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The Fourteen Epistles of St. Paul and the Koran

December 3, 2017 3 comments

So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. (Koran 2:85, Sahih International)

I have watched Youtube videos where Muslim clerics speak disparagingly of St. Paul and they reject his fourteen epistles as rubbish. I have decided to do a blog post on the subject of St. Paul’s epistles and look at the historical evidence for their inclusion into the Christian canon of Holy Scripture.

First of all, let us look at this verse from the Koran.

And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. (Koran 29:46, Pickthall)

The Koran is here saying that the first generation Muslims and Muhammad believed in both the Koran (“that which hath been revealed unto us”) and the Bible (that which hath been “revealed unto you.”)

So, if Muhammad and his followers believed in the Bible, did they accept the fourteen epistles of St. Paul. Muhammad was born in 569 or 570. He died in 632. If Christians living before 569 accepted those fourteen epistles of St. Paul as Holy Scripture, then Muhammad did, too.

The fourteen epistles of St. Paul are: Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote some lectures that were to be used with catechumens. A catechumen is someone who is seeking to enter into full communion with the Church. St. Cyril (318-386 A.D.) lived in the fourth century.

Then of the New Testament there are the four Gospels only, for the rest have false titles and are mischievous. The Manichæans also wrote a Gospel according to Thomas, which being tinctured with the fragrance of the evangelic title corrupts the souls of the simple sort. Receive also the Acts of the Twelve Apostles; and in addition to these the seven Catholic Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude; and as a seal upon them all, and the last work of the disciples, the fourteen Epistles of Paul. But let all the rest be put aside in a secondary rank. And whatever books are not read in Churches, these read not even by yourself, as you have heard me say. Thus much of these subjects. (Catechetical Lectures, Lecture IV, by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, 318-386, vol. 7, pp. 27,28, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

St. Cyril listed all of the New Testament books with the exception of the Book of Revelation. The Church in the East was slow to adopt Revelation into the canon. It was, however, being used as part of the canon before Muhammad was born. That would be the subject of another blog.

St. Athanasius the Great (298-373), was Archbishop of Alexandria. He also lived in the fourth century. He wrote:

Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John. (Letter XXXIX, by St. Athanasius the Great, 298-373, vol. 4, p. 552, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

In this letter written by him, he lists all of the books in the New Testament that Christians have today in their Bibles.

The next excerpt is from a letter written by St. Jerome (345-420). He lived in the fourth century in Italy. In this letter he lists the books of the New Testament.

The New Testament I will briefly deal with. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the Lord’s team of four, the true cherubim or store of knowledge. With them the whole body is full of eyes, they glitter as sparks (Ezekiel 1:7), they run and return like lightning, (Ezekiel 1:14) their feet are straight feet (Ezekiel 1:7), and lifted up, their backs also are winged, ready to fly in all directions. They hold together each by each and are interwoven one with another (Ezekiel 1:11): like wheels within wheels they roll along (Ezekiel 1:16) and go wherever the breath of the Holy Spirit wafts them. (Ezekiel 1:20) The apostle Paul writes to seven churches (for the eighth epistle — that to the Hebrews — is not generally counted in with the others). He instructs Timothy and Titus; he intercedes with Philemon for his runaway slave. Of him I think it better to say nothing than to write inadequately. The Acts of the Apostles seem to relate a mere unvarnished narrative descriptive of the infancy of the newly born church; but when once we realize that their author is Luke the physician whose praise is in the gospel, we shall see that all his words are medicine for the sick soul. The apostles James, Peter, John, and Jude, have published seven epistles at once spiritual and to the point, short and long, short that is in words but lengthy in substance so that there are few indeed who do not find themselves in the dark when they read them. The apocalypse of John has as many mysteries as words. In saying this I have said less than the book deserves. All praise of it is inadequate; manifold meanings lie hidden in its every word. (Letter LIII, by St. Jerome, 345-420, vol. 6, pp. 101-102, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

The seven churches to which St. Paul wrote are: Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica. He wrote one epistle to his own people, the Hebrews. He left his name off because of the Judaizers. The Jews did not like what St. Paul said about certain commandments in the Law no longer being in effect. If he had put his name on it, fewer people would have read it. This epistle was originally written in Hebrew and later translated into Greek. There is ancient testimony that this is true. (A subject for another blog.)

At the Council of Carthage that met in 419 A.D., there is this canon.

Item, that besides the Canonical Scriptures nothing be read in church under the name of divine Scripture.

But the Canonical Scriptures are as follows:

Genesis.
Exodus.
Leviticus.
Numbers.
Deuteronomy.
Joshua the Son of Nun.
The Judges.
Ruth.
The Kings, iv. books.
The Chronicles, ij. books.
Job.
The Psalter.
The Five books of Solomon.
The Twelve Books of the Prophets.
Isaiah.
Jeremiah.
Ezechiel.
Daniel.
Tobit.
Judith.
Esther.
Ezra, ij. books.
Macchabees, ij. books.

The New Testament.
The Gospels, iv. books.
The Acts of the Apostles, j. book.
The Epistles of Paul, xiv.
The Epistles of Peter, the Apostle, ij.
The Epistles of John the Apostle, iij.
The Epistles of James the Apostle, j.
The Epistle of Jude the Apostle, j.
The Revelation of John, j. book.

Let this be sent to our brother and fellow bishop, Boniface, and to the other bishops of those parts, that they may confirm this canon, for these are the things which we have received from our fathers to be read in church. (Canon XXIV, Council of Carthage, 419 A.D., vol. 14, pp. 453-454, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

All of the books of the New Testament were mentioned in this conciliar canon.

Now, I want to go further back in time to the second century. I want to demonstrate that a particular passage of New Testament Scripture was being used by Christians back then. First, let us look at this passage from Tertullian’s writings. Tertullian was born in 145 and died in 220.

On this principle, too, the sufferings of Christ will be found not to warrant faith in Him. For He suffered nothing who did not truly suffer; and a phantom could not truly suffer. God’s entire work, therefore, is subverted. Christ’s death, wherein lies the whole weight and fruit of the Christian name, is denied although the apostle asserts it so expressly as undoubtedly real, making it the very foundation of the gospel, of our salvation and of his own preaching. “I have delivered unto you before all things,” says he, “how that Christ died for our sins, and that he was buried, and that He rose again the third day.” (I Corinthians 15:3,4) Besides, if His flesh is denied, how is His death to be asserted; for death is the proper suffering of the flesh, which returns through death back to the earth out of which it was taken, according to the law of its Maker? Now, if His death be denied, because of the denial of His flesh, there will be no certainty of His resurrection. For He rose not, for the very same reason that He died not, even because He possessed not the reality of the flesh, to which as death accrues, so does resurrection likewise. Similarly, if Christ’s resurrection be nullified, ours also is destroyed. If Christ’s resurrection be not realized, neither shall that be for which Christ came. For just as they, who said that there is no resurrection of the dead, are refuted by the apostle from the resurrection of Christ, so, if the resurrection of Christ falls to the ground, the resurrection of the dead is also swept away. And so our faith is vain, and vain also is the preaching of the apostles. (Five Books Against Marcion, Book III, chapter 8, by Tertullian, 145-220, vol. 3, p. 328, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

Notice that Tertullian quoted from St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. He quoted I Corinthians 15:3,4. That says that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day.

Let us look at the writings of a Sub-apostolic Church Father — St. Irenaeus of Lyons (120-202). The Sub-apostolic Church Fathers were people who knew someone who had personally known one of the Twelve Apostles or St. Paul.

He was likewise preached by Paul: “For I delivered,” he says, “unto you first of all, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4) It is plain, then, that Paul knew no other Christ besides Him alone, who both suffered, and was buried, and rose gain, who was also born, and whom he speaks of as man. For after remarking, “But if Christ be preached, that He rose from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:12), he continues, rendering the reason of His incarnation, “For since by man came death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.” And everywhere, when [referring to] the passion of our Lord, and to His human nature, and His subjection to death, he employs the name of Christ, as in that passage: “Destroy not him with your meat for whom Christ died.” (Romans 14:15) And again: “But now, in Christ, you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13) And again: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs upon a tree.” (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23) And again: “And through your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died” (1 Corinthians 8:11); indicating that the impassible Christ did not descend upon Jesus, but that He Himself, because He was Jesus Christ, suffered for us; He, who lay in the tomb, and rose again, who descended and ascended, — the Son of God having been made the Son of man, as the very name itself does declare. For in the name of Christ is implied, He that anoints, He that is anointed, and the unction itself with which He is anointed. And it is the Father who anoints, but the Son who is anointed by the Spirit, who is the unction, as the Word declares by Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me” (Isaiah 61:1), — pointing out both the anointing Father, the anointed Son, and the unction, which is the Spirit. (Against Heresies, Book III, chapter 18, by St. Irenaeus of Lyons, 120-202, vol. 1, p. 446, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Hendrickson Publisher, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

St. Irenaeus of Lyons quoted from I Corinthians 15:3,4, too. He also quoted from a couple of other verses in this same epistle and he quoted from Romans, Ephesians, and Galatians.

Here is I Corinthians 15:3-8:

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (I Corinthians 15:3-8, NKJV)

There are Islamic religious leaders who are rejecting “that which has been revealed” to Christians, namely, the fourteen epistles of St. Paul. They are teaching that Jesus did not die. They say that He ascended into Heaven and will come back one day and die and be resurrected. That is not what I Corinthians 15:3,4 says. I have provided excerpts from two second century documents that show that the second century Christians believed that passage of Scripture and it had not been “corrupted.”

In the Koran, it 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 God “hath revealed aforetime” is the Bible. The Koran says to believe in God, Muhammad, the Koran, and the Bible. Then, it says “Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray.” If you do not believe in God, God’s angels, God’s Scriptures (the Koran and the Bible), God’s messengers (notice the plural), and the Last Day (that is, the resurrection from the dead and the Last Judgment), then you have “wandered far astray.” In verse 137 it is saying that if someone believes in God, His angels, His messengers, the Koran, the Bible, and the Last Day, and then disbelieves in them, and then believes in them again, and then disbelieves in God, His angels, His messengers, the Koran, the Bible, and the Last Day, and then increases in disbelief, God “will never pardon them, nor will He guide them unto a way.”

So, now back to I Corinthians 15:3-8. If you do not believe that Jesus died for your sins, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day and you increase in disbelief,  God will never pardon you and He will never guide you unto a way. This is what Koran 4:136,137 is teaching. Koran 29:46 says that Muhammad accepted the Scriptures used by Christians in the seventh century. Christians were using all of the books they now have in the New Testament as Holy Scripture before the birth of Muhammad. I Corinthians 15:3,4 has not been “corrupted.” Therefore, those verses must be believed by anyone who wants to obey the Koran.

Now, let us look at this passage from the 18th Surah.

Those whose effort goeth astray in the life of the world, and yet they reckon that they do good work. Those are they who disbelieve in the revelations of their Lord and in the meeting with Him. Therefor their works are vain, and on the Day of Resurrection We assign no weight to them. That is their reward: hell, because they disbelieved, and made a jest of Our revelations and Our messengers. Lo! those who believe and do good works, theirs are the Gardens of Paradise for welcome, Wherein they will abide, with no desire to be removed from thence. (Koran 18:105-109, Pickthall; 18:104-108 in other translations)

If someone is going astray because they do not believe the Bible (Koran 4:136), their works are vain and God will assign no weight to them. Their reward will be hell, because they did not believe God’s revelations (the Bible and the Koran) and made fun of God’s revelations (the Bible and the Koran) and God’s messengers (Notice the plural).

