THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
I saw the dead, small and great, stand
before God; and the books were opened:
and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were
written in the books, according to
their works. And the sea gave up the
dead which were in it; and death and
up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works” (Rev.
at our text we see what many have considered
to be the “Final Judgment” or the “Great Assize,” although the text does not say that
it is a “final judgment,” and thus, such a concept must be “read into” the
scene. The scriptures indicate that
there are yet “ages to come” in which
God’s great judicial, redemptive, and restorative program must be carried forth
to bring us to that glorious “dispensation of the fullness of times” in which
together into one all things in Christ (Eph.
1:10). It is my deep and considered
conviction that just as the “coming” of the Lord is progressive — past,
present, and future — so is the unfolding of the “judgment day” past, present,
and future. The question follows — When
did the judgment day begin? Our Lord
Jesus answers the question in the plainest of language. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath
committed all judgment unto the Son” (Jn. 5:22). And Jesus said, “For judgment I am
come into this world” (Jn. 9:39).
And again, “NOW is the judgment of this world: NOW shall the prince of
this world be cast out” (Jn. 12:31). I
dare say that not one Christian in ten thousand has connected passages like these
to THE JUDGMENT DAY!
is high time that the saints look into some of the things they have been
taught. We have been told some funny
stories. The preachers in the church
systems love to speak loudly and preach long about what they term “the final judgment.” But the term “final judgment” never
once appears anywhere within the pages of God’s blessed Book! In fact, the word “final” never appears there at all in connection
with anything. It is a word that has
been added to judgment and taught to the people as a divine revelation of an
event that is supposed to transpire somewhere out in the future. The Word of God does not teach that there is
a “final judgment day” at some future time.
The pen of inspiration has blazoned with unmistakable clarity the truth:
“Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the COMING OF THE LORD DRAWETH
NIGH. Grudge not against one another,
brethren, lest ye be condemned (judged): behold (look!), THE JUDGE STANDETH
BEFORE THE DOOR” (James 5:8-9). Oh, yes,
the Judge IS HERE! even now standing before the door of your mind and
heart. Some of the modern translations
bring out the truth so beautifully: “Be patient, ye also; establish your
hearts, because THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD HATH DRAWN NIGH; do not complain,
brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves shall not be judged. Look!
THE JUDGE IS ALREADY
STANDING AT THE VERY DOOR” (Young’s Literal & Amplified Bible).
judgments of God are first and foremost not external, but internal; not future,
but on-going. The Word of God, history,
and our own experience shout aloud the truth that the soul’s verdict is even
now being written moment by moment, not by recording angels in heavenly books
on some distant shore, but by each man himself on the fleshy tables of his own
heart. This present life is to each of
the consecrated ones his “day of judgment” — his day of trial, testing,
proving, chastening, his day of being brought to perfection in Christ.
When any man anywhere at any time begins to be dealt with by God to
bring him into his full salvation, the “day of judgment” will begin to function in mighty power in his
life. The apostle Peter’s words
are in harmony with this: “Judgment must begin
at the house of God!” (I Pet. 4:17).
This passage in the Greek text
speaks of the judgment of God flowing out
from the house of God; but nothing can flow out from the house of God that
hasn’t first become an experiential reality within
the house of God. Oh, yes, let all
men know that all judgment must begin at
the house of God! This does not imply a
sudden visitation of catastrophes, calamities, and troubles, but it means that
there will be a concentration of divine instruction and discipline, as the
Father purifies each individual,
until He can gather to Himself a FIRSTFRUITS.
should be plain even to a child that the judgment day began with the coming of
the Judge. The Judge is within
you because the Christ is within you!
It takes no extraordinary intelligence nor any exceptional
spirituality to reach that conclusion.
Let us stop putting the judgment out beyond the cemetery and believe
what God’s word really says about
it. To all who wait for a judgment day
in some future time or age I now say, as our blessed Lord has said, “NOW is the
judgment of this world: NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out” (Jn.
12:31). Far too many Christians want to
put it out at some final end, but either Satan is being bound and chained in
your life today, and in the lives of many here and beyond, or he will never be
eradicated from this planet. “Who shall
give account to Him that is (now) ready to judge the living and the dead” (I
Pet. 4:5). How different is what God really says about the judgment day from
what the preachers tell us! NOW shall
the prince of this world be cast out!
NOW God is ready to judge both the living and the dead! It is happening now and shall continue to
happen in God’s progressive unfolding of His judgments through the ages until
that wonderful consummation when God becomes ALL IN ALL!
of thine own mouth will I judge thee,” saith the Lord (Lk. 19:21). On that far-away Patmos,
in august symbol and awesome sign John in spirit beheld “the dead, small and
great, stand before God; and the books were
opened: and another book was opened,
which is the book of life: and the
dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books.” As you meditate upon this significant
passage, dear one, allow the Spirit of God to reveal truth to your heart. We have entertained such carnal notions when
we come to the book of Revelation. The
Holy Spirit must teach us the very first principles of this book — the book of Revelation is a
book of symbols — and no symbol is ever to be taken in its literal
form. It is significantly wonderful that
the Lion of the tribe of Judah
is not a four-legged lion with a sweeping mane, nor is the Lamb in the midst of
the throne a four-legged lamb with white wool!
