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Theomatics - 616 or 666

According to Theomatics.com (Del Washburn), the number of the beast is 616.
Del has conclusive proof that the Bible is true.

Thanks, Dennis M.


Edward: Thanks for writing, Dennis,

Every so often someone tries to prove the “inspiration” of the Bible via some hidden mathematical “codes” that it allegedly contains. In 1977 the book, Theomatics by Jerry Lucas and Harry Lorayne appeared. The authors alleged that if you assigned a number to each letter in the Hebrew (and Greek) alphabet, then added up the assigned numbers in particular words and phrases in the Bible, those words and phrases whose totals were mathematically equivalent also taught equivalent theological concepts. They boasted in the bookʼs last chapter, “God may allow man to condemn, criticize, and even abuse the truth of ‘theomatics,’ but He will never allow anyone to duplicate these designs with any random assignment of numbers to the letters of the Greek alphabet other than those that He Himself placed in the papyrus. In fact, no one will even come close.” Regardless of such a boast, “theomatics” never caught on. As skeptic, Martin Gardner pointed out:

“In looking over the hundreds of theomatic passages that the authors have found in the Bible, one is overwhelmed by the arbitrariness of their great art. Many of the passages are only remotely connected with the key concept assigned to them, and the authors do not hesitate in deciding where a passage is to begin and end. Moreover, they have a marvelous gimmick that gives them even greater leeway with Greek texts. They feel free to include or exclude ‘the’ wherever they like on the grounds that ‘the’ are not essential to a passageʼs meaning. Nevertheless, with the aid of some statistician friends, they snow the reader with ‘demonstrations’ that the probabilities against their correlations arising from chance, or from selective choices, are astronomical.” (Martin Gardner, “The Bible and Godʼs Numerology,” Order and Surprise)

In 1982 a book appeared, titled, The Signature of God by Robert Hamson, a computer scientist who examined the frequency with which Jesus used certain key words in his discourses. Hamson then compared the frequency pattern of Jesusʼ word use in the King James Bible with the works of several modern-day “prophets,” and discovered that the revelations of Joseph Smith in Doctrine and Covenants, matched the word frequency of Jesus in the book of Revelation. Hamson concluded that this proves that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, is an authentic prophet of God. (Hardly a conclusion that non-Mormon Christians are likely to accept.)

The latest rage is Michael Drosninʼs bestseller, The Bible Code, published in 1997. Drosnin claims to have found the names of God, the names of a multitude of obscure Hebrew rabbis, and also prophecies of future events like a California earthquake, and the assassination of a prime minister, “encoded” in the Bible. All he had to do was “look” for such things via a computer program that seeks “equidistant letter sequences.” However, the “Bible code” now appears cracked… and crumbling. Biblical scholars have pointed out that Drosnin often stretches and misinterprets the meaning of the Hebrew “words” that he discovers via his computer searches. Meanwhile, evangelical Christians at the Christian Research Institute, have compared “equidistant letter sequencing” with “a high-tech version of a Ouija board or tarot cards, and the Biblical injunction against divination applies.”

Drosnin, however, boasts, “When my critics find a message about the assassination of a prime minister encrypted in Moby Dick, Iʼll believe them.”
- E.T.B.

Using the same method of computer searching advocated by Michael Drosnin in his book, The Bible Code, I discovered that Moby Dick contained “messages about the assassinations” of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, President Rene Moawad, Soviet exile Leon Trotsky, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, the assassin Sirhan Sirhan, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Yitzhak Rabin, and, Princess Dianaʼs death.

Note that English with vowels included is far less flexible than Hebrew when it comes to making letters into words. Neither were any laws of probability violated, or even stretched a little in discovering these “predictions” in Moby Dick. The reason they look so amazing is simply that the number of possible things you can look for, and the number of places to look, is much greater than you imagine.
- Brendan McKay, “Assassinations Foretold in Moby Dick!” (1997) [online]

Using merely the software licensing agreement for Microsoft Access Developerʼs Toolkit 2.0 as our “book,” we removed all spaces and hyphens, converted the text to all caps, and analyzed it in the way advocated by Michael Drosnin in The Bible Code. Let the secret-code unlocking begin! We were shocked to see — almost immediately — the word “Rabin” staring us in the face. And it intersected with “U.S. Government restricted,” “information,” “inability to use,” “even if Microsoft has been advised of the possibility” and “damages for loss.” What was going on here? Could someone in Microsoftʼs legal department be trying to tell us something about Israeli prime minster “Yitzhak Rabinʼs” assassination?

We also found the word, “Tyson,” vertically touching the word “ear,” and intersecting with “refund.” As everyone knows, Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfieldʼs “ear” in a world heavy weight fight, and thousands of fans demanded “refunds” for the ridiculous sums of money they had paid to watch the event! Understand, the text we found this “hidden code” in was updated a full month before the Tyson ear-biting incident!

