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Do the ELS in the Bible indeed spell what they have been claimed to spell?

By Mark Perakh

Posted June 5, 1998

Despite the overwhelming evidence accumulated to date and showing with a very high degree of certainty that the alleged "code" in the Bible is imaginary, a stream of materials offering additional examples of "codes" "discovered" in the Bible continues on the Web unrelentingly. In my other paper (Some Bible code related experiments and discussions) I discussed the code controversy from various points of view, and in particular criticized both the alleged statistical "proofs" of the code's authenticity, and also the interpretation of the ELS by Pastor Y. Rambsel, Mr. G. Jeffrey, Mr. G. Cramer, Ms. L. Eldridge , Mr. M. Drosnin, Dr. J. Satinover and some other proponents of the "code." I did not though relate to the question as to whether the examples of ELS shown in publications of the above listed writers do indeed spell what they have been claiming to spell. This paper is an attempt to address this question. Another difference between this paper and the previous one is that in this article I will employ an approach based on introducing certain hypotheses in regard to the question as to how the above listed writers might justify the spellings they chose. I will discuss whether or not those spellings could be substantiated on the base of any of the hypotheses offered. Hence, this article, unlike the previous one, which was strictly limited to facts, will leave more leeway for alternative approaches.

Before analyzing the ELS in the Bible, let us consider an example whose relevance to the controversy in question will become clear a little later in this article.

Imagine that a man whose name is Lesbmar told you that, in a story written in English about a man named Joe Smith, he had discovered ELS spelling word Jesus. You became intrigued and asked Lesbmar to tell you where to find those amazing ELS. Lesbmar indicated the page, and the sentences which contain the ELS spelling Jesus. He provided two such sentences. The sentences indicated by Lesbmar were as follows:

  1. Usually after dinner Joe eats fruits.
  2. To improve the looks of his teeth, Joe uses braces.

You checked the above sentences to see for yourself those amazing ELS. Indeed! In the first sentence there it was:

Joe EatS frUitS. The word Jesus indeed is there as an ELS with a skip of 3.

Then you looked at the second sentence. You were puzzled. The consonants J, S, and S appeared in the second sentence in the same sites as in the first sentence:

Joe uses braces.

However, in this sentence something was wrong with the vowels between J, S, and one more S. If you included vowels u and a which in this ELS occupy the same sites as e and u occupied in the first sentence, the ELS would spell not Jesus, but Jusas, which is not the same. Baffled, you asked Mr. Lesbmar if he was mistaken in regard to the ELS spelling Jesus in the second sentence. Mr. Lesbmar answered that you simply did not understand how the ELS work. He explained that vowels are of no consequence, only consonants are to be accounted for, while any vowels can be inserted at will. Since consonants J, S, and again S appeared in every sixth place, then this is a genuine ELS for Jesus. If you were still not fully convinced, Mr. Lesbmar added that there is an additional important indication that the ELS in question indeed spelled Jesus. It was "relevance." You see, in the same sentence there are words "improve" and "braces." Of course, we improve through Jesus. Then, braces mean support. We look for support from Jesus. Now you were amazed and fully convinced that consonants J, S, and again S, despite being part of an actual ELS spelling Jusas, must be read as Jesus.

Of course it may sound as a parody. Unfortunately, it is far from being one. Actually what some "code" proponents have been doing with the text of the Bible, is quite similar to what Lesbmar did in our example.

To illustrate this, let us first consider a few more examples, this time turning to Hebrew texts. The modern Hebrew books and newspapers make no use of letters for vowels. There are certain exceptions. One is books for children. Another is textbooks for the non-Hebrew speaking people who study Hebrew. And one more exception is the text of the Bible as it has been traditionally rendered for the last thousand-plus years. (We will return to that item a little later in this article).

