Prophecy Article
Expanded Internet Edition - September 2, 1997 

Bible Codes - Are They True?

By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1997

It can easily be shown that the Bible does present messages from God that are delivered in code. There are various kinds of codes mentioned in the Scriptures and once these are recognized then God will use these codes to inform His people what His teachings are in regard to various subjects. What is important to realize is the fact that God's codes are not as esoteric as some people think. The truth is, the ordinary reader of the Holy Scriptures can discover what God means. The codes are actually intended to give the student of the Bible some clear teachings that those who fail to study the Holy Scriptures will not comprehend. A recent book has been published called "The Bible Code" which is a Jewish production dealing only with the Old Testament revelation. The book shows some up-to-date revelations about political events that pertain to leaders of nations, catastrophes to occur on certain nations, and information on the End of the World (or Age). Is this new teaching compatible to the biblical revelation? Should we heed what the book shows? I will give some scriptural teaching that can help us evaluate such things.

Properly understanding this important Bible matter can answer a slew of other questions about "biblical codes" that people have known about for centuries. Yes, there are legitimate "biblical codes" found in the Holy Scriptures. Let me briefly mention one such code (though there are several in the Bible). This code is called an Atbash. This is when a Hebrew word using the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in their forward numerical position (that is, in our normal ABC fashion) is substituted by the same numbered Hebrew letters in a backward arrangement (that is, in a reverse XYZ fashion). It can be done in English by substituting our first letter A with our last letter Z, our second letter B with Y, our third letter C with X, etc. This method was used in Hebrew in the Holy Scriptures. In Jeremiah 25:26 we read that "Sheshach" shall be the last of the nations to receive God's judgment. What nation is Sheshach because we know none by that name? Jeremiah actually meant Babel (or Babylon). By substituting the letters for Babel in their normal forward numerical positions with Hebrew letters in the same backward numerical positions, we arrive at Sheshach. And, Jeremiah identified Babel as being Sheshach in Jeremiah 51:41.

The illustration above is important because it provides us with a proper principle that should always be applied when interpreting "new codes" based on the Holy Scriptures. Do those "codes" (whether they are new or old) agree with and subscribe to a precise identification of God and His truths? This is what we all want to know. The apostle John said that many false prophets have gone out into the world inspired by false spiritual forces (I John 4:1), and we are commanded by John "to try [test] the spirits whether they are of God." We should all be educated enough in the teachings of the Holy Scriptures (in all its ramifications) so that we can accurately "test" any type of teaching or "code" with which we are presented. This especially applies to us at this End-Time period because Christ said our time would be a period when the false spirits will be quite active (Matthew 24:24,25).

What I want to do in this article is to give you some of the standards of God for detecting true (as well as false) teachings that people purport as coming from the Bible. I call these standards "the Fingerprints of God." God provides in the plain sections of Scripture proper principles, standards, patterns, models and benchmarks that we can always know and can always apply in judging whether any teaching is true or false. We are informed that God the Father is one "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). Similarly, Christ Jesus is a person who is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever [into the ages]" (Hebrews 13:8). What is incumbent upon us to master is a knowledge of those principles and standards that God always associates with Himself. This is the main thing we are to learn when the divine Scripture says: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth [properly selecting what pertains to you]" (II Timothy 2:15). There is no easy way to master these essential truths of the Bible. It takes hard work and God's help. The Bible states: "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). You and I must be effectively studying His divine Scriptures.

In a word, what the above biblical teachings demand is our constant attention to the Holy Scriptures in determining as best we can the patterns of life and doctrine that consistently manifest the Father and Christ Jesus. We must learn the unchangeable and invariable patterns of the Family of God and their methods of teaching, their manner of judgment and even their way of codification (if God has established "codes" for the elect to understand). These standard characteristics and habits of life found in Scripture provide us with principles of teaching that indelibly display the Father and Christ and their own "fingerprints." We need to see their "fingerprints" on everything we research or believe. Applying those "fingerprints" can determine whether doctrines (or codes) that men devise (even if they are supposed to be biblically based) are indeed compatible with the divine and unquestioned teachings of God. Simply put, we need to be aware of the prime characteristics of the Family of God and recognize their "Fingerprints."

What Are the Fingerprints of God?

Let me give a simple illustration of my own origination that can explain this matter. It will help us to understand the methods that some people are using today in devising "codes" that they believe to be in the Bible and, from our point of view, we need to know whether those "codes" are true. Let us suppose that it can be shown that God performed a particular action in world affairs (according to a prophetic pattern) on a 7th occasion, a 14th occasion, a 21st occasion, a 28th occasion, and that this pattern is consistently repeated to a 35th occasion. That last occasion can be an event, a particular word, or even an alphabetic letter of the scriptural languages (recall that there are various types of "codes" in the Bible). Now, on what subsequent occasion (or word or alphabetic letter) would you place more trust that God would again be intervening in world affairs involving this "code"? It would be the next 7th occurrence.

