The Old Testament

Concordia Self Study CommentaryI started out last April 4 to try and work my way through blogging about the Bible. The whole thing. From Creation to the very end in Revelation. Wherever possible, I introduced anything I know about how science and archeology are in agreement with the Bible.

I finished the Old Testament on March 3rd last week with Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament.

new-answers-book-1Regarding Creation, I drew heavily from Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 1. Ken is the founder of The Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, both in Kentucky just over the river from Cincinnati. His whole ministry is based on the importance of Genesis and taking it as the truth.

DNA Pirates CoverI also made use of DNA: Pirates of the Sacred Spiral by Leonard Horowitz. His book is not directly about Creation, but there are some interesting scientific facts contained in it that shed some light on the Creation account in Genesis. The book is out of print, but is still in high demand. My used copy cost me about $60, and it was a bargain! I’ve seen mint copies going for as high as $200! Horowitz is an accomplished scientist who is also a Christian. You can find talks by him on YouTube.

Exodus CaseI relied almost completely on The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller in discussing the Book of Exodus. Dr. Moller is a research biologist with the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. He used his scientific skills to test the hypothesis that The Exodus happened exactly as related in the Biblical book of Exodus. He investigated a number of archeologic finds that precisely mirror the Biblical account. He is thorough, and does an excellent job of distinguishing between facts and theories.

The Mystery of the ShemitahThe last signal event of the Old Testament is the Babylonian Exile. Rabbi Jonathon Kahn’s two books, The Mystery of the Shemitah and The Harbinger both provided me with some great background material regarding the Shemitah and its direct importance to the Babylonian Exile. The main thrust of his books is dealing with the religious implications of our own 9/11, but they both gave me an awakening regarding this virtually unknown observance commanded by God. Most simply, the Shemitah is to years what the Sabbath is to days. It occurs every 7 years.

This is what determined Israel’s time in Babylon: 70 years. That’s one year for every Shemitah Israel neglected. There were other things that helped bring on that punishment too, but the Shemitah is the pivotal factor.

In fact, the Babylonian Exile occupies the decided majority of the Old Testament. Out of the 39 Old Testament books, 17 are about the Babylonian Exile! The prophets are ALL related to the Exile, whether prophesying and warning the Israelites about it or trying to guide them through it. All of the prophets speak of punishment, but they also point to the ultimate victory God had in mind with Jesus.

agents-of-babylon-2The Book of Daniel is a pretty tough book to understand without a very good knowledge of languages and ancient history.  Fortunately, I was introduced to Agents of Babylon by Dr. David Jeremiah.  I essentially wrote an entire series on Daniel based on that book.  I highly recommend it!

Daniel is a preview of world history until the end of time as it intersects with the history of Israel.  There are several important prophecies that help us understand revelation, starting with King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the Colossus.

With the Old Testament finished, the New testament looms. I am not completely sure how to treat it at this point, so I’ll beg for some patience. It isn’t structured quite the same as the Old Testament. There is no grand arc of history as there was in the Old Testament. Everything in it happened within a few years. While the books of the Old testament span about 6000 years, the New Testament books cover less the 100.

In the meantime, I invite you to go back to the beginning on April 4, 2018 with Creation – Let There Be Light, if you haven’t been with me the whole time.

Thank you very much for visiting and giving me a read. I hope you find what I do here useful!  Look for a very short contemplation every morning on a daily Bible verse too.

In Christ, Jeff

Mt. Sinai – The Golden Calf

Exodus CaseNow when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us [a]gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”…And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.

Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”

So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it.   Exodus 32, Selected Verses

What short memories they had! The plagues that struck all of Egypt but not them, the pillar of fire by day and of smoke by night, the parted sea, destruction of the Egyptian army, manna every morning, and the smoke, thunder, and lightning atop Sinai right there!

