Arabia in the New Testament: Nabatean Arabia Petrea in 36 AD

"In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas IV the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands." (2 Corinthians 11:32-33)

 

 

Josephus calls the Sinai Peninsula "Egypt".

 

Josephus never calls the Sinai Peninsula "Arabia".

 

Joshua gives Simeon his land which bordered on EGYPT: "The lot of Simeon, which was the second, included that part of Idumea which bordered upon Egypt and Arabia." (Josephus, Antiquities 5.78)

 

 

Introduction:

  1. New Testament Arabia is the Nabatean kingdom called "Arabia Petrea", where Petrea is an alternate way of spelling Petra which was their capital city where the king governed from.
    1. Mapping Arabia in the first century is achieved by locating the territory of the Nabateans whose capital city was at Petra (300 BC - 106 AD), where the ancient city of Kadesh Barnea was located in 1446 BC at the time of the exodus.
  2. The Nabateans were spice traders from southern Arabia, Africa and India
  3. Apostle Paul was an antitype of Moses with 25 similarities, one of which was both Lawgivers visited Mt. Sinai in Arabia located in Saudi Arabia at Mt. Lawz.
  4. The Sinai Peninsula was Egyptian both at the time of the Exodus in 1446 BC and the first century at the time of Paul's conversion in 36 AD
    1. Josephus never calls Sinai Peninsula Egypt and never once calls the Sinai Peninsula "Arabia".
    2. Strabo, Josephus and Paul all viewed Arabia as being Transjordan.
    3. Archeology shows that Arabian Nabataea was expelled from the Judean Negev between 40-70 AD back to their historic Transjordan territory.

 

