Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur consists of three famous films:

1)The 1925 silent epic which was “state of the art” for its’ day.

2)The 1959 classic, winner of 11 academy awards.

3)Just released-

Image result for ben-hur
Ben-Hur
PG-13

2016 ‧ Drama film/Action ‧ 2h 30m

 
Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) loses everything after his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), now an officer in the Roman army, returns to Jerusalem and accuses the young prince of treason. Stripped of his title and separated from his wife (Nazanin Boniadi) and family, Ben-Hur must endure years of slavery on a galley at sea. When fate brings the estranged brothers to an epic and deadly chariot race, Ben-Hur finally gets the chance to exact vengeance on the man who destroyed his life.
Release date: August 19, 2016 (USA)
Budget: 100 million USD

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I saw the recent release of Ben-Hur and I thought the movie was very good.  I have also seen the 1925 silent film version and the classic (11 Academy Awards Version) 1959 film with Charlton Heston.  The recent release had different slants in the story line which is always refreshing.  The movie went into detail about Judah Ben-Hur and his adopted brother Messala’s boyhood.  Messala helped save Judah’s life when he was thrown from his horse.  Messala felt he did not fit in with the Ben-Hur’s aristocratic family and went to Rome to find his fortune.  Upon Messala’s return, he imprisoned the entire Ben-Hur family.  In the 1959 epic film, a loose tile on the roof of their home fell near the marching Roman leader by accident.  In the new film, the harbinger that lead to the families’ imprisonment was a Jewish Zealot who deliberately shot an arrow at the Roman leader and just missed him.  Once again, the Ben-Hur family was falsely accused of the crime.  Judah Ben-Hur  had no relationship with Quintus Arrius in the new film and did not save his life, leading to Judah’s freedom.  I do not recall Quintus Arrius in this movie at all.  Judah broke free from the chains while the ship was sinking, and ended up on the shore where the Arabian lived, whose horses he ran in the Jerusalem chariot race.  He won the race as well as his freedom.  Judah saw Jesus a couple of times prior to His crucifixion, and this movie emphasized Judah’s conversion much more so; and unlike the ’59 version, Judah was at the cross while Jesus was crucified.  Judah’s salvation was much more personal and highlighted.  The characterization of Jesus Christ was very good, and different from the previous movie.  [Jesus, the God man, is always a challenge to portray, and both movies did a great job].  The chariot race was a technological marvel.  The Jerusalem amphitheater was built into a mountain and the race was extremely brutal.  The graphics were spectacular.  The Roman blood lust was really emphasized!  Unlike the ’59 version, Messala did not die after the race, full of hate.  He observed Judah’s conversion, and he too, laid down his sword and hatred.  The Ben-Hur family was reestablished in their Jerusalem home along with Messala rejoining them.   It was called a box office bust by the critics, but I thought it was a very good movie.  I would encourage Christians to see this classic movie, remade once again.  I will purchase the DVD once it is available.

Pastor Steve  <><

 

HOLY BIBLE PROPHECY.org

For comprehensive coverage of cults, apostates and false teachers, go to:

 http://www.holybibleprophecy.org

Now select “category.”  This site specifies innumerable individual false prophets/teachers as well as cults and false religions, providing in depth coverage of their lies, distortions and false beliefs.

Now The End Begins

an excellent website that asserts the integrity of the Word of God, current events are related to the Bible, technological advances are featured, false prophets are exposed, and all the while the march towards the end of the church age is the premier backdrop.

http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/

Killing Jesus ~ Part 3

The Crucifixion

As mentioned, the raising of Lazarus was glossed over in the film, and this is the act that gave more people a desire to crucify Jesus Christ than any other event.  One week before Christ’s death, the Lord asked His disciples to retrieve a donkey.  You Bible scholars already know that He fulfilled Zechariah 9:9 by riding the donkey into Jerusalem.  The disciples who retrieved the donkey, suggested that He manipulated the event in order to appear that He was fulfilling prophecy.  Yes, a skeptical theme is evident throughout this movie.  Fast forwarding ahead to Jesus and the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane: when the officials came to arrest Him, as you may recall, zealous Peter cut off the ear of a soldier.  The Bible says that Jesus healed the ear.  Again, in consistent fashion, the movie omitted this miracle, one of His last performed on earth.  Prior to His crucifixion in the movie, one uttered that “He walked on water and fed the multitudes.”  In the background one could be heard asking:  “Did you see it happen?”  Again implying a lie was being told.

The following episode is classic of so called “Hollywood” poetic license.  We know how Judas Iscariot was given thirty pieces of silver for turning Jesus over to the authorities.  The Bible tells us that he brought it back to the priests and religious elders in the temple because he betrayed innocent blood.  Since it was “blood money,” the priests decided it could not be used for temple service, and reserved it for the Potter’s Field, which was a parcel of land used to bury strangers.  It became known as the field of blood.  The movie has Judas giving a boy thirty pieces of silver, to purchase a rope that the lad had around his goat!  This is the rope Judas hung himself with.  Furthermore, the movie has him hanging himself in a level area which could not have happened according to the scriptures.  One Gospel account says Judas hung himself.  Another says his bowels gushed out down a cliff.  Merging the true accounts together we find that Judas hung himself over a cliff, the rope/branch broke, and he fell down the cliff.

In the movie, the authorities gave Jesus a crimson colored robe for His mock trials, yet the Bible says it was purple.  The movie quoted it as purple even though it was not.  Have colors changed in the last two thousand years?  Inri was the only sign placed on the cross.  There were no miracles displayed at the cross.  The earth did not quake and the sky did not turn dark.  The veil in the temple between the holy place and the holy of holies was not shown to be split top to bottom.  Lepers were not cleansed, and people did not rise from the dead as the Bible tells us.  This could have been the crucifixion of Spartacus rather than Jesus.  The thief on the cross who became saved, was far from Christ and never heard from.  In the movie, Jesus was never heard saying:  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  Bill O’Reilly claimed “that would never have been said.”  Then O’Reilly quipped  “No one being crucified would have made such a statement or have the strength to do so.”  O’Reilly’s audacity and foolish presumption is downright scary!  A very human Jesus was presented at the crucifixion.

Three days later, the movie displays an empty tomb, asserting no real evidence for the resurrection or suggestion of why His body was missing.  The women who came to the tomb, however, smiled as they noticed it was empty.  That was probably the largest inference to the resurrection in the entire movie.  No angels appeared, the ground did not quake, fearful Roman soldiers were not to be seen, and the resurrection of Jesus was glossed over.

Later, Peter is shown fishing once again, and he caught another huge, miraculous amount after he appeared to be in prayer.  The implication was that the Lord enabled the great catch, but Jesus is no where to be seen.  In fact, the movie shows no appearances of Jesus whatsoever after the crucifixion, nor is His ascension to heaven displayed either.

Here are a few mind boggling closing statements in the movie: 1)Peter took the “Christian tradition” to Rome, where he formalized the Mason Christian Church.”   [This is classic Catholicism.  There was no pope for three hundred years after Peter.  Christians do not call our faith “tradition,” we call it the Gospel.]  2)The movie claims once again that “according to tradition John was exiled to the island of Patmos.”  This is mentioned in the book of Revelation.  The authors again refuse to believe in the inspiration of the holy scriptures.  3) Furthermore, they said the Gospel account of John is open to debate in regards to its’ authenticity and authorship.  What more is there to say?

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Conclusion:  There are so many excellent Biblical movies on Jesus Christ that hold to the integrity of the scriptures.  For instance, watch the excellent sequel to “The Bible,” on Easter night- it is called “A.D., The Bible Continues…”  (9pm/8c, NBC).  There is also Jesus of Nazareth, King Of Kings, Ben Hur, The Passion Of The Christ and The Greatest Story Ever Told.   To me, watching the movie Killing Jesus was a consummate waste, except to expose it.  O’Reilly claims to believe in the Deity of Jesus Christ, but does he believe He is the only way?  (John 14:6)  Furthermore, what good is accomplished in this film?  Lost souls and inquirers to the faith will only become confused by watching it.  O’Reilly has a “buffet style” approach to the Bible, and believes in only part of the Bible and rejects the rest.  This is in direct conflict with the caption at the beginning of the movie that says it is based on the Bible.  O’Reilly arbitrarily decides what is to be taken literally, what is to be accepted as an allegory or hyperbole, and what is to be rejected.  He probably vacillates himself from day to day about what he accepts and rejects.  [I like Bill O’Reilly and a lot of what he does, such as standing up for the Christians’ right to celebrate Christmas.  As a reputable news anchor, he also helped secure the release of an American prisoner in Mexico, who was there on trumped up false charges.  Writing books on the King Of Kings however, is not his forte.  He needs to stick with writing about Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and George S. Patton].   Let me close with a simple question to you who know you are saved.  Would you write such a book, or direct this movie?  The scriptures are added to, taken away from, distorted, and tampered with.  It is indeed confusing, at least from my perspective.  The Gospel is 100% true and there are many movies on the life of Jesus Christ that better represent the true, infallible, inerrant, immutable Word of God.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.”   Isaiah 40:8  (NASB)