Hathor Cow Goddess

Hathor – human & bovine editions

But Moses took longer than they expected so it was time to move on to another god. Why a calf? After generations in Egypt, they were very familiar with their practice of worshipping cattle, so they went back to what they had known all their lives; Hathor, the Egyptian cow goddess.

God told Moses what was going on back at camp and sent him down. Before Moses got all the way down he could see the golden calf in the distance and hear the sounds of celebration. His first considered act was to break the two stone tablet of the Ten Commandments. He then went completely nuts, burned the thing down to ashes, spread the ashes in the water, and made everyone drink it.

Golden CalfWe shouldn’t expect to make an archeological find of a golden calf at the base of Jebel Musa in Saudi Arabia, but Moses does record in Exodus that Aaron made an alter to put it on. There is a large pile of broke slabs of rock in view of the descending route from the top of the mountain. Intact, they would have formed the base of a

Golden Calf Altar Base

Broken altar base

very large alter that could be seen a ways off.  for scale, note the fence around it that the Saudis erected to people off it. The size means it would have been a big figure, taking lots of gold. But remember that you had roughly 2 million Jewish slaves taking all the gold from their former slaveholders, so there was plenty on hand.

Impressive evidence on this find are the carvings that can be seen on those stones. They are of Egyptian style cattle and of people holding them up in worship, mirroring ancient Egyptian carvings.

Golden Calf Base Calf Petroglyphs

Several carvings seen on the base pieces

Another interesting piece of the carving is several depictions of a person or people worshiping the cow by seemingly supporting it from below.Golden Calf held by person

Compare that to a clear rendition of a typical ancient Egyptian carving of similar activities.

Golden Calf Egyptian Model

Drawn reproduction of ancient Egyptian carving

But there’s one last image that can be seen on those stone which have many carvings like those shown above.  Yes, there are Egyptian-style depictions of the cow goddess, Hathor.  But who’s to say that it was necessarily the Israelites who did all of this?  Well, what are the odds that you’d find a menorah carved into those same stones?

Golden Calf Base Menorah

Yup…right there

So far we seem to have a lot of traits in and around the site of Jebel Musa in Saudi Arabia that match the Biblical Mt. Sinai.  There are more!

NEXT – A summit meeting with God.

 

 

The Exodus Case – Pharaoh’s Army

“The Exodus Case” by Dr. Lennart Moller – Book Review, Part Six of Seven

“28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained… 30 So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” Exodus 14, selected verses.

I had heard that evidence of chariot wheels had been found on a land bridge in the Middle East, possibly being the remains of Pharaoh’s army from Exodus. Not wanting to go off half-cocked, I did an internet search. That search is how I found Dr. Lennart Moller and his book, The Exodus Case.

He has not disappointed with his thorough, scientific method. For what it’s worth, I have two college degrees and I know a little about scholarly research and writing. Dr. Moller reads to me like the real deal, and he has a very serious pedigree as a scientist. See the first part of this series, “The Exodus Case – Part One.”

First, coral doesn’t just start growing. It must attach to something. That’s why people clean large ships out and sink them to start a reef growing. Coral reefs don’t start out of nowhere; they need something to attach to. Hence the ships. In the Gulf of Aqaba, Dr. Moller notes that it has coral reefs like most other bodies of water. But there is one area where there is coral, and it has not formed into a reef. He makes the observation that, on the land bridge off the Nuweiba Peninsula, coral is scattered about like someone tossed out a bunch of garbage. It lies here and there with no discernable pattern. A closer examination reveals what may have happened.

From Dr. Moller: “If skeletal parts lie open and accessible…then corals settle and begin to grow. This can make it very difficult to identify…skeletal parts. There is a large quantity of possible…parts at the place of the crossing, but they are piled up together…which makes the precise identification of individual…parts almost impossible. But there are also several examples of skeletal parts which can be identified.”

