The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
You said in a broadcast recently that Jacob wrestled all night with the One who later became Jesus Christ. Since God is all powerful, and certainly stronger than any man, why didn't He overpower Jacob immediately? C.D.D.
True — Jacob did wrestle with the Eternal God of the Old Testament — the One who later became Jesus Christ! But notice this. Earlier in the account, your Bible clearly states that "Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a MAN with him until the breaking of the day" (v. 24). God, then — while manifested AS A MAN — the God whom Jacob recognized and acknowledged later — had met and wrestled with Jacob. After wrestling all night, Jacob named the place of his wrestling "Peniel" because he recognized he had "seen GOD face to face" (Genesis 32:30). It was this same God, or LORD, of the Old Testament who had previously appeared to humans as a man (Genesis 18). And He later was to BECOME the man Jesus Christ of the New Testament! (For additional and absolute proof, write for our free article "Who Or What Was Jesus Before His Human Birth?") But why, then, didn't God prevail immediately against Jacob? The answer is quite revealing — Let's understand — the Eternal of the Old Testament could have won the match with Jacob at any time. Even while manifesting Himself as a man He still possessed the great power of God, for He was not then born of the virgin Mary and limited to human strength. But God was putting Jacob to the test! He purposed to see if Jacob — unlike his brother Esau, who was a quitter — would be steadfast in character, if he would "stick to it" and be faithful, if he would "prevail with God." Finally, after the all-night test, God saw that Jacob would not give up, that Jacob had passed the test and proved he would never quit. Jacob, by wrestling, proved he valued the blessings of God. After the trial was over, the One who became Jesus Christ changed Jacob's name from Jacob (or "supplanter") to Israel — meaning "he who strives, or prevails, with God." God could have beaten Jacob immediately — yet He didn't for the definite purpose of testing Jacob's character. It was Jacob's, not God's character that was being tested. How much more meaningful this account becomes when we understand the full truth!
"How was it possible for Noah to make a ship large enough to carry the many species of animals safely through the Flood?" Mrs. J. S.
This is an often-asked question! Think for a moment. Would God assign a job to a man-like building an ark — without being sure the man could get the job done? Many people assume that the account of the building of the Ark is a myth. They conceive of Noah as a sort of bearded hermit who had little or no education, and certainly must not have had proper tools to build a ship as large as the Ark. He may not have had gasoline-powered saws, hydraulic lifts, rivet guns and micrometers. But to assume that Noah had no nails, bolts, saws, axes and hammers is simply naive. Most fail to grasp the tremendous size of Noah's Ark because they have never figured out its capacity based on the measurements given in your Bible! Bible commentators do not all agree as to the specific size of the cubit used in building the Ark. Some suggest the 18-inch cubit, others a 21-inch cubit. On the basis of a 21-inch cubit, Peloubet's Bible Dictionary states; "The ark would be 525 feet in length, 87 feet 6 inches in breadth and 52 feet 6 inches in height" (page 463). Some have calculated the displacement of the Ark would have been between 40,000 and 50,000 tons! It would have been the height of a 45-story building if it stood on end. Comparing this to the largest, most modern luxury liners of today, the Ark may well have been LARGER than P&O Orient Line's Canberra, which has a displacement of only 45,000 tons gross! But there was an older Hebrew cubit about 25" long. The Hebrew cubit used here would have made the Ark over 600 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 60 feet high! No small size! Its three decks (Gen. 6:16) would have contained an area of about 38 standard college basketball courts! Its volume would have been 3,600,000 cubic feet! This is the carrying capacity equal to 25 trains — each one 52 freight cars long! The Ark had this tremendous carrying capacity. Many think of the Ark as a small vessel — not realizing how LARGE it really was. And now, how many animals were on the Ark! Notice that God told Noah there would be one male and one female of each unclean "kind" of animal and seven pairs of each clean "kind" of animal on the Ark (Gen. 7:2, 14). We need to understand that when the Bible speaks of a "kind" of animal, it is not speaking of what a scientist calls a "species." For a Biblical proof of this fact, turn to Genesis 2:19-20. Notice a very important point: "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field..." The number of Genesis "kinds" were so few that Adam was able to easily give them each a name that day! This, in itself, tells us that the original Genesis "kinds" were relatively few in number. With regard to the animals — the Bible definition of "Genesis kind" is much broader than the clever evolutionary concept of "species." The "Genesis kind" more nearly equates with the biological definition of a "genus." Notice the facts presented in The Genesis Flood, pages 67, 69: "It is unwarranted to insist that all the present species, not to mention all the varieties and subvarieties, were represented in the Ark...." Remember, God is a practical God! God's instructions to Noah (Gen. 6:14-16), were very simple and left a lot of planning on Noah's shoulders. Noah apparently already had some experience in building large ocean-going ships. With regard to adequate supplies of food and potable water (Gen. 6:21), Noah had received instructions from God. Eggs, for example, may have been obtained from many birds, milk from the cattle and goats, fresh meat from a variety of sources. And Noah could easily have stored fresh water in advance. Remember also that God indicated that plant life was re-established quickly after the Flood (Gen. 8:11), and that Noah himself planted a vineyard (Gen. 9:20-21), indicating he had taken on the Ark grains and cuttings which could germinate with cultivation. Most of those who scoff at the record of the Flood have never bothered to approach the problem as the Bereans did, willing to prove with an open mind "whether those things were so." Had Noah ever assumed the task was impossible, and had not worked for 120 years to accomplish it — where would you be today? The simple facts PROVE the task was not impossible, and that Noah succeeded as the Bible records. If you would like more information on how to prove the Bible is God's inspired Word for mankind, write in immediately for the free booklet, The Proof of the Bible.