Quills, Iowa sent an email that is passing around about the archaeological finds that back up the story of Moses and the People of Israel who crossed the Red Sea to escape Pharaoh’s chariot division with the result of the entire “army” being swallowed up by the Red Sea. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and the following Sunday is Easter. I thought this would be an appropriate time, although long before Jesus time on Earth, to write this article. The media announced this discovery in 2003, so the recent email represents old news in the world of archaeology and matters of strange phenomenon.
The Crossing of the Red Sea has been an inspiration, as well as the life of Moses who was a prophet of the people of Israel during the time period called “The Captivity”. Depicted on film by the director great – Cecil B. Demille - a legend in the film industry, as well as written about by theological scholars and historians – the Crossing of the Red Sea is a big story concerning divine intervention that saved a people who would later marched through history, and themselves considered the historians.
The archaeological finding was the result of the hard work that took many years of a man by the name of Ron Wyatt. There is a site that is dedicated to his work entitled Wyatt Archaeological Research Inc. And, as with many things concerning biblical archaeology, there are those who are skeptic, and others who defend his findings. He had searched for archaeological evidence of the Ark of the Covenant, Noah’s Ark, and Moses Crossing of the Red Sea.
Ronald Eldon Wyatt (1933 – August 4, 1999) was a controversial self-styled archaeologist (he had no training in the discipline and held no professional position) who claimed to have found many significant biblical sites and artifacts. His claims are dismissed by the scientific and historical communities. Wyatt was a nurse-anesthetist … when in 1960 he say a picture in Life magazine of a boat-like shape on a mountain near Mount Ararat. … it started Wyatt on his career as a self-styled archaeologist. From 1977 until his death in 1999 he made over one hundred trips to the Middle East, his interests widening to take in a wide variety of references from the Old and New Testaments. By the time of his death in 1999 his claimed discoveries included: (1) The true Noah’s Ark (theDurupinar site, near but not on Mount Ararat); (2) Anchor stones (actually drogue stones) used by Noah on the Ark; (3) The post-flood house and tombs of Noah and his wife; (4) The location of Sodom and Gomorrah; (5) Sulfur balls from the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah; (6) The site of the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea (which Wyatt located in the Gulf of Aqaba); (7) Chariot wheels and other relics of the pursuing army of Pharaoh at the bottom of the sea; (8) The true site of the biblical Mt. Sinai(located by Wyatt in Saudi Arabia at Jabal al Lawz); (9) A chamber at the end of a maze of tunnels under Jerusalem containing artifacts from Solomon’s Temple; (10) The Ark of the Covenant; (11) The original stones of the Ten Commandments; (12) The true site of the Crucifixion; (13) The blood of Jesus dripped onto the Mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant, directly beneath the Crucifixion.
His credibility was often disputed, often bitterly, by genuine archaeologists and biblical scholars. One member of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) stated that “Ron Wyatt is neither an archaeologist nor has he ever carried out a legally licensed excavation in Israel or Jerusalem. In order to excavate on must have at least a BA in archaeology which he does not possess despite his claims to the contrary …” Though Mr. Wyatt was allowed to dig within this privately owned garden on a number of occasions staff members of the Association observed his progress and entered his excavated shaft. As far as we are aware nothing was ever discovered to support his claims nor have we seen any evidence of biblical artifacts or temple treasures. … Answer in Genesis has called some of Wyatt’s claims fraudulent.
Some think that Ron Wyatt was the original “Indiana Jones” – a treasure seeker and not an archaeologist. But, according to all who had known him or spent time with him on his digs and other places, he was just a Christian who was fulfilling the desire to search for those places and artifacts that would establish what has been recorded by writers of the books of the Bible and written about by biblical historians and scholars.
Much of what Ron Wyatt searched and claimed he found is depicted on programs of the Sky Angel, a multi-channel, direct-to-home satellite television and radio service that specializes in Christian and “family-friendly” programming.