The Lamb has seven horns — not literal horns, of course — for the horns are mere figures representing the
seven-fold spirit of power and life which emanates from the mind and nature of
the Lamb. I am sure my readers
understand the simple truth that the various beasts in the Revelation are not literal beasts, the
cities are not literal cities, nor is the great harlot a singular physical
woman who sells her body to lustful men of the street. One and all are but symbols and figures of
deep spiritual realities, positive or
negative, as the case may be.
I reverently inject another thought? The
“dead” who “stand” before God and are “judged” out of the “books” are not the
physically dead in the outward cemeteries, nor are the “books” such as you may
have in your library. If they were, the
principle of the book’s symbology would utterly fail. If the Lamb who opens the “book” in chapter
five is not a four-legged lamb, it should not be difficult for anyone to
understand that the book is not a two-covered book! And if that “book” is one of the Revelation’s
wonderful symbols, does it not logically follow that the “books” in chapter
twenty are likewise word-pictures in the form of symbols?
very first key to understanding the book of Revelation is the fact that the
book is, in its entirety, a book of symbols.
Any other approach will leave you hopelessly lost in a sea of confusion,
or limited to an array of implausible literalistic conclusions, or muttering
like a mad man about things utterly ridiculous.
“I saw the dead, small and great,” John declared. When Jesus came this world was spiritually a
cemetery. ALL were dead! NONE were living! “For to be carnally
minded is death,” is the Spirit’s own graphic and accurate definition
of what it means to be dead (Rom. 7:6).
“And you hath He quickened (made alive) who were dead in trespasses
and sins” (Eph. 2:1). To the spiritually
dead the apostle commands, “Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and
Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14).
Let us with pure minds and an understanding enlightened by the spirit of
revelation from God consider these meaningful words: “And I saw the dead…stand
before God.” I saw the DEAD — S-T-A-N-D! And immediately the “books” were opened.
keeps a record of the deeds of men, and all the thoughts and emotions under
which they act. Myriads of human beings
have lived and died of whom the world knows nothing; but the lives they lived,
and the deeds they wrought, the thoughts and passions they indulged,
still stand written where the memory of them cannot perish. Not a human being has ever breathed earth’s atmosphere whose career is
not traced at full length in the books God has ordained. Yes, O man!
O woman! whoever you may be, your biography is written. An unerring hand has recorded every item,
with every secret thing. There is not an
ill thought, a mean act, a dirty transaction, a filthiness of speech, or a base
feeling that ever found entertainment in your heart, but is there described in
bold letters, by its true name.
is the record? And what are these
“books” where the secrets of your heart are meticulously inscribed? My words may come as a shock to some, but I
do not hesitate to assert that they are naught but the BOOK OF YOUR OWN NATURE
— THE GENETIC PATTERN OF YOUR VERY OWN BEING! What basis do I have for saying such a
thing? The principle is laid down early
in the book of Revelation itself. In
chapter five John saw a “book” in the right
hand of Him that sat upon the throne. Christ sits at the right hand of God, thus identifying the book with the Lamb. Only the Lamb could open the book, and when
He opened it, it was found to be THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST! It was not a literal book that was opened —
the opening of the book is simply Christ
being revealed to us! HE is the book
of the right hand! In like manner, in
the sight of God you and I, and each and every man and woman on this planet,
are a book; and indelibly
inscribed within your mind, will, emotions, and character is everything that you are.
What will they show, these books, when they are opened? Nothing, it seems, ever dies. The
only thing that can blot anything out of this book of man’s nature is the blood of the Lamb. We can get out of these “books” and get
into the “book of life” by the raising up of Christ in our lives, but nothing
else avails. Should we die, the record
is not blotted out. In some mysterious
way the soulical aspect of our life accompanies us and we carry our character
with us in a frame of mind and a sense of being from one realm to the other —
what we have written, we have written; and the record stands.
life of ours slips past, soundlessly for the most part. We sleep and rise, and our days glide away
full of the little incidents of which their web is woven. And always our character is forming, has been
forming all these passing years. More
and more naturally our feet turn of themselves into the customary paths: firmer
and firmer the shackles of our habits tighten around our will. For every word that we have spoken, every
thought that we have harbored, every deed that we have done, have been
inscribing themselves upon the fabric of our personality, and there building up
the character which we choose to be.
