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Category Archives: Biblical History

‘A Father in the House’

 
For Fathers Day 2017, Christian Educational Ministries has re-released Ronald L. Dart’s 28-minute program “A Father in the House,” which you may listen to by clicking below. This is the 4th program in the 8-part series Marriage and Family, from his nationally syndicated daily radio program Born to Win.

After an introductory discussion of the importance of having a father’s actual and active presence in his family, Dart uses a retelling of the charming and spiritual Biblical story of Ruth and Boaz to finalize his teaching on a man’s broader responsibilities inside his family. In addition, he explains many of the legal imperatives and cultural traditions of the time — without this knowledge, many elements of the story sound strange to modern ears. At the end of the program, a reminder of the identity of Boaz and Ruth’s great-grandson provides a strong context and finale.

Click this box to listen to Mr. Dart’s program:
A Father in the House

(If you would like to listen to all 8 programs in the Marriage and Family series,
you may do so at the Christian Educational Ministries site.)


 

Not surprisingly, the story of Ruth and Boaz has inspired artists throughout the ages to produce great works of art to memorialize them. Here are three I found while preparing this post. If you click on each, you will see a larger reproduction of the work. They are presented here in chronological order of their creation:


 
BOAZ MUST SEND RUTH AWAY from The Crusader Bible (ca.1244-1254)

The Crusader Bible


 
RUTH THANKS BOAZ FOR LETTING HER GLEAN by Philips Galle (1585)

Ruth Thanks Boaz


 
RUTH IN BOAZ’S FIELD by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1828)

Ruth and Boaz


 
But Ruth replied:
“Do not persuade me to leave you
or go back and not follow you.
For wherever you go, I will go,
and wherever you live, I will live;
your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God.
Where you die, I will die,
and there I will be buried.
May Yahweh punish me,
and do so severely,
if anything but death separates you and me.”
(Ruth 1:16–17 HCSB)

 

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‘Behold the Lamb of God’


The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers,
He did not open His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers … with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was chosen, before the foundation of the world. (1 Peter 1:18-20)

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast.
(1 Corinthians 5:7-8 KJV)

 

 
Today, until sundown, is the 14th day of Abib (or Nisan, as the month is known today), the first month in the Hebrew calendar. Why is this day different from all other days? And why is it significant for Christians? The Lord told Moses, “On the fourteenth day of the first month, the Lord’s [Yahweh’s] Passover is to be held” (Numbers 28:16; also Leviticus 23:5). It was in the early hours of this day (what we would refer to as last night, after sundown) that Jesus observed the last Passover of His earthly ministry with His disciples:

Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us, so we can eat it.
“Where do You want us to prepare it? ” they asked Him.
Listen,” He said to them, “when you’ve entered the city, a man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters. Tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ Then he will show you a large, furnished room upstairs. Make the preparations there.
So they went and found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
(Luke 22:8-16)


Passover is the first of seven of what God refers to as the Lord‘s festivals [“appointed times”; Hebrew: moed ], although they are sometimes dismissively referred to as merely and exclusively the “Jewish holy days.” And yes they are, on one level, replete with symbols of Israelite history and culture, and of that ancient nation’s special relationship with God.

But like so many things Biblical, there is a deeper, spiritual, universal level of meaning to the Feasts of God. Those of us Christians who observe them find each of them overflowing with the message of Christ, salvation, grace, and the coming Kingdom of God. God never changes, and His Plan has been unfolding since the words “Let there be light” were spoken. Scripture tells us, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18 KJV) and that the Lamb was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8 KJV). And perhaps most important, Christ died on the 14th of Abib. It should hardly be surprising, then, that God would use His 14th of Abib appointed time (and all of His other Festivals) as yet one more way to reveal and teach us His plan.

