What Did Moses Mean When He Asked God to
Blot Him Out of His Book
The story of the golden calf
Is found in Exodus 32:1–6.
The children of Israel
been in bondage in Egypt for over two hundred years.
God called Moses, the deliverer,
and told him that
He had heard their cries and was about to deliver them
During their time in Egypt, the Israelites
begun to doubt the existence of the God
their fathers worshiped because
anticipated some hard questions from them
To help Moses
prove the existence and power of God,
he was given a number of
to help the Israelites believe.
After all of these miracles were done, including the
on the Egyptians, the Israelites came out of Egypt with
arenewed belief in the God of their fathers.
They passed through the Red Sea on dry land,
Egyptian army was drowned, and they were
brought to the mountain
To receive His laws
The people of the Middle East were very religious,
but they also
worshiped many gods.
Ten plagues God brought on the
Egyptians were judgments against
specific gods they worshiped
and showed that the
Lord was greater than all of them
Even Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, who was the priest of Midian
and a worshiper of the true God, was impacted by the
religious pluralism of the people around him.
When Moses and the people arrived at Mount Sinai, and
Jethro heard of all God’s works, he replied,
“Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods,
in this affair
they dealt arrogantly with the people”
When God gave His laws to the Israelites,
He began by addressing this religious pluralism.
“I am the LORD your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out
of the house of slavery.
You shall have no other gods
You shall not make for yourself a
or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or
that is in the earth beneath,
or that is in the water under the earth.
You shall not bow down to them or
for I the LORD your God am a jealous God,
visiting the iniquity
of the fathers on the children
to the third and the fourth
generation of those who hate me
While Moses was
up on the mountain receiving God’s laws,
the people were getting anxious down on the plain.
Moses spent forty days
on the mountain
and by the end of that time,
the people were
beginning to think Moses had died or left them.
The people urged Aaron, their temporary leader,
to make gods for them to follow.
Since they were
accustomed to having visual representations of gods,
the natural (but sinful) result of their thinking.
Aaron took their gold earrings, which they had brought from Egypt,
and melted them down to make a golden idol.
The idol he crafted for them was a calf,
but Aaron maintained the name of the Lord in connection with it
He was merging the
pagan practices they were familiar with
worship of the God they were
just beginning to be re-acquainted with.
Aaron called the people together and
told them that the golden calf
was the god
who delivered them from Egypt.
The people offered sacrifices and then engaged in pagan rituals,
including orgies (Exodus 32:25) to
worship this new god.
Why did Aaron do this? Scripture doesn’t give us the full answer,
but we can put certain clues together and get a fairly good picture.
First, the people’s long familiarity with idol worship
would incline them to follow that method
in the absence of
clear direction otherwise.
Second, they were already in the habit of
their beliefs with those of the people around them,
a practice that would continue to plague them
throughout the kingdom years.
Third, Aaron was faced with an
unruly crowd that placed a demand on him.
The solution of making an idol and
calling it by God’s name
seemed fairly reasonable.
Why did he choose a calf/bull?
His lame excuse to Mose
“It just came out of the fire like this!”
was just a feeble attempt to
He fashioned it with a graving tool (Exodus 32:4) and
took great care to form it that way.
Some have tried to show that the bull represented
one of the gods of Egypt, but that doesn’t fit the text, because
Aaron called a feast to the Lord (Yahweh) and
said that it was the god(s)
them out of the land of Egypt.
The bull was a
symbol of strength and fertility,
and the people
were already familiar with bull gods from Egypt.
Bulls were also
typical animals of sacrifice,
use their image as a
symbol of the god
being worshiped was a natural connection.
was a mixture of the powerful God
who delivered the people through mighty works and
methods of worship that were
from the people around them.
Even though there are reasonable explanations for why
Aaron and the people began to worship the
those explanations do not excuse the sin.
God certainly held
accountable for their corruption
and was ready to destroy them for their sin.
Moses’ personal intercession on behalf of his people saved them.
Moses indicated that
Aaron at least should
have known that his actions were sinful
and didn’t let him off the hook. As with any other sin,
the punishment is death,
and the only proper response is repentance.
Moses called for those who
were on the Lord’s side to come stand with him
The Levites stood with him
and were commanded to go through the camp and
kill anyone who
persisted in the idolatry
Three thousand men were killed that day. The next day,
Moses went up and
confessed the people’s sins before God,
asking for His forgiveness.
God declared that the guilty ones would yet pay
with their own deaths
and be blotted out of His book.
