Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do These Bible Passages Refer to Muhammad? *I* Don't Think So...

So, LK did a post called Biblical Translations and Muhammad (AS) that's a reference to another post. It's about how the translations of the Bible have changed through the years, essentially. Without getting into who decided what books go in the Bible when and where and who changed what, because that's an ongoing scholarly debate for the most part, all the passages quoted are ones that Muslims like to use to point to Muhammad being prophesied in the Bible. I'm talking about this here because that's not the point of her post. :)

Preface by saying, as always, I'm not a professional or even an exceptionally learned lay(wo)man. My opinion is my own, and subject to change. If I was quoting Church (or other) Law, I'd say so.

Some, like Deuteronomy 18: 18-19 come down to a matter of interpretation, almost. Who's a 'prophet like unto Moses'? To Christians, it's clearly Jesus. Muslims argue no, it's Muhammad. And each has their reasoning. (Clearly I come down on the side of Jesus here...)

The two passages in John listed (John 14: 16-17 & John 16: 7-14) are understood by Christians to refer to the Holy Spirit. Muslims see Muhammad. (And I obviously fall on the side of the Holy Spirit here. I see no reference to Muhammad in the Bible, really.)

Now, the other two verses mentioned. I can see, yeah, if you just read those, you could go, 'Oh My Flying Spaghetti Monster! Muhammad!' - but the fact is, they're single verses taken out of the whole passage. No reference to what else is written. Just, 'plop'. 'Lookit this! Even though your Scriptures are corrupt, here's our prophet! Follow meeeeeeeeee!'

So, here's the first one: Jeremiah 28 (the relevant verse is verse 9):

1 That same year, in (the beginning of) the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah, son of Azzur, from Gibeon, said to me in the house of the LORD in the presence of the priests and all the people:
2 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: 'I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.
3 Within two years I will restore to this place all the vessels of the temple of the LORD which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, took away from this place to Babylon.
4 And I will bring back to this place Jeconiah, son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles of Judah who went to Babylon,' says the LORD. 'for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.'"
5 The prophet Jeremiah answered the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people assembled in the house of the LORD,
6 and said: Amen! thus may the LORD do! May he fulfill the things you have prophesied by bringing the vessels of the house of the LORD and all the exiles back from Babylon to this place!
7 But now, listen to what I am about to state in your hearing and the hearing of all the people.
8 From of old, the prophets who were before you and me prophesied war, woe, and pestilence against many lands and mighty kingdoms.
9 But the prophet who prophesies peace is recognized as truly sent by the LORD only when his prophetic prediction is fulfilled.
10 Thereupon the prophet Hananiah took the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, broke it,
11 and said in the presence of all the people: "Thus says the LORD: 'Even so, within two years I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, from off the neck of all the nations.'" At that, the prophet Jeremiah went away.
12 Some time after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah:
13 Go tell Hananiah this: Thus says the LORD: By breaking a wooden yoke, you forge an iron yoke!
14 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: A yoke of iron I will place on the necks of all these nations serving Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and they shall serve him; even the beasts of the field I give him.
15 To the prophet Hananiah the prophet Jeremiah said: Hear this, Hananiah! The LORD has not sent you, and you have raised false confidence in this people.
16 For this, says the LORD, I will dispatch you from the face of the earth; this very year you shall die, because you have preached rebellion against the LORD.
17 That same year, in the seventh month, Hananiah the prophet died.

