Pharaoh vs. the Warrior God

A discussion on the role of technology in the Bible.

Episode 2
Apr 14, 2017
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Show Notes

In this episode, Tim and Jon continue their conversation on The Day of the Lord. The guys will build on their discussion on Babylon from part one as they try to get at what the biblical authors think about technological advances. Why did God seem to disapprove of man's invention of the brick in the story of the Tower? The guys will also spend some time talking about the exodus of the Hebrew people from ancient Egypt. It's one of the key events in Scripture, and it’s where the term Day of the Lord comes from. Thinking about God as a Warrior God is a little hard for us to swallow in our modern context, but it’s undeniably a part of his attributes, and he shows up in Scripture, time and time again, to fight for the oppressed.

In the first part of the episode (01:46-13:37), the guys talk about technology in the Bible. Are technological advances bad? Does technology really detract from God’s glory? Tim brings this back around to the idea of subduing creation in Genesis 1. Technology can bend towards evil or exalting humans, but it can also be used to carry out the task that God gave in the garden. If humans realize that they live under God’s authority and reign, they can use whatever their realm of influence and opportunity is and bend towards the common good and in the name of Jesus.

In the next part of the episode (13:56-42:27), the guys continue the story of the Old Testament and pick up in Egypt, where God’s people are being enslaved by Pharaoh. In the Bible we see that the enemy of God’s people is the ruler or nation who doesn’t acknowledge God as authority and who redefines good and evil based on their terms. Pharoah is doing this, but we’ll see it throughout the rest of Scripture as well. In this story, God defeats and Moses tells the people to remember the day. That same day is celebrated in the feast of Passover. The celebration and remembrance of Passover as a day, a moment in time, is where the term, Day of the Lord, comes from. This biblical theme is all about a moment of time where God confronts human evil on a large scale and brings down the oppressor.

Video: This episode is designed to accompany our video called, “Day of the Lord.” You can view it on our youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBc2gSSW04

References: What is the Hope for Humanity? A discussion of technology, politics, and theology with N.T. Wright and Peter Thiel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9Mlu7sHEHE

Show Music: Defender Instrumental by Rosasharn Music; Ready to Make Way by Greyflood

Scripture References
Genesis 11
Exodus 15:17-18
Genesis 2-3
Exodus 1:8-14
Exodus 5:1-2
Exodus 11-12
Exodus 13:3
Exodus 14:30-31
Exodus 15:1-3

Podcast Date: April 14, 2017


Jon: This is Jon from The Bible Project. Today on the podcast, we continue our

conversation on the biblical theme of the Day of the Lord. If you haven't listened to

the first part of our conversation on this theme, I'd recommend you go and do that.

We introduced the theme, and we talk about the Tower of Babel or the Tower of

Babylon as it really is, and how Babylon is a central and essential concept to

understand the Day of the Lord.

In this episode, we're going to talk about how Egypt is compared to Babylon, about

how God rescued his people and oppressed immigrant population in Egypt and how

He's described as a warrior.

Tim: Especially in Western Christian culture, we really struggle with warrior imagery. But

here, the biblical authors want us to see that that's a part of God's character, God is

for the oppressed.

Jon: But before we get into that, I first wanted to have a conversation with Tim about

technology. You see, the city of Babylon had a new technology, the brick, which they

used to build an impressive tower that reached up into the skies and made them feel

like they were themselves, God. God doesn't like this, He scatters everyone.

And so, I wanted to know, what does this mean for how we should view technology?

Is technology inherently bad? Will we always use it to build Babylon? That's where

we will begin today. Here we go.

Jon: We need to talk about technology.

Tim: Okay, great.

Jon: It's not going to make into the theme video. I think a lot about technology and the

future of technology. In the Tower of Babel, they're using a technology...

Tim: That's highlighted as part of the story. They've developed technology.

Jon: ...to become people that can depend on themselves rather than God and to become

like God.

Tim: To exalt themselves to what they think is the status of the gods.

Jon: And now it's still fringe, but it's not so fringe for certain people to talk about how

technology is going to do this something very much like make us like God. Radical

life extension being one thing that might happen because of advancements in

medicine and nanotechnology and human genome being able to edit it now and

stuff like that. CRISPR. Do you CRISPR?

