Dear Brother Adams,
A scripture has been on my mind for sometime and I would like for you to give your views on it through the pages of Zion ’s Landmark. The scripture is Exodus 32:32-33: “Yet not, if thou wilt, forgive their sins; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.”
In Revelation 3:5 is recorded; “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Also in Revelation 22:19: “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book.”
We have a people down here that believe you fall from grace, and that your name is taken out of the book of life if you do not hold out faithfully to the end.
J. T. Hollingsworth
Moses was commanded by the Lord: “Come up unto the Lord thou, and Aaron, Nadab, Abinu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off, and Moses alone shall come near the Lord: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go with him.” Exodus 24:1-2.
Moses told the Israelites what the Lord had said, and they said, “All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.” The Lord said unto Moses, come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written, that thou mayest teach them. And Moses went up into the mount and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud, and the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel, And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount; and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.” Ex 24:12, 15-18. “Moses said unto the Elders, Tarry ye here for us, (Moses and Joshua, his minister) until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them.” Exodus 24:14.
“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.” Ex. 32:1. “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. And all the people break off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 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 our gods, O Israel , which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt . And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, tomorrow is a feast to the Lord. 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. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for they people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 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.”
“The Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: 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. 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?” After conversing and pleading with the Lord in behalf of the Israelites, Moses turned and went down from the mount, carrying the two tables in his hands which were written on both sides, “And the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.”
“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. 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 reprimanded Aaron and asked him what this people did unto him that he had brought so great sin upon them? Aaron explained that they desired other gods that they might worship, not knowing where Moses was. “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto me. And the sons of Levi gathered themselves unto him. 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 neighbor. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day, about three thousand men.” Ex. 32:26-28.
“And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. 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. And the Lord plagued the people because they made the calf which Aaron made.” Ex. 32:31-35.
Moses in his pleading to God in behalf of the Israelites, saying, “Yet now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” The truth is that those who were blotted out, were blotted out from the beginning, because Paul was inspired to say: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be Holy and without blame before Him in love. Eph. 1:3-4. But even God’s people are included in such testimonies as: “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Rom. 14:12 and, “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Matt. 12:36.
The day of judgment with a child of grace is when they commit the wrong; not at the end of time. David said: “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me.” And Paul says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. When our wrong doings and idle words rise up before us, how guilty we feel before an avenging God! We are brought down in repentance, and made to beg for mercy. How often I am minded to examine myself, and wonder if I am truly in the faith! How thankful my salvation is not determined by my works of righteousness, yet I hope I have a righteousness within that prompts and enables me to see my wrong, and enables me to examine myself, even though it brings me to the throne of grace and causes me to beg for mercy. Sometimes we are enabled to really pray when in this condition, this brings relief. But I find that I have digressed from my subject.
The children of Israel were a stiff-necked people. See Ex. 32:9. They were rebellious. They had little or no respect for the word of God nor for Moses, whom God had sent to deliver them from the Egyptian bondage. This was not true of all of them for there were a few who reverenced the word of God and walked in His statutes. It was the false prophets who deceived the people and led them astray to worship false gods. To this Peter adds. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you who privily shall bring in damnable heresies; even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” 11 Peter 1:2-3.
When Moses was called by the Lord to go up into Mount Sinai to commune with God, he received two tables of stone, on which the law was written, this was the law of Moses – known as such – which contained the ten commandments, this law was in effect until the coming of Christ, when this law was reduced to two commandments: “Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment; and the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matt. 22:37-40. Solomon said: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into Judgement, with every secret thing, whither it be good or whither it be evil.” Eccl. 12:13-14. The inner man keeps the commandments of God. 1 John 3:9 says, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” The same writer says: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8. This sounds like a contradiction to those who have not experienced both the above scriptures, but it is not a contradiction. Paul said: “For that which I do, I allow knot: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing, for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Rom. 7:15-25.
In making and worshiping this golden calf there was a breach of God’s just and holy law. The Lord said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”. Ex. 20:3-4. This breach of God’s law by the children of Israel left them naked. (Not for lack of clothing to cover their bodies.) But their souls were naked with no covering for their shame and disgrace before God. See Ex. 32:25. Moses said this was a great sin, but he was endured to them because they were his people. He therefore made intercession to God in their behalf. “Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written.” Ex. 32:31-32. This is a hyperbolic expression, or an exaggerated expression. But it was or is expressive of his great love and concern for the children of Israel . Three thousand of them had been slain and if the remainder were to be consumed by the wrath of God, the serious concern of Moses must have so disturbed and aroused him to the point that he exclaimed “Blot me out of Thy book,” meaning there would be no comfort for him if he were the only survivor to enter Canaan land. In his beseeching of the Lord, Moses implied that if the children of Israel should perish, then he felt to perish with them. He appears to be willing to give up his life for the sake of his people. Jesus laid down His life because of the great love He had for the chosen vessels of His mercy. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend.” John 15:13. Paul had and portrayed alike interest in his brethren, his kindred after the flesh. A similar expression by him to that of Moses is recorded in Romans. “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh”. He therefore made intercession to God in their behalf who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Rom. 9:1-5.
