In the Book of Jeremiah there are at least three examples of what is believed to be coded names used. The cipher used seems to be a well known
substitution cipher called Atbash, or אתבש in Hebrew, as in A=T Ba=Sh — where the first letter is replaced with the last (א=ת) and the second
is replaced with the second to last (ב=ש) and so on. Below is a pic I made with the key for both Hebrew and Greek Atbash variants.
Firstly, let's take a look at the Hebrew Old Testament and the Book of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 25:26 and 51:41 the Heb. word ששך «Sheshakh» is
gibberish, but becomes Heb. בבל or «Babel» (Babylon) when the Atbash cipher is applied (I used King James Version here to show the undeciphered
Hebrew word in context):
«...and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.» [KJV]
«How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised!» [KJV]
In Jeremiah 51:1 Heb. לבקמי «Leb-kamai» is also gibberish, but becomes Heb. כשדים «Kashdim» (Chaldeans) when the Atbash cipher is
applied (here I'll use English Standard Version to illustrate the code undeciphered):
«Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon, against the inhabitants of
Now, this is fairly simple and rather obvious, and it's well known and many modern Bible translations use the deciphered text one way or the other, or
they add a note explaining it. However, isn't there another place in the Bible where Babylon and codes are in motion? Again I'll use the KJV since it
has a slightly more relevant translation in this case as it contains the sentence in uppercase letters. Below that again you can see the Nestle-Aland
(mostly identical to Westcott-Hort) which is the base of most modern bibles. The uppercase text suggests some sort of code, or a mystery:
«And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.» [KJV]
«καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ μέτωπον αὐτῆς ὄνομα γεγραμμένον, μυστήριον, ΒΑΒΥΛΩΝ Η ΜΕΓΑΛΗ, Η
ΜΗΤΗΡ ΤΩΝ ΠΟΡΝΩΝ ΚΑΙ ΤΩΝ ΒΔΕΛΥΓΜΑΤΩΝ ΤΗΣ ΓΗΣ.» [NA27]
Could it be that the original text of John's Apocalypse (Book of Revelation) contained a coded message here? The text in uppercase does look rather
odd, and so does many other words and sentences in Revelation. When I apply the Atbash cipher to the upper-case text above, the text becomes
gibberish, or at least that's what it looks like to me. If there is a code here, there must be something I've missed. My guess is that possibly the
original Apocalypse was written, not in Greek, but in Hebrew or Aramaic, since big chunks of the Apocalypse text refers directly to the Hebrew Old
Testament. However, we know the Gospels and most of the epistles seem to quote the LXX (the Greek Septuagint), so it might indeed have been written in
Koine Greek originally.
Another clue as for codes in Revelation, is that many scholars note that many of the early Revelation mss are littered with apparent mis-spellings and
are full of what appears to be syntactical and grammar errors. Or. What if those errors were deliberate? What if John of Patmos encoded the text with
some sort of cipher that would make the text appear to be full of errors and odd spellings and so on? How I wish we had the original manuscript! The
complete message may have been lost forever. I do believe, however, that 'the scroll with seven seals' from Revelation 5 is the original and unedited
Apocalypse ms, as penned by John of Patmos himself, so who knows? Perhaps one day we will know for sure....
And. The Book of Revelation contains the sentence «I am the Alpha and Omega» (a hint to Atbash cipher?) in four places, twice in the beginning (1:8
and 1:11), and two more times at the end (21:6 and 22:13). In my opinion, this is hardly coincidental. Alpha and Omega, Alef and Tav, the Beginning
and the End, the First and the Last, and it is written in the beginning and at the end. Hm. I think this must be deliberate and that it hints of coded
text. First word of Revelation in Greek is Ἀποκάλυψις («Apokalypsis», Eng. «Revelation») in at least all the (modern) Greek documents,
while the last word of the book is obscured or at least inconsistent, for there are many variants. Most modern translations seems to conclude with
Eng. Amen (Gr. Ἀμήν, Heb. אמן) as does the '1550 Textus Receptus'. But the 'NA27' concludes with Gr. ἁγίων (Gr. «Hagion», Eng. «the
holy [ones]»), and the '1881 Westcott-Hort' and the '1904 Nestle' texts have Gr. πάντων («Panton», Eng. All). There are even a few other
variants. So much for the imperative warning a few lines earlier, about the curses involved with 'adding and deleting words' of the Apocalypse. Nearly
all of the critical Greek texts end with different words. Blimey.
More on Atbash: en.wikipedia.org...
Bible texts: biblehub.com...
Hebrew keyboard and translation: www.doitinhebrew.com...
edit on 27-7-2015 by Utnapisjtim because: Added Revelation to title + a few
syntactical changes + Sources