There is our record written with our own hands! “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth
speaketh” (Mat. 12:34). When your mouth
speaks, the message inscribed in your inner nature is exposed and read by all
who hear. Every outer action is a word,
a sentence, a paragraph, a page, a chapter of your book — the book which you
are — known and read by all men.
think not, O man, that should your earthly body be laid in a silent and
motionless tomb, that the Almighty must then resort to some celestial scrolls
wherein heavenly angels have faithfully recorded your every thought and
deed. NO! All is accurately recorded in the law of your
own life, deep within the recesses of your own nature, in your spiritual and
soulical condition and state of being,
and to deal with you in judgment God has
but to “stand you up” and prompt you to speak or act — and immediately
you will manifest exactly what is inscribed in the constitution of your inner
life and heart. At once your “book” will
“open,” each line being made clear, and you will be judged by the things
written in that book which you are. There will be no mistake then, because the books will show the truth. I do not know what your name may be. There may be ten thousand or ten million men
or women of the same name as yourself, but when the Lord puts His hand upon your
book and opens it, it will be your book,
and that of nobody else. What you are,
is what you are, and what will be
read will be out of your book.
What an aid to justice it would be if our courts
could open such a book instead of relying on undependable testimony! Written records, letters, photographic
evidence, fingerprints, and all the minute details so dear to the detective,
are far better evidence than that elicited from human witnesses. Men do not see anything alike. They color it with themselves. Even their truest testimony is tinged with
their own ego and prejudices. How unreliable
would be the session if sinners were to be judged by the testimony of their
fellows! None of this is needed. Notice!
At the great white throne no
witnesses are called to the stand. Not
one! Yet all will be confronted by the
facts. The facts are written within — in
the genetic code of our being. The
scroll of our life will be opened. “And
the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Rev.
20:12). When God, either now or in ages
yet unborn, lays His mighty hand of dealing upon you, my friend, and summons
you to stand before Him, your book will open, and you will not then manifest anything
other than what you are, for “the word of God is living and powerful, and
sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul
and spirit, and of the joints and
marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature (dead or alive,
visible or invisible) that is not
manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb.
4:12-13). In other words, God can see right through you. But when your book is opened the
substance of what you believe in and are will be exposed for all to see! You will not be able to help yourself. God will provoke you by His omnipotent ability to open
up and reveal precisely who and what you are.
Your heart is the evidence brought before His court!
preacher shared the following experience.
“As I said to a man once — I was visiting a prison, there was one man
found guilty of a crime and he had been sentenced. He took an appeal and his sentence was
increased a few years. I saw him in the
prison expressing the very spirit and the nature of that for which he was
convicted, and I said, ‘When he goes before the judge again, he will be found
guilty again the next time.’ I said, ‘No
doubt he will get life.’ Why? It was because the spirit of that which he
was convicted of was manifested in him more effectively than it was when he was
first convicted. Take these thoughts into consideration. If he would have done as one of those men did
among them, CONFESSED his sins and forsaken them, he may not have been found
guilty. Even though he was guilty of the
act, when he went before the judge he could have found mercy and grace to
help. But every time he appeared before
the judges in our courts he was found guilty because the spirit of the crime
was still working in him. So an open
confession is good for the soul. But the
most important thing is to be cleansed, washed, changed, transformed; forsake your sins as well as confess them. God’s presence gives victory over sin and
causes you to become a new creation in
reality. A confession profiteth nothing
unless you forsake them completely and live no longer in them. If those tendencies, fancies, pleasures,
ideas, opinions, and deeds can still be found
in you, they will identify you as
the same unrighteous person. But if they
are no longer there, there will be nothing in you to identify you as something
other than Christ.”
doubt, God is the great “book opener.”
This is God’s way of judging us, or re-writing our books, if you
please. The means by which He brings His
judgment into our lives is very simple, yet extremely effective. For example, the person abiding in some realm
of soulish death is brought to a crisis.
God arranges circumstances and places the man in situations that open
his book, thus revealing himself to
forget an occasion, though it was nearly fifty years ago, when the Lord pressed
this message home to my heart. In those
days I was accustomed to changing the oil in my car. It never
ceased to amaze me how a simple ten minute job could invariably turn into a
disastrous hour-long ordeal! This
certain day I had a few extra minutes, so determined to utilize them by
changing the oil. I crawled under the
car and proceeded to try to remove the oil plug. But it refused to cooperate. It simply would not budge. I pushed
on the wrench with all my might; I grunted, groaned, and moaned as the
minutes passed into an hour. The plug
refused to yield and by this time was becoming damaged, making it more
impossible to turn. Exasperation laid
hold upon me. At that point I became
exceedingly agitated and began to act
very un-godlike. And just as soon as my
rage reached its most explosive pitch, and what was manifested was all of me and none of Him, I saw two feet walking slowly by the car. The feet belonged to my neighbor. I knew that this neighbor was aware that I
was a minister of the gospel! Suddenly I
realized that my “book” had just been “opened” before God’s great white throne
and my neighbor had been permitted to read a very ugly chapter!
