Jesus Codes: Uses and Abuses (Part II)
- 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.
It is true that the Hebrew word "Yeshua5" (Jesus) can be extracted from numerous passages in the Hebrew Bible. Pastor Rambsel writes in his book how "Yeshua" can be extracted from passages in Isaiah, Daniel and Psalms. On pages 50 and 65 of Yeshua, we are shown how in the Book of Genesis, "Yeshua" can be found in passages that he insists refer to the Messiah. He then concludes that the author of the Torah deliberately encoded "Yeshua" at these locations in order to reveal to us that Jesus is the Messiah.
Following are only a few examples of the many fundamental errors in Pastor Rambsel's methodology and logic:
- Statistically, one would expect to find an appearance of "Yeshua" anywhere you decide to look, in almost any document in the world. When you have a large text (the Torah, for example, has 304,805 Hebrew letters) and you search for "Yeshua" at equidistant letter intervals, you expect to find it thousands of times. Moreover, the accidental appearance of "Yeshua" will happen much more than most Hebrew words because two of the Hebrew letters in "Yeshua," "Yud" and "vav," are the most common letters in the Hebrew Bible. In fact, the mathematical expectation is that "Yeshua" will appear accidentally in the Torah over 300,000 times (302,800.50 to be exact). Let's focus on only one book of the Torah - the Book of Genesis. It contains 78,064 letters of which 9,035 are the Hebrew letter "Yud " - the first letter of "Yeshua." If we start at any of the 9,035 "Yud's" and simplify our search by limiting the skip distances to up to only 1000 spaces between the letters, we will have 1000 different strings of letters from every different starting point (except a few at the very end of the text). So you have 9035 starting points, and from every starting point you can make 1000 different searches for the word "Yeshua." That's 1000 x 9035 chances, or 9,035,000 chances for the word "Yeshua" to appear in the text. Making an unintentional appearance of "Yeshua" even more likely to occur is the fact that the search for "Yeshua" is conducted both forward and backward through the text. This doubles the already huge possibility of the word appearing accidentally to over 18 million such chances in the Book of Genesis alone, when limiting our search to skip distances of up to only 1000 letters. Thus, one would clearly expect to find "Yeshua" accidentally encoded thousands of times in Genesis. In fact, the mathematical expectation is that "Yeshua" will be found in Genesis alone over 21,000 times (21,058.53 to be exact). Therefore, the appearance of "Yeshua" somewhere in the Torah would not - and could not - prove anything.
- We indeed searched the Torah for the word "Yeshua." Simplifying our search by limiting the skip distances to up to only 850 letters still yielded the word "Yeshua" over 10,000 times. (In reality, one can search for "Yeshua" at skip distances of up to approximately 100,000 letters). We also searched the Torah for the three- letter Hebrew word "Yeshu " - the traditional Jewish spelling of Jesus. With skip distances again limited to only 850 letters, the search resulted not in thousands, but tens of thousands of occurrences. Therefore, claiming you have proof that Jesus is the Messiah because you found "Yeshua" encoded somewhere in the Torah is absurd. Its evidential significance is the same as finding an arrangement of words formed by the letters in a bowl of alphabet cereal or soup.
- Control tests are the most effective way of validating or refuting a codes claim. The control test, in our case, would mean that we search for Rambsel's "codes" in a different Hebrew text with the same number of letters as the Torah. It could be a Hebrew translation of any novel, or the Torah itself with all of its letters randomly arranged in many different ways. Obviously, it is impossible for these "texts" to contain deliberately inserted codes. If we would find Rambsel's "codes" in these texts, then we would know that the "Yeshua codes" Rambsel found in the Torah are mere coincidences. We searched for "Yeshua" in a small portion of the Hebrew translation of War and Peace. Since it is a translation, all of its letters and words are, of course, not the original ones used by the author. Therefore, the translated text cannot possibly contain deliberate encodings of the word "Yeshua." Yet, after again limiting our search to skip distances of up to only 850 letters, "Yeshua" appeared in War and Peace 2,055 6 times.
- Rambsel claims that extracting "Yeshua" from "messianic" passages provides evidence that Yeshua is the Messiah. However, we extracted "Yeshua" from hundreds of passages that have no connection to the concept of Messiah. This clearly demonstrates to the thoughtful reader how futile it is to attach meaning or evidential value to an appearance of "Yeshua" (or to any single word or phrase) in any text, especially when these words can, and do appear everywhere.
- On page 130, Rambsel discusses a passage in Daniel (chapter 9, verses 25-27), in which he found the word "Yeshua" appearing at intervals of 26, a significant number in Kabbalistic thought. More remarkable, he claims, is the fact that the word "Messiah" appears explicitly in the verse itself. This additional "proof" that Yeshua is the Messiah is quickly dismantled when one considers the fact that encoded in the very same text are ten other Hebrew names starting with a "Yud" and a "Shin" - the first two Hebrew letters of the word "Yeshua" (e.g., Yishai8, Yeshaya, Yashuv, Yishvi etc.). This clearly illustrates how it is either the commonality of these letters that is causing all of these names, including "Yeshua," to be accidentally "encoded" or there are other potential Messiahs that, until now, we were unaware of. Were we to take Rambsel's methodology seriously, more perplexing would be the fact that we found the name of the Communist leader "Lenin" encoded at the equally significant Kabbalistic skip distance of 49 - in this same "messianic" text in Daniel.
- In The Signature of God, Grant Jeffrey writes how God encoded "Yeshua" in hundreds of passages throughout the Bible. This is an extremely dangerous and irresponsible misuse of the "codes." One could use this form of "codes research" to reach many other spiritually damaging conclusions. Using Rambsel and Jeffrey's methodology, we found many other "messiahs", including "Mohammed " and "Krishna", in the passages where they found "Yeshua." Limiting our search of the Torah to skip distances of up to only 1000 letters, still yielded the encoded words Mohammed 2,328 times and Krishna 104 times. Furthermore, (David) "Koresh", the self-proclaimed Messiah who was responsible for the death of over 100 men, women and children, is found encoded in the Torah 2,729 times, at skip distances of up to only 1,000 letters.
This control test illustrates that there is no evidential value at all to the finding of "Yeshua" in the Hebrew Bible. Moreover, it is precisely control tests such as these (among many other types of measures) that were used to validate the legitimate Torah Codes. This was accomplished by demonstrating that, unlike all of Rambsel's "Yeshua codes," the legitimate Torah Codes (i.e., "Famous Rabbis") do not appear anywhere else except in the Torah.
In fact, any suggestion that a particular "code" is genuine because of the specific passage it was found in is wholly subjective in nature. Therefore, it cannot, by definition, be used as evidence in the objective validation process necessary to determine whether an equidistant letter sequence is a genuine Code.
Rambsel writes how, in Chapter 41 of Psalms, "Yeshua" appears in a "messianic" passage. Again, we found many other Hebrew names starting with a "Yud" and a "Shin" in this same passage. Furthermore, "Lenin" is also encoded in this same text at a skip distance of the Kabbalistic number 26 - the same number Rambsel found so significant when it revealed the word "Yeshua" in Daniel. In spite of these "codes", we are certain that no one would conclude that Lenin is the Messiah.
We have no interest in being facetious about such lofty topics as who is the Messiah. We are merely demonstrating how profoundly in error Rambsel and Jeffrey are and the absurd results their "methodology" will yield. The words "Yeshua" and Mohammed, Krishna, Koresh, Lenin, etc. appear accidentally anywhere you choose to look, whether it's the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), Hebrew newspapers, or the Hebrew translation of War and Peace. Therefore, it proves nothing.