The Book of Life
Given By: "Glenn D. Blank" On Friday, October 7, 2011

In traditional and modern Judaism, the Book of Life is the subject of greetings, a wish for a good year.
But in the Bible, the Book of Life is the charged with great passion, because so much is at stake!
Not just a year, but eternity, not just a wish, but God's care and close attention to everything in our lives, not just our own well-being and sustenance, but the eternal destiny of all Israel and every human being!

On Rosh Hashanah, the traditional Amidah prayer adds this: "B'sefer chaim [in the Book of Life] bracha [blessing] v'shalom [and peace] u'farnasa tova [and good sustenance] ni-zacher [may we be remembered] v'nikatev [and written] l'fanecha [before You], anachnu v'chol am'cha Beit Yisrael
[we and all Your people, the House of Israel], l'chaim tovim ul'shalom [for a good life and peace]."
On Yom Kippur, the traditional blessing (which you can find in your bulletins) is Gmar chatimah tovah, which means, "A good final sealing" (that is, b'sefer chaim, in the Book of Life).
Once God writes your name in His Book, he also puts His final seal on it.

Over the years and centuries, this blessing has become a wish for a good year, an elaboration on
Shana tovah (or L'shana tovah tikatevu), For a Good Year may you be written, i.e., Happy New Year!
But the idea of the Book of Life was originally much more than an annual greeting.
To God, whom we Jews also call the Eternal One, a year is a little more than a moment, a fading flower.
Indeed, to some of us, the years seem to e going faster and faster.  How much more to the Eternal One!
The Book of Life is about your eternal destiny.  (V'eemru? And let us say?)

Let's turn to some examples from Scripture:
Malachi 3:16-18, "Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up
my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not."
The prophet sees a book of remembrance (sefer zikron) written for those who fear the Lord.
This book or scroll (bound books did not exist in ancient times, only scrolls) was used to distinguish between the righteous and the wicked-probably not just for a year but forever. V'eemru?
Daniel 12:1-3, "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people-everyone whose name is found written in the book-will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever."
This apocalyptic vision includes many important ideas, though nothing about having a happy new year:
1) Michael is a great prince or angel who stands guard over Daniel's people, Israel.  Angelic powers have been assigned to nations.  Michael Sandt, your namesake Mikhael has been assigned to Yisrael.  Awesome?
2) A time of distress or trouble is coming to Israel, but "your people will be rescued."  Israel has certainly experienced many times of distress, yet somehow our people have survived.  Baruch Hashem!
Am Yisrael Chai! The people of Israel live, to give testimony of the truth of God's promises.
3) There will be a resurrection from the dead: "those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake."
4) God has a book, and y'all want to be written in the good one! Some will awake to everlasting life,
but others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.  So, for sure the book records eternal destiny. V'eemru?
BTW, isn't the eternal nature of God's book is implied in the traditional greeting, Gmar chatimah tovah, a good final sealing? 
In a message I gave last March, I explained that in ancient times, a seal was used as an identifying mark on an object, such as scroll.
For example, in Nehemiah 10:1 we read, "In view of all this, we are making a binding covenant, putting it in writing and having it sealed by our leaders, our Levites and our cohanim [priests]."
An ancient seal also spoke of a covenant relationship between the sender and receiver or a scroll.
Paul uses the image of a seal to give his readers confidence about God's promises:
2 Corinthians 1:22, "[God has] anointed us, marked us with his seal of ownership, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."
And Ephesians 1:13, "[When you] put your trust in the Messiah, you were marked by Him with a seal-the promised Ruach Ha-Kodesh."
Baruch Hashem!  Everyone who believes in Messiah is filled with the Ruach HaKodesh and marked with the seal of Messiah, forever!  If you haven't received that sealing, I urge you to receive tonight, while the book is open! V'eemru?

The New Covenant Scriptures have more to say about the Book of Life:
Revelation 20:12-15, "And I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of the throne. Books were opened; and another book was opened, the Book of Life; and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, according to what they had done.. Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was hurled into the lake of fire."
Like Daniel 12, this passage envisions a final judgment of all humanity, distinguishing between those written into the Book of Life and those not. It doesn't matter whether folks were great or small in their mortal life-God is not impressed by big shots, He is no respecter of persons.  All that matters is how the Judge evaluate what is written in the books. I sincerely hope you are all written into the Good Book!

