To mention the Book of Life is to conjure up images of the "White Throne Judgment" and the end of time, Revelation 20. It seems to have escaped the notice of many Bible students that the idea of the Book of Life is, however, a common Biblical idea and has its roots in the Old Testament. The relationship of the book of life to eschatology is very important. I shall seek to demonstrate in this article that the book of life is inextricably linked to the salvation of the remnant, the salvation of Israel resulting in salvation for the gentiles-and the glorification of the Messiah. I shall also seek to demonstrate that the Bible gives an absolutely unequivocal time-frame for when the book of life was to be open and the judgment was to occur. Let us begin our investigation with Isaiah 4.
Note the constituent elements of this text. First, inspiration says the events being predicted would transpire "in that day", vs. 2. What "day" is this ? Let us walk backward from verse 2. Verse 1 also contains reference to "that day"; no way of identifying the day is specifically given. In chapter 3:18 we find another reference to "that day". This time we find that it is in the context of judgment when God would take away the finery of Israel’s women and give instead stench, baldness, and death. Verse 14 informs us this would be when "the Lord stands up to plead, and stands to judge the people." Verse 7 is also a discussion of the same "that day."
Continuing our backward travel, in chapter 2:20 we find that "in that day" a man will cast away his idols of silver" and "go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the crags of the rugged rocks from the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth mightily" vs. 20-21. Verse 12 now specifically identifies this "that day" time as "the day of the Lord of Hosts."
By tracing the usage of the term "in that day" from Isaiah 4:2 backward to each antecedent we have discovered that Isaiah said the events of 4:2ff were to be fulfilled "in the day of the Lord of Hosts."
In chapter 2:2f Isaiah predicted "in the last days the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established". Isaiah then, predicted events that were to transpire in the last days before, and events to occur in the day of the Lord. A word here about the identification of the last days
The Last Days
There are three suggested identifications for the last days. First, the amillennialist says the "last days" is a technical designation for the entirety of the Christian Dispensation that began on Pentecost. Premillennialists say the "last days" is referent to the last generation before the coming of the Lord. Thirdly, there is the view that "the last days" refers to the last days of the Mosaic Dispensation; the last days began during the ministry of John the Immerser and continued to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD when God completely removed that Old World. This was the "end of the age" Matthew 24:3; 28:20, etc.
In predicting the establishment of the kingdom, Isaiah 2:2, Isaiah was predicting the establishment of the "kingdom age". But please note that he said in the last days — during the last days — while the last days were already in progress, the kingdom age would be established. Isaiah is clearly speaking of two different "ages". He refers to the last days of one age; and the birth of another age. The kingdom age would be established in the last days of another age. The last days and the kingdom age are not the same.
Isaiah and Joel both predicted events to occur in the last days, see Joel 2:28ff. Joel said the Holy Spirit would be poured out in the last days before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. On Pentecost Peter said Joel’s prophecy was being fulfilled, Acts 2:15ff — therefore the events of Pentecost occurred in the last days. The non-charismatic who believes the Christian Age is the "last days" has a serious theological problem here. Joel and Peter said miracles would characterize the last days before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. The amillennialist says we are in the last days — but miracles have ended.
If miracles have ended — and I affirm they have — then one of two conclusions seems inescapable. We are either not in the last days; or the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord has come. Where is the authority for saying miracles were to occur in some of the last days. Joel said the Spirit would be poured out "in" that is, during the last days before the Day of the Lord.
Those who identify the last days with the Christian Age have another problem with Isaiah 2-4. It is generally taught that the last days began on Pentecost and encompasses the entirety of the Christian Age until the Day of the Lord at the "end of time". However, Isaiah, while speaking of the last days and the Day of the Lord at the consummation of the "last days", clearly was not foreseeing the end of time.
Isaiah’s Day of the Lord was the time when Israel would be judged, 3:13-14; has that not occurred? Do not all agree that Jesus came in judgment of Israel in 70 AD? Isaiah’s Day of the Lord, the time of Israel’s judgment, was to be a time of war, 3:25. This Day of the Lord would be when men would, and could, flee to the mountains, 2:10, 19, 21. Is such escape possible in the traditionally posited scenario of the end of the world? Isaiah’s Day of the Lord is depicted as the time of the salvation of the remnant of Israel, 4:2. Paul said that was being accomplished when he wrote, Romans 11:1ff; would be consummated at the coming of the Lord, 11:25-27; and would be accomplished in a short while, Romans 9:28. Can we extend that "short work" into two thousand years so far? Isaiah’s Day of the Lord would result in the "Living Presence" of God when He would "tabernacle" with man, 4:5f; John saw God’s tabernacle descending from heaven to man so that God’s "Living Presence" would be with us forever. And remember, John saw those things that were "at hand" two thousand years ago, 22:6, 10, 12.
