Religion, Theology and Self-Improvement Sundays: What Is Prophecy? Part VIII
Last week we finished our look at Max Dimont's view of Genesis 15:13-14. The final sentence that we quoted from Dimont read "Or was it a prophecy to be taken up by other men appointed by God and fulfilled at a later date?" The "it" in question, is Genesis 15:13-14. Dimont obviously had his doubts regarding whether a group of people, 4,000, years ago, fulfilled the prediction written of in those Biblical verses. Dimont is not alone.
Historians, Theologians and Scholars of all stripes have raised all types of questions regarding whether or not a group of people known as "Jews" or "Hebrews" or "Israel" were captive in Egypt - as slaves for a 400-year period - as the prediction in Genesis 15:13-14 describes. No less a historian than H.G. Wells has definitively stated that there is no historical record of any event occurring.
Then if we add up the time after Joseph's family into Egypt until Moses' leading of the Exodus out of Egypt you do not get 400 years. This is according to the Bible. And it is important to note that when Joseph's family joined him - they were not slaves - Joseph, according to some scholars, was second only to Pharaoh in power. And there is no evidence, in the Bible, as to when the slavery actually begins. If Joseph was a slave when he came to Egypt, he certainly was not when his family joined him.
And finally an important question remains to be asked and Dimont poses it pretty well:
Let us pose a hypothetical question: Were the Hebrews who left Ur with Abraham in 2000B.C. and the Hebrews who entered Egypt under Joseph in 1600 B.C. the same people as the Israelites who were led out of Egypt by Moses in 1200 B.C.? Were these Israelites who came out of Egypt the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or were they a different people? In Genesis, the book dealing with their history before their entry into Egypt, the Jews are, with one exception, referred to as Hebrews, not as Israelites. After their exodus from Egypt and in the other Books of Moses, the Jews are referred to mostly as Israelites, very seldom Hebrews. After the exodus, it is the pagans who usually refer to the Jews as Hebrews, whereas the Jews usually refer to themselves as Israelites.
And again, there exists no proof, in either the Bible or recorded history that the prediction contained in Genesis 15:13-14 was actually fulfilled 4,000 years ago, so we return to where we began: "...was it a prophecy to be taken up by other men appointed by God and fulfilled at a later date?"
Sunday, July 16, 2000