NARRATOR: The Bible is the oldest continuous history
of any people on Earth today.
But, is it truly history?
Can we say, with any degree of certainty for example,
that the miraculous stories
attributed to Moses are factual?
Let's see what we can learn from those who
seek answers in the depths of uncharted waters.
Answers, that have been waiting to be discovered
since Moses crossed the Red Sea.
There's an old saying among the Jews that goes,
"From Moses to Moses, there is no one like Moses."
The reference, bridges a gap of nearly 4000 years,
from the Moses of the Old Testament,
to the great 12th century Rabbi, Moses Maimonides.
It is intended as an expression of the great honor and respect
the Jewish people still hold
for the Prophet and leader, who they believed
brought their ancestors out of slavery in Egypt.
Through Moses, they escaped the vengeance of the Pharaoh
when God opened a passageway through the Red Sea.
But, what do we know of this man, Moses?
And how did he get to such an exalted position?
The Bible gives a remarkable account
about the history of the man known as Moses.
According to the story in the book of Exodus,
the Israelites were a people that had been enslaved by Egypt
and were growing in number,
much to the concern of their Egyptian slave masters.
Because of this, the Pharaoh ordered all male infants
of the Hebrews to be slain.
The young mother, one of the enslaved Israelites,
could no longer protect her infant son.
She put him in a basket and set him afloat
on the Nile river near the palace of the Pharaoh.
Pharaoh's daughter, the Princess of Egypt
found the basket and took the infant to raise as her own.
She called the child Moses.
because she said she drew him from the water.
Raised in royal surroundings,
it was not until Moses reached manhood
that he first discovered he was an Israelite.
It was then that he began to
identify with his true heritage.
Actually, the truth of the story of the Exodus
depends on the answer to three questions.
Did the ten plague summoned by Moses
against Egypt actually occur?
Was there really an enslaved people called the Israelites
who made a great Exodus out of Egypt
led by a man who received his
instructions from a burning bush?
And, is it possible
that the Red Sea really parted, as stated in the Bible?
The answers to these questions will determine
whether we are dealing with a miracle or a mirage
and today there is little agreement among the experts.
NARRATOR: Two of the Worlds great religions,
base many of their beliefs,
even their Geo-political systems
on events and declarations from Mount Sinai.
The historic record dates back thousands of years.
Why is it then that nobody seems to know exactly
where Mount Sinai is?
Were the tablets of the Ten Commandments
literally carved by the finger of God
into stone from this mountain?
The sons of Isaac and the son's of Ishmael,
have been at war for over 4000 years
and today's headlines demonstrate that, if anything,
the situation is getting worse.
Could it be that the ancient mountain of Moses,
will once again be crucial to the very survival of Israel?
Astonishing mysteries are beginning to be solved
and a new picture is coming to light.
Will these discoveries
necessitate a rewriting of human history?
SHERWIN: The idea that hundreds of thousands of Israelites
pass through the Red Sea is crazy.
The Bible says that there were
six hundred and three thousand males
which means over two million people
who passed though those waters
that most likely would've taken several weeks
for all those people just to cross.
The whole idea is crazy.
MICHAEL: The Biblical story of the Exodus
is an eyewitness account
written by a layman to his contemporaries.
Although the writer was not a scholarly historian,
there are enough historical kernels indicating that the
account is factual from both,
an Archaeological and Egyptian Anthropological perspective.
On the face of it, a story about a burning bush
is pure fiction or at least mythology.
It's max of pious enthusiasm.
The idea that a bush can be burned and still not be consumed
is just not within a realm of possibility.
The biblical story of the burning bush,
is completely true and totally approvable.
Archeology provides background information for
unlocking narratives and events such as the Exodus account.
In this case, the account contains sufficient place names
cross referenced in non-biblical Sumerian
and Assyrian Cuneiform tablets
to confirm the accuracy of the Exodus account
and to assure scholars
that it was not an account invented for later conception.
NARRATOR: From the burning bush,
to the parting of the Red Sea
the story of the Israelites Exodus out of Egypt
has been a constant source of
disagreement among the experts.
Faster, you lazy dog.
Hey, why do you rest, bud?
Get to work.
NARRATOR: Moses began to take
a deeper, more sympathetic interest in his own people.
When he began to witness their ill treatment,
his anger and resentment began to grow toward the Egyptians.
Stay you're hand, pit master.
Why do you lash this man?
Man? These are not men, my Lord.
They're lazy dogs and the scourge is the
only language which they understand.
Now, get to work.
I meant not to kill him.