So, now, what about these verses from the Koran?

And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger — they slew Him not nor crucified Him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew Him not for certain. (Koran 4:157, Pickthall)

(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)

I spake unto them only that which Thou commandedst Me, (saying): Worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord. I was a witness of them while I dwelt among them, and when Thou tookest Me Thou wast the Watcher over them. Thou art Witness over all things. (Koran 5:117, Pickthall)

The Koran claims to confirm the Bible.

And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. (Koran 5:48, Pickthall)

It does not contradict it. Maybe those English translations of those passages from the Koran are mistranslations. Maybe the Islamic religious leaders are misinterpreting them. (See Matthew 17:9; 28:7. See also Matthew 27:27-38; Luke 23:46; John 10:17,18; 19:30,33.)

You do not have to take my word for it that Koran 3:55 and 5:117 have been mistranslated and misinterpreted. Just go to this page and see for yourself: http://corpus.quran.com/qurandictionary.jsp?q=wfy#(5:117:20). Look at how the Arabic verb, tawaffā, is most frequently translated in the Koran. It is a form V verb that occurs 24 times. The active participle of this verb occurs only once in the Koran — in Koran 3:55. Look at the other 23 places in the Koran and see how this verb is most frequently translated.

The religion known as Islam today has morphed into a one prophet, Bibleless religion. This is totally unkoranic. Islamic religious leaders quote the Koran. They hardly ever quote one of the Old Testament prophets. They hardly ever quote from the New Testament. The Koran is two-thirds the size of the New Testament. The Old Testament is much larger than the Koran. The Koran teaches that rejecting God’s revelations is a serious sin. (Koran 7:36; 18:104-108)

The fourteen epistles of St. Paul are part of God’s Scriptures. They were accepted as Holy Scripture before the birth of Muhammad. Muhammad accepted the Scriptures Christians used in the seventh century. (Koran 29:46) Those who reject St. Paul’s fourteen epistles are disobeying the Koran and are not on the straight path for which they pray in the Fatihah. I have already said enough about the fate of those who disbelieve.

Say: The Truth hath come, and falsehood showeth not its face and will not return. (Quran 34:49, Pickthall)

 

 

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The Death Penalty in the Torah and Koran 5:32

November 26, 2017 Leave a comment

In this blog post I am going to talk about the exception phrase in Koran 5:32. Koran 5:32 says:

For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth. (Koran 5:32, Pickthall)

The exception phrase is “for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth.” In order to properly talk about the exceptions which allow the taking of life, it is necessary to look at the Torah because this prohibition against taking human life was given to the Children of Israel. So, I am going to provide here the reasons for administering the death penalty found in the Torah. I will also provide a short explanation regarding why I think each of these death penalties has been abrogated.

Before beginning this discourse on the death penalty, I want to point out the plain and simple fact that everyone dies someday. This is just a plain and simple fact.

For we shall surely die, and be as water poured upon the earth, which shall not be gathered up. (II Samuel 14:14, LXX)

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. (Hebrew 9:27, NKJV)

Every soul will taste of death. Then unto Us ye will be returned. (Koran 29:57, Pickthall)

The only thing that the death penalty really does when it is administered is shorten someone’s life. The person who is put to death has, therefore, less time to repent and reform himself before dying. So, that person might go straight to hell.

The first reason for administering the death penalty is for manslaughter, that is, murder. In Genesis, it says:

For your blood of your lives will I require at the hand of all wild beasts, and I will require the life of man at the hand of his brother man. He that sheds man’s blood, instead of that blood shall his own be shed, for in the image of God I made man. (Genesis 9:5,6, LXX)

God instituted a death penalty for murder after the Flood, but there are no specific instructions regarding how it would be implemented. It just says that God requires the life of a man who sheds the blood of another man. In Exodus and Leviticus, it says that a murderer should be put to death.

And if any man smite another and he die, let him be certainly put to death. (Exodus 21:12, LXX)

And if any one lie in wait for his neighbour to slay him by craft, and he go for refuge, thou shalt take him from Mine altar to put him to death. (Exodus 21:14, LXX)

And whosoever shall smite a man and he die, let him die the death. (Leviticus 24:17, LXX)

Whosoever shall smite a man, and he shall die, let him die the death. (Leviticus 24:21, LXX)

More specific instructions regarding the implementation of the death penalty are found in the Book of Numbers.

And if he should smite him with an iron instrument, and the man should die, he is a murderer; let the murderer by all means be put to death. And if he should smite him with a stone thrown from his hand, whereby a man may die, and he thus die, he is a murderer; let the murderer by all means be put to death. And if he should smite him with an instrument of wood from his hand, whereby he may die, and he thus die, he is a murderer; let the murderer by all means be put to death. The avenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: whensoever he shall meet him he shall slay him. And if he should thrust him through enmity, or cast any thing upon him from an ambuscade, and the man should die, or if he have smitten him with his hand through anger, and the man should die, let the man that smote him be put to death by all means, he is a murderer: let the murderer by all means be put to death: the avenger of blood shall slay the murderer when he meets him. (Numbers 35:16-21, LXX)

Whoever kills a man, thou shalt slay the murderer on the testimony of witnesses; and one witness shall not testify against a soul that he should die. And ye shall not accept ransoms for life from a murderer who is worthy of death, for he shall be surely put to death. Ye shall not accept a ransom to excuse his fleeing to the city of refuge, so that he should again dwell in the land, until the death of the high priest. So shall ye not pollute with murder the land in which ye dwell; for this blood pollutes the land, and the land shall not be purged from the blood shed upon it, but by the blood of him that shed it. (Number 35:30-33, LXX)

Basically, the avenger of blood puts the murderer to death after at least two people have testified that they saw him commit the murder.

Toward the end of the Book of Deuteronomy, it says:

Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them. (Deuteronomy 32:35, NKJV)

Vengeance belongs to God.

St. Paul quoted from this verse in his Epistle to the Romans.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19, NKJV)

He also said in the same epistle:

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. (Romans 12:17, NKJV)

So, the practice of avenging the death of someone has been abrogated by these New Testament verses. A relative of a murder victim is forbidden to execute the murderer.

In another place in the same Epistle, it says:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. (Romans 13:1-4, NKJV)

I would like to call attention to the words, “for he does not bear the sword in vain.” Why would a ruler have a sword in executing judgment? It was used for putting people to death.

Not all governments in the world have a death penalty. In those countries where there is a death penalty for certain crimes, we are supposed to let the ruling authorities carry out the execution. We, as private citizens, are forbidden to do that ourselves. If there is no death penalty for murder in a particular country, we are still forbidden to execute the murderer.

In the case of unborn children, the Torah requires the death penalty to be administered if the child died during the late stages of pregnancy.

And if two men strive and smite a woman with child, and her child be born imperfectly formed, he shall be forced to pay a penalty: as the woman’s husband may lay upon him, he shall pay with a valuation. But if it be perfectly formed, he shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:22-25, LXX)

The “eye for an eye” law was abrogated by Jesus.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” (Matthew 5:38,39, NKJV)

We are not to “repay evil for evil” nor are we permitted to “avenge ourselves.” (Romans 12:17,19) We must allow the government authorities to administer justice. (Romans 13:1-4) If they fail to do that, then God will avenge the death of the murdered child. “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Someone might escape the judgment of man, but he will never escape the judgment of God.

The death penalty was supposed to be administered to those who offered up their children as human sacrifices.

Thou shalt also say to the children of Israel, If there shall be any of the children of Israel, or of those who have become proselytes in Israel, who shall give of his seed to Moloch, let him be surely put to death; the nation upon the land shall stone him with stones. And I will set My face against that man, and will cut him off from his people, because he has given of his seed to Moloch, to defile My sanctuary, and profane the name of them that are consecrated to Me. And if the natives of the land should in anywise overlook that man in giving of his seed to Moloch, so as not to put him to death; then will I set My face against that man and his family, and I will destroy him, and all who have been of one mind with him, so that he should go a whoring to the princes, from their people. (Leviticus 20:2-5, LXX)

This practice was not only murder, but it was also idolatry. God did not require human sacrifices. The pagans believed that their gods required them.

The only human sacrifice acceptable to God is the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. He died in order to destroy death by His death and He bore away our sins. It was a self-sacrifice. (John 10:17,18)

This Old Testament law has been abrogated. For the commission of murder, the government authorities are supposed to administer justice. (Romans 13:1-4) For the practice of idolatry, no death penalty is to be administered. The Christian practice regarding those who claim to be Christians but practice idolatry is to disfellowship them.

I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. (I Corinthians 5:9-11, NKJV)

A priest would stop serving communion to such a person. If they want to leave the Church, we are supposed to simply let them leave.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (I John 2:19, NKJV)

There is another law against the practice of idolatry and apostasy in the Torah. It is in  Exodus and Deuteronomy.

He that sacrifices to any gods but to the Lord alone, shall be destroyed by death. (Exodus 22:20, LXX)

And if there should be found in any one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God gives thee, a man or a woman who shall do that which is evil before the Lord thy God, so as to transgress His covenant, and they should go and serve other gods, and worship them, the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which He commanded thee not to do, and it be told thee, and thou shalt have enquired diligently, and, behold, the thing really took place, this abomination has been done in Israel; then shalt thou bring out that man, or that woman, and ye shall stone them with stones, and they shall die. He shall die on the testimony of two or three witnesses; a man who is put to death shall not be put to death for one witness. And the hand of the witnesses shall be upon him among the first to put him to death, and the hand of the people at the last; so shalt thou remove the evil one from among yourselves. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7, LXX)

The Christian practice is to disfellowship that person (I Corinthians 5:9-11) and allow that person to leave the Church on his own accord (I John 2:19). The death penalty for idolatry and apostasy has been abrogated.

The Torah requires that people who spread idolatry be put to death.

And if there arise within thee a prophet, or one who dreams a dream, and he gives thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass which he spoke to thee, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye know not; ye shall not hearken to the words of that prophet, or the dreamer of that dream, because the Lord thy God tries you, to know whether ye love your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall follow the Lord your God, and fear Him, and ye shall hear His voice, and attach yourselves to Him. And that prophet or that dreamer of a dream, shall die; for he has spoken to make thee err from the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, who redeemed thee from bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in: so shalt thou abolish the evil from among you. And if thy brother by thy father or mother, or thy son, or daughter, or thy wife in thy bosom, or friend who is equal to thine own soul, entreat thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, of the gods of the nations that are round about you, who are near thee or at a distance from thee, from one end of the earth to the other; thou shalt not consent to him, neither shalt thou hearken to him; and thine eye shall not spare him, thou shalt feel no regret for him, neither shalt thou at all protect him: thou shalt surely report concerning him, and thy hands shall be upon him among the first to slay him, and the hands of all the people at the last. And they shall stone him with stones, and he shall die, because he sought to draw thee away from the Lord thy God who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Deuteronomy 13:1-10, LXX)

The Christian practice is to disfellowship that person who is spreading idolatry and to allow him to leave the Church on his own accord. (I Corinthians 5:9-11; I John 2:19) The death penalty for this sin has been abolished by New Testament teachings.

