lamb’s Book of Life (which are said to be “written from the foundation of the world”) were written as people became Christians.
Question: Is the Book of Life the same thing as the Lamb’s Book of Life?
Answer: No. Psalm 69:28 and Exodus 32:32-33 refer to the Book of Life which is distinct from the Lamb’s Book of Life. The Lamb’s Book is the roll of the Redeemed, and names are added as people become saved. The Book of Life is the roll of all who ever lived, and the wicked have their names blotted out of it. Revelation 20:15 states: “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Let Us Reason Ministries explains the differences in the two books: “Those who received Christ have their name written in his book of life (the lambs book) and it is retained in the book of life. Those who reject him, never have their name written in his book. Their name is also removed from the book of life, of which everyone’s name is written down that ever lived. The other books mentioned are the biographies of the individual. The times they heard the Gospel and rejected it, their good and bad deeds that will determine their degree of punishment, not their salvation. God has perfect record keeping.” (Let Us Reason Ministries)
First of all, John MacArthur has altered the biblical text of “from the foundation of the world,” and made it “before the foundation of the world.” The King James Version reads: “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Question: What does Revelation 22:18-19 mean that people who add and subtract from the prophecy of the Book of Revelation will have their part taken out of the Book of Life and from the Holy City?
Answer: Luke Liechty explains: “If their part is removed from the holy city as well, in order for them to be removed, they had to have a part.” (Who Can Be Saved?, emphasis mine) Thus, no one was ever born “non-elect” or “passed-by,” which serves as further evidence that God has a wonderful plan for everyone.
Question: Why does the Calvinistic English Standard Version [ESV] translate Revelation 13:8 as “before” the foundation of the world, instead of “from” the foundation of the world?
The Greek word apo = since or from.
The Greek word pro = before.
The Greek word apo is used in Matthew 13:35, 25:34; Luke 11:50; Hebrews 4:3, 9:26; and Revelation 13:8, 17:8.
The Calvinist translation [ESV] seems to be erroneous at Revelation 13:8, as it mistranslates apo as “before.” What’s telling is that in the parallel verses of Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 17:8 (in which apo is used in the same exact way), the ESV properly translates apo at Revelation 17:8 as “from,” but improperly translates apo at Revelation 13:8 as “before.”
Indeed, the “Lamb” is “before the foundation of the world” [as per 1st Peter 1:20], but at Revelation 13:8, “from the foundation of the world” is not modifying the Lamb, but modifying the writing of the names.
When used of time, apo can only mean “from” in the sense of “since”, i.e., the point identified is the beginning point of the period in view. <link>
Richard’s article clearly spells out the differences between Traditionalists and Calvinists, but I also wanted to draw our attention to the problem within the ranks of Calvinism. If you have studied anything about the lapsarian controversy you will recognize right away that interpreting the passages about the Lamb’s Book of Life as being completed BEFORE the foundation of the world would necessitate a high supralapsarian position, which has typically been rejected by mainstream Calvinists (see this LINK).
I would be interested to explore how a Calvinist who is not a supralapsarian would maintain their perspective of the Lamb’s Book of Life being completed by God unconditionally before the foundation of the world.
41 thoughts on “The Lamb’s Book of Life ”
I see no reason to differentiate the Book of Life from the Lamb’s Book of Life. Can not Lamb indicate ownership? Book of Life is known and Lamb’s Book of Life identifies that Jesus oversees this book. Blotting out refers to those whom reject Jesus.
The translation issue in the ESV is interesting. I note the NET has since = from.
I agree that the Lamb’s book and the book of life are one and the same book. The promise being those who are saved, their name will never be blotted out. Revelation 3:5
Welcome Paul :-]
Overcoming does not refer to the end of your physical life, but the beginning of your spiritual life.
Lol, no. Can’t even take this seriously. “He that overcomeS SHALL inherit all things.”
Can names be erased from the Lamb’s Book of Life? Answer: No, but names can be erased from the Book of Life.
They are clearly the same book. There is no extra “book of life that is not the Lamb’s.”
