Exodus Chapter 32, The Golden Calf, Moses Breaks Tablets, People drink the Calf

Jul 24th, 2009 | By | Category: Exodus, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Exodus Chapter 32, The Golden Calf, Moses Breaks Tablets, People drink the Calf

Exod. 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Verses 1–6 are a historical commentary on what took place at the foot of Mount Sinai in Moses’ absence. In verses 7–14 God informed Moses, who was still up on the mount, about the events just described by the commentator. We will consider these verses in more detail. When Moses delayed to come down from the mount, the people demanded that Aaron make gods to go before them in returning to Egypt (Acts 7:37–40). Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights. We do not know how much time elapsed before the molten calf was built, but probably about 10 days remained from the time the people went to Aaron; that is, they may have waited a month before going to him.

What seemingly justified the people in taking up this matter with Aaron? What were they thinking? They reasoned that Moses was dead and that thus he was not coming back. They showed disrespect for Moses in saying, “This Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt …” They lacked faith and felt they were abandoned in the desert. Hence they were thinking about going back to Egypt.

Shortly before, they had witnessed the mighty miracle of crossing the Red Sea, yet now they wanted to build a calf and worship it. This incident shows how deeply the false religion of Egypt was ingrained in their minds. It also shows how fickle and changeable people can be. Only a group or certain element—not all of the Israelites—went to Aaron. However, a sufficient number were raising a disturbance, and they wanted Aaron to satisfy their demands. These individuals did not lay to heart the mighty miracles. Aaron gave in to their demands perhaps because he himself was a little puzzled over Moses’ absence, but he was not of their disposition.

Exodus Chapter 24 told how Joshua, Moses, and the elders went part way up Mount Sinai. Then the elders stayed behind, and Moses and Joshua ascended farther. Joshua waited just below the fire, and Moses went on up into the cloud and the fire (glory). It may have been conjectured that Moses was consumed in the fire.

The elders would have descended the mount after waiting a little while—perhaps three or four days. They would have reported that Moses was not to be seen. The delay puzzled the people, who waited patiently, they thought. Forty days was a long wait, and that is where faith would have to enter in. We will find out later that some of the people had faith and some did not. Meanwhile, Joshua waited upon the mount for the 40 days. In principle, the waiting is like the Scripture “Though the vision seems to tarry, wait for it” (Hab. 2:3 paraphrase). The test is along the lines of patience and of not going back into the world. If the expectation does not come true, the test is to “in … patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19). The Christian is not to feel he has been deluded and return to the world This element said to Aaron, “Up …,” suggesting he was in some kind of repose. In other words, “Moses is gone. Do something! In Moses’ absence you are the leader and spokesman.

Make us gods to go before us.” A golden molten calf (singular) was made, but it is referred to as “gods” (plural, Hebrew elohim) in verses 1 and 8. Why was the plural used? The calf represented a system of thought—just as one statue could be called “Baalim.” Similarly, a succession of bulls was worshipped in Egypt. When a sacred bull died, it was replaced with another one. The golden calf represents Papacy, the false Christian religion.

Let us consider again the words of the protesting element: “Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt.” They did not appreciate the fact that it was God who had brought them out of Egypt. They did not respect God, and they did not respect Moses as God’s representative. Instead they wanted a calf, a man-made god, to worship. The calf was to “go before us,” that is, be transported with them.

Moses’ absence was a great test of patience on the people. The majority, in being troubled, did nothing. A vocal minority took the leadership role. The elders did not even go back up the mount to ask Joshua where Moses was.

Exod. 32:2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.

Aaron told the people to “break off” their golden earrings and bring them to him. He used this terminology because the earring went through the ear by bending the metal and inserting it permanently. To remove such earrings meant breaking them off with a chisel, saw, etc. Not only were time and effort required, but the removal cost the wearer something in that the earring had value and could be emblematic of stature.

Aaron was shrewd. He suggested the giving of earrings to try to slow down the Israelites and make them reconsider what they were doing. In other words, his suggestion was a stalling tactic. He thought, “How can I delay them?” It was too easy and quick to just give gold, and he hoped Moses would show up in the meantime. Notice, Aaron did not just say, “Give me gold” (for the Israelites had loose gold), but he wanted the gold from their earrings.

Then each person had to individually make an effort. Nevertheless, Deuteronomy 9:20 says that God was very angry with Aaron, to the point of destroying him. Although Aaron tried a delaying tactic and was not in heart sympathy with these troublesome ones, he did not exert the strong opposition he should have.

Exod. 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.

