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Category Archives: Biblical History

‘Truly, before Abraham was…’

 
I have seen several Facebook memes similar to the one shown here, all with the identical Christian message. Maybe you’ve run across them, too. They display what are called the seven “I AM” statements of Jesus:
       • I am the bread of life.
       • I am the light of the world.
       • I am the door (or gate).
       • I am the good shepherd.
       • I am the resurrection and the life.
       • I am the way, the truth, and the life.
       • I am the true vine.

Each of the seven “I AMs” may be found in the Gospel of John, and of course — inescapably and profoundly — Jesus is most certainly each and every one of them. That knowledge is vital in our attempts to more completely understand Him, His earthly Mission, and His plan for our salvation.

But I can’t help it. Every time I see one of the “Seven I AMs of Christ” memes, my response is always the same: Yes, you’re right! Jesus is all of that. But you’ve left out His most astounding, and perhaps the most important, “I AM” claim of all.

 
That greatest “I AM” is also found in the book of John. In Chapter 8, Jesus is responding to increasingly virulent verbal questioning and accusations from a group of Pharisees (or “the Jews,” as John refers to them). As the replies from Jesus hit closer and closer to home, the Pharisees finally (metaphorically) throw down on the table their ancestral trump card: “We are the descendants of Abraham!” they cried. The implication was clear: “We are Abraham’s offspring! As such we are God’s chosen — and therefore we cannot possibly be guilty of the accusations You are making against us!

It all comes to a head when Christ tells them that they are far from acting like God’s Chosen People. You are instead, Jesus tells them, “of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.” Their response to this is the classic playground bully retort, used by those who have no rational, legal, or (in this case) spiritual arguments to fall back on — “Yeah, well if we’re bad, you’re worse!”

The Jews responded to Him, “Aren’t we right in saying that You’re a Samaritan and have a demon?”
“I do not have a demon,” Jesus answered. “On the contrary, I honor My Father and you dishonor Me. I do not seek My glory; the One who seeks it also judges. I assure you: If anyone keeps My word, he will never see death — ever!”
Then the Jews said, “Now we know You have a demon. Abraham died and so did the prophets. You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death — ever!’ Are You greater than our father Abraham who died? Even the prophets died. Who do You pretend to be?”
“If I glorify Myself,” Jesus answered, “My glory is nothing. My Father — you say about Him, ‘He is our God’ — He is the One who glorifies Me. You’ve never known Him, but I know Him. If I were to say I don’t know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced.”
The Jews replied, “You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.
At that, they picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex. [John 8:48-59]

 
I truly believe a strong case can be made that, of all the things Christ is quoted as saying in the Bible, this one statement packs the biggest explosive power. The Pharisees understood perfectly well what He was telling them. They needed no sages, commentaries, or apologists to explain it. But just in case the full meaning is not yet completely clear today, 2000 years later, here is what two highly respected New Testament Commentaries say about Christ’s “I am” statement and its profound message:

Jesus gave one of the most important answers to any question posed to Him in the entire Gospel of John. “‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” What was Jesus saying? That He was God Himself! The only other time the phrase “I am” was used to describe someone was in Exodus 3:14, where God used that very phrase as His name. Here Jesus claimed that name for Himself. No identity statement could be clearer. Jesus claimed to be God Himself in human form.
[Holman Concise Bible Commentary]

The words rendered “was” and “am” are quite different. The one clause means, “Abraham was brought into being”; the other, “I exist.” The statement therefore is not that Christ came into existence before Abraham did, but that He never came into being at all, but existed before Abraham had a being; in other words, existed before creation, or eternally [John 1:1]. In that sense the Jews plainly understood Him, since “then took they up stones to cast at Him,” just as they had before done when they saw that He made Himself equal with God [John 5:18].
[Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible]

Greek: Before Abraham was...

SOURCE: BIBLEHUB.COM


Now, don’t panic. I know you’re eyeing this chart with all the Greek writing in it with trepidation, bordering on fear and loathing. Don’t let your eyes (or your brain) glaze over. Breathe in; breathe out.

