Famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham has denounced the belief that there are secret messages within the Hebrew Bible that predict the future.
In a question-and-answer column published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on Saturday, a reader asked Graham about the "Bible Code" theory and whether it's something Christians should follow.
"My friend believes that the Bible was written in some kind of a secret code, and that it contains all kinds of hidden messages about the future. He even showed me a book that supposedly explains all this. Could he be right?" the person asked.
The 98-year-old preacher responded that the claims of a "Bible Code" are not valid, telling the person that they should not put their trust in the idea.
"No, these speculations are not true, nor should you put any faith in them — no matter how convincing they may seem," wrote Graham.
"A computer expert told me once that he suspected he could manufacture a 'secret message' in almost any piece of literature, if he just tried hard enough and had a powerful enough computer!"
Graham went on to note that the concept of the "Bible Code" goes against how Scripture and its words have long been conveyed to an audience.
"When the Old Testament prophets delivered the message God had given them, their listeners understood it (even if they didn't always obey it). When Jesus preached to the thousands who thronged to hear Him, He spoke in words they could easily understand," Graham said.
"When Paul and the other Apostles wrote letters to the first Christians, they made their message as clear as possible. God told the prophet Habakkuk to 'Write down the revelation and make it plain' (Habakkuk 2:2)."
In the months leading up to the election, Bible Code proponents offered different predictions on who would become the next president, with one expert claiming Donald Trump would win while another claimed Hillary Clinton would be victorious.
Matt Slick, founder and president of Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, told The Christian Post in an earlier interview that Bible Code claims were "a little over-the-top."
"There most definitely are numeric patterns in Scripture that are sometimes very interesting and compelling. However, the Bible Code concept, in my opinion, seems a little over-the-top," said Slick.
"From what I understand, the same concept applied to regular books like Moby Dick can produce similar results. ... At least in the English. So, I don't put much credence in it."
Slick also told CP earlier this month that he doubted the Bible Code claims because "even if Trump does win it doesn't mean the Bible Code that this guy used is authentic."
"In order for me to be convinced, such a person would have to predict numerous things in advance, not just one. Think about it, there are really only two serious options: Trump and Hillary," Slick said. "So, the odds are basically 50–50 that he's right. I would need something more than 50–50 odds to be convinced that the Bible Code system is accurate."