Headlines around the world are announcing the publication of a "long lost" and "suppressed" ancient document, known as The Gospel of Judas. The National Geographic Society announced the publication at a major media event on Thursday, just in time to boost publicity for its Sunday night special on the National Geographic Channel. Indeed, those Gnostic ideas did become popular later, and they are becoming increasingly popular now. The truth of the Gospel stands, and Christians will retain firm confidence in the authenticity of the New Testament and, in particular, of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Nevertheless, old Gnosticisms are continually repackaged and "rediscovered" even as new forms of Gnostic thought emerge in our postmodern culture.
Hallmark/ABC To Air The Ten Commandments April 9-10 American Family Association asked Dr. John Oswalt, Old Testament professor at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, to review the new Hallmark/ABC version of The Ten Commandments scheduled to air on April 9-10 on ABC.
If you are wanting to see a movie which is true to Scripture, then forget this version of The Ten Commandments.
Below are Dr. Oswalt's comments. We felt his review might be of help in making your decision to view or not to view the program.
Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman American Family Association
P.S. Please forward this to your family and friends.
A review of Hallmark/ABC's The Ten Commandments by John N. Oswalt Research Professor of Old Testament Wesley Biblical Seminary Jackson, Mississippi
There is a lot to like about the movie.
In many cases, such as the healing of the water at Marah, or the giving of the manna, or the triumphing over the Egyptian diviners, the movie seems to follow the Bible text closely and presents good visual images of these. The self-doubt of Moses and his inner struggles, especially in the early going, are probably accurate. The rag-tag nature of the people and the vicious nature of Moses' opponents is well portrayed. There is no attempt to downplay the miraculous (in most cases). That being said, I think the movie has a lot of problems.
The unnecessary departures from the Biblical story line:
The Pharaoh did not make a one-time attempt to kill the boy babies because of some silly prophecy. It was his settled policy that the mid-wives should conduct post-birth abortions in order to destroy the Israelites as a people. Aaron came out to meet Moses as directed by God and in confirmation of God's word to Moses. There was no hocus-pocus about Joseph giving them the "I AM" name in advance so that they could identify the deliverer. Moses knew that he was to take them to Sinai where they would worship God; and they all knew where the Promised Land was. The Golden Calf is expressly said to have been a molded image which Aaron cast from molten gold. They missed one of the best pieces of ironic humor in the Bible when Aaron whines to Moses, "I put the gold in the fire, and out came this calf!" The additions to the story (all of which are designed to make the Lord [and Moses] look bad). Menrith, Zipporah’s rejection (which is not what the story implies), and the Hur incident are all used to say that God is harsh and demanding and really doesn’t care what he takes from us. The omissions (which bother me most of all).
The conflict of the plagues was not between Moses and Pharaoh; it was between God and Pharaoh. This is lost by leaving out God's commands to Moses regarding each of the plagues. The celebration by the sea recorded in Exodus 15. Moses was not weeping over some half-brother. He was leading the Israelites in exultant praise of God in one of the great hymns in all human history. The whole point of the Exodus is the Covenant. This was not a "bargain" (the making of which takes about 4 minutes of the 180). The Covenant is a detailed revelation of the character of God, of which the 10 Commandments are a very brief summary. The people were carefully briefed on the nature of what was expected of them, both verbally and in writing. And when they agreed (Exodus 24) it was a very solemn ceremony, where they swore their obedience in blood, calling down curses on themselves if they failed, and culminating with Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and the 70 elders having a meal in the presence of God. Thus, the Golden Calf incident was done in the full knowledge of just what it was they were rejecting. The conversations between Moses and God in both Exodus 32 and 34, both of which show God's compassion and his willingness to forgive and restore the relationship. The Tabernacle (!!!), which is the climax of it all – God coming to take up residence in their midst, not in curse, but in blessing. Probably the reason the Covenant and the Tabernacle are left out is because of the "scholars" the producers say they consulted with. Many scholars today insist that the covenant and Tabernacle are much later additions to the story. But, good grief, if they are going to go part way, why not go all the way? Most OT scholars today, sad to say, not only deny those things, they also deny that there was a Moses or an Exodus. So if you are going to do the story, do it all the way or not at all.
The Amalekites were raiders from the far north of the Sinai peninsula. They had no settlements south of Mt. Sinai. Their presence that far south in the peninsula was simply a sign that they saw the rag-tag crowd as "easy pickings" for a lightning aggressive attack. This is why the Bible pronounced a curse on them. They were not protecting their territory; they were slaughtering people they (wrongly) believed were helpless.
It was the Levites who stood with Moses after the Golden Calf incident and they went through their own tribe picking out those who had led the false worship. The total killed (out of the huge group of people) was 3000. There was nothing like the wholesale slaughter depicted in the movie. The incident is only 3 verses long!