Have A Blessed Easter/Resurrection Day

Maranatha, Pastor Steve

Killing Jesus ~ Part 2

The topography and scenery in the movie Killing Jesus was excellent.  (Filmed in Morocco).  I also appreciated the melancholy music in the background, featuring the violin and the flute.  It seemed to be a good fit for Jesus, a man of sorrows.  Part 1 touched on infant Jesus, the paranoid Herod, and the visit from the Magi.  We pick up in Part 2, with Jesus leaving Egypt at about the age of ten.  In the early going, a lot of emphasis was placed on the Galilean insurrection against Pontius Pilate.  (This is mentioned in Luke 13)

Killing Jesus is all about the one size fits all, generic, down sized Jesus.  The “Jesus” presented in the movie was so mundane, He would be fully acceptable by the Antichrist and the New World Order (NWO).  By attempting to satisfy both believer and unbeliever, the authors have failed with Christians who believe in the inspiration of the holy scriptures.  No, you cannot please everyone.  People who do not believe in the Deity of Jesus Christ or believe in the inspiration of the holy scriptures love to present their material during holy week.  Whether it is The Da Vinci  Codes, The Last Temptation Of Christ, or the annual alleged falsehood that the camels mentioned in the Bible were not really used or domesticated during Abraham’s life, and anachronistic to his time, people enjoy exploiting this season.  Since Bill O’Reilly is making a “killing” on all of his books, he is no exception either.  (pun intended)

At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist.  The movie reveals that prior to His baptism, Jesus is mystified because John the Baptist knows who He is.  I mean, they were even cousins!  Furthermore, John the Baptist gives Jesus a clinic on how God speaks to him in the desert, so perhaps Jesus could follow suit when He is tested for forty days in the wilderness!  Jesus is Immanuel, God be with us, and He knows all things.  I found the authors’ view of Jesus Christ throughout the movie absolutely surreal.  The movie revealed John baptizing Jesus via full immersion, which was indeed the true and Biblical technique used, but that is where the good news ends.  There is no manifestation of the Trinity like the Bible tells us.  The Father spoke from heaven, and the Holy Spirit came as a dove.  Why is this not mentioned?  Because the authors did not think it happened.  During conversation between John the Baptist and Jesus, Jesus does not seem to realize He is more than a carpenter, and does not have a grip and understanding of His own mission.  Jesus’ demeanor throughout the movie is very human, featuring no Messianic distinction.  He lacked the calmness, the I am in control persona, that we would expect from God the Son.  Also noteworthy is His somewhat angry countenance at times  (His mother Mary told Him “You are angry at God.”), at other times He is worried and anxious, walking in a fast and irreverent gait.  In a later scene, Jesus prayed, and His disciples caught an extraordinary amount of fish.  Jesus also cast out a demon from a young boy, and appeared to have healed a leper.  That was pretty much the extent of the miracles displayed in the movie.  Both John the Baptist and Jesus fearlessly addressed the Pharisees as “a generation of vipers,” severely chastising them.  John the Baptist was arrested and later beheaded, both in accordance with the scriptures.  In the movie, Jesus does not preach with authority, unction and power, sounding more like an ordinary man.  The Bible says that no one ever spoke like Jesus.  Some scriptures were spoken out of context, and/or at a time that was in conflict with that in the Bible.  One example is when Jesus was in the temple, He told the Pharisees “that one stone would not be left upon another.”  In reality, He said this to the disciples during the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:2).  He told the Pharisees “destroy this temple and it shall be raised in three days.”  Of course we know He was not even referring to the temple but to His own body, and His death, burial and resurrection.

In the next and final entry, we will refer to Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, because the story writers and film makers did not see fit to reveal the reality of ANY resurrection in the movie, be it Lazarus or Jesus.  Jesus’ numerous post resurrection appearances were totally omitted as was His ascension to heaven.  Great Easter story, eh?  The “Bible” of Thomas Jefferson has some serious competition.

Answers In Genesis Response To Killing Jesus


Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

by Tim Chaffey on November 20, 20Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard have recently produced two best-selling historical books: Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy. The third installment of this series is likely to be at least as popular and almost certainly more controversial. In their latest effort, O’Reilly and Dugard attempt to write the history of the most famous person of all time, Jesus Christ.

Introduction

Based on the following transcript of Norah O’Donnell’s interview of O’Reilly, one would expect this book to be fraught with anti-biblical statements:

O’Donnell: You include two quotes from Jesus on the cross, but not the most famous one: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Why not?
O’Reilly: We don’t put in things that we don’t think happened.
O’Donnell: How do you know?
O’Reilly: Because you couldn’t say something like that, audibly that people would hear. He, you die on a cross from being suffocated. That your lungs can’t take in anymore air. You can hardly breathe. We believe Jesus said that, but we don’t believe he said it on the cross, ‘cause nobody could’ve heard it.
O’Donnell: But, Bill, you know what people are going to say. “The Bible says that Jesus said on the cross, ‘Father forgive them,’ but Bill O’Reilly says that’s not true, so I should believe Bill?”
O’Reilly: Well you believe what you want. If you want to take the Bible literally, then that’s your right to do that.
O’Donnell: But you use as your sources for this book the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But you pick and choose.
O’Reilly: Right, but that’s not our only source. I mean, we use Muslim sources, we use Roman sources, we use Jewish sources.
O’Donnell: So is this the Gospel according to Bill?
O’Reilly: This is best available evidence according to Bill. We believe that the oral history in the Bible is largely accurate but we’re not taking it literally.

Does this interview accurately reflect the book? Did O’Reilly and Dugard truly cut words from the mouth of Jesus? These questions and more will be addressed in the following review.

Let me clearly state that Answers in Genesis does not recommend the book Killing Jesus.1 The handful of positive elements mentioned below cannot outweigh the graphic content, erroneous claims, and the number of truths of Scripture that were overlooked or understated. Before highlighting some of the many problems in the critique section, let’s take a look at the book’s stated goal. This will be followed by a brief overview of the book and the short list of its strengths. The critique section will focus primarily on the book, but a few comments will be made about the aforementioned interview.

The Authors’ Goal

In the opening pages of the book, Bill O’Reilly explained their goal in writing Killing Jesus. After citing a journalist who described Jesus as the light in a dark world who offended the men living in darkness, he wrote the following:

And these men succeeded (at least in the short term.) Jesus was executed. But the incredible story behind the lethal struggle between good and evil has not been fully told. Until now. At least, that is the goal of this book. (4)

According to one of the co-authors, the goal of Killing Jesus is to tell the story of Jesus in light of the culture in which He lived. By better understanding the times in which He lived, O’Reilly hopes a person will have a deeper grasp of who Jesus was. He admitted the authors’ bias up front while also explaining part of their methodology:

Martin Dugard and I are both Roman Catholics who were educated in religious schools. But we are also historical investigators and are interested primarily in telling the truth about important people, not converting anyone to a spiritual cause. We brought this dedication and discipline to Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, and in these pages we will do the same with Jesus of Nazareth. By the way, both Lincoln and Kennedy believed Jesus was God. (2–3)

As Roman Catholics, the authors believe Jesus was (and is) God. But they aim for their book to be purely historical. That is, they want to simply inform the reader about what Jesus really did and said, and what truly happened to Him, but this introduces one of the greatest problems with the book. While the authors have the freedom to investigate historical figures and tell the truth about them, it is disingenuous at best to ignore vital information about that individual’s beliefs. For example, in their efforts to make sure this was not a theological book that would be seen as an attempt to convert people “to a spiritual cause,” some of the central teachings of Jesus were left out. Jesus taught that He was the only way to the Father (John 14:6), that those who rejected Him would die in their sins (John 8:24), and be judged by Him (John 5:27–30). Jesus did want to convert people “to a spiritual cause” (to use the authors’ words), so to largely ignore this aspect of Christ’s teachings is a serious oversight.

As for the theological implications of His life, the authors leave the reader to decide for himself. For example, they wrote, “But this is not a religious book. We do not address Jesus as the Messiah, only as a man who galvanized a remote area of the Roman Empire and made very powerful enemies while preaching a philosophy of peace and love” (2). Jesus did far more than preach “a philosophy of peace and love.” He did show us the ultimate example of peace and love, but He also preached the truth, excoriating religious hypocrites like the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23) and calling on people to repent of their sin (Matthew 4:17).

Overview

The book opens with a somewhat dramatic retelling of events surrounding the first few weeks after the birth of Jesus. Although the timeline described by the authors may not be accurate, it does follow the traditional order of events, except for the month in which Jesus was born. The authors place His birth in the spring, reasoning that this is when lambs were being born and it would have been an ideal time for shepherds to be out in the fields at night.

