Made To Disciple

Evidence For The Exodus?

The Bible tells us that God delivered the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt and led them into the land to the north that He had promised to Abraham centuries earlier. Critics of the Bible have long voiced their skepticism regarding the Exodus account.
One of the objections critics raise has to do with the massive Egyptian military presence that was along the Mediterranean coast route leading up to Canaan. [1] Critics suggest that it would have been impossible for the Israelites to make it past such a force.
Well, they are failing to consider a couple of things. First, an army of any size is no match for God. You may recall what a lone angel did to 185,000 Assyrians in a single evening (2 Kings 19:35). A second fact that critics overlook is that the Bible specifically tells us that the Israelites were not led out via the route along the Mediterranean lest they retreat when they saw the soldiers (Exodus 13:17–18). It is not uncommon for critics of the Bible to misread or fail to understand the details of a Biblical account and then attack their own misunderstanding.
Another objection critics bring up regarding the Exodus concerns the lack of any Egyptian records mentioning the Israelites’ departure from the land. But a lack of records should not concern us. The Egyptians may have had written record of the Exodus but as British Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen says, voluminous papyrus archives once stored in Egypt have vanished: “In the sopping wet mud of the Delta, no papyrus ever survives (whether it mentions fleeing Hebrews or not)…In other words, as the official thirteenth-century archives from the East Delta centers are 100 percent lost, we cannot expect to find mentions in them of the Hebrews or anybody else.” [2]
      “Well,” the skeptic says, “perhaps no written record survives on papyrus, but surely there should be an inscription on a wall relief that mentions the Exodus.”
I disagree. As Jeffery Sheler, U. S. News & World Report religion writer, says: “Official records and inscriptions in the ancient Near East often were written to impress gods and potential enemies, it would be quite surprising to find an account of the destruction of pharaoh’s army immortalized on the walls of an Egyptian temple…Indeed, the absence of direct material evidence of an Israelite sojourn in Egypt is not as surprising, or as damaging to the Bible’s credibility, as it first might seem.” [3]
Archaeologist, James Hoffmeier, agrees with Sheler. He says, “Royal inscriptions typically did not record disasters and setbacks experienced by Egypt or its royalty.” [4] Joseph Free adds: “The plagues and the Exodus of Israel were a national calamity and surely would have been carefully avoided in the monumental records. Furthermore, when something was recorded that proved to be uncomplimentary or distasteful to a later regime, it was effaced at the first opportunity. For example, after the Hyksos [5] were expelled [by the Egyptians] their monuments were destroyed. Also, after the death of Hatshepsut, Thutmose III chiseled away the name and representations of this queen.” [6]
     “Okay,” the skeptic reasons, “perhaps there wouldn’t be an inscription on a wall telling the story of the Exodus, but surely the Israelites would have left behind some pottery in the Sinai desert during their sojourn from Egypt to Canaan.”
When it comes to finding evidence for the Exodus (such as pottery in the Sinai desert), it is important to remember that the Israelites lived as nomads during their time in the wilderness. Nomads living in a desert like environment, where every utensil and tool is of great value, leave few traces in the archaeological record. The Israelite’s temporary tent encampments from 3000 years ago would not have left much behind in the swirling sands of the desert.
Former Yale professor Millar Burrows agrees: “It is hardly reasonable, in fact, to expect archeological evidence of their sojourn anywhere. We cannot expect much help from archeology in tracing the route of a people’s migration through the desert.” [7]
We also need to keep in mind that the Israelites left Egypt “in haste” and that “they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves” (Exodus 12:33, 39). They did not foresee their disobedience that would keep them from the Promised Land and lead to a prolonged time in the wilderness. The Israelites were originally setting out on a short journey to Canaan with the understanding that God was going to provide for their needs (Exodus 3:8–12). They were not going to need to haul all their heavy pottery with them.
Now, having acknowledged that the archaeological evidence for the Exodus is scant, I think it is worth pointing out that certain details in the Biblical account have been corroborated by archaeology. For example, the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) reports:

“According to the Bible, as the Hebrews left Egypt, Pharaoh changed his mind and sent 600 chariots to chase the runaway slaves. Could 600 be a biblical exaggeration? In 1997, on the site of the city of Ramses II, German archeologists unearthed the foundations of an ancient stable. By the end of the dig, they had found enough stables for at least 500 horses and chariots.” [8]

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Made To Disciple

Clarity : A Simple Diagram

The more we actively pursue and understand the holiness of Christ, the more we become aware of our sin and worldly desires…all the while His presence and our dependence on Him continues to mature.

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We're All Seasoned

We’re All Seasoned…

Two pennies. Same birth year, but different paths. Same time frame of existence, but in different conditions. While on the outside we may look the same, no two people have experienced life identically. Some have faced abuse, the loss of a parent or abandonment, while others may seem to have had a fairly unburdensome life. Before jumping to conclusions regarding someone’s behavior or actions, remember this: Each of us have experienced life and it’s seasons differently but we were ALL made in the image of God.

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What’s Your Goliath?

Are you in a battle? A conflict? A hard place?

Is something or someone threatening your peace, your security?

Does a Goliath of sorts loom before you?

Do you seem so small, so insignificant, so impotent in comparison?

Look within. Maybe the Holy Spirit is not dwelling within? Is He not your resident Helper, your on-call Comforter? Has He not offered you His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control?

Remember,  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit still rule.

Face your “Goliath” say,  “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts…” (1 Samuel 17:45).

God has given you His name — His name which reveals His character and His ways. That’s where you are to look. Look at who God is and what God is. When David faces Goliath, he remembers that God is the almighty, the Lord of hosts, which means He is the Captain of all — all principalities, powers, and spiritual forces and places. Every angelic being, good and evil, is under His control. The power and authority belong to God, not to angels or to you or to me.

