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New Wine for the End Times
The Book of Life and
the Unpardonable Sin
Most people assume the Book of Life is a book in which your name is written when you are first saved. This might be Arminian thinking. Others believe the book was written before the foundation of the world and contains the names of everyone predestined to be saved. This might be Calvinistic thinking. Scripture does say those of the elect (Israel) were chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5). But it’s one thing to be chosen to teach and rule the world in the age to come. It’s another thing to simply be saved from sin and death.
A close study of the Book of Life shows that it’s not a book where one’s name appears when one inherits eternal life. It’s just the opposite. It’s a book where one’s name is blotted out when the person becomes condemned to the lake of fire. In other words, it’s a book that originally contained everybody’s name that will ever live. It’s not a book of predestination saying those not written there were condemned to hell before they are even born.
As we will see, there are clear Old Testament cases in which people’s names are blotted out of the book. If just one name is blotted out, the book cannot be a book of predestination. A book of predestination with the accuracy expected of God would never require correction. Would God say, “I predestined that guy. I thought he would be saved. But I guess I was wrong. So I’ll just have to blot his name out of the book?” God could never be wrong about the future. So it’s not a book of predestination. It’s a book that says you are still in the running for eternal life. It's a book of Christ's sheep, both lost and found, who hear Christ's voice. It's a book of both the wise and the foolish, until they become wicked and are blotted.
The unpardonable sin is when a person hardens their heart and rejects Christ’s voice. In other words, no matter what the Holy Spirit does, the person will continue to reject Christ. If a person commits the unpardonable sin, that person becomes known as the wicked, and his or her name is blotted out of the book. But the unpardonable sin is not something that is committed in a weak moment. God is very slow to blot people from his book. He wants everyone to be saved.
It’s called the Book of Life because it’s a list of people who will be given life at the resurrection. Before looking at the Book of Life in the Old Testament and the New Testament, we will take a close look at the unpardonable sin itself. Jesus calls it blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which cannot be forgiven.
Matthew 12:31-32 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. (32) Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, neither in this age, nor in that which is to come.
What is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Why would blasphemy against Christ be forgiven, but not against the Holy Spirit? To understand this verse, we must read it carefully in context. Let’s go back to the start of the chapter.
Matthew 12:1-8 At that time, Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the grain fields. His disciples were hungry and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. But the Pharisees, when they saw it, said to him, "Behold, your disciples do what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath." But he said to them, "Haven't you read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and ate the show bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law, that on the Sabbath day, the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless? But I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
As the Pharisees begin to accuse Jesus of breaking the Sabbath, Jesus responds that He is Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus is being a little more direct about His claim of being the Messiah. This claim is the one thing that the Pharisees cannot tolerate. Such a claim would elevate Jesus to an authority over the Pharisees.
The Sabbath seems to have been the big area of theological disagreement between Jesus and the Pharisees. Jesus honored the Sabbath, but not in the strict unreasonable rule-based way in which the Pharisees interpreted the law. All their rules were not in Old Testament Scripture. They had been added as an interpretation of Old Testament Scripture.
The Pharisees believed in all these rules. They had been taught from their childhood. For them, to do anything they considered to be work on the Sabbath was simply something that God would not condone. Therefore, they thought, Jesus would not be able to heal on the Sabbath.
The Pharisees knew Jesus had the power to heal. They would have known that he could do it again and again. Yet they asked him to heal a man again, in order to accuse him. Were they stupid? Why would they bring yet another man to him, to be healed, if they knew they would be humiliated when Jesus healed the man? No doubt they didn’t expect Jesus to be able to heal on the Sabbath.
The Pharisees believed Jesus had no respect for the Sabbath (from their strict viewpoint.) Thus, they had what they thought was the perfect plan. Ask Jesus to heal on the Sabbath. He would not be able to heal, because it would be against God’s will. Then they would have him in their trap. They would accuse him of working on the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:8-14 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." He departed there, and went into their synagogue. And behold there was a man with a withered hand. They asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?" that they might accuse him. He said to them, "What man is there among you, who has one sheep, and if this one falls into a pit on the Sabbath day, won't he grab on to it, and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day." Then he told the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out; and it was restored whole, just like the other. But the Pharisees went out, and conspired against him, how they might destroy him.
Their plan had failed. Jesus had claimed to be Lord of the Sabbath. And the miracle on the Sabbath seemed to back up his claim. Such a claim is equivalent to a claim of being the Messiah, or even greater. The Pharisees would have never considered themselves to be Lord of the Sabbath. They considered themselves to be enforcers of God’s Laws, especially the Sabbath.
No doubt the Pharisees didn’t believe that Jesus would be able to heal on the Sabbath. When Jesus did, after claiming to be Lord of the Sabbath, their plan had backfired. Jesus had proven to have a higher authority than the Pharisees. Jesus had proven Himself to be the Messiah. And the Pharisees knew it. So they went out to plot against Jesus, to destroy him.
Matthew 12:15-21 Jesus, perceiving that, withdrew from there. Great multitudes followed him; and he healed them all, and commanded them that they should not make him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, "Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit on him. He will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not strive, nor shout; neither will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He won't break a bruised reed. He won't quench a smoking flax, until he leads justice to victory. In his name, the nations will hope."
Why did Matthew bring out, at this point, the fact that Jesus had ordered those he healed to not say anything? What’s significant about the fact that Jesus was aware of their plotting? Was Jesus afraid for his life?
As we will see, Jesus does not want anyone to commit the unpardonable sin. Some of the Pharisees were about to do so, or had perhaps already crossed that line. Jesus wanted to heal anyone and everyone who desired his healing. However, Jesus did not want his healing to lead Pharisees into committing the unpardonable sin. So Jesus told those he had healed to not make him known.
