The Pyramids, Sphinx, King Tut, and Akhenaten

I woke up early again on Wednesday and had an excellent quiet time. I had trouble sleeping during the week, and this particular night was the worst. I'm sure that anticipation over the pyramids had much to do with it as well as the anxiety, fear, and apprehension I had been experiencing. I took special time to meditate on Psalm 45:

Psalm 45

Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me
and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy,
at the stares of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering upon me
and revile me in their anger.
My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death assail me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me . . .
for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
malice and abuse are within it.
Destructive forces are at work in the city;
threats and lies never leave its streets . . .
But I call to God, and the LORD saves me.
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice. . .
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.
But you, O God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of corruption;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
will not live out half their days.
But as for me, I trust in you.

I met Ibrahim at an Egyptian subway station nearby and he was exactly how my cousin had described him. Ibrahim was very friendly and had an excellent personality. He had arranged for us to have a car for the day so we wouldn't need to worry about getting around. One of the first things Ibrahim did was to ask me in what order I wanted to see the sites. He suggested going to the Egyptian Museum first, which was the normal progression of tours. However, I felt the Pyramids was the BIG ENCHILLADA and I wanted badly to see the good stuff first. I was also concerned about the heat. My reasoning was simple, why fry? So, we headed off to the Pyramids and spent several hours there touring the Pyramids, the Solar Boat, and the Sphinx. They were incredible.

E-mail excerpt -
. . .My health was a little bad earlier in the week, but I am doing super now. Today, I felt GREAT!!! I spent the morning climbing around inside the Great Pyramid at Giza. What a priceless morning. I then went off for camel rides around the Pyramids, hangin' with the Sphinx, and toured the Egyptian Museum. . .The tour guide I had today, who is a very good friend of my relatives here, said that in his many years of guiding tours, he has NEVER seen a cooler, and more clear day than today. . . and the tour sites were abandoned!! The guide was baffled. . . he said that normally, there are such incredible crowds that you can barely enjoy the monuments, oppressive heat that is stifling, and sand gusts that make the monuments hazy and hard to see at any reasonable distance - but today was a truly odd day. . .I know you probably won't believe this, but my guide actually said to me, "you must be a righteous man of God to have such incredible circumstances. . . you are blessed. . . a "Holy Man". Righteous?. . . no. However, I know that I have an army of people praying for me back home and God answers prayers. . .Please keep me in mind, as the greatest dangers still lie ahead.

