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 Vol. 3, No. 3 

Page 20

March, 2001

Since You AskedImage

How Many Israelites
Died in the Wilderness?

By Louis Rushmore

A 10 year old, "... would like to know how many of the Israelites died while wandering in the wilderness?" The exact number of Israelites who died during the wilderness wandering cannot be known. That number is not revealed in the Bible. Further, since neither the exact number of persons who left Egypt in the Exodus nor the exact number of persons who proposed to enter Canaan after the 40 years were complete is known, it is not possible to know precisely how many Israelites died in that period.

However, we may make some educated guesses about how many Israelites left Egypt, arrived to enter Canaan 40 years later and perhaps also guess about how many died during the wilderness wandering. From Exodus 12:37 and Numbers 1:45-47, one learns that about 600,000 (603,550) men from 20 years old upward who could wage war were numbered in the Exodus. The tribe of Levi, males under 20 years old and all females were excluded from that census.

The Methodist commentator, Adam Clarke, made the following suppositions to calculate the total population of Israelites at the time of the Exodus. He estimated that two-thirds the number of fighting men or 400,000 wives could be deduced and added to the 600,000. Further, supposing that each family had an average of six children, Clarke added another 2,000,000 persons. Next, he added 45,000 Levite men (not included in the 600,000), 33,000 Levite wives, 165,000 Levite children plus a 20,000 mixed multitude. Clarke estimated the total population of the Exodus to be 3,263,000. (Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft.) The Presbyterian commentator, Albert Barnes, estimated the total population in excess of 2,000,000. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary cites an Israelite population of 2,400,000 at the time of the Exodus. Fausset's Bible Dictionary, the Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament and the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia each estimate the number of Israelites then was about 2,000,000. The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia suggests the fleeing host numbered between two and three million.

After a series of rebellions against God by the Israelites, culminating in their refusal to enter Canaan, God refused to allow any of the present generation except Joshua and Caleb to enter Canaan -- 40 years later.

"Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise" (Numbers 14:29-34; see also Numbers 32:11-13).

The entire adult population from 20 years old and upward with the exception of Joshua and Caleb were forbidden to enter Canaan and died in the wilderness. Borrowing from Clarke's figures, over 1,078,000 Israelites (600,000 men, 400,000 women, 45,000 Levite men, 33,000 Levite women, plus adults among the mixed multitude) died during the wilderness wandering over those 40 years. Many who were under 20 years old at the initial census who themselves rebelled against God later as adults or otherwise fell victim to the wilderness may have increased the number of dead.

A new generation, numbering 601,730 men 20 years old and up prepared to enter Canaan after the 40 years of wilderness wandering (Numbers 26:51). The number of the men of war was only 1,820 less after the 40 years than what it was when the Exodus began. The population, then, remained relatively constant over the 40-year period, though the adult generation that departed Egypt perished and was replaced with the subsequent generation of Israelites.

More important than the precise number of Israelites who perished in the wilderness wandering is the lesson that God intends for us to learn from those who fell in the wilderness. First Corinthians 10 and Hebrews 3 address those who died while rebelling against God in the Sinai Peninsula.

"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:1-12).

"Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" (Hebrews 3:8-19).

Rebellion against God will be rewarded with punishment, the worst degree of punishment being that which will be dispensed before the Judgment throne of God (Matthew 25:41, 46; Revelation 20:12, 15; 21:8). Obedient faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26) will be rewarded with salvation (Hebrews 5:8-9; Revelation 2:10), also styled as our eternal rest.

"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Heb 4:9-11).

typewriter typewriter Who Is the Prophet
Like Unto Moses?

