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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Book of Life. (2)

In Philippians 4:3, Paul speaks of Clement and other of his fellow- laborers, "whose names are written in the book of life." On this Heinrichs (Annotat. in Ep. Philipp.) observes that, as the future life is represented under the image of a πολίτευμα (citizenship, community, political society) just before (3:20), it is in agreement with this to suppose (as usual) a catalogue of the citizens' names, both natural and adopted (Luke 10:20; Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27), and from which the unworthy are excluded (Revelation 3:5). (See CITIZENSHIP). Thus the names of the good are often represented as -registered in heaven (Luke 10:20): But this by no means implies a certainty of salvation (nor, as Doddridge remarks, does it appear that Paul in the above passage had any particular revelation), but only that at that time the persons were on the list, from which (as in Revelation 3:5) the names of unworthy members might be erased. This explanation is sufficient and satisfactory for the other important passage in Revelation 3:5, where the glorified Christ premises to "him that overcometh" that he will not blot his name out of the book of life. Here, however, the illustration has been sought rather in military than in civil life, and the passage has been supposed to contain an allusion to the custom according to which the names of those who were cashiered for misconduct were stricken from the muster-roll.

When God threatened to destroy the Israelites altogether, and make of Moses a great nation, the legislator implored forgiveness for them, and added, " If not, blot me; I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written" (Exodus 32:34). By this he meant nothing so foolish or absurd as to offer to forfeit eternal life in the world to come, but only that he, and not they, should be cut off from the world, and brought to an untimely end. This has been regarded as an allusion to the records kept in the courts of justice, where the deeds of criminals are registered, and hence would signify no more than the purpose of God with reference to future events; so that to be cut off by an untimely death is to be blotted out of this book.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Book of Life. (2)'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/b/book-of-life-2.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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