heart smote me. Oh God, no! How ashamed I was that this man had read such
a sordid scene! Humiliated and convicted
(judged), at once I laid down the wrench and breathed the earnest prayer, “Father, forgive
me! Help me somehow to get this oil plug
out.” No sooner were the words uttered
than the Spirit whispered the words of wisdom,
“Go to the other side of the car and pull
instead of pushing.” I crawled out from under the car and
obeyed the prompting of the Spirit. In
less than a minute the plug responded and the black oil flowed out. The message is clear — I could have drawn
upon the Spirit earlier and prevented all the trouble — but God wanted to put
His finger on something in my life! He
opened my book and for me it was “judgment day”!
grand purpose for this “opening of our book” is so that all that is written
there may be exposed, revealed, displayed, and brought to judgment, dealt with
by a concentration of divine discipline and instruction, as the Father processes
each individual. The procedure is simple
but very effective. The person abiding
in some realm of death is caused to “stand” before God — brought directly into
relation to the countenance of God. As
it is written, “God shall bring every
work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether
it be evil” (Eccl. 12:14), for, “God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus
Christ” (Rom. 2:16). Ah, you will
despair and shrink before God’s judgments until you clearly understand that God
does not open your book to destroy you, but to deliver
you! It is a divine law — God
can never deliver you, nor any man, until your heart has been revealed to be
dealt with by God’s stern and tender hand.
Yield yourself under the mighty hand of God that overcoming victory may
be obtained in your earth. We must never be discouraged when the
motions of the flesh and the workings of the carnal mind overwhelm us, but
neither should we become complacent about it, for God will send forth judgment
unto victory however long it takes and however severe the dealings. He will never terminate His judgments until
every man is conformed into the image of the glorious Son of God! Aren’t you glad!
arranges the circumstances by which every man’s book is opened — the inner
condition uncovered. Some men are faced
with a woman to reveal secret lust in his heart. Some men are given spiritual gifts and
talents to uncover pride, arrogance, love of power, and greed that lurks within
their nature. Others are given problems
and difficulties to reveal anger, bitterness, or unbelief. Still others are brought to the wilderness of
temptation, as was our dear Lord, just to reveal the spirit, mind, and nature
of the Christ that has been formed in them!
You see, Jesus was not driven by the Spirit into the wilderness to see
whether or not He would sin; the
encounter with the adversary was designed to show that in the crucible of
testing, because He was the Son of the Father with whom the Father was well
pleased — HE WOULD NOT FAIL THE TEST!
The book that was opened there in the wilderness of Judea
proved to be THE BOOK OF LIFE and Jesus’ name (nature) was written in that book!
You do remember, do you not, that when John beheld the great white
throne he saw the books being opened;
and then another book was opened, which is the book of life. Oh, yes!
All of these books are brought before His judgment throne. Jesus
was judged out of the book of life (nothing
was found in any of the other books) and
the result was His sonship ministry and the redemption of the world!
IN THE VOLUME OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN…
feel a great urgency
about this message because the vision tells us that not only are the “books”
opened, but also the other book, THE BOOK OF LIFE. And whosoever was not found written in the
book of life was cast into the lake of fire — for further purging and purification. I want to help you grasp why you are here —
you are being prepared to reveal the invisible God to the visible creation! Dear reader of these lines, you are not just anybody.
You came out from God. There
is a strange and wonderful statement in Hebrews 10:7. “Lo, I come (in the VOLUME OF THE BOOK it is
written of me) to do Thy will, O God.” These
words are attributed to Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. This is, however, a quotation from Psalm
4:7. Therefore, the “volume of the book”
referred to was written before the Psalms!
The five books of Moses were written before any others, except, perhaps,
the book of Job; and in these earliest books of the Bible Moses pled for God to
have mercy upon the children of Israel,
“and if not, blot me out of THY BOOK which Thou hast written” (Ex. 32:32). These words speak of a book written by God
Himself which was older than Genesis or any of the other books of Moses. God wrote the law of His life in His Christ
(Head and body) long before the Bible was written! The scripture indicates that the revelation Jesus was sent
to bring to pass on earth was fully recorded in the “Volume of the Book” long before
Jesus ever started to walk out His script in the earth realm. The nature of God written in the Christ, the Logos, the Word, which was in
the beginning with God, was the heavenly reality of that Book of Life that
would be written and opened on earth. Do
you not get the connection between the Word and the Volume of the Book? That’s what a book is — it is a word! And it is the Book of Life, for of the Word
John says, “In Him was Life; and the life was the light of
(Jn. 1:1,4). And then John tells
us that “THE WORD was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory…” (Jn. 1:14). By revelation of the Spirit John is telling
us that the Word was made manifest FOR ALL THE WORLD TO READ. This Word, this Holy Record of the Life of
God, was not written upon stone, nor papyrus, nor golden parchment, but THE
WORD was MADE FLESH TO DWELL AMONG MEN AND BE READ BY THEM! Unlike any other book in the world, this
“Book” was alive and the title of this Book was JESUS!
