Daily Bible Nugget #518, Matthew 28:6

The Nugget:

Mat 28:6  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

My Comment:

The angel announced to the women who had gone to the tomb of Jesus early on the First Day of the week, “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.”

This is one of the best established facts of history.

Rejoice this Easter Sunday in the fact of the Resurrection, and if you have not yet done so, place your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and eternal life. He is the only way to God (John 14:6). God Himself affirmed the truth of what Jesus taught by raising Him bodily from the dead “on the third day.”

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The Similarities Between Islam and Mormonism

by Vijay Chandra

 

This article will compare the similarities between Islamic teaching and the teaching of Mormonism. Recently a believer asked me what is the difference between Islam and Mormonism, are they the same, or is there any difference between the two religions? I classify Islam and Mormonism as man-made religions which have deceived millions of people. So, in this article, I will bring out the similarities between the two.

Both teach that angels visited their prophets in order to restore the true religion and that their prophets are closely related to the means of salvation. Both have new sacred books [Book of Mormon and the Qur’an] which Muhammad and Joseph Smith claim to have received from the angels [i.e. through revelation or revealed by inspiration]. Both say that their God is the only true God, that their religion is the only true religion and both believe that salvation is by works and deeds. Both of these religions believe in polygamy [multiple wives]. But there is a difference worth noting between the two. Mormonism is polytheistic where Islam is not. Jesus is one of the three Gods and also the brother of Lucifer, where Islam teaches only one God. Mormonism teaches people have the potential to become gods where Islam would deny that. Mormonism says that Jesus was crucified, where Islam does not. Islam denies His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

 

I will here draw the similarities and you can draw your own conclusion from the facts here. These two religions were originated by the devil and anyone who believes either one will end up in the pit of hell.

 

First of all, I will deal with the doctrines of Mormonism and then with the teaching and doctrine of Islam.

  1. Mormonism and their claim:
  2. The Bible is corrupted: “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless translations, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors. There are many things in the Bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelations of the Holy Ghost to me”.

 

While Islam says ‘Tahrif, some of the sacred writings of God have become corrupted. The Tawrat [Torah] given to Moses [Musa], the Psalms [Zabur] to David [Daud], the Gospel [injil] to Jesus [Isa].

There are the books of Abraham [Surah 87:18-19] quoted from The Meaning of Glorious Qur’an [Marmaduke Pickthall: Dorset Press, New York].

  1. The Bible prophesied their prophets coming:
  • Mormonism uses the Bible when it suits them to support their doctrines but deny it when it does not. They quote Ezekiel 37:19, ‘say to them, “Thus says the LORD GOD,  behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, His companions, and I will put them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one  in MY hand”.
  • Muslim theologians use Deuteronomy 18:18 to prove that Muhammed was prophesied: “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him” [we should note here: this is in reference  to raising someone from the Jews [countryman]. Surah 46:10, ‘See ye’ [this teaching] be from Allah, and ye reject it, and a witness from among the Children of Israel testifies to the similarity [with earlier scripture]. And has believed while ye are arrogant, [how unjust ye are], truly guides not a people of unjust.

 

  1. Angelic visitations to their prophets to restore the truth:

Both Islam and Mormonism believe in the revelatory angels, namely, Gabriel and Moroni.

  • As Joseph Smith says, “John, writing in the New Testament’s book of Revelation, foresaw ‘another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred and tongue, and people’. One specific angel held the keys of responsibility for the book of Mormon. That was the angel Moroni. These examples are but a few of many biblical doctrines that are clarified by the scriptures of the Restoration”.
  • The Qur’an claims in Surah 2:97, “Say; [O, Muhammed to mankind] Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel—for he brings down the revelation to the heart by Allah’s will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe”. Surah 53:4, 9, “It is no less than inspiration sent down to him-[5] he was taught by one Mighty in Power, [6], Endowed with Wisdom; for he appeared [in a stately form]; [7], While he was in the highest part of the horizon; [8], then he approached and came closer; [9] And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or [even] nearer.

 

  1. Their new sacred book revealed by inspiration
  • Thus the book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by the power of man.
  • In Surah 4:82 “Will they not then ponder on the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much incongruity” [or discrepancy]. Surah 17:105 “With truth have We sent it down, and with truth hath it descended. And We have sent as naught else save a bearer of good tidings and a warner” [this may refer to sinners]. In Surah 39:28 “A Lecture in Arabic containing no crookedness, that haply they may ward off [evil] [or guard against evil]”.

 

  1. Closely associate their prophecies with God:

Qur’an says in Surah 3:32, “ Say: Obey Allah and the messenger [His Apostle]. But if they turn away, lo! Allah loveth not the disbelievers [in his guidance]”. Mormonism claims that ‘a testimony of Joseph Smith is vital. No man can accept Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, no man can accept his church; the church of Jesus Christ, unless he can accept Joseph Smith as God’s mouthpiece and the restorer of his work in these latter days [Fawn M. Brodie, No Man knows my history: The Life of Joseph Smith, Second Edition, New York, 1972].

  1. Their god is true god:

Mormonism says ‘And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship’ [Doctrines of the Covenants]. Qur’an says, Surah 3:62, ‘This is the true account: There is no God except Allah, and that Allah, He is indeed the Exalted Power, the Wise’.

  1. Their religion is the true religion:

Mormonism says “true religion, the religion of Jesus Christ, was instituted of God for the benefit of man, and it is found only in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Muslims claim that their religion is true as quoted in Surah 3:19, ‘The religion before Allah [submission to His will], Nor did the people of the book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after the knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah [He] is swift in calling to account”. In Surah 3:85, “ 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 rants of those who have lost [all spiritual goods]”. Point to be noted, they both place emphasis on religion for and upon the founders Muhammad and Joseph Smith.

 

They both deny the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity:  As quoted Qur’an [ Surah 4:171], “ O people of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion! for say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the Son of Mary was [no more than] an apostle of Allah, and His word, which he bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him, so believe in Allah and His apostles, Say not ‘trinity’; desist, it will be better for you, for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him [the exalted is He] above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs”. Mormonism denies the biblical doctrine of Trinity as they quote,  “The ancient prophets knew that the  Godhead consisted of three separate and distinct personages, each of whom had a definite work to perform, and yet they all worked in perfect unity as one. The three Gods constituted the Holy Spirit”.

 

They [both religions] have additional Scriptures.

 

Surah 2:185 says “The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance and the Criterion [of right and wrong]. And whoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whoever of you is sick or on a journey, [let him fast the same] number of other days. Allah desires for your ease; He desireth not hardship for you: and He desires that ye complete the period and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure ye may be thankful”. Muslims believe the Qur’an [lit. ‘recitations’] is the divine book from Allah to Muhammed, who was 40, through the angel Gabriel over a 23 year period. It was first revealed in the year 609.

 

Both religions believe that salvation is by works:

In the book of Mormon [2 Nephi 23:23], “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God, for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do”. In Moroni 10:32, “yes, come unto Christ and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourself of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by the grace ye may the perfect in Christ, and if  by the grace of God, ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God”. The tenth president said the following “One of the most pernicious doctrines ever associated by man, is the doctrine of ‘justification by faith’, which entered into the hearts of many since the days of the so-called ‘reformation’. The sectarian dogma of ‘Justification by Faith alone’ has exercised an influence for Evil. The ideas upon which this pernicious doctrine was founded was at first associated with that of an absolute predestination, by which man was foredoomed to destruction, or to an undeserved salvation”.

While Qur’an says the following according to Surah 14:13, 15, “Those are limits set by Allah; those who obey and His Apostle will be admitted to gardens with rivers flowing beneath, to abide therein [for ever] and that will be the supreme achievement, [14] But those who disobey Allah and His Apostle and transgress His limits will be admitted to a fire, to abide therein. And they shall have a humiliating punishment”. In Surah 5:9, “To those who believe and do deeds of righteousness hath Allah promised forgiveness and a great reward”. In Surah 7:8-9, “The balance that day will be true [nicely]; those whose scale [of good] will be heavy, will prosper; [9] Those whose scale will be light, will be their souls in perdition, for that they wrongfully treated Our signs”.

 

In their testimony this what the founders of two false religion say: ‘I bear my testimony that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is true, that LDS is the true church’. And Islam says ‘There is no God but Allah, and Muhammed is his true prophet’. In order to be considered true Mormon, a person must bear testimony that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that his church is the true church. In Islam, in order to be considered a Muslim, a person must recite the Shahada, the profession of Allah and Muhammad.

 

 

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Daily Bible Nugget #517, 2 Corinthians 6:2

The Nugget:

2Co 6:2  (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (KJV)

2Co 6:2 In the Scriptures God says, “When the time came, I listened to you, and when you needed help, I came to save you.” That time has come. This is the day for you to be saved. (CEV)

My Comment:

In the light of eternity, the most important thing you can do today is make sure you are truly saved, that you are rightly related to Jesus Christ because you have personally for yourself placed your faith in Him alone for salvation and eternal life.

Nothing else in this world matters more than this!

Many years ago I read a leaflet with the title, “Which Church Saves?” The Bible answer to this question is that no church saves. Any church or religious organization which claims to be the one true faith is a false religion. Salvation does not come through joining a church or being a member of a particular religious group. Only continuing faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior meets the requirements to receive eternal life.

I learned this truth in 1953 as a result of reading and re-reading the New Testament. You can come to true faith in Jesus Christ the same way I did. Read the New Testament for yourself repeatedly and you will learn the truth. You will not only learn the truth, but you will personally experience the truth.

