Acrostic Code Failure
By Joel Steinke

As noted in The Epitaph on the Cross of Yeshua, Chuck Missler, in his book "The Creator Beyond Time and Space," proposed the following:

...that the Jewish leaders went to Pilate to have the wording on the sign on the cross changed so that the first letters of the four Hebrew words would not form the Tetragrammaton YHWH. This pattern would be a form of an acrostic.

I noticed that the Greek construction used in the sign on the cross is an Appositive (see John 19:19-22). Notice that no conjunctive "and" is used in the English translation: "Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews." This English translation is true to the Greek which also has no conjunctive "and" (e.g., kai or de, etc.) In order to make the acrostic form YHWH, the Greek would have to have an "and" (kai or de). This is because the third letter in the Tetragrammaton, the "W" in Missler's acrostic, is the waw conjunctive "and". In order to get the Hebrew to work out right, the Greek would have had to read "Jesus the Nazarene, and the King of the Jews."

The way the Greek is in the NT, the Hebrew acrostic would read: YHHH, not YHWH.

Even for someone not knowledgeable in Hebrew, if he or she only knew that in Hebrew the articles and conjunctions are commonly prefixed to nouns, he or she would note that four Hebrews words can represent the seven Greek words on the sign on the cross. Since the English translation and the original Greek use the same definite article throughout the sign (English = "Jesus the...the...the..."; Greek = "Iesus ho...ho...ho..."), then why wouldn't the Hebrew also have only the same definite article "ha" throughout without a conduction interjected between. Thus, a layman can deduce the acrostic would be YHHH and not YHWH.

I thought I'd search the Hebrew for constructions that are similar to the sign on the cross, to see if perhaps a waw conjunctive was included in an Appositive. Here is the result of my findings:

In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, Appositive constructions generally do not have a waw, the third letter of the Tetragrammaton in Missler's acrostic. It seems that the waw would actually confuse the reader, because the reader would wonder whether the sentence has an Appositive, or whether the sentence refers to two people rather than one person (as is the case in 2 Kings 19:13, below).

Here is the closest example of a construction in the Hebrew OT that
1) uses the word "king" and
2) parallels the sign's Appositive construction of: "x person of x place, king of x people"
(e.g., Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews).

There is no waw before "King" in Judges 11:25: "Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab?

Psalm 95:3 and Jer. 10:10 are like Appositives in that before and after the waw, the same person is written about. The waw before the "King", however, is a conjunction that connects two sentences with linking verbs, in these cases, two poetic lines.

Waw is used as a conjunction before the word "King" to mean "and" when combining two or more persons in a list (i.e., not an Appositive).

NAB 2 Kings 19:13 'Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, and of Hena and Ivvah?"'

There are many instances of waw before King when King is the first word of a sentence (e.g. I Kings 22:10, 31; 2 Kings 6:8, 2 Chron 18:30, etc.) This is the Waw Consecutive usage of waw, and is left untranslated, or is translated as "now."

Guy Cramer: I asked Dr. James Price, Prof. of Hebrew, to confirm the above. Here is his response:

Joel is right. Waw conjunctive is not used with appositives. The answer to the question is found in the Hebrew New Testament. The Hebrew translation of the title "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" is spelled this way:

As you can see the first letters form the acrostic YHMH which is not the sacred tetragram!

James D. Price

Joel Steinke has a Bachelor of Arts and a M. Div. from Concordia Seminary, St Louis, a conservative Lutheran seminary of the LCMS (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod).
Joel uses Hermeneutika's Bible Works to search the original Biblical languages.
UPDATE: JUNE 21,1998

Mark Eastman, MD co Author of Creator Beyond Time and Space, sent the following message:

Hi Mr Cramer
We'll remove the acrostic material from the reprint of Creator Beyond
Time and Space coming up soon.
Thanks for the great work

Mark Eastman, MD

For additional information on other Bible Codes gone Bad, see: Code Breaker

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