4.3. Names Blotted Out

Having established that the names of the redeemed appear to have been recorded in the book at the time of their election (Eph. Eph. 1:4), but that the names of the beast worshippers were not, we encounter a difficulty. Certain passages imply that names are blotted out (removed) from the book (Ex. Ex. 32:32-33; Ps. Ps. 69:28; Rev. Rev. 3:5+; Rev. 22:19+). But we’ve just seen that the names of the beast worshipers were not written in the book. So who is it that is being blotted out? If it were the redeemed that could be blotted out, then how does this square with predestination and God’s electing purposes which result in the security of the believer? Various solutions have been proposed to reconcile the blotted names with what Scripture teaches elsewhere regarding the perseverance of the saints. We turn now to a brief survey of some of these. The question we want to answer is who is it that is “blotted out” from the Book of Life? The solution to the logical predicament attending the various passages regarding the Book of Life generally results in the proposal that Scripture describes at least two and as many as three books associated with life:
  1. Book of the Living - A book which records all those who attain a long life physically. Being blotted out of this book results in premature physical death (Ex. Ex. 32:32-33; Ps. Ps. 69:28).
  2. Book of Life - A book which records the name of every individual ever born. Those who fail to exercise faith prior to death are “blotted out” of the book. Being blotted out of this book results in spiritual death and eternal damnation.
  3. Book of Life of the Lamb - A book which records only those individuals who are predestined to salvation. None of the names written in this book is ever blotted out (Rev. Rev. 13:8+; Rev. 21:27+).
It is our view that attempting to explain the various passages by using two or three different books is overly complicated and imposes distinctions between the books which are not derived strictly from the Biblical text. We believe a simpler solution comes by understanding all these passages as describing the self-same book, but also recognizing the unique soteriological category of those who dwell on the earth in the last days and who worship the beast and take his mark. Rather than requiring two or even three books for logical consistency, all that is needed is a single book but two categories of people—where the earth dwellers of the end are treated uniquely from all other people of history. Let’s take a look at some of the solutions which have been proposed for understanding all that Scripture teaches concerning the Book of Life.