Tim: No.

Jon: It's a gene editing technology. Just go in, snip out the DNA you don't want, put a

new DNA. They're fighting cancer this way now doing that to T cells and stuff. So

radical life extension being one. Having powers that are very divine like being able to

create things—

Tim: Creates organisms.

Jon: Create organisms, create organs. Do these things, I mean, if you were to show up

200 years ago and do it, you would be a god, right?

Tim: Yeah.

Jon: And in a way, it will make us feel very sufficient. I mean, who knows what will

happen? Nothing could work, it becomes a nightmare scenario. But what if it did?

Let's just go with the thought of, Now, we're living these radically longer lives as

healthy people. We can do all these really amazing things with technology. And now

we feel very sufficient and feel godlike. Is Genesis 11 warning us against that?

Tim: I don't think. I think here you have to do a whole biblical theology of good and evil

and of human progress. I don't think Genesis 11 is a case against technology.

Jon: But is it a case against technology making us prideful and making us try to be God?

Tim: Technology is technology, whether it's a hammer or gene editing software.

Jon: It's a tool.

Tim: It's a tool. So the fundamental question is, who defines what is good and what is not

good to be done as humans rule the world under God's authority. Human beings

have to progress and develop even if the fall hadn't happened. Because they are

ruling and subduing and taking creation into new places, in new directions.

Jon: So you're saying that—

Tim: I'm saying that it's a moral question of the knowledge of good and evil. How human

beings develop and use tools, ultimately needs to be brought under the ethical and

moral examination.

Jon: But you just said we have to progress.

Tim: Well, just by nature.

Jon: Do you think there's a biblical mandate to progress in technology?

Tim: I think there's a mandate which is not a mandate, it's a blessing. A divine blessing.

"Rule the earth and subdue it, be fruitful and multiply." The context of the story is

gardening. I think the point is, is the idea of subduing. That word "subdue," take

what his latest and potential and bring that out and harness it and take it in a

direction it wouldn't otherwise go.

Jon: So if you put technology there in the blessing, then—

Tim: Then just like in Cain City, where you have music and new sorts of metal technology,

but that in the case of Lamech, it becomes bent towards evil and murder. Then in

Babylon, it becomes bent towards self-exaltation. This is why, in the wisdom

literature, the only place where the tree of life and that phrases "Knowledge of Good

and Evil" appear again in the Old Testament is in Genesis 2 and 3 and the wisdom


In the wisdom literature is about if the fear of the Lord, recognizing that you live as

one of God's creatures under God's guidance and under His authority and that God's

definitions of good and evil form the boundary lines. If I start there, then I will have

wisdom in whatever scenario I encounter to make the wise decision.

Jon: Whether that be radical life extension technologies, artificial intelligence?

Tim: Yeah. In other words, what I'm saying is the part of the Bible that I think is the

resource drop on for those kinds of questions is the wisdom literature specifically.

Jon: So Genesis 11 isn't this, "let's be careful not to create technologies that make us not

depend on God."

Tim: Yeah. More it wouldn't be, "Let's be careful that our technologies don't do pass into

thinking that we are God or that we can simply reinvent moral categories of right

and wrong and the value of life.

I mean, these are very complex questions. I'm not an expert in them, but I think

that's where the biblical tradition would offer us wisdom to kind of guide. It's the

question of just because it's possible, it doesn't mean it's the wise thing to do. And

so that's the question. I'd have to think about it more. They're smarter people

thinking about this.

Jon: About technology?

Tim: Do you remember there's that interview that we both listened to.

Jon: Yeah. With Wright?

Tim: Yeah, and Peter Thiel. They came to this point in the conversation about technology

development and a biblical worldview.

Jon: Peter Thiel, the venture capitalists?

Tim: Yeah. Anyhow, he's trying to integrate a biblical worldview with a view of what kind

of future should be funded for the human race? Bringing you all the way back, I

think the technology is an interesting and important theme, the developing portrait

of the human condition in the Bible but it's not inherently evil. It just happens that


Jon: It's highlighted in the story.

Tim: It's highlighted as being the occasion for evil, and it will be again in the story. I

mean, think about it. The forefront of technological advancement for much of

human history has been for the purposes of either killing people or protecting

yourself or consolidating power once you have killed people.

