Dr. Ivan Panin died in 1942 in Aldershot, Ontario in his late 80’s. He was Russian born, but was ejected from his country in the 19thcentury for extreme nihilistic views. In Germany he mastered 40 of the leading philosophers that interested the people of his time, and in 1890 was lecturing at $200 a night on these men of whom Tolstoy and Emerson are examples.
He came to the United States and taught Mathematics at Harvard University. One of his students was Albert Einstein. James Elliott, President of Harvard, Bob Ingersoll the atheist and William James the psychologist were among his personal friends. By this time he had the equivalent of 3 PhD’s in philosophy, mathematics and English.
Then the Hound of Heaven caught up with him, and Panin experienced Christ in conversion. His friends were appalled. They felt he was committing intellectual suicide and would become an obscurantist. Friends considered Panin and Einstein to have IQ’s of 200 and it was very difficult for acceptance in this matter.
But Panin immediately started to attend church in Boston. He discovered that when a Presbyterian and Methodist minister spoke on the same text in their respective churches, that they not only approached the subject differently – but they actually contradicted each other.
“How come?” he asked the Presbyterian minister. “Well,” the answer was, “it is our fault, Mr. Panin. If we kept up our Hebrew and Greek that we learned in Seminary, we would then speak approximately the same thing.”
With his quick mind Panin responded, “Then if I learned Greek and Hebrew, I would have a more absolute grasp on spiritual truth.” “That is correct,” responded his minister friend.
So Panin, with his brilliant mental gifts, mastered both languages in four years. Then he discovered the curious text in Revelation 13 referring to the name of the coming man of sin as 666. Back to his minister friend he went with his new question.
This was the answer he received. “Dr. Panin, when God chose 33 writers to record the Holy Spirit’s words for 66 books of the Bible, He chose the only 2 languages of earth with no numerical equivalents. We in English count with Arabic numbers. Romans did so with Roman numerals. But Greeks and Hebrews put a tick beside the letters of their alphabet going back 3000 years in Greek and 4000 years in Hebrew. In Greek, alpha, beta, gamma, delta become 1, 2, 3, and 4 with omega 800. In Hebrew, aleph, beit, gimel, dalet become 1, 2, 3, and 4 with tav 400. Substitute number for the letters of the name of the man of sin, and you will get 666.”
“Alright,” countered Panin, “then what is Jesus?” “I don’t know offhand,” replied the minister, “but we can easily find out. Iota 10; eta 8; sigma 200; omicron 70; upsilon 400; sigma 200: -- 888.”
Poor Panin was hooked, and for the next 50 years he spent 100,000 hours delving into the fascinating world of numbers. He ended up calling God, “The Wonderful Numberer,” and that His signature is numbers.
He discovered that the numerics of our sun’s 7 major planets exactly coincide with the numerics of James through Jude. The Author of the Universe with all its various sciences and the Author of the Bible is one!
He used Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament with its 3000 alternate readings. Out of curiosity he applied Numerics to their text and the footnote alternates, and produced a Greek text published by the Oxford Press of England with no alternate readings.He then made an English translation of this Greek text entitled the “English Numeric New Testament.” In the process of translation, he discovered that numerics even establish the correct sentence structure, sub-paragraphs, paragraphs and chapter equivalents. The latter however does not correspond necessarily with the chapter or sentence divisions in our present day Bibles.
If any part of the Bible can be eliminated by textural criticism, Bible Numerics puts Mark 16:9-20 beyond this pale! Also John 8:1-11.
In modern Bible Commentaries, two thirds of the material on the average deal with establishing the probable original text through textual criticism. If God’s Bible Numerics held sway, this could be eliminated and commentators could go directly to the point of exegesis and exposition.
It was the belief of Panin at the time of his death that some 6 million Russian scientists and mathematicians would be open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ upon presentation of the mathematical scientific proof of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures.
I have personally led a brilliant Ph.D. scientist in Pharmacology to the Lord on the basis of Bible Numerics, and many students of a Bible College in Seattle have led many University of Washington students to a similar decision.
Note however, that the Numeric Phenomenon only appears in the 66 books of our Bible. It does not carry over to the Oral Torah upon which the Pharisees of Jesus’ day and the Orthodox Jews of today base so much of their teaching and practice.
Nor does it extend to the Apocryphal books of the Bible upon which the Roman Catholic Church relies quite heavily. “To the law and to the testimony – if they speak not according to thisword,” --- Isaiah 8:20.
Now look at a practical application of the above discoveries. Dr. David du Plessis of South Africa, a lifetime proponent of Bible Numerics and Ivan Panin, Dr. Jowett, Winkie Pratney, Dr. Keith L. Brooks are some of the people who have stood by the findings of Panin.
