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Numbers, Letters, and the Mark of the Beast.

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Question #1: 

This question will perhaps sound silly but, "How do we go about calculating Hebrew gematria in the absence of the Masoretic vowel point additions which were never part of the original Hebrew language?"

Response #1: 

Well, the gematria (that is, numerical name equivalents) are based on the consonants, not the vowels. The only exception to this is that the Biblical Hebrew occasionally has what are known as matres lectionis or helper consonants that double as (or really are) vowels though written as consonants (waw being the most common, next in line being yodh). Apart from these, we ignore the vowel points in deriving a number from a name and count up just the consonants. The vowel points have no numeric value in any case. This is different from the Greek system wherein all letters have a numerical value. Here's an example on from Coming Tribulation part 4 (see the link: "the Number of the Beast") for how one would reckon the Greek transliteration of "Messiah":

Μεσσίας: Μ = 40 + ε = 5 + σ = 200 + σ = 200 + ί = 10 + α = 1 + ς = 200 > = 656

For more on numerological issues generally, see the links:

The Number 20

The Number 40

The Number 12 (question #4)

153 Fish: Explaining some Difficult New Testament Passages

Cults and Christianity (Bible Codes)

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

What do you think about superstitions such as the number 13? Some people think the 13th day of a month is evil. A brother in Christ had wrote this.

"I don't think the 13th day of a month is evil (except for in reference to a passage in Esther, where the 13th day evil was decided upon, and another 13th day was chosen as the execution of that evil deed**) - but the Bible does use the number 13 in various places to represent rebellion. Nimrod, who built the tower of Babel is the 13th generation from creation.

Genesis 13:13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

Now, I don't make a big thing out of verse numbers, but I do find it interesting. Revelation 13 is where we see the world rebelling against God and receiving the mark of the beast. 2 Samuel 13 is where David's family fell apart and Absalom rebelled.

Mark 7:21-23 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

13 things, indicating the rebellion of the human heart - Matthew 15 shows 7 things, indicating the complete wickedness of our hearts apart from Christ.

1 Timothy 1:9-10 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

13 categories (assuming "murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers" is the same thing).

Some more:

Genesis 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.

**Esther 3:12-13 Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring. And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.

Kings of Judah: 7 good, 13 wicked.

Judges contains 12 judges - in a book dealing with the rebellion of the nation of Israel, ending on the note of apostasy. Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Barak, Gideon, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, Eli being the 13th, and Samuel the 14th (showing the complete reign of the Judges - just like Matthew shows 14 kings, 14 people in each section).

1 Kings 7:1 But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.

Solomon took seven years to build the temple - and 13 to build his own house! To me, that indicates self-seeking, a heart that is now beginning to wander from the Lord.

These are all that come to mind right now - I would not interpret any passages a certain way based on a number used in them, but it is significant to note what numbers are associated with which events/passages in the Bible."

Do you agree?

Response #2: 

The verse numbers mean absolutely nothing. The New Testament ones were invented in the 16th century and the Hebrew ones are of not much greater antiquity. Also, some of the list included are different depending upon the text one prefers (most good concordances will include a list of the many places where the English and Hebrew verse and chapter divisions differ; this happens is several hundred places). There is no indication I can see in scripture that 13 was seen to be a significant number in the Bible in any way. In Norse mythology it is a "lucky" number. "Triskaidekaphobia" (the fear of the number 13) is a relatively modern superstition with no applicability to the Bible. Numerology in general is almost always way over-rated when it comes to scriptural applications. In my experience, morbid concentration on this issue always does exponentially more harm than good. There are a very few significant numbers, and some cases where they do make a difference, but the sort of exercise you report here is pointless in the extreme and somewhat dangerous as well (to the extent that anyone start to put any stock in this method). Jewish "Cabalah" is very similar in its methodology to this approach you report.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Ok, I am concerned with what he had wrote after I had forwarded your letter. I thought it is dangerous if we develop an practice as you stated, but he wrote:

"There are many sound believers of the faith that believe that numbers in the Bible are significant. And, no, it is not caballah - that is when you make the meaning of a passage change based on the numbers in it or the numbers of letters in a word. What I have done is show how the number is used in various places. Noticing what numbers God has put in the Bible and how those numbers are used is not being fixated on it. And again, what I have presented has nothing similar whatsoever to caballah. I am not making a passage mean something based on a number - though I am seeing how numbers are used in certain contexts.