Is it too far to say that technological advancement for most of human history has

been for the selfish purposes of killing. Anyway, I don't know. I'm getting above my

pay grade on that.

Jon: But that was awful for me, because part of me when I read the story of Tower of

Babylon is I think, "Oh, man, is this an indictment against technology?" Because,

man, technology, I mean, it's a double-edged sword. It seems like it's a net positive.

Tim: I think so, too. Again, I think it's inherent in the divine commission and blessing on

page 1, which is to rule the world and subdue its resources and take the creation

into new horizons.

Jon: The thing that NT Wright was saying in that lecture or that conversation we were

referring to with Peter Thiel is he was saying, "Look, technology can be used to

advance the kingdom of God and it can be used to advance Babylon. Babylon." And

so, how do you parse that out?"

Tim: Yeah, how do you know which kingdom you're building with the same tool.

Jon: Like medicine is a great example of part of the kingdom of God is people being

taken care of, the poor. If there's a medical technology advancement that helps to

that end, that seems like something that as Christians we should celebrate, and we

should see as an advancing of the kingdom of God.

But I feel like from the tradition I grew up in kind of an end of the world scenario,

end times is things are just going to get worse and worse.

Tim: I see.

Jon: And so, instead of finding technological advances that advanced kingdom of heaven

now, we got to wait for God to come and he'll fix things. I think that's kind of what

they're wrestling with is, "At what point do you say, no, we just have to wait for God

to come and fix this."

Tim: Actually, here we're in the theme video of Promised Land and exile.

Jon: Oh, really?

Tim: Yeah, totally, because the Israelites find themselves exiled in Babylon, and what

Jeremiah tells them to do is, "Settle down, build homes, plant gardens, pray for the

shalom of Babylon because when it prosperous, you prosper and you bear witness

to my name there." Then you get all these stories of Daniels and Esthers and the

important story of Joseph in Egypt and later stories in Jewish tradition, like Judith or


So these stories of Israelites in foreign empires, but serving the common good there.

I think that's the part of the Bible that addresses the stories because followers of

Jesus are called exiles in the New Testament. So the fact that we're exiles doesn't

mean you sit around and wait for God to come and fix it. But at the same time, you

can't think that you're going to rescue the world. You just build a home, plant a

garden, pray for the shalom of Babylon and do the best to contribute to it with the


Jon: And to plant a garden, the analog to that would be, start a technology company.

Tim: Yeah, right, or whatever your realm of influence and opportunity is, to bend it

towards the common good in the name of Jesus.


Tim: Here's where the story goes from Babylon to the confusion of languages and

scattering. And you wonder, "What on earth is God going to do with this mess of

humanity?" Here's where the story goes.

God takes one family line out of the scattering of Babylon, it gets traced through the

line of Abraham, and then God makes His promise to Abraham that He's going to

restore His divine blessing to all of the nations through Abraham and his family. So

the question is, how? And that becomes the main storyline of the Old Testament.

We've made many videos about that theme.

So, Abraham's family grows and he does become a blessing to his immediate

neighbors around him. There's a famine in the land of Canaan and so they all go

down to Egypt. Story of Joseph and his brothers just condensing a lot. But the main

thing to focus on for Day of the Lord is the family ends up staying in Egypt after

Joseph passes away.

Jon: So they're gone in Egypt, now they become a large people group.

Tim: Yeah, they are a growing family.

Jon: The Hebrews?

Tim: Yeah. Then Exodus one begins with this big time jump to...this is in Exodus 1:8. "Now

a new king arose over Egypt who didn't know Joseph."

Jon: Because Joseph was awesome.

Tim: Joseph was awesome and a friend of the king. So time has passed. "And Pharaoh

said to his people, 'Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more numerous and

mightier than us.'"

Jon: Oh, wow. So there's a lot of them.

Tim: There's a lot. So think, a huge immigrant population that's exploding.

Jon: More numerous and mighty.

Tim: Now, we don't know how much of this is pumped up on rhetoric, but he's trying to

paint this immigrant group as an imminent threat to national security. "Come, let us

deal wisely with them, or else they're going to multiply even more, and then in the

event of a war, they're going to join with our enemies and fight against us and leave

the land.

