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The Three Books of the Judgment 

What will the books say about you?

Revelation 20.12

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 18, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs on Judgment


  1. If you knew that God was writing a book about you, 
    1. what would you want Him to say about you, and
    2. what would you not want Him to say about you?
  2. That is important to us, is it not? 
    1. Because what is written in a book
      1. stays there forever,
      2. unless someone erases it.
    2. Whatever bad or good,
      1. it remains there,
      2. although we might forget that it was put there.
        1. Did God write something kind we did for someone years ago?
        2. Did God write something unkind we did against someone years ago?
      3. Have you written something down as a child,
        1. then years later you rediscover what you had written?
        2. You had forgotten that you had written anything.
          1. Then as you look at the writing, or
          2. examine the picture you drew,
            1. you remember it, and
            2. you remember the events that inspired that writing or picture.
  3. The Bible reveals that at the Judgment, 
    1. the God of heaven shall open three books for each of us.
    2. One of those books God is writing about us right now.
      1. Revelation 20 shows the Judgment, and
        1. by this quotation we discover
        2. that when we stand before God He will open books,

          12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books (Rev 20.12).
      2. What will the books say about us?
    3. Can we know what the open books will be when we stand before God?
      1. Yes, we can know those books, and
      2. He wants us to know those books.
        1. We can determine what He writes in two of the books, but
        2. in the third one we cannot change it.
    4. In the first sentence of Revelation 20.12 John said that he saw books opened.
      1. After that, another book was opened, which he called, the Book of Life.
      2. What are the two other books?


  1. The Book of Your Life 
    1. The last sentence of Revelation 20 clues us in on one of the books,

      12 …And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books (Rev 20.12).

      1. When we enter the Judgment,
      2. we are there to be judged.
        1. He will render a decision about our eternity
        2. based on what we had Him write in this book.
      3. What is written in the book of your life?
        1. What has God written down?
        2. Has He deleted the evil you have committed?
    2. Listen to what the Bible says about God and the review of our lives.
      1. Ecclesiastes 12 gives us Solomon’s conclusion on the point of life,

        13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil (Ecc 12.13–14).
      2. Second Corinthians 5 addresses the same issue and adds information,

        10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2Co 5.10).

        1. Daniel Webster on the Judgment,

          “It is related of Daniel Webster, the reality of whose moral endowments no one disputes, that when once asked what was the greatest thought that had ever occupied his mind he replied, ‘The fact of my personal accountability to God’” (T. T. Munger in The Biblical Illustrator).

    3. However, there are certain people with certain works,
      1. which will never be brought up at the Judgment.
      2. Who are these people, and
        1. what works of theirs
        2. are excluded from the passages we have seen?
          1. The people are Christians.
          2. The works are their sins,
            1. which God by His mercy has forgiven!
            2. You can be in that number with your sins wiped away.
    4. When God forgives, He forgets,

      12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more (Heb 8.12).

      1. These beautiful Old Testament passages show His forgiveness,

        17 Indeed it was for my own peace
        That I had great bitterness;
        But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption,
        For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
        (Isa 38.17)

        19 He will again have compassion on us,
        And will subdue our iniquities.
        You will cast all our sins
        Into the depths of the sea.
        (Mic 7.19)

        8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
        Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
        9 He will not always strive with us,
        Nor will He keep His anger forever.
        10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
        Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
        11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
        So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
        12 As far as the east is from the west,
        So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
        13 As a father pities his children,
        So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
        14 For He knows our frame;
        He remembers that we are dust.
        (Psa 103.8–14)

      2. Do you want to be among that number?
        1. Do you know what to do?
        2. If you are among that number, but
          1. you have fallen into sin, or
          2. you have fallen away,
            1. do you know what to do?
            2. I will show you later.
    5. Since we tend to be negative or to fear the worst,
      1. it might terrify us that our lives are written down in a book, but
      2. for Christians this reassures us,

        42 “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matt 10.42).

