Before there was Fifty Shades of Gray, before Hunger Games, before Harry Potter, there was the Bible—history’s undisputed bestseller (with over five billion copies more than its closest rival, Quotations From Chairman Mao). Yet human history’s bestseller is also the most distorted, misinterpreted, and misapplied literature in the history of our small race. The Bible has been what the Dutch theologian and astronomer Albert Pighius famously described as a proverbial “nose of wax,” molded and contorted to fit the profile of human traffickers, war mongerers, power-hungry religious institutions, and anyone else who wants to forge a divine signature of approval over their dehumanizing ideologies. As a free tip for aspiring cult-leaders: The best way to twist the Bible into divine warrant for your own agenda is to adopt an interpretive methodology that glosses over the original, historic, intended meaning of the text (e.g., the Inquisitors who burned heretics alive would have a hard time vindicating their actions as divinely sanctioned if they took seriously what Jesus actually meant when he said “Love your enemies”). How many historical travesties unleashed under the waving banner of “Thus sayeth the Lord” could have been averted if people actually took the time and did the historical homework to hear what the Lord actually did “sayeth?” As French philosopher and math whiz Blaise Pascal reminds us, "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction."
I was recently reminded of just how waxy we can make the Bible when reading the following words of a popular teacher: “There are several levels of understanding in the Bible. You can just read it and understand what it says on the surface, but there’s a whole lot deeper stuff, like these Bible codes.” If the devil published a warfare manual I wouldn’t be surprised to find these words inside: “Sidetrack people from studying the messages the Enemy has spoken by sending them on wild goose chases for secret messages the Enemy has not spoken. To get them hooked for the chase, convince them the secret messages are God-spoken and add a heavy dose of sensationalism and end-of-the-world insight.”
Consider a case-in-point. The same teacher cited above calling us to “a whole lot deeper stuff” went on to popularize the notion that God has revealed the “gospel story in stone” in the structure of Egypt’s Great Pyramid. He conjectures:
· The 153 steps of the narrow way match the 153 fishes gathered in John 21:11, which may be a reference to all nations of the earth gathering into the kingdom of God (See John 21:11).
· The king’s chamber is on the 50th row of stones; 50 was the year of Jubilee (See Lev. 25:11)….
· Although most have been torn off, the pyramid was originally covered with 144,000 polished casing stones, the number of witnesses in Revelation 7…
· The cornerstone at the top is missing, symbolic of Christ, the rejected chief cornerstone (Dan. 2:45; Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; Mk 10:12). The 5-sided cornerstone may represent the number of grace.
Let’s apply the same methodology this teacher uses with the Great Pyramid to another great pyramid: Las Vegas’ Luxor Hotel and Casino. I have found the following striking parallels (that I want you to know about before my front-page findings hit the press). Brace yourself:
· The casino/gambling area of the Luxor is 120,000 square feet. 120,000 was the same number of Midianite troops who fell at the hand of Gideon, Israel’s deliverer in Judges 8:10.
· The Luxor houses an Imax theatre with a 7-story screen. With 7 loaves of bread Jesus fed about 4,000 men (coincidentally there are approximately 4,000 rooms and suites in the Luxor hotel), after which the disciples collected 7 basketfuls of leftovers (Luke 15:35-38). 7 may also represent the number of completion or fulfillment.
· Like the Great Pyramid, the Luxor also has no cornerstone. Moreover, the tip of the Luxor pyramid emits the brightest beam of light in the world. Christ, the rejected chief cornerstone (Dan. 2:45; Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; Mk. 10:12) repeatedly claimed to be the “light of the world” (see John 8:12, 9:5, 12:40).
The point is this: the “gospel story” is no more contained in Egypt’s Great Pyramid than it is in Las Vegas’ Luxor Hotel and Casino. It’s right where it has been for thousands of years—the Bible. Jesus never sat down with a secret decoder ring to count Hebrew letters in a hunt for hidden messages, or tallied steps and stones to decipher gospel truths. Jesus studied and taught the plain Scriptures, and so must the church in the 21stcentury. We must prayerfully and diligently do our homework to discover and apply what God and the forty human authors he enlisted to tell His story are actually saying. Let us not get distracted by esoteric fun and games. I’ll close with a salient reminder from Bible scholar, J. Paul Tanner:
“The so called Bible code has no biblical warrant and is not substantiated when carefully examined….People do not need some “biblical crossword puzzle.” Instead they need to read and meditate on the revealed truths of God’s holy Word. They need to be engaged in Bible Study to learn the marvelous truths that God has revealed, rather than being diverted by the speculative counting of letters” (“Decoding The Bible Code,” in Biblioteca Sacra, vol. 157:626, April-June 2000, 159).