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The Books of Heaven

Alistair Huong


The books of heaven are central to the judgment in the heavenly sanctuary. What are those books? What do they contain? How does the judgment work? What does that have to do with us on Earth today? This message clarifies this core doctrine that lies at the heart of Adventism.


Alistair Huong

Executive Director of AudioVerse



  • May 11, 2019
    10:00 AM
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Copyright ©2019 Advent HOPE Sabbath School.

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Father in Heaven, we are thankful for Your Word and for prophecy and for the clarity in which You give us instruction for the time in which we live. Lord, we know that You are coming soon, and may we understand what Jesus is doing now and how it impacts us and how we ought to respond to our Lord and Our Savior. Please teach us something today. We don’t seek for anything new; we just want to know what’s true. Give us Your truth as it is in Jesus. Now we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


You see the title on the screen, “The Books of Heaven,” and you will understand very quickly why we are focusing on the books. And through this, I believe we will understand clearly the mechanics, how the investigative judgment actually works and how it impacts us today.


So we will begin in Daniel, chapter 7. This is really the heart of the matter. We see the judgment scene here in verse 9 and 10. It says, “ I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” So here in Daniel 7, we see in vivid color painted the courtroom scene in the heavenly sanctuary in the throne room of God.


We see the Ancient of Days, we see the books opening as sort of the marker when, “Okay, judgment can begin now.” “The judgment was set,” other translations say the court was seated, “and the books were opened.” So it’s very clear to me, and I believe to all of us, when we look at the passage here, that the books are instrumental, they’re central, to the operation of the judgment. (If that’s clear, let me hear you say, “Amen.”)


We’re going to move on and develop this point a little bit further, but I want to mention this thing. You see up here there are some words underlined? Throughout this presentation, you’ll see words that are underlined throughout a number of passages. I want you to keep in mind what the similarities are between the underlined phrases because they’re going to come back in significance later on.


But let’s just mention real briefly here the thousands of thousands, ten thousand times ten thousands—who or what does that refer to? The angels. Okay, so very simply put, the judgment is not something that happens between God and, you know, the three Persons of the Godhead, and no one else. There is an entire court. And millions of angels are participating as bystanders. Keep that thought in mind; we’re going to come back to it.


So, in Revelation, chapter 20, we see a similar scene, except this is no longer the pre-Advent judgment; this is after the Millennium, so the post-Advent, I guess, judgment, you can call it. And notice how it’s described. This is after the second resurrection; the dead have been raised, and they are meeting life’s record. It says, “And I saw,” this is Revelation 20, verse 12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened.” There’s that notion of books and that imagery again, except we get a little bit more information about those books, okay? “The books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”


So, I think it’s safe to assume that we’re talking about the same set of books in Daniel 7 as well as in Revelation, chapter 20. Here’s the question: How many books are there in the judgment, based on what we read in this passage? There is definitely more than one, right, because it says, “The books,” plural, “were opened.” So that’s already at least two. “And another book was opened, which is the book of life,” so at least how many books? Three. There’s a minimum of three books, and you’ll see there are actually many books. We’ll explain that in a moment.


But what do the books contain? First, we have the Book of Life. We’ll talk about that in a moment. But these other books that were opened, it seems as if they have to do something with our works, right? That’s what the passage says. The things that are written in the books are related to their works. So the question we just asked, how many books? There have got to be a minimum of three, and the books must contain several things.


The Book of Life is the first one, and if they’re judged by their works, if what’s written in the books are works, there has got to be at least a book for the evil deeds and a book for the good deeds. And how do I know this? Ecclesiastes 12:14 tells us, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil,” okay?


So that’s the big picture: The books in the judgment. There are at least three, three categories of books. So we’re going to drill down now into each of these three books to understand a little bit better what they are all about.


So first is the Book of Life. This is perhaps the one we’re most familiar with. Revelation 20, verse 15 says, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” So how do you make sure you don’t get thrown into the lake of fire? Your name must be registered where? In the Book of Life. That’s simple to understand.


Revelation 21:27, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” So, talking about the New Jerusalem. In order for us to have admittance, to be able to go into the New Jerusalem, our names must be written where? In the Book of Life. So it seems like it’s pretty important for our names to be in the Book of Life.


