This is part 2 in the Bible study series: Let Us Keep the Feasts. Did the Exodus happen and why is it important? The story of the Exodus is critical in understanding not only the history of Israel and the existence of Moses, Abraham and others. Did it happen as scripture says it did? Is there evidence from archaeology and history to substantiate the Biblical account? This story lays a foundation for our understanding of the first Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread as told in Exodus.
[Darris McNeely] Well, good evening everyone. Welcome to our Beyond Today Bible Studies, our bi-weekly studies here at the home office of the United Church of God. For those of you that are online, we welcome you as well. Many of you are online live right now, and we know that many will be watching this later on at their particular time. So welcome to everyone. We have a little bit of a weather forecast for tonight, but we have a good crowd here at the home office and I appreciate all of you coming out and being a part of things here. Let’s go ahead and ask God’s blessing. I’ll just let you remain seated and I’ll bow and ask God’s blessing upon our study here this evening.
Great God in heaven, Father, we bow before You, giving You thanks for this day, the work we’ve been able to accomplish, and this building that You provided for us and the United Church of God. And Father, that work we pray your blessing as it goes out to all parts of the world, and especially tonight as we gather here for this Bible study that is for us here as well as many who are online, again, in other parts of the country and later will watch this. We pray that You would guide this study, help us all who hear and are listening in to be strengthened and be edified by looking at, Father, Your Word, and also, Father, a comfort and assurance that Your Word is true. We pray that that would come through tonight as well in our study here. We commit this into Your hands now, and asking for Your guidance and Your direction, in the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.
All right. We are in the midst of our newest series, a Bible studies here for our Beyond Today Bible Studies, which is entitled “Let Us Keep the Feasts.” And we had a couple already, Mr. Petty, Mr. Myers, have done two. And these will be leading up to the fall Holy, or the spring Holy Days. And even beyond because we planned to do a few in that period between the Days of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Pentecost will be the theme or the time covered by our particular theme tonight.
What I am intending to cover tonight in part one of a two-part series that I plan to do is a series on Egypt and the Exodus, a bit of a historical summary of what we know about the Exodus and the Bible, a little bit of the background to ancient Egypt, which is the setting for the story of Exodus, and a bit of a chronology in regards to the Exodus. All of that we’ll talk about tonight. In part two of this series, we’re going to talk a little deeper about why it is that we should come out of Egypt just as Israel went out of Egypt during that story, which transpired at the time of the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread, and the spiritual implications for what Egypt was, a little bit deeper into that, and why it is that we, like Israel and specifically as Hebrews 11 mentions Moses, forsook Egypt not wanting to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. We’ll talk in that part two a little bit more about why Egypt is used in the Bible and why we should look at it as a type of sin and understand it from that point of view at this point.
But tonight the title of the topic that I’ve chosen here deals with why the Exodus matters. And we’re going to look at the story of the Exodus in brief, not in the complete detail of every part out through the first 13, 14 chapters of Exodus as beyond the scope of this one evening. But I want to zero in on some of the historical things that we can now and also about what we are told from the Bible because this subject is one of great fascination. Many of you know that just earlier, late last year there was a movie put out called “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” which was a remake of the Exodus story, the one that we have known for so many years as told by Cecil B. DeMille in “The Ten Commandments.” This latest one that was done by director Ridley Scott, was a more, say, moderned up dealing of the subject that was a very interesting depiction that got maybe one or two things right and a lot of things not so right.
Let’s just leave it at that. We’re not going into another movie review of that, but there’s also been just an ongoing continual interest in the subject of the Exodus. Just a few weeks ago, Peter Eddington and his wife Terri and I went to the movie theater just down the hill from us here to watch a special showing of a documentary that had been produced called “Patterns of Evidence.” That was a very, very interesting documentary that went through, again, the more of the historical evidence that we have from the Bible, from history, from archaeology, about the Exodus and showing the evidence that is there. It’s quite detailed. It’s about a two-hour plus movie, a documentary, which was quite interesting.
And what I’m going to be doing tonight is presenting bits and pieces out of that, plus what we and others have traditionally known and understood about the story of the Exodus from the Bible and not bore you and not weigh you down with a lot of the details that are available. Only a few details because frankly our biggest proof from our point of view is what the Bible says. And I’m convinced, and I know many of you, most of you are, if not all, that what the Bible does tell us is that of a true story, that the Israelites did sojourn in Egypt during the time of Joseph as a result of that part of the story, that they were ultimately enslaved by Pharaoh, and then that there was a Moses who was born, miraculously saved as the story is told, and then at the age of 80 came back and was the deliverer of the children of Israel out of the slavery of Egypt to the Promised Land to begin the story that God had for the Israel in that part of the promise.
We take that as true because of what we read in the Bible and also because of what we find through the historical and the archaeological record that does affirm that. Now I should say at the outset that skeptics, critics of that story are not going to be convinced no matter what evidence might be found. I think if somewhere there were unearthed out of the sands of Egypt, the equivalent of a data bank in a DVD or CD that had the whole story laid out of Joseph and Moses and Israel coming out and it still wouldn’t convince a skeptic. That’s another subject all in itself.
