In Part 3, Tim Mahoney discusses the Israelites' crossing of the Red Sea, along with the latest archeological findings. His newest “Patterns of Evidence” film will be released in two parts, beginning February 18, 2020.
[Darris McNeely] Welcome to Beyond Today Interviews. We have been going through a series of interviews with writer, producer, and director of Thinking Man Films, Mr. Tim Mahoney. Tim, welcome back. We're glad to have you with us here on Beyond Today Interviews. So, why don't you tell us about this latest film of yours, "The Red Sea Miracle" and what it's all about?
[Tim Mahoney] Well, "The Red Sea Miracle" is a film that I actually thought I was making in 2002. It took 12 years for me to make the first film. I guess I'm a slow learner. And then we had to make "The Moses Controversy" because I wanted to clear problems as we talked about with people thinking that Moses didn't have the ability to write, or the Israelites had the ability to read. Now "The Red Sea Miracle" finally has been able to come forward. And this investigation is from Egypt, which way did they go, in other words? And this pattern in "The Red Sea Miracle" has six parts to it. And it's a two-part investigation. It's actually almost like a four-hour film. The first part is going to be "Red Sea" part 1 and then part 2 will follow in after that. So, "The Red Sea Miracle" has a departure point. And we revisit the location where the Israelites would've left, because I'm following a geographical puzzle and it has a destination point. So that's part 1, and then the end of it is going to be while they ended up at Mount Sinai.
[Darris] So what is the departure point then?
[Tim] It's gonna be from the area of Ramesses or Avaris. That's what the Bible tells us. And the reason why I say Avaris is that that's the city that's underneath Ramesses, and a much older city. And I think that that's where the pattern of evidence showed up in our first films, that the Israelites were there. And so, then which direction did they go? And we know that Moses fled to the land of Midian, and that's what the Bible tells us. And he lived there for 40 years. So we investigate, well, where is Midian? What's the location of Midian? And according to historical understandings as well as pottery, Midian is in the Northwestern area of Saudi Arabia and Southern Jordan. And that's where we believe that Moses fled to. In fact, there's still understandings that Jethro...
[Darris] His father-in-law ?
[Tim] Yeah. His father-in-law lived there. And the question then is, is was Moses in Midian when he went to Mount Sinai? Or did he leave Midian and he'd go somewhere else? Because it says he went to the backside of the wilderness. And so this investigation is assuming that at least that Moses was heading a Southeasterly direction. He was...
[Darris] From Ramesses toward Mount Sinai?
[Tim] Yeah. He's crossing to the East with the Israelites. Then the question is, the next... So we have a departure point, we have a direction, and then we have a desert. So, the question is, is what desert did Moses cross?
[Tim] For almost 20 years, I've been searching for evidence of one of the greatest miracles of the entire Bible, the miraculous parting of the red sea.
Man: Tim, the first question most people ask is, "Where's Mount Sinai?" My first question as a geographer is, where was the sea that was parted and crossed?
[Tim] So what do you think the crossing site, where would that be ?
Man: Oh for once, I'm gonna follow the conventional argument here.
Man: When I look at the Exodus story through the eyes of a scientist, then it contains a lot of observations, which just makes sense to modern science.
Man: I think it is possible to demonstrate that it took place in close proximity to Egypt.
[Tim] There were two major philosophies of the Exodus route. One of them I call Egyptian and the other one I call Hebrew. And so, what does that mean? Well, an Egyptian approach is more of the modern way of thinking right now. And that puts the route of the Exodus very compressed close to Egypt, near the lakes of the border of Egypt. And it has the Israelites leaving and crossing a small desert, and then getting stuck at one of these lakes. And it all happens within a few days of the leaving. The other one looks at the Hebrew version, says that the crossing actually was much further away and that the sea that was crossed in Hebrew is called Yam Suph. And every geographical indication is that Yam Suph, throughout the scriptures, when it says where the geography is, it says it's the Gulf of Aqaba. Yam in Hebrew means sea.
But the word Suph, that's the question. What does that word mean? And that word, some people believe it might mean tufi, an Egyptian word. And there are things in the Bible that they would suggest are loanwords from another culture, so that you would get a word like tufi, that could be Yam tufi or something, or Yam Suph or something. So that would actually mean reed or reedy. And that's the reason why they're thinking that these loanwords that they see, that they're suggesting are loanwords, are pulling the story, the narrative of the Exodus close to Egypt. And the other words that the Hebrews version is saying, those aren't loanwords from Egypt. Those are Hebrew words, and they mean something different.