Mysterious Pyramid Facts

  • The Great Pyramid is the oldest and only surviving of the Seven Wonders.of the Ancient World
  • The Great Pyramid is built very coincidently right on top of a solid granite mountain. The Giza Plateau has a fairly level granite bedrock base, in essence, a flat topped mountain. Other regions near the Great Pyramid could not have supported the immense weight of the structure.
  • The Great Pyramid is the most accurately magnetically-aligned structure ever built and faces true north with only 3/60th of a degree of error. The position of the North Pole moves over time and the pyramid was probably exactly aligned at one time.
  • The Great Pyramid is located at the exact center of the landmass of the earth. The east/west parallel that crosses the most land and the north/south meridian that crosses the most land intersect in two places on the earth, one in the ocean and the other at the Great Pyramid. With the mantle in place, the Great Pyramid could be seen from the mountains in Israel and probably the moon as well. Its polished surfaces would have reflected light like a beacon.
  • The length of a base side is 9131 pyramid inches measured at the mean socket level, or 365.24 pyramid cubits, which is the number of days in a year. The perimeter of the base divided by 100 = 365.24, the number of days in a year. The length of the Antechamber used as the diameter of a circle produces a circumference of 365.24. The length of the granite portion of the floor of the antechamber to the King's Chamber times 2*sqrt(Pi) = 365.242. The ratio of the lengths of the Grand Gallery to the solid diagonal of the King's Chamber times 100 equals the number of days in a tropical year, 365.242.
  • The outer mantle was composed of 144,000 casing stones, all highly polished and flat to an accuracy of 1/100th of an inch, about 100 inches thick and weighing about 15 tons each with nearly perfect right angles for all six sides. The casing stones weighing as much as 20 tons were placed with an accuracy of 5/1000ths of an inch, and an intentional gap of about 2/100ths of an inch for mortar. The mortar used is of an unknown origin. It has been analyzed and its chemical composition is known but it can't be reproduced. It is stronger than the stone and still holding up today. The cornerstone foundations of the pyramid have ball and socket construction capable of dealing with heat expansion and earthquakes.
  • The pyramid inch times 100,000,000 equals the speed of the earth around the sun, circa 2600 B.C. The weight of the pyramid is estimated at 5,955,000 tons; this number multiplied by 100,000,000 gives a reasonable estimate of the earth's mass. The product of the pyramid's volume and density times 1,000,000,000,000,000 equals the ratio of volume to density of the earth. The average height of land above sea level for the earth is 5449 inches. This is also the exact height of the pyramid.
  • On the evening of the summer solstice, the sun sets in the exact center of the two largest Giza pyramids. During the winter solstace, the sun precisely traces the head of the Sphinx when viewed from the entrance to the Great Pyramid. Due to the angle of the sides of the pyramid vs. it's latitude, it casts no shadow at noon during the spring equinox.
  • If you take the perimeter of the pyramid, and divide it by two times the height, you get a number that is exactly equivalent to the number pi (3.14159...) up to the fifteenth digit.
  • The first four digits of DF (286.1022) add up to 17, the number of steps up to the entrance of the pyramid are 17 steps. The sum of the digits from 1 to 17 = 153, a number which appears multiple times in the pyramid. Jesus's public ministry lasted 918 days (153 * 6). The number of fish caught by Jesus's disciples was 153 {John 21}. The Grand Gallery is 153 feet long. If the 17 steps up to the entrance were continued to the peak there would be 153 steps. The center seam of the floor in the King's Chamber corresponds to March 4-5, 1945. The bombing of Hiroshima occurred 153 days later.
  • There are 5 sides to a pyramid and 5 corners. There are 5x5 pyramid inches in a Sacred Cubit. The floor of the Queen's Chamber is on the 25th (5x5) course of blocks. The floor of the King's Chamber is 5x5 courses higher than the Queen's Chamber. The niche in the wall of the Queen's Chamber is 5x3 ft. high, it is corbelled with 5 stories, the top is 5x5 inches across, and the inner edge is 5x5 inches from the perpendicular center of the wall containing the niche. The King's Chamber has 5 courses of stone in each of it's 4 walls, and a total of 5x5x4 total stones in it's walls. The King's Chamber has 5 chambers above it. The coffer in the King's Chamber has 5 solid sides. The King's Chamber is 5x10 times the volume of the coffer. 5 cubic pyramid inches of earth of average density has the same mass as 1/(50x50) of the coffer's volume of water at a temperature that is 1/5th the difference between freezing and boiling. The coffer's interior volume is 50*50*50 cubic pyramid inches times 5.7, divided by 10. (5.7 is mean earth density)
  • The number 7 figures prominently in the Book of Revelation. The height of the Grand Gallery is 7 times the average height of the other passages. The Grand Gallery has 7 overlapping courses forming its sides. The Jubilee passage is 1/7th the length of the horizontal passage to the Queen's Chamber. The Queen's Chamber is a 7-sided room (gable roof is 2 sides). The volume of the peaked area of the Queen's Chamber above the walls is 1/7th the volume of the rest of the chamber from the floor to a level equal to the ceiling of the passageway which enters the chamber.
  • The 344 ft. length of the Descending Passage provides an angle of view of only +/- 1/3 of a degree. Alpha Draconis has not been in alignment for thousands of years. The next alignment will be with the North Star, Polaris, in about 2004 A.D. Polaris in Greek means "Satan".
  • References:
  • A great site dedicated to the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