But we can be sure and our faith can be sure that it rests upon a solid foundation of not…first of all the Word of God but certainly as well what we do know about the story. So we’ll touch on parts of that as well as the Biblical record and just a little bit of overview of ancient Egypt as it was from…and what we need to know about this.
Another thought, the last Bible study I gave was during the prophecy series, and I talked about Babylon the Great, and gave an overview of Babylon. Just stop to think about it. In the Bible, we have two great empires that really stand out there from Genesis to Revelation in the story. And as Babylon, I showed in that earlier Bible study, that from Genesis to Revelation, Babylon is this overarching nation, city, and system that is in opposition to God and His great plan. That, in a sense, by one sentence, really sums up Babylon. It was a system that shakes its fist at God and opposes God in every way.
Now the other great empire and nation and story that we see is that of Egypt, really. Most, from what we find in Genesis and in Exodus, other bits of the story of Israel and prophecy as well for the future, and even somewhat mentioned in the Book of Revelation, but Egypt is the second story. Now Egypt is a bit different. If Babylon is the epitome of man’s opposition to God, one way that we can look at Egypt and understand it, is that Egypt is a story of man’s tyranny against his fellow man. Babylon, tyranny against God. Egypt, man’s tyranny against his fellow man.
And certainly so when we look at what they did with the Israelites in enslaving that entire tribal nation, free nation, into a system of slavery from which God extracted them during the story of Moses and the Exodus. And then if we look then into a spiritual type of that being a sin from which we are to come out and to avoid, then we understand that sin is certainly something that enslaves us spiritually, just as Egypt enslaved the people of God anciently in the story. And so we know that symbolism that is there, but Egypt then represents man’s tyranny against his fellow man.
And a study of Egypt, historically, scripturally, bears that out in every way, shape, and form. And it’s a fascinating study. It has been for millennia of people who have sought to study this very old civilization. Egypt is a nation that is upwards of 5,000 years old. It is a very, very old system. And it is important to us primarily and why it matters, because of these two Holy Days. And, of course, it works into our series that we’re talking about here of “Let Us Keep the Feasts.” Because in the story of Exodus, we do have the beginnings of the story of Passover with that last plague that swept through Egypt, killed the firstborn of the Egyptians, sparing the firstborn of the Israelites.
And then with the lamb and the blood on the doorposts, the entire story of Exodus 12 and 13 tells that story of Passover. And then, of course, when they left Egypt, it was the beginning of the Days of Unleavened Bread and there in chapter 13 of Exodus, and 14, we find the beginning instructions about the Days of Unleavened Bread. Seven days, we are to eat unleavened bread. We find out why exactly unleavened bread is connected with this Days of Unleavened Bread, feature the unrisen, no yeast bread because they had to leave quickly. That’s really the reason when you look and see carefully. The reason they had unleavened bread is they had to leave quickly.
And it tied in with what God was doing. So we have these two Holy Days, which, of course, we’re coming up to. And those Holy Days are intimately tied into this historical event of the Exodus and the story of Moses and Israel coming out of Egypt. If that’s not true, if that’s just a myth, then these two beginning Holy Days of the Days of Unleavened Bread plus the story of Passover is not true as well. So it matters. It’s very important. Did it happen as what the Bible says that it happened? Then it does. Now these stories are obviously debated by theologians and by scholars, and the existence of a Moses, the sojourn of Israel in Egypt, and the Exodus itself. In some minds, because there is no record of it from the ancient Egyptian annals, therefore, it did not exist.
And so you have that side of the argument. You have the other side of the argument of scholars and archaeologists, theologians, historians who say there is evidence. This movie that we saw, the “Patterns of Evidence,” shows that and shows what is available even about going down to showing us the very city where the Israelites were and where Joseph was in the northern delta area of Egypt, and even down to, as some scholars have shown, finding a statue that they say represents Joseph. You can look at certain works by certain historians of the period. And one, a man named David Rohl, shows a picture unearthed from that time of the statue, that he says is Joseph and it’s a picture of a multi-colored robed individual.
All right? All right, but again the other side of the argument said, “No, that’s something else and it’s not really what you might say that it is.” But this all goes to show the problems that we have, even among the experts as they debate all this. We’ll see more of this as we go along. We’ve already talked about the importance of this to our Feasts and to our understanding here of the Holy Days. And that is extremely critical and extremely important.
Let’s take a moment and let’s look at what ancient Egypt was as we can see in just a thumbnail sketch from brief history. This is a satellite view of the Nile River and the desert area of Egypt going down into the actual delta. And just off the picture to the top is the Mediterranean Sea. You see the green area basically representing the Nile, the Nile River, which is the longest river in the world, that flows from the interior of Africa, Lake Victoria, northward. It is a major river that flows north and then empties out into the Mediterranean.