These were the same ones who, on the
verge of entering
would deny God’s promises
and be sent into the wilderness to die for their sins.
Their children would be
the ones to
receive God’s promised blessings.
Their experiences are a
lesson to us today
we might justify our actions
through reason or logic,
if we are violating God’s clear commands,
we are sinning against Him, and
He will hold us accountable for those sins.
God is not to be worshiped
with images, because any image we make
will draw more attention to the work of our hands
God who created all things
Also, there is no way we can ever fully represent
and awesomeness of God
through an image.
To attempt to do so will always fall short.
On top of this,
God is a spirit (John 4:24), and we cannot
form an image of a spirit.
We worship God by believing His Word,
and declaring His greatness to others.
I don’t know why God didn’t claim the
position of the comedian that he is, but he
delivers me all truth on a golden platter.
It just shows up out of thin air daily.
This arose in my news feed and I didn’t seek it out.
It happens all the time.
“Who, this Guy? The guy who slaved in the wilderness to Free us?“
We dishonor that leader?
Date of Writing:
The Book of Exodus was written between 1440 and 1400 B.C.
Purpose of Writing:
The word “exodus” means departure. In God’s timing, the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt marked the end of a period of oppression for Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 15:13), and the beginning of the fulfillment of the covenant promise to Abraham that his descendants would not only live in the Promised Land, but would also multiply and become a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3, 7). The purpose of the book may be expressed as tracing the rapid growth of Jacob’s descendants from Egypt to the establishment of the theocratic nation in their Promised Land.
Exodus 1:8, "Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph,
came to power in Egypt."
Exodus 2:24-25, "God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them."
Exodus 12:27, "'It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.' Then the people bowed down and worshiped."
Exodus 20:2-3, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me."
Exodus begins where Genesis leaves off as God deals with His chosen people, the Jews. It traces the events from the time Israel entered Egypt as guests of Joseph, who was powerful in Egypt, until they were eventually delivered from the cruel bondage of slavery into which they had been brought by "...a new king...which knew not Joseph" (Exodus 1:8).
Chapters 1-14 describe the conditions of oppression of the Jews under Pharaoh, the rise of Moses as their deliverer, the plagues God brought upon Egypt for the refusal of their leader to submit to Him, and the departure from Egypt. God’s sovereign and powerful hand is seen in the miracles of the plagues—ending with the plague of death of the firstborn and the institution of the first Passover—the deliverance of the Israelites, the parting of the Red Sea, and the destruction of the Egyptian army.
The middle portion of Exodus is dedicated to the wandering in the wilderness and the miraculous provision by God for His people. But even though He gave them bread from heaven, sweet water from bitter, water from a rock, victory over those who would destroy them, His Law written on tablets of stone by His own hand, and His presence in the form of pillars of fire and cloud, the people continually grumbled and rebelled against Him.
The last third of the book describes the construction of the Ark of the Covenant and the plan for the Tabernacle with its various sacrifices, altars, furniture, ceremonies, and forms of worship.
The numerous sacrifices required of the Israelites were a picture of the ultimate sacrifice, the Passover Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. The night of the last plague on Egypt, an unblemished lamb was killed and its blood applied to the doorposts of the houses of God’s people, protecting them from the angel of death. This foreshadowed Jesus, the Lamb of God without spot or blemish (1 Peter 1:19), whose blood applied to us ensures eternal life. Among the symbolic presentations of Christ in the book of Exodus is the story of the water from the rock in Exodus 17:6. Just as Moses struck the rock to provide life-giving water for the people to drink, so did God strike the Rock of our salvation, crucifying Him for our sin, and from the Rock came the gift of living water (John 4:10). The provision of manna in the wilderness is a perfect picture of Christ, the Bread of Life (John 6:48), provided by God to give us life.
The Mosaic Law was given in part to show mankind that they were incapable of keeping it. We are unable to please God by law-keeping; therefore, Paul exhorts us to “put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
God’s provision for the Israelites, from deliverance from
captivity to the manna and quail in the wilderness,
are clear indications
His gracious provision
for His people.
God has promised to supply
all our needs.
God, who has called you into
fellowship with his
Son Jesus Christ
our Lord, is faithful”
(1 Corinthians 1:9).
We are to trust in the Lord,
for He can
deliver us from anything.
But God does not allow
to go unpunished forever.
As a result,
we can trust Him
His retribution and
When God removes us from a bad situation,
we should not seek to go back.
