Taking on a Muslim Nuisance
Muslim apologist Osama Abdullah has issued a challenge to Jews and/or Christians here. Many of the elements within the challenge are representative of typical apologetic and polemical approaches of proponents of Islam. In this article, we will be examining Mr. Abdullah's claims in light of proper Biblical exegesis.
First of all, Mr. Abdullah outlines his challenge to Christians:
Prophecies about Islam in the Bible - My open challenge to anyone to refute this:
The sections of this article are:
1- My open Challenges #1, 2 and 3.
2- Irrefutable proof from the Bible that Jesus wasn't GOD, and he Prophesied about the coming of Muhammad (by the name) after him.
3- I challenge you!
5- Rebuttals to this article.
Aside from the many prophecies about Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in the Bible in this section, I would like to openly challenge any Jewish Rabbi or Christian Priest or Minister to answer the following questions about some prophecies in the Bible that were fulfilled only by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him:
The section to which Mr. Abdallah refers in the latter paragraph will not be dealt with directly in this article. We will rather focus specifically on the items mentioned directly on this challenge. However, for interested readers, we do recommend the following resources in which Mr. Abdallah's polemics should be compared(here, here, and here). Let us continue.
Mr. Abdullah begins:
My open Challenge #1:
In Deuteronomy 33:2, we see Moses peace be upon him predicting that GOD Almighty will execute His Holy Judgement in the city of Paran by 10,000 of Believers:
"And he said, The LORD came from Si'-nai, and rose up from Se'-ir unto them; he shined forth from mount Pa'-ran [Mecca in Arabic], and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. (From the King James Version Bible, Deuteronomy 33:2)"
We also read about the same prophecy by Prophet Enoch peace be upon him:
"And Enoch [Idris in Arabic, one of Allah Almighty's Prophets peace be upon all of them to the people of Israel.] also, the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard [speeches] which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:14-15)"
Now, according to the Islamic history, the city of Mecca (Paran) was liberated by Prophet Muhammad's 10,000-men army. The irrefutable historical proofs for this are located in this article: The story of the 10,000 Muslims who liberated Mecca (Paran) in the Bible.
Mr. Abdallah claims that Enoch and Moses predicted Mohammad's conquest of Mecca with 10,000 of his followers. This is a common prooftext utilized by Muslim apologists, which claims to represent the advents of Moses (Sinai), Jesus(Seir), and Mohammad(Paran), yet the argument breaks down for several reasons. First, each text quoted above says that the *Lord* came from Sinai, Seir, and Paran. Muslims do not believe that Mohammad is divine so this prophecy cannot apply to him. Secondly, the prophecy in each case claims that the Lord came with ten thousandS(plural) of saints, not ten thousand(singular). Therefore, Mohammad's regime is, at best, only half of the required number. Thirdly, the prophecy states that the Lord would come *from* Paran, NOT go to Paran. Mohammad went from Medina to Mecca, not reverse. Fourthly, both Seir and Paran are near Egypt in the Sinai peninsula(see Genesis 14:6; Numbers 10:12; 12:16-13:3; Deuteronomy 1:1). However, Jesus ministered in Palestine and Mohammad in Mecca and Medina. Mr. Abdullah further claims that Paran is Mecca which, of course, is not accurate, but we'll get to that shortly.
Mr. Abdallah next asks the following questions:
Where in the Bible do we see directly or indirectly, remotely or inremotely, the number 10,000 being associated or linked to any Prophet in the Bible, for any place or any time? Where in the Bible do we see any Biblical Prophet leading any type of 10,000-men army of any kind?
And, where in the Bible do we see any Prophet executing the Judgement of GOD Almighty specifically in the city of Paran (Mecca, the city that Abraham took Hagar and Ishmael to)? If Muhammad who liberated the city of Paran (Mecca) with 10,000 Believing Men (Saints) wasn't the one who fulfilled this Biblical Prophecy, then who was that Prophet?
Mr. Abdallah here creates a false dilemma. The subject of the verses in question is God so we would not expect to see any Biblical prophet fulfill what Mr. Abdallah insists is a prophecy. So what does this verse indicate? Sam Shamoun indicates this in another article that responds to Abdallah's claims on Deuteronomy 33:2:
Sinai, Seir and Mount Paran refer to the locations that Israel traversed during their 40-year sojourn in the desert:
"On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the Testimony. Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran. They set out, this first time, at the LORD's command through Moses." Numbers 10:11-13
"So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back. After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran." Numbers 12:15-16
"The LORD said to Moses, 'Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.' So at the LORD's command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites." Numbers 13:1-3
"At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: 'We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit.'" Numbers 13:25-27
"These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the desert east of the Jordan-that is, in the Arabah-opposite Suph, between PARAN and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount SEIR road.)" Deuteronomy 1:1-2
"Then you replied, 'We have sinned against the Lord. We will go up and fight, as the Lord our God commanded us.' So every one of you put on his weapons, thinking it easy to go up into the hill country. But the Lord said to me, 'Tell them, "Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.'" So I told you, but you would not listen. You rebelled against the Lord's command and in your arrogance you marched up into the hill country. The Amorites who lived in those hills came out against you; they chased you like a swarm of bees and beat you down from SEIR all the way to Hormah. You came back and wept before the Lord, but he paid no attention to your weeping and turned a deaf ear to you. And so you stayed in Kadesh many days-all the time you spent there." Deuteronomy 1:41-46
It becomes quite evident that Sinai, Seir and Paran do nor refer to Moses, Jesus and Muhammad as some Muslims erroneously assume. It refers to God appearing to his people to guide them throughout their sojourn prior to their entrance into the Promise Land. Dr. J.H. Hertz, editor of Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Hebrew Text English Translation and Commentary, comments:
2. The LORD came from Sinai. The mountain of Revelation, to make His abode in Israel's midst. Sinai was the starting-point in the manifestation of the Divine glory to Israel.
And rose. A metaphor of sunrise. God "dawned" on them; had 'risen' for them, and had shed forth the light of His law upon Israel, so that henceforth they walked in His light. from Seir. The hill-country of Edom, to the east of Sinai.
Mount Paran. Perhaps the mountain-range forming the southern boundary of Canaan. The Divine Presence journeyed, as it were with Israel from Sinai, through Seir, through Paran, and then finally through the desert; aiding and guarding them, even until they became established in the good inheritance Divinely promised to the Fathers.
Holy. Better, of holy ones. As in Psalm LXVIII, 18, God is here poetically depicted as coming forth from the angelic hosts that surround His throne. (Hertz, p. 909; the Soncino Press, London second edition; bold emphasis ours)
Interestingly, this is how Hertz translates the Hebrew:
And he said: The LORD came from Sinai,
And rose from Seir unto them;
He shined forth from mount Paran.
And He came FROM the myriads holy,
At his right hand was a fiery law unto them.
The rendering, from the myriads holy, is due the Hebrew preposition min. Some render the preposition as with, while others like Hertz as from. If one opts for the latter rendering, then the text would be referring to God descending from the midst of the myriads of his angels in heaven to deliver his people. (cf. 1 Kings 22:19-23; Isaiah 6:1-8; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 5:11) Yet either rendering has nothing to do with Muhammad.
The following passages provide additional proof that Deuteronomy 33:2 is speaking of the Exodus:
"O LORD, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, the earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water. The mountains quaked before the LORD, the One of Sinai, before the LORD, the God of Israel." Judges 5:4-5
"When you went out before your people, O God, when you marched through the wasteland, Selah the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain, before God, the One of Sinai, before God, the God of Israel ... When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land, it was like snow fallen on Zalmon. The mountains of Bashan are majestic mountains; rugged are the mountains of Bashan. Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains, at THE MOUNTAIN where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever? The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord [has come] from Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious-- that you, O LORD God, might dwell there. Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Selah Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death. Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins. The Lord says, 'I will bring them from Bashan; I will bring them from the depths of the sea, that you may plunge your feet in the blood of your foes, while the tongues of your dogs have their share.' Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines. Praise God in the great congregation; praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel. There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them, there the great throng of Judah's princes, and there the princes of Zebulun and of Naphtali. Summon your power, O God; show us your strength, O God, as you have done before. Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring you gifts. Psalm 68:7-8, 14-29
The reference to "the One of Sinai", "Seir", "Edom", "the Mountain", "the Lord from Sinai," and "tens of thousands and thousands of thousands" are clear allusions to Deuteronomy 33. These passages are looking back to the Exodus as the major event in which God demonstrated his great power and love for his people, and as the basis for trusting God's unfailing promises to deliver his righteous remnant. Hence, the oldest biblical witnesses testify that Deuteronomy 33 is a poetic description of the Exodus event."
Moving right along, Abdallah claims:
Wasn't Muhammad through the Divine Religion of Islam the one who ended the idol worshiping of the 365 gods, and ended the brutal slavery and the torturing of women (burying daughters alive at the age of 4 was the pagan Arabs custom)?
Didn't Muhammad bring the Arabs from the total darkness of polytheism and evil to the Light of Worshiping the One True Living GOD Almighty and associated no partners with Him?
Wasn't Muhammad fruitful, and a true man of GOD Almighty?
Mr. Abdallah here raises some interesting topics, but which are not necessarily pertinent to his challenge as to whether or not Mohammad was prophesied in the Bible and whether or not Jesus Christ is God. Therefore, we shall reserve comment on these topics. For anyone interested in examining Mohammad's "fruit," we recommend the following page of scholarly articles which examines Mohammad's alleged prophethood in light of the earliest Muslim sources(Qur'an, Sahih Hadith, Sirat, etc.) that are considered authoritative by Muslims here).
Again, please visit The story of the 10,000 Muslims who liberated Mecca (Paran) in the Bible. The proof that the city of Paran is Mecca.
We shall now examine the material within Mr. Abdallah's link which claims proof that the Paran mentioned in Deuteronomy 33:2 refers to Mecca.
Abraham peace be upon him sent Hagar and Ishmael to Paran: Let us look at the following Verses: "Then God opened her [Hagar] eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt. At that time Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, "God is with you in everything you do. (From the NIV Bible, Genesis 21:19-22)"
Hagar was an Arab. Abraham peace be upon him had Ishmael from her, who was 13 years older than Issac. After Sarah, Abraham's wife gave birth to Issac, Abraham decided to let Hagar and her son Ishmael go. He sent to the desert of Arabia in the region of Paran.
Mr. Abdallah here is assuming what he has not proven in his assertion that Paran is synonymous with Mecca. The passage he cites from the Bible gives no indication that Paran is in Arabia.
Then GOD Almighty promised Ishmael that from him, He will increase his numbers and make from him a great nation, the Arab nation; "And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. (From the NIV Bible, Genesis 17:20)"
The Bible clearly says that Paran is south of Sinai in Egypt; "He said: 'The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes.' (From the NIV Bible, Deuteronomy 33:2)" Kedar came from Ishmael; "These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah: These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. Kedar and Ancient Arabs (From the NIV Bible, Genesis 25:13)" The Arabian desert region was named after Kedar. See the second map below.
It is worth mentioning that whether or not the Arabs are actually descendants of Ishmael is in dispute (see here for more details), but regardless of the verdict in this case, Mr. Abdallah has yet to explain how Ishmael and Kedar being the ancestors of the Arabs establishes that the Paran where Hagar and Ishmael settled is Arabia, much less Mecca. More below.
The Ishmaelites were Arabs and not Egyptians. They came from the Arabian desert; "As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt. (From the NIV Bible, Genesis 37:25)" "take them down to Egypt" means taking them to the land of Egypt. It doesn't mean taking them toward the south direction. When for instance you say "my house is right down the street", it doesn't mean the house is south of the street. The house could be on the north side. The sentence means that the house is on the street, or will be found if the person walks in the path that you lead him to.
The point however in the above Verse is that the Ishmaelites were not from Egypt. They came from another land. They had loaded camels and they were heading to Egypt. Arabs used to rely heavily on camels for traveling.
The Ishmaelites in this case were traveling in a caravan and could have either been from Egypt or anywhere for that matter. How does Mr. Abdallah know, for instance, that the Ishmaelite caravan was not on their way home to Egypt?
And as we've seen from the above Verses regarding Ishmael and his Mother (Hagar) living in the desert of Paran in the South, this clearly proves to us that the desert of Paran is located in Arabia and not in Egypt, since the Ishmaelites are not Egyptians.
Again, these are assumptions that have yet to be proven at all by Mr. Abdallah.
Mecca (Bacca) and Paran:
Let me paste for you the following Verses from the Bible and the Noble Quran:
"Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. (From the NIV Bible, Psalms 84:5-6)"
"The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings: In it are signs manifest; (for example) the Station of Abraham; whoever enters it attains security; pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith Allah stands not in need of any of his creatures. (The Noble Quran, 3:96-97)"
Here is another typical prooftext used by Muslim apologists. The valley of Baca is said to be a reference to Mecca(since Bakka is synonymous with Mecca) and the house of worship being described as the K'aba. However, this is actually a reference to King Solomon's temple and man's journey to it. For a detailed commentary on this claim, please see here. The author continues,
Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran. (From the NIV Bible, Numbers 10:12)"
Here the desert of Paran means the region of Paran, which would be either at or near Mecca.
"After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran. (From the NIV Bible, Numbers 12:16)" Here the desert of Paran means the region of Paran, which would be either at or near Mecca.
"So at the LORD's command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites. (From the NIV Bible, Numbers 13:3)"
"These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the desert east of the Jordan--that is, in the Arabah--opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. (From the NIV Bible, Deuteronomy 1:1)"
Again, we see the author making claims based solely upon his assumptions.
So, where is Paran exactly? Contrary to Mr. Abdallah's unfounded assumptions, as we demonstrated earlier, it is actually near Egypt in the Sinai peninsula(Genesis 14:6, Numbers 10:12, 12:16-13:3; Deuteronomy 1:1). An on-line map can be viewed here.
We now move on to point #2:
Prophet Isaiah peace be upon him prophesied that two leaders whom he called "Chariot" would come -- one riding a donkey, and another riding a camel:
"And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed: (From the King James Version Bible, Isaiah 21:7)"
Who are the "couple of horsemen"? They are Jesus and Muhammad peace be upon them. Let us see the proof:
Jesus fulfilled the riding of the donkey prophecy: "And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, (John 12:14)"
The quote "as it is written" is referring to Isaiah 21:7.
Isaiah chapter 21 is discussing the fall of Babylon(see verse 9) to the Elamites and the Medes(verse 2). It has nothing to do with prophesying the coming of Jesus and/or Mohammad unless one begs a serious typological question. The couple of horsemen are likely referring to Elam and Media since it is these 2 nations that will bring about the fall of Babylon. Secondly, John is referring to Zechariah 9:9 rather than Isaiah 21:7 in relation to Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. Matthew also recognizes the prophetic significance of this event and quotes Zechariah 9:9(Matthew 21:1-5) As a matter of fact, it is evident that John himself in John 12:15 is referring to Zechariah 9:9 as well. Notice also that the prophecy mentions a chariot of asses and camels, not a singular donkey and a singular camel. The Gospels do not record Jesus riding in a chariot of donkeys. Did Mohammad ever ride in a *chariot* of camels? Moreover, there is no rider even mentioned in the prophecy for the chariot of donkeys or the chariot of camels.
It is important to know that no where in the New Testament do we see Jesus riding any camel. No where in the New Testament do we see any fulfillment of any kind about the prophecy of riding the camel.
When we look at Muhammad peace be upon him, he rode the camel several times in his life time. The most popular event of him riding the camel is when he migrated from Mecca to Medina to escape the torture of the pagans.
Not only that, but when the Muslims in Medina wanted to build the first Islamic Mosque and the Prophet's humble Home next to it, they had conflicts among each others about the location, because each group/tribe wanted the location to be as near to them as possible. So, to avoid the conflict of "favoritism", the Prophet peace be upon him ordered for his camel to decide the location by letting it walk and settle in the place that it naturally chooses.
This wisdom from Prophet Muhammad which relied solely on his camel solved the problem.
Abdallah gives us another false dilemma in the first paragraph of the above excerpt since he has yet to prove that Isaiah 21:7 represents a prophecy of a future prophet riding on a camel. The story Abdallah then relates is irrelevant with this being the case.
Now, my open challenge to any Jewish Rabbi or Christian Priest or Minister is as follows:
Where in the Bible do we see the riding of the camel Prophecy being fulfilled?
We see the whole prophecy of Isaiah 21:1-10 being fulfilled in 539 B.C. by the Elamites and Medes under Cyrus when they conquered Babylon.
Who in the Bible was the Prophet that rode the camel to fulfill the Prophecy of Isaiah 21:7? The New Testament only fulfills the riding of the donkey prophecy in John 12:14, and it claims that it only fulfilled that prophecy.