I. History of the Arabian Nation: Ishmael to Islam

  1. Nabateans were Ishmaelites whose ancient territory was Transjordan from the Persian gulf over to the Red Sea and north Saudi Arabia at Midian which was located in the Wilderness of Shur at the time of the Exodus.
    1. Ishmaelites like the Nabateans were nomadic traders as seen in the story of Joseph being sold to the Caravan at Dothan in Canaan.
    2. The Edomites went extinct around 550 BC and the Ishmaelites living in traditional ancient Arabia moved north and east from Midian to the ancient site of Kadesh Barnea at Petra.
    3. Petra was an excellent choice as the location of their capital city since it lies at the major crossroad of three caravan roads that feed southern Arabia, Babylon Israel and Egypt.
  2. During the first century the Nabatean expanded into the Negev south of Judah and Syria at Damascus as seen in the incident at Paul's conversion in 36 AD.
    1. However, around 25 AD, the Romans had learned to use the Monsoon winds to successfully sail directly by sea which decimated the Nabatean economy.
    2. Between 40-70 AD the Nabatean cities of the Negev were destroyed and the Nabatean kingdom once again was entirely Transjordan at Petra.
    3. "After his death Obodas was buried at Oboda, the town named after him. Obodas was deified and—as evidenced by Nabatean and Greek inscriptions—his cult persisted at Oboda until the 3rd century ad. Without waiting for Augustus’ confirmation Aretas IV (9 bc–ad 40), son of Obodas, ascended the throne. In his coins and inscriptions he is known by the title ‘he who loved his people’. During his reign the kingdomreached its highest point, both economically and in its architecture, sculpture, painting and pottery. Except for the dispatch by Aretas of a military force to quell some riots in Judea after Herod’s death in 4 bc (Josephus, Antiq. xvii, 287), and a mention of him as ruler of Damascus in ad 39 (2 Cor. 11:32), there is little about him in the ancient sources. On the other hand an exceedingly large number of inscriptions, dated by the years for which Aretas IV had reigned, have been found in every quarter of the kingdom, from northern Arabia in the south to southern Syria in the north, and to Oboda and Sobata in the west. These testify to the great expansion of the kingdom. The decline set in during the reign of Malichus II (ad 40–70), the first-born son of Aretas IV. First the Nabateans lost Damascus. In ad 67 Malichus sent an army to help Vespasian in the siege of Jerusalem (Josephus, War iii, 68). Otherwise he is little mentioned. It was in his time that the Romans learned to make use of the southwest monsoon. Earlier in the 1st century ad Hippalus had discovered that the monsoon made it possible to sail safely to India and back and they were therefore able to bring spices and aromatics directly from India to Alexandria and thence to Rome, dealing a mortal blow to the Nabatean economy. In about ad 50 it seems to have suffered another blow. New tribes migrated from Arabia to the southern parts of the kingdom and penetrated the Negev, where they destroyed Oboda and the forts on the Petra-Gaza road." (The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, Nabateans, 1986 AD)
    4. The Nabatean kingdom was conquered by Trajan in 106AD.
  1. Echoing the Edomites who burned the temple of Solomon in 587 BC, King Malchus of Arabia (same territory as the Edomites) assisted Titus in attacking Jerusalem in 67 AD
    1. Edomites burned Solomon's temple at the hands of the Babylonians:
      1. Nebuzaradan wanted to burn the temple of Solomon and the Edomites volunteered to light the match as delegated agents of destruction:
      2. "You [Cyrus] also vowed to rebuild the temple which the Edomites set on fire when Judah was devastated by the Chaldeans." (1 Esdras 4:45)
      3. "Now on the tenth day of the fifth month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who was in the service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord, the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; even every large house he burned with fire." (Jeremiah 52:12–13)
    2. Nabateans assisted Titus in 67 AD: "But as to Titus, he sailed over from Achaia to Alexandria, and that sooner than the winter season did usually permit; so he took with him those forces he was sent for, and marching with great expedition, he came suddenly to Ptolemais, (65) and there finding his father, together with the two legions, the fifth and tenth, which were the most eminent legions of all, he joined them to that fifteenth legion which was with his father: (66) eighteen cohorts followed these legions; there came also five cohorts from Cesarea, with one troop of horsemen, and five other troops of horsemen from Syria. (67) Now these ten cohorts had severally a thousand footmen, but the other thirteen cohorts had no more than six hundred footmen apiece, with a hundred and twenty horsemen. (68) There were also a considerable number of auxiliaries got together, that came from the kings Antiochus, and Agrippa, and Sohemus, each of them contributing one thousand footmen that were archers, and a thousand horsemen. Malchus also, the king of Arabia, sent a thousand horsemen, besides five thousand footmen, the greatest part of whom were archers; (69) so that the whole army, including the auxiliaries sent by the kings, as well horsemen as footmen, when all were united together, amounted to sixty thousand, besides the servants, who, as they followed in vast numbers, so because they had been trained up in war with the rest, ought not to be distinguished from the fighting men; for as they were in their masters’ service in times of peace; so did they undergo the like dangers with them in times of war, insomuch that they were inferior to none, either in skill or in strength, only they were subject to their masters."
  1. Rome annexed Nabatean kingdom and added the Sinai Peninsula FROM EGYPT to form the New triplet Arabia in 106 BC under Trajan.
    1. "It was not until 106 ad that the Romans officially annexed Nabatea and the “area around Petra” (Millar, Roman Near East, 94). Eventually, Rome extended their territory as far as Meda’in Saleh—300 miles south of Petra. Rome designated three sub-regions within Arabia: Arabia Petraea (Sinai and the old territory of Nabatea), Arabia Felix (the southwestern coast of the Arabian Peninsula), and Arabia Deserta (roughly the rest of Arabia). The Romans would control Arabia until the rise of the Islamic Arabian Empires of the seventh century." (Lexham Bible Dictionary, Arabia, 2016 AD)
    2. The Romans annexed of the Sinai Peninsula from the Egyptians in 106 BC where it was formally labelled Arabia Petraea by the Romans.
    3. The Nabateans never controlled the Sinai Peninsula even though they did travel through this part of Egypt
  1. Muhammed, the founder of Islam in 610 AD, was of this Ishmaelite/Nabatean tradition.
    1. In one generation, the Muslims accomplished a mass conversion of language, culture and religion to the entire middle east.
    2. The Ishmaelites governed at Petra for 300 years until 106 AD, with a pause till the rise of the Islam around 600 AD.
    3. The Muslim conquering of the world in 600 AD plunged the world into the period of the Dark ages for 1000 years until the Renascence.
    4. The final defeat of the Ishmaelites was accomplished in 1916 AD with the collapse of the Ottoman empire.
    5. Islam today is the ancient Arabian Kingdom, once again trying to take over the world.
  1. Arabian kingdom history:
    1. Ishmaelites/Midianites were the ancient Arabian Kingdom at the time of the Exodus in 1446 BC
    2. The Nabateans were the Arabian nation of the time of Christ and Apostle Paul
    3. Islam is modern Arabia.
  1. Arabia has always been the nation of the crescent moon:
    1. The Arabians have always worshipped the moon god.
    2. "Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself, and fall on us; for as the man, so is his strength.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments which were on their camels’ necks." (Judges 8:21)
    3. "The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels’ necks." (Judges 8:26)
    4. Today, the crescent moon is the central symbol of Islam which betrays the true origin of this pagan moon worship religion turned "pagan monotheistic".
  1. Arabia, therefore, really is the story from Ishmael to Islam or stated more correctly Ismael IN Islam.
    1. Remember that Islam corrupts the truth with a lie that Abraham offered Ishmael, not Isaac on the Altar.
    2. That Altar was located at Mecca, not Jerusalem.
    3. Islam is the "bitter grapes" revenge of the "cast out fleshly" son Ishmael supplanting the true chosen son of promise and miracle.
  1. Paul's allegory says it all:
    1. "Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear; Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor; For more numerous are the children of the desolate Than of the one who has a husband.” And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman." (Galatians 4:21–31)

