James 1:22-23

But become makers of the message - and not just hearers misleading yourselves
For if anyone is a hearer of the message and not a maker
he is like a man assessing the face of his 'Genesis' in a mirror [Jm.1:22-23]

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If you find this website to be of some interest
then you may also like to read:

  Why Call Me God? : The Gospel Seen with a Single Eye  

published by Capabel Press in September 2009.

The book explains the ancient 'mystery' concealed behind the text of the gospels
at the time they were first composed.

The riddles of Greek scripture are soon unravelled to expose the devastating plot
which must have been familiar to the Gnostic authors.

Analysis then shows that the deeply challenging message of the gospels
is not what the Christian churches say. It is something very different…
and now explained in this groundbreaking book.

For details, please click here

Why Call Me God

ISBN: 978 0 9562057 0 4

Chapter 2 : Riddles and Things Hidden

Copyright Notice
As the basis for my work I have used the Nestlé-Aland 26th Edition Greek text. Copyright on this is reserved as follows :
..... Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestlé-Aland 26th edition (c)1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;
..... The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition (c) 1975, United Bible Societies, London
This is the Greek text underlying most modern English translations since 1881, including the New American Standard and New International Versions. Certain words within the Nestlé text proper are enclosed in square brackets [ ] or double brackets [[ ]]. These reflect those places where the critical text editors consider the inclusion or omission of such text to be in question.
This text is only available for NON-COMMERCIAL personal/scholarly and educational use.

I have also used the CATSS LXX editions of the Septuagint Old Testament prepared by the TLG (Thesaurus Linguae Graecae) Project directed by T. Brunner at the University of California, Irvine and made available through the Center for Computer Analysis of Texts (CCAT) at the University of Pennsylvania 'for the use of students, teachers and scholars in study and education contexts'.
This text is only available for NON-COMMERCIAL personal/scholarly and educational use.

Unless otherwise noted, the remainder of what is presented in this document is my original work. Copyright on this is reserved as follows :
..... Authentic Christianity, 4th edition : (c) 2001 - 2004, Target Technical, York, UK
All rights are reserved - except that this text is made available without charge for NON-COMMERCIAL personal/scholarly and educational use.

2.1 Introduction
One evening in January 2001 I was puzzling over certain intriguing features of the gospel stories. The passages which had my attention were Jn.3:23 (the baptism given by John : the places named Ainon/Saleim are not known to have existed) and the 'anomalous pair' at Mt.15:39/ Mk.8:10 (the destinations 'Magadan' and 'Dalmanoutha or Dalmanutha' given in the two gospels are quite distinct, they share 6 letters in their spellings, neither is known to have existed, and I thought there must be a particular reason for this).

John :
43N 3 23 hn de kai o iwannhs baptizwn en ainwn eggus tou saleim oti udata polla hn ekei kai pareginonto kai ebaptizonto
43N 3 23 But John also was baptizing in Ainon near the Saleim because 'many waters' was there. And they were coming and were being baptized

I was puzzling this over ... an enigma, you might say ... and noticed that the first three letters of the place name 'ainwn' (Ainon) were also the first three letters of the word 'ainigma' (enigma). To my surprise I saw that the remaining characters 'i.g.m.a' needed to complete this word were right there within the next three words. So the puzzling composite place name 'Ainon near the Saleim' contains the very word which in Greek means 'a riddle' - but itself concealed in the form of an anagram riddle. Moreover it is associated with the baptism of John - and John is the name attributed to the writer of this Gospel.

Later I understood rather better the significance of the references to 'Magadan' and 'Dalmanoutha'. But I notice that most commentators remain puzzled by the significance of these place names - so I have set out my own analysis in the insert which follows here :

Matthew :
40N 15 39 kai apolusas tous oclous enebh eis to ploion kai hlqen eis ta oria magadan
40N 15 39 And releasing the crowds, he entered into the boat, and came into the frontiers (of) Magadan
Mark :
41N 8 10 kai euqus embas eis to ploion meta twn maqhtwn autou hlqen eis ta merh dalmanouqa
41N 8 10 And immediately, entering into the boat with his disciples, he came into the districts (of) Dalmanoutha

The first thing to appreciate is that these verses, clearly reproductive variants, are placed at precisely corresponding points in the stories attributed to Matthew and to Mark. For these are the two gospels in which the 'feeding' stories are repeated - and each of the two verses considered here follows directly the second of the two stories (the 'Feeding of the 4000'). Indeed, in each gospel the preceding verse is the one to enumerate the crowd at the value of 'tetrakiscilioi' (four thousand) [Note: reversal anagram @ Ac.21:38 with 'sikariwn' (sikarioi)].

It is clear that :

  • There is an association with the 'feeding' of the multitude

  • In the stories these two place names are in some way equivalent

  • There is no historical or archaeological evidence for their existence (as real-world settlements)

  • The two names share the 6 letters 'm.a.a.d.a.n'

  • The first three letters of each name may be combined to yield 'mag.dal', itself the first part of the name 'magdalhnh' (Magdalene). Then Mary Magdalene is mentioned explicitly elsewhere in both of these gospels - but in each case not until later in the story

  • Related 'migdal' (Migdal) is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew word (a tower) - as in the story of the 'Tower of Babel' for which the punishment was "Let us confuse their language so that each may not hear the voice of his neighbour" [Gn.11:7]

  • 'dan' (Dan) is the name of one of Jacob's sons by Bilhah (for Rachel) [Gn.30:6]

These place names are surely artefacts. But we can expect them to have been composed on some meaningful basis - even though the basis may not be immediately evident. This is a co-operative anagram riddle. Experience in the resolution of such riddles tells us that it may pay to focus attention upon those letters which are common to the two names and to what (exactly) is said in the associated text - whilst keeping in mind the overall circumstances in which the riddle is presented. This approach is essentially similar to that of a person addressing the solution of a crossword puzzle clue.

  • The overall circumstances are clearly feeding of the multitude

  • The shared letters are 'm.a.a.d.a.n'

  • In Mt. the destination is 'ta oria magadan' (the frontiers of Magadan)

  • In Mk. the destination is 'ta merh dalmanouqa' (the districts of Magadan)

Now in a territorial context the neuter noun 'orion' means 'a frontier' - but it also means a 'limit', being as far as we can see (a notion derived from the verb 'oraw' : I see).

