Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 10, 1967
NUMBER 14, PAGE 3b,5-6b

The Jenkins-Wallace Bible Land Tour-No.II.

Wm. E. Wallace

Moses The Egyptologist

Egyptian history begins with the first dynasty of ruling authorities in about 3200 B. C. Its long complex history is a field of lifetime study and Egyptologists and archeologist are challenged to seek more information in their quest to master fifty centuries of Egyptian history.

When Moses grew up in the household of Pharaoh he had fifteen centuries of Egyptian history before him to study. He would naturally have been instructed in Egyptian history. But Moses "forsook Egypt," "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God." (Heb. 11:27,25).

Before Moses made this decision he was exposed, as Pharaoh's "son", to Egyptian culture and history, much of which has been made available to us today by archeologists.

In Cairo we visited the museum in which so many real portrayals of early Egyptian history are found. The riches of King "Tut's" tomb are displayed here. The most interesting thing in the museum so far as I am concerned is a large stela on which Meneptah, son of Ramesses II, engraved a poetic account of his victories. The inscription includes the following: "Israel is crushed, it has no more seed." This is the sole mention of the Israelites in the Egyptian texts known to this day.

Moses would have known the same kind of hieroglyphic writings viewed in the museum today, and no doubt he gazed upon some of the very things, now shown in the museum. We are told that under Menes the first king of the first dynasty, written records were carefully kept. Moses had access to such records of the generations preceding his life in Pharaoh's court.

Kings of the fourth dynasty (ca 2680-2560 B. C.) built great pyramids. To view these pyramids is to look upon some things that Moses saw. He would certainly know of those "desolate places" which "kings and counselors" of the earth built from themselves (Job 3:14.) Moses, raised in the household of Pharaoh, was an Egyptologist.

Blending Of Modern And Primitive

We saw in Cairo an amazing blending of the modern and the ancient. Cairo is a thriving modern city in every sense involved in the phrase - it is indeed thriving and modern. Yet in everyday life, primitive culture blends with the modern to make Cairo an intriguing city. Bedouins and poor country folks come to town with their carts and wagons loaded with wares. They walk and do business in the same city, and often on the same block, as those of the prosperous and successful.

A few miles out from Cairo in the road to ancient Memphis we saw the same kind of primitive life that Moses saw. It was amazing to see in the Nile valley of the 20th century the same kind of ancient agricultural methods, the same manner of life in "adobe" abodes, same type of dress, same means of transportation - all this being the same kind of life as that known in Moses' day.

I said above that Cairo is a modern city. Modern it is, but not Old Cairo, To visit Old Cairo, adjoining Cairo proper, is a depressing and often sickening experience. The poverty, filth and privation is disheartening and disgusting. Yet the people, including the children, seemed happy in this ghetto garnished with uncleanness. We left feeling that if we were going to contract any diseases or "bugs" on this trip we had picked them up in Old Cairo.

Our last Cairo stop was on the Citadel, a military bastion built by the famous Moslem Saladin in the twelfth century. On this hill, where we were blessed with a panoramic view of the Nile Oasis and all of Cairo, a nineteenth century Moslem, by name of Mohammad Ali built a tremendous mosque. Our guide pointed out that this Mohammad Ali was not kin in flesh or religion to the American Cassius Clay type.

At The North End Of Palestine

We first set foot on Palestinian soil in old Phoenician country at Beirut, Lebanon. At first I didn't feel the impact of touching down on this Bible land. But after settling down in our most excellent accommodations on the shores of the Mediterranean, the fact of being in Palestine became real to me, and I thought of how the hand of God touched Palestine in the events of Bible times.

This area called Lebanon is famous especially for the "cedars of Lebanon." It played a vital part in the historical processes of Bible times. A visit to the "Dog River" site near Beirut where ancient and modern armies passed caused us to marvel at the volume of military history represented at this passage between the hills. Ramses II of Egypt and Shalmannerzer III of Assyria are the more famous greats of ancient times who passed this way and left signs of their presence in stone.

At Byblos (the Bible Gebal, Giblites or 'stonesquarers, I Kings 5:16-18, Joshua 13:5, Ezekiel 27: 9, we saw ruins representing successive civilizations all the way back to 3000 B. C. Byblos is one of the few continuously occupied cities existing in the world which date back 3000 years before Christ.

This ancient coastline settlement is typical of the whole Mediterranean shoreline as to important military civilizations which were so active in ancient times.

This area of northern Palestine does not hold the interest of Bible students as keenly as that south of here. But our visits to the Beirut-Byblos area whetted our appetite for deeper explorations into the land which God used in the development of his plan of salvation.

Valley Of Beka

A drive across the Lebanon mountains where Hiram cut the cedars for Solomon's temple revived us from the effects of the loss of our usual amount of sleep. The beauty of the scenery of these mountains is embellished by the Valley of Beka (Joshua 11:17) -that land-lay between two mountain ranges, fertile in scenic as well as agricultural value. How fortunate were Phoenicians of Old Testament times to hold this land!

At the head of this valley of vineyards, the ruins of Baalbek in an unsurpassed impressiveness reflect the glory of Roman culture. Emperor Nero himself built this complex of temples to false gods. Baal was the god of this valley of Beka. Temples were erected here for the worship of Jupiter, the sky-god; Bacchus the god of wine, and Venus the god of love. In the temples of these gods, Roman orgies, perhaps not much more involved than some modern "go-go" dancing and drinking parties, reflected the decadent morals of Roman civilization.

The destruction of the marvels of Baalbek's pagan complex by earthquakes and armies would seem related to the providence of the only true and living God. One thing for sure - the ancient religion of Baalbek is, in its formal state, dead. The viewing of its ruins astonishes us as to the truth that architectural glory and other temporal accomplishment cannot sustain false religion and immorality against the avenging hand of God.

-Continued next week-