************* Ancient cities kept rolls of their citizens. Guards were posted at the city gates to keep out criminals and enemies by checking their names against the list. This is the context for Rev. 21:27 “Nothing impure will ever enter (the city) nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life”
Ruthanna Metzgar , a professional singer, tells a story that illustrates the importance of having our names written in the book. Several years ago, she was asked to sing at the wedding of a very wealthy man. According to the invitation, the reception would be held on the top two floors of
At the reception, waiters in tuxedos offered luscious hors d’oeuvres and exotic beverages. The bride and groom approached a beautiful glass and brass staircase that led to the top floor. Someone ceremoniously cut a satin ribbon draped across the bottom of the stairs. They announced the wedding feast was about to begin. Bride and groom ascended the stairs, followed by their guests.
At the top of the stairs, a maitre d’ with a bound book greeted the guests outside the doors.
“May I have your name please?”
“I am Ruthanna Metzgar and this is my husband Roy.”
He searched the M’s. “I’m not finding it. would you spell it please?”
Ruthanna spelled her name slowly. After searching the book, the maitre d’ looked up and said, “I’m sorry, but your name isn’t here.”
“There must be some mistake, “ Ruthanna replied. “I’m the singer. I sang for this wedding!”
The gentlemen answered, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you did. Without your name in the book you cannot attend the banquet.”
He motioned to a waiter and said, “Show these people to the service elevator, please.”
The Metzgars followed the waiter past beautifully decorated tables laden with shrimp, whole smoked salmon, and magnificent carved ice sculptures. Adjacent to the banquet area, and orchestra was preparing to perform, the musicians all dressed in dazzling white tuxedos.
The waiter led Ruthanna and
After locating their car and driving several miles in silence,
“When the invitation arrived, I was busy,” Ruthanna replied. “I never bothered to RSVP. Besides, I was the singer. Surely I could go to the reception without returning the RSVP!”
Ruthanna started to weep – not only because she had missed the most lavish banquet she had ever been invited to, but also because she suddenly had a small taste of what it will be like someday for people as they stand before Christ and find their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Through the ages, countless people have been too busy to respond to Christ’s invitation to his wedding banquet. Many assume that the good they have done, -- perhaps attending church, being baptized, singing in the choir, or helping in a soup kitchen - will be enough to gain entry to Heaven … but people who do not respond to Christ’s invitation to forgive their sins are people whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. To be denied entrance to Heaven’s wedding banquet ill not just mean going down the service elevator to the garage. It will mean being cast outside into Hell, forever.
In that day, no explanation or excuse will count. All that will matter is whether our names are written in the book. If they are not, we’ll be turned away.