Every year, from Passover to the Last Great Day, the Gospel is acted out through these festivals, using their inherent drama to reinforce deep underlying messages. Once Israel began to observe them, the symbols of each festival (appointed time) became ingrained into their lives, minds, and spirits — so that when God’s true Passover Lamb appeared on earth and was sacrificed, the message and its significance were clear from centuries of repetition. (If you watch a movie enough times, you’ll eventually be able to recite the entire dialogue from memory. For proof, ask my brother- and sister-in-law’s offspring about The Princess Bride!)

Therefore, when John the Baptist pointed to Christ and called Him “the Lamb of God,” the reference must have been unmistakable to his listeners. Probably only Jesus and John knew, at that time, what this fully and truly meant. But the association of “Lamb of God” with the Passover must have been crystal clear to every lifelong resident of Judea who was present. Three and a half years later, as the “Lamb of God” hung on a stake and died, undoubtedly the tumblers began to fall, and the full meaning was unlocked for His followers.

The “Lamb of God” symbols of Passover did not stop there. Each year, four days before the actual Passover, households were to select a lamb for sacrifice, which was required to be “without blemish,” thus foretelling the perfect nature of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. That this Lamb had come to “take away the sins of the world,” as John said, had been foretold by the sin offerings made throughout the year at the Temple. And, of course, the ultimate fate of the Lamb of God was a sacrificial death, also vividly portrayed in the annual Passover sacrifice.

That all of these Holy Days point directly to Christ is one of many reasons so many Christians — yes, including my wife and me — keep the Lord’s Feasts. They provide appointed times set aside for us to learn and grow in our knowledge of Christ and the grace and salvation He brought. But even this is not the main reason to keep the Feasts. It took a Rabbi friend of mine to cement in my mind the fact that there was a different, wholly transcendent reason.

He was a professor of mine, an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi — and you may be surprised to learn that he was the greatest statistics teacher I have ever had or known. Not only did he revolutionize my thinking about how to teach stats (Thank you, Shlomo!), he became a dear friend and great mentor. He was both mystified and bemused when he learned that I kept the “Jewish” Holy Days, and he asked me why I did so. As I remember the conversation, I turned the question back to him and asked, “Well, why do you keep them?” Without a second’s hesitation, he said, “Because I am commanded to.”

And he was absolutely correct. God’s commandments are both necessary and sufficient in all cases.

Some Christian friends (whom I love for being concerned about me and for caring for me) have asserted that what we are doing is archaic, anachronistic, legalistic, Judaizing, antiChristian, superseded by Easter — or some combination of these. But I ask them (and you) to at least concede this: these are not “Jewish” holy days. The Lord [Yahweh] Himself repeatedly called them “the Lord’s appointed festivals” (Leviticus 23:2,4-6,34,37; Numbers 28:16; Ezra 3:5; Hosea 9:5, etc.). Some have wryly gone further and asked me, “So do you kill a sheep every year?” No, dear friends, the perfect Lamb has already been sacrificed for us. Therefore, we keep the Feast with the New Testament symbols of unleavened bread and wine, as commanded by Christ:

On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.
In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

 
Christ told us to remember Him every time we did “this.” Paul said we are proclaiming the Lord’s death when we eat “this” bread and drink “this” cup. What was the “this” Christ was doing? Which bread and cup were “this” one Paul referred to? Completely beyond question, Christ was celebrating Passover, eating the Passover bread and drinking from the Passover cup.

If there were any Biblical evidence that these festivals were for the nation of Israel only, or if Christ in the New Testament had abrogated them or provided substitutionary feasts, we would of course faithfully and gladly follow. But in our human, imperfect way, we attempt every year to believe and obey Christ literally, by taking the bread and wine at Passover in imitation and remembrance of Him.

These festivals were instituted to proclaim and teach the sacrifice of the true Passover Lamb, and the plan of salvation He made possible. They are therefore no less efficacious for me (and all Christians) today than they were in ancient Israel. Christ Himself kept the Feasts. So did His apostles and all the early church — even the Gentile ones. And prophecies show that in the Kingdom of God, all the nations will keep the Feasts (Zechariah 14:16-19).

