Religious Tolerance logo

Hidden Bible codes:

Description of ESL Bible analysis
(Cont'd) and
of Theomatics analysis

horizontal rule

Sponsored link.

horizontal rule

This topic continues from the previous essay

horizontal rule

Description of the ELS analysis method (Cont'd):

Some authors capitalized on their findings, and rushed into print a series of best-selling religious books. The most financially successful was probably a series of books by Michael Drosnin's. The original book, "The Bible Code," 1 once achieved the #3 spot on a New York Times best-seller list. It was followed by two others:

Countless individuals accepted the ELS codes as proof that God was the actual author of the Pentateuch. Many skeptics became believers.

The euphoria did not last. Further statistical analysis revealed the truth about the Bible codes: that they do not just exist in the Pentateuch; they are everywhere. Codes are found with approximately equal frequency in the Book of Genesis, the Qur'an, Tolstoy's "War and Peace," Melville's "Moby Dick," the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), or in any sufficiently long text. 2,3,4,5 By the time that the ELS codes were exposed as meaningless, the authors and publishers of the ELS code books had pocketed some rather heavy profits.

One of many successful attempts to prove that the ELS system is without merit was described on the Research School of Computer Science web site of the Australian National University by Brendan McKay et al. The essay contains many useful references to other studies. The authors comment:

"The book 'The Bible Code' by Michael Drosnin has been the most successful mass-market book about the Torah Codes. Alas, all semblance of scientific method is missing, and all of the important codes proponents have disowned him. By repeated examples, we prove that Drosnin did not find anything that can't be found in any book, even in English. ... If humans really wanted to encode messages as ELSs, they could do much better than anyone has yet claimed for the Bible." 6

A group of mathematicians have signed a statement critical of the ELS analysis method which says:

"We are making this statement concerning what have been called 'Bible codes' or 'Torah codes'. We recognize that many sincere people take this phenomenon seriously, which compels us to speak out on the basis of what our mathematical training tells us about the evidence claimed for this alleged phenomenon.

There is a common belief in the general community to the effect that many mathematicians, statisticians, and other scientists consider the claims to be credible. This belief is incorrect. On the contrary, the almost unanimous opinion of those in the scientific world who have studied the question is that the theory is without foundation. The signatories to this letter have themselves examined the evidence and found it entirely unconvincing.

We refer in particular to the paper Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis, published in Statistical Science in 1994. This experiment suffers from major problems concerning both its execution and the interpretation of its conclusions. Even without these concerns, we would not take such extraordinary claims seriously without a vastly more systematic and thorough investigation. No such investigation has been carried out, nor has the work so far established a prima facie case. In addition, word clusters such as mentioned in Witztum's and Drosnin's books and the so called messianic codes are an uncontrolled phenomenon and similar clusters will be found in any text of similar length. All claims of incredible probabilities for such clusters are bogus, since they are computed contrary to standard rules of probability and statistics.

Among the signatories below are some who believe that the Torah was divinely written. We see no conflict between that belief and the opinion we have expressed above." 7

As of 2012-SEP-13, 55 academics who "... hold PhDs in Mathematics or Statistics or are faculty members in a Department of Mathematics or Statistics at a college or university" have signed the statement to date. The list is still open for additional qualified signatories. 7

Many Christians and Jews continued to have faith in the codes, even after scholars debunked the concept. A year after the first exposés, Michael Drosnin's book "The Bible Code" was still rated in the top 7,500 titles at Since that online bookstore lists millions of books in its inventory, it would appear that the book was still among their most popular sellers. 1 In 2012, fourteen years after the first edition was published, it was still rated in the top quarter million in terms of popularity. A used copy was available for $0.01 plus postage.

Belief in ELS surfaced again in late 212-OCT just before the federal election. WND reports:

"Moshe Aharon Shak, an orthodox Jew and author of 'Bible Codes Breakthrough' has produced a series of videos on YouTube with his modern analysis of Scripture. ..."

" 'The matrix is found in Deuteronomy Chapter 28, verses 13 and 14,' says Shak, a mechanical engineer from Montreal, Canada. 'There we find his first name, last name, day and month of birth, and the term ‚€˜president.‚€™ Fifteen terms consisting of 85 letters are found telling a fascinating story." 11

Shak found embedded in the Hebrew text the words and phrases:

  • Romney
  • A fitting president
  • perfect
  • and makes him fit
  • the man [is] for Him.

