Prophecies of Muhammad in the Bible

November 22, 2017 Leave a comment

When someone reads the title of this blog post, one might think that now I am ready to say the Shahada and go join a mosque. What I see of that which is labeled as Islam today is in my view extremely unkoranic. So, no, I am still a Christian. However, I do think that the Koran has a lot of good moral and spiritual teaching in it. I also recognize that there are mathematical miracles in the Koran which lead me to believe that it is a work of divine providence. God “works all things after the counsel of His own will.” (Ephesians 1:11) Many of the English translations of the Koran are full of mistranslations which reflect the errant theology of the translators. However, there may be some prophecies about Muhammad in the Bible. Many of the ones that Islamic religious leaders cite are not prophecies about him in my opinion.

I want to make a few remarks concerning the matter of authority first. In order for someone to be recognized as a Saint in the Orthodox Church, the Church must glorify that person. No one is recognized as a Saint while he or she is alive. This process of recognition begins at a grass roots level among Christians who knew the person while he was alive. People start venerating this person and eventually the Church does an inquiry and if the hierarchs are satisfied with their findings, the person is enrolled in the list of Saints. Not everyone who is in fact a Saint is on that list. The Church also recognizes that there are people who are Saints but they are known only to God as being such. So, there are the unknown Saints.

In regards to Scripture, the formation of the canon of Holy Scripture took several hundred years after the books of the Bible were written. In the fourth century, for example, the Church in Rome rejected St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews. The Church in the East was slow to accept the Book of Revelation into the canon. There were other books that were not accepted everywhere as Holy Scripture in the second and third century — II Peter, II John, and III John, for example. It took time for the Church to adopt all of the books that we have in our Orthodox Bibles today.

One solitary individual does not have the authority to include or exclude any book into the canon of Holy Scripture. The authority comes from the Church. The Church as a whole must recognize that a book is divinely inspired. Church councils merely state what the Church as a whole says as it is being guided by God into all truth.

Although, I personally have developed an affection for reading and studying the Koran, I do not have the authority to include it into the canon of Holy Scripture.

On the other hand, I cannot predict the future. What will be the Church’s attitude toward this book in the future is a matter of speculation.

I have read that His All-Holiness Bartholomew, the Ecumenical Patriarch, has given away two copies of the Koran. I have also read that the Patriarch of Alexandria has given away one copy of the Koran. A former Patriarch of Alexandria who lived in the twentieth century has gone as far as to say that he thought that Muhammad was a prophet. I read about that in a book written by His Beatitude Kallistos Ware.

My own thoughts about Muhammad are that he was a better man than what we read about in the massive collection of hearsay called the Sunnah. I do not believe that he married a six year old girl and had sex with her when she was nine. That is a fabricated story invented by some Persians and written down by Persians in the ninth century. I do not believe that he told his followers, “Whoever  changes his religion, kill him.” That is another fabricated story written down over two hundred years after he died. I do not believe that he was a warlord. I believe that he encouraged his followers to defend themselves when they were being attacked by polytheists, but to be at peace with the polytheists if they wanted to be at peace with them. I do not believe that the Sword Verse (Koran 9:5) teaches offensive military jihad. When one reads it in context with other verses which come before and after this verse, one can see that this is talking about a seventh century battle fought in self-defense. I do not believe that the Koran teaches the heretical theology of the Arians. I believe that Muhammad was a Trinitarian monotheist.

Now, another side note about Muhammad. I have added up the values of his name in both Greek and Hebrew. There is no numerical value for h in the ancient Greek number system because that letter is represented in Greek by a diacritical mark — something like an apostrophe, only written backwards. In Greek the numerical value of his name is 526. Here is a theory about the meaning of this number. If one were to add 5 + 2 + 6, one would get 13. 13 consists of the numbers 1 and 3. One God, Three Persons. (I still have my Trinitarian bias, as you can probably see.) In Hebrew, the numerical value of his name is 137. This number consists of the numbers 1, 3, and 7. One God, Three Persons, Total Perfection. (7 symbolizes perfection.)

 So, Muhammad is not the Antichrist. His name does not add up to 666. If he was a Trinitarian monotheist like I believe he was, then he was not a heretic either.

Now, I want to look at a verse from the Koran. I am going to use Mohsin Khan’s translation first.

Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write (i.e.Muhammad SAW) whom they find written with them in the Taurat (Torah) (Deut, xviii, 15) and the Injeel (Gospel) (John xiv, 16), – he commands them for Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained); and forbids them from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief, polytheism of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); he allows them as lawful At-Taiyibat [(i.e. all good and lawful) as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.], and prohibits them as unlawful Al-Khaba’ith (i.e. all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.), he releases them from their heavy burdens (of Allah’s Covenant), and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them. So those who believe in him (Muhammad SAW), honour him, help him, and follow the light (the Quran) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful. (Koran 7:157, Mohsin Khan)

If you ever want to buy a copy of the Koran, I would strongly discourage you from purchasing this Saudi funded Wahhabi translation. The man who translated it actually interpreted it according to the Wahhabi beliefs of his benefactors.

Notice that he cites Deuteronomy 18:15 as a prophecy about Muhammad. The Koran says:

O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto His messenger, and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray. Lo! those who believe, then disbelieve and then (again) believe, then disbelieve, and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never pardon them, nor will He guide them unto a way. (Koran 4:136,137, Pickthall)

The Scripture which God “hath revealed unto His messenger” is the Koran. “The Scripture which He revealed aforetime” is the Bible. In that “Scripture which God revealed aforetime,” that passage from Deuteronomy 18:15 is cited as prophecy of Jesus, not a prophecy about Muhammad. (Acts 3:20-23; 7:37) The Koran requires that we believe what we read in the Book of Acts. If we disbelieve, and then increase in disbelief, God will never pardon us. (Koran 4:137) Deuteronomy 18:15 is not a prophecy about Muhammad.

Notice also that he cites John 14:16 as a prophecy about Muhammad. Let us look at these verses from John 14.

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever  —  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16,17, NKJV)

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26, NKJV)

Let us plug Muhammad’s name in these verses.

And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that Muhammad may abide with you forever  —  the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Muhammad nor knows Muhammad; but you know Muhammad, for Muhammad dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16,17, NKJV modified)

But the Helper Muhammad, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, this person Muhammad will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26, NKJV modified)

From the context of these verses, we can easily see that the Helper, the Spirit of truth, and the Holy Spirit all refer to the same Person. (The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity. He is the one who “neither begets, nor is begotten” in Koran 112.) Let us, now, plug in Muhammad again. Look at these verses from Matthew 28.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. (Matthew 28:19,20, NKJV)

The baptismal formula is “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (I know about the passages in the Book of Acts that talk about baptism in Jesus’ name. I prefer to stick with patristic explanations of those passages — that is to say, how the Church Fathers interpreted them. That is another subject for another blog.)

So, if Muhammad is the Spirit of truth who is also called the Helper or the Holy Spirit, then Jesus told His disciples to baptize new converts in the name of the Father, Jesus, and Muhammad. Muhammad was born in the late sixth century. Jesus’ apostles lived in the first century. This seems rather ridiculous to believe this, in my opinion. (By the way, these verses are not a later addition to the Bible. They existed in the seventh century Bible that the Koran told us to believe. The Church Fathers who lived hundreds of year before Muhammad quoted these verses in their writings.)

The Koran warns us about distorting God’s revelations.

Lo! those who distort Our revelations are not hid from Us. Is he who is hurled into the Fire better, or he who cometh secure on the Day of Resurrection? Do what ye will. Lo! He is Seer of what ye do. (Koran 41:40, Pickthall)

The Islamic religious leaders who are citing those verses from Deuteronomy 18 and John 14 are doing that.

Here is another popular distortion. Many Islamic religious leaders quote these verses from St. John’s Gospel or verses like them in parallel accounts in the other three Gospels as a prophecy about Muhammad.

John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” (John 1:26,27, NKJV)

Well, in order to properly understand who it is that John was talking about, it is necessary for us look at the verses which come later in this chapter.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” (John 1:29-31, NKJV)

St. John the Baptist was talking about Jesus. Jesus is the one who is preferred before John. John 1:26,27 is not a prophecy about Muhammad.