Even bigger shockers followed. We found the following letters in vertical order, one right after the other, “OJDIDIT.” Thatʼs right, “O. J. Did it.”
- Don Steinberg, “Computers Expose Shocking Truth!” on C/NET 7/16/97

As a warning to creationists and code-followers that the “code” phenomenon is a double-edged sword, I “computer-code” searched the King James version of Genesis for the message, “Darwin got it right,” and found it! But these amazing messages are not evidence of divine design; they are simply the luck of the draw.

Another hit that I found by computer, but that can be easily verified by anyone with a King James Bible, occurs in Genesis 31:28, “And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? ThoU hast now done Foolishly in sO doing.” (UFO in caps, step = 11, donʼt count spaces or commas, etc.) And in the very same verse, “And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughteRs? thOu haSt noW donE fooLishLy in so doing.” (ROSWELL in caps, step = 4) Not only is this a long word (ROSWELL) in a translated text that couldnʼt POSSIBLY have retained Godʼs hidden code, but it features a linked message with MEANING.

I also found MONICA crossed with CLINTON, near the phrase “thou shalt not go down.”

Drosnin says you canʼt find linked hidden messages like HITLER & NAZI anywhere but in the Hebrew Torah, but I found so many pairs I lost count! The best was in Tolstoyʼs War and Peace.

Last year, I finally broke the predicting-the-future barrier, and predicted the Chicago Bullsʼ NBA win, (and Jordanʼs key role) two months in advance, based on “computer codes” found in War and Peace.

Drosnin berates his critics (saying they donʼt even “understand” the code), but I understand it well enough to prove that Drosnin even breaks his own rules (especially “minimality,” the preference for using the shortest-step matches). His famous CLINTON match from the Torah is the worst of four in there, and has “ZERO MINIMALITY” (a BAD thing for codes; good codes are minimal over the entire text, such as my ROSWELL match above.)

I looked for some stuff in the Origin of Species, but honestly, I got much better NBA predictions from War and Peace. Maybe Tolstoy liked basketball more than Darwin did.
- Dave Thomas (See his articles, “Hidden Messages and The Bible Code,” The Skeptical Inquirer, Nov./Dec. 1998; and, “The ICR and the ‘Bible Code,’ NSCE Reports, July/Aug. 1997)

Mathematician David Thomas did an “equidistant letter sequence” analysis on Genesis and found the words “bogus” and “code” close together not once but 60 times. What are the odds of that happening? Does this mean that God put in a code to reveal that there is no code? The way of the Lord is mysterious, indeed.

Dr. Eliyahu Rips, one of the authors of the study that started the Bible Code craze, has made a public statement regarding Drosninʼs Bible Code: “I do not support Mr. Drosninʼs work on the Codes, nor the conclusions he derives . All attempts to extract messages from Torah codes, or to make predictions based on them, are futile and are of no value. This is not only my own opinion, but the opinion of every scientist who has been involved in serious Codes research.”
- Robert Todd Carroll, “The Bible (or Torah) Code,” The Skepticʼs Dictionary [online]

“The Bible Code Myth by Michael Heiser gives an excellent introduction to the history of the Hebrew Bible and how we received it. Heiser explodes the “Bible Code myth” that our text differs by only a few letters from the original autographs. [It differs by far more] . It is hard to see how very much ‘encoded’ material could have survived the hundreds of letter-variations in the original text.”
- Randall Ingermanson, author of Who Wrote the Bible Code? [Dr. Ingermanson is a computational physicist (Ph.D.). His book is a mathematical and statistical critique of the Bible code, Ingermansonʼs website is www.rsingermanson.com

“Although sympathetic to the Torah as being part of Godʼs Word to humankind, I know from firsthand work with the Hebrew text that the every-letter sequence required for the Bible code to be real is a demonstrable myth.”
- Michael Heiser, author of The Bible Code Myth [currently writing his Ph.D. dissertation in the field of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds an M.A. in Ancient History from an ivy-league institution, the University of Pennsylvania (major fields, Ancient Israel and Egyptology), and a second M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Hebrew Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages). He also attended Dallas Theological Seminary. Mike is the recipient of several academic awards and scholarships, and has written articles accepted in several scholarly journals. His website is www.michaelsheiser.com

Thank you very much.

On Thursday, December 25, 2003, Edward wrote: Youʼre very welcome Dennis.

I discovered Gematria on the ʻnet recently, so Iʼm new at it. I bought Del Washburnʼs 2 books. They arrived 2 days ago. Iʼve skimmed part of them. They look impressive, but Iʼm not an expert.

Edward: Neither am I. Unfortunately, even the Gematria folks are not experts. I will explain that further below.

Attached is the “Count Numbers” which I received by email from the purechristianity.org discussion group. Iʼve not checked their calculations. It says that the sum of the numerical values of all of the letters (Hebrew and Greek) in each paragraph of the Bible is evenly divisible by 7. If thatʼs true, thatʼs astounding.

Edward: It canʼt be true for the same reason that the “Bible code” canʼt be true. There is no single text of the Bible, there are many minor variants in spelling and phrasing, scattered amongst many ancient manuscripts, none of which is the one and only “Bible.” (I cited an evangelical Christian scholar who wrote on that topic at the very end of the piece I sent you.)
I also suspect that gematria involves a fudge factor.

