[Rev. 20:11] ¶ Then I saw a large white throne and the one who was seated on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. [Rev. 20:12] And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and another book was opened—the book of life. So the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to their deeds. [Rev. 20:13] The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each one was judged according to his deeds. [Rev. 20:14] Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. [Rev. 20:15] If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire.
“All good things come to an end” is only the first of what should be considered an incomplete expression. A latter half should be added, “so that something better can start.” Scientists tell us that the universe is winding down. Eventually, the energy that is within the cosmos will dissipate and with it the very fabric that binds all matter. Perhaps what John foresees, “earth and sky fled away” is Biblical language for what scientists tell us will happen. Time as we know it will come to an end. When it does the Judge of the Universe will be seated in judgment before Whom all will appear.
The Apostle Paul told us that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). That will happen most honourably and most horribly on this “Last Day” (John 6:39-44; 11:24; 12:48). I have chosen to make my confession on that Day one of honour. Have you?
On this Day, the books will be opened. The Scriptures speaks of God keeping “books” in which our deeds are recorded, our prayers are registered, and our words transcribed. While these books are important, they are less important than the Book mentioned in the closing verse of this chapter: the Book of Life (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8).
The Book of Life is a separate book to the books that record of deeds, prayers and words which means that there is another reason why someone’s name would be placed in it. This reason is grounded in the grace of God. That is, it is not because we ‘do’ something that we are saved from sin and made right before God. Christianity is not spelt -D-O-, rather (because of Christ’s saving work on our behalf) it is spelt: -D-O-N-E-. Every believer should memorise Ephesians 2:8-9. But every believer should understand that God will open “books” not just “the Book”. That is, while it is on the basis of the truth proclaimed in Ephesians 2:8-9 that our names are written in the Book of Life, it is on the basis of Ephesians 2:10 that our positive deeds, prayers and words are recorded in “books”.
Good works are not the root of our salvation – they are the fruit of our salvation! What you do, pray, and say, matters. And it will matter for eternity. If you have not yet determined to glorify God with your talents, time, tongue or treasure, maybe in light of the “books” of God it might be a good day to start doing so.