 

II. Territory of First Century Arabia at the time of Paul In 36 AD, Apostle Paul

  1. Some have generated the fiction that the Nabatean Kingdom headquartered at Petra controlled the Sinai Peninsula. This is false.
  2. Arabia was a separate country from Rome when Aretus I,II, III, IV were the kings. Notice Aretas is called the KING OF ARABIA:
    1. Aretas king of Arabia (Jos., Wars 1.124)
    2. Aretas king of Arabia Petrea (Jos. Ant. 17.287)
    3. "he also persuaded Hyrcanus to fly to Aretas, the king of Arabia, and to lay claim to the kingdom" (Josephus, Wars of the Jews 1.124)
  3. Aretas IV 4BC - 40 AD was the King of Arabia at the time of Paul's conversion:
    1. "In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands." (2 Corinthians 11:32-33)
  1. The domain of Nabatean Arabia Petrea was as follows:
    1. Petra is Transjordan and the capital city of first century Arabia: "Since therefore Antipater saw that Hyrcanus did not attend to what he said, he never ceased, day by day, to charge feigned crimes upon Aristobulus, and to calumniate him before him, as if he had a mind to kill him; and so, by urging him perpetually, he advised him, and persuaded him to fly to Aretas, the king of Arabia; and promised, that if he would comply with his advice, he would also himself assist him, [and go with him]. (15) When Hyrcanus heard this, he said that it was for his advantage to fly away to Aretas. Now Arabia is a country that borders upon Judea. However, Hyrcanus sent Antipater first to the king of Arabia, in order to receive assurances from him, that when he should come in the manner of a supplicant to him, he would not deliver him up to his enemies. (16) So Antipater having received such assurances, returned to Hyrcanus to Jerusalem. A while afterward he took Hyrcanus, and stole out of the city by night, and went a great journey, and came and brought him to the city called Petra, where the palace of Aretas was." (Josephus, Antiquities 14.14-16)
    2. The Sinai Peninsula was outside Arabia and considered the land of Egypt when Joshua gives Simeon his land which bordered on EGYPT: "The lot of Simeon, which was the second, included that part of Idumea which bordered upon Egypt and Arabia." (Josephus, Antiquities 5.78)
    3. The Arab Peninsula from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea up to the Gulf of Aqaba and Transjordan.
    4. Macherus was on the border between Rome and Arabia: The area east of the Salt Sea, west of Machaerus where John the Baptist was beheaded: "Macherus, which is a place on the borders of the dominions of Aretas and Herod" (Josephus, Antiquities 18.111)
    5. Arabia controlled the eastern portion of Syria around Damascus: "Aretas reigned over Coele-Syria, being called to the government by those that held Damascus, by reason of the hatred they bare to Ptolemy Menneus. He also made thence an expedition against Judea, and beat Alexander in battle, near a place called Adida; yet did he, upon certain conditions agreed on between them, retire out of Judea." (Josephus, Antiquities 13.391) "Aretas reigned over Coele-Syria, having been appointed by those living in Damascus, because they Ptolemy Menneus." (Josephus, Antiquities 13.391)
    6. A collection of towns were founded by the Nabateans just south of Beersheba in Judah, but they were destroyed 40-70 AD and the Nabateans were driven back to their Transjordan territory: "After his death Obodas was buried at Oboda, the town named after him. Obodas was deified and—as evidenced by Nabatean and Greek inscriptions—his cult persisted at Oboda until the 3rd century ad. Without waiting for Augustus’ confirmation Aretas IV (9 bc–ad 40), son of Obodas, ascended the throne. In his coins and inscriptions he is known by the title ‘he who loved his people’. During his reign the kingdomreached its highest point, both economically and in its architecture, sculpture, painting and pottery. Except for the dispatch by Aretas of a military force to quell some riots in Judea after Herod’s death in 4 bc (Josephus, Antiq. xvii, 287), and a mention of him as ruler of Damascus in ad 39 (2 Cor. 11:32), there is little about him in the ancient sources. On the other hand an exceedingly large number of inscriptions, dated by the years for which Aretas IV had reigned, have been found in every quarter of the kingdom, from northern Arabia in the south to southern Syria in the north, and to Oboda and Sobata in the west. These testify to the great expansion of the kingdom. The decline set in during the reign of Malichus II (ad 40–70), the first-born son of Aretas IV. First the Nabateans lost Damascus. In ad 67 Malichus sent an army to help Vespasian in the siege of Jerusalem (Josephus, War iii, 68). Otherwise he is little mentioned. It was in his time that the Romans learned to make use of the southwest monsoon. Earlier in the 1st century ad Hippalus had discovered that the monsoon made it possible to sail safely to India and back and they were therefore able to bring spices and aromatics directly from India to Alexandria and thence to Rome, dealing a mortal blow to the Nabatean economy. In about ad 50 it seems to have suffered another blow. New tribes migrated from Arabia to the southern parts of the kingdom and penetrated the Negev, where they destroyed Oboda and the forts on the Petra-Gaza road." (The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, Nabateans, 1986 AD)