Here’s an important statement I think that clarifies perhaps some common misunderstandings about the Book of Life. This is from Bible Commentary, volume 7, page 987, “When we become children of God, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and they remain there until the time of the investigative judgment. Then the name of every individual will be called, and his record examined, by Him who declares, ‘I know thy works.’”


This passage explains how do we get our names in the Book of Life. What must happen, or when do our names get registered in that book? According to this, when we become children of God. And I’m not going to get into all the details. There are other Bible studies that can be done, but let’s just say that when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior by faith, claiming His life in our place, we become the children of God. And at that point, our names go into the Book of Life. There are no hoops to jump through. We don’t have to bend over backwards. We accept Christ. We become adopted into God’s family, and we’re in. We’re in the book.


Now notice, do our names get removed every time we sin? No, and they remain; the names remain there until the time of the judgment. I know sometimes that this notion, like, every time I slip up, every time I make a mistake, my name is out of the book. That’s not how it works. God keeps our names in there, and when it comes time for the judgment, the process of the judgment determines who gets to stay and has to be erased or blotted out; that’s the terminology. And we’ll talk about the significance of that in a moment, but suffice it to say at this point, we don’t have to have this constant worry, like, “Is my name in the book right now?” “Did I just get erased?” and then, “How do I get back in?” It’s this constant in and out of grace type of experience; we don’t have to think about it in those terms.


So the Book of Life, how it works. The Book of Life is a record of names. It’s the names of all who have accepted Christ. And those names remain in the book until the judgment. No name gets removed until the judgment is completed, at least for that person. And, of course, our names must remain in the book in order for us to be saved. That’s the Book of Life.


Let’s take a look at the other two books now. We have books for our wicked deeds and then a book for our righteous deeds. So the Book of Record of Sins, Isaiah 65:6-7 says, “Behold, it is written before me…your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the Lord. And Jeremiah 17:1 says, “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars.” A little bit of sanctuary imagery there, tying the earthly sanctuary service to the heavenly sanctuary. There is a record of sin transmitted through the blood, and, you know, we can talk more about that in another study, I suppose. But suffice it to say there’s a record of sins.


The Great Controversy, page 482, says, “Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered with terrible exactness every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel.” So there is a very precise, unerring, comprehensive record of all the things that we have done, and specifically in this case, the sins.


But notice, who does the chronicling? There’s an underlined section. Who? Who does it? The recording angel. Keep that thought in mind.


So what about the other side of the story. It sounds so scary, “Oh! All my sins are recorded!” Makes us feel a little nervous, it probably should, but there’s a flip side to this coin, and that is there’s also, besides the Book of Record of Sins, there is what’s called the Book of Remembrance. And what is that all about?


Malachi 3, verse [16], says, “And a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.” Nehemiah 13:14 says, “Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.” So there’s a record of the good as well as the bad.


So, 7BC 986, it says, “The angels of God,” there it is again; notice who is the one doing the marking, “The angels of God are walking up and down the streets of these cities, and marking the deeds of men. They record in the books of God’s remembrance the words of faith, the acts of love, the humility of spirit; and in that day when every man’s work shall be tried of what sort it is, the work of the humble follower of Christ will stand the test, and will receive the commendation of Heaven.”


One more quote related to the Book of Remembrance, this from The Great Controversy, now, page 481, “In the book of God’s remembrance every deed of righteousness is immortalized. There every temptation resisted, every evil overcome, every word of tender pity expressed, is faithfully chronicled. And every act of sacrifice, every suffering and sorrow endured for Christ’s sake, is recorded.” Does that make you feel a little bit better? It’s like, God’s not just recording the bad stuff we’ve done; He’s recording the good stuff, too!


So, what are these books all about? The Books of Record and the Books of Remembrance, it’s a record of all the sins and righteous deeds in our lives. There is no error in this record. It is complete, precise and completely accurate. And it is registered by the angels. God doesn’t record it Himself. The angels do that work. And these books serve as the evidence; they’re brought up in the judgment. So they’re the evidence in the judgment.


So let’s take a little step back. So, what’s the big deal about these books? What is God trying to demonstrate? What is He trying to show by having these detailed records of everything we’ve done? Not just what we’ve done, but even what we haven’t done, the thoughts, intents, the motives, all of it is written down. Why is that necessary? What does it show?