Most of the attention is focused on King Herod and his actions. This helps provide the cultural context into which Jesus was born. Herod’s wickedness is highlighted, as are the physical consequences he allegedly suffered due to a life spent indulging in debauchery.

The next two chapters, along with the seventh chapter, provide some more backstory to help the reader understand the ruthlessness of the Roman Empire and the tensions that existed between them and the Jewish people. These fifty-plus pages provide a good deal of information about Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Marc Antony, Octavius (Caesar Augustus), and Tiberius Caesar, although many of these details are not suitable for many readers, particularly younger audiences.

Those familiar with O’Reilly’s top-ranked television program probably realize that he doesn’t shy away from discussing and showing risqué topics. After all, especially in modern America, sex sells. These particular chapters are no different. The authors frequently discuss the various affairs of those in power. Several pages are spent describing, in far more detail than necessary, the sexual dalliances of these ancient leaders, including the reported extreme perversity of Tiberius. While the language is not extremely graphic, the content is unnecessary to understand the wickedness of these people.

The remaining chapters are a fairly straightforward, mostly chronological telling of the life of Jesus. The information is drawn primarily from the Gospel accounts with supplemental data about the rulers provided by the records of Josephus and other ancient historians. The retelling is not an exhaustive presentation of His life (nor are the Gospels for that matter), but the authors do recount a fair amount of the life and teachings of Jesus.

The final third of the book revolves around what has traditionally been called the Passion Week. A few details are overlooked, including the statement from the Cross discussed in the interview, but this section is somewhat thorough. Chapters are devoted to the Triumphal Entry, the second temple cleansing, conflict with religious leaders, as well as the betrayal, arrest, illegal trials, crucifixion, and burial of Jesus.

The Afterword explains the scriptural teaching of what happened to the body of Jesus. It was not stolen; instead, the New Testament teaches that He rose from the dead and appeared to many of His followers. The authors then proceed to summarize some of the impact Jesus had on His immediate followers, and ultimately, on the world itself.

Strengths

Killing Jesus is not your typical “dry” history book—although I happen to enjoy reading history. O’Reilly and Dugard’s narrative style makes this book more readable than many history books, since it reads more like a novel than a listing of facts and dates.

It was refreshing that the authors do not follow the extreme skeptics who doubt or deny the existence of Jesus. Nor do they follow the demythologizing practices of the Jesus Seminar and other liberal theologians.2 They do not reject the miracles Jesus performed, although they do treat them in a curious fashion, as will be explained in the next section.

I enjoyed reading many of the peripheral details provided by the authors. Reading about some of the land’s features (i.e., its topography, roads) and descriptions of various buildings helped to make the places where Jesus walked and talked “come alive.” Learning about the historical details of the Roman Empire and some of the peoples mentioned in the Gospels was also helpful in setting the scene onto which Jesus arrived.

Keeping in mind that the Bible is the best and only infallible source one can use on the life of Jesus, the other sources cited by the authors are largely respected among evangelical scholars rather than relying on some of the demythologized versions of Christ’s life often used at the popular level.

On areas where Catholics and most Protestants typically differ, the authors do not automatically adhere to the Roman Catholic position. For example, on page 79 a balanced footnote explains the various positions regarding those identified as the brothers and sisters of Jesus in the Gospels (e.g., Matthew 13:55–56; Mark 3:31–32). However, on page 228, they specifically refer to James as a sibling of Jesus. On the other hand, on a couple of occasions, they tend to favor, or at least mention, the Roman Catholic position. For example, in the Afterword, they identify Peter as “the rock” on which Jesus would build His church (263), and briefly mention the Catholic teaching called the Assumption of Mary—that Mary’s body was assumed into heaven so that it didn’t decay (265).

Perhaps the greatest strength of the book is that many of the details are taken right from Scripture. So whether he realizes it or not, the reader is often reading the Bible (or at least a paraphrase of Scripture), although no other writing should be a replacement for reading the Holy Spirit-inspired Gospel accounts.

Critique

Many of the major issues with Killing Jesus are not to be found in what is said, but in how some things are said, and what is left out.

As mentioned earlier, the book contains some graphic description of sexual activity. Also, the “story” style of narrative leads to some minor problems. For example, the authors frequently set the scene of a pericope by describing the weather on that particular day. However, unless Scripture revealed such information, there is no way to know whether or not it was sunny or rainy on a given day. The same point can be made about the authors’ tendency to ascribe feelings to individuals when we aren’t given such information. Also, we do not know if the women heading to the tomb on the first Easter morning stared at the empty cross before turning their attention to walking toward the tomb. These types of details are helpful in telling a story, and in some cases they may have happened, but they cannot be demonstrated from any ancient records so they do not help the book’s claim to present authentic history.There are a number of factual errors in the book. Here is a listing of a handful of these (page number in parentheses):

  • Philistines are said to have conquered Israel in 722 BC (14). It was the Assyrians.
  • 26 generations between Abraham and Jacob (58). This is based on Matthew’s genealogy which intentionally skips several generations.
  • Gospel of John written in AD 85 at latest, which is said to be as many as 70 years after the death of Jesus (103). Conservative scholars generally place the Lord’s Crucifixion sometime between AD 30–33. If He died in AD 30, as described in the book, then this would be 55 years before the Gospel of John was written.
  • The Prophet Isaiah is said to have lived 800 years prior to the time of Christ’s ministry (98), but this is a little too high. 700–750 years would be more accurate.
  • Mary Magdalene is identified as a prostitute (144), but there is nothing definitive in Scripture about this. The authors are slightly tentative on this subject, including a footnote in an effort to bolster their claim.3
  • The disciples of Jesus attempted to persuade Him to go to the feast in Jerusalem in John 7 (171), but the Bible indicates that it was his brothers who did this and are even distinguished from His disciples in this passage (John 7:3). Furthermore, John 7:5 indicates the brothers did not believe in Jesus’s claims. Therefore, the book’s authors incorrectly portray this advice as a sincere effort to have Jesus make His claims public (171).
  • Only Mary Magdalene and another Mary are described as visiting the tomb on the first Easter morning (258), but Luke mentions at least five women went to the tomb that morning (Luke 24:10).

While there are many more minor problems that could be examined, many of the major issues with Killing Jesus are not to be found in what is said, but in how some things are said, and what is left out.

First, in treating the miracles wrought by Jesus, the book almost always portrays them as secondhand accounts. That is, the authors discuss some of His miracles, but they are nearly always mentioned as though someone heard about a particular miracle, or it was reported that Jesus performed a miracle. They never come right out and say something like, “Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.” Instead, they state the following:

Jesus is reported to have left Galilee, destined for parts unknown. Witnesses say he is performing miracles once again. In one startling account out of the town of Bethany, a man named Lazarus came back from the dead. And Lazarus was not recently deceased. He was four days dead and already laid in the tomb when Jesus is said to have healed him before a great crowd. (175–176)4

There are multiple instances where the authors ignore a miracle and mention the other details. Two examples will suffice. First, in highlighting the faith of a Roman centurion, the authors wrote the following: “There, soon after entering the city, a most amazing thing happens: the Roman military officer in charge of Capernaum declares himself to be a follower of Jesus” (143). No mention is made of the fact that Jesus miraculously cured the centurion’s gravely ill servant (Matthew 8:5–13). Second, at the time of Christ’s arrest, Peter cut off the ear of a man named Malchus. This is specifically mentioned (223–224), but no mention is made of Jesus healing the man (Luke 22:51).

So why would the authors refuse to directly acknowledge many of the miracles that were such a large part of the Lord’s ministry? The Bible states, “Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them” (Matthew 4:24). As Roman Catholics, the authors should certainly believe that Jesus performed miracles, so I don’t think unbelief is the reason miracles are only handled in an indirect manner.5

Earlier it was mentioned that the authors claimed not to refer to Jesus as the Messiah in this book. The rationale given is that Killing Jesus is a history book, rather than a religious one. Presumably, one reason to avoid calling Him the Messiah would be that to make such a theological claim would offend Muslims and unbelieving Jews. While I disagree with the approach, the authors may have thought they were acting on good intentions. However, intentions aside, they did not really neglect to identify Him as the Messiah. Much of the book’s buildup to the Lord’s execution is centered on whether or not Jesus will publicly declare Himself as the Christ (“Christ” means the same as “Messiah”), and the authors do not shy away from showing Jesus proclaiming Himself to be God. In the book, Jesus is indirectly called the Christ multiple times in the chapters on the Triumphal Entry and the scheming of Judas to betray Jesus. Here are a handful of examples where He is identified as the Christ:

  • . . . these are the lucky few who can tell their children and their children’s children that they witnessed the grand moment when Jesus the Christ rode triumphantly into Jerusalem (186).
  • He has been very specific with the disciples that he is more than just an earthly Christ (187).
  • Jesus has made it clear that he is the Christ but that his kingdom is not of this world (187).
  • He allowed himself to be anointed like the Christ, and yet he was predicting his death (209).
  • [Judas] knows that if he takes the money, one of two things will happen: Jesus will be arrested and then declare himself to be the Christ . . . (211).6

So it isn’t really accurate to say that the authors avoided calling Jesus the Messiah.

