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Introduction to PAX TV program

[This was the very first national TV program that has mentioned that the late Ron Wyatt was the very first person to visit Jebel el Lawz and identify it as being the real Mount Sinai.  The segment on this program that features Bob Cornuke's and Larry Williams' comments are from their old interviews from 1993-1998, and in those interviews they never mentioned that Ron Wyatt had been to Jebel el Lawz first - but now the truth is beginning to be told, it was Ron Wyatt who discovered that Jebel el Lawz is the real Mt. Sinai!  Ron even appeared on the CBS Morning News on

 April 18, 1984, with his two sons, and informed the world about his discovery, but hardly anyone remembers this national television interview.  "It was a letter penned by one of Wyatt's associates that helped Cornuke and Williams find Jabal al Lawz, which Wyatt had concluded in 1984 was Mount Sinai"  Denver Post 10-11-98.  William Fry, who is interviewed in this program, was a co-worker with Ron Wyatt and operates the anchorstone.com web site.]

The REAL Mount Sinai on PAX Television
Encounters With The Unexplained
November 9, 2001

Jerry Orbach:  Two of the world's great religions, Christianity and Judaism, base many of their beliefs, even their geopolitical 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 man?   Were the tablets of the Ten Commandments 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 link fence and closed down all geological and archaeological excavations on this mountain in the ancient land of Midian.  Since the fourth century AD, a high mountain near the southern end of the Sinai Peninsula, officially labeled Jabal 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 order of the Emperor Justinian between 527 and 565 AD.  It's built around, what is thought by those who inhabit the monastery and many in the surrounding area, the bush Moses saw burning but not consumed.  By order of Queen Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, a chapel was built over the 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 Mt. Sinai, what is it that makes today's scholars and investigators turn their attention to a mountain in Saudi Arabia called Jebel el Lawz? 

Dr. Roy Knuteson:     None of the suggested sites in the Sinai Peninsula fit the biblical requirements.  The traditional site called Jebel Musa, and located near Saint Catherine's Monastery, fails all of the historical, geographical and archaeological tests. 

Orbach:  Perhaps we should take a moment to discover exactly what these tests are and how they can be applied some 4,000 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 rath of Pharoah after he killed an Egyptian overseer who was beating a Hebrew slave.  Eventually he came into the camp of a Midianite priest named Jethro, who was wealthy in both daughters and livestock.  Moses married one of Jethro's daughters Zippora, and settled down  to what he thought would be the life of a shepherd, but it was not to be.  One day while grazing his flock on the slopes of Mount Sinai, he encountered a most marvelous site, a bush suddenly burst into flames, but it was not consumed, and out of the burning bush, Moses heard the voice of God, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."   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.  The story of the burning bush as well of other miracles performed by Moses in his effort to get the Pharoah to release the Hebrew slaves, had been the cause for a great deal of skepticism over the centuries,  and many critics question whether there ever was a massive exodus out of the land of Egypt. 


Dr. B. Michael Blaine:    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 the account is factual from both an archaeological and Egyptian anthropological perspective. The account contains sufficient place names cross referenced in non-biblical Sumarian and Assyrian Cuniform tablets to confirm the accuracy of the exodus account and to assure scholars that it was not an account invented for later consumption.

Orbach:  Few places mentioned in the Bible are as important to the people of that book as Mt. 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 Mt. Sinai, but what are they? 

Knuteson:    First it had to be located in ancient Midian, 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 mountains fits all these requirements except Jebel el Lawz.

Orbach:  But if that is true, how did Jebel Musa and the site of Saint Catherine's Monastery get such a hold on the popular and scholarly imagination?

William Fry:   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 fourth century Bedouins said they had found the burning bush.  What we must understand is that Mt. Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula was selected without any scientific or archaeological evidence being considered.

Orbach:  There doesn't seem to be any firm Jewish tradition which supports Constantine's site either, in fact the Jewish Encyclopedia states flatly that there is no Jewish tradition of the geographical location of Mt Sinai.  But that also means there is no tradition that supports the site in Saudi Arabia.  What is it that points scholars to this site?

