the Ark By Jerry Jackson

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1 the Ark By Jerry Jackson

2 In 1988, Jerry Jackson was leading a ministry that was expanding worldwide when the Lord asked him to build a 1/60th scale model of Noah s ark. The following story details Jerry s experience building the ark and is a lesson in obedience.

3 Chapter 1 Noah s Ark Iwant to teach you something, so build a scale model of Noah s ark. Imagine my surprise to get such an answer to prayer! What scale? What references? It seemed that I was being instructed to restrict myself to what Noah had been given. Which meant I had to limit my knowledge to: Jerry s wife, Anet, with the ark in 1988 Use Gopher Wood Make rooms Coat it with pitch inside and out 450 feet long 75 feet wide 45 feet high Make a roof for it Finish the walls 18 inches below the top Put a door in the side Make lower, middle, and upper decks Bring two of every unclean kind of animal and bird, male and female Bring fourteen of every clean animal and bird, male and female Bring food for all of them and feed them It was going to rain for forty days and nights Everything that breathed air was going to die Not very much information to build such a big ship! Especially when you compare it to the details that God gave to Moses when he built the tabernacle in the wilderness. Little did I know what God had in store for me! To watch a video presentation of this story, please visit 1

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5 Chapter 2 The Outside Building the outer walls of the ark over the inner structure Ihave to admit to cheating a little on the wood. Years ago I read somewhere that Gopher wood was a type of white oak so I made the decision to use white oak. Next came the scale. Nice to have a calculator! Finally decided that 1/60th was the smallest I could go and have planks of workable thickness. This meant that every 5ʹ of the ark would be one inch in my scale. Then came the shape of the hull. Was it to be curved and rounded like a boat? After some thought I realized that once the ark floated off of the ground it was going to come down somewhere and probably on uneven ground. This meant the bottom needed to be flat or it could roll over when it came down. Now the roof. I tried several shapes and finally decided it would be flat also, so the final shape was really no more than a rectangular box! The door was a real challenge. There would be a lot of loading of food and animals so it seemed logical to keep the door near ground level. I literally laid awake several nights trying to figure out how to design a 10ʹ wide by almost 15ʹ high door that would be water tight when closed. No success so I finally decided it had to be located at the third level, which was 30ʹ above the ground and well above the water line. Loading the animals through a door that far up is an interesting challenge. I think Noah simply built up a hill of dirt against the side of the ark that would have washed away when the deluge of rain started. It is now very clear what finishing the wall 18 (a cubit) below meant, but when I was in the building process it didn t make any sense to me. I had the walls and roof on before I realized God simply meant to have an 18 clear space between the top of the wall and the roof. So this Noah had to strip off 18 inches of planks all around the top of his ark and add on an eave so rain would run off the roof clear of this opening. This open space turned out to be ingenious. 3

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7 Chapter 3 The Inside In our modern day of appliances, carpeting, and paved driveways it is easy to think that the ark would be built for convenient movement. But as I tried to design open passageways for convenient movement through the ark it became very obvious that the strength of the ark would be seriously compromised. By this time I was beginning to sense some of the emotions Noah must have had as he realized this was a life or death design. So, I went for strength, thinking that we would not be in very long so it would not be a problem to climb around things if we could make it safely through the flood. Animals inside the ark in 1988 I built the room sizes based on the dimensions that would give the greatest strength. A ten-foot span between the upright beams was the maximum I would want to chance. So my rooms ended up being approximately 10ʹ wide by 11ʹ deep and 13.5ʹ high. The next question was for Mrs. Noah. Where did she want to live? In the blink of an eye, my wife, Anet, replied, Top floor, near the wall, in the middle. There are three other couples to locate and my first thought was that we would quarter the ark and each couple takes responsibility for their quarter. Somehow that didn t seem to sit right and as we thought about it we remembered an experience that happened years ago when a young lady staying with us obviously lacked cooking skills and damaged a counter in our dwelling. Strange as it seems this memory helped us decide that we did not want an inexperienced person cooking over a fire in a pot and accidentally spill the fire and burn the ark to the water line! So we decided to have one kitchen in which mama controlled the fire and each couple would have their private rooms around that area. So we located our dwellings next to the door and I had a nice window built with shutters so the ladies could hang their wash out and have a view of the sky. 5

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9 Chapter 4 Lumber dimensions & bracing White oak is a very hard and strong wood. I figured the upright beams and bracing beams would be one foot by one foot thick. The floor and wall planks would be 3 thick by 12 wide by 20ʹ long. This would give good strength, reduce warping, and allow the planks to span and be fastened to three beams. The main connecting beams would be one foot by two feet thick. Sample of real gopher wood 7