the march of the ages men and women have recorded an innumerable multitude of
life-stories of the mighty men who have trodden this earth and influenced the
events of history and the destinies of men, movements, nations, and
empires. Each and all of those
biographies were meaningful to someone, often to many, but never in all the history of the world was a
life lived out before the universe of mankind that was so overwhelmingly
important, so all-embracing, so transcendental in its nature and so
far-reaching in its results as the life of Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Himself, in His earthly life
and ministry, in His death, resurrection, and ascension IS THE FIRST CHAPTER OF
THIS GLORIOUS BOOK OF THE LIFE OF THE LAMB!
Following His examination in the
wilderness, this “Book of Life” was offered to the public. Ah, Jesus never carried around a copy of the Old Testament
when He taught the multitudes. I have
in my library many Bibles including the
Literal Bible, the Comparative Bible, the Analytical Bible, the Emphasized
Bible, and the Amplified Bible. But
Jesus Himself is the EXEMPLIFIED
BIBLE! He is the PERSONIFIED BIBLE! He is the true picture of His Father, the
Living Word of His Father. He is the
full and complete revelation of His Father.
He is the full and abundant Life of His Father unto all who partake of
Him. He is the Book of the Life of the
Lamb — the autobiography of God — everything you always wanted to know about
God and didn’t know who to ask can be seen and read in the Book of the Life of
the Lamb — JESUS!
this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after
those days, saith the Lord; I will put my
laws into their mind, and write them
in their hearts: and I will be to
them a God, and they shall be my
people. In that He saith, A new
covenant, He hath made the first old.
Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Heb.
is an arrangement that will work — the old covenant was written and engraven in
stone and the people were unable to keep it.
began well, accepted the covenant, and promised obedience. But there was no power to continue, to
fulfill it; no power to conquer
temptation, or overcome the evil heart; to remain faithful. Just as the
old covenant was the law written and engraven in stone, and one could
hold high this stone tablet and say, “Here is the covenant of our God,” so the
new covenant is the law (nature) of God inscribed in the minds and hearts of a
people — not merely a law, but that law written, inscribed in a people — so
that you can point to that people and say, “There is the covenant of our God!” The people with the law of God written in
their hearts IS THE COVENANT, THE BOOK OF GOD’S LAW OF LIFE. I heard of a man who collects presidential
signatures. The autographs are valuable,
some of them priceless — not because of the ink or paper that was used, but
because of the person who wrote them.
These presidential signatures are all appropriately framed and hung with
dignity and honor. God has made a
covenant with mankind that has been written by His finger and signed in
blood. This is not a mere document but
an agreement — signed in our Lord’s own blood.
His blood is His life and it is His life formed in His people which constitutes
His signature with His blood. YOU ARE THE COVENANT. Never
speak of “signing on the dotted line” and there’s something awesome about
it. Watch a head of government sign a
bill into law; watch a bride and groom sign a marriage license; watch an
executive sign a 100-million dollar contract — each time you will notice the
solemnity, the weightiness, the finality.
When I sign on the dotted line, that’s it. The hospital may now proceed with my surgery;
the army has me for four years; my spouse is now endowed with all my earthly
wealth; I will pay $1,000 a month
for the house. They’ve got it in
writing! God has graciously allowed His
covenant with man to be put into writing and signed with His signature — within
a people. That is an awesome thing for
God to do, for now His covenant can be known and read by all men. In the integrity of His holy heart He is
bound to keep all His word, fulfill all His purpose, develop all His life,
display all His wisdom,
nature, and glory in and through this people who are His covenant written upon
the fleshy tablets of their hearts. Now
He can be held to His word, for He has invested His signature onto the
document. Jesus said, “In the volume of the book it is written of me:
Lo, I come to do Thy will O God.” Jesus
Himself was the WORD OF GOD, the VOLUME OF THE BOOK. It was IN HIM that God’s will was
written! And now the Lamb of God is
living out His Life in us as the completion of that
Book! God’s called and chosen elect are
thus THE BOOK OF THE LIFE OF THE LAMB!
Through that blessed company conformed to His image the world shall now,
at last, read “the rest of the story”!
Paul asked the Corinthians,
“Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles
of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?” (II Cor.
