Hidden Bible codes:
About Hebrew writing. Are the Bible codes real?
Concerning the nature of Hebrew writing:
Ancient Hebrew writing usually consists of consonants only; vowels are rarely used. The
language consists only of nouns, verbs and small, one letter participles. The verbs were
originally derived from nouns. Thus, almost every word in Hebrew can be interpreted as
either a noun or a verb, depending on the surrounding context or as indicated by any
prefixes, suffixes or modifiers used. This means that innumerable passages can be read in
different ways. While the ancient Hebrew written language is very efficient, it leads to
massive amounts of misunderstanding.
The original Hebrew word roots
consisted of three consonants. According to one commentator: "...to make a
sentence may require only SIX letters, for example: 'He ate bread' would be 'A-K-L L-H-M'.
Which, by the way, can be read as 'food-bread' because the word for 'food' and 'to eat'
are the same root." Since many words are only three letters long it makes it relatively easy to find hidden
words using an ELS analysis technique. There would be far more word matches in an ancient Hebrew text
than in an English text with the same number of pages. Also, since words were usually
written without vowels, and nouns and verbs were often identical, an interpretation
of any nearby letter combinations could take many forms.
Are the Codes Real? What do They Mean?
We will somewhat arbitrarily divide theologians, Bible students, pastors etc. into two
groups: "code believers" and "skeptics":
|Some Jewish and Christian code believers feel that encoding of the names of famous Jews
(closely paired with their dates of birth or death) into the Book of Genesis proves that
God wrote the book and dictated it to Moses. Jews and Christians had believed this on
faith for many centuries. Now they have proof that Genesis could not have had a human
author. There are at least two reasons that have been given for this conclusion:
||Some commentators have suggested that the task of arranging the letters in the
Book of Genesis to contain an ELS code for cities, dates, and
people, is so difficult, that it would have needed a
digital computer to do the job. Since programmable computers were not invented until the
1940's CE., the codes could not have been set up by ancient humans. This
is an incorrect assumption. A human could have picked a
number, say 41, and a message. Then, it would only have been
necessary to make every 41st character in the text
equal to the next letter in the message. The chances would be that
it would not initially match. But by using synonyms and adjusting
punctuation, and other methods to alter the text over the preceding
41 characters, a match could be made. In the above text, the
author's first name "Bruce" has been encoded
manually with an ELS code using a separation of 41 characters; it
took only a few minutes to set up. [Although "Bruce" appears properly in the original FrontPage editor, it may be distorted on your screen. Browsers do not treat text in the same way; they insert line breaks and delete spaces in different places.]|
||Genesis is believed by many conservative Christians to have been
written by Moses circa 1450 BCE. Liberals believe that the final
version of Genesis was not edited until many centuries later.
Either way, it would be a miracle if it included the encoding of dozens
of men's names, birth dates, death dates and cities of birth and death. None of these data
were known until many centuries later. If the ELS codes are valid, then Genesis was written by a mind with the ability
to foretell the future with precise accuracy. This is beyond human ability; God is the
only possible author.|
||Some conservative Christians and Jews reject the ELS analysis of the Hebrew Scriptures.
For example, Rabbi Asher Lopatin of Anshe Shalom B'nai Israel Congregation in
Chicago is concerned that this type of study could lead to a worship of numbers. Others
might point to Deuteronomy 18:10-11 which prohibits the use of various methods to predict
the future. They specifically ban qosem q'samim, a Hebrew phrase which means to
foretell the future by using lots or a similar system. Also m'onen is prohibited;
it means to predict the future by interpreting signs in nature. Many religious
conservatives consider ELS studies to be a form of the occult.