No Biblical prophet rode on a camel to fulfill this prophecy nor does the text support Abdallah's interpretation. Isaiah 21:7 indicates, as mentioned before, the fall of Babylon and the two horsemen and their chariots were likely symbols of the Elamites and Medes.
There is still a missing fulfillment of the riding of the camel in the New Testament. Why?
In light of a proper understanding of the full chapter of Isaiah rather than an isolated prooftext, these verses were fulfilled more than 500 years before the writings of the New Testament and more than 1,000 years before Mohammad's ministry.
If Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him wasn't the one who fulfilled the remaining of Isaiah 21:7 prophecy, then who was that Prophet?
The passage was not foretelling the riding of a camel by a prophet nor does it even mention a rider for the donkeys or the camels in the first place. See again the answer given to the first excerpt of this section.
Abdallah next directs us to a link where this is discussed in more detail along with another passage later in the chapter that he feels has prophetic fulfillment in Mohammad. The first few lines are reiterations of the arguments already addressed in the above segment. Then, we see:
"And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, [with] a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground." (Isaiah 21:9)
Babylon did indeed fall before Islam and the Islamic nation under the guidance of Muhammad (peace be upon him) did indeed succeed in eradicating the worship of idols from Babylon replacing it with the worship of God alone. In fact, the Muslims were the only believers in the God of Isaiah to ever succeed in fulfilling this prophesy.
Whether or not Allah is the one true God or just another idol is, again, up to the individual to decide. However, the author here assumes what he has yet to prove. Besides, Babylon fell more than a millennium before Islam came into fruition and this was accomplished by the Elamites and Medes under King Cyrus, as was clearly foretold in verse 2.
"The burden upon Arabia ..." (Isaiah 21:13)
What does the word "burden" mean? Let us ask the Scofield Study Bible:
"…which also means an oracle is a word sometimes used in the prophetical writings to indicate a divine message of judgment" (Scofield Study Bible New King James Version, note 1, p. 792)
So the Muslims of Arabia (and subsequently Muslims everywhere) would be assigned the burden of God's message.
The prophecy starting in Isaiah 21:13 is indeed a divine message of judgment against Arabia. However, the author's conclusions based on his reference to the Scofield Bible are unfounded. It could just as easily mean, and in fact does mean, that the lands mentioned later in the passage will be conquered. Let us continue:
"The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war" (Isaiah 21:14-15)
In "The Dictionary of the Bible," bearing the Nihil Obstat, Imprimatur, and Imprimi Potest (official Church seals of approval), by John McKenzi, we read that "Tema" is:
"a place name and tribal name of Arabia; a son of Ishmael.... The name survives in Teima, an oasis of the part of the Arabian desert called the Nefud in N Central Arabia."
This word, Tema, is the name of the ninth son of Ishmael (the father of the Arabs), in Genesis 25:13-15 we read:
"And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah" (Genesis 25:13-15). Strong's concordance tells us that this name was also applied to the land settled by Tema the son of Ishmael. It goes on to explain how this word is "probably of foreign derivation". Indeed, this word, Teima, is an Arabic word which means "Barren desert". It remains the name of a city in the Arabian peninsula just north of "Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah," or "Madinah" for short (Please see Map 1, page 491). Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions were given sanction to migrate. They departed Makkah during the night and left all of their possessions behind. Upon reaching Madinah they were greeted by its citizens with open arms and Muhammad (peace be upon him) assigned each one of the Muhajireen (citizens of Makkah) to one of the Ansar (citizens of Madinah) to house and feed them until they could strike out on their own. This became the first year of the Arab "Hijra" (Emigration) calendar used in Islamic countries to this day.
The phrase, "Fleeing from the drawn swords," is used by Muslims to demonstrate that this passage prophesies the escape of Mohammad from Mecca where he underwent persecution to Medina (then called Yathrib) where he was given sustenance(food and water). The author apparently implicitly suggests that this is prophetic of Mohammad's journey to Medina since Tema is "just north" of Medina. However, Tema is actually about 400 kilometers north of Medina. Therefore, it is spurious to claim that Medina can somehow fit into this prophecy.
"For thus hath the LORD said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail. And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken [it]." (Isaiah 21:16-17)
Kedar is the second son of Ishmael, the father of the Arabs:
"And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam." (Genesis 25:13)
Kedar is also synonymous with all of Arabia in general, as in Ezekiel:
"Arabia, and all the princes of Kedar." (Ezekiel 27:21)
Geographically, Kedar is actually located southeast of Israel in present day Jordan.
The Arabs of Makkah, the capital of the paganistic tribes of Arabia of the day, were indeed defeated by the Muslims in the second year after their forced immigration from Makkah to Madinah (The Hijra). This victory signaled the turning point for Islam and a transition from a position of weakness to one of power and victory .
It should be pointed out here that, as mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the children of Israel, from the tribe of Levi, were distinctly aware of this prophesy. Indeed this is the very reason why they had begun to immigrate from the lush and fertile pastures of their holy land of Israel to the barren parched deserts of Arabia, specifically to Madinah and the surrounding areas of Khaibar, Tema, and others. Because they knew that this is where the final prophet would appear. As mentioned above, these children of the Jews were constantly threatening the Arab inhabitants of Madinah (the tribes of Al-Aws and Al-Kazraj) with his impending arrival and how they would follow him and, through his leadership, they would utterly destroy these Arabs. They had hoped that this prophet would be from their tribe and that their presence in this location might facilitate this hope.
When their awaited prophet finally did come, they rejected him. They wanted a Jewish prophet from their own tribe and not an Arab from the sons of Ishmael. Thus, they allowed their pride to come between them and the truth which they recognized. However, their efforts were not totally in vain. So continuous were their efforts in threatening the inhabitants of Madinah with the final prophet's imminent arrival that when Muhammad (peace be upon him) finally did come, the inhabitants of Madinah immediately recognized him and hastened to follow him before the Jews. These inhabitants of Madinah would later become among those very first followers of Muhammad (peace be upon him) who would one year later go on to fulfill the prophesy of Isaiah by defeating the "mighty men of Kedar" in the very first battle of the Islamic nation, the battle of Badr.
The challenge we shall here present to Abdallah is to present us with some pre-Islamic Jewish literature that records the expectations of the Jews mentioned by the author of this article. The idea that the Jews "efforts in threatening the inhabitants of Madinah with the final prophet's immenent arrival that when Muhammad finally did come, the inhabitants of Madinah immediately recognized him and hastened to follow him before the Jews" is science-fiction in the absence of some kind of written corroboration. Furthermore, the author claims that the battle of Badr was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 21:16 because it was the first battle of the Islamic nation. However, contrary to the author's claim, it was actually not one year later nor "within a year"(as Isaiah 21:16 indicates) that the Muslims fought this battle after they arrive in Medina. The journey of Mohammad to Medina took place on September 20th, 622 A.D. However, the Battle of Badr took place in March of 624 A.D., well over the one year time frame specified in the prophecy. Plus, the Battle of Badr was a battle against one tribe of Meccans. According to the author, Arabia in general refers to Kedar(with which, as we noted above, we disagree). If this is the case, is it reasonable to assert that Arabia was defeated just because of the winning of one battle against a Meccan tribe(one of many tribes scattered throughout Arabia at that time)?
The author then goes on to discuss in further detail the Muslim victory over the Meccans in the Battle of Badr. Then, he makes the following interesting comment:
This was the great turning point for the Islamic nation. This battle could be said to have been the beginning of the end for the reign of idolatry and paganism within the land of Arabia. This Muslim nation would then go on to expand to many other nations until it spread from Spain to China, fulfilling many more prophesies in the Bible, including Daniel 2:44, Genesis 15:18-21, and many others.
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."(Daniel 2:44-45)
This is an allusion to Nebuchadnezzar's statue dream that is being interpreted by Daniel to be prophetic of kingdoms to succeed that of Babylon(Persia, Greece, and Rome). The author of the above article is apparently asserting that the Islamic Empire fulfilled verse 44. However, it is obvious from a mere reading that this is not the case. The verse says that the kingdom shall never be destroyed, but the Islamic Empire, although once a mighty force, has been disintegrated for quite some time as it fell under European colonial powers. Furthermore, the stone cut out "without hands" indicates that this kingdom would be much different from that of the former kingdoms. Islam, like all of the other empires, spread through military conquests. In this regard, it is truly no different from the others. Muslims could, of course, assert that since Islam is an "Empire of God," that this would qualify it as the "stone cut out without hands." However, this brings us back again to the assumption that Allah is truly God. The successes of the other empires mentioned, including Nebuchadnezzar's, were also attributed to various pagan gods. The point is that we can safely assert that the building of each of these empires had naturalistic explanations. They were accomplished by warfare the establishment of man-made governments. If it was God's will for Islam to be a kingdom that would be established forever, then why did the Empire not endure and conquer the world? Instead, we have seen that Islam's military and political might has rapidly declined in the last couple of centuries. The Christian interpretation of the Stone is that of Jesus Christ, the divine Savior, who will establish His Kingdom on earth upon his 2nd return (or in the preterist view, already has done so). A kingdom ruled by God is one that truly can be said to be cut out without hands. Interestingly, Jesus also calls Himself, in reference to Psalm 118:22, the *stone* which the builders rejected(Matthew 21:42).
"In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perrizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites."(Genesis 15:18-21)
This is a prophecy of God's promise to Abraham that his seed would obtain the lands mentioned. As will be established in the 3rd part of Abdallah's challenge, God's covenant came through Isaac, not Ishmael. And, it was through Isaac's seed, and his son Jacob's seed, that the nation of Israel was born. It was the Israelites, almost 2,000 years before Mohammad and Islam came on the world scene, that took control of the land and defeated the peoples mentioned in the prophecy.
Next, the author tells us:
An unfortunate misconception which has managed to creep into many Western beliefs is that Islam was only spread through force and the sword. Today, however, this notion is beginning to be recognized for the absurdity that it was. A Christian missionary, Sir Thomas W. Arnold says:
"...of any organized attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestantism penal in France, or the Jews were kept out of England for 350 years. The Eastern Churches in Asia were entirely cut off from communion with the rest of Christendom throughout which no one would have been found to lift a finger on their behalf, as heretical communions. So that the very survival of these Churches to the present day is a strong proof of the generally tolerant attitude of Mohammedan [sic] governments towards them" (The Preaching of Islam, A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith, Sir Thomas W. Arnold, Westminster A. Constable & Co., London, 1896, p. 80).
"Against unbelievers he (Muhammad) enjoined his followers to undertake a holy warefare, but only when attacked. The earlier Moslem[sic] leaders did not try to impose their faith upon other nations" (The History of Christianity in the Light of Modern Knowledge, A Collective Work, Harcourt Brace and co., p. 520)
Muslims did indeed wage many wars, just as many Jews and Christians did both before and after this. Muslims waged their wars in self-defense or in order to abolish idolatry, tyranny, slavery, and oppression. Muslims were commanded to not attack those who did not attack them, to not cut down a fruit tree, to not kill the animals, to not take the people's property, to not harm women or children or old people so long as they did not fight with them, and to not burn crops.
When they were victorious, the Muslims were commanded not to destroy the churches nor the synagogues, nor to force the people to convert to Islam. The people were allowed to continue to practice their religion without persecution or being forced to convert (Compare for example with Numbers 31, and Deuteronomy 20. Please also compare with the great Spanish inquisitions).
There is no compulsion in religion. The right path is henceforth distinct from misguidance" (The noble Qur'an, Al-Bakarah(2):256.)
The Western media has been selling us this ever since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. However, this could actually not be further from the truth. While it is outside our scope, a few comments seem to be in order.
In the Qur'an, one will find verses of peacemaking(even in the face of persecution), verses of self-defense, and verses of aggression. Mohammad had "revelations" over a 23 year period of time(about 610-632 A.D.). These "revelations" began in Mecca when Mohammad had only a few converts. At this time, needless to say, Mohammad nor his followers had any military might and Mohammad admonished them to endure persecution without raising the sword. Soon, Mohammad allowed for Muslims to fight, but only when it was for self-defense. After Mohammad got settled in Medina, he and his followers attacked pagan caravans in order to obtain booty. Eventually, he gained enough of a following and military power to start forcing his religion on people. He forced pagans to convert to Islam or die and Christians and Jews were given the 3rd option of paying the Jizya tax to keep practicing their respective religions. After Mohammad had died, many Muslims were leaving Islam, and his successor, Abu Bakr, waged war on the apostates and killed tens of thousands of them in his efforts of forcing Arabia back into Islam. Mohammad, Abu Bakr, and future Islamic Caliphs waged war on all non-Muslims and were successful in conquering many lands and forcing Islam upon their cultures. What we read in history about the Islamic Empire is a result of these military conquests. Consider the following quotes by Paul Fregosi:
"The story begins around 650 C.E. with the first, unsuccessful siege of Constantinople, and continues with the invasion and occupation, sometimes for hundreds of years, of many European countries. Italy, Sicily, Portugal, France, Spain, Austria, Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Rumania, Wallachia, Albania, Moldavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Armenia, Georgia, Poland, the Ukraine, and eastern and southern Russia were all battlefields where Islam conquered or was conquered in violent conflicts marked by cruelty, bloodlust, and a fearful loss of life, spread over considerably more than a thousand years. "
"For over a century and a half the world had forgotten this fact, since most Muslim countries were politically impotent and ruled mainly as the colonies or protectorates of European powers."
Lastly, consider the following Sahih Hadith:
"I have been ordered by God to fight with people till they bear testimony to the fact that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammed is his messenger, and that they establish prayer and pay Zakat (money). If they do it, their blood and their property are safe from me" (see Bukhari Vol. I, p. 13).
Furthermore, the author is correct, for the most part, in that Muslims were not to cut down fruit trees in their conquests and were to spare vegetation. However, interestingly enough, this did not stop Mohammad from violating a taboo in place even in his times of burning down date palm trees of the Nadir tribe of Jews in 625 A.D. These trees represented the livelihood of this Jewish tribe. Even some of Mohammad's followers were not happy about the former's decision. Mohammad eventually forced this tribe as well as other Jews out of the Arabian peninsula. Finally, it is also not true that Mohammad did not permit(at least in some situations) the massacres of women and children. There are many Sahih Hadith that support this. For more information on the topic of whether Islam truly promotes peace, whether or not it spread by the sword, and other topics to which we've alluded, the following resources are recommended(here, here, here, and here). We will not cover this in any more depth here though since we have digressed from the topic at hand. However, it seems appropriate to state emphatically that, in all likelihood, the majority of Muslims are not radicals, especially in the West. In fact, most Muslims here in the West seem to follow a "Christianized" version of Islam and are probably unaware of most of the dubious teachings and information recorded in the Qur'an, Sahih Hadith, and Sirat about Mohammad, Islam, and the spread of Islam.
The author alludes to several verses in the Old Testament where the Israelites engaged in wars against their enemies. In this case, chapters discussing the battles with the Midianites and Canaanites are mentioned. However, these are not holy wars that were performed in order to convert people. The Israelites were God's vessel through which justice was brought to evil nations. The only difference in this and the Noahine flood(which both Muslims and Christians believe in) is that God used different means in punishing evil generations. For more on this subject, we recommend this article by Glenn Miller. As far as the Spanish Inquisition and other events like the Crusades are concerned, we indeed agree that these are evil acts perpetrated by those wearing the banner of Christ. However, this was done *in spite* of the fact that Christ taught us to love our enemies(Matthew 5:44-45), not take up a sword against them(Matthew 26:51-54, compare Luke 22:49-51), and evangelize without the use of compulsion. (See also here; the social issues involved are more complex than our opponent indicates.) As touching the Crusades though, and not making excuses for them, the following quote by Paul Fregosi is quite interesting:
"… European history has remained transfixed on the Christian Crusades of the eleventh to the thirteenth century, it has largely ignored these Muslim attacks and invasions...When accusing the West of imperialism, Muslims are obsessed with the crusades , but have forgotten their own longer and more gruesome Jihad."
As I read this section, I notice that the material presented here is familiar and is actually taken from another Muslim polemicist that has already invoked a response found here. The responses to this last section will be taken from this article. The author continues:
If Islam was indeed spread by the sword and not by its spiritual appeal, then how do we explain, for example, the fact that Islam is the religion of the majority of the people of the country of Indonesia even though no Muslim army ever set foot on their land and they can by no stretch of the imagination be labeled as Arabs? The only contact these people ever had with Islam was through Muslim traders who passed through their lands.
