Bible Code Digest
In This Issue:
Briefing Short items of interest to Bible code followers.
Correspondence Feedback from our readers.
The Global Economics Crisis: Codes Detail Numerous Causes and Effects
Given the state of the global economy and the many requests we have received to research it, BCD decided to run a series of searches on economic terms. The content of the extended codes includes more than a dozen causes of the crisis, affirms its global extent, and mentions a number of its effects.
Gaza Operation: A Highly Improbable Collection of Codes
On December 27, 2008, Israel Defense Forces launched a military campaign against the governing party of Gaza—Hamas. We searched for 19 terms suggested by Nathan Jacobi, Ph.D., in the Bible code regarding this event. Twenty-three lengthy codes were found ranging from 13 to 54 letters long.
A preliminary version of this article was posted under Hot Topics on January 21, 2009. This expanded version of the article appears for the first time in the Digest.
Learn Hebrew with Pictures and Audio
Learn Hebrew with Pictures and Audio is a free, online, educational resource to learn Hebrew words in a fun way.
The site has 425 words and photographs ranging from fruit and vegetables to household items. Each Hebrew word is presented as an image with nikud [vowels].
There is an English transliteration and translation for each word and the Hebrew audio track provides you with the correct pronunciation of each word.
This site is located at My-Hebrew-Dictionary.com. For additional Hebrew resources, visit our Hebrew Links and Resources page.
The following correspondence has been edited for length, with both author's permission, in order to be presented here. The e-mails represent a ongoing conversation between an interested reader and the Director of BCD.
In what year did God encode the various books in the Bible? Since chunks of the Hebrew Bible were written between 1,005 BCE and 140 BCE, wouldn't God have had to encode it sometime after 140 BCE?
If the encoding in the Masoretic text is more accurate than the encoding in the Septuagint, wouldn't it be reasonable to suggest that God would have encoded that portion some time after the completion of the Masoretic text which occurred around the 11th century CE?
I find the question of why God would encode warnings about events a thousand years in the future (or more) particularly interesting.
It's part of a larger question, why has God chosen to communicate the way he or she or it has? The Tower of Babel story, Genesis 11:1-9, implies that God has a fear of open communication. Why did God choose to talk to Moses from inside a burning bush? Why did God choose to talk to Ezekiel in the form of symbolic patterns in a glittering sandstorm, the like of which still occur in Iraq in July? Why didn't God choose a single, recognizable voice that all could understand?
And why did God choose to communicate with his supposed partners in the Covenant only indirectly, through self-appointed, self-interested agents? Why doesn't God communicate with everybody on prime-time TV, or is that what he's doing when we see the mega-evangelists on Sunday morning? Wouldn't that be a more cost-effective way (than the cost of maintaining all of his supposed religious agent's salaries) for God to express his wishes?
Frederic S. Glynn, III,
The Hebrew Bible was committed to hard copy by numerous scribes/authors over more than 1,000 years. Given that, one would not expect that it would be encoded, unless a common source was closely directing, and perhaps even dictating the text of the Bible to each different human scribe/author. That is what is hypothesized by those who claim that such encoding is real.
The Bible affirms this in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NKJV) The real question is the extent to which its text was inspired.
If the common source of the entire text of the Bible were God, encoding the Bible would not be an unexpected accomplishment. A supreme being who created the entire universe and who invented time and exists independent of time has no trouble in having a detailed knowledge of the future.
The degree of highly improbable encoding in the Hebrew Bible is so extensive that no human author, or authors, could have accomplished it. Even with the dedicated efforts of today's largest computers, such a task is beyond human abilities. This is so because every time an encoder might try to insert yet another code, it would be necessary to make numerous changes in the literal text to accomplish it, consequently rendering parts of the literal text to be gibberish. Further, most codes found to date relate to events that occurred centuries or even millennia after the text of the Bible was written. Human beings do not possess the ability to foresee the future on anything other than an extremely limited extent.
You ask why God would encode warnings about events a thousand years in the future, or more broadly, why God would choose to communicate to mankind in any specific manner. You are particularly troubled about the possibility that God might speak through TV evangelists or self-appointed local clergy. Your concerns are shared by most people, and rightfully so.
My belief, after ten years of extensive research into the phenomenon of Bible codes, is that God chose to encode the Bible as intrinsic proof of His divine authorship of the book. Codes are much like the authentication strip in a $20 bill. The strip reads, "USA TWENTY...USA TWENTY."