Understanding Greek is not in any way a prerequisite for continuing to read this article! I’ve only included this graphic because I want us to fully share and savor the meaning and import of every single word and phrase in Christ’s momentous declaration. Read through the English on the bottom line, and when you are finished, we’ll walk together on a journey through Christ’s amazing declaration.

On first reading, Jesus’ “I AM” statement (in brownish-orange on the chart) might seem simple. But then you notice that, strictly speaking, it doesn’t make grammatical sense. (Past tense and present tense, in the same sentence?) By the time we’re finished, however, I hope you’ll agree that Jesus said it perfectly correctly and it contains an infinitely powerful truth.

Jesus almost certainly spoke this sentence in the Aramaic language, and John’s translation of His statement into Greek comprises only 9 words. In order to understand the profundity inherent in the message of those few words, let’s take them word by word (or phrase by phrase) and see how Christ’s one-sentence reply to the Pharisees answered the one largest question about who Jesus was — and at the same time raised a huge number of other questions.

A Walk Through John 8:58. Each of the five large text blocks below tackles one word or phrase from Christ’s sentence. In a box in the upper left of each text block, I have mirrored the Interlinear graphic above, putting John’s actual Greek word(s) on the middle line, the English transliteration on the top line, and the English literal translation at the bottom in red type. *

My commentary, inside each larger text block, attempts to reflect the thoughts that might have rapidly gone through the mind of someone present at the time Jesus had this confrontation with the Pharisees. As such, the phrases and sentences are often fragmented and jump quickly to new considerations. They are also repetitive, as one might go back to a previous thought in order to add a new insight gained and see if total meaning is emerging.

Just read the following in a flow, and with luck and God’s guidance, we’ll trust that His meaning will become clear.

Amēn amēn
Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν
Truly, truly

Did you know that every time Jesus began a sentence “Truly” or “Verily, verily,” He was using the Hebrew word “Amen”? It’s true. It means “Truth.” (The English equivalents most often given by NT Greek Lexicons for “amen” (pronounced “ahm-AIN”) include truly, verily, surely, certainly, of a truth, it is the truth, and so be it.) Using it to precede a statement of fact or an announcement was a common idiom at the time, indicating not only its veracity but also that it was of some significance. We do a similar thing in English when we start a sentence like this: “I’ll tell you the truth, that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!” or “In all honesty, I think his new haircut looks silly.” [We even have a way of doing that in the vernacular (slang) when we start a sentence with “Seriously.” “Seriously, dude, where’s my car?” However, I don’t think I would use it to translate a statement made by Jesus!] That Christ used the word “Amen” twice to begin this sentence signified emphasis. He was calling attention to the fact that what He was about to say was not only true, but also important. When we get to the end of Christ’s sentence, that will seem like an understatement.

legō
λέγω
I say

Time is important and will play a large role in the meaning of this sentence. We’ve already gotten the message that the sentence is true and important, and now this single simple word communicates both subject and verb — “I say” (or “I am saying”). We can read a clear subtext in this one word: We start with “Truth. Very important.” and we add “Now. In the present. At this moment. As I look at you and you look at me, I SAY this to you. We are locked together in this time of the now. This is not something you heard in the past, and no prophecy of the future has revealed it to you.” Also by this, Jesus takes full responsibility for the unbelievable magnitude of what He is about to tell them.

hymin
ὑμῖν
to you

With the addition of this word, Christ’s hearers have been given this introduction: “Truth. Important. Present tense. I am saying… to you.” Still locked eyeball to eyeball, Jesus and the Pharisees have been engaged in a “knock-down, drag-out” verbal battle, and He has just heard the Pharisees play their ancestral “trump card” — “We are the descendants of Abraham! We are the spiritual Leaders of God’s Chosen People! And who are you? You are one of the hated, heretical Samaritans and are clearly demon-possessed!” The carpenter’s son from Nazareth, the Creator of the Universe, looks at them calmly and assures them that this “truth,” this “important truth,” is specifically for them. They will have to deal with its ramifications.

prin Abraam genesthai
πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι
Before Abraham was [born]

