Michael Drosnin published The Bible. Codes [Simon & Schuster] in , in which he claimed messages were hidden in the ancient Hebrew text of the Bible. UNDERSTANDING THE B IBLE CODE CONTROVERSY John A. Jelinek Seminary Chaplain, Baptist Bible Seminary Associate Professor, Baptist Bible. There is no way to ignore the clear fact that a computerized code in the Bible accurately predicted the Gulf War, the collision of a comet with Jupiter, and the.
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The year-old Bible code foretells events that happened thousands of proved the reality of the bible code, appear at the end of the book. download it in PDF format to read with Adobe Acrobat or any other PDF or ebook  The Date of Armageddon without using the bible code. NOTICES OF THE AMS. Book Review. The Bible Code. Reviewed by Allyn Jackson. Commentary by Shlomo Sternberg. The Bible Code. Michael Drosnin.
It is in large hardcover 9" x 12" , and is in full color throughout. That makes it a little pricier, but for those doing any codes research themselves, this is a must have book. download it. Ed Sherman presents compelling evidence, via Bible code findings that are complete sentences, that the skeptics are wrong. Anyone interested in the Bible code ought to download and read this book. It pioneers a new concept in the Bible codes--use of code matrices as maps. The book presents an overview of all theories about where the ark of the covenant could be located, and then promotes a new hidden location found in the Bible code maps.
In such cases we used both forms. Other natural questions concern whether they ignore vowels, whether they distinguish word -final character forms, which spellings they use, etc. These questions are all settled somewhat arbitrarily. One may believe that the text in its fulness exists, however, without pointing to a particular version or collection of manuscripts. Reasonable doubts exist about the verities of any textual tradition left standing on its own.
Astonishing Biblical Discoveries Toronto: Sacred Mysteries of the Bible Toronto: Frontier Research Publications, , and others who have devised their own approaches to the subject. The number of letters in the Pentateuch in Jewish literature, Chumash , lit. When code authors search for an ELS of a relatively short word, they are unwittingly searching for a blade of grass in a haystack!
Drosnin had the computer arrange the letters of the text in 64 equal rows of letters. What makes anyone think such an arrangement is intentional, let alone sacred? If Genesis is special, the sieve should still pick that up, to a greater or lesser extent. Those writing about the subject often display the results of ELS by writing down the section of Torah containing the ELS with lines as long as the spacing of the ELS or a length a few letters longer or shorter than this spacing.
This method of display has no special significance, although it appears designed to make readers forget the large spacings between letters that are sometimes involved. One is allowed to look for coded messages within ELS going forwards, backwards, or, on some occasions, as a boustrephedon! Boustrophedon- v y yllaci e l r l horizontally, t a i n forwards c o or a g sdrawkcab l a l i y d Further, codes researchers can allow one, two, three, or nearly any number of characters to come between adjacent letters in their dxixsxcxoxvxexrxexdx wxxoxxrxxdxxs!
In some cases it is the sound of the word, not the actual spelling, that counts. Some codes researchers distinguish between ELS and what they call legitimate codes. The nature of the codes for these researchers is thus defined by the purposeful placement of the codes into the text by the author of the text.
Further, ELS are used to identify these codes as purposefully placed by the author! One need not dispute the possibility that biblical authors may have used such methods. It is another question altogether, however, as to what significance should be given to such placement. A Brief History 8 A boustrephedon refers to an ancient writing method in which the lines of a text alternate in their inscription and in reading from left to right and then right to left.
The word is a combination of the Greek words bou"j ox and strefein to turn. The metaphorical comparison would be the turning of the oxen while plowing a field. One plowing with oxen heads down one row and returns along but below the row just plowed. For a clear example in Drosnin, see The Bible Code, His book is based on a popularized approach to a study published in the scholarly journal Statistical Science.
This was an involved attempt including a sophisticated statistical analysis done on a computer to try to show that the codes cannot be explained by random chance. Likewise, the theory and presentation by the Israeli mathematicians in their article in Statistical Science is not new, but is a computer-nuanced approach toward some much older Jewish Bible study methods as shall be demonstrated below.
