Bible Numbers 2.0

John 1:1-37a & The Dao De Jing

For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, To an unknown god. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. (Acts 17:231)

It is this author's hope Chinese people will not see God as some mysterious being or principle, or as some foreign concept. The Bible brings God and Jesus closer and makes them known.

Like many cultures, the Chinese have always had the idea of one supreme deity, but they did not know Him personally as the Hebrews. But unlike other cultures, the Chinese may have known more of God than others. (See James Legge's Notions Of The Chinese Concerning God And Spirits.) The wisdom displayed in the Dao De Jing's first stanza is one of those cases where the Chinese may have known more of God than Westerners give credit. At the very least, the Dao De Jing predated the Apostle John by four centuries. This stanza holds many truths like John 1:1-37a. Reading the two together makes both more understandable.

Dao De Jing (First stanza.)
1道 可 道 非 常 道The way that can be trod is not the ultimate Way.
2名 可 名 非 常 名The name that can be named is not the ultimate Name.
3無 名 天 地 之 始The Nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth.
4有 名 萬 物 之 母The Named was the mother of all things.
5故 常 無 欲 以 觀 其 妙Everlasting of old without desire, behold its wonder.
6常 有 欲 以 觀 其 徼Ever with desire, behold its manifestation.
7此 兩 者These two
8同 出 而 異 名come out together but are named separately.
9同 謂 之 玄Together they are said to be very deep.
10玄 之 又 玄Deep to deep and deep upon deep.
11衆 妙 之 門The gate of all wonders.

The poem mentions two principles. The first has no name (line 1, also line 3). It is called 道 (The Way) because the poet has no other way to refer to it. This is contrasted to that which is 名 (Name, The Named). But the poet makes clear The Way cannot be successfully trod, and The Name cannot truly be named. Neither can be fully grasped or attained.

The Hebrews had no name for God until Moses asked for one (Exodus 3:13). The name that God gave was only a substitute because His real name is ineffable to us.

The Apostle Paul is clear about God being separate and unapproachable.

who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16)

And Jesus made clear it wasn't easy.

Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Jesus never said anything about entering. He only mentioned finding it!

The second principle mentioned is one the poet says is named or has a name (line 2). But the poet never gives an actual name. It is simply 名 (or a name, named, the name). That it is named distinguishes it from the first principle which has no name.

In John 1:1 two principles are also introduced, the Word and God. And the two are separate. (See the study on John 1:1.) The Word is named, but God is not named.

The poem states that The Nameless (or The Way) was the beginning of heaven and earth (line 3). Genesis 1:1 tells us God created the heavens and the earth. The Bible and Dao De Jing agree.

In the poem, that which had a name (The Named) was the mother of all things (line 4). In John 1:3 the Apostle states that The Word made all things.

all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:3)

The Greek does not say made by him but made through him. The Dao De Jing agrees by saying all things come through, or are born by a mother.

The poem tells us The Way from eternity had no desire (line 5). This was because The Way was complete and perfect. It required nothing. Requiring nothing, it was also infinite. Complete, perfect, and infinite it cannot be grasped or seen. One can only marvel at its wonder.

Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

The Named, according to the poem, is not like The Way (line 6). It is not as perfect or complete since it has desire. It is not infinite. Thus it can in some sense be seen.

This is why in John 1:1, the Greek word used is προς toward God. It is not with God because God is unapproachable. And because it is not as perfect, it can be seen.

The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John 1:9-14)

The first stanza closes with the mystery of these two (lines 7, and 8). They appear together because they are so close. Some have interpreted this to mean the two come from the same source. But the words of the poem give no indication of this. The poet only says they come out together and makes clear they are separate and different.

Like the first part of the Dao De Jing, John 1:1 is of our beginning. Nothing is said of what came before. The Word and God were already there. But the Bible explicates further.

By myself I have sworn, from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (Isaiah 45:23)

John calls it The Word because words are spoken. And the prophet Isaiah makes clear who spoke this word. It was God. The Dao De Jing follows the same pattern. The Name is so called because names are meant to be spoken. Unlike John, the poet knew nothing of what came before the Name was spoken. Thus he says 道 and 名 came out together.

Together, both are said to be very deep, and beyond deep (lines 9 and 10). Where they are is the beginning of wonder and mystery (line 11).