Bible Commentary, again, volume 7, 987, “In the books of heaven our lives are as accurately traced as in the picture on the plate of the photographer.” Same page, next paragraph, “As the artist takes on the polished glass a true picture of the human face, so the angels of God daily place upon the books of heaven an exact representation of the character of every human being.” Ellen White, I believe, was using the best examples, illustrations that she had at her disposal in her day. She’s trying to use modern technology to illustrate what’s going on in Heaven. And she kicks it up a notch, right? Like, in the Old Testament they’re like, “There are books. The books are opened,” and they might have in their minds scrolls, right?


Ellen White’s like, “That doesn’t really capture the picture. It’s more like picture; it’s a picture. You know, you take a photograph, and it’s an exact replica of the person.” And so God, through these books, is basically capturing exactly who we are and our entire life history, our motives, and, in a word, our characters, not just what we did, what we could have done, why we did it, right, all the thoughts and intents that go on to create who we are, there’s a reproduction of who we are.


So, I’m going to take this one step further because I think we can actually understand this quite clearly today. God has a full backup of each of us in the cloud. I mean, we understand that, right? We didn’t have these when AudioVerse started. Now we can understand. If I drop my phone or it gets run over or it drops in the toilet, and it dies, I can get a completely new phone, it can sync with iCloud, and my phone is exactly the same. So now we understand how it works in the resurrection, too. Right? When we die, our bodies turn to dust. When we are resurrected, God re-creates our body, you know, instead of a cracked screen on my iPhone 6S, I’ll be the iPhone 10x Max, right? And God just downloads the full backup from the records in Heaven into this body, and, bam, I’m exactly the same person with the same memories, same character, everything.


Using this analogy, taking it one step further, you understand that nowadays there is a lot of talk about privacy. Everyone is all worried about their phones being hacked, right? Or the iCloud backup, is it encrypted or not? Because, when we think about terrorism, when we think about criminals, nowadays the police or the FBI, they don’t even need the physical device anymore. They just go to the Apple or whatever company, Dropbox, or whoever is backing up stuff, Google, and they just need the key to access the backup files. And once they get the backup files, they have the entire history of the phone. They don’t even need the physical device.


And, ah! Now we begin to understand. So, how do we actually present ourselves in the investigative judgment when we’re not there? We can’t go to Heaven, but we’re still there through our iCloud backup. So you understand God probably has some advanced technology up there, more advanced than augmented reality, virtual reality, whatever it is. I don’t think they’re literal books, but it is a helpful analogy for us to understand.


But when our names come up in the judgment, I believe there is probably some sophisticated technology that we are just – whoosh – booted up in the courts of Heaven. And God can show exactly what we did, why we did it, what we were thinking when we did it, our reaction after we did it, and the impact with all the people that we interact with. The books of Heaven is the database, so to say, the backup drive, the cloud backup storage, the cloned files of our entire life; that’s what it is. Does that make sense? Amen?


So here we see what those books contain. So how are those books then used. I’m going to read this next passage. It’s a little bit long, but I think it’s relevant because it’s coming straight from inspiration, and it’s in the book The Great Controversy, and I believe now we have the language and the terminology to help us understand what actually happens in the judgment, okay?


So this is in The Great Controversy, page 483, “As the books of record are opened in the judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living. Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated. Names are accepted, names rejected. When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life, and the record of their good deeds will be erased from the book of God's remembrance.


“All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life.”


So, you see, that’s the judgment in a nutshell, two paragraphs or so describing how it works, and the books are in the center seat of how this all goes down. So, how are these books used, summarizing what we just read?


The Book of Life is the waiting list for names to be called in the judgment. I believe it’s probably in chronological order, so it starts with Adam; that’s what it says. And every person successively through history, as they accept Jesus, gets registered in the book. It’s like this long index of names, and God is going through, “Okay, next on the list?” Johnny, Susie, Billy, whoever it is, their name comes up. And when their name comes up, God had the angels boot up their backup drive, and when the name is called, the entire life of that individual is called up and evaluated.


So this is when his or her books are opened. And that’s when the hologram happens, and, you know, you also read the statement, at the end of time, in a grand panorama, all of the living universe, everyone will be alive at the same time; the dead are resurrected, and they see in vivid color their life flash before their eyes, right before the final lake of fire after the second resurrection. That, I believe, is the same thing. The books are being called up. Everyone gets to see the record, and those records and their lives being demonstrated and revealed. And in the end, either the name, as well as the righteous deeds, gets blotted out of the Book of Life and the Book of Remembrance, or the sins are blotted out of the Book of Records.