"Misha'al is correct in claiming Indonesia was not conquered by force. I would also throw in Malaysia, and parts of Africa. Outside of these areas, all Muslim lands today were conquered by force. And, Islam keeps its people by force. So much for there being "no compulsion in religion". The Islamic law of apostasy is death for those that leave Islam. [Mawdudi, "The Punishment of the Apostate According to Islamic Law", p. 18]. Wouldn't you describe that as compulsion? What do you call a religion that denies freedom of thought and freedom of choice? Muslims are commanded to kill apostates wherever they are. And, Muslims are very brutal to non-Muslims. Even in Indonesia, in the last few years, over 100 churches have been damaged or destroyed by Muslim mobs, some of them numbering in the thousands. [Voice of the Martyr, May, 1998]. Even the head of the largest Muslim political party in Indonesia acknowledged this. So, what does this really say about Islam? Where Islam rules, non-Muslims suffer."
If the truth were to be known, in almost every single battle the Muslims ever participated in, they were almost always vastly outnumbered. For example, when the Muslims finally overthrew the pagan Byzantine superpower in the battle of Al-Yarmook of the year 636 C.E., the Muslim army consisted of 40,000 fighters verses 200,000 solders in the Byzantine army. So although many historians may like to attribute the fall of this superpower to any number of factors such as claiming that they were taxed and weary from previous battles with the Romans, (while not claiming that the Muslims were taxed and weary from their previous battles), and although they refuse to believe that this victory could have come from the Almighty, still, one needs to wonder if this victory were not through divine intervention then how do we explain the fact that an ill-equipped army of Bedouin sheep herders who were outnumbered more than four to one could so resoundingly defeat one of the two "superpowers" of their age?
"This is more historical nonsense. Muslims frequently outnumbered their opponents. And, if you want to get right down to it, where was Allah when the Jews defeated the Muslims in four wars during this century? Some estimates put the population ratio at 80 to 1! If you're looking for who God has helped, look at how the Jews whipped the Muslims. If anything, those victories came from God. Little ol' Israel beat the pants off of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and troops from other Muslim nations as well.
"As far as the Muslims beating the Byzantines; that was no great feat. The Byzantines and Persians were fought out. They had been at war with each other almost continuously for nearly 127 years. Their troops were exhausted and demoralized. The Muslims were relatively fresh and well motivated. ["The People's Chronology", Henry Holt and company].
"History is full of examples of motivated but outnumbered armies winning great battles. Look at how the Vietnamese beat the Americans, the Mexicans defeated the French. the Afghanis beat the Russians. Examine Alexander the Great's exploits, or Julius Caesar's victories. More often than not, they were outnumbered. In fact, Caesar with 15,000 men faced and defeated an army of about 120,000 in 53 BC during the Gaulic wars. I could go on and on. The point is that the Muslim victory over the Byzantine army was no miracle."
So to what events is the prophecy of Isaiah 21:13-17 referring?
"In various places in Scripture, we see where God allows pagan nations to rise in power and punish evil nations, including apostate Israel. In this particular case, God is using Elam and Media(Isaiah 21:2) to bring judgment upon various lands including Babylon(verse 9). An examination of chapters 13-24 of Isaiah reveal that the subjects of judgment are many nations including Moab(Jordan) in chapters 15 and 16, Damascus(Syria) in chapter 17, Egypt and Cush(Ethiopia) in chapters 18-20, and even Jerusalem in chapter 22. In the passage in question, a judgment is pronounced on Arabia and Kedar. The prophet Isaiah recorded this prophecy around 700 B.C. and it was fulfilled when Babylon was conquered in 539 B.C. by the Elamites and Medes under Cyrus. Nebuchadnezzar conquered Northern Arabia and Kedar(605-562 B.C.) which fulfilled the prophetic passage in question. Thus, this prophecy was fulfilled almost 1,200 years before Mohammad and company fled to Medina."
Abdallah continues in phase 3 of his challenge:
In the Old Testament, we read about GOD Almighty promising to create "Great Nations" from Ishmael, Abraham's first Son and the father of the Muslims:
Genesis 12:1-3 1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. 2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
The quote "go to the land I will show you" is referring to the city of Paran (Mecca)... The quote "I will make you into a great nation" is quite interesting. How can GOD Almighty call the Muslims, who came from Ishmael, a "great nation" if they are as the modern Christians of today consider them to be "Satan's followers"? How can we be a "great nation" in the eyes of GOD Almighty if we are hated by Him?
"........and bless Prophet Muhammad and the people of Prophet Muhammad, like You blessed Prophet Abraham and the people of Prophet Abraham........"
As you clearly see, we bless Prophet Abraham every single day of our lives when we pray to Allah Almighty. We also do say "peace be upon him" or "peace and blessings be upon him" when we refer to his name or any other Prophet's name.
Abdallah here makes several mistakes. First of all, God called the Ishmaelites, not the Muslims, a great nation. Assuming that Mohammad and the Arabs were/are descendants of Ishmael, it is the Ishmaelites as a people that would be a great nation. Islam is simply a religion that was founded by a descendant of Ishmael(according to common Muslim assertions), not the nation itself. The Ishmaelite nation was established at least 2 millenia before Islam and there are still Ishmaelites(Arabs) that are not Muslims and there are Muslims that are not Ishmaelites.
Secondly, Christians do not assert that God hates the Ishmaelites(or Muslims). Rather, we assert that God loves all His creation and wishes for all to be saved(John 3:16, II Peter 3:9). (Note as well the meaning of "hate" here.)
Thirdly, Abdallah's assertion that this passage has anything to do with Ishmael is spurious as God was speaking to Abraham. Here are the verses that speak explicitly of the Ishmaelite nation:
"And the angel of the Lord said unto her[Hagar], I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren."(Genesis 16:10-12, word in  is mine)
"And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! AND GOD SAID, SARAH THY WIFE SHALL BEAR THEE A SON INDEED; AND THOU SHALT CALL HIS NAME ISAAC: AND I WILL ESTABLISH MY COVENANT WITH HIM FOR AN EVERLASTING COVENANT, AND WITH HIS SEED AFTER HIM. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. BUT MY COVENANT WILL I ESTABLISH WITH ISAAC, WHICH SARAH SHALL BEAR UNTO THEE AT THIS TIME IN THE NEXT YEAR."(Genesis 17:15-21, emphasis added)
Thus, we see that while God did promise that Ishmael would beget twelve princes(whose fulfillment is further discussed in Genesis 25:12-16) and would be a great nation, He clearly told Abraham that His covenant would be established through Isaac.
"And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And ISAAC went unto Abimelech, king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; AND I WILL MAKE THY SEED TO MULTIPLY AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN, AND WILL GIVE UNTO THY SEED ALL THESE COUNTRIES; AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED; Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."(Genesis 26:1-5, emphasis added)
"And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; AND THY SEED SHALL BE AS THE DUST OF THE EARTH, AND THOU SHALT SPREAD ABROAD TO THE WEST, AND TO THE EAST, AND TO THE NORTH, AND TO THE SOUTH: AND IN THEE AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED."(Genesis 28:10-14, emphasis added) So, we see in these verses that it is through Isaac, not Ishmael, and through Isaac's son Jacob, that all the nations of the Earth would be blessed. Jacob went on to beget 12 sons(See Genesis 29:31-35:18) who were the progenitors of the Israelite nation. It was through this nation that Jesus Christ was born(Matthew 1). Thus, the Christian claim that Jesus is the One through which all of the nations of the Earth may obtain salvation is consistent with the testimony of the Scriptures that it is through Jacob and his seed that all of the nations of the Earth were to be blessed. Conversely, the Islamic claim that Mohammad, allegedly an Ishmaelite, is the one who brings salvation to the world is inconsistent with the prophetic testimony of the Scriptures.
Abdallah commences his challenge with the following:
My open challenge to any Jewish Rabbi or Christian Priest or Minister is:
How can the Muslims be cursed and considered satan followers when GOD Almighty in Genesis 12:3 blesses them because they bless Abraham?
Abdallah appears to be under the impression that Christians assert that Muslims are singled out as "Satan's followers" and are specifically cursed. This is not the case. Jesus Christ claimed that it is only through Him that salvation can be obtained(John 3:16, 14:6). Therefore, it is the Christian assertion that anyone who rejects the salvation provided to us by Him is not saved. As for being blessed, Abdallah claims that because Muslims claim to bless Abraham in word(see previous segment) that this entitles them to God's blessings. However, the question then arises as to whether or not Muslims, by following Mohammad, are following the true revelations of God set forth by Abraham and continuing through Jesus Christ. The answer, of course, is for each individual to decide. However, if the Judeo-Christian assertions are indeed correct about God's revelation, then it is Muslims who are denying God's salvation and blessings. It isn't that God's offer is not there. It is a matter of who is willing to accept it.
How can the Muslims be cursed by GOD Almighty when they bow down to Him and only Him in prostration?
Although, contrary to the apparent assertions of Abdallah, Christians do not believe that Muslims are cursed in any particular sense, we continue to assert that their religious system denies the salvation provided to us by Jesus Christ on Mount Calvary.
Yes, the Muslims are the "great nation" that GOD Almighty talked about, they are blessed by Him because they worship non but Him, and they bless Abraham everyday in their Prayers.
While it is true that the Ishmaelites were promised a "great nation" by God, this does not encompass the Muslim faith for reasons already explained. It is also true that Muslims do worship a god Mohammad called Allah. However, Abdallah's assertions are still dependent on the assumption that Allah, as opposed to YHWH or other pagan gods, is the true God(See here for more details on why I differentiate Allah and YHWH although Muslims do not do so). At any rate, God wishes for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth(John 4:21-24). From our perspective, it is only through trusting in Jesus Christ's finished work on the cross that salvation can be achieved. Islam, moreso than any other religion, *specifically* denies this vital doctrine(Surah 4:157).
Finally, verbally blessing Abraham in prayer is not the same as following the true revelations set forth by Abraham and the later series of prophets ending in Jesus Christ. As an aside, it is interesting to note that, by using Abdallah's logic that Muslim = Ishmaelite, it is this nation possibly moreso than any other nation that has *cursed* the seed of Abraham rather than blessed them. Mohammad expelled the Jews from the Arabian peninsula. He massacred the Qurayzah tribe of Jews in 627 A.D. killing between 600 and 900 men and selling the women and children as slaves. As was his custom, he kept 20 percent of the booty obtained from the event and divided the rest among his soldiers. The Jews of the Nadir and Khaybar tribes were also driven out of their homes in 625 and 628 A.D., respectively. Mohammad cursed both the Jews and Christians on his deathbed:
"From Ibn Sa'd page 322:
When the last moment of the prophet was near, he used to draw a sheet over his face; but when he felt uneasy, he removed it from his face and said: "Allah's damnation be on the Jews and the Christians who made the graves of their prophets objects of worship."
Mohammad is also reported to have said:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.(Sahih Muslim, Book 41, 6985)
Throughout history, in lands that were conquered by Muslims, Jews and Christians were treated as second class citizens. Aside from having to pay the "Jizya" tax for practicing their own religions(Surah 9:29), Jews and Christians were, among other things, required to find another road to walk through when meeting a Muslim coming from the other direction on the road in which they were walking, not permitted to ride horses(although Muslims were permitted to), not build their houses higher than Muslim houses, not allowed to marry Muslim women(although Muslim men could marry Christian or Jewish women), not raise their voices in synagogues and churches loudly enough to be heard from the outside of the building, not practice their religion on their holy days and not celebrate them in public, not carry weapons, not testify against a Muslim in court, wear special clothing and special colors that identified them as non-Muslims(Christians wore blue, Jews wore yellow, and Samaritans wore red), have the women wear shoes that did not match, and Christians were not permitted to enter a public place without wearing a large cross around their necks. This cross had to be metal and needed to be probably at least two pounds in weight. Perhaps worse than anything, a Muslim could not be executed for the murder of a Christian or Jew although the reverse was not true.
To this day, thanks largely to the teachings of Mohammad, the Jews in Israel are surrounded by many countries that have a great animosity toward them. Of course, we want to make an important distinction at this point. There are many who have called themselves Christians who have held similar animosity toward the Jews. However, such attitudes are certainly not derived from the teachings of the Injil(New Testament) unless twisted beyond contextual recognition. On the other hand, Mohammad and the earliest Islamic sources performed and condoned harsh treatment against both the literal seed of Abraham(the Jews) and the spiritual seed of Abraham(Christians; see Romans 9 and 11).
While the main body of Abdallah's challenge has been answered in the above sections, we will here be addressing certain claims made in links that he provides at the bottom of his challenge page. In some cases, as above, we will simply refer the reader to various other articles on this site and on the web which, at the very least, will indirectly refute the claims made by Abdallah. Inquisitive readers should compare his material with the material that we provide. We will not be answering the claims from Abdallah's links in any particular order. The first topic we will respond to is an article entitled "Early Christians Rejected Trinity."
Abdallah, after first giving us the names of various early heretical Christian groups, tells us:
Even in the modern age there are churches in Asia, in Africa, the Unitarian church, the Jehovah's witnesses, and even the majority of today's Anglican Bishops do not worship Jesus (peace be upon him) as one in three, as what been report by the "Daily News" 25/6/84 under the heading "Shock survey of Anglican Bishops."
Moreover, the 'Socinianism', the 17th-century Christian also rejects such traditional doctrines as the Trinity and original sin, the founder is Socinus, and his Latinized name of Lelio Francesco Maria Sozzini (1525-1562), the Italian Protestant theologian. Johannes Greber (1874) a former of Catholic priest in his book 'The Communication with the Spirit World of God' in page 371 was written, "As you see, the doctrine of a triune Godhead is not only contrary to common sense, but is entirely unsupported by the Scriptures". So another priest who was deny the trinity.
A theologians, Edouard Schillebeeckx of the Netherlands in 1979 was writings some article that rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. This caused concern to the Vatican.
Here we are given the names of various groups of modern heretical Christian groups as well as some anti-Trinitarian testimonies. Of course, this would not disprove the doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ any more than examples of unorthodox Muslim movements like the Qur'an-only Muslims or the Nation of Islam would disprove the doctrines of orthodox Islam. Now, let's get back to Abdallah's mention of various early groups who rejected the Trinity. Here is what he wrote:
The Jews also reject the trinity, in addition to the very first groups of Christianity such as the Ebonites, the Cerinthians, the Basilidians, the Capocratians, and the Hypisistarians never know about trinity doctrine at all. The Arians, Paulicians and Goths also accepted Jesus (peace be upon him) as a prophet of God and against the trinity.
While traditional Jews do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, there are concepts based in Jewish Wisdom literature, which pre-date Christianity, that corroborate Trinitarian concepts. We will return to this later. For now, let's focus on the topic at hand. Is it true, as Abdallah states, that the very first groups of Christianity rejected the Trinity?
Let's examine the groups that he mentions. First of all, however, let's also outline the general Muslim beliefs about Jesus Christ and we will compare them as we go to those of these various Christian groups. Muslims believe that Jesus is the Messiah, but was sent only to the Jews. Muslims agree that Jesus was born via a virgin birth, performed great miracles, but was not crucified, and hence not buried or resurrected. Along with this, of course, atonement theology as it is based on Christ's work on the cross is rejected.
First up on the list is the Ebionites which we will save until the end. Next, we have the Cerinthians mentioned as one of the first Christian groups that denied the divinity of Christ. This is the earliest group of the various movements mentioned by Abdallah. Interestingly, Abdallah's assertion that the Cerinthians, Basilidians, and Carpocratians denied the divinity of Christ is not entirely accurate. Cerinthus of Ephesus, the founder of this movement, introduced this branch of Gnosticism in the mid to late 1st century. In fact, it is believed by some, including the church fathers Jerome and Irenaeus, that the Apostle John wrote his Gospel primarily in response to this particular heretical movement. Cerinthus taught that God sent Christ, a divine Entity, to dwell within a man named Jesus. Jesus was not born via a virgin birth, but rather through sexual intercourse, but *was* crucified and resurrected. All of this is contradictory to the Islamic Jesus. Most heretical of all is that Cerinthus taught that our Creator is not the supreme God, but a power that was inferior to an even greater, one true god. Needless to say, this is not representative of the God that both Christians and Muslims visualize through studies of our respective Scriptures.
Basilides, founder of the Basilidians, surfaced in Alexandria, Egypt between 125 and 150 A.D. The supreme God as viewed by the Basilidians is named Abraxas. According to their belief system, Abraxas sent Christ, his son, to be enjoined to an ordinary man named Jesus. The God of the Jews, the One in which we believe, according to the Basilidians, was a mere inferior angel that helped to create the earth, one of 365 subordinate sets of angels to Abraxas. The mission of Christ in this case was to teach the people knowledge that had allegedly been lost in battles between the God of the Jews and gods of other countries like Ammon and Moab as well as battles between the peoples themselves. According to this theory, the God of the Jews enticed the people to kill Jesus, and did so successfully, although the Christ, the son of Abraxas, was not harmed. The Basilidians did deny Christ's resurrection, but also denied a general resurrection of all people. Similar to some Muslim theories, they also proposed that Simon the Cyrene was crucified in Christ's stead. Although we see some similarities, the differences between the Islamic Jesus and that of Basilides are more pronounced. Like the Cerinthians, the Basilidians taught that Christ was a divine Emanation of the supreme God who entered a human man named Jesus. This is contradictory to Christianity in that Christians teach that Jesus and the Christ are One and the same. Jesus Christ entered human flesh and lived 33 plus years, was crucified, buried, rose on the 3rd day, and ascended to heaven 40 days later. However, the teachings of Basilides about Christ also contradict the Islamic viewpoints of Jesus in that Muslims deny any divine characteristics of Jesus, and/or Christ, who they also claim is One and the same. Also, Muslims, along with Christians, would not go along theologically with the Basilidians in their teachings about the general resurrection of the dead, or lack thereof, and of the God of the Jews, who is indeed the One and *only* God!
