Questions I’ve Been Asked – Animals & the Ark – Part 3

Question GIFA while back a brudder asked me about the ark and all the animals that Noah had to “fit” in the ark.

Carl – There is no way in poop that all those animals could fit in the ark – it is foolishness.

In our last post we figgered the room that was available on the ark.

A quick reminder may be best!

Available Floor Space

Using the dimensions supplied by Genesis 6, and converting the cubit to the standard, widely accepted, average, normal, acceptable measurement of 18″ (enough with the qualifiers Carl!), we came up with a floor space. 

With all that said, how much space did Noah have available for all these animals?

450’ (long) x 75’ (wide) x 3 (decks) x 3 (shelves / deck) =303,750 square feet

Required Floor Space

Using a conservative assumption, we choose the average size of an animal that would ride the waves with Noah as the lowly sheep – seemed to be a fair animal to pick on!  This animal could easily reside in a 5′ x 5′ x 5′ “cage, especially if we understand that the animals may have entered into a hibernation for the duration of the trip.  Remember, this is a rescue ship, not a vacation liner, and the efficiencies I am describing are intended to reflect that purpose! 

We also referred to some folks called taxonomers (folks who divide animals up into groups, not the IRS people!) to come up with a conservative estimation for the number of species / animals that would be travelling the high seas with Noah.

If I remember right, that number was 50,000.  Hey – is my sceptic back?  Hope so – that number is just for you!!

50,000 animals will require the following space based on the previous average room required.

50,000 x 5 square feet / average animal = 250,000 square feet

 

Enough Space?

With all these conservative estimates, it is very possible to see the viability of this “box” to carry the required animals.  According to these calculations, Noah had over 50,000 square feet for living quarters for his family and for food storage.  Food for the animals may have been minimal, since I think most, if not all the animals may have entered a type of hibernation during this journey.

Considering the original concern about not enough space for all the animals, spending a few minutes to think of the problem let me see that Noah had quite the pleasure yacht if it wasn’t for the all the animals snoring!  (I am being waggish again!)

How did the animals reach the different parts of the earth?

The animals simply dispersed, finding environments, food supplies and land bridges to accomplish complete dispersion.

Although not the topic of this blog, (and without any solid teaching from the Bible,) it is possible that the concept of continental drift may offer some portion of the explanation of this question.

Why are some species only present in certain areas of the world? 

I like living in Texas.  I am a Canadian, but I have found that I like living in Texas.  It is my certain area of the world I live in

Nuff said?

Anyway, hope to hear your opinion or enter into some discussion with you my friend.  Let me know your thoughts and hope to see you again soon.

Thanks for dropping by.

Hey as I was proofreading, I found a tiny mathematical mistake – Nothing that makes my general argument invalid, but I’m gonna leave the “mistake” in the post for any and all to find – even if you are not my sceptic!

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Questions I’ve been Asked – Animals & the Ark – Part 2

Question GIFA while back a brudder asked me about the ark and all the animals that Noah had to “fit” in the ark.

Carl – There is no way in poop that all those animals could fit in the ark – it is foolishness.

Like I said in the last post, this post will deal with the size of the ark needed for the animals needed passage through the flood. But, alas – it isn’t so straightforward of a problems as I first suspected. Some assumptions need to be made!

Genesis 6

14 “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.

15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.

18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark–you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Second problem – How do we estimate the required space needed?

This problem requires some conservative assumptions.  Many scientists claim that the average size of an animal is somewhere between a rat and a sheep.  Lets take the sheep as the conservative estimate.

How much room does a sheep take?

A common method of transporting sheep is by rail.  To transport sheep via rail, it is common to fit 120 sheep within a level of a standard rail car.  A rail car is generally 60′ by 10′, which gives us 600 square feet.

600 square feet/120 sheep = 5 square feet /sheep

Therefore, each sheep takes up, on average, 5 square feet.  We will use this number later!

Remember that Noah built this box with three levels, and a roof.  Seeing that the box (ark) was 45 ft high, each deck had a 15’ ceiling.  Although not applicable for every animal, this space surely allowed for optional shelving.

Therefore the space available for an “average” animal would calculate out to-

5′ x 5′ x 5′ = 25 cubic feet (assuming 5′ vertical allowance for “head room”)

Third problem – How many animals actually boarded the ark?