Remember, Isaiah’s Day of the Lord was to be at the consummation of the "last days". It is patent however, that the things predicted by Isaiah are not "end of time" events, they are not events to occur at the end of the Christian Age. The things foreseen by Isaiah are irrefutably associated with the coming of the Lord in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
What this suggests is that the "last days" ended in 70 AD! It also suggests that the concept of another "day of the Lord" to end time is outside the purview of the prophetic scriptures. To insert an end of time scenario into Isaiah would be to insert the idea of two "last days" and two "days of the Lord".
If it is admitted that Isaiah’s last days were Israel’s last days to be consummated at the coming of the Lord in 70 AD, and yet it is still insisted that the last days started on Pentecost and will extend to the "end of time" this means that there were two last days running concurrently. One was the last days of Israel; the other the Christian Age. Yet, those who take the "last days" as referent to the Christian Age are very often the most adamant in insisting that two ages cannot overlap each other or exist at the same time together! This view also puts two completely different interpretations on the last days. It says "last days" in reference to Israel was about one generation (approximately 40 years) in duration and signaled the impending demise of that Theocratic relationship. On the other hand it says "last days" also referred
to the entirety of the Christian Dispensation — so far 50 times longer than the last days of Israel. This is capricious interpretation.
The charismatic who believes miracles are indeed a sign of the last days before the coming of the Lord also has a serious problem. Other generations have claimed to have miraculous gifts — in fact, almost every generation has so claimed! Yet the charismatic insists, correctly so, that miracles were to be a sign of the imminent end. But if miracles were intended to be manifested in the "terminal generation", the one in which Christ was to come, (I Cor. 1:4-8) what does this say about those of earlier generations who claimed to perform miracles? They claimed miraculous gifts; the gifts were supposedly a sign the coming was imminent. Yet the coming did not occur. This demands we conclude their claims to miracles were false, or that miracles were not in fact a sign of the end. The latter is false. Every generation that passes without the coming of the Lord proves that the claims to the miraculous made by that generation were false. Miracles were a sign that the last days before the the Day of the Lord had arrived — two thousand years ago. This is precisely Peter’s point in Acts 2:15ff.
Consider I Corinthians 14:21f. Paul says tongues were for a sign to the unbeliever. He cites Isaiah 28:9f, a text in which God was using the Assyrians to punish Israel for her sins. The Assyrian tongue was a sign from God of judgment. Historically, when God judged his people it was called the Day of the Lord, Zephaniah 1:15; Ez. 7, Joel 1, etc. In all the other "Day of the Lord" judgments God had given warning by the prophets. Joel said in the last days God would give (miraculously endowed) tongues as a sign of the Day of the Lord. Jesus predicted his coming in the first century generation, Matthew 24:29-34 and promised the miraculous gifts to equip the church before that event, Mk. 13:11ff. Paul said those gifts were a sign.
This truth, that miracles were a sign of the coming of the Lord, would, in fact, prove that the miracles recorded in the Bible were false since Christ, according to most, did not come in the first century. Miracles were to be a sign of the coming of the Lord. The first century generation church claimed to perform miracles. But the Lord, per the futurists, did not come in the generation of the first century. Therefore, the miracles claimed by the first century church as signs of Christ’s coming must have been false miracles. But since miracles unquestionably were performed in the first century generation, that is prima facie evidence that the coming of the Lord was to be in that generation.
By the way, since God had historically given warning, with signs, of imminent judgment and since he gave miraculous signs of Christ’s coming in judgment on the Old World of Israel in 70, is it not at least a little strange that if there is going to be an end of time he would give no sign? Most amillennialists insist there will be no sign of the "end of time." Would not the end of time be more awesome, more final than the destruction of Jerusalem for which he gave signs, Mat. 24:6ff? Why give signs for what some of my brethren call simply a "local judgment" in order to give the saints an opportunity to escape, yet give absolutely no signs of the end of time? Would this not suggest he did not want to give anyone an opportunity to escape or prepare?
