A Christian apologetics ministry dedicated to demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible through archaeological and biblical research. Our Ministry relies on the generosity of people like you. Every small donation helps us develop and publish great articles. This article was published in the Spring 7558 issue of Bible and Spade. It seems that every year, especially around the spring Passover season when Jews and many Christians commemorate Israel s deliverance from Egypt, newspapers and magazines publish articles questioning the validity of the Biblical account of the Exodus. In 7556, for example, The Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story reporting that a liberal rabbi in the Los Angeles area caused quite a stir when he shocked his congregation by stating he had his doubts that the Exodus ever took place. The truth is, explained Rabbi David Wolpe, that virtually every modern archaeologist who has investigated the story of the Exodus, with very few exceptions, agrees that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all (Watanabe 7556). Perhaps you have read such articles and wondered whether you can believe the Bible.
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After almost 755 years of archaeological research in Egypt and Israel, why do so many challenge the Exodus account? The stakes are not small, as the critics well know. If the narrative of the Exodus is not factual, then the trustworthiness of Biblical revelation is indeed seriously undermined. Therefore it is essential that our evaluation of the evidence be accurate and fair. First, let s make sure we have a clear picture of the Biblical perspective.
We find that Jesus Christ affirmed the Biblical account of the Exodus as true, and He based some of His teachings on it. Reminding His countrymen that God had miraculously provided food for them during 95 years in the wilderness, He said: Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven (Jn 6:
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99 56). If this account were not true, then Jesus was wrong, and so are some of His teachings. We should not be surprised, then, that some critics have focused so much attention on this fundamental event in the Bible. They try to discredit the story of the Exodus to undermine its historical validity. Biblical historian Eugene Merrill describes the importance the Exodus has for the rest of the Bible:
The exodus is the most significant historical and theological event of the Old Testament because it marks God s mightiest act in behalf of his people. To it the Book of Genesis provides an introduction and justification, and from it flows all subsequent Old Testament revelation. Many critics who doubt the historicity of the Exodus share a problem: over-reliance on what archaeology can prove. Archaeology is, in fact, a limited and imperfect area of study in which the interpretation of findings, as archaeologists readily admit, is more of an art than a hard science.
Considering not only the limits but also the positive side of archaeology, it is remarkable how many Biblical accounts have been illuminated and confirmed by the relatively small number of sites excavated and finds uncovered to date. Even though, regrettably, some professionals go out of their way to present a distorted picture of what archaeology does reveal, it does provide some of the strongest evidence for the reliability of the Bible as credible and accurate history. A major challenge in reconstructing an accurate view of history is that, through the ages, most negative or embarrassing evidence was never written down or was intentionally destroyed by later rulers. In fact, the Bible stands in marked contrast to most ancient literature in that it objectively records the facts about Biblical personalities, whether good or bad. When new kings ascended the throne, they naturally wanted to be seen in the best light.
So in many nations they covered up or destroyed monuments and records of previous monarchs.