And in a territorial context the neuter noun 'meros' means 'a district' - but it also means a 'portion' of something.

Then we may read the directions again as follows :

Matthew :
40N 15 39 ... hlqen eis ta oria magadan
40N 15 39 ... he came into the limits (of) Magadan
Mark :
41N 8 10 ... hlqen eis ta merh dalmanouqa
41N 8 10 ... he came into the portions (of) Dalmanoutha

Those versed in Greek scripture will know that it was with yet another neuter noun, to man (the manna) that the Israelites were fed in the desert [Ex.16:31-35].

Now it should not be too difficult to recognise something concealed within the limits (ie. the two ends) of magadan but within the (central) portion of dalmanouqa.

Yes, in each case it is to man (the manna) !   Now the riddle is beginning to resolve.

For this is how the people will be fed - with words, with words which implement their message in riddles [cf. Mt.4:4]. And at Rv.2:17 we see an overt reference to the manna itself being hidden. Then, if we uncover some, it should not come as any kind of surprise. In fact 'man' appears in 5 of the words of that verse alone.

Are there other words in the GNT which also conceal 'man' ?

Yes, many - and with little doubt these are linked to Luke's parable of the 'mnas' (Minas) [Lk.19:11-28] where the 'wicked servant' is condemned after retaining the single 'mna' with which he was entrusted. Failing to recognise it, he has kept it hidden away [ apokeimenhn ] in a handkerchief ! He is judged by what he himself says (for he does not know the meaning of his own words). So [Lk.19:20-22] :

... ek tou stomatos sou krinw se ponhre doule
... out of your (own) mouth will I judge you, wicked servant !

I hope to explain this important parable more fully in a later chapter - for it too serves the purpose of disclosing the rôle played by anagrams in the texts of scripture. But the fate prescribed for this man's indolence gives us a pretty fair idea what the authors of scripture think of those who fail to wrestle with their texts, of those who fail to resolve the riddles which they (as authors) have gone to so much trouble to configure in their effort to 'put the reader to the test'.

apokeimenhn (hidden away)

pneuma (a spirit) [first @ LXX Gn.1:2]
anemos (a wind)
stamnos (a pot : at LXX Ex.16:33; Hb.9:4 this both literally and anagrammatically conceals the 'man')
imanta (a sandal strap)
amnos (a lamb)
dunamis (power)
kafarnaoum (Capernaum)
metanoia (change of mind; repentance)
ainigma (a riddle)
amhn (Amen)

And are there other words in the GNT which also conceal 'm.a.d.a.n' ?

dunamai (I am able)
daimonia (demons)
lampadwn (of lamps)
magdalhnh (Magdalene)
damaskon (Damascus)
makedonias (Macedonia)
antapodoma (retribution)
armagedwn (Armagedon)

You may like to reflect upon the significance of some of these.

So this was my initiation.

With no prior idea that there might be any structure of this kind within the Gospels, I wondered at first whether this was not just a matter of chance. Perhaps that was all it was - just chance, nothing more.

But what if it was deliberate on the part of the writers? Then that might explain the use of non-existent place names - for 'making up' such names would allow to the author what mathematicians know as 'an additional degree of freedom'. If more extensive, it could perhaps account for certain strange features of the Gospel texts. What about the sometimes anomalous grammar, the apparently flawed quotations from the Old Testament, the difficulty of making proper sense of some of the 'sayings'? Then in some parts of the letters attributed to Paul the sentence construction is so confusing that to translate accurately to another language - and still make sense - is close to impossible. Confronted by this, many have resorted to paraphrase.

If it was deliberate then it would be reasonable to expect that there would be further textual 'enigmas' of this kind - which, if I tried, I might identify and even elucidate. Perhaps the Gospels contained an extensive double message - first the overt message with which so many are familiar - and then a further component concealed by the unexpected but simple technique of 'anagrammatic dispersion'.

I started on a new quest - to see what other evidence I could find. To anyone 'blind from birth' [Jn.9], the dawning possibility of 'new sight' can be quite exciting. But was this an invalid quest - or was it a valid one ?

2.2 What is a Gospel ?
So that (for me) was a new beginning - and a lot of things began to come into focus together. In what follows I shall depart from describing what I have found in the sequence in which I learned it. Instead I shall try to set things out in such a way as I suppose may best allow you to follow for yourself what a gospel may truly be - and how it may be 'read'.

First I would like to draw attention to what is written at the end of (Luke's) 'Acts of the Apostles' :
44N 28 23 taxamenoi de autw hmeran hlqon pros auton eis thn xenian pleiones ois exetiqeto diamarturomenos thn basileian tou qeou peiqwn te autous peri tou ihsou apo te tou nomou mwusews kai twn profhtwn apo prwi ews esperas
44N 28 23 And having appointed with him a day, they came to him in the lodging. Mostly for them, he set out to give witness to the kingdom of God, persuading them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning to evening

44N 28 24 kai oi men epeiqonto tois legomenois oi de hpistoun
44N 28 24 And some were persuaded by that being said, whilst others disbelieved

44N 28 25 asumfwnoi de ontes pros allhlous apeluonto eipontos tou paulou rhma en oti kalws to pneuma to agion elalhsen dia hsaiou tou profhtou pros tous pateras umwn
44N 28 25 And being at variance with one another, they departed, making to Paul one remark - that the holy spirit spoke well through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers

44N 28 26 legwn poreuqhti pros ton laon touton kai eipon akoh akousete kai ou mh sunhte kai blepontes bleyete kai ou mh idhte
44N 28 26 Saying 'Go to this people and say "With hearing, you will hear and not understand : and seeing, you will see and not perceive".

44N 28 27 epacunqh gar h kardia tou laou toutou kai tois wsin barews hkousan kai tous ofqalmous autwn ekammusan mhpote idwsin tois ofqalmois kai tois wsin akouswsin kai th kardia sunwsin kai epistreywsin kai iasomai autous
44N 28 27 For the heart of this people has grown fat. With their ears they heard heavily and they half-closed their eyes - lest they perceive with the eyes and hear with the ears - and understand with their heart - and turn back - and I should heal them [Is.6:9-10].