If I spent all my time studying out numbers, I would be fixated - however, if I notice them AS I am studying out various passages, that is not. Actually, if we refused to acknowledge what God has placed in His Word, we would be guilty of overlooking what He wanted us to see."

Please help!

Response #3: 

I certainly did say and certainly do teach that numbers are occasionally significant in the Bible – when and where there are biblical indications of the same. This is very rare, however. To use an analogy, one spoonful of honey may be beneficial, but 500 lbs. will kill you. And that doesn't mean that everything in-between is neither good nor bad. 10 lbs. may put you in the hospital. I don't see a single thing in the 13-list that I would consider biblically significant, but it is very clear that it took a long to time to collect and consider and argue for. All that time and effort could have been used to learn something real about scripture, whereas on the other hand convincing oneself of the importance in scripture of things that are not really there is a recipe for spiritual error. Investing meaning in passages where meaning does not exist may not be changing the meaning, but that is largely a difference without a true distinction. Either way, such things delude oneself and others, in the same that Cabalah is wont to do.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4: 

What is the significance of, or what meaning does the number 38 have? It was prevalent in a dream and I can't put the picture together completely without understanding this number meaning.

Response #4: 

I'm not too sure what to tell you about this since 1) there are really very few numbers in scripture which have symbolic significance ("7" is one which clearly does, of course, indicating fulfillment and completeness; Is.11:2-3; Rev.1:4:; 1:20; 3:1; 5:1ff.; cf. Ps.12:6; 119:164; Prov.6:16; 9:1); and 2) I am generally very reluctant to place too much weight upon dreams unless they can be shown to have undeniably come from the Lord (i.e., Joseph's dream of the twelve sheaves and the twelve stars etc.). That is because we live in an age where the written Word is, at present, meant to take priority over overt miracles etc. in most cases (cf. 1Cor.13:8-11). Nevertheless, here is what you can find in scripture:

1) Thirty eight years was the "rump" of the forty years that saw the dying out of the original Exodus generation, after which the second generation could begin anew the journey into the land of promise (Deut.2:14).

2) Thirty eight years was the length of time that the crippled man healed by Jesus at the pool Bethesda in Jerusalem had been an invalid (Jn.5:5)

As far as I can tell, these are the only two times that the cardinal number 38 occurs in the Bible. It is interesting to note that in both instances we see the end of a long period of spiritual as well as physical torpor coming to an end, but of course the circumstances are different since in the first case this required the dying off of the sinners, and in the second the sinner is forgiven and healed.

Hope this is of some help,

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob Luginbill

Question #5:  


What are your thoughts on the following.

I have always personally thought that the antichrist would implement a base 2 system of technology, and the mark would be an inserted chip, which would in turn control buy, sell, trade.

I also felt the he would implement or want to implement a cash-less society, for improved monetary safety, i.e. no thefts, at least in theory.

Thanks in advance for your time and insight

Response #5: 

What you suggest may be possible. On the one hand technology is changing every day, and things thought impossible only yesterday (or not even generally conceived of) have become commonplace. It is certainly true that antichrist will attempt to change the "times and laws", meaning essentially a broad-based attempt to scramble basic human customs and practices on every level. A base two system as you suggest would certainly seem to meet this test as well as some of the predictions about the economic aspects of the beast's system discussed in parts 2B and 4 of Coming Tribulation (see the links: "The Third Seal: Economic Constraint" and "Economic Exploitation"). As far as a cash-less society is concerned, however, seems to me we are at least half way there, and that might be a virtual reality before the Tribulation gets started. And we already see people putting homing devices in their pets and medical info chips in their kids etc. Since all of this stuff is digital, we are in sense already beholding to base 2 for most everything.

