Read Revelation 21:22-27
22 I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. 24 The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. 25 Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. 26 And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. 27 Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (NLT)
Back in the English Middle Ages, royal officials would go around the country making note of various breaches of the peace. They would record their findings in books which had black binding. Hence when we describe someone as being in someone else’s black book we are saying they have done something wrong.
In my primary school days in a one-teacher school, the playground rumour was that the teacher kept such a book in his desk at the front. So we all wondered if we were in that book, and wondered what got us into it and how we could get out of it.
The Bible uses metaphor and poetry to describe God’s dealing with us. One such image is that of a book: in our passage it is a book of life. There is also a suggestion elsewhere that there are other books which relate to divine judgement.
It is true we all face divine scrutiny. It is true that those who reject the mercy of God will not find their names written in the book of life. But that book of life is open; God invites us to have our names written in it by embracing who Jesus is and what he has done for us.
We need never fear having our names recorded in some black book by a vindictive deity. We are offered the book of life, and yet we may choose another book and another destiny.