You see that along that river then is an area of green. And this literally shows you a very important feature about ancient Egypt and even modern Egypt, because this is a picture of modern Egypt, but it shows us what was a key feature of that time. What was it? The river Nile, the Nile River, which every year would overflow its banks leaving behind water and sediment that created a very rich soil for cultivation and agriculture, making Egypt society very rich, very wealthy in what they grew, but it was dependent upon the Nile overflowing every year because it literally was the source of life.
And if the Nile did not overflow, we know from the story with Joseph, that there were seven years of famine followed seven years of plenty that were predicted by Joseph that did occur. There were other periods historically that is known as well, but it was critical to their life. You get a few miles beyond the banks of the Nile on either side of Egypt and you’re in desert. And, of course, then it fans out in the delta and creating a very rich and fertile area down there. And it is along this river, over 4000 miles long from its source to the mouth, the longest river in the world, that the story of Egypt developed.
Interestingly in Egypt, when you read about Egypt, they were divided into Upper and Lower Egypt. And Upper Egypt is considered the area to the south where the Nile began. That’s Upper Egypt as opposed to what we might think Upper Egypt being where it flows up. That’s Lower Egypt. Now their orientation was to the source of the Nile, which was part of their religious belief system because they worship the river as part of their theology, and they oriented themselves looking to the source of the river as just, even a part of that, which is why it’s called Upper Egypt.
The civilization that began to develop along here was unique. When you go back 5,000 years, you realize that you are…among the oldest, if not the oldest of civilizations. People scattered after the time of the Tower of Babel, the story we have there, and they scattered. Into this area came people and a development of the story.
And at some point along the way, Egypt coalesced into a state, a nation. Not necessarily as we consider a nation or state today but their power was consolidated into one man, the original Pharaoh. And a civilization began to develop around its theology, around its economy, and politically that caused this nation to break out of the pack of the ancient world quicker, faster, and further than any of the other peoples scattered throughout Mesopotamia and Africa and this area that we might call the Middle East. They broke out early, which is why you have the giant pyramids being built around the year 2500 BC, well over a thousand years before the Exodus.
And the engineering, economic abilities to do that appeared very early. And so Egypt became something. And it became a magnum. When we come to the time of Abraham, we find that when there is a brief famine and the land of Canaan where Abraham had gone, he goes down into Egypt because there’s, as he looks, as he feels, there’s safety down there. The story is he gets in trouble down there as well.
But this map really gives you a definition of the story of Egypt, and it also shows you that Egypt, in a sense, was kind of protected naturally by barriers — deserts on both sides. To the west there were some cliffs that kept it from the rest of the northern sphere of Africa. You’ve got the great Sinai Desert there. You’ve got the Red Sea. So you had some natural barriers. The Mediterranean to the north, and then the highlands down toward Ethiopia and the interior of Africa to the south. It was an insulated environment. Again, certain safety precautions to allow Egypt to develop what it did.
One of the things that strikes you, in anything that you read about Egypt, and you think about the immensity of the civilization and the length of it, the longevity of that. 5,000-year old civilization. Pyramids built in 2500, over a thousand years before the time of Moses. And still to this day, it is a nation. It is a sovereign state in the world. One thing you learn about Egypt is the vastness of time. They had time to develop their culture and their civilization and everything they did.
And it’s a fantastic, interesting story that we know a lot about but we don’t know a lot about. One of the 19th century English archaeologists, a man named Sir Flinders Petrie, who did a lot of work on Egyptian archaeology, he made a statement that to me resonates a great deal. He said, “For all we know about ancient Egypt, we have to realize that we don’t know much at all, and what we do know,” he said, “amounts to nothing more than rags and tatters.” Rags and tatters. Bits and pieces of this huge tapestry of the story of Egypt. No wonder there’s controversy even among the experts as they look at the evidence that they have about the story of Egypt and particularly the story of Israel and Egypt, the Exodus and what we have in the Scripture there.
So that is just a brief thumbnail of the little bit of the background there to, thinking about Egypt and the great civilization that developed there and what they developed. Now let me just step through a few pictures here of…this happened last time… It wants to update the software. Just get rid of that box there. Okay, thank you. All right.
Let me bring you to a few modern pictures of Egypt. These are some of the types I took a few years ago when we made a trip to Egypt during the, as it happened, Feast of Tabernacles in Jordan. I think this was ‘05. If it looks like the lens of my camera was dirty, it wasn’t. Because it’s smog. This tells you it’s a modern picture, but you see a couple of the pyramids in the background, and again the trees and the fields in the foreground.
There are certain aspects of Egyptian society today that are very similar to what it would have looked like in the time of Moses. And this picture illustrated it to me. You got a horse-drawn cart. You got a man riding a donkey wearing a traditional Egyptian garb. You got a field in the background, of crops, very green. That green area that…this is very close to the Nile right here. And a horse-drawn cart and a man riding a donkey and a couple of boys off on a hill, roadside pile of dirt there as all of these is taking place.
There’s only two elements of the modern world in this picture. One is that the rubber tires that’s on the cart, and the other you can see on the top. That is the utility lines, wires running across there. Otherwise, take those two out, and it’s probably a scene just about like it would have been 2,000 years ago, 3,000 years ago in Egypt, even minus the smog.