Lao Tzu (老子), the writer of the Dao De Jing did not have the story of the creation, the flood, the Patriarchs, and of Israel's miraculous history. He did not know of God’s loving plan for salvation. Thus he could only ponder about the mystery of the 道 and the 名 (line 11).

Not knowing the ultimate purpose, Lao Tzu concentrated more on how the 道 (Dao) and the 名 (Ming) related to what he could see in nature and human life. Over his long life, Lao Tzu came to various conclusions that were counter intuitive like Jesus' beatitudes. And even though 道 and 名 seemed like impersonal principles, he never considered them morally neutral like Western science. Lao Tzu's teachings came out of the same humane background that produced Confucianism. He rejected the rigid formality of Confucianism for the flexible interplay of opposites that he saw in 道 and 名, and of 陰 (Yin) and 陽 (Yang).

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things which have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. (1 Peter 1:12)

From Chinese Characters: Their origin, etymology, history, classification and signification by Dr. L. Wieger, Etymological Lesson 1 explaining the first radical 一, (also the first character of the dictionary).

惟初太始,道立於一,造分天地化成萬物.一也者萬物之本也.
Total: 35139 = 3 x 13 x 17 x 53.

The writer of the old Chinese dictionary, from which Dr. Wieger obtained this 24 character phrase, accepted the first stanza of the Dao De Jing as fact. The Dao (道) established (立) the first principle (一), and created (造) the separation (分) of heaven (天) and earth (地). According to the Dao De Jing, 道 was simply the term used to refer to this creator, because the creator had no name. And from this act arose/became (化) all things (萬物). The curious coincidence is that the 24 character phrase is divisible by 13, a number associated with God’s name in Hebrew.

Note: What is presented below is only for the first stanza for the Dao De Jing. It says nothing about the rest of the poem just as the first part of the American Declaration of Independence says nothing about the rest of the founding document. One cannot assume inspiration holds equally throughout. The fact that the numbers only hold for the first part is very appropriate because the rest of the Dao De Jing is more on application rather than description.

John was a disciple of John the Baptist, and later of Jesus. He received the Holy Spirit at the Pentecost. It is clear his writing was inspired by the Holy Spirit. But where did Lao Tzu obtain his wisdom? This is unknown.

Marvelous Coincidences

Is this some strange coincidence in philosophy? Don't other ancient writings say similar things? There may be other writings, religious or philosophical that follow John 1:1-37a, or that follow the first stanza of the Dao in meaning, but they won't have numeric coincidences.

There are two ways Chinese characters can be converted to numbers. The first is strictly for Chinese characters alone. The second is for a mixture of Chinese and Greek. (See: Alphanumeric Substitutions: A Chinese Coincidence? for how this is done.)

First Method (Chinese Characters Only)

 道   可   道   非   常   道   名  可   名  非   常   名   無  名   天   
5381 298 5381 1797 3361 5381 536 298 536 1797 3361 536 4365 536 146 

地   之   始   有  名   萬   物   之  母  故   常   無    欲   以  觀
546 104 1325 628 536 5142 1644 104 385 2056 3361 4365 3518 265 8732

其    妙   常   有   欲  以   觀   其    徼   此   兩   者   同  出   而
1189 879 3361 628 3518 265 8732 1189 17718 634 1187 1677 529 281 660

異    名  同   謂   之  玄  玄   之 又  玄    衆   妙  之   門
3688 536 529 7064 104 393 393 104 20 393 -5251 879 104 1722

The numeric total for the first stanza of the Dao De Jing: 119546 = 2 x 7 x 8539.

Second Method

The values are shifted higher to accomodate the Greek letters built into the Big-5 character set.

道    可   道   非   常   道   名  可  名   非   常   名   無   名  天
5633 550 5633 2049 3613 5633 788 550 788 2049 3613 788 4617 788 398

地   之   始   有  名   萬  物   之   母  故   常   無   欲   以   觀
798 356 1577 880 788 5394 1896 356 637 2308 3613 4617 3770 517 8984

其    妙    常  有   欲   以   觀   其   徼   此   兩   者   同   出  而
1441 1131 3613 880 3770 517 8984 1441 17970 886 1439 1929 781 533 912

異   名   同   謂   之  玄  玄   之  又  玄   衆   妙   之   門
3940 788 781 7316 356 645 645 356 272 645 -4999 1131 356 1974

Using the second method, the numeric total for the first stanza: 134414 (2 x 7 x 9601).

