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Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Philippians 4:2-3 (L 35)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                      Published: October 23, 2019

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

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Welcome, one and all, to HBS where you’ll find the “Light” is on 24/7/365.

I  thank you for your prayers for me and for all the saints, in Christ Jesus.  I also thank you for your faithful attentiveness to the Word of God, rightly divided, and for your willingness to participate in this Bible study.  Although the publication of these lessons has been erratic, my commitment to y’all is unwavering.  

In the last lesson Paul dealt with “discord” and its companion “disunity” (they are two peas in the same pod) in the Philippian church by naming its source Euodias and Syntyche.  Note Paul didn’t rebuke them instead he included them in this statement:  Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown” (4:1a).

This verse echoes Paul’s opening remarks in Philippians 1:8 where he expressed heartfelt joy and longing for all of these Believers even the troublemakers:

Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.  For God is my record, how greatly I (do what) long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.”

Paul’s exhortation for this church to be “of the same accord: (2:2) suggests that some of the folks in this assembly were choosing sides in the dispute.  Their conduct was unbecoming to both the Believer and the gospel.  Furthermore, their ungracious behavior made the gospel of grace look bad to the world-at-large.  Whatever the issue was that brought about the dispute between these two women it goes without saying their walk with the Lord was hindered, and the gospel of grace was being impeded.  

Therefore, Paul exhorted them to “stand fast in the Lord” and “be of the same mind.”  Stand fast” means to persevere in their relationship with Christ Jesus.  They were not to be influenced or manipulated by the Judaizers, i.e. “false teachers” (3:2-11), perfectionists (3:12-16), hedonists or “pleasure seekers” (3:17-21).  They were to be likeminded, “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace:” 

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:1-6)

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Please open your Bible at Philippians 4:2-3:

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”

Despite the disharmony and discord in this assembly of Believers Paul said the names of Euodias, and Syntyche are in the book of life.  He also included Clement, and the other fellowlabourers at Philippi (4:3).  But he did not say the names of the entire church at Philippi are written in the book of life. 

Again, we don’t know who these two women were, and Paul doesn’t identify his fellowlabourers.  We know these women were at odds with one another and responsible for the disunity in this church.  They also worked with Paul in the furtherance of the gospel.  But we know little else.  There are commentaries out there that attempt to reveal details about Eurodias and Syntyche and their dispute, but I prefer to teach the truth based on fact and not opinion.  The truth is, the Bible may not tell us everything we’d like to know, but it does tell us what we need to know; and God said believe it!  The definition of faith is believing what God said. 

I didn’t want to leave this section of scripture without taking a good look at the book of life and its connection, if any, to the Body of Christ.  Therefore, I ask y’all “What is the book of life and is the Body of Christ (those who believe Paul’s gospel of grace – Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) found in it?

If you’ve been attending church for a length of time, then you’ve probably heard the book of life mentioned in some context.  Right off let me say I don’t want people to get the notion I’m being inflexible or dogmatic.  No one will lose their salvation and face the fires of hell based on whether or not you understand what the book of life is.  

The Bible reveals God keeps a record (book) of the activities of every human being, including their spoken words (Matthew 12:36).   The Lord God (Jehovah) also told His people to write down the things He revealed to them (Jeremiah 30:2).  Having said that,   Moses, David, Daniel, John , and Paul all had something to say about the book of life.

We’re going to search the Scriptures so as to arrive at the truth.  We’ll also look for any connection this book has with Grace Age Believers because it’s one thing to believe something; it’s another thing entirely to know (understand) why you believe it.

Moses

The first time the Bible mentions the book of life is in Exodus 32:32-33 where Moses writes about  the Israelites making and then worshiping a golden calf, while Moses was atop Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from the Lord God.  It seems almost beyond belief that Israel could have fallen so far so fast.  God had demonstrated His superiority and power over all the false gods of the Egyptians and freed them from the power of Pharaoh, who headed the most powerful nation in the world at that time.  Instead of following the Lord God who had redeemed them from slavery, they chose to return to slavery by worshiping a false god.  The Lord God told Moses because of their sin He would destroy them and start a new people and Moses would lead  them (Exodus 32.9-10).  Moses asked Him to change His mind:

Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?  Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’?  Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.  Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”  So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people” (Exodus 32:11-14). 

Notice Moses called Israel “Your people” when he appealed to God and reminded Him of His promises.  His case was that God’s honor was greater than the nation’s sin (Exodus 32:11-14).  When Moses came down from the mountain and saw what the people were doing he was angry but asked God to forgive their sin.  He then offered himself as a substitute for God’s wrath: 

But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please (do what) blot me out from Your book (hold this thought in your memory bank; we’ll get back to it) which You have written!”  The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book (Exodus 32:32-33).

