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An Open Opportunity

by Ron Matsen

In September of 2019, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) officially opened its doors to tourists. Previously, travel to the Kingdom was almost entirely restricted to expatriate workers, those with business visas, and religious pilgrims visiting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. As soon as I heard of this new development, I jumped onto the KSA Visitor's website and made my application to travel to this previously forbidden destination.

The Importance of Independent Investigation

Ever since reading Bob's book, “Mountain of Fire” back in 2001, I have been exploring and examining every bit of information, articles, or pictures I could find concerning the evidence for the Biblical Exodus account.

There are certain key events recorded in Scripture that provide the fundamentals for our faith in the Biblical narrative. The early Church pointed to the Cross and the Resurrection as irrefutable proof that Jesus Christ was the only one who provides our salvation.

For the Jews, a “salvation” experience happened when they departed Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, and arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai. When you consider the traditional site in the Sinai Peninsula, these events have very little verifiable evidence. Therefore, you can understand why most modern Jews do not take the Biblical account of the Exodus seriously. This is aided by the fact that many internationally recognized experts dispute the historicity of these stories.

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Director of the Giza Pyramids Excavation, wrote, “Archaeologists who have worked here have never turned up evidence to support the account in the Bible.” 1

The skepticism continues with contemporary Jewish religious leaders. David Wolpe, Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, CA; Assistant to the Chancellor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York who was named “one of the 500 Most Influential People in Los Angeles” in 2016 and again in 2017, “The Most Influential Rabbi in America” by Newsweek Magazine and “One of the 50 Most Influential Jews in the World” by The Jerusalem Post, says “The truth is that virtually every modern archeologist who has investigated the story of the Exodus, with very few exceptions, agrees that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all.” 2

These disturbing statements challenged me to dig deeper into this paradigm event in the history of the nation and the people of Israel. As a result of my research over the past 18 years, I was convinced that I could only take this quest so far without actually investigating the archeological sites themself.

Feet on the Ground

On 21 February 2020, Bob Cornuke, Jim Schmidt, my son Ben and I began a journey that would take us to a place where quite possibly God made Himself known to Moses and the Children of Israel. From the moment we arrived in Saudi Arabia, we all sensed that this was going to be an amazing experience. Armed with cameras, microphones, drones, hiking gear, and lots of water, we were ready to seek out all the places that I had only visited through the lens of someone else's camera.
I know for Bob, arriving back into a nation that had once captured and imprisoned him in 1988 was a very strange sensation.

During our first full day with our guide, we went to the perimeter of the Golden Calf Altar, which is east of the foot of the Black Mountain (or Jebel Musa by the local Bedouins). As we initially stood at the base of this towering mountain, we all felt a real sense of excitement when we considered the fact that this was quite possibly a site that would have been visited by not only Moses but Elijah, Jesus, and the apostle Paul.

Ben Matsen, Bob Conuke, Ron Matsen and Jim Schmidt

Ben Matsen, Bob Conuke, Ron Matsen and Jim Schmidt at the base of Jabal al-Lawz.

Ready to Show

Unlike Bob's first visit, where he barely escaped and was only able to smuggle out a few photographs, we came prepared to capture as much of our expedition as possible. Our return trip home found us racing against the Covid-19 lockdowns that were closing in around us. Fortunately, we were able to reach our homes before the international doors of travel slammed shut.

When we were in Saudi Arabia, Bob and I discussed the best way to present our findings and analysis. We agreed that it would be great to have both of us working together to give a live, multi-session presentation. During the mandatory isolation period here in New Zealand, my son Ben and I have been able to collate and catalog our film footage and are now ready to incorporate this new evidence for the Exodus into our upcoming presentations. For now, given the sensitiveness of some of our film footage, the analysis we provide, and the conclusions that we have come to, we will only be able to publicly share this information with our K-House family in person.

Therefore, please pray for an open door for both Bob, me, and the whole team here at K-House as we wait patiently for the traveling ban to be lifted. Then we hope that we can meet face-to-face with you all and show you the gems we have put together on your behalf. We are also praying about leading small group trips to Saudi Arabia in the near future where we will be able to show you, in person, the Evidence for the Exodus.

If you are interested in helping us host a live conference event in your area, please contact us at engage@khouse.org

Bob Conuke and Ron Matsen

Bob Conuke and Ron Matsen at the summit of Jabal al-Lawz.

This article was originally published in the
July 2020 Personal Update NewsJournal.

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**NOTES**

1 New York Times, April 3, 2007

2 Los Angeles Times, TIMES RELIGION WRITER, TERESA WATANABE, APRIL 13, 2001