New Mt. Sinai site with relics of Bible miracles?

Some people are maintaining that they have found the “real” Mt. Sinai in Saudi Arabia. And the discovery is accompanied with evidence of Biblical history, including the possibility of actual artifacts of miracles described in Exodus. This is from a secular blogsite. I’ll intersperse some pictures of what the account refers to, which are so mindblowing that they nearly defy belief :

Dr. Moller points out that the site at Nuweiba he identifies as the Red Sea crossing point has an underwater land bridge, upon which damaged chariot parts and bones remain, engulfed in coral.

Pharoah's chariots?

The top of Jabal al-Lawz, the alleged real Mt. Sinai, is black, as if burned from the sky as described in Exodus 19:18, where it says “the Lord descended upon it in fire.” This feature sets it apart from all the other surrounding mountains which do not have darkened tops. The BASE Institute’s film shows Cornuke, who snuck onto the mountain, examining the rocks he cracked, observing that they are not merely black rocks and that only the outside had become darkened by whatever had occurred at the site. Moller has a photo of one of these rocks, which he identifies as “obsidian or volcanic glass, a mineral formed at high temperatures.”

Mt. Sinai?

One of the greatest — and most doubted — miracles of the Exodus is the story about God instructing Moses to hit a large rock with his rod, which resulted in a flow of water for the Hebrews to drink from. Near Jabal al-Lawz is a large rock, standing about 60 feet high, split down the middle. The edges of the split and the rock underneath it have become smooth, as if a stream of water had poured forth from the rock, creating a river. Given the annual rainfall in Saudi Arabia and the fact that the erosion is only present on that rock and no other ones in the surrounding area, it’s hard to find a plausible explanation for this remarkable find.

Water from this rock?

A site matching the description of the altar of the golden calf is also at this site. As the Biblical story goes, while Moses was away for 40 days on Mt. Sinai, the Hebrews created an altar with a golden calf on top of it, which they worshiped. Moses, incensed at the betrayal, crushed the calf into smithereens. A large altar with inscriptions of Egyptian bulls engraved onto it is also near Mt. Sinai, making it the only location in Saudi Arabia to have such inscriptions. Moller notes in his book that “one block of stone at the altar had a slight depression and after a brief shower something glistened at the bottom, which turned out to be small flakes of gold. This rock could well have been the place where Moses ground the golden calf into powder.”
Golden calf inscriptions?

This is just scratching the surface. The 12 wells of Elim, the altar constructed by Moses after the defeat of the Amalekites, evidence of large encampments, the boundary markers and stone pillars the Bible says were placed around Mt. Sinai, and several other sites identified in the Old Testament are located. Simply put, everything that the Bible indicates should be there is present. The researchers even describe how the locals refer to the site as “Moses’ Mountain” and it is common knowledge that Moses passed through the area.

Can this be? Is it a hoax? Is it real? I’m sure that skeptical scholars will be all over this, offering alternative explanations. But is God offering physical evidence of the truth of His Word? If He is, will it make a difference?

There are books and documentaries on these findings, with a movie documentary in the works. I’ll link to the ones available:

I’ve got to say, though, I feel suspicious. The books came out in the early 2000s, do not seem to be from mainline publishers (except for one from Broadman & Holman), and are already out of print. Why is this work from a decade ago being brought up now? Why hasn’t this already made an impact if it is so compelling? Still, bogus or real, it’s intriguing. Does anyone know any more about this?

UPDATE: Here is a critical review, though it doesn’t deal with all of the questions.

The mountain is called Jabal al-Lawz. You can see it on Google Earth.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • trotk

    I read The Mountain of God, and found it fascinating. For all I know, the authors made the whole thing up, but I found that it did answer questions that have plagued me ever since I was little. If the evidence they have offered is real, it is a mammoth find.

  • trotk

    I read The Mountain of God, and found it fascinating. For all I know, the authors made the whole thing up, but I found that it did answer questions that have plagued me ever since I was little. If the evidence they have offered is real, it is a mammoth find.

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    First, let me say that I absolutely believe in miracles, and I believe in the biblical account. Moreover, I see no problem whatsoever with archeology, and using that methodology on supposed biblical sites. However, I don’t need that work to convince me that the biblical account is true; the Holy Spirit has already done that.

    That said, I am skeptical of many accounts such as these. I’m sure some people who do this kind of work have good intentions. But have you ever noticed how almost universally bad the photography is? They put forth these pictures as “proof” of their claims, but often I can’t make heads or tails of it. Take the blackened mountain-top picture in this post, for example. The black top looks like it’s been altered in some way. The photo of the supposed chariot parts and bones is completely illegible for an archeological layman such as myself.

    All this is not to say that they might not have really found something. Because I already believe the biblical account, and because I believe God works in natural ways, it wouldn’t surprise me to find evidence for these historical events. But people, let’s do that research correctly, if we’re going to do it at all!