Moses asked God to blot him out (erase his name) from the book of life, if the Lord would not forgive Israel’s sin.  In effect, what Moses’ offered was that he would be sent to an eternal doom if God would forgive the people.  God refused Moses’ sacrificial offer and said He would blot out from the book of life those who had sinned against Him.  Then in Deuteronomy 29:20, Moses warned the Israelites about the fate of those who turned away from the Lord God and worshipped false idols:

The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven.”

David

In Psalm 69 David revealed his innermost thoughts regarding his sufferings brought about by his enemies merely because he was faithful to the Lord God.  He prayed that He would judge them.  In verse 69:28 we have the result of their persecution of David: 

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous” (69:28). 

The book of life in this passage is identified as “the book of the living” and are one and the same.  Those who have blotted out of this book are dead to God.  

Daniel

The Lord God gave the prophet Daniel tremendous insight as to what will happen to the nation of Israel as well as the rest of the world during that period of time known as Jacob’s trouble, Daniel’s 70th week or the Tribulation period:

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found (where) written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).

The book” mentioned above is obviously the book of life.  When we think of great catastrophes the destruction and loss of life at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might come to mind, but they are walks in the park when compared to the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation (final 3.5-year period of God’s wrath).  Billions of people will suffer death during this time period.  The word “delivered” is equal to the word “overcoming” the Lord spoke of this in his message to the seven assemblies in Revelation saying, “Those who overcomereceive eternal life.”

Paul

Then we have Paul’s Bible passage in Philippians 4:3.  Contrary to what some folks maintain, Paul was not a chauvinist he deeply appreciated women and acknowledged their contributions in serving the church and as it clearly says here “they laboured with Paul in the gospel.”  In recognition of their faithfulness, Paul asked his yokefellow to assist these two women not in the ministerial work but to act as a go-between helping them reconcile their differences.  He then recognized Clement and his fellowlabourers as being in God’s book of life:

And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”

Food for Thought

(This is the only place in all of Paul’s writings where he mentions the book of life and he wrote two-thirds of the N.T.  So, questions come to mind, such as, “Why didn’t Paul recognize the Body of Christ as being in God’s book of life?  Why just these people?”)

John

The book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John.  He had more to say about the book of life than anyone else.  Let’s start with Revelation 2:7 where the risen Lord spoke of “overcoming” to the Jewish (not gentile) congregations in Asia Minor:

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

The tree of life here means eternal life.  To receive it the Israelites will have to overcome.  Overcoming is also mention in Revelation 2:11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12, and 21).   Whenever you have something mentioned multiple times within the span of a few verses, that information is not only relevant it’s significant and we’re to pay attention.  

But what does overcoming mean?  I’m glad you asked.  The overcoming of which the Lord spoke was refusing to worship the counterfeit Christ (a.k.a. the Antichrist, the Beast) by trusting in the true Christ or Messiah.  During the Olivet Discourse, Jesus told the twelve during the tribulation the one who endured until the end would be saved (Matthew 24:13).  The “end” is either physical death which is highly likely considering all the judgments of God, it could mean martyrdom for not accepting the sign of the beast, or the return of the Christ Jesus to earth; a.k.a. the Second Coming.   

During the Tribulation, the gospel of grace no longer be preached the kingdom gospel is once again in effect (Matthew 24:14).  One’s salvation during this period will not be based upon Paul’s gospel of grace (Acts 20.24; 1 Corinthians 15.1-4) which is Christ died for all your sin, was buried, and rose from the dead but upon believing in the name of Christ, i.e., believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 16:13-20; John 11:23-27; Acts 2:21, 28, 3:16, 4:7, 10, 12, 17-18, 30, 5:28, 40-41, 8:35-37).

John the Baptist heralded the gospel of the kingdom and so did the Lord Jesus Christ and not Paul’s gospel of grace.  The Lord declared it would be proclaimed throughout all the nations and then the end would come (Matthew 24:14). 

As noted above, the risen Lord’s message to each of the Jewish assemblies in Revelation 2-3 instructed them about “overcoming.”  After each warning there came the promise of eternal life for the overcomer.  To the assembly at Sardis, Christ Jesus described salvation with reference to the book of life saying:

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

At this time, the vast majority of the world will succumb to Satan’s lies and worship him and the counterfeit christ.  These people will not be overcomers.  Because of this, their names will not be found in the book of life.  

The Apostle John wrote:

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain (Revelation 13:8).

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 17:8). 

This verse confuses many, but it is really quite straightforward.  The beast is the counterfeit christ.  He “was,” i.e., he was alive and in control, then “is not,” i.e., he is killed somehow, then “will come,” i.e., returns to life and “is” again (Revelation 13:3, 12, 17:11).

Satan is the great deceiver and counterfeiter.  It is in the nature of Satan to replicate what the Lord has done with an evil twist.  As Jesus arose from the dead, the beast will similarly, in some fashion not yet understood, rise from the dead.  In doing so, he will successfully deceive a great many and these names are not found in the book of life.  