I could go through some other so-called prophecies about Muhammad and debunk them, too, but I do not want to anger my Muslim readers any more than I already have. Instead, I want to be a bit more conciliatory and present some possible prophecies about Muhammad from the Bible. Please remember that I am only suggesting these passages as possibilities. I, as a single individual, really do not have the authority to say that they are in fact prophecies about him.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. (II Peter 1:20, NKJV)

First, let us look at a better translation of that verse from the Seventh Surah than that Wahhabi translation I quoted earlier.

Those who follow the Messenger-Prophet, the Ummi, whom they find written down with them in the Taurat and the Injeel (who) enjoins them good and forbids them evil, and makes lawful to them the good things and makes unlawful to them impure things, and removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them; so (as for) those who believe in him and honor him and help him, and follow the light which has been sent down with him, these it is that are the successful. (Koran 7:157, Shakir)

Some have pointed out that the Arabic word that is usually translated as “who can neither read nor write” or “illiterate” can mean Gentile. So, this Messenger is a Gentile prophet — a prophet who is neither a Jew, nor a Christian. Muhammad is a descendant of Ishmael according to Islamic history. From what I have read in the Koran, I can easily see that he lived among pagans — people who worshiped more than one god. There were also Christian heretics that he apparently encountered — Nestorians, Sabellians, Maryamites, Adoptionists, Bitheists, and Tritheists. The Koran frequently condemns these heresies. It condemns polytheism. It also condemns the unkoranic practice of rejecting the Bible.

There are some principles of interpretation that I want to present before I provide the suggested possibilities. I will first use these prophecies of Jesus and a passage from the New Testament to demonstrate how Scripture is interpreted. The prophecies about Jesus first:

But they shall serve the Lord their God; and I will raise up to them David their king. (Jeremiah 37:9, LXX; Jeremiah 30:9, Hebrew)

And I will raise up one shepherd over them, and He shall tend them, even My servant David, and He shall be their shepherd; and I the Lord will be to them a God, and David a prince in the midst of them; I the Lord have spoken it. And I will make with David a covenant of peace and I will utterly destroy evil beasts from off the land; and they shall dwell in the wilderness, and sleep in the forests. And I will settle them round about My mountain; and I will give you the rain, the rain of blessing. And the trees that are in the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her strength, and they shall dwell in the confidence of peace on their land, and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken their yoke; and I will deliver them out of the hand of those that enslaved them. And they shall no more be a spoil to the nations, and the wild beasts of the land shall no more at all devour them; and they shall dwell safely, and there shall be none to make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a plant of peace, and they shall no more perish with hunger upon the land, and they shall no more bear the reproach of the nations. (Ezekiel 34:23-29, LXX)

And My servant David shall be a prince in the midst of them: there shall be one shepherd of them all; for they shall walk in Mine ordinances, and keep My judgments, and do them. And they shall dwell in their land, which I have given to My servant Jacob, where their fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell upon it: and David My servant shall be their prince forever. And I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will establish My sanctuary in the midst of them for ever. And My tabernacle shall be among them; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be My people. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord that sanctifies them, when My sanctuary is in the midst of them for ever. (Ezekiel 37:24-28, LXX)

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an altar, and without a priesthood, and without manifestations. And afterward shall the children of Israel return, and shall seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall be amazed at the Lord and at His goodness in the latter days. (Hosea 3:4,5, LXX)

In all four of these prophecies, the Christ (that is, the Messiah) is called David. David is a biological ancestor of the Christ. The prophets use the name of the Christ’s ancestor when speaking about the Christ.

Now, for the New Testament passage.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (I Peter 2:9,10, NKJV)

St. Peter called the Church “a holy nation.” Of course, the Church is not a nation in the usual sense. The Church is a spiritual nation. Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom “is not of this world.” (John 18:36) The Church is a spiritual nation that thrives in and among earthly nations. St. Paul called the Church “the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:16)

Now, let us look at this prophecy about Ishmael (Ismael in the Septuagint).

And concerning Ismael, behold, I have heard thee, and, behold, I have blessed him, and will increase him and multiply him exceedingly; twelve nations shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. (Genesis 17:20, LXX)

Although Ishmael had been cast out of Abraham’s household. God said that He has blessed him. He said that Ishmael will beget twelve nations. This prophecy about begetting twelve nations was fulfilled in this passage.

And these are the generations of Ismael the son of Abraam, whom Agar the Egyptian the hand-maid of Sarrha bore to Abraam. And these are the names of the sons of Ismael, according to the names of their generations. The firstborn of Ismael, Nabaioth, and Kedar, and Nabdeel, and Massam, and Masma, and Duma, and Masse, and Choddan, and Thaeman, and Jetur, and Naphes, and Kedma. These are the sons of Ismael, and these are their names in their tents and in their dwellings, twelve princes according to their nations. (Genesis 25:12-16, LXX)

Then, God says, “I will make him a great nation.” God promises to make Ishmael a great nation. Twice more in Genesis, God says that He will make Ishmael a great nation.

And moreover I will make the son of this bondwoman a great nation, because he is thy seed. (Genesis 21:13, LXX)

Rise up, and take the child, and hold him in thine hand, for I will make him a great nation. (Genesis 21:18, LXX)

To further understand what is being said here, we need to understand that Abraham has spiritual children — children who are not necessarily his biological children.

Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. (Galatians 3:7, NKJV)

Christians, regardless of their biological ancestry, are part of the commonwealth Israel. (God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. – Genesis 32:28)

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11-13, NKJV)

Jacob, therefore, has spiritual seed — children who are not necessarily his biological posterity. Understanding this principle will help one understand some possible prophecies about Muhammad in the Torah.

Here is one possible prophecy about Muhammad from the Torah. An angel appeared to Hagar, Abraham’s concubine. Hagar had only one child, Ishmael.

And the angel of the Lord said to her, I will surely multiply thy seed, and it shall not be numbered for multitude. (Genesis 16:10, LXX)

In Genesis, there are similar prophecies about God multiplying the seed of Isaac and Jacob. (Genesis 26:4,24; 28:3; 32:12; 48:4)

It is possible that Ishmael might have spiritual seed, too. So, what I am saying is this. The great nation that God promises to make Ishmael is a spiritual nation like the Church. Just as David is used prophetically to refer to Christ, Ishmael prophetically refers to Muhammad. The Muslim Ummah is the spiritual nation. There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Although what a vast majority of their religious leaders are teaching is, in my opinion, heretical, still this vast, great spiritual nation exists. (There are Christians who teach heresies, too. So, we need to point the finger at ourselves as well as to the Muslims.)

The next two possible prophecies are found in the New Testament. I need to provide some more exemplary interpretations of some other passages so that we can apply those principles to the possible prophecies. First, let us look at this verse from St. Matthew’s Gospel.

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26, NKJV)

Some parallel passages are Mark 8:36 and Luke 9:25. This has a general application. People should beware of greed and covetousness. However, the Lord may have been alluding to the Antichrist who will gain the whole world and lose his soul.

“It may be that our Lord Jesus Christ was thinking ahead to Antichrist when He said, “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26) For, without a doubt, Antichrist will be the first and last human capable of gaining the whole world. And the cost of this great acquisition will be not only his own soul, but the souls of all people who side with him.” (Ultimate Things, p. 250, by Dennis E. Engleman, copyright 1995 by Dennis Eugene Engleman, published by Conciliar Press, Ben Lomond, California, ISBN 0-9622713-9-X)

Matthew 16:26 might have a more specific application in addition to the general one.

Now, for the possible prophecy. There was a man who was casting out devils in Jesus’ name, but he was not following along with the Apostles. They forbade the man and told Jesus. Jesus said:

But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is on our side.” (Mark 9:39,40, NKJV)

There is a parallel passage in Luke 9:50. Just as Jesus could have been alluding to the Antichrist in Matthew 16:26, here, He may have been alluding to Muhammad. When the Persian polytheists were attacking the Orthodox Christians, Muhammad prophesied that the Orthodox Christians would be victorious. (Koran 30:2-5) The Orthodox Christians eventually defeated the Persians and the prophecy was fulfilled. Also, Muhammad said that the followers of Jesus will be set over those who do not believe in Jesus until the Day of Resurrection. (Koran 3:55)

So, although Muhammad did not follow along with the Orthodox Christians, he was not against them. He, therefore, was on their side.

