Plagues, Passover, and Law
Exodus 3 to Deuteronomy 34 and the claiming of a people
Wandering Conquerors and Giant Warriors
Joshua 1 to 1 Kings 5 and the height of Israel
Next to the identity of Moses in some non-Biblical historical records one of the next big questions for traditional historians and Christian scholars is the identity of the Pharaoh of Exodus. Ussher dates the events of Exodus as being 1491BC. According to him, the king of Egypt who died in chapter 2, verse 23 was Rameses Miamun, who had reigned for 66 years over Egypt and had enslaved the Israelites to building projects. The slavery goes on another nineteen years under Amenophis. The discussion of names of kings and reigns can go on endlessly in this time period and you will find few historians or archaeologists who agree and when you do they are often from the same university or learned under the same scholar. This Amenophis is the second of that name to rule Egypt and he was of the 18th dynasty. According to the Egyptian historian, Manetho, as quoted by Ussher, he was the father of Sethosis or Rameses, who was the first king of the following dynasty. Floyd Jones, who did his calculations using computers, agrees with Ussher’s dating. The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History has Thutmosis III, a child, ruling starting in 1491BC under his aunt Hatshepshut’s authority. Durant has Rameses II, mentioned above as Ramses Miamun, as the pharaoh of Exodus, but places his reign much later. There are at least two theories of the traditional historian, one of which has a rather late Exodus in the 1200’s BC. Durant insists that there are no direct references outside of the Bible to either the Exodus or the conquest of Canaan. But Durant has already admitted that we are woefully lacking in our efforts to uncover history and I would add that we can not ever judge the Bible account based on what unbelieving archaeologists and historians have not yet found. What is missing in the historical record attests to our failure not, as the secular historian would have you believe, to any inconsistency or lacking in the Biblical record. Theoretically, given enough time, science might catch up to the Bible.
With regard to the plagues that God sends to the Egyptian nation with Moses announcing them beforehand, there are some interesting facts. While many agree that the direct correlation between the specific plagues and specific gods of Egypt is incomplete, it is apparent that God demonstrated his power over the gods of Egypt through these plagues. With turning the Nile to blood we have Khnum, creator of water and life, Hapi, the Nile god, and Osiris, who had the Nile in his bloodstream. The frogs, the lice, and the flies might have been Heket, the goddess of childbirth whose symbol was a frog. The plague on the cattle might be against Hathor, mother and sky goddess whose symbol was a cow, or Apis, the bull god. I’m not sure about the boils but it might be interesting to investigate it. The hail could be for Seth, the god of wind and storm. The locusts could be against Isis, goddess of life, and Min, goddess of fertility and vegetation, and protector of crops.
Darkness could have been against Atum, Amon-re, and Horus, all sun deities. Finally, the death of the firstborn might have been against Osiris, judge of the dead and patron deity of the pharaoh. I took this particular line of conjecture from Barry Bandstra’s “Reading the Old Testament”. There are many differing theories on which gods of the many Egyptian “vanities” (Jeremiah 14:22, KJB) were under attack here as being impotent and meaningless. But, the one thing that most all agreed with was that there is some meaning in the plagues sent against Egypt and that there was some obvious connection with the gods of Egypt.
As an aside, I have written this survey of world history with the assumption in mind that you are familiar with the Bible. If you are not, then I would strongly suggest you get one and read it very carefully as this is the only historical record that is trustworthy, being written by the inspiration of the one who actually oversees history.
The Impuwer Papyrus from that time period laments the rivers turning into blood and the desolation wrought by the plagues. This connection between this papyrus and the plagues of Moses is at least as reliable as the claim made in 2003 by Egyptian university professor, Dr. Nabil Himli, that the Jews should be forced to make reparations for all of the gold and valuables allegedly looted by the Jews when they left Egypt 3500 years ago. This, in spite of the fact, that not only was the fortune given freely (Exodus 12:35,36) but Egypt under Shishak eventually came to Jerusalem and took it’s equivalent back (2 Chronicles 12:9).
