TEXT: Revelation 21:1-7, 21-27
The students will be able to explain the importance of the Book of Life, and will know how to be sure that their name is written in it.
The Book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John, from the Island of Patmos where John was exiled or banished for “the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” It is believed that John’s banishment took place A.D. 81-96. Patmos was the site of a penal colony where political prisoners were condemned to hard labor in the mines.
The word revelation is of Latin derivation and means “unveiling.” This Book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, as seen in visions given to John. It covers Christ’s second coming, and what this will mean to this earth, especially to the children of God who await His return. The writings were addressed to seven churches of the Roman province of Asia, which occupied the western third of what is now Turkey. There were other churches in Asia at that time, but these seem to have been selected because they were representative of various types of need and Christian experience. The purpose of the writing was to declare the things which were to come to pass so that the churches might correct certain conditions that existed in their midst before it was too late. The Book concludes with an exhortation to readiness for the return of Christ.
John’s vision covers the end time and reaches right into eternity, revealing “a new heaven and a new earth,” where God the Father will be over all. See 1 Corinthians 15:24, 27, and 28. Revelation is a fuller explanation of Christ’s discourse on things to come (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) and the Old Testament prophecies of Ezekiel and Daniel.
Tears, death, sorrow, crying, and pain will soon be a thing of the past for some, “for the former things are passed away . . . Behold, I make all things new.” The new will be a glorious state of blessedness reserved for those who have had their names written in the Book of Life.
- What type of people will not enter into the City described in our text? Be specific, supporting your answer with Scripture.
Response: Revelation 21:27 places the sinfulness of man into three categories. The first is defilement (any corruption of the purity or perfection of something). Next is abomination (anything hateful or abhorrent). Third is lying (making an untrue statement with intent to deceive). Allow your students to define these terms. Don’t all sins fit into one or more of these categories? Ask your students to look at Galatians 5:19-21 and Revelation 21:8. How do the specific sins mentioned in these verses fit into the above categories?
- Explain what the Book of Life contains (Revelation 3:5). Of what importance is the Book of Life?
Response: The students should understand that the Book of Life contains the roll of the saved. Who are the saved? Refer to your discussion of the first question, pointing out what they have been saved from. Stress that the only way to get one’s name in the Book of Life is to be saved from sin. Your discussion should bring out that the Book of Life is of vital importance because unless one’s name is found in that Book he will not enter Heaven.
- Read Revelation 21:3-4. Who are the people in these verses?
Response: These are they whose names are written in the Book of Life, for verse 3 declares they shall be His people. What does it take to be counted among the people of God? Discuss the importance of Christian virtues such as willingness, consecration, and obedience. Point out that everyone in the Book of Life has these virtues, and the blessings in verse 4 are part of their inheritance.
- The Book of Life is not the only book John saw (Revelation 20:12). What do you think is found in the other books?
Response: Allow time for students to discuss their thoughts, concluding that the secrets of men are to be judged (Romans 2:16), that men shall have to give an account of every idle word in the day of judgment (Matthew 12:36), and that they will be judged according to their works (Revelation 20:12-13). See also Luke 12:2-3. Perhaps it is these sorts of things that are written in the other books.
- Why is the Book of Life sometimes called “The Lamb’s Book”?
Response: Point out to the students that without the Lamb, there would be no Book of Life. The lessons this quarter have dealt with God’s cure for sin. Jesus, the cure, provided the means whereby our names could be written in Heaven. He did His part. What must we do? How can we know our names are in God’s Book of Life?
- What is the alternative to the Book of Life?
Response: The only alternative is found in Revelation 20:15 — to be “cast into the lake of fire.” Ask your students who determines one’s eternal destiny. How? Stress that they determine by their actions their own destiny. Each person’s name in the Book of Life is his reservation for Heaven.
- Once your name is written down, can it ever be removed? See Exodus 32:33.
Response: See Ezekiel 18:4. Each student should realize his actions will determine whether or not his name is in the Book of Life. But, it can be removed—sin is the condition that will cause a name to be blotted out. What is sin? Your students should be able to define it as a transgression of God’s law. Stress that God knows the intentions of the heart and He judges motivations and deeds righteously and with perfect wisdom.
- What can a person do to ensure that his name will remain in the Book of Life?
Response: Let students discuss their answers. Ask your group to explain what role the following play: living a victorious life, being an overcomer, serious study of God’s Word, prayer, being faithful in the Lord’s service, and personal witnessing.
- Read Revelation 22:18-19. What does it mean to you?
Response: Can a person expect his name to be in the Lamb’s Book of Life if he hasn’t accepted the entire Word that provides for eternal life? These verses declare the importance of embracing the Revelation as it is written. We also know that all of God’s Word must not be added to or subtracted from (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6). To delete from the Bible is to have one’s name deleted from the Book of Life. Knowing this, how important are specific Bible doctrines such as justification, restitution, entire sanctification, foot washing, no divorce and remarriage, and others? Can anyone afford to blot out Bible doctrines? Can anyone afford to have his name blotted out?
- From the text, list some of the things you can look forward to if you keep your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Response: After listing some of the many blessings of eternity with God, the students should realize the importance of being sure their names are in the Book of Life. Wrap up your lesson by leading your students to conclude that it will be worth any trial or sacrifice.
Read a list of Bible characters, good and bad. Give each student a sheet of paper folded in half, like a book, and labeled “Lamb’s Book.” Let them record in their books the names of those who probably have their names in God’s book. Tell them they are to write the names of those they personally know who they expect to see in Heaven. Did they include their own name? Remind them that God has a timetable, but He has given each one time enough to make sure his own name is in the Book. If they fail in this most important decision of all their life, they will have eternity to regret it.
Type three or four columns of names to completely fill a sheet of typing paper. Use first and last names of people you know, people you don’t know, fictitious names, and all the students in your class. Scatter your students’ names throughout the list. Don’t put the names in alphabetical order. This will make it more of a challenge to find a name. When your students arrive in class, give each of them a copy of the list. Ask them to check the list to see if their names are on it. As each student finds his name he should circle it. Ask them what they would have done if their names were not there. What excitement there will be if their names are in the Book of Life!
Bring to class a Band-Aid, a pair of glasses, a handkerchief, a cane, and a black dress. Tell why each of these things won’t be needed in Heaven.
Read these four verses to your students: Revelation 21:1,4,25, and 22:3. Have them stop you each time you come to a part where John told of things which will no longer exist after Jesus’ return. There are seven in all.
Tract No. 30 — The New Birth