2 Corinthians 6:2 is one of the key verses I suggest for careful study in the article I posted here about the “Hidden Features of the Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury” last October 23, 2018 (http://www.realbiblestudy.com/?p=2809). This post today is a continuation of the series begun then. The cross references to the verse, 2 Corinthians 6:2, make for a very important and life-changing study. Here are those cross references:

2 Corinthians 6:2

a time accepted. T553. 2Co 6:1 g (receive). +Job 27:8 (T572). +Psa 69:13 (T1150). +Psa 90:12 (T727). **Pro 1:24-28, *Ecc 9:10, >Isa 49:8; **Isa 55:6; Isa 61:2, *Jer 8:20, Eze 16:8, Zec 9:12, Mat 25:10, 11, 12, Luk 4:19; +Luk 16:26 (T390). Luk 19:42, 42, 44, Heb 3:7; +*Heb 3:13; Heb 4:7.

have I succoured. or, helped. Gr. boētheō (S# G997, Heb 2:18). Jdg 5:23.

now. T1168, +*Gen 6:3; =Gen 45:9, Exo 16:21, **Jos 24:15, +*1Sa 15:23, +*1Ki 18:21, *Job 9:4; Job 33:14; *Job 36:11; *Job 36:12, Psa 32:6; Psa 95:7, 8, **Pro 27:1; **Pro 28:13; **Pro 28:14; **Pro 29:1, **Ecc 8:11-13; *Ecc 12:1, **Isa 1:18; **Isa 55:6; **Isa 55:7; Isa 57:17; *Isa 63:10, Jer 2:13; Jer 2:19; *Jer 8:20, **Eze 3:18; **Eze 3:19, **Dan 9:13, Hos 4:6; Hos 7:9, 10; Hos 7:13, 14, Zep 3:2, Zec 7:11, 12, 13, 14, Mal 2:2; Mal 3:18; Mal 4:1, Mat 24:44, *Luk 12:19; *Luk 12:20; +*Luk 13:24; +*Luk 13:25; *Luk 19:5; *Luk 19:42, **Joh 6:37; *Joh 8:24; *Joh 8:47; *Joh 12:35; *Joh 12:48, Act 3:23; *Act 24:25; *Act 26:28; *Act 26:29, 2Th 1:7, 8; **2Th 2:10, 11, 12, 2Ti 4:3, 4, **Heb 2:3; +*Heb 3:13; +*Heb 9:27; Heb 12:25, **Jas 4:13, **Rev 3:17, 18, 19, 20; Rev 10:5, 6.

accepted time. Psa 32:6; Psa 69:13, *Ecc 9:12, Song 2:13, **Isa 55:6, Mat 5:25, Luk 11:9; Luk 12:58; Luk 18:37, Joh 4:40, +Rom 15:16.

behold, now. Gen 19:15, +*Lev 8:32, Jos 4:10, Pro 27:1, Hos 13:13, *Luk 13:25, Act 17:32; Act 24:25.

day of salvation. +*Psa 118:24, Isa 49:8.

 

Another “hidden feature” not on my original list of “hidden features” is a note I placed in my first Bible study tool, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, but left out of my second Bible study tool, Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, and retained in my third Bible study tool, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury, is the following Note, titled in the Subject Index, “Salvation, plan of,” Ezekiel 33:16 note:

Ezekiel 33:16

Eze 33:16  None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.

None of his sins. Since the unsaved will go to hell to suffer eternal punishment (+*Eze 18:4 note, Eze 18:20 note; +Mat 25:46), while the saved upon death go immediately to be with Christ (+2Co 5:8, +Php 1:23); since the unsaved will experience eternal torment (Luk 16:24), while the saved experience eternal life (Joh 11:25, 26, +*Rev 14:13), there is no middle ground (**Joh 3:36). The sins of the saved person “shall not be mentioned unto him” (+*Eze 18:22), for Christ died for our sins (**2Co 5:15; **2Co 5:17; **2Co 5:21), forever purged our sins by his shed blood (Eph 1:7, Rev 1:5) by the forever complete and perfect sacrifice of himself just once (Heb 10:10, 11, 12) on the cross (1Pe 2:24). In Christ we are a new creature (*2Co 5:17), justified by faith (Rom 5:1), no longer under condemnation (Joh 3:18; Joh 5:24, Rom 8:1), possessing the righteousness of Christ (Php 3:9), ready to be presented faultless before God (Jud 1:24), on the basis of our placing faith in his finished work for us (Eph 2:8, 9, 10). +*Eze 18:22, Psa 79:8, *Isa 1:18; *Isa 43:25; *Isa 44:22, **Mic 7:18; **Mic 7:19, Rom 4:7; Rom 5:16; Rom 5:21, Heb 8:12, +*1Jn 2:1, 2, 3.

he hath done. Deut 6:18.

shall surely live. Eze 18:17, +*Lev 18:5 note.

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Islam and the Crucifixion of Jesus

by Vijay Chandra

 

Introduction:

The attack on the crucifixion of Jesus is mounted by Islamist theologians: They consistently attack his deity and his crucifixion. So I will in this article defend the crucifixion and refute the attacks of these Islamic scholars. The devil uses means to undermine the crucifixion of Christ, he is using religion to suppress the truth of the crucifixion of Christ. Apologetically they misuse the Scriptures and bring their own spurious tradition.

The Muslim religion is one of the fastest growing religions of the world, if not the fastest. Among its many differences with Christianity is that it ‘denies’ the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They deny His divinity as well. Muslims believe in a ‘substitution theory’ [another person was crucified in Jesus’ place], ascension theory [Jesus was rescued from the cross and ascended to heaven], or swoon theory [Jesus did not actually die on the cross and survived the pains of the crucifixion]. Each of these theories clearly denies the death of Jesus by crucifixion.

The Islamic belief is not just something that Muslims conjured up in response to Christianity. Rather, the Qur’an clearly denies the crucifixion of Jesus in Surah 4:157-58 which states

“—they [the Jews] said [in boast], ‘we killed Jesus, the Son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”

‘’—-. But they killed him not, nor crucified Him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are ‘full of doubts’, with no [certain] knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not—Nay, Allah raised him up unto himself [Abdullah Yusuf Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, Tenth Edition.

A. The Muslim View:

Commenting on the above verses, the renowned Qur’anic translator and commentator, Yusuf Ali states “The Quranic teaching is that Christ was not crucified and nor killed by the Jews—-“The Muslim apologist and author Ahmed Deeat agrees. “On the subject of the crucifixion the Muslim is told in no uncertain terms in the Holy Qur’an—that they did not kill Him, nor did they crucify Him”. Therefore, the Qur’an’s teaching is that Jesus did not die by crucifixion, which is in direct contrast to Christianity which says there is no salvation apart from the cross. We see the fact in the following Scriptures which clearly demonstrate the blindness of Islamic apologists: Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:22, 23, 24. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s favor to us who are being saved [HCSB].

 

Putting all theological assumptions aside, what does this Bible evidence declare? Did Jesus really die on the cross or did he just appear to be dead?

 

B. The Historical View:

1. Eye witness sources

There are many streams of evidence [the source is the Inspired Scripture], from which one can argue for the historicity of Christ’s death by crucifixion, of which I will use only some.

The first line of evidence for Jesus’ crucifixion is from the testimony of eye witness sources. Many Muslims do not believe there is eye witness material in the accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus. In fact, one Muslim apologist claims that “Not a single one of the Christians was a witness with them [the Jews]. Rather the apostles kept themselves a distance through fear, and not one of them witnessed the crucifixion. The argument points to Matt: 26:56, which says: ‘Then all the apostles forsook him, and fled’. Though the disciples forsook Jesus, some of them were still witnesses from a distance (Mark 14:54). Also, there was an anonymous disciple whom Jesus, while on the cross, commanded to take care of Mary (John 19:26, 27). The Gospel of Luke reports that while Jesus was carrying His cross “there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him” (Luke 23:27).

 

In addition to those people already mentioned, the Gospel also references Jewish leaders (Matthew 27:41, Mark 15:31, Luke 23:35, and John 18:18, 19], who all witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion. For Muslims to argue that the crucifixion is not historical simply does not square with the historical data because there were multitudes of witnesses to the fact that the Romans crucified Jesus.

 

C. Medical Evidence:

In light of the eyewitness evidence from the Gospels, there is strong medical evidence that confirms the historicity of Christ’s death as presented in the gospels. Before examining the medical evidence, as a general point, the Romans knew how to crucify their victims. To suppose that the Romans would have allowed Jesus to escape the cross is nonsensical. The Romans knew how to kill someone, and they knew how to make sure that their victim dies. They were very thorough in their crucifixion of criminals.

a. First, in Jesus’ pre-crucifixion experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Gospel of Luke reports that Jesus’s sweated ‘great drops of blood’ (Luke 22:44).

b. Second, Jesus’ desire, while on the cross, to receive a drink confirms the fact that he likely was experiencing another known medical condition called ‘hypovolemic’ shock, which would have been caused by his beating. According to medical science this  “hypovolemic shock” does  four things:

  1. First, the heart races to try to pump blood that isn’t there.
  2. Second, the blood pressure drops, causing fainting or collapse.
  3. Third, the kidney’s stop producing urine to maintain what volume is left.
  4. Fourth, the person becomes very thirsty as the body craves fluids to replace the blood volume [Lee Strobel, The case for Christ].

c. One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water (John 19:34). All these evidences tell us that indeed Christ died on the cross. The spear went through his lung and into to his heart, so when the spear was pulled out, some fluid – the pericardial effusion and the pleural effusion-came out. This would have the appearance of clear fluid like water.

 

D. Early Statements of Belief:

 

There is evidence for the historicity of the gospel accounts, but also there is evidence from early Christian creeds which are located in various places in the New Testament including Luke 24: 34, also in Philippians 2:1-11, and in 1 Corinthians 15. The creed that provides the strongest evidence for the death and resurrection of Jesus is from 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4, 5, which says “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve”.

These few verses are just a sample of a much longer statement by apostle Paul on the resurrection appearances of Jesus. Following verses (1 Corinthians 15:6, 7, 8), go on to describe 500 people, James, the apostles, and Paul himself who all directly saw Jesus in person. Some scholars doubt the fact that the creed continues past verse 5; however, as one scholar notes, –“it is agreed by virtually all scholars that the creed includes at least verses 3, 4 and 5”.

Scholars believe that 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4, 5 is a pre-existing Christian creed that Paul is quoting for several reasons. Looking carefully at these verses, we note the following:

  1. First, there are certain words in the text that indicate someone was passing on tradition. For example, William Lane Craig notes that the three-fold use of ‘and that’ is such an indication. Other words also point to the communication of earlier tradition such as ‘delivered’ and ‘received’.
  2. Second, there are many phrases in this text that Paul does not normally use in his writing, such as ‘for our sins’, ‘according to the Scriptures’, ‘he has been raised’, ‘third day’, ‘he was seen’ and ‘the twelve’. These seem to indicate that Paul did not compose this portion of the text on his own, but is rather quoting someone else’s words. These are just a few of the reasons why scholars think that this text is a creed, and—numerous critical theologians date it from three to eight years after Jesus’ resurrection.