They irrigate, continue to cultivate their fields and in much the same way that it has been done for at least thousands of years. The sheep are all over the place, and it’s a very agrarian society. Do you see in the background, again, one of the pyramids? And then some silos and a more modern-looking plant there against the horizon as well. So you got a contrast of the ancient and the modern right there in the midst of life going on as it has for thousands of years within that area.
Obviously one of the iconic emblems of Egypt are the pyramids. The three great pyramids that are at Giza, great attractions and something that we know about. We begin to look at and see pictures off from our earliest time. This is the largest of the pyramid of Khufu, which was built about in the year 2500 BC, during that general period of time.
Yet I realized that when you see these or you go there, you actually can crawl around on them to a degree and do this. You realize that they’re old, really old by our standards. But put yourself in Moses’ shoes and realize that when Moses saw that same pyramid, it was old in his day. It was a thousand, over a thousand years old when Moses walked by that pyramid. That’s old. How old is it? That’s really old.
Now of course there’s all kinds of stories about how did they build them? And there’s still theories about how the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids, these great ones especially. They still don’t know. And the mathematical engineering precision with which they are together and laid out baffles and staggers the mind today. You would need a computer today for any building project to get as close as they are to the precision with which they’re even laid out on their angles and everything.
How they did it then? They don’t know all the stories. They have suppositions, building earth and banks up against and dragging these huge two and three ton stones up and setting them in place. The real question is how do they get the top one in? Even if they did it that way, there are certain…think about the logistics of getting that top one in in terms of space because it’s very, very limited up there at the very top. But they did it.
And they fascinated everyone that’s ever walked by them. Not only Moses, but even Napoleon. In the early 1800s when Napoleon was romping around Europe decided, “Hey, I need to go across the pond here at Mediterranean, go down into Africa, and begin to claim parts of Africa.” He landed in Egypt and he conquered Egypt. And he stood and looked at the Pyramids. Now Napoleon took with him a group of engineers and scholars, and really his expedition was… lent a great deal toward advancing the knowledge about ancient Egypt.
But there’s a story that Napoleon went into the pyramid here and wanted to be left alone. True story. And the very inner sanctum where the pharaoh’s body would have lain. And he was left alone in there for some period of time. And when he came out, the story goes, Napoleon’s face was ashen, like he’d seen a ghost. And he told his generals, those with him, that he had, while he was in there, he had had an epiphany. He had a vision of what his destiny and his end would be, and he didn’t tell them.
In fact years later when he was in exile on St. Helena after his defeat, and he was dictating his memoirs, story is that he started to tell the man who was writing down his memoirs what he saw, what transpired while he was in the great pyramid, and he started telling, and he stopped, and he said, “Ah, what’s the use? You and nobody else are going to believe me anyway.” And so to this day, it’s not known exactly what he saw and what happened when he was within the pyramid. But it’s an interesting story. True story from the time when Napoleon was there. It fascinated him. Certainly it fascinated even Alexander the Great during his time when he came through that area as well. And it fascinates tourists today, especially these two.
We climbed up on a course of the stones and lower course to get an idea how big those are. They’re about three feet tall. And you begin to think how far can I climb up that? And after you get up a few, you realize, “You know what? The bus is about ready to leave.” And so you got to get scramble back on the bus, but some people do climb all the way to the top. Yeah, it’s not legal to do it and they have to pay somebody to let them go there after dark and do that. I read stories of people doing that in recent years. We decided not to that day, but gives you a little bit of idea of the size at least of these huge blocks and the entrances just there to the left of us. You see that soldier there, and he’s in front of an entrance into the area.
So the pyramids are fascinating. Great story there. Upriver from Egypt, there is another location that is a major, major tourist draw, and it’s the temple of Amun at the area of Karnak. Temple of Amun at Karnak or what’s called Luxor on the Nile River. Anciently, it was called Thebes. And this was part of our tour. And a lot of fascinating things in this particular area that you can walk through and do.
And there’s a processional way that’s lined with these rams-headed, Sphinx-like characters. You go into a part of that temple and there are these over a hundred of these huge columns that reach all the way up and through an open sky. One time, all of that was closed off. And you could even, those of you in the front row maybe able to see the very top of that. Some people were standing up there. It was not any of our group.
But this is the Hypostyle Hall of that Karnak Temple, and they were built to look like vegetation. And as people would go in there and worship, and it’s all part of a very complex religious shrine during its day and added to through the…by various pharaohs. The remains of it are fascinating to walk through and to see. And along on the columns are inscriptions from deeds and people of the past, such as you have here. And on this particular wall here, there are large numbers of them that are studied and looked at for the stories that they tell.
These are the front pages of the Egyptian daily newspapers of their day. When a pharaoh would want to record his exploits, he would commission all this to be put into stone, on columns, on obelisks, and on walls in these public temple areas for posterity. And they’re still there to this day in cuneiform telling the story of Pharaoh so-and-so, Thutmose II or Ahmose or Ramses, depending upon the particular era. And they are left to tell their story for us today. In some cases, their statues are sprawled out because they’ve long since fallen aside.