So here are the keywords. "They appointed taskmasters. It's the first story of widescale

slavery in the Bible. They point to taskmasters over them to afflict them with

hard labor, and they built for Pharaoh storage cities, Pithom and Rameses." Here's

the paradox. "The more they afflicted Israel, the more they multiplied and spread."

So it's not working. Slavery is not working. So that they are in dread of the sons of


Jon: Because not only did they want them to get some stuff done for them, they thought

it would curb their influence?

Tim: Yeah. They thought, "Let's demote them, enslave them, and let's get some building

projects done to double win."

Jon: They're not going to become a really important people group here if they're

enslaved. But instead, they keep growing."

Tim: They keep multiplying. And then the last line of this story, this is Exodus 1:13, "The

Egyptians compelled the sons of Israel to labor rigorously and they made their lives

better with hard labor in mortar and brick." At all kinds of labor in the field, all their

labors which they rigorously imposed on them.

Jon: And mortar and brick is the same stuff as...?

Tim: Yeah. This whole description is packed with phrases from the story of Babylon in

Genesis 11. So mortar and brick, there are only two places in the Old Testament

where there are stories about cities being built with mortar and brick—Babylon,

Genesis 11, Egypt, in the story right here.

Jon: Exodus 1.

Tim: This is a really common narrative technique of the biblical authors when they want

you to see a connection between two stories or two events, they'll use unique

groups of words and repeat them at distances from each other in different stories.

These collections of words, building cities, mortar, and brick only appear in relation

to Babylon and Egypt. And it's the narrator's way of winking at you is saying, "Do

you see what's happening here?"

Jon: Egypt building itself to be Babylon.

Tim: Yeah, Egypt is the new Babylon. But think back to Genesis 3 to 11. We had a lot of

violence building up to Babylon. And Babylon wasn't violent, it was just prideful and

self-exaltation. But here now, that self-exaltation does lead to violence and

oppression. Babylon is an oppressor here in the form of Egypt. This how these

figures or archetypes work is that Egypt becomes the newest version of Babylon.

Just a few chapters later, when God appoints Moses to go confront Pharaoh on the

first interaction between Moses and Pharaoh, and Moses says the famous line from

the movie, "Let my people go." And Pharaoh's first response is in Exodus chapter 5.

He says, "But Pharaoh said, 'Who is Yahweh that I should listen to His voice and let

Israel go? I don't know Yahweh; I will not let Israel go.'"

So the portrait of Babylon/Egypt is really built up in this story. It's given more detail

than Genesis 11. It's about not acknowledging Yahweh has my authority. It's about

redefining good and evil in our collective interests, so that now enslaving and as the

story goes, planning a genocide of a whole people group becomes good. That is


Jon: Becomes the right thing to do.

Tim: It becomes the right thing to do. Why? Because we've exalted our national identity

to the status of the gods. And so it needs to be protected, national security,

economy, we'll build story cities, wipe these people out, we'll be victorious over

enemies. Who's your Yahweh? It means what Pharaoh is saying, "I don't have a god

over me."

Jon: The genocide actually happens before this, right?

Tim: The genocide happens right after the slave labor. And so, the whole story of the rise

of Moses becomes this lead up because Pharaoh says, "All the boys get thrown in

the river." He starts killing them off. And then a boy getting thrown in the river

becomes the seed of Pharaoh's downfall. So the very thing he did to destroy Israel

becomes the source so his own destruction. It's an amazing story.

The point here is that Egypt has become Babylon but now the portrait of Babylon is

fuller because it's about this idolatry of national identity that leads to a redefinition

of good and evil so that murder becomes the good thing to do.

Jon: Now is this the time of Egypt where they're building their big temple pyramid

things? Do we know exactly?

Tim: You mean the ones that exist today outside of Cairo?

Jon: Yeah.

Tim: Well, there's quite a bit of debate about this. Some of them are certainly older.

They're older than Abraham even—Abraham's period of time. But some of them

date to the late, I think it's called the second Kingdom period.

Jon: So there would have been some around?

Tim: Yes, there would have been.

Jon: This is a progressive city.

