Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Little Snippet, part 2

I’m pretty skeptical when I read that there are codes and secret messages in the Bible. Since I love all types of puzzles I’m willing to check out these claims for myself.

Have you ever played the game where you have to name something you’re taking on a trip? You start with the letter A and the next person says your answer and adds a new item that starts with B and so on through the alphabet. If you had to remember a large number of random things it would be a lot harder than it is when they’re in alphabetical order. The Bible does the same thing a number of places. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet and in several chapters of Psalms, Proverbs and Lamentations the verses or lines start with each succeeding Hebrew letter. These are called acrostic verses or alphabetic verses. Unfortunately the beauty and meaning of these chapters are lost in translation.

The most well-known example of alphabetic verses is chapter 119 of the book of Psalms. For eight verses in a row the Psalmist started each verse with the first Hebrew letter (aleph), then there are eight verses all starting with the second letter (bet), then the third and so on through all twenty-two letters.

The really cool thing is that Hebrew letters have symbolic meanings all by themselves. Once I learned the alphabet I was eager to go on a treasure hunt of sorts to find these meanings in the psalms.

For example, I learned that the 16th letter “ayin” represents “eye” so I started checking alphabetic verses. (By the way, many Bibles put the Hebrew letter before each section of alphabetic verses.) I knew that the alphabetic verses are found in Psalms 119, and also in Psalm 25, 34, 37, 111,112,119,145 (and also in Proverbs and Lamentations). Here’s some of what I found:

Psalms:119:123: Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.
Psalms:25:15: Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.
Psalms:34:15: The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
Psalms:145:15: The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.

But if that isn’t amazing enough for you let’s see if there is more “treasure” hidden at a deeper layer. “Ayin” is the 16th Hebrew letter, so what if I look for eyes in the 16th book? – Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 6:16: And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.

Okay, that was pretty nifty. But there are 66 books in the Bible – if you link them up at intervals of 22, like the letters, then there should be “ayin” symbolism in Zechariah. What I actually did was a command search for the word “eye” and found 15 (!) occurrences in Zechariah. (There were fewer than 12 in all the other books of the minor prophets combined). All of Zechariah’s prophecies start with “I lift up mine eyes”. (Not all translations preserve the actual words and might say “I look up” and miss out on the cool “secret stuff”.)

I moved 22 books on and came to 1st Peter, a short letter of fewer than 2500 words.

1st Peter 3:12: For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous

Need I say more?
(quotations from the KJV, public domain)