This is our Q+R on Exodus 1-11. This show was originally a YouTube live video of Tim and Jon discussing questions about Exodus stories. You can view the original video Q+R here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13aiCmGkp0c as well as our two animated videos on the first half of the book of Exodus here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jH_aojNJM3E&t=7s and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uf-PgW7rqE&t=5s
Thank you to all our supporters!
Questions and Timestamps Why does God harden Pharaoh's heart? (1:30) What’s the deal with Zipporah circumcising her son in the middle of the night to save Moses in Exodus 4? (15:00) Is there any significant pattern to the order of the ten plagues? (17:42) Why would God do the plague of the firstborn and kill kids? (22:50) Is Exodus actual history or just myth? (27:45) Is Pharaoh a type of "anti christ"? (35:37)
Resources: Tim Mackie Exodus hand out link on his website: http://www.timmackie.com/torah-crash-course/
Show music: Defender Instrumental by Rosasharn Music.
Podcast Date: April 3, 2017
Speakers in the audio file:
Jon: Hey, this is Jon at The Bible Project. This summer on the podcast, we've been
releasing a series that we did last year on our YouTube channel. It was a series of
Q&R episodes, question, and response. We talked through books in the Old
Testament, we did a few themes, and we're releasing those now on the podcast, so
that you can listen to them from the comfort of your own earbuds.
The audio quality is little poor than normal so I apologize for that. This was a live
feed on YouTube, but it's worth a listen. The questions and discussion are really
In this episode, we cover the beginning of the book of Exodus, Exodus chapters 1
through 18. And we get into some really tough questions like: why does God harden
Pharaoh's heart? And did the Exodus story actually happen in history or is it just a
myth? Thanks for joining us. Here we go.
Tim: Hey, welcome.
Jon: Happy Tuesday.
Tim: Happy Tuesday.
Jon: We're going to be answering questions on Exodus 1 through 18, which is the Exodus
story, so start sending them in. We'll tag those, put them on a spreadsheet, and look
at them, and then we'll answer as many as possible. We've got a bunch coming in.
You've marked some of these.
Tim: Josh, you've asked a question that comes up really often when people read the story
of the Exodus, which is about God hardening Pharaoh's heart. Your question is: why
does God harden Pharaoh's heart in Exodus chapter 9? What are the implications
that that should have on our view of God? What does it reveal about God?
Jon: Before you answer, can you just set this up a little bit more?
Jon: So Exodus story.
Tim: Thank you.
Jon: We finished Genesis, and we've got Joseph and his brothers hanging out in Egypt.
Turn the page to Exodus, and all of a sudden...it's much later. How many years later?
We don't really know.
Tim: It's hundreds.
Jon: Hundreds of years later. And now, the Hebrew people are much larger and they're
slaves to the Egyptian Pharaoh, and their life's not awesome. Then we get into the
Exodus story, which is Moses' rise as the leader and taking them out of Egypt. You're
all familiar with this story, likely, from Prince of Egypt and Sunday School curriculum.
Very famous story. Very important story in the Bible.
One particular aspect of the story that really trips people up as confusing is God will
at times "harden Pharaoh's heart" is the phrase that's used. And so, you get the
sense of like, maybe Pharaoh wouldn't have been such a bad dude. And then God
comes in and goes, "Nope, I'm going to make you a bad dude." Why would God
purposefully make someone do something bad, I think is what people want to know.
Tim: Yeah, that's right. A few things. Because this is important, we'll spend a little time on
it. One is to set the playing field for who Pharaoh is in the story, and why the
narrative develops him as a character so much.
In terms of Israel or the characters of the Bible interacting with other nations, the
biggest bad guys so far in the story of the Bible were the bad guy, the cycle of sin in
Genesis 1 to 11, but leading up to Babylon—the tower in the city of Babylon in
Genesis 11. So that's the first picture of like a whole bunch of people united as a
nation opposed to God.
But Pharaoh and Egypt appear as the first large, full-scale empire in the Bible that
thrives and exists off of oppressing and enslaving other people. That's the first in the
storyline of the Bible. So the narrative here is offering this portrait of the worst of
humanity even more than Babylon. Pharaoh, he's an archetypal character.
Jon: What do you mean by archetypal that?
