Bible trivia

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Firstly, great emphasis is given that the contents of this series are intended to give Biblical information and insights on some of its contents. They are not intended to scare or offend anyone. It is one’s prerogative to read and never be shoved into one’s throat.

This piece is a simple sharing of bible passages. It doesn’t endorse any specific faith, religion, denomination, system of beliefs or theology aside from those in the bible.

It is in the “exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference” as provided by The Philippine Constitution that this article was made.

If you find them scary, intimidating or offensive, please feel free to take them with a grain of salt and regard them like a badly written movie script.

Various bible trivia

The bible is the best selling book of all-time. Yet while many have read its contents, there were many parts which are vital to the teachings of the bible but may have slipped by the eyes of many.

It is also noted that some of its contents was used in various fields and industries but somewhat twisted in a manner different from the story told by the bible.

As such, here are some trivia shared to show instances what story the bible tells and how it contrast to how it was being used in another industry, whenever applicable:

Unbelief and failure to glorify God leading to possible wrongful worship prevented Moses from entering the promised land

One of the lessons taught by Moses’ life timelines was the consequence of causing others to sin, specifically against the commandment of worshiping other gods aside from the Lord.

As narrated in the book of Numbers, Moses displayed unbelief in God and failure to glorify God during a stopover in the wilderness.

The Israeli crowd was getting weary due to their wandering in the wilderness and was again complaining to Moses towards the tailend of their journey.

After getting a process for a miracle in remedy for their complaints directly from God, he responded with display of anger and rebuke towards the crowd and failed to follow the instructions of God on how to bring water out of a rock.

After this incident, God declared to Moses and his brother, Aaron, they did not believe Him and did not hallowed Him before the children of Israel and, because of these, they will not bring the assembly to the Promised Land.

God then handed harsh punishments in the form of Moses and Aaron both dying atop different mountains before reaching the Promised Land to display his holiness.

Here’s how it happened:

After being sent by God to free the Israelites from Egypt and 40 years of wandering in the desert on the way to the Promised Land, Moses died within sight of Canaan atop Mount Nebo.

48Then the Lord spoke to Moses that very same day, saying: 49“Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, across from Jericho; view the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel as a possession; 50and die on the mountain which you ascend, and be gathered to your people, just as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people Deuteronomy 32:48-50, NKJV

Why did the Lord allow his prophet who was as described as exemplary of faith in the book of Hebrews, one who spoke to Him face to face multiple times, and one He allowed to perform acts and deeds that show God’s mighty power in the sight of all of Israel? Isn’t he so favored that the bible said God Himself buried Moses and Michael and Satan battled over his body?

Here’s God Himself explaining why: 51because you trespassed against Me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Zin, because you did not hallow Me in the midst of the children of Israel. 52Yet you shall see the land before you, though you shall not go there, into the land which I am giving to the children of Israel.” Deuteronomy 32:51-52, NKJV

Here’s what happened in Meribah Kadesh:

2Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and Aaron. 3And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: “If only we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! 4Why have you brought up the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here? 5And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.”

6So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8“Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” 9So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him.

10And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?11Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.

12Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

13This was the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the Lord, and He was hallowed among them. Numbers 20: 2-13, NKJV

From the narrative, Moses committed the following: (1) Got angry at the Israelites; (2) hit the rock twice, instead of speaking to it, to bring out water; and (3) stated he and Aaron brought out water from the rock.

It was a blatant display of disobeying to follow instructions and grabbing credit intended for God.

What caused God to say Moses committed unbelief acts will remain a mystery as the bible was silent on the specifics. The unbelief is obviously not about God’s power but about the Lord’s planning.

His getting angry might have something to do with it. Calling the Israelites rebels angrily had all the right reasons, God, Himself, had displayed anger against the people in several instances. However, Moses also knew a certain characteristic of God, He is slow to anger.

18‘The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ Number 14:18, NIV

His getting angry could be perceived as a display of unbelief in the Lord’s capability of solving problems during the execution of His wishes. It was God who wanted Israel out of Egypt to be freed from slavery and worship of false Gods.

Moses’ display of anger when he knew God’s plans and despite already given the solution to the people’s complaint that they need water is a telling story. It can be reasonably concluded that one of the reasons why Moses was angry at the people is because he cannot see an end of their continuous complaining.

The other cases, however, were pretty clear.

Not following God’s instructions to the letter preempted God’s thoughts and intentions for the miracle. God and Jesus has been known to use scriptures to point out parallelism and symbolism.

“Striking the rock twice with a rod” is totally different from “speaking to the rock”. Whatever symbolism or parallelism God intended for this miracle was messed up.

Moses and Aaron grabbed glory intended for God when Moses claimed in front of Israel that it was he and his brother who satisfied the thirst of the Israelis by causing water to come out of a rock instead of attributing it to the Lord and glorifying Him for its resolution.