Though there is compelling evidence that [1 Corinthians 15] contains an early creed, yet the question arises, How do scholars find the date of the creed? They generally start from the crucifixion of Jesus which is dated at 30 A.D., and then move to the fact of Paul’s conversion which took around 33-35 A.D. They then proceed to Paul’s testimony in Galatians 1:18 which states “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days”. By the simple fact that Paul tells the time when he went to see Peter, one can date this event to around 36-38 A.D. While in Jerusalem, Paul must have received the creed which is included in 1 Corinthians 15, as we see that verses 5, 7 indicate, as some scholars say,  ‘the  presence of both Peter and James mentioned in the list of appearances, indicates the probability that Paul received this creed from the apostles when he visited Jerusalem. Therefore, given the above evidence, the creed of I Corinthians 15 is within eight years of Jesus’s crucifixion. On top of this, if one adds to the idea that Peter had the creed for a while before delivering it to Paul, one has to acknowledge that it goes back practically to the events themselves.

 

In addition to the fact that the creed is early, the evidence from the creed points to eyewitness accounts of the resurrection appearance of Jesus. Verse 5 states, “he was seen of Cephas, then the twelve”. This verse implies that the disciples saw Jesus collectively as one scholar states, “—even if we take the shorter creed and quit at verse 5, we still have an eyewitness report of a collective experience (John 20:19-29, 31)—an appearance to the twelve. Therefore, this is strong evidence for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Not only is this an early creed but also it likely contains eyewitness accounts. Furthermore, the fact that the creed acknowledges Jesus’ death and resurrection is strong evidence for the death of Jesus by crucifixion. Without the death, there is no resurrection.

Along with the creed in 1 Corinthians 15, there is also early preaching material which attests to the crucifixion of Jesus in the book of Acts. In the specific places in the Acts of the Apostles, we see references to the crucifixion. There are several verses, in addition to the creed in 1 Cor. 15, that provide specific evidence for Jesus’ death by crucifixion. Among many reasons that scholars believe these are creeds is the undeveloped theology in them. In Acts 2:23, Peter states “Him [ Jesus], being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain”. Peter again makes his point in Acts 2:36, “Therefore let all of the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ”. Therefore, not only is there early testimony that hints at the fact of the crucifixion but from the preaching of the apostles, The book of Acts clearly gives the historical fact of the crucifixion of Christ as the apostles preached it.

 

E. Transformation of the Disciples and the Emergence of the Church

Another evidence for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is the transformation of the disciples and the emergence of the church. It is a historical fact that the Christian church originated in the 1st century. This is something on which the Christians and Muslims can agree. However, the hypothesis that Jesus never really died on the cross does not account for this phenomenon. As has been shown, many people witnessed Christ’s death, and His disciples then saw Him risen. If Jesus had not really died, He could have set the disciples straight, as any good prophet would do. Muslims certainly do not believe that Jesus was a malicious deceiver trying to fool the disciples and start a false religion. Instead, Jesus affirmed their belief that He had died and came back to life. The disciples then began preaching a crucified and risen Messiah, and none of the other eyewitnesses came forward to refute them by denying Jesus’ death, nor by producing a body to show he had not risen. The disciples’ lives were completely changed by their absolute certainty that they had seen Jesus die and that they had seen Him alive again afterward, and no one else in the crowds that had also witnessed the events could refute them. Indeed, none of them even tried to refute their belief that Jesus had died on the cross. They saw it too! Any non-crucifixion theory just does not make sense.

 

Conclusion:

Alternative theories of what happened to Jesus simply do not adequately account for the above evidence. For Muslims to believe that Jesus did not really die on the cross does not explain well the emergence of the Christian church. it has been shown that the Christians preached the death and resurrection extremely early in the history of the church and many of them died for their beliefs. To suppose that the disciples did not know that Jesus really died on the cross and arose from the dead does not go well with the fact that there is extremely early eyewitness creedal material that indicates Jesus died and arose from the dead. To suppose that the disciples knew Jesus did not die on the cross and then boldly proclaimed that it happened is simply absurd. People certainly die for things that they believe to be true, but for them to die for something they know to be false is beyond credulity. The crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus is historical fact. The skeptics like the Islamic scholars will deny this but the word of God is the authority and gives the authentic details of His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.

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Qur’an and the Afterlife

by Vijay Chandra

 

The Qur’an gives a very different picture of the afterlife and about the spirit realm. It is full of contradictions or we can say very confusing. It has borrowed ideas from a variety of sources, as well as the author’s own misconceptions. The Bible does not make clear every aspect of life beyond the grave, nor does the Bible answer every question that one might have about that realm. It nevertheless affords a consistent, cohesive, definitive treatment of the subject that contrasts sharply with the Qur’an. We need to consider, for example, the Qur’an’s handling of the concepts of heaven and paradise.

The Qur’anic references will be taken from The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an by Marmaduke Pickthall [Dorset Press].

 

Muslims, according to the Qur’an, believe in seven heavens. The question is where did they get this idea of ‘seven heavens’. The Qur’an makes many references to the existence of seven heavens. Let us consider the following allusion. “He it is Who created for you all that is in earth. Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as ‘seven heavens’. And He is Knower of all things” [Surah 2:29]; “Say, Who is Lord of the seven heavens, and Lord of the Tremendous Throne? They will say: Unto Allah [all that belongeth]. Say: Will ye not then keep duty [unto Him]” [Surah 23:86-87]; “The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein praise Him” [Surah 17:44]. Speaking of the creation of the Universe, the Qur’an states: “Then he ordained them “seven heavens” in two days and inspired in each heaven its mandate and we decked the nether heaven with lamps, and rendered it inviolable” [Surah 41:12]. Noah’s admonition to his contemporaries included reminders of Allah’s creative actions: “See ye not how Allah hath created “seven heavens” in harmony, and hath made the moon a light therein, and made the sun a lamp?” [Surah 71:15-16]

 

But in sharp contrast to the Qur’an, the Bible speaks of only three heavens. I will highlight each of the three ‘heavens’ as follows:

 

  1. The “first heaven” is the Earth’s atmosphere—the sky—where different kinds of birds fly freely, as Genesis 1:2; 8:2, Isaiah 55:10, Luke 13:19 indicate.
  2. The “second heaven” is ‘outer space’—where the Sun, Moon, and stars are situated, as we read in Genesis 15:5, 22:17, Deuteronomy 4:19, Nahum 3:16. These two heavens together are referred to in the first verse of the Bible. It says “In the beginning, God created the heavens [plural] and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
  3. The “third heaven” in biblical thought is the spirit realm beyond the physical realm where God and other celestial beings reside (Deuteronomy 10:14, 26:15; 1 Kings 8:27, 30). Often referred to as the “heaven of heavens”—a Semiticism wherein the genitive is used for the superlative degree—which means the highest or ultimate heaven. The same figure of speech is seen in the terms “Song of Songs”, “King of kings”, “Lord of lords”. While the Bible uses the number seven frequently [God rested on the seventh day after the creation, it does not mean that God was asleep but He delighted in His creative work]. The Bible never mentions anything about the so-called seven heavens, not even in the book of Revelation where we find the number ‘seven’ is used figuratively and mentioned 45 times. the Qur’an’s allusions cannot be rationalized as poetic or figurative since none of the Qur’anic citations gives any indication of a figurative use. Where did the Qur’an or its author get the notion of seven heavens? Uninspired sources clarify the circumstance. Jewish rabbis frequently spoke of seven heavens. They also spoke of seven gates of hell, another feature copied into the Qur’an that is in conflict with the Bible. “And lo! For such hell will be the promised place, it hath seven gates, and each gate hath an appointed portion” [Surah 15:43-44]. The Qur’an’s use of the phrase “the seven paths” [Surah 23:17] is a Talmudic expression [Roswell, J.M. translator. The Koran, London, 1950]. So the author borrowed heavily from other sources to compile the Qur’an.
  4. So what is ‘paradise’? This term is of Persian origin, and referred to “a grand enclosure or preserve, hunting ground, park, shady and well-watered” [Thayer’s lexicon]. The Jews used the term as a garden, pleasure-ground, grove, park, and came to apply it to that portion of hades that was thought “to be the abode of the souls of the piteous until the resurrection”. With this linguistic background, the word is used in three different senses in the Bible: [1] It is used in the Septuagint, or LXX [Genesis 2:8, 9, 10, 15, 16; 3:2, 3, 4:9, 11, 24, 26], the Greek translation of the Old Testament, to refer to the literal Garden of Eden on Earth where Adam and Eve lived. It normally is translated ‘garden’ in English versions. [2] It is used one time, in a highly figurative New Testament book, to refer to the final abode of the saved [i.e., heaven (Revelation 2:7)], and [3] it is used in connection with the hadean realm. The Hebrew Old Testament term for the waiting place is [sheol] and the New Testament term is [hades]. The Qur’an shows no awareness of this biblical distinction, instead, it advocates the existence of seven heavens [as noted] paradise [which is located among seven heavens], and hell, an evident reflection of the uninspired influence of both Jewish and Persian sources of the sixth and seventh centuries.
  5. In the Bible, hades is a broad term that designates the receptacle of disembodied spirits where all humans who die await the Lord’s return [Luke 23:43, 16:19-31; 2 Corinthians 12:4] prior to the resurrection [1 Corinthians 15:34-54], the judgment and the final disposition of all humans to one of two ultimate eternal realms, i.e., heaven or hell. This realm encompasses two ‘compartments’ now: one for the deceased righteous, and one for the deceased wicked. The area inhabited by the righteous is called ‘paradise’, while the area for the ‘wicked’ is ‘tartarus’. Very little information is actually given in the Bible in the way of description regarding ‘hades’. In fact, the only descriptive detail provided (in Luke 16:19-31) indicates that within [1] paradise is described as a place where one is ‘comforted’ (Luke 16:25), and [2] it is separated from ‘tartarus’ by a ‘great  gulf’ (Luke 16:26).  No additional  explanation is given regarding paradise— The Qur’an gives the description of ‘paradise’ as we see in Surah 48:15—which has been promised to the “faithful ones”,  “it is said there are rivers of water unpolluted, and rivers of milk, whereof they change not, and rivers of wine delicious to the drinkers, and rivers of clear-run honey; therein for them is every kind of fruit, with pardon from the Lord [Are those who enjoy all this], like those who are immortal in the fire and are given boiling water to drink, so that it teareth their bowels”. So according to this verse, in Muslim paradise one will find ‘rivers of waters’, ‘rivers of milk’, and ‘rivers of wine’. But the most interesting thing that the Qur’an forbids is drinking alcohol [it is forbidden in the Islamic society to drink alcohol, so how come their paradise has ‘wine’? He said “For Allah to compensate us for what we did not do during our life on earth.” Another contradiction.] What will the ‘faithful ones’ do in paradise? I see no worship or any form of spiritual life of the faithful ones. Surah 52:17 gives us what takes place in paradise: “Verily, the pious [the righteous people, good Muslims] will be in the garden [paradise means ‘garden’ and you are] and the delight, enjoying that which their lord has bestowed on them. And their lord saved them from the torment of the blazing fire” [Allah is talking to the Muslims] “and drink with happiness because of what you used to do”. Salvation is by good works, not by faith or by grace. These faithful ones, according to the Qur’an, will recline on beds arranged in ranks, and we shall marry them to ‘fair women’ with lovely eyes. How many they will marry? If one goes to Hades, it is believers 70-100 women for each man. Is that the eternal life which Qur’an talks about? Is that what a Muslim wants to enjoy in the afterlife, 70-100 ‘women with the lovely wide eyes’? And the most important is that the man will sleep with 70-100 women each day and the next day they will turn to virgins again and again. How come? This is what they say, that they will be virgins again and again. What kind of imagination is that and what kind of paradise is that? And the question I ask weak right men—you enjoy 70-100 women, but what about the women? How many men will they enjoy? In the Qur’an, one will find that the paradise of which Muslims speak is full of sensual, sexual lust. Will Allah condone this or will Allah be watching as men will engage with 70-100 women on a daily basis? This is not a spiritual paradise.
  6. The Bible says that the paradise which the Christians look for is ‘spiritual’. We read in Matt 22:25 the question which the Sadducees asked Jesus about ‘marriage’ and whether there will be marriage in the resurrection. The answer which Christ gives states that “in the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels of God in heaven”. The Qur’an says the faithful Muslims will marry women with ‘wide, lovely eyes’ but Jesus says there is no marriage in heaven. In the last book of the New Testament, Revelation, we have the right picture of paradise which is located in Revelation 21:21, ‘streets of gold’, ‘rivers of pure water’ (Revelation 22:1), the ‘tree of life’ (Revelation 22:2), and a cube-shaped walled city situated on twelve foundations of precious stones with gates of pearl (Revelation 21:19, 20, 21), which are explicitly stated to be strictly figurative [signified]. The Bible seems to go out of its way to avoid attempting to describe a nonphysical spiritual, eternal realm to humans who live in a physical finite realm. it says just enough to encourage the reader of the Bible to seek the truth, without succumbing to the mistake of overwhelming the reader with a whole carnal impression of heaven. the Qur’an commits precisely this blunder. Paradise is represented in the Qur’an as a literal, materialistic term.

