Amazing Little-Known Facts From The Bible
A "Did you know?" section to point out some amazing Biblical facts that are rarely mentioned in churches.
Paul Went to Heaven then Came Back to Earth
What Was the Transfiguration All About?
What Happened to the People who were Raised to Life When Jesus Died on the Cross and the Tombs Broke Open?
There Will Be a Sea in the New Earth!
Old Biblical Generations Lived to be 100s of Years Old! How was that Possible? And What Did They Look Like?
The Old Testament Prophet Elisha Performed Some of the Same Miracles as Jesus
No Marriage in Heaven
Those Who Truly Love God are Blessed to a Thousand Generations
An Amazing Story About Elijah
1. Paul Went to Heaven then Came Back to Earth
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of it I do not know, but God knows. And I know that this man— whether in the body or out of it I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to Paradise. The things he heard were too sacred for words, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about such a man, but I will not boast about myself, except in my weaknesses.
Notes: This was Paul talking about himself. He used the term "I know a man", but he meant to hint about himself. He said "fourteen years ago..." That was the time when he saw the flash of light on the way to Damascus.
This revelation from Paul about going to heaven and back at the time of the flash, can be interpreted in plain words as: Jesus told Paul to "step into His office" for a moment. Then He briefed Him on the situation and let him know He was the Messiah. Then Paul who was a devout Jew, and wholeheartedly awaiting the coming of the Messiah, believed. Paul made a U-turn and went from persecuting and killing the Christians, to becoming one of the strongest Christian believers of those days. Then he went on to write most of the letters in the New Testament, i.e., the book of Romans and after.
Also note, John 3:13 No one has ascended into heaven, except He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. But Paul's experience happened after John's statement. So, not likely a contradiction.
2. What Was the Transfiguration All About?
Relying on the wisdom God gave me from many years of diligently seeking Him in the Bible, my view of this is that God opened a window into the far future, a time after judgement day. God who is outside our time dimension, showed this from His realm, likely after "the new heaven and new earth" time. God opened that window briefly, the disciples saw Moses, Elijah, and Jesus talking. Then the window closed:
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
Clarifying the point I'm trying to make. Some people think because Moses and Elijah were seen alive at that time, that it actually means they are alive right now in our time dimension, and that people can pray to them, and to others like Mary and saints. But the biblical reality is, they are alive from God's view, outside of our time dimension. From our view, still before judgement day, all humans who died are currently dead and cannot hear any prayers. We will all rise together at the same time at the trumpet sound of God's angel, at the rapture. The Bible says the only human alive today and can see and hear, is Jesus Christ seated at the right hand of God the Father.
3. What Happened to the People who were "Raised to Life" When Jesus Died on the Cross and the Tombs Broke Open?
This Bible reference from Matthew talks about tombs that opened at the time of Jesus' death on the cross. It is indeed a mysterious reference with no further elaboration in the Bible about what happened to those people afterwards. So I thought to provide my view on this.
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
First note that the reference says the tombs opened at the earthquake of Jesus' death, but the people came out of the tombs later, after Jesus' resurrection. Which was meant to show the magnificence of Jesus' resurrection to life, causing supernatural events around the area. Although no further information was provided on these people, we can use similar situations in the scripture to explain, example Lazarus who was raised from the dead by Jesus. Obviously, the Bible only talked about Jesus as the only "first-fruit" who was resurrected to everlasting life and ascended bodily into heaven. There was no mention of others that ascended bodily to heaven. So we can only conclude that these people here in this reference, and all others that Jesus and prophets raised from the dead, lived their life on earth to old age like all other people, then died a natural death later.
Again, similar to the Transfiguration description above, this Bible reference is also causing some people to think that there are "dead saints" who are actually alive in heaven today, and that they can pray to them, like to Mary and other saints. But no human is alive today in heaven except Jesus. The devil uses this gray area, which is difficult to understand, to blind people and keep them away from the truth, and keep them on their way to hell with him!
