What Sets BCD Apart:|
Examining ELSs for Extensions
Today, if you surf the web to find articles and YouTube videos on the topic of Bible codes, or if you watch television and view Bible code programs, you will find that people are still presenting the very same things they were 10 years ago: short word finds in matrices. And they are still arguing about whether those findings are meaningful as a whole, and whether they are statistically significant or not (i.e., whether they are there by design or by chance).
In 1998, after reading Michael Drosnin's book, The Bible Code, R. Edwin Sherman, a professional mathematician, set out to disprove Bible codes. He quickly realized that just looking for short words was just Step One in what needed to be a more thorough process. We would never know the truth about whether the phenomena of Bible codes was real unless we started examining each short word find to see if it was part of something longer—in good Hebrew. So, he retained one of the most qualified Hebrew experts that could be found. The result? He was astonished by what was discovered. He was quoted at that time saying, "I stand dumbfounded, a former skeptic turned reluctant supporter." Starting out as a skeptic and critic, he continued to critically evaluate codes and has spent the last 10 years reporting on research done by others and research done by BCD, until now he says, "There is no question the phenomenon of Bible codes is real. In the past 10 years we have discovered far more lengthy ELSs than can be explained by chance, given the relatively small number of ELSs (i.e., less than 2,500) we have examined for extensions. And we're not just talking about a few handfuls of long codes, but hundreds of them. Chance could explain a few handfuls, but not hundreds."
Where the uncertainties come in is with respect to any individual long code. Most of these codes are prophetic fragments, with no time stamp, no specifics on who is speaking, and many symbolic words that could mean a number of things. Furthermore, the translator is first confronted with a continuous string of Hebrew letters, and they must decide where to put the spaces between successive words in the code. Sometimes there are alternatives in where the spaces should be inserted. All this means that Bible codes were not intended to be used as the basis for predicting anything. Rather they were woven into the text of the Hebrew Bible as intrinsic evidence that the text had a superhuman source who knew the future.
How BCD's Research Differs
The following chart provides a checklist comparison of the types of research that BCD has been conducting, versus that undertaken by other code researchers.
*There are only a few other researchers that examine single word ELSs for possible extensions in good Hebrew. Most notable among them is Roy Reinhold, who has been a serious student of Hebrew for a number of years. His website is Codes in the Bible.
We believe that a thorough examination of ELSs for possible extensions is best performed by someone who received a thorough education in Hebrew while attending a full range of educational institutions in Israel, and who has remained current in that level of knowledge by maintaining residency in Israel while also reading and speaking Hebrew most of the time in recent years. For the past 10 years, BCD has retained Nathan Jacobi, Ph.D., who meets all these standards.
At BCD, we have found that there is so much more to codes than controversial short word finds that are not statistically significant. To illustrate a key facet of what sets us apart, we will examine three matrices in Drosnin's book The Bible Code that have received a great deal of attention. The topics are the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin, Hitler, and a comet causing destruction in 2012.
Yitzchak Rabin in 1999
On pages 28-29, Drosnin presents two views of a matrix with the following listed as codes in it:
- Yitzchak Rabin (8)*
- (Assassin) will assassinate (11)
- Amir (4)
*The parenthetical numbers are the number of Hebrew letters in each code.
First, it should be noted that the second code (Assassin) will assassinate is not a code at all, but is taken from the literal text in Deuteronomy, where Moses sets aside three cities as cities of refuge for men who unintentionally kill a neighbor. The phrase is from this portion of the Scripture:
That the slayer, who killed his neighbor unintentionally . . . (Deuteronomy 4:42a, Keys)
In addition to it not being a code, but literal text, the translation Drosnin provides twists the meaning of the phrase, from one who without malice unintentionally kills to that of an assassin, whose goal is to kill.
Furthermore, the third code, Amir, is only a four-letter code. Amir is the last name of his assassin (Yig'al Amir). A code of four letters in length is expected to appear 132,199 times in the Torah. In fact, we found a second occurrence of Amir in the same matrix at a skip of -9,542 that was even closer in proximity to Yitzchak Rabin than the one Drosnin notes. At four letters long, the code Amir is statistically insignificant.