  • http://www.cumberlandisland.blogspot.com Adrian Keister

    First, let me say that I absolutely believe in miracles, and I believe in the biblical account. Moreover, I see no problem whatsoever with archeology, and using that methodology on supposed biblical sites. However, I don’t need that work to convince me that the biblical account is true; the Holy Spirit has already done that.

    That said, I am skeptical of many accounts such as these. I’m sure some people who do this kind of work have good intentions. But have you ever noticed how almost universally bad the photography is? They put forth these pictures as “proof” of their claims, but often I can’t make heads or tails of it. Take the blackened mountain-top picture in this post, for example. The black top looks like it’s been altered in some way. The photo of the supposed chariot parts and bones is completely illegible for an archeological layman such as myself.

    All this is not to say that they might not have really found something. Because I already believe the biblical account, and because I believe God works in natural ways, it wouldn’t surprise me to find evidence for these historical events. But people, let’s do that research correctly, if we’re going to do it at all!

  • Kirk

    I’m with Adrian on this one, it all seems a little sketchy. My problem is that Biblical Archeologists already have preconceived notions about what they’ll find. Accordingly, they’ll beleive rumors and hearsay that supports their suppositions, or see evidence for their beleifs where none exists. It may not be true in this case, but it does happen.

  • Kirk

    I’m with Adrian on this one, it all seems a little sketchy. My problem is that Biblical Archeologists already have preconceived notions about what they’ll find. Accordingly, they’ll beleive rumors and hearsay that supports their suppositions, or see evidence for their beleifs where none exists. It may not be true in this case, but it does happen.

  • Greg Smith

    Gal 4:25 says that Mt. Sinai is in Arabia. It seems to me that Paul would have been in a better position to know since he had been there (c.f., Gal 1:17). Also, there is the issue of writing such a thing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    I have always wondered why scholars try to place Mt. Sinai in the Sinai peninsula.

  • Greg Smith

    Gal 4:25 says that Mt. Sinai is in Arabia. It seems to me that Paul would have been in a better position to know since he had been there (c.f., Gal 1:17). Also, there is the issue of writing such a thing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    I have always wondered why scholars try to place Mt. Sinai in the Sinai peninsula.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Greg (#4):

    The term “Arabia” in Galatians doesn’t refer exactly to what we refer to as Arabia. In the NT, Arabia is the area south and east of Israel, which included the Sinai Peninsula. It is very much the same sort of situation we have for “Asia.” In the NT, Asia was a province in what is now called Turkey; it did not refer to what we think of as Asia, which now includes everything from Turkey to China.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Greg (#4):

    The term “Arabia” in Galatians doesn’t refer exactly to what we refer to as Arabia. In the NT, Arabia is the area south and east of Israel, which included the Sinai Peninsula. It is very much the same sort of situation we have for “Asia.” In the NT, Asia was a province in what is now called Turkey; it did not refer to what we think of as Asia, which now includes everything from Turkey to China.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    I view Cornuke (a former policeman with no formal training as an archeologist) of the BASE Institute as a complete amateur. I haven’t looked real closely at the work he has done with Mt. Sinai, but he has done similar “research” into Noah’s Ark, and his work there was filled with wild speculation and scientific inaccuracies. I’ve written about it here: http://geochristian.wordpress.com/?s=cornuke

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    I view Cornuke (a former policeman with no formal training as an archeologist) of the BASE Institute as a complete amateur. I haven’t looked real closely at the work he has done with Mt. Sinai, but he has done similar “research” into Noah’s Ark, and his work there was filled with wild speculation and scientific inaccuracies. I’ve written about it here: http://geochristian.wordpress.com/?s=cornuke

  • Joe

    Kirk @ 3 – “My problem is that Biblical Archeologists already have preconceived notions about what they’ll find”

    That is just as true of secular archeologists.

  • Joe

    Kirk @ 3 – “My problem is that Biblical Archeologists already have preconceived notions about what they’ll find”

    That is just as true of secular archeologists.

  • Kirk

    @ Joe,

    Absolutely. Everyone does, but not all the time. To me, a Biblical Archeologist takes an unscientific approach to his craft because he says “I know what happened and I know how it happened, now I’m going to go an look for evidence of it.” A more noble approach, at least in my mind, is to say “well, here’s the evidence. Let’s use it to determine what happened.” Truth be told, there will always be an ammount of presupposition used in analyzing evidence. Humans, after all, require a frame work for conducting their analysis. It just makes me uncomfortable when the frame work is too rigid.

  • Kirk

    @ Joe,

    Absolutely. Everyone does, but not all the time. To me, a Biblical Archeologist takes an unscientific approach to his craft because he says “I know what happened and I know how it happened, now I’m going to go an look for evidence of it.” A more noble approach, at least in my mind, is to say “well, here’s the evidence. Let’s use it to determine what happened.” Truth be told, there will always be an ammount of presupposition used in analyzing evidence. Humans, after all, require a frame work for conducting their analysis. It just makes me uncomfortable when the frame work is too rigid.