Someone might mention here the Jizyah verse. (Koran 9:29) The jizyah appears only once in the entire Koran. There are no rules regarding how much to exact and for how long one must exact this tax. The amount was determined by a seventh century treaty with polytheists. Judging from the context of this verse, the jizyah was being exacted from polytheists who had been given the Bible and maybe a Koran, too, but did not believe in God and the Last Day. Where there is no treaty, there is no jizyah.

All of the other passages in the Koran that appear to some misinformed people to be condemning the doctrine of the Trinity are really condemning ancient Christian heresies.

Then, there is the Parable of the Good Samaritan. From this parable we can learn some more principles of interpretation.

Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:30-37, NKJV)

This parable has a general application. It tells us that we should be “Good Samaritans” and help everyone who needs help regardless of their race or religion. There is also an allegorical interpretation. The Good Samaritan in the parable is Jesus Christ. The Jews called Jesus a Samaritan. (John 8:48) Jerusalem represents Paradise. The Temple was in Jerusalem. Jericho represents Hell. After Jericho fell, Joshua said that the man who rebuilds it will cursed. (Joshua 6:26) The thieves are the demons. Jesus called the devil the thief. (John 10:10) The priest and the Levite are the religious elite. They ignore the man who had been wounded by the thieves. The man was half-dead indicating that there was still hope for his recovery. The Good Samaritan, Jesus, comes and bandages the man’s wounds (the Sacrament of Baptism). He poured oil (the Sacrament of Chrismation) and wine (the Sacrament of the Eucharist) on them. Then, He placed the man in the Church. The inn represents the Church. He gave two denarii to the innkeeper. The innkeeper is the priest. The two denarii are Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. The Samaritan told the innkeeper to take care of the man. The priest is supposed to take care of the man in his church. The Samaritan told the innkeeper that he will repay him when he returns. Allegorically, this means that the priest will be rewarded at Christ’s Second Coming.

Now, here are the two other possible prophecies about Muhammad.

45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. (Matthew 24:45-47, NKJV)

42 And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. (Luke 12:42-44, NKJV)

Notice that in Matthew 24:46 and Luke 12:43 Jesus said, “Blessed is that servant.” In Luke 12:42, Jesus asked, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward?” Jesus is talking about a particular person. Prior to saying these words in Matthew 24 and Luke 12, Jesus spoke about future events and His Second Coming. So, this parable refers to future events. The faithful and wise steward who feeds the Master’s servants is possibly Muhammad. The Master of the Household is Jesus. The return of the Master of the Household is the Second Coming of Jesus. The food that is given in due season refers to the Koran which was revealed over a period of 22 years. In this saying of Jesus, the Word of God is spoken of as being food.

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4, NKJV)

The parallel passage is Luke 4:4. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy.

And He afflicted thee and straitened thee with hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thy fathers knew not; that He might teach thee that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God shall man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3, LXX)

In the 18th Psalm of the Septuagint, it says:

To be desired more than gold, and much precious stone: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (Psalm 18:10, LXX; Psalm 19:10, Hebrew)

So, the Word of God is, analogously speaking, food. Muhammad gave the Koran as it was revealed to him “in due season.” Of course, the Word of God is also the Bible. The Koran says to believe the Bible. (Koran 4:136,137) It also says to study the Bible. (Koran 3:79)

Of course, we all should be faithful and wise stewards of what God has given us. So, those passages also have a general application. Does not the Koran also say that Muhammad is a good example for us to follow? (Koran 33:21)

I think that at Jesus’ Second Coming the Theotokos will sit on His right hand. (Psalm 44:9, LXX; Psalm 45:9, Hebrew) St. John the Baptist will sit on His left hand because he is the greatest man born of a woman (Matthew 11:11) except for Jesus. (John 1:26-30; 3:25-30) I think that Muhammad will be Jesus’ deputy in the same way that Joseph was Pharaoh’s deputy (Genesis 41:37-45) and in the same way that Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel ruler over all of his kingdom. (Daniel 3:48, LXX; Daniel 2:48, Hebrew) The Twelve Apostles will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)

In conclusion, many of the so-called prophecies about Muhammad are not prophecies about him at all. Nevertheless, that does not mean that there are no prophecies about him in the Bible. I have suggested some passages from the Bible as being prophecies about Muhammad. I, however, do not have the authority to unequivocally say that those are prophecies about him. As far as the Koran being included in the canon of Holy Scripture by the Church, that is for the Church to decide and not for any one particular individual. As for Muhammad’s prophethood, that has not been universally recognized by the Church. However, that does not mean that his prophethood will never be recognized by the Church. I do not believe that Muhammad taught heresies. I think that Islamic religious leaders are teaching heresies. I believe that many of the stories about Muhammad in the Sunnah are fabrications and are not true.

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The Christ or the Messiah

November 19, 2017 Leave a comment

In the Koran, Jesus is called the Messiah. However, many Muslims probably do not understand the meaning of this word because they never read and study the Bible. The Koran clearly instructs them to believe God’s Scriptures (which include the Bible) and to even study them. (Koran 3:79; 4:136) Muhammad accepted the Scriptures of Orthodox Christians (Koran 29:46) and Muslims are suppose to follow Muhammad’s example (Koran 33:21). So, since so many Muslims are disobeying the Koran in this respect, I have decided to explain the meaning of the term, Messiah.

The word Messiah is derived from the Hebrew word from which it is translated — mashiach. The Septuagint translators translated this word into Greek as christos from which we derive the English word, Christ. In the King James Version of the Bible, the word, Messiah, only occurs twice. (Daniel 9:25,26) The word, mashiach, is usually translated as “anointed one” in that translation. In the New Testament, the word, Messias, occurs twice. (John 1:41; 4:25) In both places we can learn that this word means Christ. The word, Christ, occurs far more frequently in the New Testament. I think that a better translation of the Koran would use Christ instead of Messiah when translating the Arabic word, masīḥu. That term would be more familiar to us Christian Kitabis. (A Kitabi is a Christian or a Jew.)

Mashiach and Christos have the same meaning — “Anointed One.” Jesus is the Christ or Messiah prophesied about in the Old Testament. However, as I have said before, the vast majority of Muslims know nothing at all about the Old Testament prophecies about the Christ. Therefore, they really do not know much about these terms really mean.

In Old Testament times, the High Priest, the prophets, and the kings were anointed with oil. Oil is a symbol for the Holy Spirit. There are prophecies about one individual who would hold all three offices, High Priest, Prophet, and King. This individual is Jesus Christ.

Jesus told the Jews:

Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you — Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:45-47, NKJV)

There are several prophecies about Jesus in the first five books of the Bible, the Torah. However, I want to focus on just one such prophecy — the one in Deuteronomy 18.

I will raise up to them a prophet of their brethren, like thee; and I will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them as I shall command Him. And whatever man shall not hearken to whatsoever words that Prophet shall speak in My name, I will take vengeance on him. (Deuteronomy 18:18,19, LXX)

This is a prophecy about Jesus, not Muhammad, and definitely not about Joseph Smith. Islamic religious leaders, like Zakir Naik, quote this passage and attribute it to Muhammad. The Mormons say that this is a prophecy about Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. In two places in the New Testament, this passage is cited as a prophecy about Jesus. St. Peter quoted from this passage when talking to the Jews about Jesus. (Acts 3:22,23). St. Stephen the Protomartyr also quoted this passage as a prophecy about Jesus before the Jews stoned him to death. (Acts 7:37) If there are any prophecies about Muhammad in the Torah, this one is definitely not it.

In the Gospels, Jesus is called a prophet.

So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11, NKJV)

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.” (John 4:16-19, NKJV)

So, people recognized Jesus as being a prophet. One of his closest disciples, St. Peter the Apostle, cited Deuteronomy 18:18,19 as a prophecy about Jesus. St. Stephen who spoke out in defense of the Christian faith before being martyred also recognized this passage in Deuteronomy as being a prophecy about Jesus.

The Koran warns us about distorting God’s revelations. Even if one has a good intention for doing so, he should still not do it.

Lo! those who distort Our revelations are not hid from Us. Is he who is hurled into the Fire better, or he who cometh secure on the Day of Resurrection? Do what ye will. Lo! He is Seer of what ye do. (Koran 41:40, Pickthall)

The Christ would also be a priest-king. In the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Jesus asks the Jews a question. After they answer, He asks them another question regarding a prophecy about the Christ in the Psalms.

