What is the book of remembrance?

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By BibleAsk Team


The concept of a “book of remembrance” is found in the Old Testament, specifically in the book of Malachi. It is a metaphorical expression that symbolizes God’s omniscience and his attention to the righteous deeds and faithful actions of his people. While the phrase “book of remembrance” itself may not appear frequently in the Bible, its underlying principle is consistent with the broader themes of God’s justice, mercy, and covenant relationship with his people. Let’s explore the significance of the book of remembrance as depicted in the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

Malachi’s Prophecy

The book of remembrance is mentioned in the context of a prophecy delivered by the prophet Malachi, addressing the faithfulness of God’s people and the ultimate judgment that awaits both the righteous and the wicked.

  • NKJV Reference: Malachi 3:16-18 describes the book of remembrance and its purpose: “Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name. ‘They shall be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.’ Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God And one who does not serve Him.” Here, the prophet Malachi encourages those who are endeavoring to do what is right with the thought that God ‘remembers’ the devoted service of His people (Daniel 7:10). While the Lord does not need a written account to keep track of human actions, this is a metaphor to help us understand His faithfulness to men (Mark 4:33). The Jewish people were familiar with this sort of metaphor. For example, in the book of Esther, the Babylonian king kept record of the good deeds of his subjects that he may remember to reward them accordingly (Esther 6:1–3)

Meaning of the Book of Remembrance

The book of remembrance serves as a symbolic record of the righteous deeds, faithful obedience, and devotion of God’s people. It signifies God’s attention to the lives and actions of individuals who fear him and honor his name.

  • NKJV Reference: Psalm 56:8 expresses a similar sentiment of God’s awareness and remembrance of his people: “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” This verse portrays God’s intimate knowledge and concern for the experiences and emotions of his faithful ones. The Lord wants us to know that every good deed doesn’t go unnoticed by Him (Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41; Luke 6:23; Revelation 22:12). Jesus urged the believers to store up treasures of good works in heaven (Matthew 6:20) as everyone is going to give account for all his actions whether good or bad at the Judgement (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Criteria for Inclusion in the Book

The book of remembrance is associated with those who fear the Lord, speak to one another in reverence, and meditate on his name. It emphasizes the importance of faithfulness, obedience, and devotion in the lives of believers.

  • NKJV Reference: Psalm 103:11-13 highlights God’s compassion and forgiveness towards those who fear him: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, So the Lord pities those who fear Him.”
  • In addition to the book of remembrance, there is the book of the living, also known as the book of life, where the names of those who shall inherit eternal life are recorded (Exodus 32:32; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 13:8; 20:1

Promise of Reward and Protection

The book of remembrance carries a promise of reward and protection for those whose names are written in it. God pledges to spare them and recognize them as his treasured possession on the day of judgment.

  • NKJV Reference: Revelation 3:5 offers a similar promise to those who overcome: “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” This verse assures believers of their eternal security and recognition before God.

Discernment Between Righteous and Wicked

The existence of the book of remembrance facilitates a clear distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God faithfully and those who reject him.

  • NKJV Reference: Psalm 1:6 contrasts the destiny of the righteous and the wicked: “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.” This verse underscores God’s intimate knowledge of the righteous and his judgment upon the wicked.

Encouragement for Believers

The concept of the book of remembrance serves as an encouragement for believers to remain steadfast in their faith, knowing that God sees and remembers their righteous deeds and will ultimately reward them.

  • NKJV Reference: Hebrews 6:10 encourages believers to persevere in serving God: “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” This verse assures believers that God acknowledges and rewards their service and devotion.

Role of Jesus Christ

The New Testament reveals Jesus Christ as the mediator and advocate for believers, whose sacrificial death secures their redemption and inclusion in the book of remembrance.

  • NKJV Reference: 1 John 2:1-2 describes Jesus Christ as the advocate for believers: “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” This passage emphasizes Jesus Christ’s role in reconciling believers to God and securing their forgiveness and inclusion in God’s book of remembrance.
  • NKJV Reference: Luke 10:20 describes the Savior encouraging the believers to stay faithful to Him, even under trying circumstances, reassuring them to “rejoice’ because their “names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Let us, therefore, cooperate with the Lord in keeping our names there (2 Corinthians 6:1).

    In conclusion, the book of remembrance symbolizes God’s omniscience, justice, and covenant relationship with his people. It serves as a record of the righteous deeds and faithful obedience of those who fear the Lord and honor his name. While its specific nature and function may be metaphorical, the underlying principle of God’s attention to the lives and actions of believers remains a foundational truth in biblical theology. The concept of the book of remembrance encourages believers to remain steadfast in their faith, knowing that God sees and remembers their devotion and will ultimately reward them accordingly.

    In His service,
    BibleAsk Team

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