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11 Chapter 5 Animals were sorted into stalls to keep peace in the ark Stalls, pens, & coops How much food and water does a Zebra need? I didn t have a clue. We raise some cattle, sheep, ducks, chickens, and typical barnyard critters, but Zebra? Nope. So how could I build a pen with feeding and watering for a Zebra, or for that matter, most of the animals that were going on this cruise? Another sleep disturbing problem. By this time we are really into this project! As we were out looking for 1/60th scale critters, Anet suddenly said, You know, I think Noah had a zoo! That made a lot of sense so we began building with that in mind. This would have given him daily experience with all of the animals, allowed him to select the best for the cruise and train them to load up quickly. Scripture says God only gave Noah seven days to load the ark most of us have difficulty in moving one household in seven days! Yes, we know that Scripture says God brought the animals to Noah, but we think He did that over time in the same way that people send us animals from all over the world for my ark. Once you get this far into Noah s experience then you can easily see how the animals could be arranged. At one end of the ark, he could have built a fence across the width of the ark that allowed the deer, antelope, sheep, goats, etc. to roam freely in an open area. He would have converted a room into an aviary by putting boards closely together and then released hundreds of compatible birds into the room, which eliminated individual feeding and watering. In another room, he would have built coops and small pens for the reptiles, skunks, and other such troublesome critters. All just like a zoo within a building! 9

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13 Chapter 6 Feeding & waste Jerry with the ark in 1988 Ilove this! You know the old joke, Who shoveled the you-know-what?! To begin with, it takes a lot of waste to raise the floor high enough for most animals to touch a ceiling that is 13.5ʹ high. But it is an interesting situation to solve. I think that Noah left an open space between the floor and outside wall on each floor. This allowed the liquid waste and spilled water to move across the floor to the wall as the ark rolled from side to side in the waves. It ran down the walls into a 2ʹ by 45ʹ by 450ʹ (approximately 66,000 cubic feet) bilge or it could be more appropriately called a septic tank. As this waste fermented (wonderful compost!) it produced a lot of heat. During the day the heat would chimney up the opening between the floor and wall and be blown out by the winds coming through the 18 opening all around the top of the ark walls. It must have been smelly, you might think. Probably for the first few minutes, but we have been wonderfully made by our loving Creator and He has designed our bodies to shut off smells after a rather short period of time. Very disappointing in the bakery! The feeding process is ingenious! He would have converted rooms in the middle of the top floor into storage bins. They would be able to shovel feed directly into the surrounding rooms, cut a hole in the floor, and drop feed into the six pens on the second floor, and another hole with a chute that they dropped feed into the bottom floor. Move to the other side of the storage room and repeat the process for that side of the ark. They could feed 37 of the 540 rooms from two positions on the top floor! They did not have to go below deck to feed any animals. 11

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15 Chapter 7 Supplies Now we are down to the nitty gritty. We have everything arranged. Now how much food and water do we need to take on this trip? We know how many and what animals are going. We have daily experience with them so we know their daily requirements. The question to be answered is, How long will we be in the ark? Well, what do we know at this point? It is going to rain 40 days and nights. So we might conclude that if it takes 40 days to go up, it will probably take 40 days to come down. With God s proclamation that He was going to kill everything that breathed air, I felt it would be wise to add at least 40 more days of supplies. Miniature planks used during ark s construction in 1988 But hold it! He was going to kill everything that breathed air? This then would cause me to wonder if plants breathe air. Ok, so let s put some plants under water for 40 days and see what happens. They die. When we take them out of the water they stay dead! Ouch! We have a second problem now. We are coming down to a totally dead earth so we need to not only take food for the four months cruise, but we need to plant, harvest, and plant again after we land. This means we probably need to take food for at least 15 months. The cruise lasted a lot longer than the four months we originally planned for, so when the dove was released toward the end of the cruise and it came back with an olive branch, we would have been very relieved. Our food supply would be almost gone in the ark. Not having experienced rain and floods before this flood, Noah would not have known that seeds would have been floating on the water and would have reseeded the earth as the waters receded. Ok, we have the food problem solved. But how about water? I am not sure how many animals Noah would have had in the ark but I have used a loose calculation in trying to figure how much water he needed. 13

