CMI’s Egypt Tours 2022
A report on what many called ‘The trip of a lifetime’
In 2019 the idea to bring some of Creation Ministries International (CMI)’s ever-burgeoning research and perspectives about the history of ancient Egypt to life via a tour of Egypt, was born. I had the idea that maybe a handful of CMI supporters with an interest in this subject, might like to have guided tours of the sites accompanied by credentialed CMI staff members.
We set about building an itinerary, then a website, and sent out one email to our mailing list in 2019 in the hope we might get 20 or 30 people interested. Amazingly, within seven days, the tour was completely sold out (110 people). So, our local tour company in Egypt suggested advertising a second tour. They said, “You’re here anyway, so why not add another?” But this sold out quickly as well, which led to a third tour being added. They were due to commence in August 2020. Then something called ‘Covid’ interrupted our plans.
Eventually in August 2022, with travel opening up around the world again, the first of three ten-day tours began. They were called The Khufu, Rameses, and Seti tours, respectively. Starting in Cairo we visited the great pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure on the Giza plateau, with many of our guests opting for camel rides, which takes them past all three pyramids. One cannot get more Egyptian than riding a camel in front of one of the only remaining seven wonders of the ancient world! This area included the Valley Temple and great sphinx, that has between its paws ‘the Dream Stele’ of Thutmoses IV. We told guests to pay particular attention to it, as it would later feature in presentations regarding the identity of the pharaoh of the Exodus.
While in Cairo, we also visited Sakkara, where the first true pyramid was ever built, known as the Stepped Pyramid of Djoser, designed by architect, physician, priest, and general polymath, Imhotep of the 3rd dynasty (and no, he is not biblical Joseph!) It is now estimated that Sakkara has over 4,000 underground tombs and is arguably the most important archaeological site in all of Egypt. While there, we also went inside the pyramid of the 6th dynasty pharaoh, Unas. The walls in his burial chamber were panelled in solid alabaster. The hieroglyphics looked so precision-cut, one would think they had been carved by lasers. And they were painted in well-known ‘Egyptian blue’. One of our CMI guides for the tour, Gavin Cox, obtained his Master’s degree in Egyptology on these specific tomb texts, their significance being that it was the first time a pharaoh had his journey and trials to the blessed afterlife recorded in his tomb. It was to become standard practice after him.
The Valley of the Kings and more
After this we flew to Luxor (ancient Thebes) where we would see incredible temples and have the opportunity to enter tombs in the famous Valley of the Kings, including Tutankhamun’s. We gazed upon the mummy of this minor boy king, who has arguably become the most famous name associated with ancient Egypt, due to the incredible treasures that were recovered from his tomb. Yet his tomb was the smallest we visited. Some others were cut over 200 metres (650 feet) into the side of the valley and were sealed over. One cannot comprehend the wealth that some of these ancient kings were buried with if King Tut’s tomb discovery was anything to go by. But the artwork alone in these tombs was simply stunning and so well preserved considering it was all c. 3,500 years old.
One of the most relaxing and insightful parts of the trip was the Nile cruise portion. This ancient river has, for thousands of years, helped feed millions of people past and present. I suggested to many guests that they should imagine how this ancient highway was also used by the ancient Egyptians to transport the massive blocks and obelisks that we were visiting at the various sites and temples. Some of these blocks weighed hundreds of tons. As we slowly made our way upstream, it seemed like life had not changed in thousands of years either, as we saw very basic farming and irrigation practices still employed. We also cruised past ancient sandstone quarries that were used to harvest some of the aforementioned blocks.
But, in my opinion, one of the greatest ancient monuments in the world is the temple of Rameses II at Abu Simbel. This was around a four hour drive from Aswan (the last destination of our cruise) that also provided the great experience of driving across the Sahara and seeing and recognizing so many natural features that the Egyptians styled their monuments on, including the pyramids themselves. The ancients believed that an original pyramidion (the very top of the pyramid) shaped stone, called a benben (bn-bn) arose out of the creation floodwaters or Nu (possibly a reference to Noah being the god of these floodwaters). In their mythology, their creator god Atum (possibly linguistically linked to Adam) settled upon this rock and started his family. This pyramid/benben shape is also prominent in many mounds found naturally around the landscape. They are often rocky and are possibly remnants from a time only a few thousand years ago when the environment of Egypt was much wetter and erosion occurred much faster. Of course, they have subsequently been carved by the winds and sands that ravage the deserts. Many think, like me, that they are the most likely source the for the inspiration of the benben myth and the pyramids themselves. There are also other very valid ideas to also consider. Most of the monuments that the ancient Egyptians built are representations of the natural world (as are most of their gods), so this would make sense.
This was the first event in CMI’s history where we had supporters from all of our seven offices worldwide, and others, in attendance. In all, ten countries were represented. It is genuinely hard to convey just how much our supporters seemed to appreciate this trip. It was not just great fun where we all learned so much, but many commented that it was a spiritual experience for them also. Here are some comments that we received at the end of the tours:
This trip was a life changing experience for me. It was a combination of many things, some personal. What I do know is that the “before Egypt trip me” is not the same as the “after Egypt trip me”. I felt like I lived, grew (socially, spiritually, physically, mentally) and experienced more in those 10 days than the past 5 years. I want to thank CMI for allowing us to experience this amazing journey with amazing people.
Thank you so much for arranging the trip of a lifetime. This has been so interesting with so many ‘wow’ moments. I don’t know how you kept the price so affordable—thank you! Plus the opportunity to travel with such lovely like-minded people from all over the world. Thank you for your openness to chatting and thank you for the thought and hours that went into this trip.
Thank you for all the attention to detail and the sheer comprehensiveness of the sites, hotels, cruise shop, food, culture awareness and for making it such a welcoming tour. Thank you, of course, for giving us the eyes to see the history and the affirmation of Scripture contained in the monuments. So grateful to have the many months of research summarized so neatly for us in bite-sized chunks fed to us the night before the visits where we were able to see the real thing.
The tour exceeded our expectations. A perfect amount of things to do. We are very tired now but wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thank you CMI for putting this together. Thank you!! This was my dream trip and was better than I could have imagined.
Thank you CMI for giving us the experience of a lifetime.
A very big thank you to Gary and team for all their hard work in making this tour a memorable and special experience.
This tour will be wildly successful once word of mouth kicks in! We plan on telling many people about it.
As you know, CMI is not a ‘tour company’, as our guests heard me say many times. But these tours allowed us to demonstrate, first hand, biblical history in a land that is so important to Christian theology. No doubt we will do them again at some stage in the future. To keep an ‘eye out’ for such important events, please ensure you are subscribed to our Infobytes email newsletter.
And of course, you can grab a copy of our Tour Egypt booklet. It details many of the sites we visited and contains a comprehensive explanation of our synchronisation of Egyptian chronology with biblical history, including naming the ‘unnamed’ pharaohs in the book of Genesis.