44N 28 28 gnwston oun estw umin oti tois eqnesin apestalh touto to swthrion tou qeou autoi kai akousontai
44N 28 28 Then let it be known to you that this, the salvation of God, was sent to the nations [Ps.67:2]. They also will hear.

44N 28 30 enemeinen de dietian olhn en idiw misqwmati kai apedeceto pantas tous eisporeuomenous pros auton
And he remained two whole years in his own rented place - and he received all those coming in to him

44N 28 31 khrusswn thn basileian tou qeou kai didaskwn ta peri tou kuriou ihsou cristou meta pashs parrhsias akwlutws
Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the (things) about the lord Jesus Christ with all outspokenness (and) without hindrance.

So what was all that about? Finally Paul has reached Rome. In this story he is explaining the message of the gospel to the Jews of the dispersion residing there. But some were persuaded - others not.

At then at v.26 we get that quote from Isaiah 6:9 :

Within the 8 verses which I have quoted there are 879 Greek characters. The letter 'x' (X) is used in the Greek New Testament canon with an overall frequency of 0.33%. In a passage of this length we should therefore expect it to be used about three times. Indeed there are three 'x' characters here - but do you notice that all three are clustered in v. 23? How curious. And in that same verse did you notice the word 'peiqwn' (persuading)? Now the word 'puqwn' (a python) both looks and sounds similar to the participle 'peiqwn'. And in the book of 'Genesis' is not a serpent cast as a 'token of evil'? Coincidence? Or is this the kind of sight and hearing we now need to acquire?

But before we get distracted with that, stop a moment. Where else do we see those verses from Isaiah 6 quoted? They are echoed at Mk.4:12 and Lk.8:10 - but the other place we get them in full is at Mt.13:14-15. Shortly I shall return to this most informative chapter.

Meanwhile you may like to notice this - at Mk.4:11-14 :
41N 4 11 kai elegen autois umin to musthrion dedotai ths basileias tou qeou ekeinois de tois exw en parabolais ta panta ginetai
41N 4 11 And he said to them "To you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God - but to those who are outside, all things happen within parables

41N 4 12 ina blepontes blepwsin kai mh idwsin kai akouontes akouwsin kai mh suniwsin mhpote epistreywsin kai afeqh autois
So that seeing, they may see - and not perceive. And hearing, they may hear - and not understand. Unless they may 'turn back' - and it should be forgiven them.

41N 4 13 kai legei autois ouk oidate thn parabolhn tauthn kai pws pasas tas parabolas gnwsesqe
41N 4 13 And he said to them "You do not understand this parable. Then how will you know all the parables?"

41N 4 14 o speirwn ton logon speirei
41N 4 14 The one sowing is sowing the 'logos'

So those failing to penetrate the 'mystery' are failing to do so because their sight and hearing are impaired?

And do not forget what is being sown by 'o speirwn' (the one sowing). He is sowing 'ton logon' (the 'logos'). This word means something like 'speech' or 'saying' - and in the gospel of John it finds very explicit use in referring to the person of 'Jesus Christ'.

Then 'composing' the verses of the Gospel may be 'sowing' [Mt.13:24] - and 'reading' these verses may be 'harvesting' [Mt.13:30]?

These words are all used in the Greek New Testament :

So the alphabet characters may be used like 'seeds'. Think of the letter 'tiles' used with the well-known 'Scrabble'[TM] word game. Assembled together, the letters can serve to express the 'word of God' - within which the 'mystery of the kingdom' may be concealed. The literal message may even be deliberately misleading. All is in parables [Mt.13:34 & Mk.4:11] - and a parabola (for in Greek there is no distinction between these two words) is the curve of a quadratic equation, an equation having two distinct solutions. By analogy, the Gospel texts may have a multiple solution - achieved perhaps by controlling the way in which the 'seeds' have been 'scattered' ?

The Greek word for 'dispersion' is 'diaspora' : DIASPORA. Literally it means 'sowing throughout'. Conventionally the word 'diaspora' is used to refer to the dispersion of the Jewish people throughout the Mediterranean world - and particularly so following upon the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in the year CE70. But remember that this is just about the time that the Gospels themselves were written. So it could be natural to think of a process of dispersion taking place simultaneously on two different scales. On the geographic scale, the word of God (the scripture) is dispersed along with the people - who in this first way act as its vector. On the scriptural scale, the 'word' which is carried in this first way is itself 'dispersed' within the written message. By this I mean that it is encoded, encrypted, composed in such a way that the full meaning is not immediately apparent.

The world of antiquity was fascinated by riddles - and I fancy the student of scripture is not to be spared exposure to this old-established tradition.

Now there is an interesting overlap between :
'o speiras'
- the noun meaning 'the sower'.

and :
- the verb meaning 'I tempt'; 'I put to the test'.

and :
- the noun meaning 'temptation'; 'test'.

It looks very much as though there is an association of ideas on the part of the authors of scripture - so that this 'sower' is the very one who, within the texts themselves, 'puts us to the test'. To this end 'parables' form a part of his 'toolkit'. Then to deal with these 'tests' you will certainly need to keep your wits about you.

1 Kings [ the Queen of Sheba visits Solomon ] :
11O 10 1 kai basilissa saba hkousen to onoma salwmwn kai to onoma kuriou kai hlqen peirasai auton en ainigmasin
11O 10 1 And (the) Queen of Saba heard the name 'Salomon' and the name of a lord - and she came to put him to the test in riddles

Then 'peirazw' is found at the following locations in the 'four Gospels' :

2.3 GNT Statistics
Certain compositional techniques used within the Greek 'New Testament' may involve the controlled use of those characters having a low overall incidence. So it may be useful to know the frequencies of the 24 different characters.

To see a histogram plot of the alphabet character frequencies in the Greek New Testament, click here.