The earrings may have been ornaments of vanity with many. Hence Aaron was trying to rid the people of vanity, and he knew that giving the earrings would cost them something. Surprisingly, they complied—wives, sons, and daughters.

Exod. 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Aaron made a golden calf out of the gold earrings. Then he fashioned it with an engraving tool. First, with a fire of intense heat, the gold was melted into a molten state and poured into a mold or cast. After the gold cooled down, which took time, the calf was removed from the mold. Being rough, it was tooled for a refined, better appearance.

The rebellious element said, “These [the calf] be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” The leadership element uttered these words—the ones who went to Aaron originally (verse 1). But notice that their words were contradictory. In verse 1 they said the man, Moses, had brought them from Egypt. Now credit was given to the golden calf.

Exod. 32:5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.

An offering was to be made to pay homage to the calf. Aaron was still trying to stall, but even so, he did build an altar. Then he stated, “Tomorrow is a feast to Jehovah.” Aaron was trying to redirect the people, for the object made by man was looked to as the Deliverer, not the Creator.

The male calf would not have been huge, but it would have been fairly large—perhaps five feet in length—for an altar to be built “before it.” At any rate, the gold made the calf heavy. The calf and altar were probably put on Aaron’s Hill so that they could be seen. A natural stone calf is also in back in the rocks.

Exod. 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

The Israelites rose up early in the morning. What mass fervor and zeal for wrong purposes! They offered burnt and peace offerings on the altar in front of the golden calf. A mixed multitude came out of Egypt, so some or many of the troublemakers would have been Egyptians (Exod. 12:38).

The people worshipped the golden calf, ate, drank, and “rose up to play.” “Play” has an evil connotation relating to sensuality, not to merrymaking such as at a wedding, not to legitimate joy. The term includes dancing lasciviously (see verse 19), a custom in idolatrous worship—like a whirling dervish or obscene rock music.

The minority were the leaders, causing the people to go astray. Even though the majority were not in heart sympathy, they were like dumb sheep, just tolerating and allowing the disobedience. The same is true of Christendom, for that is how Papacy developed. A minority led and the majority followed along.

Exod. 32:7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:

God told Moses to get down off the mount, for the people had corrupted themselves. God also said, “The people which you brought out of Egypt” (paraphrase). This was a test on Moses. It is true that Moses did go before the people—but as God’s representative. This test reveals the sterling quality of Moses’ character, which is a wonderful representation of Jesus’ attitude and character.

Exod. 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Exod. 32:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:

Exod. 32:10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

Exod. 32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?

Exod. 32:12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.

Exod. 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.

God continued: “The people have quickly turned out of the way and made a molten calf and worshipped it and sacrificed to it, saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, which brought you out of Egypt.’ These are a stiff-necked people. Let my anger wax hot against them, and I will consume them and make of you, Moses, a great nation” (paraphrase).

God was using a constructive ploy to test Moses. (Of course if God had wanted to destroy the people, He would have done it.) If Moses had had the least bit of pride, he would have felt justified in allowing the people to be destroyed. Moses was emotionally involved, for later he smashed the tablets of the Law in anger, but what previous schooling helped him to have self-control and knowledge here? In regard to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham had pleaded with God, “If there be 50, 40, 30, 20, or 10 righteous people, do not destroy the cities” (Gen. 18:23–32 paraphrase). Moses was thinking the same thing. If all of the people were consumed, some good people would also be consumed. However, he used another argument, a very effective one. “If you consume all of these people and the fact gets noised around, the Egyptians will conclude that after delivering the Israelites in the Red Sea, you were not successful in getting them to the Land of Promise. What about your reputation?” Incidentally, since Moses was related to the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God’s offer to him would have been technically possible, but it was a ruse. Notice that in verse 11 Moses corrected the statement in verse 7 where God called the Israelites “thy [Moses’] people.” Moses said they were “thy [God’s] people.” And Moses said that God brought them out of Egypt.

In verses 11–13 Moses’ reasoning was correct, and he gave God the proper credit. He beseeched God respectfully: “Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.” The reference was not to a moral “evil.” (Evil can also be a storm, a calamity, etc.) The point is that God does not countenance moral evil, but He does give discipline and judgments. Moses was saying, “Repent from carrying out this judgment, this calamity, this destruction.”

The word “stiffnecked” is a play on words, for the bull is known to have a strong neck. A stiff neck is a symbol of false professed Christians, who are determined to follow their own ways.

