Full Text for Exodus- Volume 2 - Why should we bother studying all of this history and culture surrounding the account of Exodus? (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY EDUCATION NETWORK EXODUS DR. DAVID ADAMS #2 Captioning Provided By: Caption First, Inc. 10 E. 22nd Street Suite 304 Lombard, IL 60148 800-825-5234 *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. *** >> Thank you, Dr. Adams. I appreciated your answer to Josh's question. However, I have a question about the focus of this class. Looking at the syllabus, the first part of this course seems to have a lot of history and other stuff. I believe that the Bible really is the word of God. It says what it says. Shouldn't that be all that matters? Why should we bother studying all of this history and culture surrounding the account of Exodus? My name is David, as well, by the way. >> That's a great Old Testament name, ***Dawed. It means beloved. It actually comes from a Hebrew word dude. I don't know if you know that or not. The verb dude in Hebrew means to -- to be liked. And the noun means to be an uncle or something like that. And the adjective form in Hebrew, Dawed, is usually translated beloved. And so it's a great Old Testament name. And I'm glad to have you in the class with me, David. You're right, one of the goals of this course -- I think it's No. 1, A, in the list -- is to have an understanding of the geographical, historical, cultural and religious context of the accounts of the book of Exodus. Now, this is there as a goal of this course not because I happen to like these topics. Although, I do. But because they are really very important theological issues at stake in this question. And it goes to the very essence of the Judeo Christian religion and what Judaism and Christianity is and the way that they differ from other religions. Christianity is not a spiritual religion. That is to say it's not a religion that focuses on the inner spiritual state of the soul of the individual before God like Buddhism does or like Gnosticism does. Christianity is ultimately about what God has done in the real world on the public stage of history before the world. It's not about me and my feelings. It's about what God has done to redeem me and to deliver me from sin and death and the Devil and restore the relationship between himself and me. As St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, he starts off the chapter by saying, "Now I remind you, brothers, of the gospel that I preach to you in which you received and which you stand." And then he continues a little later and he says, "I delivered to you as a first" -- "of first importance what I received. That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, that he appeared to Peter and then to the 12 and then to more than the 500." Paul goes on to say and -- then skipping a few verses he continues in Verse 12, "If Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there's no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." This -- in saying this, St. Paul speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit is making the same point that I was making a moment ago. That Christianity is not about my inner spiritual feelings or life. It's about what God has done. If the -- if Christ was not actually physically literally raised from the dead, then our faith is in vain. And we're all wasting our time. In the same way, the faith of Israel in the Old Testament, which is the foundation of our faith in Christ, is rooted in the acts that Yahweh does in public before the world. Especially the central redemptive act in the Old Testament, which is Yahweh's deliverance of the Hebrews from their bondage in Egypt. These things God did with real people at specific places at specific times. And the Bible is very specific about those places and times. Moreover, the Bible communicates those things to us in specific words, in a real language. And so to understand the revelation of the scriptures, one must also have at least a general understanding of the historical geographic literary, linguistic religious cultural background. Especially in a book like the book of Exodus where the focus is on the conflict between Yahweh and the gods of Egypt. If you don't understand how the Egyptians understood the gods of Egypt and their power, then you can never really understand the contrast that's being drawn between the God who is revealed in the Old Testament and the God that the Egyptians believed in. So it's -- so having that background and that context is going to be very important to us as we approach the book of Exodus. The Bible claims that these things were historical facts. And the whole faith of the Old Testament is about who Yahweh is and what Israel's relationship to him is. And these claims are rooted in the facts of what Yahweh does as he reveals himself to the world. And if these claims are false, then the whole faith of the Old Testament is false. And if the faith of the Old Testament is false, then the revelation of Jesus Christ who claims to be the fulfillment of what God is doing in the Old Testament is also false and our hope in him is in vain. And this takes us back to your question, David. We include a focus on the geography and history and the culture of the ancient world because it's necessary to understand something about these things in order to understand how God is revealing himself and his Gospel in the world. This is necessary because the Gospel of God, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, is not some abstract theological theory. It's not a set of ten spiritual principles or some kind of inner spiritual light. But rather, it's the account, as we've said, of the work of God in, with and under the events of history by which -- as Yahweh says to Moses in Exodus 7, "By which even Egypt will come to know who Yahweh is." In other words, this is how God reveals himself to the world. This is how God reveals himself to us. And if we're going to understand that revelation, if we're going to believe it, if we're going to teach it and proclaim it to others, then we have to come to grips with the real world in which God has revealed himself. And if we fail to do this, if we fail to keep our understanding of the Gospel rooted in the real world of place and time, then we run the danger of slipping into what the theologians would call the Gnostic heresy of turning the Gospel into some kind of inner spiritual life disconnected from the reality both of history and the reality of our own lives in the world today. That's really what St. Paul warns us against doing in II Corinthians 11 and in Galations 1 when he warns us about not accepting another Gospel and because we don't want to slip into another Gospel but keep the Gospel that God has revealed. Therefore, we look first at the context and the pallet, the canvas against which God has revealed that Gospel so that we can understand what's being said in the text. *** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. ***