NARRATOR: Moses tried to secretly bury
the Egyptian in the sand.
But, was found out and had to
flee to the wilderness of Midian
to escape the Pharaoh's death sentence.
He was befriended by Jethro,
a Midianite priest and married his daughter.
For 40 years, Moses lived the simple life of a shepherd.
Then, in a matter of minutes,
he came to know his destiny.
GOD: I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I have seen the misery of my people
who are enslaved in Egypt.
You, Moses, are going to go to Pharaoh
and lead my people out of their bondage in Egypt.
Who am I to lead the Israelites out of Egypt?
Why should Pharaoh listen to me?
GOD: Do not fear, for I shall be with you.
NARRATOR: Moses' encounter with
the burning bush is one of
the most memorable stories in the Bible.
and certainly one of the most controversial.
We were told that not only did the bush burst into flame,
but it was not consumed by the fire.
The story has long been questioned
by Bible critics.
So, we went to Israel
to question the experts there on the subject.
At the foot of Mount Sinai,
one finds the Monastery of Saint Catharine
The local story of the shepherds,
the nomadic people, the Bedouins.
do hold that the actual bush that is found
inside the Monastery is still the same bush.
I can't confirm or reject that the bush growing
at the monastery was the actual burning bush.
But, it is a specific dessert plant
that fits the Biblical description.
It's the Fraxinella or gas plant, Dictamnus albus,
a sturdy perennial bush with white or purple flowers,
common in the Middle East.
The bush produces an oil, so volatile
that it can be ignited by the sun.
The oil quickly burns up,
but the bush itself is not damaged.
NARRATOR: If there is scientific evidence to support
this odd Biblical account,
does it lend credibility to the rest of the Moses account?
It must've seemed to Moses that God was asking
him to do the impossible
and at great personal risk.
But, Moses and his brother Aaron
nevertheless went to Pharaoh.
Plead for the release of his people.
Each of their meetings brought about a judgment
on the people of Egypt,
and, after each plague, Moses went to Pharaoh
and asked him to let his people go.
But, each time, Pharaoh refused.
According to the Bible, each plague was
more intense than the last and for years
scholars have searched for some hint in the Egyptian writings
that would point to such horrific
events actually happening.
SHERWIN: The main purpose of the Exodus story
is not to describe history.
The main purpose of the Exodus story
as it was created by the prescribes
who lived in Jerusalem was to glorify their God
and to make their God look greater than any other God
and what they use was a series of
old legends and distorted memories which they put together
to create this story which has no relationship to history.
NARRATOR: But, the Bible remained the only source
of information about these devastating plagues
There was an ancient Egyptian Papyrus document
called the Ipuwer Papyrus
and it recounts in eyewitness fashion,
the plague of blood, the plague of cattle disease,
the plague of strange fire phenomenon,
the plague on the first born,
the strange darkness, all the events that we
previously thought we only knew about from the Bible.
We can read about it in Egyptian records.
NARRATOR: Little by little science and archeology
seem to be catching up with the Biblical account.
But, what if the most fantastic episode of all,
the parting of the Red Sea...
could it have happened?
You'll be amazed at what has been discovered.
The miracles of Moses are almost too many to count
and some scholars insist
they're too fantastic to be believed.
But, many of them
are not only still believed by the Jewish people,
they honor them with centuries old traditions.
The Bible describes the arrival
of the last plague with great drama.
God instructed every Israelite to stay indoors
and prepare a meal of lamb or goat.
They were to take the blood of these animals
and use it to place a mark over the door of their houses.
On that night the Lord descended
on the land of Egypt
and the first born of every Egyptian family
was struck down in death.
But, the Jewish families who had
marked their doorways were spared.
That great miracle is still celebrated by Jewish families
as the feast of the passover.
For the Egyptians, this final plague was the most terrible.
Even Pharaoh lost his beloved son.
Finally, his resistance was broken
and he ordered the Israelites to be set free.
But, they must leave the land of the Nile completely.
The Bible tells us the Lord provided a cloud cover by day
and a column of fire by night
to guide the Israelites through the dessert.
But, the big question is
where did they go?
According to the Bible their destination
was to be the land of Canaan
The most direct route called
"The Way of the Land of the Philistines",
would've taken them to the North.
Was much shorter than the Southern route
and would've most likely put them on a path
towards the Sea of Reeds,
a shallow marshy area
at the North end of the Gulf of Suez.
It is this area that many scholars
have accepted as the point of crossing.
But, is it?