Exod. 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

How did God “repent”? He “repented” by answering in the context that Moses gave, for the Bible says God does not repent (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29). When He determines to do something, it is done—period! Thus this incident was a ruse to bring out Moses’ sterling character.

Moses was praying, “Repent, LORD, from doing this.” In other words, “Change your thinking. Do not pursue what you just said about destroying this people.” Hence this “repent” has to do with a change of action, not a change of judgment. Moses wanted God to change His mind, and God did, although the incident is really just a ploy. God knew in advance how Moses would react, but He gave Moses the opportunity to respond to bring out this beautiful facet of his character. Jonah 3:10 is another instance where God changed His action. There the situation was conditional to start with, and God laid the proposition before the Ninevites through Jonah.

God will multiply Moses’ seed in regeneration when dead humanity comes forth from the grave. The same individuals will be involved, and they will get another opportunity under more favorable circumstances.

Exod. 32:15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.

Moses descended the mount with the two tables of stone, both engraved on both sides. It is possible the same first five commandments were written on both sides of the first tablet and the last five on both sides of the second tablet.

Exod. 32:16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.

God wrote and engraved the Ten Commandments on the two tablets. The tablets were cut out and engraved miraculously—perhaps by a laser beam. They could not have been too large because Moses had go carry them, and after he smashed them, he had to carry two more tablets up the mount. Nevertheless, Moses was strong.

Exod. 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.

When Joshua heard the noise of the people, he thought there was war in the camp.

Remember, when Moses, Joshua, and the elders went up into the mount, Moses went the highest, up into a cloud (Exod. 24:13–15). Of the others, Joshua remained on the mount, but the elders returned to the camp below. Now, as Moses was descending the mount, he found Joshua still there, probably at the level and area of Elijah’s tree.

Exod. 32:18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.

Moses replied, “It is neither the voice of victory nor the voice of defeat, but the voice of singing.” It was the sound of revelry.

Exod. 32:19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.

When Moses saw the molten calf and the dancing, he was very angry with righteous indignation. (The way Moses descended, his view of the camp below was obscured until he was close to it.) Before he climbed down and saw the calf with his own eyes, he had calmly reasoned with God not to destroy the people (verses 11–13). Now that Moses saw the calf, his anger was intense. Hence a person of character can be angry. There is a place for anger, indignation, and rebuke. In a perfect society, that part of one’s character would not be active because there would be no cause for the anger.

God had just performed MIGHTY miracles for Israel. How fast the people forgot and stooped to a heathen religion that required an idol! They were to worship the invisible God.

The commandment was not to make a likeness of anything in earth, sky, or sea and bow down to it. The people wanted something visible to worship. Their desire was wrong. We are to seek to communicate with God in our heart.

Moses was given the tablets by God, and they were in his hands. In his anger he lost control and smashed the sacred tablets, but he did the proper thing under the circumstances (both for type and antitype). Moses would have smashed them repeatedly, one by one. No doubt the dancing and the music stopped immediately when the people saw this display of anger.

Exod. 32:20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.

Moses’ anger was so intense that the breaking of the two tablets did not stop him or cause sorrow that they were broken. Instead his anger continued for some time—and righteously so—for him to burn the calf in the fire, grind it to powder, and straw it on the water and then to force the Israelites to drink it.

The calf was not made of refined gold—it was not the best quality. Hence Moses burned the calf in the fire to soften it so that he could hammer out the gold into thin sheets like tinfoil, which could be broken and fragmented and cast into the water as dust to be drunk by the people. The type and antitype for drinking the powdered gold in the water means the people had to swallow back the wrongs done. Ingesting gold causes unpleasant side effects.

Moses might have just made the ones who were dancing and reveling drink the gold and water mixture.

Imagine the reaction of the people when Moses appeared. They had considered him dead when he did not return day after day. How startled they would have been to see him return from the dead, as it were, and then to display such anger! The smashing of the golden calf to pieces was a dramatic sight, for the very thing being worshipped and idolized was broken before their eyes. The people would have been astonished.

Two other examples of Moses’ righteous indignation were killing an Egyptian who mistreated an Israelite and assisting Jethro’s daughters in watering their sheep at the well when shepherds pushed them side. Like Jesus, Moses had a wonderful blend of mercy and righteous indignation.

Aaron was brilliant but not of the caliber of Moses. Aaron is called a “saint,” so we know he was faithful overall, ultimately having God’s approval (Psa. 106:16). God chose to have this incident recorded because of the type and antitype, but Aaron would have done many good acts to be a saint. He learned from this incident and used it as a stepping-stone. He never forgot this flaw in his character (like David and the Apostle Peter, who were crystallized to never again make the same mistake).

