Moses: Sinner or Saint?

Christian Bale, who plays Moses in the Ridley Scott epic Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), told reporters last month that the Old Testament figure was “barbaric” and “schizophrenic.” So far, the Christian community has balked at Bale’s description.

I once admired Bale, a pro-life family man. But I recently learned that he had only Sunday school knowledge of the Bible. Before being cast as Moses, Bale had never read it for himself. Reading Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – as well as the Koran and Jonathan Kirsch’s Moses: A Life (1999) – in preparation for his role led Bale to consider Moses’ words and deeds “barbaric” and “schizophrenic.” Even more disturbing is the idea that the JEDP theory explains Moses’ “erratic” behavior, since some unbelieving theologians think he might have had multiple personality disorder. So was Moses “barbaric” and “schizophrenic”? Was his behavior erratic? Are there four authors of the Pentateuch? No. These ideas are both ridiculous and blasphemous.

When he was forty, Moses killed and buried a man, an Egyptian master who was flogging a Hebrew slave (Exodus 2:11-12). He murdered someone in anger and fled the scene, but this action does not make him barbaric, just frustrated with the unjust status quo in Egypt. Moses tried to rectify a wrong in his own way and time. Forty years in the desert humbled him, so that when he was called at the burning bush, Moses was ready to follow God’s ways and timing (chap. 3-4).

Moses’ only other act of violence came eighty years later, when he disobeyed God by striking a rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:7-11). Again, Moses was frustrated, but all he did was hit a rock. He could have hit the unbelieving Israelites he was frustrated with. Moses’ sin was not violence but rather disobedience and presumption. According to God, “You did not believe me to hallow me in the eyes of … Israel” (20:12).[1] Is this barbarism? No.

divine-law-before-mosesSchizophrenia, however, is a more serious charge. What the unbelieving world calls multiple personality disorder is really demon possession. So was Moses possessed? No. He was holy and humble, a man who talked with God “face to face” (Numbers 12:8). By faith, Moses forsook Egypt, suffered with God’s people, and kept the Passover (Hebrews 11:24-28). He even asked God in humble faith, “Show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). Anyone who questioned Moses’ leadership had to answer to God, who once told Aaron and Miriam that “my servant Moses … is faithful in all my house” (Numbers 12:7). Centuries later, three disciples saw a transfigured Jesus Christ talking with Moses and Elijah on Mount Hermon (Matthew 17:1-3).

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31

God asked Aaron and Miriam, “Why were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:8) I would ask the same question of Christian Bale, a man in whom is no faith. Calling a saint a demon-possessed sinner is blasphemy. I hope Bale sees the light and repents.

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[1] New King James Version (NKJV), unless otherwise noted

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One thought on “Moses: Sinner or Saint?

  1. Right on about Christian Bale’s comments! Who is Bale to judge Moses?

    Schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder. Schizophrenia is a shattered mind: broken, scarred. Multiple personality disorder is multiple personalities, and, yes, that is demon possession. Eg, King Saul, who was possessed by an evil spirit.

    For Bale to speak so rashly against such a man of God is, as you say, like Miriam and Aaron speaking against Moses. It appears God did not punish Aaron for making the golden calf, but He certainly punished him for speaking against Moses. It’s a dangerous thing to toy with God (Heb 10:31).

    Liked by 1 person

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