We know that God does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17), that His word stands forever (Isaiah 40:8), and that Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). So are not His commands and teachings equally immutable and everlasting?

And truly, that is the “prime directive” reason for those of us who keep Passover and the other Holy Days, using bread and wine, and with Christ-centered learning and worship. To paraphrase my Rabbi professor and friend, it is “because we are commanded to.”

I invite all my Christ-loving brothers and sisters to join us in the discovery of these ancient, God-designed moeds (appointed times). A great place to start is to memorialize the sacrifice of Christ, using the Passover bread and wine. Here are some suggested readings we often use in our Passover observance:
                        ●   Isaiah 53:1-9   the most beautiful and powerful of Messianic prophecies
                        ●   Luke 22:7-20   Christ’s last Passover until His Kingdom is established
                        ●   John 6:47-58   the new covenant of eternal life, symbolized by the bread and wine
                        ●   John 13:1-17   Christ’s lesson about and example of servant leadership
                        ●   1 Corinthians 11:17-32   the symbol of His body and blood in the bread and wine
                        ●   1 Peter 1:18-21   the Lamb without blemish, chosen before the foundation of the world
                        ●   1 Peter 2:19-25   the Perfect Messiah bore our sins, and we are healed

The Feasts of God are treasures and gifts of God beyond price.

“Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast.”

 
POSTSCRIPT

If the idea of the “appointed times of God” has caught your attention, and you would like to learn more, let me point you in the direction of my pastor, the late Ronald L. Dart (1934-2016). He studied and wrote about this extensively, and it was from him that I learned so much. Here are three sources from him.

The Thread by Ronald L. DartFirst, and most complete, is his book The Thread: God’s Appointments with History (see photo, left). In it, he teaches…
“The holy days of the Bible are about Christ.
“Few have understood the thread that runs from the beginning of the Bible to the end of the New Testament. When God acted in history, events commonly took place at appointed times. Once you pick up the thread, all manner of fascinating new connections present themselves. All of these appointed times of God took on names and customs which were related to the important events in history.
“Traditional beliefs say that the festivals came in with the old covenant and went out with the cross. But as you follow The Thread, there is good reason to doubt that. The feasts we find in the Bible are transcendent, and from the very beginning were pointed, not so much at Israel’s history, but at the much overlooked work and ministry of Jesus Christ in history.”
This is a book you will read again and again and give to others. You will gain understanding of how each holy day points to Christ and impacts your life.

 
Second, as part of his nationally syndicated daily radio program, he did a series of 24 half-hour programs on Christian Holidays. Here is a link to the introductory program, a compact, thorough, easily accessible examination of the appointed times.

Finally, at the bottom of this essay is an hour-long sermon he delivered on Why the Holy Days? It is an intelligent and thoughtful summary of the topic, delivered in his inimitably conversational style. I commend it highly.

I send my love in, of, and by Christ to all of you, and I hope that you will let me know your thoughts on these matters.


Why the Holy Days? — a sermon by Ronald L. Dart   (November 9, 1996) 53:08


Christian Educational Ministries has a large and wide assortment of
Ronald Dart’s writings, sermons, and radio programs available on its website.

 

 

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The Man from Apex: “We are More Than Conquerors”

 

Born in the small town of Apex, North Carolina, in 1895, Kyle Monroe Yates became one of this country’s preeminent Biblical scholars, an Old Testament specialist, a member of the elite group of scholars who translated the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, author of the most widely respected textbooks on the Hebrew language plus numerous volumes on preaching from the Bible for ministers, a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention, a preacher of highest reputation, Biblical consultant to Cecil B. DeMille during the making of the classic film The Ten Commandments, and a Distinguished Professor of Bible at Baylor University.

Given here is an abridgment of my Biographical Monograph of Dr. Kyle Yates.
(Click here to see the full 35-page monograph, including 8 Appendices, Sources, and Endnotes, in .pdf format.)