The one thing I would say about the mark here is that, as also pointed out in part 4 of Coming Tribulation (see the link: "The Mark of the Beast"), scripture makes it pretty clear that receiving it will be voluntary. Not to say that there won't be extreme pressure and coercion (indeed there will be), but the verses that talk about this event don't seem to allow for the eventuality of completely involuntary marking. The mark is a way for the devil to lead mankind into irreversible condemnation, but that requires free will choice on behalf of the initiate. This is why the mark is such a crucial ingredient of antichrist's satanic religion.

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Hi again Robert!

This is just unbelievable.


Does anyone actually believe this guy? I don't think he's the False prophet because he seems to dumb to be the false prophet or the antichrist. He seems like someone whose just trying to make a name for himself. It's sad that some people would actually follow him, and don't have the discernment to know the difference between truth and error. I don't know, sorry for the rant. Stuff like this bothers me.

Response #6: 

I had heard about this guy before. It seems astounding as you say that he would have anyone follow him in this nonsense of claiming to be Christ, but then consider how astounding it will be when the bulk of the world's population follows antichrist in the belief that he is the true Messiah – and they will have many more clear indications at that time that what they are doing is not only nonsense, but actually making an enemy of God Himself and fatal to any hope of divine mercy in this life or the next (see the link: "CT 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom"). When truth is rejected, all manner of lies will be found acceptable and accepted.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Hi Bob,

In studying the book of 2 Ch 33:19, the prayer of Manassah and his entreaty to God is recorded in the records of Hozai. I first thought this to be a different spelling for Hosea but knew that book did not reference Manassah. Further checking on the internet turned up this site http://cf.blueletterbible.org/isbe/isbe.cfm?id=4468 and its explanation. Is this reference library correct?

May the Lord continue to strengthen and bless you in the coming new year.


Response #7: 

As to your question, you are correct that Hozai and Hosea are not the same (the two Hebrew words share no letter in common despite the similar English transliterations). The link you provide is to an article in the ISBE, a fairly authoritative source. The first two thirds state facts about the manuscript tradition. The conclusion to the effect that Hozai was a single person is, in my view, incorrect. As suggested in the apparatus criticus of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the word CHOZAY is probably standing for an original CHOZAYV, with the final letter, "waw", dropping out of the Masoretic Text by way of haplography (i.e., the tendency of the copyist's eye to shift to the next occurrence of a similar letter or letter combination when looking back at the page, thus missing the intervening text). In this instance, haplography might have occurred on account of the fact that the next letter in the text is also a "waw". This is a common sort of occurrence in all manuscript traditions. Thus what we probably have here is a repetition of what we have in verse 18, with the small change here giving us the "words of his seers" as opposed verse 18's "the words of the seers". Thus the correct translation of the end of the verse would be "are written in the records of his seers". These records were not ordained to become a part of scripture, but it is illuminating to be told that Chronicles was based upon extensive extra-biblical sources, selected and vetted by the ministry of the Spirit to form a part of the eternal and infallible Word of God.

May the new year be blessed for you and yours.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Dr. L, do you think we (Christians) have anything to fear from the National ID cards scheduled for implementation in 2008? Thank you for your answer

Response #8: 

