Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
Codes and cyphers are a part of our daily modern lives. We use passkeys and codes to open doors, clock in at work, clock in or out for lunch, and when we clock off at the end of the day. We use passwords for our various internet accounts and logging onto our computers. Simple truth, these codes are an unavoidable part of our lives.
Video games often include codes. I don’t know if anyone remembers the old save codes that some of the early Nintendo games had. These codes permitted you to resume your game where you left off with everything that you had in your inventory up to that point. Other games incorporated special “cheat” codes that permitted a user who knew the codes to skip levels or obtain special “powerups” that are not normally available when playing a given game. Many modern games also have some of these codes in them as well. Some require an actual code, sometimes via a device such as “gameshark”, or through the user menu. Others required a code that was entered in via a complicated set of key combinations via the controller. Regardless, the codes were there, and many people used them as they learned of them.
What about the Bible? Doesn’t it contain any codes? Doesn’t the term “Bible” mean “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”? NO! NO! NO! There are no special codes hidden with the text of the Bible. The Bible does contain some passages that are of a rather cryptic nature, but nothing that even remotely resembles a secret code. Nor does the term “Bible” have any hidden meaning to it.
Now, and I am well aware of this, that in 1997 a book was written by Michael Drosnin called “The Bible Code”. This book consisted of various “biblical” prophecies regarding future events. However, you would never find these prophecies via a straight forward reading of the Bible. Rather, to find these, you needed to use a technique known as equa-dist-letter sequencing. However, this only worked in the Hebrew text, and not necessarily all of them. In short terms, a sequence for letter skipping is determined beforehand, and then words are found based upon how the letters line up in the sequence. Sometimes something is found, other times, not so much. In some cases, the word “postponed” or “cancelled” may even appear next to an event. Oddly, using the same technique with the book “Moby Dick” has been shown to produce a “prophecy” regarding the death of Princess Diana, though most would reject such a thing.
Some who reject the “Bible Code” still assert some sort of code scheme in the Bible to reveal future events. Harold Camping was a recent example of this. Using a strange combination of scripture verses with no logical connection, he attempted to predict the exact date of the end of the world, ignoring the plain words of Christ Jesus that no man would know the day nor hour at which it would come. Camping is the only one. Other, often more popular, evangelist types have also erred in attempting to use the Bible as a code book regarding the end of time.
Even popular musicians can get this screwed up. One of the most popular, who recently recovered from cancer, is Carman. Please understand that Carman is a pentabaptal type Christian. This means that he is of the highly charismatic evangelistic types, and as such, his message is often quite shallow. He alludes to a “code” of sorts in his song/video (see below) “I Love Jesus”. At the 2:13 mark, we see a list of “spiritual gifts”, which were not in use in the church for nearly 1800 years prior to the “great awakening” and the beginning of the dispensational movement. Carman then says very plainly, and I quote, “These gifts are like atomic bombs, they make the word explode, but they don’t mean nothing unless you know the code“. He then goes to say that “code” is “I love Jesus”. Sadly, this is perhaps the most shallow way to explain the Christian faith that I have ever seen. That is, of course, ignoring the fact that “I love Jesus” really isn’t much of a code, and is a very weak model for a creedal statement. I would really like it if Carman were to take the time to read the Book of Concord, and cross reference what it says with any Bible of his choosing. Likely, he’d be ashamed of himself. Sadly, there was a time when I actually liked and agreed with is music. I repent.
We may use codes at work and on our computers. That is not a big deal. However, when it comes to our Bibles, that is another issue. There is no secret code to the Bible. There never has been. There is nothing “new” to be found in scripture. There is one central message to the Bible, and it is the same as it was back when Christ Jesus first ascended to the Father. That message is of his sacrifice upon the cross so that our sins can be forgiven. This was a gift from God. We can’t choose it, God chose it for us. We can reject it, but we can’t choose it. Enough said.