   

    One would hint that Muslim women would feel short-changed in the after-life. Paradise for men will include access to maiden ‘pure companions’ [Surah 2:25, 3:15, 4:57], fair ones with wide, lovely eyes [44:54, 52:20], like ‘hidden eggs [of ostrich’] and ‘hidden pearls’ [37:49,  56:23], ‘those of modest gaze’ [37:48, 38:53, or chaste women restraining their glances [companions ] of equal age, who are good and beautiful [55:70], ‘virgins’ [56:36], “whom neither men nor jinni will have touched before them” [55:56, 74]. Such lascivious, lustful appeals to sensual and sexual passions are transparent—and typical of male authors unguided by a higher power.

 

The Qur’an and the Bible conflict with one another on the matter of marriage in the afterlife. The Qur’an says that marriage will persist in heaven or in paradise [Surah 13:23]. In fact, God [Allah]  himself will perform the ceremonies: “Lo those who kept their duty will be in a place secure amid gardens and water springs, attired in silk embroidery, facing one another. Even so [it will be]. And We will wed them unto fair ones with wide eyes” [Surah 44:54]. But Jesus soundly refuted this notion in his interchange with the Sadducees (Matthew 22:30) quoted above.

 

It seems that there is lots of emphasis on ‘food’, drink, and physical pleasure in the Qur’anic description of the afterlife which reflects a perspective that one would anticipate from a desert Bedouin. This preoccupation with carnal things and material comforts exposes the description as uninspired and stands in stark contrast with the Bible’s handling of the subject. Their Qur’an’s treatment of the afterlife verifies its human origin. One must bear in mind that Muhammad was of Arabian descent. He was well versed with the daily lives and happenings in Arabia.

 

It is my hope that Muslim brothers will go to the Bible to find the way to eternal life (John 1:12).

 

John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

 

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The Perfect Plan to Destroy America

[I have been in contact with Donna Garner for many years. I  posted one of her articles here on Real Bible Study some years ago with her permission. I trust that she will not mind if I post this one which I received from her this past week. It is worth a very careful read.]

 

“The Perfect Plan To Destroy America – Nationalize Education”

by Donna Garner

Originally published on 8.7.13 – republished on 3.23.19

 

http://www.educationviews.org/the-perfect-plan-to-destroy-america-nationalize-education-3/

 

[COMMENTS FROM DONNA GARNER: This article was originally published on 8.7.13, and it has turned out to be very prophetic. Now we are seeing the disastrous results from America’s students having been soaked in Obama’s Common Core for at least nine years. 

 

Obama’s plan was to destroy America as we know it, and we are seeing the “fruits” of his plan all around us. Our culture is now surrounded with Gen X, Gen Y, and Millennials who are spouting ideas that shock those of us who respect and honor America’s historical history and its primary documents such as the U. S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. As Puritan John Winthrop so wisely stated on April 4, 1630 as he was on his way to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony, “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.” 

 

America was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles, and that is the basis for American exceptionalism. Under Common Core, students have been taught to hate America, to believe in White Privilege and Black Bondage. We are seeing Gen X, Y, and Millennials degenerate into groups such as Antifa, Neo-Nazis, Black Hebrew Israelites, MS-13, Indigenous Peoples, ActBlue, Justice Democrats, U. S. Democratic Socialists, George Soros’ Open Society, Black Lives Matter, Me Too, White Supremacists, and on and on. How could our nation have arrived at such a disastrous point in time? How can we re-establish ourselves and our amazing history?

 

First, we must all understand how we got here to this point in time when America is at such a crucial juncture. Once we all understand how this occurred, we can set about trying to fix it. If we fail, then America will continue down the same slippery slope with each succeeding generation of indoctrinated and dumbed-down students.

 

I have yet to hear our leaders, even those who genuinely revere America, say the words, “The Common Core philosophy of education is destroying America.” Yes, it is destroying America. It is not too late to move our schools away from this philosophy (a.k.a., Type #2) and return to a traditional, fact-based philosophy of education (a.k.a., Type #1). We must come to understand how we got here to be able to turn America’s young people around.]

 

 

**The beginning point – an understanding of Type #1 and Type #2 philosophies of education: 

 

 

11.4.13 — Type #1 vs. Type #2 Chart — http://www.educationviews.org/comparison-types-education-type-1-traditional-vs-type-2-cscope-common-core/

 

 

=====================

“The Perfect Plan To Destroy America”

By Donna Garner

8.7.13

 

If a person wanted to destroy our American culture, keep this generation from communicating effectively with older generations, and make sure today’s children grow up detesting America instead of valuing our nation’s American exceptionalism, the best plan would be to implement the Common Core Standards (CCS) into every school in America. 

 

OBAMA’S PLAN

 

That is exactly what Obama and his administration are trying to do, and 45 states (plus D. C.) originally committed to the CCS (before the standards had even been released publicly). However, because of a groundswell of negative responses from the grassroots, a large number of states are now rethinking their commitment to the CCS. 

 

TEACHERS REQUIRED TO DO…

 

As directed by the CCS, teachers have to make sure that by the time students graduate in 2014, 70% percent of books studied must be nonfiction (i.e., informational text); and those nonfiction selections must be taught in a “close reading” process. That means students must not be given any background information or historical significance of a nonfiction piece before reading it. For instance, the Declaration of Independence must be presented devoid of what was occurring in the United States at the time this monumental document was written, leaving students with a shallow understanding of the courage and revolutionary spirit that moved the signers to voice their opposition to tyranny. 

 

Just as importantly, how many English teachers could possibly cover the great classic pieces of fiction literature in only 30% of classroom time? None. For instance, it takes at least four to six weeks in English I to cover Great Expectations, which is one of the most outstanding, applicable, and character-building books for early-high school teens to read.

 

 

THE DESTRUCTION OF FICTIONAL CLASSICS

 

As Dr. Sandra Stotsky recently explained about the CCS:

 

The reading standards for ELA are divided into 10 informational [nonfiction] standards and 9 literature [fiction] standards. That division goes from K to 12. It affects high school English as well as middle school English. It means that over 50% of the reading instruction must be devoted to informational reading and less than 50% to poetry, drama, and fiction. http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/dr-stotsky-sets-the-record-straight-on-english-language-arts-7030-usoe/

 

Dr. Stotsky as quoted on the Heritage Foundation website:

 

This misplaced stress on informational texts (no matter how much is literary nonfiction) reflects the limited expertise of Common Core’s architects and sponsoring organizations in curriculum and in teachers’ training. This division of reading standards was clearly not developed or approved by English teachers and humanities scholars…

 

Common Core’s damage to the English curriculum is already taking shape. Anecdotal reports from high school English teachers indicate that the amount of informational or nonfiction reading they are being told to do in their classroom is 50 percent or more of their reading instructional time—and that they will have time only for excerpts from novels, plays, or epic poems if they want students to read more than very short stories and poems (12.11.12 — http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/12/questionable-quality-of-the-common-core-english-language-arts-standards )

 

 

ARE THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS GOOD STANDARDS?

 

Even more basic, do the Common Core Standards teach children to read well at all? No, the CCS do not.

 

In K-3, explicit and systematic instruction of decoding skills (phonics) is lacking; and goals for the independent mastery of these skills are not set nor expected. In fact, not one of the CCS objectives on phonics and word analysis skills requires students to apply their decoding skills by reading independently and accurately unfamiliar words in and out of context. 