2.4 Arithmetic Translation
In antiquity it was conventional for the alphabet characters to serve also as numerals. To follow certain points explained in this paper you will need to appreciate this. Table 1 shows the numeric values conventionally assigned to the characters of the Greek alphabet. The number '6' was represented by the obsolete 'digamma' - or by the lower-case-only character 'stigma', the Greek terminal S (see Bruce Metzger's book 'Manuscripts of the Greek Bible' [Ref.1]). Stigma was the brand mark put upon a slave or criminal. The number '6' may therefore have a sinister connotation.

a b g d e z h q
1 2 3 4 5 7 8 9
i k l m n x o p
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
r s t u f c y w V
100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 6

Table 1

Table 2 shows the English equivalents to the Greek characters.

a b g d e z h q
a b g d e z ê th
i k l m n x o p
i c l m n x o p
r s t u f c y w V
r s t y ph ch ps ô s

Table 2

The authors of scripture have inherited (perhaps from the hieroglyphic tradition of Egypt) the practice of 'coding' for a word by substituting its number equivalent. In Greek this is the 'ariqmos' (number value) of the word - achieved by adding up the numerical values of the individual letters. This is one of the techniques comprising what is known as 'gemetria'.

For example :
'nomos' (law) has a value = 50+70+40+70+200 = 430
... which we can see demonstrated at Ga.3:17 :

48N 3 17 touto de legw diaqhkhn prokekurwmenhn upo tou qeou o meta tetrakosia kai triakonta eth gegonws nomos ouk akuroi eis to katarghsai thn epaggelian
48N 3 17 And so I speak a covenant previously confirmed by God. The law which came into being over four hundred and thirty years, does not lose efficacy so as to abrogate the promise.
And :
'h magdalhnh' (the Magdalene) has a value = 8+40+1+3+4+1+30+8+50+8 = 153
... whilst at Jn.21:9 you can find 'icquwn megalwn ekaton penthkonta triwn' (one hundred and fifty three big fish)

An extension to this practice - which again seems to derive from the religious traditions of Egypt - was the substitution of a first word by another word which happens to have the same number value as the word to be replaced. This is known as 'isopsephia'. It is recognised (by some) that these techniques feature in the book of 'Genesis'. But I maintain that they find use also within the Greek 'New Testament'.

For example :
'rebekka' (Rebecca) has a value = 100+5+2+5+20+20+1 = 153
'h magdalhnh' (the Magdalene) has a value = 8+40+1+3+4+1+30+8+50+8 = 153

- from which it follows that there is an 'equivalence'
... and so 'h magdalhnh' can stand for 'rebekka' in an allegorical sense
... or one name can be substituted for the other
And :
'kain' (Cain) has a value = 20+1+10+50 = 81
'bhqania' (Bethany) has a value = 2+8+9+1+50+10+1 = 81

... and so 'kain' may be associated with 'bhqania' - which in any case supplies three of its four letters as well as evoking the word 'qanatos' (death).

These techniques are forms of 'arithmetic translation'.

2.5 Implicit Associations
Around 250BCE in Alexandria (Egypt) the Pentateuch of the Hebrew bible was transposed to Greek - yielding what is known in the Latin world as the 'Septuagint' (LXX) text. In Greek it was known as " oi o' " ( the 70, for the number value of the letter 'o' is 70 ). It is likely that this was the version in common use by those who composed the 'New Testament' texts (some 300 years later). For those who would like to learn more, I can recommend Jobes & Silva's excellent book 'Invitation to the Septuagint' [Ref.2].

Before the Ptolemaic era (ie. before the conquests of Alexander around 333BCE) hieroglyph writing had been established for around 3000 years in Egypt. Later (simplified) script forms are known as 'demotic' (ie. popular). As with Hebrew, vowels were for the most part omitted. Like modern Arabic, Hebrew is written from right to left - but hieroglyph writing may be in any preferred direction, even in different directions in different panels of the same text, and quite commonly with the sequence of the characters scrambled to improve the visual appearance of the composition as a whole. In Egypt no one would have been able to 'read' at all if he/she could not 'read' anagrammatically.

Here then we have the basis for the adoption of anagrams and of anagrammatic association within Greek scripture.

And whereas certain Egyptian hieroglyphs represented a particular idea (ideograms), the same hieroglyphs might be used to represent sounds (phonograms) - so permitting less common words to be spelled out syllable by syllable (much as we do with all our writing in modern times). Frequently a text would mix these types of use. As a result, interpretation (ie. reading) required not only pattern recognition but also a fair level of analytical intelligence. And (as one might expect) the language developed over time - which for us complicates things still further.

Then around CE400 the Egyptian written language was extinguished. The ancient scripts were replaced with Coptic, a script consisting of the 24 Greek characters augmented by six demotic characters (used for sounds lacking in Greek). Some hold that the Christian church outlawed the use of Egyptian scripts in an attempt to eradicate the link with the old religious traditions. It was not until the time of the Napoleonic wars (around CE1800) that the ancient language was once again brought to light - triggered by the analysis of the triple text found upon the 'Rosetta Stone' [Ref.3].

But when the Septuagint version was completed in Alexandria the Egyptian hieroglyph writing was still extant - and it seems hardly likely that those who re-wrote the Hebrew scripture would have been unaware of the 'Egyptian' equivalent for the texts upon which they were working. Moreover the books of the Pentateuch themselves were imbued with the religious stories and compositional styles developed in Egypt and the middle east over many hundreds of years. For (by tradition anyway) Moses was the author of the Pentateuch (first five books) - and 'Exodus' tells us of Moses' upbringing in association with the court of the Pharaohs [Ex.2:10]. Then in Stephen's speech at Ac.7:22 we have :

44N 7 22 kai epaideuqh mwushs [en] pash sofia aiguptiwn hn de dunatos en logois kai ergois autou
44N 7 22 And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He was powerful in sayings and (in) his works

- and, yes, that was 'ofis' (an Egyptian serpent) lurking within the text.

Now it is in this context that we do well to consider the implicit significance of certain features in the stories of scripture - as well as the associations made with certain letters of the Greek alphabet. For the tradition of Hebrew scripture passed into Greek around 250BCE - and then into the Greek texts of the 'New Testament' in the second half of the first century CE.

As is well known, Genesis presents us early on [Gn.3:1] with the image of 'o ofis' (the serpent) as a token of evil. But this name includes the letter 'f' (F) - and how many realise that this Greek letter is employed as a 'token of evil' in itself ? For the equivalent sound in Egyptian was represented by the hieroglyph of the horned asp (a species of serpent).

