Have Our Modern Prophets Gone Bunkers!
Or new heresy in the Church?


Dennis Hartman

As we move along in our lives and as things seem to progressively worsen, we must stop and give pause. Circumstantial evidence seems to connote that civilized society is just about lost. We see such things as gay marriage, abortion, terrorism, no opposition to corruption from our political leaders, a hatred for any kind of Christianity, and a lukewarm gospel from our nations pulpits which in turn gives us a feeling of gloom and doom. However, who would have expected the foolishness that is going on in the ranks of Christianity today.

            By way of some background information there are three major prophetical systems that are historically accepted to be taught in the Bible. By name these systems are Pre-millennialism, Post-millennialism, and Amillennailism. Before the 20 th century the Post-millennial perspective seemed to be more popular then the other two. However that changed during and after the Niagra Conferences at the turn of the 20th century. Pre-millennialism became the popular or main view of conservative Christianity for the first time in Christian history. During this time reference Bibles began to become popular and C. I. Scofield’s lead the way. Scofield’s reference Biblical advanced both Calvinism and Pre-millennialism via his foot notes. No doubt World War I, II and the cold war also helped fuel the hope of the Pre-millennal correctness. After a period of unprecedented growth, this system became a test of fellowship among the more conservative Churches. No doubt this was done in response to the liberal and German higher criticism which was seen as destroying the church.

            In the last thirty years, there has been a major proliferation of end time prophetic conjecture and commercialization within the ranks of the Pre-millennialists. This needless speculation involves failed predictions of Christ’s return or the beginning of the great tribulation via books like “88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Come in 1988,” the total collapse of the Soviet Union, Harold Camping’s book “1994", and let’s not forget the failed predictions of gloom and dome of Y2K. These people also received huge amounts of money via books sales. Movies like “Left Behind”, which more or less tries to illustrate what will happen after the rapture and implies what will take place preceding His return, also made millions. There can be no denial that, like contemporary Christian music, prophecy has become a major money making industry by itself.

            Men like Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, Jack Van Impe, Paul Crouch, and many others sensationalize prophecy beyond imagination. Every news headline, earthquake, war, or crises is twisted into scripture as proof of our Lords soon return, and that almost to the exact date of his return. Sadly, sooner or later, this sort of nonsense will harden the hearts of many in the church against any reasonable understanding of Biblical prophecy. Surely, this will result in the trivializing and lampooning any reasonable understanding of prophecy. To these modern prophets, the Church has become nothing more then a sad excuse to represent the love of God and grace to all man kind as essentially failed.

             Because of their desire to know the future things have become more complicated. They no longer care for the more simple historical Biblical understanding of scripture. No doubt because of their sensationalism, desperation, and failed past predictions, they have now turned to EXTRA Biblical interpretations to save face. What is this EXTRA Biblical interpretation hazard? One word will say it all. Codes!

            Codes have been used over thousands of years for various reasons. However, there is a major escalation in trying to use this sort of thing to interpret Bible prophecy. Accordingly there are codes that are obscured in the text of scripture. There have been many popular books written to teach these encrypts and computer programs to help divulge them. Hence, Biblical cryptology has become very popular. Men who should know better, like Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, and Paul Crouch give credence to them. They and those who promote this method rationalize their tolerance or acceptance of this soft heresy by quoting passages such as Proverbs 25:2 which says "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter."

            One of the more popular codes is the ELS code. It is to be found in the “hidden text” in the Hebrew Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses. This code was popularized by Michael Drosnin in his book The Bible Codes. The ELS code, Equidistant Letter Sequence, uses the concept of eliminating spaces between words. Some of the code researchers skip 50 and others skip 100 spaces between words. They do so until something shows up. In reality, it is up to the programer to figure out what he is looking for.

            There are some genuine reasons to reject this code. First, the Hebrew is written from the right to the left. Most, including Drosnin, analysis from left to right. Second, no original Hebrew Bible exists as Drosnin claims. Add to this the fact that there are no vowels in the Hebrew. John Clayton says that “Drosnin and others usually use a text in which vowels have been supplied. This is a conscious choice which ... means that the person doing the search is controlling what will be used and what will not.” Third there is a question of which translation one will use to find a code. An example is given to us by Ronald Hendel writing in the Bible Review, August, 1997. He says that in Genesis 25:11 “where your Bible will say ‘After Abraham’s death’ Drosnin used ‘After the death of the Prime Minister.’ The Hebrew was divided to Ab and raham making two words, and the ELS connection was Rabin.’” Other researchers who have investigated such codes find themselves mocking these encrypts by making the Bible say almost anything.