Now did God give the miracles of the first century as a sign of the "end of time", yet miracles ended two thousand years ago and the end has not yet come? What connection then between sign and fulfillment? Did God ever give a sign of an impending event and then wait thousands of years to bring the event to pass? A sign is significant, no pun intended, when there is a temporal proximity between the sign and the fulfillment. See Matthew 24:14-16.
Clearly Peter saw the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit as indicating something was imminent. In Acts 2:40 he urged his audience to "save yourselves from this perverse generation." To Peter, the outpouring of the Spirit not only proved they were in the last days before the Day of the Lord, but also that the Day of the Lord would come in his generation. Peter knew he was in the last days before the Day of the Lord; he knew his generation would see the consummation of the prophecy of Joel, the Day of the Lord. Therefore Peter knew the consummation of the last days would be in his generation. Some, however, claim we are still in the last days.
Christ appeared in the last days, Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 1:1; 9:26; but Christ appeared before Pentecost, therefore the last days existed before Pentecost. It therefore cannot be true that the last days began on Pentecost. The failure on the part of Bible students to honor the Biblical definition of the last days as the last days of the Mosaic Dispensation has led to innumerable interpretive errors. Only when the true definition of the last days has been restored will the truth of Biblical eschatology be realized. Now back to Isaiah 4.
Verse 2 has informed us that what was being predicted was to occur in the Day of the Lord at the consummation of the last days. What else was to happen "in that day"? "In that day", the Day of the Lord, the "Branch of the Lord will be glorious". Can anyone doubt the Messianic import of this text? See Isa. 11:1; Jer. 23; 33; Zechariah 6:13, etc. about the Branch. Isaiah says in the day of the Lord the Messiah would be glorified; we have here nothing less than a prediction of the glorification and exaltation of Christ at his coming in judgment. This cannot be his incarnation for it is the time of judgment, Is. 3:14.
The connection between Isaiah 2-4 and II Thessalonians should be noted by the reader. In II Thessalonians 1:9b the apostle cites Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21. The subject there is the coming of the Lord when the wicked would flee to the mountains and cry for them to fall on them as they would flee "from the terror of the Lord and the glory of his majesty." As we shall see below, Jesus in Luke 23:28 also cites Isaiah 2:19 as being fulfilled in His generation. Now the first part of Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21 is applied by Jesus to the fall of Jerusalem, Paul, in II Thessalonians cites the last half of the same verses. Does not consistency demand that II Thessalonians also be fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD? If not, why not?
Next Isaiah 4 informs us that "in that day" the remnant will be saved, vs. 2-3. Those who are left — the remnant — will be called holy. And here is where we find reference to the Book of Life. The remnant are those who are "recorded among the living"; "recorded for life" (KJV). The remnant would receive righteousness and holiness in the day of the Lord when God would arise to judge his people. Be aware that the apostle Paul wrote one of his deepest theological sections dealing precisely with this concept — the salvation of the remnant, Romans 9-11. He said God was bringing that to reality as he wrote, 11:5f and he cited the Old Testament promise that the work of saving the remnant would be accomplished in a short period of time, Romans 9:28.
The prophet then says the remnant would be saved when God had "washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst" Isaiah 4:4. This idea of the time when God would cleanse Israel of her sin is a constant theme of prophecy. This is the restoration of Israel. Please see Is. 27:7-13; Joel 3:17-21; Zech. 12-13. Especially note that Joel 2-3 is identical with Isaiah 2-4 in positing the salvation of the remnant and the cleansing of Israel’s sin within the last days framework and consummating at the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord, Joel 2:28, 31; 3:1, 14, 17-21. Please note also that Israel’s salvation is Paul’s theme in Romans 11:26-27; and that
salvation would be realized at the coming of the Lord out of Zion.
The next point from Isaiah 4 is the means by which God would bring about the glorification of the Branch, the salvation of the remnant and the cleansing of Israel: "by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning" vs. 4b. The remnant, those recorded for life in the Book, would be saved in the Day of the Lord at the time of judgment and fire when the Branch was glorified! Does the Bible identify this time?
