Overview: The claims are set out in two bestseller books, The Bible Code, and The Bible Code 2: Countdown, both by Michael Drosnin.
Claim: There are hidden messages in the Bible (The original Hebrew Torah ('the original word of God')) which have apparently predicted events, including the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Anwar Sadat and the Kennedy brothers.
These 'predictions' have been found by using a computer to search for letters at equidistant positions to make words or phrases supposedly hidden in the Torah. The Bible Code was initially discovered by Israeli mathematician Dr Eliyahu Rips, amongst others.
This is an example of the technique on an English example (Drosnin's books use Hebrew examples):
On searching the given text we have found the statements:
THE BIBLE CODE IS EVIL...
(The reason the letters do not appear to follow on line by line is that we are looking at, say, a 4500 character skip between the lines... clearly this skip could be anything from 0 to whatever but it must be constant throughout the example. All punctuation and spaces are removed from the text being searched.)
Note: This subject is very difficult for us to investigate for a number of reasons. 1) We can't read Hebrew so can't see how accurately Drosnin has translated the codes found in the Torah. 2) The only way to check that the codes found are real is to analyze the computer program used to get the results, and the text source of the Torah used, this we have not done (this also goes for the Lady Diana example used below to show that this phenomenon appears in any large text body). 3) We have absolutely no doubt these phrases have been found in the Torah, but we feel it is likely that messages like this will be found in any large document if this skip technique is used.
The Bible Code is best illustrated in just one example which is used throughout the books to show that the Bible Code is a method of prophecy which can accurately predict the future:
Claim: Michael Drosnin discovered an entry referring to Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin - The Bible Code, says Drosnin, predicted Rabin's assassination before the event - the term 'Assassin will Assassinate' (p14) is constantly referred to throughout his books as validation for the prophetic qualities of the Bible Code. Drosnin tried to tell Rabin about this a year before he was assassinated.
i) Hebrew is a very flexible language and Assassin could also be translated as "killer" or "manslayer" or "avenger" or "murderer," (source).
ii) Dr Rips distances himself from claims that the code can be used to predict future events in a CNN report: "It is literally impossible to make future predictions based on codes. Mr. Drosnin's book does have some examples of codes that are statistically significant, and some that aren't, and the problem is that any layman reading that book will have no way of making a distinction." (Source).
iii) Using the same techniques that Drosnin uses, Lady Diana's death is clearly predicted in Moby Dick:
The terms Lady Diana, Diana, Dodi, Royal, Wales, Henri, Paul, Mortal In The Jaws of Death, Foolishly Wasted, Power and Velocity, Hearse, Skid can all be found in this skip from Moby Dick.
iv) Drosnin:"It is absolutely true that if you're a fool looking for nonsense in the Manhattan telephone directory you can find it and if not in the Manhattan telephone directory in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Take a big enough text and it is true you will find anything at all encoded with equal distance skip sequences, everyone understands that. What you will not find in any book except the Bible is related accurate information encoded in a statistically significant way every single major encoding is mathematically significant." (Source, BBC Horizon/Nova)
v) In The Bible Code II: Countdown, Michael Drosnin goes to see Yasar Arafat and warns him that Arafat's name, like Rabin's, is in the Bible Code with the warning 'Assassin to Assassinate' in the Bible Code (p100 - Bible Code II). It also claims a skip which includes the phrases 'Shooters of Yasir Arafat', 'Assassin Will Assassinate', 'The ambusher will kill him' (p 101). Another skip included 'Shooters of Yasir Arafat', 'The ambusher will kill him', 'Terrorist/Hamas' (p103). Another skip (p104): 'They shot Arafat', 'Ishmaelites/Arabs'. Arafat, now dead, wasn't shot.
vi) Warning in The Bible Code that we are in 'The End of Days' and Arafat, Bush and Sharon clearly mentioned together. Arafat is now dead.
vii) Drosnin: "The Bible Code does not reveal only one future, but every possible future. What we do determines the final outcome." Either the Bible Code is accurate or it is not.
vii) Drosnin claims that he had a meeting with Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff about the Bible Code (presumably to show that those in power think he is on to something). This seems prudent to us - Clinton was engaged in one of the most important peace negotiations of all time and he wanted to investigate everything, especially something that Arafat might be interested in (which he appears to be according to Drosnin's account). ]
Other interesting facts:
1) PROF ELIYAHU RIPS: "When we started with the first T in the book of Genesis, in fact it comes in the first verse, in the beginning God created heaven and earth. Starting with the first t and taking every 50 letters, the word Torah appears. (Source, BBC Horizon/Nova)
2) Transcript BBC Horizon: "[Dr] Rips stumbled on a message which seemed to confirm this extraordinary power in a very personal way. It was January 1991, the first Gulf war was imminent and Israel was tensed for an Iraqi attack, the big question was when would it come."
PROF ELIYAHU RIPS: "It was in the early January and the tension was very high and in fact it was increasing. Friend showed me a table with a code on which was says Saddam Hussein. The most important thing that through this we have actually a Hebrew date, in fact it says fire on the 3rd of Shevat which in this year it was on January 18th."
NARRATOR: "The code seemed to be predicting an attack on January 18, could it possibly be right. Two weeks later Rips got his answer. In the early hours of January 18, exactly as predicted Iraqi missiles hit Israel. Rips sitting at home with his family will never forget it." (Source, BBC Horizon/Nova)