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After God led the Israelites out of Egypt, and the Israelites subsequently worshiped the golden calf for leading them out of Egypt, Moses went before the Lord, simultaneously outraged and concerned:

Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. But go now, lead the people where I told you. . . .” -Exodus 32:31-34

First, what book are Moses and God talking about? It is apparently a book which God had already written. Do we know anything else beyond that?

Second, who did God promise to blot out from His book? Would this have included everyone who worshiped the golden calf? Does this imply that all Israel was "blotted out" from God's book?

  • @Jas 3.1, I hope you do not mind my incorporating an answer to Brilliant's question into the answer to yours while I was walking around in the texts anyways. – user2027 Feb 14 '14 at 4:20
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This Book is The Book of Life

Whoever had sinned against YHWH would be blotted out of this book.

 In the Testimony of the Old Covenant we find the following:

Exodus 32:31-34

Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.”

And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.”

From this passage we learn what leads to one being blotted out of this book--sinning against YHWH God.


Psalms 69:28

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.


Psalms 139:16

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.


Isaiah 4:3

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:

Philippians 4:3

And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.

From this we learn that this book had significance under the New Covenant as well.


Revelation 3:5

He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, 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.


Revelation 13:8

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain 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.


Revelation 17:8

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 is "the book of life from the foundation of the earth," not "the lamb that was slain from the foundation of the earth."


Revelation 20:12

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and 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.


Revelation 20:15

And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

here we learn the fate of those not written in the book of life.


Revelation 21:27

But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.


Revelation 22:19

and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.


Conclusions:
--This is the Book of life from the 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 against God, will be blotted out of the book.
(Note: Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world).
--Overcomers will not be blotted out of the book.
(Note: and they overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony).
--This book belongs to the Lamb slain.
(Note: whoever believes in the Lamb to whom this book belongs may live forever).

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Hebrews 4: 1Therefore we must be wary that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it. 2For we had good news proclaimed to us just as they did. But the message they heard did them no good, since they did not join in with those who heard it in faith. 3For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my anger, ‘They will never enter my rest!’” And yet God’s works were accomplished from the foundation of the world. 4For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works,” 5but to repeat the text cited earlier: “They will never enter my rest!” 6Therefore it remains for some to enter it, yet those to whom it was previously proclaimed did not enter because of disobedience. 7So God again ordains a certain day, “Today,” speaking through David after so long a time, as in the words quoted before, “O, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts.”

Jas 3.1 wrote:

First, what book are Moses and God talking about? It is apparently a book which God had already written. Do we know anything else beyond that?

Those who obeyed the call of God’s voice, to manifest God's great work in saving, who pick up their cross, so that God can raise them up, like Caleb, blessing the world, turning people like Rahab to God, have their names written in the Book of the Living:

Luke 1: 16He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.

*

Luke 10:20"Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven."

Jas 3.1 wrote:

Second, who did God promise to blot out from His book? Would this have included everyone who worshiped the golden calf? Does this imply that all Israel was "blotted out" from God's book?

Those who fall away are removed from the Book:

Psalm 69:4Those who hate me without cause are more numerous than the hairs of my head. Those who want to destroy me, my enemies for no reason, outnumber me. They make me repay what I did not steal!

*

Psalm 69:26For they harass the one whom you discipline; they spread the news about the suffering of those whom you punish. 27Hold them accountable for all their sins! Do not vindicate them! 28May their names be deleted from the scroll of the living! Do not let their names be listed with the godly!

*

Hebrews 6:4For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

It seems that corporate Israel never had her name written in the Book:

Numbers 14:20Then the Lord said, “I have forgiven them as you asked. 21But truly, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. 22For all the people have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tempted me now these ten times, and have not obeyed me, 23they will by no means see the land that I swore to their fathers, nor will any of them who despised me see it.

Caleb, a Gentile, however, did have his name entered:

Numbers 14:24Only my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit and has followed me fully – I will bring him into the land where he had gone, and his descendants will possess it.

All Scripture from the NETBible.

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Who was blotted out of which book in Exodus 32:33?

Exodus 32:31-34 (NRSV)

31 "So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin; they have made for themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, blot me out of the book that you have written.” 33 But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. 34 But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; see, my angel shall go in front of you. Nevertheless, when the day comes for punishment, I will punish them for their sin.”

The Book of Life:

Moses is pleading God to forgive the sinners and not to blot them from the book of life/ or scroll of life, This means that for a persons name to remain in the book of life ,depends on his obedience to God, so alterations would constantly take place because of disobedience by some, and others that conquer will have their name written in the book, because they exercise faith that Jesus is the Son of God-Revelation 3:5.

Revelation 3:5 (NRSV)

5 "If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels."

"Disobedient persons resurrected will have the opportunity to have their name written in the book of life, provided they are obedient according to the new commandments and laws ,as recorded in the book of life. The dead that is will be judged according to their deeds after being resurrected and not on their past deeds.

The Final Judgement:

Revelation 20:11-15 (NRSV)

11 "Then I saw a great white throne and the one who sat on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books."

13 "And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; 15 and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire."

Faithful servants.

Righteous servants of God like Noah, Moses, Abraham and many others , will come to a resurrection of a new life, because they already have their names written in the book of life, the unrighteous to a life judgement -according to their deeds after being resurrected.

Acts 24:15 (NRSV)

15 I have a hope in God—a hope that they themselves also accept—that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.

John 5:28-29 (NASB)

28 "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment."

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God was telling Moses that he could not take the place of those who sinned against God. Jesus obviously had not yet come. Only Jesus can take our place by what he did on the cross. Only those who believe in Jesus as the Messiah and repent, will be in the Lamb's book of life.

  • Hello James, welcome to BHSE, glad to have you with us! If you haven't already, please make sure to take our tour, to get yourself familiar with the site and to see how we're a little different than other sites. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour Thanks! – sara Sep 16 at 8:06

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