Why did Matthew quote Isaiah at this point? Why does Matthew talk about Jesus proclaiming justice to the Gentiles? When the Jewish leaders begin to commit the unpardonable sin, it becomes clear that the Jews would reject the Messiah. The people will ultimately follow their leaders. Therefore, the Gospel would be proclaimed to the Gentiles.
Matthew 12:22-24 Then one possessed by a demon, blind and mute, was brought to him and he healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. All the multitudes were amazed, and said, "Can this be the son of David?" But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man does not cast out demons, except by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons."
The nightmare of the Pharisees has come about. The Pharisees, down deep, know that Jesus is the Messiah. Now Jesus heals a very difficult case. The man has a demon, and at the same time, the man is blind and mute. This healing is great, and the people start saying that Jesus could be the Messiah. What is the response of the Pharisees? They attribute the healing to Satan’s power.
As we will see, this is the unpardonable sin. The Holy Spirit is performing miracles that prove God’s presence in Jesus. The Pharisees know this is God’s power, before their very eyes. Yet they deny the work of the Holy Spirit. They deny God’s miracles. Even the untrained people see that God is doing these miracles. However, the trained Pharisees’ love for their own power is greater than any desire to see God’s work, even when it’s undeniably in front of their eyes. Their hearts had become extremely hardened against Christ’s voice.
Matthew 12:25-27 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
With these verses, Jesus begins his arguments against the unpardonable claim of the Pharisees. Satan cannot drive out Satan. Jesus is being sarcastic when he asks, “By whom do your sons cast them out?” The Pharisees had not been casting out demons.
Who are the “sons” of the Pharisees? Why will these “sons” be their judges? When or where will this judging take place? Perhaps out of confusion, the NIV translates “your sons” as “your people.” But most translations stick with the word given in the Greek. Jesus asks, “By whom do your sons cast them out?”
The “sons” of the Pharisees are their students. In many cases, their literal sons probably carried on in their father’s footsteps, and became the next generation of Pharisees. Their “sons” would naturally put great faith in their teachings. Yet, the Pharisees denied that Jesus is the Messiah. Some would commit the unpardonable sin. Others might simply remain silent. At least in silence, they would not be committing the unpardonable sin. In the age to come, when Christ returns, some of their students will be their judges. For example, Paul was a Pharisee. He was one of their students. Those with an [agape] love for Christ cannot remain silent. In the age to come, those who will have matured in Christ, and who will have walked as Jesus walked (1 John 2:9), will be the priests and kings over those who remained silent. Thus, their sons will be their judges in the age to come.
Matthew 12:28 But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.
Take careful note of this verse. Jesus is saying that it’s the Holy Spirit that casts out the demons. Not He Himself. This will be important when we look at the verse on the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
Also, if the Holy Spirit is casting out these demons, it’s proof that the presence of Jesus is the presence of the Kingdom of God. This goes back to the claim that Jesus is the Messiah. If the kingdom of God had come upon them, it was because the Messiah had come. So again, the claim that Jesus is the Messiah challenged the authority of the Pharisees.
Matthew 12:29 Or how can one enter into the house of the strong man, and plunder his goods, unless he first bind the strong man? Then he will plunder his house.
What (or who) is the “strong man’s house?” Who is the “strong man?” How does this parable relate to the healing of the blind man, with the demon? How does this parable argue against the idea that Satan could drive out Satan?
Amillennialists, since Augustine, have used this verse to explain, in Revelation 20, how Satan could currently be chained, so that he could deceive the nations no more. Such an explanation is necessary for them to say that the future and literal reign of Christ will not take place. They say that Christ chained Satan at the cross. However, nothing in the context of this verse is about the cross. This verse is in the context of the healing of the blind and mute man, who had a demon.
The strong man’s house is the body of the blind and mute man. The strong man is Satan, or the demon inside the man. The demon had to be bound before Christ could heal the physical problems of the man’s house. Christ is arguing that Satan would not bind himself.
Matthew 12:30 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who doesn't gather with me, scatters.
This is the bottom line. There are only two groups here. Everyone must make a decision to be either for or against Christ. The miracles Jesus performed produced division in the ones who saw the miracles. Seeing the miracles forces everyone to decide for themselves. Eventually, everyone must decide to be with Christ or against Christ. This means that eventually everyone will know Jesus is the King.
Many will stay in the middle during his or her entire lifetime. However, eventually God’s miracles will force everyone to be either for or against Christ. If this doesn’t happen now, it will happen in the age to come. In the age to come, when Christ returns, the kingdom will be undeniably everywhere. Everyone will be forced to be on Christ’s side, or against him. Those who decide to be against Christ, in the face of undeniable proof, will be committing the unpardonable sin.
Matthew 12:31-32 ESV Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. (32) And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Remember our important verse? Verse 28 tells us that it’s the Holy Spirit that does the miracles. It was not Jesus himself. When the Pharisees said it was by the power of Beelzebul, they were attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Beelzebul. Saying a word against the Son of Man can be forgiven. But seeing the miracles, and still denying God’s power is unpardonable.
Notice that Jesus is warning about this sin in the present age, and in the age to come. The age to come is when the Messiah literally rules the world. They knew that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus was saying that even when He literally rules, in the future, that this sin will be unpardonable.
Some may think that the age to come might be the Church Age. However, Mark 10:30 and Luke 18:30 clearly place the age to come as the time of eternal life. The age to come is the millennial reign of Christ.
If actual miracles are not enough, then it’s impossible to bring the person into repentance. These Pharisees were more concerned about their selfish power than to publically recognize the Messiah, even in the face of this proof. And they knew that healing on the Sabbath proves Jesus to be Lord of the Sabbath.