 

Nonfiction/informational text is weighted heavily at all grade levels K-12 while fiction is given short shrift. Teachers and test makers are given no substantive standards as to how to select nonfiction/informational text and, thus, are not held accountable to select literary pieces of quality and significance. In K-12, there are only two standards (Grades 11 and 12) that even mention American literature. 

 

“Reading to understand” and “use information” are commonly used phrases K-12 in CCS; yet teachers are not required to teach students basic concepts such as topic sentences, paragraph development, introduction/conclusion of expository text, and chronological order. Neither do the CCS contain a clear sequence of informational reading skills from grade level to grade level.

 

Rather than having students use appropriate dictionaries, the Common Core Standards expect students to learn vocabulary words in context (e.g., CCS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.5a – “interpret figures of speech…literary, Biblical, or mythological allusion”). However, if students have not read the great literary, Biblical, or mythological pieces of the world, how can they possibly understand the vocabulary words in context? 

 

In the area of composition (i.e., writing), the CCS do not teach elementary students to write persuasive papers (called “argument”) that are built upon informed sources but instead encourage students merely to share their opinions. 

 

The oral and written language conventions (grammar/usage) in K-12 have no logical, cognitive progression from grade level to grade level but instead throw in confusing, stilted terminology at random such as Grade 4: “Use modal auxiliaries to convey various conditions.” What fourth grader (and probably his teacher) even knows what that means and much less how to produce it?

 

Many of the CCS standards are not measurable and contain artificially inflated wording and expectations such as “Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.” As Dr. Sandra Stotsky stated about this standard, “How much and what kind of reading of world literature must precede the reading of a specific work that is to be analyzed for the author’s point of view?”

 

The Common Core Standards do not increase in depth and complexity from one grade level to the next. Many of the standards are simply paraphrased or repeated frequently. Particularly in the elementary grades where a child’s basic knowledge and skill foundation is put into place, there are not clear goals set that require students to demonstrate independent learning without having to be prompted constantly by the teacher. 

 

Lack of ease with sounding out words automatically destroys a student’s reading pleasure and causes him/her to avoid reading the great classic pieces of the world. The more the student refuses to read, the “dumber” she/he becomes. While other class members get “smarter” by reading more and better books, the slow readers fall further behind. This is called the Matthew Principle in the world of reading skills. 

 

DESTROYING STUDENTS’ BIBLICAL AND LITERARY KNOWLEDGE

 

Of course, stripping away the teaching of the great classics of the world is the point because many are built upon Biblical principles. If the Obama administration can limit children’s reading skills and destroy their appreciation and understanding of the Judeo-Christian ethic upon which America is built, then these children as adults will be much more susceptible to endorsing Communism, Socialism, Marxism, Islamism, Atheism, or whatever belief system will best destroy America’s God-ordained place in the world. 

 

 

Excerpts from E. D. Hirsch, Jr. in The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (2nd edition, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993):

 

No one in the English-speaking world can be considered literate without a basic knowledge of the Bible… All educated speakers of American English need to understand what is meant when someone describes a contest as being between David and Goliath, or whether a person who has the ‘wisdom of Solomon’ is wise or foolish, or whether saying ‘My cup runneth over’ means the person feels fortunate or unfortunate. Those who cannot understand such allusions cannot fully participate in literate English.

 

The Bible is also essential for understanding many of the moral and spiritual values of our culture, whatever our religious beliefs. The linguistic and cultural importance of the Bible is a fact that no one denies.

 

No person in the modern world can be considered educated without a basic knowledge of all the great religions of the world — Islam, Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity. But our knowledge of Judaism and Christianity needs to be more detailed than that of other great religions, if only because of the historical accident that has embedded the Bible in our thought and language. 

 

Probably the strongest reason to teach the Bible as literature is that almost all of the literature which scholars consider worthy of study was written by people who knew the Bible. The Bible’s language, importance in society, and teachings permeate the majority of English works that are extant today. Shakespeare’s education revolved around Bible study. Try to find one of his plays that does not contain Biblical allusions. Charles Dickens’ novels are replete with redemption allusions (e.g., ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’ from A TALE OF TWO CITIES).

 

How will students be able to understand the writings of religious persecution if they do not know what the Bible says and how it was being interpreted by the various groups? 

 

How can students understand the prejudice faced by Isaac the Jew in IVANHOE if they do not have a knowledge of Old and New Testament? 

 

Students without Biblical knowledge will wonder why Gwenevere should be condemned to be burned for committing adultery against her husband King Arthur. 

 

What would be so important about finding the Holy Grail if students did not know the crucifixion story?

 

How will students feel the torment of Daniel DeFoe and of John Bunyan, whose wife’s dowry was her Bible which she used to teach John how to read? (the end of excerpts taken from E. D. Hirsch, Jr., “The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy”) 

 

 

 

LITERARY ALLUSIONS: STUDENTS MUST UNDERSTAND THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE AMERICAN CULTURE

 

Following are various literary allusions that saturate our American culture on a daily basis. Unless students read and study these great pieces of literature that have connected each succeeding generation with one another, how will today’s students be able to stay connected with their historical past and be able to appreciate our American way of life?

 

·       The Journey — The journey sends a hero in search of some truth or information necessary to restore fertility to the kingdom such as is found in THE CANTERBURY TALES.

 

·       The Fall — This archetype describes a descent from a higher to a lower state of being. The experience involves a defilement and/or loss of innocence and bliss as is found in Adam and Eve and PARADISE LOST.

 

·       The Quest — This motif describes the search for someone or some talisman which, when found and brought back, will restore fertility to a wasted land, the desolation of which is mirrored by a leader’s illness and disability such as in Galahad searching for the Holy Grail in IDYLLS OF THE KING.

 

·       Battle between Good and Evil — This is the battle between two primal forces such as between Satan and God in PARADISE LOST.

 

·       Heaven vs. Hell — This is the belief by man that parts of the universe are not accessible to man such as are found in the diabolic forces in PARADISE LOST, THE DIVINE COMEDY.

 

·       Supernatural Intervention — God intervenes on the side of man as found in THE BIBLE.

 

·       Fire vs. Ice — Fire represents knowledge, light, life, rebirth while ice represents ignorance, darkness, sterility, and death such as is found in Dante’s INFERNO.

 

·       The Hero — The life of the protagonist is clearly divided into a series of well-marked adventures which strongly suggest a ritualistic pattern. The hero’s mother is a virgin, the circumstances of his conception are unusual, and at birth some attempt is made to kill him. These archetypes are seen in such Biblical characters as Joseph, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus Christ.

 

·       The Devil Figure — The evil incarnate character who offers worldly goods, fame, or knowledge to the protagonist in exchange for possession of his soul is found in the Bible and is called Satan.

 

·       The Woman Figure (The Platonic Ideal ) —  This woman is a source of

inspiration and a spiritual ideal (e.g., the Virgin Mary).

 

 

Many important themes, concepts, and symbols are based upon Biblical

literature:

 

The Trinity

The Cross

Temptation/Sin

Forgiveness/Redemption

Obedience/Punishment

Creation

God as a Power

Angels/Devils

Heaven/Hell

Twelve (tribes, apostles)

Self-sacrifice

Good/Evil

Forbidden Knowledge

Courage in the face of great danger

Value of Suffering

Prejudice (racial, political, and religious) Human Nature Faith in Human Nature Triumph from Adversity Poetic Justice

 

 

 

The following is a partial list of the Biblical references with which students must be familiar in order to be considered well-educated:

 

·       BEOWULF — Grendel born of Cain, “God must decide who will be given to death’s cold grip,” hell, battle between good and evil

 

·       MORTE D’ARTHUR –Trinity, Sunday, Jesus, Holy Cross

 

·       THE CANTERBURY TALES — Pardoner contrasted to corrupted church, Christ’s gospel, forgiveness of sins, Holy Sacrament, Fiend, common enemy, perdition, story of Adam, Herod, John the Baptist

 

·       SIR GAWAIN — confession, penance

 

·       EVERYMAN — morality play, “I hanged between two, it cannot be denied”; “Thorns hurt my head.”

 

·       MACBETH — Golgatha, cherubim, Fallen Angel, common enemy of man

 

·       HOLY SONNET 10 — Donne — entire poem

 

·       HOLY SONNET 14 — Donne — “Batter my heart, three-personed God”

 

·       ON MY FIRST SON — Jonson — “Child of my right hand”

 

·       PARADISE LOST — Milton — Adam, Eve, Heavenly Muse, Sinai, Beelzebub, Seraphim, Tarsus, Leviathan

 

·       WHEN I CONSIDER HOW MY LIGHT IS SPENT — Milton — Parable of Talents (Matt. 25:14-30)

 

·       THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS — Bunyan — Vanity Fair, Celestial City, Beelzebub, Legion, temptation of Christ, Promised Land, I Corinthians 5:10, Prince of Peace

 

·       THOUGHTS IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY — Addison — “I consider the great day when we shall all of us be contemporaries and make our appearance together.”

 

·       THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER — Coleridge — forgiveness, penance, blessing, Wedding Guest, Bridegroom

 

·       JANE EYRE — Bronte — salvation; Helen Burns is a symbol of suffering, redemption (Christ-like figure); Mr. Rochester’s punishment, “valley of shadow of death,” remorse, repentance, reconcilement to his maker

 

·       CROSSING THE BAR — Tennyson — “I hope to see my Pilot face to face.”

 

·       PROSPICE — Browning — arch fear, fiend

 

·       RECESSIONAL — Kipling — Psalms 51:17, Romans 2:14

 

·       THE HOLLOW MEN — Eliot — “For thine is the kingdom”

 

·       THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN — Twain — King Solomon, “pray in the closet”

 

·       THE SCARLET LETTER — Hawthorne — Divine Maternity

 

·       A TALE OF TWO CITIES — Dickens — “Recalled to life,” sacrifice, redemption, Carton as the Christ-like figure (John 11:25), blood, forgiveness, power of love

 

·       LE’ MORTE D’ARTHUR — Pentecost

 

·       MORTE D’ARTHUR — Tennyson — “The light that led the holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.”