Paul spoke of the time when Christ would appear in glory, Colossians 3:2ff, and the time when he would appear to be glorified in his saints, II Thess. 1:10. He told Timothy to keep the commandment "blameless until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his time shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords" I Tim. 6:15-16. Paul obviously saw that appearing as in the lifetime of Timothy! In Matthew 24:31 Jesus said that in the fall of Jerusalem would be seen "the sign of the Son of Man in heaven". Christ’s coming in the fall of Jerusalem would be the final proof that he truly is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Would this not qualify as the time when the Branch would be glorified — especially since it is the time of judgment on Israel — the very thing foretold by Isaiah 4:2-4?
In Luke 23:28ff Jesus was being led out to be crucified and the women who loved him followed weeping. The master turned to them and said "Daughters of Jerusalem do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills ‘Cover us!’"
It is seriously doubted that many would deny the application of Jesus’ words to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. But note: Jesus in Luke 23:28f cites Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21 as applicable to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. But the verses in Isaiah 2 spoke of the Day of the Lord when the remnant was to be saved, Israel was to be cleansed of her sin and the Branch glorified, Isaiah 4:2-4.
Therefore, since Jesus applied these verses to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD we conclude that the salvation of the remnant — those written in the Book of Life — the cleansing of Israel’s sin, and the glorification of the Branch occurred when Christ came in judgment and fire in 70 AD. The Book of Life then is directly associated with Christ’s coming in 70 AD.
Daniel’s great vision is one that inspires awe. The vision extended to the fourth beast, Rome. It was during that time when one like the Son of Man was to come on the clouds, vs. 13, receive a kingdom, vs. 14; and the court was to be seated and the books were to be opened, vs. 9-10. Now I have traditionally interpreted Daniel 7:13-14 as applicable to the ascension of Christ and his seating at the right hand. I remain open on this, but I see some serious contextual problems.
The scene is one of judgment; the time of the giving of the kingdom is the time of the judgment of the little horn for the persecution of the saints, vs. 21-22. More significantly, Daniel specifically asked for an interpretation of the vision and it was given. The heavenly interpretation was that the scene involved the one like the Son of Man coming as the Ancient of Days in judgment on the little horn for persecution of the saints, vs. 21-22. This did not happen on Pentecost. Who persecuted the saints — Old Testament or New Testament saints — before Pentecost? What little horn was judged on Pentecost for persecuting the saints? No matter what our preconceived ideas about Daniel 7 may be, the divine interpretation of verses 15-27 must be the final court of appeal.
Now note the absolute parallel between Daniel 7 and Revelation. In both we find a time of great tribulation by the faithful, Dan.7:21/Rev. 7:14. We find the coming of the one like the Son of Man, on the clouds, to judge, and the books being opened, Revelation 14:14; 20:12. Daniel was told the events he saw were to transpire under the time of the fourth beast-that is the Roman Empire. John, living in the time of the Roman Empire was told the things he was seeing "must shortly take place" 1:1-3; 22:6, 10, 12.
While I acknowledge that the Book of Life is not specifically mentioned in Daniel, the exact parallel between Daniel 7 and Revelation forces us to the conclusion that it is one of the books of Daniel 7:10. Since Daniel and Revelation are parallel, and since Revelation 20 does mention the Book of life we conclude Daniel’s reference is to the same. Unless one can delineate between Daniel 7 and that judgment scene with the opening of the books, and the judgment of Revelation and the opening of the books we are forced to conclude that the opening of the Book of Life at the judgment was specifically stated by Daniel to occur in the days of the Roman Empire. The next verse will help us even more in our investigation.
In this great passage we find many of the same elements as in Isaiah 4. To help us understand this chapter let us list its components.
- Coming Great Tribulation, vs. 1.
- Deliverance for those written in the book, vs. 1.
- The resurrection, vs. 2
- The exaltation of the righteous, vs. 3.
- The time frame — the time of the end, vs. 4, 9, 13.
- The Abomination of Desolation, vs. 11.
- The specific time for the fulfillment — when the power of the Holy People would be completely shattered, vs. 7.
While the concept of the remnant is not specifically mentioned we believe it will be well understood that it is inherent to the discussion. Bible students recognize that every passage does not mention every single aspect of the Messianic system. One verse may discuss one aspect or promise, another may give a time frame, another may give a place, etc. We must take the Bible as a whole to find the proper interpretation.