Biblical archaeologist, Ron Wyatt, was controversial, to say the least, but he had claimed to have found the location of the Red Sea crossing and after retrieving one of the chariot wheels he discovered on a dive he took it to the director of Egyptian Antiquities, Dr. Hassan, who declared that that type of wheel was only used in the 18th dynasty and dated it to around 1446BC, which puts it within the range of Ussher’s 1491 date. There are many internet sites devoted to Wyatt’s claims for the underwater land bridge at Nuweiba, Egypt as being the location of the crossing.. I just want to warn you that Christian researchers are just as capable of fraud, unfortunately, as are nonbelieving scholars so please take any claims of finding Noah’s Ark, the Red Sea crossing, the Ark of the Covenant, etc. with a grain of salt and some common sense. When we hear something or read something that supports our beliefs, like any other group of people, we tend to jump on the bandwagon. Mr. Wyatt’s alleged discoveries are interesting and may even be 100% accurate but don’t automatically accept such claims as being a undisputed fact. If a good, God fearing, Christian scholar can tell you that the Codex Vaticanus is the oldest, most reliable document related to the Bible, which is an outright lie, and it has been said, then you must make it a discipline to investigate all absolute statements made by the modern intellectual elite, no matter what their beliefs seem to be.
The standard Christian position that you will find in the back maps of many Bibles is, sadly, an unbelieving, blasphemous, and apostate condition with so-called Christian scholars denying the Bible’s account, claiming rather a crossing of a reed sea, in very shallow water relegating the Bible account to the “not much of a miracle” category. The
wall of water that arose on either side of the Israelites in verse 22 of chapter 14 of Exodus that smashed and drowned an Egyptian force chasing them is either a miracle you believe or you don’t. Attempting to explain it away by changing the location to a less miraculous place or trying to explain what happened by naturalistic means or anything that denies God’s providential hand is to be dismissed outright if you are a Bible believer. I have based this study of world history on one simple premise; the Bible is absolutely true and without one proven error. It is up to the naysayers to prove their position and it is intellectually dishonest to argue from lack of evidence when there are so many huge gaps in the historical record awaiting archaeology to close.
Moving to the Passover event, we find Christ revealed here as in every chapter of the Old Testament. The term “a lamb” from Exodus 12:3, which becomes “the lamb” in Exodus 12:4, and finally “your lamb” in 12:5 was one of those unintentional results of the King James translators that are so interesting as the statement that God would provide himself a lamb for sacrifice in Genesis 22:8. But, let’s move on to another, less momentous event in human history albeit an important one, the invention of written language expressed not in pictographs, cuneiform, or hieroglypics, but in letters.
Marc-Alain Ouaknin was the director of the Aleph Center for Jewish studies in Paris and was associate professor of comparative literature at the Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv. In his book, “Mysteries of the Alphabet”, translated from the French, he gives an interesting and exciting theory about the development of alphabetic script and writing as we know it. After the cuneiform of Sumeria and the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians came the Hebrews. Ouaknin’s premise is that the second commandment forced the Hebrews to turn from pictographic script with pictures that formed the basis of writing to letters as we know them. Images were not to be worshipped and the pictures of past civilizations had to be abandoned for letters that were strung together to form words. Perhaps, this is one reason why, in the traditional text in Numbers 33:52, it says for the Hebrews to destroy the pictures of the people of the land they were to conquer.
Historians such as Will and Ariel Durant, authors of the noteworthy ‘The Story of Civilization’, believe that the first mention of the Hebrews is found in the Tell-el-Amarna letters, which describe Palestinian and Syrian life just before this era as the ‘Habiru’.
However, The Dictionary of the Ancient Near East claims that this term, mentioned in texts all over the Near East during the second millennium BC refers merely to outcasts, vagabonds, refugees, and fugitives living on the margins of society. They are bands of robbers and people outside of the control of the city-states near which they live and whom they raid quite frequently. The word is of Akkadian origin. Once again, we see that
traditional historians are in disagreement. It is wise to inspect such things for yourself and to judge the evidence based on what the Bible says about them.
