Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 25, 2015

18. Famous Thinkers – Evangelist Is a Creationist 2

Billy Sunday Preaches Vigorously

Billy Sunday Preaches Vigorously

Born in an Iowa log cabin during the Civil War, Billy Sunday (1862-1935) became one of the country’s most popular athletes. It shocked and stunned the nation when he left baseball in March 1891 to preach the Gospel.

Why would a baseball star leave the sport at the height of his ability and success?

The baseball world was astonished when this admired sports hero made such a drastic career change. But Billy Sunday’s radical step impacted the lives of thousands for eternity as he eventually became the country’s most popular preacher.

In Billy Sunday’s day, many preachers were stern, stiff, and dull. Some droned with tortuously long sentences and needlessly complex vocabulary. Sunday was a dynamo who burst on the scene with colloquial rapid-fire illustrations and down-home speech that made him a favorite nationwide.

The previous article surveyed Billy Sunday’s baseball career. This article discusses his career as an evangelist running sizzling revival crusades all over the country, and concludes with a video trailer for a movie on Billy Sunday’s life.

Ministry Career

Sunday served for awhile under John Wilbur Chapman, one of the top evangelists of the day, who mentored Sunday’s theological development. Under Chapman he learned as well the ins and outs of running evangelistic campaigns, how to construct a sermon, and how to preach evangelistically.

In 1896 Sunday started his own campaigns when Chapman returned to the pastorate. Sunday’s rapid-fire speech was laced with baseball illustrations. He acted as if the platform were a baseball diamond as he physically embellished his sermons with baseball maneuvers. He aimed his masculine messages at men. Sunday was a model of muscular Christianity and thus attracted men to his crusades, but he was very popular with women as well.

In his first 10 years from 1896 to 1906 he held 100 revivals with more than half in towns of population under 2,500. Ninety were in towns of population under 10,000. Most were farming communities in the mid-western corn belt from western Iowa to eastern Indiana.

In the early years he used large tents for the meetings. But starting with the Perry, Iowa revival of 1901, he usually required towns to build wooden tabernacles for the revival meetings. Perry, with a population of 4,000, built a 1,000-seat tabernacle for $750.

In 1904 Keokuk, Iowa, built a 3,000-seat tabernacle for Sunday’s crusade at a cost of $2,000. Sunday held 73 meetings in the building during the course of his 31-day revival with a total attendance of 130,000.

Lumber was re-sold after disassembling tabernacles to help recoup costs, and offerings always covered any remaining tabernacle construction expenses.

Towns covered the dirt floors with sawdust to minimize dust and dampen extraneous noise. Sunday invited his hearers to “hit the sawdust trail” in his Gospel invitations, as he urged people to repent of their sin and follow Christ. He asked people to walk down the sawdust aisle to shake his hand to cement their commitment to Christ.

Wooden Tabernacle for Billy Sunday's 1919 Charleston, WV Revival

Wooden Tabernacle for Billy Sunday’s 1922 Charleston, WV 4-Week Revival
Crowds repeatedly overflowed this 6500-seat pine tabernacle built for Sunday’s meetings,
requiring multiple services. Conversions numbered 11,000 and offerings totaled $36,000.

After 1906 Sunday gradually increased the size of the cities in which he held revivals. The population of the six cities with revivals in 1907 averaged 10,000; in 1908 the average population was 20,000. By 1917 the yearly average population reached 1,750,000. From 1906 to 1918 Sunday held revival crusades in 10 of the 15 largest cities in the country and in one-third of the cities with population over 100,000. His geographical range increased as well; from 1912 to 1918 he held revivals in 21 states.

Billy Sunday often used baseball in publicity for his crusades. Sometimes he arranged baseball games with townspeople prior to crusades. At age 53 he hit a home run in an Old-Timers game during the Philadelphia crusade and circled the bases in 16 seconds, not much longer than the 14-second record he set as a player.

He also used baseball in his sermons. He would race around the stage like he used to run the bases and slide into home plate right on the stage shouting, “The devil says I’m out, but the Lord says I’m safe.” He used large print for his sermon notes so that he could catch a peek at them as he ran by the podium.

Billy Sunday Chair

Sunday used a chair for
on-stage fights with the devil.

To say that Billy Sunday was energetic, acrobatic, and dramatic on stage is an understatement. His sermons were entertaining performances as well as being packed with Biblical truth. He did not want people to be bored as he preached the Gospel. He held their close attention through his platform activity.

In some sermons Billy Sunday would grab a chair and dramatize a vigorous onstage fight with the devil. People watched anxiously as Sunday staggered, choked, sputtered, punched, and yelled till he finally would conquer the devil, to everybody’s relief.

Billy Sunday’s authorized biographer Elijah Brown described Sunday’s preaching style:

“There is but one word at your command that will even remotely indicate his manner — action! At one moment he is at one end of his long platform, and before you become used to seeing him there he is at the other, and then quicker than thought he bounds back to the center, giving the desk a solar plexus blow that would knock out a giant. Ever and anon he makes long rapid strides to give it more whacks, until at last a big piece splits off and bounds to the sawdust floor below.”
(Brown, Elijah P., The Real Billy Sunday: The Life and Work of Rev. William Ashley
Sunday, D.D. The Baseball Evangelist
, Otterbein Press, 1914.)

Biographer Bernard Weisberger also spoke of Sunday’s active preaching approach:

“Sunday skipped, ran, walked, bounced, slid, and gyrated on the platform. He would pound the pulpit with his fists until nervous listeners expected to hear crunching bones. He would, in a rage against the Devil, pick up the single kitchen chair which stood behind the reading desk and smash it into kindling; once it slipped away from him and nearly brained a few people in the front rows. As he gesticulated and shook his head, he would shed his coat, then his vest, then his tie, and finally roll up his sleeves as he whipped back and forth, crouching, shaking his fist, springing, leaping, and falling in an endless series of imitations.”
(Weisberger, Bernard, They Gathered at the River, Little, Brown and Company, 1958, p. 248.)

The New York Times reporter described Billy Sunday’s platform gymnastics at the opening of his 10-week New York City revival crusade on Sunday April 8, 1917 with these words:

“He raced up and down the green-carpeted platform … waving his hands, kicking up one knee now and again, like a park-walking horse, brandishing a chair, standing with one foot on the chair and another on the pulpit, bending over backwards like a springy sword blade, bobbing back and forth and waving a handkerchief between his legs as he reeled off one of his amazing long lists of vituperative epithets and displaying as much energy, determination, and virtuous enthusiasm as Douglas Fairbanks [famous actor known for swashbuckling roles and the host of the first Oscar ceremony in 1929].”
(McLoughlin, William G., Billy Sunday Was His Real Name, The University of Chicago Press, 1955, p. xx.)

New York excitedly anticipated Billy Sunday’s first “sawdust trail” invitation in the wooden tabernacle that had been built for the meetings. At the time, it was the largest building ever erected in New York for public meetings, holding 20,000. Unlike other evangelists, Sunday delayed asking for converts. As daily meetings continued one after another, no one knew when the first invitation call would come and this stoked the fires of expectation and publicity. It finally began on April 19, the twelfth day of the crusade.

Helen & Billy Sunday in 1915

Helen & Billy Sunday in 1915
Billy’s wife Helen was the business
manager for many of his campaigns

This New York City crusade began two days after America had declared war on Germany, and Sunday’s opening evening sermon “God’s Grenadiers” was a mixture of Christianity and support for the war effort. At the end of the sermon, Sunday stood on top of the pulpit waving a huge American flag as the crowd sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America.”

The New York crusade was the apex of Billy Sunday’s career. He preached twice a day Tuesday through Saturday and three times on Sunday, all without loudspeakers. Total attendance for the 71-day revival April 8 – June 17 was 1,443,000 with 98,264 conversions.