Fortunately for President Obama, analyses of other long books produce equally mysterious and meaningless messages.

horizontal rule

Sponsored link:

horizontal rule

Description of a second method: Theomatics:

English theologian Ethelbert W. Bullinger (1837-1913) was a prolific writer. His most popular book is the Companion Bible, a study Bible in the King James Version. 8 He also wrote "Number in Scripture: Its supernatural design and spiritual significance," which was reprinted in 1993. 9 In the latter book, he describes the sources of some of today's frequently used numbers. (e.g. the 12 signs of the zodiac, 360 degrees in a circle.) But his deep study of the text of the Bible revealed to him the spiritual and symbolic meaning associated with various numeric values, as they appear in the scriptures. Some examples are:

bullet 3 represents God.

bullet 9 represents judgment.

bullet 15 refers to acts brought about by God's grace.

bullet 40 represents probation, trial, and chastisement.

bullet 1290 represents desolation.

bullet 1335 represents blessing.

He then detected patterns of occurrences of these numbers in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. He concluded that these repetitions could not have come about naturally, inserted by dozens of authors who independently wrote the 66 books of the Bible. He concluded that God must have been responsible for creating the Bible text. He concluded that Bible numerical patterns prove the existence of God.

Theomatics Research, a Portland, OR-based company 10 states that:

"the foundational basis for theomatics has been known for thousands of years, ever since the time before Christ. It is commonly referred to by the term 'gematria.' It was in 1975 that this original code in the Bible "... known for thousands of years but never deciphered ~ began to reveal itself in a major way. Del Washburn believes that he has found a mathematical design within the Bible that proves that God was its ultimate author. God "assigned each letter and in turn each word of the Bible with a number or theomatic value. Everything in the Bible was composed and written mathematically...God the Creator, sometime in eternity past, orchestrated and planned every event mentioned in the Bible ~ right down to the most minute detail...and what every word in the Bible would ultimately be. Each and every word had to be spelled precisely so it would come out to its exact and pre-determined numerical value, and then be placed into the text in a precise location."

From this description, it is obvious that Theomatics has the same weakness as the ELS system, Both rely on the Bible text in its original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek having been preserved without error through thousands of years. Even a copying error of one letter could throw off this method of analysis. Unfortunately for this code-finding technique this level of accuracy can be shown to be non-existent. There are more discrepancies among the earliest manuscripts than there are words in the Bible.

horizontal rule

This topic continues in the next essay

horizontal rule

References used:

  1. Michael Drosnin, "The Bible Code", Simon & Schuster, (1998). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  2. R.S. Hendel, "The Secret Code Hoax", BR, Vol. XIII, No. 4, 1997-AUG, Page 23 - 24.
  3. Shlomo Sternberg, "Snake Oil for Sale", BR, Vol. XIII, No. 4, 1997-AUG, Page 24 - 25.
  4. "Controversial 'Bible Code' debunked by team of scholars," APonline, 1999-SEP-10.
  5. J.W. Moore, "Bible codes, or matrix of deception, Part II," SCP Newsletter, 1998-Winter. Online at
  6. Brendan McKay et al., "Scientific refutation of the Bible Codes," Australian National University, undated, at:
  7. "Mathematicians' Statement on Bible Codes," Department of Mathematics, California Institute of Technology, undated, at:
  8. E.W. Bullinger, "Companion Bible," Kregel Publ, (Reprinted 1993) Read reviews or order this book 
  9. E.W. Bullinger, "Number in Scripture: Its supernatural design and spiritual significance," Kregel Publications, Read reviews or order this book 
  10. "Theomatics" has a web site at:
  11. Joe Kovacs, "Does Bible code predict President Romney?," World Net Daily (WND) 2012-OCT-27, at:

horizontal rule

Copyright © 2000 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
File created: 2000-SEP-25
Latest update: 2012-OCT-27
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)
Sponsored link

horizontal rule

Go to the previous page, or to the Bible Code menu, or choose:


Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Purchase a CD of this web site

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

GooglePage Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.

Sponsored links

Additional Info

Twitter icon

Facebook icon

About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Is this your first visit?
Contact us
External links

Recommended books

Visitors' essays
Our forum
New essays
Other features
Buy a CD of this site
Vital notes

World religions
Christian def'n
 Shared beliefs
 Handling change
 Bible topics
 Bible inerrancy
 Bible harmony
Interpret the Bible
 Beliefs & creeds
 Da Vinci code
 Revelation 666
Other religions
Cults and NRMs
Comparing Religions

Non-theistic beliefs

About all religions
Main topics
Basic information
Gods & Goddesses
Handling change
Doubt & security
Confusing terms
End of the World?
True religion?
Seasonal events
Science vs. Religion
More information

Morality & ethics
Absolute truth

Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious freedom
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
Ten Commandments
Abortion access
Assisted suicide
Death penalty

Same-sex marriage

Human rights
Gays in the military
Sex & gender
Stem cells
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news