On page 248 he has pictures of a piece of coral shaped like a human femur lying next to an actual femur. They are identical. He has other pictures where he can discern human skulls, ribs, spines, and more. One picture on page 251 happens to have captured a fish next to “coral-ized” skeletons to provide scale (no pun intended). He estimates these remains to show no less than 3 individuals (remember, he’s an MD). There are many such identifiable corals on the land bridge. And that isn’t all.

There are identifiable skeletal parts of cows or oxen, which Pharaoh’s army would have used to both transport and be food. There are also parts that can be identified as pieces of horse skeletons.

So we have coral that has apparently grown over parts of skeletons and taken on their shape, which allows them to be identified. We have beasts of burden, which an army would require to supply and feed themselves. We have the horses to pull Pharaoh’s chariots. Oh, yeah! That reminds me.

He found coral in the shapes of chariot wheels. How does he decide that they are shaped as such? Well, on several, not all, but on enough coral shapes you can actually count the spokes. Because technology does improve over time and designs change, Dr. Moller can trace those wheels back to Egyptian chariot wheel designs. There are a variety; 4, 6, and 8 spokes. Why the diversity in one army? Because they wouldn’t just trash a perfectly good chariot because of the new number of spokes. Plus, they would take the chariots of those they defeated in war, adding them to the Egyptian “fleet.” These assertions are evident in Egyptian ruins.

Dr. Moller’s extensive research on chariot wheel design shows that the designs found on the land bridge off the Nuweiba Peninsula match the designs in use by Egypt and its conquests at the time of the Exodus.

One can also make out shapes resembling axles, hub caps (yes, Egyptians had them), and possible pieces of chariot cabs. By being able to make out details on some and very regular, geometric shapes on others, it seems safe to conclude that the corals have grown over man-made objects. Think on it; when do you recall ever seeing a coral reef that had straight lines, right angles, and circular formations? Right. Me neither.

So we have wheels, regular geometric shapes, and identifiable skeletal pieces, along with a huge jumble of coral that hasn’t grown like coral anywhere else in the world. Add it all together, and you have something that looks like the remains of an Egyptian army that got caught without its floaties on.

Let me stress once more, Dr. Moller is very conservative in his assessments and makes no absolute claim that he has definitely found Pharaoh’s army – or anything else discussed so far. He states his theories and presents his evidence. He does the research and analysis, steps back, and (figuratively speaking) says, “Well, it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Do you think…?”

Intrigued? The book is available on Amazon. I’d also recommend getting the two DVDs that Amazon will suggest you buy along with it. I got them and, I’m glad I did. The book is 400+ pages with tons of documentation, but VERY readable.

The Exodus Case – Crossing the Red Sea

“The Exodus Case” by Dr. Lennart Moller – Book Review, Part Five of Seven

“But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” Exodus 14:16

Now for The Exodus itself. Dr. Moller goes through a very good discussion of where the Israelites had settled just outside of Egypt in Goshen and why. He also gives an estimate of how many Israelites there were at the time of the Exodus. He arrived at a figure of about 2,000,000 people and cautions that this is a conservative number, based on biblical statements and expected demographics of such a population. Other studies have come up with a number as high as 6,000,000. Throughout his book, Dr. Moeller consistently displays such conservatism to avoid overstating his theories.

So, after the final plague sent by God – the death of all firstborn in Egypt – you have approximately 2,000,000 people leaving Egypt and heading across the wilderness to a body of water that they will cross without getting wet. There are several routes they could have taken to get to any of the proposed sites of the Red Sea crossing. But there is only one place around the Sinai Peninsula that will allow for 2,000,000 people to stage themselves for such a mass crossing and have another such site on the opposite side for them to regroup. There is only one place which requires a route with the landscape Exodus describes.

By the way, let’s drop the name “Red Sea.” The name in Hebrew is Yam Suph, and, after a few thousand years, no one quite knows what that place name would translate into. Dr. Moller includes a discussion of that problem. For now, let’s forge ahead with where Dr. Moller theorizes to be the location of that famous crossing.

