Puzzling Biblical Mysteries

For a text that’s said to have all the answers, the Bible sure raises a lot of questions. Look close and the Good Book seems to devolve into a swirling mess of mysteries complex enough to give Dan Brown nightmares.

10 God’s Name


Photo credit: Daniel Tibi

Have you ever had one of those awkward moments when you forget how to pronounce someone’s name? Judaism has been suffering that embarrassment for centuries. According to Jewish tradition, there are many different ways of referring to God, but the proper way is by the Tetragrammaton. Spelled “YHVH,” this simple combination of letters is meant to be the true name of God Himself—and no one is sure how to pronounce it.

Although there was originally no prohibition on saying God’s name, by the time the first century rolled round, you explicitly had to be in the Temple at Jerusalem to do so. Unfortunately for history, the first century is when Rome decided Jerusalem would look better as a pile of smoldering rubble. By A.D. 70, the Temple had been destroyed, but the prohibition on saying the Tetragrammaton outside its walls remained. The result: The correct pronunciation vanished from history, and all we have now are guesses.

9 The Behemoth

At the denouement of the Book of Job, God appears to a group of people from a storm to boast about how awesome He is. As part of this insane, multiple-page brag, He asks His audience to consider one of His most impressive creations: the mighty Behemoth. Today, no one has any idea what He was talking about.

From the description, we know that Behemoth is a land-based animal and a very big one. Its bones are “tubes of bronze,” its limbs are “like rods of iron,” and its tail is “like a cedar.” The entire River Jordan is meant to “surge against its mouth,” suggesting something of massive dimensions. So what is it? We don’t know.

Some modern scholars have suggested the above passage describes a hippopotamus, which makes sense until you remember the cedar-sized tail. Others have suggested an elephant or even a dinosaur that survived into biblical times. The whole thing is a total mystery, one not helped by God describing another mythical creature only a couple of passages later.

8 The Lost Wealth Of Ophir

The Old Testament is full of regions and cities now lost to human knowledge, but perhaps none is quite so intriguing as Ophir. Mentioned multiple times in Genesis, Job, Kings, and Isiah, it’s the biblical equivalent of El Dorado—a land absolutely teeming with gold.

Not just gold, but also silver, ivory, and precious stones, not to mention luxurious peacocks strutting about. By all accounts, it was a place of fantastic wealth and riches, a region almost unparalleled in the goods it could provide a biblical king. And its location is a complete mystery.

The Bible itself seems to suggest it was on the Arabian Peninsula, but that now sounds unlikely. Modern scholars think it was located either in East Africa—perhaps in the area of Somalia—or else in India. The peacocks would seem to support the India hypothesis, while the presence of ivory is more in line with contemporary accounts of trade in Africa. Then again, it could be somewhere else entirely.

7 The Meaning Of The Millennium


Photo credit: Marsyas/Wikimedia

In the Book of Apocalypse (also known as Revelation), the author very specifically mentions a period of 1,000 years, known as the Millennium, when Jesus will reign over the Earth. Sounds straightforward? It’s anything but. Modern scholars are completely divided on everything to do with the Millennium—including how long it will last.

For some, the Millennium is literally what it sounds like: the time of Jesus’s Second Coming, when He will physically rule for 1,000 years. Others have claimed it is the moment of resurrection, lasting an undetermined time, while yet others think the whole thing is a big metaphor for the majority of humanity converting to Christianity. Since it is part of the very confusing Book of Apocalypse, an extra layer of uncertainty appears because some people think this time is yet to come, while others think it has already happened.

6 Jesus’s Year Of Birth

Most action that takes place during the Gospels isn’t tied in to any exact date, but the birth of Christ is an exception. Luke directly states that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod, when the first great census was taking place. This is impossible.

Although Quirinius conducted a great census around A.D. 6–7, it didn’t overlap with Herod’s reign. By the time of the census, Herod had been dead for nearly a decade, meaning the two clues we have for dating Christ’s birth contradict each other. In 2012, the Pope declared the Christian calendar to be off by several years, but not everyone agrees. So the best that can be said for Jesus’s birth is that he was born “somewhere around” the beginning of the first century.

5 The Location Of Noah’s Ark


Photo credit: Henri Nissen

Even the irreligious among us probably know Mount Ararat in Turkey as the final resting place of Noah’s Ark. But there’s actually no reason we should think this. Although the Bible specifically mentions where the Ark landed, that specific place is Urartu, an ancient kingdom in East Turkey. And although that might well include Ararat, the association didn’t arise until the 10th century B.C., over 1,000 years after the Flood supposedly happened.

Since no evidence points to a giant flood ever affecting Turkey, we have no idea where the Ark supposedly came to rest. Granted, it’s meant to be within the bounds of ancient Urartu, but that covers swaths of Turkey, Armenia, and Iran and includes multiple mountain ranges. Thanks to the huge passage of time since Genesis was written, it’s doubtful that we’ll ever know what location the author had in mind.