That’s the conclusion. When the judgment is done, something gets erased. Something gets blotted out. It’s either our name or our sin.


But that begs, perhaps, the most important question in all of this, and that is, what is it that they’re looking for? We have all these records (yeah, that’s great), but what exactly is the court looking for? There’s only one question. There’s only one question to be asked in the judgment, and that is, has this person truly accepted Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior? That’s it. There is none other name under heaven whereby we might be saved except in Jesus Christ. He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father except by Me.”


And the fact that we are in the Lamb’s Book of Life simply means we have at one point in our lives made the claim of being a child of God. We have made the profession that, “I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and He can have my life.” But then the judgment is the record, looking through the record books to see the evidence to the veracity of that decision. If we say and claim that we belong to Jesus, our life should corroborate that claim. That’s all it is.


The judgment is basically the courts of Heaven sitting down and saying, “Does this person really mean what they say? When they say, ‘I believe in Jesus,’ when they say, ‘I will love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength,’ is it true?” “He says it, came down for the altar call, went in the baptismal tank, but is it true?” And the only way to figure out whether this person is genuinely converted and whether they have actually accepted Christ into their hearts and has given Him every inch and parcel of his being is for there to be an investigation of his life.


And so the books are called up, and they look at the record of the life, and the record is not for measuring our good deeds versus the bad. This is such an important point. When we think about the judgment, we think of the current courts and justice, right? We have, you know, Lady Justice, blindfolded, holding the scales. It’s measuring the righteous deeds and the evil deeds. That’s not how this judgment works. God is not sitting up there tallying things up, “Okay, that’s righteous; oh, that’s sinful. Okay, let’s see how the scales are balancing out. Well, this person did just one more righteous deed than evil deed, so I guess he’s okay.” That’s not how this works, and we need to be careful not to slip into that kind of legalistic, works-oriented type of thinking because that is false theology.


This is not talking about have you done enough good to merit getting into Heaven, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If God is weighing our good with the bad, we’re going to lose every time! Because even one sin is going to keep us out. So that’s not what these records are about. The record is about answering this question: Does this person’s life match up with their claim? Is there evidence that they truly have allowed Jesus into their life? Because if Jesus comes into our lives, it is impossible for there not to be change.


Here’s a statement in The Great Controversy, page 484, just to drill this point home. The difference between the books being evidence versus our works being meritorious. Our works have no merit. Notice what it says. “Jesus does not excuse their sins, but shows their penitence and faith.” So He looks at the record of their sins. On one hand, He says, “Yes, they’ve sinned; they’ve messed up.” He doesn’t excuse it; sin is sin. And then He looks at the Book of Remembrance, showing their penitence and faith, and notice, He’s not pointing at us saying, “But look at how much good they’ve gone. They’ve atoned with the change in the life,” no! He’s simply showing the condition of their heart, their penitence, their faith, the humility, “and claiming for them forgiveness, He lifts His wounded hands before the Father and the holy angels, saying: I know them by name. I have graven them on the palms of My hands…Christ will clothe His faithful ones with His own righteousness,” and, “their names stand enrolled in the book of life.”


You see the difference here? We have to be very careful not to look at this like we have to earn something. We don’t earn anything. Christ is merely using the record to make the case, to say, “Johnny,” Susie, Billy, whoever it is, Annie, “they truly have accepted Me, and here is the evidence. They are penitent, genuinely penitent and humble and have sought for forgiveness. Their heart is genuine in their motives to accept Me in their lives. What can you say?! I’ve died for them. My blood has been shed for them,” and our names remain in the Book of Life.


The judgment is all about Jesus standing up for our defense, and the books merely show, “Have we accepted Him as our Advocate?” The books tell the real story.


Now, I think when we read this statement in Steps to Christ, at least for me, it gives a picture now what the judgment is all about, how it practically applies. Steps to Christ, page 57, “While we cannot do anything to change our hearts or to bring ourselves into harmony with God; while we must not trust at all to ourselves or our good works, our lives will reveal whether the grace of God is dwelling within us. A change will be seen in the character, the habits, the pursuits. The contrast will be clear and decided between what they have been and what they are.”


