What you need to know:
- Just like The Da Vinci Code, The Cephas Code is sure to spark controversy.
- The book is a bold, and instantly controversial, interpretation of the Bible.
You will not look at your Bible the same way again if you read a 250-page book by a Kisumu-based lawyer who claims to have been “instructed” to interpret some numbers in it in a way no one has done before.
Mr Joseph Hannington Musomba, a lawyer of 20 years, argues in his yet-to-be-launched book, The Cephas Code of Christ, that the chapter and verse numbers of the Bible – which were inserted a number of years after the compilation of the first Bible – are not mere digits; they contain a code.
Just like The Da Vinci Code, a book that stirred the Christian community with a fictional rendition of the life and times of Jesus, The Cephas Code is sure to spark controversy – not least because the author wants Bible owners to amend some verses he thinks were misinterpreted by some translators over time.
A Catholic by birth, Mr Musomba also goes ahead to dispute a strongly-held belief that the disciple Peter was the first Pope of the church.
“It is not borne out by the Bible and, therefore, remains biblically unverifiable,” he argues.
Mr Musomba told The Weekend that his book is not in the league of The Da Vinci Code because what he presents is “purely a creation of Jesus”.
“There is no heresy about this. These were things that were promised by Jesus himself. They were spoken about by Jesus himself; they are written about by John (the disciple) himself. In fact, the Bible tells us that in the last days, we shall have to relook at the entire Bible again,” he said.
The Da Vinci Code, a novel by Dan Brown, builds on a drawing of “the Last Supper” by Renaissance painter Leonardo Da Vinci. Much as Mr Musomba’s book builds on Bible verses, one of his points of argument is a work of art – the Mar Thoma cross found in the Little Mount Chapel in Mylapore, India. The cross has a connection with Thomas, the “doubting” disciple of Jesus.
Thomas died in India, where he had gone to spread the gospel, in the first century. The Britannica Encyclopaedia says he was martyred there.
One rendition of the Mar Thoma Cross features a number of beads, and the 16th one is shown as being held by a dove atop the cross. This 16 is no coincidence, he argues.
At the base of Mr Musomba’s argument is the famous Biblical verse of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
He claims that the 16th verse of every chapter of the Bible – including the three verses before and after it – are special and they constitute a code he has deciphered.
Another pillar of Mr Musomba’s book is the name Cephas, which Jesus initially gave to the disciple Peter. As recorded in the first chapter of the gospel of John (42): “And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, he said, ‘You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas which is by interpretation a stone.’”
Mr Musomba makes a bold claim on why Jesus called him the son of Jonah and why Jesus, on two occasions in the Bible, spoke about the sign of Jonah. The book contains an argument that there is something about Peter, Jonah, the seven seals spoken about in the book of Revelation that is all part of a code that he claims to uncover.
“The numbers of the Bible are not random but divine and in fact hold key Bible secrets so much so that it is vital that we relook at the entire Bible afresh,” he argues in the book.
But how did Mr Musomba find himself here – a lawyer who is now into Bible interpretation and who says he got his eyes opened to read the Bible “as literature”?
He says he received orders. Divine orders, no less. That was in 2016, he told The Weekend, when “I was a hopeless drunkard”.
He saw a certain verse pasted inside a matatu he had boarded to Makueni, his home county. It was a verse from 1 Corinthians 3:16. This made him think of the famous John 3:16 verse.
The 16th verse
“So, I started thinking to myself: ‘Could this be a coincidence or is it by design?’ I ignored the matter. But with the benefit of hindsight, I can now say with finality that those were instructions; written instructions to investigate further whether these numbers are a coincidence or by design,” he said.
“But at the time, I did not do so because, for one, I must say I was a hopeless drunkard. Number two, and this I argued at the time, was that I was not a Bible scholar. I had not read much on matters Bible and number three, at the time I did not even own a single Bible,” he added.
Four days later, he said, he would stumble upon a copy of Gideon’s Bible on a disused kitchen sink of a hotel.