The other common hieroglyph depicting a serpent was that for the sound DJ - more or less equivalent to Greek letter 'z' (Z) which it also resembles in its shape.

Hieroglyph F Hieroglyph Z
Horned Asp Cobra ?
F; V = Greek 'f' DJ = Greek 'z'

Figure 1

Then, to complicate things further, it was known amongst the Egyptian scribes to substitute a phonetically different but visually similar hieroglyph in place of the correct one - just to give the reader a puzzle to solve. This is equivalent to making a deliberate spelling mistake. In particular it was known to use the 'horned asp' hieroglyph (above) as a substitute for the 'cobra' hieroglyph [Ref.4]. It seems that either of the two 'serpent' hieroglyphs might serve equally well as a 'token of evil'.

This, I think, is the underlying reason why the characters 'f' (F) and 'z' (Z) are amongst those used consistently in Greek scripture with a bad connotation [ 'x' (X) is also used in this way ]. The usual pattern is that words containing these letters may have a sinister sense - this being emphasised if such words are repeated within a verse, or if such letters are repeated within a single word. The latter is the case with the artefact word 'zizania' [n. plural] which is discussed in the following section. Then at 2P.1:19 we find 'fwsforos' (Lucifer).

At Ezk.1:28 - 2:6 we find the following passage - with the letter f appearing grouped into two clusters of three :

26O 1 28 ws orasis toxou otan h en th nefelh en hmera uetou outws h stasis tou feggous kukloqen auth h orasis omoiwmatos doxhs kuriou kai eidon kai piptw epi proswpon mou kai hkousa fwnhn lalountos
26O 1 28 Like (the) appearance of a (rain)bow when it is in the cloud in a day of rain, so (was) the stance of the brightness surrounding it. The appearance (was) similar to (the) glory of a lord - and I saw. And I fall upon my face, and I heard a voice speaking
26O 2 1 kai eipen pros me uie anqrwpou sthqi epi tous podas sou kai lalhsw pros se
26O 2 1 And he said to me "Son of man, stand upon your feet and I will speak with you"
26O 2 2 kai hlqen ep'eme pneuma kai anelaben me kai exhren me kai esthsen me epi tous podas mou kai hkouon autou lalountos pros me
26O 2 2 And a spirit came upon me - and he took me up and took me out and stood me upon my feet - and I heard him speaking to me
26O 2 3 kai eipen pros me uie anqrwpou exapostellw egw se pros ton oikon tou israhl tous parapikrainontas me oitines parepikranan me autoi kai oi pateres autwn ews ths shmeron hmeras
26O 2 3 And he said to me "Son of man, I am sending you out to the household of Israel, those embittering me. These are the the ones who will embitter me, they and their fathers, until the 'today' day.
26O 2 4 kai ereis pros autous tade legei kurios
26O 2 4 And you shall say to them 'Thus says (the) lord'
26O 2 5 ean ara akouswsin h ptohqwsin dioti oikos parapikrainwn estin kai gnwsontai oti profhths ei su en mesw autwn
26O 2 5 If then they will hear (or they may be terrified because it is an embittered house) yet shall they know that you are a prophet in (the) midst of them.
26O 2 6 kai su uie anqrwpou mh fobhqhs autous mhde eksths apo proswpou autwn dioti paroistrhsousi kai episusthsontai epi se kuklw kai en mesw skorpiwn su katoikeis tous logous autwn mh fobhqhs kai apo proswpou autwn mh eksths dioti oikos parapikrainwn estin
26O 2 6 And you, son of man, do not fear them - nor stand away from their face. Because they will be around and introduced upon your circle - and in the midst of scorpions you will dwell. Do not fear their sayings - and do not stand away from their face, because it is an embittered house".

To see how this passage appears in an uncial text from the sixth century CE, click here.
The scribe has chosen to highlight the letter
'f' by enlarging it wherever it occurs.

And we may begin to think ...

The prophet knows that the voice from the brightness
surrounding the cloud may induce fear ?

Here in the gospel attributed to Luke we find the letter 'f' used twice in one verse - and now (quite by chance) the letter 'F' comes through into the English translation as well :

42N 2 12 kai touto umin to shmeion eurhsete brefos esparganwmenon kai keimenon en fatnh
42N 2 12 "And this (is) to you the sign : you will find a Foetus wrapped in a strip of cloth and lying in a Feeding trough"

As with Egyptian hieroglyph writing, it seems clear that subtle adjustments to the nominal text were also a feature of Hebrew scripture. J. Ralston Skinner ("Key to Hebrew-Egyptian Mystery") quotes Green's 'Hebrew Grammar' as follows :

The signs (of the alphabet) thus far described represent all the sounds of the Hebrew language. Its stock of words is formed by combining these in various significant ways. The laws of such combinations, and especially the mutations to which they are subject, or which they occasion, next demand attention. When a particular idea has been attached to a certain combination of sounds, its different modifications may naturally be expressed by slightly varying those sounds. This may take place :

  1. By the substitution of one letter for another of like character, and for the most part of the same organ, eg.
    Hebrew Script Hebrew English
    Hebrew001 H.I.H to be;
    to exist
    Hebrew002 CH.I.H to live

  2. By transposition of letters eg.
    Hebrew Script Hebrew English
    Hebrew003 PH.R.TS to deal
    Hebrew004 PH.TS.R to urge

  3. By the addition of a letter
Such literal changes as those just recited not only serve to express new shades of meaning, but even where the meaning remains precisely the same, they may represent diversities of other sorts. The lexicographer regards such words (undergoing such changes) as cognate, and traces them back to their common source.

I hope this illustrates the fact that in the Hebrew language (just as with Egyptian hieroglyph writing) it is quite acceptable to substitute one letter with a similar one - or to alter the sequence of the letters in a word. A word amended in this manner may then have a meaning which is distinct from but related to the original word (so being the basis for the fruit/tree principle) - or it may be used in the manner of a metaphor but with the intention of leaving the real meaning unchanged (so being the basis for the anagram puzzle principle). These principles are exemplified in the chapters which follow.