 

III. In 36 AD, Apostle Paul is converted and escapes Aretas IV in Damascus and visits Mt. Sinai: 2 Corinthians 11:32-33

  1. "In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands." (2 Corinthians 11:32-33)
    1. Paul knew Aretas was the king of Arabia who was over the vessel governor of Damascus.
    2. In both Paul's and Josephuss mind Arabia was Transjordan.
  2. Coins of Aretas IV issued from 18-39 AD:
    1. I have excavated this coin of Aretas at Khirbet El-Maqatir (Ephraim of John 11) in December 2013 Cav1 of the underground bunker system that was destroyed by the Romans in 69 AD.
    2. This proves Paul was converted before 40 AD and gives us help in dating other events in the New Testament.
    3. Aretas IV was the king of Arabia at Petra, the modern location of ancient Kadesh Barnea:
       

 

IV. Paul fulfilled the antitype of Moses as the lawgiver by visiting Mt. Sinai

  1. Paul Went to Arabia immediately after being converted:
    1. "But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus." (Galatians 1:15–17)
    2. "This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother." (Galatians 4:24–26)
  2. Where in Arabia would Paul go and why?
    1. Something important in Arabia made Paul go to Arabia at his conversion.
    2. If I was Paul and Aretas IV had just tried to kill me, I would go ANYWHERE but Arabia.
    3. When Paul went to Arabia, he would not go anywhere near Petra (Kadesh Barnea) because that is the royal city of Aretas IV who just tried to kill Paul.
    4. Paul was compelled to go to Mt. Sinai to fulfill the antitype of Moses as the lawgiver.
  1. Paul is the Antitype of Moses who visited Mt. Sinai immediately upon conversion:

25 Antitypes, similarities between Moses and Paul

 

Moses 1446 BC

Paul 36 AD

1. Chosen from birth for special purpose

Saved from Nile

"The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her." (Exodus 2:5)

From womb

"But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace" (Galatians 1:15)

2. Outsider "Trojan horse" brought into highest level of inner circle

Foreign Hebrew born in Goshen becomes Pharaoh's son in living in the palaces of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak and the three palaces excavated at Tel el-Dab'a.