Another significant problem in the book is that Jesus is sometimes portrayed as a victim of circumstances rather than being the one in control of the situation. Once again, it isn’t necessarily that the authors come right out and say that He wasn’t in charge, but the way things are stated or left unstated often gives that impression. For example, in describing the actions and concerns of Jesus while He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to His arrest, the authors wrote:

It would be so much easier if Jesus could just escape. He could keep on climbing the hill and walk straight back to Bethany. In the morning, he might journey home to Galilee, there to grow old quietly and raise a family. His words have accomplished just enough to give the people hope, but he never planned to lead them in rebellion. Jesus does not believe that is his earthly purpose. So he accepts his coming fate and makes no effort to flee. (221–222)

While Jesus clearly was greatly troubled with all that He would go through (Matthew 26:38), He was always in control of the situation. He knew that He had come to give His life, and He repeatedly told the disciples this during His ministry (Matthew 16:21; 20:17–19). Prior to allowing the soldiers to arrest Him, Jesus secured the freedom of His followers (John 18:8) and demonstrated His power over the guards (John 18:6). He informed Pilate that he would have no power over Him unless it was not granted to him from above (John 19:11). Make no mistake; Jesus was not a victim of circumstances. He was on a divine schedule and He kept it perfectly.

Earlier in the book, the authors also stated that Jesus did not make the “smart move,” as if avoiding controversy and trouble were more intelligent than following God’s plan.

The smart move would be for Jesus to avoid controversy, to remain peaceful, and to let the status quo hum along as smoothly as during every other Passover. A jarring public display of temper would be most unwise.
Jesus doesn’t care. Without warning, he flips over a table and sends coins flying. Then another. And another. . . . He is angry but not out of control. His actions are methodical and every movement shows that he fears no soldier or guard. (192)

The authors may simply be trying to emphasize that what Jesus did was “most unwise” from a human perspective. However, what is truly unwise is to give readers the impression that what the Son of God did was not smart.

The Interview

Let’s revisit the interview cited at the beginning of this review.

O’Donnell: You include two quotes from Jesus on the cross, but not the most famous one: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Why not?
O’Reilly: We don’t put in things that we don’t think happened.

It’s true that O’Reilly and Dugard do not mention these famous words. They do cite His words, “I thirst,” and “It is finished,” but they do not mention the conversation with the two criminals crucified with Jesus, His words to His mother, of His cry about being forsaken. These omissions could have been written off as being due to the abridged nature of the book’s reporting. However, O’Reilly specifically mentioned that he did not think Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”—at least not while on the Cross, since, according to him, one could not say such things loud enough for others to hear.

O’Reilly’s response brings up some interesting points. The two statements that are included in the book are short statements, which according to the authors, “His voice [was] not more than a whisper” when he said “I thirst” (250). So this does seem to truly be O’Reilly’s rationale for leaving the longer statements out of Christ’s final hours.

While it is true that crucifixion victims endured extraordinary pain and often suffocated, such torture would not necessarily prevent people from speaking. If it was common knowledge in the first century that crucifixion victims could not speak loudly enough to be heard or long enough to carry on a brief conversation, many of Christianity’s critics would have jumped all over these statements contained in each of the Gospels. However, to my knowledge, no ancient writer accused the apostles of inventing Christ’s words because people couldn’t speak while being crucified.7 This would have been an easy way to discredit the Gospels, so why didn’t the ancient opponents of Christianity do this? Because people could talk while enduring crucifixion, just as described in the Gospels. O’Reilly is simply wrong on this point.

As it turns out, the interview was more offensive in regards to distorting claims of Scripture than the book was as a whole. To be sure, the book had many problems, but in two short minutes, O’Reilly made several large blunders. He derided those who believe Jesus spoke the famous words on the Cross as those that “read the Bible literally” (read: who are too ignorant to know better). It isn’t about reading the Bible “literally,” but reading the Bible properly. Since the Gospel accounts were written as historical narrative (more specifically, they are like biographies) then they should be understood in a straightforward manner.8

There were plenty of eyewitnesses at the Cross who could have heard anything Jesus had to say, including the Apostle John. The other Gospel writers could have interviewed some of the women who were there, such as Mary (the wife of Clopas), Mary Magdalene, or Mary, the mother of Jesus (John 19:25). Perhaps Roman soldiers could have been interviewed too, particularly the centurion who acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God (Matthew 27:54). These people would have a far more accurate view of what happened that day at the Cross than Bill O’Reilly or any other person alive today who refuses to take God’s Word seriously. Since the author took a jab at those who do believe the divinely inspired Gospel writers over a 21st century journalist, it is safe to say that O’Reilly does not treat the text with as much respect as he should.

While there is much more that could be said about his interview performance, this review is supposed to focus on his book. That being said, in response to O’Donnell’s question about why he picks and chooses which parts of the Gospels he believes are accurate and which are not, O’Reilly replied with a strange answer. “Right, but that’s not our only source. I mean, we use Muslim sources, we use Roman sources, we use Jewish sources.”

When writing a book about Jesus and the time in which He lived, I think it is perfectly appropriate to use (in addition to Scripture), Jewish and Roman sources. But what Muslim source is going to shed light on whether Jesus did or did not speak certain words on the Cross? Islam did not exist until nearly six centuries after Jesus died. In other words, there were no Muslims until the time of Muhammad (c. AD 570–632). So what good would Muslim sources be in determining what Jesus said on the Cross, especially when Muslims don’t even believe Jesus was crucified? As far as I can tell, the only statement derived from a Muslim source in Killing Jesus was in the Postscript where the authors describe the impact of the life of Jesus in this world. There, a quote from the Koran about Jesus is given. If this is indeed the only statement from a Muslim source, then it is disingenuous at best for O’Reilly to respond to the question by claiming that they used Muslim sources in the book.

I have a strong suspicion that O’Reilly knew exactly what he was doing in that interview. Perhaps I am being a little too cynical, but my guess is that he wanted to stir up controversy and sound provocative. It’s good for business when one is trying to sell a book.

Conclusion

Overall, the book was not as troublesome as it seemed it would be based on O’Reilly’s interview. There were some strengths and it could serve as a decent introduction to some of the historical and cultural setting in which Jesus lived and died (and rose again). However, there are far too many areas of concern for me to recommend it as suitable reading. The perversity and brutality of the Caesars is described too graphically for younger readers, and I certainly would rather not read something like that again. The other problems mentioned above are not exhaustive, but should give interested readers a good idea of what to be wary of if they decide to read this book.

If someone wants to learn more about the life of Jesus, I would encourage them to read and study the Bible. Yes, there are helpful books out there to help us gain a deeper understanding of certain aspects of the time and culture in which He lived. For example, Alfred Edersheim’s highly respected The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah has been a tremendous resource in this area for more than a century. But no matter how helpful a work like Edersheim’s book is, nothing can compare to God’s inspired and infallible Word, which does not shy away from telling us the whole truth about Jesus. He is the Son of God who gave His life for our sins and rose from the dead three days later, and, according to Him, He is the only way by which we can be saved.

