Man and dog walk into a bar. “Sorry, no pets here,” says the bartender. “But this is a special dog,” the patron protests. “He talks!” “You know how many times I’ve heard that one?” retorts the bartender. “No really, he does,” the man persists. “Listen, if he talks, will you let him stay?” “Sure, sure,” the bartender chuckles.

“OK Fido, what is the texture of the carpet?” The dog responds, “RRRUFF.” With that, the bartender leaps over the bar and heaves both dog and man out in the street.

As they lay sprawled on the pavement, the dog crawls over to his master and says, “Should I have answered ‘smooth’?”

What would it take to convince you dogs talk? Hearing one talk, right? What will it take for skeptics to believe that the Bible is a divinely inspired book containing quotes from God himself? Reading the new best-selling book from Simon & Schuster, The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin? Not hardly. In the first place some of Drosnin’s methods and interpretations are suspect. The mathematicians upon whose work he based his book, have quickly dissociated themselves from his book and its conclusions. Has he simply developed a popular mass-market secret decoder book that you buy at Barnes & Noble instead of sending away for together with a box top from Sugar Pops or Wheaties?

I’ve read the book and I have many reservations and questions, nevertheless I believe there are codes in the Bible. They many not be the plastic ones that seems to work for Drosnin, but rabbis and scholars for centuries have noted examples of coded words and numeric patterns in Scripture—though not at the wholesale level the present research claims. I can tell you we have not heard the last of this subject–there will be many more books explaining this mystery, matched by an army of critics crying “hoax!” If you’d like an overview of this subject and of an even wider “code-cracking” phenomenon occurring in science, write for my tape offered at the back of this journal. Some things will stretch your mind. Maybe we should give the dog a few more questions before we throw him out.

Becoming like Christ means a sea-change of values for most of us. A major challenge is the ordering of what comes first. There is always a first, and a second, and so on. Each day we make a lot of first calls upon our time, energy, and resources. On what basis do we make them? Brian Knowles offers us the Master’s advice. Ken Ryland takes on the sometimes thorny subject of what to call God. It is amazing what happens to some dogmas when sound logic and biblical balance are brought to bear. And we apologize for the long gap since our last issue–especially to you folks caught up in the search for David’s tomb. Gary Arvidson doesn’t disappoint as your quest will take you to mysterious writing on the very cornerstones of the temple. Good reading. . . –KW