From Dr. Moller: “Wadi Watir is the valley between the mountains going…down to the Nuweiba peninsula…(it) is very flat with no obstacles and is surrounded by high mountain ridges.”

“Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’” Exodus 14:1-3

The mountains enclosing the Wadi Watir would have closed in on the Israelites, trapping them on the Nuweiba Peninsula, just as described in Exodus. Nuweiba is large enough to easily accommodate a population of 2,000,000 people and their livestock. It is located on the Gulf of Aqaba on the east side of the Sinai Peninsula facing Saudi Arabia.

The ancient historian Josephus, drawing on primary sources no longer available to us, also notes how “The encampment was surrounded on two sides by mountains which extended right out to the sea and could not be passed.”

The Nuweiba Peninsula is also a prime site for the crossing, because it’s shore is the only spot with a shallow enough grade that people could walk down to the bottom. Opposite, there is another large, flat area to accommodate a large population to regroup. In between? A land bridge that drops off on either side into the deep.

From The Exodus Case: “ The sedimentation rate is very low in the Gulf of Aqaba, approximately 5cm/1000 years. But…the road that crosses the gulf is exposed to strong tidal currents, which results in an even lower rate. On the seabed there is no organic layer but it has a gravel character…This means that if the water is removed and the gravel is dried, there is solid ground to walk on.”

Unlike many scientists, Dr. Moller did not try to explain the miracle of the waters parting by a natural phenomenon. As stated in the first installment of this book review, he writes to test his theory that Exodus is an accurate account of real events. He is willing to accept a miracle when the Bible says God performed one. Especially when he is finding data to support most every other detail of Exodus.

Remember my installment on Sodom and Gomorrah: He found balls of pure sulphur (which does not occur naturally) that had burned into stone on a site that was burnt to a crisp and covered with ash. He has apparent evidence of a miracle, if not the evidence of how God did it. In the same way, he brings us apparent evidence of the Yam Suph crossing, if not of how God did it.

Once again, this is a very high level review of Dr. Moller’s study. Along with his process to arrive at the Nuweiba Peninsula, he has detailed discussions of the plagues that set it all in motion, pros and cons of alternate routes, and even time lines of how long it took the Israelites to make the trip as well as how long it would take Pharaoah’s army to catch up. He devotes several paragraphs to the Yam Suph/Red Sea translation as well.

Intrigued? The book is available on Amazon. I’d also recommend getting the two DVDs that Amazon will suggest you buy along with it. I got them and, I’m glad I did. The book is 400+ pages with tons of documentation, but VERY readable.

The Exodus Case – Moses in Egypt

“The Exodus Case” by Dr. Lennart Moller – Book Review, Part Four of Seven

“Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let My people go…’” Exodus 5:1

In my first installment of this book review, I wrote about how Bible History and world history don’t seem to intersect. In this third part of my review I want to overview Dr. Moller’s theory on Moses’ presence in the Egyptian record. As in the previous installment, I’ll give the high points

Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, who was childless. The question becomes whether there is a Pharaoh during the time of Moses who had but one daughter who was childless and adopted a son.

Thutmosis I/Amenhotep fits that description. He had a daughter, Nefure/Hatshepsut (depending upon their age and changing status within government and religion, different names were adopted). There are statues of Nefure holding a baby boy. The inscriptions name him as Senmut. The child of the sculpture wears a royal ornament, indicating his status as heir to the throne. Senmut is translated as “mother’s brother.”

That may seem an odd name for son…unless the son was adopted. Again, I’ll leave the details for you to cover in the book, but essentially royal succession was heavily tied to religion and the inherited deity of each Pharaoh. In order for an adopted son to be legitimately of the line of a Pharoah with an only daughter, his relationship to the gods had to be direct. Senmut was given the status of being the son of a god. His mother by way of her father was also a daughter of the god, thus making them, theologically speaking, siblings.