Matthew 12:33 "Either make the tree good, and its fruit good, or make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit.
Here Jesus continues to argue against what the Pharisees had said. Jesus had been doing good works in healing the people. How can this good fruit come from a bad tree?
Matthew 12:34-37 You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings out good things, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings out evil things. I tell you that every idle word that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned ."
Does this mean that Christ will weigh all our good words against all our bad words? Is Jesus saying that if our good words outweigh our bad words, then we are saved? What happed to salvation by grace alone?
Or can we interpret this verse more in line of the context of verse 30? Because of the miracles of God, everyone will eventually decide for themselves to be with Christ, or to be against Christ. If they are against Christ, they will deny the undeniable works of God, and come up with something crazy like the miracles are the works of Satan. Thus, everyone will be judged by their words. Their words reflect what is in their hearts. Their words reflect their decision to be for or against Christ. But for those who have not yet heard about Christ, or for those who have not been forced to make that decision, death is not the end of the journey of righteousness. In the age to come, they will still be judged by their words for or against Christ.
Matthew 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from you."
Why would the Pharisees say such a thing when they had just seen this miracle, a miracle so undeniable that they had said it was the work of Beelzebul? Could it be they are fearful of being wrong? Could it be they are in denial? Could it be they are afraid? People can always find some way to explain away any kind of proof that God may give. Here, they were trying to convince themselves that Jesus is not the Lord of the Sabbath, because the signs were somehow not great enough. If Jesus had done an even greater sign, they would have still attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to Beelzebul.
Matthew 12:39-42 But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, but no sign will be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, someone greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, someone greater than Solomon is here.
The sign of Jonah was probably only understood after the crucifixion, and only by believers. The Pharisees were not meant to understand it.
The sign of Jonah was certainly the crucifixion and the resurrection. Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, Jesus was also three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. However, the meaning of this sign goes far deeper. Jonah prophesied that Nineveh will be destroyed in forty days . However, the king of Nineveh led his people into repentance. So God did not destroy Nineveh in forty days. Did this make Jonah be a false prophet? No, because there is always an understanding that repentance can change God’s intended actions of wrath.
God also intended to destroy Jerusalem forty years after the crucifixion. But if the Jewish leaders had repented during those forty years, Jerusalem would not have been destroyed, and Christ could have returned in that generation as he had hoped to do (Matthew 10:23, 16:28).
Jesus knows that no additional sign would convince the Pharisees any more than the ones already performed. So he begins to talk less plainly. After this, Jesus will begin to only talk in parables publically. Jesus does not want more people committing the unpardonable sin.
Matthew 12:43-45 But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and doesn't find it. Then he says, 'I will return into my house from which I came out,' and when he has come back, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more evil than he is, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first. Even so will it be also to this evil generation."
Jesus continues on the topic of casting out demons. Here, we find the house allegory for the body used as it was in verses 28-29, the strong man’s house. But here, Jesus draws parallels between the man who was healed and the Pharisees of that evil generation.
During the first half of Matthew the kingdom is portrayed as “forcefully advancing since John.” (Matthew 11:12). After Matthew 12, everything slides down to the crucifixion. After this unpardonable sin, Jesus began to speak in parables. After a few verses, in the next chapter, Matthew quotes Isaiah again:
Matthew 13:10-17 The disciples came, and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" He answered them, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them. For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he has. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don't see, and hearing, they don't hear, neither do they understand. In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, 'By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive: for this people's heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing, they have closed their eyes; or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and should turn again; and I would heal them.' "But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see, and didn't see them; and to hear the things which you hear, and didn't hear them.
After this, Jesus spoke in parables to prevent more people from committing the unpardonable sin. The unpardonable sin is when a person hardens their heart to the point where they no longer hear Christ’s voice. In other words, no matter what the Holy Spirit does, the person will continue to reject Christ. If a person commits the unpardonable sin, that person becomes known as the wicked, and his or her name is blotted out of the Book of Life.
Look back at Jesus’ quote of Isaiah (Matthew 10:13-17, Isaiah 6:9-10). Jesus summarized it before quoting it. In summary Jesus said, “Because seeing they don't see, and hearing, they don't hear, neither do they understand.” The hearing is connected to understanding because you cannot understand without hearing. Likewise, Jesus was not talking about a metaphorical seeing. In the context of chapter 12, and the unpardonable sin, Jesus is talking about literally seeing the miracles and denying that they are the works of the Holy Spirit.
When the literal seeing is denied, hearing and understanding becomes impossible. Therefore, to have eyes to see but cannot see is always tied to the unpardonable sin. To have ears to hear is always tied to those who have not committed the unpardonable sin, and thus can still hear Christ’s voice.
This can help us understand a difficult verse in John 9:39-41. “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.” What does this mean?
Jesus had healed a man who was blind from birth (John 9). The man was brought to the Pharisees for questioning. This was also a case where Jesus had healed on the Sabbath (verse 14). As we have seen, this proves that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, and therefore the Messiah. The Pharisees believed that healing on the Sabbath would be a sin. But how can you heal on the Sabbath, if it’s a sin, when the healing power is from God?
John 9:16 ESV Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" And there was a division among them.
The Pharisees could not accept the fact of this healing on the Sabbath. They even brought in the parents of the formally blind man for questioning. They were hoping that the man had not really been blind (verse 18). The Pharisees knew that Jesus had healed many times. However, His healing on the Sabbath was their worst nightmare. It was a direct challenge to their authority. It showed that their most important teaching about God was wrong, because God was healing on the day when the work of healing should not be possible.