Tim: Oh, yeah. Pithom and Rameses were known stores cities. Yeah, absolutely. This

period of Egyptian history is the same dynasties as the great pyramids and the

Sphinx. One of the great ancient nations, not an empire. They tried to be an empire,

it didn't work out. But Egypt is the first biblical portrayal of a huge nation-state with

national interests that begins to absorb and destroy other people groups in the

name of its divine—

Jon: Self-protection.

Tim: Yeah, all that. So the conflict is set up then. We have the God who wants to bless all

the nations with the family of Abraham, but the family of Abraham is enslaved to the

new Babylon the king of Egypt. "What's God going to do? He's going to open up a


Actually, no. First, He's going to invite Pharaoh to humble himself. "Let my people

go." 10 times actually. I know modern readers we read the Exodus plagues as like,

"Whoa, chill out, God." Ancient readers would read it and go, "Oh, my gosh, He gave

10 chances. He gave Pharaoh 10 chances? And each time Pharaoh resists."

And the story is building up this tension between the kingdom of Babylon in Egypt

and the kingdom of God. So that all leads up to the last act.

Jon: It's interesting to think about, like, if you think about God, as the true world Empire,

or the true world, like Emperor or something, the true power, there's some dictator

whose oppressing people group, are creating genocide, and the world power comes

and says, "Hey, would you please stop?" then gives them a warning. And then comes

back second time, "would you please stop."

Tim: And this time he plays a really harsh sanction.

Jon: And you do that. And then finally you're like, "All right, now we're going to come

and invade and take over and it's going to be gnarly." That would be pretty

diplomatic. You would expect them to come and just be like, "Be done. You're killing

people. You're oppressive. You should not be in charge."

Tim: Yeah. There's many modern potential equivalents, right? Yeah, that's right. We would

see 10 acts of diplomacy in the midst of a genocide as extremely generous. I think

we at least ought to be open-minded to read the story more from that perspective, I

think, as modern readers.

But nonetheless, Pharaoh resists, and so it all leads to this last conflict of Passover,

and then the defeat of Pharaoh and his armies in the Red Sea. So Passover

memorializes the last plague, the death of the firstborn.

Jon: And the plague that got Pharaoh to repent.

Tim: That's the one that got Pharaoh to repent at least long enough for the Israelites to

all escape. But what's interesting is Passover is memorialized, the story just stops,

comes to a screeching halt. And this is where the word "day" and that phrase, "Day

of the Lord" begins life. Because Passover is a day—it was a day when some

mysterious form of plague or something went through Egypt in the course of 24

hours. And the Israelites or anybody was invited to enter a house covered with the

blood of the Passover lamb on the door, and you could detect it. Then that meal was

ritually reenacted every year now for thousands of years.

And so in Exodus 13, this is all an act. It says, "Moses said to the people, remember

this day that you went up out of Egypt, from the house of slavery, for by a powerful

hand, the Lord brought you out of this place, so do the meal."

Jon: So Passover is to remember the Day of the Lord?

Tim: Remember the Day of the Lord on Egypt. Yeah. I won't give a long list, but as you

read through in the rest of the Old Testament, the day of Egypt or this day of what

God did to Egypt is referred to in these phrases as The Day or the days that you

came up out of Egypt. This moment in time when God confronted his people.

Jon: Is it ever referred to as the Day of the Lord or just The Day?

Tim: Just The day. But it's the first place that this concept of a day when God confronted

human evil on a huge level and brought down the oppressor.

Jon: So when Jesus celebrates Passover and says, "This is about me and my death" then,

is he saying his death in some way is a Day of the Lord?

Tim: Yes, absolutely. It's a part of the metrics of ideas connected to the Day of the Lord.

Jon: It's God's judgment coming on a day but—

Tim: It's God toppling the evil empires to rescue the innocent and to bring his kingdom.

Passover is a liberation festival about the kingdom of God coming to defeat evil.

Jon: But in the case of Jesus, it didn't take down an oppressive Empire. It took down


Tim: Yes, but Jesus believed he was taking down something even more mysterious that is

underneath all the evil empires—all of sin and death, which is the Cane revolution,

Genesis 4. Sin is crouching at humanity's door wanting to devour it, and you must

overcome it. And of course, humanity never does. We'll get there. But you're right,

the reason Jesus chooses Passover for a very important symbolic set of reasons to

unpack what he was about to do.