3:1). He refers to ministers who had
arrived in Corinth bearing letters of
recommendation to them from the churches
in Judea. Various teachers at Corinth had been originally introduced there
by commendatory letters from abroad. These
were letters of introduction, and were common among the Greeks, the Romans, and
the Jews, as they are now. They were
usually given to persons who were about to travel. So these teachers came to Corinth with letters of recommendation from
other churches; and when leaving that city obtained similar letters from the Corinthians to approve them and introduce them to other
churches. Acts 18:27 confirms the
existence of the custom here alluded to by Paul:
“When Apollos was disposed to pass into Achaia (Corinth)
the brethren (of Ephesus)
wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him.”
This was about two years before Paul’s
second epistle to the Corinthians, and is
probably one of the instances to which Paul
refers, as many at Corinth
boasted of their being followers of
Apollos (I Cor. 1:12).
Paul says that
he needs no such external recommendation to anyone for “YE are our epistle
(letter), written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (II Cor. 3:2). His testimonial was the saints
themselves! This he says was written on
his heart. It was not a cold letter of
recommendation, but the living proof of
his ministry and the authority, power, and life of the Christ who sent
him. “Forasmuch as YE are manifestly declared to be the EPISTLE OF CHRIST ministered (written) by us, written not with ink,
but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy
tables of the heart.” I want to
introduce you to a book that everyone reads.
No, it is not the Bible, nor will you find it on the New York Times bestseller list. The book I am referring to is the lives of
people who have been quickened and transformed by Jesus Christ. Many men, women, and children who will never pick up a Bible or
sit in a church service will read
carefully what the saints’ lives are saying about God and reality!
is not so powerful a letter or sermon in the world, as a transformed life.
The proof of Christ the wisdom
of God and the power of God is not the Bible — it is the lives of those in whom
He lives and walks and talks. The lives
of God’s redeemed people are the only
spiritual book the world reads. The
nature and character of God revealed in us is the form of language God uses to
speak to creation. When God writes on
the fleshy tables of our heart the very essence
of His love, His mercy, His goodness, His wisdom, His power — His letter to mankind is
written so legibly that it can be “read by all men.” It is
not written with ink, by letters drawn on lifeless substance, and in lines that
easily fade, or that can be read by only one or a few persons at a time. Every trace of the Spirit’s influence on the
inscribes within our character the
Word of the living God — God’s message, God’s revelation, God’s life — truly it
is THE BOOK OF THE LIFE OF THE LAMB!
no hand but that of God can reach the heart, and inscribe His truth there. So, I am not the central figure in my life,
although it is called mine. There is
Another, and far greater, who does and says all the things in it that matter. Leave Him out of the story, and the whole
grows lusterless and indeed, incomprehensible.
For, rightly viewed, the life of every overcoming saint of God is but
another chapter in the life of Jesus Christ.
Look for yourselves and see! How,
here and here and here and everywhere, it is His acts, not mine, or yours, that
really count and speak. It is not a dead
letter, it will not molder or decay, for it is the incorruptible Word of God
that liveth and abideth forever. Though
worms should destroy this body, this book of
the heart will abide to other ages, to other worlds, and will stand in
the day of judgment as God’s Book of Life opened for all to read. It is the influence that shall be seen and felt
throughout vast ages yet unborn until God becomes All-in-all, everything to
I would share some blessed insights from the nineteenth century sermons of R.
J. Campbell. “Now what do we think about
the Lamb’s Book of Life today? Well, I will tell you what it is not. It is not a list of those whom God has agreed
to admit to heaven because they firmly believe that someone else has done all
that was necessary to get them there. It
is God’s roll of honor. It is the
glorious company of those who have suffered with Christ. It includes all whose lives have been willingly and
cheerfully offered on the altar of Love.
The very phrases, ‘the Lamb’s Book of Life,’ and ‘the Book of the Life
of the Lamb slain from the foundation of
the world,’ are a declaration of this, and distinguish it from every other
list of names that was ever written.
Those whose names are in the Book of Life are life-givers. They are the brethren of Jesus, working in
the Spirit of Jesus who is The Life to minister more abundant life to the
world. When we speak of the Lamb’s Book
of Life we must never
forget this! It is not merely the roll
of those who have escaped something; it is the designation of those who have
achieved something. The Lamb slain from
the foundation of the world is still being slain on the altar of human hearts,
and wherever that divine sacrifice is offered new power and hope stream into
this dark and sorrowful world.
may be feeling that this explanation of the Lamb’s Book of Life is not so sweet
and beautiful as the one to which you have been accustomed, and which you
greatly value. You may be saying to
yourself, ‘I do not like this.’ We have
got to see that the sacrifice of Jesus is of no use unless it makes us like Jesus. It has to be repeated in us. As Paul has it, we have to become willing to be delivered
up to death for Jesus’ sake that the Life of Jesus may become manifest in
us. There is no salvation that is not
this, and the gratitude and reverence that we really owe to Jesus are gratitude
and reverence for having made this possible.