Historians and celebrities have been trying to explain away the events of Exodus by various means for hundreds of years. The renegade thinker, Velikovsky, explains the Red Sea crossing and the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud by coinciding it with natural and astronomical catastrophes while other, more traditional historians, either deny they happened at all or refer to an earthquake and a freak wind being the cause. But, they will do almost anything, perform almost any mental gymnastic to deny the Bible account. It is interesting that they are forced to take the Bible account seriously enough to argue against it. Until the resurrection of Christ and after the Great Flood, there is no single event which so captivates the mind of the unbelieving scholar like the parting of the Red Sea and the drowning of Pharaoh and his six hundred chariots and numerous horsemen.
What is called the Mosaic Law, given by God, is mirrored in other cultures who obviously had heard of the law given by God to the Hebrews and formulated such laws for themselves. I refer to the virtues of Brahma, the Indian supreme god, as given by Manu.
What is called the Mosaic Law, given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, was the greatest framework of laws for living and dealing with others ever revealed in the history of humankind. Its importance in regard to personal relations and personal hygiene and sanitation can not be overestimated. It was one of the main ways that God providentially kept the Jews throughout history, particularly through the incredibly unsanitary Dark Ages in Europe. The laws of Egypt were supposedly given by Thoth, the sun-god Shamash gave Hammurabi his code, it was said, King Minos on Mount Dieta in Crete was given their laws by the gods, Dionysus, the lawgiver, gave the Greeks two tablets of stone on which their laws were inscribed, Zoroaster, praying on a high mountain in Persia was given his “Book of the Law” by the god, Ahura-Mazda, and so Satan inspired many cultures to copy the Mosaic Laws in some way to give credibility to their foundational laws. However, it must be stated that the earlier “Code of Hammurabi” was not really a code of practicable laws as I have shown previously and the later versions of Moses laws were mere copies and counterfeits. The laws God gave to Moses governed daily life for many centuries, when it was followed.
Mount Sinai today is the location of the famous Monastery of Saint Catherine where, in the mid 1800’s, a liberal Bible scholar named Tischendorf found the so-called Codex Sinaiticus in a garbage heap, being methodically burnt as the trash it was, by the monks. This “find of the century” for liberal Christians had also been claimed to be the forgery of
a notorious faker of antiquities and former monk, Constantine Simonides. Stranger things than this manuscript being used to attack the commonly used and accepted Bible have happened in history, I suppose. Needless to say, Mount Sinai today is a place bustling with tourists, much more so than when the American Archaeologist, Edward Robinson, climbed it in the 1830’s accompanied by Bedouin guides. But, in keeping with the controversy that permeates the study of ancient history, the Italian archaeologist, Emanuel Anati, claims that the location of the Biblical Mount Sinai is not here at all but at what is known as Mount Karkoum today, in Israel’s Negev desert.
Once again, the student is only treading on sure ground by staying with the scriptures and not being too awfully impressed with man’s conjectures and theories.
What happened at Mount Sinai, wherever it is, is how God separated the Jews from every other people on earth and how he gave them a distinctive identity as his people. The things that he told them they were not to do, as disgusting as those things are, are even more amazing as they represent the daily life of the nations they were to overthrow.
Read Leviticus 18:24, 25.
The Shang dynasty in China has just recently conquered the Shao at the battle of Ming Chiao and the Shao are eliminated. It is about this time that the Shang Palace complex at Anyang, China is built and for the next 400 years or so all the palaces of the Shang will duplicate this. The Shang also develop a system of writing in pictograms similar in type to Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphics as stylized pictures strung together to form ideas..
In this relative time period of around 1500BC traditional historians tell us that the Aegean volcanic island of Thera explodes bringing an end to the Minoan civilization on Crete. The resultant power vaccum allows for the expansion of both the Mycenaen of Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey as well as the Phoenicians who later spread the alphabet that found its origins at Mount Sinai, if Ouaknin is correct. Traditional historians give the Phoenicians credit for inventing what they spread. Of course, with the alphabet they also spread child sacrifice along with their mercantile practices. Within a century they would learn to use oared ships and to guide them by the stars to travel great distances with Phoenician coins even having been found in Brazil.
Around this time the Lapita Culture, the ancestors of the modern people of Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia, migrated to the islands of the western Pacific. This culture is characterized by its intricately decorated pottery. The people of New Guinea started making freestanding stone figures about this time, as well.