4 The Missing Books

Clocking in at over three quarters of a million words, the Bible is one of the longest books ever written. But it’s meant to be even longer. At least 17 entire books are missing from our modern version, and we’ve no idea what happened to them.

Thanks to other parts of the Bible referencing the missing works, we know they existed. For example, Chronicles 29:29 explicitly refers to “the records of Nathan the Prophet and the records of Gad the Seer” and says they detail the reign of King David. But try searching for either of those books in your Bible, and you’ll find nothing. Same with the Book of the Wars of the Lord, which allegedly contained an epic cycle of poems dealing with the Israelite army laying waste to entire civilizations.

So what happened to these obviously important books? Nobody knows. At some point in history, they were either lost or someone decided to chuck the lot of them out without leaving any record as to why.

3 The Identities Of Gog And Magog


Photo credit: John O’Neil

Despite their comedy-duo names, the biblical Gog and Magog are very bad news. In Ezekiel, Gog is a warlike chief prophesized to attack and very nearly annihilate Israel. In the Apocalypse, Gog and Magog are the nations that will align with Satan for the coming final battle. But far from being just interchangeable names, there’s a very real possibility that they signified a specific person or group. Only we’ve no idea who.

Finding out who they’re meant to be would give us incredible insight into the composition of both the Old and New Testaments, along with a better understanding of the tensions of the time. Countless interpretations have been advanced over the centuries. Modern scholarship tends to think Gog is Gyges, a king of Lydia from the 7th century B.C. Others think the Akkadian god Gaga is the target. Gog and Magog have been alternatively defined as the Sycthians, the Huns, the Magyars, and even the entire Muslim world.

2 Jesus’s Missing Years

No one has had their life story as thoroughly analyzed as Jesus’s. Nearly every moment of Christ’s existence has been poured over by scholars and interpreted and re-interpreted. Yet there still remain some gigantic gaps in our knowledge, such as what Jesus did between the ages of 12 and 30.

Following the story of Jesus’s birth and early years, the Gospels go strangely silent on their main character for this huge chunk of His life. We’ve got no idea what Jesus did during adolescence and young adulthood. This gap of information is so glaring that hundreds of books have been written on the subject, all advancing their own pet theories. There’s speculation that He visited England, spent time in the desert, or even took the ancient equivalent of a gap year and vanished off to India. On the other hand, He may have simply bummed around Galilee, working as a carpenter.

1 The Site Of The Crucifixion


Photo credit: Jorge Lascar

The New Testament labels the Crucifixion as the single most important event in the history of humanity. Even if you’re not religious, you can likely appreciate how it utterly changed the world. So where did this epoch-shaking event of unimaginable importance take place? You’ve guessed it: We don’t know.

The Bible very specifically says the Crucifixion took place at Golgotha, one of the hills outside Jerusalem. It’s one of the very few details on which all four Gospels agree. We know that Golgotha was also known as Calvary, a word meaning “skull.” Beyond that, it’s just guesswork. Modern scholarship thinks Gordon’s Calvary—a small, vaguely skull-shaped hillock near modern Jerusalem—is a likely location. But then so is the spot Christians revere as the site, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

As an additional headache, both sites were chosen because of their proximity to ancient tombs. Yet another school of thought suggests Romans only allowed crucifixion victims to be buried in shallow graves. If true, the Crucifixion could have happened in any of a hundred different unknown places.


Failure to launch

Don’t you just hate it when you can’t seem to catch a break. Wouldn’t you like to be the envy of people. Sadly for you, that will never happen, because you are not perfect. You will never be like your pastor or the cousin who is now the CXO of some corporation; that friend who keeps hopping on jet planes or dream to walk under the shadow of that perfect parent.   No, you are destined to be imperfect, always under the scrutiny of some watchful eye. you are the outcasts:- addicts, child molestors, murderers, prostitutes.

It’s hard, isn’t it when you put an addict  and a child molestor on the same pedestal. Can we actually forgive a murderer?

Sin doesn’t come in sizes.  For all have sinned and come short of the glory of GOD ( Rom 3:23 )

Yet we are happy to compartmentalize.

Some people are born with a silver spoon. They are born into richness. Much like that, some of us are born with a blessed character. Doing God’s will comes natural. Just like the prodigal son’s brother.  It does not mean that GOD sees the rest of us as any different.

“Its not the sin that will condemn us or kill us, but the resignation to the faith that we  are unforgivable”

Know then that GOD cares for us the vile sinners just as much as he cares for the good fellas. Its simple, if you had two pets, one pedegreed to the highest order and the other one a rescue pup from the local canine shelter… would you care more for the pedegreed animal. It’s the same with GOD. Know this then, if your sins are many, you are likely to fall in love with GOD so much more than your perfect earthly father or your famous pastor.