The Torah says that blasphemers are supposed to be put to death.

And the son of the Israelitish woman named THE NAME and cursed; and they brought him to Moses: and his mother’s name was Salomith, daughter of Dabri of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in ward, to judge him by the command of the Lord. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Bring forth him that cursed outside the camp, and all who heard shall lay their hands upon his head, and all the congregation shall stone him. And speak to the sons of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, Whosoever shall curse God shall bear his sin. And he that names the name of the Lord, let him die the death: let all the congregation of Israel stone him with stones; whether he be a stranger or a native, let him die for naming the name of the Lord. (Leviticus 24:11-16, LXX)

In the New Testament, Jesus said that the only sin that will never be forgiven is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Someone can be forgiven for blaspheming Christ, however.

Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:31,32, NKJV)

I do not want to take up the subject of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in this blog post. I will say this much about the subject though. I prefer to stick with the teachings of the Church Fathers regarding this subject.

Some of the Christians in Colossae may have been committing this sin. St. Paul told them to put blasphemy out of their mouths.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. (Colossians 3:8, NKJV)

Nowhere in his Epistle to the Colossians does St. Paul command the Christians to put to death blasphemers. He just simply tells the people who do that to stop blaspheming.

St. Paul tells us to follow his example.

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (I Corinthians 11:1, NKJV)

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. (Philippians 3:17, NKJV)

In his First Epistle to Timothy, we can see how St. Paul dealt with blasphemers.

Of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. (I Timothy 1:20, NKJV)

The punishment for blasphemers is to deliver them to Satan. I think that this means to stop serving Communion to them. The New Testament does not have a death penalty for blasphemy. So, the Old Testament law requiring blasphemers to be put to death has been abrogated.

In the Torah, fornicators were supposed to be put to death.

And if the daughter of a priest should be profaned to go a whoring, she profanes the name of her father: she shall be burnt with fire. (Leviticus 21:9, LXX)

And if any one should take a wife, and dwell with her, and hate her, and attach to her reproachful words, and bring against her an evil name, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her I found not her tokens of virginity: then the father and the mother of the damsel shall take and bring out the damsel’s tokens of virginity to the elders of the city to the gate. And the father of the damsel shall say to the elders, I gave this my daughter to this man for a wife; and now he has hated her, and attaches reproachful words to her, saying, I have not found tokens of virginity with thy daughter; and these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall unfold the garment before the elders of the city. And the elders of that city shall take that man, and shall chastise him, and shall fine him a hundred shekels, and shall give them to the father of the damsel, because he has brought forth an evil name against a virgin of Israel; and she shall be his wife: he shall never be able to put her away. But if this report be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel; then shall they bring out the damsel to the doors of her father’s house, and shall stone her with stones, and she shall die; because she has wrought folly among the children of Israel, to defile the house of her father by whoring: so thou shalt remove the evil one from among you. (Deuteronomy 22:13-21, LXX)

And if there be a young damsel espoused to a man, and a man should have found her in the city and have lain with her; ye shall bring them both out to the gate of their city, and they shall be stoned with stones, and they shall die; the damsel, because she cried not in the city; and the man, because he humbled his neighbour’s spouse: so shalt thou remove the evil one from yourselves. (Deuteronomy 22:22-24, LXX)

The Torah does not require that a man who fornicates be put to death unless he fornicates with a woman who is engaged to marry another man.

The Christian practice is to disfellowship the fornicators. (I Corinthians 5:9-11) There is no death penalty for fornication in the New Testament. The requirement to put fornicators to death has been abrogated by New Testament teaching.

Furthermore, Christians are forbidden to pass judgment on such people, but we are still supposed to disfellowship other Christians who fornicate.

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (Matthew 7:1,2, NKJV)

Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37, NKJV)

In Leviticus and Deuteronomy, it says that adulterers should be put to death.

And thou shalt not lie with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her… For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, the souls that do them shall be destroyed from among their people. (Leviticus 18:20,29, LXX)

Whatever man shall commit adultery with the wife of a man, or whoever shall commit adultery with the wife of his neighbour, let them die the death, the adulterer and the adulteress. (Leviticus 20:10, LXX)

And if a man be found lying with a woman married to a man, ye shall kill them both, the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou remove the wicked one out of Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:22, LXX)

The Christian practice is to abstain from passing judgment on such people, but to disfellowship them. (Matthew 7:1,2; Luke 6:37; I Corinthians 5:9-11) In the Gospel according to St. John, there is a story about an adulteress being brought to Jesus.

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:2-12, NKJV)

Jesus told the Jews, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Since no one is without sin, no one is qualified to stone an adulteress or an adulterer. Jesus, who never sinned (I Peter 2:22,23), did not even throw a stone at her. In verse 12 of this passage, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” This means that we should follow Jesus’ example and not stone to death people who have committed adultery. Of course, we should follow His example in other respects as well. The Old Testament laws requiring that adulterers and adulteresses be put to death have been abrogated by New Testament teachings.

A Christian, however, is required to divorce his wife if she has committed adultery. Many of the Church Fathers taught this. In the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the exception allowing divorce is for adultery.

But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery. (Matthew 5:32, NKJV)

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery. (Matthew 19:9, NKJV)

The Church Fathers often quoted this verse from the Septuagint version of Proverbs as a proof text for requiring Christian men to divorce their wives for committing adultery.

He that puts away a good wife, puts away a good thing, and he that keeps an adulteress is foolish and ungodly. (Proverbs 18:23, LXX)

They also cited this verse from the New Testament as justification for divorcing an adulterous wife.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! (I Corinthians 6:15, NKJV)

Someone who retains an adulteress as his wife is foolish and ungodly. A Christian man is not supposed to be sexually joined to a harlot because his body is a member of Christ. If his wife is having sex outside of their marriage, then remaining married to her is the moral equivalent of taking a member of Christ and making it a member of a harlot.

St. Paul wrote:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28, NKJV)

Since Christian men and Christian women are “one in Christ Jesus,” the principles for initiating a divorce apply to both men and women. A Christian woman should divorce her husband if he has committed adultery.

Divorce is, therefore, another consequence for committing adultery according to the New Testament.

In the Torah, raping another man’s fiancée was punishable by death.

But if a man find in the field a damsel that is betrothed, and he should force her and lie with her, ye shall slay the man that lay with her only. And the damsel has not committed a sin worthy of death; as if a man should rise up against his neighbour, and slay him, so is this thing; because he found her in the field; the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to help her. (Deuteronomy 22:25-27, LXX)

In the New Testament, such people are supposed to be disfellowshipped. The Christian community is not supposed to inflict the death penalty on those who commit this crime. The government authorities are responsible for administering justice. (I Corinthians 5:9-11; Romans 13:1-4) If the rapist escapes the judgment of man, he will not escape the judgment of God. (Romans 12:19)

Incest was punishable by death in the Torah.

No man shall draw nigh to any of his near kindred to uncover their nakedness; I am the Lord. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, for she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s wife; it is thy father’s nakedness. The nakedness of thy sister by thy father or by thy mother, born at home or abroad, their nakedness thou shalt not uncover. The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or thy daughter’s daughter, their nakedness thou shalt not uncover; because it is thy nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of the daughter of thy father’s wife; she is thy sister by the same father: thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister, for she is near akin to thy father. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister, for she is near akin to thy mother. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, and thou shalt not go in to his wife; for she is thy relation. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter-in-law, for she is thy son’s wife, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness. The nakedness of a woman and her daughter shalt thou not uncover; her son’s daughter, and her daughter’s daughter, shalt thou not take, to uncover their nakedness, for they are thy kinswomen: it is impiety. Thou shalt not take a wife in addition to her sister, as a rival, to uncover her nakedness in opposition to her, while she is yet living… For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, the souls that do them shall be destroyed from among their people. (Leviticus 18:6-18,29, LXX)

And if any one should lie with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness: let them both die the death, they are guilty. And if any one should lie with his daughter-in-law, let them both be put to death; for they have wrought impiety, they are guilty. (Leviticus 20:11,12, LXX)

Whosoever shall take a woman and her mother, it is iniquity: they shall burn him and them with fire; so there shall not be iniquity among you. (Leviticus 20:14, LXX)

Whosoever shall take his sister by his father or by his mother, and shall see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness, it is a reproach: they shall be destroyed before the children of their family; he has uncovered his sister’s nakedness, they shall bear their sin. (Leviticus 20:17, LXX)

Whosoever shall lie with his near kinswoman, has uncovered the nakedness of one near akin to him: they shall die childless. Whoever shall take his brother’s wife, it is uncleanness; he has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall die childless. (Leviticus 20:20,21, LXX)

The Christian practice is to disfellowship the person who has committed incest (I Corinthians 5:9-11) and deliver that person to Satan, that is, stop serving Communion to him or her.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles — that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (I Corinthians 5:1-5, NKJV)

The example of St. Paul should be followed. (I Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17) There is no death penalty for committing incest in the New Testament. The Old Testament laws requiring that people who commit such acts be put to death have been abrogated by New Testament teachings. The government authorities are responsible for administering justice. (Romans 13:1-4)

A man who engages in homosexual sex with another man was supposed to be put to death according to the Torah.

And thou shalt not lie with a man as with a woman, for it is an abomination… For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, the souls that do them shall be destroyed from among their people. (Leviticus 18:22,29, LXX)

And whoever shall lie with a male as with a woman, they have both wrought abomination; let them die the death, they are guilty. (Leviticus 20:13, LXX)

The Christian practice is to disfellowship the people who engage in homosexual sex. (I Corinthians 5:9-11) There is no death penalty for practicing homosexuals in the New Testament. The Old Testament laws requiring men to be put to death for engaging in homosexual sex have been abrogated.

People who engage in sexual acts with animals were supposed to be put to death according to the Torah.

Every one that lies with a beast ye shall surely put to death. (Exodus 22:19, LXX)

Neither shalt thou lie with any quadruped for copulation, to be polluted with it: neither shall a woman present herself before any quadruped to have connexion with it; for it is an abomination… For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, the souls that do them shall be destroyed from among their people. (Leviticus 18:23,29, LXX)

And whosoever shall lie with a beast, let him die the death; and ye shall kill the beast. And whatever woman shall approach any beast, so as to have connexion with it, ye shall kill the woman and the beast: let them die the death, they are guilty. (Leviticus 20:15,16, LXX)

The New Testament teaching is to disfellowship people who engage in sexual acts with animals. (I Corinthians 5:9-11) There is no commandment in the New Testament to put to death someone who practices bestiality. People who engage in such acts are subject to the government laws of the nation or locality in which they reside. (Romans 13:1-4) The Old Testament laws requiring that such people be put to death have been abrogated.

In the Torah, a man who has sex with a woman who is menstruating was supposed to be put to death. The menstruous woman who had sex with him was supposed to be put to death, too.

