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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, December 28, 2014

“Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46, 47).  

When I was seventeen years old I felt definitely called into the ministry. I was not saved yet, but I knew God wanted me to be a preacher. They told me I had to have a college degree. I thought about that for a long time. I had dropped out of high school so no college would take me. I went back to high school. I was too old to get back into a regular high school, so I went to a special school for “bad boys.” I was not a bad boy, but this was the only high school that would take me. After a year or so I graduated and started thinking about college. During this time I read a book about James Hudson Taylor, the great pioneer missionary to China. I thought, “That’s what I am going to do. I’ll become a missionary to the Chinese people.”

I was nineteen years old when I joined the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles. That was over a year before Dr. Timothy Lin became the pastor. That same year, in the fall, I enrolled as a student in Biola College (now university). I had no money and no help from my family, so I took a part time job in the afternoons and went to the college in the mornings. I had no car, so I had to take a bus from Los Angeles out to La Mirada, where the college was located. I didn’t know how to study very well. The long bus trip early every morning and the hours of work in the afternoons was too much for me to handle. I failed most of my classes at Biola and withdrew from the school after one semester. But something happened at Biola that changed my life forever.

Each semester Biola brought in a special speaker for a week-long series of sermons in chapel each morning. The speaker that semester was Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge (1902-1995). He had been one of the founding professors at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. But Dr. Woodbridge had resigned from the faculty at Fuller a few months earlier because he could see that the seminary was already heading toward liberalism.

During the chapel services at Biola, Dr. Woodbridge preached verse-by-verse through II Peter. He had been born in China because his parents were missionaries. That made him seem very important to me. I listened to him more intently than I had ever listened to any preacher in my life. When he came to II Peter 2:1-3, he bore down hard against the incipient liberalism at Fuller, and the full-blown liberalism at many other seminaries. He was no fool. He had graduated with a Ph.D. in Church History from Princeton University and did further studies at Duke University. Dr. J. Gresham Machen appointed him as the head of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. After listening to him for a week I was converted. Not only was I saved, I believed in the word-for-word inspiration of the Bible, the absolute inerrancy of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. I only attended Biola for one semester. But it was there that Jesus saved me, and it was there that I learned to trust the words of the Holy Scriptures. The Pharisees in the first century said they believed the Old Testament, but they actually rejected its prophecies concerning Christ. And He said to them,

“Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46, 47).

Dr. W. A. Criswell pointed out that “The least that is inferred in Jesus’ [statement] is that Moses indeed wrote Scriptures and that the Jews knew the ones to which He referred” (The Criswell Study Bible; note on John 5:45-47). Dr. R. C. H. Lenski said, “...the Jews are not believing what Moses said and thus are also not believing what Jesus says” (The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel; note on John 5:46). And Dr. Charles John Ellicott says, “They had not believed Moses, and therefore had not believed Him” (Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible; note on John 5:46).

“Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46, 47).

Dr. Lenski said that Jesus’ words are “...worth more than all the so-called ‘research’ that has ever been put forth and it stands overagainst [against] these critics” (Lenski, ibid.). “Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me” (John 5:46).

Now we have this movie called “Exodus: Gods and Kings” – directed and partly produced by Ridley Scott. According to Wikipedia, “In 2013 Ridley stated that he is an atheist.” Therefore we should not be surprised that Dr. Albert Mohler said, “What we see in the film is Moses without the supernatural” ( No wonder! The co-producer and director of the movie is an atheist! How could a man who doesn’t believe in God produce a movie on Exodus that is true to the Scriptures and true to the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ? No wonder Ridley Scott portrays God as an eleven-year-old boy! No wonder he “presents plagues and miracles as non-supernatural events with a naturalistic explanation” (Mohler, ibid.). But Dr. Mohler said, “The Bible clearly presents the Exodus as history, and the history of Christianity is built upon that historic foundation” (ibid.).

But Ridley Scott “...made clear that he did not believe that Moses had ever lived – and that the Exodus account was not to be taken as historically true. He told Religious News Service that he looked at [his] film much as he looks at science fiction, ‘Cause I never believed in it...” (Mohler, ibid.). So Mr. Scott puts his own judgment against what the Lord Jesus Christ said,

“Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46, 47).