By June 6 the daily offerings had covered the $200,000 cost of the campaign; the remaining 11 days raised $120,490 which Sunday donated to the Red Cross, YMCA, and YWCA, as he had promised in the first sermon of the crusade. Thus he sought to blunt the criticism that he was only in it for the money.

Upon the conclusion of the revival, John D. Rockefeller Jr. declared,

“Billy Sunday’s campaign in New York City has been tremendously successful–exceeding the most enthusiastic expectations of those who invited him here. … So far as the awakening of the city to religious things is concerned, the campaign is scarcely beginning. Think of the vast number of men and women who have been led by Billy to take an interest in cleaner living. … I am very glad that I had a part in bringing this great religious force to New York.”
(McLoughlin, William G., Billy Sunday Was His Real Name, The University of Chicago Press, 1955, p. xxviii.)

New York governor Charles S. Whitman telegrammed Billy Sunday upon his departure:

“The people of New York City and State recognize and appreciate this great service you have rendered.”
(McLoughlin, William G., Billy Sunday Was His Real Name, The University of Chicago Press, 1955, p. xxviii.)

Front Page of the Jefferson Bee Newspaper

Iowa’s Jefferson Bee Newspaper
Front page featuring Billy Sunday’s
Jefferson revival, January 7, 1904.
Converts listed in right-hand column.

Sunday’s crusades were enthusiastically received. Newspapers all over the country extensively covered his crusades, including printing transcripts of his sermons. For example during 1917, the New York Times printed 116 articles on Billy Sunday. Newspaper accounts consistently reported that the tabernacles were filled daily. The total crusade attendance for New York was nearly a million and a half, for Boston a million and a half, and for Philadelphia two million.

Newspapers also reported the offerings at his crusades. From 1907 to 1918, Sunday held 65 crusades, running 4 to 6 crusades each year. Over these 12 years the freewill offerings for Sunday at the crusades totaled $1,139,315. This total does not include offerings that covered crusade expenses. This was an average freewill offering for Sunday of $17,528 per crusade during this time period.

Sunday gave both the New York and Chicago crusade offerings totaling $176,490 completely to charity. Subtracting this from the total gives $962,825 for an average yearly offering of $80,235. He gave a tenth to charity and paid one-third of his staff salaries out of this. Additional income included lecture fees, investments, gifts, and book royalties. In 1920 Dunn and Bradstreet rated him as worth $1,500,000. Sunday pointed out that it was nobody’s business how much he was worth or what he did with his money as it was the Lord’s blessing on him.

Sunday’s success was partially due to extensive advance work and planning in each city. For example, work began in Boston eight months before the crusade with a team of volunteers that soon reached 35,000. In New York volunteers began a year ahead of time and eventually numbered 50,000.

Those who “followed the sawdust trail” (converts) at Sunday’s urging roughly numbered about 10% of a city’s population for cities with populations under 100,000. The cities with the three largest convert totals were New York (98,264), Boston (64,484), and Chicago (49,165).

Billy Sunday also pioneered radio preaching. The FCC was established when his radio preaching interfered with baseball game broadcasts.

Billy Sunday’s crusade career spanned 40 years from 1896 to 1935. Enormous crowds totaling over 100 million attended his sensational sermons, as he conducted over 300 separate revival campaigns. “Sawdust trail” converts numbered over 1,000,000, and he raised millions of dollars in campaign offerings to cover crusade expenses and salaries.

Sunday estimated that he had delivered 20,000 sermons over his career, averaging 42 per month from 1896 to 1935.

Here’s a YouTube clip of a proposed movie on Billy Sunday:

The next blog article will delve into some of Sunday’s sermons and discuss what he believed and taught. (Click SUBSCRIBE to go to the SUBSCRIBE Button in the sidebar to get the next blog post free by email.)

Questions to Ponder
  1. What could a present-day Bible teacher do today to seize the attention and commitment of contemporary Americans as Billy Sunday did in his day?
  2. Is it legitimate for a gospel minister to be wealthy? Why or why not?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the eighteenth installment in the Famous Thinkers series highlighting great men who believed in the Creator.
Read the prequels:
1. Famous Thinkers – Former U.S. President Supports Intelligent Design
2. Famous Thinkers – Scientist Supports Intelligent Design
3. Famous Thinkers – Mathematician Supports Intelligent Design
4. Famous Thinkers – Theologian Testifies for Creation
5. Famous Thinkers – Rocket Scientist Supports Intelligent Design
6. Famous Thinkers – Botanist Supports Creation
7. Famous Thinkers – Botanist Supports Creation 2
8. Famous Thinkers – Astronomer Is a Creationist
9. Famous Thinkers – Mathematician Is a Creationist
10. Famous Thinkers – Mathematician Is a Creationist 2
11. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 1
12. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 2
13. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 3
14. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 4
15. Famous Thinkers – Physician Is a Creationist
16. Famous Thinkers – President Is a Creationist
17. Famous Thinkers – Evangelist Is a Creationist 1

Read the sequel:
19. Famous Thinkers – Evangelist Is a Creationist 3 coming soon…
Click SUBSCRIBE to go to the SUBSCRIBE Button in the sidebar to get the sequel article free by email.

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
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SUBSCRIBE NOW!

©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 March 25, 2015 A.D.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 18, 2015

17. Famous Thinkers – Evangelist Is a Creationist 1

What professional baseball player who influenced a million people to follow Christ said this?

“I don’t believe your own bastard theory of evolution, either; I believe it’s pure jackass nonsense. When the consensus of scholarship says one thing and the Word of God another, the consensus of scholarship can go plumb to hell for all I care.”

This 19th century player was still famous enough to make the 2013 Panini Golden Age Card Set

This 19th century player was still famous
enough to make this Panini Golden Age
Collectors’ Card Set in 2013

I don’t endorse the salty language this man sometimes used, but his passion for the truth electrified America with vigorous, unapologetic Biblical preaching. A former professional baseball player, his lively physical antics on stage riveted listeners’ rapt attention.

But Christians with more conventional perspectives cringed at his unorthodox style and language and even publicly criticized him. Nevertheless he preached the Word of God to over 100 million people, and estimates of conversions at his tabernacle meetings run to over one million. Both hearers and conversions are believed to number more than anyone else prior to Billy Graham.

Born in an Iowa log cabin during the Civil War, this man became one of the country’s most popular athletes. It stunned the nation when he left baseball to preach the Gospel. But eventually he became the country’s most popular preacher.

Who is this man?

Baseball fans remembered him racing around the diamond, clutching his hat. He set a record for the fastest trip around the bases (14 secs). People came to hear this man’s practical, down-to-earth, illustration-laced talks and to see his on-stage baseball-inspired dramatics. He said,

“I want to preach the gospel so plainly that men can come from the factories and not have to bring a dictionary.”

This man was a stalwart proponent and defender of Biblical Christianity. He said,

“Nowadays we think we are too smart to believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus and too well educated to believe in the Resurrection. That’s why people are going to the devil in multitudes.”

He preached colloquially, using the vernacular of the day to best communicate with ordinary people:

“I may be crude. I use slang. But I always make myself understood. The average man-the man in the street has only about 300 words in his vocabulary. He needs the message, and I speak his language so he will understand.”

Who was this star baseball player and world-famous evangelist?

Chicago Centerfielder Billy Sunday Baseball Card

Centerfielder Billy Sunday
Chicago White Stockings
Baseball Card from late 1880s

This man was William Ashley Sunday, popularly known as Billy Sunday (1862-1935).

Sunday played professional baseball for eight seasons on three teams, during which time he became a Christian. He left baseball in order to preach the Gospel and became the most famous revivalist of the early twentieth century. His sermons were performances that entertained as well as communicated Biblical truth in everyday language.