All Drosnin really had in this matrix was Yitzchak Rabin's name and a statistically insignificant four-letter word Amir.
Yitzchak Rabin in 2010
To demonstrate the level at which BCD evaluates a code, we did a search for Yitzchak Rabin in the entire Tanakh. We found three instances of it. The first in Deuteronomy (the same as Drosnin's find), the second spanning from Ezekiel through Lamentations, and the third spanning almost the entire Tanakh from Numbers through 1 Chronicles. (1 Chronicles is the second to the last book in the Tanakh. For more information, see the page Order of Books on our site.)
Then, we examined each ELS for extensions. No extensions were found for the first one in Deuteronomy. The other two required looking at wrapped letters. Wrapped letters can be found when the text is treated like a cylinder: the beginning is connected to the end, and ELSs can potentially continue around the cylinder indefinitely. Wrapped searches have resulted in codes such as the 108-Letter-Long Buddhist Code, which wraps around the Tanakh an astonishing nine times.
Yitzchak Rabin (2)
They have deviated, and strike the sect of Yitzchak Rabin,
which is trash, and let them be cold saliva paying for them.
The sect of Yitzchak Rabin could refer to his political or religious affiliations or adherents. The point of view in this code may be voicing opposition to Rabin's political or religious views. It is 35 letters long.
Yitzchak Rabin (3)
Yitzchak Rabin, their army is in him, approach carefully.
This 19-letter long code may be from an anti-Israeli point of view, or it could be from his assassin's point of view.
We then looked at the two instances of Amir within the matrix that Drosnin presents. Both resulted in extensions.
And he applauded his taxing time.
Y. (Yig'al) Amir is for him a bitter woe,
and move on or be finished.
This extended code began as the four-letter code Amir as noted in Drosnin's matrix, but now having discovered lengthy extensions to the code, it becomes statistically significant. In Appendix Two of Bible Code Bombshell, R. Edwin Sherman notes:
If the ELS has seven letters, then there is a 1 in 500 chance that the ELS will simply not appear anywhere in the Torah. If the ELS has eight letters, there is nearly an 80% chance that it will not appear anywhere in the Torah. If it has nine letters, chances are 99% that it won't appear anywhere. And the more letters the ELS has above nine, it becomes increasingly unlikely that it can be found anywhere in the Torah.
At 28 letters long, this code is extremely unlikely to be found by chance. In addition, the code may refer directly to Rabin's assassin, appearing to state Amir is for him (Rabin) a bitter woe.
Amir is food for the poor ram.
This is the second instance of Amir in the matrix. This code also resulted in extensions. At 13 letters long, it too meets the criteria for being statistically significant. The meaning of this code may be symbolic, as it is unclear why Amir would be food for the poor ram.
Now the original matrix presented contains three significant codes.
- Yitzchak Rabin (8)
- And he applauded his taxing time. Y. (Yig'al) Amir is for him a bitter woe, and move on or be finished. (28)
- Amir is food for the poor ram. (13)
Hitler in 1999
Another example of 1999 Bible code searches is the matrix on page 40 of The Bible Code. In this matrix four "codes" are listed:
- Hitler (5)
- Evil man (5)
- Nazi and enemy (7)
- Slaughter (4)
Again, we find that one of these is not a code. Evil man is literal text. Nazi and enemy is found using the literal text and going backwards letter by letter (skip = -1). Jacobi notes that the word Drosnin used for slaughter does mean slaughter in post-Biblical poetic Hebrew, but in modern Hebrew it means kitchen.
In addition, these codes are all under seven letters in length. Codes of eight to 10 or more letters long begin to be statistically significant, therefore, none of these meet that criteria.
Hitler in 2010
Since Evil man is not a code, BCD examined Hitler, Nazi and enemy, and slaughter in this matrix for extensions. While Hitler appears 26 times in the first 19 chapters of Genesis, the code in this matrix is the shortest at a skip of -31.