 

Kyle Yates, 1916

Kyle Monroe Yates
Th.D., Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.

Pastor, Theologian, Scholar

“True instruction was in his mouth,
and no wrong was found on his lips.
He walked with me in peace and uprightness,
and he turned many from iniquity.”

(Malachi 2:6, Revised Standard Version)

 

A biographical monograph (abridged)
by Dr. Grover B. Proctor, Jr.
© 2012, 2015, 2017



 

Kyle Yates

As noted in the title of this monograph, Dr. Kyle Yates was best known to the world as a pastor, a theologian, and a scholar. And there is no question that he was nationally renowned for his extremely high levels of contribution and service to each. He did all of this, in an 80-year lifespan, while maintaining a gentleness, benevolence, empathy, humility, and deep Christian love for all those with whom he came in contact.
One former student of his at Baylor University, in a book called People Sharing Jesus, said Dr. Yates was “one of the kindest, most gracious men I have ever known.” Another former student unequivocally called him “Statesman, scholar, and stimulator!” – describing Dr. Yates walking into class the first day as a man “with such poise and dignity that I wanted to stand and welcome him. His tall stature, flowing gray hair, and radiant smile captured me immediately. If I were to paint a picture of a president or world statesman, it would be this man.” This same former student suggested that the verse from Malachi (which forms a part of the title section above) truly describes Dr. Yates.
 
EDUCATION
Kyle Yates was born February 7, 1895, in Apex, North Carolina, the first of eleven children of William Charles Manly Yates and Della (Jones) Yates. His education began with a diploma from Campbell College in Buies Creek, NC, in 1911, after which he graduated from Wake Forest College with an A.B. degree in 1916 and an A.M. degree in 1917, working as a farm hand to pay his way through school. At Wake Forest, he was a star on the school’s basketball team that that still boasts the “most successful season in the history of the college.” Yates’ Senior portrait, from that 89% winning-percentage season, is shown above in the title section.
His education continued at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky, where he received both a Master’s (Th.M.) degree in 1920 and a Doctorate (Th.D.) in 1922. His doctoral Thesis at the Seminary was titled The Prophetic Movement in Israel, and he would go on to become one of the world’s most widely acknowledged and leading experts in the Old Testament in general, and specifically in the Prophets. After completion of his doctorate, he joined the faculty of Southern Baptist Seminary as a Professor of Old Testament.
While he was on faculty there, he took a sabbatical year and went to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in 1932, writing a Dissertation on the Aramaic and Greek languages. In addition to further study he undertook at Princeton University, during his distinguished career he was awarded honorary doctorates from Baylor, Wake Forest, Union, and Mercer Universities. He was expert and fluent in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic and Latin.
 
“A WOMAN OF UNDERSTANDING AND DISCERNMENT”
Early on during his time on faculty at Southern Baptist Seminary, Yates courted and married a former student of his, Miss Margaret Webb Sharp from Clinton, Mississippi. They were married until Dr. Yates’ death 53 years later, during which time Margaret Yates was acknowledged as a woman of “understanding and discernment … of great charm, reared in the tradition of the Old South” and one of “the great ladies.”
Yates showed his total love and affection for his wife by the references he repeatedly made to her (in class and elsewhere) as his “little bride,” his “princess,” his “little one,” and “a sweet little thing that keeps in me in line.” The two seemed inseparable throughout their lives together. She routinely joined him on the golf course and on his transcontinental auto tours.
Dr. Yates summed up his devotion to and love for his wife when he dedicated his 1948 book Preaching from the Psalms to her:
DEDICATED
To
MY WIFE
a devoted lover
a treasured helper
a constant inspiration
a consecrated Christian
Margaret Yates died on August 8, 1987, at the age of 91.
 