Since it is shown in my illustration above that every 7th occasion God appears to work in a special prophetic manner and he did so to the 35th occasion, then it could be expected that God would again do his prophetic work on the 42nd occasion (which, of course, is exactly the next 7th occasion in the sequence). And indeed, if you could continue that consistent pattern in my illustration even to the 84th occasion (and it could be proved that God appeared every 7th occasion), then a person would be even more certain that God would be at work in this "code." It simply means that the longer the sequence, the more assurance one should place in its reliability. So, the theory that those adopt by using "codes" is the fact that the farther you reach with the sequence of every 7th occasion, the more certain each time that God is in the "code" or in the "pattern of events." I am providing the above illustration only as an example. It is something fictitious and of my own devising, but I give it to show how some "codes" seem to work. It is similar to what is found in most "codes" that people devise from Bible words. Though all "codes" are different from one another, this is the principle that is being used in the new code from Jerusalem in a book called "The Bible Code." But is this new book providing us with proper biblical "codes" that we can know are a part of God's revelation to mankind? The only way you can test its veracity is to apply the "Fingerprints of God" to the essential factors that present the "code" as a rational option. Let us look at this matter.

The Fingerprints of God in Relation to the Divine Scriptures

Let us look at some proven "Fingerprints of God." God gives us a variety of identifying marks that He associates with Himself to show us "His Fingerprints" in relation to His teaching that He has given us in the Holy Scriptures. I am referring to outward marks that show God's spiritual or physical handiwork. Some of these involve numbers. For example, there are the numerical signs that are found in the design and arrangement of God's Holy Scriptures themselves. Since we are only interested in "codes" which are found in the Bible, we should understand the plain and simple external numerical patterns and standards that God has given to us that identify the holiness of God's Holy Scriptures. As I have explained in my book "Restoring the Original Bible," the actual order and number of books in the Old Testament are inspired of God to show us "His Fingerprints" upon those divine documents. There are three divisions to the Old Testament. These three divisions are: The 5 books of the Law, the 6 books of the Prophets, and the 11 books of the Writings (this last division begins with the Book of Psalms). These three divisions total 22 books, each book agreeing with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. So, the main numerical signs used by God that are associated with His divine Scriptures of the Old Testament are: 3, 5, 6, 11 and 22.

Let us now add the four divisions of the New Testament (which make 7 divisions for both Testaments that is, 3 divisions plus 4 divisions). The first division of the New Testament is made up 5 books of the Gospels/Acts. The second division represents the 7 books of the Jewish apostles (James to Jude). The third division represents the 14 epistles of Paul. The fourth and final division is the Book of Revelation. This equals 27 books of the New Testament. The number 27 is most important in all matters of the New Testament revelation. It is 3 times 9. Add the 27 books of the New Testament to those of the Old and we arrive at the most significant number: 49 (7 times 7). Also, add the 4 divisions of the New Testament to the 3 of the Old and we have 7 complete divisions to the Holy Scriptures. When we count the significant numbers that God associates with the Old Testament to those of the New Testaments, we add the numbers: 7, 14, 27 and 49. All these numbers (with those of the Old Testament) are identifying numbers.

The Fingerprints of God in Relation to Prophetic Themes of the Bible

There are other numbers that God associates with different themes. Let us look at the subject of prophecy. In the Books of Daniel and Revelation, God shows a fondness for the number 1260 in the numeration of days (and its has synonymous numbers such as 42 months, a time, times and half a time). Throughout the Book of Revelation the number 7 is given in profusion (as well as half that number 3 and a half). Other than the number 7, the next most significant numerical usage in prophetic themes is 40.

There was even scriptural authority that a generation represents a span of 40 years. The Book of Hebrews recorded: "Your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation" (Hebrews 3:9,10). The fact that 40 years were "one generation" in prophetic interpretation was a well established belief. The number 40 itself was normally attached to the symbol of trial, punishment, or a span of time associated with special human experiences. There are numerous examples to show this. Christ's temptation with Satan continued 40 days (Matthew 4:2). The time between Christ's resurrection and his ascension was 40 days (Acts 1:3). Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai receiving God's law (Exodus 24:18; 34:18), and there was the trip of 40 days to the same area by the prophet Elijah (I Kings 19:8). There were 40 days and nights of the Flood (Genesis 7:4,17) and Nineveh was granted 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4). We even have 40 days becoming 40 years in the judgment upon the rebellious Israelites for not entering the Promised Land when they were told (Numbers 14:34). Later, the Philistine servitude lasted 40 years (Judges 13:1), and the punishment on Egypt was prophesied to last 40 years (Ezekiel 29:11).

The Fingerprints of God in Important Chronological Events

We are told by the apostle Paul that if we wish to know more of God and His ways then we should look at things in the physical creation that exemplify God's divine sequences of events or creative activities (Romans 1:18-20). The number 40 is also prominent here. Important chronological periods associated with human life had the number 40 associated with them. The human gestation period, for example, is normally 40 weeks and in biblical parlance this was considered 40 weeks of trial on women. A boy baby was purified 40 days after his birth (Leviticus 12:3,4) and 80 days (2 times 40) for a female (verse 5). While a human became of spiritual age at 30 years (Numbers 4:3; Luke 3:23), the person was ideally given a further 40 years of trial (or experience) in adult life (30 plus 40 years equaling the ideal 70 years of Psalm 90:10). Joseph, however, being reckoned the firstborn of Jacob was given a double blessing, and this included among other things a double period of full, adult life. He lived to be 110 years of age (30 plus two 40 year periods). Joshua also attained to the same 110 years of life (Genesis 50:22; Joshua 24:29). Moses, on the other hand, was even more blessed and lived 120 years (3 times 40). The ancients considered it no accident that Moses was not only selected for his historic role at 40 years of age, but he also led the children of Israel out of Egypt at 80 (2 times 40) and died at 120 (3 times 40).