Sunday biographer William Glyn Evans wrote:

“Sunday learned that people listened better when they could visualize what they were hearing. So he became active, dramatic, and acrobatic, and the crowds were delighted. He was purposely sensational, his language purposely extravagant, his delivery purposely accentuated, because he wanted to make the gospel interesting to hear. Also, Sunday embodied the masculine approach to preaching. His athletic career, his vast energy, his taut nervous system, and his sheer animal display drew men of all sorts into his tabernacles. He presented himself as a lone, courageous battler against the overwhelming forces of evil—the devil, liquor, sin, vice, and corruption.”
(Evans, William Glyn, Profiles of Revival Leaders, Broadman Press, 1976, p. 85.)

Baseball Career

In 1883 Billy Sunday broke into professional baseball with the National League champion Chicago White Stockings as an outfielder. Team owner Albert G. Spalding, founder of Spalding Sporting Goods, signed Sunday on the recommendation of Hall of Famer Cap Anson who managed the team and starred as a player.

Initially Sunday impressed Anson by beating the fastest man on the Chicago team in a 100-yard race, winning by 15 feet. Manager Anson grew to trust Billy Sunday so much that he turned over to him the responsibility for paying travel expenses for the team and handling ticket receipts. During Sunday’s five years with the team, Chicago won National League championships in 1885 & 1886.

Halfway through the 1885 season, Sunday was batting .371 — one of only two Chicago players batting over .300. During the season a sportswriter wrote this of Billy Sunday:

“His pace between bases is simply terrific, and when he goes to bat the crowd seems instinctively to turn its eyes toward the carriage line or the right field fence. What to any other man would be a two or three-base hit, is to Sunday a three-bagger or a home run, and the way he climbs over the earth between those bags is something to part the lips and open the eyes of any man with a soul in his body or blood in his veins.”
(Knickerbocker, W., Sunday at the Ballpark: Billy Sunday‟s Professional Baseball Career, 1883-1890, The Scarecrow Press Inc., 2000, p. 41.)

Sporting Life said,

“Sunday is about as good an every day player as Chicago can boast. The man doesn’t live who can beat him at base running; he is a strong, safe batter, and his fielding play is generally faultless.”

While playing for Chicago in 1886, Sunday heard a street preacher from the Pacific Garden Mission. Stirred by the hymns which were reminiscent of his mother’s singing, he started attending worship services and soon committed his life to God. Feeling God’s call to preach, he began speaking in churches and YMCA meetings.

A favorite baseball story that Sunday told repeatedly in sermons involved a game he played for Chicago in Detroit. With two out in the bottom of the ninth, Detroit had the tying and winning runs on base. The batter slammed a screamer over Billy Sunday’s head in right field. He recalled,

“As I saw the ball rise in the air, I knew it was going clear over my head into the crowd that overflowed the field. I turned my back to the ball and ran. The field was crowded with people, and as I ran I yelled, ‘Get out of the way!’ and that crowd opened like the Red Sea for the rod of Moses. I ran on, and as I ran I made a prayer; it wasn’t theological either, I tell you that. I said, ‘God, if you ever helped mortal man, help me to get that ball!’ I ran and jumped over the bench; when I thought I was under it, I stopped. I looked back and saw it going over my head, and I jumped and shoved out my left hand, and the ball hit it and stuck! At the rate I was going the momentum carried me on, and I fell under the feet of a team of horses. But I held on to it and jumped up with the ball in my hand. My how they yelled! Tom Johnson, who used to be mayor of Cleveland–dead now–rushed up to me and poked a ten dollar bill in my hand. ‘Here, Bill,’ he cried to me, ‘Greatest thing I ever saw! Buy yourself the best hat in Chicago. That catch won me $1500.'”
(McLoughlin, William G., Billy Sunday Was His Real Name, The University of Chicago Press, 1955, p. 5.)

1889 Pittsburgh Alleghenys Baseball Team

1889 Pittsburgh Alleghenys Baseball Team
Centerfielder Billy Sunday is 2nd from left in middle row. Hall of Fame infielder & strong
Christian James “Deacon” White is third from right in top row. Hall of Fame pitcher Pud
Galvin is on Billy’s right. Hall of Fame 1st baseman Jake Beckley is on left end of front row.

For the 1888 season, Sunday was sold to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys (now the Pittsburgh Pirates). He was the star of the team in center field. Renowned for his speed on the bases and in the field, Sunday thrilled fans with acrobatic diving catches. This was done barehanded in the era before players used baseball gloves.

In August 1890 Sunday was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies who hoped he would lead the team on a late-season pennant run. He signed a 3-year contract at $400/month for the 7-month season. This was at a time when the average worker in America made only about $500 yearly.

Outfielder Billy Sunday

Philadelphia Outfielder Billy Sunday, 1890

However, in March 1891 Sunday obtained his release from the Phillies and left baseball to enter Christian ministry at a greatly reduced salary. Upon being released by Philadelphia, the Cincinnati ballclub offered him $500/month, but he elected to minister with the YMCA at $83.33/month. Later clubs offered him up to $2,000/month to return to baseball, but he declined. Much later as a successful evangelist he was offered $1,000,000 to be in movies, but he refused in order to continue his evangelistic crusades.

The baseball world was astonished when this admired sports hero made such a drastic career change. The next blog article in this series will consider Billy Sunday’s radical step that impacted the lives of thousands for eternity.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Why would a highly-paid star player like Billy Sunday play for his new team for just a few months? What could cause him to leave while on the crest of impressive athleticism and success?
  2. Has your passion for excellence on the job inspired the confidence and trust of co-workers, as Billy Sunday did while on the White Stockings team?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the seventeenth installment in the Famous Thinkers series highlighting great men who believed in the Creator.
Read the prequels:
1. Famous Thinkers – Former U.S. President Supports Intelligent Design
2. Famous Thinkers – Scientist Supports Intelligent Design
3. Famous Thinkers – Mathematician Supports Intelligent Design
4. Famous Thinkers – Theologian Testifies for Creation
5. Famous Thinkers – Rocket Scientist Supports Intelligent Design
6. Famous Thinkers – Botanist Supports Creation
7. Famous Thinkers – Botanist Supports Creation 2
8. Famous Thinkers – Astronomer Is a Creationist
9. Famous Thinkers – Mathematician Is a Creationist
10. Famous Thinkers – Mathematician Is a Creationist 2
11. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 1
12. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 2
13. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 3
14. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 4
15. Famous Thinkers – Physician Is a Creationist
16. Famous Thinkers – President Is a Creationist

Read the sequel:
18. Famous Thinkers – Evangelist Is a Creationist 2

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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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 March 18, 2015 A.D.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 11, 2015

Kepler & the Psycho Squirrel

Kepler Squirrel

In the Christmas Vacation movie a squirrel rides into the house concealed within a Christmas tree. Later a large Rottweiler dog chases the squirrel throughout the house. They go round and round through the rooms destroying everything in their path. It is quite humorous as long as you are a viewer and not a participant.

Here’s a YouTube clip of the movie’s Squirrel-Rottweiler segment:


 
Recently we ourselves had this same “Dog chases squirrel through the house” experience for real, but with less damage. Here’s the story.

One day last week our dog started showing intense interest in the closed glass doors of our fireplace. Later we heard noises in the fireplace and saw a black squirrel rearranging the paper and sticks that were laid for the next fire. The squirrel may have been a pregnant female looking for a good nesting place.

Cracking the fireplace glass doors, I drove the squirrel out through the ash-cleanout at the bottom. I thought the problem was solved. Little did I anticipate the turmoil that was in the offing.

Fire

That same evening I started a fire in our fireplace. About half an hour later, a black squirrel leaped out of the fireplace onto the fireplace screen, climbed the screen, leaped to the mantle, ran along the mantle scattering objects in its path, jumped down onto a stack of firewood, ran behind the four-foot-high TV cabinet, and then up onto the cabinet beside the TV and DVD player.

The picture shows the state of the fireplace when the squirrel leaped out of the ash-cleanout beneath the fire, climbed the screen and escaped into the room. I was sitting in a chair in front of the fire and saw the squirrel climb the screen and leap out.