“I remembered the instructions I’d received in the PSV matatu. Because there was nothing much to do – it was in the evening – I decided to investigate further into this 3:16 and upon opening that Bible, within the first one hour, I’d already figured out the sign of Jonah,” he said.
“At the time of course I didn’t know that this was the sign of Jonah. I didn’t even know it had a name. It was just the design that I had seen, and the pattern of those numbers.
“What I did is that I listed all the 3:16’s in the Bible in the New Testament on a piece of paper. And I noticed that in order to fully understand these 3:16s and their meaning, you need to go three verses up; that is from verse 13-16; and three verses down; 16-19. That’s plus or minus three. It was when I investigated further that I found there was a train,” he said.
Later, after defeating his initial resistance, he embarked on writing the book, and he claims there was some supernatural guidance.
“The spirit descended and the fire was lit deep inside me and from then on, I was not in control of the writings that followed,” he writes.
He argues in the book that the 16th verse of any chapter in the Bible is special and it is the core of the “Cephas Code”.
He argues that a lot of weight was given to the 13th to 19th verses that constitute the code to preserve the truth.
“These codes … were methodically sealed into the Bible over the course of centuries, surreptitiously and stealthily to avert covert and overt corruption, hacking, or hijacking of the holy and divine messages of the Bible, and purely for the preservation of the truth for eternity," he writes.
“There are over 25 Cephas Codes in the New Testament alone,” adds the lawyer.
The book will be launched on December 13 and, if your Bible has “John” instead of “Jonah” in the gospel of John 21:15-17, Mr Musomba says you will need to amend it on that day.
“Old English refers to Jonas. But if you look at modern Bibles, they use the name John instead of the name Jonah. They ought to have used the name Jonah so that it is in reference to the Old Testament prophet. When you use this name John, you de-link that connection between Simon Peter and Prophet Jonah that Jesus created. So, you lose a lot of people,” he told The Weekend.
On December 13, in a live-streamed event, “we shall be correcting it on that day so that the name ‘John’ is deleted and in its place we insert the name ‘Jonas’” he said.
“I will ask you to kindly take out your Bible and a red pen. You will need to make some editing and amendments to some verses if your Bible (does not conform with the King James Bible published in 1611),” he writes.
If John 3:16 in your Bible does not have 25 words as per the KJV Bible, the lawyer writes, you will need to edit it because he argues that there is a mathematical formula to the 25 words that puts the word “Son” at the centre.
“(It should read) as it reads in the 1611 KJV Bible. Otherwise, God’s golden message is submerged and lost,” he writes.
The power to amend, he argues, is given in the Bible by understanding of the book of Revelation and the seven seals it mentions.
In fact, Mr Musomba argues, the year 1611 has a correlation with Matthew 16:11, where Jesus refers to Pharisees and Sadducees.
“The placement of that verse which mirrors the year of the 1611 KJV Bible publication is no coincidence!” he writes.
He also argues that if your Bible mentions “scroll” instead of “book” in Revelation 5:1, you should amend it to the latter.
By the end of the book, the reader is left with a new interpretation of the martyrdom of Thomas in India, the history of the Bible, the insertion of chapters in the Bible by Stephen Langton in the year 1227, the insertion of verses in the text by Robert Estienne in 1551, the often-misinterpreted seven seals in the book of Revelation, why the first and last verse 16s in the New Testament are related, why number 16 is closely associated with Peter the disciple, why Nicodemus being at the burial of Jesus was no coincidence, and why Peter caught 153 large fish in John 21:11, among others.
Mr Musomba also says it is no coincidence that Psalm 117, the shortest chapter in the Bible with only two verses, has 595 chapters before and after it.
He also argues that India should be the home for all religions and that Jesus likening his death and resurrection to Jonah’s stay in the stomach of a fish needs a closer look.
The book is a bold, and instantly controversial, interpretation of the Bible. It has a couple of parallels with The Da Vinci Code, but this time it is packaged in a non-fictional book.