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10 Amazing Accounts You Never Knew Were In The Bible
The Bible is arguably the most fascinating piece of literature to date. Filled with a variety of stories which may seem ordinary, bizarre, eye-opening, or downright confusing, it is said to reflect human nature in all its good or evil glory as well as provide a means for us to have a different perspective in life. Many look to the Bible as a source of inspiration, while others who remain skeptical about what the book says. Nevertheless, whether you are a firm believer or not, here are some accounts in the Bible which are both amazing and unfamiliar.
10 God The Monster Slayer
God, according to Christian tradition, is often portrayed as an all-knowing, benevolent being capable of doing anything and everything on a whim. And although most people would portray God as an old, bearded man sitting on His high throne, He was actually a little more active than that. In many Biblical accounts, the almighty creator of the universe wrestled with Jacob (and lost). In Psalm 74:12–14, we see Him fight against one of the most powerful beings ever mentioned in the Bible, a sea monster.
“But God is our king before ages: he hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.
Thou by thy strength didst make the sea firm: thou didst crush the heads of the dragons in the waters.
Thou hast broken the heads of the dragon: thou hast given him to be meat for the people . . . ”
The sea monster, known as “Leviathan” or a dragon in other translations, was a monster straight out of your nightmares. What is interesting about it is that this sea monster, when taken as a representation of primordial chaos, can be linked to the creation myths of other cultures. There are actually other ancient creator gods and creation stories that tell of a god or gods battled with chaos, usually in the form of a dragon or a serpent, before creating man and the Earth. A good example can be found in the Enuma Elish, a Babylonian creation story of Marduk defeating Tiamat, another sea monster, worshiped as the goddess of the sea and of Chaos. Marduk then uses her remains to create the Earth and all that we see.
Chaos, known by biblical scholars as Leviathan or Rahab, is also represented by the Bible as the waters or as the darkness. Genesis, perhaps the most familiar of all creation stories, says that darkness was in the face of the deep and that God moved upon the face of the waters first before Light and the entire creation emerged out of it. This is used by those who believe that Chaos is the precursor to Cosmogony.
9 The King Who Goes Into Beast Mode
Who hasn’t heard of werewolves and lycanthropy? Who has heard of the first Biblical werewolf? Much like Lycaon, an ancient king who was transformed into a wolf because he displeased the gods according to Greek mythology, the Bible gives us Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar was a great Babylonian king who ruled around 605 B.C. He built, conquered, and destroyed as any proper king at the time would, but he made a huge mistake: He got too prideful. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride and perversion (attributed to the fact that he conquered most of the known world and brought to life many engineering wonders) worsened as he gained more power and wealth. He erected a 38-meter (125 ft) golden image of himself for people to worship. The prophet Daniel rebuked him, and when he refused to repent and become humble, the Lord punished him with a sickness unlike any other for seven long years. Daniel 4:33 says:
“The same hour the word was fulfilled upon Nabuchodonosor, and he was driven away from among men, and did eat grass, like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven: till his hairs grew like the feathers of eagles, and his nails like birds’ claws.”
Even ancient historians such as Abydenus, who wrote about ancient Babylon, have recorded that Nebuchadnezzar suffered a sickness during his reign. Modern-day scientists now say that he probably suffered from porphyria, clinical lycanthropy, or dementia. Known as the king who built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, he is also now known as the first Biblical lycanthrope.
8 Did Jesus Go To Hell After He Died?
Those who are familiar with the Christian creeds may wonder why the Apostles’ Creed and the Athanasian Creed both say that Jesus “descended into Hell.” The belief that Jesus Christ descended into Hell has long been tackled by Church fathers as well as by theologians. As a matter of fact, Christian theologian John Calvin and Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas both had the same belief that after Jesus died, He did descend into Hell.
The idea of Jesus going into Hell is supported by what David says about the messiah found in Acts 2:31 which states that, “Foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption.” This verse says that before the resurrection, Christ did descend into Hell. To clarify, one should note that the verse in the original Greek uses the words into “Haden” or “Hades” which is actually not the “Hell” we know today. Old translations of the Bible translated both Hades (where the souls of those awaiting judgment are found) and Gehenna (the true Hell, where the souls of those who have been judged go) as simply “Hell.”