Fry:  The earliest Jewish source, other than the Torah, that discusses the location of Mt. Sinai is the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible begun in the third century BC.  The Septuagint transliterates the Hebrew name for Midian as either Madian or Madiam.  The Septuagint states that Jethro was the priest of Madian, who went out and then went into the desert to meet Moses. 

The location of ancient Madian can be determined from a map produced by Tolime, a second century AD geographer in Alexandria. 

Orbach:  And the Septuagint is not alone in placing the mountain near a city in modern day Saudi Arabia.  Demetrias the chronographer in the third century BC, claims that after Moses married Zippora they made their home in the city of Madian.  And Philo, a Jewish philosopher, describes Zippora 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 in Sinai. 

Philo thus places Mt. Sinai somewhere in Northwestern Arabia.  Philo adds one more small detail to the investigation of Mt. Sinai, he says that Moses went up the highest and most sacred of the mountains its region.

But it is the Apostle Paul who provides the finishing touch.  In Galatians 4:25 he says, "Now Hagar stands for Mt. Sinai in Arabia."  Where does that leave Jebel Musa, or the present Mt. Sinai?  Since 1956, archaeological teams have searched for evidence that Moses and the Israelites once camped here for nearly a year after their flight from Egypt.

Fry:  When the Sinai Peninsula was under Israeli control, they discovered nothing out of over 8,000 inscriptions from the southern half of the Sinai Peninsula, only a handful are Hebrew Aramaic.  The tradition of identifying one of the mountains in the Sinai Peninsula as the mountain of Moses was a scholar's invention without any Jewish precedence whatsoever.  No Jews were ever interested in the Sinai Peninsula, with any respect anyway to Moses.

Orbach:  Traditions, particularly religious traditions, die hard.  The Mt. Sinai located near the monastery of St. Catherine is now anchored in 1600 years of tradition and those who are devoted to this site show little interest in looking elsewhere.  Is there some scientific evidence that proves Jebel el Lawz in northwestern Saudi Arabia is in fact the true Mt. Sinai?  What is there beside 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 newfound attention?  Exciting and surprising answers when we come back.....   Most of the places mentioned in Exodus are unknown.  Scholars and investigators are still searching for the point for which the children of Israel may have crossed the Red Sea.  No one knows where they might have first set foot in Sinai, and the location of the mystical Mt. Sinai itself is the 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. 

Larry Williams:   With satellite infrared photography, there have been major archaeological discoveries found throughout the world.  There is a trail that comes down the west branch of the Red Sea, uh, the left hand branch of it, comes down to the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, stops there, [The Wyatt Group disagrees with this satellite scenario] appears to come out the other side and wanders north to the highest mountain, Jebel el Lawz.  And we did find what I think is important archaeological evidence that something took place at Jebel el Lawz.

Orbach:    Larry Williams, who might best be described as an adventurer, as apposed to say an 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 to the mountain called Jebel el Lawz on modern maps, but which four years earlier had been described as the real Mt. Sinai by amateur archaeologist Ron Wyatt. [This was the first time that Ron Wyatt's name was mentioned on national TV in regard to the discovery of Mt. Sinai.]

Bob Cornuke:     In 1988, we retraced the exodus route from the tip of the Sinai Peninsula into Saudi Arabia using the Bible and satellite imagery to find the actual route. 

Inland, 33 km, we found the bitter springs of Mara mentioned in Exodus 15.  This dirt sample 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 writing in these caves indicating that Moses had come through this area.  The tomb of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, and Zippora, the wife of Moses were found in these caves. 

Williams:    And we did find what I think is important archaeological evidence that something took place at Jebel el Lawz. 

We found at the base of this mountain twelve pillars eighteen and a half feet in diameter.  Why not seven, why not eleven, why twelve?  With the twelve 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 is a petroglyph of an Egyptian, not an Arabic drawing, but an Egyptian drawing of the golden calf.  Additionally at the base of the mountain we found kind of a wing shaped formation, foundation, pointing toward the mountain

and there we found marble, round marble stone.  This is some of the stone of it.  This rock is not indigenous to that area of Saudi Arabia, let alone to Saudi Arabia.

