More Old Friends: The Bible Code Guys

Time for our second visit with old friends. This time, we're going to check up on "The Lords Witnesses", the bible code geniuses who made somewhere around a dozen attempts at using their code to nail down a date at which the UN building in NYC would be blown up.

These nutters are a spinoff of the Jehovah's witnesses. They believe that there is a secret code
embedded in the bible. They agree that all of the other people who claim to have found secret codes in
the bible are all just a bunch of crackpots - but they have the truth.

Their code is a classic example of a human-created pattern. It's fascinating in its way - it's a great example of a very human thing. We're natural pattern-seekers. We're good at recognizing patterns - it's one of the innate skills of our brains. But like so many other things, it can go a bit overboard. Our natural ability to recognize faces causes us to see faces in the shape of a burnt tortilla, or a rust stain on a highway overpass, or a mountain on Mars, even though there are no faces there. The same thing happens with patterns: if we look hard enough, we can find pattern even where patterns don't really exist.

One of the hallmarks of a false pattern is complexity. Real patterns tend to have a basic
simplicity about them - that simplicity and repetition is really what makes them a pattern.
Imposed patterns - where we "find" a pattern that isn't really there tend to be insanely complicated, with
exceptions, variations, and numerous rules. A great example of this is language: when people try to define formal grammars for human languages, they tend to be utter monstrosities: human language doesn't follow
strict grammatical rules. So formal natural language grammars tend to have lots of rules. For example, one of my college textbooks develops an approximation of an English grammar - which is nowhere near complete - has 400 rules.

So, now look at the Witnesses rules for their code. It's incredibly elaborate, with every rule
having numerous exceptions. It's a perfect example for when you get if your sure that there's some basic pattern, and you create a rule to describe it. Then you find the exceptions to it, and form a generalization of them, which becomes your next rule. Then you find the exceptions to your two-rule
system, and generalize that and so on, until you have an elaborate system of rules that seems to cover all of the cases.

To give you an idea of what I mean, here's one of their rules. According to them, it's the fifth rule, which they call "The Symbolic Structure Principle". In fact, it's arguably really the first of their rules, because the ones before it are just things like "The Bible is always right". So this is, according to them, one of the general rules of the true bible code which can be used to predict events on specific dates, taken from here.

Every literal account in the bible has the normal literal meaning.

Every non literal account, such as a dream, a parable or a vision, has a straightforward symbolic meaning, which is the symbolic meaning of the events described in the account. We call this the Event Symbolic meaning, or the Event Symbolism.

Every interpretational sub account in the bible has its normal literal meaning which describes the event symbolic meaning of one or more symbolic sub accounts. If the interpretation has symbolic sections then these have event symbolic meanings.

Every account in the bible, which:

[1] contains a 'countable noun', which is a noun acting as a noun (or a participle which declines as a noun which is used as a noun, such as a 'baker' - the one causing [things] to be baked - a Hiphil participle in Hebrew) which is repeated an even number of times (wherein all repeated words take the same meaning in the literal account or in the event symbolism), and which does not contain a double designation - see [Code6b] or which

[2] has a parallel account elsewhere in the bible,

has a further set of one, two, three or four (so far as we have found) word symbolic meanings.

The number of Word Symbolic meanings in a sub account is determined by the Successive Designations Principle below - see [Code6b]. These greater meanings are in addition to the literal meaning, in the case of a literal account, and are in addition to the straightforward symbolic meaning, the event symbolic meaning, in the case of a symbolic account such as a dream, a vision or a parable. They are in addition to the literal/event symbolic meaning of an interpretational sub account.

If a bible account contains an interpretational subaccount (typically an interpretation from Jesus, Daniel or Joseph), then the literal meaning of the interpretation is the event symbolic meaning of the symbolic subaccount which it is interpreting. Obviously since the narrative is also literal, its literal meaning sets the scene for the event symbolic meaning of all of its symbolic subaccounts.

The first word symbolic meaning of any interpretational subaccount is the first word symbolic meaning of the symbolic subaccount which it interprets. Furthermore the existence of a first word symbolic thread in an interpretational subaccount unites the first word symbolic meaning of the narrative to the first word symbolic meaning of the symbolic subaccount which the interpretation is explaining.

Likewise the second, third, fourth word symbolic meanings of any interpretational subaccount (if they exist) are the second third fourth word symbolic meanings of the symbolic subaccount which it interprets. Furthermore the existence of a second, third, fourth word symbolic thread in an interpretational subaccount unites the second, third, fourth word symbolic meaning of the narrative to the second, third, fourth word symbolic meaning of the symbolic subaccount which the interpretation is explaining.

Likewise the non existence of a first second third fourth word symbolic thread in an interpretational subaccount decouples the first second third fourth word symbolic meaning of the symbolic account which it interprets from the first second third fourth word symbolic meanings of the narrative respectively.

and so on...

See what I mean?