To clarify further, 1 Peter 3:18–20 does explain that when Jesus died, His body remained in the tomb, but the Holy Spirit went to preach to those souls that were in prison. Some scholars say that the place referenced in this verse would have been Paradise (the place where Jesus told the thief they would be going), Abraham’s bosom, Hades, or the place where the righteous dead from the Old Testament era had to wait.
7 The Night Of The Living Dead
Zombies, or the reanimated dead, are often the stuff of horror stories. Who knew that according to the Bible, something very similar took place before Easter? The Bible in Matthew 27:52–53 says:
“And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose,
And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city and appeared to many.”
This quite scary story begins when Jesus is crucified. According to the Bible, when He died, the earthquakes and the veil that covered the Holy of Holies within the temple was torn in two. But then the bodies of believers arose in Jerusalem to appear before the people. This marvel is rarely mentioned in preaching and homilies simply because of its strange nature. Even movies and stories about Jesus’s death and resurrection often leave this detail out.
6 Random Acts Of Nudity
More often than not, people look to the Bible as a book that only contains writings of a very moderate nature, but this is far from the truth. We all know that there are stories in the Bible of many minor characters involved in all sorts of adult situations, but only a few know that some well-respected characters themselves are involved in something similar.
In the Old Testament times, there were several instances of well-respected characters donning their birthday suits out of the blue. For example, Saul prophesied naked for a whole day and night in front of Samuel in 1 Samuel 19:24, and his son Jonathan got naked in front of David and made one of the most influential Bible verses used in the LGBT community, found in 1 Samuel 18:3–4.
The Prophet Isaiah, a member of the royal family of Israel and one of the major prophets in the Old Testament, spent three years in the nude. Isaiah 20:2–3 states:
“At that same time the Lord spoke by the hand of Isaiah the son of Amos, saying Go, and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and take off thy shoes from thy feet. And he did so, and went naked, and barefoot.
And the Lord said: As my servant Isaiah hath walked, naked and barefoot, it shall be a sign and a wonder of three years upon Egypt, and upon Ethiopia.”
What is peculiar about this incident was that God himself ordered the prophet to do this act and to do it for such a long span of time. The prophet’s act of nudity inspired Saint Francis of Assisi to also preach nude, and, for obvious reasons, it is used by nudists to justify that what they do is not a sin.
5 King David Is Thirsty
People who like to play video games know exactly how a video game character or hero can slash through hordes of enemies. A similar scenario took place in the Bible, and it even started in a manner similar to a video game quest. One Biblical account explains that during one of his military campaigns, King David was very thirsty and wanted a drink of water. But he didn’t want just any water; he wanted water from a well near the gate of Bethlehem. And to make matters worse, there was an army of Philistines between David and the well. In 2 Samuel 23: 14–15, we read:
“And David was then in a hold. And there was a garrison of the Philistines then in Bethlehem.
And David longed, and said: O that some man would get me a drink of the water out of the cistern, that is in Bethlehem, by the gate.”
What is amazing about this story is that only three men were brave enough to break through the Philistine army. According to 2 Samuel 23:8–17, however, these three men were not just ordinary men. They were Jesbaham (a man described as a “tender worm of the wood” who killed 800 in combat), Eleazar (who fought and won against the Philistines while everyone else retreated), and Semma (who defended a field of lentils against an army and won).
To top it all off, after the three men went through so much hacking and slashing to get the water, King David decided that the men probably risked too much to get it and that he was not worthy of such a great gift. King David did not drink the water and offered it instead to the Lord .
4 Enoch And Elijah Might Not Have Gone To The “Heaven” That You Thought
A lot of people know of the story found in Genesis 5:24 of a mysterious character, Enoch, who was said to have been taken away by God.
“And he walked with God, and was seen no more: because God took him.”