Answers in Depth

2013 Volume 8

Footnotes

  1. The sensationalist, crass title may indicate that the authors view Jesus more as a victim rather than the Son of God who was in complete control of every circumstance, even those surrounding His arrest and Crucifixion. We recognize that they use “Killing” to have it fit with their two other historical books, Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy.See all footnotes
  2. See also How Do We Know the Bible Is True? Volume 2.See all footnotes
  3. Although Mary Magdalene is often thought of as a former prostitute and it is possible that she was one, the Bible never identifies her as such. This tradition apparently started when Pope Gregory announced this idea in a homily in AD 591. This may have been an honest mistake made by conflating the sinful woman who washed Christ’s feet with her tears at the end of Luke 7 with Mary Magdalene, who is mentioned early in Luke 8.See all footnotes
  4. The raising of Lazarus is mentioned later in the book too. “The legend of Jesus’s raising of Lazarus from the dead became so widespread that it was a main component in the Temple priests’ plotting against Jesus” (199).See all footnotes
  5. Perhaps the reason miracles are handled this way is based on O’Reilly’s claim that Killing Jesus “is not a religious book” (2). In their effort to write a book on history, the authors have apparently misunderstood what is and is not historical when it comes to miracles.
    The Bible records numerous miracles as having occurred in the past. While many today would scoff at such a notion, and some have argued that these cannot be part of history, this really says more about their presuppositions than it does reality. For example, a modern skeptic can deny that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, or that Jesus Himself was raised from the dead. But these denials do not make these events non-historical. In both cases, multiple eyewitnesses affirmed that the person was dead, and many of these same eyewitnesses saw the person alive again.
    Now, when it comes to the historical recording of such an event, it is not outside the realm of history to claim that Lazarus was dead for four days before Jesus arrived and called to Lazarus, commanding him to “Come forth!” (John 11:43). Moments later, the man who had previously been dead, exited the tomb alive and well.
    If those events truly occurred (which we can be sure that they did since God’s infallible Word tells us they did), then the events can be reported as such. What may possibly be beyond the realm of historical investigation is the how or the why of the miraculous. Claiming that Jesus was able to raise Lazarus from the dead because He was and is God, or that God’s Spirit empowered Jesus to raise His friend from the dead are theological statements, and are perhaps beyond the realm of historical investigation. However, when Jesus Himself states before the event that He is going to raise Lazarus, claiming to be “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:23–26), then the historical fact that a dead man was raised to life now has the how attached to it. That is unless Jesus was just lucky that shortly after commanding Lazarus to come out of the tomb, the man just happened to come back to life. Of course, claiming that such as set of circumstances was merely coincidental would be more than absurd, since such would have to be said for every miracle witnessed by others. The why of this miracle is also provided in the Gospel of John. Jesus said that Lazarus would be raised so that His disciples would believe (John 11:14–15), and many other believed in Jesus as a result (John 11:45). In fact, this miracle had such a profound effect on the people who saw the formerly dead Lazarus that the Jewish leaders sought to kill him too (John 12:9–10).
    So O’Reilly and Dugard could certainly have mentioned the miracles in a direct manner and still been perfectly historical, since the witnessing of miracles is not beyond the reach of historians, even if the how and why may be in many circumstances.See all footnotes
  6. Killing Jesus uses a popular idea behind Judas Iscariot’s decision to betray Jesus—to force the Lord’s hand to act and free the Jews from the Romans. This is not stated in Scripture, nor is it out of the realm of possibility that this was one of the reasons Judas used to rationalize his treachery.See all footnotes
  7. When I first heard O’Reilly deny that Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him, I thought that he would appeal to the dispute whether the first half of the verse was part of the original. Most Bibles include a textual note indicating the questionable nature of the statement’s inclusion since many early manuscripts do not have it, which is found only in Luke. The NET Bible includes a helpful translator note explaining the dilemma. After citing the many early manuscripts that do not have the verse and those that include it, the note states that the verse “also fits a major Lukan theme of forgiving the enemies (6:27–36), and it has a parallel in Stephen’s response in Acts 7:60. The lack of parallels in the other Gospels argues also for inclusion here. On the other hand, the fact of the parallel in Acts 7:60 may well have prompted early scribes to insert the saying in Luke’s Gospel alone. Further, there is the great difficulty of explaining why early and diverse witnesses lack the saying. A decision is difficult, but even those who regard the verse as inauthentic literarily often consider it to be authentic historically.” Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition, (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Luke 23:34.See all footnotes
  8. The precise classification of the Gospels is disputed, but scholars generally acknowledge that they are usually meant to be taken in a straightforward manner, and bear many hallmarks of the ancient Greek bioi. Bioi is the Greek term for “lives” and it is used to describe a general category for ancient biographical accounts that are largely composed of a person’s own words and deeds.See all footnotes

Recommended Resources

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.

   

“Temple” By Robert Cornuke

“The Indiana Jones” Of Judeo Christian, Bible Based Archaeology:

 I have been following Bob Cornuke’s archaeological endeavors for many years.  Bob is president of Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute (BASE Institute) located at his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Bob calls himself an amateur archaeologist and Bible investigator, and if that is what he is, he is one of the best on the planet.  He simply uses the Bible as his “roadmap,” and follows the leads as referred to in the scriptures.  Many people (including myself) believe that he and others have located and documented the real mountain of Moses (Mount Horeb) in Saudi Arabia, called Jabal Al Lawz.  Furthermore, he has identified and located the four anchors from Paul’s shipwreck at the island of Malta (Melita), referred to in the book of Acts.  (Acts 27:14-44).  The book is cited below and is called the “Lost Shipwreck Of Paul.”  These discoveries, and many others, would justify a legacy and career for most folks, but Bob is still at it.  Now, he is shattering well established theories about the location of King Solomon’s Temple!  His book “Temple,” has sold out of copies and you will have to wait until March before additional printings are released.  (You can pre order it below).  His theory is that the Temple of Solomon is located at the City Of David district of Jerusalem, and NOT on the Temple Mount, where archaeologists have been looking the centuries.  Renown theologian and eschatologist Church Missler was skeptical at first, but after investigation and consideration, Missler believes Bob may be on to something.  Can you imagine all of the implications if this assessment is correct?  It would totally remove the “Muslim/Dome Of The Rock” dilemma of rebuilding the temple, if Solomon’s Temple was in the Jewish quarter called the City Of David.  The City Of David is in Israelite hands right now.  What would stop the Israelites from rebuilding the temple I ask you?  The rebuilding of the Temple Of Solomon is, of course, a premier sign of the end of times and the Great Tribulation.  The Lord willing,  I will hear Bob speak on this subject at the Orlando Summit 2015 in early March.  Folks, this is as cutting edge as it gets.  Because of the format of this article, you will have to surf down a bit in order to read it.    In His Service,  Pastor Steve


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TEMPLE by Robert Cornuke
Amazing New Discoveries that Change Everything About the Location of 
Solomon’s Temple
PRODUCT UPDATE!
This brand new book titled, “TEMPLE” is absolutely an “investigative masterpiece” with outstanding archeological and prophetic implications.” Written by a famous American author and amateur archaeologist, Robert (Bob) Cornuke. Bob is president of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute (BASE), which is operated from his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He holds a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies and has a Ph.D. in Bible and Theology, both from Louisiana Baptist University. He is the author of several books about his explorations over the last 20 years.
Bob describes himself as a biblical investigator. He has participated in over 50 expeditions searching for lost locations described in the Bible and has traveled across Afghanistan during U.S. bombing strikes on a video and photographic assignment. He states, “After several years of biblical research sparked by the writings of the late Dr. Ernest L. Martin, personal investigation, and the study of ancient documents, I have come to the conclusion that the temple built by Solomon was not located where tradition teaches. This has tremendous implications regarding end time events.” Bob goes on to say: “The greatest archeological blunder in all history has occurred by misplacing Solomon’s Temple on the Temple Mount rather than its correct location within the City of David.”
He asks if we can imagine the upheaval in political and religious thinking if the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is not the site of Solomon’s and Herod’s temples? And what if the stones of the Wailing Wall are not what tradition says? In this highly-researched and exciting book, Bob proposes from current archaeological excavations and Scriptural corroboration that the true temple location is not where tradition teaches.
Noted Bible teacher Chuck Missler (executive director of Koinonia House), recently accompanied Bob to the excavation site in the Kidron Valley. He states: “At first I was a skeptic, but the overwhelming evidence has convinced me of the true Temple location.”
Dr. William P. Welty, Bible scholar and executive director of the ISV Foundation says, “One politically explosive implication of this evidence is that those who wish to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple can now do so without disturbing the Muslim-controlled real estate called the ‘Temple Mount,’ but construct it on its true ancient site.”
University lecturer, Dr. Frank Turek, states: “I have been to the site with Bob Cornuke and, astoundingly, everything fits together biblically and historically.”
“Temple” is said to be sending shockwaves through the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian worlds. For those of you who are serious students of Bible prophecy and want to fit together the pieces of biblical records, current geo-politics, and prophecy, this book of 207 pages will change your life!
Don’t hesitate…order your copy today!
$12.95 plus S&H
Product ID # B3503
PRODUCT UPDATE:
     Due to the overwhelming demand for Bob Cornuke’s book “Temple,” we have depleted our entire stock. The book has gone into reprint and the order we placed for 1,100 copies will not be shipped to Prophecy in the News until March 20th. We found out just today, February 12th, that there is a delay at the printers. If you have ordered other items with the “Temple” book, your order will be filled right away and your backorder of the “Temple” book will be shipped as soon as it arrives in our warehouse. The 1,100 copies that we are getting will go fast, so put your order in today! This book is so fascinating, they just can’t print it fast enough!
     We apologize for the inconvenience and we promise to ship your order to you just as soon as we get it back in stock!
Another great book by…
Robert (Bob) Cornuke
In September of 2000, Bob Cornuke flew to Malta. That trip marked the start of nearly two years of research and discovery in search of the lost anchors described in Acts: 27.
The true story of The Lost Shipwreck of Paul reads like a gripping fiction noval, as Bob takes readers along with him into the investigation. Using techniques he learned as a police officer and crime scene investigator, he probes each angle of the mystery.
1. Was St. Paul’s Bay really the site of Paul’s shipwreck?
2. What route did Paul’s boat take, and where would that leave them when they dropped the anchors?
3. What type of boat was used, and what type of anchors would it have had?
4. Would the anchors have decayed over time?
5. What exactly happened on the night of the shipwreck?
Bob Cornuke takes you into his life experience to find the answer in his hardback book of 232 pages titled:
The Lost Shipwreck of Paul
Suspense and drama unfold in this riveting, true account that presents one of the most astounding discoveries of the century! It will keep you on the edge of your seat! Order your copy today!
$21.95 plus S&H
Product ID # B2316
 
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SouthWest Florida Bible Institute (SWFBI)

Do you want to study Bible courses free of charge with like minded Christians, while earning an associates degree?  Consider this Bible Institute in Port Charlotte, located near the intersection of Toledo Blade Blvd. and Tamiami Trail.  Winter classes start the week of January 11, 2015.  You can access the website of the school at http://www.swfbi.org 

 

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Welcome to
SouthWest Florida Bible Institute.
Tuition Free.