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool”’? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore. (Matthew 22:41-46, NKLJV)

The prophecy that Jesus quotes is:

The Lord said to my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. (Psalm 109:1, LXX; Psalm 110:1, Hebrew)

The Psalm continues with these two verses which indicate that the person of whom this Psalm speaks will be a king.

The Lord shall send out a rod of power for Thee out of Sion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies. With Thee is dominion in the day of Thy power, in the splendours of Thy saints: I have begotten Thee from the womb before the morning. (Psalm 109:2,3, LXX; Psalm 110:2,3, Hebrew)

The next verse in this same Psalm says:

The Lord sware, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. (Psalm 109:4, LXX; Psalm 110:4, Hebrew)

Since both the Koran and the Bible tell us that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah, this Psalm from which Jesus quoted is teaching us that Jesus is both a king and a priest.

In Genesis, we find out some things about Melchisedec.

And Melchisedec king of Salem brought forth loaves and wine, and he was the priest of the Most High God. And he blessed Abram, and said, Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, who made heaven and earth, and blessed be the Most High God who delivered thine enemies into thy power. And Abram gave him the tithe of all. (Genesis 14:18-20, LXX)

Melchisedec was a king. He was the king of Salem. He was also a priest of the Most High God. Abraham payed tithes to him.

Melchisedec “brought forth loaves and wine.” He used bread and wine in his priestly office. Jesus, being  “a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec,” instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist on the night before He was crucified. As for Him being a priest for ever after this order, according to Orthodox Christian tradition, the Eucharist will still be offered up in the age to come after the resurrection of the dead. (See Paschal Matins, Ode Nine.)

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28, NKJV)

Regarding this Sacrament, Jesus said:

Do this in remembrance of Me. (Luke 22:19; See also I Corinthians 11:23-25.)

Jesus is a descendant of both the High Priest Aaron and King David. In St. Luke’s Gospel, it says:

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. (Luke 1:5, NKJV)

St. Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, was a descendant of Aaron (the Prophet Moses’ brother). She “was of the daughters of Aaron.” The Archangel Gabriel called Elizabeth “your relative” when speaking to the Virgin Mary.

Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. (Luke 1:36, NKJV)

So, Mary the Theotokos was also a descendant of the High Priest Aaron. Jesus, therefore, is a biological descendant of Aaron. Mary is also a biological descendant of King David. In St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, it says:

Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh. (Romans 1:3, NKJV)

God promised King David that his throne will last forever. The Prophet Nathan told David these words:

And it shall come to pass when thy days shall have been fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, even thine own issue, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build for me a house to my name, and I will set up his throne even for ever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. (II Samuel 7:12-14, LXX)

The parallel passage in I Chronicles says:

And it shall come to pass when thy days shall be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build Me a house, and I will set up his throne for ever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to Me a son: and My mercy will I not withdraw from him, as I withdrew it from them that were before thee. And I will establish him in My house and in his kingdom for ever; and his throne shall be set up for ever. (I Chronicles 17:11-14, LXX)

Elsewhere in I Chronicles it says:

And Thou hast appointed Thy people Israel as a people to Thyself for ever; and Thou, Lord, didst become a God to them. (I Chronicles 17:22, LXX)

In II Chronicles, there are these passages about King David’s kingdom.

And now, Lord God of Israel, keep with Thy servant David my father the things which Thou spokest to him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man before Me sitting on the throne of Israel, if only thy sons will take heed to their way to walk in My law, as thou didst walk before Me. (II Chronicles 6:16, LXX)

Is it not for you to know that the Lord God of Israel has given a king over Israel for ever to David, and to his sons, by a covenant of salt? (II Chronicles 13:5, LXX)

Nevertheless the Lord would not utterly destroy the house of David, because of the covenant which He made with David, and as He said to him that He would give a light to him and his sons for ever. (II Chronicles 21:7, LXX)

In the 88th Psalm (according to the Septuagint numbering), it says:

Then Thou spokest in vision to Thy children, and saidst, I have laid help on a mighty one; I have exalted one chosen out of My people. I have found David My servant; I have anointed him by My holy mercy. For My hand shall support him; and Mine arm shall strengthen him. The enemy shall have no advantage against him; and the son of transgression shall not hurt him again. And I will hew down his foes before him, and put to flight those that hate him. But My truth and My mercy shall be with him; and in My name shall his horn be exalted. And I will set his hand in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall call upon Me, saying, Thou art my Father, my God, and the helper of my salvation. And I will make him My first-born, higher than the kings of the earth. I will keep My mercy for him for ever, and My covenant shall be firm with him. And I will establish his seed for ever and ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. (Psalm 88:19-29, LXX; Psalm 89:19-29, Hebrew)

In Isaiah, it says:

For a Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us, whose government is upon His shoulder: and His name is called the Messenger of Great Counsel, Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty One, Potentate, Prince of Peace, Father of the age to come: for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to Him. His government shall be great, and of His peace there is no end: it shall be upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to establish it, and to support it with judgement and with righteousness, from henceforth and forever. The seal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this. (Isaiah 9:6,7, LXX, Codex Alexandrinus)

Since the Christ was supposed to be a biological descendant of King David, He is sometimes called David in prophecy.

But they shall serve the Lord their God; and I will raise up to them David their king. (Jeremiah 37:9, LXX; Jeremiah 30:9, Hebrew)

And I will raise up one Shepherd over them, and He shall tend them, even My servant David, and He shall be their shepherd; and I the Lord will be to them a God, and David a prince in the midst of them; I the Lord have spoken it. And I will make with David a covenant of peace and I will utterly destroy evil beasts from off the land; and they shall dwell in the wilderness, and sleep in the forests. And I will settle them round about My mountain; and I will give you the rain, the rain of blessing. And the trees that are in the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her strength, and they shall dwell in the confidence of peace on their land, and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken their yoke; and I will deliver them out of the hand of those that enslaved them. And they shall no more be a spoil to the nations, and the wild beasts of the land shall no more at all devour them; and they shall dwell safely, and there shall be none to make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a plant of peace, and they shall no more perish with hunger upon the land, and they shall no more bear the reproach off the nations. (Ezekiel 34:23-29, LXX)

And My servant David shall be a prince in the midst of them: there shall be one Shepherd of them all; for they shall walk in Mine ordinances, and keep My judgments, and do them. And they shall dwell in their land, which I have given to My servant Jacob, where their fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell upon it: and David My servant shall be their prince forever. (Ezekiel 37:24,25, LXX)

In the Gospels, Jesus speaks of Himself as being a shepherd and His followers as being sheep. (Matthew 15:24; 18:10-14; 25:31-33; John 10:11-18, 25-30) Jesus is the Shepherd of whom Ezekiel spoke in his prophecies.

Jesus is prophetically called David in these prophecies because He is a biological descendant of King David. Only a biological descendant of King David may inherit the throne of David. Jesus has a different biological lineage from King David than St. Joseph does. In the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the biological genealogy of St. Joseph is given.

If Jesus were a biological descendant of St. Joseph, then He could not be the Christ. In Jeremiah, it says:

Jechonias is dishonoured as a good-for-nothing vessel; for he is thrown out and cast forth into a land which he knew not. Land, land, hear the word of the Lord. Write ye this man an outcast: for there shall none of his seed at all grow up to sit on the throne of David, or as a prince yet in Juda. (Jeremiah 22:28-30, LXX)

In I Chronicles, there is this genealogical information:

The sons of Solomon; Roboam, Abia his son, Asa his son, Josaphat his son, Joram his son, Ochozias his son, Joas his son, Amasias his son, Azarias his son, Joathan his son, Achaz his son, Ezekias his son, Manasses his son, Amon his son, Josia his son. And the sons of Josia; the first-born Joanan, the second Joakim, the third Sedekias, the fourth Salum. And the sons of Joakim; Jechonias his son, Sedekias his son. And the sons of Jechonias; Asir, Salathiel his son, Melchiram, and Phadaias, and Sanesar, and Jekimia, and Hosamath, and Nabadias. (I Chronicles 3:10-18, LXX)

In St. Matthew’s Gospel, there is this genealogical information given. This is the biological genealogy of St. Joseph.

And Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa. Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah. Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah. Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah. Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. (Matthew 1:6-11, NKJV)

And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. (Matthew 1:16, NKJV)

St. Matthew intentionally omitted some of the ancestors in order to state through symbolism something regarding Christ. He used the symbolism of the number 14 three times. (Matthew 1:17) Joseph is a biological descendant of Jechonias (or Jechoniah, also called Coniah). According to the prophecy in Jeremiah, none of Jechonias’ descendants will grow up to sit on the throne of David. St. Luke gives the legal genealogy of St. Joseph. (Luke 3:23-38) There were levirate marriages in St. Joseph’s family tree. (See Deuteronomy 25:5,6.) The Jews did not give the woman’s genealogy.

There is a prophecy in the Book of Daniel about Jesus.

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold an image: that image was great, and the appearance of it excellent, standing before thy face; and the form of it was terrible. It was an image, the head of which was of fine gold, its hands and breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of brass, its legs of iron, its feet, part of iron and part of earthenware. Thou sawest until a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands, and it smote the image upon its feet of iron and earthenware, and utterly reduced them to powder. Then once for all the earthenware, the iron, the brass, the silver, the gold, were ground to powder, and became as chaff from the summer threshingfloor; and the violence of the wind carried them away, and no place was found for them: and the stone which had smitten the image became a great mountain, and filled all the earth. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given a powerful and strong and honourable kingdom, in every place where the children of men dwell: and He has given into thine hand the wild beasts of the field, and the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea, and He has made thee lord of all. Thou art the head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, an a third kingdom which is the brass, which shall have dominion over all the earth; and a fourth kingdom, which shall be strong as iron: as iron beats to powder and subdues all things, so shall it beat to powder and subdue. And whereas thou sawest the feet and the toes, part of earthenware and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet there shall be in it of the strength of iron, as thou sawest the iron mixed with earthenware. And whereas the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of earthenware, part of the kingdom shall be strong, and part of it shall be broken. Whereas thou sawest the iron mixed with earthenware, they shall be mingled with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave together, as the iron does not mix itself with earthenware. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed: and his kingdom shall not be left to another people, but it shall beat to pieces and grind to powder all other kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Whereas thou sawest that a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands, and it beat to pieces the earthenware, the iron, the brass, the silver, the gold; the great God has made known to the king what must happen hereafter: and the dream is true, and the interpretation thereof sure. (Daniel 3:31-45, LXX; Daniel 2:31-45, Hebrew)

The first kingdom in this prophecy is the Kingdom of Babylon. Babylon fell to the Medo-Persian Empire which is the second kingdom. The third kingdom is Greece under Alexander the Great. The fourth kingdom is Rome. The iron mixed with the earthenware is weakened Rome. Rome fell to the Goths in 476. The stone hewed out of the mountain without hands is Jesus Christ. Jesus refers to Himself as a stone. (Matthew 21:42-44) The mountain is the Virgin Mary. The stone was hewed out the mountain without hands to indicate that He would be born of a virgin. The prophecy says that Jesus’ kingdom will stand forever. It will destroy all other kingdoms. According to the prophecy, in Psalm 109 of the Septuagint, Jesus is ruling in the midst of  His enemies. (Psalm 109:2, LXX; Psalm 110:2, Hebrew)

St. Constantine united the Eastern Roman Empire with the Western Roman Empire. Then, he legalized Christianity in the fourth century. Jesus conquered Rome, but not with a sword. He did it with the Gospel.

The Kingdom of Jesus Christ is not like other kingdoms. It is a spiritual kingdom. Jesus told Pilate.

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” (John 18:36, NKJV)

After His resurrection from the dead, Jesus told His disciples that all authority had been given to Him.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18, NKJV)

Jesus said that the gates of Hades (i.e., Hell) will not prevail against the Church.

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18, NKJV)

The Church will last throughout all generations for ever and ever. (See Ephesians 3:21, NKJV.)

In the Koran,  it says:

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering Thee and causing Thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing Thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow Thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ. (Koran 3:55, Pickthall)

The active participle translated “gathering” should be translated “taking in death.” This is one of two places in the Koran where it says that Jesus died. The other place is Koran 5:117. The resurrection of Jesus is implied in this verse. He died and then bodily ascended into heaven. Therefore, He must have arisen from the dead before He ascended. This verse says that God is “setting those who follow” Jesus “above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection.” This further confirms that the Church will continue to dominate the unbelievers and will not be destroyed during this present age.

St. Peter said:

And that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:20,21, NKJV)

St. Paul said:

But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:23-26, NKJV)

All of Jesus’ enemies are being subdued under His feet. The last enemy to be subdued under His feet will be death. Death will be destroyed when He calls all of the dead out of the graves. (John 5:28,29) Some will experience the Second Death, that is Gehenna. (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:11-15) Although Jesus delivers the kingdom to God the Father after the resurrection of the dead, He still retains that kingdom. Jesus said:

All things that the Father has are Mine. (John 16:15, NKJV)

The Koran also says that God’s religion will be victorious in the end and many will turn to God in repentance.

When comes the help of God, and victory, and thou seest men entering God’s religion in throngs, then proclaim the praise of thy Lord, and seek His forgiveness; for He turns again unto men. (Koran 110:1-3, Arberry)

Hosea prophesied about the conversion of the Gentiles and the apostasy of Israel.

And she weaned Unpitied; and she conceived again, and bore a son. And He said, Call his name, Not My people: for ye are not My people, and I am not your God. Yet the number of the children of Israel was as the sand of the sea, which shall not be measured nor numbered: and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said to them, Ye are not My people, even they shall be called the sons of the living God. (Hosea 1:8-10, LXX)

The Gentiles were not God’s people, but now, after becoming Christians, they are God’s people. The Jews were God’s people, but since they rejected Jesus, they are no longer God’s people. St. Paul says that the Gentiles who believed in Jesus are now part of the commonwealth of Israel and are no longer strangers of the covenants of promise.

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11-13, NKJV)

St. Paul calls the Church “the Israel of God” in his Epistle to the Galatians. (Galatians 6:16) St. Peter calls the Church “a royal priesthood” and “a holy nation.”

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (I Peter 2:9,10, NKJV)

The Prophet Hosea said that one day the Jews will return to God and David their King. He used “David” as a prophetic name for Jesus who is a biological descendant of King David.

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an altar, and without a priesthood, and without manifestations. And afterward shall the children of Israel return, and shall seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall be amazed at the Lord and at His goodness in the latter days. (Hosea 3:4,5, LXX)

The Jews will become Christians before Jesus returns and calls all of the dead out of the graves according to St. Paul.

I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? (Romans 11:11-15, NKJV)

In the candle box in an Orthodox church, the Greek letters IC XC NI KA are inscribed in the sand in that box. These letters are an abbreviation which means “Jesus Christ conquers all.” That stone that came out of the mountain continues to crush those upon whom it falls.

In conclusion, Jesus is the prophet of whom Moses spoke in the 18th chapter of Deuteronomy. He is the heir to the throne of David and has assumed that throne in heaven. His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom which will never be destroyed. He is the priest after the order of Melchisedec mentioned in the 109th Psalm of the Septuagint (Psalm 110 in the Hebrew). He continues to crush His enemies and He will be victorious in the end. The Church is His kingdom. He conquers people’s hearts with the Gospel. Jesus is the Christ.

 

 

 

Words of Inspiration and Comfort

November 12, 2017 Leave a comment

(This is) a Scripture that We have revealed unto thee, full of blessing, that they may ponder its revelations, and that men of understanding may reflect. (Koran 38:29, Pickthall)

I grew up hearing words of inspiration and comfort from the Bible, usually from my grandmother who spent much of her time studying it. When I became active in Christian organizations in college during my college days, I heard many of my Christian friends quote verses from the Bible which bring comfort during times of stress and hardship. We liked to hear such words during the week of final exams! Believe me that is true! I pulled many an all-nighter during my time in college trying to get through the courses I was taking. Even after graduating from college, there have been times when a consoling verse from the Bible would benefit my soul. Well, there are not only verses like these in the Bible, but also in the Koran. I am going to provide some verses of inspiration and comfort from both holy books.