By Louis Rushmore

Respected sir: This email is regarding the information you have displayed in the following link http://www.gospelgazette.com/gazette/2000/jul/page7.shtml regarding prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) like Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). What you have mentioned is wrong the prophet like unto Moses is prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Please consider the following with an aspect in search of the truth and leave all rational differences behind. The following is the reasoning and matter: - this is an article by Mr. Ahmad Deedat please read it and I am sure it will spread some knowledge: WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT MUHAMMED (PEACE BE UPON HIM) THE PROPHET OF ISLAM, A lecture by Ahmed Deedat ~ email from mohammed akbar ali khan

The petitioner above and the article he submitted propose that Deuteronomy Eighteen's prophecy about God raising up a prophet like unto Moses refers not to Jesus Christ but to Muhammad. How can one tell whether the prophecy refers to Muhammad or Jesus Christ? The Scripture reads:

"The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken…I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him" (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18).

First, the New Testament, possessing the same divine inspiration with which the Old Testament was penned, tells precisely who fulfilled this prophecy. There is no doubt regarding the identity of the prophet like unto Moses!

"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:22-23).

The context in which this appears applies the fulfillment of Moses' prophecy (through the apostle Peter's sermon) to Jesus Christ (verses 20, 26). The following Scripture narrates a sermon by Stephen before the Jewish Sanhedrin, in which he applied the Old Testament prophecy under review to Jesus Christ (Acts 6:8-15; 7:51-58).

"This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear" (Acts 7:37)

The apostle Philip also stated that Moses' prophecy (Deuteronomy 18) as well as the hundreds of Old Testament Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He avowed this to be so based on the evidence of the same demonstrated to him by Jesus Christ himself, before and after his affirmation.

Second, notice that in the prophecy contained in Deuteronomy 18:15 that the prophet under consideration was to arise from among the Jews: "…raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren…" The original recipients of the prophecy in Deuteronomy were only: (1) the offspring of Abraham through his son, Isaac and his grandson, Jacob; and (2) the Israelites who Moses by the power of God had led in the great Exodus from Egyptian slavery. Mohammed, though, claimed descent from Abraham through his son, Ishmael.

Third, Jesus, who Moslems recognize as a prophet of God, would hardly be worthy of that esteem if he claimed to be the Son of God and the Messiah if such were lies. Jesus definitively and without doubt acknowledged himself to be the Son of God and the Messiah. "…the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am…" (Mark 14:61-62). (See also John 8:25; 5:18-25; 6:69; 10:36; 19:7).

Fourth, the similarity between Moses and the prophet like unto Moses, Jesus, is that they were respectively the lawgivers for the Old and New testaments. "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). Contrasts between Moses and Jesus, though, include the superiority of Jesus to Moses and the superiority of the New Testament to the Old Testament. The Book of Hebrews demonstrates those contrasts throughout its volume (to persuade first century Jewish Christians not to abandon Christianity and return to Judaism).

"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end" (Hebrews 3:1-6).

The passage above contrasts Moses and Jesus, not Moses and Mohammed! The Book of Hebrews and the whole New Testament is silent regarding Mohammed. Anyone professing to have the least regard for the Old Testament, the New Testament or "prophet Jesus" must be struck with the fact that Jesus rather than Mohammed is the prophet like unto Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18).

Last, the true identity of the prophet like unto Moses of Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 is no matter of idle amusement. Rather, it is the most serious topic mankind could possibly ponder. The who of Deuteronomy Eighteen is of eternal significance. "I [Jesus] said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24).

typewriter typewriter Mormon Church:
The Only True Church?

By Louis Rushmore

"…there is only one church that is structured the same, and is run the same as was the primitive (or beginning) church.  That would be The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), or Mormon church…. I have study long, read the scriptures, and prayed, and I know that this is the only true church restored by God after the Apostasy. It contains all the authority to the ordinances, restored through Joseph Smith." ~ Joshua Caplin

I respectfully submit to Joshua and every reader that indeed there is only one true church, about which anyone can read in the New Testament, but that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) or the Mormon Church is not that church. The facts simply do not support Joshua's sincere but erroneous assertion. Both biblical and historical evidences conclusively prove the LDS claim to be unfounded and false. Additionally, the most damaging information countering LDS claims to be the one true church comes from the massive archives of miscellaneous and contradictory official LDS documents.

