Disagreements about the Exodus story including the Tabernacle:

1    The Tabernacle Tale
2    The Tabernacle Truth

The Tabernacle Tale

(Investigator 133, 2010 July)

Our story begins with Yahweh (God) telling Moses to come up and see him on the top of Mount Sinai and God would give him two tablets of stone (Exodus 24:9,10) written by God's own finger — on it was inscribed the laws and the ten commandments that Moses was to take to the people of Israel, God's chosen people. (Exodus 31:17)

Before proceeding further with this tale it must be pointed out:

1. That Yahweh (God) was invented by the Jews in 6 b.c.
2. That Moses was the greatest con-artist of the Old Testament, many scholars say that he too was a mythical figure.
3. Mount Sinai the place where Moses and God had regular chats, did not exist, modem research cannot find its location or any other reference to it, just another mythical mount.
4. The 10 commandments were almost word for word copied from the laws of King Hammurabi of Babylon in 1750 b.c. which he put into the mouth of his god Shamash. Also other civilizations such as China, India, Egypt, had similar legal codes written long before the bible story.

As Moses was struggling with these two heavy slabs of stone, Yahweh said to him that the Israelites were playing-up, worshipping other gods etc, Moses must go down immediately and sort them out. (Exodus 31:18-32:16)

Moses rushed down Mount Sinai with the tablets, but he was too late, he saw that the Israelites had made a golden calf and were worshipping it. Moses flew into a rage and dashed the two tablets into pieces at the base of the mount. (Exodus 32:19)

Also about the time when all this was going on, Yahweh decided that he would like to come and live among the Israelites, so after discussion, with Moses, he ordered that Moses build him a sanctuary. He then gave Moses the exact plans of how he wanted it done, the construction of the Tabernacle or "Portable worshipping tent" or "Tent of meeting." (Exodus 25-28)

It was to have a cube shaped inner room called the "Holy of Holies". In it was to be the Ark of the Covenant, which would house the 10 commandments.

Here the reader must be made aware, that after Moses dashed the originals to pieces, God called Moses up into the mountain again and gave him a second set. (Exodus 34)

The Lord would often come down and visit Moses and speak to him face to face inside the Tabernacle, as a man speaks to a friend. (Exodus 33:11)

God would insist that the Israelites keep his commandments and especially the sabbath day. No one must work on the sabbath, anyone violating this command would be put to death. (Exodus 31:12-17) If the Israelites kept God's commandments, God would wipe out all Israel's enemies and take over their lands-

"…My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the lands of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. (Exodus 23:23)

Moses gets worked up one fine day (Exodus 33:18) and said to the Lord "Show me I pray thee, thy glory." This is another biblical invention, because according to scholars, these very words were re¬cycled from a Greek myth about the god Zeus. Anyway to get on with our fairy story — and the Lord said to Moses "Thou cannot see my face, for man shall not see my face and live." [Exodus 33:20)

One can reasonably ask: What happened to all that previous talk between God and Moses where God and Moses would speak face to face inside the Tabernacle, as a man speaks to a friend?  (Exodus 33:11)

Yahweh continues on: "and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth you by, I will put thee in a cleft of the rock and will cover thee with my hand until I have passed by (Exodus 33:22)…and I will take away my hand and thou shall see my back but my face shall not be seen." (Exodus 33:23)

This gentle and loving God insisted that the Israelites keep the sabbath or be put to death but he was a homicidal maniac and a mass murderer, the evidence is there in the bible.

The body count in Exodus alone is as follows:
•    Plagues upon the Egyptians 25,000-30,000. Exodus 6
•    Killing Egyptian first-born 1,000,000. Exodus 11
•    Wiping out the Egyptian army 5,000-8000. Exodus 14
•    Killing the Amalakites 1,500-2,500. Exodus 17
•    Killing grumbling Israelites 500. Exodus 17
•    Wipe out All men, women and children of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, Canaanites and Jebusites 28,000,000. Exodus 23

Grand total approximately 32,000,000 killed by this ever loving God. Ha! Ha!

Brian de Kretser.
Institute for Research into Religions
Darwin, N. T. Australia.



(Investigator 134, 2010 September)

Is the "tent of worship" or "Tabernacle" which the Israelites constructed after their Exodus from Egypt merely a biblical "tale"? Let's consider this and other claims that Mr De Kretser made in #133.