Dead Squirrel

Kepler’s Dead Squirrel in the Snow
(soup can is for scale)

The squirrel was full-grown and coal-black. I keep the ash-cleanout open to draw in outside air to feed the fire, and this is how the squirrel got in. It was probably attracted by the fire’s warmth.

I had no hope of catching the squirrel once it was loose in the house, but I knew who could catch it.

Kepler is our year-old Jack Russell terrier puppy (today is his birthday) named for the Biblical creationist, mathematician, and astronomer Johann Kepler (1571-1630) who discovered the three Laws of Planetary Motion.

Kepler considers all people and dogs friends, and he is always eager to meet someone new. He soon proved, however, to have a different attitude toward squirrels. Kepler rocketed after the squirrel with an intensity and singularity of purpose to be admired.

Kepler Glass Door

Kepler Jumping at the Glass Door
He barked and jumped for 20 minutes
trying to get to his now-dead squirrel.

The squirrel’s fatal mistake was leaving the high ground of the TV cabinet. It jumped down onto the wood pile and proceeded to lead Kepler on a not-so-merry chase. They ran across the family room knocking over a pile of newspapers, up and over the sofa, through the kitchen, into the front hall, back through the kitchen running under the kitchen table, and into the family room again — all with Kepler in extremely hot pursuit the whole way.

The squirrel was squeaking and bits of its fur were flying as Kepler kept snapping hard on its heels. Later we found tufts of black squirrel fur all over the family room and kitchen floors. Look closely at the picture with the soup can to see bare spots on its flank and side where Kepler removed fur during the chase.

Kepler Jump

Kepler jumped so high he left the picture

Kepler finally ran the squirrel to ground under the desk in the family room and killed it. I threw its body out the sliding glass door into the snow.

This was the most excitement Kepler has had all winter. It was even pretty exciting for us as we watched. Kepler was beside himself with excitement for a full 20 minutes after the kill. He kept jumping at the sliding glass door on his hind legs and barking. Nothing would distract him till my wife moved the dead squirrel out of sight. Then he prowled the family room for half an hour hunting for more squirrels with his nose.

The job Kepler performed with such skill, efficiency, speed, and dispatch was amazing to watch. It could not possibly have been improved upon. Man could never design and build such an efficient squirrel-catching device.

Kepler Glass Door

Kepler still wants the squirrel the next day

We have gray squirrels, reddish brown squirrels, and black squirrels in our yard, but Kepler has shown very little interest in them in the past — possibly because he was still a young puppy.

Where did Kepler get his lightning reflexes? Why did he chase the squirrel? Who taught him how to catch squirrels?

I did not tell Kepler to get the squirrel. I have never taught or trained Kepler on how to catch a squirrel. The Creator built this capability into Kepler’s DNA. Imagine the complexity of that coding job! No human has any idea how to write that code in the DNA. This is another way in which little Kepler glorifies his Creator — by doing very well what he was well-designed to do.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Every creature glorifies its Creator. How does your favorite animal glorify the Creator?
  2. Have you felt the exhilaration of watching someone do just what they were created to do? Describe the occasion.
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the prequels on our puppy Kepler:
Why I Named Our Puppy “Kepler”
Kepler’s Kind
Kepler’s Lopsided Trade
Kepler’s Amazing Nose
Kepler’s Business Card

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Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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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 March 11, 2015 A.D.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
(Job 12:7-10)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | March 4, 2015

Kepler’s Business Card

Kepler

Kepler

Have you ever met a dog who has his own business card? If not, then let me introduce you to Kepler so you can learn the reason for his card!

Kepler is our 11-month-old Jack Russell terrier puppy named for the Biblical creationist, mathematician, and astronomer Johann Kepler(1571-1630) who discovered the three Laws of Planetary Motion.

Kepler is an appealing little dog who draws lots of attention and stimulates strangers’ comments wherever he goes. Whether at a campground, a festival, or walking our neighborhood, Kepler considers all people and dogs friends. He is always eager to meet someone new.

I decided to put Kepler’s ability to “break the ice” with people to good use. I wanted his magnetism to “put a stone in people’s shoes.” In other words, I hoped people would leave our conversations about the dog with something significant to mull over. To that end, when people show special interest in Kepler, I give them Kepler’s card.

Like many business cards, the front of the card has the puppy’s name and picture. It includes identifying info for his namesake Johann Kepler, along with this quote from Professor Kepler:

“The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God.”

Here is a picture of the front of Kepler’s card:
KeplerCard

Here is a picture of the back of Kepler’s card:
KeplerCardBack

The Bible verses on the back of Kepler’s card are signed with paw prints. The first verse on the back is the foundational verse for the entire Bible:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

The second verse on the back is what I think of as God’s stone in man’s shoe.
He made the stars also. (Genesis 1:16)

This brief comment leaps off the page from the end of a Bible verse which describes God’s creative activity on the Fourth Day of Creation (Genesis 1:16).

But in the original Hebrew the comment is even briefer — simply “and the stars“:
And God maketh the two great luminaries, the great luminary for the rule of the day, and the small luminary — and the stars — for the rule of the night.
(Genesis 1:16, Young’s Literal Translation)

Globular Star Cluster M15

Globular Star Cluster M15
M15 with over 100,000 stars is 175 light-years across and is about 33,600 light-years away in the constellation Pegasus in the Milky Way galaxy.

Yet this very brief understated comment, just a little stone in your shoe to keep snagging your attention, is truly astronomically astounding!!! Think what “and the stars” entails:

The galaxies God made in a single day 6,000 years ago range from dwarf galaxies with “only” ten million (10,000,000) stars to giant galaxies with 100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000) stars. Our own Milky Way galaxy contains over 100 billion (100,000,000,000) stars. And there are well over 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe.

The total energy of all these stars and galaxies is incomprehensible to humans. The power of the Creator is beyond man’s imagination. Yet man daily dares to insult and profane his Maker. Go figure.

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

The final passage on Kepler’s card comes from the Apostle Peter’s sermon in Acts 10 for Cornelius’ relatives and friends. It outlines the basics of the Gospel:
You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing…They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible…to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God…after He arose from the dead. This is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. (Acts 10:38-43)

I trust that God will use Kepler’s business card, in particular the Scripture on its back, to impact people for eternity.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Has God used anyone to “put a stone in your shoe?” That is, did someone plant an idea that worried around in your head and nagged at your heart, creating a discomfort that only God could relieve? How did they slip the stone into your shoe?
  2. What is your favorite technique for putting a stone in someone’s shoe?
  3. Think of an ordinary question you get asked frequently. How could you use that opportunity to put a stone in someone’s shoe?
  4. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Note: I got the “put a stone in someone’s shoe” terminology from Christian apologist Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Read the prequels on our puppy Kepler:
Why I Named Our Puppy “Kepler”
Kepler’s Kind
Kepler’s Lopsided Trade
Kepler’s Amazing Nose

Read the sequel:
Kepler & the Psycho Squirrel

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Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
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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 March 4, 2015 A.D.

But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
(Job 12:7-10)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 25, 2015

Brian Williams & the Resurrection

NBC anchor Brian Williams at April 2011 Time 100 gala

NBC anchor Brian Williams
(April 2011 Time 100 gala)

What would cause an admired and acclaimed leading news anchor to be suspended for 6 months without pay?

How could this happen to someone like NBC’s Nightly News Anchor and Managing Editor Brian Williams?

Williams had reported that his helicopter had been hit by rocket-propelled grenade fire and forced down while covering the Iraq war in March 2003. Williams repeated this story on the NBC Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015. However, soldiers who were present at the time Williams claimed to have been shot down disputed his account to Stars and Stripes.
(See also Soldiers offer eyewitness accounts of the Brian Williams Chinook story, Stars and Stripes, Feb 6, 2015.)

Subsequently on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, Williams apologized for misremembering and conflating events in his mind as he tried to recall circumstances from 12 years previously.