What is the antitype of the golden calf? With the calf being manmade and gold picturing divinity, the golden calf represents the false religion of Papacy. This manmade religion has been instituted in the place of God.

But there is a double type here. Why was the animal a calf? The true type of Jesus was a bullock, and this false type of Antichrist (Papacy) was a male calf, or bullock.

The calf was worshipped back in Egypt, so the golden calf was a revival of the influence of the world. The Egyptians in the mixed multitude were eager to reinstitute the calf/bull worship. Just as in the Christian Age, the Roman Catholic Church took pagan beliefs and “Christianized” them (incorporated pagan ideas into the church, such as the doctrines of the Trinity and hellfire), so the Israelites brought in the pagan calf ritual.

Exod. 32:21 And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?

Moses asked Aaron, “What did the people do to you for you to bring such a great sin upon them?”

Exod. 32:22 And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.

Aaron shifted the blame: “Do not be angry with me. The people were set to do mischief.” It is true that Aaron was pressured to make a symbol to worship.

Exod. 32:23 For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

Verse 23 gives the words that were used to pressure Aaron. The ringleaders kept insisting, and he was confused in regard to Moses’ not returning. Aaron was not the leader Moses was. He had been a spokesman, but he was told what to say. It speaks well for Joshua that there is not one word of criticism and that he stayed patiently on Mount Sinai for 40 days.

Exod. 32:24 And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.

Aaron shifted the guilt even stronger: “I cast the gold from the earrings into the fire, and there came out a calf.” A mold was probably used. Then Aaron reasoned that the calf formed itself in the mold. However, he did the tooling later. He probably did not think this was a real lie. It was like Adam’s blaming Eve and Eve’s blaming the serpent (Gen. 3:9–13).

Exod. 32:25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)

The statement “the people were naked” means they were in disarray. They had broken loose from all moral restraints and were in a condition of reckless abandonment. The Revised Standard Version reads, “… the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to their shame among their enemies).” They were figuratively naked in that they had removed themselves from the worship and protection of Jehovah to a demeaning and debased type of adoration of a molten calf. Also, they were acting lewdly and being disorderly and were not in the best kind of dress.

The people were guilty, but if Aaron had had the stability and stamina of Moses’ character, he would have strongly rebuked them. Aaron was the older brother, the customarily more respected brother. Thus Moses had a slight stigma attached to him from a family standpoint by being the younger brother.

Exod. 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

Moses stood in the main gate of the camp. The tribes were separated from each other, and each probably had an entrance. That entrance became symbolic, even though it was marked only by loose stones or whatever. One of these gates was seen as an official entrance, and it was here that Moses rendered judgment. (Later the main gate was the east gate of the Tabernacle, but the Tabernacle not built yet.)

As Moses stood in the main gate, he asked, “Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me.” Notice, Moses did not say, “Let all the tribe of Levi come to me,” but those who came to Moses were Levites. They might have been motivated by the fact that Moses was a Levite and so was Aaron. Nevertheless, in the face of this mutiny, it was to the Levites’ credit that they responded of their own initiative.

Exod. 32:27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.

Exod. 32:28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.

Moses told the Levites to take their swords and to go “in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay … brother, … companion, and … neighbour.” A “brother” was of the immediate family and hence was the closest relationship. A “companion” was a friend, a less close relationship. A “neighbour” was the least close relationship. Those to be slain were guilty of participating in the revelry; that is, they were the ringleaders. The Levites went throughout the camp inspecting the people and slaying the guilty ones—even if the individuals were part of their own family (and thus Levites) or their best friend or their friendly neighbor. If guilty of dancing and revelry, they were put to death. The number of slain was 3,000. A reverential trait or strain existed in the tribe of Levi, especially in these early days.

One lesson is that there is a time for judgment and punishment. In the Kingdom some will be judged not worthy of life. The Little Flock will have to slay such individuals even if they are sister, mother, brother, etc. If one does not love God when he has enlightenment in the next age, he will not get life.

There is a time for decision making. A Christian should try to develop decision-making ability. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight [for it]” (John 18:36). Hence a Christian should not be willy-nilly but should hate evil and love righteousness and good. A Christian should have not only mercy but also anger when it is called for.

Exod. 32:29 For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.

“Moses had said …”; that is, instruction was given when the Levites had gathered to him.

