Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

The Bible Code: "Teaching Them [Wrong] Things"

Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

The Bible Code: "Teaching Them [Wrong] Things"

Article excerpt

( Bell & Howell Information and Learning: Foreign text omitted.)

I. INTRODUCTION

Michael Drosnin, author of the 1997 New York Times best-selling book entitled The Bible Code, tells of flying to Israel on 1 September 1994 in order to convey to then Israeli prime minister Rabin an urgent and sober warning. Drosnin had learned that the only time the name Yitzhak Rabin appeared in the Bible code it intersected the words "assassin that will assassinate." Drosnin had therefore concluded that the life of the Prime Minister was in grave danger. But he also thought that if immediate action were taken this imminent catastrophe could perhaps be avoided. When he arrived in Israel, Drosnin met with Israeli poet Chaim Guri, a close friend of the prime minister, who in turn conveyed Drosnin's message to Rabin. Drosnin urged that the Bible code message concerning Rabin be taken seriously, especially in light of the fact that the same Bible code had also accurately announced the prior assassinations of Anwar Sadat, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, and Mahatma Gandi. Drosnin's mission, however, did not meet with success. Less than a year later, on 4 November 1995, Yitzhak Rabin was unexpectedly killed by a Jewish assassin.1

In the last five years or so there has been a rapidly growing interest in the cryptic messages alleged to be encoded in the Hebrew text of the Torah and perhaps in the rest of the Tanak as well.2 An attempt to carry this approach over to the Greek NT is now in its early stages.3 A steady stream of articles and books has appeared,4 in some cases generating huge profits for publisher and author alike. As Jeffrey says, "The whole world is talking about the remarkable phenomenon known as the Bible Codes."5 Some of the more sensational messages thought by many to be found in the Bible code concern the following events: World War II, the Watergate affair, the Holocaust, the bombing of Hiroshima, the United States moon landing, the 1994 collision of a comet with the planet Jupiter, the Gulf War, the fall of communism, the Oklahoma City bombing, etc. Historical details connected with the names of Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, Princess Diana, and many others are also said to appear in the Bible code, in some cases along with formidable messages of warning. The Bible codes also allegedly contain messages concerning Germany, England, France, Russia, Japan, the United States, etc.

Is there a mysterious code in the Hebrew Scriptures, "a Bible beneath the Bible" as it were,6 containing foreboding but accurate warnings for contemporary society? And if there is, would not the existence of the Bible code be of inestimable apologetic value in demonstrating the divine origin of the OT?7 After all, there is obviously no way apart from divine assistance that the ancient human authors could have encoded such messages about the future in their writings. If there is a valid Bible code, it would seem to provide irrefutable proof of the involvement of a supra-human intelligence in the writing of the ancient Biblical text.8

II. THE BIBLE CODE THEORY

The basic concept behind the Bible code theory is relatively simple. If one takes the Hebrew text of the Torah, as found for example in the Koren edition, and deletes all spaces and punctuation between words and verses, this creates a continuous strand of text consisting of 304,805 letters.9 One can then search that text for encoded messages found by skipping a certain equal number of letters in the Biblical text in order to isolate the letters of a particular word being sought. Ideally, this is done with the help of a computer that can be programmed to look for certain combinations of letters that together form a word. For example, if I instruct the Bible code program10 to look for my surname (in Hebrew, (...)), the program will search for that sequence of letters by skipping the same number of intervening letters until it locates the entire sequence. …

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