As well as the story of Elijah in 2 Kings 2:11 that says:
“And as they went on, walking and talking together, behold, a fiery chariot and fiery horses parted them both asunder: and Elias went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”
A lot of people who are familiar with these stories often say that both men did not die and were taken up into Heaven. Unfortunately, this belief would have been a direct contradiction of what Jesus taught in John 3:13 that “no man has gone to Heaven before him.” There are Bible scholars who believe that the answer lies with the fact that the Bible refers to the Heaven where God resides (Deuteronomy 26:15), outer space where planets and galaxies can be found (Psalm 8:3), and the sky where birds and airplanes fly (Job 35:11) with one term—“heaven.” In their explanation, they say that the Bible plainly clarifies both cases, as it does say that Enoch died in two accounts (Genesis 5:23 and Hebrews 11:13). However, Hebrews 11:5 says that:
“By faith Henoch was translated, that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God.”
The fact remains that the Bible does say that Enoch died and nothing that says he entered the Heaven where God resides. Other Biblical versions say that Enoch was “taken up,” or was “translated.” According to some Biblical scholars, this simply meant that Enoch was simply taken up to the sky and transported elsewhere much like Ezekiel. Philip, in Acts 8:26–40, was transported, never to be seen again by his companions, from a place south of Jerusalem to Azotus. Notice that this is very similar to what happened to Enoch according to Genesis 5:24—God took him and he was no longer found.
The same thing goes for Elijah albeit in a more dramatic manner. Although the text says he was taken into Heaven, some think the writer meant was that he was just being transported to another place through the sky or through the heaven where birds fly. 2 Kings 2:9 mentions that Elijah will be taken away, and 2 Kings 2:16 says that Elisha, his successor, thought that he might have been transported away into some mountain, but no one could find him anymore. According to scholars, the final evidence can be found in 2 Chronicles 21:12–15 with Elijah, several years after he was supposedly taken away into God’s throne, proving that he himself was still on Earth, putting all speculation to rest by writing a handwritten a letter to the King.
3 Giving Too Little Money Equals Instant Death
You may have heard of Onan and how he “spilled” his life away because he disobeyed God, but you may not know about Ananias and Sapphira, the couple who probably didn’t get the memo about giving the right amount of money to the Church. In Acts 5:1–11, Ananias and Sapphira sold some property in order to make a donation to the apostles. But, instead of giving the apostles the amount they’d previously promised to give, they got sneaky and only gave a part of the profit for the cause.
Many Bible commentators often describe the story as one of the most unnerving in the New Testament simply because the New Testament supposedly stood for grace as well as a transition from a God who would easily punish to a God who would offer mercy and forgiveness to sinners. Perhaps Peter forgot the part about forgiving 70 times seven. Nevertheless, what the couple did angered Peter, and upon hearing the words “thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God,” Ananias died in an instant. Three hours after, Sapphira also died after learning of her husband’s demise. Ironically, the name Ananias in Hebrew means “Jehovah is gracious.”
2 The Second Death
Many know of Lazarus, a friend of Jesus who was raised back from the dead. He was probably one of the few to die twice as well. But few know that the Bible actually teaches that sinners are destined to die twice. Unknown to many, in Revelation 21:8 the Bible says that man can die twice, although not in the manner of Lazarus. Instead, it states that the second death is a death which follows after one’s physical death; it is a death of the soul after God’s judgment.
Revelation 20:14–15 also adds that in the second death, even death and Hell itself are cast into the lake of fire, making it far worse than Hell. However, the verse does say that there are those who are able to escape this second death by virtue of the eternal life they’d received.
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
1 The Apostolic Royal Rumble
The Christians, especially during their first years, were a close-knit community of believers who lived together in brotherly love and unity. One would never expect disputes among its members, especially when it came to the Church elders. Unfortunately, even the apostles themselves had differing views about the core beliefs and doctrines. In fact, some of these peace-loving men even had some sharp words to say against their fellow apostles.
For example, Paul and Barnabas, two very close friends, fought about whether they should bring Mark, Barnabas’s cousin, along on their missionary journey. When both men were not able to agree, they had a “sharp contention” and eventually split up. In other accounts, we know that Paul and Peter actually fought quite regularly over belief and doctrines. In Galatians 2:11, Paul said in reference to Peter, “But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face [or I opposed him to his face], because he was to be blamed.” To make matters worse, the Bible does not mention whether they were ever reconciled with each other again.
Jan is a freelance writer, and he dedicates his first Listverse list to his beautiful daughter Adriana.