The noted Rabbis example of Rips and his colleagues within the article is a sophisticated statistical analysis done on a list of celebrated rabbis correlated to their dates of birth or death. This data is provided in an involved attempt to demonstrate that the codes are not to be explained by coincidence or contrivance. They ignored Masoretic marks and pointing altogether and did not consider text critical matters.
The authors took a list of names of 32 noted rabbis. In their initial sampling, they used the names of 34 very famous rabbis, but after refining their methods of analysis, they reported that they took the moderately known rabbis to avoid any charges of having fitted the tests to accommodate the data.
The trial took the names of these 32 great men, together with their dates of birth and their dates of death, and examined how closely the dates were to the names when they searched for the names and dates as ELS in the consonantal text of Genesis. There are some mitigating factors of the process that are very significant.
Further, the authors did not use the actual dates or names cited in the Encyclopedia but ones that they had determined from their own research. Other factors could be cited, but one gets the impression that, when looking for examples of what one wants to see, it helps to increase the probabilities of getting to see it if one increases the variables.
The paper was reportedly presented in in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. I was unable to access a copy of this earlier article to verify this point. Witzum and Rosenberg, his associates, carried out their research at Jerusalem College of Technology, Jerusalem. One searching for codes has to experiment to find what might be encoded. Computers allow the trial of limitless possibilities so that even a well-meaning searcher can inadvertently produce what appear to be statistically rare results when doing multiple tests.
Margalioth, ed. A Bibliographical Dictionary of Jewish Sages and Scholars from the 9 th to the end of the 18 th century.
Joshua Chachick, In fact, Rips and others have been vocal in their criticisms of Drosnin, suggesting that he does not understand the proper uses of codes methods. The testimonies of Jews attending the seminar are illustrative, if not enlightening. Grayson, a year-old graduate student of Social Work at Columbia University. Their mission is to persuade secular Jews to return to observance of Judaism.
They have put about 60, people world-wide through the seminar since —more than one third of those just in the past two years. Web page claim marketing the book, Yeshua: The Hebrew Factor21 Ever since the work of Witztum and Rips became known and perhaps before , claims have been made that hidden messages of Christian theological relevance can likewise be found embedded in the Hebrew text. Most of these claims have little merit due to a lack of any scientific discipline on the part of those espousing them.
See, for example, Jeffrey, The Handwriting of God, , where he writes: The associations with numerology are stronger than he realizes, however, since no one claims that the Bible Codes authors are using strict numerology to draw their assertions, but a strange blend of modern computer science, mathematics, and gematria.
Jeffrey cannot have it both ways! Let me introduce my husband, Yacov James Rambsel—the author—to you. These insights are coming in too fast for me to write them all down!
The strained credibility issue extends from Rambsel to other Christian Bible Codes researchers. For example, what Grant Jeffrey uses to document his codes research is often questionable at best. Publication in a critical journal like Statistical Science is not ipso facto proof of the alleged reality of the Bible code.
Even the length of time that has elapsed since the publication is not proof of the accuracy of the statements made by some codes researchers. The complexities of statistics and mathematical probabilities involved prevent a quick response from the critics. This is not to say that the critics have not weighed in with their responses. Jeffrey cites articles in Statistical Science and elsewhere in a way as to suggest that he considers the sources unimpeachable.
He cites an article in the liberal Bible Review by Jeffrey Satinover, for example, for its open stance to the codes. What Jeffrey fails to tell his readers is that subsequent issues of Bible Review provide scathing critiques of both Eliyahu Rips and Drosnin for their ignorance of basic matters pertaining to Hebrew, mathematical probabilities, and textual transmission issues.
To be sure, the men who write these and other critiques are not Christians, but this does not excuse Jeffrey from answering the specific issues raised by them that invalidate his entire position.
These positions were matters of public record at the time of his later publication of The Handwriting of God. If even one Hebrew letter 22 Yeshua, from the foreword. Biblia Hebraica contains the multiple variant readings fo und in different ancient manuscripts in its critical apparatus. The Talmudic citations of the Hebrew Bible also differ from the Koren edition in about citations. The Bible code computer program uses the universally accepted original Hebrew text. The argument here is not with the fact that God has indeed preserved His Word, but that any particular text fully is that Word.