The Carpocratians were a group founded by Carpocrates, who taught a Gnostic doctrine in the early 2nd century. It is asserted that Jude and II Peter were written as refutations to earlier heresies from which this developed. Carpocrates taught that Jesus was a mere man, born naturally (no virgin birth), who contained special knowledge from a previous life. His spiritual superiority allowed him to attain his position as Christ. Also, it was taught that anyone with sufficient power and knowledge could also attain the same spiritual level as did Jesus. This particular group also denied that our Creator is the supreme God. According to Irenaeus, this group believed in reincarnation, which is hinted at by the idea that Jesus had knowledge from a previous life, to which one can only escape bodily existence by seeking out all possible human experiences, even ones that both Christians and Muslims would find morally repugnant. For instance, Carprocrates' son Epiphanius once said, "God must have been joking when he forbade Israel to covet their neighbours' wives, as it was God who had given humans the desire for multiple sexual partners." Obviously, the Carpocratian doctrines of the natural birth of Jesus, reincarnation, the "gradual" achievement of Jesus to be the Christ, the belief that any mere human has the potential to equal the merits of Jesus Christ, and the belief that our Creator is not the supreme God is contradictory to both Christianity and Islam.
We have now located some information on the Hypsistarians and would like to thank "Bill the Cat" for the assist in informing us of a pertinent resource. The Hypsistarians were actually a pagan Jewish sect that existed from about 200 B.C. to 400 A.D. confined mostly to Asia Minor. They did believe in a supreme God(Hypsistos) but refused to acknowledge Him as "Father" as Christians do and also maintained the Jewish distinctions in foods. However, they were Sabbath keepers, unlike Muslims, and most damaging in the Islamic pursuit of parallels, they also worshipped fire and light, something that would be unthinkable to a follower of Islam. Our source informs us that this sect's existence may have been partially responsible for the rapid spread of Christianity in Asia Minor although what they actually thought of Jesus is not even discussed. The fact that this sect actually started at least about 200 years before Jesus came to Earth makes us leary of the claim that this was a Christian group, but it is always possible that there was a general acceptance of Jesus by members of this sect at some point in their history. More information on them would be required to draw definite conclusions on that matter one way or the next .
Next we have the mention of Arianism. This is a doctrine that was founded by Arius in the fourth century A.D. While Arius did deny the divinity of Christ, he did, contrary to Islamic beliefs, believe that Christ was begotten of the Father, and was pre-existent.
The Paulicians, a group that appears to have its origins in Armenia, derived their name from the Apostle Paul. Armenia had become a predominantly Christian country in the early 4th century prior to Constantine's conversion. According to Brown, about 300 years had elapsed between this time and the appearance of the Paulicians, although Brown notes it is conceivable that the Paulicians descended from a fourth-century group called the Messalians. Paulicianism is a form of dualism, which is a general belief in equitable forces of good and evil -- which fits the beliefs of Zoroastrians, with whom Muslims substantially disagree .
Abdallah next mentions the Goths, whose first Christian missionary was an Arian named Ulfilas, who was converted as a slave in Constantinople when the city was Arian. After Arianism was declining throughout the empire, it did continue to flourish among the Goths, who were outside the empire. In short, the Goths were Arians and we have already shown that Arianism began in the 4th century A.D. and is contrary to Islamic beliefs.
Finally, we have the Ebionites. Glenn Miller has demonstrated that the Ebionites were not one of the earliest Christian movements and were not accepted as orthodox by the earliest Christian groups. See also Miller's response to a Muslim critique of his original article. Furthermore, the Ebionite belief of Jesus Christ has many divergences from the Muslim beliefs. Some notable differences include the Ebionite rejection of the virgin birth of Christ, the belief that He died and was resurrected, and the acceptance of the Gospel of Matthew. Also, the Ebionites reject the Old Testament prophets whereas Muslims, while asserting that our Bible is not the actual inspired Word of God, hold the Old Testament prophets in high esteem. The main similarity between the Islamic Jesus and that of the Ebionites is a rejection of His pre-existence (See here).
Summary: We have demonstrated that Abdallah's list fails to account for what it claims to account. None of the groups analyzed represent the "very first Christians" as their origins can be traced to anywhere between the mid to late 1st century A.D.(between about 20-70 years after Christ's crucifixion and resurrection) and about the 7th century A.D(although we still are looking for material on the Hypsisterians). Furthermore, we admonish the reader to check out the first two links in the previous paragraph, particularly the first one, where Miller establishes the true beliefs of the very first Christians, which included, of course, the belief in a divine Christ. Also, Christ's disciples may have actually written works that are now contained in the New Testament(Injil) in response to the various heretical movements, and/or their beliefs, mentioned by Abdallah. Alas, none of the groups mentioned by Abdallah expressed beliefs in Jesus that are compatible with all of the Islamic beliefs in Jesus, particularly the Cerinthians and Basilidians who actually believed that Christ was a divine Emanation that inhabited a human body. Finally, it is worth noting that the Qur'an recognizes the disciples of Christ and those that believed their message as ones that God gave power through which to "prevail."(Surah 61:14) Thus, the Muslim is taking a position *against* the Qur'an by asserting that Trinitarian Christianity(the Christianity that indeed prevailed and was taught by the disciples) was not a faith powered by God. Of course, we also realize that in other places in the Qur'an, concepts such as the divinity of Christ and the Trinity are denounced(Surah 4:171; 5:73, etc.-although these and other surahs do not reflect actual Christianity, but rather are straw men), but this does not nullify the fact that the Qur'an says that God empowered those that believed the disciples message to prevail, which it did. At any rate, Muslims have taken the anti-Trinitarian position and thus we see anti-Trinitarian polemics. In the upcoming sections, which will be written soon, Lord willing, we will continue to examine more material from the links in Abdallah's challenge.
Abdallah wraps up this link with the following question:
Why, for thousands of years, did none of God's prophets teach his people about the Trinity? At the least, would Jesus not use his ability as the Great Teacher to make the Trinity clear to his followers? Would God inspire hundreds of pages of Scripture and yet not use any of this instruction to teach the Trinity if it were the "central doctrine" of faith?
Christians maintain that God's Trinitarian nature is evident from both the books of the Old Testament(Torah) as well as those of the New Testament(Injil). Furthermore, Jesus clearly taught His divine nature to the apostles(see the above links for pertinent expositions on these topics). The central doctrine of Christianity is Christ's finished work on the cross for salvation from sins. Much is taught about God's characteristics and qualities throughout the Bible which includes, of course, His Trinitarian nature.
Below is a response to Osama Abdallah's article on Isaiah 53. Abdallah takes an interesting "2-pronged" approach in his treatment of this passage. First, he argues that if the Christian interpretation is correct that it agrees with Islam and then presents the Jewish interpretation of this passage. Here we go.
Trinitarian Christians claim that Chapter Isaiah 53 in the Bible confirms Trinity.
Actually, I am unaware of any Christians who use this chapter to confirm the Trinity. However, it is a commonly utilized passage that is prophetically attributed to Jesus Christ, an attribution we will be defending in this response.
This article proves that Chapter Isaiah 53 along with Isaiah 52:13, John 19:36-37 and Psalm 34:20 prove without a doubt that Islam's claim about Jesus peace be upon him never died on the cross and was raised to Allah Almighty is indeed the Truth. Let us look at the Chapter of Isaiah 53 in the Bible:
Pasted below from Abdallah's site is the 53rd chapter in its entirety, but since the passage of the suffering servant begins in Isaiah 52:13, we'll add those in front using the NIV translation since that is what Abdallah uses: 52:13 See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. 14 Just as there were many who were appalled at him-his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness- 15 So will he sprinkle many nations and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death [The word "death" does not exist in the original Hebrew text. Here is what the literal translation says: "And it appointeth with the wicked his grave, And with the rich [are] his high places"....This is verified at this link: (Young's Literal Translation)], though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. 11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death [This is clarified in details down in this article. It doesn't at all mean that he will die. The literal translation says: "Because that he exposed to death his soul"....This is verified again at this link: (Young's Literal Translation)], and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Here Abdallah begins his polemic.
Isaiah 53 perfectly agrees with Islam: Let us look at this Verse: "After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light and be satisfied; (From the NIV Bible, Isaiah 53:11)" The idea of this servant who will get pierced is NOT that he will DIE for people's sins. Notice that in Isaiah 53:9 it clearly says "He was assigned a grave with the wicked", which means that he will have a grave assigned to his name, but it doesn't necessarily mean that his dead body will be in it.
Osama's claim might have more merit if the chapter did not describe in other places the DEATH of this righteous, suffering servant. As a matter of fact, let's actually quote the whole verse which alone demonstrates this: "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his DEATH; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth."(Isaiah 53:9, emphasis added)
The Bible's New Testament refutes the "piercing" story: If we were to take the Bible literally, then we will see clear contradictions in the crucifixion story. Let us look at what the Bible says about piercing Jesus: John 19:30-40: 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," 37 and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced." 38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. First of all, notice the man-made third party narration in the book of John. The NIV Bible's Historians and Theologians are not even sure who wrote the books of John, 1 John, 2 John and 3 John. The original author(s) is mysterious.
For defenses of the traditional authorship of the Gospel of John, please see here
In the above verses, the mysterious author suggests that Jesus' bones were reserved because the soldiers did not break his knees, hence this fulfills the Scriptures' prophecy that GOD will protect his body that not even a single bone would break.
Also see detailed refutations to Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, Zechariah 12:10 and Psalm 34:20 that supposedly suggest that GOD Almighty was going to get pierced on the cross.
Refutations to Abdallah's treatment of these verses will come in a later update of this article.
Let us look at the obvious contradiction in the above verses: Taken from the above verses: "These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: 'Not one of his bones will be broken,' and, as another scripture says, 'They will look on the one they have pierced.' (From the NIV Bible, John 19:36-37)" "he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. (From the NIV Bible, Psalm 34:20)" Notice in Psalm 34:20, it says that GOD Almighty will protect "all his bones". So, not even an inch from his bones will be damaged according to the Scriptures. As you might know, the crucifixion back then was done by nailing to the cross the hands and the ankles or the feet. If GOD Almighty was going to protect Jesus' body that not even a single bone will be broken, then how would the crucifixion and the death of Jesus be possible then?! My question to all Christians is: How in the world is it possible for the feet to get nailed on the cross without any penetration to the bones by the nails, hence breaking part of the feet's bones?!
Abdallah begs the question here in what exactly it means for one's bones to be broken. The prophecies foretelling the Messiah's suffering make it clear that He would be pierced(Psalm 22:16, Zechariah 12:10). Plus, piercing bones is not the same as actually breaking them. Abdallah assumes that "not even an inch from his bones will be damaged according to the Scriptures," but he has yet to justify this assumption. None of the Lord's bones were fractured although the soldiers would have broken his legs had He not been dead in order to speed up the effects of the execution. Apparently John had no problem differentiating pierced bones and broken bones or else he would not have applied the Psalmist's passage to Jesus Christ. Interestingly, the results of the crucifixion did cause Christ's bones to be disjointed, which fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 22:14, but in the very same chapter(verse 17), it is said "I can count all my bones." Apparently the Psalmist had no problem writing that his hands and feet would be pierced, but also that all of his bones would remain intact. JPH has also informed me that while it is possible for fractures to occur during a crucifixion, the nails were actually placed through gaps in between the bones. Thus it appears that Abdallah has missed the mark in 2 places with this objection.
And for the parts of the Bible that suggest that Jesus actually died (which clearly contradict the Verses that I presented above), please visit "What parts of the Bible do Muslims believe are closest to the Truth?"
Actually, Muslims should believe ALL of the Bible because Mohammad believed in all of it. The Bible was widely accepted as the UNCORRUPTED Word of God even by the first 3 centuries or so of Islamic scholars. Furthermore, we know that it has not been corrupted since Mohammad's time because the Bible we have today is based on manuscripts that predate Mohammad's ministry by centuries. Therefore, the assertion that the Bible has been corrupted is another example of Muslims making an assertion that goes against the authority of the Qur'an and Hadith, not to mention over a century of textual criticism.
Important Note: Both Muslims and Christians believe that the grave of Jesus today is empty. It doesn't have his body in it, because both believe that he was raised to Heaven. The difference between Muslims and Christians in this issue is that Muslims believe that Jesus never died on the cross but was raised to GOD Almighty. Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross and was RESURRECTED to GOD Almighty. This is, however, not supported at all and was never foretold in the Old Testament. I elaborated more and provided more evidence from both the Bible and the Noble Quran that support Islam's claim regarding this issue down in this article.
To the contrary, the Messiah's resurrection is foretold in Psalm 16:10 and is very strongly implied in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. We will elaborate on this if necessary as we continue to respond to Abdallah's challenge. Interestingly, as we noted in the above section, Muslims should accept the Biblical teaching on this topic simply because there is no merit to the claim that the Bible has been corrupted and Mohammad himself affirmed this.
Please visit the article Contradictions in the resurrection story in the Bible.
Please visit one of the following links for harmonizations of the resurrection narratives: here, here, here, and here Interestingly, the presence of apparent discrepancies in these accounts actually STRENGTHENS the historicity of Christ's resurrection rather than undermining it. Even if there are genuine contradictions in the accounts, historians would not dismiss the accounts' historicity as long as the general details are the same, which is what we clearly have in this case. The fact that there are apparent discrepancies adds much weight to the premise that the 4 Gospel authors were writing independently from one another. If all 4 accounts were exactly the same, the authors would likely be accused of collusion and their accounts would be taken as only 1 witness rather than 4 to the events. The Gospel authors were writing for different purposes and from different perspectives so complementary differences are what one would expect to find when examining their respective records.
In Isaiah 53, all it says is that he will get pierced which again it never mentioned the cross nor did it ever mention any sort of resurrection, not just in this chapter, but also throughout the Old Testament. If this servant is indeed Jesus peace be upon him, then him being pierced and never dying seems to perfectly support the Islamic teaching about Prophet Jesus peace be upon him NEVER died on the cross for anyone's sins.
We've already shown other places in the Old Testament where the Messiah's resurrection is explicitly or implicitly foretold. Let's examine more of Isaiah 53 and see whether or not Abdallah's conclusions on this matter are correct. We've already shown in verse 9 where His death is foretold. Plus, in verse 8, it says, "he was cut off out of the land of the living:...." However, in verse 10, we see this: "Yet it pleased the lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, HE SHALL SEE HIS SEED, HE SHALL PROLONG HIS DAYS, and the pleasure of the Lord hall prosper in his hand."(Isaiah 53:10, emphasis added) Thus it seems that not only is the servant's death in view in this chapter, but also his resurrection. Plus, the idea of Christ getting crucified at all appears contrary to the Qur'an: "That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-(Ali, Surah 4:157)" Abdallah claims that the idea of Jesus being pierced and never dying supports the true Islamic viewpoint of Jesus. However, the Qur'an claims that He was not crucified, and thus not pierced, at all.
Also notice that Isaiah 53:11 clearly states that "he will see the light". What is that light? Could it be the light of Heaven? Probably be raised to Heaven? Christians do believe that Jesus peace be upon him was indeed raised to Heaven, and so do Muslims too. However, we see no mention throughout the ENTIRE Old Testament including obviously Isaiah 53 any mention of resurrection, nor any mention for resurrection on the 3rd day or any day. So does this mean that the servant will get pierced (by being put on the cross perhaps) and then get raised without dying?
Abdallah's assumptions here are erroneous in light of the above sections. Plus, Abdallah needs to explain to us how the swoon theory fits into Islam in light of Surah 4:157.
Let us look at the following Noble Verse from the Noble Quran (The Muslims Holy Scripture): "That they rejected Faith; That they uttered against Mary A grave false charge; That they said (in boast): 'We killed Christ Jesus The son of Mary, The Messenger of Allah.' But they killed him not, Nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjunction to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up Unto Himself; and Allah Is Exalted in Power, Wise. And there is none of the people of the book (Jews and Christians) But must believe in him (Jesus) Before his death; And on the Day of Judgment He (Jesus) will be a witness Against them. (The Noble Quran, 4:156-159)"
Now compare the Noble Verses to Isaiah 52:13 "...he will be raised and lifted up....". Notice that Isaiah 52:13 did not say "....he will be RESURRECTED and lifted up...." Not even once, did the Old Testament predict for the foretold Servant (Jesus) to be raised to GOD Almighty after death. There absolutely no mention of any sort of resurrection in the Bible's Old Testament what so ever.