ACADEMIC, AUTHOR, AND SCHOLAR
It was during his twenty years on faculty at Southern Baptist Seminary that Yates began his second career as an author. “In response to the need for an introductory Hebrew grammar,” the Seminary wrote in its remembrance of Yates, “he prepared and published The Essentials of Biblical Hebrew which soon won for itself wide recognition. In 1938 it was revised and enlarged, particularly in its treatment of Hebrew syntax.” It came to be among the most widely used and well respected books in this field, in use for multiple decades at both Christian Seminaries and in Jewish rabbinical schools.
In addition to the above, he was sole or co-author of many books, some of which became classics in the field. Among these were:
                   ●   Beginner’s Grammar of the Hebrew Old Testament, 1927
                   ●   From Solomon to Malachi, 1934
                   ●   The Essentials of Biblical Hebrew, 1938
                   ●   Preaching from the Prophets, 1942
                   ●   Old Testament Biographies, 1942 (co-author)
                   ●   Preaching from the Psalms, 1948
                   ●   Studies in Psalms, 1953
                   ●   Preaching from Great Bible Chapters, 1957
                   ●   Preaching from John’s Gospel, 1964
                   ●   Psalms of Joy and Faith, 1973; reprint, 1984
So profound was the impact of Dr. Yates’ two books on the Hebrew language, Beginner’s Grammar and The Essentials, that it became known throughout the world of scholarship as the standard for teaching Old Testament Hebrew. A strong but highly unusual recognition of Yates’ book’s approbation appeared in the mid-1950s in a learned monograph on the Hebrew language. A contemporaneous press account of this stated, “I know of no other Baptist preacher’s name that has appeared in this sophisticated journal of the intelligentsia with the exception of Billy Graham’s.”
By the time of his retirement, his book Preaching from the Prophets had gone through 27 editions. His Preaching from the Psalms, later reissued with the title Psalms of Joy and Faith, was dictated onto tapes while he was on a brief vacation in Palacios, Texas, and within 31 days of its publication it had sold 250,000 copies.

 
Biblical Books by Dr. Kyle Yates

Psalm 23

The aim of The Bible from 26 Translations is to combine in one volume the complete KJV and the most significant variations from 25 later translations. Here is Psalm 23:1-2.

 
THE REVISED STANDARD VERSION
While being known for being “slow to list his many accomplishments over the years,” Yates always acknowledged that his proudest achievement was being selected as one of the nine original scholars commissioned to translate and prepare what would become known as the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (RSV), a project that ran from 1938 to 1952. The RSV Bible was a modernization of the American Standard Version (ASV, 1901), which was an updating of the Authorized (King James) Version (AV or KJV, 1611). The RSV has itself been modernized by both the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV, 1989) and the English Standard Version (ESV, 2001).
Yates’ leadership role in this endeavor puts him inside the highest levels of the English language Bible tradition, and he participated in several other scholarly Biblical publishing projects. He was one of the 40 theologians who collaborated on the Wycliffe Bible Commentary, published in 1962, for which he wrote the entire commentary on the book of Genesis. Dr. Yates also served as a “Contributing Editor for the Old Testament” for the mammoth 2,592-page The Bible from 26 Translations, which began to be published in sections in 1967, and then all together in one volume in 1988. It is still in print today from Mathis Publishing, under the title The WORD: The Bible From 26 Translations.
 
