“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” (Rev. 20:12).
All that we can know about the Son of God is contained in this marvelous book of the life of the Lamb! None should imagine that it is a literal book, any more than the horns on the Lamb’s head are literal horns, or any more than the Lamb Himself is a four-legged lamb. We are considering spiritual realities fulfilled in and through a people – the body of Christ. More than a mere book, the vision that John sees points more to what is contained in the Book – His life.
Life and Spirit can only be put into the hearts of people and not into the pages of books. Jesus came that we might possess His life. All the mind, will, nature, character, authority, wisdom, and power of God are in His life and this life is found in Christ. He is not just the way and the truth, He is the life. He is divine life, incorruptible life, quickening life, immortal life. He is the sole expression of the glory of God, the Light-being, the radiance of the divine, and the very image of God’s nature (Heb. 1:3).
The Amplified rendering of the same verse reads: “He is the perfect imprint” of God’s nature. An imprint is a mark or inscription made by pressing something on to a substance. One item mentioned in scripture that relays this truth is a coin. One particular day, the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked Him if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar? And He asked them “Whose IMAGE and INSCRIPTION is this? …Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:20-21). The coin was due to Caesar because it had Caesar’s image and inscription on it. In another section, Jesus likens a coin to a man. The lost coin that was found signifies a sinner who repents. In repentance (change of mind) man receives within himself the mind or imprint of God. The message is just this; as the coin bears the image and inscription of the one to whom it belongs, man is created to bear the image and inscription of God to whom he belongs. The elect on Mount Zion are those who have the Father’s name written on their foreheads (Rev. 14:1, 22:4). They bear His image and mind.
Yet God has already established the image of Himself in Christ. This perfect imprint of God’s life in Christ is referred to as the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 21:27). This book is the record of who He is, what He is like, and what He does. This is not a literal book of a list of names destined for heaven. God is not a man, He does not need a book to remember names. Neither is this a book of static creeds or of the knowledge of good and evil. Rather, it is the book of life that is embodied, demonstrated and personified in Christ. Indeed this book was first incarnate in Jesus for He brought a revelation of God in the earth. He was the logos, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us that we may behold His glory. This was an unprecedented event. For the first time in the course of history, Jesus in His humanity opened this Book so that men could see it, read it and walk it out. And how men to this day marvel by the power of that opened Book.
Yet the full expression of the Book of Life can only be appreciated when the corporate company of Christ (Head and body) personifies or embodies it. We too have to experience the Word becoming flesh in us, since we make up chapters of this wonderful Book. We too are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 21:27). For Christ living out His Life in us is the completion of the Book. Surely, we are a letter or epistle of Christ not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3).
Ever wonder why Jesus, in the days of His flesh, never wrote? In Him were hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, yet He left no written documents or instructions for the disciples. But was He not writing in them every day those three and a half years? Surely, the words that He spoke imparted Spirit and life to the disciples. No ordinary book or library could hold all the riches hidden in His life. More powerful and dynamic than any book He could leave behind was what He wrote on the tablets of their hearts. He gave them the Spirit of Truth who would guide them into all truth and impart to them the law of His life. Did not those in the Sanhedrin read all that Jesus had written when they testified: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13)? Indeed there is no greater an Author than our Lord and no greater an anointed pen than the Spirit of God who inscribes within man all the qualities of His marvelous life. Oh what joy it is to be fully yielded to the Author and Perfecter of our faith and to witness His nature inscribed in our minds and hearts.
God is now writing this Book in His sons and He is first writing it within. What is He writing? His Life! Our capacity to be overcoming sons will only be realized to the extent that His life has been first inscribed within us. Thus we overcome not merely by what we do but by who we are. Notice, it was God Himself who made the inscriptions on the tablets of stone atop Mount Sinai. The tablets on which were engraved the commandments signify the inscription of His nature, His word, His truth on the fleshy tablets of our hearts. Only when the life of God is established in our mind and imprinted in our heart will we begin to live in the newness of spirit. This life is not lived by outward conformity but from inward nature. Indeed the Kingdom of God is within and those pressing into will be the fulfillment of all its reality.
By the law of the Spirit of His life which He engraves within us, God imparts to us the ability to walk and live in absolute conformity to all that Christ is. This is to the glorious end that we too would become a perfect reflection of God’s nature. Thus this Book written within is a new covenant people: the written Word manifest in a holy people. Notice the Lord brought forth the new covenant to His people saying: “I will make a new covenant… I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jer. 31:31, 33). Was this not exactly what John saw in his vision in Revelation 5. Consider the scene:
“And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to loose its seals?’…Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book and to loose its seven seals.’” (Rev. 5:1-5).
What is that book in the right hand of Him who sits on the throne, written within and on the backside (Rev. 5:1)? Is it not the very book of His own life written in a people? For the removal of the seals is a picture of the unveiling of the life of Christ in every son of God that it may be made visible in the earth realm. Here we witness the veil in the form of seals which keeps this book closed, preventing men from opening, seeing and walking in the revelation of its life. Thank God for the Lamb, for only He can open this scroll. Paul also assures us that: “the veil is taken away in Christ” (2 Cor. 3:14). When this book in the right hand is opened, the message which has been sealed in the deep recesses of the inward man will be released and it will flow out a river of life to impart life in the earth.
Yet the extent of the flow of the river of His life depends on the degree to which the scroll has been loosed in our individual experience. While the full radiance of the Christ has come in the inward man of our spirit, the full effect of the opening of this Book in our earth has yet to be fully realized. That glorious treasure of this Book lies sealed within earthen vessels which we carry around but readily express. But God desires to bring us to the place where our fellow man can behold the glory of God and the light of His countenance as they encounter Him in the Book of Life written within.
God has a message for the world today – it is the revelation of Christ as exhibited in the Lamb’s Book of Life. This message is written not with ink but by Spirit who inscribes within our vessels the Word of the living God – God’s life, God’s nature, God’s will until all that God is in Christ puts on flesh in us. This is truly the Book of books and when it is opened in His manifested sons, it will be known and read by all men. For there is no greater a letter and no greater a sermon than a life transformed into the image and likeness of Christ.
This is our travail; for His life to be daily written on our mind and hearts that we may ultimately become an open Book that displays His life in all its glory!
To be continued…