Can we trust the New Testament? Did Jesus really come and do what the Bible says he did and say what the Bible says he said? Yes! And we’re excited to be giving answers for the truth of the Gospels and the life of Jesus in a massive new exhibit coming to the Ark Encounter.
Our artists and fabricators are working on what will be the most accurate model of first century Jerusalem, which will also be one of the world’s largest models. It will give vital background in understanding who Jesus is, the historical accuracy of the Bible, and the importance of the gospel and the great commission.
This model will cover about 2,000 square feet, divided into three large sections so people can walk in and around it to see everything clearly. We will have a program running using different types of technology to teach about the city and follow the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And since the modern city of Jerusalem has changed so much in the past 2,000 years, visiting this model will, in some ways, give visitors a better understanding to their Bibles than traveling to Israel.
Why Jerusalem? This city is central throughout biblical and modern history. Through various technological means, people will learn about sites mentioned in the Bible and by other historians. They will learn about the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans and the city’s history before King David through to modern times. They will follow Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem and learn about archaeological finds confirming the Bible’s history. The principal feature will be information about the biblical narrative and the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jews and early Christians, combined with a detailed understanding of what Jesus taught. All of this enables a powerful presentation of the gospel based in real history.
We’ve already raised the money (thanks to our generous supporters and a matching gift offer last year) to be able to design and fabricate this incredible exhibit. But where are we going to put it?
Many of our talented staff worked countless hours to design the best way to construct a building for this unique and powerful exhibit to fit in with the Ark attraction. In doing so, we realized that the placement of this building would also require us to move the drop-off area for the shuttle buses. The current drop-off location was always a temporary solution, as the plan for the Ark Encounter involved building a future welcome center and drop-off area so the rest of the park could be developed over time. In conjunction with construction engineers and architects, our designers devised a plan to incorporate this building as part of a new welcome center and permanent shuttle loading and unloading area.
This new building will also mean we can finally move the ticketing area at the Ark parking lot (which has been operating out of temporary buildings) to the Welcome Center. It opens the way for the attraction’s future development and fulfills a major part of our beloved late Patrick Marsh’s overall plan for the Ark Encounter.
This is such a great way to fulfill Patrick’s plan: construct the permanent ticketing and shuttle loading/unloading area, put in a welcome center, and use the structure to house a powerful teaching exhibit that will impact generations to come and pave the way for the rest of the development of the Ark Encounter.
The cost to construct the Jerusalem model building and Welcome Center at the Ark will be around $20 million. Thanks to generous supporters, we can present a matching gift offer again this year. Every donation made towards the combined Welcome Center and Jerusalem model building will be matched (through December 31) dollar for dollar, up to $8.5 million!
This new addition to the Ark Encounter is needed for the future and for impacting future generations with the truth of God’s Word and the saving gospel. We invite you to partner with us in this endeavor through an end-of-year gift.