ETERNAL LIFE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT: Men of faith who “walked with God,” such as Noah, Enoch, and Job

How to Interpret the Bible-1
Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored ninety-two books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Let us begin with a brief overview of the book of like because there is little doubt that Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, and other Old Testament people are written in the book of life.

Book of Life: (Gr. biblos tēs zōēs) In biblical times, cities had a register of names for the citizens living there. (See Ps. 69:28; Isa. 4:3) God, figuratively speaking, has been writing names in the “book of life” “from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 17:8) Jesus Christ talked about Abel as living “from the foundation of the world,” this would suggest that we are talking about the world of ransomable humankind after the fall. (Lu 11:48-51) Clearly, Abel was the first person to have his name written in the “book of life.” The individuals who have their names written in the “book of Life” do not mean they are predestined to eternal life but rather that they had the hope of eternal life, as is true for any of us in post-Christian times. This is evident from the fact that they can be ‘blotted out’ of the “book of life.” (Ex 32:32-33; Rev. 3:5) Jesus’ ransom sacrifice alone gets one written in the “book of life,” if they accept the Son of God. However, it is remaining faithful to God that keeps them from being ‘blotted’ out of the “book of life.” (Phil. 2:12; Heb. 10:26-27; Jam. 2:14-26) Only by remaining faithful until the end can one be retained permanently in the “book of life.” It is Jesus Christ who determines whether the names recorded in the book of life remain there because they belong to him or are blotted out because they have rejected him. – Matt. 214:13; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 20:15.

The book of life begins in the Old Testament, where it refers to a record that has been being kept by God as to those who are his people and have been declared righteous, and blameless. (Exod. 32:32; Isa. 4:3; Dan. 12:1; Mal. 3:16; Gen. 25:27; Deut 18:13; 2 Sam. 22:24, 26; Prov. 2:21; 10:29; 11:5) Just as is true in Revelation, God blotted out the names of some who were in the book (Exod. 32:32; Ps. 69:28), those written in the book of life who were declared righteous and blameless by God, walking with God upon their death, can look forward to a resurrection where they will hear the Gospel for the first time. There will be “a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” – Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:22.

Book of Life. Term used to refer to a heavenly record. The phrase appears seven times in the NT: Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12 (twice); 21:27. The Christian understanding of the phrase, however, is rooted in the OT. Passages such as Exodus 32:32; Psalm 87:6; Daniel 7:10; 12:1; and Malachi 3:16 imply or affirm a record kept by God. God is seen as keeping account of his people’s faithfulness and disobedience—and possibly that of other nations as well (e.g., Ps 87:6). Psalm 69:28 uses the phrase “book of the living”; parallel poetic lines refer to physical living.

In Daniel 7:10; 12:1; and Malachi 3:16 references are linked with descriptions of final judgment and events of endtime. Names and deeds from the divine records are evidence set before a judge. Luke 10:20 and Hebrews 12:23 reflect similar thought; no concrete mention of “books” is made but a heavenly record is assumed. In Philippians 4:3 Paul uses “book of life” to encourage his fellow workers in a lively hope for the future. – (Elwell, Beitzel, 1988, p. 373)

APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot

BEING DECLARE RIGHTEOUS

Some men descended from Adam who “walked with God,” such as Noah, Enoch, and Job. (Gen. 5:22; 6:9; 7:1; Job 1:1, 8; 2:3) Of Abraham and Rahab of Jericho, it was stated,

James 2:21-23, 25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working together with his works, and by the works the faith was perfected;[1] 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness,”[2] and he was called a friend of God. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

Romans 4:3-5, 9-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham put faith[3] in God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not credited as a gift but as his due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, …

Is this blessing then on the circumcised,[4] or on the uncircumcised[5] also? For we say, “Faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness.” 10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised,[6] or uncircumcised?[7] Not while circumcised,[8] but while uncircumcised;[9] 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised,[10] so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them,

Mosaic Authorship HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS

Genesis 15:6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

And he believed in Jehovah, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

We need to understand the expression “credited to him as righteousness.” In order to understand this expression, we must understand the Greek verb logizomai, “credited,” as used here.