Tim: The story is anchored in history. But Pharaoh is not a name, it's a title. Many kings
were called Pharaoh. And there are many kings covered in the story. There's a few
that appear throughout the book. So it's a title. It's a royal title.
This character is larger than life. He's depicted as this insane maniac type leader
who's willing to destroy his own nation just to save his own pride and power and so
on. So I think it's important to recognize that's the nature of the Pharaoh character
in the book, and what the story then becomes a showdown is who is the king of the
Is it Yahweh, the God of Israel, who's going to confront evil, and save His people or
is rebellious humanity archetype, and Pharaoh is going to win? So that's the
showdown. Exodus is very much a showdown story of one of the ways that God
confronts and deals with evil among the nations.
Then I raised the question: well, what do you do with this God hardening Pharaoh's
heart business? All I can say is it's crucially important to read the story from
beginning to end, and not just take snippets of the story out of context or out of
sequence. Because when you do that, which is what people often do, they make up a
new story about Pharaoh's heart that the story of Exodus doesn't actually tell.
And so, I think that that idea of God's simply making Pharaoh hardened against him
so that he can warp Pharaoh and show how powerful He is, that's not actually
faithful to the sequence of the storyline. It's really important to get that. So I don't
Actually, I knew this question was coming and so I have a handout on this that I take
classes through when I go through the book of Exodus. David wants to just throw
my screen up on the screen. Quickly, just to walk through here. This looks like a
boring chart but that's exactly what it is. But sometimes boring charts can be
The first time we hear about Pharaoh's hard heart it's when God Commission's
Moses back in chapter 3. And what God says is that He knows that Pharaoh will
resist. That's the first thing He says, "I know that Pharaoh is going to resist." And so,
God says He's going to harden Pharaoh's heart.
So the first thing we know is not actually got doing it. The first thing is that God
knows Pharaoh will resist. And then He says He's going to harden Pharaoh's heart.
So it raises a question, okay, God knows, but does the fact that He knows means that
He's pre-programmed Pharaoh to harden his heart? Is that what it's saying?
Well, the second statement about Pharaoh's heart comes in chapter 7. It's actually
right before the first plague. And it says simply that Pharaoh's heart became hard, or
grew hard, unless you're reading the English Standard Version.
If you're reading the English Standard Version, it says, "Pharaoh's heart was
hardened." And that's really unfortunate that they chose to do that. I think the
translators of the ESV kind of showing their hand in terms of their theological views
about God's will, and human free will, and so on. Because of the word used in
Hebrew is not passive "was hardened." It's just simply a state of being hard. It was
And so, the first time you hear about Pharaoh's hard heart, it's not clear who
hardened Pharaoh's heart. And then it gets intentionally unclear. Did God do it or
did Pharaoh do it?
Jon: This is in chapter 7?
Tim: This is in chapter 7. Then the first five plagues, as you can just see right here on hand
out, every statement about Pharaoh's heart was either just that it was hard, or twice
you get in plague two and plague four, Pharaoh hardened his own heart. So it's very
clear it's not God doing it, it's him doing it.
It's not until the sixth plague of boils that we hear of God's stepping in to harden
Pharaoh's heart. And then in the plagues that follow, it's God hardening Pharaoh's
heart. I think it's really significant. So what the story is exploring is that God...in every
one of these plagues, it begins with God telling Moses, "Go warn Pharaoh that this is
about to happen so that he can humble himself so that it doesn't happen. That
happens every single time in the plagues.
So the portrait is not that God pre-programmed Pharaoh's hardness of heart. It's
that God knew that Pharaoh would resist. And God knew that at some point he
would start heartening Pharaoh's heart. But that's preceded by a whole wave of just
Pharaoh being a jerk in his own right. The story is really making that clear.
What the story is trying to say is there is a way of thinking about human evil that
God is not responsible for human evil. Just like God didn't author Pharaoh's hard
heart. But there comes a point where Pharaoh reaches a point of no return in his evil
and his mania, and his intoxication with his own power.
And so, at that point, God then turns Pharaoh's evil back onto himself and hardens
his heart—that's already been hardened by Pharaoh himself. So I think the story is
offering this really sophisticated way of thinking about how God can use even really
horrible people to accomplish His purposes in the world.
Jon: And most archetypically like violent and power hungry person in a biblical narrative,
God then uses for his own good.
