Names, Numbers and Nonsense

Throughout the Bible, we find names of men with significant meanings—both good and bad. "Jacob" means "supplanter", a fitting name for a man who stole his brother’s birthright. Later, he was given the name "Israel" which means "God prevails" or "prevailer with God". "David", a man after the Eternal’s own heart (Acts 13:22) means "beloved". On the other hand, the man who refused to feed David and his men when they were hungry was named "Nabal" which means "fool".

Cities and other places mentioned in the Bible sometimes have names that nicely fit with their part in a particular Bible story. "Jerusalem" means "teaching of peace". The name Jordan means "descender", which is fitting for the people descending into its waters to be baptized, and the Spirit descending upon our Savior (Matt 3:1-16).

Throughout the Bible we also find many events falling into numerical patterns. There are 7 days in a week, 7 years in the harvest cycle, 49 (7×7) years to the Jubilee cycle, and 70 (7×10) men who were appointed elders over Israel. There were originally 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles, and 24 (12×2) elders in heaven.

Many thick books have been written on these subjects. The Creator is certainly a God of order, One who pays attention to meanings of names and numbers. But does He tell us that we can find Him and His servants by looking for amazing names and numbers? No! He tells us that His messengers will agree with His word (Is 8:20), that they will not have "mistaken prophecies" (Deut 18:22), and that they will be noted by the love they have for others (John 13:35). The Babylonian Mystery religion, Gnosticism and their modern-day counterparts have an endless supply of special names and mathematical relationships. Our Father never commanded us to look for these things as a proof of truth or to determine who His servants are.

About the only place in Scripture where we are told to calculate a number from a person’s name is in Revelation 13:18: "Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666." The Bible gives much information about the error and evil of this "beast"—we do not have to identify him solely by calculation. We are never commanded to calculate the number of a man’s name or to listen to the meaning of his name to determine if he is God’s servant. Think about that! What better name could a man have than "son of Jesus"? He could claim to be a loyal spiritual son of God’s Son. That is the exact meaning of the name "Bar-Jesus", but he was a sorcerer and false prophet (Acts 13:6).

We see nothing wrong with noting unusual occurrences in names and numbers. But if you accept these things as proof of someone’s divine calling, you are on dangerous ground. If the person makes a prophecy, it fails, and then they ask you to believe their new prophecy, citing even more names and numbers as proof of their divine commission—then they and their followers are in terrible trouble.

Take the Challenge of Numbers

Are you sure that you will not be swayed by a bunch of unbiblical name and number nonsense? If so consider the following information that appeared in a recent "church of God" magazine.

Each letter of the Hebrew and Greek alphabet has a numerical value associated with it. The English alphabet does not. (Some English letters can be used in Roman Numerals, but there is no such value for every English letter, so the system is not too useful). While it would make the most sense to calculate the number of people’s names in the original languages of the Bible, that does not work very well if a person is hoping to discover evil about contemporary English names with no convenient Hebrew or Greek equivalent. So, the article in this publication proposed a numbering system for the English alphabet: A = 6, B = 12, C = 18, D = 24,... Z = 156. In other words, the numeric position of each letter within the alphabet is multiplied by 6. What did this publication reveal? It revealed that the following names add up to 666:

Kissinger, Santa Claus, Gerry Adams, Ian Paisley, New York, Murrah bomb, Waco Texas, Auchwitz, computer, slaughter, and witchcraft. In a later issue, someone wrote in and noted that Jim Rector also added up to 666—and the publication editor found that significant. Jim has been very ill and thanks the Eternal for each day of continued life. Does anyone believe he will be the head of 10 nations?

When analyzing this system we noticed that a number of "good" words added up to 444 (three fours add up to 12, the number of tribes, apostles, etc.) Words adding up to 444 include: Jesus, Messiah, Y’shua, Joshua, forgave, greater, Gospel, jewels, preacher, parables, unafraid and wiser. We also noted that Edwards and Bohonik (two Servants’ News writers) also add up to 444. Is that significant?

No. It all means very little. You will notice that the above lists sometimes contain just the last name and sometimes both names. Sometimes the form is incomplete ("Murrah bomb" instead of "Murrah bombing," "New York" instead of "New York City") Why? Because that is the only way to get the desired result. When "numerologists" do not get the answer they want at first, they try different forms of the words until they get an answer that suits them.

