By Ralph Ellis
The search for the biblical Mt Sinai has been an enduring facet of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and its location has been reported as being in locations as remote as the Sinai peninsular and the deserts of Saudi Arabia. But why should this mountain be so important to the three Judaic religions, and how did its location become to be forgotten?
The answer to the first question is relatively easy to answer, Mt Sinai was the location where Moses spoke to god, indeed it was rumoured that the Israelite god actually lived inside this mountain.
The second question, however, is more difficult. Here is the most sacred mountain of the Israelites, the home of their all-powerful god, and someone simply forgot where it was! The scenario is simply not credible. But if such an important location was not forgotten, then it must have been deliberately mislaid or covered up – but such reasoning by definition presupposes that there was something to hide.
So what, in this case, were the Israelite leadership trying to hide from us? My answer initially seemed to be quite innocuous – it was simply a new location for Mt Sinai. But as I continued the research for the book “Tempest & Exodus”, it became obvious that the ramifications of this new location for Mt Sinai radically changed the entire history and liturgy of the Israelite people. So how can a new location for a mountain do all this, you ask? Let me explain.
In order to discover the true location for Mt Sinai, we must first obtain a description of both the mountain and its general location. The first description that presented itself was from the accounts of the first century historian Josephus. Many people have been tempted to deride Josephus’ accounts as unreliable, but Josephus himself says that he derived his texts from books that were taken from the Temple of Jerusalem after the fall of that city in AD70. If so, it makes Josephus’ sources far older and more authoritative than any copies of the Torah (Old Testament) that are extant to this day. Indeed the extra information that Josephus often provides us supports this claim. With regard to Mt Sinai, Josephus says:
When he said this, he ascended up to Mt Sinai, which is the highest of all the mountains that are in that country, and it is not only very difficult to be ascended by men, on account of its vast altitude, but because of the sharpness of its precipices also; and besides this it was terrible and inaccessible, on the account of the rumour that passed about that god dwelt there. J1
Here we have a description of a high and sharp mountain that is difficult to climb. The Bible does not have a very good description of this mountain, but it continues Josephus’ description by stating the following:
And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, ‘take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever touches the mount shall be surely put to death. There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through’. B2
Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it ... but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them. B3
Here we have a peculiar description of a mountain that one cannot touch the borders of, as though the base of the mountain was more like a cliff than a gentle ascent. This mountain also appears to be small enough to cordon off, so that the people cannot get close enough to touch it. In this case, Mt Sinai must be relatively small, as mountains go, and thrust itself rather dramatically out of the surrounding plains.
Another quote from the Bible seems to describe the base of the mountain:
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. B4
The description is peculiar, but it does seem to indicate that there was a pavement at the base of the mountain, which resembled the night sky. The term ‘clearness’ means ‘lustre’, so perhaps the ‘sapphire stone’ looked something like polished black basalt with white quartz inclusions – a granite-like building material that can be polished to a high lustre and then looks very much like the night sky.
Unfortunately, apart from a few extracts that indicate that Mt Sinai was on the edge of a desert, that is about the full extent of the descriptions of Mt Sinai. In this case we have a small, but nevertheless quite sharp and dramatic mountain, that is surrounded by a basalt pavement and is situated on the edge of a desert. There is only one further point to be made, and while it may seem to be innocuous, it may actually be the key to this whole conundrum. It is an often overlooked fact that Moses did not simply climb up Mt Sinai to receive the ten commandments from god, he actually descended into the mountain itself:
And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me INTO the mount (Sinai), and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone. B5
And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him IN mount Sinai. B6
These are the statutes and judgements and laws, which the Lord made between him and the children of Israel IN mount Sinai by the hand of Moses. B7
These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel IN mount Sinai. B8
Not only was there passageway into Mt Sinai, but the Koran also seems to imply that this passageway went downwards into the bowels of the mountain and that there was a cave right at the bottom:
When (god) suspended the Mountain (Mt Sinai) over them as though it were a shadow, for they feared that it was falling down on them, (god) said ‘Hold fast to that which he has given you and bear in mind what it contains ...’ K9
When you depart from them and their idols, go to the Cave for shelter. God will extend to you his mercy and prepare for you a means of safety. K10
Although the Koran is often difficult to interpret, here we definitely seem to see evidence that the initiate has to hold onto a rope as he is lowered into Mt Sinai. ‘Hold fast to that which he has given you and bear in mind what it contains ...’, translates as ‘hold fast to the rope and remember that god lives in the cave at the bottom of this passageway’. One can readily imagine the panic that this information would impart upon a new initiate into the Israelite priesthood – not only was he wholly dependent on a flickering oil lamp and a fraying piece of rope, but a terrifying ethereal being resided below!