On April 13, 2001 (p. A-1) the Los Angeles Times had a front page article titled, “Doubting the Story of Exodus” by Teresa Watanabe, Times religion writer. The article was an attack on Exodus, quite similar to the perversions in the movie, “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” I will read the main points of the Times article and then answer them.

Doubting the Story of Exodus

Many scholars have quietly concluded that the epic of Moses never happened, and even Jewish clerics are raising questions...

The names of these scholars were not given, however. And only one Jewish “cleric” was quoted, the rabbi at a synagogue in Westwood, near Los Angeles. But the article didn’t say that this is not an Orthodox synagogue. And the article did not say that the rabbi is a liberal who has never taken the Old Testament seriously, as Orthodox rabbis do. And the article did not say that there were many Old Testament scholars like Dr. Gleason Archer of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Dr. Charles L. Feinberg of Talbot School of Theology, and Dr. Timothy Lin who was the president of China Evangelical Seminary in Taiwan. These men taught that the Book of Exodus was literally true. But men like them were not mentioned in the Times article. Only theologically liberal scholars were mentioned, giving the impression that no conservative scholars existed. The article went on to say,

Archaeologists say there is no conclusive evidence that the Israelites were ever in Egypt, were ever enslaved, ever wandered in the Sinai wilderness for 40 years or ever conquered the land of Canaan (ibid.).

I read this to my son Leslie. When the newspaper came out, he was 17 years old. Right after I read that my son said, “If these things [in Exodus] had taken place in a normal part of the world, like China or England, they would have found the evidence long ago. But it wasn’t ‘normal’ in the Middle East. They had constant war and friction. Since the Book of Exodus was written, the Jews have twice been scattered throughout the world. The places in the Bible [in Exodus] have been plundered and pounded and destroyed for thousands of years. We shouldn’t expect to find evidence laid out perfectly after all that.” When he said that, I thought to myself, “This seventeen-year-old boy has more brains than a liberal Bible critic.”

Rabbi David Eliezrie, president of the Rabbinical Council of Orange County, was quoted at the time of the article, saying,

Just a few years ago, the same archeologists that doubt the Exodus told us that King David never lived. This theory was [defeated] when an inscription about King David was discovered in Israel (Quoted in the Jewish Journal, 4/20/01, p. 11).

A friend of mine in Israel wrote to me saying that, just a few years before the Times article, archaeologists unearthed a piece of pottery, from the exact time of David’s life, which had the words “King David” clearly written on it.

Dr. W. A. Criswell was a brilliant scholar. He held a Ph.D. in Biblical languages from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the author of many books, including commentaries on many books of the Bible. He was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas for more than 50 years. He was twice elected as the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest “Protestant” denomination in America. He could easily have been the president of a theological seminary! In his landmark book, Why I Preach that the Bible is Literally True (Broadman Press, 1969) Dr. Criswell said,

      Formerly it was thought incredible that Moses could have written the Pentateuch [the first five books of the Bible] since he lived before the invention of writing. This was one of the assured results of modern [liberal] criticism. We now know, however, that writing in the Near East was a well-established art 2,000 years before Christ. Instead of writing being unknown in the days of Moses, we have discovered that centuries and centuries before the time of Moses writing was a well-developed art, far [before] the time of Moses...
      Another archaeological witness to the truth of the Bible is found in the treasure city of Pithom which was built for Ramses II by the Hebrews during the time of their hard bondage in Egypt. This city has recently been unearthed, and the walls of the houses were found to be of sunbaked bricks, some with straw and some without straw, exactly in accordance with Exodus 5:7...Once again Bible history has proved to be accurate, while the scoffing of the [liberal] critics has proved to be ridiculous and absurd.