[Darris] So, let's back up a moment then from that to the story of the Exodus and the leaving of Egypt. How many people left?
[Tim] Well, there you go. Another word.
[Darris] Another word.
[Tim] And, you know, in "Moses Controversy," well, was Moses writing an eye witness account? So, very interesting that you should bring that up because today, again, I would say the Egyptian approach believes that there's a word called Elef, E- L- E- F, Elef. And that means thousand. In fact, if you look at some people, some scholars have told me it's used over 400 sometimes. Almost in all of those cases, it's always means 1,000, Elef. And why is that critical, is that Moses tells us that when the Israelites left, there were over 600,000 men of fighting age, you know, of fighting...
[Darris] Which meant more people with wives and children.
[Tim] Yeah. You know, once you add all the women and children, and by the way, there's a mixed multitude that also joined them. That's the reason why some people say that there was probably 2 to 3 million people in that group. Now, the challenge is, is that a lot of people, a lot of archeologists say, "Well, there can't be that many people. There's no way that there'd be 2 to 3 million people wandering in the wilderness." That's just too many people, number one, to sustain. And then they're gonna say that there weren't that many people that actually were in the promised land, you know, Canaan at the time. So, that is the investigation, because later on, Moses gives you the same number again when an offering is given and a census is given. So, those numbers are seen three times that there was that many men. And so, the question then is that, is there a naturalistic way to explain the amount of people and how they could have survived in a natural way? In other words, is there a place where there'd be that much water?
Is there a place where they could camp? In other words, camps that would have to be quite large. I started to consider, well, what happened in recently with Syria and with people being displaced? And what I understand that there's several million people, millions of people that fled. And actually, the distance that I think that they fled is further than what the Israelites would have fled. And it's millions of people that have been, you know, fleeing with their possessions. And then I looked at sort of looking at marches of people. Like, there'd be 2 million people at a big event or something. And you could see the aerial photography of that. And you start to realize, wow, you can get a lot of people into a space. It's not as if they would be stretched out person by person. They'd be in groups.
And then I started placing animation of let's say 30,000, 40,000 people, 60,000 people with animation characters. You go, "That's really that many people? Are you sure?" Because it doesn't look like that many people. If you look at a stadium, you know, you've got 60,000, 70,000 people in a stadium. And, you know, they're all rung up in that area. Yeah, there's a lot of people there, but once you start spreading them out, you know, on a land space, you can see that, well, other than the fact that they would need to have water and food, what we're being told is that God provided for them. What we're seeing is that there is a conflict. There's a tension between what the Bible is telling us and what even modern scholars...even many Christian scholars are saying. It can't be that many people.
[Darris] The critic would say, there's no evidence of that sojourn and other people. This is one of the things that I have puzzled with over the years, because there's no archeological evidence or anything left it seems of the wanderings of these people according to the biblical account. Have you met that challenge or... ?
[Tim] Yes, well, I was thinking, do I tell you...? I'm not gonna tell you, but there is actually very exciting evidence that I'm not gonna say what it is yet but...
[Darris] But you're gonna tell us in your films?
[Tim] Yeah, the films will come out and I've actually seen the evidence and it's substantial. And so, it always goes back to, are we looking in the right time and in the right place? Because this is what has happened, is that the stories of the Bible, the narrative of the Bible, has been given a rigid place in history for it to exist. Anything outside of that place is ignored or diminished. So it kind of feels like it has to have been here. So, there was a famous saying, "The Exodus that didn't happen had to have happened at this time." In other words, the Exodus that didn't happen had to have happened at this time. And therefore, when we look at this time, it didn't happen so it didn't happen.
[Darris] There is no evidence then.
[Tim] So, what does "Patterns of Evidence" film do? It says, "What are the characteristics that you would look for? What's the pattern you would look for? Can you see that in this history?" And that's where we started going, "Wow, look at that pattern. It's right over here. Wow, here's another pattern for the alphabet. Wow, here is a geographical potential pattern to look for, for the route of the Exodus."
[Darris] And again, your date of the Exodus, just to recap around 1450 BCE, which is about 200 years earlier than traditional dating of that. So that sets up an entirely different pattern to look for in places and available evidence.