Tim: Is evil to defeat evil. God confronts evil by turning evil back on itself, I think is the
portrait of the story. So we should walk away from the story going, "God's powerful,
He's wise, and Pharaoh had every possible chance to humble...Actually, five chances
to humble himself.
So that was the longest answer, but the question comes up so often, and it was
Jon: Is there somewhere else in the Bible where it talks about God hardening an
individual's heart? I mean, Paul brings it up in Romans.
Tim: It's in relationship to Pharaoh. Yeah, he quotes from the Pharaoh’s story. The story of
Pharaoh is the most significant and developed one. What's interesting is that in the
Pentateuch, as you go on with the story of Israel into the wilderness, the people of
Israel start acting like Pharaoh in terms of their abstinence, their stubbornness, their
grumbling, and God actually comes to say eventually that Israel's heart has become
So the people of Israel become like Pharaoh. And that's part of the strategy of the
story is that God wants to save His people from Pharaoh, but eventually, they
become Pharaoh-like themselves as the story goes on.
Jon: I wonder if the basis of the concern of this question is really just for myself. Well, I
get to a point where God might harden my heart. Like if I refuse enough, and
enough and enough, is there a point of no return for me or for my friends? Is that
what the biblical narratives trying to get us to wrestle with?
Tim: I think it's warning us, but the point of the warning is that you don't do that. It's very
much like the warnings in the Letter to the Hebrews. They pretty stuff...like they're
really intense. And the point of the warnings is that you don't do that.
If you're at all concerned about yourself being at the point of no return, you know
you're not at the point of no return because you care about it. It's a concern to you.
Jon: That's a good point.
Tim: So I guess, in that case, to be concerned about is the point at which you would no
longer be concerned about it. So, in that case, you wouldn't care. You know what I'm
Jon: Totally, totally.
Tim: So what the story is not saying is that God has pre-programmed some people to be
evil and face His judgment. The story's not saying that at face value reason.
Jon: There's a little conversation going on about you said ESV was unfortunate to do that.
Tim: I think so.
Jon: But ESV is still good translation.
Tim: ESV is a wonderful translation. It's a great translation. I just think in this particular set
of instances they interpreted by means of their translation in a way that they didn't
have to. And every translation has to do that at some point. There's some parts of
the Hebrew Bible or the Greek New Testament—
Jon: By the way, we get that question a lot: what translation do you recommend? And I
always hear you say, "Pick one..."
Tim: All of them.
Jon: All of them. Pick one, read it, and when you start reading more, you'll start to see the
nuances between them.
Tim: Yes. My philosophy of translations it's like a bag of golf clubs. I don't golf. It's the
only analogy I can think of. The bag of golf clubs. You know, you don't try and drive
a ball 100 yards with a putter. So don't try and do close study of the Bible with the
New Living Translation.
But if you're on the bus and you just want to take in a whole bunch of the Bible at
once, then read the New Living Translation because it's really more like a paraphrase.
Whereas the New American Standard is terrible English but it's great for close by
study. It just depends on the purpose. The ESV is a wonderful translation just like all
of them are.
Jon: David wrote, "The one you read is the best translation."
Tim: The one you read. Thank you, David.
Tim: There you go.
Jon: What's another question we can hit?
Tim: Another question.
Jon: Someone just asked about the redemptive story of Exodus. We're actually going to
do a whole theme video that explores the Exodus as this archetypal story that
biblical authors continue to use to talk about God's salvation. That's really a big
Tim: Yeah, totally. The Exodus story is so important. If the life, and the death, and the
resurrection of Jesus is like a foundation story for Christians, the Exodus narrative is
the foundation story in Jewish tradition and Christian tradition. Jesus did, after all,
culminate has week in Jerusalem with a Passover meal to explain the meaning of the
So the Exodus story, the way the story works, it's crucially important for
understanding the storyline of the Bible. And we're going to make a video about
Jon: Yeah, that will be great. How about this next one?
Tim: A question from Valeria. You asked a great question that for people who actually
read the Exodus story instead of just watch the movie read and are like, "What is
going on here?" It's a story and Exodus chapter 4. And Valeria [SP] asked, "What's
the deal with cutting off the foreskin of her son in Exodus 4? What's the significance
of her actions?"