On Tuesday, February 10, NBC News President Deborah Turness said,

“While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position. As Managing Editor and anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times….We believe this suspension is the appropriate and proportionate action.”
(From Brian Williams suspended for six months, USA Today, Feb 10, 2015.)

How Should Christians Respond?

Everyone of us has lied at least once in our life and probably many times for most of us. We just have not been caught so publicly as Mr. Williams. If he acknowledges his misstatements or falsehoods, we should be willing to forgive him and give him a second chance.

Nevertheless, I am very glad to see NBC uphold Truth as a vital value, even though I think it’s somewhat hypocritical. NBC has covered and promoted lying liberals for years with little criticism and precious few if any attempts to hold them to a standard of truth. Yet they feel their anchor must tell the truth.

The six-month suspension without pay is suitable discipline. I would restore him to his job when the suspension is completed.

How Does This Relate to the Resurrection of Jesus?

I think this Williams incident illustrates the credibility of the Resurrection accounts.

Williams’ fairly innocuous, relatively meaningless lie could not stand up to public scrutiny. Eyewitnesses came forward to dispute and disprove Williams’ account.

20090403-EasterDevolution

The apostles’ claim that Jesus had been raised from the dead was a far greater and much more significant claim than that of Williams. Yet there is no record of anybody disputing or disproving the claim.

Why was the soldier-guarded tomb empty? All that was needed to falsify the Resurrection claim was to produce the body. Where was the body?

The Resurrection of Jesus has withstood the most intense scrutiny of any historical claim. The Jewish leaders of the time would dearly loved to have been able to shut up the apostles by disproving the Resurrection through producing the body. They could not do so. All they could do was try to silence the apostles through threats. Over the ensuing 2000 years, innumerable people have sought to disprove or explain away the Resurrection without success.

The Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles in the New Testament are our best historical sources on the Resurrection. They document eyewitness accounts of what happened. They are reports by men who paid with severe persecution and eventually with their lives for their insistent testimony to the Resurrection.

The apostles claimed they saw the body from the tomb in the resurrected Jesus. The Apostle Paul reports that over 500 people, most of whom were still alive when Paul wrote, saw Jesus simultaneously (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Far fewer than 500 people were available to correct Brian Williams’ account, and yet it was caught and corrected.

Jesus’ grave was public knowledge and guarded by a cadre of Roman soldiers. All that was necessary to disprove Resurrection claims was to produce the body. Nobody produced the body, because they could not.

Empty grave clothes left in the tomb show that the body was not stolen (John 20:5-7). No grave robber would have taken the time and effort to unwrap the body, leave the grave clothes, and carry off the bare body. The body would be easier to carry away if it were still wrapped in grave clothes.

The disciples would not have declared and died for Resurrection claims that were so easily falsifiable, unless they knew Jesus rose from the dead.

Scripture records over 500 people seeing Jesus alive on at least 10 different occasions within weeks after He had been buried in a sealed tomb for three days and three nights. Matthew, Mark, John, Peter and Paul recorded testimony to the Resurrection as eyewitnesses. Investigative reporter Luke documented his research findings.

I believe the disciples. The empty tomb and discarded grave clothes thunder, “Resurrection.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Have you ever been publicly exposed in a lie? How embarrassing was it?
  2. Is it harder to forgive Brian Williams or a close confidant who lied to you?
  3. How do you explain the Resurrection? Did it happen as the Gospels report, or do you have some other explanation?
  4. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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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 25, 2015 A.D.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 18, 2015

5. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Does It Matter?

PatternsExodusMahoney3

Is the Exodus from Egypt a legend or is it true history?

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.

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

This fifth article considers this question: Does it matter whether the Exodus is a historical event that actually took place?

PatternsExodusControversial

Does It Matter?

To begin with, let’s clarify the issue by three questions:

Does it matter whether the Exodus plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea were real historical events or simply inspiring stories about events that never actually happened?

Does it matter whether the Biblical accounts of Creation, Adam’s Sin, Noah’s Flood, Tower of Babel, Virgin Birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection are historically true or are only intriguing stories to encourage mankind?

Does it matter whether physical evidence can be found to back up the Bible’s report of these events?

The answer to these three questions is both Yes and No.

PatternsExodusTrue

Yes, It Does Matter

Yes, it does matter that events reported in Scripture actually occurred, no matter how many scholars state otherwise.

American Rabbi David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, CA, the largest Jewish congregation in the world. In 2007, 2008, and 2009 Newsweek Magazine named David Wolpe one of the fifty most important Rabbis in America. In 2012 Newsweek named him the most influential Rabbi in America. In the same year the Jerusalem Post listed him as one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world.

But Rabbi Wolpe does not believe the Exodus happened as the Torah describes. In the film, to explain his observance of Passover despite not believing in the Exodus, he said,

“Things that aren’t facts can be truths.”

Wolpe is saying that the Exodus never happened, but it doesn’t matter because the spiritual meaning of the “Exodus story” is what is important.

But it does matter! How can a spiritual truth be based on a lie? Judaism and Christianity are based on historical events that really happened. If they did not happen, the two faiths are worthless. Disbelief in the Exodus account undermines the Passover which pointed to the redemption from sin accomplished by Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. It undermines the New Testament Epistles which explain the meaning of Christ’s redemptive work. Exodus denial undermines the basic message of the Old and New Testaments.

PatternsExodusPrager

Jewish talk-show host and film panelist Dennis Prager disagreed with all the anti-Exodus rabbis and scholars. He said, “I think it does matter if the Jews were slaves in Egypt and whether the Exodus took place.” Prager believes actual historical events comprise the essential foundation of Judaism and Christianity.

It absolutely does matter whether Old Testament events actually occurred. The theology and message of the Bible is grounded on historical events that actually happened. For example, if Adam’s Sin was not a historical event, then most of the Bible is meaningless. What do we need to be saved from if Adam did not sin?

PatternsExodusBimson

The Apostle Paul said that if Jesus was not raised from the dead, then faith is worthless, and believers are still in their sins (1 Corinthians 15:14-19). The hope of the Christian is grounded on the historical fact of the Resurrection.

If the events did not occur as the Bible reports, then the Bible is full of lies and cannot be trusted for anything.

No, It Does Not Matter

No, it does not matter whether physical evidence can be found to back up the Bible’s report of events.

The truth of the Bible does not depend on external supportive evidence. Just because evidence of an event cannot be found, does not mean the event did not happen. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Many historical events that we know about only through written records have left no archaeological trace.

However, I think filmmaker Tim Mahoney is right to look for evidence of Exodus-connected events. These six major events connected with the Exodus
1. Arrival of Joseph & Jacob’s family in Egypt
2. Multiplication of Hebrews into a nation in Egypt
3. Hebrew Enslavement in Egypt
4. Ten Plagues on Egypt
5. Exodus from Egypt
6. Conquest of Canaan by the Israelites
were impactful enough to potentially leave a footprint of physical evidence that is still discernible by archaeologists today. Thus it’s not surprising that Mahoney found evidence of these events that he presents in his film. His evidence simply corroborates the most important evidence of the events which is the Biblical record itself.

PatternsExodusKorthals

Finding external supportive evidence of the Bible’s historical accounts can be a big encouragement to Christians, and it occasionally may influence skeptics. Biblical archaeology is very interesting, rewarding, and helpful, but it is not necessary. Archaeology can only confirm a tiny percentage of the events of the past. That does not mean that events without archaeological support did not happen.

Instead of using archaeological evidence to evaluate the Bible, one should use the Bible to interpret the evidence. All evidence has to be interpreted. The correct approach is to base one’s thinking on the unchanging Word of God, rather than base one’s thinking on the ever changing results of man’s research, no matter what the field – archaeology, philosophy, or science. (1 Peter 1:24-25)

PatternsEvidExodPoster

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. Does it matter whether the Exodus actually occurred as described in the Bible? What do you think?
  2. If you saw the film, what was your reaction?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

This concludes the series of five articles reviewing the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary.
Read the prequels:
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
4. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – What Did Jesus Think?