It’s a beautiful area especially at night as they have lights that come up to illuminate all of this and to dramatize the entire setting and the scene. And you can imagine that something like this was done during the time of the pharaohs. And we were there long enough on that one day we were there to see it in the daylight and then to see it at night, lit up in the fashion such as this.
Now there’s one particular section, I’ll pause right here to note, this was kind of a large open area and as part of that temple complex there at Karnak. We had an Egyptian guide with us obviously taking us through this. And this was a United Church of God group at the time. And as we were walking through…this was a large open area that at one time would have had been covered by a roof, but this was part of the royal palace and complex and temple area of the pharaohs and of the priesthood. And I remember him stopping us in this hall, and he pointed off to that area over on the left hand side of the picture that you’re looking at right now.
And he said that us, “That was the royal school where the children of the pharaohs and his court were schooled in the way of Egypt, the mathematics and the history and all of the aspects of Egyptian culture.” And then he said, “And that’s where Moses would have been taught.” Remember in Acts 7, you just turn right here, if you look over in Acts 7, where Stephen gives this long story of Israel and he talks about Israel and Egypt, beginning in verse 17, but you look at verse 22, he says, “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds.”
And our guide told us this is where Moses would have been taught. I remember thinking, “Okay, now is he just telling us that because we’re an American Christian tour and that’s what he tells every American Christian tour because he knows that that’s what American Christians would want to hear?” They believe in the Bible. That’s why they’re there.
So there’s that that possibility. I don’t want to be that big a cynic, and I tend to think, “Well, you know what? He seemed a genuine guide as he taught us a lot of things.” And that maybe he was right. Maybe that’s where. So at least in my mind’s eye when I see this picture and think about it, I think, “Well, that could be very well the spot where Moses would have been taught because this area at Thebes and modern Karnak, Luxor was where the state of power was, the pharaohs would have been, and Moses would have been raised at that particular point and learned all that he did about the Egyptians.”
So that takes us then a brief overview of many aspects of Egypt. We haven’t touched on religion. I think I’m going to save that for part two of the series. But with Moses, imagine that he’s being taught there as a boy in the story that we know from Exodus.
Let’s look at the question of did the Exodus occur and when did it occur? Particularly when did the Exodus occur? All right? Now you go back to Exodus the book and you know that the story is told in the first few chapters of Exodus about Moses. Chapter 1 of Exodus talks about the sojourning of Israel, the tribes of Israel. Joseph dies, verse 6 of chapter 1. The children of Israel grew and their population is where they had settled, which would have been to the north in that delta area, is where historians that accept the story for what it is, feel that Israel settled where Joseph even had his palace.
And again, in the excavations that had been done, this one particular archaeologist, a man named David Rohl, R-O-H-L, has identified the very ruin of what he believes to be the house or the palace of Joseph. And out behind that is he shows in his particular book in this movie “Patterns of Evidence” showed it, were 12 little mausoleums. Twelve. And in one of them was this statue of what he feels is Joseph in a coat of many colors. But it’s a very large palace and he identifies it, Mr. Rohl does, as Joseph’s home in his time when he was second in command in Egypt as you know the story.
But Joseph died. And then it says in verse 8, “There arose a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph.” And there begins the oppression of the Israelites into slavery that takes place over several years, over more than a hundred plus years as this plays out from the death of Joseph into, we get down into chapter 2, and the actual birth of Moses.
And through the account, especially here in the first two chapters, we have reference to pharaoh. There was a new king who did know Joseph back in verse 9 of chapter 1. And he said, “We got to do something about this Egyptian, or this Israelite population. They’re getting larger, stronger. If we don’t control it, they’re going to overtake us.” Kind of like the Muslims are doing in parts of Europe at this very day as they are outbreeding people in France and Italy and other places. And predictions within 25 or so years, there will be more Muslims in France than there will be Frenchmen.
Kind of a similar situation in ancient Egypt. But we begin to hear about a pharaoh that didn’t know Joseph. And then we find a few years later that there’s a pharaoh who makes a decree to have the children killed, the firstborn of the Egyptians as a means of birth control. And so he has them killed. Moses is spared.
What you should understand that in the first two chapters of Exodus, there’s enough time and enough pharaohs mentioned that we’re not talking about the same pharaoh. The Bible uses the term pharaoh, but they are different pharaohs. In fact, there’s, at least in the time frame of chapters 1 and 2 up to chapter 3, there are at least four male pharaohs and one female pharaoh, all right, that takes place during this time. But their names are not given in the Scripture. But what we know from history, we can put names and some faces and statues to these individuals.
But let’s look first, realizing that the name is not mentioned but they worked for quite a number of years in building. Now there are two dates that two schools of thought revolving around two different dates as to when the Exodus took place. One is in the year 1290 BC, and the other is the year roughly 1445.