Again, however, in light of verses 8-10 we see the resurrection seems to be well in view.
According to Islam, Jesus peace be upon him might have been put on the cross and might have got "pierced", but he never died. According to Islam, he was raised to Allah Almighty and saved from death. We Muslims believe that Prophet Jesus peace be upon him will come back again to earth and fight the army of Satan and defeat it, and then the Judgment Day will come. According to Islam, every person (including Jesus) must taste death (The Noble Quran, 44:56) Please visit the article Did Jesus get crucified according to Islam? The point is that Chapter Isaiah 53 agrees a lot more with Islam's claims than with the current Christianity's claims, and it is confirmed in Isaiah 52:13.
It actually clearly does not in light of the fact that Christ's death and resurrection are foretold in verses 8-10. Plus, this chapter clearly speaks of atonement for sins being achieved from the suffering servant's death on the cross(see verses 5,6, 8, and 10). Muslims tragically reject the gift of salvation that Jesus Christ has provided for us on the cross. With this being the case, this chapter of the suffering servant clearly does is not compatible with the Islamic ideas of atonement.
There are several other Noble Verses in the Noble Quran that talk about Jesus such as the following: "So peace is upon me [Jesus] the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life. (The Noble Quran, 19:33)" To see detailed explanation of this Noble Verse and about Jesus peace be upon him in Islam, please visit the following links: Does the Noble Quran in Verse 19:33 confirm Jesus' crucifixion? Ask me any question section. See responses to many questions about Jesus in Islam.
So what about Isaiah 53:12? Doesn't it suggest that Jesus will actually die? Let us look at Isaiah 5:12 "....because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors....." This verse doesn't clearly state that the predicted servant will ACTUALLY DIE. When we study carefully the poetical literature of Isaiah 53, and study carefully the claims made above, we see that "him pouring his life unto death" means that the goodness that he will bring from GOD Almighty, will be the light that will bring his people from darkness (death) into light (goodness). He will defeat death (darkness). Isaiah 5:12 does not state that he will die. It clearly states that he will cover shadow or overwhelm death by his life. If I pour my cup of cranberry juice on the white carpet, then I would create a big red spot on the carpet. I wouldn't be changing the juice into carpet, or the carpet into juice. No, I would simply defeat the whiteness of the carpet by the color of the juice. That's what pouring the juice on the carpet means.
Same thing applies with the servant pouring his life unto death. GOD Almighty considers evil doing and not believing in Him as equal to death. Important Note: In many Verses in the Bible, we see that GOD Almighty used in Hebrew , Sheol, the word for "hell" as the same Hebrew word for "death". That is why the Christian Jehovah Witnesses don't believe in "Hell Fire" as punishment for the unbelievers. They believe that "Hell" is actual "Death". So to put it in other words, Isaiah 53:12 could also mean that the Servant (Jesus) will over shadow or cover "hell (death)" with "life (good)". So whoever believes in that Servant from the People of Israel will be saved from hell or death.
Have Isaiah 53:12 clearly said "and he will die for people's sins and resurrect after 3 days", then we would have nothing to argue about!
First of all, it is clear from even a cursory reading of this chapter in its whole context that the suffering servant will die for people's sins and be resurrected, and according to this same verse 12, serve as Intercessor(compare with Hebrews 7:25).
So Jesus pouring his life (good) unto death (bad), means that whomever believes in his message from the People of Israel will defeat bad (darkness) and will be saved, and will have Jesus' life (goodness). This perfectly matches what Islam claims about our beloved Prophet Jesus peace be upon him. Please visit The blessed Jesus in Islam.
Abdallah makes some interesting assertions, but he still has yet to show us that Jesus pouring out His life unto death can mean what he claims it to mean. Some parallel passages or an actual presentation based on Hebraic linguistics would help, but Abdallah instead seems to approach this passage with an unsubstantiated conflict approach. At any rate, we still see from verses 8-10 that the servant's death is clearly portrayed as is His resurrection.
Questions to Christians: If indeed Isaiah 53 is another proof that Jesus peace be upon him is the Creator of this Universe, then explain to me why Isaiah 53 and the entire Old Testament failed to prophesies about Jesus' 3rd day resurrection? If Islam is such a false religion, then why is Isaiah 53 so obviously agreeing with Islam? See Muhammad was prophesized in the Bible.
As for question # 2, we have demonstrated clearly that Isaiah 53 is contradictory in several ways to Islam. Secondly, Mohammad was not prophesied in the Bible(please see the links at the very top of this article). As for the first question, we have shown that Christ's resurrection is also foretold in the Old Testament in several places. However, it is true that there is not an explicit reference to Christ's "3rd day resurrection" to be found. Michael Brown notes in response to this objection: "Paul's exact words are: "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..."(I Corinthians 15:3-4). As a Jew schooled in the Scriptures from his childhood, Paul was not thinking of just one passage but of several passages that pointed to the Messiah's resurrection on the third day. And remember: Paul was not trying to "pull a fast one" on anybody! And no one had pulled a fast one on him either. This is the tradition he received, and if someone taught him something that was not in the Bible, he would have known it immediately. In fact, when we study the Tanakh[Old Testament], we see that the third day is often the day of completion and climax-and so it was with the Messiah's death and resurrection!"(words in  are mine)
In other words, while there is no explicit reference to the Messiah being resurrected on the 3rd day in the Hebrew Scriptures, this does not warrant a conclusion that this event was not prophesied. We have the suspicion that our opponent may not be aware of the ancient Jewish exegetical method of typology, which was employed also by the New Testament writers, so we will include a couple of notes about it. Often, past events recorded in the Scriptures are interpreted to be typical(foreshadowing) a later and greater, more meaningful antitypical fulfillment. For instance, Matthew, in chapter 2:15, applies Hosea 11:1, where the prophet records where God had called His son from Egypt(which in context is clearly speaking of the nation of Israel), to Jesus being brought back from Egypt when He was a very young child. As long as this method was performed properly and, of course, with the necessary restraints, it was a perfectly acceptable method of exegesis(See here).
With this in mind, I will cite a few examples given by Brown which could be indicative of the coming Messiah's resurrection on the 3rd day.
"Hosea 6:1-2 states, "Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. AFTER TWO DAYS HE WILL REVIVE US; ON THE THIRD DAY HE WILL RESTORE US, THAT WE MAY LIVE IN HIS PRESENCE." This is a word given to Israel as a whole, but the sequence is there: full restoration on the third day!"(emphasis added)[It is further worth noting that Matthew also, as shown above, used the whole nation of Israel as a type of Christ in Matthew 2:15.]
"According to Genesis 22:4, it was on the third day that Abraham arrived at Mount Moriah and prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac-that important event in later Rabbinic tradition as the Akedah, "the binding (of Isaac)"--an event seen as a Messianic foreshadowing by the rabbis(see above, 4:1). In similar fashion, the Letter to the Hebrews notes, "Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death"(Heb. 11:19)-and this took place on the third day."
"This was the time set for the miraculous healing of King Hezekiah, who as a son of David serves as somewhat of a Messianic prototype(cf. also b. Sanhedrin 94a, 98a): "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, "This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord'"(2 Kings 20:5; cf. also v. 8).
"Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days(a deathlike experience, to be sure!-cf.Jonah 2:1-9) before being spit out on dry land, and hence saved from his watery tomb(Jonah 1:17; 2:10). Jesus himself makes reference to this event in the context of his death and resurrection(see, e.g., Matt. 12:40).
Glenn Miller also comments on this:
"If we assume that the 'according to the scripture' phrase in 1 Corinthians is applying to the 'third day' aspect of the passage (i.e., it could very easily be applying to the overall content, to the substitutionary death component, the resurrection in general, or any combination of those--without it applying to the 'third day' phrase at all), then the short answer is given in Acts 2.31...in Peter's sermon he refers to Psalm 16.8, in which the messiah was to be raised 'before corruption'. In Jewish belief of the day, that meant on or before the 3rd day...
From BBC, at Acts: "Peter quotes Psalm 16 to establish his point (developed in Acts 2:29-32): God would raise the Messiah from the dead. Some anti-Semites have used texts like 2:23 to attack Jewish people in general, but Peter's critique of their corporate responsibility (cf. 2 Sam 12:9) is no harsher than that of Old Testament prophets (e.g., Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah), and cannot rightly be used as if it were. (2:29-31). Peter argues that the psalm cannot refer to David, because David did see corruption (rot). (A tomb in David's honor had been dedicated outside Jerusalem, along with one of Huldah the prophetess.) Rather, the psalm refers to David's ultimate descendant, whom everyone agreed to be the Messiah (the anointed king), by definition (Acts 2:30; Ps 132:11; cf. Ps 89:3-4).
From the Bible Knowledge commentary: "2:25-35. These verses include four proofs of the Lord's resurrection and Ascension: (a) The prophecy of Psalm 16:8-11 and the presence of David's tomb (Acts 2:25-31), (b) the witnesses of the Resurrection (v. 32), (c) the supernatural events of Pentecost (v. 33), and (d) the Ascension of David's greater Son (Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:34-35)…The word translated grave in verses 27 and 31 is hadeµs, which means either the grave (as here) or the underworld of departed spirits…Peter's point is that since David, the patriarch and prophet was dead and buried, he could not have been referring to himself in Psalm 16:8-11; hence he was writing about the Christ ("Messiah") and His resurrection. The oath (Acts 2:30) looks back to Psalm 132:11 (cf. 2 Sam. 7:15-16). God . . . raised . . . Jesus to life, and exalted Him (cf. Acts 3:13; Phil. 2:9) to the Father's right hand (cf. Acts 5:30-31; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22). Thus Jesus had the authority to send the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5, 8; John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), whose presence was evidenced by what they saw ("tongues of fire," Acts 2:3) and heard ("a violent wind," v. 2), and the apostles speaking in other languages (vv. 4, 6, 8, 11)…Just as David was not speaking of himself in Psalm 16:8-11, so in Psalm 110:1 he was not speaking of himself. David was not resurrected (Acts 2:29, 31) nor did he ascend to heaven (v. 34). The Lord is Yahweh God who spoke to my (David's) Lord, who is Christ, God's Son…On five occasions in Acts some of the apostles said they were witnesses of the resurrected Christ (v. 32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39-41; 13:30-31). They knew whereof they spoke!..2:36. Here is the conclusion of Peter's argument. The noun Lord, referring to Christ, probably is a reference to Yahweh. The same word kyrios is used of God in verses 21, 34, and 39 (cf. Phil. 2:9). This is a strong affirmation of Christ's deity.
From EBCNT: "25-35 Here Peter quotes from Psalm 16:8-11 (LXX) and Psalm 110:1 in support of what he has just said about Jesus in v. 24. The quotations are brought together according to the second of the midrashic exegetical rules (middot) attributed by antiquity to Rabbi Hillel (viz., gezerah sawah, or "verbal analogy": where the same words appear in two separate passages, the same considerations apply to both). Both quotations have "at my right hand" and thus are deliberately treated together (cf. v. 33). In addition, both quotations are used in pesher fashion (cf. comments on v. 16), for it is a pesher understanding that evokes the introductory statement "David said about him" and that applies the quotations wholly to Jesus.
"During the period of Late Judaism, both Psalm 16 and Psalm 110 were considered by Jewish interpreters to be somewhat enigmatic. Therefore they were variously understood. There was no problem with the confidence expressed in Psalm 16:8-9, 11. It was appropriate for the psalmist to whom God's love had been pledged and who had experienced God's covenant-keeping lovingkindness. (The word in v. 27 for "Holy One," hosios, usually translates the Heb. word hasid in the LXX, which is related to hesed, the word for "pledged love," "faithfulness to the covenant," and "lovingkindness"; cf. DNTT, 2:237.) But how could the psalmist have expected God to keep him from the grave and from undergoing decay, as in v. 10? And Psalm 110 was even more difficult, for who is this "my Lord" to whom "the Lord" has said, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet" (v. 34)? Some early rabbis linked the psalm with Abraham, others with David, and some even with Hezekiah; but there is no clearly attested messianic understanding of Psalm 110 in rabbinic literature until about A.D. 260 (cf. SBK, 4:452-60; D.M. Hay, Glory at the Right Hand: Psalm 110 in Early Christianity [Nashville and New York: Abingdon, 1913], pp. 19-33).
"Nevertheless, Jesus is reported in all three synoptic Gospels as having interpreted Psalm 110:1 as a messianic passage and as applying it to himself (Mark 12:35-37, II) And it was probably Jesus' own treatment of Psalm 110:1 that (1) furnished the exegetical key for the early church's understanding of their risen Lord, (2) served as the pattern for their interpretation of similar enigmatic OT passages (e.g., 2Sam 7:6-16 with Ps 2:7 and Isa 55:3 with Ps 16:10 in Paul's Antioch address of Acts 13:16-41), and (3) anchored all other passages as could be brought together on a "verbal analogy" basis (e.g., the catena of passages in Heb 1:5-13).
"Therefore working from Psalm 110:1 as an accepted messianic passage and viewing Psalm 16:8-11 as having a similar reference on the basis of the hermeneutical rule of gezerah sawah (verbal analogy), Peter proclaims that Psalm 16:10 ("You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay") refers to Israel's promised Messiah and no other. It is an argument based on the exegetical precedent set by Jesus, inspired by the church's postresurrection perspective, and worked out along the lines of commonly accepted midrashic principles of the day. Furthermore, Peter insists, David could not have been speaking about himself, for he did indeed die, was buried, and suffered decay--as the presence of his tomb in the city eloquently testifies (v. 29). Nor did he ascend to heaven. Therefore, David must have been prophesying about the resurrection of the Messiah in Psalm 16:10 and about his exaltation in Psalm 110:1. And with God's raising of Jesus from the dead, these formerly enigmatic passages are clarified and the pouring out of the Spirit explained."
Back to Abdallah.
About Jesus peace be upon him: Most Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of GOD and GOD Himself, came to earth, died for our sins and resurrected after 3 days. If Isaiah 53 was indeed a Revelation from GOD Almighty, and Jesus peace be upon him was indeed GOD Himself, then this means that GOD Almighty predicted that He will get "pierced" for people's sins in Isaiah 53.
There are however problems with this Christian theory:
1- Jesus never by his own will died for anyone's sins. In fact, Jesus himself refused the idea of getting crucified and begged his GOD to take his soul before Jesus experiences the painful death of the cross. "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.' (From the NIV Bible, Matthew 26:39)" This contradicts the Christian theory that GOD will be pierced for the sin of others because if Jesus had it his way, he wouldn't get killed nor even get hurt on the cross.
The author's assertions are answered in the very verse that he cites:
"..Yet not as I will, but as you will." Three verses later Christ also says, "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, THY WILL BE DONE."(Matthew 26:42, emphasis added)
The desire of Christ not wishing to go to the cross is certainly understandable. However, Christ's biographies are more than clear in that He understood that it was ultimately His mission to go to the cross to die an atoning death for mankind, a mission which He completely fulfilled.
"Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death. And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again."(Matthew 20:18-19)
"And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it: For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."(Matthew 26:27-28)
"And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? BUT HOW THEN SHALLTHE SCRIPTURES BE FULFILLED, THAT THUS IT MUST BE."(Matthew 26:51-54, emphasis added)
"And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again."(Mark 8:31)
"And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead."(Mark 9:9)
"I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep."(John 10:14-15)
To Abdallah again:
2- No where in the Old Testament do we see a Prophecy about Jesus' resurrection, let alone his resurrection on the 3rd day. If GOD indeed predicted that He would get crucified in the Old Testament, then how come He only predicted the first half of the event and not the second half? The resurrection on the 3rd day is a very important event in the Christian Theology, and is one of the main points that Jews and Christians debate about.
Jesus' Crucifiction and Resurrection: As I mentioned above, most Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of GOD and GOD Himself, came to earth, died for our sins and resurrected after 3 days. Isaiah 53's failure to predict the resurrection of the pierced person left behind it a great deal of controversy! If GOD Almighty were to get crucified for people's sins, then Isaiah 53 should've mentioned it, because after Jesus' crucifiction in the Bible, his body disappeared.