Technological advances and governmental implementations of them are among some of the more sobering things we believers have to deal with, aren't they? There really are a plethora of things out there in the world that are moving so fast and in such a disturbing direction that it only reinforces the impression I have from scripture, namely that the end times are indeed upon us. As believers in Jesus, confident in His every provision, it seems to me that we have nothing to fear and never shall, even though the gates of hell should rise against us. God is with us, and we belong to Him. Jesus us in us, and we have the sufficient provision of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord knows all things, directs all things, and will end all things in His perfect way and in His perfect time. As mere human beings, our ability to affect the trends of history is absolutely nil. We may think it possible, but in fact history is progressing according to forces that are more unseen than seen, all of which are truly beyond the ability of human power to control. That really is a salutary thing, because our Lord is directing the streams of history to the exact right place in His own perfect time in spite of the plots of the evil one. When we come to accept this, all the terrors of the night subside, for if God is with us, who can be against us? Though we are called to endure any manner of difficulty, trouble, testing or trial – even if martyrdom be our lot, we know that in Jesus we will conquer. We do not love the world – how can we? For it lies in the lap of the evil one. We do not love our lives in the world – how can we? For even if we were to gain the entire world it would not be worth our lives. We know that in the world to come we will be rewarded beyond our dreams for all the decisions we made to trust and follow Jesus and eschew the world, and we know that on that glorious day of days our lives will be eternal in inexpressible bliss and fellowship with the Lord who bought us. So every time I see or hear something like this, it does prod me as it prods you to think about the coming trouble, but then I shake myself and remember that unless these birth pangs be first endured, we cannot see His kingdom come. Marana Tha! Even so, return to us Lord Jesus!

In complete confidence that He will bring us through whatever evils lie ahead.

Bob L.

Question #9: 

The consonant "J," was created in the year 1572AD, the 16th century. How is it possible for a man to be named "Jesus" if the letter "J" wasn't invented yet?

Response #9: 

Dear Friend,

The name "Jesus" is of course an anglicized version of the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Joshua". What Iesous (the Greek form) and Yehoshua or Yoshua have in common is that the first letter of the name in each language is a "vowel-consonant". That is to say, the Hebrew yodh and the Greek iota can each function either as a vowel or as a consonant, depending upon the circumstances. The story becomes somewhat more complicated in the case of English because of the influence of Latin. In Latin, there is a similar phenomenon with the "i". In classical times, readers and speakers of Latin pronounced the "i" as either a consonant (generally speaking when it begins a word, as in the name "Jesus") or as vowel (in most other circumstances but occasionally in interior situations as well). Take for example the Latin word for "now", iam. This is pronounced more like "yam", and in transliteration over the years the tendency actually became to write such words with an extended "i", the "j", to make this distinction more clear. That is why, for example, the name of the god is Iupiter in Latin texts, but "Jupiter" ubiquitously in English. We find a similar phenomenon in the case of the Latin u/v, where the same consonant is occasionally a vowel ("u") and occasionally a consonant ("v" pronounced in Latin as a "w"), so that in this situation there are actually three possible English orthographies for one Latin consonant. Since the Vulgate version of the Bible, the Catholic church, and the Latin fathers were all very influential in the history of English reception of the scriptures, the fact that the name Jesus is written as it is comes as no surprise: this is simply following the conventions for transliteration of all biblical names which were in place when influential English versions of the Bible such as the KJV were produced. Were we to pronounce our Lord's name according to Greek orthography and pronunciation, it would look more like "Iesous" and sound more like ee-AY-SOUS, while the Hebrew original would sound more like YE-HO-SHU-A. Since the altering of names and their orthography and pronunciation into forms which are more comfortable to and more easily conformable to the linguistic sensibilities of a target population is clearly established as a valid approach by the existence of just such forms in the divinely inspired Greek New Testament (where direct transliterations of Hebrew names for God are generally passed over in favor of the Greek equivalents; i.e., YHVH is universally kyrious), we may be sure that our Lord is more concerned with how we respond to Him and His truth than how we spell or pronounce His name.

For more information on this and related subjects, please see the following links:

The name "Jesus".

The meaning of the divine name YHVH.

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

Hi, I really enjoy studying your work. Thanks for using your time and web site to help Christians learn. My question is the mark of the beast. Could it be the social security number? You present it in your right hand. You remember it in your forehead, you cant buy or sell without it (anything substantial anyway). The children are given one at birth, the old, rich and poor have one. Also the time required to physically place a mark on the worlds population? Seems 3 1/2 years is not enough time, but I don't know the calculations for this. It would seem unfair for this to be so but it also seems unfair that even the very young would receive the mark.