Now anybody listening out there, I put up 1445. I have notes from years past from my Ambassador College notes that state 1443. I can probably show you a Bible that I have with the date of 1443, and in it you’ll find other references to 1447. I put 1445. Let’s just say the 1440’s BC as to the general decade of time that we generally accept for the Exodus. We take, in our tradition in the church and many other scholars do as well, 1445 as the date for the Exodus.
Many other scholars settle on 1290. If you saw the movie, “The Ten Commandments,” which you did, you have Ramses being depicted as the king, the Pharaoh. And it is, then setting it, in that movie, at 1290 because of what it says in Exodus about the children of Israel laboring over the city of Ramses. I’m not going into all the detail of that. There’s other reasons, but many scholarly people accept 1290.
There are others, theologians, archaeologists, historians, who take the 1445 or thereabout date, and that has been our acceptance in our tradition within the church as well that we settle on the 1445 date. And so with that, I won’t cover any more of that, but to at least give you that particular date and how we come to that.
Now let’s look at how we come to that for a moment. If you will, turn over to 1 Kings 6. The reason that this date 1445 is settled upon is because of a reference made in 1 Kings 6 at the time of the building of the temple by Solomon. We have a benchmark date that is given here that is in verse 1 and I’ll read it.
1 Kings 6:1 1 Kings 6:1And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
American King James Version×“It came to pass in the 480th year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.”
From the beginning of the building of the first temple during the time of Solomon, it is dated here 480 years from the Exodus. The fourth year of Solomon’s reign is taken at the year 1966 BC. Add 480 years to it, you come to 1445. That’s how we come to 1445. All right? Essentially based on this one verse. Very simple. Very straightforward. Books and other scholars will say that as well and come to that. There are other reasons why some scholars will not take that, but that’s beyond where we want…the scope of this particular study here tonight. So we come at it from that particular point of view.
When we go back to 1445 and we look at what we know about the chronology of Egypt, the pharaohs and who was reigning at that particular time, we come to the time of a man named in the Egyptian chronology as Amenhotep II. And this would then be considered the pharaoh at the time of the Exodus. All right? At the time of the Exodus. When Moses is 80 years old, he’s come back from 40 years in Midian, and the plagues and from what we know of the chronology, the dating and who was on the throne at this time, this is then what is settled upon as the pharaoh that we begin to read about in chapter 3 of Exodus when Moses goes back and he confronts the pharaoh. Not Ramses as Cecil B. DeMille said, but Amenhotep II. All right?
But this is a man who is… he’s right at the time of the Exodus, but there are other pharaohs and timings that we need to think about in this particular case. If you look at Exodus chapter 1, I mentioned that there are several pharaohs. In Exodus 1:8 Exodus 1:8Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
American King James Version×, it says, “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” This was not Amenhotep II. This was likely a pharaoh by the name of Ahmose, A-H-M-O-S-E, Ahmose I. All right?
Now this is before Moses is even born. This is several years before Moses is born. And then down in verse 22, we read about a pharaoh that commands “all of his people, saying, ‘Every son who is born, you will cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.’” This is likely another pharaoh. All right? And if it’s connected with a pharaoh that we begin to read about in Exodus 2, it is very likely a man by the name of Thutmose I, T-H-U-T-M-O-S-E.
And, of course, you automatically, I have given you two names Ahmose and Thutmose. If you look at the last syllable of those names, M-O-S-E, Moses, you come to. All right? Moses was an Egyptian name. And of course we know from the story, jumping into it, that he was adopted by the pharaoh’s daughter.
In chapter 2 of Exodus, when we come down to verse 23, “it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died.” All right? And “the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of their bondage.” Now this is after Moses is born, 40 years after his birth, and during the time that he has fled into Midian.
Just again looking at the chronology of chapter 2, it’s a different pharaoh. Verse 23 of chapter 2 is probably talking about a pharaoh by the name of Thutmose III. Thutmose III. What about Thutmose II? Come back to him in a minute.
We’ve had Ahmose I. We’ve had Thutmose I. And the pharaoh that dies while Moses is in Midian, getting married, having children, working for his father-in-law, Jethro. And then in chapter 3 he comes to the burning bush. And he then at age 80 goes back to fulfill his life’s mission as we know. Now these other scriptures in Exodus 7:7 Exodus 7:7And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.
American King James Version×and of course Acts 7:23-40 Acts 7:23-40 23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: 25 For he supposed his brothers would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. 26 And the next day he showed himself to them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, you are brothers; why do you wrong one to another? 27 But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Will you kill me, as you did the Egyptian yesterday? 29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. 30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. 31 When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the LORD came to him, 32 Saying, I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and dared not behold. 33 Then said the Lord to him, Put off your shoes from your feet: for the place where you stand is holy ground. 34 I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you into Egypt. 35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made you a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. 36 He brought them out, after that he had showed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. 37 This is that Moses, which said to the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up to you of your brothers, like to me; him shall you hear. 38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spoke to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give to us: 39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, 40 Saying to Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is become of him.
American King James Version×tells the story of Moses being 40 when he flees to Midian, and then at age 80, he comes back having then commissioned by God to lead Israel out.
