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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Book of Life

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In Philippians 4:3, Paul speaks of Clement and other of his fellow-laborers, 'whose names are written in the booksof life.' On this Heinrichs observes that as the future life is represented under the image of a citizenship, community, political society, just before (Philippians 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 erased (Revelation 3:5). 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, 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 promises to 'him that overcometh,' that he will not blot 'his name out of the book of life.' 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 32:32). 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.

A sealed book (Isaiah 29:11; Revelation 5:1-3) is a book whose contents are secret, and have for a very long time been so, and are not to be published till the seal is removed.

A book or roll written within and without, i.e. on the back side (Revelation 5:1), may be a book containing a long series of events; it not being the custom of the ancients to write on the back side of the roll, unless when the inside would not contain the whole of the writing.

To eat a book signifies to consider it carefully, and digest it well in the mind (Jeremiah 15:16; Revelation 10:9).





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Book of Life'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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