THE LIFE HAS GOT TO BE MANIFESTED IN US!
I put it to you again: which is worthier of Jesus, to believe that He
has got us into heaven — a heaven from which all others are shut out — or to
rejoice that He has shown us wherein true life consists? I do not care three straws whether I go to
heaven or not — using the word for the moment in its conventional sense. But I do rejoice and thank God for that great
Master and Redeemer of mankind who has shown me at an unspeakable cost what it
is to live out His life among men. I
wish I could
live it, but I am frail and earthly, whereas He was divinely strong, and the
light of God shown in all He said and did.
And yet, no sooner have I realized this than my heart rises in loving
thanks to Him once more for the
assurance that human weakness and imperfection can and shall be transformed
into divine strength and holiness by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God” — end quote.
Bennie Skinner said in a message some years ago, “The scripture says that the
saints will judge the world (I Cor.
6:2). God is preparing a mighty company
of judges to judge the world in righteousness!
‘And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given unto them…’ (Rev. 20:4,6). You say, ‘But I thought God was going to
judge the world!’ He is — but in and by
His saints. You say, ‘But I thought all
judgment has been committed unto the Son.’
That’s right — in and through His body, His people in whom He dwells and
through whom He moves and acts. ‘I
beheld…until the Ancient of days came, and judgment
was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints
possessed the kingdom’ (Dan. 7:21-22).
the saints are going to judge the world!
And how? By voting against
evil? By demonstrating against
wickedness? By marching, carrying
placards, writing our congressmen, pleading issues before the courts? NO!
The thing that is going to judge the world is what is true in them and in you
and in me. Our very lives will be a
judgment to this world. That is why
in the judgment their books are opened and our
book (of life) is also opened! The
time will come when the ‘books’ will be
fully opened. God is writing His life in
us now. He is inscribing His nature, His
knowledge, His wisdom,
His will, His power, and authority on the fleshy tables of our hearts. Each one of us is a page in the eloquent book
of the Lamb’s Life. The life that is
being fashioned and formed within our nature is the Book of Life. God is writing in us every day! Paul
speaks of it when he says, ‘You are the epistles of Christ — ministered (written) by us’ (II Cor. 3:2-3). Paul’s
purpose was, as my purpose is, to serve
God’s elect, to teach, to instruct, to encourage, to bless, to strengthen by
precept and example, so that the Lord’s people can be written in by the finger
of God. God wants to write in your life!
“Furthermore, God uses
every experience of life to write the life of the Lamb in our book. God uses my wife to write in my book. God uses my children to write in my
book. God uses my neighbors to
write in my book. God uses my fortunes and my misfortunes to write in my book. God uses my enemies to write in my book. God uses circumstances to write in my book. God uses trials and testings to write in my
book. God is writing in you, dear one, in everything that touches
your life. That is why Romans 8:28 is so
real, ‘And we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according
to His purpose.’ You say, ‘Man, I wish I hadn’t had that
experience.’ Don’t say that! God arranged that experience. It seemed a horrible thing, a terrible thing
you went through, and you wouldn’t choose to go through such a thing in a thousand years. You would never have chosen that path, but God chose it
for you, because God is writing in your
book. God is writing in your book! He’s
not writing for nothing — one day your book is going to be opened! And there
is only one who is worthy to take
the book and open it and loose the seals
thereof, and that is the Lamb in the midst of the throne. The Lamb!
Oh, the wonder of it! The book is
the book of the life of the Lamb.
The opening of this book is the
unveiling of the life of the Lamb, the revelation of His life written and
engraven upon the minds and hearts of those who share His nature. He is the One who is worthy to take each one
of us and open us up. And it is only
through Jesus Christ our Lord that we can
be opened up as the Book of the Life of the Lamb!
of us would rather remain a closed book.
to stay closed because of our unique personality, we are shy, reticent, humble,
immature, or inexperienced. But I
declare to you, beloved, that when God has finished writing in you, when He
makes you a living epistle that He knows is capable of being read and known of
all men, then HE WILL OPEN YOU UP. When
God begins to break
and remove the seals from off of us things will begin to happen in the outer
world. Why is there such darkness over
the earth, and gross darkness over the people?
Because the very light of God is concealed
within us. Although we are the light
of the world, the light is shut up. God
must work mightily in us to release the
light of our
lives that His glory may arise upon His people and be seen upon them. And when that hour arrives nothing can stop
God’s judgments from coming in the earth.