In fact, the 40 years' period of the Exodus became the standard number of years for reckoning a prophetic generation. This is found in important historical time periods mentioned in the Bible. The time from the Exodus to the building of the Temple in Solomon's reign was understood as being 480 years (12 times 40) (I Kings 6:1). David and Solomon ruled for 40 years each (II Samuel 5:4; I Kings 11:42). Even King Saul was given 40 years (Acts 13:21) though the exact period of Saul's reign is difficult to determine in the Old Testament. And recall, the Exodus period itself was exactly 40 years. The Book of Hebrews called 40 years "that generation" (Hebrews 3:9,10). In short, for prophetic chronological purposes, it became common in biblical parlance to acknowledge any generation, ideally, as being 40 years. "Forty years represented a generation, and thus the number 40 became a round number for a full period, a complete epoch" (Hastings, Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, vol. II.p.250).

As a matter of fact, the Jewish authorities in the 40 years between Christ's crucifixion in A.D.30 to A.D.70 were given some marvelous signs from God to show that Christ's teaching about the coming destruction of the Temple would indeed take place. This prophetic period of 40 years (one generation) was expected by the apostles and other Christians as a divine period of judgment on Jerusalem and the Temple. When Christ gave the Olivet Prophecy in A.D.30 about the destruction of Jerusalem, he said it would occur in "that generation." The catastrophe happened precisely 40 years later, in A.D.70.

Always Look for the Fingerprints of God

With this brief survey of the significance of numbers, let us look at the "Fingerprints of God" in determining whether any "code" that men say is in the Bible is a reliable "code" that fits those "Fingerprints." Recall the numbers that are associated with the order and arrangement of God's Holy Scriptures (the document which provides God's divine teaching to mankind). The numbers are: 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 14, 22, 27 and 49. Also, let us add the numbers that the Holy Scriptures associate with prophetic events inspired by God. The numbers are: 7, (also half of 7 that is, 3 and a half), 40 and 1260, 1290, 1335. These are some of the authorized numbers of the Bible (see Daniel for more on this). Let us now apply these "Fingerprints of God" to the present book from Jerusalem titled "The Bible Code" (or, you can apply them to any future book that purports to give codified information from the Bible).

What is most instructive is the fact that the new book titled "The Bible Code" uses NOT ONE of these significant numbers in its numeric sequences of prophetic importance. The sequences that "The Bible Code" uses are: 4, 12 and 15 (see page 25). I have now surveyed the entire book and the truth is, I cannot find A SINGLE FINGERPRINT OF GOD in any of its pages or in its computer printouts. Indeed, the authors use the Hebrew year 5757 from the creation of Adam for our year 1996-1997 which I can show is over 200 years shy of biblical chronology for the creation of Adam. I am now doing research for a book I want to write on the Chronology of the Bible. The true biblical chronology is very different from what we moderns use, and what "The Bible Code" uses. The authors of "The Bible Code" adopt alien names for nations that western Europeans prefer (even names that the natives do not themselves use). For example, they find in their code the western word "Japan" while the modern Japanese themselves use "Nihon" or "Nippon" or other historical names for their country. In short, with every major computer printout used by "The Bible Code" in their manufactured sequence in the letters, I have NOT FOUND any of the real "Fingerprints of God" that the Holy Scriptures associate with God's divine word.

What is most important for us to understand is the fact that almost all prophetic interpreters today ASSUME that the chronology of the Bible (that we have been given by historians and theologians of the past) is a correct chronology. The present chronology, however, is faulty and is not biblically compatible. Those in the business of predicting biblical events are in almost all cases using incorrect chronological benchmarks that are in no way in agreement with the plain and simple teachings of the Bible. What is desperately needed at this time is a new and proper evaluation of the chronology of the Bible. As soon as I finish my new book showing the true location of the Temples at Jerusalem, and my new book on Angels, I plan to present to all of you on our mailing list a new research study about the overall chronology of the Holy Scriptures. You will be surprised just how astray the modern prophetic interpreters are from the simple teachings of biblical chronology. I hope I can have this book ready for publication early next year. The Christian world needs to understand about the erroneous dates that most prophetic teachings are based upon that come from the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods. The world needs to return to applying the "Fingerprints of God" in their evaluation of doctrines, prophecies and the "codes" of the Bible. When they do, they will then begin to understand the true teachings of God.

For more important prophetic information on this and other biblical matters, please check out the other books and articles on this Web Site. We are at the forefront of presenting these matters to the general public. Keep tuned to this Web Site for any breaking news in prophetic matters for the near future. 

Ernest L. Martin

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