Orbach:  An encampment area large enough for an estimated one to two million people is a major factor in determining the location of the real Mt. 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 el Lawz measure up in some of these more obscure requirements?

Cornuke:    We found the top of the mountain to be black, as if the rocks had been burnt, possibly confirming biblical scripture that the Lord descended upon it in fire and smoke.

Orbach:  Archaeologists have identified another small footnote to the Mt. Sinai argument having to do with the tablets of the Law or the Ten Commandments.

Dr. Bryant Wood:   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 Egyptian and Babylonian steles, tablets and wall reliefs were usually done in limestone, basalt rock or deerite, there is strong evidence the Ten Commandment tablets were done in granite or marble, rock types that are found at the Jebel el Lawz, Mt. Sinai site in Saudi Arabia.

Orbach:  Shortly after Cornuke and Williams visited this site, the Saudi government closed down the Jebel el Lawz site to any foreign archaeological study.  They also erected a chain link fence and placed a military guard around the mountain to prevent even clandestine exploration of the site.           [Correction:  The fences that are around the mountain and the golden calf altar were not put there after Cornuke and Williams visited the site in 1988, the fences were put up after Ron Wyatt showed these things to a Saudi archaeologist in 1985 -- which is why the fences were already up when the 1988 pictures above, were taken by Cornuke and Williams.  Bill Fry, Ron Wyatt's representative who was interviewed on this program, notified the production company on this mistake after this program aired, but it is doubtful that the show will ever be re-edited and corrected.]

Sandra Mackey:    The Saudi government is in a very difficult political position.  Because the Saudi's had no sense of nationalism when the country was unified in the 1920's, the House of Saud used the theology of the mojove sect of Islam to create national unity.  Saudi Arabia is 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 opens itself to the anger of the Arab world.

Orbach:  The evidence of the real Mt. 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 matter once and for all.  And today's modern warriors are adding to the difficulty.

Dr. Robert Siblerud:   According to Howard Blum in his book The Gold of Exodus, any verification of Jebel el Lawz is going to be very complicated.  The mountain is now part of a 5.6 million dollar Saudi military installation, [The Wyatt Group disagrees with this assumption, as it is 16 miles away] called operation Peaceshield.  It was built with the approval of the US Congress using US contractors and Air Force personnel.  Operation Peaceshield was originally designed as a radar installation in order to protect the Kingdom against intruders, however, according to Blum, there since have been found with missiles capable of hitting targets in Israel or Iraq.  It is ironic that what some investigators lead to be the true Mt. Sinai, a place where the law was given for the preservation of Israel could potentially be used for the destruction of Israel.

Orbach:  Does this mean then that we may never really know whether or not this is the Mt. Sinai on which Moses received the Ten Commandments?  Or is there some hope for future exploration?

Fry:  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.

Orbach:  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 Mt. Sinai is located somewhere in northwestern 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 as some have suggested, some remnant of the gold and jewels and other personal possessions the fleeing slaves were allowed to take with them.  Proof positive of the exact location of Mt. 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 amongst the Dead Sea scrolls, gives a long and idealized description of geography that suggests the author believed Mt. Sinai to be in the Arabian Peninsula. 

But the clearest description in the earliest Jewish literature of the location of Mt. Sinai comes from the first century historian Josephus, he wrote that "Mt. Sinai is the highest of mountains in the region of the city of Madian."  Towering 8,000 feet above the desert floor, Jebel el Lawz certainly fits that description [It is the tallest mountain in the upper two-thirds of the country!].  But the sad fact is, despite all the evidence that has been accumulated we really don't know, and indeed we 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 el Lawz was proven to be the true Mt. Sinai, and the Saudi military was using that strategic location to direct missiles into Israel, would the Israeli government destroy the mountain of Moses?

[CLOSING COMMENTS:  It is wonderful to see Jebel el Lawz presented to the world, because it is our firm opinion that it IS the real Mt. Sinai -- but it is unfortunate that certain individuals have been reluctant to give the late Ron Wyatt his credit for being the person who truly discovered Mt. Sinai.  If anyone would like to read further about the "problems" that Ron had for 15+ years with those who attempted to take improper credit for the discovery, please go to this website:  www.pinkoski.com/sinai.html ]


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