But I will go further. The liberal critics, who were professors at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, when I attended there and graduated there, told us students there was no record of the Hebrews ever being in Egypt. I brought a photograph to them, showing people with beards making bricks, as we are told they did in the fifth chapter of Exodus. I showed the professors those pictures, taken from the wall of a pyramid. Yet they scoffed and laughed, and said I was a fanatic because I believed the Scriptures. But a photograph of one of these bearded men can be seen in the Historical Atlas of the Jewish People (cf. The Jewish Journal, 4/20/01, p. 11). Since all Egyptians were clean shaven, the men with beards making bricks, clearly points to the Hebrew people in the land of Egypt in the time of Exodus! The Orthodox Rabbi, David Eliezrie said of the Times article, concerning the liberal critics of Exodus,

Their lifestyle and education produce a mindset that creates a perspective predisposed against any proof of the Exodus. Only when they have absolutely no alternative will they acquiesce [admit] that something in the Torah [the Old Testament] may be true (The Jewish Journal, 4/20/01, p. 11).

Again, the Times article was laughingly, absurdly, wrong when it said, “The case against Exodus began crystallizing about 13 years ago...What scholars have known for more than a decade.” That is an outright lie. Bible critics have been saying things like that for over 200 years! Johann Semler (1725-1791) started this criticism of the Bible in Germany in the 18th century. Dr. Harold Lindsell said,

In 1757 he [became] head of the theological faculty at Halle. He was the one who developed the principles of textual criticism of the Bible. He departed from the orthodoxy of his father when he challenged the idea of the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures (Harold Lindsell, Ph.D., The Bible in the Balance, Zondervan Publishing House, 1979, p. 280).

The Times article said that liberal scholars have only known about these so-called “faults” in Exodus for a few years – 10 to 13 years when the article was written in 2001. This would mean that the critics didn’t start debunking Exodus until about 1988 or 1991. Then why did I hear all of this at Golden Gate Seminary in 1972 and 1973 – about 15 years earlier? And why did Dr. Henry M. Morris ask the following question in 1951, about 50 years before the Times article came out? In 1951 Dr. Morris said,

How is it possible that no one, down through the centuries, seems to have had the slightest suspicion that the writings were not genuine works of Moses until the modern higher critics went to work on them? (Henry M. Morris, Ph.D., The Bible and Modern Science, Chicago: Moody Press, 1951, p. 102).

And if these attacks on Exodus just started a few years ago, why did Winston Churchill write about them in 1932? Over 82 years ago Churchill defended Moses and Exodus against the liberal critics of the Bible in his time. Churchill said,

We reject, with scorn, all those learned and labored myths that Moses was but a legendary figure upon whom the priesthood and the people hung their essential social, moral and religious ordinances. We believe that the most scientific view, the most up-to-date and rationalistic conception, will find its fullest satisfaction in taking the Bible story [in Exodus] literally, and in identifying one of the greatest human beings [Moses] with the most decisive leap forward ever discernible in the human story. We remain unmoved by the [writings] of Professor Gradgrind and Dr. Dryasdust [the liberal critics of the Bible]. We may be sure that all those things [in Exodus] happened just as they are set out according to Holy Writ...we rest with assurance upon ‘The impregnable rock of Holy Scripture’ (Winston S. Churchill, “Moses,” in Amid These Storms, New York, Scribners, 1932, p. 293).

Churchill was not a Bible scholar. But he was a Nobel Prize winning historian (1953). As an historian he knew that the Book of Exodus had to be based on real happenings rather than myths. His historian’s insight gave him a far greater understanding than “Dr. Dryasdust” or any other critic of the Bible. It was the same kind of insight that let him see Hitler as a dangerous madman, when the rest of England’s and America’s leaders, including John F. Kennedy’s father, saw Hitler as a great “statesman” in the 1930s.

The true reason that the critics, and men like Ridley Scott in his movie on Exodus, don’t believe the Bible is because they are spiritually blind. The Bible says,

“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14).

The things of God are hidden to the “natural man.” Not until a man humbles himself, and trusts Christ, are his spiritual eyes opened to see the truth of Scripture.

“Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5:46, 47).

Jesus Christ died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. He rose physically from the dead to give you life. Christ said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Only when you are born again, by the power of God, will you be able to understand the great truths of Exodus, and of the entire Bible. Amen. Dr. Chan, please lead us in prayer.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: John 5:39-47.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“I Know the Bible is True” (by Dr. B. B. McKinney, 1886-1952).