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The Exodus Story

History’s ironies interest me. For example, the Exodus story and the American Revolution. During the Revolutionary Period, “Black-Robed Regiment” preachers (influential clergymen who promoted American independence) drew parallels between the American colonists and the Israelite slaves in Egypt.

According to their interpretation, the American colonies were Israel, Great Britain was Egypt, and American oppression was the equivalent of Israelite bondage. In the contemporary version, King George III was the antagonist (Pharaoh), and George Washington was the protagonist (Moses). Furthermore, the Intolerable Acts, the Declaratory Act, the Quartering Act, and the ordering of British troops to Lexington and Concord, etc. were representative of Pharaoh’s decrees forcing the Israelites to find their own straw to make bricks and his command that all Hebrew firstborn male babies be murdered.

As justification for revolution, these ministers argued that because the Lord intervened on behalf of the Hebrews against the civil authorities, He was more than a Prince of Peace, acting in Moses’ day as a Man of War. As evidence, scriptures detailing how God repeatedly hardened Pharaoh’s heart, instigating a chain of events that ultimately led to the destruction of Egypt’s civil authorities were referenced from many a pulpit. The charge being, the destruction of King George III and Parliament (currently the enemies of God’s chosen people) was in the hands of the Patriots – the instruments of the Lord’s intervention in this instance.

Interestingly, these very same clergy and their disciples had an obvious blind spot, neglecting and/or ignoring the African American slaves on many of their own plantations – representing REAL bondage. Ironically, these slaves also claimed the Exodus story as their own – substituting the Americans for the Egyptians. Thus, the independence movement of the 1700’s became the abolitionist movement of the 1800’s. The American Revolution against Britain became the American Civil War against itself. And the southern protagonists of the former became the antagonists of the latter.



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