When God makes demands of us,
He expects us to comply,
but at the same time He provides
grace and mercy because
He knows that, on our own, we will not be able to fully obey.
God is Just
Dealing with golden calf incident
While Moses was up on Mount Sinai meeting with
preincarnate Jesus Christ and receiving the law,
Moses ended up destroying the two tablets
of stone on which Jesus had written the Ten Commandments.
Then he sent the Levites into the crowd.
Three thousand were killed, quite possibly the ringleaders.
Then Moses begged for God to forgive the people.
He added, “Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written” (Exod 32:32).
“Most people equate the book of life with the Book of Revelation.”
I think he means that most people think that God’s book in Exod 32:32 is the same as the book of life, mentioned six times in Revelation (3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; and 21:27).
The only other reference to the book of life is in Phil 4:3.
In the seven NT references to the book of life, it refers to those who have everlasting life, with the possible exception of Rev 3:5, where it might refer to those who not only have everlasting life, but who are overcomers.
Exod 32:32 does not refer to the book of life. Instead, it refers to God’s book.
In the very next verse, God says,
“Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of my book”
What that meant is made clear in v 35:
“So the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf
which Aaron made.”
The issue in vv 32-33 is
physical death, not eternal condemnation.
in those verses refers to
the book of the living.
That same idea is found in
When you are reading the Bible and you come
across some verses that seems to contradict John 3:16
or other clear verses, I suggest you do the following:
- Reject right away the idea that there is a contradiction. God’s Word does not contradict itself.
- Hold fast to the truth of John 3:16 and other clear promise of life verses.
- Ask God to show you what this puzzling verse actually means.
- Consult the free search bar on our website (www.faithalone.org) and see if we discuss that verse or topic.
- Realize that words and phrases have ranges of meaning and that the problem may well be that you are imposing one meaning for a word or phrase that is not the correct meaning for the passage which you are reading.
From this passage
we learn what leads to one being
blotted out of this book-
-sinning against YHWH God.
Let them be blotted out of the book of the living,
And not be written with the righteous.
From this passage we learn that this book that folks may
be blotted out of is the Book of the living in which the righteous are listed.
This is a key passage for discerning what the
Hebrews understood this book to be.
It was not just a book of the Hebrew dwelling in Jerusalem,
but of the living righteous.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
from this we learn that folks are written in it before they
are even formed when as yet their days were not yet.
And it shall come to pass that he
who is left in Zion
and remains in Jerusalem
will be called holy-
-everyone who is
recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
This may be the same book unless an earthy book listing
the residents of Jerusalem was made.
In the Testimony of the New Covenant We find:
And I urge you also, true companion,
help these women
who labored with me in
with Clement also, and the rest of my
whose names are in the Book of Life.
From this we learn that this book had significance
under the New Covenant as well.
He who overcomes shall be
and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life;
but I will confess his name
before My Father and before His angels.
here we learn that overcomers are not blotted out of
the book of life and that Jesus confesses
the names of those in this
book before His Father and His angels.
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose
names have not been written
in the Book of Life of the
from the foundation of the world.
here we learn that even those not written in the book of life
will worship the Lamb, to whom this book belongs.
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend
out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition.
And those who dwell on the earth will marvel,
whose names are not written in the
Book of Life from the foundation of the world,
when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
In this parallel passage, we gain insight about how the sentence
structure of Revelation 13:8
should be translated, in the absence
Of the lamb slain
we discover that it
The book of life
from the foundation of the earth
the lamb that was slain from the foundation of the earth
And I saw the dead, small and great,
standing before God,
books were opened.
And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.
And the dead were judged according to their works,
by the things which were written in the books.
here we learn this book of life is different from the books that
were opened by which the dead are judged.
And anyone not found
The Book of Life
was cast into the lake of fire. here we learn the fate
of those not written
Book of Life
But there shall by
Enter it Anything
Defiles, or Causes
abomination or a
but only those who are
Lamb's Book of Life
and if anyone takes away from
the words of
The book of this prophecy,
take away his part
The Book of Life,
and from the things which are
written in this book.
This is the Book of life
foundation of the world
--All who are born are already written in this book.
(Note: they are not written in it upon salvation from sins).
Whoever has sinned
will be blotted out
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
Overcomes will not be blotted out of the book.
they overcome by The Blood
Lamb and the word of His testimony
This book belongs to the
(Note: whoever believes in the Lamb to whom
this book belongs may live forever).