The Date of the Exodus, Part 1 (The Covenant & the Cross #69)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Exodus 13:21-22 which reads: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from T. Austin-Sparks. He said: “The whole meaning of spiritual understanding is that we see what the Spirit has always meant. It is one of our laws of interpretation that the whole Bible is focused in Christ, and that the work of the Holy Spirit in every dispensation relates to Christ.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Date of the Exodus (Part 1)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Even for those who affirm that there was a historical Exodus event, there is still debate regarding when it occurred. Various dates have been suggested by researchers, but only two have been widely accepted: an early date in the middle of the fifteenth century BCE (the year 1446 is frequently offered) and a late date in the thirteenth century BCE (c. 1260). Perhaps the best way to understand these different views is to trace how the two proposed dates were derived. Traditionally scholars understood the Exodus event to have occurred during the fifteenth century, based on the Old Testament genealogies and the lengths of kings’ reigns. For example, Bishop James Ussher developed a chronology that put the Exodus at 1491 BCE. For these scholars, however, there was very little information linking the Old Testament data to secular history.

Two events changed that. A French scholar named Jean Francois Champollion deciphered the Rosetta Stone in 1822, allowing us to read Egyptian hieroglyphics. Then in 1835 the British scholar Henry Gres-wich Rawlinson set out to decipher the Be-his-tun Inscription, leading eventually to a knowledge of Akkadian, and thus the ability to read the clay tablets that appeared through the excavations of Nineveh by Austin Layard beginning in 1847. With these two languages—hieroglyphics and Akkadian—scholars were able to develop historical ties with both Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations (and later with other civilizations through them).


The Passage Out of Egypt, Part 2 (The Covenant & the Cross #68)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Numbers 1:45-46 which reads: “So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Martha Kilpatrick. She said: “Shift your mind from conquering the Bible to surrendering to the Spirit of God who will whisper to you what He meant by what He wrote.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Passage Out of Egypt (Part 2)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Today, we are going to deal with two separate issues concerning the Exodus.

The first one is THE LUNAR CALENDAR and the second issue is the NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO LEFT EGYPT.

Ancient Israel used two calendars, both of which were lunar. The religious calendar began with the spring equinox (when the length of day and night are almost equal). The first new moon after that day began the month of Nisan, also called Abib. Since the spring equinox falls around March 21, we usually equate Nisan with March-April. The political year began in the fall with the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles in the month of Tishri (September-October), the seventh month in the religious calendar. Today this civil new year is called Rosh Hash-a-nah. Both new years are referred to in Exodus.

These texts suggest that from the beginning of the nation there was a dual calendar, which we find confusing today. However, we do the same thing in a variety of ways in our own culture. We follow a calendar year that begins on January 1. We also follow a school year that begins around September 1. Different levels of government and many companies use a fiscal year that begins at various times; for the U.S. government, it is currently October 1. Some churches also observe a liturgical year, which does not have a “new year,” but it begins either with Easter in Eastern churches, or with the first Sunday of Advent (near the end of November) in Western churches.

The spring festivals find typological fulfillment in the crucifixion of Jesus as the Messiah and in the founding of the church. Consequently, many scholars argue that there will be a yet-future typological fulfillment of the fall festivals in the second coming of Jesus, when his kingdom will be established on earth. These two roles of the Messiah may then provide some explanation for the two calendars.

The Passage Out of Egypt, Part 1 (The Covenant & the Cross #67)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Exodus 14:5-8 which reads: “And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from A. W. Tozer. He said: “The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. ‘The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.’ The life is in the speaking words. God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s Word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written word powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Passage Out of Egypt (Part 1)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

It would take some time for a large number of people to gather out of their houses to join with their leader and to begin heading east. They camped at Etham, a spot otherwise unknown. Then they moved out, changing direction so that they arrived on the shores of the Red Sea, where they again camped. These events likely took about a week (the time of the period of unleavened bread). It gave time for Pharaoh’s spies to observe that the people were “wandering around the land in confusion” and for him to gather his troops to pursue them.

One of the points of controversy concerning the Exodus relates to the path the newly released nation followed. Traditionally it has been thought that the nation traveled southeast to the shores of the Red Sea, where they camped until Pharaoh’s army approached. As we read the text, we note that at that point Moses raised his staff, a strong wind arose out of the east, dividing the waters, and the people passed through. After the people had crossed, Moses stretched his staff over the sea again, the wind stopped, and the sea drowned the army. Clearly, this calls for a major dose of the “miraculous”—something that has been disputed.