INTO THE PULPIT
During all of his time at Southern Seminary, he always had a strong ministerial focus. When he decided to leave there in 1942 to enter into the full-time pastoral work at Louisville’s Walnut Street Baptist Church, the Seminary recommended him highly: “His friendly approach will reach to all members of his great congregation and beyond in his pastoral ministry. His understanding of people and his ability as a public speaker will give to his preaching a powerful popular appeal. His long study in the field of Biblical interpretation will give to his message a solid content and educational value. And the evangelistic note in all his preaching will carry on the fine tradition of the great evangelistic church.” Yates’ tenure at Walnut Street, described as “Kentucky’s largest congregation,” lasted four years.
In 1945, when Yates was 50 years old, he received a telephone call one Sunday afternoon from Federal Judge T. M. Kennerly, chairman of the Pulpit Committee of Second Baptist Church in Houston, delivering the church’s call to become their new pastor. More than 2000 parishioners attended the morning service that day, and the vote to call Dr. Yates was described as spontaneous and with one accord. The Pulpit Committee had considered more than 50 people for the position, but they ultimately selected Yates, whom they described as “God’s man.”
Judge Kennerly spent 30 minutes of expensive long distance time, in an effort to convince Yates to accept the congregation’s call to become their pastor. “I remember telling him I saw no reason to give up my pastorate in Louisville,” Dr. Yates recalled. “But his response was, ‘The only reason, my boy, is that you should follow the will of the Lord.’” He was on a plane to Houston for meetings on Thursday and Friday of that week, and was reportedly back in Louisville the following Sunday, announcing his resignation.
Yates spent the next ten years at Second Baptist. When Dr. Yates announced his intention to resign in order to move to Baylor University in Waco to resume his academic career, it was “in the face of a standing ovation of 1,000 church members to a resolution asking him to stay in the Houston church.”
A press account at the time of Dr. Yates’ resignation from Second Baptist Church noted his “urban graces” and reminisced that “his church will miss his preaching, a masterly amalgam of profound scholarship and simplicity, that edified adults and fascinated children. They will miss his warm greeting and handshake at the end of the services. He had invested this usually routine procedure with an intimacy that made one forget the pressing crowds from behind.”
While he was the pastor at Second Baptist in Houston, Yates served as the 2nd Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1956, and later as Vice President for one year.
 
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

The Ten Commandments poster

It was not an opportunity that he sought for himself, but Dr. Kyle Yates did make one important and indelible impact on Hollywood. It concerned the making of the classic film The Ten Commandments in 1956. Perhaps the best way to summarize how it all came about is to quote a contemporary press clipping, noting that Yates was
“…consulted by Cecil B. DeMille on the authenticity of certain portions of the motion picture, The Ten Commandments. Dr. Yates happened to be in California last summer when the $9.5 million DeMille picture was nearing completion. When DeMille, who spared no effort or expense to authenticate every detail of this project, learned of Dr. Yates’ presence on the West Coast and of his eminence as a Bible scholar, he immediately contacted the Baylor professor and invited him to lunch…. Dr. Yates reports that it was a most interesting and stimulating experience….
“Dr. Yates’ personal opinion of The Ten Commandments is that ‘It is probably the greatest motion picture that has ever been made.’ He says it is ‘remarkably true to Scriptural and secular history and amazingly free from the flagrant liberties so often taken with such material.’ Commenting on the criticism which many church people have had for the licentiousness of the scene of the reveling people, following Moses’ descent from Mt. Sinai with the tablets of the Law, Dr. Yates says that the DeMille script was not exaggerated. He points out that the Bible is pretty plain in its description of the revelries which took place and that Moses himself was sickened with disgust at what he saw. ‘I consider the whole work a powerful depiction of truth,’ Yates says, adding that he believes that everyone who reads and believes the Old Testament should see the filmed story.”
Dr. Yates would later say that some people thought the movie exaggerated “the high jinks among the Israelites while Moses is on Mount Sinai,” as he put it. He answered them by repeating that the film is no exaggeration — “It’s all in the Bible!” He called the filmmakers’ approach “scholarly” based on “a vast knowledge of fact and detail.”
 
A DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Dr. Kyle YatesIn 1956, Yates left the active, full-time ministry in Houston to travel up to Waco, Texas to join the faculty of Baylor University, where he held the rarely accorded rank of “Distinguished Professor.” In moving to Baylor, Dr. Yates said it was not only to enable him to resume his teaching career but also to spend more time on his writing. At that time, he had published six books, including two he had completed in his “Preaching From…” series, to which he hoped to add another four volumes.
In addition to his scholarly research and writing while at Baylor, Yates continued to find avenues of preaching outreach. Among the many honors and awards he received during this time was an Award of Merit presented by the Radio Television Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, recognizing him “for teaching the International Sunday School lesson on the Baptist Radio Hour every week for two years” to a documented audience of 2 to 5 million people weekly.
For all the scholarly and ministerial opportunities which he tackled with fervor, without doubt it was the Baylor students on whom Yates left his most indelible mark. His courses were consistently among the most popular offered by the Baylor Department of Religion. Students were effusive in their praise, some agreeing that they found it hard to write down all the facts Yates presented in class, because “they weren’t really like facts, but sort of like parts of a simple conversation.” One student called Dr. Yates “the greatest man and the greatest professor I’ve ever met. He knows so much it really scares me because I sometimes think he was there when it all happened.”
One former student recently blogged: “From that first lecture and interchange, I was fascinated with the Bible and the study of it. I could not believe that the Bible could be so alive…. Dr. Yates was one of the most learned men I have ever known. Yet, he was able to reduce all the facts into such a flowing narrative that students felt they were walking in biblical times.” The Independence Baptist Association, when honoring Dr. Yates some years later, noted, “To young and old, rich and poor, he is considerate and courteous to all. He speaks to professor and student alike on the campus. Cafeteria lines halt momentarily for many visits when he goes to lunch.”
As befitting not only Baylor’s Christian commitment but also his own deep-seated faith, Yates always ended his classes with a prayer. He was known to warn the class on certain days, “We may have to cut short so we can spend a bit more time with our prayer. There’s plenty to pray for these days.” While it was not unusual for Baylor religion professors to open or close their classes with a prayer in those years, students soon realized that Yates’ prayers “seemed more like real conversations with God.”
 
RETIREMENT AND BEYOND
Yates retired from Baylor in 1969 at the venerable age of 74, with the title bestowed on him of Distinguished Professor Emeritus.
On June 11, 1972, Dr. Yates was honored as the Texas Baptist Elder Statesman of the Year, an award presented annually to persons who have rendered long-time distinguished service “to God and Texas Baptists.” At the ceremonies, it was noted that “Biblical scholars have acclaimed Dr. Yates as ‘the world’s authority on the prophets’.”
Just eight days after his eightieth birthday, on Saturday, February 15, 1975, Dr. Yates passed away in a Waco nursing home, as a result of congestive heart failure. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Waco. On Dr. Yates’ tombstone is the Greek word hypernikomen (spelled out in perfect original Greek).

 
hypernikomen

Meaning “to be more than a conqueror,” the word is used only once in the Bible, but it comes from what was Dr. Yates’ most quoted passage, Romans 8:37. As shown in The Bible from 26 Translations, the Greek word hypernikomen has been rendered in various translations as “we more than conquer,” “we keep on gloriously conquering,” and “we win an overwhelming victory.” It is no wonder, then, that this word appears as the lasting memorial of the life and service of Dr. Kyle Yates.
As such, it is fitting to end this tribute to him with the passage as translated in the Revised Standard Version:
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn?
Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written,
“For thy sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” [Psalm 44:22]
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:33-39, RSV)

 

 

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An ‘Exodus’ You Simply Mustn’t Miss

Statue of Joseph

Is this a statue of Joseph? See the film.

[NOTE: When I first published this article in January 2015, it was with the hope of interesting as many people as possible in seeing a then-new film, which was showing in theaters nationwide the next night. The film is no longer in release, but its DVD is now available, so I have modified the content here to reflect that.]

There is a new Biblically based documentary film that I recommend to you in the strongest terms, available now on DVD and Blu-ray. The film is Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, and it is director Timothy Mahoney’s journey to answer his personal question, “Is there any archaeological evidence for the story of the Exodus?” It becomes clear right away that Mahoney is not using the film to advance some pet theory of his own, but is indeed letting us watch the unfolding of his process in gaining an answer to his question. And even at the end, when the audience has been made aware of Mahoney’s findings, he doesn’t beat us over the head with it, or vilify or demean those who disagree with them.