He had probably said, “When you go in from gate to gate, slay anyone who you know participated in the revelry.” Moses did not know who was guilty, for he had been up on the mount. Therefore, he left the responsibility up to the Levites. Thus there is a time for judging, according to God’s will. Of course one must be careful and not too hasty, but sometimes when something is very obviously wicked, judgment must be rendered.

Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD.” Moses was saying, “Separate yourselves unto Jehovah.” In other words, “If you obey, you will have God’s approval and you will be showing your disapproval of the evil, even though the others are your friends.”

Worship of a golden calf would be different for one who had no previous knowledge of the right way to worship, for knowledge brings responsibility. The Israelites had been brought out of Egypt—the Almighty God had dealt with them. They had seen the plagues and how God had separated them from the fourth through the tenth plagues. They had seen the miracle of the Red Sea crossing. Hence the Israelites were guilty of worshipping the golden calf. The principle is the same for those who have never known Jesus. They will not have that held against them in the next age, for they could not help their culture. However, those whom the Lord draws and takes out from the world will be recipients of a great blessing if they are obedient. God told the Levites: “Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD … that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day”; that is, “Show that you are separate, that you are wholly for me, and it will benefit you. You will get my blessing.”

As a result of the Levites’ faithfulness, God selected that tribe to be priests for posterity.

Those who were faithful down through the Jewish Age will get more of a blessing than the ordinary Israelites. Principle: He who hath faithfully used will get more (compare Luke 19:26). An example is the Zadok branch of the Levites in David’s day, who will be highly rewarded in the Temple arrangement of the Kingdom Age.

Exod. 32:30 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.

The 3,000 who were slain (verse 28) were the ringleaders, but verse 30 shows there is a communal responsibility. Just because people do not participate in a matter does not mean they are completely innocent, for they could have stopped or tried to stop the evil. Their inaction was sin. The point is that different degrees and levels of sin bear proportionate judgment based on the level of guilt. The Israelites had sinned a great sin, and Moses wanted atonement to be made in some way.

Exod. 32:31 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.

Exod. 32:32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin —; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

Moses returned to the Lord (he climbed Mount Sinai again) and said, “Oh! This people have sinned a great sin.” Moses was very disturbed about the golden calf. He said, “If you will forgive their sin—.” He broke off his petition and then, in his anguish, said, “And if not, blot me out of the book of life to make an atonement.” This tender reaction shows that Moses was very emotional. He was emotional as well as mathematical (as shown by his role with the Tabernacle). The Apostle Paul similarly offered to surrender his life on behalf of the nation of Israel—specifically, if their blindness would be removed (Rom. 9:3). Paul’s life was a threshing machine, and yet how faithful he was!

The account reveals that Moses made a number of climbs up Mount Sinai to commune with God. Even after this emotionally draining experience with the golden calf, he exerted physical effort to climb up there on behalf of the people. The climbs are another similarity between Jesus and Moses. Jesus, too, would ascend a mountain to pray, and his prayers were long (several hours) without vain repetition. He would pray for counsel, how to speak to his disciples and not makes mistakes, etc.

Exod. 32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

God was saying, “Do not worry, Moses. I will take care of those who sinned and blot them out of my book.” It is interesting that Moses knew God had a book. Every human being who comes out of the womb alive has his name entered in the book of life. At the instant a baby breathes oxygen, he is recorded. The book has levels and honors, but all names are entered. If a name is erased, or blotted out, that individual does not get life. Billions will get life in the future on the human plane, and millions on the spirit plane (Great Company, Ancient Worthies, and Little Flock).

Q: Why was the past tense used? “Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”

A: There was a dual role of natural events back there with the literal cloud and the antitype.

This is a futuristic past tense; that is, “Whoever sins in the future, in the Kingdom, along this line, him will I blot out of the book of life.” In antitype the cloud represents the protected condition in the Kingdom, when no lion or stones will be in the way. Back there the protection included the Israelites’ shoes not wearing out, the provision of manna, water, etc. The miracles that sustained them picture the next age. The second set of tablets represents the New Law Covenant. God was telling Moses what He purposes to do. He was saying: “It is my prerogative to erase one from the book of life. That is none of your business, Moses. I will take care of that. Now cease this line of reasoning.”

Exod. 32:34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.

Exod. 32:35 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

A judgment occurred: plagues on the people according to their degree of participation.

“Mine Angel shall go before thee.” This statement refers to the cloud or the Logos or however the office is fulfilled. Verse 34 will be discussed in more detail in connection with the next chapter. We will see what God was telling Moses and then Moses’ reaction. Also, we will discuss why God addressed Moses in this fashion and what the address signified.

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