If this Moses, this pharaoh, verse 23 of chapter 2, is the one who dies just prior to Moses coming back and is this Thutmose III, he is a very interesting individual. And we need to look at his story and backtrack just a little bit. This is a statue of Thutmose III. And he’s a fascinating figure from the story of ancient Egypt because he is called “the Napoleon of ancient Egypt.” The Napoleon of ancient Egypt. What did Napoleon do? Well, he got on his horse. He rode out and he tried to conquer all of Europe. And as I said earlier, he came down into Egypt.
Thutmose III was a very strong ruler. Immediately upon assuming the throne, he rode out on his chariot and he started expanding Egyptian influence in the entire region. In fact, he went all the way up to a place in what would become the land of…it was Canaan, but it will become Israel and the Promised Land, and he engages a Syrian force at a place called Megiddo. Ever heard of Megiddo? Yeah, he fights a famous battle up there.
And the story of that battle is quite interesting. We know it from the history. He overcame a group of Syrian forces right there at Megiddo. And he surprised them. In fact, the military skill that he used was repeated in modern times by the British during World War I when they fought a battle at Megiddo against the Turks. They did the same thing that Thutmose III did. Fascinating story.
And he was a warrior king. And he expanded the realm of Egypt in that particular time. And if he’s the one who at the end of the 40 years of Moses being in Egypt, being in Midian, then we know that he reigned about 54 years. He would have been alive and a contemporary of Moses. All right?
Now Thutmose took over the throne from another pharaoh by the name of Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut is the very famous woman in Egyptian history. She was a woman who ruled as a pharaoh. She was the stepmother of Thutmose III. Her husband was Thutmose II, the father of Thutmose III. But she was not the mother of Thutmose III.
She was the daughter of Thutmose I, who I mentioned that was the pharaoh back earlier who likely ordered the firstborn of the Israelites children to be killed, which means that Hatshepsut being his daughter, was around at that time. And if there is a daughter of pharaoh that we can identify from history that would be the one who pulled Moses out of the Nile after he had been placed there in the basket by his mother. Again, you know that story. You hear that in Exodus 2.
This woman could be that person. Notice I say could. I’m qualifying a lot, but there are a lot of things that fit that from what we know of the Bible and her time. When her husband Thutmose II died very young, very early, after only a few years of being pharaoh, Thutmose III was just about a three-year old boy. And she ruled for over 20 years as his regent. And she took advantage of that 20 years. She did a lot of great things. She was not so much of expanding the territory of Egypt, but she built it up.
One of the things that she did and left as a legacy is she made this huge complex there across the river from those temples of Karnak that I showed you where she was buried. This is a close-up here of the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut you can visit today, is where she was buried. And it’s quite a grand statement up against cliffs, on the other side of which are the tombs of the other kings who died. But she made a mortuary for herself bigger than anybody else.
And she left her mark upon Egypt, but she was a woman. There’s lots of controversy from what we know about the story in Egypt at the time about her and what she did. And of course it was unusual for a woman to be the pharaoh, but her stepson Thutmose III had to grow up.
Now if she was the mother of Moses, the Egyptian mother of Moses, and Thutmose III was over here a little boy growing up, and here’s a little boy called Moses growing up as an adopted son of Pharaoh, you got an interesting story going on there. And Hatshepsut would have been the protector then of Moses. But Moses couldn’t inherit. And Hatshepsut didn’t have a son of her own. She just had a stepson, Thutmose III, who keeps growing up, and Moses, who keeps growing up. They would have been contemporaries, these two men.
And that in my mind, as I’ve always imagined it, is where at least Cecil B. DeMille got it right. If you know the story, remember the story, you had Moses, and you had Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. Okay? You want to put faces to the names even though he was Ramses. Just picture that rivalry, and I think we’re close to what may have been going on, that there was a rivalry because when Hatshepsut dies is the time that Moses has to flee.
When you look at it and you piece together from Acts 7 and here in Exodus 2 where that Moses went out and he killed an Egyptian. And Acts 7 tells us, gives us a little bit of the detail, I’ll just quickly turn there, where when he killed that Egyptian, Moses makes a statement here. Verse 24 of Acts 7, “He saw some of them suffer wrong. He defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and he struck down the Egyptian.” Verse 25 of Acts 7, “For he (Moses) supposed that his brethren would have understood that God deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand.”
Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that there were prophecies about Moses known among the Egyptians that he would be the cause of their downfall. What did Moses know about himself? What did he presume even at this moment? He went back out the next day, and his own brethren turned against him. And that’s when he had to flee. And he flees into Midian for 40 years.
It is about this time in the story from what we know of the chronology that Hatshepsut dies after a little more than 20 years on the throne. And she dies. And Thutmose then is of age and he takes, he becomes the Pharaoh. He rides out on his chariot, goes up to Megiddo, and starts all of this.
There’s another little interesting tidbit about the history that we know from the Egyptian history. Thutmose III, aka, Yul Brynner if you want to put a face to it, sets out literally to erase the memory of this woman named Hatshepsut, who’s been his co-regent during these years. And he literally chisels her name off of all the monuments. Tries to obliterate her memory. All right? Most despotic type rulers, they don’t like people who went before them. They want to just be remembered themselves.
