The video’s production was fragmented. It jumps around with hints and allusions, making it difficult to follow the scholars’ reasoning. I found it helpful though to work out an outline that more or less captures the general movement of the video.
- Overview: Three religions lay claim to the land (Jews, Muslims, and Christians), and that land has continually been wracked by violence.
- First topic: Israel’s claim to the land and the violent nature of their takeover.
- Second topic: Christianity’s claim to the land and their violent history there.
- Third topic: Islam’s claim to the land through Ishmael and Mohammed.
The trouble with the production is that at no point is anything very strongly affirmed. Instead, it is filled with allusion, hints, and suggestions. The vast majority of the video is spent discussing the violence of Israel’s history in the land and the violence of God’s commands and judgments. The episode never really seems to tie it all together. It seemed though, that the implication was that God was unjustly violent toward the former inhabitants of the land, the Israelites, and Moses.
One of the biggest hang-ups for the scholars in the video seemed to be the “surprising” means by which Israel was to come into the land as commanded by God. As Reza Aslan put it, “[God told them] not just to conquer . . . but to slaughter every last inhabitant of the land . . . [down to] every blade of grass . . . as an offering to God, before the land can be purified and given to the Jews as their promised inheritance” (6:28). Just before this, the narrator and Bart Ehrman speak of the situation as if God had promised the land to the Israelites, but there was the inconvenience of a people already in the land. Thus they were to take the land by “any means necessary.” For a group of scholars seeking out “secrets” in the Bible, they set an unhealthy trend of ignoring what the Bible actually says.
For instance, the scriptures do not offer a picture of the Canaanites simply getting in the way of his promise, but instead, they were a pivotal reason for His promise. “Do not think to yourself after the Lord your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my own righteousness the Lord has brought me here to possess this land.’ It is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out ahead of you” (Deut 9.4, see also vv. 5–6). Again, in Genesis 15:16, “In the fourth generation your descendants will return here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit.” The nations that populated the land of Canaan were apparently particularly wicked nations that God had given at least four hundred years of opportunity to repent and come out of their wicked ways. While archaeology has not confirmed it all, the Bible speaks of the wickedness of the Canaanites, ranging form numerous forms of incest to adultery, bestiality, homosexuality and child sacrifice (Lev. 18:6–28). Archaeology has confirmed that at least by the time those cultures moved west (to Carthage), they did practice child sacrifice as claimed by Scripture and other extra-biblical sources. On top of their wickedness as a nation, when God brought Israel up to the land, the Canaanites responded with violence and hardened hearts (Joshua 11:19–20).
The scholars behind Bible Secrets Revealed tell just enough of the story to cause the modern reader to be uncomfortable and to disparage God. They read and interpret just enough of the Bible to make it sound morally questionable, stopping short where it would offer its justifications. Throughout the video, God is portrayed as the overbearing judge and humankind as the unfortunate recipient of His fickle wrath. Not once do they speak of humanity as being in sinful rebellion against their rightful ruler and creator. In a story in which humankind is the protagonist, of course God is going to come across as “too” judgmental. When we approach the scriptures remembering that humanity has become the sinful cancer polluting the land (Lev 18:25), then we can view the Surgeon in a truer light as he amputates a leg or bombards his patient with multiple treatments of chemotherapy. In the grand scheme of things, humanity’s sinful condition is enough to justify God’s complete destruction of the world, whether he might choose to do so with fire and brimstone or an army from the Middle East. The most amazing thing about that is that this is the story in which that surgeon stepped in and took that cancer upon himself, thus sparing his patient altogether.
Another claim the video makes that needs be addressed is that Ishmael, as the firstborn son, was the rightful heir of the promise (35:30). This particular section is rife with misinformation. They quote “Jewish law,” saying that the firstborn son was the only legal heir. Jewish law however did not exist yet. One of the laws that we do know of surprisingly speaks directly to the situation. According to Lipit Ishtar (c. 1900 b.c.), a slave wife’s children would share inheritance rights with the other children of their father. Immediately after that clause though, it is stated that if the father grants his slave wife and her children freedom, then her sons forfeit any inheritance rights. Abraham was likely not under this law, but it is an appropriate example at the least of what the laws of the day were. This is just another example of the scholars behind the Bible Secrets Revealed (BSR) series sharing selective information to draw inaccurate conclusions for their audience.In the end, the episode does not even answer its own question…”
In the end, the episode does not even answer its own question: Was this particular area really given by God to a chosen people? In lieu of a solution, after the BSR producers take their audience on a whirlwind tour of the violence in the Bible as they see it, they turn from the historical question and look instead to the future. They conclude that surely it was never intended to be “geographical location,” so much as an ideal, a “goal,” or even a “test,” After all, if these three warring religious factions could only learn to get along in this tempestuous land, then the whole world could learn to exist in peace with one another. Bible Secrets Revealed ends up veiling truth far more than revealing secrets
 For a discussion on “Amorites” being representative of the general population of the land of Canaan, see Kenneth A. Mathews, Genesis 11:27–50:26, New American Commentary 1B (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2005), 175.
 A similar situation can be seen in the study of Nineveh. God sent Jonah to preach repentance, which the city responded to and they were spared. Over a hundred years later, the city had returned to its squalor, Nahum was sent to prophesy, the city did not respond, and God responded with judgment.
 See Sabatino Moscati, The World of the Phoenicians (London, WI: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968), 141–144.
 Diodorus Siculus, XX, 14, 4–6.
 Lipit Ishtar 24, 25.