There are some major difficulties
with the Sea of Reeds site as the point of crossing.
First of all, if this is the point at which
the Israelites entered the Red Sea,
they're still in Egypt.
However, Exodus 14:11
clearly states that they were out of Egypt.
In this verse the panicking Israelites
understood that they were no
longer in Egypt because they asked...
What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?
Were there no graves in Egypt, Moses?
That you let us out here into the wilderness to die.
Did we not speak to you in Egypt of this?
Did we not tell you to let us be?
NARRATOR: Also the crossing place
is a shallow Sea of Reeds
or even a lake as some have affirmed
That conclusion I believe is pure conjecture
and cannot be supported by the Biblical record.
The names from the Exodus account
were probably inserted on maps by guess work
and cannot be located with certainty today.
More careful reading of the scriptures
revealed some very interesting facts.
First of all, the waters they crossed were deep.
Isaiah, for example talks about
a path through the mighty waters
and acknowledges that it was God who dried the Sea,
That hardly sounds like two and a half million people
sloshing though a shallow swamp somewhere.
The route specified in Exodus 13:18
would seem to require a crossing site
somewhere along the Southern shore
of the Gulf of Aqaba.
With a beach large enough to accommodate
the entire Nation of Israel
along with their immense herds and flocks.
When the Israelites reached the Red Sea,
they were instructed by God in Exodus 14:2
to turn back and camp by a place called Pi-hahiroth,
which is between Migdol and the Red Sea.
It appears that God was laying a trap for Pharaoh.
Not only was Moses told to take
the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea,
but they were also supernaturally guided there
by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.
Now, they were told to turn back
and await the deliverance of the Lord.
NARRATOR: It's easy to see how Pharaoh could've
considered them trapped.
Perhaps the Pharaoh was convinced the Hebrews were in a
situation where he couldn't possibly lose.
Which gave him the courage to tempt God's anger one more time.
Perhaps Moses even wondered himself
how God would save his people this time.
But, his faith was unshakable.
The spies have returned from Ramesses.
Pharaoh resents our release now
and sends his army to destroy us.
We must put the Sea between them and the people.
Have your scouts been able to find any place
that we might possibly cross?
There's nothing to the North or to the South.
In a week we might be able to reach the
road at Horas in the North.
But, that would be far too late.
That we should become a great temptation for the Philistines
to come down on us from the North.
Can you place your men at arms between Pharaoh and the people?
There is not enough time.
Except for the inner guard my soldiers
have dispersed amongst the tribes.
Trying to make warriors out of brick makers and farmers.
If I could gather them all,
we would not be able to stop Pharaoh's archers and chariots.
What else do I see in your face, Joshua?
There are trouble makers about,
stirring up the tribes.
There's danger within as well as from the outside.
NARRATOR: According to the verses of Exodus 14,
The people quickly learned of the Pharaoh's change of heart.
The Egyptians were working us to death slowly.
But now, Moses has found a quicker way to kill us.
Do all of us despise so much eating from Egyptian flesh pot,
that we now must fill our stomachs with sand?
Listen to me.
If we surrender peacefully, if we go back now,
yes, we will be punished, but we will still be alive afterwards.
Which do you prefer,
a few lashes or an Egyptian spear in your chest?
Does Moses think he can humble the mighty Pharaoh
and still live?
Let us tell Moses now!
CROWD CHANTING: Moses!
Behold what you've done to us Almighty Lord Moses.
Do you not see that dusk clouds of doom?
Do you not hear the earth thundering
with the sound of Pharaoh's chariots?
I see and I hear.
What would you have me do?
Make me your emissary.
I will go back to the Egyptians reason with them,
beg to return and be forgiven
I will cleave you in two, you traitorous turnip.
Let us hear it all.
Were there no graves in Egypt, Moses?
That you let us out here into the wilderness to die?
Did we not speak to you Egypt of this?
Did we not tell you to let us be?
All of us, we told you
that it was better to live under the heavy hand of the Egyptians
than to die like diseased animals in the desert.
But, you, you wouldn't listen.
Not the mighty Lord Moses!
Do we want to die out here?
We could be alive in Egypt.
Save your tongues.
Where is your faith?
Do you think that your Lord brought you out of bondage
in Egypt to die on the shores of this Sea?
Fear not the Egyptians and their chariots.
You need do nothing but be still
and turn your fears into faith!
You will see God's power!
NARRATOR: The Bible tells us that at God's command
Moses stretched out his hand over the Sea
and God sent a strong East wind
that drove back the waters creating a path
through the midst of the Sea.