Let us look at the Hebrew texts that have no letters for vowels. Consider the situation when, reading a Hebrew text, one encounters a word, such, as, for example one written with three consonants (to be read from right to left) Resh, Tzade, Khet. In the absence of letters for vowels, these three letters could mean at least two different words. One is "Ratzakh" with the accent on the second syllable, which translates as singular masculine Past tense form of the verb "to kill" i.e. it translates as (he) killed, or (he) murdered. Another possible word spelled with the same three consonants is Retzakh with the accent on the first syllable. It is a noun meaning "murder." Another example. What if in a Hebrew text one encounters the following sequence of consonants (from right to left) Pei, Samekh, Khet ? Again, it could mean more than one word. One choice is to read it as Pasakh with the accent on the second syllable; the other choice is Pesakh with the accent on the first syllable; the third choice is Piseakh, with the accent on the second syllable. The first word is a verb translated as (he) passed, or (he) walked by, and the like. The second one translates as Passover. The third version means "lame."

The ambiguity of certain words, while more pronounced in Hebrew than, for example, in English, is not limited to Hebrew. How do the readers cope with the ambiguity in question? There are two factors, which enable one to correctly read a word, which either has more than one meaning, or is partially misspelled.

One factor is what in the Information Theory is called "natural redundancy" which is inherently built into natural languages, such as English, Hebrew, Russian, you name it. It is a feature that is absent or severely limited in programming languages. Misspelling even one letter in a DOS command renders it either unintelligible for or misread by your computer because programming languages are usually created without or with very little redundancy. It is not the case with natural languages. If in a certain text you encounter a word such as, for example, "factry" you easily figure out it was meant to be "factory." If in a telegram you see words such as for example "kss you love", you probably will have no difficulty to read it as "kiss you, love." The natural redundancy means the language usually contains more information in every word and sentence than it is absolutely necessary in order to comprehend its gist.

The founder of the Information theory C. Shannon had estimated the redundancy of English to be 79%. To be on the safe side, it is commonly accepted to be 75%. It means that if three out of every four letters of an English text are deleted, the remaining truncated text still will be sufficient to convey the same amount of information. Since Hebrew text contains no vowels, its redundancy is considerably smaller than that of English.  A rough estimate is that the redundancy of Hebrew is close to 50 %.  The redundancy of natural languages serves a very useful purpose. The larger is the redundancy, the fewer errors occur in the information's transfer, be it in speech, radio, telegraph etc.

The second factor is what is referred to as "context." It enables one to choose the correct reading of a word which can mean more than one thing. For example, if one reads a sentence such as "at the car door, he realized that he had left the key inside, so he had locked himself out," then one understands that the word "key" means a metal key used to start the engine. If, though, the following sentence appears on an announcement board in some school: "The key to the home assigned problems will be displayed on Monday," then nobody in his/her right mind would think of the "key" in question as a metal car key.

So, how do the Hebrew readers distinguish between possible meanings of the three-letter sequences? They do it mainly by context and by grammatical relation of the sequence in question to other parts of the sentence. Obviously, if a sentence in question is something like: Looking for the address, I passed three houses, then the sequence Pey, Samekh, Khet will be unambiguously read as Pasakh (passed) rather than as Pesakh (Passover) or Piseakh (lame).

What if there is no sentence, no grammatical relation to anything, no context? In this case, the sequence that stands alone is ambiguous and its precise meaning is left to interpretation for which there are no obvious clues.

Children may have yet no clear comprehension of the context. People who do not speak Hebrew and are studying it, may not understand other words in a sentence, and may not be able to see the grammatical relationship of the word in question to other words in the sentence. To facilitate interpretation of the text, children and students of Hebrew are provided with a system enabling them unambiguously recognize each syllable where only consonants are shown. This system is called in Hebrew "nikud." This word denotes special marks, called "nekudot" which are attached to consonants and indicate a vowel following that consonant. If a consonant is shown with "nekudot," the concomitant vowel becomes certain, thus leaving no room for misreading the word.

There are 16 such "nekudot." Here is a partial list of the names of those "nekudot" : kametz, patakh, tzere, segol, hirek, holem, shurek, kubbutz, shva, khatef, etc. Some of the "nekudot" are placed under the consonant, others above it, and some inside or next to a letter. For example, if a "holem" is placed above letter Lamed, it creates syllable "LO". If, though, a "hirek" is placed under letter Lamed, it makes it syllable "LI." If there is a "holem" above letter Vav, it makes it vowel "O." A "shurek" placed next to Vav makes it vowel "U." If there is no mark either above, or below, or inside letter Vav, it becomes a consonant "V," etc.

