Virtual Holy Land Gallery - Egypt
Modern day Cairo is a relatively young city when compared with its ancient forefathers. Its name means "The Vanquisher" or "The Triumphant". The original city was situated about 25 km south of today's downtown Cairo. About 16 million people live in Cairo today and it is the 16th most populated city in the world. The city was founded in AD 969 as the royal enclosure for the Fatimid, while the economic and administrative capi tal was in nearby Fustat, which was destroyed in 1168/1169, to prevent its capture by the Crusaders. The administrative capital of Egypt moved to Cairo, where it has remained ever since. When we speak of Egypt we think of the Pyramids or perhaps the Great Sphinx of Giza, both dating back 4500 years BC. The word sphinx, means 'strangler', it was first given by the Greeks to a creature which had the head of a woman, the body of a lion and the wings of a bird. The largest and most famous is the Great Sphinx of Giza. The Arabic name of the Great Sphinx, Abu al-Hôl, means "Father of Terror".
The Great Sphinx is to the northeast of Khafre’s Valley Temple. It sits in a quarry believed to be where Khafre's workers shaped the stone into the lion and gave it their king's face. Khafre's name was also mentioned on the Dream Stele, which sits between its paws. The sphinx of Egypt are mythical creatures, seen as guardians in the Egyptian statuary. Sphinx are depicted in one of three forms: Androsphinx - body of lion with head of person; Criosphinx - body of lion with head of ram; Hierocosphinx - body of lion with head of falcon or hawk. The ancient Egyptians also built pyramids as tombs for the pharaohs and their queens. The pharaohs were buried in pyramids of many different shapes and sizes from before the beginning of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Middle Kingdom. There are about eighty pyramids known today in Egypt. The three largest and best-preserved were built at Giza known as the 'Great Pyramid'.
The Old Testament tells us the story of Moses and Egypt, of light and darkness, good and evil. There are eight words that aptly describe this multicolored narrative of Exodus: bondage, Moses, plagues, Passover, exodus, commandments, idolatry and tabernacle. After Moses killed the Egyptian he fled to Sinai where God begins his training. It was in the desert that he met the leader of a nomadic tribe, a man named Jethro. Moses who was raised in the splendor of the Egyptian palace was now a nomad himself. He married Jethro’s daughter and he became an apt shepherd. See the grandeur of Egypt depicted on the Egyptian freeze and coin.
The traditional Mount Sinai, located in the Sinai Peninsula, is actually the name of a collection of peaks, sometimes referred to as the Holy Mountains. The mountain was called Sinai or "the mount of God" possibly before the time of Moses, according to Josephus. On its southern end is Mount Mousa, sometimes referred to as Jebel Musa, Gebel Mousa, Mount Moses or the Mountain of Moses. This peak is traditionally considered to be biblical place where Moses communicated with God and later received the Ten Commandments. The Sinai Peninsula is an area shaped like an inverted triangle in north-eastern Egypt. It is largely bounded by the Mediterranean Sea (to the North) the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Suez to the West, and the Gulf of Aquaba to the East. We read of the Children of Israel’s bondage (Ex. 1:8-22), and Moses early years (Ex. 2:1 – 7:13). Further, the power of God is shown in plagues: Nile turned to blood (Ex. 7:14-25), frogs (Ex. 8:1-150, lice (Ex. 8:16-19), flies (Ex. 8:20-32), livestock pestilence (Ex. 9:1-7), boils (Ex. 9:8-12), hail (Ex. 9:13-25), locusts (Ex. 10:21-29), darkness (Ex. 10:21-29 and death of the first born (Ex. 11:1-10; 12: 29-36).
Upon leaving Egypt the Children of Israel crossed through the Red Sea which had been parted by the power of God to escape the approaching Egyptian army that was in hot pursuit. This is where they entered the wilderness which waylaid them for 40 years because of there groaning and complaining. The starkness of the wilderness is surreal; it depicts the harshness the wilderness. The Monastery of Transfiguration is also called St. Catherine's Monastery after the early Christian martyr, St. Catherine. Born as Dorothea of Alexandria in 294 AD, she was later tortured and beheaded by the Roman emperor Maximus for incessantly criticizing him for his worship of pagan idols. Legend says Catherine's body miraculously vanished and was transported by a band of angels to the top of Jebel Katerina, the highest peak in the Sinai Peninsula. Three centuries later, monks found her supposedly uncorrupt body and brought it down to the Monastery of the Transfiguration, where some of her relics and certainly her name remain to this day. The monastery houses some 750,000 handwritten books. What is so amazing is the monastery resides in the wilderness, it’s a wonder that the monks have survived to this day.
Forty years is a long time to be living in such a barren place, their journey should have only taken about four weeks. It took forty years for all of the complainers to die so that God could take a new generation into the Promised Land. Even Moses was refused entry into the land of milk and honey because of his disobedience. However God allowed him to view the land from afar from Mount Nebo in present day Jordon where he died and was buried by God. We read about Egypt again in the New Testament when Jesus fled there with his parents as a young child.