The primitive Jomon culture is the name given to the people that live in Japan. The Ban Kao culture is the name given to the primitives in Thailand and Malaysia as mankind continues to migrate outward from the Middle East or Western Asia.
Meanwhile, the Untice culture in Central Europe is flourishing. This culture was characterized, according to archaeologists, with bodies in burial arranged according to gender and according to compass direction. Their flat graves replaced the previous migrants burial mounds. Horses and a culture of horsemanship had arrived around 1800BC and trade moves throughout primitive Europe. Stonehenge was already probably a few hundred years old at this time. No one knows what it or many of the massive stone megaliths were for that were created from Wales to the Salisbury plains but it may have been for ceremonies associated with the changing of the seasons.
Troy rises in power and influence in what historians call its sixth city with one ruin built on another, utilizing sophisticated military architecture that rivals the Minoans. The Mycenaean civilization, as just mentioned, begins to grow in power using great engineering, designing and building bridges, fortifications, and beehive shaped tombs with elaborate drainage and irrigation systems with stone so large that later people thought that giants had built them. The remains found in the tombs do not give evidence that the Mycenaeans; Achilles, Agamemnon, or Odysseus, were giants in any respect other than their appetite for blood and pride. Giant human remains have been found, however, everywhere from the South Pacific to South Africa.
Speaking of giants, there have been some interesting finds reported. These are all highly controversial and often do not find their way into the typical science textbook. But, in physical anthropology courses in college (anthropology was my own major and degree) you may find them mentioned briefly. I will be glad to give you more information on this subject but you can just type in “Giant Human Remains” in your browser and read various websites taking them all as interesting but not believing wholly until you have investigated the sources for yourself. Once again, do not be deceived just because someone uses the words “God”, “the Bible vindicated”, etc. etc. Some claims are outright lies and some are just wishful thinking but for the percentage that are true a great many questions about the cherished theory of evolution are raised.
Joshua’s campaign of conquest starts at Jericho, the Israelites already having defeated kingdoms on the other side of the Jordan. Previously, Og, the king of Bashan, a giant, was destroyed along with his people. It seems that it is important to remember the words “and also after that” of Genesis 6:4 to understand what type of thing might be going on here.
Flavius Josephus, the noted Jewish historian of the first century A.D., described the giants as having "bodies so large and countenances so entirely different from other men that they were surprising to the sight and terrible to the hearing." And he adds that in his day, the bones of the giants were still on display.
I would add that there are so many reports of giants being found in graves representing a civilized people that these can not be wholly discounted and, based on the evidence alone, regardless of your interpretation of it, has to bring questions into mind of what reason people have for denying the Bible account that there were populations of giants active in the days of Moses and Joshua. Remains have been found all over the world in grave sites and other places of people, sometimes in groups, of 7 feet tall to as much as 12 feet tall. Even if you discount 90% of these accounts as myth or fabrication to make a buck, the remaining 10% would make you think that more investigation would be enlightening. Quoting from one source about giants; “In 1936 Larson Kohl, the German paleontologist and anthropologist, found the bones of gigantic men on the shore of Lake Elyasi in Central Africa. Other giant skeletons were later found in Hava, the Transvaal and China. The evidence for the existence of giants is incontrovertible. "A scientifically
assured fact," says Dr. Louis Burkhalter. “ Burkhalter was writing in 1950, but, of course, being the good scientist, he believed that giants were the result of mutations caused by the solar emission of infra-red rays. This seemed more plausible to him than the Bible account, even though 99% of all mutations kill the organism mutated. Unfortunately, this is the line of thought made famous by Harvard Paleontologist, Jay Gould, in his “Hopeful Monster” theory of what he called “Punctuated Equilibrium” where evolution made rapid changes due to sudden mutations.