First of all, it is important to know that adversity is what one should expect in this life if one is truly following the Lord. In Sirach, it says:

My son, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation. Set thy heart aright, and constantly endure, and make not haste in time of trouble. Cleave unto Him, and depart not away, that thou mayest be increased at thy last end. Whatsoever is brought upon thee take cheerfully, and be patient when thou art changed to a low estate. For gold is tried in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity. Believe in Him, and He will help thee; order thy way aright, and trust in Him. (Sirach 2:1-6, KJV)

The Koran says:

Do the people reckon that they will be left to say “We believe,” and will not be tried? We certainly tried those that were before them, and assuredly God knows those who speak truly, and assuredly He knows the liars. (Koran 29:2,3, Arberry)

Being tested with adversity is something that comes with serving God. God granted the Philippian Christians “on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” (Philippians 1:29, NKJV) In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, it is poor Lazarus who suffers, dies, and after death, his soul goes to Abraham’s bosom where he is comforted. The rich man enjoys all of the wonderful things of this life, he dies, and afterwards, his soul goes to hell where he is tormented. (Luke 16:19-31) Suffering precedes the reward for poor Lazarus. Such is true for many believers.

In the Catholic Epistle of St. James, it says:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4, NKJV)

Trials are part of our sanctification. They are aids in helping us achieve theosis, union with God. I remember singing in a choir back during my freshman year in college. We used to sing a song:

Through it all. Through it all. I have learned to trust in Jesus. I have learned to trust in God. Through it all. Through it all.

Then there were these powerful words:

If I had never had a problem, I would never know that God could solve them. I would never know what faith in God could do.

The Koran teaches that adversity comes from God in order to make people humble.

We have sent already unto peoples that were before thee, and We visited them with tribulation and adversity, in order that they might grow humble. (Koran 6:42, Pickthall)

Humility precedes exaltation. Jesus said:

And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12, NKJV)

Some words of comfort come from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV)

God works all things together for good to those who love God. In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, the blessed abode of Abraham’s bosom was the resting place for the soul of Lazarus after his death. This was a temporary place for his soul. Of course, his soul will be united to his body again on the Last Day after God has raised him from the dead. His body will then be immortal and will never die again. He will never grow old. We need to look toward the reward and not always focus our attention on this life. There is no perfection here. In the resurrection, we will have it all if we are worthy to attain to the resurrection of the just.

In the Koran, it says:

And if God visits thee with affliction, none can remove it but He; and if He desires any good for thee, none can repel His bounty; He causes it to fall upon whomsoever He will of His servants. He is the All-forgiving, the All-compassionate. (Koran 10:107, Arberry)

If God desires to do good to someone and bless that person, no one can stop Him from doing that. God is all-powerful. St. Paul said:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31, NKJV)

St. John the Theologian wrote:

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (I John 4:4, NKJV)

In the Koran, it says:

Or do those who do evil deeds think they can outrun Us? Evil is what they judge. (Koran 29:4, Sahih International)

No one can fight against God and win. One plus God is a majority. There are evil people in this world who attack God’s people in many different ways. Those evil people are what the Koran calls “losers.” Despite all of their assaults on the people of God and the truth, they eventually lose in the end. No one can fight against God and win. Even when it looks like they are winning, they are actually losing even more, but usually do not realize it.

The rich man was indifferent to the sufferings of Lazarus. By the world’s standards, he was successful. In the end, however, he lost everything. If a man loses his soul, he has lost everything regardless of how much wealth and power he has amassed during his brief, mortal life

Wealth obtained during this life should be viewed as a means to an end and not as an end in itself. St. Paul told St. Timothy to tell the wealthy Christians under his pastoral care to be rich in good works. They were supposed to use their money to help others in need.

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (I Timothy 6:17-19, NKJV)

In the Koran, it says:

Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion. (Koran 3:185, Sahih International)

This life is “the enjoyment of delusion.” What is most important is that we are “drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise.”

How we live our lives is important. Faith without works is dead. (James 2:26) No one is justified by dead faith alone. Those who believe that believe a heresy and are severely deceived.

So, we should expect to encounter trials and adversity if we serve God. That comes with the turf. There are those who do not face adversity well. I have not always done that. The Koran tells about those who do not react appropriately to adversity.

And of the people is he who worships Allah on an edge. If he is touched by good, he is reassured by it; but if he is struck by trial, he turns on his face [to the other direction]. He has lost [this] world and the Hereafter. That is what is the manifest loss. (Koran 22:11, Sahih International)

I am reminded here of the words of Jesus. He described different classes of people who heard God’s word and reacted in different ways. (Matthew 13:3-8) Some heard the Word of God by the wayside. Others heard the word among the stony places. Others heard the Word of God among the thorns. Still others heard the Word of God on the good ground and bore fruit. This verse in the Koran is talking about those who heard the Word of God among the stony places. Jesus says this about these people:

But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. (Matthew 13:20, NKJV)

In this Parable of the Sower, only the ones who received the Word of God and bore fruit will inherit the Kingdom of God. All others are destined for the Fire.

When we encounter adversity, we need to remember that God can do anything. He can turn adversity into something wonderful within minutes. Jesus said:

For with God all things are possible. (Mark 10:27, NKJV)

The Koran says that God can do all things.

Unto Allah belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and whatsoever is therein, and He is Able to do all things. (Koran 5:120, Pickthall)

Blessed is He in Whose hand is the Sovereignty, and, He is Able to do all things. (Koran 67:1, Pickthall)

In His hand is the Sovereignty. God is in control at all times. Nothing can prevent God from doing what He intends to do. Remember Koran 10:107 quoted earlier in this blog post.

Victory over adversity only comes from God.

And Allah only gave it as a good news and that your hearts might be at ease thereby; and victory is only from Allah; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Koran 8:10, Shakir)

Believe in God and His messengers. (Koran 3:179) God is merciful to believers and blesses them. The angels also bless them.

He it is Who blesseth you, and His angels (bless you), that He may bring you forth from darkness unto light; and He is ever Merciful to the believers. (Koran 33:43, Pickthall)

This is a wonderful thought. Knowing that despite all of the adversity we believers encounter, God continues to bless us and so do His angels. We might not see the blessings now, but they might await us in the afterlife. St. Paul said:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:16-18, NKJV)

The Koran talks about the blessings of the afterlife for those who believe and do good works.

Blessed is He Who, if He will, will assign thee better than (all) that – Gardens underneath which rivers flow – and will assign thee mansions. (Koran 25:10, Pickthall)

Who, of His grace, hath installed us in the mansion of eternity, where toil toucheth us not nor can weariness affect us. (Koran 35:35, Pickthall)

That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace: for Allah doth provide for those whom He will, without measure. (Koran 24:38, Yusuf Ali)

Mansions to live in and gardens underneath which rivers flow are a portion of the reward of believers. God will provide for us believers without measure out of His Grace. There are many more things to look forward to in the afterlife. I believe that in the afterlife, I will be able to do things that I have never been able to do in this life either due to lack of money or lack of time.

There are two more things to always remember while going through trials and adversity. As long as we are keeping our duty to God and doing good, God is with us.

Lo! Allah is with those who keep their duty unto Him and those who are doers of good. (Koran 16:128, Pickthall)

Of course, God is in all places at all times. “He is with you wheresoever ye may be.” (Koran 57:4, Pickthall) When we are believing in God, trusting in Him, and striving to please Him, He is with us even when we are experiencing trials and adversity. In other words, He is on our side either planning our deliverance from hardship or counting out our reward to be received from Him on the Last Day.

There is a story about a monk who walked a long distance everyday to a waterhole to get water. One day, while he was walking to the waterhole, he looked behind him and saw a man following him. He turned back and asked the man why he was following him. The man told him that he was an angel and he was counting the number of steps that he took to reach the waterhole so that he could determine what his reward will be in the resurrection. The monk moved farther away from the waterhole.

After hardship, comes ease.

God will bring about ease after hardship. (Koran 65:7, Muhammad Sarwar)

So truly with hardship comes ease, truly with hardship comes ease. (Koran 94:5,6, Arberry)

So, we must bear all of the difficulties and look forward to the time when we will experience ease and comfort again. If we do not experience ease in this life, we have the hope of experiencing ease in the next one. Remember poor Lazarus.

So, if you intend on serving God, expect adversity in life, but know that God can change your circumstances for good. God intends on doing good for His people. He blesses them and the angels bless them. No one can prevent God from doing good to His people. No one can fight against God and win. He is all-powerful. He can do anything He desires. We need to look forward to the future reward in the afterlife. This life is only the enjoyment of delusion. When adversity strikes us, we need to persevere and continue to do good. We should not fall into despair. God is with us, that is, He is on our side, when we encounter adversity and continue to do good and keep our duty to Him. Victory over adversity comes only from God. Trials in life produce in us patience and make us humble. We must be humble before we will be exalted. The end is much better than the journey.

