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DVD Review - The Search for the Real Mt. Sinai
June 26, 2005
Many years ago Ron Wyatt, an intrepid explorer, claimed to have found the real Mount Sinai, becoming one of many men to have made this claim. But this was only one of his many claims. He also claimed to have found Noah’s Ark, chariot wheels from the Red Sea, The Ark of the Covenant, the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah, and even the hole into which Jesus’ cross was placed. While Wyatt has largely been exposed as a fraud, some people continue to believe that he did find clues leading to the location of the mountain on which God gave His Law to Moses.
Enter two American adventurers. Several years ago Bob Cornuke, a former police officer and Larry Williams, a commodities trader, embarked on an adventure to find the real Mount Sinai. Borrowing from Wyatt’s data, and moving forward on three assumptions, they determined that a likely site for the mountain was Midian - now a part of Saudi Arabia. Their assumptions were as follows. First, that the Sinai Peninsula was considered part of the “Land of Egypt” and hence could not have been the location of Mt. Sinai, for the Bible clearly states that the Israelites went “out of Egypt;” second, that Mt. Sinai is in the Land of Midian; third, that according to Galatians 4:25, Mt. Sinai is in Saudi Arabia (“Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia”), which assumes that the Arabia of our day is the same as in Paul’s day. Many scholars would take issue with each of these assumptions.
With falsified documents Cornuke and Williams entered the Saudi Kingdom and began their search. The Search for the Real Mt. Sinai is a documentary on DVD that details their search. It contains both original footage recorded on their journey and dramatic recreations. What they found, if true, represents the greatest archaelogical discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls. They claim to have found the well at Marah; the twelve springs of Elim; the caves of Moses and Jethro; the altar for the golden calf; the altar of Moses; the twelve pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel; the blackened rock from when God came upon the mountain in fire; and the split rock of Horeb from which water flowed. They claim to have found nearly irrefutible evidence of the real Mount Sinai.
The explorers believe that this is common knowledge in that part of the world, for they found that the mountain they identified as the probable Mt. Sinai is surrounded by a fence and heavily guarded by Saudi troops. Like something out of a script for Indiana Jones, they crawled past this fence in the dead of night, finding their way with night vision goggles to avoid detection. Finally they scaled the mountain and found these amazing discoveries.
In short, this DVD presents a very convincing case that these men truly did find the real Mount Sinai. But as always, there are two sides of the story. While it is easy to convince ignorant laypeople like myself, experts have raised serious questions about the validities of these claims. And like most biblical issues, nobody can be neutral as every person has something to lose and something to gain.
The DVD is fascinating and informative, though unfortunately there is far more recreated footage than original photos and video. The production is very good throughout - about equal to the level of quality we would expect to see on The Learning Channel or Discovery.
As I wrote earlier in this review, if all that these men have found is accurate, they have made a discovery of incredible importance. Watching the DVD it is difficult to be swayed by their excitement and determination. Their adventure makes for a great story. But when reality sets in, it seems that there are many difficult questions that remain unanswered. If you are able to suspend your reason just a little bit, you’ll enjoy this presentation and be swept away in the possibility that you might be seeing the very sites described in the Bible. But when the credits roll, you’ll be forced to remember that we walk by faith, not by sight. Whether or not this is the biblical site matters little to our faith. If we allow our faith to be shaped by such discoveries, we will have little depth and will be easily swayed. It is “An evil and adulterous generation [that] seeks for a sign.” But we can all enjoy a good story, even if it is just a little bit too good to be true.
The theology is strong enough. The archaelogy leaves a little to be desired..
The extra features are sparse - just a recap of their discoveries.
Unique enough, I suppose. And fun too.
If true it is of utmost importance. If not, it’s just a fun story.
Presuming these explorers are misguided, this is mostly fiction. But it’s still fun to watch.
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