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It’s 1:30 a.m., February 12, 1991. Twenty-five thousand feet below the A 10 Warthog lies the Iraqi desert, chilled to a temperature of 25° F. The A10 rolls out from its lofty perch, silently dropping to an attack altitude of less than 250 feet off the desert floor. The pilot flicks on the infrared gun site and arms the awesome 30mm gauttling gun. He mutters to himself, “Yep, there they are, lined up like a shopping mall parking lot.”
Six months prior to this encounter, Saddam Hussein parks 1,500 heavy tanks on the border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Hussein has crushed the tiny oil-producing country of Kuwait and now appears ready to invade the oil-producing giant with which it shares a common border.
Alarmed by ominous signs of another invasion by the Iraqi strongman, the United States responds by deploying its elite 32nd Airborne Division to Saudi Arabia. Saddam Hussein continues to threaten the Allies with “the mother of all wars” as he steadfastly builds and reinforces his huge military machine along the Saudi border.
By mid October it is discovered that Iraq has been burying these heavy tanks in the sand, leaving only the gun turrets sticking out. It is Saddam’s intention to use these tanks, spread out along the Saudi border, as a line of artillery. By camouflaging the guns and turrets sticking above the ground, Iraq effectively made these units invisible from the air and any ground surveillance units.
November 1990, America shifts its Keyhole-satellite into position over the Iraqi desert. The 55-feet-long, 12-ton spy satellite takes pictures of the cold desert floor during the twilight hours. “Big Bird,” as the ground crews call it, has infrared scanners capable of detecting a temperature difference of only 1/2 degree from its lofty perch of 155 miles.
Originally designed to detect underground missile silos (a silo’s temperature is slightly warmer than the surrounding earth), it was placed into position to take pictures of the buried tanks. The tanks would heat up during the hot daylight hours and continue to hold heat long after the rest of the desert cooled during the night. The buried tanks showed up on the satellite photo like neon signs. The exact location of each tank was then plotted on a target map and given to American and British pilots who systematically eliminated them.
However, Big Bird photographed more than buried tanks. To everyone’s amazement, a thin red line (heated areas show up as red on infrared photos) coming from the ancient site of Ramesses in the Land of Goshen (Egypt), ran eastward, skirting the east side of the Red Sea. “So God led the people around the desert road toward the Red Sea” (Exodus 13:18).
The line went first to Succoth, lying just northeast of Ramesses. It was here the children of Israel, as they left Egypt, first stopped and collected the bones of Joseph (Exodus 13:19, 20). The line then extended onward to Etham, and then over the high plateau of the Sinai Peninsula, finally dropping down onto what is today called The Gulf of Aquaba, the easternmost finger of the Red Sea.
One need only look at map of this area to realize that the children of Israel were now trapped. In front of them was the Red Sea Coming from behind them to the northwest was Pharaoh’s army. They had been led by God Himself into what appeared to be a trap.
But, the thin red line emerged from the east side of the Red Sea and continued onward, eventually ending up in present day Saudi Arabia at the foot of a 3,465 foot mountain known as “Jabal al Lawz” (Mountain of God)—the real Mount Sinai!
The satellite photo team stared incredulously at the photo! A red line, as if drawn by God’s own finger, traced the exact route of the exodus. When the Gulf war finally ended, archaeologists went back into the region to discover how it was possible for a 3,500-year-old trail to exist well enough to show up on satellite photos.
They found that a million plus people, with all their livestock, pulverized the desert sand into a fine, flour-like powder. During the desert nights, the humidity rises to levels of near 100%, thus wetting the powdery sand, making a concrete-like substance.
Through the years, this highway was buried by shifting sands, protecting the trail from the elements. During the day it would heat up like the tanks, and being more dense than the surrounding sand, continue holding the heat longer into the cold nights! A coincidence? Not even!
Remember what God told Moses to say to Pharaoh 3,500 years ago, “But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be
declared in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16 NKJ). Don Kopp