 Registration/Open House Event!

Monday, Jan. 5th 6:30pm-8:00pm

Tuesday, Jan. 6th  10:00am-Noon

Wednesday, Jan. 7th  6:30pm-8:00pm

NOTE: Dr. Cooper’s course OT104  “Ancient Civilizations II” has been moved to Quarter 2 starting March 23rd.

We are sorry for the inconvenience.  If you have already signed up for that course in January please choose another course or register for his course in March.  New students interested in this course may sign up for it as OT103 is not a prerequisite.

To register for classes. 
1. Click on the
Registration Forms tab on the left.
2. Click on the PDF of the Semester and Quarter you want to register for.
3. Download and print out the form.
4. Mail it to
SouthWest Florida Bible Institute
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To learn more about SWFBI click on any
of the tabs on the left and browse around.
We hope you’ll make SWFBI your Bible Institute!

         Not attending Sunday service at this time?

    SWFBI offers a Sunday Morning Chapel starting at10:00am. Click on the Bible Chapel Tab on the left and see our schedule of speakers. Feel free to join us. You do not have to be a SWFBI student to attend Chapel!

 

 



Note: A new course.      Semester II, Quarter 1.

TH106 “Reaching America in the 21st Century.”

Starts January 12th Monday nights

7:00pm.

Rev. Dave Conklin will be the Professor.

Office Hours:

We do not have official Office Hours at SWFBI.

For information about the Institute please call

941-625-3255

 

Patterns Of Evidence, Exodus- Part 2

The movie was shown throughout our nation for only one day- 1/19/15.  A book and DVD will soon be released this year.  The movie commences with the assertion that archaeology promoted a skepticism of the Bible in the 1950’s.  Moses, not Herodotus, was noted as the first historian.  Rabi David Wolpe was skeptical of the reality of the Exodus story from the Bible.  Timothy Mahoney is a filmmaker from Minneapolis, a Christian, who is seeking the truth, and searches for the facts for twelve years in both Egypt and Israel.  Ramses II was thought to be the Pharaoh in Egypt during the Exodus, in the thirteenth century B.C., around 1250 B.C.  Evidence is turning up, however, that the Hebrews settled in Avaris, south of Ramses, and at a later date.  There is evidence in Avaris of people from Canaan.  There is evidence of shepherds, but this was 400 years earlier than the reign of Pharaoh Ramses.

1)Arrival Of Hebrews In Egypt-  Evidence reveals that Joseph arrived in Egypt in the early Middle Kingdom.  Avaris is a real place.  Ramses was an anachronism and this Pharaoh does not match up with the dates of the Jewish people in Egypt.  Avaris lies underneath Ramses.  Northern Syrian style homes are noted in Goshen, similar to the homes in Haran where Abraham formerly lived.  In Avaris, 12 tombs are found as well as 12 pillars.  One of the tombs is shaped like a pyramid and is thought to be that of Joseph.  The significance of 12 is obvious since Jacob had 12 sons including Joseph.  There is evidence that these settlers were Semites.  A statue at Joseph’s tomb reveals a man similar to a Pharaoh, except his skin is light, his hair is red, and he has a coat of many colors!  Furthermore, Joseph’s bones are NOT in the tomb, since the Bible says his bones were later taken to Israel.  Amenemhet was Joseph’s Pharaoh.  This Pharaoh became powerful after Joseph consolidated all of the land and crops from the Egyptians during the seven years of famine.  The Nomes were governing men over districts throughout Egypt, and archaeology reveals they lost their authority to Pharaoh Amenemhet.  Statues of the Pharaoh later on during the Exodus revealed a Kingdom in distress as one would expect after the ten plagues.

2)Multiplication Of The Hebrews In Egypt-  The Jewish people multiplied exceedingly.  Only the Middle Kingdom reveals that there was a large Semitic population in Goshen who were shepherds and had donkeys.

3)The Slavery Of The Hebrews In Egypt-  A new Pharaoh who did not know Joseph, enslaved the Hebrews because they had become too numerous.  Houses made of brick and straw are observed from this time period as the Bible tells us.  Also, there are many infant burials noted in Avaris, suggesting the murder of Hebrew babies just as the Bible says.  The following is fascinating–  A Brooklyn papyrus list of Egyptian slaves reveals that 70% of them have Hebrew names, including many from the twelve sons of Israel (Jacob)!  There is evidence of poverty and malnutrition just as one would expect during this time period.

4)Judgment In Egypt and 5)the Exodus-  The Israelites were delivered from bondage.  The ten plagues refuted the gods of Egypt and also revealed that the Pharaoh was not God.  The Jewish Passover is celebrated to this day in commemoration of God sparing them from the death of the firstborn in every household.  The calamities caused by the ten plagues were vividly described by an ancient Egyptian author!  Later on, Pharaoh Ramses recognized Israel as a nation, depicted on the Merneptah Stele.  The Exodus happened around 1450 B.C.  Mass burials were observed in Avaris, strongly alluding to the firstborn dead among the Egyptians!  The Egyptian economy collapsed after the tenth plague just as one would expect.  The time of the Israelites in Egypt is thought by many scholars to be the period when the Hyksos thrived,  The Hyksos and the Hebrews were probably one and the same people.  Another amazing reference on Egyptian hieroglyphics was a reference to “God.”  The Egyptians believed in many gods, but after the plagues they referred to the one God of the Hebrew people.  God smote the Egyptians without the use of arms.  A mass abandonment of the Semitic people is noted as well- representing the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt.

6)The Conquest Of Canaan-  Kathleen Kenyon unearthed Jericho during the 1950’s and found that the walls fell outward and the city was burned, just as the Bible says.  The city possessed jars full of grain, indicating the city was taken in the spring and there was not a long siege.  Joshua and the Israelites celebrated the Passover prior to the attack, also indicating the taking of the city was in the spring.  A picture of Jericho taken by a German archaeologist in 1913, revealed that a small portion of Jericho’s wall was left standing.  It was the portion where Rahab the harlot’s home was!  The Bible tells us that this was the only part of the city that was spared.  Joshua placed a curse on Jericho that it would not be rebuilt, and it was indeed abandoned.  Furthermore, in the later conquest of Hazor, this city too was burned by fire just as the Bible tells us.  Finally, the Bible reveals that Joshua killed Jabin, the king of Hazor.  This fact is attested to in both the Bible and in cuneiform.  In summary, the spade of the archaeologist simply helps us to connect the dots in the Word of God time after time after time.  This was truly a magnificent film, solidifying the faith of the believer, and opening the eyes of the skeptic.

Patterns Of Evidence, Exodus – Book Review

Answers In Genesis is an Christian apologetic and creation organization founded by Ken Ham.  The following is their very favorable critique and book review of Patterns Of Evidence, written by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell:

Movie Review: Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on January 17, 2015

Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus explains how abundant archaeological evidence supports the historical truth of the biblical Exodus. Dramatizations ranging from the recent film Exodus: Gods and Kings to Cecil B. DeMille’s classic The Ten Commandments have offered artistic interpretations of the biblical account. This high quality documentary produced by Tim Mahoney of Thinking Man Films is,1 in this writer’s opinion, every bit as enjoyable and dramatic as the fictionalized adaptations featuring Christian Bale or Charlton Heston. Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus takes us on the producer’s quest to discover the truth about this pivotal event memorialized in everything from the solemn Jewish Passover celebration to thriller novels and decades of cinematic endeavors.

Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus

Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus asks whether evidence affirms that the ancient Hebrews’ flight from slavery really happened, and—spoiler alert!—shows that it does. The documentary examines the patterns of evidence that help place not just their post-plague departure and Red Sea crossing in history but also the surrounding events. After all, if Moses really led the Hebrews out of Egypt to cement their identity as God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6–7, 9:29) and create for them a nation to preserve His Word (Romans 3:2) and serve the divine messianic plan for the world (John 1:11–14, 3:16–18), then it is reasonable to look for patterns of evidence supporting the chronological episodes that set up this pivotal event as well as evidence for its aftermath. The film therefore focuses on the historical footprints of Abraham’s great-grandson Joseph’s descent into Egypt as a slave, his rise to power as a pharaoh’s vizier, the shift of wealth that occurred in Egypt under Joseph’s administration during a protracted and devastating famine, the emigration and establishment of Joseph’s extended family in Egypt, the enslavement of the Hebrew people, the ten plagues and Red Sea catastrophe that wrecked Egypt’s economy and army making the nation vulnerable to invasion by the Hyksos, as well as the subsequent conquest of Canaan by the nation of Israel under the direction of Joshua.