And who refused them? A farmer's picket knew my friend's brother.
Hitler, you will enrich chaos, a paralyzing fear.
This code reads like someone in hiding from Hitler's SS (Schutzstaffel or Protective Echelon). This search resulted in a 40-letter code.
Slaughter did not result in any extensions, which is possibly a good thing, since the translation may have been a recipe (a wink and a nod to the word meaning kitchen in modern Hebrew).
Nazi and Enemy (1)
Nazi and enemy is a tent he passes,
and the enemy and enemy's father will weaken.
This code could be referring to the demise of the Nazi party. It is 26 letters long.
In 2010, the matrix contains two significant codes, and a short insignificant code that might mean kitchen:
- And who refused them? A farmer's picket knew my friend’s brother. Hitler, you will enrich chaos, a paralyzing fear. (40)
- Slaughter or kitchen (4)
- Nazi and enemy is a tent he passes, and the enemy and enemy’s father will weaken. (26)
2012 Comet in 1999
On page 155, Drosnin lists a matrix at the bottom of the page with three "codes," two of which are sequential:
- Comet (7)
- It will be crumbled, I will tear to pieces (8)
- 2012 (4)
Or two codes if you put the sequential ones as a single code:
- Comet (7)
- It will be crumbled, I will tear to pieces 2012 (12)
2012 Comet in 2010
Nathan Jacobi, Ph.D., reviewed the Hebrew Drosnin has listed for these terms and said the following:
There are problems with the terms. Here are the corrected terms.
— comet (both forms are proper)
— I will tear to pieces 2012
The first four letters of Drosnin's second term make no sense in Hebrew.
We requested that he go ahead and look for extensions on Drosnin's terms, even though there were problems with them. He replied,
Nothing was found. I would have been surprised, maybe even disturbed, if sensible extensions were found to surround a nonsense core term.
So the comet matrix wasn't fruitful at all.
Note: In response to frequent questions on the year 2012, we have posted two articles on that topic:
What Sets BCD Apart
There are eight things that set us apart from the other researchers in the field.
1. What BCD Searches For
Propelled by those early findings, in recent years BCD has shifted its focus to searching for lengthy equidistant letter sequences (ELSs). After doing the initial search for a term or phrase, we then look at the letters on either side of the phrase (within the same column) to see if they form a lengthy ELS. We call it looking for extensions of the code.
Twice we've published lists of the longest codes found to date, which now serve as benchmarks for the research into lengthy ELSs:
We have also begun looking at wrapped searches. Wrapped letters are when the text is treated like a cylinder: the beginning is connected to the end, and ELSs can potentially continue around the cylinder indefinitely. Wrapped searches have resulted in codes such as the 108-Letter-Long Buddhist Code, which wraps around the Tanakh an astonishing nine times.
In addition, the appearance of clusters of codes has led to numerous articles on the topic. Major clusters have been found in:
- Genesis/Exodus Cluster
- Deuteronomy 30-33
- Psalm 22 Cluster
- Proverbs 14-17
- Isaiah 40-46 Cluster
- Isaiah 53 Cluster
- Ezekiel 7 Cluster
- Ezekiel 37 Cluster
- Ezekiel 40 Cluster
And topically on:
- Economic Crisis Clusters (9 clusters)
- Swine Flu clusters in Jeremiah 44:6 and Isaiah 8:7
Throughout BCD's articles, we note the statistical significance of lengthy codes, but in particular, we have a series of Articles for Technically Advanced Readers , which outline the mathematical methods for determining the statistical significance of a code depending on its length.
In addition, BCD frequently researches whether there is a relationship between codes and surface text, and to date have found numerous examples of that. For example, our series of articles on codes found in the "Who is like God?" passages in Isaiah 40-46, Exodus 15, and Proverbs 30:4
2. Where BCD Searches
Orthodox Jewish researchers only search for codes in the Torah. BCD has chosen to search the Torah and the entire Tanakh as well. For example, in The Trinity in Genesis 1:1 we researched codes in Genesis using the wrapped technique for both the Torah and Tanakh.