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

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
4. Patterns of Evidence: What Did Jesus Think?

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
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SUBSCRIBE NOW!

©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 18, 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)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 11, 2015

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

PatternsExodusTrue2

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.

PatternsExodusCamels

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.

PatternsExodusWelke

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)

PatternsExodusPotter

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.

PatternsExodusMitchell

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.

PatternsEvidExodPoster

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

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click
SUBSCRIBE NOW!

©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)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 4, 2015

3. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – The Debate

PatternsExodusAbraham

Is the Exodus from Egypt a myth or is it the truth? Is there physical evidence in the dirt that corroborates the Bible’s account?

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

Author and filmmaker Timothy Mahoney features over a dozen archaeologists and professors with expertise in Egyptian and Israeli archaeology. These experts represent both sides of the Exodus issue: those who believe it did not happen and those who believe it did. The in-depth interviews with some of the world’s top experts in the fields of Archaeology, Egyptology, and Biblical History are a key feature of the film.

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
This third article looks at competing opinions on the Exodus expressed in the film.

PatternsExodusMahoneyMap

The totality of the evidence Mahoney gathers is weighty and impressive. In summary, he effectively presents archaeological indications and evidence of Joseph in Egypt and of a Semitic population mushrooming in the Nile delta. This Semitic group experiences slavery and hardship, then departs suddenly and reappears later in Canaan as a populous nation called “Israel” which proceeds with a military conquest of Canaan. This sequence fits the Biblical record very well.

The Debate

Filmmaker Mahoney presents compelling evidence. But most archaeologists ignore these findings, because they do not fit their own preconceived timeline. The movie argues that the reason archaeologists haven’t recognized any evidence of the Exodus is that they are looking in the wrong time period. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus builds a strong case that the Exodus actually happened around 1450 BC, just as the Bible’s timeline indicates, instead of around 1250 BC as most archaeologists assume.

Will Exodus skeptics watch this film, smack their forehead, and exclaim,
Duh! We sure missed the boat on the Exodus!“?

Not a chance! Most of the scholars who were interviewed pooh-poohed Mahoney’s findings.

Denying Historical Validity

PatternsExodusFinkelstein

Israel Finkelstein is one of Israel’s leading archaeologists and one of the experts interviewed in the film. He denies all evidence of the Exodus and Conquest of Canaan as he disputes most of the historical record of the Pentateuch and Joshua. In his book The Bible Unearthed, which would be more accurately titled The Bible Buried, Finkelstein says:

“The process we describe here is, in fact, the opposite of what we have in the Bible: the emergence of early Israel was an outcome of the collapse of the Canaanite culture, not its cause. And most of the Israelites did not come from outside Canaan – they emerged from within it. There was no mass Exodus from Egypt. There was no violent conquest of Canaan. Most of the people who formed early Israel were local people – the same people whom we see in the highlands throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages. The early Israelites were – irony of ironies – themselves originally Canaanites!”
(Israel Finkelstein, The Bible Unearthed, Free Press, 2002, p. 118)

PatternsExodusHerzog

Ze’ev Herzog is a Tel Aviv University archaeologist who does not believe in the Exodus either. He wrote in Haaretz (Israel’s oldest daily newspaper):

“Following 70 years of intensive excavations in the Land of Israel, archaeologists have found out: The patriarchs’ acts are legendary, the Israelites did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, they did not conquer the land. Neither is there any mention of the empire of David and Solomon, nor of the source of belief in the God of Israel. These facts have been known for years, but Israel is a stubborn people and nobody wants to hear about it.

This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is the fact that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom.”
(From Herzog, Deconstructing the Walls of Jericho, Haaretz, October 29, 1999)

Even prominent Jewish rabbis like the late Sherwin Wine adamantly deny the Exodus. Rabbi Wine, known as “the rabbi who doesn’t believe in God,” says in his book A Provocative People: A Secular History of the Jews,

“The Jews did not begin with Abraham….The Jews did not emerge as a nation under the leadership of Moses. They were never rescued from slavery in Egypt. They never stopped at Sinai.”
(Wine, A Provocative People: A Secular History of the Jews, International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, 2012, p. iii)

Speaking of the Biblical account from Abraham through the Exodus to the Conquest of Canaan, Rabbi Wine says in the same book,

“This is the biblical story of the origins of the Jewish people. Wherever Jews and Christians are to be found, this story is popular and familiar. It is so popular and so familiar that it has been incorporated into the patriotism and the holidays of the Jewish and Christian worlds. While the story may be familiar, charming and even inspirational, it suffers from a major problem. It is simply not true. There is no evidence—beyond the text of the Bible—that most of these events took place, or that most of these people really existed.”
(Wine, Prologue to A Provocative People: A Secular History of the Jews)

Mainstream archaeologists who accept the Exodus place it around 1250 BC under Ramses the Great, primarily because Exodus 1:11 says the Hebrew slaves built Ramses, a storage city for Pharoah. However, Ramses was a general name for the region used as far back as the time of Joseph (Genesis 47:11) — 400 years before the Exodus. So the Exodus 1:11 reference cannot be used to connect the time of the Exodus to Pharoah Ramses II anymore than the Genesis 47:11 reference connects Joseph to Pharoah Ramses.

PatternsExodusRohl

PatternsExodusMahoney

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Affirming Historical Validity

Egyptologist David Rohl is a prominent exception to the scholarly consensus denying the Exodus. Rohl is an agnostic who is not convinced of the existence of God, but he sees clear archaeological evidence of Joseph and the Hebrews in the ancient city of Avaris in the Nile Delta. Rohl says that Moses was the greatest of historians and that the Bible is the world’s first history book. He thinks mainstream archaeologists miss the evidence for the Exodus because they are looking in the wrong time period. In the film he presented archaeological evidence that corroborated the historical accounts of Moses and Joshua, as they report on the Hebrews’ time in Egypt, the Exodus, and the Israelite conquest of Canaan.

The Exodus is not the first Biblical event denied validity by scholars due to lack of evidence (before archaeologists later found corroborating evidence). Many scholars once denied the existence of King David because no archaeological evidence for him had been found. But in 1993 archaeologists found an inscription by King Hazael of Aram (Syria) referring to his victory over a member of “the house of David.”
(Menachem Wecker, Ancient rock adds evidence of King David’s existence, The Times of Israel, December 16, 2014.)

Another example is the Hittite nation which according to the Bible was once a mighty people in the days of Elisha (2 Kings 7:6). Yet liberal scholars were sure the Hittites never existed simply because archaeologists had found no physical evidence for them. But now numerous artifacts from the Hittite culture have been unearthed. The Hittite archives alone fill over 100 volumes of cuneiform records. The Hittite kingdom extended over most of what is Turkey and Syria today, and even into Europe.
(Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, Erdmans, 2003, p. 4.
Unearthed Hittite Artifacts in Istanbul Break New Ground, Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul, October 31, 2013.)

PatternsExodusBimsonJ

The Bible teaches a date for the Exodus that is in line with the evidence Mahoney and Rohl present in the documentary. According to 1 Kings 6:1,
Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.
Since Solomon’s reign began in 970 BC, this puts the Exodus at 1446 BC.

Near the end of the film, Mahoney summarized his case for revising Egyptian chronology:

“It’s startling to think how significant this could be because chronology, the dates assigned to these events, is the thing being used to convince the world that the Bible is just a fairy tale. But look at the pattern! Evidence matching Joseph and the early Israelites’ arrival in Egypt, their tremendous multiplication, their descent into slavery, the judgment and collapse of Egypt, the deliverance and Exodus of the Semitic population, and, finally, in Canaan, evidence matching the conquest of the Promised Land. I know there’s a lot of disagreement over the dating, but what strikes me is that if you put all the dates to the side for a moment, what emerges from the archaeology is this pattern that matches the Bible every step of the way–and doesn’t that deserve to be taken seriously? But for now, those who hold to established conventions will not allow these connections to be made.”