Grammatical constructions were modernized and the consonants vocalized.
See, for example, B. Waltke and M. Errol F. Rhodes Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, , , They argue that the code will deteriorate proportionate to the number of missing letters, but does not altogether disappear. On the basis of which text do we make the assertion? The Majority Text? The critical text of UBS4? Perhaps we should accept the one that provides the most interesting codes messages?
Third, one must first baptize and then advance odd hermeneutical notions such as gematria and gnostic hidden secrets. Jeffrey does allow that others discovered the codes in earlier centuries without the aid of advanced technology,29 but these were the mystic Jews a fact he fails to mention who were the fore-fathers or leading proponents of gematria. Jeffrey wants to dis tance himself from this system because of its occultic character.
This would seem to set the plain meaning of the text in tension with a hidden meaning. Why would God be predis posed to hide in this manner important truths or information when His historical method has been to reveal his intent and plan in ordinary human language? Fourth, Evangelicals who believe that mathematically derived codes can be found in some manuscripts must also be open to the possibility that such codes would be divinely inspired as is the text. To assert this, however, is to assert that the Bible is no longer the final authority and to read limitless possibilities into their newly discovered codes.
Thus, Jeffrey and Rambsel unwittingly advocate that there is actually more divine revelation, heretofore undiscovered, yet somehow persuasively, if not equally, authoritative! Thus, they fall into the same difficulty Richard Gaffin observed pertaining to the charismatics and their views on the non-cessation of prophecy and other revelatory gifts.
I believe that God would authenticate His own true revelation by writing His signature on the pages of His Scriptures.
This signature would consist of evidence, knowledge and phenomenon in the text of the Bible that no unaided human could possibly have written. In other words, the genuine Scriptures should contain supernatural evidence within its text that no one apart from a Divine Intelligence could create. This is due to the fact that some Christians link the doctrine of inspiration with the doctrine of preservation.
Morro w, , Grudem, gen. Four Views Grand Rapids: Zondervan, It will not do to simply say as does Jeffrey in Handwriting of God, that we do not know why God would put these into the text of Scripture. God has revealed in the plain text of Scripture that all of his communications have meaning and are given to be obeyed, not guessed at.
If these codes are divinely placed, the implications are difficult to subordinate to t he plain meaning of the text, and principles of proper hermeneutics for interpreting them must be formulated. The untrained layperson picks up on the semi-technical nature of these discussions and is unable to understand the complications afforded by textual critical and statistical difficulties, computer capabilities, and mathematical probabilities.
He begins to wonder whether or not there is something to this codes proposal that he cannot fathom. The real problem, of course, is that the Bible nowhere suggests in its macroliteral message that hidden codes exist or have anything to do with proving the validity of the Bible to anyone.
Perhaps Christian Bible codes researchers should be wary of attempting to prove too much with their research. At least one group of Muslims holds the conviction that the number 19 miracle in the Quran in combination with ELS proves its divine origin. According to at least one author, the majority of Jews who have held to the presence of codes in the Torah have historically had cabalist backgrounds. The authors of cabala treat every letter, word, number, and accent of the Torah Scripture as if it were a secret code which contains some profound but hidden meaning put there by God for some profound and hidden purpose, including prophecy.
The mysteries are available to those who know the secret. The cabala also provides methods of interpretation of the occult marks on paper that the less spiritually gifted take to be mere words to be understood either literally or figuratively.
The purpose of the cabala is apparently to read God's mind and thereby become one with the divine. University Press, The adept the initiated gnostics , through meditation and the use of magic formulas, journeyed ecstatically through and beyond the seven astral spheres. In the Jewish version, the adept seek an ecstatic version of God's throne, the chariot merkava beheld by Ezekiel Ezek 1: For further description and detail, see the Encyclopedia Judaica, vol.
Macmillan, Cabalists accept and teach that all knowledge can be uncovered in the Torah by using cabalistic methods like gematria, notarikon, and temurah. Equally disturbing is the fact that connections to the cabala within the history of Bible codes research are not difficult to establish.