Journal Excerpt - "The Pyramids"
Approaching these Titans is quite a humbling experience. Towering high and far above, when the Pyramids get big, everything else gets very small. Rooted in sand not one hundred yards from here, I see now why some have said, "the Pyramids were constructed by aliens." It all seems very logical now. Reasonable is the question, "What on earth could possibly create something this grand?"; The answer, "nothing" sensible as well. All of the quotes, all of the history, everything I have written and heard about the Pyramids in my 29 years have become rational in the span of 45 seconds. My propensity to question is only outpaced by my desire to stand here like a moron with my jaw open. I can see now the wonder that these objects provoke. Standing here, something about the Pyramids just doesn't make sense. The indicative word is, "why?" My responsive word is, "huh?" In other words, I ask myself the question, "what about this picture doesn't fit" The answer is clearly, "The Pyramids." There is nothing here. There is sand and there is desolation and then there are 2.3 million blocks of perfectly stacked, giant stones weighing a combined 12,000,000,000 pounds, perfectly aligned to the compass after 5,000 years. Why? What am I missing?

Aproaching the Giza plateau

Giant stones, giant camels

The Great Pyramid

climbing up the triangle

a true rarity - a crystal clear day

The Pyramid of Khafre

poetic beauty and grace. . .

poetic size and grandeur

Famous Pyramids quotes:

"Man fears Time, Time fears the Pyramids"
- Ancient Arab proverb

"We also mention the Pyramids. . . that idle and foolish exhibition of royal wealth. For the cause of most assigned for their construction is an intention on the part of those kings to exhaust their treasures, rather than leave them to successors or plotting rivals, or to keep the people from their idleness." - Pliny the Elder, circa 50 AD

"Soldiers, 40 centuries of history look down upon you from these Pyramids" - Napoleon, readying his troops for battle at Giza, July 21, 1798

"The Pyramids were a quarter of a mile away, impressive by sheer bulk and reputation; it felt odd to be living at such close quarters with anything quite so famous - it was like having the Prince of Wales at the next table in a restaurant; one kept pretending not to notice, while all the time glancing furtively to see if they were still there." - Evelyn Waugh, 1929

"The Pyramids look as if they would wear out the air, boring holes in it all day long." - Florence Nightingale, 1840s

"Back to the tent, skirting the base of the Pyramid at Khephren, which seems to me inordinately huge and completely sheer; it's like a cliff, like a thing of nature, a mountain - as though it had been created just as it is, and with something terrible about it as if it were going to crush you." - Gustave Flaubert, 1849

and my personal favorite,

"Very big, very old." - camel owner, 1999

(most quotes taken from Lonely Planet , 5th edition - 2001)

Ibrahim asked me if I wanted to go inside and said he would wait for me if I wanted to go in. I almost didn't go inside, because I had read that there wasn't much to see inside and it cost nearly 10 dollars to enter. However, I figured that I might as well pay the money if for no other reason than to be able to say that I had done it. So, I went in. It turned out to be the highlight of the day. At first, I was concerned since the passages were small and I am a bit claustrophobic. However, after the initial squeeze or two, I was infused with this incredible thought, "THIS IS AWESOME, I'M INDIANA JONES!!!!!!" Of course, what is written about the Great Pyramid is essentially true. There is almost nothing of value to see inside. Still, it's an incredibly neat experience. If you ever go to Cairo, make sure you don't miss the opportunity to go inside the Great Pyramid.

After my experience inside the Great Pyramid, I was driven around its massive base and visited the incredible Solar Boat. The Solar Boat was the mythological vehicle, which would transport the Pharaoh/God to the heavens after his death. A complete ship was built and then dismantled and stored carefully outside the pyramid. The ancients believed that the Gods would resurrect the fallen king and help him rebuild the ship, which would transport him up to the sun where he would join with the other Gods on their daily races across the skies. The remarkable wooden boat was preserved in the hot, Egyptian sand and evokes a power and majesty suitable for such a function.

