The Cipher

Christian - Biblical Counseling
376 Pages
Reviewed on 08/23/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Cipher is a work of non-fiction in the Christian, theology, and spiritual subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Mark Walton. Following the author’s other works in a similar vein, this is a thought-provoking book that challenges traditional interpretations of the Bible and aims to unravel the mysteries and symbolism embedded within its texts. With a bold premise, the author explores the idea that human pride and ambition have tainted the interpretations of the Word of God for centuries. Through the exploration of symbolism, patterns, numbers, and God's code, the author seeks to uncover the true Gospel of love and tolerance that Christ intended.

Author Mark Walton has crafted a daring and thought-provoking read, challenging readers to question the traditional teachings and dogmas of Christianity. It serves as a call for those who may have become disillusioned or disconnected from the Church, offering a fresh perspective on spirituality and the true meaning of love and acceptance. One of the most impactful features for me personally was the author’s dedication to evidencing and thoroughly explaining his interpretations through his clear passion and research. Walton's dedication to dismantling sacred cows within Christendom is evident throughout the book, making it an intriguing and enlightening read for those seeking a new perspective on faith and spirituality. Overall, I would certainly recommend The Cipher to fans of the author’s existing work and as a positive and uplifting theological read that will warm the heart of anyone on their journey to discover deeper faith.

Asher Syed

The Cipher by Mark Walton probes the historical intricacies of biblical interpretations, suggesting an intentional design whereby Jesus leveraged human pride in establishing the Church. Walton presents a critical examination of the spiritual distortions introduced by this human factor and proposes a rectification rooted in the original gospel of Christ emphasizing love and tolerance. This book, a follow-up to Walton's The Calling, uses an array of symbols, patterns, and divine codes to look at deep-seated biblical conundrums. Walton tackles prevailing religious doctrines, providing a platform for those feeling spiritually disconnected to reignite their faith. The book culminates in proposing love as the mechanism of spiritual fulfillment, shedding new light on faith and Christ's universal salvation.

The American revolutionary and a Founding Father of the United States once said, “Controversy is only dreaded by the advocates of error.” Advocates of Christian error will get their feathers ruffled by The Cipher by Mark Walton, but that's their own issue and not the problem of those who have more sense. Walton's shift in perspective invites readers to question their beliefs, embrace self-discovery, and find the answers to questions asked in the Bible alone, not only by religious leaders. For example, Walton says to question the fire-branded stance that marriage is between one man and one woman and that there is no biblical passage explicitly stating this. Instead, it argues that marriage is a spiritual union and suggests alternative interpretations of passages such as Ephesians 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:1-12 to support this viewpoint. The Cypher contains numerous instances of flawed Bible interpretation. While I only address a few examples briefly, you should follow Walton's advice and not look just to me for a reason to read it. Instead, pick it up and have a look firsthand.

Rabia Tanveer

The Cipher by Mark Walton is a commentary on how we have built an empire out of Christianity while leaving its essence behind. The narrative of the Bible changed from one influential person to the next. They took what worked best for them, interpreted as they wanted to, and let go of the rest. However, Walton believes it’s high time we decipher and use the code that Jesus left for us in the Bible. In a total of 26 chapters, the author analyzed the Bible, decoded it, and shared his views on how and why he reached his conclusions. From sexuality, marriage, sin, and forbidden deeds to society at large, the Bible has the answer to our questions. All we have to do is pursue those queries and find the solutions right there in the Bible. Walton simply guides and nudges readers in the right direction.

I enjoyed reading The Cipher. Mark Walton was thorough with his research and cohesive with his thoughts. I found the chapter on eunuchs to be fascinating. The practice of keeping eunuchs always disturbed me a little, but reading about it through the eyes of someone who studied the Bible and deciphered the meanings made it much easier for me to understand. There were two chapters on sexuality, and both of them provided answers. The narrative style was perceptive and informative and didn’t feel condescending or overwhelming. Walton made sure to maintain a steady pace and ensured a complete understanding of the concepts. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to understand the Bible more deeply and move away from the influence of both modern and traditional narratives.

Philip Van Heusen

Are you ready to read a fresh approach to the Scriptures based on the earliest interpretation of the Word of God? If so, you will enjoy reading The Cipher by Mark Walton. The author challenges the traditional teaching of conservative Christian churches. He makes many statements that all Christians will agree with, but they may not accept the explanations that follow. In many ways, Mark reminds me of the Gnostics and their secret understanding of the Scriptures. This book will make you think and examine your current belief system. Covering many areas of theology, Mark approaches each section using allegory as his basis of interpretation. This book explains the secret meanings of various biblical passages. I find his statement, “Scripture is meant to be confusing,” both telling and interesting. Mark shares at least twelve layers of the Scriptures, and understanding them requires a deeper dive than most people are willing to do. If you want your theology challenged, this book is for you.

As you read The Cipher, you might question where Mark Walton stands on traditional Christianity. He declares that he holds to the core beliefs of Christianity, but his interpretation of the Bible is probably in sharp contrast to conventional understanding. You will quickly learn that Mark reads things differently. He does not accept the assumption that the plain text of Scripture is applicable literally. He digs deeper by accepting his ignorance and relies on the guidance of the Holy Spirit to interpret the Word of God. Mark is spot-on when referring to the need to interpret based on the original audience and how the author would have meant the text to be understood. Mark is a Universalist in that he believes that everyone will be saved.

Jamie Michele

The Cipher by Mark Walton is a theological Christian non-fiction book that challenges conventional interpretations of the Bible, revealing hidden meanings and symbolism. Walton encourages deeper spiritual exploration of scripture through humility and introspection and provides fresh insights into biblical concepts like the Ark of the Covenant, Jesus' sacrifice, and marriage and divorce, alongside an allegorical interpretation of narratives like the story of Adam and Eve and messianic secrecy. Walton's examination of homosexuality in the Bible highlights themes of loving one's neighbor as prioritizing others. Walton also discusses the concept of apostasy and its significance in Christ's return, underlining the importance of reconciliation within the Church. Throughout his work, Walton offers an inclusive, compassionate approach to Christian theology, inviting readers to a revolutionary understanding of scripture.

Mark Walton breaks the mold in The Cipher by challenging what most Christians have been taught over the course of centuries. There are so many ways in which he breaks from traditional interpretations in this accessible book that is written for everyone. The most striking departure lies in his examination of homosexuality within the Christian context. Walton dissects the conventional understanding of Leviticus, suggesting the term "flesh" has multiple meanings that, when taken into account, might drastically alter our perception of the Bible's stance on homosexuality. Furthermore, he presents a unique interpretation of the narrative of Adam and Eve, not just as a literal story of human creation, but as a layered allegory with insights into the concepts of marriage, divorce, and sexuality. By pushing readers to question and explore beyond the literal interpretations, Walton has crafted a refreshing context for the Bible's teachings that stands out from the standard Christian doctrine. Very highly recommended.