The first hint that the Mormon Church is not the one true church about which one can read in the Bible is that its name is unscriptural (not in the Bible). Instead of finding Mormon Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or LDS in the Bible, the New Testament records several other appellations or descriptive terms by which the divine institution was known: "church of God" (1 Corinthians 1:2), "churches of Christ" (Romans 16:16), "house of God" (1 Timothy 3:15), "body of Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:27), etc. Second, the organizational pattern of the first century church and the Mormon Church differ; the primitive church was congregational, autonomous (Titus 1:6) and ruled by elders (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:7, 17) appointed according to divine qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:7-9). Further, New Testament doctrines about baptism, redemption, worship, revelation from God, church finance, the nature of God, heaven, etc. and comparable Mormon Church doctrines differ markedly. The Mormon Church has no relationship to the church that Jesus built and about which one can freely read in the pages of inspiration.

Historically, the Mormon Church was begun April 6, 1830, at Fayette, New York by Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith. Its first headquarters was established in Kirtland, Ohio in 1831. This new religious body adopted its present name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in May of 1834. Joseph Smith fled Kirtland in 1838 to flee criminal indictments for swindling. In 1838, Mormons announced plans to militarily overtake Missouri to which they had moved their primary presence, after which to overtake the United States and the whole world. The Missouri militia defeated the Mormons, the remnant of whom fled to Illinois. Joseph Smith, his brother and other Mormon leaders were sentenced by court martial to be shot. However, in 1839 they also escaped to Illinois. In 1843, Smith purported to have received a revelation authorizing polygamy. Joseph Smith had raised a militia, which he used to rout opposition by Mormon dissidents and to resist the Illinois militia in enforcing lawsuits lodged against Smith. Consequently, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were jailed in Carthage. On June 27, 1844, the Smith brothers died in a shootout with a mob that broke into the jail. Brigham Young followed Joseph Smith as leader of the Mormons. On January 20, 1846, the Mormons announced their intention to depart the borders of the Untied States for unsettled areas to the west (Salt Lake City, Utah now). In 1849, the Mormons declared themselves a political state called Deseret and informed the United States of its existence. The U.S., though, refused to recognize Deseret and named the area as the Territory of Utah, but named Brigham Young as Governor. In 1851, the Mormons drove out of Utah federal appointees (such as District Judges) and began openly defying the United States. In 1852, the Mormon Church reinstated the doctrine of polygamy, though they had renounced it in 1845. The U.S. attempted unsuccessfully to replace Brigham Young in 1854 by sending a Colonel and troops. In 1856, federal forces were expelled from Utah, but in 1857, 2,500 federal troops subdued the Mormons and restored Utah to the control of the U.S. The Mormon Church, by whatever name, is indigenous to North America, commencing in 1830. Its beginning and history is a matter of (often appalling) public record.

The basis on which Mormonism was built and continues to exist is Joseph Smith's First Vision. The First Vision is also the beginning point of innumerable documented religious contradictions throughout Mormon continuing revelation. For instance, there are three conflicting First Visions authored by Joseph Smith and attributed to Smith when he was 14, contradicted by ascribing the vision to him at 15, which is also contradicted by ascribing the supposed vision to Smith at the age of 16. The initial account of the First Vision cites one Divine person present, Jesus Christ; however, the subsequent account of the First Vision cites the presence of two Divine persons, including God the Father. A third version of the First Vision includes many angels that did not appear in either of the other two renditions of the First Vision. Virtually every other aspect of Mormon revelation, too, is inundated with inconsistencies and outright contradictions, including: fabricated Mormon archaeology, prophecies, direct contradictions to the Bible, etc. Further, the testimony of abundant Mormon documents indict Mormonism for blood atonement and murderous avengers; polygamy; illegalities; etc. Many credible books have exposed Mormonism, but Mormonism's own documents, which are many, pose the greatest witness against this system of religion.

My heart feels for sincere souls who may unwittingly remain uninformed about the religious, historical and self-incriminating evidence that decries Mormonism for the faulty devotion that it is. In this brief survey, though, it ought to be apparent that it is certainly arguable that the Mormon Church, by any name, falls far short from being the one true church.

Copyright © 2001 Louis Rushmore. All Rights Reserved.
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