 

·       MERLIN — Muir — “The furrow drawn by Adam’s finger” — Genesis 1-5

 

·       WATERSHIP DOWN — Adams — The Creation, Noah’s Ark

 

·       OLD MAN AND THE SEA — Hemingway — Santiago (Christ-like figure), the mast, three days at sea

 

·       THE DEVIL AND TOM WALKER — Irving — Old Scratch, the Devil

 

·       THE GRAPES OF WRATH — Rose of Sharon, Exodus from Oklahoma, Noah’s Ark

 

·       THE SECOND COMING — Yeats — birth of Christ, Bethlehem

 

·       THE PEARL — Steinbeck — Hail Mary, tithe

 

·       HUSWIFERY — Taylor — God’s grace

 

·       THE FIRST SEVEN YEARS — Malamud — allusion to Genesis 29

 

·       THE BURNING OF OUR HOUSE — Bradstreet — Job 1:21, Ecclesiastes 1:2

 

·       SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD — Jonathan Edwards

 

·       THE MASQUE OF RED DEATH — Poe — “out-Heroded Herod,” a thief in the night

 

·       TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD — Lee –“take this cup from you,” the parable of the good Samaritan, “Who is your neighbor?”

 

 

 

The following Spanish literature is taught as a part of the Advanced Placement curriculum and is filled with Biblical allusions:

 

· LA CELESTINA –Fernando de Rojas

 

· El CANTOR DE MÍO — epic poem of Spain

 

· DON QUIJOTE DE LA MANCHA — Miguel de Cervantes

 

· LAZARILLO DE TORMES — author unknown

 

· APOCALIPSIS –Marco Denevi

 

· EL EVANGELIO SEGÚN MARCOS — Jorge Luis Borges

 

· LOS DOS REYES Y LOS DOS LABERINTOS — Jorge Luis Borges

 

· SONETO A CRISTO CRUCIFICADO — anonymous

 

· UNA CARTA A DIÓS — Gregorio Lopez y Fuentes

 

· LA LEYENDA DE SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA

 

· GENESIS — Marco Denevi

 

· SAN MANUEL BUENO, MÁRTIR — Miguel de Unamuno

 

CONCLUSION

 

Reading with ease and comprehension forms the cornerstone upon which success in all other school courses is based. Reading the literary classics takes time but opens doors of opportunity and understanding for students. The study of the Bible as literature is fundamental to a student’s education. Biblical allusions exist in the classics as well as in modern literature. Including the study of the Bible gives students a broader understanding of the major works that they will read in school and later in life. 

 

Because the Common Core Standards diminish time spent on the great classic pieces of the world, many of which were written by authors “who cut their teeth” on the Bible, students who largely study informational text through the “close method” will lack an understanding of American exceptionalism. We as Americans must not allow this to happen to our children and grandchildren who are the future of this great nation.

 

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HOW OBAMA’S COMMON CORE TOOK OVER AMERICA

[The arrows mean “lead to.”]

 

National standards → national assessments → national curriculum → national teacher evaluations with teachers’ salaries tied to students’ test scores → teachers teaching to the test each and every day → national indoctrination of our public school children → national database of students and teachers containing personally intrusive information

 

 

==============

 

12.11.09 TO 7.19.13

 

COMPILED OVER 4 YEARS BY DONNA GARNER — FROM 12.11.09 THROUGH 7.19.13

 

 

HISTORY OF COMMON CORE STANDARDS — LIST OF ANTI-COMMON CORE STANDARDS RESOURCES:

 

*These are some of the best resources that clearly explain why the Common Core Standards/Race to the Top are harmful to our school children. I have taken the liberty to change a few of the titles to help readers locate articles more easily. 

 

 

Because so many people now receive their information through iPads, iPhones, and the social media, I have posted my Updated Anti-Common Core Standards Resource List (12.11.09 through 7.19.13) at two different links for easy access. This way a person can have the list handy whenever information on Common Core Standards is needed:  

 

PLEASE GO TO: http://educationviews.org/updated-common-core-standards-resource-list-compiled-over-4-years-by-donna-garner/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donna Garner

wgarner1@hot.rr.com

 

 

 

Posted in Education Issues, Politics and the Bible | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Prophecies of Muhammad in the Bible

by Vijay Chandra

Introduction:

One aspect of the Qur’an’s claim and teaching that captures the attention of most Christians is its claim that the Bible makes prophecies regarding Muhammad, and that by name. Given that most evangelicals are not even certain whether Islam came before or after the days of Jesus, it is fully understandable why they would be unaware of how important it is for the Qur’an, and hence for modern Muslims, to find biblical prophecies about Muhammad. But as to the Qur’an, if in fact, it insists that Muhammad is prophesied in the Bible and we discover this is not the case, we have a clear example of, at best, a misunderstanding for us. Islam insists that the author of Qur’an is God himself. Documentation of a specific error relating to the Scriptures of those who came before Muhammad would be a crucial element of any honest examination of Muhammad’s claims and Islamic faith. No Muslim who seeks the truth, [al-Haqq], could ignore such a problem in the text.

 

First, it is our desire to examine the key Qur’anic texts [or surah] and then look at the main biblical texts that Muslims say fulfill the Qur’an’s claims. We face the issue of ‘multiple views’ for while many Muslims point to specific texts and insist that many biblical passages refer to Muhammad, others, especially in the West, hesitate to be specific and some observe that the Qur’an leaves the matter vague and does not provide specific references and hence they will not firmly identify exact texts. The more conservative the Muslims, the more likely he or she is to believe that at least the texts we will examine here are directly related to Muhammad as a prophet.

 

The Unlettered Prophet’’

 

We will look at some of the texts from the Meccan period, in Surah Al-Araf, 7:157.

“Those who follow, the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find described in their Torah and the Gospel—he will enjoin on them good and forbid them evil, he will make lawful for them good and forbid them evil, he will make lawful all good things prohibit for them what is foul, and he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that were upon them—those that believe in him, honor him, support him, and follow him the light which has been sent down with him, they were successful”. Let us look carefully at this Qur’anic quotation. The key line “whom they find described in their Torah and Gospel”. Yet some translations, such as the Saheeh International, depart from the majority of other English translations and show a particular apologetic bias on the matter of preservation [or lack of] of biblical text [represented in Torah and Injil]. These render this phrase “in what they have of Torah and the Gospel”, implying a loss of a portion of the Scriptures. Nothing in either the context or the language indicates a reference to the corruption of Torah and Injil. There are some other renderings. Here are some:

 “whom they will find described in Torah and the Gospel [which are] with them” [ Pickthall].

 “whom they find mentioned in their own[scriptures],–in law and the Gospel”[ Yusuf Ali].

“whom they find written down with them in the Taurat and Injeel” [ Shakir].

‘whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel” [ Arberry]. Some of the more imaginative renderings expand upon the phrase.

 “whom they find mentioned in their own Law and Gospel [Deuteronomy 18  and John[ Aziz] follow the Messenger, the Prophet who is non-Israelite, and who was unlettered before the revelation [29:48]. They find him well described” in the Torah and the Gospel with them. [The note that is added reads, “Deuteronomy 18:15 and Deuteronomy 18:18, Gospel of John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, PARACLETOS—COMFORTER, from original Greek [ PERICLYTOS—THE PRAISED ONE [Shabire Ahmed] whom they find written with them in the Taurat [Torah] (Deuteronomy 18:15), and the Injeel [Gospel] (John 14:16)”.

There is much discussion of just what ‘unlettered prophet’ means, but we need not be detained by it, we need to focus on what the Qur’an is claiming.

 

The context includes a discussion about Moses and the prophet of Israel. Right before this ayah, we read, “I shall ordain it for those who fear [Allah] and pay the zakat and those who believe in our signs” [the Qur’an]. This defines ‘who’ follows ‘the Messenger, the unlettered prophet’, which is confirmed in the ayah. We will look further in the verses below. The point I want to make is the Qur’an has lots of Biblical citations which Muhammad borrowed from the Bible. They use these citations and in turn, they claim that the Bible is corrupted. I will examine a few more verses which they use to show that Muhammed was prophesied in the Bible.

 

  1. Deuteronomy 18:18

 

Muslims bring up in support of their claims the promise of a coming prophet in [Deuteronomy 18:18] “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him”. Muslims claim the prophet to whom God referred was Muhammad. I must point out here that Muhammad was not a Jew, he was an Arabian.

Let us examine the fact that the statement made to Moses was divinely intended to refer to Jesus Christ—not Muhammad.

Shortly after the establishment of the church of Jesus Christ and the Christian religion [A.D. 30] in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after the death and resurrection – Acts 2, two of the 12 apostles, Peter and John, went to the Jewish temple and healed a lame man (Acts 3:1-11). When people began to gather in large numbers out of amazement at what had happened, Peter used the opportunity to preach the Christian message to them [Acts 3:12-26]. He made several crucial points pertaining to the person of the Christ.

 

Point:

  1. The recently crucified Jesus was, in fact, the One Whom the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had glorified (Acts 3:13).
  2. God had raised Him from the dead (Acts 3:15).
  3. It was the ‘name’ [i.e., authority/power] of Jesus, and faith in Him, that procured the miraculous healing of the lame man (Acts 3:16).
  4. The suffering of Christ was predicted previously by God through the prophets (Acts 3:18).
  5. At the conclusion of human history, God will send Jesus [not any of the prophets, let alone Muhammad—an unmistakable reference to the second coming of Christ immediately preceding the Judgment (Acts 3:20, 21, Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10, 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8, 9). It is at this point that Peter quoted from the passage from Deuteronomy and applied it to Jesus—not to Muhammad (Acts 3:22, 23). Peter’s inspired application is unmistakable, he clearly identified Jesus as the fulfillment: “God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (Acts 3:26). Let us note further that God stated explicitly that the prophet that He would raise up would come ‘from your brethren’ (Acts 3:22. cf. Deuteronomy 18:18). In context, He was speaking to Moses, who was a descendant of Isaac and not Ishmael. Arabs are descended from Ishmael and not from Isaac. Ishmael was the son of a bondwoman [Hagar]; she was a maid to Sarah. So Muhammad was not from the brethren of Moses and the Jews. Muhammad was an Arab. He does not fit in the prophecy of Deuteronomy 18.

