2 Tim 3.16-17
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

The Scroll of Life

Introduction: The Scrolls of the Revelation

There are four distinct types of scrolls found in the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ; without doubt, the Lamb’s Scroll of Life is the most important.

The purpose of this article is to show from the Scripture that the unnamed scroll in Revelation 5.1 is the Lamb’s Scroll of Life detailed in Revelation chapter 20.

Here is the first mention of the unnamed Scroll:

Rev 5
I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll that had been written within and behind and had been sealed with seven seals. I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals?” No one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. One of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Behold, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals.” And I saw in the midst of the throne and the four living beings, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as if it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the [seven] Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took it from the right hand of Him who sits on the throne. When He took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense (which are the prayers of the saints). They sing a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain and purchased for God with Your blood those from every tribe, language, people and nation. You made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; they will reign upon the earth.”

I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living beings and the elders. Their number was ten thousands of ten thousands and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power, riches, wisdom, might, honor, glory and blessing.” And every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea, and all things in them I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” The four living beings kept saying, “Amen” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

As I intend to show in this article, here is the mention of the same scroll, but clearly identified as the Little Scroll of Life at the Great White Throne Judgment:

Rev 20.12
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the Scroll of Life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

As I will show in this article, the Scroll of Life is the document which contains the names of each and every one of the LORD's elect. That list is sealed, even now, and is inaccessible to everyone except the triune God. It is evident that the LORD does not need to open the scroll to know those whom He will save; countless multitudes have been saved while the scroll remains safely sealed, and many more will be saved in the days to come.

In the same way, the Lord Christ will not need to open the scroll at the Great White Throne Judgment to know those who will be cast into the Lake of Fire (by the absence of their name from the scroll).

We must learn from this that the LORD's elect are unknowable to us—until such time as they are saved and persevere!

We must always heed the warning:

2 Cor 13.5
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?


[Throughout this article, the NASB95 is used exclusively as the English translation (as is standard on my site).]

From this point forward when displaying any text within the Revelation which contains the word “book”, and within the body of this article and the Appendices, the following convention will be used:

  • βίβλος will be rendered scroll;
  • βιβλίον will be rendered little scroll;
  • βιβλαρίδιον will be rendered little scroll.


This article is presented in 4 chapters and 5 appendices:

Chapter 1: The Scene in Heaven (Revelation Chapter 5)
Chapter 2: The Greek Words for Scroll Used in the Revelation
Chapter 3: The Other Three Types of Scrolls Mentioned in the Revelation
Chapter 4: The Little Scroll of Life of Revelation 5.1
Appendix A: The Purpose of the Little Scroll of Life
Appendix B: The Doctrine of Reprobation
Appendix C: The Right Hand
Appendix D: Various “Interpretations” of the Lamb’s Scroll of Life
Appendix E: A Scroll or a Codex?

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