So let’s now review the information that Ralph Ellis has assembled in the book “Tempest & Exodus”. The references indicate that Mt Sinai should:
a. Be sharp.
b. Be difficult to climb.
c. Be sharply delineated from the surrounding plain.
d. Be small enough to be cordoned off.
e. Yet be the highest mountain in the land.
f. Be on the edge of a desert.
g. Be surrounded by a black basalt pavement.
h. Contain a passageway into the mountain.
i. That the passageway should go steeply downwards so that a rope is required.
j. That at the bottom of the passageway there is a cave.
This may appear to be such a diverse list of requirements that no mountain in the whole of the Near East would fulfil them all. For instance that pavement that resembles the night sky, just what sort of feature could that be possibly be referring to? So where does this leave us? Can the location for Mt Sinai be solved simply by applying this peculiar set of requirements to each mountain and seeing if a match can be found? Actually, I think it can be, but the answer requires not only a liberal dose of lateral thinking, it also eventually requires a massive leap of faith – for it would appear that the Bible contains deep secrets.
The little secret goes something like this. If you take an electronic Bible and type in a search for the word ‘pyramid’, the machine will grind its way through the long text and it will eventually beep a solemn lament and say ‘nothing found’. Isn’t this a little strange? The biblical patriarchs were resident in Heliopolis, which is just an arrow’s arc away from Giza. The Giza plateau, with its three great pyramids, is not just a wonder of the ancient world, but a stupendous wonder of the modern world too. Here we have, in the form of the Bible, a complete family history of the Israelite patriarchs who lived in Heliopolis and yet it would appear that none of them ever had tea at the pyramids or noticed these great ‘mountains’ on the near horizon.
People today not only come from all over the world to see the pyramids, but the locals do just as I have described: they go and sit and take tea under the pyramids – it is a social gathering place of national importance. I am sure that exactly the same applied in the era of the patriarchs, if not more so. While I am sure that some parts of the plateau were considered sacred and so certain sections of the pyramids would have been ‘cordoned off’, exactly as Moses commanded at Mt Sinai; nevertheless, I am sure that the Giza plateau would still have drawn in some massive public-holiday crowds, even during the early period of dynastic Egypt.
Remember that the pyramids were a commercial enterprise, the same as the great temples of Upper Egypt were. They needed income to maintain the site and to pay for the priests and officials who worked there. The way this would have been achieved was through both tithes (taxes) and the time-honoured method of the common people making offerings. The most common offering in Egypt was a bread offering in a conical form; a shape probably representing the pyramids themselves. But wealthier individuals could come and offer fish, poultry and beef to the gods, and no doubt there were also gold trinkets and lockets given at the same time, to line the pockets and storehouses of the priesthood.
Indeed, the large bakery and butchery that provided for this industry was recently discovered at the foot of the Great Pyramid. It was instantly interpreted by the archaeologists on site as being the bakery for the workers who actually built the pyramid, but there is not a shred of evidence to support this assertion. Instead, it is much more likely that this large bakery and butchery provided the offerings for the rich trade in pilgrims who visited the Giza plateau.