In order to legitimize Senmut for the throne, they had to start the “propaganda” very early to ensure he was accepted when he ascended the throne.

Moses was adopted and in line for the throne as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. His scenario was exactly that of Senmut. The parallel continues. According to the Roman historian, Josephus, Moses was a general of the army, highly educated at court, and extremely successful. The royal court began first to envy, then fear him. They knew he was adopted and not Egyptian by blood.

Recall, then, Moses murdered an Egyptian slave master, was found out, and had to run off. He had given his enemies at court a reason to want him killed. Normally, one might think that a great general would get a wrist slap. Think of Patton in WWII when he abused a couple soldiers. Moses knew they would label him a traitor and use this excuse to kill him.

Guess what happened in Senmut’s case? That’s right; he was disinherited. There is no record of what he might have done, but records show he was suddenly stripped of his privileged status and disappeared under mysterious circumstances. And what do Egyptian’s do when a government official falls out of favor? They deface or destroy all statues and monuments for that person. Almost every statue of Senmut has had its nose broken off. That was a way to symbolically kill someone by removing their ability to breathe or taking away their spirit.

Here are other facts known of Senmut that parallel Moses: he was of humble birth, not royal lineage. At the time of his disappearance, Senmut was effectively ruler of Egypt (Moses was co-ruler when he escaped). Senmut’s shrine did not have the customary funerary feast scenes, but instead depicts him being embraced by the crocodile god (Moses was taken from the crocodile-infested Nile River). There is a surviving statue of Senmut. It shows him having an “aquiline” nose, which is not an Egyptian feature but a Caucasian/Jewish one.

Altogether, Dr. Moller cites 35 qualities shared by both Moses and Senmut. His discussion includes details of the Egyptian religions and its part in the royal line, the meaning of names and why Egyptian rulers were assigned different names in their lifetime. Statistically, such parallels would be unlikely in two separate individuals, making the theory that Moses and Senmut are the same man very compelling.

Intrigued? The book is available on Amazon. I’d also recommend getting the two DVDs that Amazon will suggest you buy along with it. I got them and, I’m glad I did. The book is 400+ pages with tons of documentation, but VERY readable.

The Exodus Case – Imhotep

The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller – Book Review, Part Three of Seven

“I hate mummies.” Rick O’Connell, The Mummy Returns

If you’ve seen either of the Mummy movies with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, you’ll remember the name Imhotep. He was The Bad Guy from ancient Egypt who became The Mummy. He was a priest in Egypt who held the secret books of spells and could raise his warriors from the dead to go after our heroes, Rick O’Connell and Evelyn “I…am a librarian” Carnahan.

But did you know Imhotep was a real person in the days of the pharaohs? He was essentially the overseer of Egypt as well as its high priest. Anything to do with managing the country for Pharaoh or regarding matters religious, Imhotep was the go-to guy. Originally there were doubts as to whether he was a real person, but archeological discoveries have confirmed not only his existence, but just what an incredible person he was.

He has sometimes been referred to as the Leonardo da Vinci of Egypt, but he was more than that. An Egyptian Priest, Manetho, wrote a history shortly after Imhotep’s reign. Manetho is considered to be an important source for Egypt’s ancient history. He writes that Imhotep’s reputation among Egyptians was that of Asclepius, the Greek God of Medicine because of his healing abilities. He also invented the process of building with hewn stone and was the force behind the first pyramid, the so-called Step Pyramid of Sakkara.

Now, if Imhotep was actually Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers, and he was in Egypt at that time, you would expect a number of parallels between the two identities and events of that time. Well, guess what?

There is an inscription on the island of Sihiel just past the first cataract of the Nile, describing a seminal event in Egyptian history. It was carved over a thousand years after the event, but it may sound familiar to us.

