patterns of evidence: exodus, part one (synopsis) 2015 jan 26
patterns of evidence: exodus, part two (analysis) 2015 jan 27
patterns of evidence: exodus, part three (thinking man films’ first objection) 2015 feb 23
I am working my way through the three objections Thinking Man Films (who produced the Patterns of Evidence: Exodus documentary) left in a comment on my analysis of the film, which I thought deserved a fuller treatment. You can read their comment and my reply here (scroll down). I answered their first objection here.
Secondly, they wrote: “There is nothing said in the Bible that requires the pharaoh of the Exodus to be the most powerful king in Egypt’s history. That is an idea inserted into the text and supported by Hollywood’s version of the story.”
Actually I didn’t know that Hollywood suggested this idea. I only just watched The Ten Commandments with Charleton Heston for the first time in my life this year – last week, in fact, with my husband! (I prefer The Prince of Egypt). So where did that idea come from, for me?
It came as I was wrestling with the question of who was the pharaoh of the Exodus, when I was writing The Story of the Ancient World (from Ancient World’s Frequently Asked Questions, see also here):
So what does this mean: this means my dynasty numbers do not line up with those used in Unwrapping the Pharaohs, which accepts the standard dynastic list and goes from there. Because there is dispute about the dynastic list, I did not present our Egyptian history in terms of dynasties. I was not learned enough to analyze the standard dynastic list, and do what experts have been seeking to do since Napoleon’s discovery of ancient Egypt: harmonize that list with the Bible.
Instead, I have presented Egyptian history in terms of the great personalities of Egypt’s royal families: the Hyksos invaders, who they were, and where they came into the picture of Egyptian history; the great Theban family of Ahmose, Thutmose, Hatshepsut, Ankhenaten, and Tutankemon; and the “new” royal family which arose over Egypt (recorded in Exodus 1) of which Rameses the Great was the greatest pharaoh.
I did not place the reign of Rameses the Great after the Exodus as Unwrapping the Pharaohs does. The reason is this: of course, at the time I did not know the argument that Unwrapping the Pharaohs would be making, as it was not published yet. But there were books out there, which I had read, which did place Rameses after the Exodus. After wrestling with this question for months, I chose to place him before, simply because the biblical account presents God’s judgment on a proud and grand Egypt, on a devastating scale. While Egypt does again enter biblical history, it is not for hundreds of years after the Exodus, and Egypt never again regains her former glory or prominence.
Examining the monumental record of Rameses, there is no doubt that Rameses’ reign was the greatest in terms of magnificence, wealth, and renown that Egypt ever produced. So if you look at Egyptian history on a broad and grand scale, it builds and builds and builds in terms of might until the reign of Rameses, which is its height, then there is a mysterious period of chaos, power struggles, upheaval, unrest and a complete loss of power and influence, then there is a weak period of regrowth, however characterized by military defeats, and more power struggles, ending with foreign conquest, of one empire after another. The biblical history of the Exodus merely explains what cut short the magnificence and might of Egypt, and perfectly explains the cause of the ensuing chaos, and why it was a weaker state in world history from that time forth.
This realization was only solidified for me as I began to study Torah in earnest (at about the same time that I finished The Story of the Ancient World), and it began to dawn on me that all the events of history recorded in Torah, concerning the nation of Israel, were not only mere history, but also prophecy of spiritual truths and things to come. God has declared the end from the beginning (Isa 46:9-10), and this is the primary way He did so in the beginning, while still keeping the full revelation of the ministry of Messiah and the plan of salvation veiled from the rulers of this world (1 Cor 2:7-8): He prophesied through Israel’s history. Christians are very aware of one example: the Passover, which resulted in Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. This true history prophesies of the death of our Passover Lamb, Messiah Yeshua, which resulted in our deliverance from the kingdom of darkness, of which Egypt is the prophetic type (see also Rev 11:8).
So then, the entire history of Israel delivered from Egypt, prophesies of our own deliverance from the kingdom of darkness, with Messiah Yeshua as both deliverer and sacrifice. I have written before about Moses as the Messianic prophetic type, and how the unique teaching tools Torah employs to indicate his history is prophesying of Messiah Yeshua. So then, the two possible histories of Egypt and her interactions with Israel, viewed with Egypt as the prophetic type of the kingdom of darkness, are as follows:
Scenario One. The Ramasses dynasty as the dynasty of the Exodus: God judges a grand and proud Egypt, the greatest kingdom of the ancient world at that epoch, an empire receiving tribute from the surrounding nations, at the greatest height of its power. Pharaoh, secure in his own might, defies the commands of God and enslaves the people of God. Pharaoh, believing himself to be Amon-Ra, the sun god incarnate, proudly declares that he knows not YHVH, nor will he let the people go. God then instructs Pharaoh on who He is, completely shattering proud Egypt, so that His people are delivered with a great deliverance. Egypt’s devastation is so complete, and Israel’s deliverance is so magnificent, that fear and dread remains on the inhabitants of Canaan and the surrounding nations when Israel enters the Land 40 years later, in the next generation! Egypt takes hundreds of years to recover itself, and then never to its former glory. In fact, it is subject to foreign conquerors for most of its remaining history. This big picture history prophesies of Messiah Yeshua’s complete devastation of the power of sin, death, and the devil in the cross (Col 2:15), and His complete deliverance of His people from the kingdom of darkness, by prophetic type.
Scenario Two: An earlier dynasty as the dynasty of the Exodus. God judges a normal kingdom who has not gone beyond its own borders nor attempted to establish an empire. Pharaoh nevertheless, enslaves the people of God and defies the Lord’s command to let His people go. God then instructs Pharaoh on who He is, shattering Egypt so completely, that Egypt soon recovers itself, and within a few generations rises to the greatest height of kingdom and Empire it had yet attained, under the Ramasses dynasty. The height of power and magnificence of the Ramasses dynasty is so great, furthermore, that his name is a household name millennia later, even among non- historians. The surrounding nations, seeing Egypt quickly bounce back to an even greater kingdom than it previously was, do not fear the judgment of God and are not in dread of Israel coming to possess their land.
To me, second scenario logic makes no sense at all, when the intersection of Egyptian with Israelite history is viewed in the big picture as Scripture indicates it is, as a prophetic type of the kingdom of darkness.
I am very appreciative of the hard work that went into the making of Exodus: Patterns of Evidence, and the many proofs it brings out for the presence of Israel in Egypt and Canaan is worth the price of the film. But if we are going to break with the standard chronology, let’s just go all the way, and start with the history Scripture records, both in its details and in its big picture, as the foundation for ancient history. You cannot go wrong if you do so.
One final objection to go …