The story of Joshua brings up some of the most intriguing questions for secular historians and archaeologists. The archaeological history of Jericho contains evidence that it was an ancient city by the time Joshua arrived. The city-states of Palestine and Syria were so wealthy by then that they had invited conquest by Egypt. At the time of Joshua, Durant reports, as does the Bible, that Jericho “was a well-walled city, ruled by kings acknowledging the suzerainty of Egypt; the tombs of these kings, excavated by the Garstang Expedition, contained hundreds of vases, funerary offerings, and other objects
indicating a settled life at Jericho in the time of the Hyksos domination, and a fairly developed civilization in the days of Hatshepshut and Thutmose III”. Then Durant makes one of those wonderful statements of his that reveal the weakness of traditional histories alongside of the authority of the Bible. He goes on to say, “It becomes apparent that the different dates at which we begin the history of divers peoples are merely the marks of our ignorance.” Ussher dates the destruction of Jericho to 1451BC. Joshua and the Israelites cross the Jordan, the males are circumcised, and Joshua has his encounter with the captain of the host of the Lord who gives the answer that everyone who goes to war should read over and over again. When asked if he was on Joshua’s side or the enemies he answers, in 21st century English, “neither, but as captain of the Lord’s host have I come”.
The Dictionary of the Ancient Near East reports that after the destruction by fire the city is not rebuilt for many centuries. Joshua 6:24 says, “and they burnt the city with fire”. As mentioned before, John Garstang’s expedition of 1930-1936 uncovered the burnt layer of the city (it had been destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout ancient history) and dated it to about 1400BC coinciding with the time of Joshua. However, the famous celebrity, Kathleen Kenyon, would come along in 1952 and insist the destruction occurred about 1550BC, stating that there was no Jericho inhabited in Joshua’s time. But, detailed reports of her findings weren’t published until 1981, after her death. It was discovered by University of Toronto Professor, Bryant Wood, that she had made her decision based not on what she had found but on what she hadn’t found. Since a certain type of imported pottery that had been found in other cities wasn’t present in Jericho she claimed it wasn’t inhabited at the time of Joshua. This represents the typical anti-Biblical bigotry and narrowmindedness of the celebrities of secular oriented archaeology and history. She excavated in what would have been the poorest section of Jericho where the affording of such a luxury would have been impossible anyway. The fact is that other, less famous, but equally qualified, scholars have clearly refuted her work and her statements and yet, the common college or high school textbook will undoubtedly mimic
her flawed results as if they were established fact overlooking completely the work of others such as Garstang and Wood. This mindset is found in the teaching of evolution as well. As a parallel to help you understand what you are up against in defending God’s word, recently in Ohio, an effort has been made to permit the teaching of evolutionary theory as long as arguments against it, not religious but scientific from scientific peer reviewed journals, were also presented to help the students think critically. This was not an effort by creationists to overthrow the government religion of evolution or to even introduce intelligent design but merely to show that there are two sides to the question, even among agnostic scientists like Michael Denton. However, there were those who still tried to challenge the policy that would permit the religion of evolution to be challenged at all. The battle is always for your mind.
Back to Joshua, I have read that there was found an inscription in Phoenician Canaanite found in Southern Ireland that implied that the writer represented a colony of refugees from “that robber, Joshua”. However, I have been unable to confirm its authenticity so file it away somewhere as a maybe.
The cities of Palestine were wealthy, being situated on a great north south trade route along the coast of the Eastern Mediterranean. The word for Canaanite often was synonymous with “merchant” according to Snell’s “Life in the Ancient Near East”. Apparently, they were small city-states ruled by a king who we wouldn’t call much more than a mayor these days, however, with the command of a king and the ability to call men to war. War was not their usual occupation, trading was, but even so they were mighty as evidenced by Deuteronomy 9:1. They could band together to fight, as they did in these chapters of the Bible, but depended upon their Egyptian masters for protection. Of course, with Egypt in temporary disarray due to the catastrophic death of the pharaoh and a small army, this protection was not at hand. See Numbers 14:9.
The city of Ai, which Joshua destroys is commonly thought to be located at the archaeological ruins at Et-Tell. Once again, many traditional scholars insist that Ai wasn’t anything but a ruin when they insist on dating Joshua’s identification with it, completely dismissing the Biblical statements of its destruction. Once again, we find a complete reliance of finding certain types of pottery at a site to determine its age, a system which can hardly be considered conclusive. There are other archaeologists who disagree with identifying Ai with Et-Tell and locate it at some other place. Durant’s admonitions about our ignorance go unheeded. Stick with the Bible and let other, less discerning people, compare pottery types, I would say.