Some Fundamentalists and other Evangelicals believe that the many occultic activities are
forms of Satanism, and can open "doorways" to demonic possession to persons who practice the occult.|
||Some skeptics, both Jewish and Christian, have no theological concerns about the use of the ELS
techniques or forms of numerology with the goal of predicting the future. But they
question the interpretation given to the findings. They might point to lack of statistical
data associated with the ELS phrases discovered by Michael Drosnin, and tentatively
conclude that all of his findings might be due to pure chance. That is, if Drosnin were to
repeat his scans using 78,064 characters from the Hebrew translation of "War and
Peace" then he would probably find similar, remarkable messages apparently
encoded in Tolstoy's writings. This has since been confirmed with War and
Peace, Moby Dick, and other long texts; they all contain hidden "messages."|
|Other skeptics might concentrate on the precise version of the book of Genesis or of the
Hebrew Pentateuch that is being used in the ELS studies. There appear to be "at
least 10,000 versions" that have existed. 1 If there were once a
"true" original copy of the Pentateuch dictated letter-by-letter by God to
Moses, then it is very probable that none of the versions available today are perfect
replicas of that original. There are a number of reasons for this:|
||Copying Errors: The Dead Sea Scrolls contain segments of all 5 books of the
Pentateuch. Comparing the scrolls with versions dated many centuries later shows that a
few errors had crept in over the few hundred year period. By extrapolation, the total
number of errors from the "original" text to modern versions would be much
|Spelling Formats: Hebrew spelling practices are not totally rigid. Although most
ancient Hebrew is spelled with consonants only, vowels are occasionally used. Some
manuscripts might have a vowel inserted in a word in one sentence, and show the same word
without the vowel in the next sentence.|
Ronald S. Hendel states: "Every known ancient Hebrew manuscript of the
Bible...has a different number of letters." 2 These differences do not change the
meaning of the books significantly; but such errors are devastating to an ELS analysis. If
one were to assume that:
|There were only 100 copying and format differences between the original text and the
modern version of the Pentateuch which resulted in the dropping of a letter, adding of a
letter, changing a word to another word of another length, dropping a word, adding a word,
|These differences were more or less evenly distributed throughout the Pentateuch.|
|That God had encoded messages in the original text.|
then a pass of the ELS computer program that started at some point in the Pentateuch
would stumble after it had gone only about 1% further into the text. For example, if the
pass began with the first character of Genesis 1:1 then it would stumble at about Genesis
3, when the "fall" of humanity is discussed. All analysis after that point would
be meaningless, because the ELS would initially be out of synchronization by one or more
characters. It is conceivable that a second, compensating error might be encountered later
in the text which would bring the computer back into proper synchronization. But it is
more likely that the next error would force the scan even further away from where it
should be. It would seem that when the ELS method is used on modern versions of the Bible,
it is incapable of detecting any significant percentage of encoded messages inserted by
the author into the original text.
|Other skeptics might concentrate on the origins of the Book of Genesis and the rest of
the Pentateuch. Many accept the JEDP theory: that most of the Pentateuch was written by
four authors or groups of authors: "J" (who used Jehovah as the name for God).
"E" (who used Elohim); "D", the author of the book of Deuteronomy and
"P" who wrote the "priestly" sections which deal with ritual, liturgy
and the dates and genealogical passages. To this was added additional material obtained
from other Mid-Eastern sources. The two creation stories in the Book of Genesis is one
example. The interleaving of two flood stories into the Noachian flood account is another.
The 5 books were assembled circa 950 BCE by "J", 750 BCE for "E" and
539 BCE for the P source. However, these were the dates that final "editing"
occurred; the authors sometimes used much older material, from both Hebrew and Pagan
sources. A large number of individuals each contributed their part to various portions of
the Pentateuch. It seems unlikely that some sort of overall coordination occurred during
this process to insert ELS codes precisely in place.|
|Drosnin may by now have recognized that he has perpetrated a hoax on
the public. He stated to a reporter "When my critics find a message about the assassination
of a prime minister encrypted in 'Moby Dick', I will believe them."
Sternberg took him up on his offer. He arranged to have Moby Dick analyzed.
4 They found "13 'predicted' assassinations of public figures, several of them prime
ministers or presidents or their equivalents." One "predicted" the
death of President Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua, which happened on 1956-SEP-21. Five closely spaced
segments said: "PRES" "SOMOZA" "DIES" "HEWASSHOT"
"GUN." Two intersecting sequences were found stating "IGANDHI"
"THEBLOODYDEED", thus "predicting" the assassination of Prime Minister Indira
Gandhi which happened on 1984-OCT-31. Sternberg concludes: "...the ELS method can produce
any desired 'hidden message' in any sufficiently long text." |
|A subscriber from an Internet discussion group searched for the phrase "Yeshua
Moshiach Sheker" which means "Jesus is the False Messiah".
She/he found more than three occurrences. 5|
|References 6 and 7 contain indexes of WWW sites which contain discussions on hidden
codes in the Torah, Greek New Testament, Qur'an, the Book of Mormon,
War and Peace, and
the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. They show that mysterious
Bible-type codes appear in all large books and texts which are
In spite of Drosnin's initial book 8 having been
exposed as meaningless, he wrote a second book on the same theme.
