In your recent mail to Richard McGough (9 Aug) you wrote:
" Whether it is a legitimate exercise to extract mathematical patterns
not just from the words of Scripture as they were originally written
(which many would already consider dubious on various theological
grounds), but also from the arbitrary things humans have done to
Scripture since then(such as grouping of books or verse divisions), is a
fair question...(and) probably worth discussing in a graceful, rational,
theologically informed way. "
Thank you for raising this important matter; I would welcome its proper
scrutiny by members of this list. Your statement, of course, embraces
both OBC ("The Other Bible Code") and BW ("The Bible Wheel").
Naturally, I would for the moment like to confine my remarks to OBC - my
own particular field of study.
The Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek documents which form the basis of all
Bible translations are also, by historical precedent, sets of numbers.
In the light of this intriguing situation the searching question arises:
Do we regard these numbers - which, in respect of the Hebrew and
Aramaic, post-dated the writing of the words - as of God? (and
therefore potential sources of additional Scriptural information) - or
simply as fortuitous adhesions to the text? If all the evidence points
to the former, then clearly it must be the Christian's duty to read and
study this information - otherwise he/she has become 'unteachable' in
respect of the miraculous.
I shall present my case for believing the numbers to be 'of God' under
the following five headings: (1) The Expectation, (2) The Riddle, (3)
Some Numerical Absolutes, (4) Creation and the Creator, and (5) A Living
(1) The Expectation
I suggest the words of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah (Is.29:14-16,
particularly) have yet to be completely fulfilled _in the eyes of the
world_. No thinking Christian can deny the need for some 'sign' in our
day that would restore the Authority of the Scriptures, and remind man
of the Being and Sovereignty of God. This need is rendered the more
urgent as we witness the world's rapid decline to a pre-Babel condition
- powerfully enabled by the now de facto universal tongue, English, and
recent developments in the field of telecommunications.
The Lord took decisive action way back; shouldn't we expect something of
the same now? - this time, possibly, of a spectacular kind emerging from
(2) The Riddle
The Bible's last Book opens with the words, "The Revelation of Jesus
Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew his servants...". In verse 19
of the final chapter the reader is warned not to "take away from the
words of the book of this prophecy" (in other words, not to ignore any
of its contents). Such is the wider context within which we find
Rv.13:18. Clearly, the verse is compulsory reading for the Christian!
The solution to this 'riddle' involves the reading of a string of
letters as a number - the ostensible purpose being to identify 'the
beast' - commonly understood to be the evil world ruler prophesied to
appear at the end of the age (however, since the Greek has no indefinite
article, the term 'beast' might well refer to an undesirable attribute
of mankind in general that will attain its zenith at that time - the NIV
translation implying that). But there are a number of reasons why we
should look elsewhere for the true purpose of this divine challenge.
Thus, (a) how could we possibly be sure we'd got the right man (or
whatever) in the absence of a universally-agreed scheme for converting
names to numbers; (b) what would be the point of the exercise? - even if
it were agreed we had the right man, could anything be done to thwart
prophesy and prevent his becoming an all-powerful tyrant?: and (c) what
are we to understand by Rv.15:2 which speaks of those (the 'elect') who
had conquered, not just the beast, but also the __number_ of his name
(ie 666)? To cap it all, of course, we have the offer of _wisdom_ -
something more profound than mere _knowledge_. But if we are not
seeking the name of an individual, what then are we looking for?
To answer this question it is sufficient for the time being to observe
that anyone putting the words of Rv.13:18 into practice - however it is
interpreted - must, by a process of trial and error, read words as
numbers - the target to be aimed at being 666.
(3) Some Numerical Absolutes
Mathematics is universally respected as a primary source of objective
truth. In essence, it is concerned with _number_ and _form_ - concepts
that are found uniquely combined in a particular class of objects: the
_figurate_ numbers. The simplest of these arises directly from the
operation of counting by reciting the sequence of natural numbers thus:
"one, one plus two, one plus two plus three,...", so generating the
_triangular_ number sequence, 1, 3, 6, 10, and so on, without limit. A
typical example is seen in the game of snooker where the fifteen 'reds'
are arranged in equilateral triangle formation at the beginning of each
frame. Clearly, the symmetry of form that is observed is a fundamental
property of fifteen; it is completely independent of any symbolism that
might be invented to represent this number, and is universal and
666 is such a number! - as also are _all_ its numerical attributes. As
normally written in base 10 representation it is a repetition of the
first _perfect number_, 6. In addition, its highest prime divisor is 37
- a number that is uniquely symmetrical (since, expressed as a
collection of uniform circular counters, it can assume the forms of
hexagon, hexagram and octagon). These numbers are therefore singularly
_figurate_ and are unique in the field of numerical geometry.
Clearly, the realisation of these facts represents a major point of
departure in our study of Rv.13:18. That there is more to this verse
than meets the eye is now fully confirmed; we have been provided with a
solid platform from which we may now, in confidence and legitimacy,
proceed further with our enquiries.
(4) Creation and the Creator
Few Christians would disagree that Gn.1:1 is a foundational verse. It is
also the logical place to begin putting the reading of words as numbers
into practice. Evaluating its 7 Hebrew words we find their total, 2701,
to be a triangular number - specifically, the sum of the first 73
natural numbers, 1+2+3+4+...+72+73. Its prime factors are 37 and 73; its
outline comprises 216, or 6.6.6, counters. Words 1 and 3 total 999, or
27x37; words 2, 4 and 5 total 999; words 6 and 7 total 703 - a
triangular number (the 37th) which, when inverted, fits precisely into
2701-as-triangle - creating a trio of 666-as-triangle in the process.
Turning now to the Creator: as evaluated from the Greek (nominative
case), the name 'Jesus' = 888 = 24x37, and the title 'Christ' = 1480, or
40x37; the total is 2368, or 64x37. Each of these is a multiple of 296 (
or 8x37), 7th word of Gn.1:1 - meaning, very appropriately, 'earth'. The
ratio Jesus:Christ is therefore 3:5 - the ratio of the sides of the
mercy seat (Ex.25:17) - a symbol of the Lord.
Here we see quite clearly that 37 - unique number per se and highest
prime factor of the uniquely triangular 666 - is the 'cement' that binds
together this overview of Creation with the Creator himself. The
equilateral triangle (a fitting symbol of the Trinity) also emerges as a
significant type of numero-geometrical object. Finally, numbers that in
base 10 representation appear as digit repetitions are a noteworthy
feature of these phenomena.
(5) A Living Testimonial
There exists a close correspondence between the Gn.1:1 data and the
metric dimensions of the ISO standard _A4_ sheet of cut paper first
introduced in the 1960s, and now in use worldwide. 666 and its close
companion 1260, are also directly involved. The details have been
written up under the heading "Exceptional Measures" at the URL given
This being a much abridged version of the facts, I would be interested
to hear a biblically-based 'Case for the Prosecution'.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Aug 12 2001 - 17:45:13 EDT