Jesus says that as a result of believing in Him, He will never blot out your name from the Book of Life.
This is heretical. The Bible says we must endure in belief to the end, or the idea of “blotting” carries no meaning.
They believe for a season, but in the time of testing, they fall away. – Luke 8
One moment of belief does not guarantee you heaven.
The Book of Life is the roll of all who ever lived, and the wicked have their names blotted out of it.
Oh, brother. What terrible eisegesis to support OSAS.
Think about what this is saying. All babies are born already born again in the spirit, REGENERATED and destined for heaven then they all DIE spiritually, then they get “born again again.” You don’t get your name written in by virtue of being born, all that does is put you in Adam. If we do not believe on the Son we do not have life and are not in Christ.
So this is claiming we got two books of life, one is just the Lamb’s (whose the other? no idea) and one has ALL people written in it, and there is presumably full time angels just blotting, blotting, blotting out names as soon as babies grow up and sin all over the world, blot, blot, blot.
Then we got this other book over here that presumably starts out empty, and we write in the name anytime someone gets regenerated, but of course only if they are going to not fall away later since we gotta say a believer that manifests a Christian life couldn’t possibly ever have been saved if at one point in time he falls away. So we got angels writing only foreseen OSAS believers in here (God sees you will fall away? you don’t get written in when you obey the Bible to believe on Jesus, sorry bud).
Now in the end, lol, after all time goes by what have you got? You got two books that finally match up exactly in names!! Woot!!! That’s an amazing providence of God right there! They want to measure people’s salvation in two books going up or going down, with subtraction or addition, so that we can somehow explain the term “blotting” without it meaning someone who REALLY was saved and destined for heaven LOSING THAT SALVATION, as Scripture teaches everywhere.
The same kind of madness people go through to fit determinism into every passage, sorry.
I tend to agree with dizerner that reading eternal security into this has almost as many problems as reading determinism into it. He that overcomes is he who does not lose faith.
Judas was told to rejoice that his name was written in the book of life, and that he would sit on one of twelve thrones. I don’t believe Jesus decieved him.
Where was Judas told these things? I believe it was the 70 were told the first (Luke 10) and Peter representing the 12 as a group was told the second (Matt 19).
Jesus talking of his 12 disciples said this:
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, in the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. — Mat. 19
Now unless you want to say some really wacky interpretation like Peter had a big bottom and sat on two thrones, 12 is an awfully specific number applied to 12 people. But notice later on before the passion Jesus changed the phraseology to an indefinite number:
And I bestow on you a kingdom, just as My Father has bestowed on Me, so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. — Luk 22
In, Luke 10 Jesus addressed a group that certainly included Judas:
Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
In John 2 he writes that his disciples believed on him:
He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
But by John 6:64 this description has changed:
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
Paul seemed to understand he replaced Judas when he compared the ultimate apostasy of Judas to an abortion: “last of all He was seen by me also, as by an abortion.”
Acts 1 says:
He was one of our number and was allotted a share in this ministry.
But Luke 6:16 says:
Judas Iscariot who became the betrayer
The argument Calvinists make centers around a predestination to be a son of perdition, yet I’d argue Scripture states that is our default state before salvation. Judas’ betrayal was foreseen and not causally determined by God.
I guess we will have to continue to disagree on this one David. 🙂 In my view Jesus’ words – “you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones” do not have to include Judas, but do have to include someone who followed Jesus, and that is why Matthias qualified to be chosen to replace Judas.
And His words in Luke 10 are specifically to the 70… “And he said to them” (vs. 18). It is not necessary, in my view, to try to squeeze Judas into that statement by Jesus which was in direct response to the words of the 70.
Also, I think Acts 6:2 and 1Cor 15:5 show conclusively by using the word “twelve” that Matthias was the replacement for Judas, not Paul.
It’s “squeezing” to say Jesus addressed the 12 also in Luke 10? So Jesus obviously meant “except for you 12, you might not be written up there guys… hint, hint.”