We also report on research done in other texts, such as the Aramaic New Testament and the Koran, and have reported on Moby Dick and War and Peace.
3. The Wide Variety of Topics BCD Searches For
For years now, the thrust of many researchers has been to make predictions or research famous people or events of the past. BCD does not advocate the use of codes for predictions, and we deal head on with controversial topics such as Jesus codes, Buddha codes, and we haven't shied away from researching current events.
4. The Growth of BCD
In our article, BCD Marks Eight Years we noted:
Beginning in November 1999, our digests were short monthly e-mails (about 7 to 15 pages long). They did not have any pictures or tables in them, and we could not present the Hebrew in the e-mail without spelling out each letter name. We spent time explaining who we were and what we were not, and the length of codes found was very short.
And continued . . .
By 2005, we chose to devote more time to research by publishing bimonthly. In the new bimonthly format, the digest grew to its present length, often running 30 to 50 pages long. The digest is full of photos, tables, and the codes run from four and five letters to almost 300 letters in length.
To our knowledge, no other group of researchers has produced this volume of verifiable information on Bible codes.
In addition, BCD's subscription levels have grown from zero to 8,000-plus in the first five years, and has doubled to over 16,000 during the last five years. BCD's site averages 1,500 visits a day.
5. The Expertise BCD Has
BCD draws upon the expertise of Director R. Edwin Sherman as a professional mathematician with over 35 years of experience, and Nathan Jacobi, Ph.D., a retired Physicist and Hebrew scholar, who was educated in Israel, as well as numerous contributing authors.
Director of BCD
R. Edwin Sherman is a nationally known consulting mathematician with 37 years of experience. He is President of the Isaac Newton Bible Code Research Society and Director of Bible Code Digest. Sherman is also author of two books, Breakthrough: Encountering the Reality of the Bible Codes and the recently published Bible Code Bombshell.
Mr. Sherman received a B.A. in Mathematics with Highest Honors in 1971 from the University of California at San Diego and an M.A. in Mathematics with High Honors in 1973, also from UCSD. He passed three of the four qualifying examinations for a Ph.D. in Mathematics, including the one for probability and statistics, before deciding to pursue a career as a financial management consultant.
Over his career, Sherman has served as a consultant to numerous large financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies and government agencies at all levels. He has served as a senior researcher for a major financial institution for three years, as a Principal at one of the three largest CPA firms for seven years and as an independent consultant for 18 years. He has written more than 70 articles in professional and trade publications and delivered numerous speeches to a broad spectrum of audiences. He is frequently called upon as an expert witness in major litigation.
One of his major avocations over the past 38 years has been involvement in Biblical studies and is well acquainted with the literal content of the Bible.
Mr. Sherman is deeply committed to the objective examination of the phenomenon of Bible codes, apart from the advocacy of any particular religious viewpoint.
BCD has had the tremendous benefit of the ongoing services of retired physicist Nathan Jacobi, Ph.D. Jacobi was educated in Israel from age six through his receipt of a doctorate (1945-1969), gaining a very thorough knowledge of both Biblical and contemporary Hebrew. In graduate school, he served as an interpreter (from English to Hebrew) of courses taught at the Weizman Institute of Science. He lectured at the Tel-Aviv University in Hebrew. He has taught numerous classes on Hebrew in recent years (1998-2003), and has been eTeaching since 2009. In 2008, BCD conducted a two-part interview with Jacobi to discuss his life and his background in Hebrew. After living in the United States for many years, he and his wife have moved back to Israel to be near their two children. Living in Israel, Jacobi continues to actively participate in the research published in Bible Code Digest.
Upon returning to Israel in 2006, Jacobi was somewhat concerned that his Hebrew might be rusty after his long absence (1969-2006). Ironically, the effect of the absence was exactly the opposite. Jacobi's Hebrew effectively improved by staying away, as the language has suffered a long, slow erosion in Israel, and he happily reports being congratulated and flattered for his high level of knowledge in classical Hebrew.
