The Door-Step Evangel

Where is Mt. Sinai?
Dr. Ronald L. Tottingham

Here is an issue studied and often silently questioned. Where is Mt. Sinai? To some reading this, this will be your first time to see this questioned openly. However, most Bible students have studied a Bible map in some detail in relation to the Exodus and have, in some measure, loosely figured the travel and subconsciously wondered how Mt. Sinai could ever be in the Sinai Peninsula. The mileage does not correspond. The places don't correspond. Nothing corresponds in that small peninsula with the Biblical account to the real Mt. Sinai and the Exodus. Where then is Mount Sinai?

First let's talk about modern technology of satellite infrared photography. The Engineering and Operation Branch for the Lunar and Earth Science Division of the Science Directorate at NASA, Houston, has been analyzing data for several years through their lunar receiving laboratory. NASA takes all the events that are involved in a particular project, then arranges them in order of logical sequence; a technique they call Progress Evaluation Reporting Technique, or PERTing. The computer systems used for the data processing and conclusions boggle my mind. It's hard for me to imagine a $12,000 computer with a $17,000 80-million character disc system and a $14,000 75-inch per second, dual density tape drive system, but that is in the area of necessary equipment they use. Also used by our military is special high-tech infrared space photography. However, the use of infrared photography in archaeology is just now coming of age. Several major sites have been discovered using the technique. It works by capturing the differences in heat patterns on the earth's surface. By using sophisticated films and special filters on negatives, one can detect different color spectrums and densities of colors. Those trained in military site and activity intelligence can read these photographs and give expert opinions by isolating and tracking the minute, otherwise undetectable, variations in heat intensity. If a building were dismantled and the foundation removed or covered over and left hundreds of years, no longer visible, infrared photography would clearly show the outline of the pre-existing building. Even slight ground disturbance can now be detected by this method and recorded many, many years after the fact. These techniques are used by the military in mineral exploration too.

The analysis on infrared photography of the region of the Exodus reveal a clear trail from the area of Goshen to the water's edge at the Straits of Tiran at the Gulf of Aqaba, or the Red Sea finger south of the dead Sea. The trail is very, very old, impossible to tell by the infrared photographs but certainly thousands of years. Also, it was used heavily, it has some real width in parts and includes some very large campsites. This trail comes out of the Straits of Tiran to include three large major campsites until about halfway up the Gulf, then it turns into Saudi Arabia to the area known as Jabal al Lawz where there is a huge, well-used campsite.

Simply put, the Children of Israel would most likely have traveled down the Sinai Peninsula side of the western finger of the Red Sea beside Egypt until they became boxed in at the Straits or Tiran just north of the fork between the two fingers. Then God divided the finger across which they entered Saudi Arabian not the Sinai Peninsula, and they would have moved into Arabia, up toward the Dead Sea several miles until they turned out into greater Arabia to the Mount of God now called Jabal al Lawz. In the Sinai peninsula there are no trails of any age or necessary size to correspond to the exodus anywhere around the area of St. Catherine's, the traditional Mount called Sinai.

Did you ever look at the time element of this trip as studied in the Scriptures? Moses had told Pharaoh in Exodus 8:27, we will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as he shall command us. And history teaches us that what is commonly called the "Sinai Peninsula" was governed by Egypt and, in fact, was said to belong to Egypt. So let's say that it would take the spys a day to realize Israel was not returning. Then another day return to Pharaoh, and tell him they were still traveling out, (Ex. 14:5) And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled:, then it took four (4) days to prepare his huge army to give chase (Ex. 14:6-7) And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. We would now have nine (9) days since leaving Goshen. A nine day head start; (Ex. 13: 21-22) And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. So they traveled both Day and Night with a nine day head start. Assuming Pharaoh and his army traveled only by day (they may not have been so anxious to meet Israel really), another ten (10) days for Pharaoh to catch up with them for a total of nineteen (19) days before catching Israel to arrive at the Red Sea fork a good distance from Goshen at the "Strait of Tiran." For the traditional crossing at the "bitter lakes" or south across the Red Sea's west finger would need only three (3) days at the most.

Then between Migdol and the sea they appeared to be "entangled"; hemmed in by mountains on one side and the sea on the other with no place to run. (Ex 14:2-3) ...before it shall ye encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. and V:9 ...the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. Then God showed His mighty power. (Ex. 14: 21-22) And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

Happy thinking.

Bibliography:

- The Mount Sinai Myth - 1990 - Larry Williams, Wynwood Press, New York, NY

- The Gold of Exodus, The Discovery of True Mount Sinai - 1998 - by Howard Blum, Simon & Shuster, New York, NY

- I Am - by James P. Dawson, Oklahoma Foundation for Research and Development Vitalization, OK

The Door-Step Evangel is published in the interests of Evangelism and information as a Church paper, sincerely devoted to the cause of Jesus Christ. We are in favor of everything that is right and opposed to everything that is wrong.

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