The Matthias over Paul thing is not germane to the argument of Judas’s regeneration—it could be that Paul may have considered himself a replacement, and we have ample evidence he considered himself on a level with the 12 and not one whit inferior. I don’t think even you would question that (huehue).
I’m curious though—you’d say Jesus knew Judas’ lost state, why do you think Jesus would make an unbeliever one of his closest 12 disciples? I feel sure you are not going Calvinistic with this ;).
I believe if Jesus would have spoken these words (“names are written in heaven”) directly to the twelve, He would have said, “But not all of you” like He did in John 13:10. One should not deny that Jesus was speaking directly to the 70 in the context of Luke 10.
I believe Jesus knew Judas was an unbeliever and a “devil” when He chose 12 from the disciples who were following Him to be 12 apostles. I believe Judas was one of many who could have been chosen for that role as a vessel of wrath, having been fitted for destruction because of his prior refusal of God’s mercy which could have saved his soul and made him unavailable for such a horrible role!
I have always noticed that Calvanists use the ESV. It does have a reform bend to it. Thanks for the light on Rev. 13:8. Very good pickup.
Many translations will slant certain verses Calvinistically I never knew this years ago. Romans 9:22 is another example using “prepared” for a different Greek word.
vessels of wrath prepared (Greek: passive “mended”) for destruction
Are you saying that the word “prepared” is better translated “repaired”? Like God has fixed a broken pot but it is now for destruction? Many translations used prepared.
Uh, no. Just because I said a main meaning of the word “mended” doesn’t mean I extrapolate anything like what you said. But the purpose was “mended” to fit the vessel—it was altered in some way. And that fits the original potter imagery in Jeremiah, where God showed Jeremiah a vessel that marred itself in the potter’s hands—not because of anything the potter had done, it says the clay was marred in his hands and the potter had to find a new purpose for it. But Paul couldn’t possibly have that actual imagery he drew from? But my main point is that it’s not the same word as prepared when used for vessels of mercy. So what justification do you have to translated two different Greek words as the same Greek word in one English sentence? There is no justification for it but a promotion of bias.
Dizerner, I don’t have any justification for “prepare”, I don’t speak Greek and am not committed to “prepare”. I am merely asking. I note that other translations use “prepared” including NIV.
So I am interested in how we could translate it to better carry over the meaning. While I think that Jeremiah is alluded to, I am also interested in the potter imageries from Isaiah. I think that Paul isn’t just alluding to these verses but expanding on them.
I don’t like “mended” as the English is stilted, that’s why I asked about repaired. Perhaps
What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—remolded for destruction?
KJV uses “fitted” which I’m okay with. It’s just important to use two different English words to reflect two different Greek words.
The ESV actually changes many gender neutral terms (dozens) into male only too – to give the impression that only men could do certain stuff. A committee of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood pushed for this as several were on the translation team.
Hello mary470 and welcome
Yes – that is totally understandable.
There is also an anti-woman bias within the KJV
In Romans 11:13 in the KJV – we have Paul saying “I magnify my OFFICE”
Was there a such a thing as an OFFICE in the early church?
Did the Holy Spirit design the church to be patterned after a loving family with parents whose urgency was to raise up the children into adult-hood?
Or did the Holy Spirit design the church to be patterned after the Roman empire – with positions of authority set up in hierarchy?
The Greek word – translated “OFFICE” in this verse is diakonian – which meant to serve.
In Mathew 8:15 we have Jesus healing Peter’s wife’s mother – and she immediately rises up and diēkonei – which meant to serve.
So the translators obviously have two different conceptions of what it means to “Serve”
The two strongest arguments for two books of life (one physical life and one spiritual life) are these.
1. The unsaved in Rev 13:8 and 17:8 have never had their names written in the Lamb’s book of life.
2. The unsaved in Psalm 69:28 have their names in the book of the living but not yet written with the righteous. The imprecatory prayer is to have their names removed from the book of the living and not written/added (Heb imperfect – future tense, jussive in meaning) with the righteous (in the book where the righteous are being listed).
