4.1. Its Ultimate Purpose

Those whose names are written in the Book of Life are said to have their names “written in heaven” (Luke Luke 10:20) or be “registered in heaven” (Heb. Heb. 12:23). This implies that the book is kept in heaven and this is where we find it in its ultimate use at the end of history: at the Great White Throne Judgment:

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, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. Rev. 20:12-15+)

This is the judgment which attends the second resurrection.1 These are the resurrected dead who were not part of the first resurrection. Over such the second death has power. Their ultimate destiny is the Lake of Fire. Several books are involved in their judgement:
  • The Book of Life - This book is consulted to verify they have not trusted in Christ and therefore must stand before God on their own merit. Since the books, which record their works, will indicate the presence of sin in their lives and that they have not been credited with the righteousness of Christ by trusting in Him, they have a major problem: they stand condemned as sinners before a Holy God and are now without recourse.
  • The Books - These books record their life’s works. Every good and bad deed of every moment of their life prior to death is recorded in these books. The degree of punishment is based upon their works, but there is no possibility of rescue from the Lake of Fire which awaits because their name fails to appear in the Book of Life.
God is a just God and will provide unbelievers what they so frequently say they desire: the opportunity to be judged by their own merit. Their merit, falling short of perfection and lacking the covering of Christ, will result in just condemnation by degrees in the Lake of Fire. They will realize too late that God does not “grade on a curve.”

Notes

1 See commentary on Revelation 2:11 and Revelation 20:12.