Jesus as the Son of Man


Brendan McKay
and friends


We apply the methods pioneered by Doron Witztum to investigate whether the Book of Daniel predicted the coming of Jesus the Messiah.

Our experiment is a dismal failure - or is it?

The Book of Daniel

Our inspiration for this experiment came from three different sources involved in codes research.

In choosing the topic of Jesus we were inspired by the Christian groups who found Jesus codes in the Bible. However, Jesus has many related expressions and we wanted to do a small tight experiment - so we had to limit ourselves to one sub-topic related to Jesus.

Here we were inspired by Michael Drosnin: in his book he raises the hypothesis that the "sealed book" mentioned in Daniel is a reference to the hidden codes. As stated by Allyn Jackson (Notices of the AMS, September 1997), "Drosnin harbors dreams of becoming the prophet of our age. He believes he is the one to uncover the secrets in the book sealed by the Old Testament figure, Daniel." (We, of course, believe that this honour belongs to Doron Witztum.)

The Book of Daniel is a natural choice, as it is regarded by Christians as one of the primary books of the Tanach that forecast the coming of Jesus Christ.

Obviously we will not follow the methods of the Christian groups or those of Michael Drosnin, as our Teacher Doron Witztum has correctly dismissed them as scientifically worthless. We mentioned them only in passing as having suggested our topic. We will conduct our experiment according to the objective scientific methods of Doron Witztum described in [WRR3].

The title expressions

To choose the title in an objective manner, we checked the title of the entry for Jesus in the Encyclopedia Hebraica. We found it to be "[] " (Jesus [the Nazarene]), which suggested 3 possible forms:

However, the rules of [WRR3] limit us to words of 5-8 letters, so we rejected the first form. Therefore, our title expressions were determined to be the other two.

The related expressions

The appropriate choices for related expressions were the appellations of Jesus that are related to the book of Daniel.

So, we searched the entry for Jesus in the Encyclopedia Hebraica and found that in all the places in which the encyclopedia mentions the Book of Daniel it is in reference to the same verse, Daniel VII 13, and especially to the concept of (Aramaic for Son of Man) which appears in this verse and which was identified by Jews in Jesus' time (and later) with the concept of the Messiah.

We later found out that this one verse of Daniel was regarded as so important by the early Christians that it is echoed in the New Testament no less than eight times.

So we looked at this verse, which is written in Aramaic:

"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him."

The key concept (Son of Man) becomes the first of our related expressions. It is Aramaic, not Hebrew, but we are not entitled to question the judgement of the Author of the Tanach who wrote it in that manner.

To look for additional appellations of Jesus associated with this verse, we also looked it up in Olam Hatanach [see refs]. This is a modern, scientific, Hebrew commentary on the Bible. We had to use this kind of commentary since the classical traditional Hebrew commentaries on the Bible do not - for obvious reasons - mention the Christian interpretation of verses. In the volume for Daniel-Ezra-Nechemia on page 75 we found the following in relation to "the Son of Man":

From this passage we deduced that the relevant additional appellations of Jesus we should use were (Jesus), (Messiah), (The Messiah), (Jesus Messiah), and (Jesus the Messiah).

Following the rules in [WRR3] again, we reject the phrases with fewer than 5 letters.

Measuring the significance level.

Summarizing our study above, we had selected two title expressions:
and four related expressions:

Now we applied the method of [WRR3] to measure a level of significance in the Book of Genesis. The second title expression and the fourth related expression have no ELS, so they were removed. Then we calculated the P2 score of the three remaining word pairs and compared it to the P2 score when the letters of the related expressions were shuffled at random one million times.

The result was very disappointing for Christians: 171,518 out of a million. We had to conclude that we had found no evidence for Jesus being encoded in the Book of Genesis.


That was almost the end of the story, as our Teacher Doron Witztum had instructed us that no book except the Torah could possibly contain codes. We blushed as we remembered the foolish days of our past, when we imagined that even War and Peace might have them.

Then we thought, "We had better run the experiment anyway, just to show everyone how badly it fails."

So we ran the experiment again on the Hebrew translation of War and Peace (the first 78064 letters, the length of Genesis). We cannot suppress the result, as our Teacher Doron Witztum has instilled in us the importance of honesty:

What can we do? We are in distress. Oh great Doron, show us where we made our error.


Olam Hatanach (Bible World), published by Davidson-Itim, Tel-Aviv 1994.
D. Witztum, E. Rips and Y. Rosenberg, Hidden Codes in Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis, The Statistical Significance of the Phenomenon, Hebrew preprint accompanying a lecture given by E. Rips to the Israeli Academy of Sciences, 1996.

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