During this episode, the Pharisees did not cross the line and actually say the healing was the work of Satan. But they probably came close. At first, the formally blind man did not know that Jesus is the Son of Man. But when they meet again, Jesus told the man, and the man worshiped Christ. Some of the Pharisees were looking on.
John 9:39-41 Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment, that those who don't see may see; and that those who see may become blind." (40) Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, "Are we also blind?" (41) Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.
If the Pharisees had not seen the miracles, then they would not be held accountable for that revelation from God. The judgment that Christ speaks of is through the miracles. The miracles force everyone to either accept Christ, or to reject Christ. All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). However, God’s judgment of us depends solely on whether or not we accept Christ when we hear Christ’s voice or see the miracles. They saw the miracles. The judgment is based on what one does with God’s undeniable revelation.
John 15:22-24 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. (23) He who hates me, hates my Father also. (24) If I hadn't done among them the works which no one else did, they wouldn't have had sin. But now have they seen and also hated both me and my Father.
This then, clearly establishes the middle foolish group that have not yet become either wise or wicked. Those to whom Christ has not yet spoken are not guilty of sin. That's because Christ died for them. Of course they are not righteous either. They are sinners. But they will not be condemned of their sins until Christ speaks to them. If they harden their hearts to Christ’s voice, they can be eternally condemned. It’s only those who wind up hating both Christ and the Father who are condemned. And anyone who hates Christ will automatically hate the Father.
To have ears to hear is always tied to those who have not committed the unpardonable sin, and thus can hear Christ’s voice. Let’s revisit the verses in John about the dead hearing Christ’s voice.
John 5:25, 28-29 Most certainly, I tell you, the hour comes, and now is, when the dead will hear the Son of God's voice ; and those who hear will live. ... (28) Don't marvel at this, for the hour [time] comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, (29) and will come out ; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
John 10:1-18 "Most certainly, I tell you, one who doesn't enter by the door into the sheep fold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. (2) But one who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. (3) The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. (4) Whenever he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (5) They will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him; for they don't know the voice of strangers." (6) Jesus spoke this parable to them, but they didn't understand what he was telling them. (7) Jesus therefore said to them again, "Most certainly, I tell you, I am the sheep's door. (8) All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn't listen to them. (9) I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture. (10) The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (11) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (12) He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who doesn't own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees. The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them. (13) The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand, and doesn't care for the sheep. (14) I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I'm known by my own; (15) even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd. (17) Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. (18) No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father."
Christ’s sheep are those who hear Christ’s voice. Both those who have done good, and those who have done evil, hear Christ’s voice from the tombs. You don’t have to be a disciple of Christ in order to hear His voice from the tomb. It is only the wicked who don’t hear Christ’s voice. They knowingly reject and hate Christ, and they refuse to see the miracles. They don’t hear Christ’s voice.
The first mention of the Book of Life in Scripture is in Exodus 32:32-33. The Lord had brought ten miraculously spectacular plagues upon Pharaoh and Egypt. He had parted the Red Sea, and the armies of Pharaoh had perished in the sea behind them. He'd given the miraculous manna in the desert. Water came from the rock at the strike of Moses’ staff, for all to drink. A cloud went before them by day, and a pillar of fire by night. After all of these miracles, however, the people built a golden calf to worship. In other words, no matter what God did, no matter how much God revealed about Himself, some of these people were never going to simply trust and have faith in God. When they sinned against God in this way, God blotted their names out of the Book of Life.
Exodus 32:22-24 Aaron said, "Don't let the anger of my lord grow hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. (23) For they said to me, 'Make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him.' (24) I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them take it off:' so they gave it to me; and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."
Exodus 32:30-33 It happened on the next day, that Moses said to the people, "You have sinned a great sin. Now I will go up to Yahweh. Perhaps I shall make atonement for your sin." (31) Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, "Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made themselves gods of gold. (32) Yet now, if you will, forgive their sin--and if not, please blot me out of your book which you have written." (33) Yahweh said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
Do you see the parallels between this story and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, in Matthew 12? Both have undeniable miracles that proved the power of God. In both cases, people chose to ignore the undeniable miracles, and followed their own selfish desires.
This then, is the unpardonable sin. When someone who has a relationship with God or with Christ intentionally and purposefully turns to other gods, it’s an unpardonable sin. When God reveals Himself to an individual, and that individual hardens his heart against God’s revelation, it’s an unpardonable sin. Their names can be blotted out of the Book of Life. Notice that in Exodus 32:32 Moses refers to this as “the book you have written.” In other words, it’s not a book that’s currently being written. God wrote the book before the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8, 17:8). It’s not a book of predestination, and it’s not a book where your name is added when you get saved. It’s a book were your name is blotted out when you harden your heart to the point of committing the unpardonable sin.
The author of Hebrews seems to draw the same conclusion about the people in the desert, without explicitly mentioning the Book of Life.
Hebrews 3:7-11 ESV Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, if you hear his voice, (8) do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, (9) where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. (10) Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.' (11) As I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest.'"
When God said, "They shall never enter my rest," he was denying them salvation (Hebrews 4:1-11). Their salvation was taken away because of their rebellion. But the author of Hebrews includes the condition of hearing His voice. Pagans all around Israel committed the very same sin of idol worship. Nevertheless, these pagans had not yet heard God’s voice.
Psalm 95:7-11 ESV For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, (8) do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness, (9) when your fathers put me to the test and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work. (10) For forty years I loathed that generation and said, "They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known my ways." (11) Therefore I swore in my wrath, "They shall not enter my rest ."
Notice that God is very slow to bring his wrath. They sinned against God in the desert by building the golden calf. But God gave them forty years in the desert to repent.