As mentioned before, one more use of "nekudot," which actually were historically invented precisely for that use, is in the Bible. Originally, the Old Testament was written in Hebrew without "nekudot" as "nikud" was introduced only about fourteen to eleven hundred years ago. The "masoretic" scribes developed the "nikud" in order to codify and preserve the knowledge of the Bible text as they possessed it at that time. If a word is written using "nekudot," each word can be interpreted in only one way, regardless of the grammatical ties to other parts of the sentence. For example, if in the sequence Pey, Samekh, Khet there is a "segol" under letter Pey, and a "patakh" under letter Samekh, it can only mean Pesakh, but neither Pasakh, nor Piseakh. If though the same sequence has a "hirek" under letter Pey, a "tsere" under letter Samekh, and a "patakh" under Khet, it only can be read as Piseakh, but not as Pasakh or Pesakh, etc.

Now let us discuss whether or not the "nekudot' must be accounted for when interpreting ELS found in the Bible. One can imagine various attitudes to this question. I would like to emphasize that, while discussing possible attitudes to "nekudot," I am not subscribing to any of those choices. Indeed, since I believe that the facts considered in my other article, quite strongly suggest that the "code" in the Bible is imaginary, for myself the question as to whether to account for "nekudot' or to ignore them, is moot. However, those writers who insist that ELS are parts of a design by a superhuman mind or by extraterrestrials, must decide whether they account for the "nekudot," or they ignore them.

The scrolls of the Torah are written without using the "nekudot." The tradition holds that the Torah was given to Moses as a string of letters without spaces, commas, etc, and of course without "nekudot." Based on that tradition, an obvious conclusion is that the "nekudot's" presence is accidental and not stemming from God's design. The "code" proponents who adopt this attitude, while searching for ELS, would ignore "nekudot."

There can be a different attitude (again, I am not subscribing to any of the alternative hypothetical approaches). To discuss it, first consider one of the arguments which has been voiced against the notion of God-inspired "code." It goes as follows: During the long years of the Bible's existence, being copied and recopied endless number of times by numerous scribes, the text of the Bible must have necessarily been altered as compared with the original. The "code", on the other hand, depends on the exact order of all letters in the text. If that is the case, then, say the adherents of this critical view, the "code" allegedly inserted into the original text of the Bible must have been destroyed.  The "code" proponents sometimes counter this notion with the following argument: "God must have foreseen the subsequent alterations in the Bible's text and had adjusted the "code" in such a way that it can be revealed from the modern version of the Bible's text." Of course, I am not discussing the merits of the argument in point, as, in my view, there are no deliberately inserted "code" in the Bible. For the "code" proponents, though, the argument in question presents an alternative of choosing to account for "nekudot," when interpreting ELS in the Bible. Indeed, if the "code" has been adjusted by God, to appear in the modern version of the Bible text, then, since the modern Bible text (not the Torah scrolls!) is almost always printed with "nekudot" then the "nekudot" must be taken into account when interpreting ELS.

One more possible argument in favor of accounting for "nekudot" can be offered as follows (again, I am not subscribing to this argument, but only discussing a possible thinking of the "code" proponents). The medieval scribes who introduced the "nikud" simply had codified the traditional knowledge. Therefore, even though the "nikud" was not introduced by God, it reflects the traditional knowledge of the Bible's original texts, and therefore must not be ignored.

Hence, when analyzing the ELS arrays in the Bible, pinpointed by various writers, we have to determine what their attitude was in regard to the "nikud." Again, I am not judging whether it is correct to account or not to account for the "nikud." However, to analyze the reported ELS, we have to know what was the approach of a particular writer.

In many instances it is easy to find the answer to the above question. All ELS arrays as shown in publications by D. Witztum, M. Katz, E. Rips, M. Drosnin, J. Satinover, show tableaus in which the text of the Bible is stripped of "nekudot." Obviously, these writers are of the opinion that the "nekudot" are of no consequence when interpreting the ELS. On the other hand, tableaus shown in the book by G. Jeffrey, as well as copies of the Bible's text shown in a number of Web posting (see, for example http://www.yfiles.com/ ) by writers approaching the problem from a Christian perspective, usually are with the "nekudot" intact. None of these writers has indicated whether the "nekudot" have been preserved in the text deliberately, or remained in the text simply because these writers did not attach any significance to the "nekudot." Therefore we will have to discuss those publications, making two alternative assumptions: one that "nekudot" have been deliberately preserved by the writers in the text of the examples, and the other that the "nekudot" have been left intact by omission, but ignored when interpreting the ELS. For both assumptions, we will discuss whether the ELS in question indeed spell what they have been claimed to spell.