Del offers to give his computer software to his newsletter members at no cost so that we can check his calculations and do further research. He says that he (and others) are finding new numerical patterns every year. I anticipate that I will ask for the software after I finish his books.

Edward: I would like to see calculations of EVERY POSSIBLE numerical arrangement of strings of words in the Bible, not limited to just verses and/or paragraphs. The division into chapters and verses was a later human invention that some Christians in Calvinʼs Geneva came up with, and even the division of human writing into separate paragraphs arose only during the Medieval ages. In the ancient days of the Hebrews and Greeks all the words were run together, because paper was rare and they couldnʼt afford to space words out individually or even to create separate paragraphs.

So what I would like to see is every POSSIBLE arrangement, gematrically speaking, of say, words that totalled “616” throughout the whole Bible, and I would like to see that for every spelling and phrase varient currently known in the oldest manuscripts.

The trouble for gematria is that gematriasts are selectively looking only in the “evil” verses for the words they can use to add up to “616,” and they are employing a fudge factor as well. So naturally they are going to find and only focus on their “hits.” But they need to prove that there are not also many more “hits” than those. For instance if they searched every single possible instance of every string of words in the whole Bible adds up to “616” (adding their fudge factor of course), then theyʼd probably find many “not so evil” verses or even “neutral verses” that also added up to “616.” So, they are only focusing on their “hits” and missing the much larger statistical picture.

That is by the way, the basis of all superstition. As Francis Bacon once put it, “The general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other.”

Also, there is a gematria article at the “ministry of helps” website. And another the infinite book.

One problem that we have:
The Jews saw Jesus perform astounding miracles (He raised the dead, cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, etc), but only a few believed in Jesus. The majority rejected Jesusʼs claims (He claimed to be the Messiah). Likewise, today, if I were to perform bona-fide miracles, most people would reject the gospel (their hearts are not ready for repentance). If I understand the Bible correctly, God prevents the un-repentant from believing the gospel.

Edward: Many Jews and Muslims are quite repentant. Unfortunately, they donʼt believe the gospel.

But when they are sorry for their sins, God opens their spiritual eyes and ears, and He gives them the ability to believe.

Washburn did not assign random numbers to the letters. He used the old established assignments from 2000 years ago. Look in any Websterʼs dictionary. It shows the Hebrew and Greek letters with their ancient number assignments.

I love the Bible. I love righteousness, honesty, love, humility, gentleness, kindness, helpfulness, and the poor. Most of the practice of my religion is in helping the poor and getting the good news to people whoʼve never heard it. The Bible has a “ring of truth” about it. It sounds like the truth.

Edward: “Sounds like?” It “sounds like” some historical truth mixed with superstition to me.

For instance, the Bible says that the neglect of the poor is a serious sin,

Edward: A lot of religions say that.

and that if we allow the perishing to perish, we are guilty of murder. Yet, if I repent, God will forgive and accept me! Only Jesus has this kind of message.

Dennis M.

Edward: I was a “born again Bible believer,” fully repentant. You can read my testimony as well as those of others on the internet and in my book, Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists. Many people have left their respective conservative Christian folds after learning more about the Bible.

See Steve Lockʼs LEAVING CHRISTIANITY website links page. When I have found new listings in the past I emailed Steve the websites with the former Xn testimonies I had run across.

And hereʼs some other links.

I have wondered about that. Perhaps they found a text or variant that worked, then they assumed that that text is the inspired text.

On Thursday, December 25, 2003 Edward wrote: Yes, but that would be circular reasoning. There are separate factors, unrelated to gematria, that scholars take into account when determining which variants appears to be the earliest. Even then, they are dealing with weighing probabilities. There is no “authentic text,” just as there are no original “autographs.” Heck, I learned at one pastorʼs conference at Furman that the book of Hosea has many “wholes” in it. We donʼt even have the whole text in that case. The Dead Sea Scrolls even contain whole paragraphs I believe in the book of Isaiah not found in the Masoretic text.

according to the “Count Numbers” article, the original text was written in paragraphs (the paragraphs were inspired). But I donʼt know: I took Shannonʼs word for that.

Edward: That canʼt be true. Dividing text into paragraphs was a Medieval invention.

According to Del Washburn, the lack of a perfect text in the New Testament is a big problem for ELS, but not for Theomatics. Theomatics uses short stretches of text (often just 2 or 3 words).

Edward: Well, what are the variants for those small stretches of text? And moreover, what are all the POSSIBLE numberical “hits” that are possible for all the small stretches of text in the whole Bible and based on all possible variants?

One study surprised Del Washburn: The Theomatic number for “marriage” is 63, and the number for serpents (think Satan) is 63! Why did God use the same number? Because (as per Del), Satan destroyed the perfect marriage in the garden of Eden.

Edward: That is a rationalization Del invented. You can find “connections” between Satan and marriage, and I daresay between Satan and almost anything if you searched your brain long and hard enough.

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