Quite a bit of controversy has surrounded the issue about the exact location of the Red Sea crossing by the children of Israel. This momentous event in the history of Israel is recorded in Exodus 14. The long accepted belief has been that the children of Israel crossed from Succoth through the Egyptian side of the western gulf of the Red Sea, what has been known as the Gulf of Suez, through the sea and onto the eastern side of that gulf. [In recent years this gulf hit the news headlines when Somalian pirates hijacked ships plying the gulf out from or into the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal.]
For centuries many have also assumed the peninsula east of that gulf (sometimes known as “the tongue” because of its resemblance to a stuck-out tongue) to be where the “Mount Sinai” of Exodus 19 through 40 and Numbers 1 through 10:10 is located. Maps at the end of most Bibles have assumed this to be the case and show the supposed location accordingly.
If this part of the Red Sea were indeed the site where the children of Israel crossed onto the other shore where Mount Sinai is located, surely one would find at the bottom of that portion of the sea remains of Pharoah’s chariots, soldiers and horses. A number of people have made diving expeditions into that location and have found no such evidence. This has driven others to search elsewhere.
Some have proposed and advanced the “Sea of Reeds” theory about where the children of Israel crossed over, through some body of water, from Egypt into the area leading to Mount Sinai. Proponents of this theory are modern religionists who cannot believe that God could have done a spectacular miracle of the parting of a real sea, thus allowing the children of Israel to cross over to the other shore on dry land. [Cecil B. DeMille’s epic movie The Ten Commandments gives us some idea of how this miracle could have taken place.] Instead, these proponents believe that no more than a usual change of tides in a marshy area somewhere near Succoth, called the “Sea of Reeds,” made it possible for the children of Israel to cross over onto Sinai.
However, this theory is merely that — a theory without any basis in fact and in the truth of the Bible. The Bible account testifies that the waters of the crossing had to be deep enough as to drown — not merely bog down or mire — the men and horses of Pharoah (Exodus 14:26-28; 15:4-5, 8, 10; Hebrews 11:29). If that were the case, wouldn’t the children of Israel — with all their small children and all their livestock — have been mired as well? And wouldn’t the mighty Egyptian army have easily overtaken these helpless people?
A few have also proposed that the children of Israel took the route through the western edge and up to the tip of the “tongue,” as mentioned earlier — that tongue-shaped peninsula long assumed by many to be the location of Mount Sinai, and thus the name of the peninsula. Then, this theory goes, from the tip of this peninsula the children of Israel crossed over through waters at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, on the eastern side of the peninsula, onto the opposite shore, in the land of Midian. Again, diving expeditions into this other part of the Red Sea have not yielded any evidence of remains of Pharoah’s chariots, horses and men there.
Many have read the prophecy about these our “end times,” in Daniel 12:4 — “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
Mankind today has so increased its knowledge as to devise more and more mind-boggling inventions and to make more and more amazing discoveries. Many of these inventions and discoveries have been misused and abused by people for their evil and wicked purposes. But many inventions and discoveries have also been a boon to humanity in general — and to the search for the truth about some obscure testimonies of the Bible.
The invention of many devices has made it possible for man to make probes into space, land, and sea in order to gain more knowledge and understanding of our planet, our universe, and many aspects of our human history that have remained a mystery.
With the invention of such devices as deep sea diving gear and submarines, it has been possible to know more about the mostly hidden world under the sea. This has also inspired some people in recent decades to seek factual evidence of the exact location of the Red Sea crossing by the children of Israel.
After many years of fruitless and vain search in the Gulf of Suez by a number of divers for artifacts to verify the Red Sea crossing by the children of Israel, an American anesthesiologist turned archeologist, the late Ron Wyatt, studied the historical records for clues to accurately locate the crossing site. This led him to search on the other side of the Red Sea — the Gulf of Aqaba, in the east. Thus in 1978 Ron Wyatt and his two sons donned their diving gear to investigate the waters there. And soon they discovered remains of chariot wheels and other parts, and bones of humans and horses.
I believe, as do other honest observers, that these solid pieces of evidence are undeniable. Wyatt also discovered a submerged “canyon” or land bridge about 900 meters wide and some 300 meters below the surface of the sea. That could well have been where the children of Israel crossed over through “dry land” when God parted the waters of the Red Sea.
I need not rehash here the exciting details of these discoveries by Wyatt and his sons. You can simply click, for example, on this link: https://www.wyattmuseum.com/red-sea-crossing.htm. You might also want to click on other websites that support Wyatt’s findings to be accurate and true to the Bible record, such as: http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/bb971126.htm, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nsa7ebyUVD4, and http://www.wnd.com/2012/06/chariots-in-red-sea-irrefutable-evidence/.
I believe that these discoveries are God’s material testimony as to the truth of God’s Word, for — as the apostle Paul declared — God has not left Himself “without witness” (Acts 14:17). If the Egyptian army with their chariots and horses did drown in the Red Sea, as God’s Word abundantly declares, then certainly God would have made sure that some material evidence of the historic event could — and would — be found in time to substantiate the claim in His Word.