Did Paul mean that he was willing to be eternally separated from Christ for the sake of his brethren after the flesh? I think not. This is also a hyperbolic expression. It conveys the anxiety he felt for his kindred after the flesh. They were his natural but not his spiritual brethren. They were all Israelites, and of the same nation. Paul saw that the greater portion of these branches would be cut off. This gave him great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart.
When Moses said, “If Thou wilt, forgive their sin–; and if not blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written;” (the words-may be rendered “kill me,” or rather “Let me die.” Numbers 11:l5 says, “If Thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray Thee, out of hand, if I have found favor in Thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.” These were the words of Moses speaking in reference to himself and the Israelites.) “The Lord said unto Moses, whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” Ex. 32:33. It appears in Rev. 13:8 that all of their names were never written in the Lamb’s book of life. Speaking of the dragon which gave power into the beast, it is said, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Rev. 13:8. This beast “whom all that dwell upon the earth shall worship, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” is the false doctrine that denies the power of God and blasphemes His Name.
Our brother said, “We have a people down here that believe you fall from grace and that your name is taken out of the book of life if you do not continue to be faithful to the end.” I understand him to mean that there are those who believe that it is left to the volition or will of the creature to hold out faithfully to the end and be saved or failure to do so, would be an eternal separation from the love of God. Is this works or grace? Paul said, “For it is impossible for those who were enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” Heb. 6:4-6. By this the Apostle means that it is impossible for a child of grace to whom God has manifested his love and salvation, to be eternally separated from God; because they were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, so say the scriptures. See Eph. 1:1-4. Paul, in writing to Timothy, said, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner: but be thou a partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2nd Tim. 1:8-9.
Peter said, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” I Peter 2:9. This chosen people of whom Peter speaks, is in Christ Jesus. They will never fall away, His election has predetermined that, and “They are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:5.
In reference to Rev. 3:5, it is recorded, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels.” This people that is in Christ Jesus cannot overcome sin, Satan nor the devil, themselves. Their victory is won through Jesus Christ, the One of whom Paul said, “ – was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification.” Rom. 4:25. These are the people who “SHALL be clothed in white raiment and I SHALL NOT blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His Angels”
With reference to Rev 22:19, “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City , and the things which are written in this book.” This passage of scripture is like many others which appear to meet with an objection, or appear to some to be contradictory to other scriptures. The false prophets and false teachers, who worship the creature and not the Creator, is under consideration here. They are professors and not possessors of eternal life. They seem to be religious. Jesus said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matt. 15:8-9. These false prophets, false teachers, false scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites never had any part in the book of life; it was only an outward appearance. As before stated, by Christ Jesus, “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear; for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he SEEMETH to have.” Luke 8:17-18.
It was not the purpose of God to blot the name of Moses out of His book. Many of the Israelites were slain. Their carcasses fell in the wilderness. They were external and not internal hearers of God’s law. They were natural-born Israelites. They were born through the law but not through the righteousness of faith. Paul said, “They are not all Israel which are of Israel: (that is, spiritual-born seed) neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of promise are counted for the seed.” Rom. 6-8. Again the Apostle said, “For the promise that he should be the heir of the world was not to Abraham, nor to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Rom. 4:13.
God was provoked by those who sinned against His law. Not all of them; it was those whose carcasses fell in the wilderness. God preserved a remnant among them who were saved “according to the election of grace.” See Rom. 11:5. Then as well as now, God had a hidden (so far as man is concerned) purpose in all this. The people (church) of His choice is kept poor, needy, and few in number through troubles and conflicts, which weed them out, leaving a remnant who are saved according to the election of grace.
Paul said, “For some, when they had heard, did provoke; howbeit not all of them that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was He grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not?” Heb. 3:16-18. They possessed a stony heart. They could not believe. The question may be asked, When do men believe? This question is answered by the Prophet.” A new heart also will I give you and a new Spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Eze. 36:26. A man cannot believe on the Lord Jesus Christ until He (God) performs this work. Jesus said, “This is the work of God that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” John 6:29. When God puts within a new heart, he then believes in God. Paul said, “For with the heart man believth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Rom. 10:10.
Moses continued his journey toward Canaan with the remnant that escaped the edge of the sword. The way was rough. The road was hard and stony. Their feet became sore and tired. They were rebuffed by their enemies. They were forced, at times, to retreat. The journey was long. This is set forth in types and shadows which portray the travels of spiritual Israel today. Paul, who said, “We must, through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God .” Acts 14:22.
How true with the saints of God in all generations! They have many fears and doubts. God promised to the children of Israel, the land of Canaan, a land which “Flowed with milk and honey” (plenty). His promise was sure and certain. He (God) did not promise their journey to be smooth and without difficulties. The same is true of spiritual Israel today. They have the promise of the Kingdom of heaven at the second appearing of Jesus. But the way is attended with many doubts and fears. It is well expressed by one who said, “Comforts are often suspended that convictions may be deeper impressed.” Yet the sweet communion in Spirit with the Brethren (both sexes, male and female) all of whom have essentially like experiences; and the many soul inspiring promises, and assurances contained in the scriptures, and expounded from our pulpits and religious publications, inspire and encourage His people to rejoice in this strait and narrow way that leads to Life Everlasting.
(Elder) T. F. Adams
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee:
Let such as love thy salvation say continually,
The Lord be magnified. Psalm 40:16.