And thou shalt not go in to a woman under separation for her uncleanness, to uncover her nakedness… For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, the souls that do them shall be destroyed from among their people. (Leviticus 18:19,29, LXX)

And whatever man shall lie with a woman that is set apart for a flux, and shall uncover her nakedness, he has uncovered her fountain, and she has uncovered the flux of her blood: they shall both be destroyed from among their generation. (Leviticus 20:18, LXX)

About the only way that anyone can find out if someone did this is if they talk about it. The New Testament instructions are to disfellowship the man and the woman. (I Corinthians 5:9-11) There is no death penalty in the New Testament for having sex with a menstruous woman.  Those Old Testament laws have been abrogated by New Testament teachings.

The Torah says that fortune-tellers and sorcerers should be put to death.

Ye shall not save the lives of sorcerers. (Exodus 22:18, LXX)

And as for a man or woman whosoever of them shall have in them a divining spirit, or be an enchanter, let them both die the death: ye shall stone them with stones, they are guilty. (Leviticus 20:27, LXX)

The New Testament practice is to exorcise the divining spirit. (Acts 16:16-18) According to New Testament teaching, Satan has been bound so that his activities are limited. (Matthew 12:29; Revelation 20:2) (I do not want to talk about this subject in this blog post, but I will say this much. The Second Ecumenical Council of the Church in 381 rejected pre-millenial eschatology as a heresy.) There is no New Testament commandment to put someone to death for involvement in the occult. That person might not be allowed to receive Communion from his priest, however.

The Torah required parents to be put to death for giving their children to serve a political leader.

And thou shalt not give of thy seed to serve a ruler; and thou shalt not profane My holy name; I am the Lord… For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, the souls that do them shall be destroyed from among their people. (Leviticus 18:21,29, LXX)

There is no death penalty in the New Testament for doing such a thing. If a political leader took someone’s children away from him or her so that the children could serve him, that would be a matter to be dealt with in civil courts. Christian parents have a responsibility to provide spiritual and religious instruction to their children. (Ephesians 6:4) If they give them away, they cannot do that. I think that Christian parents who do something like this would be under a penance from their priest.

In the Torah, people who abduct others were supposed to be put to death.

Whosoever shall steal one of the children of Israel, and prevail over him and sell him, and he be found with him, let him certainly die. (Exodus 21:17, LXX; 21:16, Hebrew)

The Church, being a spiritual kingdom (John 18:36), does not put to death kidnappers. Such people who are members of the Church might be put under a penance by their priest. The civil authorities are responsible for administering justice for the commission of such crimes.

Whoever smites his father or his mother, let him be certainly put to death. (Exodus 21:15, LXX)

The Church is a spiritual kingdom. (John 18:36) The government authorities deal with a child who does such a thing through the juvenile justice system. It is not the practice of the Church to administer the death penalty to anyone at all.

The Torah requires that children who have reviled their parents be put to death.

He that reviles his father or his mother shall surely die. (Exodus 21:16, LXX; 21:17, Hebrew)

Every man who shall speak evil of his father or of his mother, let him die the death; has he spoken evil of his father or his mother? He shall be guilty. (Leviticus 20:9, LXX)

Revilers are supposed to be disfellowshipped according to New Testament teaching. (I Corinthians 5:9-11)

The Torah requires that children who stubbornly refuse to obey their parents be put to death.

And if any man has a disobedient and contentious son, who hearkens not to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother, and they should correct him, and he should not hearken to them; then shall his father and his mother take hold of him, and bring him forth to the elders of his city, and to the gate of the place: and they shall say to the men of their city, This our son is disobedient and contentious, he hearkens not to our voice, he is a reveler and a drunkard. And the men of his city shall stone him with stones, and he shall die; and thou shalt remove the evil one from yourselves, and the rest shall hear and fear. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21, LXX)

Such children might be put under a penance by their priest, but the Church does not administer the death penalty to anyone since it is a spiritual kingdom. (John 18:36) Unruly children might be placed in a juvenile detention center by the governing authorities. Parents must respect the laws of their nation or locality when administering disciplinary action to their children. (Romans 13:1-4)

The Torah requires that those who disobey a priest or a ruler be put to death.

And the man whosoever shall act in haughtiness, so as not to hearken to the priest who stands to minister in the name of the Lord thy God, or the judge who shall preside in those days, that man shall die, and thou shalt remove the evil one out of Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12, LXX)

The New Testament requires Christians to obey ecclesiastical and civil authorities. (Hebrews 13:17; Romans 13:1-4) The Church does not administer the death penalty to anyone since it is a spiritual kingdom. (John 18:36) The penalty for disobeying a priest might be a penance. The penalty for disobey the governing authorities is determined by the laws respecting such acts of disobedience.

The Torah required that the owner of a bull that has been known to gore people to death be put to death if he did not restrain the bull and the animal killed someone. Nowadays, this is called negligent homicide.

And if a bull gore a man or woman and they die, the bull shall be stoned with stones, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the bull shall be clear. But if the bull should have been given to goring in former time, and men should have told his owner, and he have not removed him, but he should have slain a man or woman, the bull shall be stoned, and his owner shall die also. And if a ransom should be imposed on him, he shall pay for the ransom of his soul as much as they shall lay upon him. (Exodus 21:28-30, LXX)

Since the Church is a spiritual kingdom and does not administer the death penalty to anyone (John 18:36), the governing authorities would administer justice in such cases. (Romans 13:1-4)

The Torah commands that people who do work on the Sabbath (i.e., Saturday) be put to death.

Six days thou shalt do works, but the seventh day is the Sabbath, a holy rest to the Lord; every one who shall do a work on the seventh day shall be put to death. (Exodus 31:15, LXX)

Six days shalt thou perform works, but on the seventh day shall be rest — a holy sabbath — a rest for the Lord: every one that does work on it, let him die. (Exodus 35:2, LXX)

And the children of Israel were in the wilderness, and they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And they who found him gathering sticks on the Sabbath day brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel. And they placed him in custody, for they did not determine what they should do to him. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Let the man be by all means put to death: do ye all the congregation, stone him with stones. And all the congregation brought him forth out of the camp; and all the congregation stoned him with stones outside the camp, as the Lord commanded Moses. (Numbers 15:32-36, LXX)

In the Orthodox Church, Saturday is the Sabbath and Sunday is the Lord’s Day. We are not supposed to observe the Sabbath like the Jews do, that is, abstain from work on that day. Sunday is the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead. We are supposed to observe Saturday as a feast and abstain from work on Sunday if possible.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (II Thessalonians 2:15, NKJV)

Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. (Acts 20:7, NKJV)

On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. (I Corinthians 16:2, NKJV)

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet. (Revelation 1:10, NKJV)

But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. (The Didache, chapter 14, written sometime between 80 and 120 A.D.)

Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ. (Canon 29, Council of Laodicea, 390 A.D.)

St. Paul said that sabbaths are a shadow of things to come.

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16,17, NKJV)

The Old Testament laws regarding observing the Sabbath have been abrogated by New Testament teaching and Holy Tradition. There is no death penalty for working on Sunday.

The death penalty in the Torah was inflicted upon people who committed murder. Killing an unborn child during the late stage of pregnancy, offering up one’s children as a human sacrifice to a pagan god, and negligent homicide were classified as murder. The other reasons for administering the death penalty to someone are called by the Koran “corruption in the earth.” They include such things as idolatry, apostasy, spreading idolatry, blasphemy, fornication, adultery, raping another man’s fiancée, incest, homosexual sex between men, bestiality, sex with a woman who is menstruating, fortune-telling, sorcery, giving one’s children to serve a political leader, abducting someone, striking one’s parent, reviling one’s parent, disobeying one’s parent, disobeying a priest or a political leader, and working on the Sabbath. The death penalty has been abrogated by New Testament teaching and Holy Tradition for all of these sins and crimes. The Church is a spiritual kingdom. (John 18:36) Christians are required to obey the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-4) and the ecclesiastical authorities (Hebrews 13:17) The death penalty might be administered by the governing authorities for violating local or national laws.

 

Apostasy and a False Hadith

May 31, 2017 Leave a comment

It is very unfortunate that there are many Muslims and predominantly Muslim countries who actually think that they have a moral mandate to put to death anyone who leaves Islam. The Koran and the Bible do not teach this. There are hadiths that do teach that, unfortunately. Those hadiths are based on hearsay reports and no intelligent person should think that the Islamic prophet actually commanded anyone to kill an apostate from Islam.

In the Old Testament, there is a passage in Deuteronomy which commands the Israelites to put to death by stoning those who apostatize from the monotheistic religion taught in the Torah and worship other gods.

And if there should be found in any one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God gives thee, a man or a woman who shall do that which is evil before the Lord thy God, so as to transgress His covenant, and they should go and serve other gods, and worship them, the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which He commanded thee not to do, and it be told thee, and thou shalt have enquired diligently, and, behold, the thing really took place, this abomination has been done in Israel; then shalt thou bring out that man, or that woman, and ye shall stone them with stones, and they shall die. He shall die on the testimony of two or three witnesses; a man who is put to death shall not be put to death for one witness. And the hand of the witnesses shall be upon him among the first to put him to death, and the hand of the people at the last; so shalt thou remove the evil one from among yourselves. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7, LXX)

The other peoples among whom the ancient Israelites were traveling when they were on their way to the land of Canaan were polytheists. Those who abandoned Abrahamic monotheism ended up accepting one of the polytheistic religions of the indigenous peoples in that part of the world. The first one to cast a stone at an apostate was supposed to be one of the witnesses. So, if the witness was bearing false witness against his neighbor — a violation of one of the Ten Commandments — he would also be guilty of murder as well. If anyone escapes the judgment of man for the commission of murder, he will most definitely not escape the judgment of God. (Genesis 9:5,6; Deuteronomy 32:35,43)

In the New Testament, apostates were not killed. The Christians disfellowshipped them.

But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. (I Corinthians 5:11, NKJV)

This verse in the New Testament abrogates the commandment in Deuteronomy 17:2-7. In the Koran, it says:

None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things? (Koran 2:106, Yusuf Ali)

The commandment to disfellowship apostates is better than the one to kill them. By disfellowshipping them, the Christian community is able to nonverbally express their disapproval of the apostates’ practice of idolatry and hope that they eventually repent and return to the worship of the one Triune God.

Christians often just allowed the apostates and heretics to leave the Christian community on their own.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (I John 2:19, NKJV)

No one was killed for committing apostasy in the first century. By the way, the author of I John was a rightly guided Muslim (Matthew 10:2; Koran 3:52) and a messenger of Allah. He also wrote the Gospel according to St. John, two more epistles, and the Book of Revelation.

The Koran confirms the Bible. It does not contradict it.

And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. (Koran 5:48, Pickthall)

As for that which We inspire in thee of the Scripture, it is the Truth confirming that which was (revealed) before it. Lo! Allah is indeed Observer, Seer of His slaves. (Koran 35:31, Pickthall)

Muhammad did not receive any new revelations. He received confirming ones — revelations which confirmed what the messengers before him had already taught.

Nothing is said to thee that was not said to the messengers before thee: that thy Lord has at His Command (all) forgiveness as well as a most Grievous Penalty. (Koran 41:43, Yusuf Ali)

Muhammad was not an innovation among the messengers.

Say: I am no new thing among the messengers (of Allah), nor know I what will be done with me or with you. I do but follow that which is inspired in me, and I am but a plain warner. (Koran 46:9, Pickthall)

He accepted the Scriptures of the Orthodox Christians.