NARRATOR: With the pursuing Egyptian Army behind them,
the Israelites were able to cross the wide opening
in the sea in a matter of hours.
Pharaoh's army, with hundreds
of chariots and thousands of soldiers,
followed the Israelites into the Sea.
thy will be done.
NARRATOR: Some critics express doubts
that Moses and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea at all.
Other's do not believe any part of the Exodus.
But, recently there has been a discovery
of some remarkable evidence.
NANCY: There are certain hallmark pieces of pottery
that we look for in attempting to trace the
Exodus event in the migration of the Israelites
into the Land of Canaan.
One of these pieces is this very nice pilgrim flask,
that's very nicely painted
and the shape itself apparently
indicated the product that was shipped in it comes from Cyprus.
But, it's important for dating the other
material that we find in connection with the Israelites.
Another piece we have is the Philistine beer jug.
The Philistines were very fond of drinking beer.
It was fermented right in the jug, you can see it.
It was poured out into the drinking vessel itself.
The Israelites copied the Philistines,
where which were highly painted.
It came out with poor reproduction.
So, we can always tell when we come into a site,
that the Israelites themselves have now moved on to this site.
Daily there are more and more
pieces of evidence that are being excavated.
They're helping to demonstrate that the Israelites
came in the Exodus and settled in the land of Canaan.
One of the interesting questions that
Emanuel Anadi has answered
in his research and he's one of the top
Sinai archaeologists, is the question,
what were the Israelites doing
during the 40 years of their wandering in the dessert.
Well Dr. Anadi has discovered something like 30,000
rock inscriptions, which he dates
to the time period of the Exodus.
In which he believes, the Israelites carved
on those hot weathered rocks.
NARRATOR: New findings are being unearthed
at several archaeological sites,
such as the unusual pottery items and rock drawings
which give hard evidence that the Exodus really did happen.
But, even as the validity of the Exodus
is being scientifically proven,
the controversy over the
parting of the Red Sea is heating up.
Recent discoveries by some researchers
seem to point to a crossing side
near the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba.
Where the Red Sea is only about 5 miles wide.
At this site, in 1799,
Napoleon engineers discovered a
underwater ridge some 600 feet wide
that extended from shore to shore.
His engineers calculated the right time
for crossing this 5.2 miles strip.
When the East wind will blow sufficiently
to clear the seabed of water.
Napoleon however, barely escaped with his life
when a sudden change in the winds direction
brought an onrush of water covering the strip
within just a matter of minutes.
NARRATOR: Professor Doron Nof of Florida State University,
also found this an intriguing sight.
We were intrigued by the possibility that
perhaps there is some explanation
for similar process.
So, what we did, we developed
what we call in physical
oceanography, a mathematical model
of the path of the Red Sea
where many people believe that crossing could've been.
Okay, what we have here now is physical model of the Red Sea.
The deep part supposed to represent
the main body of the Red Sea which is about
two or three thousand feet deep.
And the shallow part, the one with the sloping bottom
supposed to represent the Gulf which is much shallower,
as we said before, is about Ten feet deep.
In addition to this, we have here
we introduced here the official ridge,
which you see right here.
And the dept of the water
above that of the official region
is only about Ten feet high.
And what I'm going to do is, I'm going to
let the wind blow from here and you'll see
how the water recedes
and in fact exposes the ridge to the air.
Okay, so what you can see now is that most of the water in fact
to the left of the ridge
is blowing away, there is still some water there.
And you can see there is a exposed area right there.
So, the idea is that the Israelites crossed on this
part of the ridge,
which was exposed and they saw water on the two sides.
They saw the water on the left side of the ridge
and the water on the right side.
I'm going to cut the wind off now.
I'm going to do that abruptly
and you will see how it comes back.
So, let's do that.
[MACHINE WHIRRING STOPS]
And of course what happens after that when the wind relaxes,
the water wants to come back to the position that it had before.
And it does that via gravity wave,
which moves at a speed we calculate to be like
fifteen feet per second or so,
which is of course a speed that one cannot escape.
NARRATOR: Does this prove once and for all
the validity of the biblical account of the Exodus?
And the parting of the Red Sea?
Certainly not all critics would agree.
But, persistent scientific and archaeological research
seems to be bringing us closer to an explanation
and a verifiable site.
Perhaps, it will be a whole new generation
of brilliant young researchers, theologians and scientists
that will finally solve this mystery.
NARRATOR: Two of the world's great religions,
Christianity and Judaism,
base many of their beliefs
even their Geo-political systems
on events and declarations from Mount Sinai.