Response #10: 

The mark will be a universal phenomenon, given worldwide to any and all who are willing to accept it. It will be a voluntary process – mind you that the consequences for refusal will be extreme for all and fatal for many (i.e., there is "compulsion", but since God holds those with the mark responsible, refusal must be possible, even if the consequences be dire). Since the mark represents the beast and/or his name, it will be the same sort of mark for all rather than a unique individual identification number. The idea will not be to keep tabs on people, because accepting the mark will already be equivalent to accepting Satan (and damnation). The evidence also suggests a somewhat decentralized process, so that the time restriction is also not likely to be a prohibitive factor. As I have written this up in considerable detail in the Coming Tribulation series, part 4, I would ask you to have a look at the following link where the mark and the number of antichrist are discussed in full:

The Mark of the Beast

Thank you so much for your encouraging words.

In Jesus our Lord.

Bob Luginbill

Question #11: 

What do numbers mean in the Bible, like the number 7, the perfect number, or number 8?

Response #11: 

The short answer to this question is that while numbers do occasionally have significance in scripture beyond their straightforward numerical value, generally speaking a number is a number is a number. There is far too much weight put upon "numerology" in biblical studies generally, and many cults go overboard with such approaches. That said, 7 is as you say a number that suggests completeness and perfection in general terms. Likewise, 3, 4, and 12 have aspects of symmetry where God (3), God dwelling with man (4), and man as directed by God (12) are concerned respectively. Other than these (and only sparingly and fairly straightforwardly with these), there usually has to be some definite indication in the text of the Bible to the effect that a given number has significance for it to do so in fact. The following links will give you some more information on this topic along with some basic bibliography:

The Number 20

The Number 40

The Number 12 (question #4)

153 Fish: Explaining some Difficult New Testament Passages

Cults and Christianity (Bible Codes)

Hope this helps,

In our Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #12:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

While visiting a friend this past weekend we were talking about religion, as we usually do and he is struggling with the idea that, for example, a person from India, having been raised a Hindu, growing up in that culture and beliefs may never hear of Jesus and thus would not be saved. We know that the Bible says only through Christ is there salvation and in no other. In many cultures it would be nearly impossible, especially for a woman, to go outside the beliefs of that culture and religion. Now do we reconcile the fate of the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Muslim, etc. Are we to assume that they all have had the opportunity to know Christ and have denied Him?

Also, I have not been able to answer someone when they doubt the biblical account of Noah's Ark and how all those animals could fit on the boat? Do we just believe this by faith or is there an answer, like they were all baby animals and they all could fit! : ) And while I am asking some of the trivial stuff, who did Cain and Abel marry? There are a lot of people throughout scripture but to start with Adam and Eve and two sons do we not run out of possibilities?

One more questions. A book I am reading says that the Torah embodies some most provocative elements: the Tav (originally, a cross), the Vav (a nail), the Resh (a head of a man), and the Heh, the breath or Spirit of God. Thus, Man with the Spirit of God, nailed, on the cross. Is this how the Hebrew would in fact be translated? He also said that when God changed Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah that he inserted the heh into their names, marking the involvement of the Spirit of God into their lives. Is this true also?

As always I know you can help with the answers and appreciate a site that I can come to for answers.


Response #12: 

Good to hear from you – hope all is well. I will try and answer your questions seriatim.

1) God knows all things. And He knew them in eternity past before He ordained the history of the world He was about to create. So while to us, the vastness of the human race and of individual circumstances sees profound, to Him the entirety of the whole is far less complicated than "1 + 1 = 2" – and that is so to an infinite degree. What this means by way of application to your question is that there has never been a time, will never be a time, and could never be a time when God, who wants all to be saved (Ezek.18:23; Matt.18:14; Jn.12:47; 1Tim.2:4; 2Tim.2:24-26; 2Pet.3:9), allowed someone to perish for lack of knowledge. Indeed, Jesus was sent into the world to die for the sins of everyone who ever has lived and who ever would precisely in order that they "might not perish, but have eternal life" (Jn.3:16). If He knew about ever single sin everyone would ever commit (and even we don't come close to knowing that in respect to our own selves), He surely knows how to bring us to salvation – if we are willing. Jesus died for everyone. Therefore the only reason anyone perishes is from their own self-willed rejection of God's solution to the problems of sin and death. All who perish do so contrary to God's will for them.

