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 Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 19) (The Overcomers Part 5)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 19) (The Overcomers Part 5)   Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 19) (The Overcomers Part 5) EmptyTue Dec 09, 2014 10:16 pm

Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 19) (The Overcomers Part 5)

The next overcomer statement is in Revelation 3:5 and is directed to the church of Sardis. Sardis is the “dead” church. Jesus appeals to this dead church and then proclaims the reward for those who are overcomers. Verse 5 references verse 4, which reads, “Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.” It is amazing to have Jesus call someone worthy. They are worthy to walk with Him and to be dressed in white. White clothing signifies purity and holiness. It represents a state of repentance. They are called worthy because they did not stain their clothes with sin and rebellion. They have a propensity to refrain from sin. Verse 5 reads, “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and His angels.” We will later look at the clothes of the saints. Interestingly, the church, after the Rapture, will be given different clothes in Heaven than those who become saved during the Tribulation period. The church will be given white garments and those saved during the Tribulation period will be given white robes. This verse in the NAS, which is a closer translation and better reflects the Greek reads, “He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments...” But either way, both garment wearers and robe wearers will be dressed in white. Jesus also promises to never blot out the person’s name from the book of life, and also promises to acknowledge his name before His Father and the angels. Many of these promises in this passage are granted to all believers. The entire church will be dressed in white and the entire church will never be blotted out from the book of life.

To have one’s name acknowledged before the Father and His angels by Jesus is the only conditional clause here according to other passages of the New Testament. Luke 12:8-9 reads, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who [denies] me before men will be [denied] before the angels of God.” Again, the NIV has the word “disown” for “deny”, but the word that best reflects the Greek word is “deny.” Why would Jesus deny someone before the angels of God? Angels are God’s messengers, and one of their duties is to send God’s blessings or curses down to Earth. If, as this passage says, we are ashamed of Jesus before others, Jesus will block our blessing from reaching us by not acknowledging us before the Father; thereby denying us. The overcomer will not be ashamed to acknowledge Jesus before men even though doing so may incur rejection, spite, and persecution from others. 1 John 4:3 says that to be ashamed of Jesus before men is to act in the spirit of the Antichrist. It reads, “...but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” It is possible for a Christian to operate in the spirit of the Antichrist by simply being too ashamed to acknowledge Jesus among his or her peers and friends. That’s how Satan wants us to operate. This passage does not say “...every spirit that does not believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh...” (see verse 2). No, but rather, it says, “...every spirit that does not acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh...” This is about going public with Jesus. The spirit of the Antichrist doesn’t mind too much that we believe Christ privately; he just doesn’t want us to go public with Jesus. Such a spirit can be subtle—we may be doing it without realizing it or paying attention. John, the same writer of Revelation, says that the Antichrist’s spirit is right now at work in the world. He said this nearly 2,000 years ago. That spirit of Antichrist is, of course, the spirit of Satan, who will possess the Antichrist. Jesus will acknowledge the overcomer both in time and in the next life when it is time to pass out rewards to believers.

I would like to focus the rest of today’s study on the clause: “I will never blot out his name from the book of life.” The book of life is a fascinating study in the bible. In the day of ancient Jews, they were accustomed to taking censuses and keeping books of deeds. For example, 1 Kings 22:45 says, “As for the other events of Jehoshaphat’s reign, the things he achieved and his military exploits, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?” It appears that God has 3 books. There is the book of life, and the book of deeds for sinners, and book of deeds for the saints. The book of deeds of the Saints is referred to in Psalm 56:8, which reads, “Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record?” The book of deeds for both saints and sinners contains all things done both good and bad. Malachi 3:16 also references the book of deeds of the saints. It reads, “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.” This book is not kept so that God can remember what we did. It is kept so that we will be reminded of our good and bad deeds when our day of reckoning comes. In Malachi 3:16, “those who feared the LORD” and “talked with each other” refers specifically to the 144,000 saved Jewish Christians.

The book of deeds of sinners and the book of life are mentioned in Revelation 22. Technically “books” did not exist back then when the bible was written. Not books as we know them today, that is, with the pages attached to a binder. In biblical times, they had only scrolls. It’s possible that in the future God will actually open books as we know them today. The book of deeds is made up of many books. It is a collection of books, and each person’s story is a separate book. Revelation 20:12 reads, “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.” There are two separate books here. The book (singular) is the book of life. The books (plural) is the book of deeds. The dead (unsaved) were judged, not according to the book of life, but according to the book of deeds. The book of life was there just there to show each person that their name was blotted out. No one at this particular judgment is saved. This is the Great White Throne judgment. What they will probably see when they look into the book of life is the remnant of where their name used to be.