First off, how many species of animals do we have on earth presently?  Famous taxonomers estimate this quantity at 1,000,000.

The following number of species were not required to be “rescued” since the flood would not completely exterminate their existence. (Note that every living thing in Genesis 6 is defined as “all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die”. Could this imply that aquatic species were not to be considered?)

  • Fish –  21,000 species
  • Echinoderms (star fish, sea urchins, etc) – 600 species
  • Mollusks (mussels, clams, oysters, etc) – 107,000 species
  • Coelenterates (corals, sea anemones, etc) – 10,000 species
  • Sponges,  – 5,000 species
  • Protozoans, – 30,000 species
  • Arthropods (lobster, crabs etc) – 838,000 species
  • Worms – 35,000 species
  • Insects – ????????
  • Amphibians
  • Some mammals (whales, dolphins, etc)

With that said, some experts have defined the number of species that required “rescuing” to as little as 2,000.  Others have been more conservative and stated that 35,000 animals were led to the ark (including the 7 pairs of “clean” animals required by God to be present on the ark!)

Some have expanded the number to 50,000 animals to satisfy the most demanding skeptic.  I hope I have a sceptic reading – I am gonna take that number just to satisfy your skepticism!  So lets go with that number!

But lets go with that number in our next post.  Will I see you there?  (I’m asking that one sceptic out there – Hope you will come visit again.)

Hey as I was proofreading, I found a tiny mathematical mistake – Nothing that makes my general argument invalid, but I’m gonna leave the “mistake” in the post for any and all to find – even if you are not my sceptic!


 

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Questions I’ve Been Asked – Animals & the Ark – Part 1

Question GIFA while back a brudder asked me about the ark and all the animals that Noah had to “fit” in the ark.

Carl – There is no way in poop that all those animals could fit in the ark – it is foolishness.

Well I take that as a personal challenge to find out if it is possible. But lets define the parameters that I need to review.

The question has a few points to it

  • How did all the animals fit into Noahs Ark?
  • How did the animals reach the different parts of the earth?
  • Why are some species (eg a moose) only present in certain areas of the world?

How did all the animals fit into Noahs Ark?

I suppose the first question demands that we determine the size of the ark initially. To do this, we need to refer to the Bible to find the dimensions Noah used for the construction of the Ark. We will find these dimensions in the book of Genesis, chapter 6.

Genesis 6

14 “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.

15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.

18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark–you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

First problem – What da heck is a cubit?

cubit

A cubit is an old (ancient) form of measurement that, since I found out what it is, have realized that I have used it much of my life without realizing it. When I don’t have a measuring tape on me, and the distance is relatively short, I will “measure” it with my forearm. The cubit was the ancients way of standardizing a measurement, and it is commonly accepted that the cubit was the distance from the elbow to the finger tip of an average man. For me that comes to aprox 18″, and proves that I am average! (1 cubit = 1.5 ft)

So with that said, the ark’s dimensions come to 450′ long X 75′ wide X 45′ high. It is also important to note that this vessel is not considered a boat, but an ark. Noah built a box – a really big box. And this box had three decks, according to verse 16.

So we figgered the basic size, or volume of the ark.

Next post we shall deal with how much space ol’ Noah needed in the Ark for all those animals. In other words, How in poop did Noah fit those gazillion animals into the Ark?

Hope you can come visit with me for the next installment. I think you may be surprised!!!

Thanks for dropping by.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 6

Question GIF

Welcome back my friends.

I have finally got a chance to get back to my bottomless pit study. I am looking forward to this portion, since I hope it is the passage that holds the most information!

Lets get started!

Rev 20 :1

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain

Questions

  • Is this the same angel as in Rev 9:1?
  • How heavy is this chain?
  • What is the key made of?

I guess I have more questions than answers for this verse, but to think that the chain is a literal physical(?) chain that somehow restricts spiritual beings seems farfetched to me.

Rev 20:2

And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

As an aside, a brother has also asked about the thousand year teaching and if Satan is bound at the present time. To avoid being distracted from the bottomless pit study, I will post something on that topic after this study.

Rev 20 :3

and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

chain gif

What happened to the chain?

Did the chain have any part in sealing the dragon in the pit?

Satan was thrown into the bottomless pit. This is the first time any one is described as actually going into the pit – earlier, some locust type creatures escaped the pit.