And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. (Koran 29:46, Pickthall)

I believe in whatever Scripture Allah hath sent down, and I am commanded to be just among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. (Koran 42:15, Pickthall)

So, Muhammad accepted I Corinthians 5:11 and I John 2:19 as Holy Scripture. He never commanded anyone to put to death an apostate.

Furthermore, in the Koran it says that Muhammad followed the Koran.

I but follow what is revealed to me. (Koran 6:50, Yusuf Ali)

I only follow what is revealed to me from my Lord. (Koran 7:203, Shakir)

I only follow what is revealed to me. (Koran 10:15, Sahih International)

I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner. (Koran 46:9, Sahih International)

The Koran says that Muhammad was not supposed to be a compeller or controller over his ummah (community).

We are Best Aware of what they say, and thou (O Muhammad) art in no wise a compeller over them. But warn by the Qur’an him who feareth My threat. (Koran 50:45, Pickthall)

So remind, [O Muhammad]; you are only a reminder. You are not over them a controller. (Koran 88:21,22, Sahih International)

There are two passages in the Koran about apostasy. The first one is in the Fourth Surah.

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 4:137, Pickthall)

It is very unreasonable to believe based on this verse that the Islamic prophet actually commanded his followers to kill apostates. The apostate described in this verse would have been stoned to death twice. He would have had to have been resurrected after the first stoning so that he could be stoned to death once more. No capital punishment for apostates is mentioned in this verse. The punishment is that God will never pardon him. That is to say, he receives eternal damnation at the Last Judgment. Also, God will never guide him “unto a way.” He is allowed to continue on in his error, much the same way as many atheists and agnostics do today.

The next passage pertaining to apostasy is in the 16th Surah.

Whoso disbelieveth in Allah after his belief – save him who is forced thereto and whose heart is still content with the Faith – but whoso findeth ease in disbelief: on them is wrath from Allah. Theirs will be an awful doom. That is because they have chosen the life of the world rather than the Hereafter, and because Allah guideth not the disbelieving folk. Such are they whose hearts and ears and eyes Allah hath sealed. And such are the heedless. Assuredly in the Hereafter they are the losers. (Koran 16:106-109, Pickthall)

The punishment that apostates receive is in the Hereafter — the afterlife. There is no commandment in these verses to kill an apostate.

Muhammad died in 632 A.D. In the ninth century, a collection of hadiths was compiled. It is called Sunan an-Nasa’i. The compiler of these hadiths was born in 829 and died in 915. Here is a hadith from this collection which falsely states that Muhammad told his followers to kill apostates.

It was narrated from ‘Ikrimah: “Some people apostatized after accepting Islam, and ‘Ali burned them with fire. Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘If it had been me, I would not have burned them; the Messenger of Allah said: ‘No one should be punished with the punishment of Allah.’ If it had been me, I would have killed them; the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Whoever changes his religion, kill him.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i 4060)

Based on the teachings of the Koran and the Bible, it is highly unlikely that the Islamic prophet ever told anyone, “Whoever changes his religion, kill him.”

The hearsay  hadiths contain falsehood. The Koran and the Bible which the Koran confirms contain truth. The Koran says:

That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood and because those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. (Koran 47:3, Pickthall)

One can either follow falsehood — those hearsay hadiths — or the truth. Here is another passage of Scripture which Muhammad accepted.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6, NKJV)

Let us obey the Koran and the Bible and “follow the truth from our Lord.” Ignore those hearsay hadiths. They really cannot be trusted. As-salamu alaykum.

An Exegesis of Those Three Koran Verses Every Woman Should Know

October 28, 2016 Leave a comment

There is another video that David Wood has produced. It is about the Koran’s teaching regarding women. I do not know what percentage of Muslims in the world interpret the verses in his video the way he does, but I am going to provide here my interpretation. The verses from the Koran which I wish to discuss are: 2:223, 2:282, and 4:34.

I think that one of the problems with Islam, generally speaking, is the interpretation of the Koran and not the Koran itself. Muslims have allowed the Koran to replace the Bible. The Koran claims to confirm the Bible, not to replace it. (Koran 3:3,4; 5:48; 10:38; 41:43) Those Muslims who have discarded the Bible have disobeyed the teachings of the Koran regarding the Bible. Unlike the first generation Muslims who “believed all the Scripture” (Koran 3:119) and received the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians (Koran 29:46; 42:15), they have rejected the Bible, thus becoming “disbelievers in truth” and have “wandered far astray.” (Koran 4:136,150,151) They believe what their religious leaders tell them without ever doing any research to verify if what they are being told is indeed true in contradiction of what the Koran clearly teaches them not to do.

And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning). (Koran 17:36, Yusuf Ali)

The sheikhs and imams tell them that the Bible has been corrupted and can no longer be trusted, but the Koran says that the Bible manuscripts which existed in the seventh century were believed and received by Muhammad and the Muslim community. It tells Christians to “judge by the Gospel.” (Koran 5:47) There are manuscripts of the New Testament which date back to the fourth century. There are fragments of New Testament manuscripts which date back to the second century. The Christians of Muhammad’s day used the Greek Septuagint. There are fourth century manuscripts of this Greek translation of the Old Testament in existence today. There are textual variants among the ancient manuscripts of the Bible. I do not deny that. As for textual variants in the Koran, there are at least 26 different Arabic versions of the Koran. See my blog, Shame on the Imams and Islamic Scholars!

In order to properly understand the Koran, therefore, one must also read and study the Bible.

It is not (possible) for any human being unto whom Allah had given the Scripture and wisdom and the prophethood that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah; but (what he said was): Be ye faithful servants of the Lord by virtue of your constant teaching of the Scripture and of your constant study thereof. (Koran 3:79, Pickthall)

Before I begin the exegesis of these three verses from the Koran, watch David Wood’s video.

The first verse he comments on in the video is Koran 2:282, but I will start by discussing Koran 2:223 first.

Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will, and send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear Allah, and know that ye will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad). (Koran 2:223, Pickthall)

The way David Wood interprets this verse it would seem that Muhammad wanted men to treat their wives like sex toys that they can pick up, play with, and put down whenever they please. He quotes hadiths written down over 200 years after Muhammad died. Muhammad died in 632. Maybe Muhammad did say those things, but I still question the authenticity of all of those hadiths. I have been told by my grandparents and parents about some things that my great-grandparents have said and done, but I cannot produce an entire encyclopedia of their deeds and actions based on what little I have been told about them. The compilers of those hadiths have allegedly done that 200 to 300 years after Muhammad died. Among the Sunni Muslims, the most important collections of hadiths are the compilations by Bukhari (810-870) and Muslim (815-875). Realistically speaking, these compilations of hadiths are really a massive collection of hearsay. So, I do not give much credence to them. I do not think that David Wood should give much credence to them either.

To me, it does not matter much which sexual position a man assumes with his wife. I think that anal sex and oral sex are disgusting, but whether it is sex from behind, in front, or the woman lying on her back is a matter for them decide between themselves.

Since Muslims are supposed to accept the Bible as well as the Koran, this passage from St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians is relevant here.

1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (I Corinthians 7:1-5, NKJV)

A man has authority of his wife’s body and a woman has authority over her husband’s body. A woman, therefore, has just as much right to request sex from her husband as a man has to request sex from his wife. I think that the Koran is saying essentially the same thing in this verse.

O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you. (Koran 4:1, Pickthall)

“Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another.” A man claims his sexual rights from his wife in God. A woman, likewise, claims her sexual rights from her husband in God. The Koran teaches that men and women have similar rights, but a man is a degree above his wife.

Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart, three (monthly) courses. And it is not lawful for them that they should conceal that which Allah hath created in their wombs if they are believers in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands would do better to take them back in that case if they desire a reconciliation. And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Koran 2:228, Pickthall)

The Bible teaches equality of the sexes, too.

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29, NKJV)

Both men and women who believe in Jesus Christ and have been baptized are “one in Christ Jesus,” “Abraham’s seed,” and “heirs according to the promise.”

God in the Bible states that both believing men and believing women are “heirs of the kingdom” in the afterlife in Galatians 3:29 and in this verse from St. Peter’s First Epistle.

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (I Peter 3:7, NKJV)

In the Koran, it says that believing women will be rewarded in the afterlife, just as believing men will be rewarded.

And do not covet that by which Allah has made some of you excel others; men shall have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they earn; and ask Allah of His grace; surely Allah knows all things. (Koran 4:32, Shakir)

Both men and women will have what their “souls desire” and what their “eyes find sweet.”

Enter the Garden, ye and your wives, to be made glad. Therein are brought round for them trays of gold and goblets, and therein is all that souls desire and eyes find sweet. And ye are immortal therein. (Koran 43:70,71, Pickthall)

The Bible also teaches that the man is “a degree above” his wife.

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (I Corinthians 11:3, NKJV)

So, I disagree with David Wood regarding his interpretation of Koran 2:223. The Koran says that women have similar rights to those of men, but a woman’s husband is a degree above her. A woman has just as much right to her husband’s body as her husband has a right to hers according to both the Koran and the Bible. As for “rough sex,” the Koran tells men to live with their wives in kindness. (Koran 4:19) That means that a man should not abuse his wife sexually or in any other way.

The first verse he comments on is the next one I will discuss. It is also from the Second Surah, Koran 2:282.

O ye who believe! When ye contract a debt for a fixed term, record it in writing. Let a scribe record it in writing between you in (terms of) equity. No scribe should refuse to write as Allah hath taught him, so let him write, and let him who incurreth the debt dictate, and let him observe his duty to Allah his Lord, and diminish naught thereof. But if he who oweth the debt is of low understanding, or weak, or unable himself to dictate, then let the guardian of his interests dictate in (terms of) equity. And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not (at hand) then a man and two women, of such as ye approve as witnesses, so that if the one erreth (through forgetfulness) the other will remember. And the witnesses must not refuse when they are summoned. Be not averse to writing down (the contract) whether it be small or great, with (record of) the term thereof. That is more equitable in the sight of Allah and more sure for testimony, and the best way of avoiding doubt between you; save only in the case when it is actual merchandise which ye transfer among yourselves from hand to hand. In that case it is no sin for you if ye write it not. And have witnesses when ye sell one to another, and let no harm be done to scribe or witness. If ye do (harm to them) lo! it is a sin in you. Observe your duty to Allah. Allah is teaching you. And Allah is knower of all things. (Koran 2:282, Pickthall)

Here, in this passage, it takes two women to equal the witness of one man. One must remember that this was written in the seventh century. Arab women in the seventh century were not well-educated and were treated very poorly by men. Islam was bringing to the Arab world a higher standard for the treatment of women. So, due to the lack of education that women had then, it would have been wise to require two witnesses in lieu of every man’s witness in a business transaction.

As for the valuation of women in respect to men, look at this passage from the Old Testament Septuagint.