Actually, the story is even more bizarre than just that. It's nighttime. It's the night in
the story leading up to the Exodus. All of a sudden, we're told that God went looking
for Moses to kill him, and then Zipporah, his wife steps in and circumcises their son
and then touches foreskin to Moses' feet, and then says, "You were a bridegroom of
blood to me." And then the narrative says she was talking about circumcision. That's
Jon: That's not a typical Western story. You're not going to find that in your Disney
Tim: There are numerous stories like this in the Pentateuch that are strange, that their
meaning isn't never fully explained within the story itself. It's very similar to: why did
God reject Cane's offering but not Abel's?
The story is like this, and the point isn't that you solve the riddle of the story. The
point is to see how it fits into the narrative.
Essentially, what it's a story about, is that Moses hasn't circumcised his son the way
that God commanded the Israelites to. And so God, He's going to hold Egypt
accountable for its evil and its injustice. But God has also called His own people,
especially the leader, Moses to a high degree of responsibility.
And so, even Moses is accountable to the highest degree of faithfulness. And he
wasn't. And so, his life is in danger for it. It's the strange story that reminds you that
God's not playing favorites here as He comes to confront Egypt, but that He calls
even His own people to...the stakes are high.
So I think that's the role of that story in the flow of the narrative. In terms of the
ancient cultural connections of bridegroom, of blood, nobody knows what that
means. I could show you my stack of commentaries. I think I had a stack of - what?
Five right here and there are about eight different views between these five
commentaries on what exactly that story is. So anyhow, in the flow of the narrative,
that was pretty clear what's going on there.
Tim: So we do another question?
Jon: Do another question.
Tim: Great. Lukas had a really good question about the 10 plagues. "Is there any
significant pattern to the order of the 10 plagues, the water, the blood, then frogs,
then lice? If so, is this pattern found anywhere else in Scripture?" That's a great
There is a significance to how they're ordered, but it's not quite what you think. And
lo and behold, I'll just take you back to my Exodus handout that I put in from my
classes to people.
Jon: Can we make this available to people?
Tim: Yeah. I think it's up on my website.
Jon: Okay. You can get this at timmackie.com.
Tim: At timmackie.com, in the upper right, there's a tab called "Western Seminary," and I
put all my handouts for all my classes for Western up there. And this is just my
Jon: Good resource.
Tim: The literary design of the plagues is really intentional and cool. There's 10 of them,
obviously. I think you'll see the chart appear in front of you up here. But the first nine
are arranged in these three triads, and there are all of these different types of
symmetry going on between them.
So the first each of the triads, the water, the blood, the flies, and the hail, all begin
with Moses taking a morning stroll out to go confront Pharaoh and to warn him that
this plague is coming. They're broken into triads by this morning scene.
Then the second plague of each triad, the frogs, the lice plague and the livestock
and the locusts all begin with Moses going into Pharaoh’s palace to warn him. They
all have that parallel. Then the third plague in each triad, there's no warning. It's just
Moses just does it. So the gnats, the boils and the darkness. The third—
Jon: It just came up so just do one quick little overview again. This is the first one, right?
Tim: Oh, God, yeah. The triads or vertical here. 1, 2, 3 is a triad, 4, 5, 6 is a triad, 7, 8, and
9. But then there are all these symmetries across them. So the first in each triad is
Moses warning Pharaoh in the morning.
Jon: Those are all morning.
Tim: Those all happen in the morning. The second of each triad, the warning happened in
the palace. And the third of each triad, there's no warning. So it's very intentional.
Jon: It just happens.
Tim: That's right. What's also interesting is the main actor of who does the action is Aaron
in the first triad, only Moses in the third triad, and then it's a split between Moses
and Aaron and Moses in the second triad. To me, what's interesting, these are signs
that the order and the shaping of the stories—
Jon: Well thought out.
Tim: Very well thought out. Because here's what's interesting is that there are two other
accounts of the plagues on Egypt in the Hebrew Bible. One of them is in Psalm 78,
and another one is in Psalm 105. The plagues are mentioned, but not in this order,
and not all of them are mentioned.
So I think what we can say is this, is that the story about the plagues existed in
multiple forms. And the one before us in the book of Exodus has been given a very
intentional literary design for reading comprehension, perhaps memory
comprehension. But it's not like we're watching a video camera. I think that's my
So as far as the significance of the order, there have been lots of theories about that,
and I haven't seen any that is super convincing. But there clearly is a design to them
if there's not necessarily an order.