Now anyone paying close attention to the Greek texts of scripture will notice that these compositional features are retained there . I do not mean that they always take the same rôle in secular Greek texts - but within Greek scripture these principles have a key rôle to play.

For a simple example, look at Is.34:6 (see also Chapter 6, Section 6.3) :

23O 34 6 h macaira kuriou eneplhsqh aimatos epacunqh apo steatos arnwn kai apo steatos tragwn kai kriwn oti qusia kuriw en bosor kai sfagh megalh en th idoumaia
23O 34 6 The dagger of 'the lord' is filled with blood. It has grown fat from (the) fat of lambs, from the fat of goats and of rams. For (there was) a sacrifice by 'the lord' in Bosor and a great slaughter in Idumaea

... the dagger [ macaira ] of 'the lord' is filled with blood [ aima ]

Do you see it? The very word for 'a dagger' is itself 'filled with blood' - and incidentally this is also the case with the word for 'a two-edged sword' [ romfaia ]. And if you are observant you may also see 'Christ' [ c..r ] incipient in the 'dagger' as well.

Then there is an obvious association between 'a midwife' [ maia ] and the 'blood' [ aima ] which she encounters. And if you look again at this verse from Isaiah you will see her there as well - within the word for 'Idumaea' [ idou-maia ]. This place name reads literally as 'look-midwife'. Beyond doubt it refers to 'Edom' (see Gn.25:30). But here I think Cain is 'the lord' - and his is the 'dagger' which sheds the blood of Abel (Gn.4:8).

Here is a related example from the book of the 'Apocalypse' [Rv.19:11-15] - of the one "sitting upon a white horse, out of whose mouth emerges 'romfaia oxeia' (a sharp two-edged sword)" :

66N 19 13 kai peribeblhmenos imation bebammenon aimati kai keklhtai to onoma autou o logos tou qeou
66N 19 13 And (he has) thrown around a garment soaked [alt: baptised] with blood - and his name has been called the 'logos' of God.

The dative case of the word 'aima' (blood) is 'aimati' (with blood). Now do you see the garment [ imation ] stained with blood [ aimati ] ?

The 'logos' is 'the lord' (ie. Cain).

To receive the full import of Greek scripture you really do need to be able to recognise these things. So now perhaps you can see what the challenge is.

But if you read from a so-called 'translation' to another language then you will not see these things. They are absent from 'translated' texts : they are not there to see. Then surely 'word blindness' (dyslexia) will be your affliction - with a resulting inability to know the message the text conveys, to solve the 'mystery' of the gospel.

Then, like many before you, you risk being led badly astray.

2.6 The Sower in Mt.13
There is a structural method employed in the Gospels known as chiasmus. The name comes from the shape of the Greek character 'chi' which looks like this : ' C '. I will not go into it in any detail here - but simply identify that chiasmus is a compositional form which involves selecting the most important topic as the central core of a block of text and then assembling corresponding layers of related information in a symmetrical arrangement on either side. The process may be likened to constructing a sandwich around its filling. These chiastic structures are not difficult to identify in the gospels. The principle may even be applied to an entire gospel. For example the gospel of Matthew has 28 chapters - and, according to this principle, chapters somewhere near the middle may contain the most important part of the message.

These chapters include the following :



We may do well to pay particular attention to what may be the meanings of these particular stories - and these meanings may not be all that obvious at first sight.

I believe that the parable of the zizania may be taken as a key example of my subject here - for the story relates to sowing, a process requiring dispersion - and perhaps this is a reference to a method of anagrammatic dispersion employed by the author(s) within the Gospel texts themselves.

Then this is what we are told in the 'parable of the zizania' [Mt.13] :

40N 13 24 allhn parabolhn pareqhken autois legwn wmoiwqh h basileia twn ouranwn anqrwpw speiranti kalon sperma en tw agrw autou
40N 13 24 He set another parable before them, saying : The 'kingdom of the heavens' may be likened to a person sowing good seed in his field

40N 13 25 en de tw kaqeudein tous anqrwpous hlqen autou o ecqros kai epespeiren zizania ana meson tou sitou kai aphlqen
40N 13 25 And in 'sleeping the men', there came from him the enemy - and he sowed zizania in the midst of the wheat and went away

40N 13 26 ote de eblasthsen o cortos kai karpon epoihsen tote efanh kai ta zizania
40N 13 26 And when the grass sprouted and bore fruit, then also the zizania appeared

40N 13 27 proselqontes de oi douloi tou oikodespotou eipon autw kurie ouci kalon sperma espeiras en tw sw agrw poqen oun ecei zizania
40N 13 27 But coming, the servants of the householder said to him "Lord, did you not sow good seed in your field? From where then does it have zizania?"

40N 13 28 o de efh autois ecqros anqrwpos touto epoihsen oi de douloi legousin autw qeleis oun apelqontes sullexwmen auta
40N 13 28 And he said to them "An enemy (a person) did this". But the servants said to him "Then do you want (us) to go and gather them up?"

40N 13 29 o de fhsin ou mhpote sullegontes ta zizania ekrizwshte ama autois ton siton
40N 13 29 But he said "No, lest gathering up the zizania, you root out the wheat as soon as them

40N 13 30 afete sunauxanesqai amfotera ews tou qerismou kai en kairw tou qerismou erw tois qeristais sullexate prwton ta zizania kai dhsate auta eis desmas pros to katakausai auta ton de siton sunagagete eis thn apoqhkhn mou
40N 13 30 Allow both to grow up together until the harvest, and in the season of the harvest I will say to the harvesters : 'Gather up first the zizania and bind them in bundles for burning them : but gather the wheat into my store' "

40N 13 36 tote afeis tous oclous hlqen eis thn oikian kai proshlqon autw oi maqhtai autou legontes diasafhson hmin thn parabolhn twn zizaniwn tou agrou
40N 13 36 Then he released the crowds. He went into the house and his learners came to him, saying "Explain to us the parable of the zizania of the field".

