The Founders' views on Faith: Day 3

America’s Prophet: How the Story of Moses Inspired the Founding Fathers

by Bruce Feiler


Author, America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story


America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story

A few years ago, I set out looking at the role of Moses in inspiring generation after generation of Americans.  I had just returned home from a decade retracing the bible through the Middle East for a series of books called Walking the Bible, Abraham, and Where God Was Born, and was interested in how the Bible helped shape America.

I sailed on Plymouth Harbor, where the Pilgrims compared their journey to Moses; I retraced the Underground Railroad where “Go Down, Moses” was the national anthem of slaves; I climbed the Statue of Liberty, whose spikes of light and tablet were taken from the moment Moses comes down Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments; and I donned the robe Charlton Heston wore in The Ten Commandments

But nothing surprised me more than how central Moses and the story of the Exodus were to the Founding Fathers.

As the Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia in 1776, comparisons with the Exodus filled the air.  From politicians to preachers, many of the rhetorical high points of the year likened the colonists to the Israelites fleeing Egypt.  The Liberty Bell has a quote from Moses on its side, “Proclaim Liberty thro’ all the Land to all the Inhabitants Thereof – Levit. XXV 10.”  Thomas Paine invoked the analogy in Common Sense, the best-selling book of the year.  Samuel Sherwood made it the centerpiece of the year’s second best-selling publication, The Church’s Flight into the Wilderness

And on the afternoon of July 4th, after passing the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress asked John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin to come up with a public face of the new United States.  They chose Moses.

Three of the five drafters of the Declaration of Independence and three of the defining faces of the Revolution proposed that Moses be the face of the United States of America.  In their eyes, Moses was our true founding father.

But how did this happen exactly?  How did the reluctant leader of Israelite slaves end up as the favorite son of the founding fathers?  In short, how did Moses become the hero of the Revolution? 

The themes the Founders drew from the Exodus were similar to the ones the Pilgrims and Great Awakening preachers had emphasized: freedom is a God-given right; God promises liberation to the oppressed; God freed the Israelites from Egypt, he can do so for the colonists.  But the new generation of Exodus-lovers went further, insisting that the Bible expressly rejects the British form of government, the divine right of kings, and endorses the kinds of freedom the patriots were proposing.  In 1775, Samuel Langdon, the president of Harvard, said Americans should adopt the form of government that God handed down to Moses on Sinai.  “The Jewish government,” he wrote, “was a perfect republic.”

Thomas Paine’s Common Sense invoked the Moses story to make similar attacks on the English political system.  Paine was the anti-religious zealot who continually cited religious examples.  He hated Scripture but quoted it relentlessly, showing the enduring power of the Bible even for Deists.  In Common Sense he cites Gideon, Samuel, and David, to show how the Bible argues against kingship.  And he calls King George III the “hardened, sullen tempered Pharaoh of England.”  By contrasty, Paine never quotes Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Bacon, the pantheon of Enlightenment thinkers.

The pace of Mosaic references seemed to escalate as Independence drew closer.  The seeds of biblical promise first hinted at by Columbus in 1492 and planted by the Pilgrims in 1620 finally appeared to be reaching full flower in 1776.  Like Moses, the country was prepared to stand up to the most powerful force in the world and declare, “Let my people go.”

“I think what’s important about all this language,” said Tim Safford, the preacher of Philadelphia’s Christ Church and a student of the Revolution, “is that these leaders were using the Bible to convince themselves they were free.  They’re not that biblically pure; often they’re not that religious.  But they’re using these stories to build the case that they’re justified in standing up to the Crown.  You’re individuals, they’re saying to the Colonists.  You’re children of God.  You’re no longer subject to the king.”

“So you don’t think this reliance on the Exodus is unusual, or over-the-top?” I asked.

“The founders were otherworldly to a great degree,” he said, “but generally they were hugely influenced by rationalism and pragmatism.  For them, this whole notion of deliverance was a practical matter.  They weren’t looking for the freedom of Christ in the next world, they were looking for the freedom of Moses in this world.”

“So they wanted the story to be true.”

“It certainly seems that way.  John Adams sailed multiple time to Europe.  Benjamin Franklin did the same.  They were willing to risk everything because they believed in something.  And what they believed is that you should sacrifice your own fat-and-happiness for something far greater than yourselves.  That is an Old Testament narrative.  You risk.  You don’t look back, or you’ll end up a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife.” 

“Do you believe,” I said, “that pilgrims could have gotten on that ship, or the Founders could have signed the Declaration –“

He cut me off.  “The only reason they could have done that is because they had a narrative larger than their own lives.  A narrative of God delivers me through the Red Sea.  A narrative that if you’re lost in exile, you can remain holy.  A narrative of life is stronger than death, love is more powerful than hate.  If you do not have a narrative larger than the world gives you, you’re just going to get sucked up by the world.