The sense of “to be credited” (logizomai) was to be or become attributed or reckoned as an asset in someone’s (financial) account. “charge to account, keep records of debits and credits (Ro 4:3–24; 6:11; Gal 3:6; Jam. 2:23).” (Swanson, 1997). This Greek verb (logizomai) was used quite often in Bible times for numerical calculations such as in accounting. It was used when referring to both to something that was added to the debit side of the account as well as something added to the credit side of the account. On this Louw and Nida write, “to keep records of commercial accounts, involving both debits and credits—‘to put into one’s account, to charge one’s account, to regard as an account.’” (Louw, Nida, 1996, p. 582)

In the Bible (logizomai) was used to mean “count, reckon, calculate, take into account; credit.” (Newman, 1996, p. 108) Thus, 1 Corinthians 13:5 says of love that it “does not take into account,” keep a record” [form of logizomai] of wrongs” (compare 2 Tim. 4:16); and the psalmist David is quoted by the apostle Paul as saying: “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” (Rom. 4:8) The apostle Paul was making a point to those who saw things according to their face value, that they needed to make a fitting evaluation of things, to look at both sides of the ledger, in staying with the numerical calculations and accounting sense. (2 Cor. 10:2, 7, 10-12) However, Paul was also concerned that “that no one can credit [form of logizomai] me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me …,” that is, more than what he had actually done in regards to his ministry. – 2 Corinthians 12:6-7.

This same Greek verb (logizomai) can also apply to a group. At 1 Corinthians 4:1, Paul says, “Thus let a person consider (or regarded) [form of logizomai] us as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries.” Thus, Jesus said that he would be, “’counted (or reckoned ) [form of logizomai] with the criminals.’” (Lu 22:37) In other words, Jesus would be grouped in with them. The apostle Paul in the letter to the Romans, he says of “the uncircumcised person follows the requirements of the law,” “uncircumcision be credited (or regarded or counted) [form of logizomai] for circumcision.” (Rom. 2:26) Similarly, Christians ‘must consider [form of logizomai] themselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.’ Elsewhere, Paul writes of Christians, “This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted [form of logizomai] as offspring.”

THE CREATION DAYS OF GENESIS gift of prophecy

How Is it that such Old Testament Persons Such as Abraham “Righteousness Might be Credited to Them” before the Death of Christ?

Genesis 15:6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
And he believed in Jehovah, and he credited [form of chashab] it to him as righteousness.

The Hebrew verb (chashab) is similar in meaning to the Greek verb (logizomai), “credit, account, reckon, impute, i.e., keep accounting records (Ge 15:6; Ps 32:2).” (Swanson, 1997, p. 123) Thus, Abraham’s faith, as well as the evident demonstration of that faith in offering up his son was “credited, accounted, reckoned, “to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:20-22) This in no way means that Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Job, or any other pre-Christian men or women were perfect or without sin, or that they had the coverage of sin that came with Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. However, they had the promised seed to have faith in and to show an evident demonstration of that faith by their actions of following God’s commands. They were not grouped in among the unrighteous as though they had no standing before God, like the rest of humanity of that time. (Gen. 3:15; Ps 119:2, 3) God lovingly credited them with righteousness, viewed them as blameless, and reckoned them as guiltless when compared with the rest of humanity, who were alienated from God. (Ps 32:1-2; Eph 2:12) Therefore, we can see that because of these one’s great faith, God was able to have interactions with these imperfect men and women of sin and bless them. These ones were well aware of their need for redemption from their sinful state and awaiting the time when God would make that provision. – Ps 49:7-9; Heb 9:26.

Bibliography

  • Barclay M. Newman Jr., A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament. (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies, 1993), 108.
  • Jeff Cranford, “Book of Life,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 230.
  • Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 582.
  • James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997
  • James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
  • Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Book of Life,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 373.

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[1] Or “completed

[2] Quoted from Gen. 15:6

[3] Believe, faith, Trust in: (πιστεύω pisteuō) If pisteuo is followed by the Greek preposition eis, (“into, in, among,” accusative case), it is generally rendered “trusting in” or “trust in.” (John 3:16, 36; 12:36; 14:1) The grammatical construction of the Greek verb pisteuo “believe” followed by the Greek preposition eis “into” in the accusative gives us the sense of having faith into Jesus, putting faith in, trusting in Jesus. – Matt. 21:25, 32; 27:42; John 1:7, 12; 2:23–24; 3:15–16, 36; 6:47; 11:25; 12:36; 14:1; 20:31; Acts 16:31; Rom. 4:3.

[4] Lit the circumcision

[5] Lit the uncircumcision

[6] Lit in circumcision

[7] Lit in uncircumcision

[8] Lit in circumcision

[9] Lit in uncircumcision

[10] Lit was in uncircumcision

 

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