Sunday, September 22, 2019

Dispelling The Myth Of Secret Bible Codes

        There is a notion that the Old Testament contains encrypted messages that are arrived at through mathematical calculation or attributing numerical value to Hebrew letters. Much has been put forth into the discussion of whether the Hebrew Bible has any hidden or mysterious messages that need to be deciphered. A major proponent of Bible codes is the mathematician Eliyahu Rips. It has even been asserted that these codes were forewarnings of tragic events such as World War II and the Holocaust. Thus, we see that some people sensationally point to these so-called secret messages as proof of the divine authorship of Scripture. The desire to unravel Bible codes is ancient, as this source explains:

        "Generally, the mystical use of numbers is traced to the Greek mathematician, Pythagoras (c. 569-500 B.C.), who founded a cult based upon the idea than numbers were basic to nature, and that any phenomenon could be explained in terms of numbers (see John J. Davis, Biblical Numerology, Baker, 1968, pp. 125ff).

        There may be a reflection of this ideology in the Jewish apocryphal book, The Wisdom of Solomon, written by an unknown Alexandrian Jew in the late 2nd century B.C. (or later). A passage in that work states that God “by measure and number and weight” ordered all things (11:20). Certain ancient Jewish writers attempted “exegetical wizardry” by the mystical use of numbers."

        The Bible does not speak of codes by which one can obtain previously hidden knowledge. Figures such as Jesus Christ, Peter, and Paul never spoke of hidden meanings to their teaching. The inspired authors of Scripture never appeal to or make an application of any alleged Bible codes. As a matter of fact, doing such very closely resembles the pagan practice of divination (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

        Never once has there been a supposed Bible code that is seemingly prophetic in nature. In other words, none of these so-called revelatory discoveries have given us historical information that was not already known or available. Thus, Bible codes are pointless and unreliable. The straightforward reading of Scripture provides us with everything that we need to know in regard to salvation and godliness.

        Another factor that merits consideration here is that anybody can subjectively apply some mathematical processes for discovering hidden codes in any text of every language. A person can even come up with an alleged Bible code that flatly contradicts the overall teaching of Scripture. While the Old Testament has been preserved remarkably well, textual transmission issues deliver a fatal blow to the Bible code theory:

         "...we will find that it is impossible to recover the original text letter-for-letter. This can be clearly demonstrated. Because it is not possible to recover the original text, it is not possible to discover a Bible code that gives trustworthy messages."

         Of course, the Bible is a book that requires a considerable amount of studying. The inspired volume consists of a number of separate and intimately related parts. It is also true that numbers can be used as symbols. On the contrary, these supposed Bible codes are strange at face value and do not qualify at all to be categorized as eschatology. This excerpt serves as a perfect conclusion here:

         "The real test to predict the future is to make it plain to everyone, not have secret knowledge that is left up mostly to the interpreter. Statistics can be extremely subtle, and those fooled best are those who desperately want to see something in the shadows without considering the true light. This is no different or even accurate than trying to understand the future and find the Gospel by the stars."

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