1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, Whosoever shall vow a vow as the valuation of his soul for the Lord, 3 the valuation of a male from twenty years old to sixty years old shall be — his valuation shall be fifty didrachms of silver by the standard of the sanctuary. 4 And the valuation of a female shall be thirty didrachms. 5 And if it be from five years old to twenty, the valuation of a male shall be twenty didrachms, and of a female ten didrachms. 6 And from a month old to five years old, the valuation of a male shall be five didrachms, and of a female, three didrachms of silver. 7 And if from sixty year old and upward, if it be a male, his valuation shall be fifteen didrachms of silver, and if a female, ten didrachms. (Leviticus 27:1-7, LXX)

A woman, according to this text, is valued at three-fifths the value of a man if she is between twenty and sixty years of age (vs. 3,4), at half the value of a man if she is between five and twenty years of age (v. 5), at three-fifths the value of a man if she is between a month old and five years old (v. 6), and at two-thirds the value of a man if she is sixty years old or older (v.7).

This Old Testament law was abrogated by the coming of Christ. So, we no longer observe it. It applied to the children of Israel and not to the descendants of Esau or any others who may have been worshipers of the one true God at that time. (Job was a descendant of Esau.) The law was temporary. The commandment in Koran 2:282, likewise, applies to seventh century Arab women, but not to twenty-first century educated women. That is my opinion. (I do not care what the hadiths say. They are largely just a collection of hearsay.)

The last verse he comments on is Koran 4:34.

Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. (Koran 4:34, Pickthall)

Here it says that “men are in charge of women.”  Muhammad Sarwar translates the Arabic here: “Men are the protectors of women.” That is probably a better translation. However, the concept of a man being in charge of his wife is also taught in the Bible.

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (I Corinthians 11:3, NKJV)

“Good women are the obedient.”  The Bible teaches the same thing.

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24, NKJV)

1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the Word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel —  4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. (I Peter 3:1-6, NKJV)

The Koran teaches that men should live with their wives in kindness (Koran 4:19) and are over their wives in kindness (Koran 2:228). It also says:

And of His signs is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo! herein indeed are portents for folk who reflect. (Koran 30:21, Pickthall)

The Koran says that God ordained between a man and his wife “love and mercy.” The Bible teaches the same thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the Church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33, NKJV)

3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things —  4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5, NKJV)

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34,35, NKJV)

Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:36, NKJV)

The part of this verse that David Wood focuses on is the latter part of the verse.

As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. (Koran 4:34, Pickthall)

The Koran says that a man should admonish his wife if he thinks that she will be rebellious and “banish them to beds apart.” In other words, stop sleeping with a rebellious wife. It also says to “scourge them.” The word translated “scourge” is the Arabic word, iḍ’ribū. It is translated “strike” as when Moses struck the rock in the wilderness and water gushed out and in other places in the Koran it is translated “set forth.” It most probably means in this verse to strike the rebellious wife, but not repeatedly as in a fist-fight. In order to accurately understand what this verse is teaching, one must keep in mind all of the other teachings in the Bible and in the Koran regarding how a man should live with his wife. He must strike her lovingly, mercifully, and in kindness. That is to say, one should tap her gently thus expressing non-verbally his displeasure with her behavior. Mohsin Khan and Yusuf Ali translated this word “beat” and add in parentheses “lightly.” I think that based upon all of the other teachings in the Bible and the Koran, this verse is telling a man to “tap his wife lightly” if she is rebellious, but not to beat her to a pulp. “Men are the protectors of women.” They are not supposed to be abusers of women.

Anyway, it is as I have said many times before, the problem is the interpretation of the sacred texts and not the texts themselves. If there are Muslims who are interpreting the Koran the way David Wood does, they are in just as much error as he is in interpreting it.

Aqidahs of Believers

July 8, 2016 Leave a comment

I remember when I used to visit various Protestant churches in my younger years that I would see various statements of faith. Many of these statements of faith contained affirmations of basic Christian doctrines like the existence of only one God and the Triune nature of God. They would say various things about the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible, the last days, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, etc. Many of the non-denominational churches that I visited had statements of faith that were probably less than ten years old. That is to say, they were written very recently as compared to the doctrinal confessions of the Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Episcopalians. These statements of faith are called creeds. In Arabic, the word is aqidah. In the Koran, Orthodox Christians are called believers, but many Muslims are unfamiliar with the creeds of Orthodox Christians. I am going to discuss creeds here as they pertain to Muslims and Christians.

In the Koran, it says:

Lo! Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabaeans – whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right – surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (Koran 2:62, Pickthall)

and in another surah:

If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good). (Koran 3:85, Yusuf Ali)

These verses seemed to be contradicting each other, but actually they do not. One can be a Christian and be a Muslim. The word, Islam, in Koran 3:85 refers to a way of life and not a theology. Islam means submission, obedience, surrender, sincerity, and peace. A person who sincerely surrenders his life to God and strives to obey Him is practicing Islam. This is why the disciples of Jesus are called Muslims in the Koran.

When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?” Said the disciples: “We are Allah’s helpers: We believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.” (Koran 3:52, Yusuf Ali)

According to verse 2:62, Jews, Christians, and Sabeans who believe in God, the Last Day (that is, the Resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment), and do righteous deeds will not be eternally damned. The Jews and Christians in this verse are not those who have become members of the Muslim community. Otherwise, they would not be called Jews and Christians in this verse. The Sabaeans are probably people who believe in one God, but have no particular religious affiliation. That is the view of some Koranic commentators.

Verse 3:85 is actually teaching the same thing that Jesus taught in the Gospels.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21, NKJV)

The disciples of Jesus were Muslims because they had surrendered their lives to God. A Muslim is one who has surrendered to God.

Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” (Matthew 19:27, NKJV)

The Orthodox Christians are called believers in two surahs: Surah 30 and Surah 85. In Surah 30, it says:

The Romans have been defeated in the nearer land, and they, after their defeat will be victorious Within ten years – Allah’s is the command in the former case and in the latter – and in that day believers will rejoice In Allah’s help to victory. He helpeth to victory whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Merciful. (Koran 30:2-5, Pickthall)

Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall wrote this explanation of this Surah.

    Ar-Rûm, “The Romans,” takes its name from a word in the first verse.
The armies of the Eastern Roman Empire had been defeated by the Persians in all the territory near Arabia. In the year A.D. 613 Jerusalem and Damascus fell, and in the year Egypt. A Persian army invaded Anatolia and was threatening Constantinople itself in the year A.D. 615 or 616 (the sixth or seventh before the Hijrah) when, according to the best authorities, this Sûrah was revealed at Mecca. The pagan Arabs triumphed in the news of Persian victories over the Prophet and his little band of followers, because the Christian Romans were believers in the One God, whereas the Persians were not. They argued that the power of Allah could not be supreme and absolute, as the Prophet kept proclaiming it to be, since the forces of a pagan empire had been able to defeat His worshippers.
The Prophet’s answer was provided for him in this grand assertion of Theocracy, which shows the folly of all who think of Allah as a partisan. It opens with two prophecies: that the Romans would be victorious over the Persians, and that the little persecuted company of Muslims in Arabia would have reason to rejoice, “within ten years.”* In fact, in A.D. 624 the Roman armies entered purely Persian territory, and in the same year a little army of Muslims, led by the Prophet, overthrew the flower of Arab chivalry upon the field of Badr.
But the prophecies are only a prelude to a proclamation of God’s universal kingdom, which is shown to be actual Sovereignty. The laws of nature are expounded as the laws of Allah in the physical spheres, and in the moral and political spheres mankind is informed that there are similar laws of life and death, of good and evil, action and inaction, and their consequences — which no one can escape by wisdom and cunning. His mercy, like His law, surrounds all things, and the standard of His judgment is the same for all. He is not remote or indifferent, partial or capricious. Those who do good earn His favour, and those who do ill earn His wrath, no matter what may be their creed or race; and no one, by the lip profession of a creed, is able to escape His law of consequences.
It belongs to the middle group of Meccan Sûrahs.
*The word in the Arabic (bida’) implies a space of not less than three, and not more than nine, years.
(The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, pp. 289,290, The New American Library, Inc., 1633 Broadway, New York, New York 10019, public domain)

Notice that Mr. Pickthall said, “Because the Christian Romans were believers in one God.” He had a much better understanding of Trinitarian theology than many Muslim clerics do today. Trinitarian Christians do not worship three gods. They worship only one God who consists of three hypostases: Father, Word, and Spirit. Each hypostasis is God in His entirety and not one-third of God or a completely different god from the other two. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. This is a mystery which we do not try to explain. One Orthodox Christian theologian calls the Trinity a cross for the mind. The Koran says concerning God:

They encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. (Koran 2:255, Pickthall)

St. Paul says that “His ways” are “past finding out.” (Romans 11:33)

The Holy Prophet Moses said:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, to do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29, LXX)

So, we back away from trying to explain the mystery and accept what has already been revealed to us concerning it.

In the 85th Surah, the Koran calls Christians believers there, too.

By the heaven, holding mansions of the stars, and by the Promised Day. And by the witness and that whereunto he beareth testimony, (self-)destroyed were the owners of the ditch of the fuel-fed fire, when they sat by it, and were themselves the witnesses of what they did to the believers. They had naught against them save that they believed in Allah, the Mighty, the Owner of Praise, Him unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is of all things the Witness. Lo! they who persecute believing men and believing women and repent not, theirs verily will be the doom of hell, and theirs the doom of burning. Lo! those who believe and do good works, theirs will be Gardens underneath which rivers flow. That is the Great Success. Lo! the punishment of thy Lord is stern. (Koran 85:1-12, Pickthall)

Mr. Pickthall gave this explanation of this surah.

   Al-Buruj takes its name from a word in verse 1 which I have translated “mansions of the stars.” The word has the meaning of towers or mansions and is applied to the signs of the Zodiac. Verses 4 to 7 are generally taken to the massacre of the Christians of Najrân in Al-Yaman by a Jewish king Dhû Nawâs, an event of great historical importance since it caused the intervention of the Negus and led to the Abyssinian supremacy in the Yaman which lasted until the War of the Elephant (Sûrah CV) in the prophets year of birth. Professor Horowitz thinks that the words “owners of the ditch, of the fuel-fed fire” refer not to any historical event but the conditions of all persecutors in the hereafter.
An early Meccan Súrah. (The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, by Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, p. 435, The New American Library, Inc., 1633 Broadway, New York, New York 10019, public domain, ISBN: 0-451-62305-3)

The believers who were being persecuted in this surah were Christians. In the commentary on verses 4-9 of this surah in The Study Quran it says this regarding the interpretation of most Koranic commentators.

Most say that the religion of those persecuted was Christianity. (The Study Quran, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr,  p. 1497, Harper Collins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, New York 10007, Copyright 2015 by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, ISBN: 978-0-06-112586-7)

The aqidah in the Koran and the one that forms the basis for the aqidahs of all Muslims consists of six articles of belief.

  • There is only one God and no other besides Him.
  • There are angels.
  • The teachings of the Old and New Testaments are true and should be obeyed.
  • The revelations of the prophets and messengers of God are true and their commandments which they have received from God should be obeyed.
  • There will be a general resurrection of the dead and a Last Judgment which will soon follow.
  • God is sovereign over the affairs of men and the rest of creation.

There is some disagreement between Sunni and Shiite Muslims regarding the last article of belief. The Sunnis emphasize predestination. The Shiites believe in neither complete free will nor complete predestination. The Mutazilis put a much heavier emphasis on free will than the Shiites.