Next time you are on a binge, doing your most favourite sin, don’t just stand/sit there idle, let your heart cry out to GOD and ask him for his forgiveness and your deliverance, just like the canannite women who begged for the scraps from the Lord’s table,  or the woman who loved GOD more because her sins were many. You deserve life with the full measure of happiness that GOD intends you to have. Don’t let that imperfection stop you.

I don’t think you heard me the first time. PRAY beore you commit the sin, as you commit the sin and after you commit the sin. GOD hears you every single time and he is sending you help as we speak. As long as you pray, there is hope for a better life [ever after!!!].

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” :Rom 8:1

“No Strings Attached”

PS: You should be gratefull because  you are lucky to know that you have an issue that can be addressed. The real failure is when you don’t know what your issue is. The world has yet to catchup on pride, greed, jealousy etc. It would be a shame if you were perfect in the world’s eyes, but a complete failure in the eyes of your creator.



The Importance of Walls

Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.
Proverbs 25:28

Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem that lay in ruins during Israel’s Babylonian captivity. When he heard a report that the gates and walls were in ruins, he wept and called out to God for help (Nehemiah 1:5-11). King Artaxerxes granted permission for Nehemiah to return and rebuild the walls around Jerusalem.

The importance of city walls in the ancient world cannot be overstated. A wall in disrepair could be easily breached; a broken-down wall allowed enemies ready access to a city and its population. King Solomon used walls as a metaphor for a certain part of human behavior. He didn’t compare walls to love, joy, peace, or other godly traits. Instead, he said walls around cities are the equivalent of self-control in a person’s life. As walls protect a city from harm, so self-control protects people.

Think of all the harm that could have come to an ancient city whose walls were broken down. Now consider the same dangers on a personal level. Self-control, enabled by the Spirit, is part of your spiritual and moral protection (Galatians 5:22-23).

It is impossible to be a follower of Jesus without giving diligent attention in our lives to the grace of self-control.
Jerry Bridges

Be Faithful

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16

The Old Testament story of Joseph is filled with lessons for the child of God, not least of which is the importance of integrity (faithfulness). While a captive in Egypt, Joseph was made the chief steward of Potiphar, an official of the Pharaoh. Potiphar trusted Joseph implicitly: “So [Potiphar] left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with [Joseph] there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate” (Genesis 39:6a, NASB).

Joseph was the same when Potiphar was absent as when he was present. Potiphar worried about nothing in his household because Joseph was honest and loyal. That is the heart of integrity and faithfulness. Joseph reflected the unchanging nature of God: always the same, always faithful, always loyal to His children (2 Timothy 2:13). As God conforms us to the image of Christ, we should be the same. Jesus said that our character—our works and words—is one way our lives can reveal the person of God to a world not used to such integrity.

Think about your life today. How faithful will you be? How trustworthy and loyal? Let integrity and faithfulness set you apart from this world.

Integrity of heart is indispensable.
John Calvin

Peacemakers Vs. Cowards

When I was young, I was trained to respect myself. Traditionally this would be mean that I would have to be quick on my feet and mind. To be able to respond to people with an equal measure of aggression or more. To be able to show people that you can’t be messed with and if they did they would learn lessons real fast.

If you did’t have any of the above mentioned qualities, you are more likely to be taken advantage of and be disenfranchised. In simple words you are likely a coward or a wimp.

So, this is where my world collides with reality. I am not an aggressive person, neither am I quick on my feet or mind. When a hot head riles me up, I am more likely to be stunt not knowing how to respond. Even when I know that I have been gravely wronged, I am still framing responses, while the other person has accused me, labelled me and assigned me his fair share of punishment and is already on his way.

All my life I have been beating myself up, because of my inability to respond to people in kind. More than the hurt inflicted by another person, I hate myself because of my inability to respond in an equal manner of aggression or hostility.  I can’t help myself, because I can’t find a means to release my anger.

Recently something happened and I was extremely mad at the person who hurt me, but even more mad at myself. I just did’t know what to do. Then out of the blue, I heard [Translation: A quick thought flew through my head] the words Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of GOD: Mat 5:9”. The words stuck; and a realization followed.

I have had people say that I am a coward, that I can’t stand up for myself. It’s true, but this new realization has prompted me to understand that the real reason I refuse to jump into the fray is because I dislike confrontations. I am trying to find a peaceful means of resolving a situation. It is not something that I have been doing consciously, it was more of a sub conscious decision. Hence my knee jerk reaction has always been to avoid confrontations and find a peaceful solution.

I have now found peace. I will no longer blame myself or be angry again because of my inability to react with aggression because I know I will be called a child of GOD. That was Jesus’ promise.

Hold that thought because, I am now wondering weather I am a peacemaker or a pain avoid-er… hmm m  I  am lost again…