40N 13 37 o de apokriqeis eipen o speirwn to kalon sperma estin o uios tou anqrwpou
40N 13 37 And answering, he said "The one sowing the good seed is the 'son of man'

40N 13 38 o de agros estin o kosmos to de kalon sperma outoi eisin oi uioi ths basileias ta de zizania eisin oi uioi tou ponhrou
40N 13 38 And the field is the world. The good seed, these are the 'sons of the kingdom' : and the zizania are the sons of the wicked one

40N 13 39 o de ecqros o speiras auta estin o diabolos o de qerismos sunteleia aiwnos estin oi de qeristai aggeloi eisin
40N 13 39 The enemy, the one sowing them, is the devil. The harvest is the completion of the age - and the harvesters are angels.

40N 13 40 wsper oun sullegetai ta zizania kai puri [kata]kaietai outws estai en th sunteleia tou aiwnos
40N 13 40 Then just as the zizania is gathered up and burned with fire, so will it be in the completion of the age

40N 13 41 apostelei o uios tou anqrwpou tous aggelous autou kai sullexousin ek ths basileias autou panta ta skandala kai tous poiountas thn anomian
40N 13 41 The 'son of man' will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all the scandalous things - and those acting lawlessly

40N 13 42 kai balousin autous eis thn kaminon tou puros ekei estai o klauqmos kai o brugmos twn odontwn
40N 13 42 And they will throw them into the furnace of fire - where there will be whimpering and grinding of teeth

40N 13 43 tote oi dikaioi eklamyousin ws o hlios en th basileia tou patros autwn o ecwn wta akouetw
40N 13 43 Then the righteous will shine out like the sun in the kingdom of their father. He who has ears, let him hear".

40N 13 51 sunhkate tauta panta legousin autw nai
40N 13 51 "Have you understood all these things?" They said to him "Yes".

40N 13 52 o de eipen autois dia touto pas grammateus maqhteuqeis th basileia twn ouranwn omoios estin anqrwpw oikodespoth ostis ekballei ek tou qhsaurou autou kaina kai palaia
40N 13 52 And he said to them "Through this, every scribe schooled in 'the kingdom of the heavens' is like a man, a householder, who throws out from his store (alt: treasure) new things and old"

Here are a some comments on the above text:

  1. At v.24 we hear of a 'person'. But beware jumping to the conclusion that the 'person' is good just because he 'sows good seed'. This could be a reference in allegory to the actions of Noah at Gn.9:20 where :

    01O 9 20 kai hrxato nwe anqrwpos gewrgos ghs kai efuteusen ampelwna
    01O 9 20 Noah began to be a person, a worker of the earth - and planted a vineyard.

    The next few verses in 'Genesis' reveal his actions as effective in founding 'the evil city of Sodom'.

  2. v.25 begins with the phrase 'en de tw kaqeudein tous anqrwpous' (and in sleeping the men). The grammar here is rather odd because the verb 'to sleep' is normally intransitive. There must be a good reason for this unusual construction. Here are some possibilities :

    The verse continues 'hlqen autou o ecqros' (... there came from him the enemy; or possibly... his enemy came). There seems to be a suggestion here that the arrival of 'the enemy' is not a chance event - but rather that 'the enemy' emanates from 'the person' himself - and that this is brought about by the person's action in 'sleeping the men'. This still looks very much like Noah.

    And 'zizania' (zizania) is what he then sows. The character 'z' (Z) is the second least used in the entire New Testament [0.23% incidence]. The word 'zizania' seems to be a 'made up' word having no conventional meaning. It is also the only word in the New Testament texts having within it two Z's. There must be some particular reason for the choice of this unusual word. In Section 2.5 above I have suggested that the character Z is employed within scripture as a 'token of evil'.

  3. At v.27 the 'person' is now referred to as 'oikodespoths' - literally 'house despot' - and the servants address him as 'kurie' - 'lord'.

  4. At v.28 we are told 'ecqros anqrwpos touto epoihsen' (an 'enemy', a 'person', has done this). Does this confirm identity between the 'person' and the 'enemy' ? Then 'the enemy' was all along an alias for 'the person' - and he has sowed the zizania himself?

  5. At v.29 the reluctance of 'the person' to have the zizania removed is the more understandable if he did sow it himself ?

  6. At v.36 Jesus goes into 'thn oikian' (the house). Again this may remind us of 'kain' (Cain). The first mention in 'Genesis' of 'oikian' (acc. case) is at Gn.19:3 - where the particular house referred to is Lot's house in the 'city of Sodom'.

  7. At v.37 we are told "The one sowing the good seed is the 'son of man' ".

    So if 'the person' is indeed an alias for 'the enemy'
    ... then 'the son of man' [lit: 'the son of person'] must be 'the enemy'

  8. At v.39 we are told that 'o de ecqros o speiras auta estin o diabolos' (the enemy, the one sowing them, is the devil). The Greek word 'ecqros' is equivalent in meaning to the Hebrew word 'satan' (an enemy) - so probably we should have realised that anyway.

    And of course 'o speiras' has ariqmos (number value) = 666, the number declared at Rv.13:18 :

    66N 13 18 wde h sofia estin o ecwn noun yhfisatw ton ariqmon tou qhriou ariqmos gar anqrwpou estin kai o ariqmos autou exakosioi exhkonta ex
    66N 13 18 Here is wisdom. The one having understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. And his number is six hundred and sixty six.

    So if 'the person' is indeed an alias for 'the enemy'
    ... then 'the son of man' must be 'the devil'

  9. At v.41-42 we hear that "The 'son of man' will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all the scandalous things - and those acting lawlessly. And they will throw them into the furnace of fire where there will be whimpering and grinding of teeth". Notice the word 'kaminon' (a furnace) : did you see 'kain' (Cain) concealed there once again ?

  10. At v.43 we are presented with what, at first sight, looks like the alternative - the destiny of those not provided for in the previous verse.

    But is it the alternative ? Or merely another alias ?

    For we are told :

    oi dikaioi eklamyousin ws o hlios en th basileia tou patros autwn
    The righteous will shine out like the sun in the kingdom of their father

    Did you see 'kaminos' (a furnace) concealed there ? And is not the sun just another 'furnace' ? Then this may be the answer to the riddle - that the mention here of 'oi dikaioi' (the righteous) is just an alias for 'those acting lawlessly' at v.41 - so 'the righteous' will also end up in 'the furnace of fire'. For notice that 'oi dikaioi' almost evokes 'kain' (Cain) - and if you look up 'dikaios' in the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek lexicon you will see that in antiquity this word was used (in Crete) as a euphemism referring to a 'sacred snake'.

