With a knowing wink to readers, the press release accompanying the book gives us a playful upper- and lowercase clue: "Rips ExplAineD thaT eacH codE is a Case Of adDing Every fourth or 12th or 50th letter to form a word." The hidden message here is: "READ THE CODE." But this is not what Drosnin and Rips have done. Since Hebrew is written without vowels, these are added after the skip search program is run on the 304,805 letters. If it were English, for example, "RBN" could refer to "Rabin," or "Ruben," or "Robin," or "Rubin" or "Rabon" depending upon what vowels one selected. And even though Hebrew is read from right to left, the Bible decoders have not restricted themselves to such a limited search. They look for patterns moving from left to right, up to down and diagonally in any direction. Herein lies another serious problem. The diagonally found words depend on the margins of the page of type. Change the margins and the letters flow into different positions on the page. The previous diagonal word disappears.
Using the method of the Bible decoders, I searched for meanings among the consonants of the English alphabet. I employed a skip code of three, and I came up with the following result: bcd -F-ghj -K -lmn -P -qrs -T -vwx -Z. The selected letters are FKPTZ, and I've decided on adding the vowels A,E,U and O. The resulting message? "FAKE PUT OZ."
Perhaps we should do a search of Frank Baum's Oz books for their hidden messages. Using the same procedure, an Australian math professor found "Hear the law of the sea" in the United Nations' Convention on the Law of the Sea. He also found 59 words related to Hanukkah in the Hebrew translation of War and Peace, including "miracle of lights" and "Maccabees." The odds against randomly finding all 59, he calculated, are more than a quadrillion to 1. Are we then to believe that Tolstoy's hand was directed by God?
In "The Signature of God," published in 1995, Grant Jeffrey and Yacov Rambsel reported that they found the phrase "Yeshua [a Hebraic form of the name Jesus] is my Name" with a skip search of 20 letters in Isaiah 53, in which Christian scholars for centuries have interpreted signs of Jesus' birth. But other computations show that the phrase "Muhammad is my name" also occurs 21 times, and "Koresh is my name" appears no less than 43 times! Should we have listened to David Koresh's ramblings more closely?
There are additional problems with "The Bible Code." Some scholars believe that the Torah was written by more than one individual, thus accounting for its different narrative styles, for the two creation stories in Genesis and for other inconsistencies, such as the fact that Moses, the alleged author of the Torah, describes his own death. The theory that an ancient editor coalesced multiple writings into one set of books contradicts the belief that the Torah was written by Moses and inspired by God. Without this foundation, the Bible as an encrypted code of prophecies falls apart. In addition, what meanings do we lose in the Torah's translation from Hebrew into English? The phrase "assassin that will assassinate" near Rabin's name, as one scholar commented, could be translated as "murderer who murders": an accusation against Rabin for his political actions against his enemies.
Nevertheless, it is of great sociological interest that this book would strike such a chord now (with full-page reviews in Time and Newsweek magazines, author appearances with Oprah Winfrey and Charlie Rose and a recent Daily Variety report that Warner Bros. has acquired the film rights), as we rapidly approach the millennium. Doom-and-gloom books about assassinations, earthquakes and war do well in times like these. Indeed, on the back cover of "The Bible Code," there's Drosnin's incredible claim that he tried to warn Rabin a year before his assassination. Let's consider the implications: Say Rabin took the warning seriously, changed his schedule and was not assassinated. Would this mean that humans are more powerful than God or that some statistician can rerun the universe to produce a different outcome? Does this mean that biblical prophecies are self-fulfilling prophecies or that they are not prophecies at all, but warnings?