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Bible Codes
 
The Bible is rich in its use of various literary devices (such as phonetic play on the word 'Nazareth' in messianic prophecy of Isaiah 11:1; anagrams of the divine name hidden in Esther the book that does not mention God; alphabetic sequences in Psalm 119, etc.) which give evidence of the inspiration of its sacred text even in its structure, beyond the simple meaning of its words, to even its grammar and spelling in the original.
See:
The Bible's Structure
However,
in the last few years claims of inspired 'codes' in the Bible that supposedly contain hidden truths about future persons and events of historical importance, and even of our own personal future, have been widely publicized and led some sincere persons astray. Some sincere persons have so accepted the methodology of the Bible code proponents that even the titles of Shakespeare's plays, and virtually anything else that forms part of our modern world, is apparently to be found somewhere divinely codified in the Old Testament of our Bible, and the Pentateuch in particular. These claims, while superficially sounding as though honouring the Bible's importance, actually bring the Word of God into serious disrepute among thinking people.
The following will show the method of these code followers and its contradiction of some basic facts of Scripture and of reason.

 
THE 'CODE' IDEA  
This
code concept is essentially one of equidistant interval encryption in the text of Scripture, also known as Equidistant Letter Sequence (ELS) or skip-codes. In this method the letters of a particular part of the Bible, ignoring the spaces, are counted and then coinciding spelling of words or dates are 'found' at certain measured skip distances. This idea was first developed by Rabbi Michael Weissmandel about 50 years ago, but the rapid development of computer technology has made it so much easier to do. Mathematician, Professor Eliyahu Rips (אליהו ריפס) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, used his ability in 1994, with others, to produce 'predictions' based on this method.
Rips-Witztum-Rosenberg
An
example of this is finding a mention in the Bible of the 1168 AD Mishne Torah (a topically arranged codification of the Talmud) by a Jewish scholar, known as 'Rambam'. Using the ELS method both the words Mishne and Torah are found in the Pentateuch using a letter skip interval of 50. Why 50? Well, this is given significance by relating it to the Jewish 50th year Jubilee. Further, from the letter following the 'M' of Mishne to the letter preceding the 'T' of Torah there is a total of 613 letters, which is the number of laws that Judaism believes the Ten Commandments were expanded into.
 
Various
persons, of course depending on their religious affiliation, have found codes for the dates of birth, death, and names of famous Jewish Rabbis; a form of the name of Jesus all over the Hebrew Bible; names and dates of catastrophes and other world events, all of these 'hidden' in the letter sequences of the text.

 
THE IRRATIONALITY OF THE IDEA  
The
ELS code idea assumes that the commonly used Massoretic Hebrew text of the Old Testament, or at least its version of the Pentateuch (the Torah), is absolutely correct to the very letter – specifically, the Textus Receptus of the Koren Publishing Company.
 
 
However, whereas minor variations in spelling may not make a significant difference to the meaning of the text, any spelling or grammatical variation, and especially any missing words have a huge effect on ELS. It destroys the idea of reliable sequencing. This should be obvious, but seems to have been totally ignored – the presumption being that the most generally used Hebrew text is, of course, an absolutely exact copy of the original. At least one Christian group has even made this an essential of their doctrine, the so-called doctrine of preservation, but that is a view that is neither taught in the Bible (Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek) nor supported by the facts.
 
Both
the Biblical manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as the pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) differ from this Massoretic Hebrew text. In addition, the Jewish Talmud informs us (Soferim VI, 4 and J. Ta'anit IV, 2) that even in the days of the Second Temple (Herod's) there were three differing versions of the official or master scroll of the Pentateuch in the Temple  – the ma'on, the za'atutei, and the hi' scrolls.
 
 
This makes complete certainty over spellings and of individual letters in equidistant sequences absolutely impossible. (This should be also noted by those who have tried to ring-fence the Christian identity with the theory of a Divine Preservation of Scripture).
 
The
principal proponents of the code idea have simply chosen, for whatever reason, to use the Koren electronic text of the Pentateuch. But, one of the oldest complete texts of the Old Testament, the Leningrad Codex, differs from the Koren in no less than forty-one places in the book of Deuteronomy alone. 
 
 
Further, the variations of spelling format in our current copies of Scripture where the same word is written without a vowel and in the next sentence with a vowel (early Hebrew used some consonants as vowels), as well as obvious copying errors, make letter accuracy an utter impossibility.
 
An
irrefutable example of this is the complete agreement of the pre-Christian Jewish Septuagint translation of Genesis (from an earlier Hebrew original) and the New Testament Gospel of Luke (3:36), that the name and detail of Cainan have been omitted in error from all our existing copies of the Pentateuch or Torah; the basic text on which this ELS code is 'proved'. (See Cainan).
 