But, nobody seems to know exactly where Mount Sinai is.
Is there a real mountain that holds the secrets
of God's interaction with men?
Where the tablets of the Ten Commandments
were literally carved by the finger
of God into stone from this mountain?
New information seems to indicate
that the real Mount Sinai is in Saudi Arabia.
And interestingly enough,
the Saudi Arabian government
has erected a chain-linked fence
and closed down all geological and
archaeological studies of this mountain in the ancient land
of Midian, why?
NARRATOR: The Sinai desert.
Moses has led his people out of bondage in Egypt.
They are weary from their long trek to find the promised land.
It's become clear to Moses
that they need a set of laws to live by.
According to the Bible,
Moses leaves his people and ascends Mount Sinai
to communicate with God.
He's gone so long that the people become restless
and believing Moses is dead,
build a gold idol to worship.
Is this story true?
Did God give Moses the Ten Commandments?
Did the Exodus really occur?
Or is this all just a folk tale?
Can science shed any light
on this controversial part of the Bible?
JORDAN: The story of Moses receiving the
Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai is
full of inconsistencies.
It is impossible to sort fact from fiction.
YISROEL: The Ten Commandments account by Moses
is 100% factual and there are no contradictions.
It's a straight-forward story
also confirmed in the Talmud
and other ancient Rabbinical commentaries.
We can prove that the Ten Commandments were given
to Moses on Stone tablets.
And we also know exactly where the stone tablets are today.
NARRATOR: Since the 4th Century A.D.
in the high mountain near the
southern end of the Sinai peninsula,
officially labeled 'Jebel Musa'
has been regarded by many faithful Christians
as 'The Mount Sinai'.
But, is it?
Saint Catherine's Monastery,
located at the base of the mountain,
was constructed by the order of the Emperor, Justinian,
between 527 and 565 A.D.
It is built around, what is thought by those
who inhabit the monastery and many in the surrounding area,
to be the bush, that Moses saw burning,
but not consumed.
By the order of Queen Helena,
mother of the emperor, Constantine,
a chapel was built around this very bush centuries ago.
This Monastery is in fact a spectacular natural setting
for the second largest collection of
illustrated manuscripts in the World,
a collection exceeded only by the Vatican's.
But, if so many generations of rulers, priests and Kings
are satisfied with this Mount Sinai,
what is it that makes today's scholars and investigators
turn their attention to a mountain in Saudi Arabia
called Jebel al-Lawz?
None of the suggested science in the Sinai Peninsula
fit the Biblical requirements.
The traditional site called Jebel Musa,
and located near the Saint Catherine's Monastery
fails all of the historical, geographic
and archaeological tests.
NARRATOR: Perhaps, we should take a moment
to discover exactly what these tests are
and how they can be applied some 4000 years after the fact.
To summarize the story briefly,
a young Moses, raised as an Egyptian prince,
was forced to flee into the desert to escape
the wrath of Pharaoh.
after he killed an Egyptian overseer
who was beating a Hebrew slave.
One day, while grazing his flock
on the slopes of Mount Sinai,
he encountered a marvelous sight.
A bush suddenly burst into flame,
but it was not consumed and out of the burning bush,
Moses heard the voice of God.
GOD: I am the God of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob.
NARRATOR: The life of Moses would never be the same.
The Lord told him to return to Egypt
and bring the Hebrews out of bondage.
This was to be the great Exodus out of Egypt
and into the promised land.
Probably due to the many years in Egyptian bondage,
the differences among the various tribal groups
were much greater than their similarities.
Strange Egyptian God's were still worshiped
and ancient pagan rituals still practiced.
There was no common law to fit crimes and punishment
and violence began spreading like a plague.
It soon became apparent to Moses
that these differences would destroy the people
if they could not be resolved.
NARRATOR: The Bible says that the God called upon Moses
to climb the heights of Sinai
and there to wait upon his appearance.
And then while Moses prepared
his brother Aaron to sit in his place,
the news spread quickly through the camp.
here's where I shall leave you.
FRED: The priests' scribes, who wrote the five books of the Bible,
attributed to Moses could not even decide on
whether the sacred mountain of Moses was named Sinai or Horeb.
Thirty-seven times it's called Sinai
and 17 times it's called Horeb.
CARR: Well, the mountain in which
Moses received the Ten Commandments
is called alternatively Sinai or Horeb in the scriptures.
