Are Bible Codes Credible?

A significant number of Christian leaders today hail Bible codes as important evidence for the inspiration of Scripture. While they claim post-prophecies such as Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995 are encoded in the biblical text, Bible codes, in reality, are little more than a fringe variety of Jewish mysticism repackaged for Christian consumption.

First, like its older permutation Bible numerics, Bible codes are at best a pseudoscience. Codes are “discovered” by searching for equidistant letter sequences (ELS) that can be compiled into intelligible messages pertaining to past events. One can search left to right, right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, or in diagonal directions. Although sequencing can vary from word to word, none of the prophecies can be known beforehand. Like Monday-morning quarterbacking, hindsight is always perfect.

Furthermore, Bible codes are a rigged game complete with after-the-fact prophecies and self-validating messages. While ELS practitioners contend such historical events as the assassination of Rabin are encoded in the Torah, nothing could be further from the truth. Because Old Testament Hebrew does not contain vowels, an alleged code such as “Rabin Bang Bang” could just as easily refer to Christopher Robin’s shooting his pop gun at the balloons Winnie the Pooh was holding when he floated over the Hundred Acre Wood (“Robin Bang Bang”). For that matter, the self-validating message could refer to the tire blowout that Batman’s sidekick Robin experienced while riding in the Batmobile. It could even refer to a Mafia hitman named Robino who had two successful kills—bang, bang.

Finally, although the message of the autographa (the original texts of the Bible) is unquestionably clear in the best available manuscript copies, minor differences in spelling and style make it impossible to validate the supposed divine inspiration of equidistant letter sequencing. Such minor inconsistencies leave the meaning unaltered but completely undermine all attempts to find equidistant letter sequences. Moreover, the coincidences of equidistant letter sequences that do occur in the Torah are not unique. They occur in every other work of literature from Homer to Hobbes and from Tolkien to Tolstoy.

Bible codes shift the focus of biblical apologetics from the essential core of the gospel to esoteric speculations. Those who deny the incontrovertible evidence that Jesus rose from the dead are not likely to be persuaded by the pseudo-apologetic of Bible codes.

***Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming in Fall 2023. When available for pre-order we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***






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