Similarity in method, or even this association with the cabala, does not negate the possibility of Bible codes by itself. It does suggest that caution is called for on the part of those attempting to utilize the codes in an apologetic. Clearly the methodologies employed here suggest careful scrutiny. Shlomo Sternberg Rabbi, Harvard mathematician In addition to what has been observed above, some general criticisms may prove helpful in sorting out the issues for the interested reader.
Roll a pair of dice 30 times and record the exact sequence you get. The probability of getting that exact sequence is less than one billion, but somehow you got it. When someone attempts a number of different trials looking for something and only reports the successes, the calculations of the a priori probabilities of the results are meaningless.
A helpful analogy for understanding the research methods of Bible Codes authors is the lottery.
But what happens to those probabilities if one downloads more than one ticket? Research into Lost Knowledge Organization, Additional information and a sane hermeneutical approach to the use of numbers in the Bible can be found in John J.
Davis, Biblical Numerology: Baker, Davis takes umbrage with biblical numerology as it attempts to assign numerical values to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet We are no longer expert in the various optional vowel letters that marked earlier Hebrew words like y and w.
In other words, Hebrew spelling practices were dynamic, not static. One cannot make an ad hoc case that the results would have improved with the original text. How can one prove from what is no longer in our hands?
One matches the appellations of famous rabbis against the names of the books they wrote. The other matches their appellations against the years of their birth or death. In each case, the result was unambiguously negative.
No indication of any extraordinary phenomenon was found. Some of the passages Drosnin cited must be read forward, others backward. As noted above, one passage he cites p. Some of the passages to which Drosnin refers in his appendix do not match the versions in any of several Bible translations. Hebrew is prone to wordplay. Further, because of the triconsonantal nature of the language, many words are extremely short, presenting more possibilities for locating strings of meaning.
Many words in Hebrew can be read as either nouns or verbs, depending on context, prefixes, and modifiers present. Because of this factor, many passages can be read in different ways.
Thus, any given snippet of text, with the spaces between the words removed, could be interpreted in innumerable ways. In short, once one has determined an encoded message, how does one interpret its meaning? The testing was done in consultation with Eliyahu Rips, who also interacted with the input data and criterion of the tests. Drosnin does not seem content to work only within the actual confines of the Hebrew language. At times convenient to the conclusions he wishes to draw, he alternates between Hebrew and English transliterations.
Later p. Further, Drosnin occasionally splits Hebrew words in the middle in order to accommodate his conclusions. One need not look far to find examples. Using similar methodologies, one adept scholar even succeeded in finding numerous assassination predictions in the English text of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. They found fifty-nine words related to Chanukah in the Hebrew translation of War and Peace.
But McKay does not propose that someone engineered this remarkable feat for his or anyone's benefit. Since then, McKay has responded to the following challenge Drosnin made in Newsweek: King, and Robert F.
Kennedy, among others. Convention on the Law of the Sea. A bigger problem arises from different meanings of 44 See the critique by George C.
Hammond in the Westminster Theological Journal, Hammond observed his alternation between Hebrew designations for the months of the year and Hebrew transliterations of English words e.
Hammond correctly observes that there is no reason to limit oneself to just English and Hebrew to find codes. Presumably many more coded messages could be found if other languages were factored into the equation.
Some languages are more prone to wordplay; others less so. In the Mandarin language, Hammond reckons, words are one syllable in length and homophony is rampant. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Hammond reckons, no technical text plotted out in German according to this method would b e expected to contain even as little as the names of Shem, Ham, and Japheth!
In other words, such statistical analyses can often tell you that events are meaningful, without telling you what they mean. In one instance, he uses horizontal words taken directly from the original text. Again, no formal rebuttal of Rips and his colleagues has appeared in print, but both sides those critical and those supportive of Bible codes are working feverishly to put their views into print.
Drosnin wrote frequent statements indicating that the computer science in the Witztum-Rips-Rosenberg report is solid and the math is flawless, or passed rigorous peer review. Such claims are meaningless, especially when stipulated by a non-scientist who has never written, let alone published, a technical paper.