There are truly two types of life. Why shouldn’t there be two types of books representing that? There are other heavenly books mentioned in the Scripture where things are being written down. There was no need for everything to have been written down before creation.
God has a book of all physically alive currently? Like an up to date list of everyone physically alive in the world?
Yep, and a book of everyone’s busy parts, or perhaps the plan He wants for their lives. Psalm 139:16 is not real clear about that one. I lean towards body parts (genome).☺
I don’t think a second book of life accords with Occam’s razor, seems like other doctrinal motivations creating this 2nd book.
We will have to disagree. I see Occam seeing two books in Ps 69:28, 🙂 for names are being blotted out of one and not being written (future) into the other. That is the simplest way to take the grammar of that verse, unless ones’ theology wants less normal grammatical choice. But I am willing to consider any grammatical evidence you find for that verse.
Wait in that one verse? Are you familiar with Hebrew synonymous parallelism?
Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
You think that means those are different places then?
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
Two different assemblies? There are endless examples of this, what reasons do you have for me to take this any other way than synonymous parallelism?
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living,
And not be written with the righteous.
This is expressing the same idea twice in different ways. Considering the ubiquity of this Hebrew usage you will need a powerful reason not to read it that way.
Good Morning David. Yes I am familiar with Hebrew synonymous parallelism and the other types of parallelism as well. Your first example is a good one of synonymous, though the verbs are also complementary. Your second example is a better example of complementary parallelism, for only the subject is synonymous, but the verbs and objects are probably different times and locations.
I suggest that Psalm 69:28 fits as better as an example of complementary parallelism, for there is a clear complementary/contrasting aspect in the verbs. When the wicked die, they lose their opportunity to be ever be written with the righteous.
The verbs are imperfect, which in Hebrew is usually future in tense. They will be blotted out, and they will not ever be written down with the righteous. Your interpretation requires the idea of one book and that they will not “remain” written in it with the righteous. For that meaning one would expect a Hebrew verb like יָנַח – to let remain, and a participle – “written”.
But the future, “will not be written” indicates a different book in which they have not yet been written with the righteous. But these wicked were already written in the book of the living, and the prayer was for them to be blotted out of that book.
I hope that is a “powerful reason” enough for you my friend!
Actually, the scriptures you cite prove the exact opposite of the very point you are seeking to make. You state “The two strongest arguments for two books of life (one physical life and one spiritual life) are these. 1. The unsaved in Rev 13:8 and 17:8 have never had their names written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
However, when we compare these texts, we see that those who worship the beast were never written in “the book of life of the Lamb” and/or “the book of life,”:
“All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in THE BOOK OF LIFE OF THE LAMB who has been slain.”
“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in THE BOOK OF LIFE from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.”
You would have us believe that Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 only states that their names were never written in “the book of life of the lamb” and thus leaves open the possibility that everyone’s name is written in the “book of life,” in order to uphold the Calvinistically influenced doctrine of OSAS, that once you are written in the “book of life of the Lamb” you can never be blotted out.
However, read the texts carefully and behold how Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 use “book of life of the Lamb” and “book of life” interchangeably and that all those whose names were never written in the “Book of life/of the Lamb” will worship the beast, utterly contradicting your contention that everyone’s name is written in the book of life!
Thus, this undermines your main evidence and actually proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the same book is ion question, This should cause you to abandon your argument as unbiblical and simply admit Jesus’ teaching that those who fail to overcome, are blotted out of the one and only “book of life/of the Lamb” (Rev. 3:5; 12:11; 21:7-8)! Your second point (Psalm 69:28) was already handled well by DIZERNER, as the Hebrew parallelism found especially throughout the book of Psalms, again, establishes that the book of life and the place where the names of the righteous are written, are one and the same book! By the way, Psalm 69:25 is quoted in Acts 1:20 in reference to Judas’ apostasy, further establishing that his name was indeed written with the righteous and then blotted out (Psalm 69:28). Hope that helps.