"When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”" (Exodus 2:6)

Foreign Cilician born in Tarsus becomes Jerusalem Elite:

"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city [of Jerusalem]" (Acts 22:3)

3. Top education the world had to offer at the time

Wisdom of Egypt:

"The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”" (Exodus 2:10) "

“Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds." (Acts 7:22)

Wisdom of Moses:

"I was… educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today." (Acts 22:3)

"I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen." (Galatians 1:14)

"as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless." (Philippians 3:6)

4. Rejected earthly/fleshly position, riches and prestige for invisible Heavenly treasures by faith enduring the rather and persecution from his former life. Rejected earthly for heavenly

Riches of Egypt rubbish:

"Moses considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward." (Hebrews 11:26)

Riches of Jerusalem rubbish:

"I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ," (Philippians 3:4-8)

5. Faith took action before directed by God:

Defend against injustice

"Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren." (Exodus 2:11)

Defend against "false doctrine"

"The high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished." (Acts 22:5)

6. Murder involved in their conversions

Egyptian:

"So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand." (Exodus 2:12)

Stephen:

"When they had driven Stephen out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul." (Acts 7:58)

"Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest," (Acts 9:1)

7. Both were rejected as a deliverer by their brethren at first

"And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand." (Acts 7:25)

 

Fellow Jews rejected him in Damascus in 36 AD: "When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him, but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket." (Acts 9:23-25)

Christians rejected him in Jerusalem in 39/40 AD: "When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple." (Acts 9:26)

Fellow Jews in 39/40AD: "Jesus said to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’" (Acts 22:18)

8. Both were visited by God with a bright light in wilderness

Burning bush in wilderness

"As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;" (Acts 9:3)

9. Kings tried to kill them

"Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile" (Exodus 1:22)

"When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses." (Exodus 2:15)

"In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands." (2 Corinthians 11:32–33)

10. Both escaped death through a woven basket

"But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile." (Exodus 2:3)

"I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands." (2 Corinthians 11:32–33)

11. Both immediately fled to Mt. Sinai and received instruction

Moses fled to Sinai

"But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well." (Exodus 2:15)

"By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen." (Hebrews 11:27)

Paul fled to Sinai

"nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus." (Galatians 1:17)

12. Both asked the Unknown God to identify Himself as "I AM".

 "Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”" (Exodus 3:13–14)

“And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’" (Acts 22:8)

13. Returned to Egypt/Jerusalem only after king to who had tried to kill him was dead.

"Now the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.”" (Exodus 4:19)

(39-40 AD) Aretas IV died in 39/40 AD: "Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days." (Galatians 1:18)

14. Both received instructions on the law at Mt. Sinai

"This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living oracles to pass on to you." (Acts 7:38)

Learned the truth about Jesus the Nazarene, risen from the dead, Saviour. This is why Paul went to Sinai.

15. Fellow Hebrews rejected the message

"Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt," (Acts 7:39)

"And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”" (Acts 18:4–6)

16. Fellow Jews returned to slavery.

Egyptian slavery:

At Red Sea: "Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? “Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”" (Exodus 14:11–12)

Return of the Spies from Canaan:

"“Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”" (Numbers 14:3–4)

Mosaic Slavery:

"Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children." (Galatians 4:25)

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free [from law of Moses]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. [law of Moses]" (Galatians 5:1)

17. Both performed miracles

"Moses led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years." (Acts 7:36)

"God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out." (Acts 19:11–12)

18. Both speech problems

"Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”" (Exodus 4:10)

"For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.”" (2 Corinthians 10:10)

19. Both saw incredible visions and revelations that affected them physically

Face shone

1446 BC: "But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?" (2 Corinthians 3:7–8)

Thorn in flesh

In 40 AD: "was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. … Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!" (2 Corinthians 12:4–7)

20. Both repeatedly asked God for a request but were denied

To enter Canaan: 1406 BC

"‘Let me, I pray, cross over and see the fair land that is beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’ “But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me; and the Lord said to me, ‘Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter." (Deuteronomy 3:25-26)

Thorn in flesh: 40 AD

40 AD, when Paul visited Jerusalem when Aretas IV died: "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven, Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." (2 Corinthians 12:2,7–9)

21. Both were law givers

Moses wrote the ten commandments and book of the law.