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17 Chapter 7 continued As the ark rolled from side to side, dew would collect inside the roof and roll into troughs My ark has 540 rooms in it. I figure 40 or so rooms were probably used for food storage and other uses. If the clean and unclean animals were evenly represented then I simply used 14 clean animals plus 2 unclean divided by 2 equals an average of 8 animals. If we averaged 8 per room then there would have been 4,000 animals. This is crude but at least it gives some way to get the gray matter working on the water situation. If the average use of water per day was one gallon per animal, then we are going to need 4,000 gallons of water each day. At first I thought about cisterns in the ark, but quickly realized the ark was not big enough to handle even the minimum of four months cruise I had originally calculated. The ark would be floating in fresh water, but it would take at least 20 feet of rope to reach it. Imagine hauling up 4,000 gallons of water 20 feet each day. I like to give the example of a married couple in the third floor of a motel in which the water has been turned off. The wife wants to take a bath and asks her husband to step out on the porch and use a bucket and rope to bring water up from the swimming pool below. Methinks, she would be taking a spit bath that night! I could not solve this water problem for several years. Finally, a lady commented that perhaps Noah planned to catch rain water on the roof. I said, No, he had never experienced rain, and by this time I was convinced Noah was leaving nothing to chance or divine intervention. After all, God was pretty ticked with mankind and Noah being human would wonder how secure he was! Back to the lady, she said, That s right he only knew about dew. Wow, that was the answer! Remember the smelly, hot septic tank? Well, during the night the wind dies down on the ocean and all of the heat from the waste fermenting and animal body heat would rise to the underside of the roof; so you would have a warm underside and cool top side with 100% relative humidity. He had a 33,000 square foot collector that generated dew during the night. As the ark rolled from the side to side in the swells, the dew would work to the side where he would have troughs to catch it and tubes or troughs running throughout the ark delivering fresh water to all of the rooms. 15

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19 Chapter 8 Did he build it? This question began to plague me toward the end of my fourteen months of working an average of 30 hours a week (in addition to my 40+ hours at Hosanna Ministry) on the ark. I bought my wood at a lumber yard, used power tools to cut the parts into 1/60th size and glued, rather than pegging, it all together. As I considered the magnitude and sheer weight of the beams, I developed serious doubts about the ability of four men to do such a project. So I wondered if there was a reasonable way to answer this question. I think I found the key. Stay with me here because it does turn out good. People sent miniature animals from around the world for the ark If my design is close to accurate then we can calculate the following: Every plank in my ark connects to three beams. Each plank is fastened with two pegs at each connecting point. Each peg is 18 or longer and has to be hand crafted. Each hole in the plank and beam has to be hand crafted. Each peg, crafted and installed, would require one man one day. Taking the above, then we can calculate the number of man-days of work to peg the outside skin and the inside floors. Because I made the scale model I know there are approximately 5,000 planks on the outside skin and 4,000 in the floors. If there are 6 pegs per plank then multiplying this by 9,000 pegs then we know that there would have been 54,000 pegs, which translates into 54,000 man days of work. This is almost 200 years of work for one man! 17

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21 Chapter 8 continued When you look at the total ark construction then you realize the pegs are really almost insignificant in the man-days of total construction required to build it. I concluded Noah and his sons did not build it with their own hands. I think Noah was a wealthy man, and that he hired a contractor with a large crew, just like we do when we build a church. Unfortunately, most times, the contractor and crew, in general are not believers; but they build our church, get their pay, go to hell, while the church members, like Noah and family, go into the church and go to heaven. I also believe that, Noah, like church members, witness and befriend the construction people during the building process. It must have been heart breaking for Noah and his family to know all of these friends and relatives were drowning. God was merciful in personally closing the door or Noah could have been overcome with compassion and tried to rescue some people. Outside of ark in

22 The ark and dinosaur pictured are 1/60th scale. It s easy to see why the dinosaur couldn t go along in the ark.

23 Chapter 9 What was the lesson? At first I thought the lesson was that Noah knew he was building a huge ark that would be used for four months and then abandoned. That a one hundred or so year s project would only be used for a very short time. But then it seemed that this was not the lesson. Bear with me as I share some of the process I was taken through to get the lesson. Jerry spent 14 months building his model of the ark I became interested in how the story of creation was passed down so I did some study on that. Adam and Methuselah were alive at the same as were Methuselah and Noah, what surprised me was that Noah and Abraham were alive at the same time for 58 years or so. In fact it deeply upset me to realize that in Noah s lifetime the people that he and his family had produced after the flood had gotten so bad that God called Abraham out to start another people specially for God! What happened?! Where was Noah s influence, his teaching, his wisdom? So I searched the Scriptures for what is recorded of Noah after the ark completed its journey. Basically this is what is recorded: He built an altar Offered a sacrifice Received a promise-rainbow Received some instructions Planted a vineyard Got drunk Got naked Cursed his son Died 21

