The books were opened and all men were judged according to what was written in the books (Revelation 20:12-13). What are the various books mentioned in Revelation and other Scriptures?
The first mention of a book is Genesis 5:1 where Moses is commanded to keep a record of the genealogy of the first generations of mankind. To this was added all the books of the law or covenant, the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible). To this was added the writings, or poetry books and the books of the prophets to comprise all the Old Testament. The whole of this book testifies of Christ to come (Psalm 40:7, Heb.10:7). In many places where prophets or an apostle are required to write, read, assimilate and preach this word we are to believe these are parts of inspired Scripture e.g. Jer.15:16, Ezek. 2:8,3:1, Rev.1:11, 10:2, 9-10. After the coming of Christ and the apostles, the New Testament, gospels and epistles, including Revelation, all of which are the inspired word of God and infallible, were added to the Old to comprise the whole Bible. This is God’s book in which we learn of all the other books! It is the canon of Scripture, now fixed (Rev.22:18-19). It is real, we can handle it and read it (in several thousand languages) and be blessed by so doing (Rev.1:3), it has power to save and harden (Heb.4, Is. 6:9-10, II Cor.2:16).
The book mentioned in Revelation 5:1,3, 5ff is the book of God’s eternal decree which only Christ is fit to open and execute. This “book” is in the mind of the eternal, unchanging God and determines all that has or will ever happen in this universe.
The books (Rev.20:12-13, 15) out of which all men will be judged are a record of all the thoughts, words and actions of all men who have ever lived down to the minutest detail which will be opened on the last day and which will determine the eternal destiny of all men (Matt.12:36, 25:31-46, II Cor.5:10, Rom 14:12). Daniel knew of them (Dan.7:10). Think of them this way. God’s mind and memory are infinite and contain, like the greatest computer ever made, a full record of everything that has come to pass, inevitably because he also decreed it before time began!
The key book as far as Christian believers are concerned is the Lamb’s book of life. This book, kept invisibly in the mind of God, which is also eternal, contains a record of all the elect (Dan.12:1, Phil.4:3, Rev.13;8, 20:15, 21:27). This book cannot be added to or subtracted from (Ex.32:33), to be “blotted out “of it means to have never been in it! It also determines who will not follow Antichrist.
It is noteworthy that on the last day there is a separation of sheep (elect) from goats (reprobate) even before the books are opened and this separation has already occurred at death when each goes to his own place, either to be with Christ in heaven or the place of the dead and damned in hell (John 3:18, Luke 16:23). The final judgment after the general resurrection then determines the eternal destiny of everyone, the sheep having done good works to prove their election, and the goats having done wickedly, especially to God’s people, to cement their damnation. Christ also teaches there will be degrees of reward and punishment in his own words and the epistles (Matt.5:12, Luke 12:48, James 3:1) the rewards include various crowns (I Cor.9:25, Phil.4:1, II Tim.4:8, Rev.2:10, I Peter 5:4, Rev.3:11). All believers who are justified both in this life and the next, stand un-condemned because of Christ, it only remains for them to lay up treasure in heaven as both they and the wicked fill up their cup of suffering or iniquity as the case may be. We can be assured of this, the “judge of all the earth shall do right” (Gen 18:25).