Posts Tagged ‘The Ark Encounter’

Encountering the Ark

“For the Son of Man’s coming will be just as it was in the days of Noach” (Matthew 24:37).

Ken Ham and ‘Answers in Genesis’ made a significant impact on my children’s Biblical world view when we heard him teach in Denver, Colorado. They never forgot his “billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water’ to support a worldwide flood. When friends suggested we visit the life-sized Ark he had built, we couldn’t miss the opportunity as we drove through Kentucky.

“First, understand this: during the Last Days, scoffers will come, following their own desires and asking, “Where is this promised ‘coming’ of his? For our fathers have died, and everything goes on just as it has since the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

Reading some of the reviews on The Ark Encounter before we went was discouraging. Atheists mocked the whole project inside and out while one young Millennial writer from Christianity Today thought the whole thing obsessive and expensive even though the funds for the project were all raised privately. There was a Washington Post article mocking the Ark because rain eroded the roadway and had to be reinforced. There was another article about taxes and how Answers in Genesis had figured out a way not to pay property taxes that support local schools. I wanted to laugh if it wasn’t so sad. Public schools don’t teach anything about Creation nor do they want to and, if I were Ken Ham, I wouldn’t want to support those institutions through taxes either. They want the money, but not the worldview.

“And he did not spare the ancient world; on the contrary, he preserved Noach, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, and brought the Flood upon a world of ungodly people” (2 Peter 2:5).

With all of the negative comments, I wasn’t sure what I would ‘encounter’ when I actually experienced the Ark, but I know that Yeshua said the world would be like ‘the days of Noach’ before he returned. Those days were full of scoffers; those who reject even the idea of God.

The original Ark was not built to be evangelistic even though that is how the The Ark Encounter creator’s view it. The original Ark was built to protect eight faithful people from the judgment of God against wickedness and violence on the earth. Even in the short movie entitled “An Interview with Noah” shown on the Lower Deck, Noah states that if someone came knocking on the door because they believed, he would let them in. In reality, no one did. That wasn’t God’s plan for the Ark. Strangely enough, my Bible reading for the day included the following showing that it was Yeshua who explained the message of the flood and God’s patience.

“For the Messiah himself died for sins, once and for all, a righteous person on behalf of unrighteous people, so that he might bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but brought to life by the Spirit;  and in this form he went and made a proclamation to the imprisoned spirits, to those who were disobedient long ago, in the days of Noach, when God waited patiently during the building of the ark, in which a few people — to be specific, eight — were delivered by means of water” (1 Peter 3:18-20).

We arrived as the visitor center opened at 9 a.m. and watched a 25-minute video on the making of the Ark – from purchasing the land, to hiring all of the people God called to design, build, and detail the Ark to the ribbon cutting ceremony. Ken Ham was asked if the Ark was everything he imagined it to be. He answered, “No, it was more than he could have ever imagined.” Yes, I’m sure it is. It is more than anyone could imagine!

The Ark

From the huge auditorium, we began our journey toward the Ark which took up nearly the whole horizon before us. Elephants and giraffes made from bushy trees seemed to be trudging toward the ramp up to the huge door near the bow. This Ark is made to be life-size according to the directions given to Noach in cubits. They used the royal cubit length of 20.4 inches, making their cubit a little less than the longer 21.6 inches. With this measurement this Ark is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet tall.

Listening to God

We entered the Ark from below deck as it is built on a foundation rather than sitting on the ground waiting for another worldwide flood. We walked up the first ramp to the Lower Deck and entered a side door to the sounds of thunder and rain. Animal cages made from bamboo and outfitted with food and water receptacles greeted us. The sounds of the animals eating, moving around in their cages and even going to the bathroom came through the cage doors. (No real animals in these cages – just the sound ambiance of them.)

Bamboo Animal Cages with Smart Feeders

When we turned the corner, we watched Noach and his family praying for God’s protection while lightning flashed in the background behind him. We were blessed that he was praying in Hebrew; however, we are pretty sure he didn’t have an altar with fire in the Ark. We were also blessed at one point in the film, when they proclaimed in detail the Hebrew names of the Creator from El Elyon, El Shaddai and Adonai to Ehyeh, the I Am.