The Jews believe that Jesus' disciples and/or mother stole the body fearing that his body will be further humiliated (since he was nailed on the cross). So to protect the dignity of Jesus and his body, they "stole" his body. The Christians believe that Jesus the "GOD Almighty" resurrected to Heaven! Have Isaiah 53 mentioned that he will resurrect after 3 days to Heaven, then the issue would be resolved. But as I said above, Isaiah 53 doesn't talk at all about any form of resurrection of the person who is going to die for people's sins, nor any Verse in the entire Old Testament either. Isaiah 53 does not Prophecies about the coming of Jesus peace be upon him. This is very important, because only GOD Almighty could resurrect people. The reason why the Old Testament never prophesied about any resurrection is because GOD Almighty never intended to send anyone to die for anyone's sins, nor did GOD Almighty promise that He will die and resurrect!
Most of this has already been answered in the above sections, as it IS prophesied in Isaiah 53 and in other places that God's righteous servant would be pierced(more specifically, crucified-see Psalm 22) for man's transgressions and serve as an atonement for sins, but then be resurrected on the 3rd day, contrary to Abdallah's assertions. Abdallah is correct, of course, in his assertion that Christ's body disappeared as the tomb was empty Sunday morning.
As for the implied questions Abdallah raises about the divinity of the Messiah, there are actually several OT prophecies where the Messiah's divinity is in view. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss them, but such prophecies would include Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2, and Psalm 45:2-7.
Important Note: Since the Bible was not documented until 150 to 300 years after Jesus peace be upon him, and during his ministry, nothing was ever documented on paper regarding his deity, we Muslims believe that a great deal of corruption had entered the Bible. The following reasons will clarify the Muslims' position:
First of all, even liberal scholars date the synoptic Gospels(Matthew, Mark, and Luke) to about 80-90 A.D. so we're talking, at most, a period of 50-60 years after Christ's life, although there is good reason to date all of the Gospels prior to 70 A.D.(See here Furthermore, Paul wrote his epistles between 44 and 59 A.D. and he clearly affirmed Christ's deity as well. Of all that is documented within the first couple of centuries after Christianity's birth, there is no denial that Christ claimed divinity. In fact, even the late 2nd century critic of Christianity, Celsus, did not deny this, but claimed that Christ's claims to divinity were incorrect. See this textual criticism, we know that the New Testament as it exists today is essentially the same as that recorded by its original authors. The claim of corruption, particularly the extent necessary to suggest that the Gospels originally portrayed a picture of the Islamic Jesus: one that did not preach His own divinity, did not predict His own suffering and death, did not teach atonement through His shed blood, was not crucified, buried, and resurrected, and Whose message was only meant to go to the Jews is quite simply beyond imagination. Plus, such a position goes against Mohammad's own teachings about the integrity of the Bible in his own day, as mentioned previously.
1- As I mentioned above, the Old Testament doesn't in predict the resurrection of Jesus, nor it ever considered him as GOD. Please read The "God" title in Isaiah 9:6 was given to others before and after Jesus.
2- The early Christians rejected Trinity and never believed in it.
Although Isaiah 9:6 is beyond the scope of this article, a conversation between our challenger and a Christian named Walid can be viewed here that discusses whether or not the son given in that verse really is "the mighty God." The claims that the early Christians rejected the Trinity and that the Messiah's resurrection is not foretold has already been demonstrated to be false in the above sections.
3- The disciples of Jesus (John, Mark, Luke, etc...) didn't write the Gospels that were named after them in the New Testament. I quoted from the NIV Bible the Christian Theologians themselves regarding the history of the NT.
Actually, Mark and Luke were not disciples of Christ. Mark received his information from Peter and Luke from Paul. However, Matthew and John were disciples and did author the Gospels containing their names. There's as much reason or more to assert this as there is to assert that certain other ancient authors(e.g. Tacitus, Josephus, etc.) penned the respective works attributed to them, whose respective authorships are generally not in doubt. See here for more details.
4- We believe that few centuries after Jesus peace be upon him the Church tampered with the Bible and invented the Trinity belief.
A belief which is not based on historical accuracy(see here).
5- We only believe in Jesus' personal quotes as closest to the truth.
6- Jesus himself in the New Testament taught what Islam teaches; the Oneness of GOD Almighty and doing Righteousness.
Jesus did teach the Oneness of God indeed as Christians continue to teach(Mark 12:29). However, the Bible teaches God's Trinitarian "Oneness" as opposed to Islamic Unitarian "Oneness." Jesus also taught us righteousness, but this righteousness comes through faith in His finished work on the cross rather than through our own works(Romans 3:21-26). However, this in no way gives us license to sin. To the contrary, it is through the infusion of Christ's righteousness, manifested by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that we are given qualities through which we can overcome the temptations of sin. "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."(Galatians 5:19-26)
7- Jesus according to Islam never got killed on the cross. Allah Almighty saved him. As I mentioned in point #5, we only believe in Jesus' quotes as closest to the Truth in the New Testament. Islam's claims regarding Allah Almighty saving Jesus seem to fit with Jesus peace be upon him asking Allah Almighty to save him from crucifiction (Matthew 26:39).
As we have already indicated, however, Jesus, as He predicted all along, went through with the agony of the crucifixion to provide you, me, and Abdallah a chance to be reconciled to God.
Question to the Jews: If the person in Isaiah 53 wasn't Jesus peace be upon him, then who is that person then?
Before I give you the answer from the Jewish perspective, please be advised that the entire Bible again is not reliable and can't be trusted; "`How can you say, "We [the Jews] are wise, for we have the law of the LORD," when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely?' (From the NIV Bible, Jeremiah 8:8)" The Jews had corrupted the Bible's Old Testament to make it fit their many desires, one of them is to make them "the best nation on earth" for ALL TIMES. The reason why I presented this Verse is to show the reader that any interpretation/explanation that you hear from either Christians or Jews is doubtful. Don't forget to visit The Corruptions in the New Testament. I quoted the commentary of the NIV Bible itself; one of the most used Bible in the World.
Abdallah now switches gears and gives us the perspective of Jewish anti-missionaries on Isaiah 53, but before doing so, our challenger presents us with Jeremiah 8:8 as a prooftext indicating that the Bible has been corrupted. There is a short answer to this charge here and a longer one(which encompasses several topics addressed by Osama elsewhere on his site) here.
In order to answer this question from the Jewish perspective, we have to look at Isaiah 52 and 54. Pay close attention to the C. ISAIAH 53 section below.
The following is from www.jewsforjudaism.org
Christian missionaries claim that it is only with the commentary of Rashi (1040-1105), seeking to refute the Christian interpretation, that the Jews began to refer Isaiah 52:13-53:12 to the entire nation of Israel. This misconception perhaps owes its origin to Edward Pusey, who wrote in his 1876 introduction to The "Suffering Servant" of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpretations (trans. Driver and Neubauer, [reprinted] New York: Hermon Press, 1969) that "The new interpretation began with Rashi" (p. XLIV). The interpretation was neither new, nor began with Rashi. This missionary allegation is refuted even by a Christian source. In Contra Celsum, written in 248 C.E. (some 800 years before Rashi), the Church Father Origen records that Jews contemporary with him interpreted this passage as referring to the entire nation of Israel. He wrote:
I remember that once in a discussion with some whom the Jews regard as learned I used these prophecies [Isaiah 52:13-53:8]. At this the Jew said that these prophecies referred to the whole people as though of a single individual, since they were scattered in the dispersion and smitten, that as a result of the scattering of the Jews among the other nations many might become proselytes. In this way he explained the text: "Thy form shall be inglorious among men"; and "those to whom he was not proclaimed shall see him"; "being a man in calamity." (Origen, Contra Celsum, trans. Henry Chadwick, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Book 1.55, 1965, p. 50)
This shows that Jewish biblical exegesis subscribing to the belief that the people of Israel was the suffering servant spoken of throughout the entire passage pre-dates Rashi by many centuries.
Interestingly, quoting Origen actually serves to work against the feasibility of interpreting the suffering servant as the nation of Israel with regards to the traditional interpretation of Isaiah 53 by the Jewish sages. If this interpretation had any merit among them, then why was the commentary by Rashi of the 11th century the first authoritative Jewish source that has survived to attribute this chapter to Israel as a whole? The Targum Jonathan interprets Isaiah 52:13-53:12 as referring to the Messiah. Brown notes, "..Targum Jonathan interprets Isaiah 52:13-53:12 with reference to the Messiah, despite the fact that the Targum virtually rewrites the entire passage, changing the verses that speak clearly of the servant's sufferings so that they speak instead of the suffering of the nations. This means the Messianic interpretation of the passage must have been quite prominent when the Targum was being formed, since it would have been much easier to not add the explicit reference to the Messiah(in 52:13) rather than to virtually rewrite the verses that seemed to contradict the expected role of the Messiah." The Talmud interprets a variety of verses within this chapter as referring to righteous Israelites, including the Messiah, although never to Israel as a nation. The Midrash Rabbah interprets Isaiah 53:5 as referring to the Messiah(Ruth Rabbah 2:14) while interpreting 53:12 with reference to Israel while in exile(Numbers Rabbah 13:2). According to Brown, this latter piece is the only time in the first millennium of written Rabbinical literature that any portion of any verse in this chapter is applied to Israel as a nation. One final example is that of Yalkut Shimoni, a 13th century compilation of earlier midrashic writings, applies verse 52:13 to the Messiah. The implications of this are very intriguing. These Rabbis were writing well after the advent of Christ and well after the New Testament authors appealed to Isaiah 53 as a Messianic prophecy. This is indicative of how strong the Messianic foundation was for Jewish exegeses. For information on more Jewish sources that corroborate the Christian understanding of this passage, please see this site.
A. PRELIMINARY ISSUES
Before engaging in an examination of Isaiah 53 itself, some preliminary issues must be considered. First is the issue of circular reasoning. Even if we interpret the chapter as the Christians do (forgetting for a minute the mistranslations and distortions of context which will be noted below), the most that could be said is this: Isaiah 53 is about someone who dies for the sins of others. People may have seen Jesus die, but did anyone see him die as an atonement for the sins of others? Of course not; this is simply the meaning which the New Testament gives to his death. Only if you already accept the New Testament teaching that his death had a non-visible, spiritual significance can you than go back to Isaiah and say, "see - the Prophet predicted what I already believe." Isaiah 53, then, is in reality no "proof" at all, but rather a contrived confirmation for someone who has already chosen Christianity.
While this is true to some extent, there are details about the servant's rejection and suffering(verse 3), the belief by his own people that he was "stricken" by God(verse 4), an insight into his manner of death(verse 5), glimpses of His trial(verse 7-8), burial(verse 9), an indication of His sinlessness(verse 9), implications of His resurrection(verses 8-10), the fact that this servant, despite his suffering, would be exalted(52:13) and that the servant would have an impact on nations and kings(52:15) within this passage. These were all clearly fulfilled by Jesus. To this can be added His atoning death(verses 5, 6, 8, and 10) and role as Intercessor(verse 12). Of course, as to the latter two, as the author has suggested, we accept by faith in the words of Jesus as recorded prior to and after His own death as well as the theological teachings of the apostles after Him. One other note that is worth adding is the fact that, if indeed this chapter speaks of the atoning death of the Messiah, then Christian theology is well within the Biblical Messianic parameters by accepting that this was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. To the contrary, the respective theologies of modern non-Messianic Jews and Muslims, which do not teach the concept of a suffering Messiah, lie clearly outside of these parameters. We will not be commenting on some of the alleged Christian mistranslations since some do not appear to have any impact on how the passage should be interpreted.
Second (and consistent with all Jewish teaching at the time), Jesus' own disciples didn't view Isaiah 53 as a messianic prophecy. For example, after Peter identifies Jesus as the Messiah (Matt. 16:16), he is informed that Jesus will be killed (Matt. 16:21). His response: "G-D forbid it, lord! This shall never happen to you" (Matt. 16:22). See, also, Mk. 9:31-32; Mk. 16:10-11; Jn. 20:9. Even Jesus didn't see Isaiah 53 as crucial to his messianic claims - why else did he call the Jews children of the devil for not believing in him before the alleged resurrection (Jn. 8:39-47)? And why did he later request that G-D "remove this cup from me" (Mk.14:36) - didn't he know that a "removal of the cup" would violate the gentile understanding of Isaiah 53?
The disciples were originally expecting Jesus to usher in a political Kingdom where the Roman yoke on the Jews would be broken. However, contrary to the author's claims, as we detailed in an above section, Jesus clearly taught throughout His ministry that He must suffer and be crucified in order to atone for the sins of the world. As for the question as to why Jesus rebuked the Jews for not believing in Him prior to His resurrection, there were other OT prophecies which Jesus had already fulfilled, or was fulfilling, that He felt should have been an indicator that He is the promised Messiah. This especially seems to be the case with Christ's appeal to His miraculous ministry: "When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? Or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."(Luke 7:20-23). Here Jesus appeals to Isaiah 35:5-6 and Isaiah 61:1. Also, some Jews did recognize Him as a great prophet because of His great miracles. "Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world."(John 6:14) The disciples also later clearly understood the suffering Messianic role of Christ and attributed the passage in question to Him(e.g. Mark 15:27-28; John 12:37-38, Acts 8:31-33). Other prophecies already fulfilled by Christ at that time included His birthplace in Bethlehem(prophecy: Micah 5:2; fulfillment: Matthew 2:6), His lineage through David(prophecy: Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5; fulfillment: Matthew 1:1-16), the timing of His appearance on earth(Daniel 9:24-27, and see this article), and of course, the fact that He was preceded by a forerunner, John the Baptist(prophecy: Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1; fulfillment: Luke 3:4-6).
As for the comment about Jesus requesting if possible that the cup be removed from Him, please see the above responses to Abdallah on this same question.
And third, even if we accept the gentile Christian interpretation of Isaiah 53, where is it indicated (either in Isaiah 53 or anywhere else in our Jewish Scriptures) that you must believe in this "Messiah" to get the benefits?
One example would be Deuteronomy 18:18-19:
"I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee[Moses], and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, THAT WHOSOEVER WILL NOT HEARKEN UNTO MY WORDS WHICH HE SHALL SPEAK IN MY NAME, I WILL REQUIRE IT OF HIM."(emphasis added, words in are mine)[By the way, the word used for brethren in this verse and in 18:15 is "ach," which is the same word used in Deuteronomy 17:15, the latter which unequivocally is equating "brethren" with fellow Jews[31, 32].]
Peter confirms in his speech on the Pentecost following Christ's resurrection that this passage(Deuteronomy 18:15-19) refers to Jesus(Acts 3:22).
Since any portion of Scripture is only understood properly when viewed in the context of G-D's revelation as a whole, some additional study will be helpful before you "tackle" Isaiah 53.
Look at the setting in which Isaiah 53 occurs. Earlier on in Isaiah, G-D had predicted exile and calamity for the Jewish people. Chapter 53, however, occurs in the midst of Isaiah's "Messages of Consolation", which tell of the restoration of Israel to a position of prominence and a vindication of their status as G-D's chosen people. In chapter 52, for example, Israel is described as "oppressed without cause" (v.4) and "taken away" (v.5), yet G-D promises a brighter future ahead, one in which Israel will again prosper and be redeemed in the sight of all the nations (v.1-3, 8-12).
Chapter 54 further elaborates upon the redemption which awaits the nation of Israel. Following immediately after chapter 53's promise of a reward for G-D's servant in return for all of its suffering (53:10-12), chapter 54 describes an unequivocally joyous fate for the Jewish people. Speaking clearly of the Jewish people and their exalted status (even according to all Christian commentaries), chapter 54 ends as follows: "`This is the heritage of the servants of the L-rd and their vindication is from Me,' declares the L-rd."
There is some merit to this assertion. Isaiah, in the book bearing his name, does often speak of the exile that was to take place when Nebuchadnezzar had sacked Jerusalem and captured many Jews, taking them to Babylon. Brown notes:
"….The prophet saw the future glory of Israel and the work of the Messiah against the backdrop of the end of the exile. But the context is larger-beginning in Isaiah 40. It spells a new beginning for Israel, a new creation and a new exodus, a time when all the world will ultimately see the glory of the Lord. The events predicted in Isaiah 53 are far greater than the return of about forty-five thousand Jews from Babylon in the sixth century B.C.E. Rather, in these passages in Isaiah, the exile serves as a symbol of the spiritual bondage of the Jewish people, while the return from exile serves as a figure of their redemption…."