 

 

  1. John 14-16.

 

The Muslim apologists try to give credibility for their argument by linking their beliefs to the Bible and its multiple allusions to the Holy Spirit [again, how can they use Holy Spirit since they do not believe in the Trinity] in John 14, 15, and 16. John 16:7 reads “Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I go not away, the Helper will not come unto you, but if I depart, I will send him to you”. Muslims claim that Jesus was referring to Muhammad. Yet anyone who has spent even a minimal amount of effort examining the teaching of John chapters 14, 15, and 16 is astounded that anyone would claim that the “Helper’ [NKJV], “Comforter” [KJV]—the one who stands beside [paracletos]—is to be equated with Muhammad. The three chapters have as their setting Jesus giving His 12 apostles special encouragement and specific admonitions in view of his imminent departure from Earth. He reassured them that even though He was about to exit this earth, He would not abandon them. They would not be left “orphans” (John 14:18). He would send in His place the Holy Spirit Who would teach them and bring to their remembrance those things that Jesus had taught them (John 14:20). The term translated “Helper” occurs three times in the context (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:17). Without question, Jesus was referring to the power and directional assistance that the apostles would receive from the Holy Spirit beginning on the day of Pentecost [Did Muhammad descend on the day of Pentecost? The Qur’an does not even mention that].

 

Since Islamic apologists do not believe in the notion of Trinity [God in three persons—Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14], they reject the reality of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is referred to in the Qur’an, it is speaking of the angel Gabriel [Surah 2:89; 16:102]. But using their own reasoning, the ‘Helper’ cannot refer to Muhammad since the context especially identifies the “Helper” as the “Holy Spirit”. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26). If Qur’an is correct, and the Holy Spirit is Gabriel, then John 14:26 teaches that the Helper is Gabriel—not Muhammad! NO, John 16:7 does not refer to Muhammad.

 

  1. John 1:19-21.

 

Muslim scholars bring another passage in an effort to show biblical support for Muhammad’s claim to be the prophet of God (John 1:19, 20). According to Muslims, they claim that the Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of three distinct prophecies. The 1st was the coming of Christ. The 2nd was the coming of Elijah. The 3rd  was the coming of the prophet. Muslims point out that the three questions that were posed to John the baptizer in this passage show the expectation to be true. They further maintain that since the Jews distinguished between the Christ and the Prophet, Jesus Christ was not the prophet mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18. Muslims certainly are correct in their observation that the Jews of Jesus’s day thought that the Christ and the Prophet were two separate personages. But the meaning and proper application of the Bible does not rest on the perceptions and misconceptions of mere humans. The Bible records the opinions and viewpoints of a wide range of individuals throughout human history—including Satan himself (Matthew 4:3, 6, 9)—even though their opinions and viewpoints were incorrect. The Bible does not authenticate such opinions simply by reporting them. The Jews were confused.

 

But the real question is, does the Bible indicate the Christ and the Prophet were/are to be understood as the same person? As seen already, the apostle Peter certainly thought so (Acts 3:12, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23). So likewise did the great evangelist and Christian martyr, Stephen—standing before the highest-ranking body of Jewish religion, the Sanhedrin and in the presence of the highest-ranking religious figure in Judaism, the high priest—when Stephen recalled the words of Moses from Deuteronomy (Acts 7:37), and then forthrightly declared Jesus to be the just One Whom they have betrayed and murdered (Acts 7:52). The “Just One” is precisely the same person that Peter declared as the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18:15, 18,  that is Jesus Christ [not Muhammad] as the “Just One”. An objective appraisal of the biblical data yields the unmistakable conclusion that the Bible identifies the prophet of Deuteronomy 18 as Jesus Christ—not Muhammad. Jesus is both the Christ [the anointed one] and the Prophet.

 

  1. Song of Solomon 5:16

 

This is another passage that the Muslims use to indicate that Muhammad was the prophet predicted in this passage. This is found in Song of Solomon 5:16, where it is claimed that Muhammad is actually referred to by name in Hebrew. In English, the verse reads “His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely. This is My beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem” [ NKJV]. A phonetic transliteration of the underlying Hebrew text reads “ Kheeco mahm- tah- keem vuh-coollo ma-kga-madeem zeh dodee veh- tiseh ray-se beh- note -yerushalayim”. Muslims claim that the bolded word, though translated ‘altogether lovely’ is the name of Muhammad [Naik.n.a] We will consider six linguistic evidences that dispute and refute their claim. They have taken the verse out of context and made a pretext, which is wrong interpretation.

 

We will break down this particular verse as seen in Song of Solomon 5:16 for further clarification:

  1. The second syllable [kha] utilizes the Hebrew letter ‘heth’ which has a hard initial sound like ‘ch’. It is to be distinguished from the Hebrew letterhe’ which is the same as the English letter ‘h’. If Muhammad was being referred to, the simple ‘he’ would have been more linguistically appropriate.
  2. They claim that “eem [or] im” in ma-kha- madeem in the Hebrew language was “added for respect” [Naik]. This claim is untrue and unsubstantiated. The letters constitute the standard form for changing a singular to a plural—like adding ‘s’ or ‘es’ in English [cf. Weingreen, 1959, pp. 35ff.]. As one scholar who was a professor for oriental language and who also was a student of the well-known German Orientalist [H. F. W. Gesenius] noted in his editorial comment in the Gesenius Hebrew Grammar, “the use of plural as a form of respectable address is quite foreign to Hebrew” [Weingreen. J. A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew,  Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 418].
  3. The meaning of the Hebrew ‘ma-kha- madeem’ is different from the meaning of the word ‘Muhammad’ in Arabic. According to Sheikh Abdal-Aziz, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, the word ‘Muhammad’ is derived from the Arabic root word ‘hamd’ meaning “peace”. It is the emphatic passive participle of the root and can be translated as “the Oft-Praised One”. However, the Hebrew term [makh-mahd] in the passage under consideration has a completely different meaning: it refers to ‘grace’, ‘beauty’[Gesenius, 1979, p.464], “a desirable thing, delightfulness” [Brown Driver and Briggs, 1906, pp. 326-327], “a pleasant thing” [Payne, 1980], or “precious” [Holladay]. English translations render the term “altogether lovely” [ NKJV< NIV, “whole desirable” [ NASB], and “altogether desirable” [ESV, RSV].

 

No English translation would render the underlying Hebrew as “Muhammad”. All that Muslims and their apologists have done is happen upon a Hebrew word that phonetically sounds somewhat like “Muhammad” and have erroneously concluded the word must be referring to him. Such a thought or handling of linguistic data is wrong and irresponsible. The question again is asked if the Bible is corrupt according to Islamic scholars, why do they use the Bible to justify the prophecies concerning Muhammad?

 

Further, the claim that Muhammad is intended in the verse completely disregards the context and message of the book of Song of Solomon. The book consists of a dialogue between Solomon, his Shulamite bride-to-be, and the daughters of Jerusalem, with perhaps even God interjecting His comments (Song 5:5), as well as the Shulamite’s brothers (Song 8:8, 9). The term used in Song 5:16 that the Muslims claim refers to Muhammad is also used in Song 2:3 to refer to the Shulamite’s beloved: “Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight”. “Great delight” is the Hebrew word also used in Song 5:16. In both cases, the words of the Shulamite refer to her beloved and not to Muhammad.

4.  Forms of the same Hebrew word are used elsewhere in the Old Testament, yet Muslims do not claim that those passages refer to Muhammad. Rightly so, since those verses cannot be forced to fit the notion that Muhammad is under consideration. For example, Isaiah 64:11 mourns the destruction of Jerusalem: “Our holy and beautiful temple, where our fathers praised You, is burned up with the fire. And all our pleasant things are laid waste”. “Pleasant things” is a form of the same word in Song of Solomon 5:16. Would the Islamic apologists contend that Muhammad was “laid waste” in Jerusalem? Additional occurrences of the same word—which dispel the misuse of the term by Muslims—are seen in 1 Kings 20:6, 2 Chronicles 36:19, Lamentations 1:10, 11, Ezekiel 24:16, Hosea 9:9, 16, Joel 3:5 [Wigram, 1890].

5. If the Hebrew word ‘lovely/desirable’ in Song of Solomon were the Hebrew equivalent of the Arabic word ‘praised one’ it still would not follow that Muhammad is being referred to in the Bible. Instead, it would simply be an indication that the underlying word stands on its own as a term used for other applications. For example, the Hebrew word for ‘bitter’ is ma-rah. It is used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the concept of bitter. Yet, due to the unpleasant circumstances in life, Naomi [meaning ‘pleasant’] requested that her name be changed to bitter ‘mah-rah’ to reflect her bitter predicament. It does not follow, however, that when the Hebrew word ‘bitter’ appears in the Old Testament it refers to Naomi. If parents were to name their child Peter, it would not follow that they intended to reflect an association with others in history who have the same name as Peter. Muslim apologists have put the cart before the horse. Their claim is equivalent to parents naming their child “wonderful” or “special” or “beauty”—and then claiming that an ancient had their child in mind when the writer used the word ‘wonderful’ or ‘special’ in referring to another person contemporary to the writer.

 

Conclusion:

 

All the above verses may be understood with careful study and consideration of the context. The passages in the Bible must be exegeted in their context and not out of their context. The Islamic scholars are devoid of the right hermeneutics. Those who would attempt to use and misuse these words to apply to Muhammad demonstrate that they have a very superficial, cursory understanding of the Bible. One needs to “check it out”. But searching for the truth requires hard study and great effort. It requires faith in God and in His word, a proper motivation, sincerity, and much integrity.  But it can be done (John 8:12, 32). Only the Bible gives the truth and this truth makes one free from the bondage of sin. Christ is the truth (John 14:6).

 

Posted in Apologetics Issues--Other Faiths, Bible Prophecy, Vijay Chandra Articles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #516, Deuteronomy 21:15

The Nugget:

Deuteronomy 21:15  If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:

My Comment:

This verse seems to be a “stronghold” or major “proof text” which my Muslim Facebook friend uses repeatedly to support his view that the Bible itself authorizes polygamy.

This verse does no such thing. God, in mercy and justice, is setting forth His commandment that should a man have more than one wife in the culture where he lives, that he must treat each wife with full justice. Read the context.