This sad truth is an absolutely essential element of human history, because apart from our ability to say "no" to God, our saying "yes" would mean nothing. The human experience is all about free will and how we use it in response to the Lord. Therefore whether through active rejection of the truth once presented, or through passive lack of interest and an unwillingness to seek God, all who perish apart from accepting the Savior (whether come in the flesh or promised before the cross) do so of their own free will and apart from the will of God. God creates every human life at the point of birth when He places the human spirit in the just born infant. He could certainly have put you or me or anyone else into whatever time or place He chose. And it was certainly in His prerogative not to create us at all. But the scriptures are very clear as to the fact that every single human being (born with normal, functional intelligence, that is) becomes aware of God and their predicament in this life, and that all who have ever responded positively have been graciously provided with whatever they needed in terms of information necessary for salvation (e.g., Eccl.3:11; Rom.1:18-32).

It is important to remember that many people in the history of the world have heard the gospel and rejected it (in fact, by a much greater ratio than the saved), so that information is clearly not the key. Most of Jesus' contemporaries saw with their own eyes miracles that could not be denied and words of truth that penetrated to the deepest recesses of their hearts – and they still mocked Him on the cross. On the other hand, just look to what great lengths God went to bring Saul/Paul to salvation (Acts 9) or to bring the gospel to Cornelius and his household (Acts 10). These are famous cases we know about because of the scriptures, but we can safely say that there are myriad cases we don't know about where the most unlikely people in the most unlikely circumstances were led to believe in Jesus Christ (even as most of those in this country who are virtually awash in the gospel refuse to believe it). How much more is this not true when it comes not to hypothetical situations, but to the reality of the impossibility of knowing what is going on or has ever gone on in each and every human heart, things about which we are of necessity ignorant. We cannot know nor fathom the possibility, but God knows it all – and has since before He created the universe.

Our ignorance does not constitute a valid grounds for charging God with unfairness in this regard, nor will it hold any water as a defense before Him at the last judgment. On that final day, the Lord will make it clear to each and every person who has rejected Him the fairness of all His dealings with them, and the complete culpability of all who resisted Him. After all, charging God with unfairness in regard to His dealings with His creatures is the essence of the devil's brief against the Lord – and we know very well the lies upon which that brief is founded and the destined end for the devil and all who follow him.

For more on this, please see the following links (in addition, of course, to the Satanic Rebellion series where the entire question of free will figures large):

What happens to people who were born and died prior to the birth of Christ?

What about the "Heathen" (who never heard the Gospel)?

2) It always amazes me which miracles and supernatural events recorded in scripture people find hard to believe even as they have no problems with others. To me, the biggest miracle in regard to the flood is not the preservation of the animals, nor the inundation of the entire earth to a depth of twenty feet above its highest mountains, nor the removal of the waters in such a short time, nor the apparent tilting of the earth's axis – for all these are works of God, and a God who create the entire universe in the blink of an eye would surely not have any trouble with these infinitely smaller miracles. No, what I have always found amazing was the fact that the ark got built in the first place. That is because it was done by a human being in response to God's command, and human beings are notoriously weak and inconsistent. Just think, Noah had to get up early every day for some 120 years and work on that massive project with all his energy in order to be done in time (and he was done just in time: cf. Gen.7:10). And he did so in the face of ridicule and intense opposition, human and satanic (see the link: in SR #5: "Noah"). This is a work of faith that in terms of its longevity and enormity is hard to match. But as to the mechanics, I would think we have to understand that since this was a miracle, and this was God's part, working hand in hand with Noah's response, whatever had to be done through God was done by God. Even if there was space problem (or whatever), God is and was certainly capable of making it all work out (with the Lord, a few loaves and fish can feed thousands with more left over than originally divided).

