|Photo by Nyehob 2016|
Saturday, April 14, 2018
How God First Told Me to Read His Word
Three weeks after I was saved by trusting Jesus Christ as my Savior, the One Who died to pay my sin debt and rose again to prove His deity (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), my husband and I had to meet a friend at the airport. Our friend’s plane had been delayed, so we found ourselves wandering through the shops when suddenly a book in a window display caught my eye.
“BIBLE CODE” read the large, black, Hebrew-stylized characters in the title on the cover, with what appeared to be word-search puzzles underneath. Intrigued, I entered the store and began thumbing through a copy of Michael Drosnin’s nonfiction best seller. A casual perusal soon became a voracious desire to read the book cover to cover, so I bought a copy and spent the remaining hours until our friend arrived devouring its contents.
At risk of oversimplifying a highly complex topic, let me explain that the book referenced a paper published in the academically prestigious journal Statistical Science. This article described “Equidistant Letter Sequences,” or ELS, in the Hebrew Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. These ELS encoded words, names and dates near each other, in meaningful groupings with historical and possibly prophetic significance.
To use an arbitrary number, circling every fifth, or fiftieth, or many other skip sequences of Hebrew characters in the original text of the Torah often resulted in a meaningful message, presaging events occurring millennia after God inscribed His Word on stone tablets and delivered it to Moses.
In 1985, this type of ELS analysis searching for names of 34 Jewish rabbis who were well-known over the past 1,000 years found all 34 in the book of Genesis, coded along with the dates of their births or deaths, even though Genesis was written more than 1,000 years before the first rabbi was even born!. The statistical probability of this happening by chance alone was determined to be 11 million to 1, as indicated by the authors of the Statistical Science article. The journal’s editors not only could find no fault with the analysis, methods or calculations, but even issued a challenge to other scientists to do so.
The existence of such codes was suspected by Sir Isaac Newton and confirmed in a very basic ELS by a Czechoslovakian rabbi in 1938. But it was not until the advent of modern computers that such searches became practical.
As the Book of Daniel predicted, in the End Times in which we now live, knowledge shall increase (Daniel 12:4) and the ability of computers to calculate and comb through data extremely quickly has put a whole world of knowledge in the palm of anyone’s hand who owns a smart phone. In that verse, the Hebrew word translated “many shall run to and fro,” is actually the same as the word now used in modern Hebrew to mean “computer search.”
Recent events coded in ELS in the Torah include the Oklahoma City bombing, the Gulf War, the 9/11 Twin Towers strike, the Holocaust, Watergate, and the Apollo 11 space mission. In 1994, ELS analysis revealed a message indicating that Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin would be assassinated. He did not believe the warning Drosnin gave him, but the “predicted” event actually came to pass 14 months later.
Unfortunately, the original science became diluted and popularized to more of a parlor trick, as searchers looked for ELS in English and other Bible translations and unsuccessfully attempted to predict the future using them. Several predictions based on Drosnin’s searches thankfully failed to materialize, including atomic world war in 2000 or 2006.
On the night that I began reading about the Bible Code, I only had a very cursory understanding of all this, but one thing seemed very clear: the Bible must have been written by supernatural inspiration from God Himself (2 Timothy 3:16). Before being saved, I had previously considered the Bible to be fine literature and had heard and read several passages in school and college, but I had never grasped (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21) their eternal significance (Matthew 24:35) and Divine wisdom (Proverbs 1:2; 4:5; Colossians 3:16).
The morning after I sat up all night reading the Bible Code, I attempted to summarize what I had learned to our son Brendan, who was then 10 years old, over breakfast. After my breathless explanation, I asked him, “So do you think it’s true?”
Brendan rolled his eyes. “Well, of course the Bible is true, Mom – God wrote it.”
Out of the mouth of babes! (Matthew 21:16). In his childlike faith (Mark 10:14; Matthew 18:3), Brendan clearly saw and spoke the truth God was speaking to my heart – that all Scripture is divinely inspired. As I later learned, all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
God speaks to His children in different ways tailored to their personality and intellectual preferences. Given my background as a physician and research scientist in biochemistry and molecular biology, perhaps He first drew me to His Word by these “coincidences” that resulted in my learning of the Bible Code.
Yet we don’t need science or a computer to understand God’s Word or to know it is true – all we need is faith (Hebrews 11:1), which is possible only through the Holy Spirit Who lives within us and instructs us from the moment we are saved (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). God spoke to me the second time through the words of my son that His Word is true, for He wrote it.
Later I learned that faith comes by hearing (or reading) the Word of God (Romans 10:17), which was the third message God gave me about the importance of reading and studying all the Bible. Three days after the above events, Richard took out the trash at my medical practice.
He returned with a strange look on his face. “You’ll never guess what I just found sitting on top of the dumpster cover,” he said, handing me a Bible, which was in excellent condition despite its age.
You can imagine my surprise when I realized that this Bible was printed in the year I was born; that the front page was inscribed with the “Serenity Prayer” that I used to carry in my purse as a good luck charm in high school; and that key passages had been highlighted!
“I get it, Lord,” I prayed. “You want me to read this, cover to cover, to get to know You better and to understand Your will for my life. Thank You for sending it to me!”
So I read it through completely, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, not understanding many passages and having many questions. Then I found a reading plan that completes the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice during one year, which worked out well because there were three passages to read each day, and there were three of us at breakfast so we could each read one.
Brendan is out of the house and married now, but praise God, He has empowered my husband and me to complete the 1-year reading plan every year since we got saved in 2000! The Bible truly is a living book, with new insight to be gained with each reading, through the direction of the Holy Spirit Who is eager to teach us (1 Corinthians 2:13) if we are eager to learn!
We wouldn’t imagine going a whole week without eating and then trying to make up for it with one big meal, yet many Christians let their Bible collect dust all week, opening it only for the Sunday morning sermon. Praise God that He will speak to us daily through His Word (Luke 11:3), if we are faithful to listen!
© 2018 Laurie Collett