So, what are they up to?

Well, they tried setting more dates for the bombing of the UN. They've also started playing some number games with their predictions. You see, they don't really want to admit to how many times they
got it wrong, so they've started combining failed attempts. They claim to have been wrong somewhere around 33 times. If you actually look at the list of their prophecies, it's closer to one hundred.

They list over 100 different attempts at setting dates for various events according to their
bible-code system of prophecy which failed miserably. So why should we take them seriously? Here's what they say on their homepage.

We do this because we are the only church with any kind of shot at it. We are the only church in the ball park in this discipline. We have made 33 totally or partially incorrect attempts at getting the date of the appearance of the 10 kings of Revelation 17 and we have made 31 totally incorrect attempts at the date of the first birth pang of the kingdom of God. But please do not be so naive as to condemn us for failing to do what no other church has even attempted. Do not judge us because we have so far failed to score in circumstances where no other church has had the guts even to walk on to the pitch!

Why should we allow our failure in chronology to hide the beauty of our basic church doctrine? This church does have the answers to nearly all the spiritual questions you may have (our experience has shown).

Yeah, see, we should respect them, and take them seriously, because they've been wrong so many times, and yet they still keep making predictions! That means that they must be on to something, right?

Anyway... They're still at it. They still believe that their pile of general rules, and it's ability to predict the future. They no longer pretend that they can set the date when the UN will be bombed - but they're still sure that their interpretations of the hidden code are correct, and that it will be bombed soon. But they also haven't given up on picking specific dates - they've just changed the event that they're predicting. Instead of predicting when the UN will be bombed, they're now
being even more ambitious, and predicting a specific date for the end of the world. According to them,
the world will now end on March 21, 2008, and Jesus will take over the rule of the earth from heaven
on the 23rd. And they don't have just one proof of this: they have 20 of them! But they're already
hedging it - they're not proofs of the date, they're flexi-proofs.


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I wish I could have used flexi-proofs in my Intro to Analysis course...

On March 21 the Sun goes dark but only "this world" ends; the UN then has to lose a scrap with Jesus before "an extinction level Volcanic event kills all [unraptured] mankind" in 2009. The world "ends" but still volcanos erupt... Maybe this world's already "ended" and we just haven't noticed; or rather, maybe that world ended (as prophecized) and this one will end on March 21, and then some more will come and go, for quite a while...

You don't deserve respect for attempting something with no evidence of success even being possible.

There are scores of versions of the bible. Is his version the only true version and the others lies, lies, lies?

By Watt de Fawke (not verified) on 21 Oct 2007 #permalink

They appear to be a breakaway group from Jehovah's Witnesses. Considering that JW's are already considered a cult by most Christians, they have to be really far out.

On the other hand, they seem to believe in evolution ( ...sort of.

That being said, most of their flexi-proofs make even less sense to me than most of what we did in my analysis class.

the UN then has to lose a scrap with Jesus before "an extinction level Volcanic event kills all [unraptured] mankind" in 2009
Wait, Jesus and the U.N. are going to get in a battle royale? Sweet! I would so watch that.

But, seriously, these guys are buffoons. Everyone knows that this world will end on December 20, 2012.

At least they are willing to admit that they've made mistakes in the past. That's more than the Jehovah Witnesses for example who had predicted the end of the world on multiple occasions in the last hundred years and now don't mention them at all.

By Joshua Zelinsky (not verified) on 22 Oct 2007 #permalink


Think British date ordering: December 20, 2012 = 20/12/2012.

Mark; thanks for the elucidation, I do think in British date ordering. Just didn't turn it into numbers :o)

The term 9/11 also took me a while to work out when I first heard it used.

By Chris' Wills (not verified) on 22 Oct 2007 #permalink

For decades I have been dissatisfied by my birthdate. (5 days before Christmas) I always got the "I got this for you for Christmas but you can open it now." thing. Now I find out the world is going to end on my birthday in 2012. What a bummer.
I guess it will be easy to remember the date....

They sound like something out of a Douglas Adams novel.

Are these the guys who wrote the book The Bible Code?
It scared the hell out of me 10 years ago because my brother was moving to midtown manhattan. Luckily I was a young teenager then and now I know better.


The following website summarizes over 315 U.S. court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah's Witness Parents, including 100+ cases where the JW Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their dying children:


The following website summarizes over 285 lawsuits filed by Jehovah's Witnesses against their Employers, and/or incidents involving problem JW Employees:


James, what do legal problems have to do with the bible code?

By Torbjörn Lars… (not verified) on 24 Oct 2007 #permalink

So it's been almost two months since that end of the world thingy...and I have to say, Jesus Christ is pretty sweeet! I mean, before March 21, I didn't even believe in him. But that smackdown between him and the UN kinda proved it to me. If you can beat the UN, then, well, you must be God!! :)

Anyways, I just thought I'd let you know that those Bible Code people were right after all!