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The Books of Judgment in Daniel 7

See the Daniel 7 Study Guide.

Daniel 7:9-10,22,26 "9 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. 10 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... 22... and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom... 26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end."

When the court convenes ("judgment was set"), the books are opened. These books are not just ordinary books, but books that are in heaven, containing evidence of interest to thousands of thousands of beings. The Bible reveals three such books.

1. Book of Life 2. Record Book of Remembrance 3. Record Book of Sin
There is a Book of Life, which contains the names of all those who have accepted Christ.

"Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20).

"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" (Rev. 21:27).

"And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life" (Philippians 4:3).

See also Rev. 13:8, 17:8.
There is also a book recording all good deeds. Every act of sympathy, righteousness and suffering are meticulously entered.

"Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name" (Malachi 3:16).

"Thou tellest my wanderings: put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?" (Psalm 56:8).
There is a book in heaven that also records evil acts. Every sin and selfish act are exactly recorded.

"Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom" (Isaiah 65:6).

"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12:36-37).

"For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

Changes Made to the Books During the Judgment:
Throughout time, names and deeds have been entered into the books. Why would God be recording sins, good deeds and humans' decisions in books? The bible reveals a future time when these pieces of evidence are needed by others for reference and investigation in order to make a verdict. Note the future time element when sin is "blotted out" (erased) in the following verses.

"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; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19-21).

"In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve" (Jeremiah 50:20).

During the time of judgment, in addition to opening the books for examination, changes will be made to the books as a result of the investigation. Let's look at the type of changes:

1. Book of Life 2. Record Book of Remembrance 3. Record Book of Sin
"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" (Revelation 3:5) (see also Luke 12:8-9).

"And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book" (Revelation 22:19).

"Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous" (Psalms 69:28).
"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" (Nehemiah 13:14). "I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins" (Isaiah 43:25). "Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities" (Psalms 51:9).

"Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine anger" (Jeremiah 18:23).

When you repent and turn your life over to Jesus, you receive pardon/forgiveness and your name is entered into the Book of Life. During the judgment, if you are shown loyal and your name is retained in the Book of Life, then Jesus stands in your place. Your sinful deeds, which were already forgiven and transferred to Jesus, the sin bearer, are then blotted out of the Record Book of Sin. If your name is removed from the Book of Life during the judgment, your sins will remain on the record book. Jesus is patient and endures long with each person. Your name does not just get entered, erased, entered, erased, and so on. Once entered, it remains until the judgment and you are a child of God. You are given a chance to show, through the direction of your life, whose side you are on. Where do your loyalties lie? In whom is your faith? What have you done with the gifts Christ has given you since you accepted Him? Once your sins are blotted out of the record book, Jesus has chosen to not remember them any more. This is His promise:

"...for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:34).

"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year...[but] by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified...And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin" (Heb. 10:1-14).

The investigation of the books Determines Rewards:
"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Rev. 22:12).

Since Christ's rewards are with Him when He returns to earth at His second coming, the work to determine rewards must be done prior to this. It is during the judgment that the books are reviewed and any appropriate changes are made. Thus, Daniel is revealing this judgment scene prior to Jesus receiving the kingdom and the everlasting kingdom being established on earth (Dan. 7:13,14,26,27). This is why it is called the pre-advent judgment. A lot is riding on the outcome of the investigation of the books.

"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" (Daniel 12:1).

"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15).

Those who are judged:
"Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people" (Heb. 9:6-7).

Though the beasts and wicked are condemned as part of this pre-advent judgment, it is only those whose names are in the book of life that are part of the investigation. In the daily earthly sanctuary service, only those who were part of Israel and would thus have their sins transferred to the sanctuary via the blood of the sacrificial animal, had a part in the yearly services on the Day of Atonement. Only on this day, the high priest went into the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary, and he never went in without blood. In the same way, only those who have claimed to put their faith in Christ's sacrifice and repented (names are entered into Book of Life) will be part of Christ's ministration in the Most Holy Place on the heavenly Day of Atonement. This is a time of investigation and cleansing that takes place before Christ returns to earth. Only those who have accepted Christ's invitation, as in the parable of king's son marriage (Matt. 22:1-14), and professed faith in Christ will be examined to see if they are wearing Christ's robe of righteousness.

"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" (Rev. 3:5) (see also Phil. 4:3, Luke 10:20, Rev. 20:12, 21:27). The "Book of Life" contains the names of all who have ever entered into the service of God. It is this book that determines who is judged during the pre-advent judgment and for whom Christ advocates during this time. (See also Is. 10:11-12, Mal. 3:1-6).

The judgment of the righteous is a separate event from the judgment of the wicked:
"Judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel?" (1 Pet. 4:17). This text makes it plain that the judgment of the righteous occurs before the judgment of the wicked. Other texts, make it clear that judgment not only begins with the righteous, but the judgment of the righteous and the judgment of the wicked are separate and distinct events.

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years... And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and 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" (Revelation 20:4-6,12). The judgment referred to here is performed by the righteous, who examine the books, while the wicked are dead for a thousand years. In order for the righteous to judge the wicked, the judgment to determine who are righteous would need to have already occured.

"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?" (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).

Purpose of the Judgment:
The court is seated and the books are opened in front of "ten thousand times ten thousand" (Dan. 7:10). The evidence and verdict of this court is not only important to humans, but is important to multitudes of heavenly beings.

"For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men" (1 Corinthians 4:9).

"And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Ephesians 3:9-10).

God's wisdom is to be made known to heavenly beings through a demonstration by His people (Eph. 3:9-10) in the fullness of times (Eph. 1:9-10) (Note: In Revelation 10, the mystery of God is finished during the 7th Trumpet time period). This gives the idea that there has been some accusation against God and that God is working to unfold the truth about Himself to the onlooking heavenly beings. He does this through the church culminating in the time of the end.

This pre-advent judgment opens the record books for impartial inspection by the onlookers. Only God can read the heart, so other beings need this time to investigate and have God' people demonstrate they are on God's side. The church is full of wheat and tares (Matt. 13:28-30). Who is sincere? This must be sorted out.

The Individual Heart:
There is a work in each individual's heart that coicides with the work being done in heaven.

"1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. 4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. 5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. 6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Malachi 3:1-6). This process involves character development, testing and the sealing of the law into your heart.

No fear of the judgment:
Remember that Biblical judgment involves both the condemnation of the wrong and the vindication of the right. Those in the right (in Jesus) will therefore look forward to the verdict. The judgment vindicates God's character and God's people. It is an event that believers look forward to with great joy. Though there is solemn searching and prayer, there need not be any fear because they have trust in Jesus who gave assurance in the promise that "we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1) (see also Zech. 3:1-4).

"Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: 9 But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8-9).