Regarding the thousand year topic, and the phrase “deceive the nations no more” see my next posts. I want to focus on the pit for now, though there be many topics in this passage that call out to me to my distraction!

We know that the dragon is (or will be) in the bottomless pit. This verse tells us that. Golly, even this verse states that the pit is simply a temporary confinement for the dragon, since he will be loosed at some time. What I can’t seem to find out is if any other creature actually is thrown into the pit.

If the pit has some characteristics of the grave associated with it in John’s mind, it might make some sense when death and hell are thrown into the lake of fire. I think that since the pit is associated with sheol/gehenna, the bottomless pit may actually give up her dead into the lake of fire. It seems to make some sense to me, but I am open to comments.

This study has been interesting in my opinion since it shows the shallowness of my understanding of one topic in this difficult book. As you surely noticed through the posts, I had more questions than answers.

This is acceptable in my mind, since we are dealing with a symbolic book, crafted by the Spirit of God through a man Jesus loved.

The message of the Bible is an eternal message, a message that needs to be studied and wrestled with to make it your own. Time and effort is required to understand the message, and we have less than a century to do it in our lives.

Garfield

It is not a Garfield comic, that can be understood in 3 seconds and as quickly forgotten!

I suppose the only thing I know for sure is that the pit is a place I want to avoid.

He has made that possible!

Thank you Jesus!


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – Thousand Years Part 2

Question GIF

Let’s continue in our second post based on the “Questions I’ve Been Asked”, regarding the binding of Satan, and more specifically, the term “a thousand years” in the book of Revelation.

You see, a brother asked me about the thousand year teaching in the Book of Revelation and if Satan is bound at the present time.

I hope I can address these concerns properly.

Let’s read the passage one more time.

Rev 20:2

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

As I mentioned at the end of our last post, this next question has been the most influential in my understanding of the passage.

1000-22.) Does the literalness of a passage increase due to the use of a precise number?

When John is writing this passage, he uses a specific number, and because of this, must mean what he writes, right?

(And isn’t that a cool gif? —->)

We must take his description of the thousand years literally since he specifically uses that specific term and did not modify it by using terms like “approximately” or “about” or “more than”. I must have heard this argument a million times! – Literally a million times!!!

But is that how a Jewish man would communicate 2000 years ago (not exactly 2000 years ago, but again, you know what I mean, right)?

John was a man steeped in the Old Testament, and surely knew of the instances the prophets used the very same term. Granted, sometimes the prophets would be defining a population, the result of a census, or a sum of money, and that seems to be an obvious use of the term in a literal sense. But sometimes the prophets used the term “thousand” to define an indefinite time, or an extended time.

Consider the following passages

Deuteronomy 1:11
May the LORD, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you!

Was the LORD going to implement a birth control system once the population grew to a certain point? (Don’t be so sarcastic Carl!)

Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

Ok, follow me on this – let’s assume that one generation is 40 years (just for giggles!)

OK, lets make one more assumption, and that is that Moses recieved this promise aproximately 2,000 years before the birth of our Lord. I know it was less, but let me make the math easy!

A thousand generations would be forty thousand years. 40,000 years! That means that this promise ceases to be valid in the year 38,000.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad my great great great …. grandchildren have a chance, but honestly, what about my lineage in the year 38,001? (Ok Carl now you are being ridiculous!)

Deuteronomy 32:30
How could one have chased a thousand,
and two have put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
and the LORD had given them up?

Although there are many instances of small contingencies of Israeli men taking on multitudes (I am thinking of Gideon and Jonathon for instance), I don’t know if the exact thousand to one or five thousand to one ratios ever exactly occurred.

The Psalms are very descriptive and poetic and often use terms in a very symbolic fashion – not very much unlike the book of Revelation.

Psalm 50:10
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.

I am sure God owns all the cattle. I guess I need to google the actual number of hills on earth – I am sure it is one thousand exactly!

Again Carl – too sarcastic – tune it down a smidge!

Psalm 68:17
The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands;
the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.

Twenty thousand chariots are a lot of chariots!

Psalm 84:10
For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Could the psalmist be using “thousand” days as an expression extending beyond two years and 9 months? Why is he so short sigted? I would have used a million instead of a thousand – At least then I would have over 2700 years of being in His courts!