            Another of these codes is the Atbash. This code is supposedly found in Jeremiah 25:26 and 51:41. It is used to figure out why Babylon was omitted within these specific texts, thereby giving a stunning prophetic spin while snubbing a potential or unassuming resolution. While this code does have some relevance, it should not be used as a bases for trying to prove a system of prophecy or some fine point in that system. The way the code works is like this. The alphabet is lined up from A to Z. Under that it is then reverse from Z to A. The Hebrew alphabet consists of 22 letters. Again the code then substitutes the first for the last, the second letter is substituted for next to the last letter, and so on. Below is a chart that may help you to understand this method.

One web site gives this example. “Suppose I wanted to code the word DOG. Remember that there are no vowels in the Hebrew language, so the word to be coded is DG, which would now become QR.” Perhaps, the reason for the real reason for Babylon’s omission was that the Lord wanted his people to live at peace with its Babylonian captors. Whatever the case, this code is no more appropriate for prophetical study then the ELS.

            Then there is also the Albam code which is used in Isaiah 7. This encrypt is less popular then the first two. While it has fewer disciples, it nevertheless makes itself known too. There others that play a part in the misunderstanding of prophecy that could be mentioned, but we would only find the same results - making scriptures say things that the scriptures don’t say.

            Many questions should be asked and answered before the Church builds more of a dependency on cryptology. For example which code should be the “authorized” code since there are so many? What happens if some code contradicts well known doctrine like the fact that Mary was simply a woman? Trust me, there are codes that suggest she is more then a mere woman. Do we trust codes that give us a different meaning of doctrines? What if, or example, a code totally disproves the popular doctrine of eternal security? Many of these code breakers say that the traditional commentators of the Bible, like Adam Clarke and John Wesley, do not speak of these codes. They seem to imply that they are hiding something. However, could it be that these great men of God had more faith in the known text then these modern code breakers? Or maybe they believed that preaching Christ as Savior of the World was more important? Let’s face it, the Bible says that “Judas hung himself,” and it also says “go do thou likewise.” It’s there, but do you see a problem? Also do these codes change as you study them in different languages? While these men seem to stand for the faith, are they not getting all to close to the occult which also uses codes in their warped view of scriptures?

            Finally, there is the practical solution to this. While we understand the larger context in which the following passages reside, they still have a practical application for us in the 21st century. Matthew says in 24:36 and 44 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Also, Luke give us this parallel view in Acts 1:7 “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” It is an axiom that when God says something more then twice we really need to listen. These three passage say generally the same thing. That is, ONLY GOD KNOWS THE END! NOT MAN! While we may be aware of the pending events, we can not be sure of the end. We must remember the eb and flow of history should not be used to base any interpretation of scripture. To spend so much time, vim, and money while world missions and evangelical outreach seems to be dying, is just plain sinful. As the they, fail time and again in their predictions, they make millions doing so. Hence they give us a modern meaning of money changers in the temple. Clearly, we are spending to much time and energy on end times studies, and not enough time in the edification of the bride of Christ, the Church.

            Let’s face it, you have a Bible and you can read it yourself, without a code, commentary, or comment. That is the point, the Bible was meant for all to read in a language that all can understand the love, mercy, and judgments of God. This is why codes should be rejected as mere conjecture and novelty. These people flunk when they try to know something that God said plainly they can not know. While many of these modern day prophets condemn the Jehovah Witness they are guilty of the same. Yet no one condemns them. Remember that, NO MAN WILL KNOW the time or hour when he will return. Mark Twain said it best and the church needs to listen to such a poor lost soul. “It is not what I don’t know about the Bible that bothers me, it is what I know.” So it is that we need to say as some said before us, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” In doing so, others who are lost will see Jesus in us. He is what we need more of, and not things via some stupid mysterious code. Just the Book and His clearly understood truth which is His Book alone.

Pastor Hartman has been in the ministry for twenty six years. He graduated from the Institute of Christian Service of Bob Jones University. He also holds B.S. and M.S degrees from Columbus State University. He has traveled once to Russia, three times to the Ukraine, twice to England in a humble effort to help the missionaries spread the Gospel of Christ. If you would like to contact Pastor Hartman, please feel free to do so.