We read earlier that the books of Heaven, the records, is to show us our character, like the portrait on the picture, right, the backup in the cloud. We see a very clear and accurate representation of who this person is, and the law of cause and effect basically says if this person has accepted Christ, there will necessarily, unavoidably be a change in the life and the character. And the books is the evidence.


And here is this statement, “The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts.” This, to me, is a hopeful thought. God is not looking at every minutia. God is not…Yeah, there’s an accurate, detailed record, don’t get me wrong, but there is not this counting of every minute right and wrong. There is an interest in who is this person, really? The full record, I want to see who this person really is, not just a “got ‘cha” moment, like, “Ah, you slipped up right before you died, ha-ha-ha.”


God looks at the tendency of the habitual words and acts, and this is why, because, if you think about it, why doesn’t God just have the record of the last hour or the last day or the last week or just a snippet right before a person dies if that’s all there is to it? But God has to show the full record so that there is clearly seen the character, who this person was and who this person became through the power of Jesus living in their lives.


So, when we think about our Christian walk with Jesus, if we stumble, if we fall, we don’t need to have this worried complex, that, “Oh, no! My name is out of the Book of Life! God is going to get me now.” That’s not how God works. God cares about the whole person, the whole being. And, yes, it’s true, God knows our hearts. I don’t want this to be an excuse, you understand. This is no excuse to take God’s grace and make it cheap grace, to have license to sin because guess what? The judgment’s going to reveal that, too. But if we’re living a life faithful to God, and we are genuinely following Him to the best of our knowledge, to the light that’s been revealed to us, and somehow through the weakness of the flesh we make a stumble, we make a mistake, we realize we had an error in judgment, guess what? God is not going to fling a lightening bolt right at that moment and say, “That’s it; you’re done.”


God says, “Wait a minute. Pick yourself back up. I’ve seen where you come from. I can help you overcome this thing.” And when the judgment comes up, there is an Advocate named Jesus Christ that says, “Look at who he is. Yeah, he tripped up there.” He’s not going to excuse the sin, but He’s going to say, “But look what I enabled him to do through My power after that. Look at the whole story, people.” That’s what God is trying to do in the judgment. And this passage has given me much clearer insight and a lot more assurance in my walk with God, even in light of the judgment.


But when we talk about the judgment, of course, nowadays, nobody likes to be judged, right? Who has the right? Well, God has the right, and in fact it is good news that God judges us because, guess what? Jesus knows everything about us, and He still loves us and wants to save us. We ought to say, “Hallelujah” to that! Because if anybody sees our full record, if we look at our own full record, we feel hopeless. But Jesus says, “I want you anyway.” And He is going to stand in our defense as long as we are willing to have Him.


This reminds me of the story of the Woman at the Well in John, chapter 4. This woman talks to Jesus, right? She has this conversation with Him, like, “Why are You talking to me? I’m a woman, Samaritan.” And Jesus tells her, you know, cutting a long story short, “Yeah, the guy you’re living with, not your husband. You’ve had five.” You remember her reaction? It wasn’t, like shame, “I can’t believe this Person knows. Oh, let me run away! Please, don’t tell everybody.” That’s our natural reaction. She runs back to town, and she says, “Everybody, you’ve got to meet this Guy. He told me everything I ever did.”


You’ve got to understand the rest of the townspeople probably have been gossiping behind her back. You know how that goes, right? Human nature has not changed in 2,000 years, and everybody is looking at her like, “We know what you’ve done, and why are you smiling? What is this all about?”


You see it reveals that this woman understood that Jesus read her like an open book. He knew everything about her but yet loved her, and that’s the God who stands as our Advocate in the judgment. And when we think about that, we say, “Hallelujah, Jesus, You can be my Judge because how can I be lost when You are standing in my corner?”


But more than that, more than that, finally, the whole truth will be known. There will be no misrepresenting the facts. Everyone will get an equal hearing. The innocent will be vindicated, and the guilty will be unmasked. How many times have we in this life been misunderstood?! We get mistreated because someone thought this or that. Someone surmised that we were going to do this or that when we had nothing to do with it.