Reading the whole passage, it's clear that Jeremiah is speaking to Hananiah and his false prophecies. He's basically saying, 'Look, you're saying the exact opposite of what the prophets have said before you for hundreds of years. We've been proven right. As soon as *your* prophecy comes true, we'll acknowledge you as a true prophet.' And...no peace. Really, if you know the history and have read Jeremiah, you know peace didn't come. Hananiah *was* a false prophet. I'm not sure, if I were a Muslim, I'd want to put Muhammad in this passage. If you hold him up to the standard set here...did peace follow him? *glances over at Middle East*

And the next one: Isaiah 29 (relevant verse: 12):

1 Woe to Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped! Add year to year, let the feasts come round.
2 But I will bring distress upon Ariel, with mourning and grief. You shall be to me like Ariel,
3 I will encamp like David against you; I will encircle you with outposts and set up siege works against you.
4 Prostrate you shall speak from the earth, and from the base dust your words shall come. Your voice shall be like a ghost's from the earth, and your words like chirping from the dust.
5 The horde of your arrogant shall be like fine dust, the horde of the tyrants like flying chaff. Then suddenly, in an instant,
6 you shall be visited by the LORD of hosts, With thunder, earthquake, and great noise, whirlwind, storm, and the flame of consuming fire.
7 Then like a dream, a vision in the night, Shall be the horde of all the nations who war against Ariel with all the earthworks of her besiegers.
8 As when a hungry man dreams he is eating and awakens with an empty stomach, Or when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking and awakens faint and dry, So shall the horde of all the nations be, who make war against Zion.
9 Be irresolute, stupefied; blind yourselves and stay blind! Be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from strong drink!
10 For the LORD has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep. He has shut your eyes (the prophets) and covered your heads (the seers).
11 For you the revelation of all this has become like the words of a sealed scroll. When it is handed to one who can read, with the request, "Read this," he replies, "I cannot; it is sealed."
12 When it is handed to one who cannot read, with the request, "Read this," he replies, "I cannot read."
13 The Lord said: Since this people draws near with words only and honors me with their lips alone, though their hearts are far from me, And their reverence for me has become routine observance of the precepts of men,
14 Therefore I will again deal with this people in surprising and wondrous fashion: The wisdom of its wise men shall perish and the understanding of its prudent men be hid.
15 Woe to those who would hide their plans too deep for the LORD! Who work in the dark, saying, "Who sees us, or who knows us?"
16 Your perversity is as though the potter were taken to be the clay: As though what is made should say of its maker, "He made me not!" Or the vessel should say of the potter, "He does not understand."
17 But a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard be regarded as a forest!
18 On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the tyrant will be no more and the arrogant will have gone; All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
21 those whose mere word condemns a man, Who ensnare his defender at the gate, and leave the just man with an empty claim.
22 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham: Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of, nor shall his face grow pale.
23 When his children see the work of my hands in his midst, They shall keep my name holy; they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob, and be in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Some of the more cheerful stuff in the Bible, yeah? It's God telling Israel that he's punishing them. He's taking away the ability to understand for a while, *because* they've already turned from Him. This was God going, 'I'm gonna spank ya'll, hard. But it's for your own good.' I see where the Muslims are going, 'see!', I just don't think they're taking into account the whole passage and intent of the book.

Isaiah and Jeremiah are all doom and gloom, written while Israel was getting their collective butts kicked around.

All my quotes are from the NAB Catholic edition found nyah: USCCB.


  1. Makes sense to me. I never took them to refer to a specific person. I think it is a reference to those that will come to teach us in general. Not ONLY Jesus or ONLY Muhammad. But I believe there will be more prophets before the end of days so who knows lol. I just don't think we are done yet. We still have too much to learn.

    Advocate I took to mean someone else coming. The word really doesn't translate well to Holy Spirit but that's due to my interpretation of the title Holy Spirit. It could mean Jesus returning at the end of days for sure. It could also refer to other prophets to come who will continue to teach the people in God's name. Who knows, I sure don't lol.

  2. Yeah, they seem to be just general pronouncements, more than, a specific person. Though the Deuteronomy reference is *always* taken to refer to Jesus in Christian circles.

    Hmm...I don't know that either religion supports the idea of further prophets. Both seem to think that Jesus (Christians) or Muhammad (Muslims) was the last one. I get that it's your personal belief, it's just one that I don't normally hear from either camp. :)

    Advocate/Paraclete, the specific word doesn't translate to Holy Spirit, no, but the reference is to the Holy Spirit.