This brings us back to the sign of Jonah. The Jewish leaders hardened their hearts against Christ in seeing the miracles that proved Christ to be the Lord of the Sabbath. They committed the unpardonable sin. Yet God gave the Jewish leaders forty years after the sign of Jonah to repent. In 70 AD, Jerusalem was destroyed and became desolate. This was forty years after Christ was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Thus, it was forty years after the sign of Jonah had been given. Jonah said Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days. But the king led the people into repentance. If the Jewish leaders had likewise repented during those forty years, Christ would have returned in 70 AD and just like Nineveh, Jerusalem would not have been destroyed.
So God is very slow in actually blotting a name from the Book of Life. It doesn’t happen in a weak moment. It doesn’t happen out of one mistake. It’s a hardening of the heart that is proven over the course with plenty of time to repent. It would seem that God gives people forty years to repent before their name is blotted from the Book of Life for the unpardonable sin.
However, the greater one’s personal revelation about Christ has been, the quicker God is going to blot ones name if they were to reject Christ. Judas was not forgiven even though he repented almost immediately. But Judas had been one of the disciples, learning directly from Christ during his entire ministry. As will be shown in Hebrews, it gets really bad if you have received the Holy Spirit and have tasted the powers of heaven, but then you knowingly and deliberately reject Christ.
This principle of an unpardonable sin can be found later in Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:26-29. It is a major theme in Hebrews. Hebrews will be discussed in more detail in the next chapter of this book. If someone is given undeniable proof about God or Christ, such as the miracles the Holy Spirit performed for Moses or for Jesus, and they deny the miracles, they have committed the unpardonable sin. The bottom line is that when the heart is hardened to the point of a rejection of Christ, and it does not involve Satan’s deceit or a lack of understanding, then it is unpardonable. The unpardonable sin causes your name to be blotted from the Book of Life.
One person I know tried to wiggle out of Exodus 32:32-33, saying that the names in this book were only the names of those under God’s covenant with Israel. Yet Scripture does not teach about such a book. In other words, the assumption has been that the Book of Life is a book of predestination. Therefore, when this verse is used to challenge that assumption, some people tend to look for other possibilities as to what this book might be other than the Book of Life. Even if this were a book of names under God’s covenant with Israel, how would being blotted out of such not be a loss of salvation?
Exodus 17:14 and Deuteronomy 25:18-19 says that the memory of Amalek was blotted out from under heaven because of actions against Israel as they were coming out of Egypt. See Exodus 17 for the account of this battle against Israel. Perhaps Amalek had seen God’s miracle of water in the desert, and had decided to fight Israel for the water. Also see 1 Samuel 15 and 1 Samuel 28:18. Saul was commanded to destroy Amalek, not for revenge, but because their names had been blotted out from under heaven. Obviously Amalek was not under God's covenant with Israel. Yet, for his name to have been blotted out, it had to have been in the book in the first place.
Some may argue that the actual book was not explicitly mentioned in Exodus 17:14 and Deuteronomy 25:18-19 where the memory of Amalek was blotted out from under heaven. But with similar language, Deuteronomy 29:18-20 says that if the people of Israel, who know about God, turn to gods of the nations, then their names are to be blotted from under heaven. The same language portraying Amalek being blotted out is used to portray the people of Israel being blotted out as well. Both are blotted out from under heaven. From Exodus 32:32-33, we know that people of Israel were also blotted from the book.
Furthermore, Deuteronomy 9:12-16 also speaks about God blotting names from under heaven because of the calf they had made. In other words, Exodus 32:32-33 and Deuteronomy 9:12-16 are both about the same sin, and both speak of names being blotted out. In one case, their names are blotted from the book. In the other case, their names are blotted from under heaven. This equates the terminology and shows that Amalek was blotted from the same book.
The memory of Amalek was blotted out from under heaven. The very first mention of the resurrection in the Old Testament is in Isaiah 26. God is said to have "wiped out all remembrance" of those who will not be resurrected. In other words, blotting a name from the Book of Life, or from under heaven, is the same as God wiping all remembrance of the person. Thus, they are not resurrected.
Isaiah 26:14 ESV They are dead, they will not live; they are shades, they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them.
Isaiah 26:19 ESV Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.
The reason these people were blotted out is that they had no fear of God even with the knowledge of the miracles. An intentional and knowledgeable turning away from God is a sin that is unpardonable.
Psalm 9:5 speaks of the names of the wicked being blotted out forever and ever. A book is not specifically mentioned, but the language remains consistent. Their names had to be written in a book in order for them to be blotted out.
In Psalm 69:27-28, David asks God to blot the names of his enemies out of the Book of Life.
Psalm 69:27-28 NIV Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. (28) May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.
Notice that in verse 27, David relates this action to denying them salvation. David actually uses this term, "Book of Life." If it's possible for David's enemies to be blotted from the "Book of Life", then the "Book of Life" must contain their names. If the names of David's enemies are in the "Book of Life", then it's impossible for this to be a book of predestination.
If David's enemies are in the "Book of Life", then it's also unlikely for this to be a book in which the names of the righteous are written as they become saved. David would probably not have considered his enemies to be people who love and fear the one true God.
Some people will argue that just because David asked God to blot names out of the Book of Life doesn’t mean that God would do so. Perhaps God did not do what David asked. Nevertheless, this verse shows David's understanding of how the "Book of Life" works. David wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I think his understanding of how it works has the weight of Scripture. David would not have asked God to blot out the names of his enemies if the names of these enemies were not already in the book. Moreover, when we combine all the other accounts in which people were actually blotted out, it proves that it can be done, and has been done.