Bible students know that Daniel 12 is a very important text in Jesus’ teaching, especially in the Olivet Discourse. In Matthew 24:21 Jesus foretold the coming of a tribulation "such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be." This is a direct reference to Daniel 12:1. In Matthew 24:15 our Lord once again referred to Daniel 12 (and chapter 9) when he foretold the coming of the Abomination of Desolation. Jesus, in Matthew 24, quotes from Daniel 12 twice in response to his discipe’s questions about his coming and the end of the age. Remember, Daniel 12 speaks about the time of the end.
To help understand the parallel between Daniel 12 and Matthew 24 note the following chart.
|Daniel 12||Matthew 24|
|time of the end, v. 4||end of the age, v. 3.|
|Great Tribulation, v. 1||Great Tribulation, v. 21|
|Abomination of Desolation, v. 11||Abomination of Desolation, v. 15|
|Resurrection, v. 2, 13||Gathering of elect, v. 31.|
(In scripture the gathering of the elect is the salvation of the remnant, Isaiah 65:8f; the remnant are the scattered, Isa. 11:11,16; the scattered are the "dead", Ezekiel 37:11f. Jesus’ reference in Matthew 24:31 to gathering the elect at his coming must be seen in light of this Old Covenant background. Thus, Matthew 24:31 is nothing less than the promise of the resurrection.)
Now notice heaven’s own time-frame for the fulfillment of "all
these things". In Daniel 12:6 one angel asked another "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?" The other angel responded "when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished" vs. 7. When was this?
I asked this question of brother Bill Lockwood in December of 1992 when we debated for the first time. Amazingly, over a two night period he gave three different answers to this question. His first response was that the power of the holy people was shattered when Jesus in Matthew 23:38 said "your house is left to you desolate", speaking of the Temple. But this will not do for this has the resurrection happening before Jesus even died. Was Daniel not told that "all these things" would be finished when the power of the Holy People was completely shattered? If the power of the people was shattered in Matthew 23, then the resurrection had to have happened at that time as well. Daniel does not say the resurrection would happen after, thousands of years after, the power of the holy people was shattered.
The second suggestion was that the power of the holy people was shattered when Christ died on the cross. This presents the identical problem plus many others. Among them, it has the end of the age occurring then. Even brother Lockwood concurs that the end of the age occurred in 70 AD.
Thirdly, brother Lockwood suggested, in writing, that Matthew 21:43 provides the answer to when the power of the holy people was shattered. As a matter of fact he is correct! Matthew 21 tells how the owner of the vineyard would come "and destroy those wicked men" who had slain his servants and Son. This was patently in 70 AD. Daniel predicted the destruction of the power of the holy people at the end of the age. Jesus said he was going to come in judgment on Israel at the end of the age; he also said it would be in his generation, Mat. 24:34. This would be "immediately after the tribulation" caused by the "Abomination of Desolation" Mat. 24:15, 29.
Daniel 12 presents the identical scenario as Isaiah 2-4 and Daniel 7 — the salvation of the righteous (those written in the Book of Life), at the end of the age, at the coming of the Lord, at a time of judgment on Israel. The picture is a harmonious one.
The last of the Old Covenant prophets also spoke of the Book of Life. In chapter 3:16 he said "those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord" vs. 16. The next verse says these precious ones "shall be mine…on the day that I make them My jewels and I will spare them." Note the context.
In 3:2ff the prophet predicted the coming of the Lord on disobedient Israel and posed the question "Who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when He appears?" Verse 5 threatened "I will come near to you in judgment" The passage is admitted by almost every commentator to be Messianic.
Chapter 4 continues the discussion of the coming day of judgment. It would be a time when "all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble and the day is coming that will burn them up." The portent of complete destruction is stated when God said he would leave them "neither root nor branch", vs. 4. The remnant concept is found however, in verse 2 when the promise is made to "those who fear My name" (those in the Book), that "the Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings."
God’s final word of the Old Covenant was the promise of the coming of Elijah "before the coming of the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord." This Great and Terrible Day is the same as that in Joel 2:31–the Day that was to consummate the last days. And remember, the last days were the days of the miraculous work of the Spirit. This "Day" is also the same "day of the Lord" that was to consummate the last days in Isaiah 2-4 when the remnant would be saved, the Branch glorified, and Israel cleansed.
In Matthew 3, John the Immerser, in fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy of Elijah spoke of "the wrath to come" a wrath he signified as imminent by saying "even now the axe is laid to the root" and "the winnowing fan is already in his hand" vss. 10,12. John, in words taken from Malachi 4:1 warned that the coming One would burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire in the baptism of fire.