Goodmorning MS! I believe, like you do, that the two passages Rev 13:8 and 17:8 are talking about the same book, the Lamb’s book of life which lists all those who have everlasting life. Revelation never mentions the other book of the life, in my view. It does mention other books that relate to the lost, like the book that contains all their works (Rev. 20).
I still believe the normal grammar of Ps 69:28 is talking about those whom the Psalmist is praying will be taken out of the book of the living (physical life) and never be added to the book of the righteous (spiritual life). Judas was a devil when he was chosen to be a disciple (John 6:64, 70). He was never written in the Lamb’s book of life, the book of the righteous. And his name was blotted out of the book of the living when he went out and hanged himself.
As for the issue of OSAS, I would need to know if you believe that will be true for you in heaven! Will you MS be OSAS after the resurrection, or will you have to keep yourself saved and still believe in LS (losable salvation)? I grieve for you if you don’t believe God will ever keep His promise to you as His child, to keep you from falling and to make everlasting life truly mean “everlasting!” I wonder how you really see His promises and His salvation if you think He will never take away your ability to sin! I also wonder how you see His removal of the guilt of all your sins… it is only after each one is committed?
I believe He removes all our guilt for all past and future sins, and He guarantees the promise to remove in heaven our ability to sin when we are born again. At that moment, at regeneration, He gives everlasting life, and He seals His children with it, with His presence, the Holy Spirit, until the day of resurrection! (Eph 1:13-14).
Why was there any need for any name to be written down in the Lamb’s book of Life “from or since” creation much less “before:.
Since that does seem to be the implication of Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 17:8 and Revelation 3:5.
And also since it is ultimately based on the Autonomous Self-Governing Libertarian Neutral Free Will of the Individual who God is ignorant of their future decisions and actions by some but not by others. This does not seem to fit with “Names already being written in the Lamb’s book of life or not being written in the Lamb’s book of Life from the beginning of time and history. What would be the need to write or not write any names if it is ultimately based on Autonomous LFW?
To be honest I am not sure I see much difference here. There were still names that were written down in Lamb’s Book of Life “from or since” creation and there were names that were not.
All of this when no one existed. . But it most definitely does not mean that “from or since” the “foundation of the world” which means the “the beginning of time and history” that (names are being written down into the Lamb’s book of Life as individuals are being converted to Christ)
That would surely be “reading one’s presuppositions into the text instead of allowing it to stand and speak on its own.
Sadly, the writer could have avoided misrepresenting Macarthur by simply reading the ESV’s translation of Revelation 13:8. Oh well.
The writer addressed the ESV
I addressed the ESV in further comments down below. But question still remains. Why does it matter if the names were not written in the Lamb’s book of Life (implying names were written Rev. 3:5) before or from the beginning of time.
Either way God had not written down those who would not be saved. Although it may have been explained different by the author it is unacceptable by many commentators and scholars and in my own study/opinion.
If names were not written down in the “Lamb’s book of Life” (from the beginning of time) that implies that there were names written down. I can show several verse where it talks of people being in the Lamb’s book of life or not being blotted out as long as they conquer and overcome.
And it most definitely would be a very unnatural reading and rendering and reading one’s presupposition into the text and say, ” God has been writing names in the Lamb’s book of Life from the beginning of time when they convert to Christ” This is not what it is saying if you just read what is says out of the text and not read into it.
But what does this do for “Autonomous Self-Governing Libertarian Neutral Will that is Separate and Independent from the Almighty God of Heaven. How do we make the connection.
For it seems the names (Rev. 13:8, 17:8, 3:5) are not within the book of life form the beginning of the World which implies very strongly that there were names within the Lamb’s book of Life (FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME)
I am not sure “From or before” is that big of an issue.
Especially when you consider God’s Eternal Infinite Perfect Foreknowledge. The Eternal God who knew what the decisions and actions of every individuals would be before he ever created the Universe and the Individuals who live upon the earth. But God chose to create anyway knowing the good and evil actions of all who would exist.
