John writes, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire.” The rest of the NT fills in the meaning. If judgment were based on “the books” alone—upon the deeds done in the body—all would perish, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rev. 5:3-4; Rom. 3:23, Gal. 2:16). However, to the saint’s everlasting joy, the Father graciously and mercifully provided a way of salvation: the Lamb Of God, whose righteous life and atoning death purchased men from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation (5:9; John 3:16). Throughout the Era of Proclamation [the Church Age], the Church announced this way of salvation (11:3, 14:6). If anyone believed, his name was written in the Lamb’s book of life (John 3:36, 6:47). Or rather, if he believed, he soon came to see that God had written his name in the Lamb’s book of Life before the foundation of the world; that he had ordained them to eternal life (13:8, 17:8). However, he also saw that in order to inherit that life, he must “overcome” (2:17, 11, 17, 26, etc.); he must persevere in the faith (3:5; John 15:6, Rom. 11:22)—as indeed he will, through the preserving purpose and power of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (John 6:37-40, 17:15, Jude 1:1).
Beyond Revelation 20
In chapter 21, we have the picture of the New World which the Father has promised us (2 Pet. 3:13). As elsewhere in the book, the Eternal State of the blessed comes after the time of judgment (Rev. 6:12-17 and chapter 7; Rev. 11:15-19). Now that this wicked world has passed away with its curses and problems (Rev. 21:4), the saints enjoy endless fellowship with the Lord their God. Heaven joins the Earth at the consummation of all things (Rev. 21:2, 10) and God comes to dwell on the Earth with His covenant people (Rev. 21:3). There is no need for a temple in the New Jerusalem, for the whole earth has become God’s holy temple with His presence on it (Rev. 21:22). Revelation 21:24-26 indicates that there will be some continuity between the present world and the world to come, but explicitly denies the continuation of wickedness and sin (Rev. 21:27). The activity of believers is described as worshiping God (Rev. 22:3), seeing God (Rev. 22:4) and reigning “forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).
The Lord Jesus then at the epilogue of the book calls His people to trust the words of this prophecy because the things described “must soon take place” (Rev. 22:6; cf. Rev. 1:1) and “the time is near” (Rev. 22:10; cf. Rev. 1:3). The Lord Jesus is coming and He is coming with judgment to give everyone that which their works deserve (Rev. 22:12). A blessing is pronounced upon those who wash their robes and that is the basis of them having “the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates” (Rev. 22:14). The element in which these robes are washed is undoubtedly the blood of Christ (Rev. 7:4; cf. Rev. 12:11), which was given to purchase them (Rev. 5:9). Their right is not in thanks to their works or in anything in them, but in the fact that their clothes are washed in the blood of the Lamb. But outside the holy city, the New Jerusalem, are the unbelieving who have not washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, and therefore do not have a right to enter the city (Rev. 22:15). The invitation is ope...