Combined in Malachi’s prophecy then we find the same elements as in the other texts. We find a promise of the salvation of the remnant — those who feared the Lord, those whose names were recorded in a book. This salvation, this healing, would come at the rising of the Sun of Righteousness at the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord; the judgment of Israel at the coming of the Lord.
Revelation 20 is of course the passage most students associate with the Book of Life. As noted initially, many seem ignorant that other texts also speak of that great Book. A contextual examination of Revelation will show that it contains the identical details as those studied above.
Revelation 7 specifically deals with the salvation of the remnant of Israel–the 144,000 representing those out of every tribe. They have their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb — this is surely the cleansing promised by Isaiah 4; 27; Joel; Zech. 13:1, and a host of other Messianic texts.
The judgment of Israel is clearly seen in Revelation 11:8 when judgment is announced against the city "where our Lord was crucified". This is the city "drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus", 17:6; and "in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and all who were slain on the earth" 18:24. Compare Matthew 23:32ff.
That the Apocalypse deals with the Day of the Lord is of course indisputable. It deals with the coming of the one like the Son of Man on the clouds in judgment, chapter 14. Daniel said this judgment when the books would be opened would be in the days of the Roman Empire. See above. This coming would be to "reward every man according to his works", 22:12. His coming would result in the New Jerusalem (Israel’s salvation, Joel 3). When the New Jerusalem was established its gates would be open to all nations, Rev. 21:24-25.
The time-frame for Revelation is the time of the miraculous work of the Spirit, 11:5ff. This is the "last days" period of Isaiah, Joel and Zechariah ending in the Great Day of the Lord-the Great Day of Revelation 6:17f. This day of the Lord in Revelation 6:17 would be when the wicked would flee to the hills and cry for them to fall on them — just as Jesus, citing Isaiah 2, predicted would happen in that generation, Luke 23:28ff. Specifically, when John wrote, the events of Revelation were "at hand" and "must shortly come to pass" 22:6, 10, 12, 20.
Summary and Conclusion
In every text we have examined that deals with the Book of Life we have found the same elements. Each text posits the time of the salvation of the remnant — in fact, the remnant is written in the Book. Each text speaks of the salvation of the remnant under the concept of the cleansing of the sin of Israel. This cleansing is posited as occurring at the same time as, and by means of the coming of the Day of the Lord, the time when Old Israel would be judged and a new Israel created. Each passage has also given us emphatic time indicators that force us to the conclusion that the books were opened in judgment at the coming of the Lord in judgment on Old Israel in 70 AD.
Isaiah 2-4 describes the Day of the Lord as a time when the wicked would flee — obviously, this cannot be any so-called end of time scenario. Jesus cited Isaiah to describe the events of his coming in 70 AD.
Daniel 7 speaks of th
e coming of the Son of Man on the clouds. It would be a coming when the persecutor of God’s people would be judged. This judgment would be in the days of the Roman Empire. That judgment would result in glory for the saints and glorification of the Son.
Daniel 12 predicted the time of the end. It would be the time of unparalleled tribulation, the deliverance of those written in God’s book, the resurrection, the Abomination of Desolation. All would be fulfilled when the power of the holy people was completely shattered. Jesus cites Daniel 12 two times in Matthew 24 and says those events would be fulfilled in his coming in the judgment of Israel in that generation.
Malachi also predicted the salvation of those written in the book. That salvation would come when the Sun of Righteousness would arise. This would be a day of blessing to them but a Day of burning and judgment for the wicked. It would be the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord that John the Immerser speaking four hundred years later said was imminent.
Finally, the Apocalypse speaks of the salvation of the remnant, the judgment of Old Israel, the coming of the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. The Apocalypse also says in the clearest of terms that that awesome Day was at hand and would come quickly.
According to the Bible, the Book of Life was to be opened when the Messiah came in judgment against Israel. At that time, salvation for the remnant would be perfected, Israel’s sin would be cleansed and the Gentiles would enter fully into the salvation that is "of the Jews" (the mystery of God would be complete, Rev. 10:7). The Messianic kingdom would stand perfected and all men could enter the blessings of the kingdom and partake of the life therein. Because of the unity of concepts and because of the time limitations in all these passages, we are forced to conclude that the Great throne judgment of Revelation 20, when the book of life would be opened, occurred at the coming of the Lord in judgment against Israel in 70 AD.