To top it all, claiming ownership of the miracle opened doors of possible worship of the brothers by the people.

This possibility is probably the reason why death penalty is merited in God’s eyes.

Note the elements: Moses and Aaron were persons with great authority over Israel, both were very influential to the Israelis at that time. By glorifying themselves instead of God, they created a scenario that could lead the Israelis into worshiping the brothers instead of God.

The books of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy were clear on what God has been greatly emphasizing during the exit from Egypt. He was demanding sole worship as the people of Israel were into worshiping various objects as gods.

God’s handing of the death punishment allowed Him to show Moses and Aaron are not to be worshiped, reclaimed the glory the brothers took and showed Israel how serious He is on his jealousy of having other Gods beside Him.

God made clear how holy He was by not allowing both Aaron and Moses to enter the Promised Land due to the waters of Meribah incident. It establishes God was solely responsible for the miracles Moses performed and should be the only object of worship. It also displayed God was above the righteousness of Moses and Aaron and deterred any lingering thoughts of their worship.

The New International Version of Numbers 20:13 has a more layman way of describing it: 13These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.

Readers of this story today may question why such harsh penalty was imposed. The people were aware Moses can contact God directly and witnessed several instances how God worked miracles through Moses so these events were normal to them.

I think God made a serious point in this case. He wants the narrative to go perfect. His prophets and messengers should be clear on the message delivered. Causing others to sin, like inducing one to worship someone other than God, is a serious offense in God’s eyes.

The merit of death penalty of this incident has parallelism to the penalty being imposed on doers of the unpardonable sin.

Jesus said an application of blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to the devil, leading to the devil being glorified instead of the Holy Spirit.

28“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” 30for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Mark 3: 28-30, NKJV

Matthew’s version says speaking against the Holy Spirit is an offense that will not be forgiven either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:32, NKJV

See: More on the Unpardonable sin

Ghost Rider: “My name is legion, for we are many”

This 2007 superhero film that starred Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze / Ghost Rider featured a character named Blackheart

The dialogue occurs nearly at the end of the movie. Using a  lost contract of San Venganza, Blackheart absorbed a thousand human souls and promptly declares: “My name is legion, for we are many”.

It became his weakness as Ghost Rider used his “penance stare” to defeat the demon villain.

This quotation came from an actual verse in the bible indicating a similar situation except the roles are reversed: there are many demons possessing one human being in the bible story instead of the one demon absorbing many human souls depicted in the movie.

Here is the movie clip:

Here is the bible account:

1Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

6When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”

8For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” 9Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 

10Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. 11Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” 13And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.

14So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. 15Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 16And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. 17Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.

18And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. 19However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” 20And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. Mark 5:1-20, NKJV

Purpose of the bible

The bible made clear what kind of book is it. It is intended for those who want eternal life. It is not a medical, science, logic or history book. Many tend to forget this.

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. John 5:39-40, New King James Version

It also made its theme clear. While there are many tales narrated by the bible, one thing remains clear from start to finish: Humans caught in a crossfire between powerful adversaries and one of them, a loving God, is offering redemption/salvation.

The bible says the devil rebelled and continues to rebel against God and dragged humans along to be involved in this godly battle he started.

7And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. Revelation 12:7-8, NKJV

…she [Eve] took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband [Adam] with her, and he ate…  And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent…I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed…. Genesis 3: 6, 14-15, NKJV

12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Luke 8:12, NIV

God’s love and the danger posed prompted Jesus to come to earth and provided everyone a way to get out of the mess.

16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16, NKJV

8He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8, NKJV

These verses encapsulates what the new testament is for. If you are encourage by these verses, you are invited to search the bible deeper and find out more about Jesus and his teachings.

Conservative approach

The presence of spirits and unexplainable events and multiple scientific, medical, and logical reasons that supports the bible and its authors’ credibility project a possibility that God do exists. If you are still unconvinced of the existence of God despite these proofs, being conservative might be the best alternative here.

Accountants describe conservatism as selecting the option that would show the worst possible financial standing of a business entity when two or more unproven alternatives are available. This is to remove the user of the account’s output be exposed to a bigger risk in case the worst possible scenario happens.

As it stands, the risk of not believing in and obeying God far outweighs the benefits of doubting his existence. It might be best to act conservatively, believe what the bible says, until you have absolutely proven that there is indeed no God nor hell.

By: Armando M. Bolislis

If you are inspired and want to give Jesus a try, continue a deeper search of the bible, especially the New Testament. This will show you how to become his disciple. Always ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in your search.

If you feel the want or need to belong to a Christian church or organization, find one that preaches the Word of God and will help you improve your relationship with Christ and lead you to his eternal promises.

The theologies and doctrines about faith contained in this article are solely from God through the bible. The author is just an instrument used to spread the word for the glory of God. The personal opinions and suggestions on issues outside of biblical coverage from the author doesn’t necessarily reflect the stance of Baguio Herald Express management and staff.

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