Paul wrote 14 of the 27 new testament books of the law of Christ and is the primary theological of the church.

22. Veiled Mystery of Moses removed by Christ/Paul

"When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded, the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him." (Exodus 34:33–35)

"Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:12–18)

"For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel," (Ephesians 3:1–6)  

23. Stone vs. Spirit

Moses wrote on Stone

"But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was," (2 Corinthians 3:7)

 

Paul wrote on spiritual hearts

"You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." (2 Corinthians 3:2–3)

24. Became fearful during the mission and needed reassuring

Egypt

"“Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land.” But Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?” Then the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a charge to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt." (Exodus 6:11–13)

Immoral city Corinth

"And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”" (Acts 18:9–10)

25. Moses prophecies his replacement is Christ: Acts 3:22-23

"‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him." (Deuteronomy 18:18-19)

Although the prophecy is specifically fulfilled in Christ, it is echoed also in Paul as a secondary fulfillment, and then of course each Christian who ever lived that preaches Jesus as the Risen saviour!

 

V. Josephus never calls Sinai Peninsula Egypt and never once calls the Sinai Peninsula "Arabia".

  1. Josephus located Mt. Sinai in Saudi Arabia and Kadesh Barnea at Petra: "It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea." (Deuteronomy 1:2)
  2. Josephus specifically calls the Sinai Peninsula "Egypt":
    1. At the time of Joshua, Simeon and Judea were given their land inheritance.
    2. "The lot of Simeon bordered upon Egypt and Arabia." (Josephus, Antiquities 5.78)
    3. Arabia would be Transjordan where Aretas king of Arabia at Petra (Jos., Wars 1.124)
    4. The only place Egypt can border Simeon is the Sinai Peninsula, proving the entire Sinai was Egypt both at the time of the Exodus and in the first century AD when Josephus lived.
  3. Josephus did not consider the modern Sinai Peninsula to be Arabia:
    1. Josephus uses the word Arabia/Arabian 241 times and NEVER ONCE IN REFERENCE TO THE SINAI PENINSULA.
    2. It is clear that Josephus used the term Arabia exclusively as Transjordan, whose capital was located at Petra.
    3. Even though Aretas IV Philopatris (4BC-40 AD) controlled Damascus and a cluster of cities in the Judean Negev but never in the Sinai.
  1. In Josephus' mind, Aretas, was the KING OF ARABIA known as the Nabatean kingdom.

 

