Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
Accuracy. It is a well established fact that no business can survive without complete accuracy. Ironically, it also true that such isn’t always the case. Sometimes we see a set of numbers, but those numbers are either false, or they simply don’t tell the full story. Unfortunately, if the only thing you see are numbers, you don’t see the full picture either, and may easily be misled into thinking something that is not necessarily true.
Let me give an example. A shipping company on a given week could send out forty trailers of freight, and all employees could be home by about midnight that Friday. The next week, same company sends out the same number of trailers, but all the employees are home by roughly eight in the evening. What happened? Did the freight volume change? No. The freight itself changed.
I know from firsthand experience that freight changes from week to week, even if the volumes remain steady. How does it change? Easy, the company who is using the shipper might have had poorly stacked pallets one week, and properly stacked pallets the next week. How well a pallet of freight is stacked is enough to change how readily that freight can be loaded into a given trailer. However, this is something that somebody who looks at numbers won’t see. All they see is a list of numbers showing how much freight came in, and how many trailers went out. Nothing showing what it took to load that freight. To this end, I don’t much care for people who’ve never actually received and loaded freight being in management positions. It is something that is outside my control, but I really think those who’ve actually handled freight should be in such positions, as they genuinely know what goes into loading and unloading a trailer.
The Bible is loaded with numbers. There is even an entire book called “Numbers”. However, the book of Numbers is primarily a census report. How accurate is it? Highly accurate. It gives a complete accounting of the total number of people and animals in the group of Israelites after their exodus from Egypt. However, those numbers only serve a limited point, and such numbers are meaningless by today’s standards. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop some people from putting meanings into those numbers, and making them lie.
Making numbers lie?
Yes. As I said already, numbers don’t always give you the full picture of a given situation. Take what I said regarding the book of Numbers. It was a census report. However, it was a census report of a people who held no land at the time, and were nomadic wanderers. Just looking at the reports of people and livestock, you’d be mistakenly lead into believing that the Israelites of that time held immense portions of land, but that simply wasn’t the case, and wouldn’t be until after Joshua lead them into the promised land. It isn’t that the book of Numbers is lying, it that your own mind is lying to you about what it says. Relax, this happens to everyone, yet what I am getting at is much worse.
Doubtless you’ve observed various “Bible Code” books at the local Christian bookseller or thrift shop. All of these books are the same in that they claim to share biblical secrets that are hidden in complex mathematical codes. Either these are special numerical patterns, prophecies hidden within the text using equal distance letter sequencing, or some exceedingly complex astro-numerical formula to discern the identity of the “Anti-Christ”. Truthfully, every single one of these books is a lie. Simple truth, such “codes” ignore the literal reading of scripture, accepting the numbers for what they are, and reading into them something that isn’t there, much like looking at census report or trailer load out report and not seeing the full story.
Why does this happen? Mostly it is ego. People want to see what they want to see. It doesn’t matter much if what they are seeing is the truth or not, if it is what they want to see. Let’s just look at the idea of identifying the “Anti-Christ”. This is possibly the biggest mystery of the Christian church, but it really isn’t a mystery. Why? Because the “Anti-Christ” doesn’t exist, never has existed, and never will exist. Rather, the spirit of anti-Christ is alive and well in this world, and anyone who does not believe in Christ as Lord and Savior is an anti-Christ.
What about Revelation 13:18?
Let me ask, does that say “Anti-Christ” or does it say “Beast”?
It most assuredly says “Beast”. Who or what the beast is depends upon who you are. I have heard it said, and I tend to agree, that the book of Revelation, also known as the Apocalypse of Christ Jesus, wasn’t actually meant for modern Christians. We need to understand that Revelation was written during a time of persecution, and Nero was Emperor of Rome. The “666” (or 616, as some manuscripts suggest) was a code phrase for Nero. Yes, Nero was the Beast of Revelation. In our modern era, this is no mystery. However, there may yet arise another Nero, and another persecution of the Christian church, and that persecution is already beginning. Sadly, some of that persecution is coming from within the church, as I highlighted in my previous post “Christian Hate”.
To this end, the Bible doesn’t lie, but many well meaning people who identify as Christians, do lie. Worse, they thoroughly believe the lie they are selling, and are deceiving others into believing the same lie. I don’t pretend to know everything, and I won’t try to put something into scripture that isn’t there, but I am of the firm persuasion that unless the Bible explicitly says that something isn’t literal, we should take it literally. To this end, unless we have reason to presume otherwise, we should accept the Bible for what it says, and not read into it something that just isn’t there.
Bible codes are lie. They are simply imaginary numbers that don’t say anything. Most especially, they don’t tell us the truth about our sinful nature, or of Christ Jesus who died upon the cross to redeem us from sin. It is this same Christ Jesus who will someday return to redeem the earth itself. At that time, the only thing that will matter is whether or not you believed in his name and followed his teachings. Note that I didn’t say “obeyed” as we can never perfectly obey his teachings, but we can certainly follow them, and seek forgiveness when we fail. Indeed, it is for our forgiveness that Christ died upon the cross, and rose from the grave. This is literally what scripture says, and that is the only way we can accept it.
Yes. Numbers can lie. Scripture doesn’t lie. People can, and regularly do, lie about scripture. To that end, it is best, when confronted with a set of numbers, or some mystical sounding proclamation about scripture, to ask “What’s Missing?”. In truth, you may find that you don’t have the full truth and you are merely being lied to.
By the way, asking Jesus into your heart isn’t in the Bible either. Revelation 3:20 was written to a church, start at verse 14 and read to verse 22. It really is different in its proper context.