Jesus now makes time move within a single sentence. He started with the present tense: “Truth. Important. I am saying this now to you.” But He immediately reverses gear and casts them back to the ancient past: “What I am saying to you, the message I have for you, carries implications about and derives its authority from — the past.” In telling the Pharisees just before this that “Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced,” He was giving one huge hint of what He was going to tell them. But as we’ll see, the Pharisees never saw it coming. Jesus had picked this day, this time, this “now” to reveal His own “trump card” — His identity. And the Pharisees took the offered bait and ran with it. One can imagine the sneers on their faces and the revulsion in their hearts as they snapped back at Him: “You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham?” They knew that Abraham’s day was estimated as much as 1800 years (!!) before this conversation. Preposterous, they were thinking! He’s mad and he has a demon! But now, the end of the sentence is almost here. Christ tells them “The important truth that I am saying to you now requires you to cast your mind back to the time ‘before Abraham was born’…

egō eimi
ἐγὼ εἰμί
I am.

I AM.”
Simple.
Wait, what did He say?
It hits our modern ears as incorrect, because He has switched back to the present tense. Or has He?
tick… tick… tick…
2, maybe 3 seconds of complete silence, as the universe-sized import and unbelievable meaning of what Jesus of Nazareth just said hits each of the Pharisees. There would have been no one present in the Temple that day who did not understand the clear reference just made to “I AM.”
Boom!   Explosion.   “Kill him! Stone him!! He is claiming to be God!” Actually, that last sentence may well have been the truest thing the Pharisees said the whole day.
I AM. The burning bush. “I am that I am.” “I am the one Who said, ‘Let there be light!'” “I am Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” And then, the climactic truth becomes clear…

Jesus of Nazareth, staring at the Pharisees,
with the unmistakable message to the Pharisees hanging in the air…
I AM your God


 
So now, with all of the above, the following three quotes have merged into one major, astounding, earth- and human-changing TRUTH: The eternal God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob — the Creator of the Universe — emptied Himself into a human form for the benefit of each individual one of us, and He told us His Name as a sign, a token, and an unalterable proof of that fact.

Then Moses asked God, “If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what should I tell them?”
God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.”
God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.

— Exodus 3:13–15 (HCSB)

“Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced.”
The Jews replied, “You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.”

— John 8:56-58 (HCSB)

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM !

— Mark Lowry

Before Abraham was...

Jonathan Cahn videos, volume 4

YHVH: The I AM Mysteries is available in the 3-DVD set of Jonathan Cahn’s Biblical Teachings, volume 4, from WND Films.

A Parting Gift. To close out this study of Christ as the great “I AM” and of John 8:58, I have a gift for you. Noted teacher (rabbi) and Christian author (The Harbinger) Jonathan Cahn has some startling and uplifting conclusions about “I AM” as the name of God, and the fact that Jesus revealed that He was “I AM.”

Describing the facts he has uncovered as “cool” and “amazing,” Cahn makes the strong point that the study of God’s name is not just some dry, boring historical or theological stuff. Rather, he says, this has “everything to do with your life. The name of God actually applies to your life! In an amazing way, this can change your life.

Below, you will find a video of a message he delivered titled YHVH: The I AM Mysteries, and I strongly urge you to set aside 33 minutes of quiet time to watch it. Once you get to the 8-minute mark, put your mental roller skates on, because he’ll be taking you for a wind-in-your-hair, joyful, inspiring, and amazing ride!

To whet your appetite, but without spoilers, here are some of the truths Cahn talks about in the video. (Yes, including Moses’s socks.) I predict you’ll find it fascinating and uplifting.

  • Topic: Moses’s Socks — The dramatic way Yahweh revealed his name as “I AM.” (Exodus 3:13-15)
  • Topic: The Name — Does God have more than one name?
  • Topic: The Name — “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “It’s me.”
  • Topic: Goodness — We have the order of “doing good” and “being good” backward.
  • Topic: Love — “If people sin against you and give you no cause to love them, that’s the cause! Love them.” and “The person in your life who has given you no reason whatsoever to love them, that’s the one you have to love.”
  • Topic: Biblical Grammar — In Genesis 1:1, “God” is plural and “created” is singular. It’s not a mistake, and it reveals huge Truths.
  • Topic: Your Identity — “Who are you?” “I am Grover.”
  • Topic: Living Your Life — Joining your “I am” to His “I AM.”

