ForeWord Reviews

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When God Speaks

The Power of Numbers

Clarion Review (2 Stars)

“When God speaks, His word is not for this and that time only; His word will accomplish all that it is intended to do…when God spoke to me, He spoke with numbers,” writes Kynaston M. Ramsey in When God Speaks: The Power of Numbers. He is a Seventh Day Adventist who believes that the word of God can be understood through numerology.

Ramsey’s relationship with numbers began when he, his wife, and their young daughter moved from Michigan to Florida in 1982, only to find that there were few jobs for a man who was “black and with a foreign accent.” His wife worked and he struggled, finally humbling himself to take jobs through a temp service where he was teased for not being a Kelly “girl.” Sustained by his Christian faith, Ramsey gradually found that in every facet of his life there were numerical clues about what he should do—clues, he believed, that were given to him by the Lord.

Strictly tithing and pledging to the church money that his family desperately needed, he was eventually blessed with a full-time job, bonuses, a decent car, and a house. But it was not material advantages that spurred him on; at each challenge, he looked for certain numbers, signs from the Lord about how to proceed. He felt deeply satisfied when he received such messages, no matter what the final result. An example of this numerical “system” can be found in the author’s statement that, “Jesus said, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself (666) take up his cross (777) and follow me (888).’” These numbers have great significance to a few Christian sects, with 666 representing sin, 777 representing spiritual works, and 888 representing ultimate perfection, though there is little or no scriptural basis for these beliefs.

The book’s cover design is typical of works of religious devotion: blue firmament, white clouds, a shining arrow of light, and numbers in an order that the author clearly finds significant. The back cover contains testimonials from fellow religionists.

Though not a writer by trade, Ramsey tells his story with competence. Several chapters have end notes, mostly referencing biblical quotations. Ramsey states that the book has no illustrations because “we can’t see God now as He is.” Reproductions of checks and check stubs related to stories in the book are of little interest to the reader.

Ramsey projects the image of a sincere Christian trying to explain spiritual numerology to help others solve life’s mysteries. However, his system is not clear because every number or combination of numbers has, for the author, an arcane meaning, leaving the reader to conclude that there may not be a system, but simply the author’s own cosmology.

When God Speaks seems intended for members of Ramsey’s religious group, who may find it inspirational. For outsiders, it reads like one man’s desire to make sense out of the events in his life.

Barbara Bamberger Scott