In it, the Pharaoh Djoser has a dream that troubles him. He calls on Imhotep, “the son of Ptah,” to figure it out. Imhotep, according to the inscription, says the dream foretells seven years of famine followed by seven years of plenty. Except for the reverse order – famine before plenty – it corresponds in detail to the biblical account of Joseph. Bad years happen from time to time, but there is only ONE time in Egyptian history when such a famine occurred.

The biblical record of plenty before famine has greater credibility, because such a famine without time to prepare would have completely wiped out the eastern Mediterranean region.

Imhotep being described as the son of Ptah makes sense, because he was seen as the priest of Ptah, the greatest god of Egypt, creator of all things. That could be an apt description of Joseph, who served the one, true God. It makes sense that, one thousand years after he lived, the record was “Egyptized” by the writer. According to the inscription, when Pharaoh Djoser asks Imhotep to explain the dream, Imhotep says, “I need the guidance of Him who presides over the fowling net…” (from the Sihiel inscription). In Genesis, Joseph replies that “It is not in me: God shall give the answer.”

There is also another inscription from the Nile island of Philae, which is also an “Egyptized” account of the seven year famine. So we have two non-biblical accounts that appear to confirm the biblical account of a seven year famine.

While Joseph was not described in the Bible as being a physician of any sort, as Pharaoh’s ruler in Egypt, he had doctors in his service. This from Genesis 50:2 – “And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.”

Joseph commanded medical services, and he also was counselled by God to interpret dreams and receive direction on his actions as Pharaoh’s right arm. Both Joseph and Imhotep were known for consulting God before answering questions and making big decisions. People traveled to Imhotep for healing. They would have travelled to Joseph too.

Imhotep and Joseph are also reputed to be very wise. Genesis 41:39 says that “…Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art.” Regarding Imhotep, there was a saying referring to having heard wisdom: “I have heard the words of Imhotep” (wise sayings). While none of Imhotep’s writings have survived, his successors wrote wise sayings in his tradition

The Old Testament Book of Proverbs has no author ascribed to it, although tradition holds that at least sections are attributed to King Solomon. Proverbs and the sayings of Imhotep share some similarities. Dr. Moller theorizes in The Exodus Case that Joseph/Imhotep was the one who gave rise to Proverbs. Either the wise sayings were incorporated into Egyptian tradition, or the Israelites took the sayings with them, eventually making them part of the Old Testament.

Earlier I mentioned how Imhotep was the initiator of the Step Pyramid at Sakkara. That’s where he lived, because it was the religious capitol for Egypt. It makes sense that the high priest of Egypt had his administration there. If Imhotep was Joseph, you would expect something to indicate that.

At Sakkara there is a system of 11 open shafts going deep into the ground. At the bottom they are connected by a tunnel. One shaft has a stairway reaching all the way to the bottom. There is a theory that these were some sort of burial complex, but that doesn’t hold. Tombs of the day were covered and hidden to prevent desecration by grave robbers. These shafts are open and easily located. What was found at the bottom gives us a great clue as to what they really were. Remains of grain were found at the bottom!

“And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering, for it was without number.” Joseph built silos to store grain during the seven years of plenty. Today we picture silos as being above ground. In Egypt, underground silos provide the cool, dry conditions needed for long-term storage. And this complex at Sakkara is unique, not being found anywhere else in Egypt. There are also carvings that show men carrying sacks over their shoulders up the stairs in the shaft. These are quite possibly Joseph’s storage facility to nurse Egypt through the famine

Imhotep had a reputation as a great builder. Joseph oversaw huge building projects to store grain and save Egypt. Are they the same guy? Dr. Moller makes a strong case. There is much more on this in his book, but you get the idea.

Intrigued? The book is available on Amazon. I’d also recommend getting the two DVDs that Amazon will suggest you buy along with it. I got them and, I’m glad I did. The book is 400+ pages with tons of documentation, but VERY readable.

Maybe not sold yet? Well, I’m going to continue giving you an overview of several of the most impressive sections in the next few posts, so stay tuned!