Or, we’ve all been in those situations, you say something, and the other person gets all offended, and it’s like, “Oh, no. I didn’t realize.” We say things that we don’t mean, right, and then we end up getting the short end of the stick, and we feel like we are being mistreated, misrepresented. We are being treated as guilty when we had pure motives. We’ve been framed! We’ve been wronged!


In the judgment, that won’t be the case. God will make sure every single case gets a clear hearing, and everyone gets a fair shake. And the truth will be unvarnished. The innocent will finally be vindicated, and the guilty will be unmasked. And I say that within quotes because none of us really are innocent, you understand. But misunderstandings will not happen. Our genuine motives, when we think, “I didn’t mean that. Oh! I feel so terrible, but I can’t go back to rectify it.” Jesus will make it right for you. Just like Daniel, “God is my Judge. I will entrust my case to Him who judges righteously.”


That’s good news. But then, we have to remember, be very careful to remember, that the judgment also tells us that there isn’t and never will be any assurance if we live in sin. There is no entrance to Heaven while sinning. Lucifer was expelled and one-third of the angels because they sinned. Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden because they sinned. It will never work for God to allow sinners back in, and so we have to understand that the whole point of the judgment is to reveal whether we have allowed Jesus to help us overcome sin in our lives.


So let me give you an example now. Anybody know who this is? I think those of you who have kept up with the news are well aware of this individual. Ironically, he’s in the news a lot, but he’s not in the news, if you understand what I’m saying. Like, he’s not personally doing interviews, but this is Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He was appointed to investigate whether the current president of the United States colluded with the Russians to win the election. Investigating the sitting president of the United States, right, that is no small task. It took millions of dollars and nearly two years, and guess what? The report comes out, and everyone’s still fighting.


Clearly, I’m not here to make a political statement, right, but the point is we spent all this. He’s like the best in the biz, right? He’s got this amazing list of credentials. Everybody trusts this guy, he does his job, he comes back, and there’s no resolution. The fight still continues. Why?! Because the investigation, the judgment, if you will, is not complete. Wouldn’t it be convenient if we could just roll the tape? Let’s just go back. Let’s just pull the record. Let’s just borrow the archives of Heaven, right, God’s record books; let’s just put it on the big screen. Let’s just see what really happened. Spare the millions of dollars, voter angst and, you know, throwing the political system in turmoil here in this country. Let’s just see what really happened!


Well, that’s exactly what’s going to happen in the investigative judgment. There won’t be special hearings on Capitol Hill wondering, “Oh, what about the rest of the report?” “Why is all this redacted?” “Oh, can we get this person to testify?” Da-da-da-da-da-da-da…None of that’s going to be necessary because the judgment is going to be thorough, precise, complete. Everything is going to be out in the open. That’s the only we can have truth, is complete honesty and transparency. And this latest example in our political system here, I just find it to be such a helpful illustration to help us show, even in the very best of system of justice here on Earth, we can’t arrive at the necessary conclusion that we want. That’s why we need the unerring judgment in Heaven.


And finally, there’s going to be true justice. Finally, there will be true justice because of this investigative judgment in Heaven. Those who never get what they deserve while on the earth, the hurtful hypocrite, the oppressor of the downtrodden, the wicked who prospered while the righteous suffered, those who got away with murder, they will all be fully unmasked in the judgment. We do not need to worry about taking vengeance in our own hand. “‘Vengeance is mine,’ saith the Lord.” And it’s not going to be some vengeful attitude about it; it’s just going to be revealing the truth, showing the record, and the life of the individual will clearly show who they really are. But, of course, we just need to make sure we’re not one of them.


And so, we come to the end of this judgment scene, and we still have a couple of questions we need answer. Why is all this necessary? Because doesn’t God know everything already? Why go through all this trouble? It seems as though God is going through an extraordinary amount of work when He already knows the conclusion before He ever started.


It’s sort of a waste of time in a sense. Of course, God doesn’t waste time. But what we see here is that God is opening up His decision-making process for the watching universe to examine. That’s something remarkable to think about. Because what earthly political power do you know that’s willing to go to this length of transparency to show how decisions are made in his government. God is allowing us to see everything. And so, you see, the books are not really for God. God doesn’t need the books. The books are for everyone else.