Speaking from a Southern Traditional Baptist/Arminian/Synergistic Orthodox Christian perspective of God’s Eternal Infinite Exhaustive Foreknowledge. God just did not see the future he knew within himself what would be. In time and history yes God does see what he in His Eternal Infinite Perfect Foreknowledge knew would be.
So all of mankind’s decisions and actions are not “Autonomous and Libertarian Neutral, Free and Independent and Separate from God.
To the Eternal God all of Mankind’s actions and decisions are fixed and locked in place from His Eternal Infinite Perfect Foreknowledge as what he see’s happening presently in this world He knew would be from Eternity when he DETERMINED to create. Once
Once again from a synergistic perspective.
Hi Josh! It is every believer’s responsibility to test all things and to hold fast to that which is good. You should agree that it is not good to translate a Greek word that never means “before” with the word “before”! MacArthur misrepresented a number of verses by suggesting that “before the foundation of the world” is what they said… when actually all the major translations say “from the foundation of the world” in those places.
He said – “The book of life belonging to the Lamb, the Lord Jesus, is the registry in which God inscribed the names of those chosen for salvation before the foundation of the world. (This phrase is used as a synonym for eternity past in 17:8; Matt. 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; Eph. 1:4; Heb. 9:26; 1 Pet. 1:20; cf. 2 Thess. 2:13; and 2 Tim. 1:9.)” But only three of these passage mention “before” creation. Five of them speak specifically of human history “from” creation forward, and one does not mention creation at all.
And the ESV misrepresented the original Greek in Rev 13:8 when it translated the Greek preposition – apo – which always means “from” or “since” by the English word “before”. It was not just a misrepresentation by the ESV, in my view, but theologically deceptive!
In my view, the Lamb’s Book of Life is about truly born again Christians, but simple ‘Book of Life’ seems to be about people who pass through 7 year tribulation and the Kingdom of Millennium only by their own righteousness and choice – not true Christians(the true bride of Jesus Christ – church). For church members will be changed into holy, angelic body and lifted up to meet Jesus Christ in the air.
I have a question. Even if the ESV is wrong on Revelation 13:8 in using the word “before” instead of “from” meaning “since” speaking I expect the foundation of the world.
What is the difference if my name was written “before” the foundation of the earth compared to it being written “from” the foundation of the earth?
It seems I was chosen to be saved before I was born or existed. My name was already written in the Lamb’s book of Life compared to those who were not. Those who were not written in the Lamb’s book of Life from or since the foundation of the world.
Revelation 17:8 – The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.
But Mounce makes a strong case (no pun intended and you will see why)
“Rev 13:8 ” apo” being translated as before fits the range of usage provided by Mounce (distance in time) and by Strong’s(before)”.
I know one will disagree that God in His infinite foreknowledge knew before the foundation of the World even before he DETERMINED to create all that there is. His infinite foreknowledge is unlimited and exhaustive. He knows past, present and future all at the same time. There is never a time that God did not know something. God does not have to look into the future to retrieve or obtain some information because that would mean there was a time God did not know something.
So God knew infinitely with absolute complete universal perfection the decisions and actions of all free men whether evil or good before he ever even created the universe and world containing all the individuals that would ever come into existence. BUT HE CHOSE TO CREATE ANYWAY a world where evil and sin is in direct contradiction to a Loving Holy God with Infinite Exhaustive Almighty Power. But he chooses to let evil and wickedness of the most gross and evil of all kinds cause pain, sorrow and suffering to the most extreme extent. This is the Holy Loving all Powerful God of the Southern Traditional Baptist. Not being disrespectful. Just showing every system of Faith and every denomination has great difficulty and problems with the existence of evil and sin. It makes God guilty by association. He knew what would be before he created. To the STB there is Autonomous Self-Governing Libertarian Neutral Free Will, Independent and separate from God.
With God who say every human decision and action with his exhaustive infinite knowledge before he created all decisions and actions of all individuals are fixed. He knows exactly what they will choose because he created the world that would be as he knew it would be in advance.