VI. Strabo locates Arabia in north Saudi Arabia and never the Sinai Peninsula:

  1. In the mind of Strabo, Josephus and Paul, Arabia was north Saudi Arabia and never the Sinai Peninsula. Notice Strabo locates Arabia SOUTH of the gulf of Aqaba.
  2. Strabo clearly differentiates between "Arabia proper" located in north Saudi Arabia east to Babylon and even differentiates Arabia with "Arabia Felix" (the southwestern coast of the Arabian Peninsula)
    1. Strabo (15 AD) is one of the few ancient cartographers who understood the gulf of Aqaba and gives us great insight into how Apostle Paul and Josephus viewed the Sinai Peninsula as NOT part of Arabia: "There is said to be a passage thence across, of 1260 stadia, to the city Aila (Aelana) [Elat], situated on the innermost recess of the Arabian Gulf [Red Sea]. This recess has two branches, one, in the direction of Arabia [south of Gulf of Aqaba] and Gaza [north of Gulf of Aqaba], is called Ailanites [Gulf of Aqaba], from the city upon it; the other is in the direction of Egypt [Gulf of Suez], towards Hereopolis, to which from Pelusium is the shortest road (between the two seas). (Strabo, Geogr. 16.2.30)
    2. Strabo defines Arabia proper as being Transjordan: "Above [ie to the east: East-up map] Judæa and Cœle-Syria, as far as Babylonia and the river tract, along the banks of the Euphrates towards the south, lies the whole of Arabia" (Strabo, Geography 16.3.1)
    3. Strabo says Arabia begins from Babylon and goes west through the Arabian desert. "ARABIA commences [begins] on the side of Babylonia with Mæcene. In front of this district, on one side lies the desert of the Arabians, on the other are the marshes opposite to the Chaldæans, formed by the overflowing of the Euphrates, and in another direction is the Sea of Persia." (Strabo, Geography 16.4.1)
    4. Strabo defines "Arabia" as being Transjordan in distinction to "Arabia Felix": "I return to the opinions of Eratosthenes, which he next delivers respecting Arabia. He is speaking of the northern and desert part, lying between Arabia Felix, Cœle-Syria, and Judæa, to the recess of the Arabian Gulf." (Strabo, Geography 16.4.2)
    5. Strabo defines Arabia proper as being Transjordan between the main southern section of the Red Sea south of the Straits of Tiran and the Persian gulf: "When we were describing Arabia, we included in the description the gulfs which compress and make it a peninsula, namely the Gulfs of Arabia [section below the tri-intersection of the Gulfs of Suez, Aqaba and Arabian] and of Persis [Persian gulf near Babylon]. (Strabo, Geography 17.1.1)

 

