Jesus Codes: Uses and Abuses (Part IV)
- Rabbi Daniel Mechanic is a senior international Codes lecturer and researcher for the Aish Hatorah/Discovery Seminar. He would like to thank Dr. Jeffrey Satinover - a world-renowned author on Codes- for his helpful comments.
- Dr. Doron Witznum is the pre-eminent Codes researcher and author in the world. He has dedicated his professional efforts to the development of advanced techniques for detecting and testing equidistant-interval encryptions in texts. His findings on this subject have been published in Statistical Science - a peer-refereed mathematical journal.
- Dr. Harold Gans was a senior cryptologic mathematician for the United States' National Security Agency (NSA) until his retirement after 28 years of service. The agency maintains the world's most advanced methods, experts and facilities for the detection and decryption of encoded material. He is the author of over 180 technical papers on these subjects and is a world-class expert in evaluating Codes. Presently, he is a mathematical consultant and international lecturer on Codes.
Interpreting with Codes
The most important statement one can make regarding codes research is that you cannot interpret anything you find.
Even if one can demonstrate through rigorous mathematical evaluation, that clusters of encoded words were deliberately inserted into the Torah by its author, it would still be impossible to interpret how they are related. Suppose that someone could statistically verify that the words "Yeshua," "Messiah," "True Prophet," etc. were deliberately encoded near each other in the Torah. We would still have no way of knowing what the author of the Torah intended to teach us with these encodings. Is he telling us that Yeshua is the Messiah? Or is he perhaps telling us that Yeshua is not the Messiah, but is widely thought to be? Perhaps he is only saying that Yeshua thought that he was the Messiah. Or that many people think Yeshua thought he was the Messiah. The impossibility of interpreting a code would also apply if we demonstrated that the words "Yeshua," "False Prophet," "False Messiah, " etc. were deliberately encoded near each other in the Torah. The author could have meant that Jesus was indeed a false prophet or perhaps that there would be people who would think that he was a false prophet. It is impossible to know. Therefore, even if one could scientifically prove that all of the "Yeshua codes" were deliberately placed in the Torah, it would still be impossible to reach any of the theological conclusions that Pastor Rambsel and Grant Jeffrey reached.
Furthermore, even if one can prove that a word pattern was deliberately placed in a text, any interpretation of that word pattern afterwards, based on the specific passage it was found in, is pure speculation, and can all too easily be exploited to promote religious or political agendas. For example, if someone proved that "Hitler" was deliberately encoded in the portion of the Torah describing the "Flood" narrative, one can say that Hitler was evil and brought about a world-wide destruction, or, as Nazis would interpret it, that Hitler was like Noah, who was the most righteous person in his generation.
Therefore, only words whose relationship conveys objective facts can be considered "related words". For example, in the "Famous Rabbis" experiment, the relationship between the encoded words conveys an historical fact: a specific Rabbi was born or died on a specific day. The legitimate Codes in the Torah can accomplish one thing and nothing else: They can validate the hypothesis that the author of the Torah is not human. Any statement or interpretation beyond this is fundamentally incorrect.
In this respect, Grant Jeffrey has not fully appreciated his own words. On page 219 in The Signature of God, he makes the following correct statement, "Another important point to note is that these Hebrew codes do not contain any hidden theological or doctrinal messages" (emphasis added). He then publishes books describing "codes" which he claims "prove" a specific theological or doctrinal message (i.e., Jesus is the Messiah).
"Faith" in Codes
One of the more troubling Christian responses has been that despite the fact that Rambsel and Jeffrey's methodology and examples are objectively, scientifically, and logically invalid, nevertheless, we still have "faith" that the "Yeshua codes" are genuine. (Interestingly, Moslems also claim that they have faith that there are"Mohammed codes" in the Torah).
No one would argue with anyone's clear right to have faith in anything they choose. However, we have shown that there is not even one example in Pastor Rambsel or Grant Jeffrey's books that constitutes proof or confirmation of anything. Therefore, people who suggest that their faith in the "Yeshua codes" does constitute evidence or proof of their validity, are intellectually confused. Furthermore, these people recognize that the "Yeshua codes" are extractions of coincidental patterns, and are of no evidential value apart from their faith in them. That they nevertheless attempt to influence the religious beliefs of others as though these codes have evidential value is dishonest, as well as morally offensive to people who hold different beliefs.
Proselytizing with Codes
It is always difficult to criticize people in public. Indeed, had Pastor Rambsel, Grant Jeffrey, and many other Christian missionaries not used these so-called "codes " to proselytize Jews, we would not have felt obligated to respond so forcefully. But because they have chosen a form of presentation which is inevitably pitched to make Christians out of the remarkably small number of Jews in the world (less than 0.003% of the world population), we felt compelled to expose their errors. Having detected something extraordinarily important emerging over many years of scrupulous research via the scientifically rigorous Codes methodology, certain missionary groups have seized upon Rambsel and Jeffrey's examples to bolster their argument to Jews. Those who have hastily adopted these examples for proselytizing purposes lack even the slightest sense of due diligence - or integrity, for that matter. Theological debate concerning who is the Messiah is appropriate (when entered into voluntarily, and conducted in a spirit of mutual respect and with adherence by both sides to previously agreed upon standards of evidence). Playing letter games with the Torah, however, and misleading people with false evidential claims is, at the very least, offensive. To those who recognize this game for what it is - an attempt to proselytize Jews by dishonestly using "codes" as proof or confirmation of Christian beliefs - it speaks extraordinarily poorly for the faith it purports to represent, and more solid representatives of that faith have not hesitated to say so, to their credit.
Christian scholars have contacted us and expressed their profound regret over the embarrassing behavior of their colleagues. A strong word of caution was issued by Dr. Lavonne Stiffler, a member of the Christian organization Bridges for Peace. She has been investigating the codes phenomenon for several years and encourages objective research. She writes34 that, "popular Christian authors and speakers are eager to jump on the codes phenomenon and fly with it, often repeating what others tell them, without basic knowledge of Hebrew, statistics or fallacies of logic." She goes on to say, "Depending on one's preconceived expectation, subjective 'evidence' may be found somewhere to 'prove' any philosophical or theological point."
There is an important difference between what one entertains privately and what one goes on public record as supporting. It is a necessary part of the creative process to speculate about things that seem striking at first. But before offering these for the public record, the responsible individual puts them through a truth-filter first. For example, we have known for many years that there are critical codes - some of striking complexity - that present Jesus as a false prophet. They are substantially more sophisticated than the simple examples mentioned in Rambsel and Jeffrey's books. The unanimous consensus was, and remains, that these extractions are not valid codes because they will not withstand critical scrutiny and, therefore, prove nothing. It would offend the sensitivities of others to then use these flawed results as an attack on their deeply held convictions.