Would it have been easier for us to believe?
If we could have witnessed the animals as they lined 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, would 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 the cross and then later have Jesus appear to us as 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.” Surely we too would have said, “My Lord and my God”. But we weren’t there. When many seminaries teach and ministers preach that the Bible is just a collection of fables collected from various sources over many years, stories that have been told and retold, 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 archeologists, 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 on 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 17th day of the seventh month for that event. The probability of choosing one day out of 360 choices 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. “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto 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 began on the 15th of Nisan. Remembering that Israel’s days begin at sunset, we can track them to the evening of the 17th, where they camped at Migdol. Then in verse eight, we read, “And they departed (morning of the 17th) from before Pi-hahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness …”
Israel physically left the land of Egypt on the 17th 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 17th day of the first month, and the 17th day of 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 17th day of the seventh month in the days of Noah is the same as the 17th day of the first month (Nisan) on 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 on the same day by accident.
Let’s back up 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 sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that 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 17th day of Nisan 430 years before Israel left Egypt, a new beginning, in a new land.
By multiplying the probabilities of the three occurrences we have 46,656,000 to one chance that three occurrences would happen by accident 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 and chapter 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 16th) the manna ceased.
Then in verse 13, we read, “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, (we could assume this to be the 17th since the last-mentioned date was the 16th) that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto 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 its valiant warriors.’”
Jericho was given to Joshua on the 17th of Nisan, a new beginning in a new land.
Using the same probability formula as before, we come up with one chance in 16 billion, 796 million, 160 thousand.
Want another one? In 2 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 16th of Nisan, the cleaning was finished. On the 17th the sacrifices and worship services were restored; thus, a new beginning for acceptable and proper worship services.
Now we have five “accidental occurrences” to calculate. Would you believe that is one chance in 6 trillion, 48 billion, 617 million, 6oo 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 17th of Nisan that Queen Esther exposed Haman’s plot to King Xerxes. The result was that Haman was hung 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 quadrillions, 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 14th of Nisan. We know that Jesus had to be in the grave for three days and three nights in order to fulfill His own prophecy concerning the sign of Jonah (Matt. 12:40). Three days from the 14th is the 17th of Nisan. Christ was resurrected on Saturday evening, the 17th of Nisan, a full three days and three nights from the time of His death. Thus, offering all who believe in Him a new beginning with an opportunity for eternal life (John 3:1-21). No! He was not resurrected on Sunday morning, nor was He crucified on Friday, which can be easily determined by any sincere bible student who believes every word of Jesus as quoted in the scriptures.
Hold on to your hats: the probability of all seven of these “accidental” events occurring on the same day is one in 783 quadrillions, 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? I wonder what the next 17th of Nisan event will be.
Del Leger ©