With regard to the giant hailstones of Joshua 10:11, traditional science denies this as even a possibility in spite of the fact that over the last five to ten years the reports of huge blocks of ice called megacycrometers, hailstones a hundred times larger than normal, have been reported frequently. Dr. Martinez-Frias of the Planetary Geological Laboratory in Madrid, Spain, showed in 2002 that many of these reports of hailstones are, indeed, hailstones rather than frozen chunks of airplane waste as reported by the media. Once
again, we find a denial of the Bible’s account to even be scientifically irrelevant although I would not need Dr. Martinez-Frias help for me to believe what God has said.
One of the most controversial accounts in the Bible, next to the parting of the Red Sea, and the Resurrection is the so-called “long day of Joshua” reported in chapter 10, verses 12-14. I have read many articles about what a catastrophe it would have been for the
earth to stop spinning or for any such unusual occurrence to have happened in astronomy and have also read false stories about a supposed NASA scientist who discovered the long day in history. There are reports of a long sunset about this time in Chinese literature, as well. The speculation and argument is endless. Whether the Chinese king
Yao refers to it in his fear of the earth catching fire, whether the Latin poet, Ovid, is referring to the Phaeton, the Canaanite prince, and his lost day, is speaking of this day, whether the god-man Bacchus, in the Orphic hymns, stopping the day is a reference to it, or the Indian reference to the pious cries of Arjouan over the death of Krishna, or the holy Buddhist, Matanga, stopping the sun is, or even if the numerous Mexican and Peruvian legends are, is irrelevant, if interesting. I believe the Bible account. This brings to mind the age old argument of what revolves around what; whether we live in a heliocentric, or sun centered solar system, as Copernicus insisted, or a geocentric or earth centered system as Tycho Brahe tried to prove, or finally whether that matters at all as motion is relative to the observer, as Fred Hoyle and Albert Einstein insisted.
You will discover if you study more that traditional scholars will either deny there ever was a Joshua or they will claim that the Canaanites cities were overcome by a slow infiltration of foreigners, perhaps Israelites, or they will talk about successive waves of invasion, all due to their insistence upon making dogmatic statements based on incomplete evidence and knowledge plus their need to deny the Bible record.
Ussher has Moses’ death in 1451BC, as well as the destruction of Jericho and the coalition of forces led by the king of Jerusalem against Joshua. His campaigns are detailed in the book that bears his name and he dies, in Ussher’s chronology, in 1443BC. Many historians give a much later date of the early 1200’s BC for the events of Exodus and Joshua, just so you are familiar with different trains of thought on that.
Israel had peace in the land it was conquering but almost immediately fell into apostasy and the disasters that occurred in the book of Judges with men and women who were rulers and deliverers being raised up to defend Israel making their appearance. During this period, as Ussher quotes Julius Africanus, a king Belus ruled Assyria. Then, his son, who called himself Ninus, founded the Assyrian empire which continued for 520 years.
The period of the judges ends with Samuel as Saul is anointed king in 1095BC with David succeeding him in 1055BC. Solomon begins building the temple in 1013BC. Israel
is at the height of its worldly glory under the reign of Solomon.
Turning back to secular historians, who date the reign of Tiglath-Pilesor I over Assyria from 1116 to 1093BC, leading that country to be a dominant force in the Middle East for over five centuries. The mainland Greeks, called Achaeans take to the sea and the siege and destruction of Troy supposedly takes place in 1184BC although this is controversial.
It is also about this time, from 1100BC onward that we are told the the Greek peoples began to form the identity by which we know them today from our investigations of their written history.
In India, the Aryan invasions have produced after 1400BC a new Hindu civilization in the Ganges river valley. The great Hindu religious epic, the Rig Veda, is composed against this backdrop and the time is known as the Vedic period.
Historical China has emerged after 1600BC.
The Olmecs are in Mexico and the Chavin Culture is in the Andes Mountains of Peru. There is still a great deal of migration in the South Pacific, going from west to east.
In this general time period, in Egypt, we have what may be the pharaoh who succeeded the one killed by God in the Red Sea, Thutmose III with his aunt, Hatshepshut helping him rule, then Amenhotep III, who Durant says lived a life of worldly luxury before cashing in his chips. His son, Amenhotep IV was destined to be known as Akhenaton or Ikhnaton, who demanded that Egypt stop worshipping its many gods and worship only one. I believe that this was a natural reaction to the disaster of the Egyptian experience with God the creator in regard to the plagues of Moses and the Red Sea catastrophe.