Noach’s Prayer for Protection

We continued to walk around the first deck to the Bow. Bags and bags of grain for food and large clay jars probably holding water and small jars for oil lined the side of the Ark. In the middle of the Ark were small cages for moths and other slimy things that some of the animals would eat. It was overwhelming to consider all of the necessities for living in a boat with so many different kinds of animals for over a year.

We wandered along the numerous bamboo cages looking at the pre-flood creatures. Many of the animals that were on the Ark do not exist in the forms we see today. They were designed by engineers who used 3D printers to re-create the animal bodies and skeletons while painters and fur people made each animal look realistic.

Not every species of animal was taken on the Ark, only kinds of animals: Stalhleckeriid Kind, Canids (the dog kind), Hyena Kind, Felids (the cat kind), Alligator Kind, the Cattle Kind, Pongids (the great ape kind), the Giraffe Kind, the Horse Kind, the Hippopotamus Kind and so on until there were about 1,398 KINDS on the Ark. Within each kind were 10s, 50s and 100s giving them at most 7,000 land animals and birds.

Juvenile KInd of ‘saurus’

The second deck contained exhibits that answer many questions about the the Ark. For example, where did fresh water come from to drink, bathe and wash clothes and dishes? How long did it take to feed and water all the animals? What was done with the tons of animal waste? What kinds of lighting was in the Ark? Various ingenious examples of mechanical and technical designs showed the intelligence of Noach and his family who were called to build this huge boat for their protection and provision.

One inch of rain water per week from the roof of the Ark funneled into large cisterns would have kept Noach’s family supplied with fresh water. Once the rain stopped, evaporation of the flood waters would have also caused rain to fall to keep the cisterns full. Gutters and piping from the cisterns transported water to each of the animals cages.

With regard to waste, I noticed that some of the cages had trays or small wagons underneath the slats that could be removed. Smaller animal cages had gutters where waste would flush out. The waste could easily be removed and then it could be taken to what is called a ‘moon pool’ and removed from the Ark.

Near Bow of the Ark, there were ‘moon pools.’ These were large tubes that were open from the top of the Ark through the bottom. As the Ark rocked on the waves water would push up into these pools circulating fresh air. One pool was used for waste and as the Ark rose and the water rushed out, the waste went with it.

There was a lot of artistic license taken when designing this Ark, Some of it, however, was taken from other sources like the Book of Jubilees as well as the creativity of the designers. Each part of the system of feeding, water and waste removal seemed very plausible because each system also helped to manage the enormous work load put on eight people.

Also on the second deck was a small petting zoo. I believe I saw porcupines and I hope no one would pet them. I did have the opportunity to feed an alpaca and receive a kiss.

The Alpaca Kiss

The third deck contained exhibits of life for Noah and his family on the Ark. Each life-size diorama depicted a different scene of Noah, Shem, Ham, Japeth and their wives. I’m not sure with so many animals to feed and take care of that the depiction of Japeth playing the flute is realistic, but I hope they did have time for each other and some relaxing moments.

The structure of the Ark is quite overwhelming. It is made completely of wood with huge tree trunks as center standing beams. Looking up there were skylights to allow some light inside. Looking down there were holds for more food and supplies. As we were reminded in the first film, this Ark is not really a boat, but made to look like the boat. It is made for people to come inside and see an idea of how the Ark may have looked. All of the empty space for visitors and exhibits would have been filled with more food, cages, feeding troughs and excrement tubes for animals.

We had a nice little buffet lunch at Emzara’s Kitchen. Emzara is the name of Noah’s wife from the Book of Jubilees. Apparently, the little stories they gave about each of Noach’s sons’ wives came from other sources as well because some of the I actually recognized from books I have read.