The “Free Will Defense” just will not do. Because if I knew a child was being abused next door and I heard the cries of that child I would run next door while calling 911. Break down that door and “violate that person’ Autonomous LFW. Am I more Loving, Holy and powerful than the STB God who sits on His throne and watches rape, murder and the most unimaginable wicked evil every day. And the Thrice Holy Loving God who is all powerful just watches and does nothing.
Without resorting to defending your own problems of evil and sin within your own system of Faith within the STB and saying but yeah the Calvinist….
Let your own faith, system of belief and theology stand on its own. Trust me you guys have dissected us to the core. It is time to open your own closet door and see the skeletons you have in side. Because, Houston/STB you have you a problem as do all systems of faith when it comes to God and suffering in connection with evil and sin.
But back to the first issue. What is the difference if someone is written in “before” or “from” And the fact that with God’s infinite foreknowledge all decisions and actions of individuals that exist or will exist are fixed as he knows the choice they will make. To God this Autonomous LFW does not exist as it cannot as he knows all things, not just all that can be known (hint hint) but he is the God that calls those things that be not as though they were. He knows the free actions and decisions of mankind before they make them.
God bless and have a wonderful night. Blessings to you Mr Eric Kemp meant in all due respect SIr.
I was chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world, before time began, from all eternity. (Chosen in Christ to be predestined to Salvation in History and time through the means of the Holy Spirit in intimate connection with the preaching of the Gospel.
I was not “chosen to be in Christ” as it is so often to be said. Chosen in Christ before time began to be Holy and blameless before Him.
In Love he predestined us ( which includes me and all other individuals chosen in Christ before time began, to adoption (not of the body) but speaking of Salvation, as His sons in Christ Jesus according to the Good Pleasure of God’s Will. Not mine. Ephesians 1:4-5
It is always said when individual election began and who it began with and was it taught with the early church fathers.
I ask when did “CORPORATE ELECTION BEGIN” to be taught and when was it developed and can it be found in the Early Church Fathers. I actually consider the ECF to be the Apostles and Prophets who delivered the Holy Faith to the Saints once and for all.
If you go to Dr. Sean Cole Website, “Understanding Christianity. Dr. Cole links Corporate Election back to Karl Barth and even from one who began to develop it before him. Not in the Early Catholic Church Fathers. This was in the 1920’s 30’3.
Dr. Cole is a Christian Church Historian Scholar and teaches Church History.
So I think maybe the Synergistic have a question they may need to ask. How recent and new is the teaching of Corporate Election. Was it taught by the Early Church Fathers?
I guess I was elected in Christ before the foundation (Before time began.) of the World and my name was written in the Lamb’s book of life when time began. Just a theory.
But I would like someone to tackle the issue of when Corporate Election was first taught and developed. And did the early Church Fathers teach it?
I see 3 versions which use before:
Hello Ed and welcome.
Its unclear what point you are making here
Hi Ed, Rev 17, 8
The Book of Life existed “from the foundation of the world”… names were added to it “from” not “before”. See similar use of the iterative use of the perfect in the word “shed” in Luke 11:50-51.
Luk 11:50-51 NKJV – “that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple….” All the blood was shed (iterative perfect tense) at different times after (from) the foundation of the world.
A book is a created thing associated with creation. It did not exist before creation. The word “from” is significant and does not mean “before” but has a terminus a quo and goes forward from there.
See the idea of names being added to the Book of Life, which is called being “written with the righteous” in Ps 69:28 using the imperfect tense in Hebrew for the verb “written”, meaning, “not yet written”. That verse also mentions another book of life, the book of the living, which is the physical life of all humans. That book of life is also one that names could be blotted out of it, meaning, physical death.
Psa 69:28 NKJV – Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous.
The idea of writing going on now in heaven is found in many places in the Scripture. And there is even a mention of a future event of the writing of new names.
Rev 3:12 NKJV – 12 “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And [I will write on him] My new name.”
So the premise of names being added after the foundation of the world to the book of life of the Lamb that was slain is consistent with the context and grammar of Rev 17:8. Those in that verse never had their names added to the Book of Life that has existed from the foundation of the world.