Furthermore, does the Bible tell us to multiply the value of each letter by 6? What would happen if we multiplied the value of each letter by 5 or 7? If we multiplied by 5 or 7, we would never get any word that added up to 666, because 666 is not divisible by 5 or 7. By multiplying each letter’s value by 6, we make it 6 times more likely to end up with the number 666! As a matter of fact, with the above system, the average value of a letter is 81 (add the values of all the letters 6 through 156 and divide by 26). That means that it is very likely that a word of about 8 letters will have a value near 666 (8×81=648, 8.22×81=666). Obviously, the value depends upon whether the letters in the word are near the beginning or end of the alphabet, but the chances of a long word or two short words adding up to 666 are not remote.

There are plenty of "good words" that add up to 666 by this method, but those that want to pretend that their teaching is somehow inspired never tell you about those words. For example, does it make sense that amethyst or sapphires, stones used in the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:19-20) each add up to 666? Are the following words evil because they add up to 666? Competent, confessing, dromedaries, explaining, handkerchiefs, honorable, grandsons, labourers, mourning, oliveyard, perfection, pictures, repenteth, recovery, relatives, speechless? We can see that this numbering system is not a reliable way to find "bad" things.

Similarly, 444 words are not always good. Other words that add up to 444 include: abominable, accursed, bitter, bruise, craving, envies, error, Gadarenes (the place where a powerful demon-possessed man lived), harlot, killing, kidnaps, Lucifer, nuts, Sargon (an Assyrian King), Satan’s, traps, tempt, unbelief.

Using this kind of "numerology" is simply a trick that teachers use on unsuspecting students. The teacher simply tries words and formulas till he gets them to add up to something. If he does look for or stumble across words that disprove his conclusion, he typically never mentions them.

Take the Challenge of Names

If you had no trouble seeing the error in the previous system, then please read these excerpts from a paper that Murray Hyson wrote about himself entitled: Dualities and Other Notable Occur rences in My Life (March 27, 1996):

My mother was born in the 7th month of 1931. This is 100 nineteen year cycles (per HWA).

My birth date is two days later than hers, just as Jesus Christ returns in two of His days (approx) from A.D. 31 (Day as a thousand years).

I’m a firstborn—holy unto the Lord. Both Mr. Armstrong and Jesus Christ were also firstborn (Ex 13:2, Luke 2:23)....

I was born in the seventh month on the thirtieth day in 1951 (19+51=70) all God’s numbers. Mr. Armstrong’s birthday was also the 7th month, on the 31st day....

Born in Nova Scotia, I lived in the area of the world’s highest tides. Water represents God’s Holy Spirit.

I was conceived on East Prince St. I lived in Bible Hill. When going on seven years old, moved to seven "Royalty" St. This street, on a hill overlooking, Truro is off "King" St. and to the right.

I went to work for Michelin Tire. Tires are mounted on rims—wheels within the middle of wheels which travel in any direction—connected with the four cherubim (Ezk 1 & 10), one of which I am represented by.

I worked in Quality Control. My first position was as a "Tester." Before any rubber was used, samples were first taken and tested to determine if they reached an essential high standard of quality. Since 1990 I’ve performed this for God through the items He revealed to me, only now His begotten are the ones being tested....

Not until a man was killed in a car accident did I begin my new position. This to be repeated (image) for my new position as leader....

Having considerable authority I could, when necessary, scrap both rubber or their products. I now have God’s authority, to be used righteously and when necessary, to "scrap" people, even outside God’s Church. (Necks of my enemies!)...

The last building [I] purchased was 1656 Mackay St. The Flood began 1656 years after creation (Masoretic Text). There were only 8 people saved, this building has 8 units. During the Flood the whole earth became a giant graveyard. This building overlooks a graveyard just across the street and was the only building I had a flood in....

The Holy Bible is dual (physical then spiritual), my ministry is dual to those servants God sent in the past. Finally, my life is dual, those physical things in my past now being spiritually repeated in God’s church. Three dualities—a "sign!"

Finally, my name is Hyson, pronounced "High" Son! This will be my position (reward) in the Kingdom at the end of my assignment, higher than all God’s created beings in this entire universe.

We hope none of our readers are anxious to run out and follow this man. He wrote many more pages of similar things. He has also written a 300-page book entitled Revelation’s Little Book. Notice the great claims of authority, with little or no real service—exactly the opposite of the instructions Christ gave to his apostles (Matt 10:42-45).

The man does deserve some commendation for creativity. Since his birthday differed from his mother’s by two days, he went into the Bible and found a significance of the number two. If his birthday had been 3, 4 or some other number of days different than his mother’s, I am sure that he would have found some other significant Bible number to match. If that proved too difficult, he could have computed the number of days using the Hebrew or some other calendar.

Similarly, he found significance for his birth in 1951 (19+51=70). If he had been born later, what might he have claimed?