Many verses in the Psalms can be literally applied to David, but have turned out to be prophetically applied to Jesus. Other verses in the Psalms can only be applied to Christ. For example, Psalms 16:10 (NIV) says "you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay." Acts 2:27 and 13:35 applies this prophecy directly to Christ. Likewise, Psalm 69:27-28 can be applied directly to Christ. The enemies of Christ are blotted from Christ's Book of Life. You have to explicitly and knowledgably reject Christ in order to be his enemy.
In Daniel 12:1, those who are in the Book of Life escape the grave after the great tribulation. Those in the book are resurrected. Those not in the book are not resurrected. This resurrection includes both a resurrection into eternal life, and a resurrection into “shame” and “contempt.” But you have to be in the Book of Life to get resurrected when Christ returns. In Philippians 4:3, Paul mentions a few of his fellow workers whose names, he says, are in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Also, the Lamb’s Book of Life is mentioned seven times in Revelation.
Some will argue that the Book of Life in Psalm 69:27-28 doesn’t have to be the same book as in Exodus 32:32-33. So for argument’s sake, let’s focus only on what’s called the “Book of Life.” John’s book of Revelation, more than any other book in the New Testament, is packed full of Old Testament quotes and allusions. Revelation uses the phrase "Book of Life" six times. The only other place in Scripture where this entire phrase is used is Psalm 69:28 and Philippians 4:3.
It would be a great stretch to say that the Book of Life, mentioned by John, was not the same as the "Book of Life," spoken of by David. John says it was written before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8, 17:8). David says names can be blotted out. Consequently, this book cannot be about predestination. John even mentions the idea of names being blotted out (Revelation 3:5). The only possible conclusion, therefore, is that everybody's name was there before the foundation of the world.
The term "Book of Life" is used six times in Revelation. This is far more than any other book of the Bible. Thus, the Book of Life is important to the theme of Revelation. The theme of Revelation seems to be that of overcoming sin and avoiding getting one's name blotted from the Book of Life.
Revelation 3:5 says that those who overcome sin (the wise) will not have their names blotted from the Lamb’s Book of Life. This promise is of little value if names cannot be blotted out. Furthermore, this promise obviously implies that those who don’t eventually overcome sin will have their names blotted out. Don’t fall into the trap of focusing on this one New Testament verse while ignoring all the Old Testament evidence. It’s true that this verse doesn’t explicitly state that anyone had his or her name removed. But John, I'm sure, got the term, "Book of Life," from David. And David would have received his Holy Spirit inspired understanding from reading Exodus and Deuteronomy. And David clearly expected names to be blotted.
As I pointed out earlier, Revelation is packed full of quotes and inferences to the Old Testament. The Book of Life is no exception. John got it from David. (David called it the Book of Life.) David clearly understood its function. This promise, given in Revelation 3:5 to those who overcome sin, is not a promise of little value. Names really have been blotted from this book.
Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 both say that the names were originally written in the book before the creation of the world. Many of these verses surveyed speak of names being blotted out. However, no verse ever speaks of a name being added or written. Your name is not written when you are saved. Nor is it included in a list of predestined people who will be saved. When people commit the unpardonable sin, their names are simply blotted out.
Some people have objected to these arguments by saying that Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 are translated generally as, "all whose names have not been written in the book of life." The argument is that if their names have not been written in the Book of Life, then they never were written, and thus were not blotted out.
The Greek word used here for “have been written”, parsed in exactly the same way, occurs 67 times in the New Testament. In the vast majority of these verses, most translations render the word as “is written.” These two verses in Revelation are the only two cases where “not” is included. Therefore, in these two verses the word can be translated as, “is not written.” Since we are talking about more than one name, the grammar in the English would be, “are not written.” The King James Version seems to be the only version that translates 13:8 in this way. The KJV renders it as “whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb” (13:8). Then, unfortunately, the KJV renders 17:8 as “were not written.” But in the Greek, it’s the same word parsed in the say way, which is: indicative, perfect, passive, 3rd person, singular.
In his book, Basics of Biblical Greek, (2003) William D. Mounce writes (pg. 225, paragraph 25.2):
The Greek perfect is one of the more interesting tenses and is often used to express great theological truths. The Greek perfect describes an action that was brought to completion and whose effects are felt in the present. Because it describes a completed action, by implication the action described by the perfect verb normally occurred in the past.
He goes on to say:
Another example is the verb “to write.” When the Bible says, “It is written,” this is usually in the perfect tense. Scripture was written in the past but is applicable in the present. That is why some translations choose the present “It is written,” instead of “It has been written.” This emphasizes its abiding significance. The translation “It stands written” would state this nuance even clearer.
Thus, it’s perfectly correct to translate both verses like the KJV of Revelation 13:8. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (KJV Revelation 13:8).
However, if one wanted to be more literal, Revelation 13:8 can be translated as, "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been continually written from the foundation of the world." Revelation 17:8 should be similarly translated. This says that anyone whose name gets blotted out fails to be able to say "my name has been continually written since the foundation of the world."
Now that we have closely examined the verb tense of Revelation 13:8 and 17:8, let’s look at exactly what this verse is saying:
Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been [continually] written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been killed.
Traditionally, the Book of Life has been interpreted as having only the names of believers. Under that assumption, this verse would mean that all unbelievers in the world will worship the beast. Then we read a few verses down (13:16-17) about the world taking the mark of the beast. It’s easy to conclude that this chapter is saying all unbelievers will wind up taking the mark of the beast and so be eternally condemned.
But look at the verse with the understanding that everyone who has not hardened their hearts is still in the Book of Life. Thus, it’s only those who harden their hearts that will worship the beast. People are blotted from the Book of Life when they harden their hearts against Christ. If the Book of Life were a book that only contains the names of those predestined to be believers, then it would mean that everyone else will worship the beast. But the Book of Life has the names of everyone who has not rejected Christ. So Revelation 13:8 does not mean that all unbelievers will worship the beast. People who harden their hearts against Christ will thus worship the beast and then get their names blotted.