The film’s fairness, openness, and honesty are the underpinnings of its ethical as well as its scientific approach to the truth. And perhaps as a result of that, the tone never becomes preachy, sanctimonious, or self-righteous. We’re not talked down to, nor is there any nasty sense of “I know something you don’t know.” In addition to all that, it’s a beautifully shot, well-written and -edited movie that has received, at latest count, 13 showings in and awards from international film festivals.

Mahoney is quite honest in saying that when he, a Christian, asked some of the world’s leading archaeologists and Egyptologists his central question, their response that “no, and was told by them that there is absolutely no evidence of an Exodus event,” it drove him to a crisis of faith. Nevertheless, the film presents these scholars’ views fairly and fully. Even when an alternative approach is provided by other scholars, which suggests that the answer could indeed be “yes,” the film’s innate fair and balanced approach still provides an equal voice to both sides of the issue. Even the 4-minute trailer, which you may watch below, shows that balance. The responses of some of these original naysayers to the suggested new approach to evidence of the Exodus may make you think (as it did me) of this quote from Dr. Thomas Sowell: “Considering how often throughout history even intelligent people have been proved to be wrong, it is amazing that there are still people who are convinced that the only reason anyone could possibly say something different from what they believe is stupidity or dishonesty.”

Egypt destroyedI won’t spoil the film’s search route toward an answer, nor what its revelations are, but suffice it to say that it has the capacity to stimulate your mind and feed your spirit simultaneously. My wife and I left the film event invigorated, excited, worshipful, and eager to learn more. How much more could one ask?

Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, the bookThe film has now been released on DVD and Blu-ray, complete with several interesting “Bonus Features” — perfect for after viewing the film when you want still more. A companion book to the film by Timothy Mahoney, titled Patterns of Evidence: Exodus — A Filmmaker’s Journey, has been published. It is chock full of “valuable insights and additional interviews not seen in the film, giving the reader a chance to get know the scholars and their positions better. Filled with beautiful photography of Egypt and Israel, scenes from the biblical re-creations, maps, charts, and diagrams.”

Mahoney’s organization, Thinking Man Films, is currently in production for a sequel to the film. Here is their teaser for the new film, as found on their website: “After Moses and the Israelites left Egypt, the Bible records they miraculously crossed a mighty sea and traveled on to Mount Sinai where they received revelation from God. Many believe these events changed the history of the world. But, after decades of searching, archaeologists have found no trace of this story. If the Israelites really did journey out of Egypt to a holy mountain, could there still exist a pattern of evidence just waiting to be found?”

Exodus: Myth or History? the bookAfter viewing Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, you will (I predict) want to learn more from and about Egyptologist and historian David Rohl, the expert most important to the overall conclusions drawn by the film. His newest book, timed to coincide with the release of the film, is called Exodus — Myth or History?. It is described as “a book for those who want to examine the evidence in detail, but it is also an absorbing and captivating read.” Rohl was once described by the Archaeology Correspondent for British newspaper The Daily Mail as “one of the most brilliant and original minds now engaged in writing ancient history. If he hadn’t been a historian he would have been a terrific mystery writer.”

And if you still can’t get enough David Rohl, see the short video at the bottom of this article concerning four totally absorbing lectures by Rohl on the subject of the Exodus and early Israelite history (totaling 4 hours 29 min). The subjects are:

  • The Bible — Myth or History?
  • Moses and the Exodus — Fact or Fiction?
  • Who Plundered Solomon’s Temple?
  • Legendary Kings and Chronicles

I’ve watched all four lectures twice, and still can’t get enough.

I would love to know your thoughts, whether or not you see the film.

THE OFFICIAL TRAILER:

INFORMATION ON THE DAVID ROHL LECTURES:

 
 

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