There is no substantive computer science in finding strings of equidistant letters and organizing letters into a matrix based upon the string locations, fewer than one hundred lines of BASIC code. A s technology could accomplish that. Stating that the math is flawless is also mis leading; there is little math in the original paper, except for the calculation of the odds of this or that occurrence.
Drosnin states that the code cannot be used to tell the future, but that one can readily fit past events to the code, evidently by being very flexible with the Hebrew. One is immediately reminded of the Centuries of Nostradamus. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. The Words of Agur, Proverbs What should concern us foremost is that God has given His clear Word, the Bible, and yet this fact is not able to excite some people as much as do these alleged Bible codes.
Do believers need secret codes to get them interested in God's Word? Evidentialists and presuppositionalists alike agree that no one is thus argued into the kingdom by means of clever words.
They agree that the Bible is sufficient in and of itself. It seems certain that any unique features if any present in texts when analyzed on this level are subservient to the message of the Scriptures. It would seem clear that a faith based on secret codes is a faith that begs the question: Hewitt and Peter Lorie, Nostradamus: The End of the Millennium New York: These verses are his advice to those who would go beyond what is written in formulating either theology or praxis. The testimony of Scripture is far more powerful than some secret codes found by supercomputers.
God does not need the testimony of any man, let alone a computer. His established pattern of revelation is to sound forth a clear and distinguishable message from Scripture, not a clouded or shrouded mystery. Not needing the witness of the codes is one issue. Whether or not they exist is quite another.
As observed above, Scripture nowhere points to the existence of the codes or suggests a hermeneutic for handling them should they be uncovered. It may result from clever manipulation of data or from innocent manipulation while looking for predetermined results. Certainly the use of similar methods by those who oppose faith in Christ should keep us from drawing conclusions for an apologetic. The lack of any absolute authority on the topic coincides well with the spirit of the age.
People who care nothing for sound biblical doctrine are getting excited over the Bible, not for its genuine message, but in the statistical probabilities pertaining to a rearrangement of its letters. Of course, God is sovereign, and may use the attention currently focused on the codes to get people to read the Bible at its face value.
It is certain that He must draw men to Himself and that he uses even human failings to accomplish his will cf. It is equally certain that no one will be saved apart from hearing and obeying the Scriptures as they apply to the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It may be information we need to prevent the predicted disaster. It is not a promise of divine salvation.
It is not a threat of inevitable doom. It is just information. The message of the Bible code is that we can save ourselves. Rom 1: I fear that those who follow these codes have fallen into a position resembling gnosticism.
Secret teachings, known only by a few, have historically been used to supply a platform upon which men set themselves up as teachers of the secret information from God or the gods. Modern computers abet the process by allowing trials of a myriad of possibilities so that even a well- meaning searcher can inadvertently produce what appear to be rare occurrences when doing multiple tests. If one reanalyzes data often enough from enough angles, eventually one can make the final analysis show whatever is required.
The point is that even well-intentioned people can produce results that are or appear statistically valid if they keep reanalyzing data by changing the methods. Evangelicals would do well to steer clear of the Bible codes.
Too many unresolved questions remain about the hermeneutics and methodology behind these studies. Such a statement, while perhaps realistic from the perspective of the massive details involved, should give pause to any dabblers in the code.
The inherent complexities of statistical probabilities and computer operations aside, we have a clear message from God in the plain text of Scripture.
As the apostle Peter wrote: We have the prophetic Word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. When it comes to matters of divine judgment and the standards by which we are judged or delivered, if the horn does not sound distinctly, who will prepare himself for the battle cf. Bible Code A theory that encoded messages have been purposely and perhaps divinely placed in the text of the Bible at this point only the OT texts have been considered to be discovered in the present day and to prophetically point to future events.
Some Bible Codes theorists suggest that the codes are proofs of the divine origin of Scripture. Others, like Drosnin, make only the claim that certain future events are predicted, and one cannot be sure of the origin of the codes. Cabala also Kaballah, caballa, kabala, kaballa, qaballah, etc.
The cabala is a collection of esoteric writings of various rabbis and a few medieval Christians which consists of mystical and numerological interpretations of Hebrew scriptures. The authors of the cabala treat every letter, word, number, and accent of Scripture as if it were a secret code which contains some profound but hidden meaning put there by God for some profound and hidden purpose, including prophecy.
