The Skeptics' Arguments Don't Hold a Hanukah Candle |
to Extensive Evidence of the Reality of Bible Codes
Ever since the Bible codes were introduced, skeptics have been saying, "Oh, well, you can find codes like that in books like War and Peace and Moby Dick."
In fact, skeptic Brendan McKay even went so far as to collect a fairly impressive looking cluster of codes about Hanukah in a Hebrew translation of War and Peace. His findings have been posted for some time at http://wopr.com/biblecodes/TheCase.htm.
We took the time to examine this cluster and compare it to a truly significant one—the Isaiah 53 cluster. The results, detailed below, reveal the irrelevance of the Hanukah example. The argument that you can find other supposedly meaningful code clusters in books other than the Bible—and the Hanukah cluster—have done much to reduce the credibility of Bible codes in the eyes of many. In the case of some codes presented in best-selling books this was appropriate, because it would be misleading to attach significance to clusters that are comparable to the Hanukah example. For this contribution, we owe Dr. McKay a debt of gratitude.
The Expanded Isaiah 53 Cluster Vs. the Initial Isaiah 53 ELS
In the forward to Yacov Rambsel's book, Yeshua, published in 1996, the author cites one ELS translated as "Yeshua (Jesus) is my name" from Isaiah 53. Grant Jeffrey also refers to this ELS in his 1996 book, The Signature of God. These authors cited this ELS as significant evidence that Jesus was the messianic figure prophesied in Isaiah 53. This claim was extensively criticized in a paper, Jesus Codes: Uses and Abuses, by Rabbi Daniel Mechanic, which is posted on the Aish site. We agree with most of the criticisms that Rabbi Mechanic cites in his report, which is, however, seriously out-of-date.
First, both Rambsel and Jeffrey have disclosed their finding of dozens of ELSs "relevant" to Jesus in Isaiah 53 in various subsequent books. In Jeffrey's 1998 book, The Mysterious Bible Codes, he lists 44 ELSs about Jesus in this passage, and addresses most of Rabbi Mechanic's criticisms. In Rambsel's 2001 book, The Genesis Factor, he cites 74 ELSs about Jesus he has found in Isaiah 53.
(Our Hebrew consultant, Dr. Nathan Jacobi, has reviewed all of the findings of Rambsel and Jeffrey—just as he reviews our own findings—and has rejected some of them as being incorrect or inappropriate in his opinion. We have therefore removed these ELSs from the expanded cluster presented in this report. [These ELSs were: From the Atonement Lamb, The Disciples Mourned and The Marys Wept.] He also considered The Evil Roman City to be only passable because of gender inconsistencies.)
Second, over the past two years, our own researchers have also located hundreds of additional ELSs on the same topic in this passage. We refer in this report to the "expanded Isaiah 53 cluster" as this entire collection of ELSs.
While the subject of the Isaiah 53 ELSs is the highly controversial one of Jesus Christ, the focus of this article is not to convince anyone of a particular viewpoint about who Jesus was, but to examine this cluster as potentially compelling evidence of the reality of Bible codes.
It is our general view that ELSs consisting of phrases or statements about Jesus should initially be regarded as no more than simply being ELSs relevant to the topic of Jesus. Unless their statistical significance can be demonstrated, it would be inappropriate to assert that such words or phrases are "proof" of their content. For example, the mere appearance of the ELS "true messiah" in this cluster is not, per se, proof of that belief, but is only a phrase relevant to the topic of Jesus, because it is well known that some people hold to that belief.
As noted below, the odds are 1 in 12 that the "true messiah" ELS could appear in the Isaiah 53 cluster simply by chance. Therefore, by itself, the appearance of this ELS within the cluster does not qualify as "proof" of that viewpoint.
The Comparison Says It All
Does the Hanukah example scuttle the potential validity of all Bible codes? New evidence answers with an emphatic "No." If anything, various clusters discovered in the last two years make this example look like a pile of sand next to Mt. Everest. The contrast between the Hanukah cluster and these new examples provides compelling evidence in favor of the validity of these clusters.
To illustrate this, let's look at a comparison of the Hanukah example with the most extensive and improbable code grouping discovered to date—the Isaiah 53 cluster about Christ's life, His crucifixion and the controversy over His claimed resurrection. No matter what your opinions of Jesus Christ are, the following comparison should make all skeptics reconsider their views about the reality of Bible codes.
Comparing the Clusters Charted on a Graphic Display
The first is a matrix of the Isaiah 53 ELSs in a 40-letter wide display. This is a continuous string of 720 letters from Isaiah 53:2 to 54:2, starting at the khet in upper right hand corner and ending at the heh in the bottom left corner. As in all Bible code search strings, spaces between words have been eliminated.
The focal code appears in two sections, in red with white letters. It shows up in two places because it has a skip of 20 and is laid out on this 40-column matrix. We used a 40-column matrix because it is graphically similar to the Hanukah matrix.
The letters in violet are places where the higher-rated ELSs in the tables are located in the matrix. Those in turquoise and yellow are where the letters of the rest of the ELSs appear in the text.
Keep in mind that the ELSs shown here are the most improbable of the hundreds of ELSs so far discovered in this passage. That represents less than 5% of the total number of Isaiah 53 ELSs listed below. Those in this matrix are only the ELSs shown in the tables in the Scrabble Factor section. The ELSs are not individually identified in order to keep the illustration simple. Some letters are touched by more than one ELS, and in those cases we used the code with the higher-scoring odds. ELSs with longer skips, such as "Son of Elohim" with a skip of 1,383, touch down only once in the matrix.
Matrix Showing Hanukah Cluster|
Here's the War and Peace array displayed in a 47-letter wide matrix, again a continuous string of 1,128 letters. The string starts at the yod in upper right hand corner and ends at the koof at the bottom left. The colors show the positions of the seven ELSs in the cluster.
It is self-evident that these two clusters are leagues apart. Consequently, the Hanukah cluster should no longer be used as a reasonable example of how codes similar to Bible code findings can be found in any book.|
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- Comparing Clusters First of all, how does the Hanukah cluster compare to a truly significant example such as the Isaiah 53 cluster? And what do they look like when shown as matrices?
- Comparing ELSs Just take a look at the huge number of ELSs in the Isaiah 53 cluster compared with the seven valid Hanukah ELSs.
- Odds See the truly astonishing odds that codes from both sources would appear where they do by chance.
- Compactness How close are these codes to each other? We compared the remarkable compactness of the Isaiah 53 cluster with the War and Peace cluster.
- In Hebrew We also did a very illuminating side-by-side comparison between the Hebrew spellings of words in each cluster.
- Curiosities There are some other very unusual aspects of the Isaiah 53 cluster, including mind-boggling word patterns far more intricate and extensive than the Hanukah codes.
- Meanings We've also shown explanations of the Isaiah 53 terms in the cluster.
- Anticipating Skeptics And finally, we've tried to anticipate how the skeptics might respond to this report.
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Code Skeptics' Arguments Trashed
Ever since the first Bible codes were announced, skeptics have been saying, "Oh, well, you can also find codes like that in books like War and Peace and Moby Dick."
We took the time to examine this notion and the best example of it that the skeptics have been able to come up with. The results of our research have completely blown away their theory.
Click here to see for yourself.
NEW: Second Study Undermines
Skeptics' Main Objection
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