Yeshua says, in Luke 10:20, "Nevertheless, don't be glad that the spirits submit to you; be glad that your names have been recorded in heaven."
He spoke these words of joyful assurance to his disciples.  If you are His disciple, you can be confident of this same joyful assurance. V'eemru?  If not, your assurance can only be on the basis of whether you have kept all of God's commandments.  Ladies and gentlemen, I wouldn't want to appear before the judge on the basis of anything other than already knowing the Judge has declared that you are His possession, written your name in His book, and sealed it in your heart.  V'eemru?

In Psalm 56:9, David sings: "You have recorded my wanderings. You put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?"
In this poetic verse, David reveals something else about the Book: in addition to our names, it records our wanderings and our tears.  God truly cares about all the suffering that we go through in life.
When you are going through tsouris (troubles), you may be tempted to think, Lord, do you see?
Rest assured, the Lord does see.  He will remember your wandering and tears; He will reward your faithfulness. He often does so in this life, but if not, trust Him to remember in the life to come. V'eemru?

Finally, there are a few difficult passages about the Book of Life that trouble some interpreters:
In Psalm 69:29, David cries out to the Lord about his persecutors,
"May they be erased from the book of life (sefer chayim), and not be inscribed with the righteous."
Some Bible scholars seem to thing that David is talking about this life-i.e., cut their lives short.
But I believe David is imagining the worst thing that could happen to his foes, before the eternal Judge. 
That may seem a bit harsh. But how many of you have said harsh things in your prayers to the Lord?
It's one thing for David to express his feelings intensely; but he trusts the Lord to act justly. V'eemru?
In Revelation 3:5, the Risen Lord Yeshua says, "He who wins the victory will, like them, be dressed in white clothing; and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life; in fact, I will acknowledge him individually before my Father and before his angels."
Is it possible that someone whose name has been written into the Book of Life may be blotted out? 
I am not necessarily an advocate of a hardline doctrine of eternal security-but I don't think Yeshua is talking about blotting out those who have put their trust in Him.  Yeshua is faithful and true; He does not change His mind about us. This verse is not a word that should cause doubt, but a word of assurance that Yeshua will never blot out our names, but give us victory and honor before our Father in heaven.

In Exodus 32:32-33, Moses intercedes with God concerning the rebellious children of Israel. "But now, if You will, forgive their sin - and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!" The LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, him I will blot out of My book."
Some have wondered, could God ever blot out or erase someone that He has already written into the Book of Life?  Or could he even blot out Moses' name as the prophet suggested in his plea?
Well, here, God's answer is plain: "Whoever has sinned against Me, him I will blot out of my book."
That doesn't include Moses, but it does include anyone who rebels and never makes teshuvah, turning back to God.  The point of Moses' intercessory prayer was not that he really expected to be blotted out of the Book; he was praying passionately that it wouldn't be worthwhile to be written in the Book if none of other children of Israel were written in!  The Book of Life is something to be passionate about!

Similarly, in Romans 9:2-3, Shaul writes, "my grief is so great, the pain in my heart so constant,
that I could wish myself actually under God's curse and separated from the Messiah, if it would help my brothers, my own flesh and blood, the people of Israel!"
There is no reason to believe that God would curse Paul-He is a just God and compassionate.
But the Spirit of God does hear Paul's prayer for His people.
The intercessory burden of Moses and Paul teach us something important about the Book of Life: if you are written in, you should also greatly long for and pray for other people to be written in, too!  V'eemru?
How many of you believe that Messiah is coming soon?  Believing in His soon return should make us passionate about what He is passionate about-that many would turn and be delivered before He comes!
2Pet. 3:9, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
V'eemru? Take a moment to consider who you can pray for tonight.

There are several things to pray about tonight.
Do you know if your name is written and sealed in the Book of Life?
You can have this assurance, by putting your trust in Yeshua, the Savior of Israel and the world.
With every head bowed and all eyes closed, is there anyone here who needs to pray to God for the assurance of eternal life?  If that's you, would you raise your hand, so I can pray for you?
Second, do you know that God has recorded all your wanderings and tears in His book?
If you have been going through tsouris or troubles, and need reassurance of God's love for you, would you raise your hand, so I can pray for you?
Finally, do you understand how much Moses and Paul wanted the children of Israel to be written into the Book of Life?  Are you willing to feel some of their intercessory Do want others to be written into the Lamb's Book of Life?   Raise your hand if you are thinking about someone now, so we can pray together.