[Tim] You see, chronology is the times that scholars have looked back on and have said, "I think that these things happened around that time." The question is, is the chronology accurate? Not the biblical chronology, but the other chronologies. In our two films, what we're saying is that Egypt has a chronology that basically establishes all the other chronologies. But there are others...
[Darris] All the other, you mean then all other civilizations, like the Greek, Phoenician, and others?
[Tim] Yeah, and Israel. Egypt has a perfect climate for preserving archeological historical artifacts. And oftentimes the scarabs and things like that that were a part of a dynasty were traded or were... And they're found scattered throughout the Mediterranean. So, the beauty and the art and the valuables then were then buried, or put in tombs, or whatever, throughout the Mediterranean. And then if they found those things, they would go, "Oh.." that gave them a kind of a clue as to the time of the chronology of that civilization as compared to the civilization that they're looking at. But one of the challenges has been, and this is what piqued my interest and I had to deal with this issue, was that Egypt had multiple rulers. And the way that they started to put the chronology of Egypt together, once it sort of got laid down, it sort of stayed that way. And oftentimes, science and history, it's hard to challenge those ideas because people read a lot of books and they started to say, "This is when things happen." And then you're messing with that if you say, "Well, what if new information comes along with the chronology change?"
[Darris] You read terms like accepted chronology or established fact, which sometimes doing a little digging, you find out that there's controversy even in the time period of, you know, 150 years ago when people may have established certain things as incontrovertible. But people have always had their research challenged, haven't they?
[Tim] Yeah. Well, and it's probably disappointing if someone comes along and everything that your grandfather, or somebody said, "This is the way it was," and also, they start to challenge it. But it's happening quite often, I think, in science. And the thing that I get back to with "The Red Sea Miracle," is that this film is really about, you know, asking the question of miracles. Because from what I could see, when I get into starting an investigation, I don't really know exactly what I'm getting into, but I'm starting to gather all the different pieces by filming and doing interviews with the leading scholars. And then I try to communicate in these films, the backstory of how we got here. And what's interesting is that Moses wrote in Hebrew, and he wrote that the sea that was crossed was called Yam Suph. And he tells you the different campsites that they go to. And he starts to explain how long it took. It took 60 days to get to the mountain, roughly.
So what we do know is that there's one group that says that they crossed the sea in three days, and then that would give them a long time to get to the... But there's only so many campsites in between. I think there's like six campsites. And so, what ends up happening is that the question is, did they have all these campsites right at the beginning and then they just walked for a long period of time? Then that goes to when you ask the population, it has to do with distance. How far could a group of people travel? And the average caravan, from the multiple scholars, could actually make about 15 to 20 miles a day. And the Bible says that the Israelites were born up like with the wings of Eagles, that God brought them back to the mountain to himself. Not only that, but here's another very fascinating thing. It says that there was a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire leading them, and that they traveled day and night. So, the question is, well, if they had to travel 100 miles, how far were they going and how many days were they traveling?
And animals can travel as far and as fast as humans can travel. And how long between distances would you need to have water? Well, we all need water, but it was in the spring of the year and it says that it rained. I mean, that there was water in the areas that they were going to. And by the way, there is a trade route across the Sinai Peninsula and many believe that is the way of the wilderness of Yam Suph. You see, Moses was told, commanded by God, not to go North.
[Darris] The way of the Philistines.
[Tim] The way of the Philistines, not to go up to the Northern area, but they were told, they were commanded to go on the way of the wilderness of Yam Suph. Now, the thing that's challenging is that a lot of the crossing sites that are suggested by an Egyptian approach send the Israelites North. You know, it sends them up into that area. And their argument is, "Well, we think this is where the event happened." And they built a case for that because of the Egyptian place names. But others are saying, "No, they didn't go that way. They were told to get out. They weren't trapped by forts. And they weren't trapped..." Pharaoh said, "Go. Leave." And so they said, you know, they left and they went this direction.
And if you take that road, that is the road back to Midian. So you've got a clue about Midian, where is Midian? And you also have a direction. And you also have the road in which they could go there. And you also have a historical-geographical understanding that when Moses was told where the boundary of Israel was, he was told it was from the sea of Yam Suph. So, if he's on the way of the wilderness of Yam Suph and the boundary of Israel is Yam Suph, that points to the Gulf of Acaba. And so, the tension in this next film, "The Red Sea Miracle" is, was it a sea, a mighty sea, or was it these reedy lakes, you know?