Thus, there can still be many people who will remain in the foolish group but will not take the mark of the beast. There can still be billions of people, especially very poor people in third-world countries like India, who will not get caught up in all the TV propaganda of the one-world government. But the more educated people of first-world countries who do not love Jesus Christ will have a tendency to believe the lies of the antichrist, and will wind up worshiping the beast.
Earlier in this chapter we took a close look at Matthew chapter 12, and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 12:32, Jesus says, “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Speaking a word against Jesus is anger, but it’s not a complete hardening of the heart against Christ. The context of the passage is about the miracles performed by the Holy Spirit. The miracle of healing a man was called the work of Beelzebub (Satan). The Holy Spirit was doing the miracles. The miracles presented undeniable proof that Christ is the Messiah. It was like the time when the people rejected God in the desert, even in the light of all the miracles performed for Moses. Consequently, speaking against the miracles was speaking against the Holy Spirit.
The miracles left no doubt that Christ was who he said he was. But some of them hardened their hearts to the point where they could no longer see the obvious, or hear Christ’s voice trying to speak to their hearts, while all the evidence proved that Jesus was the Messiah. This is the unpardonable sin.
An overall outline of the book of Matthew can show that Matthew 12 is the climax. The kingdom of heaven was forcefully advancing since John the Baptist (Matthew 11:12). Jesus taught plainly, as in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). But after some of the Pharisees committed the unpardonable sin by saying the miracles were the works of Beelzebub, Jesus began to speak in parables (Matthew 13:10-17). He did so to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah. Jesus quotes Isaiah 6:9 saying, “By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive: for this people’s heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing” (Matthew 13:14-15).
God does not want people to commit the unpardonable sin. God does not want to blot their names out of the book. Therefore, God wisely withholds much of His revelations about himself until people are ready and willing to accept Him.
Today, the gospel is spread through the witness of Christians. Often people have knowledge of the Creator before missionaries come, but never of God’s Son. If revelation of God’s Son were to be given by God’s audible voice, or by angels, then rejection could be unpardonable. Thus, God prefers that witnesses provide the good news. Rejection of the gospel as given by a missionary or preacher is not unpardonable.
Judas committed the unpardonable sin. Judas was given the privilege of being one of Christ’s twelve disciples. The twelve were given more understanding about God than anyone else had ever received. Therefore, when Judas betrayed Christ, the sin was unpardonable (John 17:12). Judas’ sin was greater than Pilate’s (John 19:11). When Jesus was crucified, he asked the Father to forgive them, for they didn’t understand what they were doing (Luke 23:34). The key here is that they didn’t understand. God was able to forgive them because they didn’t understand. Even those who pierced him will be resurrected when Christ again appears (Rev. 1:7). Judas understood what he was doing. He was not forgiven.
Judas regretted his actions. Filled with remorse, he confessed that he had sinned (Mat 27:3-5). He even threw the thirty pieces of silver back into the temple, begging the religious leaders to release Jesus (Mat 27:3-5). But Judas was not forgiven. Judas was not damned because he hung himself. He was condemned because he committed the unpardonable sin.
In John 12:32, Jesus said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” All men includes every person ever born, and every person that will be born. All men, therefore, have the free will to accept or reject Christ. All men will have this opportunity with full understanding and without Satan's deceit.
At the final Great White Throne Judgment, after the millennium, the Lamb’s Book of Life will be opened (Revelation 20:12). Anyone whose name is not found written in the Book of Life is thrown eternally into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15). At that time, everyone who has not committed the unpardonable sin will still have his or her name written in the book. No one will be condemned unless they have their names blotted out by committing the unpardonable sin. No one will have an excuse, saying they didn’t understand or know about God.
You must have faith in Jesus Christ in order to be eternally saved. You must mature in Jesus Christ in order to live past the Great White Throne Judgment. No one can come to the Father, except through Christ (John 14:6), and there is no other name under heaven by which a person can be saved (Acts 4:12).
During the great tribulation, the antichrist will rule over every nation, tribe, people, and language. He is given a mouth, meaning the free will to speak, to utter proud words and blasphemies against God. He slanders God's name, his dwelling place, and those who live in heaven (Revelation 13:5-7). “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV). Thus, the antichrist himself also commits the unpardonable sin.
This will be a time when it will be popular in the world to reject Christ. Those who harden their hearts so they can no longer hear Christ’s voice will worship the antichrist (Revelation 13:8) and their names will be blotted from the Book of Life. It's interesting to note that the antichrist is called the beast. This comes from Daniel chapter 7, which speaks of four beasts or four governmental systems. The fourth beast is the one-world government of the antichrist in the days of the great tribulation.
We can also see the beast symbolism in Daniel chapter 4, which talks about Nebuchadnezzar being given the mind of the beast. But the symbolism of the beast probably goes back even further to the time of Moses. After all the spectacular miracles, the people built a golden calf and worshiped it. A calf is a beast. As we will see, the worship of the beast in the great tribulation is this same unpardonable sin.
Before the 42-month reign of the antichrist, the two witnesses will prophesy for 1260 days (Rev 11:3). The witnesses will be known worldwide. Upon their deaths, the world will exchange gifts in celebration (Rev 11:10). The world will probably blame the witnesses for the trumpet-plagues, which will occur during these 1260 days (Rev 11:6). The trumpet-plagues are similar in nature to the plagues on Egypt. For example, a third of the seas are turned into blood (Rev 8:8). The people of the world will see these plagues from God, like the plagues on Egypt. Without the proper response to God, they can harden their hearts to the point of the unpardonable sin. Those who take the mark of the beast will worship the beast and his statue (Rev 13:8, 15). It will be no different than when the people of Israel worshipped the calf after seeing all the miracles.
