A Sign of the End Times?
By Ed Sherman
Map of Israel from Wikipedia.org.
Is the discovery of substantive Bible codes a telling sign that we are living in the End Times? Most people intrigued by Bible codes seek predictions of the future. And the more detailed the prediction, the better. But what if the Encoder simply intended that Bible codes would only provide a general prediction that we are living in the end times?
After years of research, we are of the opinion that individual Bible codes are only prophetic fragments, which are insufficient in detail to form the basis for a reliable prediction. Further, many codes present a point of view, which may either be that of a truthful source or of an untruthful source. And we haven't been able to find a way to tell which is the case for any individual code.
Yet there is a tremendous amount of evidence that the phenomenon itself is real. The extent of encoding is far beyond what can be explained by chance.
This combination of observations points to the notion that Bible codes, while individually unreliable, offer a clear sign that we are living in the End Times. A good case can be made for this from the literal text of the Bible itself.
Recently, I have been reading Sir Isaac Newton's book, Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John.1 On page 250 he states, " . . . the prophecies of Daniel and John should not be understood till the time of the end: but that some should prophesy out of it in an afflicted and mournful state for a long time, and that but darkly, so as to convert but few. But in the very end, the Prophecy should be so far interpreted so as to convince many. Then saith Daniel, many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
The last sentence, after "Then saith Daniel," is a direct quote from the last half of Daniel 12:4. The entire verse reads, "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."
Later verse 9 states, "And he said, 'Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.' " So "the book" is to be sealed "until the time of the end" and when the book is opened, it will be "the time of the end." Could Bible codes be those words?
Various Bible commentators have noted that "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" is a prophecy that travel will greatly increase and an explosion of new knowledge will be a sign of "the time of the end." Few would argue that we do not live in such a time.
The phrase "run to and fro" is a translation of the Hebrew verb yeeshottu . This verb only appears once in the Old Testament with this exact spelling. Some variants of this verb appear in passages describing people "running to and fro."
- The verb shottu appears in Jeremiah 5:1 ("Roam around in the streets of Jerusalem . . . ").
- The verb heetshotahtnah appears in Jeremiah 49:3 ("run to and fro in the walls").
- The verb yeeshottu with an additional vav appears in Amos 8:12 ("they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.").
There is an alternative interpretation for the last half of Daniel 12:4 based on the context in which two other variants appear in other interesting passages. The first is 2 Chronicles 16:9:
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
Another is Zechariah 4:10:
They are the eyes of the Lord which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.
The Hebrew verb mehshoht-toht in 2 Chronicles 16:9 and mehshoht-teem in Zechariah 4:10 are descriptive of a divine search engine. God instantly scans the hearts of everyone in search of those who are truly loyal to Him.
We live in the age of the Internet, where search engines enable us to access an unprecedented range of information almost instantly. But there may be more.
What are Bible codes but the result of running a search engine through the text of the Hebrew Bible looking for a specific string of letters that are equally spaced from one another? Bible code researchers are "running to and fro" through the Hebrew letters of the Old Testament with the aid of current software. Arguably, Bible codes could represent the opening of the book that was sealed in the time of Daniel, as described in Daniel 12:9. If that is so, Bible codes themselves are a sign of "the time of the end."
What is "the time of the end" to be like? Daniel 12:1-3 and 10, provides a series of clues:
. . . There shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.
Daniel 12:1-3 states that there is a book with the names of everyone who will be saved. Could this book be the one unlocked by Bible codes? In considering this possibility, we shouldn't just focus on simple ELSs. As highlighted in An Introduction to the Range of Types of Bible Code Phenomena, there are over twenty types of ELS phenomena that have been discovered (or proposed) to date. This huge range of possibilities could well include all the names mentioned in Daniel 12:2. It will remain to be seen what further research will uncover on this topic.
Daniel 12:1 states that the End Times "shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time." It takes little imagination to envision how the current crisis in the Middle East could escalate into a worldwide conflict of unparalleled proportions. We should all be on our knees, praying for peace and the easing of international tensions. It may not be long before the Day of Judgment mentioned in Daniel 12 is upon us, and every person will be judged by how real their faith in God was.
1Newton, Sir Isaac. 1991. Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John. Cave Junction, Oregon.: Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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