We took a stroll around the Ararat Zoo near Emzara’s and watched kangaroos boingy boingy, an ostrich stretch its head, some pigs trying to get out of their pen, horses and a zebra just chilling, and camels saddled up for rides. Many of the animals, especially the birds, are gone for the season. It would be a much better zoo in the summer!

One of my pet peeves when teaching children Biblical accounts is Veggie Tales. Suffice it to say that I do not believe that anyone should take courageous and strong men and women of faith and give them cartoon caracatures or make them into vegetables. It diminishes the value of their testimony of God and allows for the Bible to become ‘just another storybook.’

Beware of ‘The Lie”

The same is true about Noah’s Ark and making it look like a fairy tale. The ‘days of Noah’ were not fairy tale days and the Ark was not a bewitched pumpkin transformed into a floating vessel by some magic spell. The animals weren’t squished on the Ark and they weren’t hanging out on some exterior deck. It is these types of deceptions that take hold in the hearts of children and turn them away from trusting in the Creator of the Universe for life and hope. It was interesting to see that one exhibit dealt with this ‘lie’ and actually had nearly every children’s book ever written that propelled the deception.

The Lie of the Serpent

“So long as the earth exists, sowing time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

After our Ark Encounter and a bag of books and souvenirs, we went back to the auditorium for a lecture on Global Warming by Dr. Alan White. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Harvard University. He has been granted 41 US patents and is an author on 18 scientific publications. He is retired from Eastman Chemical Company and spends time speaking on creation science especially in the area of climate change. From all of his graphs and diagrams, it seems there is no real evidence for such an event as global warming because records have only been kept for 150 years. Even for those who believe in ‘billions’ of years and evolution, that’s not much time to gather the evidence needed to prove our earth is dangerously warming. Instead, there is much evidence for changes in climate – some temperatures going up and some going down. Whether or not one believes in destructive global warming really is dependent upon their world view: faith in God or faith in mankind. I choose God and the Truth of the Word:

“God added, “Here is the sign of the covenant I am making between myself and you and every living creature with you, for all generations to come:  I am putting my rainbow in the cloud — it will be there as a sign of the covenant between myself and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth, and the rainbow is seen in the cloud;  I will remember my covenant which is between myself and you and every living creature of any kind; and the water will never again become a flood to destroy all living beings. The rainbow will be in the cloud; so that when I look at it, I will remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of any kind on the earth” (Genesis 9:12-16).

Dividing the Word of Truth

“Do all you can to present yourself to God as someone worthy of his approval, as a worker with no need to be ashamed, because he deals straightforwardly with the Word of the Truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

I know those who created the Ark Encounter studied extensively the  how and why everything from animals to food to people fit together,  however, there were a few issues that when I ‘divide the Word of Truth,’ I found lacking.

“… keep my shabbats holy; and they will be a sign between me and you, so that you will know that I am Adonai your God” (Ezekiel 20:20).

As much as I appreciate Ken Ham and his vision as a Creationist in this secular world of scoffers, his days of creation fall short of the entire week.  only saw one sign, and that in the main building, that even mentioned the seventh day with  ‘on the seventh day, God rested.’  Apart from that there was nothing regarding God sanctifying the seventh day, setting it apart from the rest of the days of creation.  Sanctification of the seventh day or Sabbath, as this day was also given a name, is just as important as knowing on which days God created sun, moon and stars or sea creatures. I have read many of his books over the years and he never addresses the seventh day as a created day.  In fact, many years ago I wrote to him on this issue. From his response I know Mr. Ham avoids the Sabbath because he wants to avoid controversy and he’s more interested in promoting creation over evolution, but the Sabbath is the ‘sign’ that we grasp Creation in its entirety.  This is what has been lost in the ‘changing’ of the Sabbath to Sunday and has allowed for more Christians to believe in evolution and deny the literal seven days of creation.

“I am the gate [door]; if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).