Firstly, De K claimed the Jews invented God, "Yahweh" in 6BC. According to the Bible the reverse is the case — God created Israel. Israel started with one man Abraham near 2000BC whose descendants multiplied and became a nation.

At present the oldest archaeological reference to Israel is on a two-metre stone slab recording victories of Pharoah Merneptah (c1213-1203BC) and found in 1896 at Thebes. It reads, "Israel is laid waste! Her seed exists no more!" and confirms that Israelites, as a people, lived in Canaan before 1200 BC.

Ancient inscriptions of the name of God "Yahweh" have also been found. In 1995 Time magazine reported the discovery of two 7th-century BCE amulets containing rolled up silver sheets with the benediction of Numbers 6:24-27 including the name "Yahweh" inscribed. Time commented: "The discovery made it clear that parts of the Old Testament were being copied long before some skeptics had believed they were even written."

De K claims Mount Sinai "did not exist." Actually there are two candidates for Mount Sinai, one is in the Sinai Peninsula, the other in NW Arabia. Both are listed in atlases.

De K claims the Ten Commandments were copied "almost word for word" from Hammurabi (an 18th century BC Babylonian king). The fact is that no copying has been proved. If two countries have some similar legislation the reason might be that their citizens have similar concerns and fears. Australia and China, for example, have penalties for murder but that does not prove Australia copied China or vice versa.

The Tabernacle was, according to the Bible, in use for centuries. Its essential features became the model or plan for Solomon's Temple and for other Israelite shrines of worship. Solomon's Temple was destroyed in 586BC and later replaced with a new temple, again modelled on the Tabernacle, which lasted until 70CE.

Since temples modelled on the Tabernacle existed, that suggests the original had existed too. The lack of archaeological confirmation may be due to the non-durable construction materials (seal skins and wood) of the Tabernacle and because nations surrounding Israel often deliberately destroyed historical records. They sometimes altered history so extensively that even an empire powerful enough to conquer Egypt was forgotten until recently although remembered in the Bible. That's like erasing Russia from 20th-century history! (See #124)

De K claims the following are contradictory:
•    God spoke face to face with Moses. Exodus 33:11
•    You cannot see my face because no man may see my face and live. Exodus 33:20

One answer is the purely logical point that "face to face" does not necessarily imply sight. A person can speak "face to face" with another without seeing him if he is blind or if the other were invisible.

A deeper, theological, answer is the Bible doctrine that God spoke by proxy using angels as intermediaries. (Acts 7:53, 38; Galatians 3:19) The few individuals who encountered angels sometimes regarded the meeting as "seeing God face to face". (Compare Genesis 32:24-30 with Hosea 12:4)

De K criticised the clause in the Law of Moses that condemned to death people who broke the Sabbath. (Exodus 31:12-17) Israel, however, voted on whether to accept the Law of Moses — including the Sabbath — and apparently 100% were in favour. (Exodus 19:8; 24:3, 7) Israel, the entire nation, had experienced slavery in Egypt without a Sabbath rest and wanted no repetition of that period. In a subsistence level society the Sabbath-rest promoted health by preventing overwork, protecting against exploitation, and reducing stress. The Bible also teaches that, "A little leaven ferments the whole batch" meaning that a little evil can gradually infect everyone. Sabbath-breaking, therefore, could potentially spread until it became the norm and hurt thousands of people.

De K criticised the killing of Egypt's first-born in the 10th Plague on Egypt and the later killing of the Canaanites. Egypt previously ordered the killing of Israel's baby boys and continued this policy for decades. The Bible teaches that God judges by the principle, "With the judgment by which you judge, you will be judged." Whenever God intervenes for the greater good of humankind, and the people who provoke his intervention also despise mercy, then evil equivalent to what they had practiced gets thrown at them. This is also true of the Canaanites — see Canaanite Apocalypse in #132. In Canaan's case the future good of billions of people was at stake.

De K likes to "Ha Ha" when making misguided claims. That's what German geologists did in the 1930s when informed that the geology around Nordlingen was produced by an asteroid impact. They laughed because they considered the idea absurd. The Bible, however, shows that "brimstone" (Genesis 19:24-25; 2 Peter 2:6) and even burning mountains (Revelation 8:8) can drop from the sky. Nowadays nations spend $billions to study the threat.

By declaring the book of truth a "fairy tail", misguided atheists promote apathy toward threats to humanity's existence.

Can the Bible be defended in open, written-down, debates?
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