Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 11, 2015

4. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – What Did Jesus Think?

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Is the Exodus from Egypt a myth or is it the truth?

An outstanding recent documentary, Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, presents abundant archaeological evidence to dispute the consensus of opinion among archaeologists that the Exodus never happened.

What did Jesus think about the Exodus? Did He think it happened or not? Would Jesus say the Exodus was fact or legend?

This article continues the review of Patterns of Evidence: Exodus that was begun in the prequels:
1. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Did It Happen?
2. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Facing the Facts
3. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – The Debate

This fourth article shows that Jesus believed in the Exodus as a historical event that actually took place.

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What Did Jesus Think?

The best evidence that the Exodus event actually happened is Moses’ eyewitness report in the second book of the Bible called Exodus.

How did Jesus of Nazareth view Moses’ account? Did He think it was factual history or a legend?

Jesus believed in the Exodus and endorsed Moses’ report. In fact, He equated believing Moses’ written record with believing His own words:

“Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:45-47)

Jesus startled hearers by stating that heeding Moses and the Prophets was sufficient to keep the rich man’s brothers out of hell. Jesus affirmed Moses and the Prophets as having greater credibility and being more convincing than a witness who came back from the dead. (Luke 16:29-31)

Filmmaker Tim Mahoney in Karnak, Egypt

Filmmaker Tim Mahoney in Karnak, Egypt

Jesus actively demonstrated His own belief in Exodus through His yearly observance of Passover reported in the Gospels.

The Passover Feast was explicitly commanded by God as an annual re-enactment and remembrance of the night the Death Angel passed over Hebrew homes that were marked with lambs’ blood. This was the Tenth Plague right before the Hebrews exited Egypt. There would be no reason for the institution of the Passover Feast apart from this historical event.

Tangible details further distinguish the historical nature of the report in Exodus 11 & 12—such as the instruction to ask one’s neighbor for silver and gold, the note that it happened at midnight, and the 10th of the month as a literal date.

Passover is anchored in real events that actually occurred. Moses goes to the length of explicitly prescribing dialogue with questioning children:
And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’ you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’ (‭Exodus‬ ‭12‬:‭26-27‬)
To answer instead, “It is an ancient legend precious to our self-concept as a Jewish people,” is profane and rebellious.

God Himself explicitly established a direct link between His visible action in concrete historical events and His sovereign Lordship:
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the LORD. (‭Exodus‬ ‭10‬:‭1-2‬)
To say “These things didn’t really happen” is to profoundly insult the Almighty.

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Why instruct the Jews to remember the Exodus so elaborately if the Exodus never happened? In fact, a person who did not observe the Passover was to “be cut off from his people” (Numbers 9:13).

Following the Exodus, the Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness. After they miraculously crossed the Jordan River to begin the conquest of Canaan, God again instituted a physical mechanism to remember this miraculous historical event:
Now it came about when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying, “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe, and command them, saying, ‘Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you, and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight.'” So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe; and Joshua said to them, “Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel. “Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.” (Joshua 4:1-7)

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Throughout their generations Yahweh wanted the Israelites to remember that this miraculous crossing of the Jordan River was a real historical event that actually happened. It was not a legend or fable. He commanded a stone monument of 12 fairly large stones (“each of you take up a stone on his shoulder“) as a memorial. Joshua reports this as history, and the stone monument testified to this event for generations.

Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth of the first month and camped at Gilgal on the eastern edge of Jericho. And those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the sons of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” (Joshua 4:19-24)

It’s not at all surprising that Jesus believed in the Exodus. It follows logically and inevitably from the writings of Moses and Joshua and from the way Jesus treated the Old Testament as the Word of God (“Scripture cannot be broken” John 10:35). In fact, it’s incomprehensible even to speculate that Jesus did not believe in the Exodus.

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The genealogy of Jesus also provides implicit support for the Israelite conquest of Canaan following the Exodus. If Jericho had not been conquered, there is no reason that Rahab would appear as the great-great-grandmother of King David in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:5-6).

Jesus based much of His teaching on historical events in the Old Testament, both great and small. He referenced Creation, Noah’s Flood, Sodom & Gomorrah, Jonah’s great fish adventure, David’s eating the Temple bread, the Canaanite woman feeding Elijah, the murders of Abel and Zechariah, and others.