Psalm 90:4
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.

Yesterday and a watch at night are two different spans of time, so if we are goings to be ‘literalists” regarding the use of the term thousand, we need to consider the literalness of some of the other time descriptions being used.

Psalm 91:7
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

The psalmist seems to use thousand and ten thousand interchangeably. Interesting.

Psalm 105:8
He remembers his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,

The covenant is referred to as being forever and the generations are numbered at a thousand. Is there a hint here that thousand means more than a thousand?

It seems that when the writers of Scripture wanted to define an extended number or time , they used the term thousand.

When they wanted to really blow your mind Scripture writers would use the term “murias”, which comes down into the English language as the word myriad. This term seems to give the impression of an innumerable number.

Although this is a short study, it is rooted in the Old Testament. As I grow as a Christian, I am increasingly impressed with the importance of comparing Scripture with Scripture. especially in the book of Revelation.

I look forward to comments and questions, especially passages of Scripture that may help in understanding this topic better.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 5

Question GIF

On to the next verse we find in the book of Revelation, and trying to find some answers to the Bottomless Pit question a brother set me on to research. It seems I still have four verses to consider.

I will address the last two in the next post.

Lets consider our first verse.

Rev 11 :7
And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them,

Nagging questions…..

Who is the beast?

  • He fights against the two witnesses (whoever they represent I don’t know, but at the very least they are on God’s side).
  • He is coming out of the pit so he probably smells of death (2 Cor 2:16)

Is his ascension a present activity or is it describing the beasts origin?

In other words, does the beast ascend to make war, or has he ascended previously and John is simply describing the origin/source of the Beast?

The word ascendeth in the Greek is the Strong # G305,

  • verb – present active participle – nominative singular neuter
  • anabaino an-ab-ah’-ee-no: to go up
  • arise, ascend (up), climb (go, grow, rise, spring) up, come (up).

Notice that Johns verb choice is a present active participle. I do not know greek, but from what I can find out, the use of a present tense signifies continuity, or continuously coming out of the abyss.

One website that tries to explain greek grammar states that the present tense signifies “a continuous action, habitual action, often reflects a lifestyle”

(Now I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time considering the continual ascending of the beast as a lifestyle, but the point is taken, that this does not seem to be a one time event.)

Other than defining where the beast is rising from, this verse doesn’t shed much light on the pit.

Rev 17 :8
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

What is going on here?

Dang – I am glad the only thing I have to consider is the portion describing the bottomless pit, cause this thing about “the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” is simply beyond me. Also, the book of life thing is confusing for me, so I am glad I don’t have to address that topic!

What I do have to address is the pit.

What does this passage teach me concerning the pit?

  • Well – the beast comes out of it – but we saw that in an earlier passage (Rev 11:7).
  • Could this be the same time, same ascendancy as in Rev 11:7?
  • I think John is describing a different time, this being the time(s) the beast goes into damnation/perdition.
  • Rev 11:7 speak of the beasts ascendancy and seeming success over the two witnesses.
  • This passage speaks of the downfall of the beast.

I am tempted to think that the mention of the bottomless pit is more of a description of this beasts origin, as opposed to defining a physical location. I don’t have much to base that on other than this is a highly symbolic book and trying to identify a location for the pit may be a fools errand.

Also, whatever John is trying to describe escapes me since his verb tenses are confusing to me. The beast shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and yet is not, and yet is.

I guess the one thing that I know is that the pit is a real bad place – real bad! Other than that, I am not seeing much more that this verse is telling me of the bottomless pit.

If you have some input, I would welcome it! Hope to see you again for our final post in this series.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 4

Question GIF

Welcome back friends

In this post, we will continue looking at the question of the Bottomless Pit by delving into chapter 9 of the book of Revelation.

So lets get at it!

Rev 9 :11

They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

Who are “they”?

Verse three describes locusts coming out of the smoke that was released from the bottomless pit, and the following verses describe these “locusts”.

Locust gif

Locusts are a common picture of judgement in the Old Testament. Even as discussed in the previous post, when I referred to Exodus 10:14-15, the darkness was created by the locusts. Joel also describes a locust invasion. I will leave it to the reader to consider if John may be using some of Joel’s writings in these verses.

These “locusts” that come out of the pit have a king over them, the angel of the bottomless pit.

