Re: Watershed

Date: Sun Jun 24 2001 - 15:15:01 EDT

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    George wrote,

    << Scripture is inspired but the numerical values which people assigned to
    the letters of the Hebrew and Greek alphabets isn't. >>

    I'm not so sure this is a valid objection per se because the 666 or 616 in
    Rev 13:18 seems to be predicated on the values assigned to the Greek letters
    at the time of the writing of Revelation.

    But, this does raise some questions about the OT. The basis for the number
    values assigned to the Hebrew letters by Vernon comes from Maccabean times;
    but, the numbers assigned at the time of the writing of Pentateuch may have
    been different; and, it is only those earlier values that would be valid, not
    later new values. Further, there is evidence in the Ugaritic writings that
    the original NW Semitic alphabet which dates essentially to the time of Moses
    had five letters which have since dropped out and are not in the current
    Hebrew alphabet. One of those letters was an "h" in addition to the current
    he and heth; and, this "h" was placed between gimel and daleth; so, that the
    letters daleth and those following may well have had a different numerical
    value than that which was assigned later and which Vernon is using. And the
    other four original letters could also have displaced numerical values. so,
    that what we have today from the Maccabean times may not be the legitimate
    numerical values for solving OT numerical puzzles. Hence, conclusions based
    on these later values may all be in vain.

    In addition Rev 13:18 has two textual variants, 666 and 616, either one of
    which could have been the original, and yet only one would have been the
    inspired original. It is the inspired original upon which the valid meaning
    hinges. If a person works out a clever meaning for 666, but 616 is the
    original, the clever meaning is irrelevant. HAVING THE ORIGINAL TEXT IS SINE
    QUA NON. But, there is reason to believe that we do not have the original OT
    text on a letter by letter basis. Not only the textual differences as we find
    them at Qumran testify to this, the differences in the poetic sections of the
    OT (which reflect an earlier form of the language) are different from the
    prosaic sections. In particular, the nota accusativi (eth) to which Vernon
    assigns a value of 401 in Gen 1:1, was probably not written in the original,
    thus throwing off his calculations by 802 in that verse.

    In short, the questionable validity of the late numerical values assigned to
    the Hebrew letters in combination with the impossibility of reconstructing
    the original OT text on a letter by letter basis, makes valid numerological
    conclusions based upon these two variables very doubtful indeed. Add to this
    that unlike Rev 13:18, God has not said there are hidden meanings in the rest
    of Scripture based on numerical values, and I have to conclude that the
    beautiful patterns Vernon has found reflect God not because they reveal
    hidden mysteries in the Bible, but because they reveal the amazing intricate
    abilities of the human mind, which reflects in turn the beauty of creation,
    perhaps even the image of God.


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