Naturally, as in any other matter, there will always be the “nay-sayers.” As the apostle Peter prophesied (2 Peter 3:3), “…scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts…” The same is the case with many who have heard the true gospel of the kingdom of God and of Christ and have merely scoffed at it!
The route from Succoth to the Red Sea and beyond
Exodus 12:42 says that the Israelites began their journey that “night of solemn observance to the LORD” — which, the Bible says, was the eve of the 15th of Abib. Exodus 13:20 says that they “took their journey from Succoth,” and then they “camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness” [the map in the referenced links shows what the peninsula (misnamed “Sinai”) is called in the Bible — the Wilderness of the Red Sea, Verse 18]. Thus God led them through what is called the “Way of Arabia.”
God purposely did not lead them through the “way of the land of the Philistines” — an easy way to get back to Egypt in case of a war (Verse 17). In the next chapter, Exodus 14:2, the account shows that the children of Israel had traveled several days until they reached “Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea.”
Ron Wyatt found a beach by the western shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, the Nuweiba, which is wide enough to have accommodated the some two million Israelite campers and their livestock. They would have reached that shore through a narrow canyon or pass, the Wadi Watir, which thus closed them off from escaping (Exodus 14:3). Their only way of escape from the pursuing Egyptian army would be through the sea!
Two more “witnesses”
Two other things testify to the possible route which the children of Israel took from Succoth to the edge of the Red Sea, where later they crossed over dry-shod to the other shore. Evidently the time has come which in part fulfills what Jesus promised, in Matthew 10:26 — “…For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.”
1. Testimony of U.S. Senator Don Kopp
Senator Kopp has a son who worked as pilot with the NASA during the “Gulf War” in Iraq. In 1990 his son flew a surveillance plane with infra-red capability to detect metal or heavy objects buried under the sand. This was the kind of aircraft the American military used in order to detect the tanks that Saddam Hussein had had buried in the sand. Through the technology, the U.S. military were able to see where those tanks had been buried, and they eliminated those tanks by their then state-of-the-art weapons.
An unexpected spin-off from this technology was that when Senator Kopp’s son panned his “camera” on the Egypt-Palestine-Arabia region, the infra-red surveillance revealed a red line that stretched from Succoth, then to Etham, and then to the Gulf of Aqaba, where the Nuweiba beach is. Senator Kopp said that it was “like the finger of God had drawn a line” to show the path which the children of Israel took during their exodus from Egypt.
The explanation: Two million people (as the number of Israelites is estimated to have been in that exodus) plus their livestock had trodden this path, thereby pulverizing the sand and causing it to clump together in such a dense way that, although covered by debris over the centuries, under the heat of the sun the path was detected by NASA’s infra-red surveillance, in the same way that Saddam’s war tanks in Iraq were detected.
2. Moshe Dayan’s trek
Long before this surveillance, then newly appointed Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan in 1967 marched with his troops from Nuweiba through Etham and on to Suez City, which is near Succoth. Unencumbered with little children and livestock, and with presumably only necessary supplies on their backs, the troopers took six days to reach Suez City, while camping each night.
This is quite revealing when we contemplate how long it would have taken all two million Israelites and their livestock to journey from Succoth to Nuweiba. It is quite possible, with the people walking all day (even eating “on the go”) and most of the night (Exodus 13:21), for them to have reached Nuweiba in six days. That also would have been the sixth day of God’s spring festival, the Days of Unleavened Bread!
Thus it is quite possible that the eve of the seventh, and last, day of the Days of Unleavened Bread would have been the same night in which the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, from the beach at Nuweiba to the eastern shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. That’s the momentous, miraculous night in which God saved all Israel from Pharoah’s army with their chariots and horses drowning as God clapped back the parted waters of the sea. Safe on the other shore, the children of Israel rejoiced during the last Day of Unleavened Bread. Moses and his sister Miriam led the people in singing praises to the LORD (Exodus 15).
The true location of Mount Sinai
With Ron Wyatt’s discoveries, plus the testimonies of others, the true location of Mount Sinai or Mount Horeb can be ascertained. Wyatt presents archeological evidence that indeed the Israelites camped there. But this is a subject for another article. For details of the matter, let me just refer you to a pertinent article in Ron Wyatt’s website: http://bible7evidence.blogspot.com/2014/08/mount-sinai-ron-wyatt.html.
It is enough for us to realize that the “Mount Sinai” that most people believe to be in that peninsula or “tongue” of the Red Sea is not the real thing! This belief came from a “vision” that the psychic and devout Roman Catholic mother of Emperor Constantine had, purportedly showing that place to be where “Mount Sinai” is to be found. However, this mountain area does not have any archeological evidence of the children of Israel camping there, which would have lasted several months.