People will come to either very much love or very much hate Christ. Those who worship the beast and take the mark of the beast will be doing so out of hatred for Christ. This then, is the unpardonable sin. They will be rejecting Christ in a way that does not involve a lack of understanding. Everyone who takes the mark of the beast will have his or her name blotted out of the Lamb's Book of Life.
Revelation talks a lot about the Lamb’s Book of Life. It’s mentioned in Revelation 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 20:15, and 21:27. Revelation 20:4-5 says that those who take the mark of the beast will not be resurrected when Christ returns. They will not get resurrected, because they will have committed the unpardonable sin. Only those who have a mature relationship with Christ are willing to give up their lives instead of taking the mark.
Mark 13:13 You will be hated by all men for my name's sake, but he who endures to the end, the same will be saved.
Whatever happened to salvation by grace alone? Is Christ talking about the unsaved becoming saved? No, because the verse is about those who are hated by all for Christ’s sake. Those who are hated by all for Christ’s name sake must endure to the end of the great tribulation, or they will lose their salvation. It’s clear that even true Christians, who have professed Christ’s name for salvation, can lose their salvation if they take the mark of the beast during the great tribulation. Their hearts would become quickly hardened. Their names will be blotted out from the Lamb’s Book of Life.
During the great tribulation, carnal Christians will either become mature and walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:9), or they wind up taking the mark, because of all the persecution. This is why Jesus said to watch and be ready, because we do not as yet know the day or time (Matthew 24:42, 44, 25:13). Pre-tribulation rapture advocates and amillennialists alike will often say it’s simply a matter of accepting Christ, and then you are ready for Christ’s return. The Doctrine of Imminence, however, is a false doctrine. It’s not simply a matter of accepting Christ as Savior. We must walk as Jesus walked now, because when the great tribulation comes, a Christian who has not matured could easily take the mark of the beast instead of sacrificing his or her life. Only the Christian who “endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22, 24:13, Mark 13:13).
Jesus said that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this age, or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32). The age to come is the millennial reign of Christ. Those in the middle foolish groups, during the millennium, will eventually mature in Christ, or they will commit the unpardonable sin.
At the start of the millennium, Satan is chained so that he can no longer deceive the nations. During that time, for anyone who does not mature in Christ, it will not be because of Satan’s deceit. At the end of the thousand years he must be released for a short time (Rev. 20:2-3). During the thousand years, one's loyalty to the government is equivalent to one's loyalty to Christ. Christ will literally be the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, 19:16), the ruler of the world. Many will be led into a mature discipleship relationship with Christ. Many new babies will be born during that time. At the end of the thousand years, Satan must be released. Everyone who wants to develop a mature relationship with Christ will have done so by that time.
During the millennium, everyone who is still carnal will be forced to become either wise or wicked. Jesus draws every person to himself so that every person decides for himself whether to accept or reject Christ’s reign over his or her life. For each of us, this decision is made with full understanding and without deception from Satan. This is true for every person who has ever lived or who will ever live in the future. It matters not the time, place, or culture to which one is born. Every person will be given both the opportunity and the requirement to decide for themselves whether to accept or reject Christ. And accepting Christ means to become like Christ.
When Satan is released, he will go out again to deceive the nations. Multitudes will revolt against the government (Revelation 20:8). They will march the breadth of the earth to attack Jerusalem. But with Christ as King of Kings, an attack on Jerusalem is an attack against Christ. Thus they will be committing the unpardonable sin and will have their names blotted out of the Lamb's Book of Life. At this point in time, there will be no more carnal Christians. At this juncture, everyone whose name is still in the Lamb's Book of Life will have matured in Christ. Everyone whose name is not in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire.
Hosea 13:13-14 also talks about the resurrection.
Hosea 13:13-14 ESV The pangs of childbirth come for him, but he is an unwise son, for at the right time he does not present himself at the opening of the womb. (14) Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
Hosea 13 is about the northern ten tribes of Israel, called Ephraim. After the northern kingdom was separated from Judah, they turned to idol worship (verse 2). God cared for them in the desert (verses 5-6). But they rejected God. Their sins were not forgiven (verse 12).
This verse uses the metaphor of the woman giving birth. In chapter 3 of this book, titled “Born Again Verses,” we saw how extensively this metaphor is used throughout Scripture. The woman is Israel, and the birth is the resurrection. Here, we see that these people who rejected God, and turned to idol worship, will not come out of the grave when the time comes. They do not come to the opening of the womb. It’s very similar to when they made the golden calf in the desert. Likewise, these people turned to idol worship and lost their salvation. They will not be “born again.” They will not be resurrected.
Daniel 12:2 shows us the distinction between those resurrected to life, and those resurrected to shame and contempt. Also, this verse in Hosea 13:13-14 shows us those who are not resurrected at all. They do not come to the opening of the womb. They have committed the unpardonable sin.
Therefore, by comparing Daniel 12:2 with Hosea 13:13-14, we have more evidence that there are three types of people in the grave.
1. The wicked do not come to the opening of the womb. They have committed an unpardonable sin, such as idol worship after having received the personal knowledge of God.
2. The foolish are those who are resurrected to shame and contempt. They are the unjust of Acts 24:15. Theirs is a resurrection of judgment according to John 5:28-29.
3. The wise are those who are resurrected to everlasting life. They are the just of Acts 24:15. Theirs is a resurrection of life according to John 5:28-29.
This then, is the New Wine System, as presented in this book. Only those who commit the unpardonable sin will be eternally condemned. Everyone else will eventually mature in Christ.