The Pyramid of Khafre was closed when I was there, as the rotating schedule stipulates. The Pyramids are constantly being restored and are shut down continually such that only two pyramids at a time are ever open to the public. I was very impressed by this pyramid and its limestone cap evoked an incredible power that is lost in the Great Pyramid. Although the Pyramid of Khafre often appears larger than the "Great" Pyramid, it is important to note that it is not. The Great Pyramid is much larger. However, Khafre is built strategically on higher ground, which makes it appear larger to the eye from many perspectives.

There is a panorama at the end of the Giza complex that attracts a lot of attention. It's an overlook of the entire area. From this vantage point, one can take excellent photos (when it's clear) and there are plenty of vendors willing to see trinkets and an occasional camel ride. Not wanting to miss out on such an experience, I sprung for a walk-around; a shaky decision at best. Not only did I nearly fall off and break my neck when the beast stood up, but I wondered if I would ever again feel clean and further worried that I had discovered the source of several Mid-eastern plague bacteria. With all of the said, it was a neat experience. Seldom does one get the opportunity to do such a thing as grand as ride a camel by the pyramids.

ancient leggos

My dollar bill has an eye on it

seated like a king - Sheak Highrock?

angry camels

I had earlier gone in the smallest of the three pyramids and enjoyed once again, the "Indiana Jones" effect of hands-on archaeology. However, as art often imitates life, the sequel was no match for the original and it had little effect on me beyond reinforcement. The Sphinx was another matter. Not far from the base of Khafre and close to each of the pyramid complexes peacefully lies perhaps the most recognizable and certainly one of the largest faces on the planet. It took me by surprise when I first saw it. Cascading down a parallel access road, we were driving along, and suddenly . . .it was just there. Perhaps it was the contrast with the pyramids, which drew my amazement. Yet, it wouldn't seem something as large as the Sphinx could "hide" anywhere. I didn't see it and then it was there.

My friend Ibrahim claimed kinship with this wily edifice. An ancient coat of arms of his family displays a representation of the Sphinx. Because of this fact, Ibrahim believes that either one of his early relatives helped build the Sphinx, or one of them was a model for the face of the Sphinx. Of course, we will never know. Personally, I find the traditional mystery to be more engaging. Riddle me this, what came from a far away land, experienced gastro-intestinal nausea from Egyptian drinking water, was sunburned in the Libyan desert, and fought off camel spate while avoiding Bin Laden groupies? The answer is clear if you think about it.

So, why is the Sphinx the ultimate of creatures? That is no riddle. The Sphinx has the body of a lion and the head of a man. On the continent of Africa, there is no creature as strong as a lion. On the planet of earth, there is no being wiser than a man. Therefore, this combination of man and beast is more perfect than peanut butter and chocolate, cookies and cream, or raw fish and cooked rice.

need some nose? I've got some extra!

the intimidating glare of the man-beast

the stare of centuries

exploring the ancients

The real mystery is what the Sphinx is doing there. Many have speculated that it is guarding something, while others have come up with their own ideas. Regardless of what the answer is, I felt privileged to see what was left of it. Standing in its presence, I certainly felt a special emotion. Not one of apprehension, and certainly not one of fear, but more so one of animation. The amazing Sphinx stood beside me gazing outward as it has for centuries and I returned the favor and marveled at its ongoing beauty and subsistence.

From Giza, Ibrahim and I traveled to a nearby restaurant where I bought him lunch (that was part of the deal.) I enjoyed a traditional Islamic meal, which always starts with a variety of small appetizers, which consist mainly of small vegetables, meatballs, and sauces, which are usually dips for fresh, baked bread from a stone-hearth, open-air oven. The main course was a shish kabob barbeque chicken cooked over an open fire. However, the highlight of the meal was not the food, but the conversation. I really bonded with Ibrahim during the meal and we became great friends. I found that we were really not that different in many respects. We both had similar goals and desires.

