If you’re a Christian, when was your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? Did it happen when you were born again or some other time?
We first hear about the book of life early in the Bible, right after Israel committed idolatry by worshiping the golden calf (Exod. 32:32–33). Then, in the last book of the Bible, Jesus says, “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 3:5).
But when, exactly, was your name written in the book of life if you’re a Christian? Was it the moment you were baptized? Was it when you professed faith in Jesus Christ?
Revelation 13:8 and Revelation 17:8–13 both address this question. Revelation 13:8 says, “All who dwell on earth will worship (the beast), everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” So, here it says our names were written in the book of life before the beginning of time (“the foundation of the world”). In Revelation 17:8, this idea is repeated: “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.”
These passages about the book of life show that our salvation is the result of God’s sovereignty. You don’t go in and out of the book of life in a he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not kind of a way. No, God was absolutely sovereign from the very beginning and has always known those who are his.
So, God didn’t write your name in his book of life when you were baptized, prayed a prayer, and first heard the gospel. These two passages in Revelation show that, if you’re a Christian, God wrote your name in his book before he created the world.