Much of the Ark Encounter focuses on the message of salvation and uses ‘the door’ to emphasize this message.  Yeshua (Jesus) is the ‘door’ no less than ‘the door’ to the Ark was the entrance to salvation from the flood for Noah’s family.  It was cool how they had a photo op place set up to take pictures of individuals standing at ‘the door.’  My only concern is ‘the cross’ that was projected on it.  One of the commands for believers of the nations is to make the Jew envious for their own Messiah and salvation.  It always grieves me when Christians push ‘the cross’ when it is really offensive to Yeshua’s brothers and sisters.   After all, millions of Jews over the past 2000 years were murdered by those who donned the cross.  Though I understand the concept of the idea, perhaps another depiction could have been projected or nothing at all.  Allow the allusion to stand for itself.  

“Then I saw standing there with the throne and the four living beings, in the circle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been slaughtered” (Revelation 5:6).

Within the exhibit “Museum of the Bible,’ another key comparison was depicted.  Just as Yeshua is ‘the door,’ he is also ‘the lamb who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).  This is represented by the ‘ram’ that Abraham found in the thicket, ’the blood of the lamb’ put on the Hebrews’ doorposts and lintel at the Passover, and all of the sacrificial lambs within the Temple services.  Yeshua is referred to as a ‘lamb led to the slaughter but didn’t open his mouth’ (Jeremiah 11:19, Isaiah 53:7).  Yet, in the exhibit of Adam and Eve sinning, some archaic dinosaur or amphibian was used as the sacrifice for their sin.  They wore furry clothes (not explicit in Scripture) which would not have come from the skin of a hairless creature.  I’m not sure why a ‘lamb’ wasn’t used to tie the sacrificial account from the Garden to the ram and the blood, but it seemed very silly.  

There were wonderful explanations about the number of ‘unclean’ animals vs. ‘clean’ animals that entered the Ark.  The explanations included the question of whether or not Noah understood the difference, but most likely learned from the differing numbers God brought to him. 

“Of every clean animal you are to take seven couples, and of the animals that are not clean, one couple; also of the birds in the air take seven couples — in order to preserve their species throughout the earth” (Genesis 7:2-3).

Correctly, Noah sacrificed ‘clean’ animals after the flood as worship of Elohim.  This had to be the case or the ‘unclean’ would never have been able to reproduce.  At this time, Noah is told that he may eat the flesh of animals like he ate plants.  Again, this is correct though it’s probable that not all green plants were edible: poison ivy or the leaves of rhubarb were not edible.   The explanation went on to say that the idea of not eating ‘unclean’ animals was for a certain time in a certain culture.  This belief system is unfortunate for several reasons.  First, each of the covenants built on each other.  Noach was given meat to eat while the Israelites were given more specifics of those meats in the Torah.  No one was to eat blood! Each covenant is based on faith – taking God as His word.

“And there is one Lord, one trust, one immersion, and one God, the Father of all, who rules over all, works through all and is in all” (Ephesians 4:5-6).

Second, rather than challenging all of the people walking through the Ark to consider that Yeshua didn’t die on the cross to save them from God’s teachings and instructions, such theology allows the faulty interpretations from Acts 10, 11 and Romans 14 to continue. Third, once again this theology divides the Bible into sections – one section for one group of people (Christians) and another for another group (Jews).  This is heresy when the Bible is one book written for all men for all time – also explained in one of the exhibits.  Yeshua himself stated in Matthew 5 that the Torah would not disappear until there’s a new heaven and new earth.  Perhaps what Noah was given in his new heaven and new earth was for THIS heaven and THIS earth until the restoration of all things!

“Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened” (Matthew 5:18).

Our day ended with a sunset over the distant Ark, not a rainbow of a covenant promise. Still, my Ark Encounter, even with my concerns, was one to remember – something everyone should do at least once ‘in these days of Noach.’ It brings with it a perspective of God and His Word in Biblical proportions.

“By trusting, Noach, after receiving divine warning about things as yet unseen, was filled with holy fear and built an ark to save his household. Through this trusting, he put the world under condemnation and received the righteousness that comes from trusting” (Hebrews 11:7).

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. For a hard copy of this article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.