1952: 52–19=33, Christ’s age at death

1953: end of HWA’s first 19-year cycle

1954: 1+9+5+4=19, one 19-year cycle

Hopefully, we have made our point. If we thought long enough, we could come up with a "prophetic" formula for everyone’s birth year. If you worked hard enough, you could probably find spiritual analogies for every town, city, street name, job, and dog’s name that has touched your life. But would doing such work make you a spiritual leader or simply a vain person in desperate need of learning humility?

If you understand that you would not be a spiritually special person if you wrote pages of analogies about your personal life, please understand that the same is true for others who use such "proof" to claim that they are spiritual teachers. They probably are not any closer to God than you are.

Do Not Be Deceived By Misuse of History and Foreign Languages

It is fairly obvious that the previous example is just so much human reasoning. But a person may seem to be "above you" if they talk a lot about history, calendars or foreign languages—especially if you have not studied those areas. Notice this quote from the March-April 1998 issue of The Total Truth, A magazine of Love, Truth & Understanding:

Emer of Elliott [the name used by the writer] was on earth in the 1961st year of time from Yahshua, i.e. Sept 1988–Sept 1989 C.E. and was entering his 54th year on Kislev 1,4,5 (Quartodeciman Perpetual Calen dar). I am sure that the Pope in 1582 must have considered these things because the Gregorian calendar counts down time from Abraham to Emer of Elliott. (My first name is "Clemer" and I was born at Elliott, West Virginia. "CL" [the first two letters of "Clemer"] = 150 [Roman numeric value] or three Jubilees and it is three Jubilees from Adam to 1988-89 if we count Abram, 1961 as the first Jubilee of a 1960 year Sabbatical-Jubilee cycle after Adam. The 2nd Jubilee of a 1960 year cycle would be that of Christ (Messiah Yashua) and the third Jubilee of a 1960-year cycle after Adam would be that of 1988-89—the time of Emer of Elliott. "CL" is 150 in Roman Numeral value and those 2 letters have a numeral value of 6 symbolically (1+5+0=6). The first Adam was created on 6-2 Abib. The last Adam, Christ, was born on 6-2 Abib. The Icon of Christ, Emer of Elliott has these numbers in his hame. Emer is a Hebrew word with the equivalent meaning of Logos in the Greek language. I was born at Elliott, W. Va. Thus, I am Emer of Elliott. There is only one Emer: one=1, Emer=4, Elliot=7. I am in numbers 1, 4, 7 in Hebrew and born on 1, 4, 7 Kisleu (old calendar reckoning from Feb 26.) The conception of Emer was about 6-2 Abib, 1936 C.E.). Emer of Elliott in Hebrew means Word of God’s Salvation.

If you cannot follow what the man is trying to say, do not worry. There are a few parts we were not sure about either. But if you think that this man must be right, or righteous because what he is doing seems so complicated, you are in trouble. It seems that there are false teachings available with all possible levels of complexity.

But do the Scriptures teach us that we are suffering from a lack of technical knowledge? No, they do not. They teach that people need to obey the basic principle of love toward God and neighbor, and to learn how to do that in detail from His word. In the case of The Total Truth, we did not feel like we needed to read much of the publication to realize that it would contain little of value to most believers. The summary on the cover showed that it was completely devoted to obscure historical facts and proving the "authority" of its writers. The front cover summary is:

The Exodus Passover was the 12th of April, 1443 B.C.?

The Time of Creation—4000 B.C. or 3896 B.C.

Adam was 8 years of age in physical development at the time of creation?

How the Gregorian Calendar "counts down" to the last messenger of God.

How the Sun and Moon in their cycles gives the anointed Messen gers of God the numbers of God.

Did Jesus, Paul, or the other apostles ever give messages like these? No! The whole purpose of such messages is to make people dependent on these so-called "messengers of God" for so-called "truth". The result is a continual state of dependence: the teachers teach and the students study a continual string of historic "things". Some of the teachings may be true and some not, but they are of little value no matter what. The students often have no way to verify what they are learning, and once they are convinced they are learning from "Messengers of God", they usually stop trying to independently check the teaching they are receiving. The teachers have usually spent so much time "proving" their own authority from scriptures that they actually believe it themselves. The fact that they have just one or two followers is "confirmation from God" of their position, as they see it.

We would not write this article if it were not for so many brethren who become deceived by such things. Church of God members have a tremendous desire to follow after "the man that God is working with". But let us look for someone who is a servant, someone who teaches the obvious meaning of the scripture, someone who has the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:22-23), and someone who meets the qualifications of a leader (1Tim; Tit 1). If the person claims to have a prophecy from the Eternal, he had better always be right.

Let us look back on our former leaders who made great claims for themselves and prophecies that never came to pass—let us admit that they, and we, were wrong.

—Norman Edwards

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