Passover is "the day" but also in the narrative that follows about the armies of

Pharaoh getting destroyed by the waters is also called "the day." In the story itself

after it happens the narrator pipes up in Exodus 14:30 and says, "Thus the Lord

saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians and Israel saw the Egyptians

dead on the seashore, Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the

Egyptians that people feared the Lord, they believed in the Lord and in his servant,


These are two separate days actually. Passover was a couple days ago, then they

split from their cities and now they're out at the shores of the Reed Sea. So

technically it's two different—

Jon: The Reed Sea? What did you just say?

Tim: I said the Reed Sea.

Jon: Where's that? What does that mean?

Tim: Well, this gets into a big debate about where exactly the Israelites...what body of

water they crossed and so on.

Jon: Oh, okay.

Tim: But the actual Hebrew name to talk about the body of water is not the Red Sea, it's

the Reed Sea.

Jon: Just threw that in there. The Reed Sea.

Tim: Yam Suph is the Hebrew phrase. The Sea of Reeds.

Jon: So the Passover is a day of the 10th plague and that's referred to as "The Day"?

Tim: Yeah. Already in this story, the Exodus story, there are two days that just are called

"The Day."

Jon: So it's kind of conflated later as just the day, but, but originally, there was the

Passover day, there was the day they went through the Reed Sea?

Tim: Yeah, that's right. The passage through the see where evil armies were defeated.

Jon: So that's an example of you're looking at the mountain range, you don't really

distinguish the two valleys—

Tim: The two separate foothills, but both are on the path pathway leading up to the great

day. This is the first time where God acting in history is described as The Day. If you

think of a flower pot, if the fruit and the flowers, the full day of the Lord in the book

of Revelation or something, this is the seed in the flower pot that he plants of this

day becomes the archetypal defeat of evil among the Babylons of this world.

Jon: The Egyptians.

Tim: Which is why they're called to repeat and reenact the story every single year to keep

it alive in their memory. It's why Moses says, "It wasn't just your ancestors that were

delivered out of Egypt. It was you. Every generation.

Jon: It's part of your story.

Tim: Yeah. Then what's significant is the people famously sing a song of praise, the first

worship song that Israel sings to God. It's called the song of the sea in Exodus

chapter 15. The opening of the poem and the closing the poem is significant for the

Day of the Lord theme.

The poem said, "Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang the song to the Lord: I will

sing to the LORD, he's highly exalted. The horse and rider he's hurled into the sea.

The Lord is my strength, my song; he has become my salvation. This is my God, I'll

praise him, my father's God I'll extol him. The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his


Modern readers, we kind of freak out about this. This is a really common Old

Testament image of God as a warrior. But a warrior for what purpose? This story

defines what it means for God to be a warrior. It's God rescuing the innocent from

the evil empire essentially. God's identity for Israel is the God who brought us up out

of Egypt; He's the God who looked at the oppressed slaves rescued them from the

evil powers.

The poem concludes then with, "You will bring the people that you've purchased,

you'll plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, the place you've made for

your dwelling, the sanctuary that your hands have established." And the last line of

the poem is "The Lord reigns as King forever and ever."

This whole Exodus story is about the kingdom of God. It's about God confronting

and defeating evil in its tracks, rescuing the oppressed and bringing his kingdom

over the nations. And that's what this is about. The day of the Lord.

Jon: When you were talking about a warrior, it was making me think of...I was going to

look it up because I can't think of the name right now. But there's a series of books

about this guy who's just kind of this rogue ex-military dude who just comes and

fixes problems and brings justice. But he's kind of above the law apart from

the...Tom Cruise plays him in the movie—

Tim: It sounds like my favorite comic book character growing out.

Jon: Who's that?

Tim: "The Punisher."

Jon: "The Punisher." Totally. Punisher is kind of dark.

Tim: Yeah, I think that's why I liked it.

Jon: But this character is total hero.

Tim: Here's not an anti-hero.

Jon: He's not anti-hero.

Tim: Got it.

Jon: But I always thought of him as the writer on the white horse kind of hero. Like, "I'm

going to come and I'm going to just dispense justice finally. It's just going to

happen. And he's a warrior, but you're stoked that he is because he comes in and he

Tim: It's a positive image.