It's surely significant that the Nile River is the first target because that was the live
stream of all of Egypt. The Nile was seen as the provision of the Gods of Egypt and
so on. So the fact that God strikes at the heart of their agriculture and water source
and all that shows the significance. But anyway.
Jon: Some people think there's significance to the Egyptian gods, Egyptian culture with
all of these, right?
Tim: Yeah, that's right. In chapter 12, God says that He sent the plagues to defeat
Pharaoh and the Gods of Egypt—brings judgment on the Gods of Egypt. But it
doesn't specify any more than that. So yeah, we know that the plague of darkness,
the water to blood, that certain animals were view to sacred embodiments of the
gods. But again, the text doesn't develop that very much. So we're shooting from the
hip when we say that certain plagues are connected to some gods and so no.
So, Luke, you asked the question about the plague on the firstborn. The 10th plague
is the plague of the destroyer going throughout Egypt and the firstborn all
throughout Egypt die. I mean, just to say, at first off at bottom, I'm very
uncomfortable with the story, and I just have to deal with that. There are a number
of stories in the Bible that I'm just uncomfortable with. And what can you do about
The story is about Joshua and Israel invading the land, and their treatment of certain
Canaanite towns is also like fits into a similar category. I think it's just important, like,
it's not heresy to say that something in the Bible makes you uncomfortable. That's
The way the narrative works, that's not the first thing that God does. It's actually the
last thing and it's the culmination. Ans it wraps the story all the way back around to
Pharaoh who slaughtered all of the Israelite boys by having them thrown into the
river. It's important to recognize the story has that arc to it.
Jon: And we show that in our animation.
Tim: That's right.
Jon: Actually, we were talking about when we were animating that, like, how gruesome is
this going to be showing babies thrown into a river? Because that could get pretty
Tim: I mean, we chose to depict it in a way that is disturbing, and that makes you think
Jon: You see a baby hand sinking into the river. It's pretty intense.
Tim: So I think the first thing to recognize is the 10th plague is God bringing justice that
matches what Pharaoh did to the Israelites. But of course, the question from my
point of view is, couldn't He have just done that on Pharaoh? Pharaoh was the bad
guy, so why not just his household and his family?
Jon: Instead if everyone.
Tim: And I resonate with that. I resonate with that. I'm not sure what else to say about it
except that what makes 10th plague different is that God did provide a way of
shelter from His act of justice. And that's exactly what the Passover lamb is all about,
is that the lamb could be offered in place of the firstborn son.
We're not told how many people took advantage of that. It didn't specify that only
Israelites could be in those houses. So I think the point of the story...in terms of what
happened in history, we don't know. We don't know. But in terms of the way the
story works is that God brings a severe act of justice that makes us uncomfortable.
But as He does so, at the same time, He provides a substitute, the Passover lamb
that gives a way of escape.
And that's an important way that the Passover story works, it's going to be the way
that Jesus Himself will draw upon the Passover story to explain the meaning of his
own death. He explains the meaning of his death as the death of the Passover lamb.
So Jesus also predicted a really a horrific act of God's judgment on Jerusalem, that
the whole city would be destroyed, and he was going to the cross to die on behalf of
his people so that it could be avoided. So there you go. That's my response. It's not
an answer. That's my response. That's how I deal with Exodus story.
There are times when God's involvement and partnership with humans, apparently in
God's freedom, He's chosen to partner with humans. Humans are pretty screwed up.
And so, God, it seems, ends up in the stories to be put in these situations where
even the just decision is a messy one. And that's kind of where the stories of the
Canaanites and death of the firstborn fits for me. So there you go.
Jon: A lot of heavy questions.
Tim: Yeah, totally.
Jon: I feel like every Q&A it's like the obvious question.
Tim: Well, that's good. Those are the one—
Jon: In fact, you want to give your - I call the disclaimer, you call it the—
Tim: I'm just speaking as Tim Mackie, who's a fellow reader and studier of the Bible, just
like you guys. We're not going to make a video about that necessarily. And I could
be wrong. There could be things that are wrong and I just said, I hope not, and I
don't think so. So just there's that disclaimer.