It seems that the book of life starts off by containing everyone’s name in human history. That is because to start off, everyone is actually saved. Please let me explain before you shout at your monitor. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them...” In Christ, this verse says, the entire world was reconciled to God so that their sins are not counted against them. Well, we know from other passages that this is not the Gospel. The entire world is not saved because many have rejected what Jesus did on the cross. Each person individually must believe in the payment Jesus made for their sins in order for that payment to be applied to their account. But this verse is really saying that God really did clear the debt of sin of every single person in human history—those in the past going back to the Old Testament, and those in the future until the end of human history. In God’s criteria for salvation, one must opt out of faith in Christ to not be saved. The payment was given to all. To not have it means that the person rejected the payment. This is why all babies are saved. A baby and a mentally challenged person are unable to reject the payment for their sin so their sins have been covered in Christ. Once that age of mental awareness is reached (and this may be different for everyone) then one is accountable because one has the ability to reject what Christ did and choose an idol, a false god, or self for their god instead of the true God. Jesus also stated this in John 9:41, where He says, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” So all start off in the book of life, but their names are blotted out when they reject Christ as their Savior. To have one’s name blotted out means that it was initially there.

Let’s peruse the bible concerning this issue of having one’s name blotted out. In Exodus 32:32-33, Moses says something interesting. Starting in verse 31 it reads, “So Moses went back to the LORD and said, ‘Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.’ The LORD replied to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.’” Moses here has a spiritual moment. He is feeling so compassionate for his people that he offers his own soul to save those who are in danger of having their names blotted out of God’s book because of their sins. Moses wanted to be Jesus for the people. God said, “No thank you Moses. I don’t need you for my plan of salvation. But, quite noble of you to offer yourself.” I paraphrased. God did not retort with a denial of the existence of such a book. He actually affirmed its existence by saying that the one who sins will be blotted out of my book. This passage also supports the idea that everyone in the world starts off in the book of life because it is sin or rejection of Him that we commit that blots us out of the book. And again, to be “blotted out” means that one’s name would have to be first printed in it.

Psalm 9:5 reads, “You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.” David did not like his enemies. He did not get the memo from Jesus to love your enemies. He often prayed imprecatory prayers. One such is in Psalm 69:27-28 which reads, “Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.” Sadly and unfortunately, David will get his request answered sometime in our future. But of himself, David prays to God in Psalm 51:1, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” That is one of my personal gripes I still have with David. He curses his enemies and lifts himself above them as if he is somehow innately special. To pray for our enemies, as Jesus tells us, should include us praying that our enemies find Christ and salvation. If they do that, they will no longer act as our enemy. Nevertheless, what David says is all technically biblically accurate. God blots out the transgressions of those in Christ and blots out the names of sinners from the book of life of those who reject Christ. Precisely speaking, God blots out the Christian’s condemnation: that is, the sin that condemns us has been placed on Jesus Christ. God keeps track of Christians’ sins to discipline us and to withhold rewards. When we truly repent and confess those sins, then God is faithful and just to forgive us. When God forgives us, He remembers our sins no more, but the consequences of particular sins may still be experience beyond that.

This book of life is found throughout the bible. In Philippians 4:3, Paul says, “...along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are written in the book of life.” Isaiah speaks of a day during the Millennium in 4:3 where he writes: “Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem.” This is not yet Heaven because he is speaking of the same Jerusalem that exists today on this Earth, but it is referring to the book of life.

I want to quickly run through the other references to the book of life. I’ll simply quote, leaving some without commentary. 2 Kings 14:27, “And since the LORD had not said He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Jehoash.” God is able to speak someone out of the book of life, as no one is worthy to be in it. All have sinned and have fallen short of His glory. It is a privilege, not a right to be listed in His book of life. Confer, if you’d like with Dt. 25:19, and 29:20.

Daniel 7:10 reads, “A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before Him. Thousands upon thousands attended Him; ten thousand times ten thousand [all referring to angels] stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.” Books here has an “s” so this is the book of deeds of sinners and is the same scene we saw earlier in Revelation 20:15. Daniel 12:1 speaks of the book of life where it says, “But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.” Revelation 13:8 reads, “All inhabitants of the Earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” Revelation 17:8 reads, “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.” Please note, “not been written” and “blotted out” are used as synonyms. God sees the end from the beginning and is able to speak of the future as if it were today or the past. God is outside of the time He created. He is an eternal being. From His perspective, these names have not been written because they won’t be there in the final day as they have been blotted out beforehand. Finally, Revelation 21:27 reads, “Nothing impure will ever enter it [the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

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Revelation Chapter 2 (Part 19) (The Overcomers Part 5)
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