Some of the things to notice about the bottomless pit are

  • There is authority within the “Bottomless Pit”
  • Remember earlier that we found that it took authority to open the bottomless pit.
    • Is the authority within the pit the same as the authority over the pit? (Me thinks not!)

The King of the Bottomless Pit is named. Abaddon

This is very interesting since the Hebrew word that translates Abaddon is G3 Abaddon (ab-ad-down’) n/p.

    • a destroying angel
      • (abstractly) a perishing
      • (concretely) Hades [intensive from H6] KJV: destruction.Root(s): H6 Apollyon

As an aside, it is of note that this angel (Abaddon) is a destroying angel, not necessarily a torturing angel.

If John is considering that the pit represents death, which I think he is, the king of the pit, being a destroying angel, seems to give some weight to the annihilation theory of the existence of the damned.

Of course a little later in our study, death and hell are thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20:14).

If I am consistent with John, this would mean that death and hell – that is, hades or the grave – are thrown into the lake of fire to experience the second death.

That is amazing!

Death is put to death!

Jesus did much more than I can imagine, did He not?


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 3

Question GIF

Thanks for coming back to our study.

In this post, we will begin to get to the meat of the question by delving into the book of Revelation. This is where the modifier “bottomless” is applied to the pit concept, and is the subject of the original question! (Finally, eh?)

I have continued to underline the English word in each verse that has been translated from the Greek “abussos”. Note that sometimes the word is translated as “pit” and sometimes it is translated as “bottomless pit”.

Lets begin the book of Revelation.

abussos

As an aside, a very interesting layout within the Book of Revelation is the placement and structure of “Abussos” in Revelation.

Consider the symmetry of the Word of God. It is amazing to see the unnoticed structure of the Word and the beauty of the message, not only in the content, but in the presentation of the message!

Abussos in Revelation

A Rev. 9:1-2, Rev. 9:11. Key – Let loose – Locust scourge. The Angel called in Hebrew Abaddon in Greek Apollyon.

B Rev. 11:7. The Beast ascends out of the abyss, overcomes saints
B Rev. 17:8. The Beast ascends out of the abyss. Lamb overcomes (Rev. 17:14).

A Rev. 20:1-3. Key – Shut up – Loosed – Deceive (Rev. 20:8). Serpent, called Diabolos (Greek) and Satan (Hebrew).

Our first verse to consider is found in chapter 9.

Rev 9 :1

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.

Who received the key to the bottomless pit? The fifth angel? The star?

As I glanced at this verse I initially assumed it was the star that received the key to the bottomless pit, but considering the mission of each of the seven angels in the book of Revelation, (see below) it seems possible that the recipient of the key was the fifth angel.

Other translations seem to favor the opposite, that is that the star that fell receives the key to the bottomless pit. I assumed that John may be assigning the term “star” to Satan, but after checking with other New Testament instances of a star falling, came up short. I was recalling Luke 10:18, where Jesus saidI beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Not quite the same, but a study of the word “lightning” in Matthew 24:27 is very interesting! Check out Return of the LORD as Lightning? if interested.

Whoever obtained the key, one principle truth comes through in this verse regarding the bottomless pit. Authority was required to open the bottomless pit! The key was required to open the shaft and representative of authority over the shaft. Think of it this way. Who has a key to your home or apartment. Those that have authority to enter it. A key represents authority.

As another aside, I found it interesting to consider other verses referring to the assignments of the angels in Revelation.

8:7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

8:8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.

8:10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.

8:12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

9:1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit

9:13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God,

11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

Back to the topic at hand – that is, the bottomless pit.

Rev 9:2,3

He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.

Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.

Who opened the bottomless pit? Don’t know! (see above)

Some of the things to notice about this verse are

  • Smoke arose out of the shaft of the pit
  • Sun and air were darkened by the smoke.
  • Smoke was like the smoke of a great furnace.

smoke 1 gif

This verse doesn’t teach that the pit is the great furnace. Simply that the shaft of the pit, when opened, spewed forth smoke. This smoke is likened to the smoke of a great furnace.

So many similes and metaphors – Helpppppp!

Darkness and smoke (along with the appearance of locusts) are associated with Old Testament themes of judgement and death.

Consider the following.