VII. Herodotus and "Arabia" in Egypt:

  1. Herodotus understood that Arabia proper, "the nation" was nowhere near Egypt or the Sinai Peninsula:
    1. "Again, Arabia is the most distant to the south of all inhabited countries: and this is the only country which produces frankincense and myrrh and casia and cinnamon and gum-mastich. All these except myrrh are difficult for the Arabians to get." (Herodotus, Hist. 3.107.1)
    2. "On this peninsula live thirty nations. This is the first peninsula. But the second, beginning with Persia, stretches to the Red Sea, and is Persian land; and next, the neighboring land of Assyria; and after Assyria, Arabia; this peninsula ends (not truly but only by common consent) at the Arabian Gulf, to which Darius brought a canal from the Nile." (Hdt., Hist. 4.38.2–39.1)
  2. Herodotus: 484 BC speaks of Arabian towns in the Nile Delta:
    1. The simple answer is that Pithom and Goshen were towns populated by Arabians. Many major cities in the USA have a "china town", but we all know where China IS NOT. These "word text-proofers" would not only tell us that Arabia is in Egypt but that China is in California. The problem is, that the "supposed prove" Araba begins just east of Goshen, actually proves that Goshen itself including the entire Nile Delta is Arabia. What proves too much proves nothing.
    2. Pithom is south-west of Tel El-Dab'a (Goshen) deep inside the Nile Delta of Egypt: "Arabian town of Patumus [Pithom, Tell el-Retaba]" (Herodotus, History 2.158.2) Is Arabia now inside the Nile Delta? Of course not. So context is everything.
    3. Buto is in the north-western Nile Delta near Rosetta: "Arabia not far from the town of Buto" (Herodotus, Histories 2.75.1) The Buto Herodotus is speaking of may be a different location altogether. Some place it near Tel El-Dab'a, which is easily explained as being near "Arabia-Town/China-Town".
    4. "Beyond [to the south] and above Heliopolis (5 km east of the great Pyramids of Giza), Egypt is a narrow land. For it is bounded on the one side by the mountains of Arabia, which run north to south, always running south towards the sea called the Red Sea. In these mountains are the quarries that were hewn out for making the pyramids at Memphis. This way, then, the mountains run, and end in the places of which I have spoken; their greatest width from east to west, as I learned by inquiry, is a two months’ journey, and their easternmost boundaries yield frankincense. [2] Such are these mountains. On the side of Libya, Egypt is bounded by another range of rocky mountains among which are the pyramids; these are all covered with sand, and run in the same direction as those Arabian hills that run southward. [3] Beyond Heliopolis, there is no great distance—in Egypt, that is: the narrow land has a length of only fourteen days’ journey up the river. Between the aforesaid mountain ranges, the land is level, and where the plain is narrowest it seemed to me that there were no more than thirty miles between the Arabian mountains and those that are called Libyan. Beyond this Egypt is a wide land again. (Herodotus, Hist. 2.8.1-3)
  1. Even if Herodotus: 484 BC did wrongly say that Goshen was Egypt, I have three different Herodotus maps in my possession and they all lack the Gulf of Aqaba. This simple observation explains why Herodotus in 450 BC, who was not a local like Josephus or Strabo, wrongly viewed Arabia east of the Gulf of Suez.
    1. Without the Gulf of Aqaba, Arabia begins in the Sinai Peninsula! But this explanation is not needed when you understand the context of what Herodotus is actually saying about these Arabian cities.
    2. Here is a catalogue of over 50 historic exodus route maps.
  1. Some type in the word "Arabia" in ancient sources or rely upon secondary sources to find places Arabia seems to start east of the Suez Canal/Gulf of Suez. This kind of sloppy "word text-proofing" usually missed the context.
    1. Gordon Franz for example said, "Herodotus’ description would therefore include all of the Sinai Peninsula in Arabia of his day." (Where is Mount Sinai in Arabia: Galatians 4:25, Bible and Spade, 2013 AD)
    2. This is sloppy and misleading. In fact, Herodotus’ description of Arabia, if taken equally shallow and superficially, would also include all of the Nile Delta, the mountain range 15 miles to the east off the Great pyramids that flanks the west side of the Arabian Gulf (Red Sea including Gulf of Suez) AND the Sinai Peninsula in Arabia of his day."
  1. What proves too much proves nothing and citing Herodotus as proof Mt. Sinai CANNOT be located in Saudi Arabia is delusional and misleading. Herodotus should never enter the discussion ring but these kind of fluff issues are the best Franz has in his mission to keep Mt. Sinai out of Saudi Arabia.
    1. Herodotus knew full well that Arabia proper was nowhere near Egypt.  His comments that lead some to put "Arabia in Egypt" are rather simple to explain:
    2. "Arabian cities" in the Nile Delta are merely Arab immigrants who formed a majority population in a city inside Egypt. There is a "China Town" in ever major city, but we all know where China is not.
    3. The references to the "Arabian Sea" and the "Arabian Mountains" does not mean Arabia inside Egypt, west of the Red Sea or even close by. These references simply mean the Egyptian mountain range flanged entire length the Arabian Sea which separated Egypt from the territory of Arabia proper.
    4. With all this keep in mind that Herodotus relied upon second hand reports and clearly had no idea of the Gulf of Aqaba.
    5. And who cares if "Goshen is in Arabia", after all, doesn't EVERYONE agree that Saudi Arabia is in Arabia without the use of dubious "word text-proofing" that usually misses the context. A bit of original research can go a long way. Truth and honesty go even further.

 

VIII. Herodotus and "Arabia" in Saudi Arabia not the Sinai Peninsula:

  1. Agatharchides: 169 BC is unique in that he is one of the few geographers of his day that understood the Gulf of Aqaba calling it the "Laeanites Gulf".
  2. He restricts "Arabia" to south and east of the Gulf of Aqaba. Agatharchides did not sail down the Laeanites Gulf, but says the Arabs live on the east/south shore of the Gulf of Aqaba and that at the end of the Gulf, is Petra!
  3. No Arabians lived in the Sinai Penisula. As he sails down the Red Sea towards the Indian Ocean, he describes all the various tribes of Arabians. No Arabians lived in the modern Sinai Peninsula.
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Conclusion:

  1. In the first century AD, Arabia was the Nabatean kingdom whose capital city was at Petra, the same location as ancient Kadesh Barnea.
  2. The Nabatean's never controlled the Sinai Peninsula, even they did for a brief time, occupy several cities south of Beersheba in Judea until 40-70 AD
  3. Apostle Paul echoes 24 antitypical Shadows with Moses including the fact both went to Mt. Sinai as Lawgivers of a New Covenant.

 

 

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By Steve Rudd: 2005 - October 2016: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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