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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

Moses through the Eyes of Hollywood

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By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Many of us as children remember hearing the story of Moses in the bulrushes, Moses confronting Pharaoh, Moses crossing the Red Sea, and Moses receiving the Ten Commandments.  The Moses story is so naturally dramatic that in many ways it was made for Hollywood.  I love it when a story is not only a great story but also a true story.

Hollywood has told the Moses story several times, including through Cecil B Demille’s The Ten Commandments in 1956, Dreamworks’ The Prince of Egypt in 1998, Roma Downey’s The Bible Miniseries in 2013, and Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings in 2014.  Bruce Feiler comments that Moses is the quintessential prophet in North America, quoted extensively by people from all across the cultural and political spectrum.  Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and President John Adams all wanted Moses on the USA seal.  Martin Luther King Jr. continually quoted Moses in his leadership of the civil rights movement.  Many people identify with Moses as the classic underdog standing up for what is right against impossible odds.

My wife and I recently went to see the 140-million dollar movie Exodus: Gods and Kings.  The CGI was very impressive, particularly the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea. Christian Bale, best known for his portrayal of Batman in the Dark Knight, played a very interesting and strong Moses.  Someone described Christian Bale as God’s General.  Unique to the movie was an interesting portrayal of Moses as a guerrilla fighter, blowing up so buildings in Egypt that Pharaoh wanted to get rid of him.

The burning bush account left me ambivalent.  In Scott’s story, Moses was buried in a muddy rock slide just before he saw the burning bush.  An implicit message could be that Moses, rather than meeting God, was suffering from brain damage.  The stunted god who turns up at the burning bush is an eleven-year bad-tempered boy.   Rather than being child-like, this deity comes across in petulant childishness.  AW Tozer said that how we envision God reveals a lot about us, and even shapes how we treat people.  If God is stunted and bad-tempered rather than mature and loving, then it does not bode well for us.  It is probably not a coincidence that there was no worship of this deity in the movie.  Who would want to worship such an unpleasant being?

The one redeeming relationship was the tender connection between Moses and his wife Zipporah.  If more had been done with that relationship, it might have saved the movie.  I wish that I could have given the movie five stars and commended it to all my friends.  Instead I was left saddened that a potentially great movie missed the mark.

There are over eighty references in the New Testament to Moses, more than any other Old Testament figure.  Jesus was even described as a prophet like Moses, spending time visiting with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration.  The most positive thing about viewing Scott’s Exodus is that it motivated me to reread once again the book of Exodus.  My prayer for those reading this article is that we might take the time to reread or read for the first time the amazing story of Moses the Prince of Egypt.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-an article for the January 2015 Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


Author: edhird

I am the Rector of St. Simon's Church North Vancouver, B.C., having served there since 1987. Ordained in 1980, I have also served at St. Philip's Vancouver and St. Matthew's Abbotsford. My wife Janice and I have three sons James, Mark, and Andrew. I was the Past President and Chaplain for Alpha Canada. While serving as the National Chair for Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada, I was one of three co-signers of the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/arm05.htm For the past 26 years, I have been privileged to write over 400 articles as a columnist on spiritual issues for local North Vancouver newspapers. In the last number of years, I have had the opportunity to lead conferences and retreats in Honduras, Rwanda, Washington State, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Toronto. My new sequel Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit, with a foreword by Dr JI Packer, is online with Amazon.com in both paperback http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/097820221X/ref=redir_mdp_mobile and ebook form http://tiny.cc/tanhmx . In Canada, Amazon.ca has it available in paperback http://tiny.cc/dknhmx and ebook http://tiny.cc/wmhmmx . It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook). Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form. Nook gives a sample of the book to read online: http://tiny.cc/vj3bmx . Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version: http://tiny.cc/kreonx . You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook: http://tiny.cc/1ukiox The book 'Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit' focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus' healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how North Americans can embrace a holistically healthy life. In order to obtain a copy of the prequel book 'Battle for the Soul of Canada', please send a $18.50 cheque to 'Ed Hird', #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. For more info, please click on www3.telus.net/st_simons/nsnews030.html

One thought on “Moses through the Eyes of Hollywood

  1. Pastor Ed…     true, I was watching Exodus, Gods and Kings from a free download off the internet, and the effects are much less than in the theatre, but, the discrepancies showed even more starkly:- like you said, how can God be compared to an 11 year-old boy? I guess, most people’s opinion and evaluation of  God these days…- the haircut and furniture is too contemporary to fit.- the passage to the Pi-ha-hiroth was way to narrow to fit 2 million people. And the sea was not standing up like a wall. I just finished reading Dr. Immanuel Velikovski’s book “Worlds in Collision” for the second time. He said that the 9 plagues of Egypt, including the pitch-black days, were true all over the world, because Venus ‘bumped’ the earth. – Besides, divers found the golden wheels of Pharaoh’s carriage in the Gulf of Aquaba.- I could not catch all that was said, so, I can’t tell whether the Biblical quotations were correct or not. Most likely not…


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