And when His judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world
will learn righteousness. Blessed be His
wonderful name!” — end quote.
following precious gems from the pen of the late Ray Prinzing are edifying
here. “We are persuaded that God has a
company, A PEOPLE WHOSE NAMES WERE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE
WORLD. They are a predestinated people,
laid hold of by the grace of God for a
specific purpose of becoming His
firstfruits channel through which shall flow quickening streams of divine
life to conquer death, and bring new life to all His creation. ‘And I saw the dead, small and great, stand
before God; and the books were opened…and
another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were
judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their
works.’ There will be ‘books’ that are opened out of which
men shall be judged ‘by what they have done, their whole way of feeling and
acting, their aims and endeavors, in accordance with what was recorded in the
books’ (Rev. 20:12, Amplified). And
whatever purging and purifying is needed, whatever correctional processings
must be applied, they shall be, for righteousness must be established. But it reads on, THERE IS ANOTHER BOOK THAT
SHALL BE OPENED, and it is ‘another book’
that has our heart rejoicing, for it is the BOOK OF LIFE. It is a ministry of righteousness, not
condemnation. It is an outflow of
love. The BOOK OF LIFE awaits all the
actions of the judgments of God to balance them with hope, victory, and a
complete restoration of all that is fallen.
What a tragedy were only ‘the books’ opened and there was not ‘another
book.’ But the ‘books’ are opened first,
and men are judged; then the ‘another book,’ the ‘book of life’ is opened — the
revelation of HIS LIFE follows the judgment!
When this ‘another book’ is
brought forth, and opened, the message which has been sealed up in our deep
shall be released, and it will flow out a
river of life…” — end quote.
Paul Mueller has shared
some precious insights into this wonderful book of life. He wrote, “There is a wonderful truth that is
about to break
in upon the minds and hearts of the Lord’s elect, and that is the blessed truth
that it is God’s intention to write His complete word upon the tables of our
hearts. The entire scripture, including
the Gospel of Christ and the inspired word of truth divinely ordained for our growth
unto perfection, the manifestation of the sons of God, and the propagation and
administration of the kingdom of God,
is all to be written upon the tables of our hearts. The fact is, the Bible as we now know it will one day become
obsolete. The blessed Book that we carry
around, study and sometimes memorize, is to be imparted into our lives so that we are truly ‘epistles of
Christ…known and read of all men.’ This
is not to downgrade the Bible or to
denigrate its inspiration, effectiveness, and authority. The book we call the Bible is, for the most
part, the inspired word of God, and we are truly and deeply grateful for all it
means to us. However, our respect for
the Bible will not alter the great truth that it is God’s intention that we
become His living word! Every
truth that has been given by the Spirit will eventually become a part of our
lives, so that we will not need to turn to chapter and verse to speak truth,
but rather, that truth will be so written and engraved upon our lives that we do by nature and express and manifest out of our state of
being all the truth and life the Bible contains to the glory of God. It will not be a dead letter read from the
pages of a book, but the living, anointed truth of God coming forth from lives
that have been transformed by the power
of that word” — end quote.
pitiful that the people of earth for the most part have never read this beautiful epistle
of Christ, this glorious Book of the Life of the Lamb. They have poured over the books of
religion, the books of man’s theology, the books of hypocrisy, the books of
forms of godliness, dead doctrines,
static creeds, empty rituals, powerless ceremonies, and man-made rules and
regulations. But precious few have ever
laid eyes upon THE BOOK OF THE LIFE OF THE LAMB! Oh! What a wonderful Gospel shall fill the
earth beneath and the celestial realms above when God opens His holy Book of
Life! The Book of Life is that blessed
company of the sons of God, elect,
chosen, and transformed into the image of Christ throughout the ages. This Book is being carefully written word by
word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page by page, and chapter
by chapter in the nitty-gritty of our daily experience with God until the full
revelation of the Christ-life shall be set forth therein. Time’s clock is striking the hour and the
time is drawing wonderfully nigh for the manifestation of the sons of God,
the opening of God’s Book of Life
Company, and what a manifestation it shall be!
All creation from time immemorial has groaned and travailed for the
manifestation of God’s sons, to deliver creation at last
from the bondage of corruption.
has a MESSAGE for the world — the revelation of Jesus Christ! This message is being written in flaming words of glory
upon the pages of the minds and hearts and lives of men and women who are dying
to that impudent and death-dealing devil of Self, in order to walk and live by
the spirit and power of HIS LIFE. I am
terribly at a loss for words to express the glory and wonder of God’s BOOK OF
LIFE COMPANY, but I can assure you that once it is fully ready, prepared, and
published it shall become the world’s “best seller” throughout the ages to
come! As the pen is mightier than the
sword, so this Book, above any that has ever been written by the finger of man,
shall alter the course of history, and the dark covering that has been cast
over the minds and hearts of all people for ages and dispensations will be
completely destroyed by the flood of
transforming light and wisdom and
knowledge and glory and power shining forth from the pages of God’s eternal and
incorruptible BOOK OF LIFE! Isn’t it
be continued… J. PRESTON EBY