Jon: Yeah. When he goes to war, he's taking care of what needs to be taken care of and

you're rooting for him. We still have that paradigm.

Tim: We do. But there's such a reaction against it, warrior imagery. Especially in Western

Christian culture that's comfortably middle class or upper class, we really struggle

with the divine warrior image.

Jon: We don't want to see war.

Tim: God is a warrior.

Jon: That's more about when God tells Israel to go and take over certain people. We get

weirded out by that.

Tim: Totally. That's tough stuff.

Jon: But the idea of someone coming to rescue the innocent and—

Tim: The innocent and the oppressed, we love that.

Jon: That's also like every Mel Gibson movie, right?

Tim: Yeah.

Jon: He's just kind of like, "I'm going to come..." He just did a new one. Something a

Father. It's actually pretty good. And he just rescuing his daughter the whole time

against these drug lords, and he just takes care of business. And it's just like the

quintessential Mel Gibson warrior movie.

Tim: Yeah, that's.

Jon: Jack Reacher. That's the name of that.

Tim: Wow. But it's worth making the point that the warrior story who rescues the

innocent is a really important motif in the human experience. And the Israel story of

the Exodus, again, the prophets, the biblical authors want us to see that that's a part

of God's character, God is for the oppressed. If the Exodus story means anything, it's

that God notices the cry the innocent.

Jon: We can get behind that sentiment.

Tim: And he's at work in history to bring down the oppressive mission.

Jon: When you think of a warrior who that's there and goal, you can root for that warrior.

And that's the kind of warrior that Jack Reacher is, that Tom Cruise plays. The Mel

Gibson movie is called Blood Father. It's that kind of warrior.

Tim: But it does raise the question about the use of violence for that purpose. And this is

where I'm so personally grateful for the story of Jesus.

Jon: Because he's that kind of warrior.

Tim: He is that kind of warrior but he specifically and explicitly rejects violence as a means

to overcome evil. Many people see that at odds with the Old Testament God is a

warrior and evil. But as we're going to see, even in Israel story, Israel was called to

the same kind of rejection of the military option in most cases, and that Jesus was

amplifying. Just turning up the volume on that theme.

Jon: That's interesting because Jesus is that warrior but the way he wages war is


Tim: To let himself be conquered by the evil empire he's confronting.

Jon: Yeah. That's not what Jack Reacher does.

Tim: Jack Reacher or The Punisher or any hero, any warrior. That's what makes the Jesus

story so amazing.

Jon: We have those characters but they are not warriors.

Tim: We have those characters with a noble death, but their death is seen as of a noble

defeat. Whereas New Testament is trying to say, Jesus' death and resurrection is his

victory. He's yielding to the violence of Rome and his Jewish contemporaries is his

victory. And that's a novelty in the Jesus story that I am really proud to associate

myself with because it's upside down and inspiring. Again, the seeds of it are sown

right here where God is for the oppressed

Jon: So in Exodus 15, this is a song they sing having being rescued, and in the song, they

say, "The Lord is a warrior; he went to battle for us and he reigns as King forever and


Tim: And that battle is the day. The battle is remembered and described and

memorialized in the Passover as "The Day."

Jon: The day God the warrior took care of business and settled score and rescued us from


Tim: So that we could live in freedom under his rule. That's the Day of the Lord. The basic

outline of the concept of the Day of his Lord is the storyline here.

The bad guy is Egypt aka Babylon. So it's the whole biblical storyline right there. It'll

go through some more cycles of who becomes the newest Babylon— there are

many iterations of Babylon—and the way that God's a warrior and defeats evil that'll


Jon: Because there's what? There's Assyria.

Tim: There's Babylon.

Jon: There's Edom.

Tim: Yeah, there's all kinds of bad guys in the Old Testament. And Israel themselves

become God's enemy and the bad guy.

Jon: They become a type of Babylon.

Tim: Yeah.

Jon: Thanks for listening to The Bible Project podcast. Next week, Day of the Lord Part

Three, we'll continue this conversation. There are new videos going up on our

YouTube channel. You can go and check that out at youtube.com/thebibleproject.

And you can say hi to us on Twitter @JoinBibleProj and on Facebook,

facebook.com/jointhebibleproject. Thanks for being a part of this with us.

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