The Exodus Case – Sodom and Gomorrah

“The Exodus Case” by Dr. Lennart Moller – Book Review, Part Two of Seven

After the introduction to the premise and process for his book, Dr. Moller begins with what he calls the pre-Exodus period; who was Abraham? Where was he from? He touches areas of Genesis to lay the groundwork for the meat of his book, the investigation into the veracity of Exodus.

He spends some time on Sodom and Gomorrah, because Abraham’s story is strongly connected to these two doomed cities. He believes he has found the site. First, it’s geographically sited where the Bible locates it. Secondly, this 2 x 3 kilometer area is burnt to a crisp. He describes how the entire area is covered by a thick layer of a finely grained substance that is apparently some sort of ash that even drifts in some spots like snow. It clung to their clothes like ash, and smelled of sulfur It appears there could have been a town there, but the destruction is too great to be certain. There are some walls which are not affected. He believes they are a quartz based rock not affected by burning sulfur. Why did he specify burning sulfur?

Here is where it gets interesting. There are round stones all over the place, and all appear to have been plugged. Curious, he cut several in half so that he cut into the plug. The profile shows a hole into the center where he found a ball of sulfur of such purity that a chemist friend of his at first couldn’t believe it was sulfur. When he decided it definitely was sulfur, he couldn’t believe Dr. Moller found it as he said he did. He thought it could only have been manufactured to be that pure.

Such sulfur balls were found not only in round stones but in blocks of stone as well. I won’t attempt to reproduce the technical discussion Dr. Moller gives in the book, but I will share the analytics that were performed on samples in the lab: “X-ray crystallography, liquid chromatography, and atom absorption spectrophotometers, by qualified geological and analytical laboratories, who knew nothing about the identity of the samples to be analyzed.”

How did those sulfur balls get into the stones? Already alight, they apparently hit, burned their way in, and melted the host rock to form a plug. Starved of oxygen, the sulfur ball extinguished and was preserved inside the stones.

Did I mention he touched off a few in the field to see what would happen? They burned like hell.

“Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens.” Genesis 19:24

He also found what appear to be skeletal remains that had been exposed to high heat. Again, I’ll leave the technical discussion for you to read in the book. I will say that the skeletal portions he believes them to be – pelvis, for example – are those that are the most resistant to destruction by heat.

The remains, the ash, and the sulfur balls were all subjected to rigorous laboratory analysis by scientists who were asked to do their analysis in the blind so as to not prejudice results. Dr. Moller’s discussion includes a chemical analysis of the types of rock on the site vs. the surrounding area and how the burning sulfur would yield the composition of materials on site.

“But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.’” Luke 19:40

Here is what is so impressive about Dr. Moller’s style; he does not claim that this is definitely the site of Sodom and Gomorrah. He puts it forth as his theory which currently fits all known facts. As with any theory, he acknowledges he could be proven wrong with the introduction of new data. This is how he writes the entire book. He is very careful to differentiate between theory, speculation, and fact. He is not a Christian with an agenda to prove Exodus. He is a scientist who is a Christian, following sound principles of investigation. His conclusions are drawn with extremely conservative reasoning and an abundance of data.

Intrigued? The book is available on Amazon. I’d also recommend getting the two DVDs that Amazon will suggest you buy along with it. I got them and, I’m glad I did. The book is 400+ pages with tons of documentation, but VERY readable.

The Exodus Case – Book Review, Part One of Seven

First, let me get into a little background before discussing the importance of this book. I was raised a Christian. I learned my bible history in a Christian grade school. I learned world history in history classes all the way through my master’s degree. I rarely saw much overlap. And part of that is because the history of the bible, at its youngest, is 2000 years old.

So I grew up and have lived most of my life with this divide in my head: there’s biblical history and there’s world history. Apart from historical cities and sites in the middle east, there’s a big disconnect. People are more and more seeing the bible as a curious collection of allegories and not legitimate history. But more and more science is pushing that pendulum back the other way.