For Protestant readers, these analogies apply regarding the subject of predestination among the Muslims. The Sunnis believe more like the Presbyterians and the Primitive Baptists. The Shiites are more like the Calminians (those who blend Calvinist theology with Arminian theology). The Mutazilis are more like the Free Will Baptists and the Methodists.

Some verses from the Koran which provide a basis for five of the articles of belief in this aqidah are:

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. (Koran 4:136, Pickthall)

Who is an enemy to Allah, and His angels and His messengers, and Gabriel and Michael! Then, lo! Allah (Himself) is an enemy to the disbelievers. (Koran 2:98, Pickthall)

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the Allah-fearing. (Koran 2:177, Pickthall)

The messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers – we make no distinction between any of His messengers – and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying. (Koran 2:285, Pickthall)

(The same are) those who say: Lo! Allah hath charged us that we believe not in any messenger until he bring us an offering which fire (from heaven) shall devour. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Messengers came unto you before me with miracles, and with that (very miracle) which ye describe. Why then did ye slay them? (Answer that) if ye are truthful! And if they deny thee, even so did they deny messengers who were before thee, who came with miracles and with the Psalms and with the Scripture giving light. (Koran 3:183,184, Pickthall)

So believe in Allah and His messengers. (Koran 4:171, Pickthall)

Lo! those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom. (Koran 4:150,151, Pickthall)

Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms; and messengers We have mentioned unto thee before and messengers We have not mentioned unto thee; and Allah spake directly unto Moses; messengers of good cheer and of warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. (Koran 4:163-165, Pickthall)

Allah made a covenant of old with the Children of Israel and We raised among them twelve chieftains, and Allah said: Lo! I am with you. If ye establish worship and pay the poor-due, and believe in My messengers and support them, and lend unto Allah a kindly loan, surely I shall remit your sins, and surely I shall bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow. Whoso among you disbelieveth after this will go astray from a plain road. (Koran 5:12, Pickthall)

There are two Creeds (or aqidahs) which came out of the Ecumenical Church Councils. From the First Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.), there is this one.

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of His Father, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, being of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made, both which be in Heaven and in Earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from Heaven] and was incarnate and was made Man. He suffered and the third day He rose again, and ascended into Heaven, and He shall come again to judge both the living and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that before He was begotten He was not, or that He was made of things that were not, or that He is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that He is a creature, or subject to change or conversion — all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.

There are some disagreements among Muslims as to whether the Word of God is created or uncreated. Jesus is called the Word of Allah in Koran 4:171. Those Muslims who say that the Word of Allah is uncreated are the right-believing ones according to this Creed. St. John the Theologian, who was one of Jesus’ closest disciples (Matthew 10:2; 17:1-8) and a Muslim (Koran 3:52), wrote:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3, NKJV)

It is important that we accept what the apostles of Jesus wrote. Jesus Himself said to His apostles:

He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. (Matthew 10:40, KJV)

The First Council of the Constantinople wrote this Creed in 381 A.D.

   We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, being of one essence with the Father, through whom all things were made, Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made Man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father. And He shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.
And [we believe] in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, [and] we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. Amen.

In our personal prayers and in church we Orthodox Christians usually say I instead of we in order to personalize our confession of faith.

There are no contradictions in the Koran.

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah , they would have found within it much contradiction. (Koran 4:82, Sahih International)

We Trinitarian Christians do not believe that Jesus is a unipersonal Deity. We believe that He is one hypostasis of God who consists of three hypostases. He is distinct from the other two. These verses do not contradict the teachings of other verses regarding Christians in the Koran.

They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, Son of Mary (Koran 5:17, Pickthall)

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, Son of Mary. The Messiah (Himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, My Lord and your Lord. (Koran 5:72, Pickthall)

These verses are condemning the Sabellian heresy. In 5:72, Jesus calls another hypostasis of the Deity Allah. He does not deny that He is Allah. Since each hypostasis is God in His entirety, it is only appropriate that one hypostasis call another hypostasis Allah or God. The Koran does not provide all of the teachings of Jesus regarding Himself which are found in the Gospels. It does tell Muslims to believe the Gospels. (Some Muslim clerics say that Allah gave Jesus a book which was called the Gospel, but there is absolutely no historical evidence for such a book. Two of Jesus’ disciples wrote two of the Gospels — Sts.Matthew and John. St. Mark wrote what he had learned from St. Peter. St. Luke interviewed people who knew about the events and teachings of Jesus. The Injil is the Four Gospels. The other books of the New Testament should be accepted, too. — St. Matthew 10:40)

Koran 4:171 condemns the Tritheist heresy. Koran 5:116 condemns the Maryamite heresy. We Orthodox Christians do not believe that Allah took unto Himself a Son. We believe that the Son proceeded from the Father. The procession of the Son from the Father is different from the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father. The procession of the Son from the Father is called “being begotten.” These words do not mean that God had sex with someone and physically procreated a son. These words are theological words and we really do not know what they mean. Remember Deuteronomy 29:29 and Koran 2:255 as quoted earlier in this blog.

Whenever the Koran condemns the doctrine of Allah taking unto Himself a Son, it is speaking about the Adoptionist heresy. Paul of Samosata and Nestorius taught Adoptionism.

The Koran also condemns the Bitheist heresy. (Koran 9:30,31; 16:51)

We believe that Jesus is a sacrifice for our sins.(I Corinthians 15:3; I John 2:1,2) St. John the Baptist said that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) The Koran speaks of Jesus’ death in three places. (Koran 3:55; 5:117; 19:33)

The Koran calls St. John the Baptist “a prophet of the righteous.”

And the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah giveth thee glad tidings of (a son whose name is) John, (who cometh) to confirm a word from Allah lordly, chaste, a prophet of the righteous. (Koran 3:39, Pickthall)

There are no textual variants of John 1:29 among the Greek manuscripts. Therefore, we can rest assured that what our Bibles say that St. John the Baptist said about Jesus is correct.

We believe that Jesus arose from the dead and will never die again. (Matthew 28; Mark 16:1-18; Luke 24:1-49; John 20,21) The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is implied in Koran 3:55. Jesus spoke about His resurrection in Koran 19:33.

We believe that He ascended into Heaven. (Mark 16:19,20; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:9-11) The Koran mentions Jesus’ ascension into Heaven in Koran 3:55 and 4:158. His death (Koran 3:55; 5:117) and His ascension into Heaven do, of course, imply that Jesus bodily arose from the dead.

The Holy Spirit is not the Archangel Gabriel as so many Muslim religious leaders say. Nowhere in the Koran does it say that the Holy Spirit is the Archangel Gabriel. The Holy Spirit is the third hypostasis of the Deity. He is God in His entirety. He is not one-third of God. (I have already spoken about Trinity math earlier in this blog.)

We believe in all things visible and invisible. Among the visible things are the angels. We believe in the existence of angels.

We believe in one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The Church will always exist. The gates of Hell will not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18) Anyone who tries to extinguish the Church has become an ally of Satan because he is trying to prevail against it along with the gates of Hell. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. (I Timothy 3:15) The Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church into truth by councils. (John 16:13; Acts 15:28)

We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. (Acts 22:16) I found this interesting verse in the Koran which seems to teach the same thing.

When He caused calm to fall on you as a security from Him and sent down upon you water from the cloud that He might thereby purify you, and take away from you the uncleanness of the Shaitan, and that He might fortify your hearts and steady (your) footsteps thereby. (Koran 8:11, Shakir)

Shaitan is the Arabic name for Satan. God baptized the Muslims with rain water.

Jesus commanded His followers to baptize (Matthew 28:19,20) and said that we need to be baptized. (Mark 16:16; John 3:3-5) The Koran says that we should obey Jesus. (Koran 3:50; 43:63)

Like the Muslims, we believe in a bodily resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment. (John 5:28,29; Matthew 25:31-46) We believe in a blessed afterlife for faithful believers in God. (Isaiah 65:17-25, LXX)

We Orthodox Christians believe that God is sovereign, but man still has a free will. Although man has a free will, he still needs God’s assistance in order to work out his salvation in the fear of God.

We Trinitarian monotheists are believers. (Koran 30:2-5; 85:7) Therefore, according to the Koran, our two Creeds are acceptable in Islam.

Verily We have brought the Truth to you: but most of you have a hatred for Truth. (Koran 43:78, Yusuf Ali)

A Soldier’s Reward

March 12, 2016 Leave a comment

Unmarried Christian and Jewish soldiers may meet their soulmates on the battlefield. There are two passages in the Old Testament which make it lawful to take a virgin woman among the enemy as a wife. There is New Testament approval of this practice as well.

In the Book of Numbers it tells about the children of Israel having taken spoils from the Midianites whom they defeated in battle. Moses gave them instructions regarding the human captives. Only the virgin females of the Midianites were allowed to live. All the other Midianites were supposed to be killed. Here is the passage from the Book of Numbers:

And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword. And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods. And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire. And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts. And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho. And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp. And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. (Num. 31:7-18, KJV)

Verse 18 of this passage says that the Jewish and Christian soldiers should keep the virgin females “alive for themselves.” Going to war could be good for the unmarried Jewish and Christian soldiers. They could possibly find their soulmates on the battlefield. No dating required. Just pick the one you like and she is yours. Further instructions regarding the female virgin captives can be found in Deuteronomy.

When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her. (Deut. 21:10-14, KJV)

After a Jewish or Christian soldier finds his soulmate on the battlefield among the enemies, he cannot make love to her for one lunar month (29 or 30 days). He needs to watch the moon go through its phases. After one lunar month has passed he may go in unto her. No dating necessary. No dowry need to be paid. She is his. If he does not like her after he has gone in unto her, he must let her go free.

Now let us look at the passages in the New Testament which give approval to this practice. The first passage is in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:17-19, KJV)

Those laws in Numbers and Deuteronomy are still in effect! According to Jesus, the laws have not been abolished. St. Paul says the same thing in his Epistle to the Romans!

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. (Rom. 3:31, KJV)

We can also see that Moses and those other Israelites had “obtained a good report through faith.” They believed that it was all right to kill everyone but the female virgins and take them to be their brides. God approved. He told them to do these things.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: (Heb.11:39, KJV)

Look at this verse from the Epistle of James.

Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. (James 5:10, KJV)

Moses was a prophet. He was an example to us. He told the Israelites to kill everyone among the enemies and save the female virgins for themselves. It is all right for Jewish and Christian soldiers to follow the example and teachings of Moses in this matter.

St. John the Theologian said that he wants us to “prosper and be in health.”

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (III John 2, KJV)

Jewish and Christian soldiers will prosper indeed after capturing a woman who will provide them with free labor and also sex. When they get tired of these women, they can just send them out the door.

St. Paul said that woman was created for man. Those young virgin females were created for those Jewish and Christian soldiers.

Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. (I Cor. 11:9, KJV)

St. Paul also says that God “giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” That even includes the women that the Jewish and Christian soldiers capture for themselves on the battlefield!

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. (I Tim. 6:17, KJV)

American soldiers, enjoy your First Amendment rights!

