The last verses of Daniel 11, followed by chapter 12, are speaking about the very last days of life on earth – when sin is still permitted to reign. These and related verses describe the end of the power of Satan and the end of his Antichrist. And as verse 1 tells us,“there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was…” The last days prior to the glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ will be the very worst in human history. Not only will man turn against man, but it will seem the very elements of nature will turn upon man as well. Satan, the trapped bear, will pour out his fury against everything related to God – including creation. But the worst of it all will be the wrath of God poured out upon the world – and even on his elect nation. God has ordained all of this to bring to their knees, those who are written in His book.
Following that, the bodies of those who will have died during the Tribulation, will be awakened. “Some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” And as verse 13 says, this will be “the end of days.” But it is not the last verse in this chapter that I would like pursue, there is a statement in verse 1- “At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
Something called “the Book of Life” is referenced in God’s Word from the beginning to the very end. I’m not going to get into the theology of the book this morning. Let me just say that there appear to be two different kinds of Books of Life. One from which our names might be erased, and one which is inscribed in indelible ink. Moses speaks about being removed from the Lord’s book, if it would guarantee Israel’s redemption. That is the first mention of a “Book of Life.” And the last mention is found in Revelation – speaking of “the Lamb’s Book of Life.” That Lamb of course is the Lord Jesus Christ – “the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world.” The names written in His great book were recorded there before the creation of world. And those names will never be removed.
I believe that the angel here is referring to the Lamb’s Book. Let’s think about what that record indicates.
This big Bible on the table between us, is the Oldfield family Bible, and in its pages are a lot of names. Some of them were entered there more than a hundred years ago. In the next couple of days, Mrs. O and I will be gather a bit more information about some of those names. The point is that they are more than just names – they are family – they are relations – relationships. And the names in the book to which this angel refers speak about a relationship to Jehovah.
If we have our names written in the “Book of Life,” it is an indication that we are members of God’s family. We are citizens of the city of the living God – our names are written heaven. “Our citizenship is in Heaven, from whence we also look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The first thought to come out of this is that as citizens of another kingdom, we belong to another King. In the case of Israel, during the Tribulation, it also means that the wrath of the Antichrist will rest upon them. And under that onslaught, the importance of their relationship to the Lord will become crystal clear to them. So much so that when the Messiah appears, descending from Heaven with an army of saints, those citizens under trial will instantly recognize and receive Him.
We need to remember the reason that Daniel was being given this information. When the time comes – when “Jacob’s Trouble” begins to reach its excruciating worst – Israel will remember these scriptures. Those with the Bible in their hands, and with faith in their hearts, will read and remember, and – “At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
There is no greater place of record than to have our names in the Lord’s great book. The Ancient Venetians used to record the names of their heros in a golden book, kept in the Palace. That is not as great as what the Lord Jesus said, “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” The great baseball player wants his name carved into bronze and placed in Cooperstown, New York. The football player wants his name in Canton, Ohio. A lot of fools try to get their names in the “Guiness Book of Records.” But there is no greater record than the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” If our name is mentioned in no other place but there, we are far better off than to be listed in the history books among the greatest of all statesmen. If our name is in the Saviour’s book, and we come up in the obituary column of the news paper, it will be okay. It will be fine, because to be written in this book means deliverance.
In the early days of the Tribulation the world will wonder, marvel andd even worship the Antichrist – but not everyone. “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were NOT written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” Revelation 20 speaks about this same book – “And 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, according to their works. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Later speaking about Heaven we read – “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Is there any special implication in calling this “the book of LIFE“? Absolutely, because it creates a distinction with that which is opposite to life. “At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” What do you suppose will happen to those whose names are NOT written on that page white and fair? They will NOT be delivered from the fury of the Antichrist, or from the wrath of the Almighty.
At one point the Lord Jesus mentioned this Book of His. The disciples came back from a preaching tour, and were filled with joy at their apparent success. They had been able to preach the word with power, and many believed the gospel. Furthermore they had been working great miracles, healing the sick and casting out demons. But Christ corrected them by saying, “In this rejoice, not that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” There are several implications and lessons in Jesus statement – One of them is the idea that there might be people out there working miracles in Jesus’ name who are not named in Jesus’ book. That, my friend, is perhaps the greatest tragedy ever experienced by the sons of Adam. There are churches around this country and this county, filled with people whose names are written on all kinds of documents, except the most important of them all. There are spiritually dead men preaching sermons; dead men collecting offerings. There are dead men evangelizing the lost, and dead men teaching others what to pray. There are dead men being honored for their diplomatic skills, and their political abilities. There are dead men winning football games, and hitting home runs. But there is no life worth living, none to which a great name applies, except it include body, soul AND spirit.
