Psalm 22 Cluster Dwarfs Skeptics’ Best Counterexample |
As Christians prepare to celebrate the best of times, the birth of the Savior, it seems somehow inappropriate to be focusing on the worst of times, the execution of the Savior. Yet as Ed Sherman's book, Bible Code Bombshell is published with its claim that Bible codes give evidence that God authored the Bible, it seems fitting after all to examine a fascinating cluster of codes that focuses on the central figure of the Bible, not to mention all of creation (which He, incidentally, is responsible for orchestrating). As horrible as the crucifixion was, the subsequent resurrection of Christ changed everything for mankind, so there is great hope in its subtext.
Great Opening Words
One of the great opening sentences of modern literature is that of Charles Dickens' masterpiece, A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
And yet it pales in comparison to the opening words of Psalm 22, written by King David, one of Jesus' ancestors: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" This psalm is a clear prophecy of the death of Christ, written hundreds of years before His birth. They were the last recorded words that He spoke before he died, nailed to the cross.
One intriguing area is an Old Testament prophecy concerning the Lamb of God. In Exodus 12, where God is first telling Moses about the Passover, He commands that the sacrificial lamb was to be killed "between the two evenings," which some have translated as "twilight," between the 14th and 15th days of the month (the Jewish day runs from sunset to sunset).
As it turned out, although we don't have the precise time of His death, Jesus apparently died on or very close to that time. There was an extra twilight that day, when God caused darkness to fall on Jerusalem from noon to 3:00 p.m. Matthew 27:45-46 tells how Jesus died soon after that first darkness ended:
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (NIV)
The Psalm 22 cluster is not in the same league with the Isaiah 53 or Ezekiel 37 clusters as yet. Still, though, it is extremely significant, dwarfing the skeptic’s best example of a chance cluster (the Hanukah cluster presented by Prof. Barry Simon in "The Case Against the Codes." Consider this comparison of the number of long codes in each cluster:
While this is not a fair comparison, in the sense that we probably looked for many more ELSs than did the skeptics, it still raises the question of why the skeptics haven't presented a cluster of comparable extent and complexity to that of the Psalm 22 cluster, or any one of a number of other clusters that code researchers have presented in recent years.
The simple answer is that it would take decades of searching for the skeptics to produce such an example. They know it, and they are intelligent enough to not bother to invest that much time in such a project. In contrast, BCD researchers looked for only 120 terms, and yet we came up with the mind boggling collection of long ELSs presented in this article. Yes, there are a number of terms we looked for but did not find in Psalm 22, but the rate of discovery of long ELSs was exceptionally high. And the clarity and relevance of the content of most of the codes in the Psalm 22 cluster, with the exception of some of the longest ones, is compelling. And that is a key part of why BCD maintains that the phenomenon of Bible codes must be real.
The Most Interesting Codes
One of the most interesting ELSs in this cluster is the 15-letter, The Guilt Offering, the Son of Man, Humbled Himself. Not only does it harmonize with the Bible's descriptions of Jesus, it nearly paraphrases key scriptures about Him. Take, for example, "Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, being made in human likeness." (Philippians 2:5-6 NIV)
Long Live the Risen God of Action. It is Finished. And Where is the Resurrection of Jesus of Blessed Memory? For Whom are the Twelve? This 30-letter code is delightful and mysterious at the same time. The first two sentences make perfect sense to the student of the Bible, and they also harmonize beautifully with Psalm 22. Sentences three and four bring mystery to the ELS. There seems to be a shift in point of view to that of people doubting the hopes of Jesus’ followers that he would be raised from the dead.
Two codes focusing on the ascension of Jesus to heaven 40 days after His death and resurrection are also remarkable. The Ascension of Jesus: for the Sleeping One Will Shout. Listen! (20 letters) and The Ascension of Jesus, the Lofty One, to Him (12 letters) both line up nicely with scripture, although some may argue that "shout" might be a bit strong if the "Sleeping One" refers to Jesus as the resurrected Christ. Others might say that His victory over death and ascension to Him, the Father, certainly shouts a message of hope to a sorry world.
The 23-letter He Wove the Light to be My Might. A Living Sacrifice for Him to Put On is poetically enigmatic, but may be referring to the new life of a believer in Christ, which is sometimes paralleled with a garment. In Ephesians 4:22-24, for instance, the apostle Paul encourages new Christians in the Ephesian church this way:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (NIV)