Since the Gospel of John was written in Greek, and this is all about relating the two works together the second method is used for the Chinese. [Recall that in the previous study, John 1:1-37a had a total of 174629 (7 x 13 x 19 x 101).]

Every seventh number is divisible by seven. Thus it should be no surprise the Dao De Jing's first stanza could be divisible by seven. A one in seven chance is quite possible, even when both methods are considered.

But things become more interesting when the authors of these two pieces are considered. In Greek, John's name is ιωαννη. The numeric value is 697 (17 x 41). [This total is from the regular method for converting Greek to numbers.] The author of the Dao De Jing is said to be 老子 (Lao Tzu; Old Master or Respected Master). The total of these characters by the second method: 1207 = 17 x 71. Both authors have names divisible by seventeen! A one in seventeen chance is a lot more difficult to achieve than a one in seven chance.

Neither author has a name divisible by seven or thirteen. However since this is about relating John 1:1-17a to the Dao De Jing, put both authors together, 697 + 1207 = 1904 (24 x 7 x 17), and the result is divisible by seven.

The Apostle John was one of the longest lived of the original twelve. Scholars believe his gospel was written around 85 to 90 A.D. after the fall of Jerusalem. If he had been only twenty years old at the time of Jesus' ascension, he would at least be seventy-five when he wrote his gospel. If he had been roughly Jesus' age at that time, he would be eighty-five when he wrote his gospel. In an age when most people did not live longer than forty, seventy-five or eighty-five would have been considered very old. Is it coincidence the author of the Dao De Jing was 老子 (Old Master)?

The passage in John 1:1-37a has 550 words. The first part of the Dao De Jing has 59 characters. Neither number is divisible by seven or thirteen. But if the two passages are put together like the authors, seven appears again: 550 + 59 = 609 (3 x 7 x 29. SF: 39 = 3 x 13). Not only does seven appear, but thirteen appears in the next level of factors.

John's name is one word. 老子 is two characters. If the names were added to the 609 words, there would be 612 words in total (2 x 2 x 3 x 3 x 17). Once again the number seventeen appears.

All this seems to fit together very well. This leads to putting the two passages together. Since the Dao De Jing is older, the Dao De Jing's first stanza will be placed in front of John 1:1-37a. Both were individually divisible by seven, so the total together would also be divisible by seven. If the two were supposed to be together there should be something more than just a number divisible by seven.

Thus: 134414 + 174629 = 309043 = 7 x 7 x 7 x 17 x 53. SF: 91 = 7 x 13.

There are two extra factors of seven! And once again the factors go deeper. On the second level there is seven and thirteen.

Include the total for the two authors with the combined passage: 1904 + 309043 = 310947 = 3 x 7 x 13 x 17 x 67. Thirteen now appears on the first level.

Since both authors have the factor 17, take every 17th word from the combined passage:

356 880 645 47 13 613 260 360 1150 47 20 873 41 561 510 360 580 200 
55 915 270 259 559 901 60 770 360 18 829 50 160 696 75 359 700

Total: 14552 = 23 x 17 x 107. SF: 130 = 2 x 5 x 13. The result is a total also with a factor of 17. The sum of the factors results in a number divisible by 13.

Put John 1:1-37a first, the stanza from the Dao De Jing after, and then take every 17th word/character.

233 45 990 901 47 212 60 128 781 218 20 388 150 113 244 290 925 260
608 138 60 870 200 465 262 169 45 134 305 613 787 273 3613 3770 912

The result is even better: 19229 = 7 x 41 x 67.

Much of what is on this website is based on the principle of complementary opposites in Revelation 1:8. Alpha and Omega, First and Last, Beginning and End are all complementary opposites. Since there are no letters in Chinese, there are no first and last letters of each word. We can only work with words. In this case, we take the first and last words/characters of each passage.

First and last words from the stanza and first and last words from John: 5381 + 1722 + 45 + 561 = 7709 (13 x 593).

But first and last are not the only complementary opposites. There is also high and low.

The lowest and highest characters from the stanza are -4999 and 17970. (Yes there are negative numbers in the Chinese number conversion method. See: The Yin & Yang Of Chinese Numbers) The lowest and highest Greek words from John are 7 and 1621. The four words together: 14599 = 13 x 1123.

The lowest and highest of the combined passage: -4999 + 17970 = 12971 (7 x 17 x 109. SF: 133 = 7 x 19. SF: 26 = 2 x 13).