4. There Will Be a Sea in the New Earth!
You may have noticed this reference in Revelation saying there will not be a sea in the new earth. But I think there will be a sea! The Bible often used the term "sea" to mean pagan / unbelieving parts of the world. Example in Revelation-13 talking about the dragon coming out of the "sea"... So obviously in the new earth these unbelieving parts will not be there. But an actual sea and oceans, will most likely be there. What did you think? that the new earth will be a downgrade of the current earth, without seas and oceans? No!! the new earth will be more magnificent than we can possibly imagine.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
5. Old Biblical Generations Lived to be 100s of Years Old! How was that Possible? And What Did They Look Like?
Adam died at age 930
Adam and several generations after him lived hundreds of years. In those days, before the Noah flood, the average age was 900 years old. Adam lived to age 930 years. The Bible does not tell us at what age Eve died. The winner of the oldest person in those days, was Methuselah; died at the young age of 969! Methuselah was the son of Enoch who did not die! The Bible said Enoch just disappeared one day, that God loved him so much He just took him without death. Enoch was one of 2 people on earth to experience this. The other person was Elijah.
One possible explanation to the long years, Adam and Eve ate from the tree of life in the garden. Genesis 3:22: "Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”.
Another possible explanation is, as the first human couple created by God, Adam and Eve were created without sin. In this state of perfection, they were meant to live forever in paradise on earth. But after the fall and the introduction of sin, death began to exert its destructive influence on humankind (Romans 5:12).
Noah died at age 777. After the flood, the average human life span began to shrink drastically. The post-flood people from Noah’s son Shem (who died at 600) to Peleg (who died at 239) lived an average of 435 years. By Abraham’s time, humans were living less than 200 years. Then later, Moses was considered very old when he died at 120.
So what did these people look like, say in their midlife around the age of 450? The Bible did not tell us. But for us curious people, I have done some extrapolating from the Biblical information on Sarah (Abraham's wife) below.
5.1 Sarah Was Stunningly Beautiful at Age 65 and Had a Baby at Age 90
The Bible says Sarah, Abraham's wife, was "stunningly beautiful" at age 65, and conceived Isaac at 90. Sarah died at age 127. So 65 was about mid-life age for her, compared to a 38-year old person today (using today's average lifespan of 77). So if we do the extrapolation math, a 450-year old person in the days of Adam may have looked like a 38 year-old person today. It was a much slower aging process. The same amount of aging we do in 10 years today for example, took 100 years in the days of Adam and Eve.
Genesis 12:4: "So Abram left just as God said, and Lot left with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran." And we know from the below verse that Sarah was about 10 years younger than Abraham. So Sarah was 65 years old. Then in Genesis 12:14-15: "When Abram arrived in Egypt, the Egyptians took one look and saw that his wife was stunningly beautiful. Pharaoh’s princes raved over her to Pharaoh. She was taken to live with Pharaoh."
Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”
There was no plastic surgery in those days. You may ask, "what's the point?" Well for those of us seeking God in every way, stories like these give us more knowledge about God and the chronology of His creation, instead of the "evolution" junk being pushed down people’s throats today.
Abraham married again twice after Sarah's death and had more children, then died at 175, Genesis 25:7. Abraham’s father had died at age 205, Genesis 11:31-32.
That was a time when the human age was on its way down to settle at around the 120 years max of today. Genesis 6:3: "And the Lord said, “My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt. Their days will be 120 years.”"
6. The Old Testament Prophet Elisha Performed Some of the Same Miracles as Jesus
Elisha raised a dead boy, and fed 20 loaves of bread to hundreds of people and had leftovers!
32 When Elisha got to the house, he discovered the boy lying dead on his bed. 33 So he went in, closed the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he went up and lay on the boy: he put mouth to mouth, eye to eye, hand to hand. While he bent down over him, the boy’s flesh became warm. 35 Elisha got up, went into the house, and paced back and forth. Then he went up and bent down over him again. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.
42 A man from Baal-shalishah came to the man of God with his sack full of twenty loaves of barley bread from the first bread of the harvest. Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.” 43 But Elisha’s attendant asked, “What? Am I to set this before a hundred men?”
“Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said, “for this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat, and they will have some left over.’” 44 So he set it before them, and as the Lord had promised, they ate and had some left over.
Notes: Jesus later referred to all the prophets of the old-testament as the servants of God, and Himself as the son of God, the final one to come. So all the prophets had similar miraculous powers as Jesus, bestowed on them by God. Jesus clarified it in this parable:
33 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner, who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. He leased it to tenant farmers and went away. 34 When the time came to harvest fruit, he sent his servants to the farmers to collect his fruit. 35 The farmers took his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again, he sent other servants, more than the first group, and they did the same to them. 37 Finally, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
7. No Marriage in Heaven
34 Jesus told them, “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to take part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 For they can no longer die, because they are like angels and are children of God, since they are children of the resurrection.
