“People who practice gematria believe that words with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other or to the number itself…” says Wiki, but although many modern people do practice gematria in this way, that's not how it was done in the ancient near east. The modern practice of gematria is vastly different to the way it would have been created and then read in the 8th Century BCE or earlier.
When people assume that any gematria discovered in the Bible is merely the result of confirmation bias, they are usually correct, but only because most people who practice gematria are using the wrong gematria. The true numerical values of the letters were the domain of the Merkabah and were secret.
Shematria uses the same gematria values for the letters that were known to biblical scribes such as Ezekiel or John. These biblical gematria values are different from the ones openly recorded in the Talmud, the Mishnah, and various Kabbalistic texts. To date, any academic studies of gematria have used the wrong letter values, which is (to borrow a metaphor from Origen) like putting the wrong keys in a locked door.
Biblical Gematria should be regarded as ancient math, practiced at a time before mathematical notation was invented, with the logic of the language employed instead.
Biblical writers used a sophisticated method of gematria within their scrolls with the intent that the knowledge they were passing into the written word should reach a certain audience of limited scope; only those who were initiates and therefore privileged to read it. Sometimes the values given are obviously placed as a reverence to God, but often more prosaic forms of information are included; such as the number of days in a year, or days in Summer, or troop numbers sent in battle, and it’s because gematria conveys information of this type that it should be of interest to archeologists and epigraphers now that the correct values used by biblical writers are known to us.
Biblical gematria used conventions of language to describe the mode or logic of the calculation (+, -, /, *, etc) at a time prior to the invention of special math notation. Words such as הִנֵּה֩ which is usually translated as "Behold!" are there to indicate gematria is present in the text afterwards. The words את and ואת (et, and v'et), as well as functioning as object markers, usually signify addition in gematria, although to be technically rigorous about it they signify calculation. In rare cases this calculation may signal subtraction instead.
The word כל (meaning 'all') signals the reader to count everything after it. The word על (meaning ‘on’ or ‘to’) denotes that one word value is part of another words’ value and that is usually subtracted. For instance, when "and darkness" is on the “face of the deep” in Genesis 1:2, we subtract "and darkness" from "face of the deep" and add the value of "light" to find the number 365 (days a year). According to the conventions of biblical gematria, the values of verbs tend to be omitted unless the כל signal is flagged in the expression.
Gematria is written with a specific number set and read using exactly the same number set. I sometimes hear the argument put forward that it doesn’t really matter what number set you use, but this comes from the fallacy of believing that gematria is something imposed upon the text by the reader rather than an inherent feature of the text, deliberately put there by its authors. This is important to understand. If the point of the text is to tell you there are 365 days in a year, but your incorrect number set is giving you a different number, then the scribes meaning has been missed by you. It doesn’t matter what words share that same wrong number in a database. It’s just wrong.
That's why Shematria ONLY uses biblical gematria in Hebrew, or the same values ported to other writing scripts like Greek, Arabic and English.
The number set of Biblical gematria is very similar to Standard gematria (Mispar Ragil), and 20 of the 22 letters bear the exact values. The two dissimilarly valued letters are shin (3) and tav (4), which also adopt a different placement in the order of the alphabet.
These values were ported to the Greek script and used to create the Isopsephy of the New Testament. Have you ever wondered why the disciples of Jesus caught exactly 153 fish in the Gospel of John? Type 777 into the calculator to discover the answer in the Shematria database.
In 1900 the occult magician, poet and philosopher Aleister Crowley discovered biblical gematria. He called it 'the Key of it all' and he ported the gematria values to the Latin writing script and used them with the English language in his Book of the Law and other texts. Crowley was particularly inspired by the Book of Genesis. Type 700, 480, 220 and 418 into the calculator for some examples.
If you want to know:
• How to recognize and use the gematria of the bible to interpret the text -
• Why the merkabah was hidden and kept secret -
• In what way the merkabah influenced modern kabbalah -
• How secret and fraternal societies have used the merkabah as the basis of their esoteric systems of magick -
• Why biblical gematria and the merkabah is important to the modern academic study of the ancient near east -
• And why understanding the merkabah may be crucial to resolving the Israel/Palestinian conflict -
- then you need to read this book.
Bethsheba Ashe is an English researcher, author and inventor with a special interest in the roots of the Hebrew Alephbet, Biblical Gematria, the ancient Merkabah.