A Film for All People

Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus is a historical documentary, not a sermon. Although it was produced by a Christian to chronicle his investigation of the historicity of an event theologically very important in the Christian faith, it is not a “Christian film” per se. Three of history’s most relevant religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—memorialize the Exodus of Abraham’s descendants from Egypt under the leadership of Moses and base much of their teachings in the historicity of Abraham and Moses.

The existence of archaeological evidence for the biblical Exodus runs contrary to the claims of both atheists and many Judeo-Christian “experts.” After the 1950s, when many archaeologists began to question the historical accuracy of the Exodus, many religious leaders jumped on the skeptical bandwagon with atheists. They began to consider the Bible a sort of divine fairy tale, albeit a theologically important one teaching “truths” even though it supposedly was not actually “true” or trustworthy.

The historical account recorded by Moses . . . is foundational to the Christian faith.

And since the historical account recorded by Moses thousands of years ago in the world’s first real “history book”—as the film calls the Mosaic writings in the Old Testament—is foundational to the Christian faith, the faith-strengthening answers in this film are a needful addition to our arsenal of answers (1 Peter 3:15), equipping Christians young and old with a shield and sword to confront the claims of those skeptical of biblical history.

An Essential Foundation

The dramatic account of the events that led to the founding of the nation of Israel is recorded in the Old Testament, but its historical accuracy is a vital underpinning of the New Testament. If the biblical account of the Exodus and surrounding events were not historically factual, then Jesus the infallible Son of God as well as the New Testament writers would have erred when they spoke of those events as historically factual.

Jesus repeatedly refers to Mosaic history and law. For example, in Matthew 8:4 he commands the leprous man he healed to “offer the gift that Moses commanded you, as a testimony to them.” In Matthew 19:7–8 He asks, “Why then did Moses command . . . ?” and answers, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you . . .” as He reconciled God’s hatred of divorce (Malachi 2:16–17) with the existence of laws making it possible. To illustrate how the Jewish leaders had twisted God’s Word and made it ineffectual (Mark 7:13), Jesus began with “For Moses said . . .” (Mark 7:10). Explaining His identity and mission to Nicodemus, Jesus said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14). Jesus referred in John 7:19 to the presentation of God’s Ten Commandments through Moses: “Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law?” Jesus recalled the historical giving of manna in the wilderness: “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven” (John 6:32). Jesus recalled the re-establishment of the rite of circumcision under Moses: “Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers)” (John 7:22). The writer of the Gospel of John explained, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Jesus told the Pharisees that if they really believed what Moses wrote they would believe in Him: “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words” (John 5:46–47).

The Place of Evidence and Presuppositions

While the historical reality of the Exodus as recorded by Moses in God’s Word is important, the fact of its reality does not rest on the existence of evidence outside the Bible. While external evidence in support of the historicity of this important event should bolster the faith of Bible-believers and remove stumbling blocks to faith for many, absence of archaeological evidence should not be a deal-killer for faith in the facts as presented in the Bible.

Absence of evidence should not be a deal-killer for faith in the facts as presented in the Bible.

We should here interject the question: What if there were no evidence of the Exodus? The film takes a “devils’ advocate” approach, introducing the prevailing skepticism among scholars. Both the film and the book of the same name give ear to many scholars, archaeologists, politicians, and theologians who deny the biblical Exodus ever happened or at least that any evidence exists.2 The movie approaches the topic of evidence from the skeptic’s point of view for the benefit of a secular audience lacking biblical presuppositions—a baseline faith in the truth of God’s Word. This approach is also suitable for those who, as the website for the film mentions, are suffering a “crisis of faith.”3

Unfortunately, the resulting narrative could leave some viewers wondering whether the filmmaker’s Christian faith would be overturned if the evidence were not found. Filmmaker Timothy Mahoney states that he believed the stories of the Old Testament as a child but as an adult was challenged and now “just wanted to know the truth.” He said, “I know some people say you don’t need any evidence; just take it by faith. But if there’s no hard evidence for any of it, had I been believing in a lie?” Much of the film is even narrated by skeptic Michael Medved. Despite the soul-searching concerns expressed in the movie—concerns that Mahoney says led him to keep digging for the evidence and to make the film—Mahoney, a Christian, states repeatedly in his book about the project, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”4

The biblical Exodus is not the first biblical event decried for lack of evidence by popular scholars before corroborating evidence emerged from the sands of time. For example, many scholars have denied the existence of the biblical King David because no written archaeological record had been found attesting to his existence. Then in 1993 an Aramean inscription, probably written about a century and a half after David’s death by Israel’s enemy Hazael, was found to contain a reference to his victory over a member of “the house of David.”5

Another excellent example of how trust in God’s Word can guide archaeological endeavors is the case of the Hittites. In fact, it is the discovery of the Hittites that eventually toppled trust in the secular dates traditionally assigned to Egyptian chronology! The Old Testament refers to the Hittites. According to 2 Kings 7:6, during Elisha’s lifetime the Hittites were as formidable as Egypt. Yet there was a time when, having no physical evidence of the Hittites’ existence, skeptical scholars claimed the Hittites were mythical creations of those who penned the Old Testament. Then Irish missionary William Wright decided to take God at His Word and search them out. Wright believed that the inscriptions he found “would show that a great people, called the Hittites in the Bible, but never referred to in classic history, had once formed a mighty empire in that region.”6 Eventually discrepancies that surfaced through comparison of the dates assigned to Assyrian and Egyptian historical records concerning the Hittites led even secular Egyptologists to conclude the traditional timeline assigned to Egyptian history was wrong.7

We are blessed to live in a time when archaeologists have uncovered an abundance of archaeological evidence affirming the historicity of the Bible. Patient faith in the inerrancy of God’s Word is often rewarded by such discoveries. Yet in an age when archaeology has uncovered so much evidence corroborating biblical history, skepticism has increased.

In matters of ancient history we must depend on the eyewitness accounts of others, be they God or man, and look for supporting evidence.

This is largely due, we believe, to the increasingly pervasive tendency of many in our scientifically minded modern age to treat matters of biblical faith and biblical history as if they were—like raw scientific observations—derived from evidence rather than affirmed by evidence. Yet in matters of ancient history we must depend on the eyewitness accounts of others, be they God or man, and look for supporting evidence. For instance, we know that God created the earth and all kinds of life on it to reproduce after their kinds in six days, not because we can go back and scientifically observe our origins, but because God’s Word describes those events as history. Observational science affirms the biblical creation account that we, as Bible-believing Christians, already know is true. Likewise, this film chronicles a logical search for patterns of evidence supporting the biblical account of the Exodus.

Nevertheless, even if thousands of years had erased the physical evidence for a particular event, even an important one, a Bible-believer should not discard his or her faith. Continue asking questions and searching for evidence, yes. Let a deeper study of the biblical text guide that search—as Mahoney dramatizes in Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus. But abandon faith in God’s Word and the God of the Word? No!

Much of the evidence presented in Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus has actually been discussed in articles on this website. But this compelling and memorable cinematic presentation is a great way to review the facts, learn some new ones, prepare to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15), and share the truth with others.

Looking for History Out of Time

Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus builds its case for the existence of evidence supporting the historicity of the Exodus by demonstrating that even some secular experts like agnostic Egyptologist David Rohl see that traditional Egyptian chronology is a shambles. Chronologies for all the ancient nations of the Middle East were built through their connections with Egypt, and eventually it became apparent to many secular and biblical scholars that that there were problems—beyond the biblical inconsistencies—stemming from the traditional Egyptian chronology yardstick.8

Suggesting to us that dogmatic adherence to the traditional Egyptian timeline may be misplaced, the famous 20th century Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner, late in life, wrote this in his notebook:

It must never be forgotten that we are dealing with a civilization thousands of years old and one of which only tiny remnants have survived. What is proudly advertised as Egyptian history is merely a collection of rags and tatters.9

Yet Egypt’s dry climate has preserved many artifacts and monuments, and Egyptologists have worked for many years to understand the story they tell. As with any historical endeavor, certain assumptions have been made, and the whole edifice of chronology now so well established is built upon them. The timelines in the stories of other ancient cultures have been calibrated according to Egyptian chronology, for it was Egypt that produced the first ancient archaeological timeline. Traditional Egyptian chronology is the yardstick commonly available to all, even if it is wrong.

To tear down the whole timeline of the Near East and rebuild it from the ground up is favored by many scholars but not the majority, for it would be quite an undertaking requiring reevaluation of everything. Furthermore, those scholars who agree the chronology should be reconstructed are not necessarily in agreement with how to do so, and most would agree that more research is needed.10 On this faulty but sadly still-popular traditional Egyptian chronology rests the archaeological skepticism about a historical Exodus.

