These messages can be deciphered, one theory states, by starting in certain places in the text and then either go forward or backward a set number of letters and continuing this process of letter selection until the message is manifest. Modern proponents of this belief include Grant Jeffrey, Chuck Missler, J.R. Church and others.
What is called Gematria is somewhat related to Bible codes. Gematria is a Jewish system of rules used for Biblical interpretation. First, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is given a numeric value (e.g. what is called Aleph, the first letter of the alphabet, is given a value of 1, the next letter is given a value of 2, etc.).
Second, the total value of various words and passages is calculated based on the letter equals number formula. The total values are then compared with other words and passages and an interpretation given.
By looking for secretly encoded messages within the first five books of God's word (called the Torah or Law, which was written by Moses), some Jewish researchers claim they have discovered the names of Jewish sages. Such research has lent itself to an alternate name called Torah codes.
Not only have Jewish researchers sought to unveil "secrets" in the sacred text but also Christians as well. Some Christians believe that the use of Bible Codes can be applied to the Old Testament's prophetic books as well as to God's law. Claims have been made that incredible groupings of words, and even phrases, have been found which reveal a 'word picture' of events that happened in the past.
On the surface, the finding of 'secret' Bible codes or hidden messages could be seen as a proof of its divine origination and inspiration. Many legitimate scholars and even mathematicians, however, are quite skeptical regarding such claims.