Why Is Ancient Chronology Important?
What's the point of dealing with ancient and especially Egyptian chronology so often on this site? (See Synchronizing History, Shishak / Solomon's Temple, The Amarna Letters, etc.) This question has been raised many times during our lectures and with readers of this site. The question was asked on (http://sciencehistoryfaith.blogspot.com/) as recently as 1/18/2013. So what's the point? Why spend so much time dealing with chronology issues?
The statement was made in "Evolutionary Theory", "Scientific progress has been wonderful for the believer!". Each new scientific breakthrough seems to shed new light on the integrity of the Bible. George Valliath's article in the "Science" section titled: "20th Century and Faith", is an excellent read on this subject. The article sheds light on several areas where real science is actually proving the integrity of the Bible.
So, in recent years, a new angle of attack has been forthcoming and strikes at the very foundation of God's revelation of Himself in the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai. And once again, the attack comes from academia. The most recent comes from a professor at Utah State University.
The professor dusts off the old idea that monotheism (the belief in one God) began with Akhenaten, the 18th Dynasty heretic king. This was first proposed by Sigmund Freud in "Moses and Monotheism" in 1939. In it, Freud argued that Moses was an Egyptian, a follower of Akhenaton, who later lead the Children of Israel out from slavery in Egypt. Though discredited, the subject has once again surfaced as a criticism of the integrity of the Bible.
So the idea is perpetuated that the belief in one God who is both creator and sustainer of all things had its beginnings with Akhenaten. The belief was then, at a later time, taught to the Children of Israel by Moses at Mt. Sinai.
Secondly, this whole line of teaching is backed up with a comparison of Akhenaton's "Hymn to the Aten" with King David's "Psalm 104". The following is quoted from the Utah State University professor:
The implication is that King David must have borrowed his praise to the God of the Bible from Akhenaten's Hymn to the Aten. How then can you trust anything you read in the Bible? It is, after all, a collection of writings that are borrowed from the religious beliefs of other nations.
This is why accurate ancient chronology is so important. The fine professor is using outdated 19th Century historical assumptions. Nineteenth century historians believed Ramses II was the pharaoh of the Exodus. In fact, this is the same mistaken history that is portrayed in the movie "The Ten Commandments".
But today, we are a hundred years advanced in our knowledge of ancient Egyptian chronology and of the chronologies of the ancient world in general. We now know the Exodus preceded Akhenaten. The events at Mt. Sinai preceded Akhenaten. We also know King David preceded Akhenaten. In fact, those wonderful Amarna tablets were written during the time Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) were the Pharaohs of Egypt, Ahab was King of Israel and Jehoshaphat was King of Judah. This was hundreds of years after the reign of King David. (See Synchronizing History.)
It was King David who pinned those words of worship to the God of the Bible.
"Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89) (NAS)
© 2012 Gregory Drake
New Chronology Historians:
David Rohl, A Test of Time, Vol. 1, (Century Ltd, London, 1995)
Dr. Donovan A. Courville, The Exodus Problem, (Challenge Books, Loma Linda, 1971)
Dr. Herman Hoeth, Compendium of World History (out of print) (available as download)
Immanuel Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos, (1952)
John Ashton & David Down, Unwrapping the Pharaohs, (Master Books, Green Forest, 2006)