Let us start with the book by G. Jeffrey titled "The Signature of God." In that book, a number of examples are offered allegedly showing ELS which spell the word Yeshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus. All these examples are printed with "nekudot" intact. Mr. Jeffrey did not mention in his book whether or not he kept the "nekudot" deliberately and whether or not he attached to them a special significance. However, there is one place in his book, which may be indicative of his choice.

On page 204 of Mr. Jeffrey's book we find the following quotation from the New Testament: "For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law." As Mr. Jeffrey explains, the word "jot" means here letter Yud, the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, while word "tittle" means "smallest grammatical symbol." Mr. Jeffrey further explains that "Jesus Christ stated that even the smallest of the letters and grammatical marks in the original text of Bible were directly inspired by God." It is not clear what "grammatical marks" Mr. Jeffrey had in mind. If he meant "nekudot," then a question is why would Jesus mention "nekudot" which did not yet exist in Jesus' time?

In the first version of this article, I just accepted Mr. Jeffrey's quotation uncritically, adopting his notion about "grammatical signs." I could not verify the quotation as I do not speak Greek, the original language of the New Testament. When the first version of this paper was posted, I received a message from Dr. J. D. Price who is an expert in this matter. Dr. Price had explained the meaning of the word "tittle." Its Greek equivalent is a word meaning "horn." It denoted small protruding parts of individual letters (such as serifs in modern fonts) and which distinguish the Hebrew letters from each other . Since, though, Mr. Jeffrey referred to "tittles" as "small grammatical signs" we cannot exclude the possibility that he had in mind the "nekudot" and that is why the "nekudot" had been retained in his examples. Since we do not know if that assumption is true, we will discuss the spelling of ELS in the book in question assuming, first, that the nekudot have been retained deliberately, and then, that they remained in the tableaus but were actually ignored. We will see that in both cases the interpretation of spellings is uncertain.

While discussing the examples of Yeshua ELS as given in the book by G. Jeffrey, and assuming first, that the "nekudot" had been retained in those examples deliberately, note that word Yeshua, when spelled with "nekudot", as it is in all modern editions of the Hebrew translations of the New Testament, consists of the following four letters: Yud, Shin, Vav, Ayin, and requires the following nekudot: "patakh" under Yud, "shurek" next to Vav, and "patakh" under Ayin.

If Mr. Jeffrey were to confront us with the assertion that the "nekudot" in the examples printed in his book must be ignored, the natural question would be: "Do you not know that printing Hebrew letters with "nekudot" means forcing a certain meaning on every letter? " Anyway, as I've already said, we will discuss both interpretation, one "with nekudot" and the other "without nekudot."

All 6 examples of Yeshua ELS in the book by G. Jeffrey (attributed to Y.Rambsel) are printed at the very end of that book.

The first example offered by Rambsel/Jeffrey of the alleged Yeshua ELS is from Isaiah, 53:8-10. It is printed in the book in question in two versions. One version is printed above the tableau, as a heading, and another version is the actual ELS in the body of the tableau. The version in the heading has no "nekudot" under Yud and Ayin, but has a mark called "holem" above Vav. Hence this version actually spells Ishoa, rather than Yeshua. The version in the body of the tableau has no nekudot attached to Yud and Vav, but has a "hirek" under Shin and a "patakh" under Ayin, hence it spells Ishiva rather than Yeshua

Let us postpone discussion of the second tableau in Mr. Jeffrey's book until later, for reasons which will be clear when we return to that example.

