Scripture Has It That God Dictated the Bible, Letter by Letter, to Moses. Now Some Respected Scientists Actually Believe This Might Have Happened - So That a Secret Code Would Be Preserved for 3,000 Years . . . BIBLE CODE: THE PROOF DAY TWO WHY THE HARD SCIENCE BEHIND THE CODE HAS DEFIED ALL ATTEMPTS TO PROVE IT FALSE

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WHEN the Mail first revealed evidence that mankind's future was encoded in the Bible, it caused an international sensation. Academics had used computers to unlock a code hidden in the Hebrew Old Testament which appeared to predict every significant event and individual in 3,000 years of history. Now a new book by a scientist who helped to crack the Bible Code reveals how it was done, how powerful the evidence is and what the future might hold. On Saturday, in the first part of our new series, we told how the code has astounded hard-headed professors.

Today, in part two, we focus on the science that has resisted intense scrutiny . . .

THE mysterious Bible Code appears and disappears throughout more than 3,000 years of history. It starts in the desert at the foot of Mount Sinai when Jewish tradition has it that God dictated the Bible to Moses in a precise letter-by-letter sequence - and then the code disappears from view.

It doesn't reappear for 1,300 years, and then only briefly, in shrouded hints in the era when the Jews began their 2,000-year exile and Christianity was born. A thousand years later, in the Middle

Ages, it appears once again in tantalising glimpses as the European powers turned to Jewish cabbalists to learn the 'secret art' of cryptol-ogy - the making and breaking of codes.

Then it disappears again for nearly a millennium until the Holocaust, when the fate of civilisation hung in a balance tipped by the art of code-cracking. The Allies' deciphering of the German Enigma code proved crucial to victory.

But the Bible Code would not disappear again, at least not entirely. It returned in Israel in the early Eighties among the surprisingly religious scientific community in Jerusalem.

Cryptology had been so perfected that it now made possible the unveiling of some of the deepest mysteries in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, which form the core of Judaism. Here is how it happened.

After the founding of the state of Israel, Torah scholars began to assemble there in growing numbers. Orthodoxy had recovered swiftly from near-extinction just a few years before.

But these Orthodox Jews were an unusual breed. Though some led a cloistered life, a surprisingly large number were chemists, physicists, mathematicians and physicians.

It was only a matter of time before someone would attempt to apply scientific techniques to the ancient code that had been kept alive in Jewish memory by the great Holocaust hero Rabbi Michael Dov Ber Weissmandl.

The process began in 1982 with Abraham Oren, an Israeli teacher of computer programming. Like Rabbi Weissmandl before him, years of immersion in the Torah and its traditions had left Oren with an intuitive sense of its patterns. When something expected didn't appear, that stood out as much as when something unexpected did.

BOTH because of his scientific training and because it is such an old principle in the Jewish interpretation of Scripture, Oren was primed to pay close attention to these anomalies - and to assume that they were hints, not mistakes or meaningless 'literary' fluctuations.

Based on his experience, Oren anticipated that the opening passages of Leviticus - which concern the rules for the priesthood and the sacrificial system would mention Aaron, brother of Moses, in some significant way or perhaps a significant number of times to highlight his importance.

Oren was therefore surprised when he discovered that Aaron himself was not mentioned even once. His name was mentioned, but always as a reference to someone else: for example, the 'sons of Aaron', even though he was alive and active in the events being described.

Was it possible that even such a slight variation in the expected might be a hint of something deeper and not merely a fluke or statistical variation? Was there a reason to think that Aaron might be mentioned in a hidden way? …