[Darris] You make a statement in this last film, I believe, that, if God led a great number of people out of Egypt and fed and watered them across a great wilderness, "what does that mean for me and my family?"
[Tim] That's right.
[Darris] What does this then mean for our audience in "Beyond Today," all of your other audiences, what does it mean?
[Tim] I've tried to remember, but it says almost 140 times, I think, "Do not forget what God did by bringing you up out of Egypt. "
[Darris] That is the benchmark statement about the entire history of Israel. They always go back to that.
[Tim] Yeah, "Do not forget." That's the reason why you have the Passover. And we could believe that for 3,500 years, people have been reminded, "Do not forget what God did. Do not forget what God did." And what's very interesting is that I and you, we probably are forgetful. I'm not saying that you are as forgetful as I am, but I can forget what God has done in my own life. And I think that today that people, why a film like this right now? Why am I compelled to make a film like this, and our team compelled to make a film like this? I think that God is trying to remind people of what He's done in the past. We're in a visual culture. We're in a film and TV and looking at video culture. So with this film and these series of films, I'm re-examining the scripture. And that's the reason why I have all the recreations in it, you know, with actors and animations to bring the story that...really I should say the narrative of the Bible back to life, and to not forget. Because what we're told is that the events of the Exodus are gonna repeat themselves in the future.
[Darris] You mentioned that earlier about the prophetic element.
[Tim] Yeah. And so, what does that mean? Well, you know, if you believe, you know, the scriptures, it says that "Things are gonna change," that the Kingdom of God is coming and there's a battle. There's a fight. And what is interesting is that the fight is so terrific that these Israelites are actually trying to leave a kingdom, the Kingdom of Egypt. And the Kingdom of Egypt was filled with idolatry. And what's interesting is that Moses tells us, and I think it's in Deuteronomy, that if you worship idols, you're worshiping demons. So there's a spiritual battle going on, and God is calling His people out of that kingdom to His Kingdom. And what's happening there, I think there's something spiritual for us to look at is that we're still dealing with this spiritual battle in the world that we live in right now.
[Darris] So much so.
[Tim] And so, what's gonna happen is that, what does Pharaoh say? Once again, I said it earlier, he says, "Who is this God?" You know, and we've come to a culture that they don't know who this God is. Who is the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob? They don't know who the God of the Bible is. In fact, there was a time when people in our culture knew more of that, but now it's foreign to them. And I've met people and they don't know anything. In fact, there are many Christians that don't know anything about the old Testament. They just know about the New Testament.
[Darris] That's right.
[Tim] And so, I believe that God can use this film to broaden our understanding about what has happened and what's to come. And that's the type of God we have. He was, and is, and is to come. And there's something happening. And that's what I'm sensitive to, is that there's something coming. And if you don't understand the context of what's going on, you won't be, I think, prepared for it. And so, this question of these people were they're not gonna be able to stand against Pharaoh. And so, at the sea crossing, and we're gonna show that in these films, "The Red Sea Miracle," they're standing there and they are crying out to Moses, "Why didn't you leave us..." You know, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die? You know, weren't there enough graves in Egypt, you know?" And I think it's possible for us to basically look at our own future and say, "God, you know, why did you bring us out here to die?" You know, we're not really understanding. What does He say? "Stand firm. " You know...
[Darris] See the salvation of our Lord.
[Tim] The Lord is gonna fight for him. And I think we're living in a time when God is going to have to fight for us.
[Darris] Our audience and the person who's seeking, wanting to have a foundation of faith, what is the fine line between fact and faith?
[Tim] If we look at some type of technology we have today, we know that that didn't come from nothing, that there was an intelligence behind a camera. You know, I deal with technology. And if you said yourself, "Well, given enough time, something will come from nothing and you're like, "That's not possible." If you look at creation and you look at the fact that all of this exist, I believe that its only explanation is that there is a God and that He created us for... Actually it says that He created us that we would know Him, and that we would worship Him. And I asked myself the question, "Well, why was I created? Well, why am I here and what should I be doing? What is it?" And my wife reminded me of a verse years ago in Ephesians 2:10 and I always have a hard time remembering and quoting this, but it's like, "For we are Christ's workmanship. "
[Darris] We're created for good works.