In contrast, the findings of Ron Wyatt and other researchers have shown concrete archeological evidence of the children of Israel having encamped around the area anciently known as “Horeb, the mountain of God” (Exodus 3:1; 18:5) — on the eastern side of the Gulf of Aqaba, in what was anciently known as the land of Midian, in the larger Arabian Peninsula. This was the same mountain where Moses encountered the LORD in a bush that was “burning with fire” but “was not consumed” — a place God called “holy ground” (Exodus 3: 2-5). This is that same mountain where, God said, the children of Israel would serve Him after He had brought them out of Egypt (Verse 12). This is the true Mount Sinai (as Mount Horeb is also called) — in Midian, and not in the wilderness or peninsula of the Red Sea (Exodus 19:11, 18, 20, 23, etc.).
Not plain, not main
The fact that the truth of where exactly, in the Red Sea, the children of Israel actually crossed on their way to Mount Sinai had not been revealed plainly by God for many centuries shows that it is a rather minor matter — not a major or main thing. However, as in other obscure matters of Scripture, God will — in His own time — uncover hidden things, if only to fulfill the prophecy about our end-times: “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4; compare with Matthew 10:26-27; Mark 4:22; Luke 8:17). [See: Two Goats Together, particularly the box titled “Re-examining the roots of our beliefs.”]
Once God has revealed new knowledge to us, it is then up to the reader or hearer of God’s Word to accept it. God warns, in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priest for Me…” The future of God’s people is to become “priests and kings” in the kingdom of God, which Jesus will establish on this earth at His soon return (Revelation 5:10; 20:4). As priests, they will help Christ teach surviving human beings the true way of God (Malachi 2:7; Isaiah 30:20). One cannot sincerely teach God’s knowledge that one has rejected!
The major thing
Far more important than knowing where the children of Israel actually crossed the Red Sea is knowing the significance, to our spiritual lives, of this miraculous crossing. As mentioned earlier, it is quite possible that the crossing took place on the eve of the seventh, and last, day of the feast of the LORD called the “Days of Unleavened Bread” (Leviticus 23:6; Exodus 12:3-20).
As the apostle Paul wrote, “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast [the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread picturing the complete putting away of sin in our lives], not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:8). God calls His “elect” people [see: Predestination] to a life of “sincerity and truth” — an “unleavened” life lived according to the pure Word of God and His law, which Psalm 119:142 declares to be also “the truth.”
Try as we might to live the perfect life according to God’s Word and law, we cannot succeed unless God is with us to, as it were, fight our battles for us against sin and our sinful nature. Like Pharoah and his army, sin and our sinful nature are mighty and formidable forces that want to pull us away from following God’s Word and law — and back into sin, which is the transgressing of God’s law (1 John 3:4, KJV).
We need to trust in God to help us overcome sin and our sinful nature. As Jesus said, “…without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). With Christ, we have great confidence in His power, as our sacrificed Passover Lamb and our Risen Savior, to deliver us from our spiritual “Egypt” (sin) and our spiritual Egypt’s “Pharoah” and his “army” (Satan and his demons) that are daily pursuing us! With Christ we can have the victory! [See: God’s Spirit and Obedience, The Higher Law of the Spirit and Breaking Down our “Walls of Jericho.”]
While God fights our battles for us, like He did with the whole multitude of Israel that crossed the Red Sea, God’s people today also have to make a resolute decision to cross from the way of sin onto the way of righteousness. We have to walk the walk of righteousness. God will not walk that walk for us! But unless God walks with us, and we with Him, we can do nothing right!
Once we have started on that walk, God wants us to walk with Him all the way to His kingdom. There is no turning back! Doing so would be like going back to Egypt — to a life of sin — and thus receiving plagues such as God poured out to destroy the Egyptians. Jesus said: “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). He also said: “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).
The reference to Lot’s wife is found in Genesis 19, the story about the God-sent destruction upon Sodom and Gomorrah. In Verse 17 God had warned Lot and his family not to look back to Sodom and Gomorrah as God was about to destroy those wicked cities. In Verse 26 we read: “But his [Lot’s] wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” — a perpetual reminder for all of Christ’s followers not to follow her example of disobedience. In Hebrews 10:38 we read of God’s judgment: “Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” Paul [see: Who Wrote the Letter to the Hebrews?] then explains: “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” (Verse 39). [See: Why Is the “Unpardonable Sin” Unpardonable?]
The next of God’s feasts — the Day of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks or the Feast of Firstfruits — portrays how God helps us to fully overcome sin and actually walk in God’s way of righteousness — the way of His laws and commandments. It is only through the gift of God’s Holy Spirit that we can do what mere human strength cannot accomplish. [See: The Higher Law of the Spirit, God’s Feasts and the Jews — Part 2 (particularly the section on “Feast of Weeks/Day of Pentecost and the Jews,”), and God’s Spirit and Obedience.]
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.