Jon: These Q&A's will get into territory that the videos and study guides, and all that stuff
we won't wait into because it's not as important to understand the central story of
the Bible. But as you begin to grapple with the authority of scripture in your life
because you follow Jesus, these are questions are going to arise out of our modern
worldview. So I'm glad we can just talk about them.
Tim: Greg Peterson asked the question that is very common about the Exodus story and
its relationship to history. The way you put the question is...You Greg, I believe
Exodus is actual history. However, many people believe that's just a moralizing story
because there's no record of it in Egyptian history. Is there a way to explain that?
How do you deal with that?" That's a great question.
My response. I'm not an ancient Egyptian historian, but I've done some homework
on this question. The first question is on the whole, what kind of historical evidence
would we expect to find about enslaved people group, who existed in ancient
Empire? Do we have any evidence for any other people group that the Egyptians
Jon: I have no idea. Do we?
Tim: No, it's the same answer for the Israelites. We know the enslaved people, and we
know that the Egyptians saw the tribe of Israel in the land of Canaan as a threat to
them. There's a later than Exodus Period Pharaoh guy named Merneptah. There's a
famous statue where he inscribed all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan that he
hated, and conquered, and battled. And Israel was one of them. So they knew about
Jon: They are aware of them.
Tim: They are aware of them, yeah.
Jon: Would that have been before or after?
Tim: Would have been after. So think about what survives from ancient Egypt today. If
you go to Cairo or something, what do you see? What you see are the remains of
royal architecture. Huge, huge structures—the pyramids and these temples.
And then what has survived in terms of the art and the text? Like there's one famous
temple called Medinet Habu that just tells the story of Ramesses in a huge artistic
picture of him just whopping all of his enemies and battle just destroying them
utterly. So there you go. What survives from the ancient world is royal propaganda
in the form of pyramid, temples, and palaces. The shanty town refugee camps of
have an enslaved immigrant population...
Jon: They are not going to make a monument to that.
Tim: ...those were wiped away in the sands of Egypt after a decade. So what kind of
evidence would we expect to find archaeologically? And the fact that there isn't any
shouldn't surprise us at all.
Jon: So we shouldn't be surprised if there's nothing?
Tim: The fact that there aren't any textual references mentioning it. Here, you have to get
into the arc of ancient battle accounts and historical Chronicles. Because, again, most
of what survives to us of ancient Egyptian history is royal propaganda on behalf of
So is there was an event where the God of an immigrant group brought plagues and
pestilence on the land of Egypt, and that that immigrant group escaped does that
the kind of thing and Egyptian King would want to memorialize for history? Well, no.
This is kind of thing that gets glossed over.
So my whole point, I'm not trying to say, therefore, that proves the historical
evidence for the Exodus. I'm just saying it's not surprising that there's no mention of
the Israelites in Egypt in their historical records or archaeological data. It's the kind
of event where what mark would it leave on history if nobody wrote it down?
So the mark that we have on history is the Exodus account itself—the memory of the
Israelite people who went through. And that memory has been formed and shaped
theologically and with literary design. And so we have to recognize looking at a
video camera. But I think it's important to say it's rooted in a historical memory of
the things that God of Israel did on their behalf. Good question, Greg.
Jon: Great question. It's a lot geekier answer than I was expecting.
Jon: Yeah. You knew a lot about Egyptian monuments and stuff.
Tim: There you go. I did go there, so it helps anchor it in memory. More questions?
Jon: Let's see. We have 15 minutes; we'll do a couple more questions. What do you think
about lightning round questions?
Tim: I don't know what that means.
Jon: What if like, you have literally 10 seconds to answer as best as you can.
Tim: I think that's impossible. I don't know if I'm capable.
Jon: You can say pass. Let's try.
Tim: It takes me 10 seconds to just say yes.
Jon: Let's just try. Why did God wait so long to save His people from Egypt? Why is it
predicted that Israel would be enslaved for so long? That's two questions. Why did
God wait so long to save His people from Egypt?
Tim: I don't know.
Jon: Why is it predicted that Israel would be in slavery for so long?
Tim: Who can know the answer to such a question.
Jon: Teresa Phil [SP], there you go.
Tim: It's a great question, but who can know why do bad things happen to good people.
Jon: Does the Exodus story encapsulate the story of what God is doing in the world in
novel-like form? That's from Ava Shake. Hi Ava.
Tim: Yes, but, and then a wrong qualification.
Jon: Yes, but.
