Man Creates Scaled-Down Model of Noah’s Ark to Last Detail, Brings Bible Epic to Life

In the quiet town of Warrenton, Virginia, a retired construction worker named Mackie Jenkins embarked on a remarkable journey that would captivate the hearts and minds of many. Inspired by his deep passion for teaching the Bible, Jenkins dedicated his spare time to meticulously crafting a scaled-down replica of Noah’s Ark. This extraordinary endeavor, undertaken over several decades, resulted in a stunning masterpiece that faithfully captures the essence of one of the Bible’s most enduring epics.

The Genesis of an Inspiring Project

Jenkins’ journey began over three decades ago when he established a Bible study ministry in Warrenton, Virginia. As his teaching passion flourished, he sought to enhance his lessons with tangible props that would bring biblical stories to life. In 1999, while working on a high-rise construction project in Alexandria, Virginia, fate intervened when Jenkins stumbled upon a log buried deep beneath the earth’s surface. Intriguingly, this log appeared to hail from a bygone era, potentially dating back to the pre-flood era described in the Bible.

From Prototype to Masterpiece

Eager to explore the possibilities, Jenkins used the log to construct a small prototype of Noah’s Ark, standing at just 6 feet tall. However, as he witnessed the construction of the world-renowned Ark Encounter in Kentucky by Ken Ham, the CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis, Jenkins felt inspired to dream bigger. He envisioned a model that encompassed all 15 biblical scenes related to the Ark, including its construction, the boarding of animals, and its eventual landing after the flood.

Striving for Authenticity: Building a Magnificent Ark

Jenkins’ commitment to authenticity led him to embark on an ambitious project to build a larger, more accurate replica of Noah’s Ark. Armed with detailed plans and a desire to use the finest materials, he sought out quarter-sawn oak from a renowned Amish sawmill in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This exquisite wood not only provided an ornamental finish but also served as a conversation starter, enabling Jenkins to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who admired his creation.

Crafting a Testament to Biblical Proportions

Collaborating with Virginia-based furniture restoration expert Jeff Hadley, Jenkins meticulously designed and constructed a magnum opus that adhered to the exact dimensions specified in the Bible: 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits tall. Although the final model measured a fraction of the original size, standing at 12-and-a-half feet long, 3 feet wide, and 2 feet tall, its scale of 1:40 ensured an accurate representation of the biblical Ark.

A Lesson Within the Model

Jenkins’ vision extended beyond mere replication; he aimed to incorporate a meaningful lesson within the model itself. Drawing from the biblical account of Noah’s Ark, he highlighted the significance of atonement by emphasizing the Ark’s construction with gopher wood and pitch, representing the cleansing of sins. By inviting visitors to imagine their sins being atoned for, Jenkins sought to create a space for reflection and spiritual contemplation.

Animals Marching Two by Two

Noah’s task of gathering animals from every corner of the Earth presented a unique challenge for Jenkins. To ensure accuracy, he scoured the globe for miniature wooden animals that mirrored the diverse species described in the Bible. After years of collecting these figurines, Jenkins acquired an impressive assortment that perfectly matched the scale of his model Ark. The inclusion of “clean” and “unclean” animals further added to the authenticity of the scene, with the former brought in seven of each, allowing for future sacrifices.

Attention to Detail: Bringing the Ark to Life

To breathe life into his creation, Jenkins spared no effort in adding intricate details. He integrated miniature fairytale unicorns and Siberian specimens, inspired by the Bible’s mention of “the leopard, the lion, and the unicorn.” Supporting elements such as tiny hay bales, fruit trees, and food and drink items from popular railroad-scale miniature lines further enhanced the realism of the model. Manual elevators, functional model construction cranes, and LED lights completed the immersive experience, captivating visitors with their authenticity.

A Peek Inside: Unveiling the Ark’s Interior

Jenkins’ craftsmanship extends to the interior of his model Ark, where removable panels offer a glimpse into the cross-section of the vessel. Scenes depicting Noah’s kitchen, complete with grape juice, hold biblical significance, highlighting the changing atmosphere after the flood and its effect on fermented beverages. Through these meticulously designed features, Jenkins encourages visitors to explore the depths of the Ark and engage with the biblical narrative on a personal level.

Spreading the Word: Sharing the Ark’s Message

Although Jenkins’ final Ark replica currently resides in his Bible study office, his second smaller-scale model embarks on a tour to schools, churches, and outdoor festivals. This traveling replica serves as a powerful educational tool, enabling Jenkins to share the stories of the Bible with a broader audience. As Jenkins approaches retirement, he plans to devote himself full-time to ministry, conducting Bible studies, and distributing gospel tracts. Ultimately, he aims to pass down his model Arks to his son, ensuring that his homage to Noah will continue to inspire and educate for generations to come.


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