This great vision of the coming Day of Judgment is apparently the same as that later seen by John: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: . . . and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12).
These books of judgment are evidently books of records of the “works” of men. They must include also the books of the Bible, for the words of men must be evaluated in terms of the words of God. As Jesus said: “The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). The fearful truth, however, is that all who are judged according to their works are lost, for “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified” (Romans 3:20).
There is another book of God at the judgment: “And another book was opened, which is the book of life: . . . And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12, 15). In this book are the names of all who are trusting in Christ alone for salvation.
There is still one more book which God is keeping: “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels” (Malachi 3:16-17). All whose names are in “the Lamb’s book of life” will never be judged by their works. Instead, all service for their Lord will be “remembered” in His special book of heavenly jewels. HMM