The Exodus-opposing scholars of the film are all well-aware of the evidence David Rohl discussed. Why didn’t these scholars see how it substantiated Scripture’s record? I believe the answer is that they have a different set of presuppositions, a different worldview that prevents them from recognizing the significance of the evidence. One’s philosophical starting point always determines one’s interpretation of evidence. In addition, the power of academic pressure is hard to resist, especially when careers, books, and scholarly publications are based on the conventional “1250 BC Exodus” interpretation.

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus makes a compelling case for the Exodus occurring about 1450 BC in contrast to the late date of 1250 BC that most archaeologists accept. The film will make the historicity of the Exodus a topic of interest among lay people. It will be an encouragement to many Christians as it presents evidence supporting the Biblical timeline.

We don’t need archaeological confirmation to know the Bible is true and historically factual. It is fully reliable as God’s inerrant Word. Jesus Himself said Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35). Even viewed as an ancient manuscript, its own internal evidence of Divine authorship is outstanding. But where man’s discoveries do match up to Scripture’s eternal unchanging truth, it can help someone who is searching to take a few more steps in their journey toward faith.

ExodusRevealed

Mahoney plans a second film on the Route of the Exodus and the Crossing of the Red Sea, as these aspects were not covered in the Exodus film.

A good earlier documentary from 2002 by Questar covers some of the same evidence that Mahoney does. Questar’s Exodus Revealed: Searching for the Red Sea Crossing also discusses the Red Sea Crossing and the location of Mt. Sinai.

How to See the Documentary

I strongly encourage viewing the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary. If there are subsequent theater showings, they will be announced at http://www.fathomevents.com/. 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. What preconceived ideas do you have that prevent you from recognizing truth Yahweh has placed in your path?
  2. Will you ask God to open your eyes to truth you might be missing?
  3. If you saw the film, what was your reaction?
  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)

Read the sequels reviewing the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary:
4. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – What Did Jesus Think?
5. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Does It Matter?

Click SUBSCRIBE to go to the SUBSCRIBE Button in the sidebar to get the sequel articles 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)

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)

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click
SUBSCRIBE NOW!

©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 4, 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)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | January 28, 2015

2. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Facing the Facts

PatternsExodusRamses

Is the Bible’s account of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt a myth?

Or are most archaeologists wrong when they say there is no evidence of an Egyptian sojourn and Exodus?

A recent documentary boldly confronts the general consensus of opinion among archaeologists, Egyptologists, and scholars that the Exodus as described in the Bible never happened. Most say if it did happen, then it occurred around 1250 BC under Ramses II (aka Ramses the Great), but they say there’s absolutely no archaeological evidence for it then.

This outstanding documentary, Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, presents abundant evidence to dispute this consensus of opinion. This film from Thinking Man Films chronicles 12 years of in-depth archaeological research in Egypt and Israel by author and filmmaker Timothy Mahoney. He interviews over a dozen archaeologists and professors with expertise in Egyptian and Israeli archaeology on both sides of the Exodus issue: those who believe it did not happen and those who believe it did.

This article continues the review of Patterns of Evidence: Exodus that was begun in the prequel 1. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Did It Happen? This second article looks at some of the film’s interesting archaeological evidence corroborating the Biblical accounts.

Here’s the 3’41” trailer for the movie:

The Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary asks the fundamental question:
At any time during Egyptian history is there any physical evidence that the Exodus actually happened?

PatternsExodusMahoney2

Mahoney organized his research into this question by six major events which he believed should have left some physical evidence that could be found by archaeologists:
1. Arrival of Joseph & Jacob’s family in Egypt
2. Multiplication of Hebrews into a nation in Egypt
3. Hebrew Enslavement in Egypt
4. Ten Plagues on Egypt
5. Exodus from Egypt
6. Conquest of Canaan by the Israelites

Mahoney presented multiple fascinating and convincing archaeological evidences for each of these events. They form a pattern in Egyptian history that matches the Biblical accounts in Genesis, Exodus and Joshua. But the pattern occurs hundreds of years before mainstream archaeologists think it should – much earlier in Egyptian history than 1250 BC.

These archaeologists discounted Mahoney’s evidence, because it did not fit their preconceived timeline. The movie argues that the reason archaeologists haven’t found any evidence is that they are looking in the wrong time period. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus builds a strong case that the Exodus actually happened around 1450 BC, just as the Bible’s timeline indicates.

PatternsExodusJoseph

Presumed statue of Joseph

Presumed Statue of Joseph
Wearing multi-colored robe at Avaris

Evidence

In the ancient Egyptian city of Avaris (later renamed Ramses), excavation has uncovered what is thought to be Joseph’s palace and tomb with a twice-life-size statue of a Semite wearing a multi-colored robe. The tomb is empty — no bones! This matches the Biblical report that Moses honored Joseph’s dying request to take his bones back to the Promised Land when the Israelites left Egypt (Genesis 50:24-26; Exodus 13:19). Grave robbers take treasures from tombs but not old bones.

PatternsExodusBryantWood

PatternsExodusNileMap

PatternsExodusAvaris

PatternsExodusBabyBoys

Was there ever a period of time in Egyptian history when an enormous transfer of wealth, land, and power from the Egyptian people to Pharaoh occurred? Archaeologists have found it as Bryant Wood reports at right, and the Bible records it happening as a result of Joseph’s famine policy:
Now there was no food in all the land, because the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. And Joseph gathered all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone.” Then Joseph said, “Give up your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, since your money is gone.” So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses and the flocks and the herds and the donkeys; and he fed them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. And when that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands. “Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh. So give us seed, that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.” So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh’s. (Genesis 47:13-20)

Although not mentioned in the film, it’s likely that the grain silos Joseph built to store the grain he collected during the seven good years preceding the famine years have been found (Genesis 41:33-36).
See Joseph’s Grain Silos Found in Egypt?

PatternsExodusSlaveNames

PatternsExodusNileBlood

The Brooklyn Papyrus is from the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (hundreds of years before Ramses II, aka Ramses the Great). This document lists names of slaves, 70% of whom are Semitic with many straight out of the Bible.

There’s even evidence of the Plagues. In the Leiden Museum a papyrus titled Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage describes many of the plagues from the point of view of Ipuwer, an Egyptian eyewitness. When interviewed in the movie, museum curator Maarten Raven dismissed the papyrus as being too early to be a record of the Exodus plagues.

PatternsExodusAbandonedCities

PatternsExodusJericho

PatternsExodusCanaan

PatternsExodusEgypMonument

Three major excavations of Jericho match the Bible’s report. The 10-foot-thick wall surrounding the city fell down except for a small section on the north side which remained standing. This was probably Rahab’s house on the wall.
(Joshua 2:1-21; 6:17, 22-25)

The Berlin Pedestal inscription written by the son of Ramses the Great supports an early Conquest of Canaan. It has Israel already in Canaan 100 years before Pharaoh Ramses.

The documentary fascinates the viewer with ample additional evidence supporting each of the six major events listed above.

The totality of the evidence Mahoney marshals is weighty and impressive. In overview, he effectively presents archaeological indications and evidence of Joseph in Egypt and of a Semitic population mushrooming in the Nile delta. This Semitic group experiences slavery and hardship, then departs suddenly and reappears later in Canaan as a populous nation called “Israel” which proceeds with a military conquest of Canaan. This sequence fits the Biblical record very well.

The series of six major events connected to the Exodus with supporting archaeological evidence forms a significant pattern. It’s much more compelling than if the evidence were only of a single event. This intricate pattern could not be coincidence. It has to be the historical imprint of Israel’s history in Egypt, the Exodus, and the Conquest of Canaan.