Revelation 1:8 also has the principle of sequence: is, was and is to come. In The Proclamation (Exodus 34:6-7) every other letter yielded a total divisible by seven. Here, since there are no letters, we have to work with the words.

Odd positioned words of the combined passage: 174954 = 2 x 3 x 13 x 2243. SF: 2261 = 7 x 17 x 19.

Since the entire passage is not divisible by thirteen, the even positioned words have no coincidence. But just as a word is a grouping of letters, so words can also be grouped.

Divide the combined passage into sections of 21 words/characters each.

Odd positioned segments of 21 words:

5633 550 5633 2049 3613 5633 788 550 788 2049 3613 788 4617 788 398 798 356 1577 880 788 5394
781 533 912 3940 788 781 7316 356 645 645 356 272 645 -4999 1131 356 1974 45 488 47 60
13 561 218 20 1179 561 218 269 45 60 156 45 901 613 47 20 7 613 47 160 990
901 787 510 80 104 541 50 595 164 360 1150 50 306 1303 13 561 270 47 219 160 990
790 47 20 60 340 13 561 218 20 60 340 401 270 648 104 101 23 80 20 69 91
55 781 269 15 321 331 269 15 321 275 41 15 273 246 20 60 233 221 218 20 887
154 668 510 47 100 184 60 829 290 770 388 290 156 169 1000 290 47 169 15 360 1058
939 218 113 368 741 905 335 163 60 640 104 200 260 360 401 219 323 20 308 244 7
270 385 20 915 169 608 270 53 60 829 20 925 401 109 300 290 127 14 20 42 270
164 656 312 608 947 952 45 107 722 559 147 164 559 709 129 198 60 714 20 431 138
60 714 190 460 60 787 668 608 788 45 314 275 870 257 100 334 270 179 60 829 290
60 787 828 107 465 111 200 406 720 300 401 20 42 18 60 221 360 273 60 730 147
614 270 65 401 41 50 1041 700 207 14 520 135 608 45 314 828 20 638 787 668 169
45 314 219 99 129 305 100 41 110 160 346 264 20 175 75 401 510 244 60 828 45
740 786 561 264 20 653 700 366 744 42 18 60 221 360 273 20 408 69 264 156 561

(Each line is a set of 21 characters/words.) Total: 152726 = 2 x 7 x 10909.

Even positioned segments of 21 words:

1896 356 637 2308 3613 4617 3770 517 8984 1441 1131 3613 880 3770 517 8984 1441 17970 886 1439 1929
233 20 60 233 47 300 200 113 20 163 47 60 233 510 47 45 488 300 200 113 212
740 1439 20 160 990 45 107 270 364 20 7 270 361 260 184 218 949 512 152 273 191
41 50 595 164 360 1150 47 160 990 160 185 60 1029 212 899 720 104 200 290 45 700
401 260 279 219 9 128 401 664 460 455 156 273 161 259 873 104 160 191 561 69 270
45 86 20 154 147 155 561 155 690 588 152 401 274 740 20 141 787 505 164 561 20
561 141 306 163 20 530 150 740 169 60 280 14 1615 84 7 580 20 7 51 14 366
501 360 950 165 341 69 352 55 1194 198 20 425 50 1621 401 290 199 14 20 915 20
53 60 714 14 290 20 190 260 125 300 901 199 14 50 369 679 259 745 128 109 132
15 740 1130 20 925 401 20 125 901 109 300 292 14 290 270 14 60 829 269 127 269
770 260 270 53 210 50 910 561 200 181 360 622 402 45 68 218 196 360 454 390 47
262 360 450 510 244 355 260 608 184 829 290 600 128 150 388 290 156 169 1000 290 47
159 160 346 264 690 480 55 641 20 134 75 401 614 270 65 401 41 60 696 35 242
455 613 614 697 20 544 169 510 244 60 359 360 273 107 465 140 235 60 787 20 15

Total: 156317 = 7 x 137 x 163. There is perfect balance like Yin and Yang.

