Jews needing to make a decision sometimes left it to the roll of the dice, figuring God controlled the dice. They used “lots,” possibly marked rocks that scholars guess was a bit like throwing dice. When the disciples needed to replace Judas, who had hanged himself, “they cast lots, and Matthias was selected,” (Acts 1:26 NLT). Complete Visual Bible, p. 398.
Did Moses really spend 40 years in the Sinai Badlands with 603,511 men—not counting women and children, which would punch the numbers up to about 2.5 million (roughly Chicago’s population)? One theory: Moses took all the Jews, however many there were. Hebrew letters had number equivalents. When you add the numbers representing a popular phrase used to describe Israel, “sons of Israel,” you get 603,510. Add Moses for 603,511. 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible, p. 75.
God’s top angel Gabriel shows up by name four times in the Bible, spanning almost 600 years. First he helps the prophet Daniel understand some visions, including one about “the Anointed One,” (Daniel 9:25). Later, he tells a young Mary that she will give birth to the Anointed One, “the Son of the Most High,” (Luke 1:32 NLT). Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0, p. 146.
Parts of the road Paul walked to his execution in Rome still exist. It’s the Appian Way. Flat stone blocks placed together like a jigsaw puzzle.Parts of the road Paul walked to his execution in Rome still exist. It’s the Appian Way. Flat stone blocks placed together like a jigsaw puzzle. The road is arched high in the middle to shed water to the sides. In Paul’s day, it stretched some 130 miles (210 km) from Rome to Capua, just north of Naples. Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0, p. 39.
Gideon was hiding in a hole in the ground when he got word from heaven that he was going to lead an army that would drive raiders out of the Jewish homeland. Heaven’s messenger suddenly appears nearby and says, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” (Judges 6:12 NLT). Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0, p. 155.
It comes as a big surprise to many, but the Antichrist isn’t even mentioned in the last book in the Bible, Revelation—a collection of end-time prophecies. He’s mentioned just four times elsewhere, including “You heard the Antichrist is coming. Well, they’re all over the place,” (1 John 2:18, The Message). Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0, p. 36.
Men with infertile wives were allowed to have sex with servants their wives provided “to bear children,” (Law 146, Hammurabi Code, 1700s BC). That’s how Abraham (2100s BC) got his first son, Ishmael, born of Hagar—the Egyptian servant of Abraham’s 76-year-old wife Sarah. Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0, p. 19.
“Burning sulfur…came down like rain on Sodom and Gomorrah,” and Lot’s wife “became a pillar made out of salt,” (Genesis 19:24, 26 NIRV). The area, in the south part of the Dead Sea, is rich in sulfur, salt, and natural gas. One theory, an earthquake opened a pocket of natural gas. A village fire ignited the gas, spewing sulfur and salt. Complete Visual Bible, p. 21.
When animals died to atone for the sins of humans, all five senses reminded worshipers that sin was deadly serious. Sight: cutting the animal’s throat. Sound: death squeal. Touch: warm blood. Smell: burning meat. Taste: worshipers ate some sacrifices. 100 Tough Questions about God and the Bible, p. 75.
Christians didn’t start teaching that God expected a 10% tithe of income until the mid-1800s; there are no sermons on tithing before then. Tithing became a fundraising technique after the American government stopped supporting churches with tax money, beginning in the 1830s. In Bible times, Christians gave offerings, not tithes. Paul said, “You must each decide in your heart how much to give,” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT). Bible Snapshots, p. 226.