From Abraham to Moses, each and every one of the patriarchs could have come and made an offering at the pyramids; then they would have subsequently mentioned this in the biblical accounts. More importantly, bearing in mind the whole thrust of Ralph’s books “Jesus, Last of the Pharaohs” and “Tempest & Exodus”, the biblical patriarchs were important people – high priests, princes, Hyksos pharaohs. These important officials and rulers would have not only come to Giza to make an offering at the pyramids, they were most probably the very high priests who were officiating at the service itself, just as the Bible implies!
So why, then, are there no references whatsoever to the pyramids of Egypt in the Bible? The answer is obvious: the Bible does mention the pyramids, and it mentions them quite often; but the names of all the pyramids have been deliberately obscured by the scribes. The Giza plateau IS mentioned in the Bible, as is the Great Pyramid itself, and the biblical name for the latter is Mt Sinai.
Take another look at the list of requirements that the real Mt Sinai must fulfil. While the description of a natural mountain would agree with very few of these points, the Great Pyramid of Giza fulfils each and every one of them. The Great Pyramid is both sharp and steep, it contains a steeply inclined passageway that terminates in a rough cavern, it resides on the edge of the desert and it also rises very suddenly from the surrounding pavement area. As mountains go the Great Pyramid is rather small and easy to cordon off, yet it is also the tallest pyramid in Egypt. Finally, that pavement that looked like the night sky, corresponds perfectly with the great, black, basalt pavement that originally surrounded the Great Pyramid. (Remember that the upper chambers in this pyramid would still have been concealed in this era, thus the Bible makes no mention of them).
The problem for the clergy, with this new identification of Mt Sinai, is not only that this sacred mount is now situated in Egypt, it is also the distinctly Egyptian bias that this location gives to Judaeo-Christian theology. The first question that will be asked is: just what was the Israelite god doing inside an Egyptian pyramid? Unfortunately for the classical theologians, authors like Ahmed Osman and Ralph Ellis have been unearthing copious amounts of information that points towards an Egyptian ancestry for the Israelite religion. Egypt is, after all, where the Israelites spent their formative years, and the influence that the people of the Nile had on the biblical patriarchs is dramatically confirmed by a passage in the Koran:
When Abraham beheld the rising Moon, he said: ‘That is my god.’ But when it set, he said, ‘If my Lord does not guide me, I shall surely go astray.’ Then, when he beheld the Sun shining, he said: ‘That must be my god, it is the largest (heavenly body).’ K11
In the clearest of terms the biblical type texts are implying that the origins of the Israelite god were either the Moon-god Djeheuti (also called Yaheweh in Egypt) or the Sun-god Amen-Ra (also called Aton). It should be of no surprise that the Israelite names for this god are either Yahweh or Adhon. But having said all this, how does this new location for Mt Sinai square with the biblical accounts of the Exodus? Surely, as the Israelites were said to be travelling to Jerusalem, the ‘mountain’ had to lay outside Egypt. Actually, this is not so; instead, there has probably been some scribal deceit in the subsequent translations.
In the book “Tempest & Exodus”, Ralph Ellis has discovered an account of the biblical Exodus on an ancient Egyptian stele of Ahmose I – the first time that a biblical account has been found in the historical record. One of the prime results of this discovery, is the implication that Moses and the Israelites were paid a large tribute by the Theban pharaoh Ahmose I to leave Egypt. When Moses received this tribute, in the parallel biblical accounts (although the Bible does not specify where the tribute came from), he was standing at the base of Mt Sinai. For such an account to make any sense, it would be preferable if Mt Sinai were actually located in Egypt; where Ahmose I could actually deliver this tribute to Moses. In addition, this vast tribute – of gold, copper, cloth and oil – was used by the Israelites to fabricate the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant; the two most extravagant, ornate and luxurious artifacts in the whole of the Bible. These artifacts were made at the base of Mt Sinai, but once more it would make much more sense if this fabrication actually took place in Egypt, where the industrial facilities that would be required were actually located.
