Missler’s first “hidden treasure” is nothing less than a hidden message buried within the proper names of the genealogy given in Genesis chapter 5. From what I have learned of Missler, he seems quite enraptured with the idea of codes and hidden messages in the Bible. This isn’t surprising, however, given his background in cryptology and information science.
Right away one has to wonder why God would bother with hidden messages. What function would they serve? The answer, it seems, goes back to the introduction and the importance of prophecy. A hidden message that also predicted some future event is certainly very interesting and reduces the chances of being “fulfilled” on purpose. So, is this what Missler has found, evidencing “supernatural engineering”?
Missler notes that it takes some work to “find” this particular “hidden message” and he isn’t joking. He claims that one needs the original roots of the Hebrew names in question and this is somewhat reasonable, though it makes for a more difficult decryption. After some looking of my own, however, it seems that one cannot look up these roots just anywhere. Missler’s bibliography for this chapter consists of six references (see below), one of which is another book written by him. This leaves one wondering how much support there really is for his conclusions. So , what exactly is this “hidden message”? In Genesis chapter 5 we are given the following genealogy:
1: This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
2: Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
3: And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
4: And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:
5: And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
6: And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:
7: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:
8: And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.
9: And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:
10: And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:
11: And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.
12: And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:
13: And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:
14: And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.
15: And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:
16: And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters:
17: And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.
18: And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:
19: And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
20: And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.
21: And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
22: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
25: And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech:
26: And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters:
27: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
28: And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:
29: And he called his name Noah, saying, This name shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.
30: And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:
31: And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
32: And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
For the “message” we need only the names. In total, there are 13 names in this passage, but Missler claims we need only the first 10. They are:
Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cainan (some say Kenan), Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah
Missler stops here even though the text goes on to mention the sons of Noah, namely Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now, Missler’s whole premise here relies on the significance the Hebrews attached to names. Today we simply pick names we like, but the Hebrews chose names based, in part, on their meaning. Here’s a rundown of Missler’s analysis:
Adam – man
Seth – appointed
Enosh – mortal, frail or miserable
Kenan – sorrow, dirge or elegy
Mahalalel – the Blessed God
Jared – shall come down
Enoch – teaching or commencement
Methuselah – his death shall bring
Lamech – despairing
Noah – to bring relief
If put together into a sentence, this would read:
Man is appointed mortal sorrow; but the Blessed God shall come down teaching that His death shall bring the despairing relief (or rest).
At first, this seems pretty impressive. Missler, however, takes it to be quite a bit more, namely evidence of “supernatural engineering”. He furthermore states that “This punctures the presumptions of many who view the Bible as a record of an evolving cultural tradition…” But why? From here I’d like to proceed in two directions. First, is there really a hidden message here or does it take some “massaging” to get the desired result? Second, even if we entertain this conclusion, does it really suggest a supernatural origin or is there a perfectly good natural explanation?
To see if there really was a hidden message I went to Crosswalk.com, a Christian website which has Bible study tools allowing one to look up original Greek and Hebrew words, even their roots. Here’s what I found:
Adam – man or mankind
Seth – compensation [or from its root] to put, set, lay (hand upon), appoint, fix, set mind to, to constitute, make like, perform, to take one’s stand, to lay waste, to be imposed, be set upon
Enosh – man, mortal man, person, mankind
Kenan – possession, [from root] nest, to make a nest
Mahalalel – praise of God
Jared – descent, to go down, march down, to go or come down
Enoch – dedicated, [root] to train, dedicate, inaugurate
Methuselah – man of the dart or man of the weapon
Lamech – powerful (from an unusual root of uncertain meaning)
Noah – rest
Although some are a direct match with Missler’s translation, it is still significantly harder to see any coherent message. One would imagine that if a divine being such as God had intended for their to be such a message, then there would be no doubt or ambiguity. Yet, even Missler concedes at the beginning of this chapter that
“The meaning of proper names can be a difficult pursuit since a direct translation is usually not readily available… views concerning the meaning of original roots are not free of controversy and variant readings.”
With such an admission, it seems rather disingenuous to conclude the chapter with a verdict of “supernatural engineering”.
So, it isn’t clear that there really is a hidden message at all. Nevertheless, provided that Missler’s translations are valid with respect to accepted scholarly understandings of potential meanings, it is interesting that such construction can be made. For the sake of argument, then, let us tentatively assume that there is a “hidden” message.
Evidence of Supernatural Engineering?
Supposing that there is significance to the order and meaning of the names in Genesis 5, it seems that it would only be a “hidden” message with respect to gentiles. As mentioned above, the Jews attached great significance to names and their meanings. It is therefore hard to imagine that this “hidden” message would not have been plain as day to Hebrew readers. Jewish writers were also fond of structure. That is, there was significance to special kinds of literary structure. So, this “hidden” message may have just been a clever literary device.
But what about the fact that it proclaims the Christian gospel? Isn’t this a prediction of Jesus? It is certainly easy to see why a Christian would be quick to conclude such a thing. But notice that this particular message is quite vague. Much of Jewish religious thought concerned itself with notions of apostasy and redemption. Furthermore, the author of Genesis is already thought to preempt the gospel in Chapter 3 when God speaks to the serpent about one in the line of Eve that will bruise the serpent’s head. This is called the proto-evangelium. It is therefore not that surprising that the author would follow this theme by encoding this idea within the significance of names in the very line that was supposed to bring about the bruiser of the serpent’s head.
One could object that it is highly unlikely that these 10 people would have just the right names by accident, therefore God must have superintended it all. While it would be unlikely, such an objection relies on the assumption that these 10 people were actually real historical figures. But given that there is absolutely no evidence or reason to accept this and significant evidence to the contrary (even many Christians believe Genesis to be myth) it is reasonable to take this genesis account as merely a cultural myth whereby the figures and hence the names were engineered by the writer of Genesis to fulfill a literary purpose. Far from being a prediction, then, later Hebrew writers simply constructed the story of Jesus (whether in part or in full) to coincide with all that they understood from the Old Testament, including this “hidden” message.
Missler’s Bibliography for Selection One
Missler, Chuck, Cosmic Codes – Hidden Messages From the Edge of Eternity, Koinonia House, 1999.
Rosenbaum, M., and Silbermann, A., Pentateuch with Onkelos’s Translation (into Aramaic) and Rashi’s Commentary, Silbermann Family Publishers, Jerusalem, 1973.
Stedman, Ray C., The Beginnings, Word Books, Waco, TX, 1978.