Egyptian religion didn’t have much to say about morality. It had more in common with the Vatican religion of the Dark Ages. Even the famed “Book of the Dead”, which was no more than scraps of funerary paper and prayers found inside coffins taught only that charms blessed by the clergy would overcome all obstacles that the dead would encounter on the way to salvation, as Durant says. The priests sold charms, mumbled chants and incantations, and practiced magic rather than promoting personal morality. There is much information to show that a great deal of the Roman Catholic Church’s ritual comes directly from Egyptian religion.
Ikhnaton had just become pharaoh when he began to revolt against the established religion and the practices of its priests, much like a Buddha revolted against the irrelevance of Hindu ritual and Martin Luther rebelled against the excesses of the Catholic Church.
Durant tells us that in the great temple of Karnak there was a large harem, supposedly concubines of the great god, Amon, sort of like nuns but in reality, were often merely for the amusement of the clergy. Ikhnaton rebelled against these excesses. He announced that there was but one god – Aton. As Akbar did in India thousands of years later he saw all
divinity in the sun. No one knows if he took this idea from the Canaanites where the god, Aton, was another form of Adonis, who if you connect the mythologies still winds up
being a form of Satan, giver of knowledge. In a religious fervor Amenhotep IV changed his name to Ikhnaton, meaning “Aton is satisfied”. He composed hymns to Aton. He recognized that there was a God above all nations but unfortunately for him, he identified this god as being the sun itself. See here Satan’s genius in perverting the worship of the true God and counterfeiting all that is truth and mixing it with enough error to send men and women reeling drunkenly into Hell on a wave of religious ecstasy. Calling the sun,
the “Lord of love”, and the tender caregiver who “creates the man-child in woman” and “fills the two lands of Egypt with love” he created in it a tender but counterfeit god the father, who rules all of Egypt and for the first time, rather than being only a god of Egypt, the Egyptians were forced to worship a god of all the world.
Ikhnaton had all the names of other gods erased from monuments, closed temples, dispossessed the wealthy priesthood, moved his capital. Artwork was created to validate his vision of the godhead. Innovations in art were made during Ikhnaton’s reign such as greater realism and emotion in depictions of people, along with exaggeration of some features and curvilinear contouring of the bodies. This was known as the Amarna period after his capital at Tell al-Amarna, which he moved from Thebes to get away from traditional priestly corruption. Rather than produce an heir he remained faithful to his wife, Nefretiti, who produced seven daughters but no son to succeed him. He refused to come to the aid of tributaries in Syria being invaded and destroyed. He loathed to send Egyptian sons to die on alien land. The Egyptian treasury, which depended on foreign tribute for its great wealth, began to dry up. Durant tells us that almost in a moment Egypt ceased to be an empire and had shrunken back into a small state. The colonies revolted and he died, broken, at around the age of 30. His son in law was Tutankhamen, the famous King Tut.
If I might go back to Thutmose III for a moment, it is said that non-Biblical history’s first recorded battle took place under his reign as an alliance of Canaanite kings were defeated under him at Megiddo where you know it as the place of Armageddon. Traditional dating places this event during the time that the Israelites were wandering in the desert. The only record we have of this battle is Egyptian. Perhaps, God used this to weaken the Canaanite kingdoms, force them under Egyptian suzerainty, and then raised up the deceived Ikhnaton to deny them any aid when the Israelites invaded. Who can say? All four dates given by traditional historians put it within the general time frame of Israelite wanderings. I have read 1457BC, 1469BC, 1479BC, and 1482BC as dates for this battle. Joshua conquers Megiddo in Joshua 12:21.
While the Olmecs in Mexico were constructing pyramids, stone monuments, and realistic looking human figures at this time, the dye known as Tyrian purple was being invented by the Phoenicians, and the Peruvians were depicting the jaguar, constrictor snake, and the condor and eagle as the main focus of their temple art.
