The Books of Life │ Expository Bible Studies │ Christ Assembly

Moses spoke of a book about the people of the Exodus. According to Moses, God personally wrote down the names of people in a book and God personally blots names out of that book. 1The Hebrew term “from your book” (“מִסִּפְרְך”) indicates a scroll. Yahweh personally wrote in the book. 2The Hebrew term for “you have written” (“כָּתָבְתָּ”–Qal perfect) indicates God did the writing. Based upon our study of the term “Book of Life” in Psalm 69:28, 3See page 921 of the Study Bible. we may now try to identify the book Moses mentioned in Exodus 32:32. 4See page 144 of the Study Bible. Moses used the term “blot out” in reference to that book. The only other instance where the term “blot out” occurs in connection with a book in the Old Testament was in Psalm 69:28. 5See page 921 of the Study Bible. Therefore, we have strong reason to link the book Moses referred to and the book of life described by David. Moses meant that he wanted God to blot out the name of Moses, if God would not forgive the people of their great idolatry with the golden calf. As we have seen above, the term “blot out” means to end his physical life on earth. The context of Exodus 32:32 6See page 144 of the Study Bible. also fits well with Moses having his physical life ended by his name being blotted out of the Book of Life. God did not accept Moses’ offer to be blotted out of God’s book. Instead, God responded that whoever sinned against God, God would blot him out of His book. 7See Exodus 32:33, page 144 of the Study Bible. Furthermore, God promised to punish the people who sinned against Him. 8See Exodus 32:34, page 144 of the Study Bible. Finally, we read that God “smote” the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron had made. 9See Exodus 32:35, page 144 of the Study Bible. Therefore, the context shows that God blotted people out by killing them, so that their physical lives on earth ended. So, the context fits well with identifying the book Moses described with the same book David mentioned as the Book of Life. We also learn from Exodus 32:33 10See page 144 of the Study Bible. that sin can cause God to blot people out of his Book of Life. Because this Book of Life refers to the living on earth, I will refer to it as the Book of the Living, to convey the meaning that it deals with those physically alive on earth.

We may also learn more about the Book of the Living in Exodus 32. Notice that Yahweh 11Yahweh personally wrote in the book. The Hebrew term for “you have written” (“כָּתָבְתָּ”–Qal perfect) indicates God did the writing. did the writing in the Book of the Living. 12The Hebrew term “from your book” (“מִסִּפְרְך”) indicates a scroll. Moses asked Yahweh personally to blot out his name. 13The Hebrew term for “blot out me” (“מְחֵנִי”–Qal imperative) from that book. This request by Moses shows that Moses expected Yahweh Himself had the power to blot out names from the book. Notice also their sin 14The Hebrew term for “sin” (“חַטָּאתָם”) conveys the idea of idolatry and rebellion in this context. caused God to blot out the name of the sinner from the Book of the Living, which contained the names of all people living on earth. 15The Hebrew construct used for “sinned against Me” (“חָטָא-לִי”) in Exodus 32:33, page 144, means to fall short of a mark, to be wrong morally, and to be guilty before God. Therefore, we see that Moses offered his physical life to God, if God would not forgive the people. Moses did not offer to forsake his eternal salvation, because the book Moses referred to was the Book of the Living, that is, the Book of the people physically alive on earth at that time. The Books of Life │ Expository Bible Studies │ Christ Assembly

Therefore, we see that God apparently has a book containing all the names of every person born on earth. God Himself makes choices about blotting out the names of the living upon the earth from that Book of the Living. Although Moses certainly sinned, God never threatened Moses with having his name blotted out of the Book of the Living. In Exodus 32, the people of Israel had worshiped a golden calf while Moses received the tablets bearing the Ten Commandments.  Moses then sought to make atonement 16In Exodus 32:30, page 144, Moses spoke to the people of Israel after they sinned with the idol of the golden calf. In that verse, Moses told them “perhaps I will make atonement for your sins” (“אוּלַי אֲכַפְּרָה בְּעַד חַטַּאתְכֶם”). The Hebrew text indicates the uncertainty in the mind of Moses about God’s willingness to withhold punishment from His people for their great sin of idolatry. Moses understood the flagrant, corporate sin of Israel, and sought to give his own physical life in exchange for the nation’s survival, illuminating the great love of Moses to lay down his life for his brethren.  Yet, God did not allow one sinful human (Moses) to atone for the sin of the nation of Israel. Yahweh reserved that role of Savior exclusively for Jesus as the God-Man, the final and perfect sacrifice for sin. for the sins of the nation of Israel.  Moses had great concern that God may destroy the entire nation for the entire nation’s sin of idolatry with the golden calf. God responded, however, that He would judge each individual for sin, and not blot out the entire nation for this sinful disaster. 17This concept of God ending the physical life of people also appears in the New Testament. Consider 1 Corinthians 11:28-30, page 1796, where God speaks about people “sleeping” (they died) because of their sin at the Lord’s table. Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 5:5, page 1787,  Paul decided to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” Notice that sin can produce physical death. Compare also the sin leading to death in 1 John 5:16, where the believer may sin and die physically as a result.

References │ Page Numbers Below Footnotes   [ + ]

1, 12. The Hebrew term “from your book” (“מִסִּפְרְך”) indicates a scroll.
2. The Hebrew term for “you have written” (“כָּתָבְתָּ”–Qal perfect) indicates God did the writing.
3, 5. See page 921 of the Study Bible.
4, 6, 10. See page 144 of the Study Bible.
7. See Exodus 32:33, page 144 of the Study Bible.
8. See Exodus 32:34, page 144 of the Study Bible.
9. See Exodus 32:35, page 144 of the Study Bible.
11. Yahweh personally wrote in the book. The Hebrew term for “you have written” (“כָּתָבְתָּ”–Qal perfect) indicates God did the writing.
13. The Hebrew term for “blot out me” (“מְחֵנִי”–Qal imperative) from that book.
14. The Hebrew term for “sin” (“חַטָּאתָם”) conveys the idea of idolatry and rebellion in this context.
15. The Hebrew construct used for “sinned against Me” (“חָטָא-לִי”) in Exodus 32:33, page 144, means to fall short of a mark, to be wrong morally, and to be guilty before God.
16. In Exodus 32:30, page 144, Moses spoke to the people of Israel after they sinned with the idol of the golden calf. In that verse, Moses told them “perhaps I will make atonement for your sins” (“אוּלַי אֲכַפְּרָה בְּעַד חַטַּאתְכֶם”). The Hebrew text indicates the uncertainty in the mind of Moses about God’s willingness to withhold punishment from His people for their great sin of idolatry. Moses understood the flagrant, corporate sin of Israel, and sought to give his own physical life in exchange for the nation’s survival, illuminating the great love of Moses to lay down his life for his brethren.  Yet, God did not allow one sinful human (Moses) to atone for the sin of the nation of Israel. Yahweh reserved that role of Savior exclusively for Jesus as the God-Man, the final and perfect sacrifice for sin.
17. This concept of God ending the physical life of people also appears in the New Testament. Consider 1 Corinthians 11:28-30, page 1796, where God speaks about people “sleeping” (they died) because of their sin at the Lord’s table. Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 5:5, page 1787,  Paul decided to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” Notice that sin can produce physical death. Compare also the sin leading to death in 1 John 5:16, where the believer may sin and die physically as a result.