Thutmose III was like that. And perhaps doubly so because of her being a woman. And then maybe, perhaps, because of her relationship with Moses, who by this time has fled, and whom Thutmose perhaps sees as a rival. But we do know that Hatshepsut’s memory is almost obliterated. Not completely because we know about her, we know quite a bit about her. But we also know that he tried to erase her memory as much as you can when it’s chiseled in stone and rock through everything around Egypt.
And so then Thutmose dies, at it says in chapter 2 verse 23, “In the process of time, the king of Egypt died and the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage. They cried out, and their cry came up to God because of their bondage.” And so after Thutmose III dies, the next pharaoh is Amenhotep II. And it is at this time then that Moses comes back and, with Aaron, begins then to set God’s hand to deliver Egypt, or Israel from Egypt during this period of the 1440’s, 1443, 1445, 1447, whatever we would settle on. During this time is when the Exodus takes place with Amenhotep II, being the pharaoh who was obstinate.
And we know that he also tried to follow in the footsteps of Thutmose. In fact, he did go out, conquer other nations. There’s one story that he conquered a group of coalition of kings. I think it was seven kings. He killed them all, hung them from the mast of his ship, sailed back up the Nile with the seven kings’ bodies hanging from the mast of his ship.
He had to follow Thutmose III, the Napoleon of ancient Egypt. And so for a time, he was a pharaoh of the oppression, continuing to oppress the Israelites but also trying to follow in the footsteps of Thutmose and also being a type of personality that we would read about from Exodus 3 of that pharaoh that Moses then had to deal with, a very proud, obstinate, powerful man who would not bend his will to that of God. And so Amenhotep then becomes that individual.
Now the Exodus takes place. The armies drown in the Red Sea. What we do know about Amenhotep’s time is that there came a period when he did not have the means to go out on his large military missions. And it fits the idea that there was a setback taking place.
There’s also one other thing that we have from the history of Amenhotep and his son. He had a son who succeeded him named Thutmose IV. Thutmose IV. And in some of the records that we have from Thutmose IV, we know that Thutmose IV was not the legitimate successor to Amenhotep. Meaning that he was not the firstborn, which fits with…the pharaoh’s firstborn, as the story in Exodus tells us, having been killed during that tenth plague.
Thutmose IV, the successor to Amenhotep II, one of the histories tells us, and this is a history from the time, he was not the firstborn son of Amenhotep II. The firstborn had evidently died during the Passover. That we do know from history, or at least that Thutmose IV was not the firstborn.
So that cements in a little bit more of the story to understand what we can from history when we match it up and overlay it with the account that we have in Scripture. There’s one other point for this 1445 date. You know the story, the chronology of Israel. They left Egypt. 40 years of wandering. Then they go into the Land of Promise.
The first city that they conquer is Jericho. The walls came tumbling down. In the 1900s, early 1900s, Jericho was excavated by an archaeologist named John Garstang. And in the early part of the 1900s, he began this excavation. And John Garstang, an archaeologist, dated the fall of Jericho around the year 1400. If the Exodus was 1440s, 1400, 40 years later. Give or take a few years.
He dated it to 1400. And that date has stood the test of time. In fact, his excavation showed that the walls of Jericho that were destroyed at that time, fell outward and match a description that we have from the Book of Joshua as to how the walls came tumbling down after the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho in that story.
The actual archaeological evidence shows a great destruction of a very, very well-fortified city in such a manner to fit what we know from the Book of Joshua. So it’s another piece of archaeology that helps us understand the timing and the events as well. So looking at all of this, we see a very important story. Why does it all matter? Or why this is all important?
For a number of reasons, but so much of the Bible hinges on the event of the Exodus. The subsequent history of Israel anchors their existence from the time of the Exodus. God repeatedly said, “I was the one who brought you out. I was the one who brought you out. I brought you into a land watered with milk and honey.” Every era of Israel going forward to the fall of both Israel and Judah anchored their existence from this very event.
Christ referenced Moses. Matthew 19, He said, “Moses said you could divorce.” He quotes Moses. Moses was a real figure. Jesus thought so. If Jesus was lying, throw out the Gospels, throw out the Gospels. But Christ referenced Moses. Acts, as I’ve already shown you, referenced Moses in Egypt and the Exodus. And of course the Book of Hebrews, particularly chapter 11, talks about Moses and the Exodus. The apostle Paul talked about the Exodus as a type of baptism as they went through the Red Sea. He talks about the Passover.
So it matters because the Bible, the remainder of the Bible, is, so much of it, anchored in these events. And understanding that is very, very critical to the story. That’s why Egypt matters. That’s why the Exodus matters. And as we will come back in a few weeks when I have the chance to talk about part two of this, we’ll review a little bit, but go a little deeper into the spiritual side of why it is that Moses did forsake Egypt as Hebrews 11 says, and why we should as well in the spiritual sense.
Thanks to all of you for coming, and all of you online. Hope you good evening. Be careful. Drive safely as you go home.