There's little difficulty in
explaining this apparent contradiction
During King David's reign, two versions
of the same scripture were brought together
in a manner that allowed both Northern
and Southern Israelite tribes to keep their familiar
identifiers for geographic places.
Sinai and Horeb are the same mountain.
Nothing in the Bible suggests that they are not.
NARRATOR: Mount Sinai, virtually every major event
associated with the Exodus
somehow involves this holy mountain.
That being the case,
certain identifying characteristics are
required by the Biblical account
that can help us pinpoint the location of Mount Sinai.
But, what are they?
First, it had to be located in ancient Midia
which is in present day Saudi Arabia.
Secondly, on the back side of the mountain
there must be a vast desert as you see here.
Thirdly, it must be located completely
outside of Egypt and its controlled territories,
which would exclude the Sinai peninsula.
None of the other proposed mountain sites
fits all these requirements except Jebel al-Lawz.
But, if that's true,
how did Jebel Musa and the site of Saint Catherine's Monastery
get such a hold on the popular and scholarly imagination?
Unknown to most people,
the Jebel Musa site was selected
solely on the opinion of one man.
Or perhaps, we should say one man's mother.
The Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great
sent his mother Helena to the middle East
to discover spots he had seen in visions.
Helena ordered a church built on the spot
where 4th Century better ones
said they had found the burning bush.
What we must understand is
the Mount Sinai in the Sinai peninsula
was selected without any scientific
or archaeological evidence being considered.
NARRATOR: There doesn't seem to be any firm
Jewish traditions that supports Constantine's site either.
In fact, the Jewish encyclopedia states flatly that
But, that also means
there is no Jewish tradition
that supports the site in Saudi Arabia.
What is it that points scholars toward this site?
The earliest Jewish source, other than the Torah,
that discusses the location of Mount Sinai
is the Septuagint.
The Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible
begun in the 3rd Century B.C.
The Septuagint transliterates the Hebrew name for Midian
as either 'Median' or 'Mediam'.
The Septuagint states that Jethro was a priest of Median
who went out and then went into the desert to meet Moses.
The location of ancient Median
can be determined from a map produced by Ptolemy,
a 2nd Century A.D. geographer in Alexandria.
NARRATOR: And the Septuagint is not alone
in placing a mountain near the city
in modern day Saudi Arabia.
Demetrius the Chronographer, in the 3rd Century B.C.,
claims that after Moses married Zipporah,
they made their home in the city of Median
and Philo, a Jewish philosopher,
describes Zapora as an Arab who lived in Arabia.
He describes the Israelites wandering Eastward,
all the way across the Sinai Peninsula
to the Southern edge of Palestine
just before the revelation at Sinai.
Philo thus places Mount Sinai
somewhere in North-Western Arabia.
Philo adds one more small detail
to the investigation of Mount Sinai.
He says that Moses went up the highest
and most sacred of the mountains in its region.
But, it is the Apostle Paul who provides the finishing touch.
In Galatians 4:25 he says,
Where does that leave Jebel Musa
or the present Mount Sinai?
archaeological teams have searched for evidence
that Moses and the Israelites once camped here
for nearly a year after their flight from Egypt.
When the Sinai Peninsula was under Israeli control,
They discovered nothing.
Out of over 8000 inscriptions
from the Souther half of the Sinai Peninsula,
only a handful are Hebrew Aramaic.
The tradition of identifying one of the mountains
in the Sinai Peninsula, is the mountain of Moses,
was the scholar's invention.
Without any Jewish precedence whatsoever.
No Jews were ever interested in the Sinai Peninsula,
with any respect anyway to Moses.
NARRATOR: Traditions, particularly religious
traditions, die hard.
The Mount Sinai, located near
the Monastery of Saint Catherine,
is now anchored in 1600 years of tradition.
and those who are devoted to the site show little interest
in looking elsewhere.
Is there some scientific evidence
that proves Jebel al-Lawz and North-Western Saudi Arabia,
is in fact the true Mount Sinai?
What is there besides just the location
to suggest this mountain was once the place
where God communicated directly with Moses?
Has anyone actually been there to see and catalog the evidence
and what does the Saudi Government think
of all this new found attention?
Aaron's heart was troubled.
But, the plotters leaped with the light
when Aaron put the idol upon the altar stone.
Their blasphemy was complete.
God already knew of their idolatory
and was set on destroying the Israelites
when Moses interceded and with the Ten Commandments,
hastened down the mountain to confront the Israelites.
Come, faithful Joshua.
ROBERT: The first four commandments were
concerned with devotion to God.
The fifth commandment demanded respect for one's parents
and set the standards for human relations and Civil Law.