9 which starts with the 9/11 terrorist attack and counts
down to the War of Armageddon, and TEOTWAWKI
(the end of the world as we know it). People appear to be catching on.
Although Drosnin's first book received a rating of 3 out of 5 on the
Amazon.com web site, his second book has a rating of 2.5 out of 5. Mark
Perakh's review of the second book is particularly biting:
book by Drosnin is what could be expected if you knew his previous
despicable output. I was especially amused by the appendix to Drosnin's
new opus wherein he painted a picture which is blatantly untrue, being a
fantastic concoction about noble and highly qualified code defenders
fighting against a few malicious attackers of low intelligence who, in
Drosnin's learned opinion, either do not understand the codes (while he
does) or intentionally try to discredit a high quality research
allegedly proving the reality of the code. In fact the opposite is true.
Contrary to Drosnin's assertion, the overwhelming majority of experts in
mathematical statistics decisively rejected the claims by the code
proponents. As to Drosnin's own contribution to the code lore, even
professor Rips himself, to whom Drosnin refers with admiration and who
(actually together with Witztum, whose name Drosnin does not seem to
deem worth mentioning) is the originator of the code affair, has
expressed his disapproval of Drosnin's attempts to predict the future by
means of the alleged code sequences. In an interview to Newsweek a few
years ago Drosnin claimed that he would admit his error if somebody
found the "prediction" of a prime minister assassination "encoded" in a
non-biblical text. A number of such "codes" was demonstrated. McKay
found a whole bunch of them in Moby Dick. I found a set of "codes"
spelling "Amir Will Kill Prime MInister Hero Rabin" in a Hebrew book by
an Israeli writer Dahn Ben Amotz, published in 1979, this "code" being
much better than Drosnin's acclaimed "prediction" of Rabin's
assassination in the Bible. Drosnin never acknowledged this finding
although it has been widely known and invoked multiple responses. That
much about Drosnin's integrity. ...Overall, his new book is a piece of
arrogant nonsense which of course will find thousands of gullible
readers on whose ignorance and eagerness to believe in miracles
[a] journalist of Drosnin's type can always rely so he can laugh all the way
to the bank."
In reference 11, Brendan McKay took up Michael Drosnin's comment: "When
my critics find a message about the assassination of a prime minister
encrypted in Moby Dick, I'll believe them."
10 McKAy writes:
that English with the vowels included is far less flexible than Hebrew
when it comes to making letters into words." However, he scanned the
book and found references to the assassinations of two prime minister:
Indira Gandhi and Yitzhak Rabin. He continued and found codes for
President Rene Moawad, Leon Trotsky, Reverend Martin Luther King,
Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, President J.F. Kennedy, President Abraham
Lincoln, and assassin Sirhan Sirhan.
A potentially convincing test for the lack of validity of Bible codes:
A visitor to our web site suggested a method to test whether Bible codes
found by the ELS system are valid. The method involves randomizing every
letter in the Pentateuch. This would result in pure gibberish. Then run the
same computer program, looking for hidden messages amid this random
collection of letters. If they are found, then we can conclude that the
analysis method is worthless, and no Bible codes exist. To our knowledge,
this test has not been previously suggested or conducted.
- D.H. Akenson, "The biblical X-files", The Globe and Mail Newspaper,
- R.S. Hendel, "The Secret Code Hoax", BR, Vol. XIII, No. 4, 1997-AUG,
Page 23 - 24.
- Interview, Newsweek, 1997-JUN-9
- Shlomo Sternberg, "Snake Oil for Sale", BR, Vol. XIII, No. 4, 1997-AUG,
Page 24 - 25.
- A subscriber from an Internet discussion group reported findings at: http://www.best.com
This is no longer online.
- Mathematical Miracles in the Qur'an or the Bible? is an impressive list of many
Internet resources on secret codes, both in the Qur'an and the Bible. See: http://www.math.gatech.edu/
- In Search of Mathematical Miracles contains links to various sites that discuss
codes in the Torah, Greek New Testament and Qur'an. See: http://cs.anu.edu.au/
- Michael Drosnin , "The Bible Code," Touchstone Books, (1998). Read
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
- Michael Drosnin , "Bible Code II: The Coundown," Viking
Read reviews or order this book
- Newsweek, 1997-JUN-9.
- Bendan McKay, "Assassinations Foretold in Moby Dick!," (1997) at:
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Latest update: 2012-SEP-13
Author: B.A. Robinson