Ibrahim was a Christian, in an overwhelmingly Muslim nation. His parents both died of cancer when he was young, and he has been persecuted severely for his faith in God. Even today, he cannot get a job, because of his Christian faith. I also found that Ibrahim's life was miraculously spared by God. On November 17, 1997, he was scheduled to be one of the tour guides for a group touring in Luxor. The normal tour agenda includes trips to Luxor, Karnak, the Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut's temple, etc. Fortunately for Ibrahim, he ended up being diverted and did not take the tour that day. It was on that day, at the temple of Hatshepsut that a band of six Islamic extremists, possibly funded by Osama Bin Laden broke through the simplistic and insufficient security and gunned down everyone in sight. In a matter of minutes, sixty-eight people had been murdered and lay cut to pieces in pools of blood. The "Luxor Massacre" as it has come to be known claimed mostly Swiss tourists. The slayings included four couples on their honeymoon, a young mother and her baby, and a little Japanese girl who was so terrified that she stood wide-eyed in clear view with her arms stretched out to the side as the terrorists went on their rampage. When the terrorists got to her they shot her in the head at point blank range. The killings were perpetrated in the name of Islam and were part of a series of terrorist attacks to ravage Egypt in recent years. Luckily, Ibrahim was not among these victims as God spared his life on that day.

Ibrahim was one of the warmest, funniest, and most sincerely joyful people that I met while in Egypt. We became great friends in a very short period of time. At one point, I asked Ibrahim what he wanted for his life. He listed many simple things. Oddly enough, they were all things that I already enjoyed and took for granted on a regular basis. Talking to Ibrahim, I determined that there was only one major goal that he said he wanted; that I too wanted. Ibrahim said, that he wanted to meet a wonderful woman and get married . . . and I too. The conversation was both humbling and well as enlightening. At 29 years of age (I being nearly 29) we had almost everything in common. In fact, in a way, I saw myself in another land.

Our final stop of the day was the famous Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Here lies the greatest wealth of Egypt in a single locale. Scores and scores of figures, statues, mummies, utensils, masks, etc. from all over Egypt have been preserved and displayed in the museum. Ibrahim's tour was thorough and informative. Of all the rooms, I saw in the temple, by far the room that was to me most inspiring was the Amarna Room (Room #3). The Amarna Room contained the great treasures of the Amarna period, which was defined by the heretical king Akhenaten. Puzzled by the riddle of Akhenaten, I was fascinated by the riches contained throughout his area. The colossi of Akhenaten was by far the most obvious and dazzling art form, but I was more amazed and taken by the bust of Nefertiti. The craftsmanship of the image was exceptional, as I had read it would be. There was more pieces and history dedicated to Akhenaten in that one room than anywhere else I had ever been. My interest in him was spurred onward by this encounter.

The other notable elements in the Cairo museum were that of the riches of King Tut. The son and successor to Akhenaten, Tutankhamun's treasures evoke both the power and majesty of ancient Egypt. I had not had much of an emotional attraction to Tut before, but it was hard not to become entranced when gazing into the eyes of the boy pharaoh (or as the more rustic dragomen bitterly tagged him; "the Lucky-Boy Pharaoh"). Tut's death mask had traveled the world with great fanfare and I found myself nearly alone with the mask in its dark chamber with all lights focused on its gold exterior. Standing before it, gazing intently through a thin glass barrier, one was a mere few inches from its face. The throbbing power emanating from its glare was pretty intense and inspired a certain awe that I will remember. The Egyptian Museum definitely has a flair for the dramatic.

In the evening hours, I proved that there is some mainstay of capitalism left in the world as I was able to go out to dinner with Don and some of his friends to an Applebee's on the Nile. Although I craved a steak fajita, I stuck to chicken. . . it seemed to be the only safe food for me during my stay.


You may download my Egypt 2001 screensavers at Webshots

Traveling to Luxor
Luxor and Karnak Temples
West Bank of ancient Thebes
Final day in Luxor
First 2 days in Cairo
The Pyramids, Sphinx, and King Tut
Touring Islamic and Coptic Cairo

On to Israel!!!!!


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