In the third example, which is from Psalms 41:8.9, again the version used for a heading is different from the actual ELS in the body of the text. The heading version has no mark attached to Yud, a "segol" under Shin, and a "kametz" under Ayin, which spells Isheva rather than Yeshua. The version in the body of the text has a "patakh" under letter Yud, a "shva" under Shin, a "shurek" inside Vav, and a "kametz" under Ayin, which makes this ELS to spell Yash'ua (with a hiatus after Shin) rather than Yeshua.

In the fourth example, which is from Zechariah, 9:9, there are again two versions. The version used for the heading has a "kametz" under Yud, another "kametz" under Shin, a "shurek" next to Vav, and a "patakh" under Ayin which determines the spelling as Yashaua. The version in the body of the text has no mark attached to Yud, a "kametz" under Shin, a "holem" above Vav, and a "patakh" under Ayin. It is an impossible spelling, which denotes something like "Yashaoa."

In the fifth example, which is from Psalms 22:15-17, again the version used for the heading is spelled differently from that in the body of the text. The version in the heading has no mark attached toYud, a "shva" under Shin, a "shurek" next to Vav, and a "kametz" under Ayin. It means it spells Ishva. The version in the text has a "kametz" under Yud, a "dot" above the left edge of Shin, a "segol" under Vav and a "hirek" under Ayin. One more improbable combination which denotes a spelling, which is something like Yasvei.

Finally, in the sixth example, which is from Daniel 9:25,26, true to the form, again the version used for the heading is different from that in the text. In the heading version, there is a "shva" under Yud, a "segol" under Shin, another "shva" under Vav, and finally a "kametz" under Ayin, which makes it one more odd combination to be spelled something like Ishiva. The version within the text has no mark attached to Yud, a "hirek" under Shin, a "shva" under Vav, and a "hirek" under Ayin, which determines a spelling like Ishivi.

Hence, not a single example offered by Rambsel/Jeffrey of allegedly "encoded" name of Jesus, if the nekudot printed by Mr. Jeffrey, are obeyed, does actually spells "Yeshua."

Now let us return to the second example in G. Jeffrey's book. The heading for this example, which supposedly spells Yeshua, actually has a "hirek" under Yud, a "shva" under Shin, a "holem" above Vav, and no mark attached to Ayin. This combination must spell Ishoa or Ishoe. As to the body of the text, this block does not contain any ELS consisting of Yud, Shin, Vav, Ayin, apparently because of some editorial or typographic mix-up. It does though contain an ELS of four letters Mem, Shin, Yud, Khet. If these letters had a "kametz" under Mem, a "hirek" under Shin, no mark attached to Yud, and a "patakh" under Khet, it would spell Mashiakh, the Hebrew word for Messiah, which is, apparently the reason for including this block, with an erroneous heading. The actual "nekudot" attached to the letters of that ELS are though as follows: a "kametz" under Mem, a "shva" under Shin, no mark attached to Yud, and no mark attached to Khet, which spells Mash'ikh (with a hiatus after Shin) rather than Mashiakh.

Since the spellings of the headings in the examples in question differ from the spellings in the body of the text, a question arises which versions to believe. A short check shows that the versions in the headings are mostly misspelling the actual text of the Bible, while the spellings in the body of the tableaus, except for some minor misprints, mostly follow the actual text of the Bible. Hence, if we followed the "nekudot" printed in Mr. Jeffrey's book, the ELS presented in the Rambsel/Jeffrey's examples, would spell words Ishiva, Yashu'a, Yashaoa, Yasvei, and Ishivi, rather than Yeshua, and Mash'ikh rather than Mashiakh.

Now, if Mr. Jeffrey and Pastor Rambsel are actually of the opinion that the "nekudot" should not be taken into account, than, of course, a legitimate question is: why are their examples printed with the described "nekudot"? The presence of the "nekudot" that are attached to letters, according to the rules of the Hebrew Grammar, forces certain meaning to be attached to letters. If Pastor Rambsel and Mr. Jeffrey wanted to interpret their ELS ignoring the "nekudot," they had to remove them from the text, or, at least, to warn the readers that the "nekudot" had to be ignored. We will see however, that ignoring the "nekudot" by no means saves the ELS from ambiguous interpretation.

Let us now look at one more example of ELS (in which the "nekudot" has been retained as well). It has been provided in a Web page by Mr. Arimasa Kubo of Japan (at http://www.ask.or.jp/~remnant/biblecod.htm). (This site seems to have been closed down).