Jonathan Cahn — YHVH: The I AM Mysteries (33:10)


 

Asking the Next QuestionsThese are questions you might want to prayerfully ponder, and perhaps take back to Scriptures for help in answering.

  1. What would you consider the most valuable meaning of God’s name “I AM” to your own personal life?

  2. How important is it for you to know that Jesus was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? And why?

  3. If you, knowing everything you know living in the 21st century, could be transported back to the moment that Jesus made the “I AM” statement — and if language were no barrier — what would be the very next question your mind would want to ask Him? What would your heart want to ask Him?

  4. How did you feel when you read the things that the Pharisees were accusing Jesus of and that they wanted to stone Him? How do you think they would have justified their words and actions?

  5. The song Mary Did You Know was mentioned above. How do you think Mary would have felt when she heard that her son Jesus revealed Himself to be “the Great I AM” ? How do you think this would have changed her already very special life?

    Extra question for those who watched Jonathan Cahn’s video:

  6. What do you feel is the most valuable meaning to your life after hearing Rabbi Cahn talk about living one’s life “in God” — that everything you do, you do with God doing it with you? How might this insight change your ideas about God? How might this insight change your feelings about God?

In honor of my mentor and dear friend Dr. Leonard Kaplan (1935-2013).


 

NOTES:

 * The word “transliteration” seems to give some Christian teachers great problems. I’ve seen it often confused with “translation” or “paraphrase.” Here’s what it really means. Merriam-Webster defines “to transliterate” as “to represent or spell in the characters of another alphabet.” Greek to English is a perfect example. Because the Greek alphabet is different from the English alphabet, it is often helpful to substitute the letter in English that makes the same sounds as each Greek letter in a word. Take the word Λόγος. In English its translation is “Word” and its transliteration is “Logos.” Here’s how we got that transliteration:
Λ = L, ό = o, γ = g, ο = o, ς = s and that gives us the transliteration of Λόγος, which is Logos.
It can even be done with languages that have no alphabet, such as Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese). The Chinese call this transliteration pinyin (pronounced peen-yeen). Since there is no Chinese alphabet, the transliteration is done just using the sound of each word. The capital of China is pronounced BAY-JING (with the “j” sounding like the j in “jingle,” not the sound of “prime rib au jus” or “Zsa Zsa Gabor”). So the people who created the transliteration pinyin for Mandarin used the Western alphabet letters “Beijing” to create that word’s pinyin.

 

SOURCES:

  • Brannan, Rick; Harwood, Theodore; Curtis, Andrew. English-Greek Reverse Interlinear Holman Christian Standard Bible: New Testament. Lexham Press, 2017.
  • Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 145). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  • Kaplan, Leonard. Asking the Next Question. Tichenor Publishing, (1986).
  • Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, MA. 2015.
  • Nestle, Eberhard. Η ΚΑΙΝΗ ΔΙΑΘΗΚΗ, Text with Critical Apparatus. British and Foreign Bible Society, 1904.
  • Van Der Pool, Charles. The Apostolic Bible Polyglot. Apostolic Press, 2006.
  • White, J. E. (1998). “John”. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman Concise Bible Commentary (p. 477). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
CREDITS:

IMAGE CREDITS —
(THE SEVEN “I AMs”) CatholicLink Library of Resosurces
(JOHN 8:58 GREEK) BibleHub.com
(“I AM”) Woodland Baptist Church, Columbus, MS
(JONATHAN CAHN DVDs, VOL. 4) WND.com
VIDEO CREDIT —
(YHVH: THE I AM MYSTERIES) Jonathan Cahn; Hope of the World

 

ARTICLE © 2018, DR. GROVER B. PROCTOR, JR. — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

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‘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.]


2018 Update: There is a new and expanded feature, added at the bottom of this article. It is a video of two exciting and informative video presentations about the question of the historical accuracy of the Bible’s story of the Exodus, given by highly respected Egyptologist and Historian David Rohl. I strongly urge you to go down there before leaving this site.



 
 
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 them, 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 — a flat and unequivocal “no,” “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.”

As of the most recent updating of this article,
Patterns of Evidence: Exodus is available on Netflix
and on for rent or puchase on Youtube.