    Then we have a direct answer to this puzzle at Gn.6:9 - for :

    nwe anqrwpos dikaios
    Noah (was) a righteous man

    And why do we hear the challenge here at v.43 :

    o ecwn wta akouetw
    He who has ears, let him hear

    Well, perhaps we should catch the resonance between 'hlios' (the sun) and 'hlias' (Elijah) ? Then at v.43 the word 'eklamyousin' (they will shine out) shares two syllables with the word 'kaminon' (furnace) from v.42. So I think we are expected to 'listen out' for the link presented here. If correct, this reinforces the idea that he statements made at vv. 42 & 43 are equivalent - and not complementary as they may appear at first sight.

    So beware the 'righteous' ! For the one who sows 'good seed' may be 'the enemy' himself.

  11. At v.52 we are told: "Through this, every scribe schooled in 'the kingdom of the heavens' is like a person, a householder, who throws out from his store (alt: treasure) new things and old". In this case the 'store' may be more like what we know in English as a 'thesaurus', a dictionary of equivalent words.

    For in the very word 'qhsauros' (store) we can find 'shq' (Seth) as well as 'hsau' (Esau) - and within the word 'kaina' (new) we find once again 'kain' (Cain). All these characters arise in 'Genesis' - so qualifying as 'palaia' (old). And 'old' they may be - but it seems that within the stories of the gospel they still 'walk the earth'. In scriptural terms these characters are seen as being 'alhqhV'. This word is usually translated as 'true' - but this is rather misleading. For it is the adjectival antonym from the noun 'lhqh' (oblivion). 'alhqhV' therefore means 'real, ie. not forgotten', apparently the status intended for these mythical characters !

Now I would like to quote from a curious paper which I came across some time ago ( abstract from [Ref.5] ) :

  • The world is like a book.
  • The secret of a book is always inscribed on a single page.
  • The rest is nothing but gloss and repetition.
  • The ultimate finesse is to make this page disappear once the book is complete.
  • Hence no one will guess what it is about (always the perfect crime).
  • Yet this page remains dispersed within the book, between the lines;
  • the body remains dispersed throughout its scattered limbs,
  • and one ought to be able to reconstitute it without the secret being lifted.
  • This anagrammatic dispersion of things is essential to their symbolic absence, to the force of their illusion.

At Mt.13:38 "the field is the world". And in this piece "the world is like a book".

2.7 Zizania and Zume
Now there is more to say on the significance of the artefact word 'zizania' (zizania).

Then we are cautioned against 'the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees' at Mt.16:11 :
40N 16 11 pws ou noeite oti ou peri artwn eipon umin prosecete de apo ths zumhs twn farisaiwn kai saddoukaiwn
40N 16 11 How do you not perceive that I did not speak to you about bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees"
40N 16 12 tote sunhkan oti ouk eipen prosecein apo ths zumhs twn artwn alla apo ths didachs twn farisaiwn kai saddoukaiwn
40N 16 12 Then they understood that he did not say to beware of the leaven of the bread - but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

And then 'the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod' appear at Mk.8:15 :
41N 8 15 kai diestelleto autois legwn orate blepete apo ths zumhs twn farisaiwn kai ths zumhs hrwdou
41N 8 15 He expanded for them, saying "Look, see from the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod"

Here you can find 'a.i.n.a.z.i.z' scattered backwards within the text again - making apparent the link between 'zizania' and 'zumh'.

The 'zizania' and the 'zumh' can be found anagrammatically dispersed throughout all the texts of the Gospel. It is straightforward to search the Greek text to see which verses provide the characters which would be required to reconstruct the single word 'zizania' (zizania). Here I have done it just for the 'four gospels'.

At the locations in bold zizania appears verbatim. At the remaining locations the alphabetic characters required to spell out the word 'zizania' can be found dispersed within the remaining text : it may be that here zizania grows concealed - 'in the midst of the wheat' :

In section 2.5 above I pointed out that the Egyptian form for the letter 'Z' was a pictorial representation of a serpent. Now it is interesting to notice that the Hebrew word for the verb 'to sow' also starts with a 'Z'. Indeed it may be related to the name 'Eliezer' (lit: god-sower ?) found at Gn.15:2 (see also Chapter 8.2 on Melchizedek). But it seems at least possible that this Hebrew word provides one basis for the artefact Greek word 'zizania' (zizania) which appears in the texts of the gospel attributed to Matthew.

Hebrew Script Numerical [R->L] Hebrew Greek English
Hebrew007 1+30
= 31
AL qeos deity
Hebrew006 7+200+70
= 277
ZRY speirw I sow
Hebrew005 1+30+10+70+7+200
= 318
ALIYZR eliezer Eliezer

2.8 PostScript
I have plans to make available on this site (for free download) a 'Windows' program 'Harvest.Exe'. Its function is to enable you to use your own computer to search for a specified word, phrase or number value 'concealed' within the text of the Greek New Testament. A literal translation to your native language allows you to do this without any great knowledge of Greek. Searching must be conducted upon the Greek text - but by this means you will see the result in your own language also.

This site is still 'under construction'. So please forgive its shortcomings ! There is always more which might be done.

If you would like to make any comments (favourable or otherwise) or have any corrections to offer, then I would be delighted to hear from you - and please accept my thanks in advance. Please use this e-mail address :

email string as GIF

2.9 References
[1] Metzger, Bruce M., "Manuscripts of the Greek Bible", Oxford University Press, 1981, : ISBN 0-19-502924-0, p.9
[2] Jobes KH and Silva M., "Invitation to the Septuagint", Baker Academic/Paternoster Press, 2000, : ISBN 0-8010-2235-5 or ISBN 1-84227-061-3
[3] Singh, Simon, "The Code Book", Fourth Estate, 1999, : ISBN 1-85702-889-9, p.205
[4] - idem, p.217
[5] Baudrillard, Jean, 'The Perfect Crime', Association Francaise d'Action Artistique, 1993, pp.5-12