So who exactly is this servant? This is an important ID since it would shed more light on the characteristics that we seek in the One that fulfills it. Remember that the national interpretation of Isaiah 53 is not found at all in the Talmuds, Targums, or the midrashim, despite the fact that Origen mentions a Jew that adopted this interpretation in the 2nd century A.D. This indicates the lack of feasibility that this interpretation had with the ancient Jewish sages that predated Rashi of the 11th century. There are instances in Isaiah in which the servant is apparently referring to Israel as a nation(e.g. 41:8-9; 42:19; 43:10; 44:21; 45:4; 48:20), but in some cases it is referring to an individual within the Israelite nation(e.g. 49:5-7; 50:10). Isaiah 42:1-7 and 49:1-7 refer to the redemption of the Gentile nations and the Israelite nation, respectively, and refer to a single individual. Verse 3 in the latter passage refers to the servant as "Israel." However, verses 5-7 make it clear that the servant cannot refer to Israel as a nation since it is this servant that will be the redeemer of Israel. This view has corroboration from Rabbi David Kimchi, one of the three most prominent medieval Jewish commentators(According to Brown, the other two agree with Kimchi's assertions as well). Interestingly, the Messiah is also called David in the Bible(e.g. Jeremiah 30:9), most probably since King David served as a Messianic prototype. Given that Matthew used the nation of Israel as a Messianic prototype in Matthew 2:15, it is understandable that the OT may refer to the Messiah as Israel as well. The 2 passages in chapter 42 and 49 are crucial to our understanding as it speaks of an individual that will be "a light to the Gentiles" as well as the redeemer of Israel. The passage in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 goes into much more detail as to how this would be accomplished by this individual. Thus it appears that these passages, and their obvious fulfillment in Jesus Christ, are speaking eschatologically of the spiritual redemption of the Jews(as well as Gentiles) against the backdrop of the Jewish exile into Babylon.
C. ISAIAH 53
In the original Hebrew texts, there are no chapter divisions, and Jew and Christian alike agree that chapter 53 is actually a continuation of the prophecy which begins at 52:13. Accordingly, our analysis must begin at that verse.
52:13 "Behold, My servant will prosper." Israel in the singular is called G-D's servant throughout Isaiah, both explicitly (Isa. 41:8-9; 44:1-2; 45:4; 48:20; 49:3) and implicitly (Isa. 42:19-20; 43:10) - the Messiah is not. Other references to Israel as G-D's servant include Jer. 30:10 (note that in Jer. 30:17, the servant Israel is regarded by the nations as an outcast, forsaken by G-D, as in Isa. 53:4); Jer. 46:27-28; Ps. 136:22; Lk. 1:54. ALSO: Given the Christian view that Jesus is G-D, is G-D His own servant?
Although we disagree with the author's claim that Isaiah 49:3 implies singularity, for reasons shown above, it is true that the nation of Israel as a whole is referred to as a servant at times in the Bible, including the book of Isaiah. We also disagree with the claim that the Messiah is not also regarded as God's servant in Scripture, particularly in Isaiah in such passages as 42:1-7 and 49:1-7. In fact, as we have indicated earlier, in the latter passage, it would not make sense for the subject to be the nation of Israel since the subject is the redeemer of Israel. We also have a misrepresentation of the Christian concept of God as well. The Gospels clearly portray the Man Jesus Christ as a separate *Individual* than God the Father, although eternally united with God the Father(John 14:6-11). It is also important to remember that Jesus, as the Word/Wisdom of God, underwent what is known as "kenotic emptying." This concept is expressed well by Paul: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."(Philippians 2:5-8) Thus, Christ and His apostles clearly understood the Former's role as a Servant.
52:15 - 53:1 "So shall he (the servant) startle many nations, the kings will stand speechless; For that which had not been told them they shall see and that which they had not heard shall they ponder. Who would believe what we have heard?" Quite clearly, the nations and their kings will be amazed at what happens to the "servant of the L-rd," and they will say "who would believe what we have heard?". 52:15 tells us explicitly that it is the nations of the world, the gentiles, who are doing the talking in Isaiah 53. See, also, Micah 7:12-17, which speaks of the nations' astonishment when the Jewish people again blossom in the Messianic age.
In response to the claim that the speakers of Isaiah 53 are the gentile nations, Brown responds:
"First, there is a fundamental theological flaw in the interpretation that the Gentile kings are the speakers in Isaiah 53. According to Jeremiah 30:11, God would completely destroy the nations among whom he scattered his people. While he promised to discipline his people-hence their scattering among these nations-he would eventually judge those nations for their sins against Israel. So, God's people would suffer for their own sins, often at the hands of their enemies, but then the Lord would destroy those enemies. This is the opposite of what Isaiah 53 states: The servant was guiltless, suffering for the sins of his guilty people, who are then healed by his suffering. How then can the Gentile kings-kings who are promised judgment, not blessing, for inflicting pain on the Jewish people-be pictured as speakers in this chapter? If they were the speakers, they should have said, 'We inflicted great suffering on the people of Israel, who were guilty of great sin against God, but we went too far in our punishments, and now Israel's God will utterly destroy us.' Now that's quite a difference!"
Brown then gives a couple of examples. Isaiah 10:5-34 describes the use of Assyria by God to judge Israel and Judah. However, as a result of their excessive pride and malice, God brought judgment against them. Another example is with that of Nebuchadnezzar, leader of Babylon, who is referred to as God's servant in Jeremiah 27:6. However, Babylon's judgment and destruction by God is described later in Jeremiah 50-51. Similarly, we are told that God gave the Israelites the land of Canaan because of the Canaanites wickedness. Also, the reason that Israel was removed from their land both times was due to their own turning away from God. In other words, while God used Israel to punish the Canaanite nations, He also used various pagan nations to punish the Israelites for their own sins. God is not impartial.
Brown also notes:
"Second, there is a serious contextual and grammatical flaw in this viewpoint. Look carefully at the consistent language of the entire passage. First person singular is only used by God: MY servant(52:13), MY righteous servant(53:11), therefore *I* will.(53:12). The same holds true for MY people in 53:8. God himself is speaking about his servant suffering for his people Israel, rather than the kings speaking of their people individually. This becomes even more clear when we realize that the onlookers in this passage(according to this objection, the Gentile kings) always express themselves in the first person plural: OUR message(53:1); to attract US.that WE should desire him(53:2; WE esteemed him not(53:3); OUR infirmities. OUR sorrows. WE considered him(53:4); OUR transgressions. Our iniquities.brought US peace.WE are healed(53:5); WE all. each of US. the iniquity of US all(53:6)-and then this language stops in verse 6. No more "we, us, our"-not once-indicating that whatever group is speaking, be it the people of Israel as a whole or the alleged kings of the nations, they are no longer speaking after verse 6. The narrator must be either the prophet or (much more likely) God, speaking in the first person singular and describing the sufferings of the servant in the third person singular. And this means that the only possible meaning of my people in Isaiah 53:8 is that the servant of the Lord suffered for the people of Israel, not that the servant was actually the people of Israel themselves."
When we look at Isaiah 53, it is also clear that it cannot refer to the nation of Israel for at least a couple of other reasons. Verse 9 says, "And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth." Is it true that the nation of Israel has never done violence or practiced deceit? As has been seen since the mid to latter part of the 20th century, this has clearly not been the case as the Israelites have had to defend themselves against their hostile neighbors. Plus, there have been examples of Israeli violent persecution against the Palestinians as well. Of course, we are not claiming, in the case of defending one's nation, that Israel was not justified. Indeed, every nation is justified in defending itself(Romans 13:1-4). However, the subject of Isaiah 53 is said to be "brought as a lamb to the slaughter" and "openeth not his mouth." This matches the behavior of Jesus Christ when He was taken to trial and eventually crucified, but not the nation of Israel. Secondly, in verse 9, what does it mean that the Israelites "made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death"? We know that Jesus was buried in a rich man's tomb, that of Joseph of Arimathaea(Matthew 27:57-60).
53:1 "And to whom has the arm of the L-rd been revealed?" In Isaiah, and throughout our Scriptures, G-D's "arm" refers to the physical redemption of the Jewish people from the oppression of other nations (see, e.g., Isa. 52:8-12; Isa. 63:12; Deut. 4:34; Deut. 7:19; Ps. 44:3). 53:3 "Despised and rejected of men." While this is clearly applicable to Israel (see Isa. 60:15; Ps. 44:13-14), it cannot be reconciled with the New Testament account of Jesus, a man who was supposedly "praised by all" (Lk. 4:14-15) and followed by multitudes (Matt. 4:25), who would later acclaim him as a prophet upon his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Matt. 21:9-11). Even as he was taken to be crucified, a multitude bemoaned his fate (Lk. 23:27). Jesus had to be taken by stealth, as the rulers feared "a riot of the people" (Mk. 14:1-2).
This is a rather interesting claim in light of the fact that Jesus was despised and rejected, and still is to this day, en masse, by His own people as well as by many governments not founded on Christian principles(such as those based on Communism and Islam-although we, of course, recognize, that Muslims believe in a portrait of Jesus given in the Qur'an, this is very much contrary to Jesus as described in the Gospels). Let's consider this objection further though. In verses 1-2, it is claimed that the servant "grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." Jesus was raised by an apparently poor set of parents from a despised town, Nazareth. Consider the words of Nathaniel: "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"(John 1:46) Plus, there is only one mention in the Gospels of Jesus doing anything significant in His first 3 decades of life(Luke 2:41-51; 3:23).
As for being rejected and despised, this was the case from the beginning of His ministry. According to Luke 4:16-30, some Jews tried to kill Him even after He preached His first message in Capernaum. He was accused by the religious leaders of deriving His exorcism powers from Satan(Mark 3:22) and was even labeled by some as a demon-possessed Samaritan(John 8:48). Jesus was also accused by the Jews for allegedly breaking the Sabbath because He healed people on that day(Luke 13:14), and allowed His disciples to pluck corn on that day(Matthew 12:1-2). We also see examples in Scripture of conspiracies by the Jews on how they might destroy Jesus(Matthew 12:14). In fact, according to the Gospels, it was the Jews that provoked the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, to crucify Christ(Matthew 26:3-27:49), although the latter wanted no part of it(Matthew 27:24). While Christ did have followers who were greatly saddened by His death, He was rejected en masse by the Jewish people. If Jesus had declared Himself King as the Jews were probably expecting when Christ made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, perhaps this would not have been the case. However, due to a misunderstanding of the Messiah's mission, which extends to Jews and Muslims to this very day, He has been rejected and despised by His own as well as by many throughout history and the world. Yet, at the same time, His message has been spread throughout most of the world and has had great impacts on kings and nations(Isaiah 52:15).
53:3 "A man of pains and acquainted with disease." Israel's adversities are frequently likened to sickness - see, e.g., Isa. 1:5-6; Jer. 10:19; Jer 30:12.
53:4 "Surely our diseases he carried and our pains he bore." In Matt. 8:17, this is correctly translated, and said to be literally (not spiritually) fulfilled in Jesus' healing of the sick, a reading inconsistent with the Christian mistranslation of 53:4 itself.
Of course, one could always argue for both a physical and an eschatological fulfillment behind the prophecy. However, that may not be necessary. I personally see no problem in interpreting Christ's healing of the sick and performing exorcisms as the fulfillment of this part of the prophetic passage in question, particularly since Matthew saw no problem in it.
53:4 "Yet we ourselves esteemed him stricken, smitten of G- D and afflicted." See Jer. 30:17 - of G-D's servant Israel (30:10), it is said by the nations, "It is Zion; no one cares for her."
53:5 "But he was wounded from (NOTE: not for) our transgressions, he was crushed from (AGAIN: not for) our iniquities." Whereas the nations had thought the Servant (Israel) was undergoing Divine retribution for its sins (53:4), they now realize that the Servant's sufferings stemmed from their actions and sinfulness. This theme is further developed throughout our Jewish Scriptures - see, e.g., Jer. 50:7; Jer. 10:25. ALSO: Note that the Messiah "shall not fail nor be crushed till he has set the right in the earth" (Isa. 42:4).
Of course, we've already dealt with the assertion that this passage is being narrated by the Gentile nations. This passage, however, was certainly fulfilled in Jesus, Who, while atoning for the sins of His own people and mankind, was considered stricken by God. This is illustrated well in Matthew 27:41-44 where the Jews chided Jesus to come down from the cross if He was truly the Son of God. Certainly by reading Jewish literature from the Talmud all the way to the present it is clear that the Jews still believe that Jesus was a false prophet smitten by God. As for the last note by the author, we agree that the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, did not fail. Just as was prophesied, He carried out His mission, which culminated in going to the torturous cross to atone for the sins of humanity. He sealed His victory through His glorious resurrection on the first Easter Sunday. Today, Christ, our High Priest and Intercessor, continues to succeed in bringing salvation to the ends of the earth.
53:7 "He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so he did not open his mouth." Note that in the prior chapter (Isa. 52), Israel is said to have been oppressed and taken away without cause (52:4-5). A similar theme is developed in Psalm 44, wherein King David speaks of Israel's faithfulness even in the face of gentile oppression (44:17- 18) and describes Israel as "sheep to be slaughtered" in the midst of the unfaithful gentile nations (44:22,11).
Regarding the claim that Jesus "did not open his mouth" when faced with oppression and affliction, see Matt. 27:46, Jn. 18:23, 36-37
As noted earlier, it is clear that the nation of Israel cannot be said to have not defended itself. However, Jesus did not resist His arrest when Judas Iscariot arrived with the servants of the high priest(Matthew 26:47-56). He even healed the officer's ear that had been "smote" by Peter when they came to arrest Him(Luke 22:51). Jesus also did not defend Himself at His trial although He did affirm that He was the Messiah(we'll get to that a little later) nor did He resist or curse His enemies while undergoing the horrific rigors of the crucifixion. In fact, He actually asked for God to forgive them(Luke 23:34-Compare this with the dying words of Mohammad with regards to Jews and Christians!). The author mentions Matthew 27:46 when Christ cried from the cross, and conversations with the high priest(John 18:20-23) and Pilate(John 18:36-37). First of all, Pilate was not one of Christ's accusers. The high priest, however, is a different story. True, He did talk with the high priest in the example mentioned, but to assert that Jesus, to fulfill the prophecy, must have literally not uttered a word, seems to be a rather wooden conflict approach. Jesus was indeed led as a "lamb to the slaughter" and "did not open his mouth" in that He did not resist arrest and did not defend Himself at His trial. This can be further illustrated in Matthew 27:11-14. As far as the cry from the cross is concerned, this has nothing to do with resisting His oppressors or defending Himself. Plus, by doing so, Jesus was drawing attention to another pertinent prophecy of the Messiah's crucifixion contained in Psalm 22. (See more on this by JPH here.)
53:8 "From dominion and judgement he was taken away." Note the correct translation of the Hebrew. The Christians are forced to mistranslate, since - by Jesus' own testimony - he never had any rights to rulership or judgement, at least not on the "first coming." See, e.g., Jn. 3:17; Jn. 8:15; Jn. 12:47; Jn. 18:36.
While it is true that Jesus did not come to establish a political dominion, He did, however, gain a following, as noted earlier by this very author. In this sense, as well as in the sense of Christ's notoriety in the area, His dominion was removed.
53:8 "He was cut off out of the land of the living." 53:9 "His grave was assigned with wicked men." See Ez. 37:11-14, wherein Israelis described as "cut off" and G-D promises to open its "graves" and bring Israel back into its own land. Other examples of figurative deaths include Ex. 10:17; 2 Sam. 9:8; 2 Sam. 16:9. 53:8 "From my peoples' sins, there was injury to them." Here the Prophet makes absolutely clear, to anyone familiar with Biblical Hebrew, that the oppressed Servant is a collective Servant, not a single individual.
The Hebrew word "lamoh", when used in our Scriptures, always means "to them" never "to him" and may be found, for example, in Psalm 99:7 - "They kept his testimonies, and the statute that He gave to them."
As to "lamoh," Brown responds: "First, the phrase nega'lamo, as rightly understood by the NJPSV, most likely means that the servant receives a stroke *for them*-in other words, for those for whom he is suffering. Second, Isaiah elsewhere uses lamo to mean "to it," not "to them,"(in 44:15: "he makes an idol and bows down to it"). So, even if you wanted to take lamo to refer to the servant(which, as stated, is unlikely), it could still mean "for him" as opposed to "for them."
53:9 "And with the rich in his deaths." Perhaps King James should have changed the original Hebrew, which again makes clear that we are dealing with a collective Servant, i.e., Israel, which will "come to life" when the exile ends (Ez. 37:14).
Again, Brown responds: "Third, the reason *deaths* is in the plural in verse 9 is because it is an intensive plural, referring here to a violent death. Such usage of intensive plurals is extremely common in Hebrew, as recognized by even beginning students of the language. Thus, the word for compassion is an intensive plural, rahamim, while the word for God is 'elohim. More specifically, in Ezekiel 28:8 the prophet declares, "And you[singular] will die the deaths[plural] of one slain[singular] in the depths of the sea"(translated literally)..Whenever the Hebrew Bible refers to the "deaths" of an individual, it speaks of a violent death." Ezekiel in this passage was addressing the prince of Tyrus(verse 2).
53:9 "He had done no violence." See Matt. 21:12; Mk. 11:15-16; Lk. 19:45; Lk. 19:27; Matt. 10:34 and Lk. 12:51; then judge for yourself whether this passage is truly consistent with the New Testament account of Jesus.