What is your Goliath?

I was adopted and have never met my biological dad. In fact, I actually found his brother on Facebook and after gave me the phone number to my biological dad, I reached out and found he had another son and named him “Zach.” From the time I was 15, I’ve lost my dad in active duty and practically felt at times I had lost 2 of my 6 brothers from certain actions. I’ve been hurt and let down in the past like no other and at times, felt as if I physically wouldn’t be able to lift my self off the ground. You could say that I’ve been to rock bottom a few times: jail, feeling the lack of self worth, low confidence along with other issues. While this is my goliath, I promise you God has a plan for you and will ALWAYS let you defeat your goliath. Look at me for instance once again, at my lowest point when I physical thought I couldn’t possibly move on, God sent me this the most perfect woman for me in Ashleigh E. She was exactly what I needed, She has help me see the significance of having a God based relationship, while making me more confident in myself. God will and ALWAYS provides in order to defeat you goliath. call upon Christ for peace and understanding. Can God not handle even the biggest Goliaths?

When David brought Goliath down with a single stone, remember it was an action of faith and Christ alone which downed Him

Stop and think about it. The other Israelites had the same God on their side that David had on his, so what was the difference? David trusted in what He knew about God. Remember, Saul, Israel’s king, tried to dress David in his armor, to equip him with his sword. Saul was trusting in the arm of flesh. David knew that the weapons of his warfare were not fleshly but mighty through God.

You’ll never be the Christian you can be without those “Goliaths.” You’ll never know God intimately apart from them. It’s the trial, the conflicts, the adversities, the “no-way-out” situation, the impossibilities that drive us to God where we discover who His is and what He is. Not to run to Him means to miss knowing Him and experiencing His power, His glory, His majesty, His sufficiency.

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Old Testament

Is The Old Testament Corrupted?

It never ceases to amaze me how often various people in cults or false religious systems always state that the Bible has been corrupted. Muslims, Mormons, and Wiccans are three of the most common religious groups which I have encountered that make such claims.1

Why do they claim this? Well, I suspect that it is because the teachings of the New Testament specifically are at extreme variance with their beliefs. For Muslims, they do not believe that Jesus is God since the Qur’an claims that it is an unforgivable sin to “assign partners with God” (Surah 10:30). Also, the Qur’an claims that Jesus was not crucified (Surah 4:156-157). However, the New Testament teaches that Jesus was Divine (cf. John 1:1; 8:24, 58; 10:30; 20:28; Rom. 9:5) and He literally was crucified (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

Mormons believe that there are many gods in existence and salvation is not being saved from the wrath of God upon sinners, but being exalted to the highest degree of heaven through keeping the sacraments and ordinances of the church. In other words, salvation is by works. However, the Bible clearly teaches that there is one God in the entire universe (cf. Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8; Mk. 12:29) and salvation is actually receiving forgiveness from the wrath of God upon sinners (John 3:36), not being exalted to a higher degree of heaven. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that salvation is a free gift, not attainable by works (Rom. 4:5; Eph. 2:8-9).

Wiccans, though an extremely diverse conglomeration of religious beliefs, generally believe that there are many paths to “the One” or “the All” as they refer to their deity. “The One” or “the All” actually is part of the universe and is not distinct from it. However, the Bible teaches that there is one God who is separate from space, time, and matter since He created them from nothing (ex nihilo) (Gen. 1:1; cf. Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-17). Furthermore, the Bible teaches that there is only one way to be saved, and that is through Jesus (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Has the New Testament been Corrupted?

The short answer is no. To answer this question in more detail, let me give you some background. The New Testament is an ancient book. During ancient times, there were no Xerox copy machines, and the way the Bible was preserved was through hand by hand copying. As a result of this copying process, errors would occur by accident or intention. However, these errors in the text do not affect any major Christian doctrine such as the Trinity, Deity of Christ, salvation by faith alone, etc. Unfortunately, we do not have any original copies of any of the books of the New Testament. In other words, we do not have “the original manuscript copy” of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, or an original copy of the Gospel of Matthew, etc.
The way Ancient Texts were Copied

A helpful way to look at the New Testament’s textual history is to compare it to other documents of antiquity. For most ancient documents, we have about a thousand year gap between the writing of the document and the first available copy that archaeologists find. For example, with a Roman historian called Tacitus, our first manuscript copy of his work comes from around 1100 A.D. and we have 20 total manuscript copies today. Interestingly, Tacitus actually wrote his works around 100 A.D. Most historians do not doubt that we have a really good idea what Tacitus actually wrote, even though we only have about 20 total partial or complete manuscripts and the earliest manuscript comes about 1,000 years after the original writing.

In comparison, our first manuscript copy of the New Testament (John Ryland’s Papyri, dates from 117-138 A.D.) comes about 30-40 years after the original book was written (i.e. the Gospel of John in about 90-95 A.D.). Also, we actually have over 5,700 Greek New Testament manuscripts! In addition to all of the Latin, Coptic, Syriac, and other languages, we have about 25,000 total New Testament manuscripts! This literally blows the competition out of the water!
Go ahead, destroy the New Testament Manuscripts

However, if these 25,000 manuscripts were destroyed, we still would know what the New Testament writers actually wrote. We would then go to the writings of the Church Fathers.2 These early Church Fathers wrote numerous books and letters in which they made over 38,000 quotations from the New Testament. From their writings alone we could reconstruct the entire New Testament minus about 11 verses.

So for religions and cults to claim that the Bible has been inaccurately copied to such an extent of corrupting the entire message of the Bible, is just blatantly ridiculous due to the 25,000 manuscripts and numerous early quotations. In spite of the misinformed claims of the critics, the Bible that you hold in your hand is an accurate copy of what the original Biblical authors actually wrote.

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