So what is the purpose of the codes? It isn't to warn about impending calamities, but rather to show, after calamities occur, that God knew when the Bible was written that the calamities would occur. So, what is the point? It is that God thoroughly authored the Bible. If that is true, we should each devote extensive time to studying it rather than merely listening to TV evangelists or local clergy. The problem is that the latter are often self-appointed people who are much better at espousing their own opinions than they are in understanding truths from the Bible—truths that ordinary, humble people can glean from seriously studying it on their own, with an open mind and heart.
There is another reason why God might have encoded the Bible as evidence of His authorship. The Bible tells us many things we don't want to hear, such as that we should love our enemies and do good to those who mistreat us, and that we shouldn't devote our lives to piling up wealth and being self-centered. Because much of what it has to say isn't popular, people need to have sources of compelling evidence that we should heed what it has to say. Encoding is one of those sources.
I hope this helps.
R. Edwin Sherman,
Dear Mr. Sherman,
Thank you very much for your reply. I will give careful thought to the various points which you have made.
On Wednesday past, I gave a copy of Michael Drosnin's book to a former professor of Hebrew and Ancient Near East studies whose views are, in many ways, the opposite of those I hold and have asked him for his comments. For much of the past year he and I and one of his former students have been meeting once or twice a month to examine the structure of Genesis 1-11, which he says had to have been written by a single author for reasons related to its literary structure.
I, too, would attribute Genesis 1-11 to a single author but for a different reason. Genesis 1-11 is often attributed to two different authors, because of the switching back and forth from Elohim to Yahweh as the divine name. My speculation is that when the author, writing circa 930 BCE, uses Elohim or Yahweh it is to indicate which of two different traditions is being referred to in the telling of a story.
It's as if the author, by using the name Elohim, was signaling to the reader that "the opinion held by the Israelites in what was recently the northern kingdom of Israel is . . . " or by using the name Yahweh that "the opinion held by us here in Judah is. . . ."
If the Bible is intended to communicate God's wishes, it is notoriously ineffective. Instructions for behavior should be clear and unambiguous. One wouldn't want to tell a small child not to play with broken glass despite the pretty way in which it sparkles only to have the child say, "I'll take 10 or 20 years and figure out what you meant."
I will let you know what my friend thinks of the code after he has had a chance to study the matter in detail.
Your comments are very much appreciated.
Thanks for your latest e-mail. I don't have time now to respond to every point in your reply, but I did want to pass on to you what I believe is another substantive explanation for the usage of Elohim in some sections of early Genesis, and of Yahweh in other sections. The following explanation makes a great deal more sense to me than the Documentary Hypothesis, because, by and large, it is generally applicable throughout the entire Hebrew Bible.
What follows is a copy of an excerpt from the book, Hard Sayings of the Bible:
[An excerpt of Hard Sayings of the Bible by Davids, Bruce, Brauch, and Kaiser (InterVarsity Press) "Genesis: Elohim or Yahweh: Genesis 1-2" was presented in the e-mail.
Article Synopsis: Does the use of Elohim and Yahweh in Genesis 1-2 denote that the author drew upon two different sources in compiling the creation story, or did his use of the two names designate two different aspects of God's character and how He interacts with man? The conclusion is the author's use of the names was a grammatical indicator of God's roles: The use of Elohim to illustrate God's role as Creator and Yahweh to emphasize God's intimate interactions with man.]
Thank you for the excerpt from Hard Sayings of the Bible. It's interesting but, so far as I can tell, says nothing about who wrote Genesis, nor when they wrote, nor where they were located, nor why. Furthermore, it is, as apparently all Biblical commentary is, mere speculation.
It is unfortunate that most of the Biblical writers did not identify themselves and that some of those who did could not have been who they said they were.
I'm very disappointed with the efforts of men . . . [with] circular line of "reasoning"—the Bible contains no errors therefore it had to have been written by God, and since God wrote the Bible it contains no errors. Well, the Bible does contain errors, major ones, and like all other "sacred books" contains nothing that necessarily points to other than a human origin.
Thanks for your help.
According to Ockham's Razor, if you have two explanations of a phenomenon, you should choose the simpler one as being correct. So the point is that the Documentary Hypothesis is unnecessary. Elohim and Yahweh probably didn't represent different authors, but rather one author describing God in two different roles.
It is a bit like if Chelsea Clinton wrote about her years in the White House, and she would talk on one hand about President Clinton and on the other hand about Dad. Elohim is analogous to President and Yahweh to Dad.
Continue to The Global Economic Crisis
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