The cabala also provides methods of interpretation of the occult marks on paper which the less spiritually gifted take to be mere words to be understood either literally or figuratively. With these delays one might ask whether what we have here is probability or prediction.
Certainly this is in stark contrast with the character of God in passages like Isaiah By negative findings I mean the contrary messages that authors such as Drosnin assert: In the monologue the case is established for the Sefirot or the powers emanating from God through which the world is created and its order is sustained.
The doctrine of the Sefirot uses the Pythagorean primordial numbers as the basis for its numerical interpretation of the biblical text. It began in small, elite scholarly circles but became a major popular movement after the expulsion of the Jews from Catholic Spain in The spread of the Cabala was facilitated by the mythical, messianic reinterpretation of it made by Isaac Luria of Safed.
Lurianic Cabala explained to the exiles the cosmic meaning of their suffering and attempted to give them a crucial role in the cosmic drama of redemption. Luria's ideas paved the way for a major messianic upheaval, centered on the figure of Sabbatai Zevi, which affected all Jewry in the 17th century. Cabala still has its adherents among the Hasidic Jews a popular 18th-century Polish revival movement.
Cabalist As employed in this review a cabalist is a student, interpreter, or devotee of the Jewish cabala; one skilled in esoteric doctrine or mysterious art.
Code Technically, a code is a system of symbols, letters, or words given certain arbitrary meanings, used for sending messages requiring secrecy or brevity.
The words are coded with the intent of hiding the meaning from all but those with special knowledge. Gematria Gematria is the theological interpretation of a word according to the numerical value of its letters. The original texts are a specified version of Genesis, an equal- length initial segment of a Hebrew translation of Tolstoy's War and Peace used as a control, and various randomized versions of these texts used as bases for the statistical analysis.
I don't know to what extent old Hebrew numbering was used in the Tolstoy translation. The Kabbalah Today New York: Clark, and Kabalah New York: New American Library, for an introduction to symbolism, mysticism, law, and philosophy of the Cabala and its interpretation.
Also refer to Moshe Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives New Haven: Yale UP, for a discussion of the two major trends in Cabala: New College Dictionary Boston: Houghton Mifflin, , s. The method is to either apocopate words or write only one letter of a word.
Thus each letter is made to stand for the complete word. As an exegetical device, a single word from the Bible is interpreted as a phrase or a sentence instead. The term derives from a system of shorthand utilized in Roman courts. Numerology Numerology is, in a general sense, the study of numbers. With reference to biblical studies, exegetes use the term numerology to refer to the investigation of the nature and purpose of the numbers found in the Bible.
Any halakhah, halakhic midrash, or aggadic tradition not included in the Mishnah is baraita. Blackwell, , 41, Zohar A mystical, cabalist commentary on the Chumash Pentateuch. The Zohar depicts the Godhead as a dynamic flow of force composed of numerous aspects.
Above and beyond all human contemplation is God as he is in himself, the unknowable, immutable En Sof Infinite.
Other aspects or attributes, knowable through God's relation to the created world, emanate from En Sof in a configuration of ten sefirot realms or planes , through which the divine power further radiates to create the cosmos. Zoharic theosophy concentrates on the nature and interaction of the ten sefirot as symbols of the inner life and processes of the Godhead. Because the sefirot are also archetypes for everything in the world of creation, an understanding of their workings can illuminate the inner workings of the cosmos and of history.
The Zohar thereby provides a cosmic-symbolic interpretation of Judaism and of the history of Israel in which the Torah and commandments, as well as Israel's life in exile, become symbols for events and processes in the inner life of God. Thus interpreted, the proper observance of the commandments assumes a cosmic significance.
E to C. In fact we have now noun counted all the accounts in the Gospels except a couple of the larger ones. Please see U Here is our recommended bible translation, our recommended bible dictionary and the complete works of Josephus, the Jewish Historian who was a contemporary of Jesus, and saw first hand the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE by the Roman General Titus.
Green, Sr. We agreed a licence with him to print it. We may yet base a translation on his.