Tim: It has a beautiful literary design to it like I've already said. And the story is
archetypal. It's rooted in historical memory, but it's developing it as an archetype as
one of the ways that God confronts systemic injustice and evil in the world, that He
brings disaster on empires that bring disaster and oppress others. That's for sure.
That's why as the Prophet, prophetic authors, and the author of Revelation is they
envision what justice would look like when Babylon would fall, or Assyria or the
Roman Empire. They use the imagery of the 10 plagues. That's why the seven bowls
and trumpets in the book of Revelation, or just 10 plagues put in a blender and then
pour it out on Babylon.
Jon: This is the language that we have now to talk about God's redemptive purposes.
Tim: That's right. When God confronts evil in the world, it looks like the Exodus story.
Jon: And that's why it's so important that the Exodus story is at the foundation of how
you think about the Bible and God's redemptive nature because the language we
have, that's the blocks that we have freshly?
Tim: Yeah, the story works there are long periods where you wonder where God is and
horrible things are happening. And then there are surprising moments in history
where God intervenes in dramatic ways to confront evil.
Jon: It takes down Empire.
Tim: And then also to bring mercy and a substitute and a way of escape from His justice
on human evil. And that's what Passover is, that's what the passage through the Red
Sea is. And then when God acts in judgment and mercy, the response is worship and
praise, which is the Song of Sea in Exodus 15.
Jon: Or the word salvation.
Tim: Or the word salvation developed. So the Exodus story is itself an archetype giving us
what does salvation mean in the Bible. And the first answer to that question is, in the
Bible story is the Exodus story, that's what salvation looks like. That was Teresa?
Jon: I don't remember now. That was way over 10 seconds.
Tim: Yeah, sorry. The 10-second answer, well, it's not too complex to have 10-second
Jon: That's true. I was trying to blitz through some of these.
Tim: Here we go. Joshua Lloyd Parker. That's an interesting question. "A lot of theologians
liken the Exodus out of Egypt to the book of Revelation with Pharaoh being a type of
the Antichrist and Moses and Aaron being the two witnesses. What do you think
Jon: Oh, interesting.
Tim: That's a good question, Josh. And I like the way you're thinking or I like the way that
theologians are thinking. So the point is, that Exodus story provides this pattern or
this archetype. And so yeah, the book of Revelation is definitely using the Exodus
story as the archetype to think about God's confrontation.
I think in John the visionaries day with Rome is he knows it, but in his day, Rome is
just another instance of the big, bad Egypt Babylon archetype. And so, he calls Rome
Babylon, but he uses the imagery of the defeat of Egypt for the victim.
Then, of course, like John's, not just writing about Rome. He's writing about the
archetypal...As many empires as come throughout human history are what John is
describing in the book of Revelation.
And so, when it comes to the antichrist, the antichrist, he's kind of like Voltron. You
guys remember Voltron? One of my favorite characters in the "Transformers
Universe," where the constructor cons [SP], construction machines. But then when
they needed to defeat the Autobots, they would form together into the ultimate
constructor con. And so that's Babylon. That's Pharaoh and that's Babylon in the
Jon: What are they?
Tim: They're the constructor con.
Jon: I'm not up on my Transformers.
Tim: I'm saying John the visionary in Revelation, he uses language and imagery from the
prophets from Babylon...
Jon: Oh, he constructs it together? I see.
Tim: ...from Moab, from Tyre and Sidon, from Egypt. He takes all the bad guys of the Bible
and makes them into the mega bad guy that he calls Babylon in the book of
Revelation. I think the parallels can get out of hand. What I'm interested in is the way
John intentionally is creating parallels to talk about the story of God's defeat of evil
in the book of Revelation. But anyhow, that's about the book of Revelation.
Jon: Yeah, which a lot of people want us to do.
Tim: The number one requested video that we make is...
Jon: An there will be one in—
Tim: Yeah, I'll be working on in August. Early August is when I'm slated to...
Jon: And then it'll come out in December.
Tim: You're right, it will come out in December. It will be a Christmas present.
Jon: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Bible Project podcast. Just quick note, the
Revelation video that Tim was referencing is out and it's available. You can see it on
our YouTube page youtube.com/thebibleproject. The video is called "The Day of the
Lord." We will release the second Q&R conversation on Exodus next week. Thanks
for being a part of this with us.