Now for the point I am trying to make here. People are doing the same thing with the Koran that I just did with the Bible. ISIS, the extremists Muslims, and the critics of Islam take verses from the Koran out of their historical context and out of the context of the rest of the surrounding verses in a passage and invent some crazy rubbish like I just did with passages from the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Of course, no one today should do what was allowed to Israelites in 1500 B.C.! Today, we call this sex slavery and war crimes. One must understand those passages in the Old Testament in the context of progressive moral revelation. Instead of shoving the higher moral principles on the Israelites, God simply gave some rules to regulate an already established social practice in the Middle East back then. The higher standards of morality came later.

A principle of interpretation that one must remember is this. There is the text and there is the interpretation of the text. One needs to interpret a text holistically and in context. Otherwise, one gets the wrong meaning.

It is interesting to note here as well that the Church Fathers usually interpreted these dark passages of Scripture allegorically. They never told anyone to do the seemingly barbaric things that people back in Old Testament times actually did.

So, whenever you see someone bashing the Koran by quoting certain verses from it, remember it is possible to do the same thing with the Bible. Atheists, non-Jews, and non-Christians frequently do this.

What the Koran Says about the Bible

March 6, 2016 Leave a comment

One common misconception that many Christians have about the Koran is that it rejects the Bible or replaces it. Actually, however, the Koran is very positive about the Bible and says that it contains Allah’s revelations. Many Muslims, on the other hand, have allowed the Koran to replace the Bible contrary to the teachings of the Koran. The reason why this has happened is because their religious leaders have convinced them that the Bible has been corrupted to such an extent that it can no longer be trusted in matters of doctrine and morality.

However, the Bible which Orthodox Christians used in the seventh century was accepted by Muhammad. We possess manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments in Greek which predate Muhammad by three or four hundred years. Orthodox Christians in the seventh century used the Greek Septuagint and the Greek New Testament. Also, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the twentieth century. Those Hebrew manuscripts predate the birth of Christ. Therefore, the Muslim religious leaders should be encouraging their parishes to read and study the Bible instead of shunning it.

Five of the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Church had already come and gone before Muhammad started receiving his revelations. A well-defined theology already existed among Orthodox Christians. The heresies of Arius, Sabellius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Cerinthus, Nestorius, Eutychius, Origen, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and others were all rejected by the Church during these councils. The tritheist heresy of John Philoponus emerged in the middle of the sixth century and Muhammad was born in 569 A.D. So, it is certain that he had probably heard some heretical Christians propagating this heresy. St. John of Damascus said that Muhammad had dialogued with an Arian monk in Jerusalem. It is also quite conceivable that he encountered some Nestorians. I have mentioned these heresies because of this revelation in the tenth surah.

And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers.(10:94, 95, Pickthall)

This revelation allegedly came about 617 A.D. according to Marmaduke Pickthall. In an earlier revelation which came in about 615 or 616 A.D. Muhammad calls Orthodox Christians “believers.”

The Romans have been defeated in the nearer land, and they, after their defeat will be victorious within ten years – Allah’s is the command in the former case and in the latter – and in that day believers will rejoice. (Koran 30:2-4, Pickthall)

The Romans are the Byzantine Christians in the Eastern Roman Empire. They were at war with the Persian polytheists. In 624 A.D., the Byzantines finally defeated the Persians. Another point to make here is that if the Muslims wanted to get rid of Orthodox Christianity and the word “believers” refers to the Muslims, then they would not rejoice when the Orthodox Christians defeat the Persians.

According to the passage from the tenth surah, therefore, Muhammad was supposed to ask the Orthodox Christians whenever he had any doubts concerning a revelation. The Orthodox Christians are believers according to the thirtieth surah.

The Third Council of Constantinople occurred in 681 A.D. The Monothelite heresy was rejected by the Church then. The Quinisext Council occurred sixty years after Muhammad’s death in 692 A.D. The canons of the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils were written at that one. In 787 A.D. the Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Church rejected the Iconoclast heresy.

During the time of Muhammad, the Koran was being scribbled down onto palm leaves, stones, and animal bones. Some of the Muslims memorized large portions of these revelations, but many were killed in battle. The period of time during the receiving of these revelations lasted from 609 A.D. until 632 A.D., the year during which the Islamic prophet died. After his death, these revelations were gathered together and put into a book called the Koran. The revelations were not arranged according to chronological order. Some of the chapters (i.e., surahs) that were written down later in Muhammad’s life precede some of those that were written down earlier in his life. Even in some chapters, there are verses that may have been written down five or six years later than the rest of the verses in that chapter.

Since these Koranic revelations were not collected together to form a complete written book during the life of Muhammad, one should interpret the word, “revelations,” to mean the Bible and not just the Koran. Here are some passages from the Koran encouraging people to read and know the Bible. Surah 3:79 even says that people should study the Bible. The “People of the Scripture” are the Jews and the Christians. The “Followers of the Remembrance” are the Jews. “Disbelievers” and “unbelievers” in the Koran usually refer to polytheistic idolaters. There were many polytheists among the Arabs during Muhammad’s time.

But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein. (Koran 2:39, Pickthall)

And believe in that which I reveal, confirming that which ye possess already (of the Scripture), and be not first to disbelieve therein, and part not with My revelations for a trifling price, and keep your duty unto Me. (Koran 2:41, Pickthall)

And when We gave unto Moses the Scripture and the Criterion (of right and wrong), that ye might be led aright. (Koran 2:53, Pickthall)

And the Jews say the Christians follow nothing (true), and the Christians say the Jews follow nothing (true); yet both are readers of the Scripture. Even thus speak those who know not. Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they differ. (Koran 2:113, Pickthall)

Those unto whom We have given the Scripture, who read it with the right reading, those believe in it. And whoso disbelieveth in it, those are they who are the losers. (Koran 2:121, Pickthall)

Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. (Koran 2:136, Pickthall)

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the God-fearing. (Koran 2:177, Pickthall)

It is not (possible) for any human being unto whom Allah had given the Scripture and wisdom and the prophethood that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah; but (what he said was): Be ye faithful servants of the Lord by virtue of your constant teaching of the Scripture and of your constant study thereof. (Koran 3:79)

O ye unto whom the Scripture hath been given! Believe in what We have revealed confirming that which ye possess, before We destroy countenances so as to confound them, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers (of old time). The commandment of Allah is always executed. (Koran 4:47, Pickthall)

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. (Koran 4:136, Pickthall)

Lo! Those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom. But those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between any of them, unto them Allah will give their wages; and Allah was ever Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 4:150-152, Pickthall)

Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms; and messengers We have mentioned unto thee before and messengers We have not mentioned unto thee; and Allah spake directly unto Moses; messengers of good cheer and of warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. (Koran 4:163-165, Pickthall)

If they had observed the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto them from their Lord, they would surely have been nourished from above them and from beneath their feet. Among them there are people who are moderate, but many of them are of evil conduct. (Koran 5:66, Pickthall)

Say O People of the Scripture! Ye have naught (of guidance) till ye observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto you from your Lord. That which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) from thy Lord is certain to increase the contumacy and disbelief of many of them. But grieve not for the disbelieving folk. (Koran 5:68, Pickthall)

He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in truth. In the day when He saith: Be! It is. His Word is the Truth, and His will be the Sovereignty on the day when the trumpet is blown. Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, He is the Wise, the Aware. (Koran 6:74, Pickthall)

Perfected is the Word of thy Lord in truth and justice. There is naught that can change His words. He is the Hearer, the Knower. (Koran 6:116, Pickthall)

Again, We gave the Scripture unto Moses, complete for him who would do good, an explanation of all things, a guidance and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord. And this is a blessed Scripture which We have revealed. So follow it and ward off (evil), that ye may find mercy. Lest ye should say: The Scripture was revealed only to two sects before us, and we in sooth were unaware of what they read; or lest ye should say: If the Scripture had been revealed unto us, we surely had been better guided than are they. Now hath there come unto you a clear proof from your Lord, a guidance and mercy; and who doeth greater wrong than he who denieth the revelations of Allah, and turneth away from them? We award unto those who turn away from Our revelations an evil doom because of their aversion. (Koran 6:155-158, Pickthall)

Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and lo! We verily are its Guardian. (Koran 15:9, Pickthall)

And We sent not (as Our messengers) before thee other than men whom We inspired – Ask the followers of the Remembrance if ye know not!  (Koran 16:43, Pickthall)

Lo! Those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, Allah guideth them not and theirs will be a painful doom. Only they invent falsehood who believe not Allah’s revelations, and (only) they are the liars. (Koran 16:104, 105, Pickthall)

And thy Lord is Best Aware of all who are in the heavens and the earth. And we preferred some of the prophets above others, and unto David We gave the Psalms. (Koran 17:55, Pickthall)

And We sent not (as Our messengers) before thee other than men, whom We inspired. Ask the followers of the Reminder if ye know not? (Koran 21:7, Pickthall)

And We sent no messenger before thee but We inspired him, (saying): There is no Allah save Me (Allah), so worship Me. (Koran 21:25, Pickthall)

And We verily gave Moses and Aaron the Criterion (of right and wrong) and a light and a Reminder for those who keep from evil. (Koran 21:48, Pickthall)

Never sent We a messenger or a prophet before thee but when He recited (the message) Satan proposed (opposition) in respect of that which he recited thereof. But Allah abolisheth that which Satan proposeth. Then Allah establisheth His revelations. Allah is Knower, Wise. (Koran 22:52, Pickthall)

We verily gave Moses the Scripture and placed with him his brother Aaron as henchman. (Koran 25:35, Pickthall)

And We verily gave the Scripture unto Moses after We had destroyed the generations of old: clear testimonies for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy, that haply they might reflect. (Koran 28:43, Pickthall)

But as for those who disbelieved and denied Our revelations, and denied the meeting of the Hereafter, such will be brought to doom. (Koran 30:16, Pickthall)

We verily gave Moses the Scripture; so be not ye in doubt of his receiving it; and We appointed it a guidance for the Children of Israel. (Koran 32:23, Pickthall)

And We verily gave Moses the guidance, and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit the Scripture, A guide and a reminder for men of understanding. (Koran 40:53,54, Pickthall)

Unto this, then, summon (O Muhammad). And be thou upright as thou art commanded, and follow not their lusts, but say: I believe in whatever Scripture Allah hath sent down, and I am commanded to be just among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. Unto us our works and unto you your works; no argument between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and unto Him is the journeying. (Koran 42:15, Pickthall)

Surah 15:9 is often quoted by Muslims as referring to the Koran, but one must remember that the Torah is also called the Reminder in verses 21:7, 48 and 40:53,54 of the Koran. Surah 6:116 says that “there is naught that can change” Allah’s words. Surah 22:52 says that Allah establishes His revelations even when Satan tries to undermine them and destroy them. The Muslim religious leaders should pay attention to this revelation of Allah:

But the Word of the Lord endures forever. (I Peter 1:25, NKJV)

and this one as well in their own holy book:

Lo! Those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, Allah guideth them not and theirs will be a painful doom. (Koran 16:104, Pickthall)

They should also ask the Orthodox Christians whenever they have doubts about a particular revelation. (Koran 10:94,95)

Also, notice how often Allah uses the words, We, Our, and Us, when referring to Himself but also claims to be only one God in the Koran. It is quite obvious to a Trinitarian Christian that Trinitarian theology is being expounded in the Koran. The subject of the Trinity and the various heresies that the Koran condemns are the topic of another blog.