The ancient Hindus derive the first modern sedative and hypertensive from the root of the Rawolfia Serpentina plant. They also become the first to perform successful skin grafting and plastic surgery of the nose. The Chinese devise a working calendar and began calculating using decimals. The Hitites develop a practical method of smelting iron, ushering in a technological revolution of sorts, and more easily made iron eventually replaces bronze as the dominant metal, an innovation which makes it to Europe by the end of this period.
Throughout modern history secular archaeologists and historians have expressed doubt that King David was a real historical person but more like King Arthur, as Philip Davies reported in Biblical Archaeology Review in 1994. However, in 1993 a fragment of a monument was found at the site of the ancient Israelite city of Dan that mentioned David and his dynasty dating to about 100 years after David's death. As Biblical Archaeology Review reports: "Avraham Biran and his team of archaeologists found a remarkable inscription from the 9th century (B.C.) that refers both to the 'House of David' and to the 'King of Israel.' This is the first time that the name David has been found in any ancient inscription outside the Bible. That the inscription refers not simply to a 'David' but to the House of David, the dynasty of the great Israelite king, is even more remarkable" (March-April, 1994, p. 26).
Then another mention of King David was found in a monument of about the same time. It is called the Moabite Stone or the Mesha Stela. Discovered in 1868, unfortunately it was broken into pieces and it has taken much time and effort to piece together the original words. In 1995 scholar Andre Lemaire finally put it all together and discovered the words "House of David." In line 31 of the Moabite Stone are the words "... the sheep of the land. And the house (of Da)vid dwelt in Horonen" (Biblical Archaeology Review, May-June, 1994, p. 33).
The article continues: "The recent discovery at Tel Dan of a fragment of a stela containing a reference to the 'House of David' (that is, the dynasty of David) is indeed sensational and deserves all the publicity it has received. The Aramaic inscription, dated to the ninth century (B.C.), was originally part of a victory monument erected at Dan, apparently by an enemy of both the 'King of Israel' (also referred to in the fragment) and the '(King of the) House of David.' The inscription easily establishes the importance of Israel and Judah on the international scene at this time-no doubt to the chagrin of those modern scholars who maintain that nothing in the Bible before the Babylonian exile can lay claim to any historical accuracy ... Nearly two years before the discovery of the Tel Dan fragment, I (Lemaire) concluded that the Mesha stela contains a reference to the 'House of David.' Now the Tel Dan fragment tends to support this conclusion" (ibid., pp. 31, 32).
Slowly, as more excavations bring to light new material, the biblical record continues to gain solid historical backing. So far, archaeology has confirmed the existence of the following kings of Israel and Judah: Omri, Ahab, Jeroboam II, Jehu, Pekah, Hoshea, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh. Now David is also placed in this growing list of historically confirmed kings and no longer viewed as a myth.
Not being able to find overwhelming evidence of King Solomon’s reign or of the temple he built disturbs a great many secular scholars. Due to what Durant refers to as their ignorance they then begin to make claims that Solomon, too, was legendary, as was the temple he built. However, this quote I found of interest regarding such conclusions;
“However, other scholars note that there are other blank spots in Jerusalem's archaeological record during periods when the city is known to have been occupied, and they caution against reading too much into a lack of evidence. Ronny Reich, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, notes, for example, that excavations near the Gihon spring outside the present Old City have turned up "no pottery, nothing" from the Byzantine era–roughly A.D. 330-1450. "Does that mean there were no people in Jerusalem?" Reich asks. "Of course not. How do you explain it? You can't."[J.L. Sheler, `News from the Holy Land']”
If nothing else, I hope that what I am saying will help you to understand that you can trust the Biblical record, knowing that science might one day catch up to the Bible. But traditional archaeology and history are woefully inadequate as a base upon which to build your faith. Science, as much as it has accomplished in the way of communication and transportation plus medicine for the very few, is characterized more by what it does not know than what it does. Our knowledge of the past learned from looking for remnants of its ancient characters is limited, at best, and no reason for you to doubt anything in God’s word.
Now, we are approaching a time when historical records slowly become more sure of themselves and the numbers of documents and artifacts available to us increase. There is still much controversy but also more information outside of the Bible account.
Israel has reached the peak of its glory.