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  • Incredulity of Thomas
The Book Of Life Rev 13_8

Rev 13 (RSV)

6 …It (the Beast) opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven .

7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation,

8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it (the Beast), every one whose name has not been written before the

foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.

According to this passage (in this translation) all whose names have not been written into the Lamb’s Book of Life will worship the Beast.

So we know that the believers will not worship the Beast. That means the believer’s names are in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Hmm, but according to this translation, when were our names put into the Lamb’s Book of Life?

The day we accepted Christ? No.

The day we were baptized (if that meant anything but a symbolic gesture of obedience)? No.

The day we died and entered into His presence? No.

After God saw that we would be good people and accept Him? No.

After God saw what kind of person we would be? No.

Then when? If you go by the RSV it indicates that our names were entered into the Lamb’s Book of Life, BEFORE the foundation of the world. Before we were born, before our parents were born, before the world was created. Before we like the twins Jacob and Easu could do anything, Good or Bad.

Therefore using this translation we must assume that we really had nothing to do with our names being in that book. God put our names there, because He saves us and we really had nothing to do with that. Praise God for that!

However, having said that, I have to tell you that this may not be the intent of the passage because, we notice that the NIV says: From the Foundation of the world. Not Before the Foundation of the world. So it could indicate that names were being constantly written into the book from the foundation of the world till now. i.e.

Rev 13:8 (NIV) All who dwell on the earth will worship him (i.e. the Beast), 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.

There is also a further consideration. Some comentaries (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown) seem to indicate that the Greek wording really lends itself better to the following grouping:

All who dwell on the earth will worship him (i.e. the Beast), everyone whose name has not been written in the book of life of the Lamb -who has been slain from the foundation of the world.

Indicating that the Lamb was slain/chosen from the foundation of the world refering to. I Peter 1:20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. But that then does not allow this passage to lend itself to support the “predestination” view.

However there is another reference later on in Revelations that seems to support the predestination view:

Rev 17: 8 (NIV)

The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come.

Rev 17:8 (NASB)

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.

Rev 17:8 (KJV)

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

As you can see these and all the translations I checked seem to hold the same phraseology. Thus I believe that Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s grouping is not the best. It is referring to the fact that it’s the “names” not the the Lamb that is the object in the verses, and thus it is the names that have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world that is at issue.

However, even with this some could argue: Could not the verse be referring to the names that have not been written in the book of life SINCE the creation of the world. E.g.

My premise is the phrase is “whose names have not been written in the book of life at and before the creation of the world…”

The argument could be that the phase really is: “whose names have not been written in the book of life since the creation of the world…”. That is that these names were being written in from the creation of the world, and have been periodically updated till now.

I have trouble with that interpretation because then why bring in “the foundation of the world”. Obviously if there is a book of life and it is being periodically updated, why discuss the foundation of the world, why not discuss when the book was no longer been written into. Eg. “whose names were not written into the book of life before Jesus returned.”. It seems that if you are talking about the book into which names are written, you would discuss the point when the names are no longer written, or both start and ending events rather then only when the names first started being written.

Either way, it’s a fun topic.

 
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