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25 Chapter 9 continued Scripture doesn t condemn him for this, but I found it very troubling. I suppose it affected me so strongly because I came to Christ when I was 22 years old and had no spiritual influence in my upbringing. Divorce, alcohol abuse, violence, and hatred was my heritage. Jesus made a new creature out of me when I gave myself to Him and my family reflects that change. I began to understand that I was worried that the generations after Anet and I could go the way of Noah s generations. Finally, after five years of questioning, a minister from a South African township visited us and as I was explaining the ark and my frustration with this issue he also expressed a similar concern. As we explored this together, the lesson emerged. It turned out to be very simple: There is no destination for a Christian other than heaven. A South African pastor revealed to Jerry the lesson behind the ark It seemed to us that Noah set his destination to get the ark on the ground and survive. But the big picture was probably that his real ministry began when the ark landed and his family began populating the earth. That he had the opportunity to repopulate the earth and establish God s values in their offspring. But in Noah s lifetime, people became so wicked that God had to call out Abraham to start over! I was 59 when this lesson emerged and had been thinking that it was time to turn Hosanna over to younger, more talented people. A walk across the United States had always been something I would like to do and, of course, fishing is a passion. I understood the Lord was saying that I could do pleasurable things in Heaven and that I needed to keep working for Him until I am called to Heaven. The next 20 years of my life were incredibly productive. Our golden years may be our most spiritually productive because of our accumulated wisdom influence and affluence. So, don t sit down in your old age is the message! 23

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27 Chapter 10 40/20 Isuppose the lesson will continue. Anet loves to go to Lake Powell to celebrate our wedding anniversary as often as possible. We were able to do this on our 40th. At the same time we had been feeling that God was dealing with us about love. So on this anniversary trip we had agreed that love was a governing value for us and that we needed to understand more how to respond and live in love, God s love. Jerry and Anet at their home around their 40th anniversary One person described a governing value in this way. If you laid down a one hundred-foot long steel I-beam on the floor and offered to pay me $100 to walk the length of it, I would have no problem. Then you raised it 3ʹ above the ground, I would still have no problem. But, if you took it downtown and placed it between two buildings several stories above the highway and even offered me as much as one million dollars, I would not walk it. However, if you had one of my children and threatened to throw them off the building unless I walked, I would walk. That is a governing value. Back to the lake. We decided that to love your neighbor as yourself would be our guiding theme. I had a paper titled, Ways that I love myself. I had been thinking about it four days and still had a blank piece of paper. So this is the setting for the morning of our anniversary when we woke up down the lake in a remote canyon, 75 miles from the nearest town. Anet breaks the morning silence with, I would like an anniversary present. My first thought was that we had come 25 miles by boat down the lake to as remote a spot as we could find and that it would take another 50 miles by car to get to the nearest town, which was really more of a gas station store. So I asked what she wanted. She said that I talked a lot about the first 20 years of my life, which were bad years, but I rarely talked about the 40 years that we had been married and I have been a Christian. 25

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29 Chapter 10 continued Jerry, Anet, and their children with the 1954 school bus The gift she wanted was for me to not talk about those first twenty years any more. She just asked for 20 years of my life! I had to think about this and we agreed that I could give her my decision later that day. I finally decided I thought I could do what she asked so that evening when I was preparing the fire, I called her over and placed 20 pieces of wood for the fire, explaining each represented one year of my life. We lit them and cooked our evening meal over the coals. But I needed help, so I asked Anet to help me think about the 40 years. She suggested that we go over the decisions we had made during those years. This sounded like a good approach. Although I had been raised in a sexually loose environment, we had agreed that she would be a virgin when we married and she was. We had four children and didn t get rid of any of them. I graduated from college and gave my life to Jesus Christ shortly thereafter. Did everything in the church a person can possibly do. Took 2,000 pounds of food to a small orphanage in Mexico every three months and 10 middle class teens from the church to expose them to life without running water or electricity, and poverty. Planted a church in the bedroom community we lived in, broke the drug culture, kids went to Bible college and five missionary families came from the work in 1.5 years. Gave up our property, moved into a 1954 GMC school bus, and lived a Luke 12:31-31 faith walk lifestyle for several years, learning how God answers prayer. Started Hosanna and then Beulah ministries. By the time Anet had taken me over these major decision points in our life I found I could begin to fill out my blank sheet of paper the ways that I loved myself. 27

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31 Chapter 10 continued The ark in Jerry s office in 1990 What I realized was that I thought the man who lived the first 20 years was still a dominant part of me. What Anet showed me was that for forty years I had not done any of those things. It was a shock to realize I was a good person and that I did not have to worry about having a bad reaction to other people. I could trust myself. Something happened. I was different. People reacted to me differently and the Hosanna family commented on the difference. Now you have to realize that when I gave myself to Jesus Christ forty years earlier there was a tremendous change in me. For the first time in my life a stranger smiled at me and said, Good morning. Now I had experienced a second dramatic change. I share this with others because I am convinced that many Christians carry the fear that their old way is still dominating them. From my experience I would encourage you to analyze your reactions since you have been a Christian, You might discover, as I did, that you have nothing to fear from yourself. That you are who your actions have been, not who you remember you were before Jesus Christ did His work in you. 29

32 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth... Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. Genesis 9: 13, 16 Photos courtesy of Roger Holien, Rusty King, and Victor Padilla.

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