 

 

Karma in the Bible and the Koran

November 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Karma is a term used in Hinduism and Buddhism to express the concept that “whatever goes around, comes around.” In other words, whenever one does good, good comes back to him. Whenever one does evil, bad things come back to him.  This concept of Karma is also found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam although Jews, Christians, and Muslims do not call it Karma. One can find the principle being taught in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and even in the Koran.

The consequences of our actions may be experienced in this life or in the next one.

Buddhism and Hinduism teach the doctrine of reincarnation. Reincarnation is the belief that our souls pass out of our bodies after we die and enter new bodies later conceived. Someone might be a farmer in this life and a lawyer in the next one.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam teach that there will be a future resurrection of the dead and a Last Judgment. According to these three Abrahamic religions, the souls pass out of their bodies and later will be reunited with their bodies after God has raised them from the dead. The souls will remain united to those resurrected bodies forever. Everyone will be judged by God after the resurrection of the dead. Some will go away to eternal punishment and others to eternal bliss.

Here are some verses from the Old Testament which teach the principle of Karma.

Behold, he has travailed with unrighteousness, he has conceived trouble, and brought forth iniquity. He has opened a pit, and dug it up, and he shall fall into the ditch which he has made. His trouble shall return on his own head, and his unrighteousness shall come down on his own crown. (Psalm 7:14-16, LXX)

But the righteous shall inherit the earth, and dwell upon it for ever. (Psalm 36:29, LXX; Psalm 37:29, Hebrew)

Sinners shall fall by their own net: I am alone until I shall escape. (Psalm 140:10, LXX; Psalm 141:10, Hebrew)

The righteousness of upright men delivers them: but transgressors are caught in their own destruction. At the death of a just man his hope does not perish: but the boast of the ungodly perishes. A righteous man escapes from a snare, and the ungodly man is delivered up in his place. (Proverbs 11:6-8, LXX)

He that has pity on the poor lends to the Lord; and He will recompense to him according to his gift. (Proverbs 19:17, LXX)

He that sows wickedness shall reap troubles; and shall fully receive the punishment of his deeds. God loves a cheerful and liberal man; but a man shall fully prove the folly of his works. (Proverbs 22:8, LXX)

He that digs a pit for his neighbour shall fall into it: and he that rolls a stone, rolls it upon himself. (Proverbs 26:27, LXX)

He that digs a pit shall fall into it; and him that breaks down a hedge a serpent shall bite. (Ecclesiastes 10:8, LXX)

Here are some verses from the New Testament which also teach the principle of Karma.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38, KJV)

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (II Corinthians 9:6,7, NKJV)

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:7,8, NKJV)

The Koran also has verses in it that express this concept of Karma.

And for those who have earned evil deeds the recompense of an evil deed shall be the like of it; abasement shall overspread them, neither have they any defender from God, as if their faces were covered with strips of night shadowy. Those are the inhabitants of the Fire, therein dwelling forever. (Koran 10:27, Arberry)

The reward for a good deed will be greater than the deed itself and the recompense for an evil deed will be equivalent to the deed. (Koran 28:84, Muhammad Sarwar)

Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil, it is against his own soul: nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His Servants. (Koran 41:46, Yusuf Ali)

And the recompense of evil is evil the like of it; but whoso pardons and puts things right, his wage falls upon God; surely He loves not the evildoers. (Koran 42:40, Arberry)

Whoever does good, it is for his own soul, and whoever does evil, it is against himself; then you shall be brought back to your Lord. (Koran 45:15, Shakir)

It is possible that this principle may have been expressed in the sacred texts of other religions. It definitely exists in the two religions that originated in India: Hinduism and Buddhism. It is also found in all three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is something to remember. Our actions have repercussions and may adversely or beneficially affect us in this life or in the next.

 

The Grace of God in the Koran

November 5, 2017 Leave a comment

If it had not been for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy ye would have followed Satan, save a few (of you). (Koran 4:83, Pickthall)

I am a former Protestant. I know how Protestants think because I used to be one. One of the things that Protestants do is accuse Roman Catholics of teaching salvation by works. They probably think that we Orthodox Christians teach the same thing. When I say “salvation by works,” I am talking about the Protestant misconception of what Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe pertaining to salvation. Protestants think that Roman Catholics believe that they must do enough good works in order to earn God’s mercy. I know that that is not true. I have watched EWTN before and learned what they believe. Orthodox Christians likewise do not believe that they must do enough good works in order to get God to love them and be merciful to them. I say all of this because I want to clear up another misconception that Protestants who criticize the Koran have. The Koran does not teach “salvation by works” either. Actually, it teaches the same thing the Bible does.

I want to first talk about salvation from an Orthodox Christian perspective. Then, I will show that the Koran teaches the same thing.

The faith-works controversy is something that originated in the sixteenth century in Western Christianity between Protestants and Roman Catholics. No such controversy has ever existed in the Orthodox East. The Orthodox Church has always taught that both are important: faith and works.

In Orthodoxy, the problem with our salvation from hell lies with ourselves and not with God. What I mean to say here is that God does not need to change so that He can love and accept us. We humans must change so that we love and accept God. God’s attributes are eternal and unchangeable. He continues to love us even when we do not love Him. The problem is that when we refuse to love God by obeying Him, we separate ourselves from Him. If you die as a person who does not love God and is indifferent to obeying Him, you will still be that kind of person after death. God is not going to override your free will and make into that kind of person you do not want to be, i.e., a person who loves and obeys God. If you die in such a state, you have in effect created you own hell for yourself. Hell is something we inflict upon ourselves when we refuse to change our behavior. As His Beatitude Kallistos Ware says, “The gates of Hell are locked on the inside.” We lock ourselves into Hell.

The Koran says:

Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil, it is against his own soul: nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His Servants. (Koran 41:46, Yusuf Ali)

This verse that I just cited expresses the idea clearly. We are responsible for our thoughts, deeds, and actions and must bear the consequences of them. If anyone goes to Hell, he cannot blame God or anyone else because he created his own hell for himself when he refused to change his behavior and become a person who loves God and wants to obey Him.

One more thing about the Orthodox Christian view on salvation. We Orthodox believe that we are saved in the end by God’s mercy, not because of any good deeds that we have done. However, even though God is merciful, we must still be busy trying to become the kind of person God calls us to be. We must “work out our salvation in fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

Now, I am going to illustrate the Koranic concept of salvation and show that the Bible teaches the same thing.

Man is sinful. We all sin. Both the Koran and the Bible teach that we are sinners. The Bible says:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23, NKJV)

For there is not a righteous man in the earth, who will do good, and not sin. (Ecclesiastes 7:21, LXX)

The Koran says:

Surely man is sinful, unthankful! (Koran 14:34, Arberry)

Nay, but verily man is rebellious. (Koran 96:6, Pickthall)

Even Muhammad sinned.

Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of Allah is true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin, and hymn the praise of thy Lord at fall of night and in the early hours. (Koran 40:55, Pickthall)

So know (O Muhammad) that there is no God save Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy sin and for believing men and believing women. Allah knoweth (both) your place of turmoil and your place of rest. (Koran 47:19, Pickthall)

Jesus is the only one who has never sinned. (Koran 19:19; I Peter 2:21,22)

[The Koran requires us to believe the Bible. (Koran 2:136; 3:84; 4:136,150-152; 5:44-47; 29:46)]

Man’s heart is infected with sin. The Koran says:

Yet I claim not that my soul was innocent — surely the soul of man incites to evil — except inasmuch as my Lord had mercy; truly my Lord is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. (Koran 12:53, Arberry)

The Bible says:

And the Lord God, having seen that the wicked actions of men were multiplied upon the earth, and that every one in his heart was intently brooding over evil continually. (Genesis 6:6, LXX; Genesis 6:5, Hebrew)

There is this evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one event to all: yea, the heart of the sons of men is filled with evil, and madness is in their heart during their life, and after that they go to the dead. (Ecclesiastes 9:3, LXX)

It is impossible for anyone to become good enough to earn God’s favor. The Bible says:

If Thou, O Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? For with Thee is forgiveness. (Psalm 129:3,4, LXX; Psalm 130:3,4, Hebrew)

The Koran agrees. It says:

And your Lord is the Forgiving, full of mercy. If He were to impose blame upon them for what they earned, He would have hastened for them the punishment. Rather, for them is an appointment from which they will never find an escape. (Koran 18:58, Sahih International)

If God should take men to task for their evildoing, He would not leave on the earth one creature that crawls; but He is deferring them to a term stated; and when their term is come they shall not put it back by a single hour nor put it forward. (Koran 16:61, Arberry)

And if Allah were to impose blame on the people for what they have earned, He would not leave upon the earth any creature. But He defers them for a specified term. And when their time comes, then indeed Allah has ever been, of His servants, Seeing. (Koran 35:45, Sahih International)

No one would be alive. No one would be able to stand before God. Everyone is sinful. No one is good enough. It is only because of God’s mercy that we live at all.