 
In fact every known manuscript of the Hebrew Bible has a different number of letters. This is more than enough to completely repudiate the possibility of ever using the Equidistant-Letter-Sequence method to extract hidden meanings, names, dates, events, etc., from holy Scripture. The many textual scholars who work so hard to give us improved accuracy in our text of the Old Testament would find the very idea of the ELS method, which can be affected by the absence of one letter, to be ludicrous.
 
Public
interest in the Bible codes idea was brought to a peak by journalist Michael Drosnin's book on the subject, particularly by an alleged prophecy of the assassination of Israeli prime minister, Rabin, that he 'discovered' in the text. 
 
 
In response to critics of his ELS method, Drosnin challenged:
'When my critics find a message about the assassination of a prime minister encrypted in Moby Dick, I'll believe them.'
quoted in Newsweek
9th June 1997.
So,
interestingly Mr Drosnin, when this ELS method was applied to the novel, Moby Dick, it produced equally significant results! 
Do you now believe your critics?
For instance,
it 'foretold' the assassinations of –
 
Indira Gandhi
a prime minister of India
   Leon Trotsky    and Dr. Martin Luther King.
     
 
 
(Appreciation for the above data to Brendan McKay at bdm@cs.anu.edu.au).
 
Using
this same ELS method, even the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, was found in the text of the Moby Dick novel.   Enough said!

See
Brendan McKay's Scientific
Refutation of this code theory.
THE ABSOLUTE IMPOSSIBILITY  
For
the Christian in particular, faith in the ELS system of Scripture interpretation is an utter impossibility for the following reasons.
 
 
The early propagators of the ELS code method, and today still its principal proponents, have by implication claimed a superior character for the Pentateuch (Torah) over other Scripture, often even referring to the 'codes' as Torah-Codes.
 
 
They have also quite vehemently attacked the use of the ELS method to find the name 'Yeshua' (Jesus) in the Old Testament, and in the Pentateuch in particular. This is especially significant for every Christian.
 
 
The New Testament places the Holy Scriptures of both Deuteronomy and Luke on the same inspirational, and therefore authoritative, level. The following quotes by the apostle Paul illustrate this:
     "For the Scripture says – 
'You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing,' and
'The labourer is worthy of his wages'."
(I Timothy 5:18).
In this sentence, Paul's authority for his teaching (that preaching/teaching Elders of the Christian church ought to be paid) is referred to in the singular as 'the Scripture' for both sources of his quotes.
 
The
apostle Paul uses the term 'Scripture' to simultaneously refer to both the Deuteronomy-quote (You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing, Deut.25:4) and the Luke-quote (The labourer is worthy of his wages, Lk.10:7). Thus treating both sources as equally authoritative.
 
 
That the New Testament should thus equate the authority of the Gospel of Luke (of which the ink was hardly dry in Paul's time, from a writer who was not an apostle or even a church pastor) with the same awesome respect that the early church held Christ's most quoted book of the Torah, is most significant!
 
This
is the Christian perspective! (This should also be noted by those who think that writings only became holy Scripture by the later decisions of some church council in the Roman Empire, when the church had spread far beyond that).
 
 
Unfortunately however, the same ELS games are likely to be played with this part of Scripture as Christians are seduced by this misleading myth.

 
THE IMPLICATIONS  
The
effect of the ELS methodology is to continue a sad tradition of exalting the Pentateuch or Torah (in which Israel's covenant relationship is formed) above other Holy Scripture, with a reverence bordering on idolatry. Behind this bias, there lies an atmosphere of Jewish nationalism/zionism, or at the least a very unbiblical romanticizing of the nation Israel. Political Zionism does not need further roots to feed its racial exclusivity.
 
 
Perhaps worse, the public, especially the Christian public's vulnerability to end-of-the-world associations with the ending of the second millennium after Christ, is too easily exploited, especially among the less sophisticated.
See:
Chronology of Confusion
 
Oprah Winfrey devoted half an hour of her popular show to Drosnin's book 'The Bible Code', and Warner Brothers bought the movie rights. 
 
Now,
with increased world anxiety over public order and safety since the September 11, 2001, atrocity, Drosnin has an even more ready market to exploit. The Daily Mail (UK) newspaper, has already unconcernedly helped promote Drosnin's new 'code' declarations to its readership ("...nuclear war in just four years" – from 2002).
Drosnin nonsense:
Nuclear War in 2006
 
Various others, such as Edwin R. Sherman, Roy A. Reinhold, Barry Steven Roffman, Robert Haralick, Moshe Aharon Shak, Andy McCracken, Al Sutton, Lyuben Piperov, etc. have climbed aboard this abuse of God's Word, some for its financial gain from their books or websites (open for donations by the more impressionable) and many others for even less noble motives.
 
With
the current alarmism and sensationalizing of the 'times' by the Misleading and the Misled we may expect even more such exploitation of this Bible fraud, especially as it could be used to make it appear that God has taken sides in the tragic controversies of Palestine.
 

666 Chronology of Confusion Common 'Christian' Fallacies Snake Wisdom?
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