        10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister (Heb 6.10).

  2. The Bible 
    1. Has God left us in the dark in regard to works?
      1. No, God is fair.
      2. He declared plainly
        1. what He wants and
        2. what He does not want.
      3. Another open book at the Judgment is the Bible.
    2. John 12 shows that even the people who thought
      1. that the religion of Christ was not for them,
      2. will not be exempted from the Judgment, but
      3. God will open the Bible for them also,

        48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12.48).
    3. Romans 2 shows Jesus as the Judge, and
      1. Judgment taking place by His word,

        16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel (Rom 2.16).

        1. “The secrets of men” might make us think automatically
        2. that only means the bad stuff.
          1. That will be true for the people who
          2. never had their sins forgiven, and
            1. the last one that they will want to see their secrets
            2. will be Jesus Christ.
        3. For Christians the secrets could be
          1. the many good things that God wanted us to do, but
          2. we forgot them quickly after doing them.
    4. God will open the Bible
      1. even for the people who did not want it opened.
      2. What a horrifying thought!
        1. When God reads the Bible at that time;
        2. many people will discover what was in this Book,
          1. which they knew existed, but
          2. never bothered to open;
            1. others will have brought to their memories
            2. what they once knew, but
              1. had forsaken.
              2. Picture God opening His Book for people
                1. who did not want it
                2. opened for them.
    5. For many people, this will be no surprise at all, but
      1. a wonderful delight as they finally see the face of Him
      2. whose Book they had absorbed during their lives.
        1. They may even have some questions.
        2. They will know exactly what is happening.
  3. The Book of Life 
    1. Revelation 20 identified the third book for us.
      1. It is the Book of Life, or
      2. it is called The Lamb’s Book of Life.
    2. In Luke 10 Jesus explained just how important this third book is,
      1. even greater than possessing miraculous power,

        20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10.20).
      2. You want to get excited about something?
        1. Get excited, not that you have power over evil, but
        2. that your name is written in heaven.
          1. If our names are not written in the Book of Life in heaven,
          2. what does it matter how much power we have?
    3. Then in Revelation 20 we discover
      1. why having our names in the Book of Life
      2. supersedes great power such as casting out demons,

        15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20.15).
    4. Revelation 21 adds to that,

      27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev 21.27).
    5. Imagine
      1. seeing God read in the Book of Life, and
        1. He reads your name, and
        2. invites you into the kingdom of heaven!
      2. Imagine seeing God look through the Book of Life, and
        1. He does not read your name.
        2. Can you think of a more lost feeling?


  1. Now you know the three books of the judgment. 
    1. The only people
      1. who will have their names in the Book of Life
      2. are those whose own books do not have evil written in them.
    2. Do you see the connection between all three books?
      1. The people who accept Christ and His word, living by His words,
      2. will not have their evil acts written in their own books, and
      3. they will accordingly have their names in the Book of Life.
    3. Do you want to be among that number?
      1. Do you know what to do? (Acts 2.36–38).
      2. If you have fallen into sin, or
        1. if you have fallen away,
        2. do you know what to do? (1Jo 1.9).
  2. You can you have your name written in The Book of Life. 
    1. In John 11 showed the way of life,

      25 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11.25–26).

      1. Before we go further I want you to catch what Jesus said.
        1. He gives us a promise that,
          1. if we believe in Him,
          2. we shall live beyond death.
        2. He stressed that
          1. we must both live and
          2. believe in Him.
        3. Then He posed a question, and
          1. I want to ask you the same question:
          2. “Do you believe this?”
    2. If you want to have the life of which He speaks, and
      1. if you want your name in the Book of Life,
      2. you must answer and live what Martha said,

        27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (John 11.27).
    3. We cannot determine what goes into the Bible, but
      1. we can determine what goes into
        1. the Book of life and into
        2. the Book of our Lives.
      2. What will it be?