Here we have the usual prooftexts of the Temple cleansing as well as a few verses about the sword that are ripped out of context. Luke 19:27 is the end of a parable of Jesus where the Lord is describing the coming Kingdom of God. The subject is actually a nobleman(verse 12) who is making the statement in verse 27. In light of verse 11 of this chapter, and the content of the parable, it appears reasonable to assert that Jesus, in the parable, is describing the coming Kingdom of God that would occur at the time of His 2nd coming. At this time, all who have not been cleansed by the atoning blood of Christ will perish. In proper context, this appears to be the correct understanding of the nobleman's comment in verse 27. The disciples were obviously peace-loving people as was the early church. It was not until the 4th century A.D.(about 3 centuries after the advent of Christ and the church) did some unfortunate incidences of violence enter the church[Compare this with the formative years of Islam!]. This historical reality makes it obvious that they did not interpret these verses as does our author in this case. Indeed, this interpretation, besides being pure eisegesis would be very contradictory to Christ's teachings of loving one's enemies(Matthew 6:44). As for the Temple cleansing and the other verses mentioned, we recommend Glenn Miller's piece on this subject.
53:10 "He shall see his seed." The Hebrew word for "seed", used in this verse, always refers to physical descendants in our Jewish Scriptures. See, e.g., Gen. 12:7; Gen. 15:13; Gen. 46:6; Ex. 28:43. A different word, generally translated as "sons", is used to refer to spiritual descendants (see Deut. 14:1, e.g.).
Actually, the Hebrew word for "seed," which is "zera" CAN and IS used metaphorically in the Old Testament. Examples in the book of Isaiah alone abound. For instance, Isaiah referred to Israel as "a seed of evildoers," a "seed of an adulterer," and "a seed of falsehood,"(Isaiah 1:4; 14:20; 57:3-4) using "zera" in each case as in this particular verse. Thus, there is no reason to assume a priori that this verse refers to the sufferer's literal seed. Additionally, the phrase in verse 8, "and who shall declare his generation?" may be an indicator that the sufferer would NOT have literal seed.
53:10 "He will prolong his days." Not only did Jesus die young, but how could the days be prolonged of someone who is alleged to be G-D?
Both of these objections miss the point. Verse 8 clearly discusses the death of the sufferer: "for he was cut off out of the land of the living:.." In verse 10, it is said, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,.." The death of the sufferer once more is portrayed in verse 10 since He would be an offering for sin, just as all sacrificial offerings for sin mentioned in the Torah resulted in the death of the sacrificial animal. However, despite this, the verse goes on to say, "he shall see seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand." So, how is it that the sufferer would see seed and prolong His days despite dying as a sin offering? The most reasonable answer seems to be because of a resurrection. Also, Jesus being divine is not problematic given that it is His life on earth, His death, resurrection, and the impact that He would have on the people of earth which are clearly in view in this passage. Since Jesus died, but was resurrected, He "prolonged His days."
53:11 "With his knowledge the righteous one, my Servant, will cause many to be just." Note again the correct translation: the Servant will cause many to be just, he will not "justify the many." The Jewish mission is to serve as a "light to the nations" which will ultimately lead the world to a knowledge of the one true G-D, this both by example (Deut. 4:5-8; Zech. 8:23) and by instructing the nations in G-D's Law (Isa. 2:3-4; Micah 4:2-3).
Although by now we have good reason to be suspicious of the author's assertions dealing with the proper translation of this part of the verse, as well as the other alleged Christian "mistranslations" mentioned previously, we will not discuss it since it does not impact the overall message of the chapter. Of course, Jesus has caused and will continue to cause many to be "just" as His message is spread throughout the world. As for the assertion that this chapter is discussing Israel as a nation, please see other pertinent sections of this response. At any rate, it cannot be doubted that the followers of Christ have brought the light of the God of Israel to manifold more people than has the nation of Israel itself.
53:12 "Therefore, I will divide a portion to him with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty." If Jesus is G-D, does the idea of reward have any meaning? Is it not rather the Jewish people - who righteously bore the sins of the world and yet remained faithful to G-D (Ps. 44) - who will be rewarded, and this in the manner described more fully in Isaiah chapters 52 and 54?
Actually, although Christians assert that Jesus is indeed divine, this in no way contradicts Christian theology or the self-understanding of Jesus Christ in relation to the reward that the sufferer will receive. Jesus, during His ministry, certainly exuded divine attributes, such as claiming that He had the power to forgive sins(Matthew 9:2-6), expanding upon Jewish Law(Matthew 5-7), claiming to be "Lord of the Sabbath"(Matthew 12:8), and claiming that He had power over angels(Matthew 13:41), and, of course, the ultimate confirmation of His claims, being resurrected from the dead. He also performed great miracles(See, for instance, Matthew 4:23-24, Matthew 8-9:7, and John 11:1-46) and made accurate predictions about the future(See for instance, Matthew 26:21-75, Mark 13, and Luke 21), including predictions about His upcoming crucifixion, burial for 3 days, and resurrection(e.g. Matthew 20:18-19, Mark 8:31). This served not only to confirm His prophethood, but along with it His claims to divinity. However, when Jesus entered humanity, He gave up the divine glory that was once His. As mentioned in a previous section, He was the Son of a carpenter, living in a despised town called Nazareth, and did not even appear to gain prominence in the Jewish community until He was 30 years of age, when He was ordained as a Rabbi. He was also a poor Man: "And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."(Matthew 8:20) As also mentioned prior to this, He was despised and rejected of His own people, and of course, was crucified as a common criminal. Indeed, Jesus, although fulfilling His prophetic role as the suffering Messiah, was certainly no longer in His full divine glory, which is something He Himself acknowledged: "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. AND NOW, O FATHER, GLORIFY THOU ME WITH THINE OWN SELF WITH THE GLORY WHICH I HAD WITH THEE **BEFORE THE WORLD WAS.**"(John 17:1-5, emphasis added) Jesus emptied Himself of the glory that was once His to finish the work which His Father gave Him to do. Perfectly fitting Isaiah 53:12, the suffering Servant then asks to once again be glorified with the glory that was His before His visitation to earth. Thus, the "reward" is that Jesus will once again return to His divine glory and will be the King for eternity ruling over the very subjects purchased by His atoning death on the cross. As for the other items mentioned by the author we have discussed in previous sections.
The following is from www.jewsforjudaism.org
Question: Isaiah 53:7 says that the suffering servant "humbled himself and opened not his mouth" as a lamb about to be slaughtered or a sheep dumb before its shearers. Does this describe Jesus' behavior at his trials? Answer: Jesus' claim to be the Messiah was the accusation placed against him before the Sanhedrin and Pilate. To the charge of his messianic claim, Jesus answered both the Jewish authorities and Pilate in a forceful manner (John 18:19-23, 33-37).
The statement: "Therefore Pilate entered the judgment hall again and called Jesus, and said to him: 'Are you the King of the Jews?'" makes it clear that claiming to be the King Messiah was the Jewish accusation against Jesus. Matthew and Mark comment that Jesus did not answer the Jewish accusations when questioned by Pilate: "But he did not answer him, not even to a single charge" (Matthew 27:14); "But Jesus made no further answer" (Mark 15:15).
First of all, Pilate was not one of Christ's accusers. However, as the author mentions, Jesus does speak with His accusers in John 18:19-23, but Jesus is hardly speaking in a "forceful" manner:
"The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? Ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?"(John 18:19-23)
As portrayed by Isaiah in verse 7, and can be seen by reading the trial narratives in the Gospels, Jesus was indeed led as a lamb to the slaughter and did not defend Himself against the accusations made against Him. "Forceful" seems to be a very inaccurate word choice for describing a Man who simply answered a question and asked why He was hit by one of the officers. Please see the above section on this where we have discussed this in more detail.
However, the list of charges made by the Jews, which is found in Luke's Gospel: "misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a King" (Luke 23:2), is answered by Jesus. The charges are answered in his defense before Pilate, as found in John's Gospel. There he claimed to head a peace-loving, nonmilitary, otherworldly group, which would not countenance revolt against the Roman Empire. John argues, with the help of alleged quotations from the trial, that Jesus claimed to be King of the Jews but not one who sought power in this world, i.e., at the expense of the Roman Empire (John 18:36).
Far from showing the humility and silence with which Isaiah describes the servant in verse 7, the encounter between the high priest, the elders, and Jesus is highlighted by a vigorous verbal exchange. In addition, Jesus did not show humility and silence during his confrontation with Pilate. At their meeting, Jesus is depicted as skillfully defending himself. Jesus at no time humbled himself, but, on the contrary, presented a clever verbal defense before Pilate (the one man who could condemn him to death), pleading shrewdly that his messianic teaching was a nonviolent, "not of this world" movement, one which the Romans need not fear. Pilate, Jesus assumed, would not be interested in a non-political, non-military movement that was not of "this world." However, Jesus' movement must have appeared to Pilate like any of the other seditious movements that confronted him. He reacted accordingly. Jesus was obviously defending himself by presenting a shrewd verbal response when he tried to convince Pilate that he was not the head of a seditious movement but that his intentions were peaceful. Contrary to what Christian theologians claim, the Gospels' Jesus presented a strong defense before the Jewish officials and Pilate. Jesus was not "dumb" but very outspoken before his accusers, Jewish or Gentile. Therefore, it is simply not true to say of Jesus that "he humbled himself and did not open his mouth."
To claim that Jesus had a "vigorous verbal exchange" and was "skillfully defending himself" cannot be substantiated upon reading the details of Christ's arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Jesus did not defend Himself when being charged of blasphemy nor at any time during the trial narratives. Confirming that He was the Messiah and simply asking why one of the officers struck Him given that they had yet to bear witness of any evil committed by Him clearly does not negate His being "led as a lamb to the slaughter." Again, while Pilate was not one of Christ's accusers, the author is incorrect in his implication that Pilate wanted to crush the "seditious" movement caused by Christ. To the contrary: "When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I AM INNOCENT OF THE BLOOD OF THIS PERSON: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children."(Matthew 27:24-25, emphasis added) Also, "..Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: FOR I FIND NO FAULT IN HIM."(John 19:6, emphasis added) "And he said unto them the third time, Why, what eveil hath he done? I HAVE FOUND NO CAUSE OF DEATH IN HIM: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go."(Luke 23:22, emphasis added)
Let's examine the passage where Jesus made this "skillful defense." The answers Jesus gave to Pilate's questions are in CAPS.
"Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, SAYEST THOU THIS THING OF THYSELF, OR DID OTHERS TELL IT THEE OF ME? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD: IF MY KINGDOM WERE OF THIS WORLD, THEN WOULD MY SERVANTS FIGHT, THAT I SHOULD NOT BE DELIVERED TO THE JEWS: BUT NOW IS MY KINGDOM NOT FROM HENCE. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, THOU SAYEST THAT I AM A KING. TO THIS END WAS I BORN, AND FOR THIS CAUSE CAME I INTO THE WORLD, THAT I SHOULD BEAR WITNESS UNTO THE TRUTH. EVERY ONE THAT IS OF THE TRUTH HEARETH MY VOICE. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault."(John 18:33-38)
Christ's 2nd statement about the Kingdom not being of this world is what the author alludes to, assuming that Jesus thought that by saying this that He would convince Pilate that He wasn't out to build a Kingdom that would undermine the political authority of the Roman Empire, but in context it can hardly be reasonably argued that Jesus makes this claim to escape judgment(If anything, this claim would help serve to seal it, as shall be demonstrated below). Rather, it was to answer Pilate's original question asking if He is a king. Jesus restating the same claim that He had made throughout His ministry about the ushering-in of the "other-worldly" Kingdom of God is not much of a defense(even though we must reiterate that Pilate isn't one of Christ's accusers anyway). Even the author acknowledges that in the trial narratives of Luke it is shown that one of Christ's "crimes" is claiming to be the King of the Jews, the Christ!
"And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King. And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man."(Luke 23:2-3)
Again, here we see Christ confirming what He was being accused of that caused the Jews to want Him crucified. Needless to say once more, Christ's confirmation of this charge, as we see in the other passage, can hardly be construed as a defense! If Jesus wanted to escape His execution, the best course of action would have been to deny that He claimed to be the Christ. Despite that, Pilate acknowledges in both passages that he finds no fault in Jesus. This latter point makes the author's claim of "Jesus' movement must have appeared to Pilate like any of the other seditious movements that confronted him. He reacted accordingly." all the more curious.
The following is from www.jewsforjudaism.org
As for the claim that insignificant numbers actually despised Jesus, please see the above section where this is discussed. Jesus was continually being harassed by the Jewish leaders of His day and this harassment continued well into the ministry of His disciples. Many Jews did convert to Christianity, but most did not, and this majority-rejection continues to this day. Interestingly, the author's claim that many contemporary Jews have never heard of Jesus actually augments, rather than weakens, the Christian claim that Jesus is the suffering Servant. Certainly if Jesus is indeed the Messiah, contemporary Jews should not only know of Him, but also accept Him. However, this lack of knowledge of contemporary Jews to Jesus Christ is certainly a result of the Jews mass rejection and disdain of Him. For more on this, please see the above section where more specific details of how Christ was despised is discussed.
To get back to the claims about "nagua" meaning "stricken with leprosy," Brown writes:
"The Stone edition renders Isaiah 53:4b as, "but we had regarded him diseased[nagu'a], stricken by God, and afflicted!" It is this verse-in particular the word "nagu'a"(rendered here as "diseased")-from which the Talmud drew the concept of the "leper Messiah"(see b. Sanhedrin 98b). Nagu'a, however, can simply mean "smitten," with no reference to leprosy or sickness, as can be seen from the use of the word in Psalm 73:4, where it speaks of the psalmist's spiritual chastisements."
In the KJV, the verse Brown refers to is probably 73:5 where the word is rendered "plagued." "They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men." Also, 73:14, "For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened very morning." In each case, the word for "plagued" is "nagu'a" and there is no mention of leprosy in the Psalm.
This concludes our responses to the material that Abdallah has on Isaiah 53. Below we will be looking at a few other passages that Abdallah mentions in a piece alluded to previously, but this we will save for another update, which God willing we'll have ready soon. We are not planning to delve into other items Abdallah links to from his challenge page, much of which we haven't covered deals with Christ's divinity and the Trinity. However, the reader is encouraged to compare his material with material from the following links(here, here, here, here, here, here here, here, here, and here). For more information on upper-level defenses of Messianic prophecy, we highly recommend the work by Michael Brown which served as the primary resource for much of the material in this update.
Questionnaire for Abdallah
Since Osama has posed many questions to Christians and/or Jews in his various challenges, we would now like to close by asking a few for him to answer.
Notes and Acknowledgements
1. Geisler, Norman L., Saleeb, Abdul. "Answering Islam." 2002. Pg. 154
2. The Qur'an is the Islamic holy book, equivalent to the Bible for Christianity. It is the most authoritative source for the Muslim. However, the vast majority of Muslims also recognize Hadith, particularly Sahih Hadith(Bukhari and Muslim's collection) to be authoritative. Hadith are purported sayings of Mohammad on a variety of subjects which are binding on Muslims. The Sirat are the biographies of Mohammad. Ibn Sa'd and Ibn Ishaq(whose version was edited by Ibn Hisham) are two of the earliest biographies.
5. Hunt, David. "The Berean Call." March 2003.
6. http://www.debate.org.uk/topics/coolcalm/ (Go to: The Dark side of Islam, then scroll down to "Offensive War to Spread Islam")
7. Gabriel, Mark. A., Ph.D. "Islam and the Jews." 2003. 108-113
8. Ibid. 122-124.
9. Ibid. 108-109.
11. Traditionally, most Muslims treat the Hadith and Sirat as authoritative in addition to the Qur'an.
13. Brown, Harold O.J. "Heresies." 1988. 105-106.
14. Ibid. 247-248.
15. Ibid. 72.
17. Brown, Michael L. "Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus" Volume 3. 2003. 181-182.
18. Ibid 182.
19. Ibid 59.
20. Ibid 40.
21. Ibid 41-49.
22. Ibid 63.
23. Ibid 63.
24. Ibid 64.
25. Ibid 70.
26. Ibid 66.
27. Ibid 67.
28. Ibid 83-84.
29. Ibid 73.
31. Strong, James. "The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance." 1990. 146
32. Strong, James. "The New Strong's Complete Dictionary of Bible Words." 1996. 302.
33. "When the last moment of the prophet was near, he used to draw a sheet over his face; but when he felt uneasy, he removed it from his face and said: 'Allah's damnation be on the Jews and the Christians who made the graves of their prophets objects of worship." From Ibn Sa'd, page 322, quoted from the source in #10.
35. I would like to give special thanks to James Patrick Holding for his valuable assistance on this article.