The Bible teaches that God’s mercy is great.

For Thy mercy is great above the heavens, and Thy truth reaches to the clouds. (Psalm 107:4, LXX; Psalm 108:4, Hebrew)

The Koran teaches that no one is as merciful as God.

He said: “This day let no reproach be (cast) on you: Allah will forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy!” (Koran 12:92, Yusuf Ali)

There is a party of My servants who said, “Our Lord, we believe; therefore forgive us, and have mercy on us, for Thou art the best of the merciful.” (Koran 23:109, Arberry)

And (O Muhammad) say: My Lord! Forgive and have mercy, for Thou art Best of all who show mercy. (Koran 23:118, Pickthall)

No one forgives as well as God.

Thou art our Protector: so forgive us and give us Thy mercy; for Thou art the best of those who forgive.” (Koran 7:155, Yusuf Ali)

But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance. (Koran 20:82, Sahih International)

And He is the Forgiving, the Loving. (Koran 85:14, Pickthall)

The Bible teaches that God grants people faith. (The ability to believe in God comes from God.)

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3, NKJV)

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake. (Philippians 1:29, NKJV)

The Koran, likewise, teaches that faith in God comes from God.

And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed — all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers? And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah, and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason. (Koran 10:99,100, Sahih International)

(Forcing someone to change his religion to Islam is totally unkoranic. However, the form of Islam that proliferates in most places today is unkoranic, too.)

The Bible teaches that God grants repentance.

When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (Acts 11:18, NKJV)

The Koran teaches that God “opens one’s breast” to submit to Him.

Those whom Allah (in His plan) willeth to guide,– He openeth their breast to Islam; those whom He willeth to leave straying,– He maketh their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus doth Allah (heap) the penalty on those who refuse to believe. (Koran 6:125, Yusuf Ali)

Islam in the previously cited verse means submission to God. It does not mean accepting a massive collection of hearsay, i.e., the Sunnah, as authoritative and practicing the teachings in them. Much of what is contained in the Sunnah is barbaric and unkoranic. The Bible says that we should submit to God (James 4:7) and do His will (Matthew 7:21; I John 2:17). When someone who is not doing the will of God submits to God and starts doing the will of God, he has repented. (Matthew 21:28-32; Luke 6:46)

The Bible says:

Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.” (Psalm 66:3, NKJV)

The Koran has an interesting way of explaining repentance.

Otherwise, he who wrongs, then substitutes good after evil — indeed, I am Forgiving and Merciful. (Koran 27:11, Sahih International)

Someone who repents replaces his evil deeds with good ones. For example, if he fornicates with women, he repents of fornication by replacing fornication with chaste behavior. If he drinks alcoholic beverages until he is intoxicated, he replaces drunkenness with abstention from alcoholic drinks or drinking only a moderate amount and no more. If someone steals, he replaces thievery with respecting the owners’ rights to retain their possessions or maybe he gives to the needy instead of stealing.

Both the Koran and the Bible teach that we have a free will.

And say, “The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills — let him believe; and whoever wills — let him disbelieve.” (Koran 18:29, Sahih International)

And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17, KJV)

Our continued growth in holiness and righteousness comes from God, too. The Koran and the Bible both agree.

O ye who believe! follow not Satan’s footsteps: if any will follow the footsteps of Satan, he will (but) command what is shameful and wrong: and were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah on you, not one of you would ever have been pure: but Allah doth purify whom He pleases: and Allah is One Who hears and knows (all things). (Koran 24:21, Yusuf Ali)

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12,13, NKJV)

God gives us the ability to do what is right and good. We must cooperate with Him. We have a free will. This is called synergy. Man cooperating with God and God working with man for his salvation.

As for Jesus, the Koran tells us to believe in Him. (Koran 3:45-43,179; 4:171; 5:111,112; 57:27-29; 61:6-13) The Koran also teaches us to obey Jesus. (Koran 2:285; 3:50; 4:63,64) It also teaches that Jesus died (Koran 3:55; 5:117), but many of the English translators of the Koran mistranslate the Arabic verb that means that in these verses. The Koran teaches that Jesus ascended into heaven. (Koran 3:55; 4:158) The bodily resurrection of Jesus is implied. In the 19th Surah, Jesus says:

Peace on Me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive! (Koran 19:33, Pickthall)

Of course, I have already mentioned earlier in this blog post that the Koran requires us to believe the Bible. Nowhere in the Koran does it say that the Bible has been corrupted and the Koran now replaces the Bible. Islamic religious leaders are teaching that.

The Bible teaches us that Jesus died for us and arose from the dead. Forty days after His resurrection He ascended into heaven.

So, in conclusion, the Koran teaches the same thing regarding salvation that the Bible does. We are saved by God’s mercy. No one can be good enough to become acceptable to God. God works with us in our salvation. We have a free will. We must cooperate with God. We must repent and believe in God and His messengers. We must believe in Jesus who died for us and arose from the dead. We must obey Jesus. Anyone who does not obey Jesus is not obeying the Koran.

 

 

 

 

 

God or Allah?

November 4, 2017 Leave a comment

There is another video that Sam Gerrans has on his Youtube channel and I completely agree with it. He points out that in Arabic Bibles the word for God is Allah. Allah is the Arabic word for God. He goes on to say that Korans that have been translated into English should use the English word, God, and not the Arabic word, Allah.

He is right. There are some English translations of the Koran that translate the Arabic word, Allah, as God. Muhammad Sarwar’s translation and Arthur J. Arberry’s translation do that. There are probably a few more, but the vast majority of them do not use God instead of Allah.

Just think for a minute. Pope Francis is an Argentine. His native language is Spanish. I am sure that he has probably written some religious articles and literature in Spanish. If someone were to translate what he wrote in Spanish into English, would one use the Spanish word, Dios, or the English word, God?

Most of the books in the New Testament were originally written in Greek. We know from ancient sources that St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews and the Gospel according St. Matthew were originally written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek. (That is another subject.  I can prove what I am saying, but I do not want to take up that subject here.) No one translates these words from St. John’s Gospel into English this way:

For Theos so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Or what about this verse from the Book of Acts?

Theos that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands. (Acts 17:24)

The Greek word, Theos, is translated into English as God. Likewise, the Arabic word, Allahu (nominative case) and Allaha (accusative case), should be translated into English as God. Allahi (genitive case) should be translated as God’s or of God.

Here is Sam Gerrans’ video:

 

 

Categories: Islam Tags: ,

Sectarian Islam is Unkoranic

November 4, 2017 Leave a comment

I have watched some of Sam Gerrans’ videos on Youtube and I agree with much of what he says. I do not agree with everything that he says. He rejects the hadiths as hearsay. I do, too. He rejects Sunni Islam which has been built on that massive collection of hearsay called the Sunnah. He calls it “brand Islam.” I have identified three key problems with “brand Islam.”

Here is a video from his Youtube channel. I found it very interesting.

 

The only ones who say anything resembling the shahada in the Koran are the hypocrites. (Koran 63:1) A lot of the practices derived from the hadiths, for example, the manner of prayer, are innovations. (Sunni Muslims hold their hands in certain ways while praying.) The Koran says that Muhammad received no new revelations and was not an innovator among the messengers. (Koran 41:43; 46:9)

That massive collection of hearsay, called the Sunnah, is the first key problem with “brand Islam.” All of it was written down over two hundred years after Muhammad died, except for Malik’s collection of hearsay. It was written down sometime between a hundred and two hundred years after Muhammad died. Muhammad died in 632. The compiler of Sahih al-Bukhari was born in 810. The compiler of Sahih Muslim was born in 815. Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are the two most important encyclopedic collections of hearsay in Sunni Islam. All of the other encyclopedias of hearsay were compiled by people who were born after 815. Read more…