I would like to point out that Mr. Arimasa Kubo's page contains a variety of items, which have nothing to do with the alleged Bible "code." Many of those items are very interesting, and I have gained the impression that Mr. Arimasa Kubo is a very nice and decent person. I will discuss here only one item in Mr. Arimasa Kubo's page, namely the one dealing with an ELS array which is supposedly related to Jesus, and which was discovered in the book by Isaiah.

I have chosen the example in question for a rebuttal because it has been touted as the most amazing ELS array found up to date. Indeed, the array in question contains 15 letters, allegedly constituting 5 words following each other without interruption, with the same skip of 19. It has been found in Isaiah 53.6-12.

If the text of Isaiah is arranged as a block 19 letters wide, then the sequence in question, if read vertically from the bottom up, is as follows: Shin-Kof-Kof-Mem-Ayin-Lamed-Yud-Shin-Vav-Ayin-Shin-Mem-Yud-Ayin-Zayin.

To interpret that sequence, the proponents of the "code", in particular Mr. Arimasa Kubo, divide it into the following five sub-sequences, one after the other: 1)Shin-Kof -Kof; 2) Mem-Ayin-Lamed; 3)Yud-Shin-Vav-Ayin; 4)Shin-Mem-Yud; and 5)Ayin-Zayin.

Let first see how the "code" proponents read these five sequences. The first, three-letter sequence Shin-Kof-Kof is transliterated by them into English as "Shikake" and translated as "rushed down." The second, three-letter sequence Mem-Ayin-Lamed is transliterated as MeAl and translated as "from above." The third, four-letter sequence Yud-Shin-Vav-Ayin is transliterated as Yeshua and translated as Jesus. The fourth three-letter sequence Shin-Mem-Yud is transliterated as Shmi and translated as My name. Finally, the last, two letter sequence Ayin-Zain, has been transliterated as Az, and translated as "strong." The entire sequence is hence interpreted as "Rushed from above Jesus My Name Strong."

The proponents of the "code" believe that a phrase containing 15 letters in a row has such a small probability to happen in the Bible by chance, that its discovery alone proves the superhuman authorship of the "code."

Leaving without discussion the obvious grammatical awkwardness and semantic ambiguity of the above expression, which is very strange if a superhuman mind has created it, let us analyze its interpretation.

Since Mr.Arimasa Kubo has shown his tableau with "nekudot' in place, we again have a dilemma. We have to assume that either those "nekudot" has been retained by Mr. Arimasa Kubo deliberately or that they were not removed from the text by omission, but not given any role in the interpretation. Again, I do not assign to any of these two alternatives the title of being right or wrong. By considering both assumptions, we simply discuss what the interpretation of the ELS in question could be in either of those situations.

Let us consider those five words in the 15-letter sequence in Isaiah.

The first three letters Shin-Kof-Kof appear in the Bible text without "nekudot," hence we are free to read these three letters in any way compatible with the Hebrew language. Mr. Arimasa Kubo, for example, reads them as "rushed down." This translation is wrong. In the definitive "Great" dictionary of the Hebrew language by A. Even-Shoshan (AES) published by Kriyat-Sefer publishers of Jerusalem, the combination Shin-Kof-Kof has 6 entries, none of which is "rushed down."

The pronunciation suggested by Mr. Arimasa Kubo is "Shokake." No such pronunciation can be found in AES. The combination in question can be pronounced in several ways, for example : Shakak, Shkak, Shekek, but not Shokake. The alternative translations of that combination are as follows; 1) as a noun, it may mean "noise," "strong desire," "strong hunger," "digging soil to let water subside after rains," "howling," "yelping.," and "shuttle." 2)As a verb, it is singular, masculine Past tense form for "to howl," "to yelp," "to strongly desire," and finally, "to shuttle".