But the most clear and established findings was his search for the spot where Moses and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. Ron actually retrieved a hub of a wheel which had 8 spokes. He took it to Cairo and the office of Nassif Mohammed Hassan, the director of Antiquities who Ron had previously worked with. Mr. Hassan examined it and announced that it was of the 18th Dynasty of the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt. Mr. Hassan reasoning was that it had eight spokes. But Ron Wyatt also found chariot wheels that had four and six spoked wheels. The 18th Dynasty represented Thutmoses IV, the pharaoh of the Moses story in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 14:
And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-zephon: over against it shall ye encamp by the sea. And Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he shall follow after them; and I get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his hosts and the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah. And they did so. And it was told the king of Egypt that the people were fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was changed towards the people, and they said, What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us? 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 all of them. And Jehovah hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children ofIsrael: for the children of Israel went out with a high hand. And 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 Baal-zephon. And when Pharoah drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out onto Jehovah. And they said unto Moses, Because there were not graves in Egypt, has thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to bring us forth out of Egypt? Is not this word that we spake unto thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it were better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will work for you today, ye shall see them again no more for ever. Jehovah will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And Jehovah said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. And lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall go in after them: and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness, yet gave it light by night: and the one came not near the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and Jehovah caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the 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. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass in the morning watch, that Jehovah looked forth upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians. And he took off their chariot wheels, and they drove them heavily; so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for Jehovah fighteth for them against the Egyptians. And Jehovah said unto Moses, Stretch out thy hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and Jehovah overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, even all the host of Pharaoh that went in after them into the sea; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus Jehovah saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore. And Israel saw the great work which Jehovah did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared Jehovah: and they believed in Jehovah, and in his servant Moses.
The Gulf of Aqaba is deep and in some places about a mile deep. The shallow part with a slope that would provide the people of Israel passage across the Red Sea is located in a line between Nuweiba and the shore of Saudi Arabia on the opposite side.
Ron Wyatt claimed that the evidence of chariots in the Red Sea had not been found because biblical scholars, historians and archaeologists had been looking in the wrong place. Modern soundings has established that there is a land bridge at the site that Ron Wyatt says is the spot where the crossing took place, and where the artifacts were found as physical proof. Divers produced photographs, which is contradictory to Truth of Fiction's claim that the discovery was unproven. Snopes also claims it to be undetermined. Apparently they had not examined the photos from the archaeological dives.
In an article by Joe Kovacs, published by World Net Daily on June 21st 2003:
… The issue is surfacing some 3,500 years after the event is said to have taken place with reports of Egyptian chariot wheels found in the Red Sea, photographs to document it and new books by scientists that could lead to a whole remapping of the Exodus route and a fresh look at ancient biblical accounts.
Peter Elmer, a forklift mechanic from Keynsham, England – with his brother, Mark, inspired by Ron Wyatt’s discovery and claims, went on two diving trips to the Gulf of Aqaba. Elmer said, according to the WND article:
I believe I actually sat in an ancient chariot cab. Without question, it is the most definitely the remains of the Egyptian army.
Richard Rives, president of Wyatt Archaeological Research in Tennessee, stated:
All kinds of people are finding coral and calling it chariot parts. It’s most likely coral covered with coral. … Opportunists are combining false things with the true things that are found.” Rives was a longtime partner of Ron Wyatt, an anesthetist and amateur archaeologist who died of cancer in 1999. Before passing away, Wyatt devoted years searching for and documenting physical evidence for events mentioned in the Bible.
Carl Rasmussen, a biblical geographer and professor of Old Testament at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota stated:
The truth is, no one really knows where the crossing of the Red Sea took place. Rasmussen compiled the “Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible” and personally thinks the crossing took place somewhere along what is now the Suez Canal. Some scientists from Europe say the current maps are wrong, and the Wyatts are right – that the crossing began at the Nuweiba beachhead, went through the Gulf of Aqaba, and then into what is now Saudi Arabia where they claim the “true” Mount Sinai is located. … Now, a new book by Cambridge University physicist Colin Humphreys titled “The Miracle of Exodus” supports not only the claim for an Aquaba crossing, but also the location of Mount Sinai in Arabia. … Throughout his work, Humphreys provides scientific explanations to corroborate the accounts of the Old Testament. “’The waters piled up, the surging waters stood firm like a wall,’ is a remarkable description of what the mathematics reveals to be the case for water pushed back by a very strong wind,” he writes. … “The Exodus of the ancient Israelites from Egypt really is one of the greatest true stories ever told.”