I studied geology in college and was pretty good at it. I was very disappointed that the geologic layers didn’t reflect a world-wide flood. Geologists claimed that those layers reflected millions of years in their formation. That always felt a bit off to me but I wasn’t sure why.

How did all of those fossils get there? It’s a very rich testimony to the abundance of life in the distant past. But do we really believe all of those millions of animals died and just laid there, waiting to be covered by sediment? Ever see an A&E special on how long it takes scavengers to devour a dead animal, like a hippo? That carcass was COMPLETELY GONE within weeks, let alone before the rainy season flooded the area and covered that animal intact.

How did those animals get buried? Very fast! Like a flood. A huge world-wide deluge! Water came fast for 40 days and nights. From the time God shut the door on the ark to the day He said it was OK to come out was over a year. The entire world, covered by water, and the whole thing drained into a new configuration in that time. That’s serious water flow. It all happened in stages, which explains the layers too. And a lot of the world’s topography. For example the badlands look a lot like the area around Mt. St. Helens after it blew – just much bigger. Very fast erosion.

There are signs in this world that show us biblical history and world history are one in the same.

Enter Dr. Lennert Moller of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He leads the research in their Research Laboratory of Analytical Toxicology. He’s the author of The Exodus Case. From the back flap of the cover:

“His research focuses on drug development…environmental medicine, and methods to measure DNA damage and oxidative stress…Research projects cover from mechanistic studies of nano-particles to clinical studies on how food and medical treatment can affect our health.

(He) earlier studied marine biology, limnology, and chemistry at the universities of Stockholm and Uppsala. His interests involve photography, minerals, scuba diving, and archeology, which together with international scientific lecturing and collaborations, have brought him to more than 60 different countries….He has been editor and author of several books in popular science and theology…in seven different languages.”

He’s smart.

You don’t accomplish what he has without good, solid scientific methods that yield accurate results. People around the world don’t buy your books and listen to your lectures unless you deliver what your resume’ says you should.

I found him while doing an internet search on the discovery of Pharaoh’s army (the Exodus guy) at the bottom of the Red Sea. I’d heard of it and wanted to get some solid information. I took a look at Moller, one of several names that popped up.

Guess what? He dove on the site and found them! Coral formations that grew around the chariots, people and animals. You can discern human and animal skeletons as well as chariot pieces. He’s got pictures in the book! And remember, he’s a doc, so he knows anatomy when he sees it.

Moller applied his considerable skills in scientific inquiry and a broad knowledge of different fields of science to a theory. Proposed – The book of Exodus is a literal account of a period in history.

Not allegory, not legend, not an amalgamation of tales borrowed from other cultures. The real deal with some good old Old Testament smiting, miracles, and desert wanderings. If events of the magnitude of Exodus really happened, there should be some evidence of it somewhere. You just need to apply good old scientific methods to lead you to the answer.

So, either he finds the goods and verifies the biblical account or he doesn’t or he finds contradictory evidence that disproves Exodus. When you think about it, that’s a pretty brave thing to do. A Christian lays his faith on the line and does a serious search, willing to let the chips fall where they may. Scary, say I. Because what if he’s wrong? Then what do you do with your beliefs? He took a leap of faith that the skills and intelligence God gave him will bear fruit, that he will find a connection between the bible and the world history as it lays before us.

And by the way, Pharaoh’s army? Not in the Red Sea. It’s in another body of water nearby. But we’ll save that for a coming installation of this book review.

Intrigued? The book is available on Amazon. I’d also recommend getting the two DVDs that Amazon will suggest you buy along with it. I got them and, I’m glad I did. The book is 400+ pages with tons of documentation, but VERY readable.

Maybe not sold yet? Well, I’m going to be giving you an overview of several of the most impressive sections in the next few posts, so stay tuned!