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:


 

PATTERNS OF EVIDENCE: EXODUS
2018 Update

For those of you have not seen the film Patterns of Evidence: Exodus yet and especially for those who have, I have added a video below that will provide you with amazing additional insights, facts, and theories about the historical accuracy of the Biblical story of the Exodus.

Dr. David Rohl (see above) has become quite well known as the Egyptologist and Historian who has made a major contribution to those fields by creating and proposing a New Chronology for the history of Egypt. Because all dating of other nations and civilizations (including Biblical Israel) is linked to and based on that of Egypt, Rohl’s theories could have a major impact on how we understand all of Biblical history.

Thanks in part to the Patterns of Evidence project, and Rohl’s major participation in finding the right time in Egyptian history into which the Exodus can be seen to fit, Rohl’s theories are being examined very carefully by scholars and the public to see where they take us.

In the video I have posted below, Rohl makes two hour-long presentations for Michael Rood’s “A Rood Awakening” Ministry in Charlotte, North Carolina. In them, Rohl adds credibility and historicity to Israelite history, from Jacob and Joseph all the way down to the post-Solomonic kingdoms. He does this by explaining how, in the various aspects of his New Chronology and other historical formulations he has put forward, they have relevance to Israelite history.

For reasons you will learn in these two presentations below, contemporary scholars have come to the rigid conclusion that there is no historical or archaeological evidence to support a mass Exodus of Israelite people from Egypt, at the time they are “supposed” to be there. Rohl replies that he believes their timing is wrong (he asserts they have made a “huge blunder” in that regard). So if there is no evidence of an Exodus at that time, why not look to see if there is that evidence at some other time. And as the film Patterns of Evidence: Exodus concludes, yes, there is such a time. In the second of the presentations in the video below, Rohl comes to that same conclusion.

 
Here is what you will find in the two presentations:

Program 1: “Shoshenk Not Shishak” (begins at 00:12 on the video)
(Program 1 is truly fascinating stuff, but even David Rohl admits it might be a bigger plateful than you want to chew on right now. But keep reading here, as you will almost certainly want to view Program 2, even if you decide to skip this one.) A little background is important before you undertake either or both of these programs. David Rohl is an agnostic, not a God-believer. However, he does believe that the Bible is as valuable an ancient historical document as any other, and he feels its information should be taken very seriously. In Program 1, “Shoshenk Not Shishak,” Rohl puts forth the case that one major, seminal historical misidentification in the 19th century has completely rendered our dating of ancient Near Eastern history totally inaccurate. As a result of this major chronological misunderstanding, Rohl makes the point that Egyptologists who do not believe the Exodus ever took place (and that’s most of them!) are looking in the right place but in the wrong time period. I will admit that the subject matter in Program 1 is a little technical, and may put you off a bit. However, let me assure you that, if you let him, Rohl has the uncanny ability to bring all of this information down to the level of us mere mortals. This really is a great historical who-dun-it — or perhaps who-misdated-it.

Program 2: “Exodus: Myth or History?” (begins at 55:05 on the video)
At the beginning of this program, David Rohl candidly states, “You’ll be pleased to know that Round 2 is a lot easier to take on!” If this program doesn’t grab your attention and amaze your mind, I will be very surprised. Here are the questions he takes on in Program 2:

  1. Why have scholars almost universally come to believe that the Exodus, the conquest of Jericho, and much of the Bible’s historical accounts are myth, and not fact?
  2. Was Ramesses II (“the Great”) the Pharaoh of the Exodus?
  3. Is there historical evidence that Joseph existed and rose to high levels of power in Egypt? Is there evidence of 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine?
  4. Is there evidence that a group of Semitic people came to live in Egypt at the invitation of Pharaoh? Is there evidence they were affiliated with Joseph?
  5. Is there any evidence that would show that Moses could have written the first five books of the Bible in early Hebrew?
  6. Who was the Pharoah ruling at the time of Joseph? Later, if it wasn’t Ramesses II, who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?
  7. Is there any historical evidence of Joshua and the conquest of the Promised Land?

Don’t you want to know the answer to all of these?

TWO PRESENTATIONS ON THE EXODUS BY DAVID ROHL

 

ARTICLE © 2015,2018, DR. GROVER B. PROCTOR, JR. — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 
 

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