The people’s whose names are in this book were once nothing but dead bones in the valley of Ezekiel. Then the Lord came along and ordered their reassembly, then came flesh and then came the breath of life. Christ has died for, and will live in all those whose names are written in this great book.
But “at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” Notice the words “every one.” The omniscient God won’t loose contact with a single one of his chosen and recorded people. A few years ago, I scanned into my computer the multi-volume Bible commentary by B.H. Carroll. Once that was done, I was able to use the computer’s wizardry to search for any word or person that was mentioned by Carroll. If I wanted to know when he referred to Daniel, all I had to do was type the name and the computer brought up the paragraph, whether it was while discussing Exodus or Revelation. That is a very poor example, of how it will be during the Tribulation, and even how it is today for those whose names are written in the book. God cannot loose a single one – it is impossible.
I have reason to believe that my name is written in that book. I have not seen the page where it is entered, and no angel has come to affirm it for me. But by faith, I believe that it is there, and there is some evidence to that effect. That is, I am trusting the death of Christ, and nothing else to deliver me from my sins. And I am living in repentance before God. I believe that I have the same hatred for sin that God has. Furthermore I am trying to serve Him and to bring glory to the Name of the Lord. Over the last 45 years, I believe that the Holy Spirit of God has blessed me and directed me. I feel confident that God has placed His hand upon me. And in honestly judging the evidence, I feel sure that my name is in the Lord’s book of Life.
So I rejoice to know that Jehovah takes personal interest and care in me. He doesn’t just fling out his blessing in my direction in some general sort of way. Daniel 12:1 is not talking about a general deliverance, but a specific salvation for a great many individuals. And the Lord loves me as an individual among thousands of other individuals. When I attend the preaching of the Word of God, I realize that the Lord has something specific there for me as an individual. I loose the blessing, if I think that the pastor is preaching to the entire crowd. No, the Lord has something for me in that message. And every morning when I wake up I know that the Lord has things especially planned for me. I am not a number in the Lord’s book; He knows me by name, and sees my face every minute of every day.
And brethren – this is important – This book is not a journal, a log, a collection of notes and minutes of heavenly business meetings. The names of those whom the Lord will deliver from the Tribulation of Daniel 12, have been recorded in that book from before the beginning of time. They were certainly there before the angel spoke to Daniel, and that was at least 2,500 years ago. The deliverance to which this refers has yet to take place, but the name and the appointment was made millennia ago.
As far as the effects of this record for the saints of God today – Beginning before your birth, the Lord Jesus died as a sacrifice for you, specifically for you. He chose you from before the foundation of the world to salvation. Your name has been in his book from before creation. He says, “I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.” “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” How many stars are there in God’s creation? Science is saying that there are at least a hundred, million, billion. That is a very large number, but scripture says that the Lord can tell the number of the stars – In fact, “He calleth them all by name by the greatness of His power. For He is strong in might, not one faileth.” The God, who knows the names of every star in the universe, knows His chosen people. He knows our aches and our pains; our joys and our hopes. He knows us better than we know ourselves.
This verse teaches us that deliverance and security are the results of God’s individualized care. Remember the attire of the High Priest? He carried on this shoulders and then again over his heart the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. Our great high priest doesn’t just carry the name of our tribe, but he carries us ourselves. “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” The name and face of everyone who loves, serves and trusts Christ is printed deep in the flesh of the Saviour. And the truth is, they love, serve and trust Christ, because prior to their salvation, they were engraved into the heart of the Lord. One other thing is suggested by this thought:
Now here is an very important thought as we conclude. Paul once wrote about friends of his in Philippi whose names are written in God’s Book of Life. So how did Paul know that these had their names in the Book? He assumed that they were there because their lives matched their citizenship. With their mouths, they testified that they were the children of God. They permitted themselves to be buried in the likeness of Christ’s death, and raised again…. And now they were living as though they were dead to sin. And they were living as servants of God, citizens and denizens of Heaven.
You say that you are a citizen of Heaven – I’m not in a position to say that you are not. But is there real, practical evidence that your testimony is true? Would Paul look at you, or me, and say, “Yes, there is a fellow citizens?” Are you living in humble repentance before God? Is your undivided trust in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver you? As important as having your name in God’s book, more important is your faith in the Christ of that book.