21 Mar 2022

Views of the Exodus

There’s lots going on with regard to Russia and Ukraine, obviously. Lots more going on in other circles as well. Yet I continue to return to themes I believe are at least as important, themes that might seem at first glance off the mark.

But if we don’t establish Israel’s factual history, legions won’t consider that the modern state is legitimate. Zionism itself has been undermined by clever, but diabolical teachers that rightly understood that if the foundations are weak, the whole structure comes down. For example, Israel is caught in a tension right now between Putin’s forces and Zelensky’s. Many classic anti-Semitic tropes are being trotted out accusing the Jews of more conspiracies.

That’s why I insist that unless we get the past right, the present is dangerous and many futures are in peril.

I read this week a fascinating piece in the Jerusalem Post addressing a theme I often return to: the Exodus. The subject is whether the gigantic event in Jewish history really happened.

The fight here of course is between those that believe the Bible is true, and those that don’t. The article in question notes the tension between what we can call the camp of Prof. William F. Albright, and the secularists. There is then this interesting note:

“We should note here that the Merneptah Stele (ruled 1213-1203 BCE) does testify clearly to an era in which Israel is a people in Canaan, not yet settled in particular cities. Many scholars have taken this inscription as indicating clearly that there was a stage when Israel had entered the land, but not yet settled down in any specific locations. Further, those who deny the conquest have reported that numerous Canaanite towns show evidence of population changes in the 13th century BCE.”

What is going on here, I think, is a simple matter: one perso will have a particular worldview, while another will have a different worldview. It is a matter of choices, because we are rational beings capable of independent thought.

From boyhood, I chose to believe the Bible is true. For me, it is as natural to think of the Genesis accounts as real, specific history as it is to know my own name.

But others aren’t so quick to acknowledge the Lord of History.

The JPost article is not one I agree with in its entirety (for one thing, there is no faith element to accepting the biblical record). However, it is important as a conversation in this most important subject of biblical archaeology.

We all have biases. Most of us are stubborn, even prideful. Often, admitting a mistake is almost impossible, especially among these subjects.

I would go so far as to say that our faith depends on the reliability of the biblical record in the Hebrew Scripture. This in much the same way as Paul reminded us that the resurrection is absolutely crucial for our faith. As has been written by someone wiser than I am, we look for a glass dimly. What we know now is not the sum of what we will know one day.

In that day, I will be glad that I trusted completely the Author of History. The ancient Exodus was a real event, I believe, and that paves the way for my own Exodus into a glorious eternity.

May that day come quickly!