After all, it's not like God even needed Noah to build an ark. Elisha made an ax head float; Moses parted the Red Sea; Jesus walked on water. I can imagine dozens of ways God could have preserved Adam's line and animal kind without resorting to an ark (and I don't have much of an imagination). But if a person wants do some apologetics here, it is true that the ark consisted of over a million and a half square feet. Assuming a person on a bunk takes up a minimum of ten square feet, that would mean that the ark would have a maximum capacity of 150,000 people. It would seem to me that this is enough space for the job at hand.

3) As to Adam and Eve, I remember during a similar discussion an unbeliever remarked to me that he'd sure like to see the chromosomes of these two if the whole human race really came from them alone. Of course evolution claims that the human race came from one single mutation, not two people, and that this mutation somehow "bred true" with the previous non-human stock to produce more human beings. I'll not belabor the problems with that "scientific" fairy tale, but as to Adam and Eve, we should not assume that the Bible is telling us everything. We know from the gospels and the book of Acts that there is no expectation when a narrative is given that the narrative includes absolutely everything (although it gives us enough). John remarks that the whole world would be insufficient to hold the books that would have to be written to give the entire story of Jesus Christ (Jn.21:25). The book of Acts gives three accounts of Paul's conversion (Acts 9:1-18; 22:3-16; 26:9-18); all are true, but each has a different purpose, a different focus, and adds different information. So we should not assume that Genesis is telling us everything, especially given the incredibly wide swath of human history it has to cover. In Genesis 4:17, for example, we are told that Cain not only married, but founded a city. Up to this point, we didn't have any indication of anyone else around besides the four in question. But it is clear from Genesis 5:4 that Adam and Eve were in fact extremely productive, as were the rest of the pre-flood generation. The conditions that obtained outside of Eden were not paradaisical by any means, but were far more conducive to rapid population expansion than what we know today. The environment was much friendlier (no winter or seasons but continual growth), and people were much more physically vigorous, with the life span lasting to nigh on a thousand years. Even if we assume only normal procreation, according to the calculations of C.F. Keil, in Keil and Deilitzsch's Commentary on the Old Testament v.1, 176-178, by the time of Peleg's death, the earth could well have held over ten million people, and we are right in considering the possibility that, given the vigor of the pre-flood generation, this a very conservative figure. So it seems clear to me based upon everything Genesis says that Adam and Eve had a very large number of children, more than enough to establish a basic core from which the human race rapidly expanded (especially considering that most of these also began having very large families long before Adam and Eve ceased to procreate).

4) As to this last question, I'm afraid I must report that to me this is theosophy and gossamer. While the derivation of the word Torah this book gives is certainly attractive, I don't see any biblical basis for this sort of mystical interpretation, at least not from within the scriptures (torah is derived from the root yrh which means to teach, among other things). I don't find any place in the Bible where we are told to engage in this sort of interpretation, unlike, for example, six hundred and sixty six, that is, the number of the beast, where we are directed by the Word to consider it a code. There is evidence that some if not all of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet were originally pictograms. It is generally accepted that Aleph, for example, represents an ox head with horns. But there is only speculation about many of the other letters, Heh included (for scholars who do speculate on this letter, a "lattice window" is the best guess – I find no indication of the value assigned it by this book you refer to). To attribute a special spiritual significance to a single letter and then to draw the remarkable conclusions this book is drawing based upon that evidence alone strikes me as at the very least dangerously divorced from anything that seems to me to be worthy of the name "rational hermeneutic". Since this sort of interpretation has no internal discipline of its own, we are left to the scriptures themselves to divine whether or not anything this method tells us is true. And since we thus already would have to know it is true (or untrue) from the Bible, we are not learning anything new independent of the Bible. But what we are doing, at least potentially, is giving authority to what amounts in practice to an extra-biblical source (and that is always a risky proposition).

Feel free to write me back about any of this.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.



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