I was surprised that some of the older standard Bible commentators make reference to the issue of polygamy when discussing this verse:

Deuteronomy 21:15

One beloved, and another hated – That is, one loved less than the other. This is the true notion of the word hate in Scripture. So Jacob Hated Leah, that is, he loved her less than he did Rachel; and Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I Hated, that is, I have shown a more particular affection to the posterity of Jacob than I have to the posterity of Esau. See the note on Gen_29:31. From this verse we see that polygamy did exist under the Mosaic laws, and that it was put under certain regulations; but it was not enjoined, Moses merely suffered it, because of the hardness of their hearts, as our Lord justly remarks Mat 19:8. [Adam Clarke]

If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated — In the original and all other translations, the words are rendered “have had,” referring to events that have already taken place; and that the “had” has, by some mistake, been omitted in our version, seems highly probable from the other verbs being in the past tense – “hers that was hated,” not “hers that is hated”; evidently intimating that she (the first wife) was dead at the time referred to. Moses, therefore, does not here legislate upon the case of a man who has two wives at the same time, but on that of a man who has married twice in succession, the second wife after the decease of the first; and there was an obvious necessity for legislation in these circumstances; for the first wife, who was hated, was dead, and the second wife, the favorite, was alive; and with the feelings of a stepmother, she would urge her husband to make her own son the heir. This case has no bearing upon polygamy, which there is no evidence that the Mosaic code legalized. [Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown]

The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:

Deuteronomy 21:15
two wives. One after the other, not necessarily at the same time (Young). +Gen 4:19; Gen 29:18; Gen 29:20; Gen 29:30-31; Gen 29:33, Lev 18:18, 1Sa 1:4, 5.

hated. FS121C2C2, +Gen 29:31, i.e. the one loved more than the other, as in the case of Rachel and Leah. In scripture language that which is loved less is said to be hated (Young). Gen 29:31; Gen 29:33, +**Luk 14:26.

firstborn. +Gen 27:32; +**Gen 41:51, +Lev 27:26, Job 18:13, +**Col 1:15.

Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions, False Religions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Polygamy and the Qur’an

by Vijay Chandra

 

Those people who have modeled their thinking after the New Testament  Christianity are, to say the least, a bit surprised (if not shocked and appalled) to learn that the religion of Islam countenances polygamy. This polygamy was propagated by none other than Muhammad. But the Christian mind must realize that Muhammad’s Islam arose out of Arabia in the sixth and seventh centuries A.D.

 

The Arab culture was well-known for the practice of polygamy, in which the men were allowed to have as many wives as they desired. The Qur’an addressed these social circumstances by placing a limitation on the number of wives a man could have. The wording of the pronouncement is in a Surah titled “Women”. “And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice [to so many] then one [only] or [the captive] that right hands possess” [Surah 4:3].

 

Setting aside the issue of why Muhammad himself was exempt from this limitation [Surah 33:50—see Miller, “ Muhammad’s polygamy” (2004)], the divine origin of the Qur’an is discredited on the basis of its stance on polygamy.

 

  1. In the first place, for all practical purposes, the Qur’an authorizes a man to have as many wives as he chooses since its teaching on divorce contradicts its teaching on marriage. Unlike the New Testament, which confines permission to divorce on the sole grounds of sexual unfaithfulness (Matthew 19:9), the Qur’an authorizes divorce for any reason. One only has to look at these Surahs: Surah 2:226-232, 241; 33:4, 49; 58:2-4: 65:1-7. If a man can divorce his wife for any reason, then the ‘command’ that limits a man to four wives, is effectively meaningless—merely restricting a man to four legal wives at a time. Theoretically, a man could have an unlimited number of wives—all with the approval of Allah. So how could Allah allow this when the Bible clearly teaches one man one wife (Genesis 2:24)?
  2. In the second place, Jesus declared in no uncertain terms that “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). Jesus gave one, and only one, reason for divorce in God’s sight. In fact, even the Old Testament affirmed that “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:15). The teaching of the Bible on divorce is a higher, stricter, nobler standard than the one advocated by the Qur’an. The two books, in fact, contradict each other on this point.
  3. In the third place, the question is asked as to why the Qur’an stipulates the number ‘four’? Why not three to five wives? The number four would appear to be an arbitrary number with no significance—at least, none is given. Though the passage in question indicates the criterion of man’s ability to do justice to those he marries, there is no reason to specify the number four, since men would vary a great deal in the number of women that they would have the ability to manage fairly.

 

The answer may be seen in the influence of the contemporaneous Jewish population. Sixth century Arabia was a tribal-oriented society that relied heavily on oral communication in social interaction. Muhammad would have been the recipient of considerable information conveyed orally by his Jewish, and even Christian, contemporaries. Many tales, fables, and rabbinical traditions undoubtedly circulated among Jewish tribes of Arabia. The Jews themselves probably were lacking in book learning, having separated from the mainstream of Jewish thought and intellectual development in their migration to the Arabian peninsula. The evidence demonstrates that the author of the Qur’an borrowed extensively from Jewish and other sources. The ancient Talmudic record [Arabian Turin, Ev Hazer, 1] stated: “A man may marry many wives, for Rabba Smith stated it is lawful to do so if he can provide for them. Nevertheless, the wise men have given good advice, that a man should not marry more than four wives”. The similarity with the wording of the Qur’an is too striking to be coincidental. It can be argued quite convincingly that the magic number of four was drawn from currently circulating Jewish writings.

 

Just as the Qur’an contains material from the Bible, so folk writings have been integrated into the Qur’an.

 

We need to look at the Bible and how it views polygamy. The Bible is an incredibly candid book when it is compared to the religious writing of another tradition. Rather than covering up the faults and flaws of its key figures, the Bible in many ways shows us humanity in its deepest sin. A prime example of this is the transparency of David’s adulterous relationship with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah (1 Samuel 11).

These sinful actions have real consequences from which we can draw lessons, and David’s repentance gives us a model to follow when we fall into sin. The Bible records many instances of polygamy in the Old Testament, involving some patriarchs of Israel. Though our common usage of polygamy is applied to a man with multiple wives, the word ‘polygamy’ simply means ‘multiple spouses’, while polyandry would be one woman with multiple husbands. Bigamy is another word used for having two spouses. As we look at the Bible, none of these arrangements matches the structure of marriage given by God from the beginning.

 

 

When God created the universe, he did things in a very specific manner. Those descriptions are provided for us in Genesis 1-2. In Gen 2, we learn details of the creation of mankind. After creating the beast of the field and birds of the air, God created Adam from the dust of the ground. When Adam found no suitable ‘helper’, God formed the first woman from Adam’s side as recorded in Genesis 2:18-25.

 

Let us look at this passage and note several key phrases that indicate for marriage to be monogamous—one man for one woman. God intended to make ‘a helper’ for Adam, not several helpers. Secondly, from one rib God made one woman for Adam (Genesis 2:21, 22, 24), revealing the pattern of a man leaving his family to be joined to his wife (not wives).

 

The first reference to ‘polygamy’ is found in Genesis 4 in the line of Cain. Lamech, a descendant of Cain, as we read in Genesis 4 of Lamech’s actions and deeds, had more than one wife. He was the first polygamist before the Flood. We have seen the description of what God had intended for marriage already in Genesis 2. To confound Lamech’s sin, God ultimately sent the flood which was brought upon the earth to judge the sinfulness of mankind.

 

After the flood, there are many mentions of polygamous relationships, including among the patriarchs of Israel—Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon all had multiple wives and concubines.

 

It is interesting to note that there are no passages in the Bible that clearly state “No men should have more than one wife”. So what are the consequences of polygamous relationships? We will bring out the following cases in the Bible record: Abraham—it led to bitterness between Sarah and Hagar her maid, and the eventual dismissal of Hagar and Ishmael, which led them to be driven into the desert. Jacob—it led to Rachel’s jealousy of Leah and to Joseph being betrayed and sold by his half-brother to the Ishmaelites. The only direct command against polygamy is given to the kings that were to rule Israel: they were told not to multiply wives for themselves (Deuteronomy 17:17). Jesus did not command polygamy—he cited Gen 2:24 (see Matthew 19:4, 5 and Mark 10:7).

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Daily Bible Nugget #515, Titus 1:6

The Nugget:

Titus 1:6  If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.

My Comment:

I have a Facebook friend who is a devoted follower of Islam. He has posted several comments on Facebook where he challenges Christians to prove that there is a verse in the Bible that explicitly and directly forbids polygamy.

My Response:

Muniru Adebambo, I believe you need to learn to read the Bible more carefully.
 
Your claim is that “There is no single verse in the Bible that commands one man one wife.”
 
In one way, your claim is correct, but it is flawed.
 
The first flaw in your claim is that it is posed in the “exact word” manner, which is a logical flaw.
It is a logical flaw because
(1) the Bible teaches what you deny but does not teach it in the way you are demanding.
(2) It is a logical flaw because your assertion or claim does not take into account the Rule of Interpretation which requires us to take into account what is taught in the Bible by necessary inference.
 
I shared with you before that God certainly intended that marriage be between one man and one wife. We see that from Genesis 2:24 and context in the Old Testament. We see this from the fact that Jesus quoted this very verse in the New Testament when addressing the question about proper grounds for divorce (Matthew 19:4, 5;  Mark 10:7). Jesus never condoned polygamy.
 
There are echoes of the Bible’s stance on monogamy as opposed to polygamy in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
 
In the Old Testament, kings were commanded by the Law of Moses not to multiply wives to themselves, as stated in Deuteronomy 17:17. If language means anything, and as a linguistic scholar I am certain it does, the necessary inference to be taken from this command is that God only approves of monogamy, not polygamy.
 
In the New Testament, God gave the command by divine inspiration through the Apostle Paul that Christian leaders must be the “husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6). By necessary inference, such a standard for Christian behavior and living does not apply only to Christian leaders but to all Christians. The New Testament does not teach a two-tiered standard of morality and holiness, one that applies to the leadership and another that applies to all other Christians.
 
Yet, when we consider the Bible in its cultural setting, it is clear that the Bible existed at the same time that some cultures practiced polygamy. Therefore, the Bible is culturally sensitive and does not directly denounce and forbid polygamy. But it must also be observed that the Bible never commends the practice of polygamy. It does denounce and forbid adultery.
 
So, as a hypothetical case, if a polygamist in Africa or some other part of the world were to become a genuine Christian, would he be required to divorce all but his first wife? There is no evidence in the Bible that I am aware of that would require this. But the Christian who carefully reads and studies the New Testament, and the Bible as a whole, would surely come to the necessary conclusion, derived by necessary inference, that his children if they in turn become faithful followers of Christ, would practice monogamy not polygamy, as is seen quite uniformly by the spread of Christianity throughout Christian history.

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