Murder, adultery and theft
were outlawed by the next three commandments.
Indicating the sacredness of life, marriage and property.
Israelites were not to offer false evidence in courts.
And by this commandment,
the sacredness of justice was set forth.
The final commandment, demanded that
one's heart and mind not covet a neighbor's possessions.
NARRATOR: When Moses reached the base of the mount,
he was filled with sudden horror.
What have you done?
Turned your backs on Almighty God
even as Jehovah our Lord has made you his chosen people?
You would go whoring after false Gods.
Must you make an abomination in your own house?
You are not worthy to receive the Law of God.
Smite the idolators.
All ye who hath followed the word of the living God,
rise up now!
Purge them from our midst.
Strike now for the Lord our God.
NARRATOR: Even as the faithful under Joshua,
slew the idolators, Moses destroyed the Golden Calf.
But, even while the terrible fires of vengeance
burned through the camp,
forgiveness and reconciliation were already beginning.
According to the Bible,
Moses chiseled out a second set of stone tablets
and again went to the top of Mount Sinai.
PAUL: The Bible is very clear.
God originally wrote the Ten Commandments
on stone tablets of his own making and gave them to Moses.
After Moses smashed the original tablets,
when he saw the Israelites worshiping the Golden Calf,
Moses cut another set of tablets and God wrote on those too.
There is really no significant evidence in the Bible
of a third set of stone tablets.
Any reference to a third set,
comes from a misinterpretation of one passage,
where the Bible is really telling about
the second set of tablets.
NARRATOR: Most of the places
mentioned in Exodus are unknown.
Scholars and investigators are still searching for
the point at which the children of Israel
might've crossed the Red Sea.
No one knows where they
might've first set foot in Sinai.
And the location of the mystical Mount Sinai itself
is a subject of relentless argument.
Lately, however, modern technology
has begun to have an impact on the discussion.
Infrared satellite photography, for example
is helping to provide a clearer picture
of the actual location of this fabled mountain.
With satellite infrared photography,
there have been major archaeological
discoveries found throughout the World.
There's a trail coming down the west branch of the Red Sea.
The left hand branch of it comes
to the tip of the Sinai peninsula,
stops there, it appears to come out of the other side
and then wanders North th the highest
mountain in the area of Jebel al-Lawz.
And we did find,
what I think is important archaeological evidence,
is something took place at Jebel al-Lawz.
NARRATOR: Larry Williams, who might
best be described as an adventurer,
as opposed to, say, archaeologist or scientist,
enlisted the services of Robert Cornuke,
a former policeman with a reputation for bravery.
And the two men, literally sneaked into Saudi Arabia
and made their way in to the mountain called Jebel al-Lawz
on modern maps, but which four years earlier
had been described as the real Mount Sinai
by amateur archaeologist, Ron Wyatt.
In 1988, we retraced the Exodus route
from the tip of the Sinai peninsula in to Saudi Arabia
using the Bible and
satellite imagery to find the actual route.
Inland, 33 kilometers
we found the bitter springs
of Marah mentioned in Exodus 15.
This dirt samples from the springs
has been chemically analyzed
and was found to contain excessive iron
and dissolved salts, making it very bitter.
Continuing along the route, we came to the clear water springs
mentioned in Exodus 15:27.
Here caves were being excavated by Saudi archaeologists.
They said they had found the writings
in theses caves that indicated that Moses
had come through this area.
The tomb of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses,
and Zipporah, the wife of Moses
were found in these caves.
And we did find, what I think is important
is something took place in Jebel al-Lawz.
We found that at the base of this mountain
12 pillars, 18.5 feet in diameters.
Why not 7? Why not 11? Why 12?
With 12 tribes of Moses
fitting so perfectly into that scenario.
Additionally, on the flat in front of this
mountain, we found a large
pile of rocks about 20-24 feet tall.
There's a petroglyph of an Egyptian,
not an Arabic drawing, but an Egyptian drawing,
of the golden calf.
In additionally, at the base of the mountain,
we found kind of a wing shaped
formation, foundation pointing towards the mountain
and there we found marble.
Round marble stones, this is some of the stone of it.
This rock is not indigenous to
that area of Saudi Arabia, let alone to Saudi Arabia.
NARRATOR: An encampment area, large enough for
an estimated 1-2 million people,
is a major factor in determining the location
of the real Mount Sinai.
And a source of water for
a group that large would be essential
for an extended stay of even a month,
let alone a year.
But, the Bible provides other clues as well.