One important detail not to be overlooked is God’s Church will not be present during the Tribulation for “At the sound of the trumpet, the Body of Christ will be Raptured, caught up or snatched away” (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). 

I mention this because a lot of people include the grace churches when speaking of the Tribulation; they deny the biblical truth revealed by Paul that all those who believe his gospel, i.e. the Church, will not suffer God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9). 

In Revelation 20:12, John the Apostle described what is known as the Great White Throne Judgment.  The Lord Jesus Christ will act in His role as the only Righteous Judge of unsaved humanity.  I say unsaved because no saved individual will be present at this judgment.  

In the following passage of scripture two sets of books are mentioned:  the book of life (singular) and the books of works (plural):

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 (Revelation 20:12).

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

Again not one Believer will be at the Great White Throne Judgement.  This judgement is for the unsaved or those outside of Christ Jesus and it will determine who enters heaven.  However, if you’re one of those attending the Great White Throne Judgement, there’s no way you can enter heaven because of two things:  you are destitute of faith in what God has said, and you’re basing your entry into heaven solely on your good works or those things done in the flesh.  The Bible says this plan won’t work: 

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).

“…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed (Paul’s gospel and are positioned) in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians 2:16, 3:11). 

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

That’s exactly what the flesh does it loves to boast of the things it has accomplished.  It puffs people up, but it cannot save you or make you a righteous individual before God: 

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10). 

Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ can take away sin not your good deeds, such as,  regular church attendance, tithing faithfully, keeping the commandments, or anything else you can dream up.  All of your combined fleshly works are merely “filthy rags” to God (Isaiah 64:6; Hebrews 11:6).

The way of salvation in the Grace Age is to believe Paul’s gospel.  The clearest form of it is found in 1 Corinthians 15.1-4.  When you place your faith in Christ Jesus’ finished work on the cross and His glorious resurrection, rather than relying upon your own self- righteousness, the righteousness of Christ is imputed “applied to one’s account” (Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 1:30)

Conclusion

All this brings us back to my question “Are the names of every member of the Body of Christ written in the book of life?”

The Bible passages we reviewed seem to indicate two different things regarding an individual and the book of life.  On one hand, they seem to indicate every person begins life with his and her name in the book of life (Exodus 32:33; Deuteronomy 29:20; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 3:5).  But on the other hand, two scriptures seem to indicate the names of the lost are not recorded (Revelation 13:8, 17:8).  What do we know about every one of these Bible books (or should know when rightly dividing God’s Word)?  These Bible books are primarily Jewish ground meaning, in them, the Lord God is dealing with the nation of Israel and their rebellious nature.  

Before we go any further, please know the Creator God does not have a library of books in heaven.  He doesn’t have a squad of angels acting as secretaries writing down every scrap of information on each person born into this world.  “Book” (sefer in Hebrew) is a metaphor for God’s ability to remember, i.e. His memory.  

We looked at a couple of Bible passages that convey the idea people’s names are recorded in a book in heaven or were blotted out of the same book.  A “name” means a person’s personality or character, their unique being, every deed and word spoken.  Even though we share a name with many other people, God knows us intimately, He knows our physical and spiritual DNA, in other words:

“Thou tellest my wanderings: Put thou my tears into thy bottle: Are they not in thy book?”  (Psalm 56:8)

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29-30).

The Body of Christ will appear before the risen Lord to give an account of the things they have done in the flesh, after the Rapture, whether good or bad.  This is not the Great White Throne Judgement it is the Bema Seat Judgement where Believers receive or lose reward:

Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).

Paul spoke of the book of life once in all his writings, whereas he used the phrase “ in Christ” in one form or another 73 times when referring to the true Believer who has been positioned eternally, in Christ Jesus.  When you believe Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) that very instant you are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise:  

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

Your salvation is eternal (unless you believed in vain), i.e. once saved always saved:

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand(John 10:28-29).

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:4-8).

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

In several places we saw where the writer of scripture revealed people can be removed (blotted out) from of the book of life.  I just showed you some verses that say once saved, always saved.  Your salvation is a settled issue; it is not something you’ll have defend or wonder about for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2).

John wrote if the individual overcomes, then they will be saved during the Tribulation, but the church a.k.a the Body of Christ will not be found there. I teach “right division” of God’s Word, so because of these two biblical facts among others, the book of life has nothing to do with the Body of Christ.  As to the reason Paul mentioned this book in Philippians 4:3, we do not know for certain.  Perhaps these folks were Jewish members of the Philippian assembly and also members of “the little flock” of Jewish believers in Jerusalem  (Luke 12:32; Acts 20:28).  If so, then there names would have been written in the book of life or better said, a detail the Creator God will remember.

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