  • Tim Prussic

    Kirk, I can appreciate your comments. Every archeological dig “expects” to find something and, more generally, every person must have a framework by which to interpret any given thing. Christian (believing) archeologists will have their faults and errors, but on the whole they’re no greater than secular ones.

    Further, archeological finds of the last century have been bombshells! These finds take a good deal of time to work their way out into popular consciousness, as does all cutting-edge research. I have no hard info on Moses Mtn, but if it’s true, it’s one more in a long line of trumpet blasts against anti-biblical scholarship and in support of the historicity of the Bible.

  • Tim Prussic

    Kirk, I can appreciate your comments. Every archeological dig “expects” to find something and, more generally, every person must have a framework by which to interpret any given thing. Christian (believing) archeologists will have their faults and errors, but on the whole they’re no greater than secular ones.

    Further, archeological finds of the last century have been bombshells! These finds take a good deal of time to work their way out into popular consciousness, as does all cutting-edge research. I have no hard info on Moses Mtn, but if it’s true, it’s one more in a long line of trumpet blasts against anti-biblical scholarship and in support of the historicity of the Bible.

  • fws

    kirk

    i am with ya on this one buddy. the mormons archaeologists also were expecting to find things.

    they ended up with nothing or worse than nothing: they found things that directly and indisputably contradicted the book of mormon.

    no problem at all with christian archaeologists expecting to find what they read in the bible as long as they are honest if and when they find stuff that appears at least to contradict what they believe the bible says. honesty is what christians are all about. we have nothing to fear after all. the bible is all about honesty as well.

  • fws

    kirk

    i am with ya on this one buddy. the mormons archaeologists also were expecting to find things.

    they ended up with nothing or worse than nothing: they found things that directly and indisputably contradicted the book of mormon.

    no problem at all with christian archaeologists expecting to find what they read in the bible as long as they are honest if and when they find stuff that appears at least to contradict what they believe the bible says. honesty is what christians are all about. we have nothing to fear after all. the bible is all about honesty as well.

  • DonS

    I agree with Kirk et al. on this issue, but Joe makes an excellent point as well. Secular archaeologists, geologists, biologists etc. are all guilty, seemingly, of looking for evidence to support, rather than to test, their origin theories. A very unscientific approach.

  • DonS

    I agree with Kirk et al. on this issue, but Joe makes an excellent point as well. Secular archaeologists, geologists, biologists etc. are all guilty, seemingly, of looking for evidence to support, rather than to test, their origin theories. A very unscientific approach.

  • Dave Z

    Quite frankly, if none of this stuff has been doctored, then it would be hard for me to say anything against these finds and the assumed connection to the biblical accounts.
    Archeology is a field where presupposition is beneficial. If you don’t think something is there then why dig at all!? The earth is far too big to just search everything with no intent or focus on what you’re trying to find.
    As said in above posts, Honesty is the issue. We have seen so many hoaxes with both biblical and secular Archeology, it would be foolish not to take every find with a grain or two of salt
    Also one cannot claim that just because they found something, they know how it got there. -real- science can NEVER be applied to discovering the past or origins, so the best anyone can do is look at the tangible and testable/observable evidence and decide in their minds who to believe.
    It is important to keep in mind that you can never scientifically test things like, the beginning of the universe, the origin of life, the common ancestry of living creatures, the history of Moses, the life of Jesus, or even the conquest of Napoleon! All these things are only witnessed in history and archeology, and in my opinion it is safe to say that we can never be 100% sure on anything historical. No matter what you believe about the past, it takes some amount of faith to determine it.

  • Dave Z

    Quite frankly, if none of this stuff has been doctored, then it would be hard for me to say anything against these finds and the assumed connection to the biblical accounts.
    Archeology is a field where presupposition is beneficial. If you don’t think something is there then why dig at all!? The earth is far too big to just search everything with no intent or focus on what you’re trying to find.
    As said in above posts, Honesty is the issue. We have seen so many hoaxes with both biblical and secular Archeology, it would be foolish not to take every find with a grain or two of salt
    Also one cannot claim that just because they found something, they know how it got there. -real- science can NEVER be applied to discovering the past or origins, so the best anyone can do is look at the tangible and testable/observable evidence and decide in their minds who to believe.
    It is important to keep in mind that you can never scientifically test things like, the beginning of the universe, the origin of life, the common ancestry of living creatures, the history of Moses, the life of Jesus, or even the conquest of Napoleon! All these things are only witnessed in history and archeology, and in my opinion it is safe to say that we can never be 100% sure on anything historical. No matter what you believe about the past, it takes some amount of faith to determine it.


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