Near the end of the film, Mahoney summarized his case for revising Egyptian chronology:

“It’s startling to think how significant this could be because chronology, the dates assigned to these events, is the thing being used to convince the world that the Bible is just a fairy tale. But look at the pattern! Evidence matching Joseph and the early Israelites’ arrival in Egypt, their tremendous multiplication, their descent into slavery, the judgment and collapse of Egypt, the deliverance and Exodus of the Semitic population, and, finally, in Canaan, evidence matching the conquest of the Promised Land. I know there’s a lot of disagreement over the dating but what strikes me is that if you put all the dates to the side for a moment what emerges from the archaeology is this pattern that matches the Bible every step of the way and doesn’t that deserve to be taken seriously? But for now, those who hold to established conventions will not allow these connections to be made.”

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus makes a compelling case for the Exodus occurring about 1450 BC in contrast to the late date of 1250 BC that most archaeologists accept. The film will make the historicity of the Exodus a topic of interest among lay people. It will be an encouragement to many Christians as it presents evidence supporting the Biblical timeline.

Encore Showing Thursday Jan 29

The overwhelming attendance nationwide for Patterns of Evidence: Exodus on Jan 19 and the subsequent demand for another showing has led to an encore showing to be scheduled and confirmed for Thu Jan 29 at 7 pm local time.

Participating theaters can be found at http://www.fathomevents.com/ by clicking “Buy Tickets” and entering your zip code to show theater locations. Tickets are available at participating theater box offices and online at http://www.fathomevents.com/.

Tickets seem to cost around $12.50 depending on the theater. Many theaters nationwide sold out on Jan 19. I bought our tickets early to make sure we got in, and I suggest people consider doing so. As word spreads from the first showing, the attendance may increase for Jan 29.

I strongly encourage viewing this documentary. While it probably will not convince any skeptics, it will be a big encouragement to many Christians. The book, movie DVD, and soundtrack are all available for pre-order at the documentary web site: Patterns of Evidence: Exodus. Many churches will likely show the DVD eventually.

Questions to Ponder
  1. If you saw the film, what was your reaction?
  2. Do you think it’s possible for the vast majority of professional archaeologists and Egyptologists to be wrong about the Exodus?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Read the prequel reviewing the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary:
1. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Did It Happen?

Read the sequels reviewing the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary:
3. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – The Debate
4. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – What Did Jesus Think?
5. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Does It Matter?

Click SUBSCRIBE to go to the SUBSCRIBE Button in the sidebar to get the sequel articles 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?

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)

Bible-Science Guy logo

Subscribe – Don’t miss future blog posts!
Click the sidebar’s “SUBSCRIBE” button to follow the
Bible-Science Guy Blog. You’ll automatically receive
new posts free by email. Click
SUBSCRIBE NOW!

©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 January 28, 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)

Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | January 21, 2015

1. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Did It Happen?

PatternsExodusA

Tim Mahoney Filmmaker, author, writer, director of Patterns of Evidence: Exodus

Tim Mahoney
Author, filmmaker, writer, and director of
Patterns of Evidence: Exodus

Are the jaw-dropping accounts in the Bible real history or only myths?

Does it matter whether accounts like the Exodus plagues and crossing the Red Sea are true records or simply inspiring stories that never actually happened?

Reports of Red Sea divers finding chariot wheels encrusted in coral intrigued filmmaker Timothy Mahoney. He was curious about where Moses and the Israelites might have crossed the Red Sea. He began his research by looking for the route of the Exodus, starting in Egypt where the Hebrews started.

Mahoney says, “When I got to Egypt, people said, ‘Wait a minute, why search for the route of the Exodus, when these stories never really happened in the first place?’ That was sort of the shocker. I went to the actual location where the Bible says the Israelites lived, and the archaeologists there said there really wasn’t any evidence for it. I came back to my home, and that seed of doubt sort of grew in me. So, eventually, I heard there was another Egyptologist that interpreted that information in a completely different way, and that began this 12-year journey of my own, finding people like that who have incredible insights into the information, and started to reveal evidence. That’s how it all got started.” (From Gallagher’s Mahoney Interview)

Mahoney wondered whether the Exodus really happened or whether it was only an uplifting story. He said, “What started out as a crisis of my own faith led me on an incredible journey of discovery” as he sought physical evidence to corroborate the Bible’s Exodus account.

Mahoney tells the story of his research journey in the award-winning documentary Patterns of Evidence: Exodus from Thinking Man Films. The documentary has won 13 awards at film festivals worldwide.

Executive producer David Wessner said of Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, “What we’ve done with this film is to present the evidence, as we’ve uncovered it over these past twelve years, and let viewers draw their own conclusions. It’s not a puffy documentary; it’s an entertaining presentation of a boat-load of scientific and historical facts which shed new, important light on this ancient but most important story.”

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This feature documentary was shown in 650 theaters nationwide on Monday night January 19, 2015. A 20-minute preview explained the story behind the film and introduced the experts appearing in the documentary (click List of Experts).

Following the movie, journalist Gretchen Carlson moderated a panel discussion by Dennis Prager, Eric Metaxas, Anne Graham Lotz, and Jonathan Morris.

The documentary Patterns of Evidence: Exodus chronicles 12 years of in-depth archaeological research in Egypt and Israel. Mahoney interviews over a dozen archaeologists and professors with expertise in Egyptian and Israeli archaeology on both sides of the Exodus issue: those who do not believe it happened and those who believe it did. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Israeli Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres are both interviewed in the film.

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Among archaeologists, Egyptologists, and scholars, the general consensus of opinion is that the Exodus as described in the Bible never happened. Most say if it did happen, then it occurred around 1250 BC under Ramses the Great, but they say there’s absolutely no archaeological evidence for it then.

The Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary asked the fundamental question:
At any time during Egyptian history is there any physical evidence that the Exodus actually happened?

The movie unfolds an abundant pattern of archaeological evidence from much earlier in Egyptian history than 1250 BC and not under Ramses the Great. The movie argues that the reason archaeologists haven’t found any evidence is that they are looking in the wrong time period. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus builds a strong case that the Exodus actually happened around 1450 BC, just as the Bible’s timeline indicates. The movie is packed with valuable apologetics arguments on this issue.

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What Did I Think?

My wife and I saw this movie Monday night January 19. We loved it!!! Patterns of Evidence: Exodus presents abundant archaeological evidence to support the Bible’s historical record of the Exodus. I was impressed with the depth of the research, the balanced presentation, and the plethora of archaeological evidence revealing Israel’s footprint in Egyptian and Canaanite history. While I have always believed in the Exodus and have long believed it occurred in 1446 BC, the film presented corroborating evidence that was new to me (which I will discuss in subsequent blog articles).

The audio quality of the movie was superb. Interviews, commentary, and narration (by Jewish skeptic Michael Medved and Christian actor Kevin Sorbo who played the professor in the movie God’s Not Dead) were all clear and understandable, contrary to many movie soundtracks. The accompanying music was by the Budapest Film Orchestra using Hungary’s best musicians playing instruments from the Balkans and the Middle East. Visually the movie was beautiful and very effective in illustrating the concepts.

I rate the documentary 5 stars out of 5. I found it just as fascinating as Indiana Jones movies, but a person who is not interested in Biblical history and archaeology might find it less gripping.

I strongly encourage people to see this documentary. Many churches will likely show the DVD, and it will probably be shown in theaters again. The book, movie DVD, and soundtrack are all available for pre-order at the documentary web site: Patterns of Evidence: Exodus.

Subsequent blog articles will discuss more ideas from this outstanding documentary film.

Questions to Ponder
  1. If you saw the film, what was your reaction?
  2. Do you think it’s possible for the vast majority of professional archaeologists and Egyptologists to be wrong about the Exodus?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Read the sequels reviewing the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary:
2. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Facing the Facts (with video)
3. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – The Debate
4. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – What Did Jesus Think?
5. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – Does It Matter?

Click SUBSCRIBE to go to the SUBSCRIBE Button in the sidebar to get the sequel articles 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

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)

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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 January 21, 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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