Archaeologists have for decades been looking for evidence of a Hebrew presence and escape from Egypt in the New Kingdom city of Ramses on the Nile delta. After all, Joseph’s family settled in the “land of Rameses” (Genesis 47:11), the slaves built the cities Pithom and Rameses (Exodus 1:11), and the children of Israel departed from Rameses” (Numbers 33:3). But the film points out, quite correctly, that this region was referred to as the “land of Rameses” in biblical texts like Genesis 47:11 that refer to events such as the arrival of Joseph’s family in Egypt long before the time of Ramses the Great no matter how the dates are calculated.11

The film suggests the biblical text included these geographical references so that readers would know the land of Goshen where the Hebrews lived was at the city of Avaris, which is near the city of Ramses. Because Ramses—meaning “the Egyptian god Ra gave birth to him”—was a very common name to honor pharaohs, it may have become associated with property in this region long before any of eleven pharaohs known as Ramses or the Ramses the Great became specifically associated with the land. In any case, when archaeologists look in the region of the New Kingdom city of Ramses in deeper layers associated with the older “Middle Kingdom,” they find a wealth of archaeological and textual support for the historicity of the Exodus just as the Bible records it.

Timeline

This illustration from the book Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus is similar to those in the film. Here the upper wall of time shows the traditional view of Egyptian chronology and the “late Exodus” view, which places the Exodus at about 1250 BC, during the reign of Ramses the Great. (The reign of Ramses the Great, who built many monuments, is indicated in the 1200s BC by a graphic “monument city” on the wall.) The colored blocks indicate events such as the arrival of Joseph’s family in Egypt, their multiplication and enslavement, the events directly related to the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan. Archaeological evidence for these events is not found when the search is made for it in material related to that timeframe of history, but if the timeframe is shifted backward (white arrow) about two centuries toward Egypt’s Middle Kingdom, and the Exodus is placed around 1450 BC, archaeology tells another story. This is shown in the lower illustration. Image courtesy of Timothy Mahoney, Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus.

Timely Note

Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus uses an appropriately monumental display to visualize the timeline of Egyptian and biblical history—a wall stretching back through antiquity with pillars dividing it into thousand-year segments. The various positions—biblical and otherwise—on the timing of the Exodus are superimposed on this wall of time to illustrate the debate over whether it occurred in Egypt’s “New Kingdom” or “Middle Kingdom.”

The narrator describes this timeline as “a wall of time stretching back to the earliest moments of civilization.” We should note here that the visual timeline does appear to stretch back to an antiquity too old to be compatible with the chronology calculated from the Bible. From the Bible, we know Earth is only around 6,000 years old, and the global Flood of Noah would be dated in the 2300s BC.12 Therefore, the suggestion of dates prior to this time, such as the beginning of Egypt’s Old Kingdom in the mid-2600s BC, reflect secular assumptions and even some incorrect assumptions related to biblical history. You can read more about these assumptions and the jumbled mess of Egyptian chronology in “Doesn’t Egyptian Chronology Prove That the Bible Is Unreliable?” and Unwrapping the Pharaohs.

Finding Saving Faith in the Fullness of Time

Faith in God’s Word is not ultimately rooted in evidence, but because God’s Word is true the archaeological evidence affirms its truth.

When we dig through material from the right archaeological “time,” the evidence is consistent with history as recorded in the Bible. While “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7), faith in in the truth of God’s Word and in the God of the Word makes it possible to correctly interpret and understand the secrets hidden for millennia beneath the sands of Egypt. Rather than recounting here all that evidence—which is presented chronologically and dramatically in the film—I will avoid further spoilers and encourage you—whether you already believe the Bible or not—to see the film yourself. Faith in God’s Word is not ultimately rooted in evidence, but because God’s Word is true the archaeological evidence affirms its truth.

Even if you don’t think you need evidence, you should see Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus—which will air in theaters only one night (January 19th)13—so you will understand why people with limited understanding of the supposed “lack of evidence” for the Exodus (during the New Kingdom of Ramses the Great!) are skeptical of God’s Word. The film will help equip you to explain the evidence for a Middle Kingdom Exodus well enough to give an answer to those who ask you for a reasoned apologetic (1 Peter 3:15). It will help you remove the stumbling blocks to faith that may shadow your own life or the lives of those you love.

And if you count yourself among the skeptics, I challenge you to view the film with an open mind and find out the truth about history. You can even follow up your search with more details in the book of the same title! Then you can decide for yourself what you believe about the rest of the Bible and its claim that Jesus Christ “our Passover” (1 Corinthians 5:7) was sacrificed so that the guilt and penalty for sin can pass over each of us and make salvation available to all who repent and receive His gift of grace.

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. (1 Corinthians 5:7)

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Footnotes

  1. With 25 years experience in the filmmaking industry, Timothy Mahoney started Thinking Man Films, which he describes as “a production/distribution company that explores the world we live in and encourages people to question what they have been told about culture, science, history and religion.” For more about those involved in the film, visit http://www.patternsofevidence.com/en/cast/.See all footnotes
  2. This review concerns the movie and refers to the opinions expressed by those interviewed as part of the film; it does not address the opinions expressed by those showcased during pre- and post-film interviews and panel discussions.See all footnotes
  3. The Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus website banner states, “You never know where a crisis of faith will lead you.”See all footnotes
  4. Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus by Timothy P. Mahoney (forthcoming).See all footnotes
  5. You may read more about this in “King David: Mythical Figure or Famous Monarch?” in The Stones Cry Out, Randall Price (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1997).See all footnotes
  6. Anatolia: Cauldron of Cultures (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1995), 41.See all footnotes
  7. Read more in Dr. Mitchell’s article, “Doesn’t Egyptian Chronology Prove That the Bible Is Unreliable?,” Answers in Genesis, July 22, 2010, https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/ancient-egypt/doesnt-egyptian-chronology-prove-bible-unreliable/ (excerpted from The New Answers Book 2).See all footnotes
  8. A simple example should suffice to illustrate that something is seriously wrong with the traditional system of dating. Egypt’s Ramses the Great, who ruled for more than 60 years during the New Kingdom, fought one major battle during his reign, the Battle of Kadesh. (This battle was featured in the recent movie starring Christian Bale as Moses—Exodus: Gods and Kings, in which Ramses the Great was erroneously presented as the pharaoh of the Exodus.) Both the Egyptians and their opponents the Hittites claimed victory in this clash of titans, and clearly both nations were powerful at the time of the important battle. Later, Egyptian chroniclers from the reign of Ramses III wrote that the Hittite nation had finally become extinct, around 1200 BC by traditional Egyptian dating. Yet comparison with Assyria’s timeline—which was developed from more recent archaeological discoveries—shows that Assyria had major wars with the Hittite nation in the eighth and ninth centuries BC, hundreds of years after the Hittites, by the traditional Egyptian timeline, had ceased to exist. Either someone’s dates have been interpreted incorrectly, or the Hittite nation rose from the ashes and became as powerful as it ever was. You may read more about this on this website in “Doesn’t Egyptian Chronology Prove That the Bible Is Unreliable?See all footnotes
  9. Quoted from the late Sir Alan Gardiner’s personal notebooks stored in the library of the Griffith Institute, Oxford University, in Timothy Mahoney’s forthcoming book, Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus, chapter 11. This book was graciously made available to us for preview by the author and publisher.See all footnotes
  10. It is difficult to assign dates for a revised chronology in the context of this movie review, and Mahoney does not try to do so in the film. Indeed to do so would have been a complex and unnecessary distraction. Even in his book, he points out that many believe the problem exists and is significant but does not try to present all the various points of view. Scholars who favor revising the timeline are not at this point in agreement, for more research is still needed. Egyptologists Peter James, David Rohl, D.A. Courville, and David Down have all produced work in this area.See all footnotes
  11. Depending on how the dates of overlapping reigns of various kings and associated genealogies are reckoned in the calculations, Joseph’s family would have arrived in Egypt around 1700 BC. Floyd Nolen Jones (Chronology of the Old Testament), for instance, places their arrival in 1706 BC, and David Down (Unwrapping the Pharaohs) places their arrival in 1660 BC. See all footnotes
  12. Calculating from the information in Scripture, the global Flood occurred about 1,656 years after Creation—also calculated from Scripture—would have occurred about 4004 BC. Thus, the Flood would have been about 2348 BC. Read more about it in David Wright’s “Timeline for the Flood,” Answers in Genesis, March 9, 2012, https://answersingenesis.org/bible-timeline/timeline-for-the-flood/, and Bodie Hodge’s “How Old Is the Earth?” Answers in Genesis, May 30, 2007, https://answersingenesis.org/age-of-the-earth/how-old-is-the-earth/.See all footnotes
  13. The film will be subsequently released as a DVD.See all footnotes

Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.

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