Sixty-three characters/words in the combined passage were divisible by seven (63 = 3 x 3 x 7. SF: 13):

a) Position in passage.
b) Character/word value.

a) 16  24  59   101 114 116 125 134 150 160  168 189 199 201 202 203
b) 798 637 1974 7   364 7   273 595 595 1029 700 91  455 273 161 259

a) 223 235 236 241 253 262 284 285 287 288 291 293 313 315 333 338
b) 273 154 147 588 154 770 280 14  84  7   7   14  308 7   14  385

a) 354 356 360 361 370 373 374 384 389 396 412 415 422 442 446 448
b) 14  42  714 14  14  679 259 952 147 714 14  14  714 770 210 910

a) 458 470 475 480 483 512 514 545 560 568 580 583 595 598 603
b) 196 406 42  273 147 700 14  35  175 455 273 140 700 42  273

The total of these is also divisible by thirteen: 21476 = 22 x 7 x 13 x 59.

Is, was and is to come focuses attention on the one out of sequence, the term in the middle. The 305th word/character is the one in the middle of the passage. It's value: 104 = 23 x 13.

The stanza has 59 characters. Add the first 59 words from John:

5633 550 5633 2049 3613 5633 788 550 788 2049 3613 788 4617 788 398 
798 356 1577 880 788 5394 1896 356 637 2308 3613 4617 3770 517 8984 
1441 1131 3613 880 3770 517 8984 1441 17970 886 1439 1929 781 533 
912 3940 788 781 7316 356 645 645 356 272 645 -4999 1131 356 1974   

45 488 47 60 233 20 60 233 47 300 200 113 20 163 47 60 233 510 47 45 
488 300 200 113 212 13 561 218 20 1179 561 218 269 45 60 156 45 901 
613 47 20 7 613 47 160 990 740 1439 20 160 990 45 107 270 364 20 7 
270 361

Total of these words: 150234 = 2 x 3 x 73 x 73. The three sevens match the three sevens in the passage total. (This does not work with the last 59 words from John 1:1-37a.)

Is all of this coincidence? And how does this relate to the God of the Bible? There is one final test. Apply the values of the Hebrew letters from God’s name to this list 24 times.

a) Value from the Hebrew letter.
b) Count.
c) Adjusted count (if necessary).
d) Character/word found in the combined passage.

a) 10   5   6    5    10  5    6   5   10 5   6   5  10 5  6  5   10
b) 10   15  21   26   36  41   47  52  62 67  73  78 88 93 99 104 114
c) 10   15  21   26   36  41   47  52  62 67  73  78 88 93 99 104 114
d) 2049 398 5394 3613 517 1439 788 645 47 233 163 47 20 45 47 160 364

a) 5   6   5   10   5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10
b) 119 125 130 140  145 151 156 166 171 177 182 192 197 203 208 218
c) 119 125 130 140  145 151 156 166 171 177 182 192 197 203 208 218
d) 260 273 80  1303 219 164 990 290 20  20  648 279 664 259 561 15

a) 5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10  5   6   5    10  5   6   5   10
b) 223 229 234 244 249 255 260 270 275 281 286  296 301 307 312 322
c) 223 229 234 244 249 255 260 270 275 281 286  296 301 307 312 322
d) 273 218 20  274 505 510 829 169 141 740 1615 218 335 260 20  352

a) 5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10
b) 327 333 338 348 353 359 364 374 379 385 390 400 405 411 416 426
c) 327 333 338 348 353 359 364 374 379 385 390 400 405 411 416 426
d) 425 14  385 925 127 60  190 259 164 45  164 15  401 292 60  787

a) 5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10
b) 431 437 442 452 457 463 468 478 483 489 494 504 509 515 520 530
c) 431 437 442 452 457 463 468 478 483 489 494 504 509 515 520 530
d) 314 270 770 360 218 60  111 221 147 355 290 47  41  520 828 690

a) 5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10  5   6   5   10  5    6    5
b) 535 541 546 556 561 567 572 582 587 593 598 608 613  10   15
c) 535 541 546 556 561 567 572 582 587 593 598 608 4    10   15
d) 134 401 242 160 75  45  20  465 20  20  42  156 2049 2049 398

Total: 44324 = 22 x 7 x 1583. God’s name in Hebrew successfully counts through the combined passage.

Conclusion

Can all this just be by chance? The names of the authors are both divisible by 17, and together are divisible by seven. The first part of the Dao De Jing and John 1:1-37a are individually divisible by seven. The combined totals of the two passages produces more factors of seven. Is it coincidence that principles from Revelation 1:8 bear fruit? Can all of this still be by chance when even God’s name can be applied? Since the meaning of the two passages align this is not chance.

Note 1English reference quotes are from the Revised Standard Version, Thomas Nelson Inc., 1972.

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