How does Jebel al-Lawz measure up
in some of these more obscure requirements?
We found the top of the Mount to be black
as if the rocks have been burnt.
Possibly confirming the Biblical
scripture that the Lord
descended up on it in fire and smoke.
NARRATOR: Archaeologists have identified
another small footnote to the Mount Sinai argument
having to do with the tablets of the law
or the Ten Commandments.
Unlike other law codes, such as the Code of Hammurabi
which was written on an eight foot stele
and stood out in the open air.
The Ten Commandments tablets were
portable and designed to be kept
as a sacred treasure.
Although, ancient Egyptians in Babylonian, steles,
tablets and wall reliefs were usually done in limestone,
basalt rock, or diorite.
There's strong evidence that the
Ten Commandments tablets were done in granite or marble,
rock types that are found
at the Jebel al-Lawz's Mount Sinai's site
in Saudi Arabia.
NARRATOR: Shortly after Cornucke
and Williams visited the site,
the Saudi government closed down the Jebel al-Lawz
site to any foreign archaeological study.
They also erected a chain linked fence
and placed a military guard around the mountain
to prevent even clandestine exploration of the site.
The Saudi government is in a
very difficult political position.
Because the Saudis had no sense of nationalism,
when the country was unified in the 1920's,
the House of Saud used the theology of the Mohabir sect
of Islam to create national unity.
Saudi Arabia's still run largely by a
coalition between the Royal family
and the religious establishment.
That religious establishment is very resistant
to exploring anything archaeologically before Islam.
A period they see as characterized by moral chaos.
The other problem the House of Saud faces is external.
If it allows archaeological excavations
of ancient Israelite sites in Saudi Arabia,
the House of Saud open itself up to the anger of the Arab World.
NARRATOR: The evidence for the real Mount Sinai
being in Saudi Arabia appears to be overwhelming.
But, the ancient animosities
are still preventing scientists and scholars
from uncovering factual evidence
that could settle the argument once and for all.
And today's modern warriors are adding to the difficulty.
According to Howard Blum, in his book, the Gold of Exodus,
any verification of Jebel al-Lawz
is gonna be very complicated.
The mountain is now a part of a $5.6 billion
Saudi military installation called operation Peace Shield.
It was built by the approval of the U.S. Congress
using U.S. contractors and Air Force personnel.
Operation Peace Shield was originally designed
as a radar installation
in order to protect the Kingdom against intruders.
However, according to Blum,
it has since been armed with missiles
capable of hitting targets within Israel and Iraq.
It is ironic that what some investigators believe
to be the true Mount Sinai,
the place where the law was given
for the preservation of Israel,
could potentially be used for the destruction of Israel.
NARRATOR: Does this mean then,
that we may never really know whether or not this
is the Mount Sinai on which Moses
received the Ten Commandments?
Or is there some hope for future exploration?
We need permission for a competent trained archaeologist
to go in and excavate and record the material carefully
and submit it for review by other scholars,
because there are too many gaps in our knowledge.
NARRATOR: Whether or not this is proven
to be the mountain where Moses
stood in awe before the burning bush,
there appears to be considerable evidence
that Mount Sinai is located
in North Western Saudi Arabia.
And if the Exodus account is true,
that mountain will be blackened by heavenly fire.
There will be evidence of a large
and sometimes boisterous encampment.
And perhaps, even as some have suggested,
some remnant of the gold and jewels
and other personal possessions,
the fleeing slaves were permitted to take with them.
Proof positive of the exact location of the Mount Sinai
it seems is literally hidden behind
armed guards of the Saudi government.
But, the earliest post-Biblical Jewish sources from Palestine,
the mid-second Century book of Jubilees,
fragments of which were found among
the Dead Sea scrolls
gives a long and idealized description of world geography
that suggests that the author believed Mount Sinai
to be in the Arabian peninsula.
But, the clearest description of Early Jewish literature
of the location of Mount Sinai
comes from the First Century historian, Josephus.
He wrote that
towering 8000 feet above the desert floor.
Jebel al-Lawz certainly fits that description.
But, the sad fact is,
in spite of all the evidence that has been accumulated,
we really don't know
and indeed can't know for certain
until competent archaeological excavations
are once again permitted on the mountain itself.
But, the presence of a large Arab
military installation on the mountain
brings up an interesting question.
If Jebel al-Lawz was proven to be the true Mount Sinai
and the Saudi military was using that
strategic position to direct missiles in to Israel,
will the Israeli government destroy the Mountain of Moses?
Something to think about.