“The question to ask about the Founder is not whether they believed in the Bible,” he continued, “it’s Are you going to live by the narrative you find there?  The Pilgrims, George Whitefield, even Benjamin Franklin I would say, trusted the narrative.  They believed God would deliver them.  They never sunk into the pure limitations of rationalism, that the world was only what they could perceive.  They always seem to be fueled by a reality they couldn’t see.  And because of them, that narrative became America’s narrative.”




Bruce Feiler is the New York Times-bestselling author of nine books, including Walking the Bible, Abraham, and the recently published, The Council of Dads.  This article is adapted from his book America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story, which Glenn Beck called “the best book of narrative history I have ever read....  A fantastic book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”  For more information, please visit www.brucefeiler.com or www.facebook.com/brucefeilerpage.

For the first time in the history of "The Glenn Beck Program," former President Donald Trump joined Glenn to give his take on America's direction under President Joe Biden compared to his own administration. He explained why Biden's horrific Afghanistan withdrawal was "not even a little bit" like his plan, and why he thinks it was "the most embarrassing event in the history of our country."

Plus, the former president gave his opinion on China's potential takeover of Bagram Air Base, the Pakistani Prime Minister, and Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Glenn asked President Trump how similar the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan was to his administration's plan.

"Not even a little bit," Trump answered. "We had a great plan, but it was a very tenuous plan. It was based on many conditions. For instance, you can't kill American soldiers. ... You have to understand, I did want to get out. But I wanted to get out with dignity, and I wanted to take our equipment out. And I didn't want soldiers killed. ... What [Biden] did was just indefensible. He took the military out first and he left all the people. And then we became beggars to get the people out. I had a plan to get them out very quickly. But first, the Americans would go out."

Trump told Glenn that his plan included maintaining Bagram Air Base and explained why he would not have left "a single nail" behind in Afghanistan for the Taliban to seize.

"We were going to keep Bagram open," he explained. "We were never going to close that because, frankly, Bagram is more about China than it is about Afghanistan. It was practically on the other border of China. And now we've lost that. And you know who is taking it over? China is taking it over. We spend $10 billion to build that base. It's got the longest, most powerful runways in the world. And China has now got its representatives there and it looks like they'll take it over. Glenn, it's not believable what's happened. You know, they have Apache helicopters. These are really expensive weapons, and they have 28 of them. And they're brand-new. The latest model."

Glenn mentioned recent reports that Gen. Milley, America's top military officer, made "secret phone calls" to his counterpart in China while President Trump was in office.

"I learned early on that he was a dope," Trump said of Gen. Milley. "He made a statement to me — and I guarantee that's what happened to Biden — because I said, 'We're getting out of Afghanistan. We have to do it.' And I said, 'I want every nail. I want every screw. I want every bolt. I want every plane. I want every tank. I want it all out, down to the nails, screws, bolts ... I want every single thing. And he said, 'Sir, it's cheaper to leave it than it is to bring it.'

"The airplane might have cost $40 million, $50 million ... millions and millions of dollars. So, you think it's cheaper to leave it than to have 200 pilots fly over and fly all the equipment out? ... I said, you've got to be nuts. I mean, give me a tank of gas and a pilot and I just picked up a $40 million-dollar airplane. It was amazing. So, I learned early that this guy is a dope. But what he did, is he hurt our country ... and he shouldn't have been allowed to do it. And bad things should happen to him."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation or find the full interview on BlazeTV:


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In a shocking but underreported conversation ahead of the G7 Speakers' meeting in London last week, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admitted that the administration knows China is committing "genocide" against the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region, but thinks working with the regime on climate change is more important.

On the radio program, an outraged Glenn Beck dissected Pelosi's speech and broke down how — along with the Biden administration's abandonment of Americans in Afghanistan, and the Democrat decision to follow measures of medical "equity" — the far left is revealing how little they really care about human life.

Glenn played a video clip of Pelosi making the following statement:

We've always felt connected to China, but with their military aggression in the South China Sea, with their continuation of genocide with the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province there, with their violation of the cultural, linguistic, religious priority of Tibet, with their suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and other parts of China, as well – they're just getting worse in terms of suppression, and freedom of speech. So, human rights, security, economically [sic].

Having said all of that ... we have to work together on climate. Climate is an overriding issue and China is the leading emitter in the world, the U.S. too and developed world too, but we must work together.