Exod 10:14-15

The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again.
They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

Joel 2:2

a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful people;
their like has never been before,
nor will be again after them
through the years of all generations.

Joel 2:10

The earth quakes before them;
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.

Also, consider Genesis 19:24-28, for themes of judgement, angelic messengers and a description of smoke as of out of a furnace,

Genesis 19:1, 13, 24-28
1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth
13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”
24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven.
25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD.
28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.
Could John be thinking of some of these passages when he is penning this portion of the book? He was immersed in the Old Testament. The book of Revelation is full of Old Testament quotes and references. I wonder….
It is important to remember that smoke signifies fire, or at least a lingering burn, and that the smoke is part of that which was burned up.800px-Dachau_006

You know, my wife and I visited Dachau in Germany a few years back and in our exploring of the WWII concentration camp, we stumbled upon a small shrine, where it is said that thousands of Jews rested, in the form of ashes. The rest of their corporeal bodies went up in the smoke! A harsh truth is found in that shrine.
The wickedness of man seems to know no bounds, and the furnaces of Dachau are a testament to that wickedness. Man has no right to take life. He did not create life.
No so with God. The bottomless pit may speak of this judgement.
Hopefully, further study will clarify the “Bottomless Pit” and it’s part in the judgement of sinful men and rebellious angels.
Hope to visit with you during our next post. May God bless you and encourage you in your walk with Him.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – Thousand Years – Part 1

Question GIF

Our first 2 posts under the topic of “Questions I’ve been Asked” have been somewhat controversial!

Lets start this one off with the binding of Satan. (Carl – can’t you find something a bit less debateable?) More specifically, lets look at the term “a thousand years” in the book of Revelation and how it relates to the binding of Satan.

You see, a brother asked me about the thousand year teaching in the Book of Revelation and if Satan is bound at the present time.

I hope I can address these concerns properly.

Let’s read the passage first

Rev 20:2

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

Revelation 20:2 is the first of six references of a thousand years between verse 2 and verse 7. I have argued before that since John repeats himself six times, he must be making a point about the actual length of time that Satan is bound.

But lets think about this.

1.) Does the literalness of a passage increase due to the repetition of a word?

1000 multi

If repetition is a method to emphasize literalness, consider the following passage. Same author – John – writing down the words of Jesus, in describing Himself as a “door”. No Christian I know will say that Jesus is a literal door. (Hint – it is a metaphor for something greater!)

John 10:1-2

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

John 10:7

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

John 10:9

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

I do hope that this one instance (there are many more!) of repetition of a word shows the weakness of this argument. I understand there are differences between the two passages (six repetitions in the book of Revelation, as opposed to only four in John 10), but the point needs to be considered.

Our next post will consider if the literalness of a passage increases due to the use of a precise number? I think understanding the question of precision has actually been the most beneficial for me in this study. I hope you will come join me.

I look forward to comments and questions, especially passages of Scripture that may help in understanding this topic better.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 2

Question GIF

Thanks for coming to visit and enter into our study on the bottomless pit.

My hope is that with a bit of study and a few choice questions, a bit of clarity may come to some.

So, lets Consider the Bible and what it teaches about the bottomless pit. We will begin with looking at the greek equivalent of the english word “pit”.

The greek word “abussos”, translated pit or abyss, is the direction the current post will follow. The definition is as follows, per Strongs Concordance.

abussos

Strong’s Number: G12
Greek Base Word: ἄβυσσος

Usage: Deep, (bottomless) pit

Detailed definition:

  1. Bottomless.
  2. Unbounded.
  3. The abyss.
    1. The pit.
    2. The immeasurable depth.
    3. Of Orcus, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons.

Where is this greek term “abussos” found in the New Testament Scriptures? This term is used once in Luke, once in Romans and 7 times in Revelation. This post will deal with the first two references.

I have italicized the specific term/terms that “abussos” has been translated as.

Luke 8 :31

And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.

This is the story of the demons and the pigs, where Jesus approached a man by the name of Legion (since he had so many demons in him), and the demons began to deal with the Messiah, (as if they had any bargaining power). The first thing they request is not to be sent to the abussos, the pit.

My initial thoughts about the pit have been justified in this very verse – it is bad, real bad!

Other than that, the primary issues I understand are:

  • Demons are associated with the abyss (pit).
  • Jesus had the authority to send the demons there.
  • The demons knew it.