Finally, we come to the account of the ‘wanderings’ of the Israelites in Sinai. The biblical accounts indicate that some 500,000 Israelites wandered around the mountains of the Sinai peninsular for some 40 years. Such a proposal is complete nonsense. Apart from the period of 40 years being a symbolic period repeated throughout the Bible, the Sinai peninsular can be considered to be an extension of the Sahara desert. Such a assembly of people would not survive two weeks in this environment, let alone a period of some years. But if Mt Sinai were actually the Great Pyramid, the account would actually make a great deal more sense, and the ‘wanderings’ of the Israelites around Mt Sinai would then become a procession circling around the pyramids (the Bible is specific in indicating that there was a circular motion involved in these wanderings).
If this were so, is there any evidence to support such a notion? Indeed, there is. Firstly, the period of 40 years can be explained numerically, as the Great Pyramid is a 40 times copy of the Pi fraction. An approximation of Pi can be derived from 22:7, while the dimensions of the Great Pyramid measure 880:280 cubits (twice base length and height) – the ratio of 880:280 is an exact 40 times copy of the pi ratio of 22:7. Secondly, modern relics of this great procession around the pyramids still survive to this very day – in the perambulation of Christian reliquaries through the streets of Mediterranean cities and also in the circumnavigation of the faithful around the Ka’ba in Mecca.
The truth that lies below the surface of the Torah, Bible and Koran, is that the Israelite people were a very influential faction in Lower Egypt during the thirteenth to seventeenth dynasties of Egypt. They were a substantially Egyptianised people and one of their main functions was the control and supervision of the religious ceremonies upon the Giza plateau. The Israelites achieved this powerful position through the slaughter of the original supervisors of the Giza plateau – a military campaign that is still preserved in the biblical account of the defeat of the Troglodytes (Horim) by the patriarch Esau (the brother of Jacob). The Bible is strangely silent on why the Israelites would want to slaughter a tribe of lowly Troglodytes, but the fact that these cave dwellers were actually a very influential tribe who controlled access to the sacred chambers of the Giza pyramids makes the whole scenario much more comprehensible. With the defeat of the Troglodytes, the Israelites had become the Guardians of the Giza Plateau and the associated sacred chambers of the pyramids. The sacred Israelite ‘mountain’ that held their all-powerful deity was called Sinai – the Great Pyramid.
Although this may seem to be a rather radical interpretation of the biblical texts, it is somewhat fortunate that this provocative new title for the Israelites, the Giza Guardians, can be verified from classical historical accounts. In the book “Jesus, Last of the Pharaohs” I gave strong evidence that equated the Israelites directly with the Hyksos pharaohs of Lower Egypt. One of the translations of the term Hyksos (Hykau-Khasut) is often given as being the ‘Kings of the Mountainous Countries’, a term that – due to the lack of mountains in Egypt – is often retranslated as being the ‘Kings of the Foreign Lands’, or ‘Foreign Kings’ for short. But I believe that there may be a small mistranslation here.
The determinative glyph in the title Hykau-Khasut is the three-hills glyph, which is often translated as ‘foreign hills’ or simply ‘foreign’. But the translation of the three-hills glyph that makes much more sense is that this was actually a representation of the three-hills of Giza – the three Giza pyramids. If this were the case, then there are two rather dramatic conclusions that can be drawn from this observation:
a. The formal title of the Hyksos pharaohs would not have been ‘Kings of the Mountains’, but the ‘Kings of the Giza Pyramids’, and so both the Hyksos pharaohs and the Israelite patriarchs were known as the ‘Guardians of the Giza plateau’.
b. Since the three-hills glyph can be seen in texts dating from the second and third dynasties, under the standard chronology the glyph appears to predate the very pyramids that it portrays, which is not possible. If it is accepted, this simple epigraphic observation overturns the whole chronology of Egypt, for the pyramids must predate the glyph that represents them. In this case, the Giza pyramids must have existed before the rise of dynastic Egyptian culture.
1 Josephus Ant 3:76
2 Bible Exodus 19:12
3 Ibid 19:24
4 Ibid 24:10
5 Ibid 24:12
6 Ibid 34:32
7 Bible Leviticus 26:46
8 Ibid 27:34
9 Koran 7:170
10 Ibid 18:19
11 Ibid 6:78