Jesus also referred to many events of Mosaic history which happened on the 40-year camping trip from Egypt to the Promised Land. This included the Law of Moses which was given at Mt. Sinai shortly after the Exodus from Egypt. If there were no Exodus, then there would have been no wilderness journey, and hence all Jesus’ references would have been vacuous. Here are some examples of Jesus’ references:
1. Jesus commanded a leper He healed to “show yourself to the priest and present the offering that Moses commanded” (Matthew 8:4).
2. In talking with Nicodemus about His identity and mission, Jesus used the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness on the way from Egypt to Canaan as an illustration of His own redemptive death on the cross. Jesus said,
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)
Using the “As … even so” formula, Jesus equated the fact of His redemptive work with the historical truth of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness. If the Exodus were a myth, then Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness would be a myth, and Jesus’ argument would be meaningless.
3. Jesus actually talked with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration. (Matthew 17:2-4)
4. Jesus quoted from Moses in the book of Exodus to defend the resurrection and afterlife: “But regarding the fact that the dead rise again, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; you are greatly mistaken.” (Mark 12:26-27)
5. Jesus answered questions about marriage and divorce by quoting Moses. (Matthew 19:3-9)
6. Jesus charged the Jewish leaders with using men’s traditions to invalidate God’s commands given through Moses. (Mark 7:8-13)
7. Jesus referred to the Israelites receiving manna from heaven through Moses in the wilderness. (John 6:30-33)
8. Jesus credited Moses with giving the Israelites the Law and the rite of circumcision. (John 7:19-23)
9. On the road to Emmaus after the Resurrection, Jesus explained to two disciples the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures beginning with Moses: “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44)

These references by Jesus to events connected with the Exodus make no sense unless Jesus believed they were historically factual. Since Jesus believed in the Exodus, it is incumbent upon His followers to do so also, regardless of the vicissitudes of interpretations of archaeological discoveries.

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How to See the Documentary

I strongly encourage viewing the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary. It has been shown twice so far this year in theaters on January 19 & 29. If there are subsequent theater showings, they will be announced at Fathom Events. Also many churches will likely show the DVD eventually. While the film probably will not convince any skeptics, it will be a huge encouragement to Christians. The book, movie DVD, and soundtrack are all available for pre-order at the documentary web site: Patterns of Evidence: Exodus.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Do you think it is correct to say that Jesus believed in the Exodus?
  2. Does Jesus’ opinion on the Exodus matter to you?
  3. If you saw the film, what was your reaction to it?
  4. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Read the prequels reviewing the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary:
1. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Did It Happen?
2. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Facing the Facts
(with video)
3. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – The Debate

Read the sequel reviewing the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary:
5. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Does It Matter?
Click SUBSCRIBE to go to the SUBSCRIBE Button in the sidebar to get the sequel article free by email.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read my other articles on Biblical Archaeology:
1. The Mystery of Tsinnur
2. Copper Country
3. One Night of Sin Spawns Centuries of Havoc
4. Blown to Pieces
5. Joseph’s Grain Silos Found in Egypt?
6. Archaeological Study Bible
7. Lost Treasures of the Bible
1. Eyewitness to Jesus
2. Early Date for Matthew
3. Forensic Evidence
4. Significance of the Magdalen Papyrus (w/ video)
Noah’s Ark Found? (with video)
1. Rebuilding Noah’s Ark – Intro
8. Hike the Bible – Roman Road
9. Hike the Bible – Via Maris
21. Hike the Bible – Jesus Boat
23. Hike the Bible – Capernaum Archaeology
25. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum 2
26. Hike the Bible – Miracles at Capernaum 3
1. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Did It Happen?
2. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Facing the Facts (with video)
3. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – The Debate

Read my other Movie Reviews:
The Genesis Code (with video)
Marilyn Monroe and the Age of the Earth
Mystery of Noah’s Flood (with videos)
God’s Not Dead, the Movie (with videos)
Noah, the Movie (with videos)
Exodus, the Movie (with video)
1. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Did It Happen?
2. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Facing the Facts (with video)
3. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – The Debate

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday February 11, 2015 A.D.

By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the first-born might not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
(Hebrews 11:23-29)

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Responses

  1. You have an impeccable way with words. This becomes evident when reading this article. I am impressed with your abilities and I like your point of view. I hope to read more of your articles.

    Like


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