Is it possible that the mountain called Sinai in the Bible – where Moses received the Ten Commandments directly from God – is in Saudi Arabia, not the Sinai Peninsula?
For Bible scholar and bestselling author Joel Richardson, who just returned from a site in the mountains of northwest Saudi Arabia known as Jabal al-Lawz, seeing is believing.
He noted to WND that within the academic community, some have reacted harshly to the claim that Mt. Sinai is at al-Lawz, while others cautiously believe it’s a possibility.
“If those on the fence actually could visit the site, I guarantee they would be fully convinced, or 95 percent there,” Richardson said.
At the site, he said, are landmarks and evidence that fit the biblical description of the rock at Horeb struck by Moses, the golden calf altar made by the Israelites and the altar constructed by Moses.
On his visit, Richardson met a Saudi bedouin he captured on video referring to the site as the “mountain of Moses.” Locals also known the distinctive split rock – discovered by American researchers who lived in Saudi Arabia for 12 years, Jim and Penny Caldwell – as the “rock of Moses.”
Richardson’s concern at the moment is that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is planning to build a $500 billion, futuristic, utopian megacity called Neom – 33 times larger than New York City – that would encompass the site.
Noting bin Salman’s desire to open the autonomous zone to the world, promising it will have its own legal and taxation system, independent from Riyadh, Richardson is urging the Saudi leader to protect the site and allow Western archaeologists to examine it.
“It’s so critical that it be preserved,” said Richardson, pointing out the Moses story is important to Muslims as well as Christians and Jews.
“If the crown prince wants to demonstrate his desire to become more progressive, this is one of the most critical things he needs to do,” he said.
The tourism it would draw, would become a major source of income, helping fulfill the prince’s desire to diversify the Saudi economy, Richardson argued.
See the Saudi promo video for Neom:
‘Everything lines up’
Scholars such as James Karl Hoffmeier, a professor of Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History and Archaeology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and creationist Gordon Franz have argued against the Saudi site as the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments.
Richardson argues that no scholar has sufficiently addressed the fact that among the various petroglyphs found in the area is an image of an ancient menorah, offering evidence of a Hebrew community.
A Wikipedia entry on Jabal al-Lawz contends investigators who believe it’s the location of Mt. Sinai such as Ron Wyatt, Bob Cornuke and Lennart Moller have misidentified a mountain called Jabal Maqla as Jabal al-Lawz.
Richardson explains Jabal al-Lawz, which means “Mountain of Almonds,” is the name of the entire range.
In biblical times, the range was called Horeb.
Jabal Maqla, also rendered Jebel al-Makklah, is the specific mountain in question. It’s also known as “Jabal Musa,” the “Mountain of Moses.”
See a Saudi bedouin point to the “Mountain of Moses”:
“This is a mountain with a dark-colored basalt rock on the top, as well as a cave on its front – ‘the Cave of Elijah’ – with an altar at its base with bulls carved all over it, ‘the Golden Calf altar,’ he said. “It also has an animal corral and altar, and pillars at its base, consistent with God’s command to Moses to build at the base of the mountain,” said Richardson.
In addition, he said, newly discovered petroglyphs at the foot of mountain depict archers, echoing a warning by Moses recorded in Exodus that anyone who set foot on the mountain would be shot with arrows.
“When you go there, it becomes very obvious that this is the real site,” Richardson told WND. “The other large granite mountain just to the north of it is what the Bible called Horeb. The split rock of Horeb is just to the northwest of it.”
Richardson said that before he went to the site he was “cautious and somewhat skeptical.”
“After having gone and seen everything, I am fully confident that this is the real Mount Sinai,” he said.
“At every turn, everything lines up with the biblical narrative. Everything falls into place. If this is not Mount Sinai, then God Himself has masterfully created the greatest hoax in human history.”
Consistent with the biblical account of water pouring out of the rock, there are clear signs of water erosion in an arid area where such erosion is evident nowhere else, said Richardson.
“It borders on the absurd to think all of these things are all coincidences. Further, all of the locals would have to be deceived, because they all call it the mountain of Moses, or the rock of Moses,” he said.
Richardson noted it’s in the region that the Bible calls Midian, where Moses married Jethro’s daughter, shepherded Jethro’s flocks and encountered the “mountain of God.”
Exodus 3:1 says: “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.”
Richardson noted that Ryan Mauro, director of the Clarion Intelligence Network, has visited the site and plans to produce a film on it.
Richardson told WND “the fact that all of a sudden in our day, this site could be opened the world is huge.”
“This has the potential to become the single largest Christian tourist site in the world, other than Jerusalem,” he said.
Significantly, closed off to the world for milennia, the area is relatively untouched, and only bedouins live there.
“You are standing at the foundation of the entire biblical narrative, the beginning of the biblical story,” he said.
“When you go to Jerusalem, you can stand on the Mount of Olives, where Jesus was, but it’s all changed so dramatically. This place is almost like it was 3,500 years ago,” said Richardson.
“Unlike other archaeological sites, this is a preserved living testimony not only to biblical history but to one of the most profound miracles in the Bible.”