"We have Nancy Pelosi admitting the United States of America knows that they're not only committing [genocide], they're continuing to commit it. Which means, we've known for a while," Glenn noted. "And what does she say? She goes on to say, yes, they're committing genocide against the Uyghurs, but having said that, I'm quoting, 'the overriding issue,' is working together on climate change.

"Would we have worked with Hitler on climate change? Would we have worked with Hitler on developing the bomb? Would we have worked with Hitler on developing the Autobahn? Would we have worked with Hitler on his socialized medicine? Would we have worked with Hitler on any of his national, socialist ideas?" he asked.

"The answer is no. No. When you're committing genocide, no! She said 'we have to work together on climate,' because climate is the 'overriding issue.' The overriding issue? There is no way to describe this mindset. That, yes, they are killing an entire group of people because of their ethnicity or religion. They are systematically rounding them up, using them for slave labor, and killing them, using their organs and selling them on the open market. They are nothing more than cattle. For us to recognize it and do nothing about it is bad enough. But to say, 'we recognize it, but we have bigger things to talk to them about,' is a horror show."

Glenn went on to urge Americans to "stand up together in love, peace, and harmony," or risk watching our nation become the worst plague on human life yet.

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:


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The fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008 marked the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history and economic collapse was felt throughout the world. But now China's own version of Lehman Brothers, Evergrande, is teetering closer and closer to that edge, too. On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck gave the latest update and predicted how it will affect Asian markets and what it could mean for America's economy.

Glenn explained why he believes a major collapse that is happening now in China will have a cascading effect into a "controlled collapse," a managed decline that will dramatically change America's economy and the way we all live.

"You will not recognize your lifestyle. Hear me," Glenn warned. "And that's not a right-left thing. That's a right-wrong thing. We're on the wrong track. I'm telling you now, there's new information and you are not going to recognize the American lifestyle. ... It could happen tomorrow. It could happen in five years from now, but it will happen. We are headed for a very different country. One where you don't have the rights that you have. And you certainly don't have the economic privileges that Americans are used to."

"The same thing that happened in 2008 is now happening in China," Glenn continued. "This time, it's going to take everything down. When it collapses, it will take everything down."

Watch the video below to hear Glenn break down the details:

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Justin Haskins, editorial director of the Heartland Institute, joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to expose a shocking conversation between two Great Reset proponents — Klaus Schwab, chairman of the World Economic Forum, and Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank (Europe's equivalent to the Fed).

The way Schwab and Lagarde discuss the role central banks should play in establishing societal norms, determining your way of life, and defending against potential crisis is proof that the Great Reset is upon us, Justin explained. And the scariest part is that they're not even trying to hide it. The entire, unbelievable conversation has been published on the WEF website, which you can read here.

Glenn read an excerpt from the conversation:

Christine Lagarde: At the ECB, we have now wrapped up and concluded our strategy review, which was the first one in 17 years. And I was blessed to have an entire Governing Council unanimously agree that the fight against climate change should be one of the considerations that we take when we determine monetary policy. So at least the European Central Bank is of the view that climate change is an important component in order to decide on monetary policy. ...

Can we arrive at that trade-off between fighting climate change, preserving biodiversity and yet securing enough growth to respond to legitimate demands of the population? And my first answer, Klaus, to be firm, is that to have a way of life, we need life. And in the medium term, we do have major threats on the horizon that could cause the death of hundreds of thousands of people. So we have to think life, first. We have to think way of life, second. ...

So we have to think life, first. We have to think way of life, second. How can we come together to make sure that we secure the first priority, which is life, and also protect the way of life that people have? And make sure that the cost of it is not so high for some people, that they just cannot tolerate it. I think that the trade-off that we reach will probably require some redistribution, because it is clear that the most exposed people, the less privileged people are those that are going to need some help.

"Do you understand, America, what that means?" Glenn exclaimed. "You have elites, that you never elected, that are having these meetings ... deciding what is a legitimate need for you. And telling you that your needs are going to go away in your lifetime. You may not see a time where you get wants again. Just your needs are going to be addressed. Am I reading this wrong?"

"This is absolutely what is being said here," Justin agreed. "She's very clear that we need to make sure that way of life is second to life. We have to save all these people, hundreds of thousands of people are going to die from this supposedly existential threat of climate change. And their wants, and their desires, and their quality of living, all of that has to come second."

"This is a central bank saying this. This is not an elected official, who is accountable directly to the people. This is a central bank saying, we're going to print money. We're going to use monetary policy, to impose these ideas, to rework society in order to accomplish our goals," Justin added, addressing Lagarde's call for "some redistribution."

Will Great Reset elites — not elected by the U.S. — soon be dictating to the rest of the world? Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn and Justin break it down:

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