Notes: God gives us glimpses about heaven throughout the Scriptures, example the reference above. Many take these verses to speculate further about heaven. I saw this interesting story on the web. I am not saying this is correct, but have a feeling there is some truth to it. Summarizing the story from the web: "A 9-yr old boy was told that when he grows up, sex will be the most pleasurable thing. He asked, do they eat chocolate while doing it?" Adults are actually the same as that 9-yr boy when asking about sex in heaven; we all see sex as the greatest thing and ask if there will be sex in heaven. Possibly yes as we'll have physical bodies, but it is likely that there will be far greater blessings in heaven that will make sex fade in comparison.
1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived - God has prepared these things for those who love him.
8. Those Who Truly Love God are Blessed to a Thousand Generations
God said this in the old testament. And being the same God always, we can be assured this applies to us today!
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
Notes: The Bible did not directly elaborate more on this verse. But for those of us maturing in God, I can say that God knows that those who truly love Him, will make every effort to teach their children all they know about God. Who in turn will teach their children, and so on. A thousand generation of our descendants are blessed by God! What an amazing feeling! Then we will all reunite in heaven!
Also note, "keep His commandments" in the new-covenant become "keep Jesus' commands". So start teaching them to your children as early as possible. So when they get to college they're less likely to be swept by the Athiest current.
9. An Amazing Story About Elijah
1Kings 18:1-2 & 16-38
1 After a long time, the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year: “Go and present yourself to King Ahab. I will send rain on the surface of the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
16 Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him. Then Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, the one ruining Israel?”
18 He replied, “I have not ruined Israel, but you and your father’s family have, because you have abandoned the Lord’s commands and followed the Baals. 19 Now summon all Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
20 So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel. 21 Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him. But if Baal, follow him.” But the people didn’t answer him a word.
22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I am the only remaining prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 Let two bulls be given to us. They are to choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and place it on the wood but not light the fire. I will prepare the other bull and place it on the wood but not light the fire. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The God who answers with fire, he is God.”
All the people answered, “That’s fine.”
25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Since you are so numerous, choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first. Then call on the name of your god but don’t light the fire.”
26 So they took the bull that he gave them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound; no one answered. Then they danced around the altar they had made.
27 At noon Elijah mocked them. He said, “Shout loudly, for he’s a god! Maybe he’s thinking it over; maybe he has wandered away; or maybe he’s on the road. Perhaps he’s sleeping and will wake up!” 28 They shouted loudly, and cut themselves with knives and spears, according to their custom, until blood gushed over them. 29 All afternoon they kept on raving until the offering of the evening sacrifice, but there was no sound; no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near me.” So all the people approached him. Then he repaired the Lord’s altar that had been torn down: 31 Elijah took twelve stones—according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel will be your name” 32 and he built an altar with the stones in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold about four gallons. 33 Next, he arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood. He said, “Fill four water pots with water and pour it on the offering to be burned and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “A second time!” and they did it a second time. And then he said, “A third time!” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; he even filled the trench with water.
36 At the time for offering the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah approached the altar and said, “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that you are God in Israel and I am your servant, and that at your word I have done all these things. 37 Answer me, Lord! Answer me so that this people will know that you, the Lord, are God and that you have turned their hearts back.”
38 Then the Lord’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 When all the people saw it, they fell facedown and said, “The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!”
Notes: I like this story from the Old Testament. It's a "feel-good Elijah showed them! story". It continued in the next chapter. Jezebel the wife of King Ahab found out about how Elijah humiliated the king, so she set out to kill him. There you have it, human nature at its worst. This woman was told about this magnificent miracle from God. And what did she do? Sought revenge on the prophet who did it! Of course God protected Elijah, and instead killed her.
But the important message I wanted to point out here was, King Ahab, his hundreds of prophets, officials, and all the educated people, were living in luxury for a long time, thinking that they had the right god with them. Then came Elijah, this uneducated individual, living in the wilderness, and showed them otherwise. This is a perfect example of a one person with wisdom from God, showing a large number of people who missed the truth for years.