[Tim] Yes, we're created for good works, before the beginning of creation, going back to that. So somewhere along, way back, our existence was defined that we would come into existence. And now, we have this short little window of time to do what we were created to do. I always believe that the Bible was true. I grew up without no doubts at all. But I came into... As I got older, I was challenged to lose those beliefs by people who were saying, "There's no evidence for this." My existence then was called into searching for that to say, "Well, if it happened, then I should be able to find a pattern." I didn't know if it was gonna be there, but it was there. In fact, I think that as we started to look at these things, that those challenges to the Bible, and by the way, the first question in the Bible is, "Did God really say?" That's the serpent.
And every time you start to realize that you're coming against what God said, it's always the enemy. And when Jesus was tempted, God's word was being questioned. That same spirit of questioning God's word has just gone through the history. And what I'm asking people to do is to step back for a moment and look at the bigger picture. Look at this bigger picture of, from existence to future, where are we going? We're here for this short bit of time, but right now this is, we'll die. But it says in the scriptures that there's a second death. There's a first death, physical, but there's a much more important one. And that's why, as I've investigated all this, I am trying to get people to wake up. I'm trying to wake up myself, by the way, and understand, really, why are we here, and what's going on?
You know, when you look up and consider what, you know, the Psalmist said, when I consider the heavens, you know, that God would be mindful of us. But the fact that He actually invited me and you into His creation, and now gives us the opportunity for eternal life. I mean, the fact is, like, superheroes, some of them are eternal. You know, they create them that way. But the reality is that they're not. That's a fantasy. But God is basically saying, "I'm going to allow you into my Kingdom." And we have no idea what the future holds, what other exciting adventures. If we like this world and it's the fallen world, what's the next kingdom gonna be like?
[Darris] You've become part of the film in this whole story. How's that impacted you?
[Tim] Well, what's really interesting about that is when I was first filming, I was not in front of the camera. I was behind the camera and I kept saying, "I'm sure glad I'm not in front of the camera because this is, you know, controversial material." And, you know, I'm in the Middle East and we're filming. I'm just behind it, no one will ever see my face. But I filmed for multiple years and I started to realize that I was now actually telling my own story, what I had from the time I went in to having a crisis of faith to searching for the answers, to continuing to be sort of, you know, exploring and asking questions, bigger questions. And the first question is, did they exist? Yes. Was there a conquest? Yes, we can see it. Did Moses have the ability to write? Yes. Those are questions. Now, the next question is, the Red Sea miracle.
Did it happen? Where did it happen? But the bigger question is, are miracles possible? Because the Bible is filled with miracles. And that pillar of fire and that pillar of cloud is a miracle of God leading them, because the Israelites had that opportunity to see, what is that? That's God leading us. And that would come down to the tabernacle. So, God was manifesting Himself to a people who were familiar with idolatry, that had idols. He showed up, gave them sort of the grace to see that His presence was there. And it says, "He hovered over them." And I believe the Hebrew word is very similar to the one when he hovered over the waters and creation. And so, what's happening is that these next two films, "The Red Sea Miracle" part 1 and part 2 are going to explore the miraculous.
Man: Whether the 10 plagues happened is a miracle. Whether the red sea parted is a miracle.
Man: Archaeology cannot prove or disprove a miracle.
Man: Make the sea small, put it close to Egypt. All of a sudden, it calls into question the biblical text itself.
Man: And He cast their pursuers into the depths as a storm to mighty waters.
Man: Where were these ancient lakes in what is now all desert?
Man: And what sort of people could stand the strength of the wind that would cut that depth of water? Nobody could stand and walk that landbridge in that sort of wind, it would be impossible.
Man: Why is it important to think about these things?
Man: At the end of the day, we're really talking about a miraculous event of unprecedented proportion of God's miraculous saving power.
Man: "The Red Sea Miracle" is a two-part film series Fathom Event, February 18th, and May 5th, 2020.
[Darris] Well, Tim, we appreciate you coming here on our "Beyond Today" set to share all of this with us from the past films and the current ones coming out. And with what you've told us is coming, even in your future plans, we hope that you'll come back and we can talk more, because I haven't even covered all the questions that I had about this material. I know there'll be a lot more, so we do want to have you to come back in the future and talk about this subject even deeper.
[Tim] Oh, I'd love to. I appreciate it.
[Darris] We appreciate it very much and we appreciate you tuning into "Beyond Today Interviews." And we hope that you'll watch all three in the series that we've done here with Tim Mahoney, from Thinking Man Films, and his pattern of evidence films that are all available to you. So, thank you for watching and we'll be with you next time.