Bible codes

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Bible codes are various kinds of patterns identified in the subtext of the Bible which some Christians and Jews think were deliberately crafted into the text by God or by the original writers.

All human languages have patterns, and, when a spoken language is put into written form, many of its patterns are more easily noticed.

Among those who believe that at least some of the subtextual patterns in the Bible are unique to literature, there is the contention that one or more profound dynamics are uniquely involved in these patterns in the Bible. For example, there is the idea that prose records which are wholly true may naturally contain patterns of subtext which are not found in faulty or fictional prose, and that, if this is so, then a wholly true prose record of the origins of humanity, of its nations, and of God's own nation may naturally contain subtextual patterns which are unique to literature.

On the conservative side, there is a wide acceptance of the idea that some of the subtext patterns in the Bible, specifically in the Pentateuch, were created by the original Hebrew scribes in order to help preserve the exactness to which the texts were copied, and to detect inferior copies that might be made by ignorant or nefarious persons. However, evangelical Christians largely reject the idea that the Bible codes have any meaning beyond that[1], some going as far as to call pursuit of numerological codes in the Bible 'occult' and 'Satanic'[2]. Specifically, critics draw parallels between the theory of 'Bible codes' and ancient Gnostic heresies, condemned by the Church since the Apostolic Age: the essential attribute of Gnostic teachings was the idea of a special hidden doctrine, accessible only to the elite. The early Church, on the contrary, held that Christ's teachings - and the whole of God's revelation - are open and available to all men.

On the extreme side (that of extremely motivated ‘Bible Code’ believers), there has been every manner of attempt to create a stir in favor of the idea that at least some of these patterns constitute a kind of high-tech mechanism for predicting any number of trivial and non-trivial future events.

In any case, rare important patterns exist in any world in which telic (purposeful) agents exist (such as humans), which means that for such a world never to contain 'amazing' coincidences, someone would have to rig (or otherwise control) that world in such a way as to prevent these coincidences.

Kinds of Bible codes

As with any text, there are very many different subtextual patterns in the Biblical text. In the interest of brevity, only a select set of these Biblical subtext patterns will be mentioned here.

  • One kind of 'Bible code' is that found in Equidistant Letter Sequences, or ELS. The 'ELS codes' were made popular in the last century by Israeli mathematician Eliyahu Rips, his associate Doron Witztum, and several others.
  • Another kind of 'Bible code' (and, for many people, the most interesting kind of subtextual pattern in the Bible), is that found by listing, in chronological sequence, the meanings of the names of the antediluvian patriarchs given in Genesis chapter 5.
  • A third kind of 'Bible code' is that of a complex set of interconnecting subtextual patterns based on the number 144. 144 is the number of hours in the six days of the Creation Week, and, when 'visually' coded as 930 (Adam's age at death), leads to the Equidistant Verse Sequence (EVS) code of 111: a. By observing the sum of the three digits (1, 4, and 4), and then observing the differences, or 'distances', between the contiguous digits (1-4, 4-4), the number 144 is seen to 'state' "930" in a way similar to how a perfect circle is visually observed to 'state' "pi"; b. 930 is the unique number of the man who represents all of humanity, and is found at the 111th verse (Genesis 5:5); c. According to this particular 'Bible Code', the unit of 111 contiguous [3] verses is the primary key to pinpointing both explicit and implicit prophetically pivotal passages in the plain text of the Pentateuch. For example, the Old Testament verse made famous by the founder of Morse Code, Numbers 23:23 is the 40th multiple of 111. A common criticism of this 'EVS code system' is in the fact that the original texts had no explicit verse divisions. But, while it is true that no explicit verse divisions existed in the original texts, and that any such divisions that were made were made only recently in world history, the text itself, like any text or any linguistic vocalization, is not comprised either of random or indifferent linguistic sets, which means there are many different kinds of implicit divisions in the text, including that at the level of the standing verses. Furthermore, while the standing verse divisions of the Bible may not be perfect, the kind of verse division of which they make use is, in general, superior for the purpose of general reference than are all other possible kinds of verse division. This is like the distance between any two bodies of the Solar system, including the astronomical unit, which, regardless of the units of measure used, or of the resultant numbers denoting these distances, are individually and interrelatedly critical.)


  1. A Christian Response to "The Bible Code"