Four groups of people or beings or individuals, if you will, that the books are really for. Number one, the books are for Satan and his fallen angels. This way God can’t be accused of being unfair. Just think about this. If God allows certain people into Heaven without opening up His records, Lucifer is going to stand up and say, “Wait, wait, wait.” I’ve got my records of their sins. Believe me, he has records. And he’s going to say, “What about this?” “What about that?” “What about that?” And all the other unfallen beings are still going to stand there saying, “Well, he’s got a point. What about that?”


So God is preempting all of that by saying, “Look, here are all the records.” All the cards are out on the table, so to say. “Everything is out in the open. Satan, you compare your notes with Mine. See if I’ve missed anything.” Of course, God never misses anything.


But to take it one step further, the books are also for the unfallen angels and the unfallen beings in the other worlds because they must be interested to know who their new neighbors are going to be. They remember the one-third that fell; they remember that. And so, God, in the interest of making sure that there is…in accounting it’s called segregation of duties, right…accountability, controls in the process in place, He actually has the angels do the recording. You notice all the lines that have been underlined throughout the whole presentation? God makes it very clear to not even do the recording of the deeds Himself. He says, “My angels are going to do it.” So they themselves cannot say, “God, You’ve doctored these documents.” This isn’t really what it is. No one can say that because the angels did it themselves! And the angels are going to say, “These records are accurate. You want to audit me? Go ahead.”


So, Satan and his angels keep their records. The unfallen angels keep their records. They can compare their notes. And God steps back and says, “You guys can make sure that the evidence is sound. Make sure that it is accurate. Make sure it is up to snuff because I don’t want anybody to accuse Me of having manipulated the process.” Transparency.


And finally, the next group of people the records are for is for the redeemed. When we’re up in Heaven for a thousand years during the Millennium, I think we’re going to be spending a lot of time going through those books. That’s the time when we get to fire up whatever the DVD player, Blu-ray or virtual reality headset, whatever. Fire up the records! “Why is so-and-so not here?” “Why was this decision made?” “He,” or she, “was such a wonderful person. They helped me with this, and they preached sermons at Advent HOPE, and they did this and that and the other thing, but they’re not here.” God says, “Here are the records; you take a look.”


And finally, at the very end of time, after the second resurrection the lost, they stand up, gathered around the New Jerusalem. In panoramic vision the books, the tapes, are rolled, and the lost see with their own eyes their life in living color, from start to finish. Every decision that they’ve made that led them to that point, all of these are all drawn from the books of Heaven.


And so we see here, how does the judgment really work? Everything hinges on those books, and those books are really central at the end of the day, to not just the investigative judgment itself, but to the entire plan of salvation, to the entire Great Controversy and to the establishment of a sound basis for God’s government so sin will never rise a second time. The books of Heaven.


So, what about us? What about today? How do we stand in that judgment? Acts, chapter 3, verse 19, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Revelation 3, verse 5, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”


So, what is our response today? Our number one priority ought to be to make sure our name is retained in the Book of Life. And how does that happen? It’s not rocket science. Repent, be converted, accept Christ into our lives, overcome through His grace. As the vine and the branch are grafted together, may we be grafted together in Jesus. There’s nothing to fear in this judgment as long as we are right with Jesus. He is our Advocate. He will defend us. No matter what our record used to be, Jesus will make sure that people see the full story. And as long as He writes the ending of that story, we have the assurance that we will be retained in the Book of Life at last.


So, how many of us today want to say, “Lord Jesus, I commit my life to You”? “I want to make sure my name remains in that book, and I don’t want to have any reason to fear my record coming up when my name is called.” I know my hand is up.


Let’s bow our heads together for prayer as we close. Father in Heaven, we thank You so much for the clarity that’s found in Your Word. You have laid bare, You have opened up Your process, You have been so transparent in how You conduct Your business in the governments of Heaven. Lord, we love You more because of it. We know we can have confidence in a God such a this. And we know that we can have confidence in the process by which You make Your decisions.


And, Lord, today, we thank You that through the blood of Jesus we have a second chance, that we can stand with our names registered in the Lamb’s Book of Life, regardless of our past. But, Lord, we pray that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith right now, that we might be faithful, that we might be useful in Your cause as well. And may You help us to remain connected to that vine, so that when the troubles come, when the decisions come, we will not be shaken.


May we be prepared to stand in the judgment, and may we be prepared to meet You when You come in the clouds of glory, which we believe will be very soon. Bless us the remainder of the Sabbath. Go with us from this place we ask. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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