Comment: Guy Cramer (who used to be a "code" proponent, but recently has changed his mind and admitted that there are no "codes" deliberately placed in the Bible) has posted on the Web a file (see http://www.yfiles.com/codebreaker.html) in which he provided the same ELS from Isaiah as did Mr. Arimasa Kubo. (I have no knowledge whether this ELS was first found by Mr. Kubo or by Mr.Cramer, or they came across it independently from each other, or that, maybe, they were preceded in that find by somebody else). In that new posting Mr. Cramer refers to Dr. J. Price who, using a computer, found that the ELS in question can be considered to be even longer, and to consists not of 15 but of 16 letters. Dr Price found that letter ALEF can be added at the very beginning of the ELS in question, so that the four initial leters of that ELS are alef-shin-kof-kof. Mr. Cramer suggested interpretations both of the initially described three-letter sequence shin-kof-kof, and the subsequently expanded four-letter sequence alef-shin-kof-kof.  Mr. Cramer's interpretation of the three-letter sequence shin-kof-kof is identical with that suggested in Mr. Kubo's page, and, therefore, as shown above, is wrong. It does not mean "rushed down" as Mr. Cramer and Mr. Kubo suggested. As to the four-letter sequence alef-shin-kof-kof, Mr. Cramer's interpretation is again wrong. Mr. Cramer stated: (I am quoting) "The word <Alef-Shin-Kof-Kof> 'I desire/lust.' It is the 1st person common singular Polel imperfect of the Biblical Hebrew word <Shin-Vav-Kof.> " Unfortunately, Mr. Cramer's explanation contains a number of misinterpretations.  a) The three letter sequence Snin-Vav-Kof is a part of the modern Hebrew as well as of the Biblical one, hence its identification as a Biblical word is not quite correct. b) There is no such Grammatical form in Hebrew named Polel. The sequence Alef-Shin-Kof-Kof is actually a future singular 1st person "Paal" form. c) This four-letter sequence may have various meanings. It may be a future Paal form of the verb whose root is Shin-Vav-Kof. However, in that case it would mean "I will irrigate" rather than "I desire." It also may be a future Paal form of another verb, whose root is Shin-Kof-Kof. In that case it could mean any one of several possible versions, among which are: "I will desire," I will run back and forth," "I will bustle," etc.

Mr.Cramer also indicated the value of what he calls "significance index" for the above 16-letter long ELS, which is the same as the probability of the ELS in question to be encountered in a text, and which he found to be 1 in 439 trillion. As it was shown in the appendix to my article at Some Bible Code related experiments and discussions, Mr. Cramer's calculation contradicted the rules of probability theory. An estimate of the error in Mr. Cramer's calculation of the "significance index" for the above discussed ELS from Isaiah, shows that the probability of that ELS to appear in the Bible text is by four orders of magnitude larger than the "index" calculated by Mr. Cramer. Of course, it is still quite a small value. As I have discussed before, the values of probabilities as those quoted above, have no real cognitive meaning.   The appearance of the above ELS in Isaiah, despite the very small value of the probability of such an event, illustrates my point.

Now let us look at the next word, the three-letter sequence Mem-Ayin-Lamed. Mr. Arimasa Kubo translated it as "from above." Again, it is wrong. First, in the Isaiah text, letter Mem appears without "nekudot," while letter Ayin appears with a mark named "shva." It means that the letter to which it is attached should not be voiced. Letter Lamed appears with a mark called "kametz." Normally it means that a vowel for "a" is to be inserted. There is no word in Hebrew consisting of letters Mem-Ayin-Lamed with the listed "nekudot" attached to them. Hence, to interpret that three-letter combination, the "code" proponents had only one choice, namely to ignore the "nekudot."

Even without the "nekudot," the three-letter sequence Mem-Ayin-Lamed still cannot be read as "from above." Its alternative meanings are :1) if there is a mark called "patakh" under Mem and a "kametz" under Ayin, the word is a noun meaning "traitor." 2) If both Mem and Lamed have a "kametz" under them, the word is a noun meaning either "treason" or "elevation." 3) If there is a mark called "shva" under Mem, and "patakh" under Lamed, the word means "above." (But not "from above"!). If we ignore "nekudot" then any one of the above alternative meanings is equally plausible, and the choice among them is purely matter of a personal preference, and cannot be substantiated by any objective criterion.

Hence, if we assume that Mr. Kubo failed to delete the "nekudot" by inadvertent omission, we will face the choice among all those alternative readings, without a clue which one is the "correct" one.