Lennart Moller of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm stated:
The wind did not separate the water. No person could be in that wind and surviveeeeee … If God has created all the Earth, it’s no problem for Him to separate the water for a while.
But the passage in Exodus states that the divine wind was what created the walls of water and a path to safety for the Israelites:
And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and Jehovah caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
Photos above are part of the physical proof (Saudi Arabia will not allow artifacts to be removed) that a large number of chariots, as well as bones of men and horses lie where Ron Wyatt said they were.
Ron Wyatt was not a charlatan, and while one cannot clearly say how exactly the chariots got there - the story of Moses encounter with pharaoh's chariot army is indeed backed up by evidence.
And, today, Palm Sunday marks another historical event concerning Jesus of Nazareth that continues to be a controversy between science (archaeology) and theology as time goes on. Palm Sunday, according to the Canonical Gospels rode a colt into Jerusalem with his disciples and friends and how the people lay down their cloaks in front of him and branches of the Palm tree as well. The people sang part of Psalm 118:
… Blessed is he who comes in the name of Yahweh. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, David …
Scholars say that Jesus of Nazareth entered at the Golden Gate, and some claim that his entrance into Jerusalem was to the south of the Golden Gate, which had stairs that led directly to the Temple.
The palm branch, the reason why the proclaimed holy day in Christianity, is a Jewish tradition and symbol meaning triumph and victory, The general Jewish public believed that Jesus was the Messiah – the one who would return the sovereignty of Israel, as well as encourage the restoration of the Temple of Solomon.
In a passage within the Wikipedia entry:
Christians often interpret a passage from the Zechariah as a prophecy which was fulfilled by the Triumphal Entry:
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
and the war-horses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
… A widespread Jewish belief states that the Mount of Olives would see the coming of the Messiah This belief is based upon Zechariah 14:3-4:
Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.
Therefore, it describes a revengeful warrior Messiah, who may be interpreted as your king … righteous and having salvation. The image of a revengeful warrior Messiah is much highlighted by the use of palm branches and by the fact that Jesus, once in Jerusalem, first visited the Temple.
Concerning the day set aside for Palm Sunday, Wikipedia entry states:
On the tenth of Nisan, according to the Mosaic Law, the lambs to be slaughtered at Passover were chosen. Because of the link of this to the Triumphal Entry, some new interpretations report that the event was not even on Sunday, because Nisan 10 would not be a Sunday if the Cruxifixion occurred on Friday the fourteeth. This day in the year of the Passion saw Messiah presented as the sacrificial lamb. It heralded his impending role as the Suffering Servant of Israel. There is evidence, however, that the 14th of Nisan was actually a Thursday, and that Jesus was actually crucified on Thursday and not Good Friday. The day of the crucifixion is called Preparation Day in Matthew 27:62, also called the day before the Sabbath in Mark 15:42 (hence the mistaken assumption it was Friday), but it also referred to as a special Sabbath in John 19:31, which was the Nisan the 15th, the first day of Passover, always known as a Sabbath regardless of what day it actually fell. This is further supported by John 12:1, 12, which shows that Jesus entered Jerusalem five days before the Passover, which would be the Friday after Palm Sunday. Thus the day before that would be Thursday, Preparation Day, followed by the Special Sabbath (Friday the first day of Passover), followed by the regular Sabbath, followed by the first day of the week, Easter Sunday. Originally the Roman Catholic Church officially called this Sunday the Second Sunday of the Passion; in 1970 the formal designation was changed to Passion Sunday, a change that caused considerable confusion because the latter term had heretofore been affixed to the previous Sunday, or the fifth within Lent.
Regardless of what the original days were, it is Christian custom for worshippers to receive palm leaves on Palm Sunday – when they can be obtained.
Ron and his wife, Mary Nell.
See also Book of Mark, chapter 11.
Israel was a satellite state of the Roman Empire at the time.
See Josephus, Flavius, Bellum Judaicum, 11, 13, 5 and Antiquitates Judaicae, XX, 8, 6.
Isaiah 53, Zechariah 12:10.
The original Sabbath was, and in some Christian eyes, as well as Jewish, is on a Saturday.