If We Could Have Been There Study No. 252
If we could have witnessed the animals line up to enter Noah’s Ark, hear the pounding rains as the ark lifted with the rising water, and finally feel the Ark settle and come to rest on mount Ararat, wouldn’t it have been easier for us to believe?
If we actually saw the Red Sea part and the wall of water held back while we walked through on dry ground, wouldn’t that be a great faith builder?
What if we had been participants in the first Passover, and heard the pitiful wails of despair as the living mourned their dead? Serious business, this religion of the Hebrews.
If we had watched Jesus die on that cross and then later have Jesus appear to us like He did to Thomas, and say, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing,” John 20:27. Surely we also would have said, “my Lord and my God,” verse 28.
But we weren’t there. When many seminaries teach and ministers preach that the Bible is really just a collection of fables collected from various sources over many years, stories that have been told and retold and embellished with each retelling to the point that there is little resemblance to the original event, how could we be expected to have the faith of the ancients?
Although archaeologists, historians, and various researchers have found physical evidence that these events did occur, did they occur as we are told in the Bible? Were they truly orchestrated by an all-powerful God who not only knows but also controls the end from the beginning? I’ll let you decide.
Consider the first event we mentioned, Noah’s ark. Genesis 8:1-4 tells the story of when the ark came to rest, and verse four states, “. . . in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.” Thus, giving mankind a new beginning in a new world.
There are 360 days in the Hebrew year, but God chose the seventeenth day of the seventh month for that event. The probability of an event happening on any one day of the year would be 360 to one. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for everything and God has an appointed time for every event of His plan, as we shall see.
Exodus 14:21-22 tells us about the parting of the red sea. “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”
Did God choose a particular day for that event? In Numbers 33:1-8; Moses recorded their travels after the Passover, which would be the fifteenth of Nisan. Remembering that Israel’s days begin at sunset we can tract them to the evening of the seventeenth, camping at Migdol. Then in verse eight we read, “And they departed (morning of the seventeenth) from before Pi-hahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness. . . .”
Israel physically left the land of Egypt on the seventeenth of Nisan, a new beginning in a new land.
Did you notice something here? This occurred in the first month, but the Ark came to rest in the seventh month. What is the difference between the first month and the seventh month? None. They are the same day. After Israel left Egypt God gave them a new calendar to mark their new beginning. The new (sacred) calendar started on the seventh month of the civil calendar, thus the seventeenth day of the seventh month in the days of Noah is the same as the seventeenth day of the first month (Nisan) in their new calendar.
The probability of two events occurring on the same day is calculated by multiplying them together: 1/360 X 1/360 = 1/129,000. So, there is one chance in 129,000 that these two events could occur by accident on the same day.
Let’s back up about 430 years to the time when Jacob’s family entered the land of Egypt. Is the time of their arrival significant? Exodus 12:40-41 will tell us precisely when they arrived.
“Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.”
The very day of their arrival in Egypt would, therefore, have to be on the seventeenth day of Nisan 430 years before, a new beginning, in a new land.
By multiplying the probabilities of the three occurrences we have 46,656,000 to one chances that three occurrences would happen on the same day. Would you buy a raffle ticket against those odds?
It gets better. Let’s take a look at the battle of Jericho. If we read Joshua 5:10-6:3 we find that Israel observed the Passover and the following day they ate some of the produce of the land. The next day (the sixteenth) the manna ceased.
Then in verse 13 we read, “Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, (we would assume this to be the seventeenth since the last mentioned date was the sixteenth) that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us or for our adversaries?’ (A pretty gutsy man, that Joshua; no wonder God chose him to lead Israel.) He said, ‘No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the Lord.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, ‘What has my Lord to say to His servant?’
Then skipping down to chapter 6:2, we read, “The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors.”
Jericho was given to Joshua on the seventeenth of Nisan, a new beginning in a new land. [Editor’s note: some believe that this was in the second month.]
Using the same probability formula as before, we come up with one chance in 16 billion, 796 million, 160 thousand.
Want another one? In II Chronicles 29:1-28, we are told of the terrible rundown and filthy condition of the beautiful Temple of God. But when Hezekiah became king, he began a cleanup campaign. On the sixteenth of Nisan the cleaning was finished, on the seventeenth the sacrifices and worship services were restored. Thus an acceptable and proper worship service began anew.
Now we have five “accidental occurrences” to calculate. Would you believe that is one chance in 6 trillion, 48 billion, 617 million, 600 thousand?
Do you remember the story of Esther? If we follow the events from Esther 3:12 to the hanging of Haman we can determine that it was on the seventeenth of Nisan that Queen Esther exposed Haman’s plot to King Xerxes. The result was that Haman was hanged on the very gallows that he had built for Mordecai. Their enemies were destroyed from among them, and God’s people were given a new beginning.
The probability of six accidental new beginnings — all occurring on the same day of the month is one chance in 2 quadrillion, 177 trillion, 402 billion, 436 million.
Impressive? Yes, but there is an even more significant event to consider.
We know that Jesus was crucified on the Passover. We know that the Passover was the fourteenth of Nisan. We know that Jesus had to be in the grave three days and three nights in order to fulfill His own prophecy concerning the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:40). Three days from the fourteenth is the seventeenth of Nisan. Christ was resurrected on Saturday evening the seventeenth of Nisan, a full three days and three nights, no more and no less, from the time of His death — offering you a new beginning by being born again (John 3:1-21). (No, He was not resurrected on Sunday morning, as can be easily determined by any sincere Bible student.)
Hold on to your hats! The probability of all seven of these events all occurring by accident on the same day is one in 783 quadrillion, 864 trillion, 876 billion, 960 million. But who’s counting?
Were they accidental or divinely appointed? If we could have been there, how could we have had more reason to believe than we do now?
— from a sermon given February 7, 2004 by Del Leger, Pastor, Christian Church Of God, Grand Junction, Colorado. Ω