The next is a four-letter sequence Yud-Shin-Vav-Ayin, which is interpreted as Yeshua, the Hebrew name for Jesus.

Now, recall that, if one uses "nekudot" the proper spelling for Yeshua requires the following "nekudot": "patakh" under Yud, "shurek" inside Vav, and "patakh" under Ayin.

The actual "nekudot" that appear in the 15-letter ELS in question are though different, namely "hirek" under Shin, and "patakh" under Ayin. Then, if we believed the "nekudot" printed by Mr. Arimasa Kubo, the word would be transliterated as "Yishvah" (a meaningless sequence of letters) rather than Yeshua. If we ignore the nekudot, fine! Then we have no clue as to how to interpret these four letters which do not appear as a part of a grammatically ordered sentence. Maybe this sequence means Yeshua. Maybe, though, it is just four letters, not connected to each other and not forming any word. The choice between these two alternatives is again the matter of personal preference, but this choice cannot be substantiated according to any objective criterion.

The fourth sequence in the 15 letter long ELS is a three-letter one, Shin-Mem-Yud, which is the only one sequence out of five with an unambiguous meaning "My Name."

The last sequence in the 15-letter ELS contains only two letters, Ayin-Zayin. There is a mark called "holem" above Ayin which denotes vowel "o" thus making this sequence the word "Oz." It is a noun, either meaning "strength", or "partition", or "cover," or sometimes "fortress," but not the adjective "strong" as translated by Mr. Arimasa Kubo. If, though, we ignore "nekudot," then this two-letter sequence can be transliterated also as Az (meaning "strong") or as Ez (meaning "female goat").

Now we face a choice either to account for the "nekudot" or to ignore them. From my point of view, it makes no difference, as I do not believe in the "code". The "code" proponents, though, if they print the "nekudot," must choose, to either account for them or to ignore them.

If we account for the "nekudot", then, except for ELS spelling Shmi (My name) the rest of the sequence in question is just a bunch of meaningless combinations of letters. In order to interpret the sequence in question as being a meaningful combination of several words, the only way is to ignore the "nekudot" and to arbitrarily assign to the ELS desired vowels. If we opt for a text from which all "nekudot" have been removed, then we face a choice among various possible meanings of the above listed letter sequences, without any clues as to which version has any logical or grammatical foundation. Among many possible translations could, for example, be the following versions:

1.Noise-above-Jesus-My name-strong. 2. Howling-traitor-Jesus-My name-strength! 3. Shuttle-treason-Jesus-my name-she-goat, and so on, etc, etc, etc.

How can such a semantic and grammatical mess be seriously discussed as a proof of any beliefs, or hypotheses?

As mentioned before, the writers who approach the problem from the standpoint of Judaism, consider only ELS extracted from a text from which all "nekudot" have been removed. This approach is consistent with the notion that the "nikud" is a later addition to the original Bible's text. Fine.

Since the tradition maintains that the Torah was given to Moses without "nekudot," this approach is consistent also from that viewpoint. Still, if no "nekudot" are used, which is OK by itself, then every ELS can have a number of alternative readings, and there is no clue as to which version is the "right" one.

The argument by the "code" proponents that the meaning of an ELS can be deduced from its location in a "relevant" non-coded text, could be valid if such ELS happened only at those allegedly "relevant" locations. Actually, practically every ELS which was found anywhere in the Bible, including at those supposedly "relevant" sites, occurs as often at many not so "relevant" sites and in various non-Biblical texts as well.

If a certain word is written, or printed, without "nekudot," within a grammatically ordered text, that word's meaning becomes clear from context. In the Torah scrolls every word is known according to the tradition, and is a part of the overall text, which is logically, poetically, and conceptually arranged. ELS, on the other hand, are separate words, not parts of grammatically ordered sequences, and therefore there is room for arbitrary interpretation of each such ELS. Hence, when D. Satinover, or D. Witztum, or M. Katz, etc, offer some "discoveries" of ELS arrays in the Bible, their interpretation of the spelling of those ELS is based on personal preferences rather than on a factual evidence.


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Location of this article: http://www.talkreason.org/articles/yeshcod.cfm