    'The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:17)' doesn't, to my mind, speak of a physical person. The world (at least for his lifetime) *would* be able to see him. And a physical person wouldn't be able to 'be in you'. Only a Spirit can indwell another human being.

    But again, it's only my understanding. As you say, God only knows. :)

  3. It really is kinda funny how Muslims will tell Christians that their scripture is corrupted, but that the truth is in there... It's like a post I saw a while ago. I think it was Pixie from IloveHishma... Wrote about what the dress requirement is for Christian women... But if you believe the sources have been corrupted, how can you be so sure this was the truth for them about what they should wear? That part very well might have been "corrupted" too. Why only parts and not others? Anyway... :p

  4. The Isa. 29 one especially frustrates me. The passage isn't talking about a prophet at all...Oh well people will interpret things the way they want to.

  5. Thanks for addressing these passages, Amber. So interesting! I totally cracked up at your "glances over at Middle East." :-)

    I agree with you that most Muslims believe Muhammad is the last prophet. There IS a sect that believes there are more or at least another prophet. I remember my Syrian Muslim friend telling me about them and how they are wrong according to mainstream Islamic views.

    Totally agree with Candice's comment. I've thought the same thing. Why in the world do you try so hard to prove that Muhammad is in "corrupt" Scriptures?! Hellloooo.

  6. Candice,

    I think it's because they need to find *some* scripture that Christians will listen to. After all, we don't think the Qur'an is anything sacred or divine, so all the 'miracles' and references to Muhammad being a prophet of God in there do them no good...we reject their scripture. *But* if they can find a reference to him in *our* scripture, then, well, that helps them prove their point, or something.

    Only the parts that disagree with the Muhammad are 'corrupt' the parts that agree are the parts that the 'corrupters' somehow missed in all their rewritting....

  7. Stacy,

    Yep. If you wanna see something bad enough, you'll find it somewhere. Even if you have to rearrange and/or ignore the actual context in the process.

  8. Susanne,

    Ah, others have done so before, and much better than I. This is just what I remember from when I was looking into Islam and came across these things.

    'I totally cracked up at your "glances over at Middle East." :-)'

    Well...it does sort of prove the point though...:)

    Hmm...the ahmahdi or something like that, yeah. They believe that there's been another prophet...I ran into one one time on a message board. Kind of a wacky guy...

    *nods* It makes very little sense, but at the same time, I understand the thought process behind it. If Islam, as they claim, is the *real* revelation, the same revelation that had been given before and 'corrupted' it should match the revelations given to (at least, since they believe *everybody*'s had a prophet of their own) the Jews and the Christians. However, it doesn't. So, when they can find something that *seems* to agree, they latch onto it, disregarding the actual context of the passage.

  9. Hey Amber!

    I was always more interested in the parts of the Bible that refer to the Arabian peninsula in particular.
    In the Old Testament there are references to "Kedar" and his flocks worshiping en masse at the house of God. Kedar (Qaidar in Arabic) is the son of Ishmael, and also interestingly an ancestor of Muhammad. The only place where the sons of Ishmael have worshiped the one God at His house is in Makkah.
    Also there is a reference to God's glory shining forth from Mount Paran, which is next to Makkah. I don't see how Jesus will fulfill this prophecy, unless he comes from Saudi Arabia the second time.
    Also there are references to "Bacca" in the old testament as well, which is another common name for Makkah, actually the valley in which Makkah lies.

    I think you are correct that the passages you quoted here are ambiguous, and open for various interpretation. In fact I would say that a very large portion of the Bible is very ambiguous and open to interpretation. If you can find one verse to take and say "see, Jesus is God!" you can find just as many verses to take and say "see, there is no way that Jesus can be God." It all depends on your pre-disposed views, I think. You read in it what you want to read, which is why Muslims look and see Muhammad.

    InshaAllah soon I will try to come back and put some of the verses with those references up there. I hate quoting without referencing but my Bible is currently at my house.


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