It is of interest that the demons ended up “down the steep place into the lake and drowned”

The lake is not the pit, (or it would have been called a pit, I suppose), but a certain link between the pit, water and demons might be found. The demons requested to be in the swine, and the Lord allowed it, but the host swine for the demons did not exist long.

Where did the demons go after their host (the pigs) were destroyed? This text gives us no answers to this question!

Rom 10 :7

“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

Paul is directly associating the abussos, “the deep” with death. He takes Dt 31:11-14 and freely translates it into the Christian experience.

Dt 30 11 & Rom 10

First off, notice how Paul interprets Dt 31:13, where he defines “beyond the sea” as descend into the deep (abussos). This connection of the sea with the pit seems to come up occasionally in this study, and it may be beneficial to note.

Rant #1

OK here comes rant # 1 in this post.
As I continue trying to understand the Bible, I am finding it increasingly important to see how the apostles understood the Old Testament.
A number of challenges have erupted in my studies and I realized that I want to depend on my cultural settings to find the meaning in the passage.
This is not wise!

Ticked off

This freedom of the apostles to interpret the Old Testament (differently than I) used to really tick me off, since I was a dyed in the wool literalist.

It was difficult to defend my understanding of some of the promises in the Old Testament. I kept banging up against this type of passage, where an apostle would not interpret an Old Testament passage per Carl’s methods.

How dare they

How dare those apostles!

Instead, let’s consider a few lessons.

  1. The Apostles Consistency
    • The apostles are being consistent with Jesus’s understanding of the Old Testament. Remember when Jesus referred to “the Temple” (John 2:19 -22) being destroyed. Everyone (including me, if I had been present) misunderstood Him. The apostles no longer misundertand Him. (Luke 24:45). If we seek to apply the apostles teaching according to our understanding, we may be missing out on what the message is trying to communicate to us.
  2. My Growing Understanding
    • By that I mean, I am constantly finding passages that challenge my previous understanding of the Biblical message. And this is OK – heck this is great, since it allows me to remain(?) humble. (hahaha!)

As an aside, I heard the story of a highly respected theologian hundreds of years ago, who wrote a massive commentary before he was thirty, and then spent his life defending it. Either he was a genius, or too stubborn to admit error as the Word challenged his beliefs. This approach does not appeal to me. I am convinced that the Christian life is a life of repentance and a willingness to adjust our thinking and actions to glorify God.

Often, it seems that one passage will impact many prior beliefs. My repentance from a wooden literal-ism has brought about more questions than answers. Not a comfortable position to be in as one who prided himself in his ability to answer bible questions! But being stubborn in error is still error!

In conclusion, I am open to corrective teaching, and this blog is one avenue to find that correction. As a matter of fact, I look forward to finding an apostle quote or refer to an Old Testament passage. It makes me stop, consider and evaluate why he may have used that particular passage in his message.

End of Rant #1

With all that said, the points of interest in Romans 10 seem to be

  • Paul associates “the deep” (pit) with “beyond the sea”.
  • The pit is associated with death.
  • No mention of satan, demons, torment, fire, smoke or darkness is mentioned in this passage.

I hope we can continue in our next post, where we will continue with passages in the book of Revelation that address the “pit”.

May you have a great day and continue to seek Him. Hope to see you during our next post – Promise no rants on the next post!


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – OT References

Question GIF

In our first study on the topic, “The Bottomless Pit” I offered a list of verses of all OT references to the English word “pit” terms can be found in a post called “Questions I’ve Been Asked – What about the Bottomless Pit – OT References”)

This so happens to be quite a list, so I have supplied links for each of these words, with a brief definition (Strongs). The term most likely sought in this study is #6 – H7585 sh’owl (Sheol)


1.) H875 ‘er (be-ayr’) n-f.
a pit
especially a well

בְּאֵר (H875)


2.) H953 bowr (bore) n-m.
a pit hole (especially one used as a cistern or a prison)

בּוֹר (H953)


3.) H1360 gebe (geh’-beh) n-m.
a reservoir
by analogy, a marsh

גֶּבֶא (H1360)


4.) H1475 guwmmats (goom-mawts’) n-m.
a pit

גּוּמָּץ, gûmmāṣ


5.) H6354 pachath (pakh’-ath) n-m.
a pit, especially for catching animals

פַּחַת (H6354)