Some of our contributing authors have been: Moshe Aharon Shak, Reverend Glenn David Bauscher (research on codes in the Aramaic New Testament), Johannes Verboom, and former BCD Editor Dave Swaney (to read Swaney's review of Drosnin's second book, scroll half way down the page).
In publishing the works of contributing authors, our goal is provide accurate, unbiased reporting of news about cutting edge Bible code research conducted by other credible researchers. We endeavor to report on the significant findings of Jewish, Christian and secular researchers, regardless of their views regarding the potential validity of some Bible codes. We present a variety of viewpoints on Bible codes and often accompanying spiritual matters in these web pages, but we don't necessarily agree with all of them. Our view is that God created codes in the Bible to show us another facet of His omnipotence and omniscience.
6. BCD Addresses the Skeptics' Arguments
BCD has a series of articles addressing the skeptics' arguments. In recent years, the skeptics have become remarkably silent on the topic of BCD's work.
7. BCD Has the Benefit of the Feedback of Its Subscribers (currently 16,000+)
Our subscribers assist with their feedback on the codes, with suggestions for searches, and with sending us information on other websites devoted to Bible code research. The staff at BCD appreciates all their input.
8. BCD Espouses Points of View in the Codes
Most of the debate about the point of view of the codes is whether they present Truth with a capital "T" or whether they are nonsense. In our article Revisiting Viewpoints we discuss attribution:
Imagine reading the first few chapters of Genesis and not knowing who was speaking. You could easily mix up the words spoken by one person and attribute them to another. Questions like "Where are you?" and "Who told you you were naked?" could take on entirely different meanings if you didn't know that it was God speaking, or "You will surely not die" and "I heard your voice in the garden" if you didn't know that Satan said the former and Adam said the latter. God could have said "I heard you in the Garden" and Eve could have said, "You will surely not die" while offering Adam the fruit. We are fortunate that the surface text of the Bible spells this out, because without it Genesis 1-3 could be very confusing indeed.
Attribution is lacking in the Bible codes that have been found to date. We have yet to find a single code that says who is speaking. We can only surmise the point of view from examining the text of the code. If a code says, He offended. The resurrection of Jesus. He is risen indeed, we surmise it is from a Christian point of view, because it is talking about Jesus and His resurrection. If that sentence was in the surface text, it could be spoken by any one of a variety of people talking about the resurrection, but because it is in the Bible code, we can only come to a conclusion based on the text.
Some of the points of view BCD has discovered are:
In the 10 years we've been doing this research, we have moved forward into areas no one else has, and the discovery of lengthy statistically significant codes has advanced the research of Bible codes.
What sets BCD apart first and foremost is that we search for lengthy equidistant letters sequences (ELSs). In addition, we have branched into examining wrapped letters, resulting in codes that can wrap around the Torah or Tanakh multiple times.
BCD has located major clusters of codes in specific areas of the text, which continue to grow with additional research. We search both in the Torah and the entire Tanakh, and we have the valued participation of contributing authors in the field. Our team has the expertise to evaluate the statistical significance of the codes, and explore the relationship between the codes and the surface text.
BCD doesn't shy away from addressing the skeptics' arguments or from researching controversial topics and current events, and our publication has grown in size and depth of information, reaching an audience of 16,000-plus subscribers. The BCD website has approximately 1,500 visitors a day, and we benefit from the feedback of both our subscribers and visitors. Unlike other researchers, BCD espouses that the codes express points of view.
Ultimately our purpose has remained the same: To critically evaluate findings, so you can be aware of both questionable and noteworthy codes, and to fill the role of a critic in this important field.
Continue to What Sets BCD Apart: Tables
Bombshell examines two massive, recently discovered clusters of codes in the Hebrew Old Testament. To read more about Bombshell, click here, or click below to order from Amazon today!