By and large modern scholarship has not investigated these claims. But those who have are satisfied that mathematics is indeed God’s signature authenticating His handiwork in science, astronomy, biology, physics, chemistry and the Bible.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day added to the Word of God, the written Word, through their claim that their oral Torah was on the same level of inspiration. Jesus told them that they made void God’s word by their tradition.
The Roman Catholic church has tended to add to God’s word with their tradition through ex-cathedra pronouncements, and in this respect have also made void the word of God by such traditions.
The Sadducees on the other hand took away from the Word of God. They denied the Resurrection, the existence of angels, the Divinity of Jesus, Heaven, Hell, miracles and much more. Liberalism, Modernism and humanism are today’s modern Sadducees. This is my own background, so I understand it quite well.
Jesus said by His Spirit that whoever adds or takes away from God’s written word will have added unto him the plagues recorded in the Book of Revelation. This is serious.
Karl Barth, a crisis theologian from Switzerland stated in his introduction to the book of Romans that “Truth walks the razor edge of heresy.” I found this quotation most disturbing when I first heard it, but Pastor W. J. Ern Baxter assured me that it was eminently true.
It is not an easy matter to divest oneself of the trappings, traditions and teachings of the past. To enter into an understanding of truth, knowledge and wisdom as it exists in God is the quest that God has set before man. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; it is the honor of kings to search it out. Believers in God are a Kingdom of Priests -- this is both our privilege and responsibility.
To learn to think as God thinks and speak as He speaks is a lifetime pursuit. It is well designed to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.
Truth as it exists in God is spiritually perceived. It comes by revelation of the Spirit. The apostle Paul makes this abundantly clear in 1 Corinthians 1 and 2. Therefore scholarship is not the final answer. Else any Ph.D. by the pursuit of knowledge under the sun would come up with all truth. But Solomon in Ecclesiastes states that the pursuit of knowledge apart from God is vanity. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher – all knowledge, wisdom, experience and understanding under the sun and apart from a life fully committed to God, is vanity.
However, a scholar and student such as Paul completely committed to life in God, -- then his knowledge, wisdom and understanding has an enlightenment above that of the natural mind, and is well pleasing to God.
I have studied under leading liberal, humanistic and modernistic scholars. I have also studied under evangelical scholars. But the mentors I most treasure are those who have not only possessed the Spirit of God, but in turn have been possessed by God. Paul in Galatians 2:20 expressed such an experience when he stated, “I have been crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live – yet not I -- but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Does modern scholarship have the testimony of the apostle Paul? If not, the findings of such scholarship can be suspect, lopsided and missing in the real intent that God intended.
Rees Howells of Wales who died at 70 in 1951 was a man not highly educated according to university norms. He did graduate from a Bible College and was ordained to the Congregational ministry. He served in Africa as a missionary for 6 years, and saw some 10,000 souls come to Christ. Then he founded a Bible College in Swansea, Wales that has had an extraordinary impact on the last century.
He would not be accounted as a scholar, but in the Higher Halls of Heaven’s learning, God would count him as a Daniel of his day. He understood the mind and thinking of God as few scholars ever have. He was a dissolver of doubts (D.D.). He could explain the mysteries of prayer, intercession and faith, and demonstrated such truths as very few have before or since.
With eternity’s values in view, how would God rate him on a scale of 1 to 10 – and how would He rate our doctoral men with their degrees? All that is instigated through us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit produces gold, silver and precious stones, and will certainly survive the fire of the last day judgment at the Judgment Seat of Christ. All that we instigate under the sun from our own mental efforts God calls wood, hay and stubble, and they will surely be consumed at His coming. If we are believers we will be saved, though as by fire and without reward.
I therefore challenge each of us, whether scholar or like Rees Howells. Can we each one truly say, “Yes -–I have found the secret of the Apostle Paul. I can truly say that I have entered God’s Outer Court and found His salvation through Justification by Faith.
“I have gone on into the Holy Place and tasted of the Holy Spirit and the powers of the world to come.”
But how many of us can say like Paul and Rees Howells – “I have gone through the Riven Vail, and knelt before the Throne of God in the Holy of Holies. There I have experienced the Exchanged Life! There I found I no longer owned God, but He owned me with no reservations on my part at all.”
I have some 144 mentors that I have listed whom God has used to help shape my life. They have been “His hand” ministries to shape, adjust and mold me. Paul and Rees Howells are the 2 chief of these. Mother Basilea Schlink who just went to her reward at the age of 96 is another. St. John of the Cross is a fourth.
I encourage each of us – Let nothingdeter us from pressing into God till we with Christ have entered all 3 rooms of His house. But to be seated with Him on His Throne – that is His goal and the acme of His desire for you and me.
The Father desires to conform each of us to His Pattern Son! He wants to bring many sons and daughters into Glory. Do not let the earthy allure and glitter of the world’s accomplishments deter or sidetrack you. Only His “Well done, good and faithful servant – you have been faithful over a few things – I will make you lord over many things,”-- only this word will satisfy in the end. J.A.W.