What is the Book of Life?
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Question: What is the book of life? Why does God need one?
Answer: The first place a book of life is mentioned in the Bible is not in Revelation but in Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians:
"I implore Euodia and I implore Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord . . . help these women who labored with me in the gospel . . . whose names are in the BOOK OF LIFE." (Philippians 4:1-3, NKJV throughout)
The most well-known reference to the book of life is in Revelation, where it is opened before God judges the vast majority of mankind:
"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away . . . 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 . . .
"And anyone not found written in the BOOK OF LIFE was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:11-12, 15)
Other places where this phrase occurs includes a statement about the understanding those who are not converted will have at the end time:
"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, when they see the beast . . . " (Revelation 17:8)
This mysterious book appears again when John, in vision, sees the new heaven and earth God will create after judging all humans (Revelation 21). In this new creation, he also sees the new Jerusalem coming down to earth. Not everyone, however, will be allowed in the new city:
"But there shall by no means enter it (new Jerusalem) anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life." (Revelation 21:27)