Saturday, April 14, 2018

How God First Told Me to Read His Word

Photo by Nyehob 2016

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



Sandi said...

I am trying to imagine the person who left that Bible there. Maybe a person who inherited grandma's belonings, didn't want it, but couldn't quite put it inside the trash can. Maybe a person reading it in the park and then the Lord said, "Leave your Bible over there. It is for someone." Maybe someone accidentally left it there?

The part about the rabbis names being in the scripture 1000 years before they were born...ooh, wow. Being born is no accident, for them, for us, for anyone.

Is there anywhere to look for a real glimpse into the Bible Codes? It seems there are a lot of websites out there with information that may or may not be true.

shayndel said...

Enjoyed your post, and especially how you brought it to everyone, using your testimony to show how God brings us all to His word in such wonderful and specially tailored ways!!

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Yes, I have heard about this code hidden within the Hebrew texts. But I must confess, this sort of thing has aroused caution in me rather than excitement. For a comparison, I once read about the 1960's American prophetess or clairvoyant Jeane Dixon, a woman who claims to be devoted to God and prays first thing every morning. She made some prophecies mainly centred around American presidencies and other White House issues, together with predicting the lives of various celebrities, whether who will marry who, etc. Many of her prophecies did come true, which seem to indicate Divine inspiration, but others did not. This why I take these issues with caution.
I have never studied Hebrew, therefore I cannot lay any claim to be knowledgeable on the subject. But accepting these codes found in the Hebrew text, which I have absolutely no understanding, therefore unable to check for myself and verify, as you say, it takes faith to believe and accept them.
But the point I wish to get across is why these codes specify the names of Rabbis, Apollo 11, Watergate, the Twin Towers and such like, when Old Testament prophecy I read often and in my own language, is about Jesus Christ, his first and second advent, his Kingdom established with Jerusalem as its capital, the fate of Israel and its future redemption?
Please understand, I'm not out-rightly denying the authenticity of these hidden codes, because of being hidden from a great majority of devoted Christian believers, instead I'm just taking all this with a level of caution.
Otherwise, as usual, this is an excellent blog, encouraging us to read our Bibles every day, and just as necessary as the need to eat and drink.
God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Sandi,
I have also wondered about how the Bible got there -- all we know for sure is that God orchestrated it, and His Word never returns to Him void! I doubt anyone left it by accident, as the dumpster was in the lot of our office building, and not near anywhere else where people would congregate.
I wish I had more reliable information on the Bible Codes. I believe the best, most trustworthy source is the article published in Statistical Science, and as you say, much of the subsequent information lacks true scholarship and may or may not be valid. For me, it just drove home that the Bible is God's Word.
Thanks so much for your visit and thoughtful comment!
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you, Shayndel, for your visit and lovely comment! Praise God that He calls each of us to follow Him and His Word!
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Thanks as always for your well-reasoned, thought-provoking comment from a Biblical perspective. I neglected to mention that ELSs encoding the Hebrew Name "Jeshua," or "Jesus," appear with every Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah. As a result, many of the Orthodox Jews who first worked on the Bible Codes were converted to Christianity when they then realized that Jesus truly is the promised Messiah.
I agree, the Bible first and foremost is to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior, His past work and future coming. It truly is His story. As a newly saved believer, the topic of the Bible Codes was like a beacon welcoming me to study the plain text of the Scripture. I was not yet familiar with Psalm 119 or so many other passages stressing the importance and Divine inspiration of God's Word. I'm sure I would have eventually read them and understood, but I believe God got my attention in this way. Now as a more seasoned Christian, I share your skepticism about many of the claims. Ultimately, whether or not they are valid doesn't matter -- what does matter is that we believe the Bible is God's Word and study and follow it through Holy Spirit guidance.
God bless,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie.

As you pointed out, those "codes" could only be figured out by the use of computers, so they were irrelevant until the computer was invented, yet according ti II 3:16-17, the scriptures provided everything that was needed for Christians to be fully able to serve God. it really doesn't matter whether the codes are even legitimate, because God used the book and your curiosity to get you to study the scripture. What an amazing God we have who can use questionable or even false teachings to lead us to the truth.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! So true, that God can and does use unsaved people for His purposes, and suspect or even false teachings to lead us to His truth, provided we are receptive to His Spirit. God bless,

Susan said...

This is something I have been pondering myself, the fact that the Lord even uses half truths to bring people to start looking for Him. He is so good! I was discussing that very thing with a friend yesterday, that even those things that are very questionable can get people to start looking in the Bible and asking questions, and we need to be there for them and help them to see the Truth more perfectly as the Lord shows us.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Susan! We should not put God in a box and assume He is only going to use "orthodox" strategies to bring us to Himself. He designed and knows each of our frames, and how best to speak to each of us and get our attention. Thanks for sharing your experience and insights, and God bless,