6.) H7585 sh’owl (sheh-ole’) (or shol {sheh-ole’}) n-f.
Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates

שְׁאוֹל, šĕʾôl (H7585)


7.) H7745 shuwchah (shoo-khaw’) n-f.
a chasm

שׁוּחָה (H7745)


8.) H7816 shchuwth (shekh-ooth’) n-f.
Pit

שְׁחוּת (H7816)


9.) H7882 shiychah (shee-khaw’) n-f.
a pit-fall

שִׁיחָה (H7882)


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 1

Question GIF

Our next topic under our “Questions I’ve Been Asked” is gonna take a few posts, and I hope you will continue with me on this study.

I was listening to a Bible teacher on you tube a while back and he was teaching on the topic of the Bottomless Pit. Although many of the issues he raised were very questionable (IMHO) , a friend asked me what I thought the Bible taught concerning it.

You know, at the time, all I knew was that it was bad – real bad!

But I don’t think that would satisfy this brother, so off I go into studying – “The Bottomless Pit”

First off – Definitions!

Strong’s concordance explains “abussos” as follows:
G12 abussos {ab’-us-sos} AV – bottomless pit 5, deep 2, bottomless 2; Total: 9

  • bottomless
  • unbounded
  • the abyss
    • the pit
    • the immeasurable depth
    • of Orcus, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons.

Secondly – Source Material

What might the Old Testament teach us about the “Pit” before we venture into the New Testament? At this time, I understand the term bottomless to be a modifier to pit, and not necessarily defining a proper name.

The following nine Hebrew terms are translated pit in the Old Testament and have varying degrees of importance in our study as we consider how the Old Testament may give light in relation to the apostles understanding of this topic, and especially John’s use of “pit” in Rev 20.

(Links for lists of verses of each of these OT terms can be found in a post called “Questions I’ve Been Asked – What about the Bottomless Pit – OT References”)

1.) H875 ‘er (be-ayr’) n-f.
a pit, especially a well
2.) H953 bowr (bore) n-m.
a pit hole (especially one used as a cistern or a prison)
3.) H1360 gebe (geh’-beh) n-m.
a reservoir
by analogy, a marsh
4.) H1475 guwmmats (goom-mawts’) n-m.
a pit
5.) H6354 pachath (pakh’-ath) n-m.
a pit, especially for catching animals
6.) H7585 sh’owl (sheh-ole’) (or shol {sheh-ole’}) n-f.
Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates
7.) H7745 shuwchah (shoo-khaw’) n-f.
a chasm
8.) H7816 shchuwth (shekh-ooth’) n-f.
Pit
9.) H7882 shiychah (shee-khaw’) n-f.
a pit-fall

The majority of these terms define a simple hole in the ground, usually with dire consequences. An example would be – Joseph was thrown in a pit.

Sometimes the term used simply defines a well, sometimes, though rarely, with a positive connotation (a well of living waters – Song 4:15)

Where it gets interesting is in the 6th term – Sheol. This term is used 63 times in the Old Testament, translated as

  • grave – 29 times
  • pit – 3 times
  • hell – 31 times

Sheol is usually referring to a hole in the ground, but it represented death, decay and the end. Although there are two texts that speak of a resurrection …

Job 19:26

And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God

Dan 12:2

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

…it is not completely clear (at least to me) what the Jewish population believed about the grave.

If the Old Testament Saints believed in a physical resurrection, Sheol, as a physical hole in the ground, represented the greatest enemy.

sheol-word-hell

If Sheol represented a specific place of reward or punishment, I have not found it stated as such in the Old Testament. (I said Old Testament folks – I heard some of y’all thinking bout Luke 16!!!)

With that said, at the very least we can know is that Sheol represented the grave.

The next post will begin dealing with New Testament light on this subject!

I hope you can join me as we dig into this interesting and somewhat emotionally charged topic.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – Introduction

Question GIF

Occasionally I will be chatting with a friend or a stranger (some stranger than I) and a topic will come up that stirs my mind, and causes me to venture down that road of research that just might upset one of my theological apple-carts.

As this occurs, I intend to post on these questions and will offer my findings for your review and comment.

Hope to visit with you, even if it is only to see some of them apples strewn about my pilgrim path!


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