Archive for the ‘English’ Category

Muhammad and Miracles

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

The Quran implies that the only miracle that Muhammad performed was reciting the revelation of the Quran, Sura 29:49-52, Sura 17:90-93 and I have written more about the Quran at

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2009/11/09/is-the-quran-sacred/

If these Quranic passages were true then this contradicts other accepted Islamic literature such as Sahih Bukhari Hadith which contains such outlandish animistic claims as stating that Muhammad comforted a tree trunk that was weeping by rubbing his hand over it, 4.783, and by giving the Meccan people a miracle by showing them the moon split in two halves between the Hiram Mountain, 5.208.

Obviously these folklore stories are fictitious and mythical and are like the pseudepigraphical gnostic gospels of the Nag Hammadi texts which contain similar unbelievable stories as based in the imagination of legend. Some Muslims will go as far as to use this pseudo christian literature as a proof text to substantiate the position of the Quran as denying the suffering of Jesus in His gruesome yet glorious death.
I have written another article about the crucifixion as authenticating the biblical witness to this historical event at

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2011/07/14/crucifixion-of-jesus-christ-and-islam/

In conclusion the Hadith like the Nag Hammadi accounts came many years after the life of Christ and Muhammad which allows for enough time to embellish their narrative to create a mythology of their person and work.

 

 

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Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics, copyright 2006 by Doug Powell, ”Reprinted and used by permission.”

The Divinity of Jesus and Islam

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

When considering the deity of Jesus Christ a person must first decide whether or not the bible is a credible resource. So I have written an article about the trustworthiness of the New Testament as focusing on a Muslim perspective

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2014/02/12/an-islamic-view-that-the-bible-has-been-corrupted/

In this whole matter concerning the divinity of Jesus it is not so much what the bible has to say about it that makes it controversial but rather it is the erroneous view of Qur’an 5:116 in implying that Christians believe the Trinity to be Allah, Jesus, and Mary a position of which the bible nor orthodox Christianity has ever supported. Rather the Trinitarian formula has always been the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you are interested in understanding more about the  metaphorical or symbolic usage of the biblical terms “Father” and “Son” I have written another post which helps to explain these relational concepts.

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2009/04/09/jesus-is-gods-son/

Anyway if the bible is authentically truthful as an inspirational text then the words of Jesus and the gospel accounts collaborate His divinity. At first it may not appear to be so obvious to the casual observer or for the skeptic for that matter but neither does his position as Messiah of which the Muslims readily accept. Paradoxically, Jesus does not come right out and say it concerning His divine messianic status even though He fits the role, Mt. 11:2-6. Moreover He went so far as to resist the advances of others to make Him King, John 6:14-15 and further rejects such notions of a worldly kingship by stating that His kingdom is not of this world or world system, John 18:36-37. It wasn’t until His trial before His enemies that he plainly but reluctantly admits to them that He is the Christ or Messiah, Luke 22:66-71. Furthermore even though John the Baptist came to prepare the way of the Lord, Jesus himself did not go on a preaching campaign just to bolster His divine status but rather His primary mission at this point was to humbly serve not to be served, Mt. 20:28. It is only with a hush in a private conversation that He disclosed Himself to His faithful disciples concerning His true identity and even at that He was unwilling to plainly blurt it out but rather He asked an open ended question as to who they thought He was as Jesus just didn’t want them to rely only on human testimony but rather in the divine agency of God the Father and the Holy Spirit as revealing this truth, Mt 16:13-20, John 6:44, John 16:13. Lastly He tells them not to mention this to anybody at that time.
It may seem strange to your ears how that Jesus avoided what He came to reveal about Himself but He did so only as hiding it from those who were His avowed enemies until His time on earth had been fulfilled, especially as what he had to say wouldn’t of made a difference to them anyway as it would only be used against Him as they rejected His testimony as only finding fault and guilt with him apart from any concern for truth. Thus this revelation knowledge was reserved only for His true or real disciples as it remained hidden from the plain sight of unbelievers as God the Spirit blinded and made them deaf while opening the eyes and ears of believers to hear and see the truth as He avoided casting His pearls before the unclean swine and dogs.
Indirectly this whole subject matter strongly attests to the truth of the bible in that if Christians really wanted to manipulate the scriptures to substantiate the divinity of Jesus they could of done a better job of it as writing something more like the pseudepigraphal gnostic gospels.
Now lets look and see what the gospel accounts really show about Jesus nature as displaying His divine essence as based on the words and acts of Jesus and His personal disciples.

To begin with Jesus applied to Himself the personal name of God as spoken of in the Hebrew scriptures or Torah as the “I Am”, John 8:58.

He also referred to Himself as the Judge over all mankind, Matt. 25:31-46.

He freely receives worship on several occasions without rebuking others.
John 9:38
38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Matthew 14:33
33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 28:9-10
9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Matthew 28:16-20
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

He claimed to have power to forgive sins as in Mark 2:1-12 and Luke 7:40-50.

He declared His pre-existence and referred to His glory before the world began
John 16:28
28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the  Father.”

John 17:5
5
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Jesus called himself the lord of the sabbath and the Lord of king David in Mark 2:28, and Mat 22:41-45. In many instances this concept of Lordship within a Hebraic mindset carries the idea of deity or divinity as the term Lord and God are often used synonymously and interchangeably throughout the bible as found within the Greek Septuagint as well as the Hebrew Tanakh. Also when the Orthodox Jews read the scriptures they use the substitute word of Adonai (Lord) when referring to God.

Mark 2:28
28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Mat. 22:41-45
41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you  think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,
44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”

Matthew 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

John 13:13
13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.

According to John chapter 1, Jesus is referred to as God as preexisting in His glorified state as creating the world.
Jesus though minimizing His exposure at times didn’t act within a vacuum as completely escaping His identity towards His enemies who at times were stirred up causing Him to retreat as they protested His blasphemous claims of divine equality with God, John 5:17-18, Mark 2:5-7.
Finally, according to the scriptures, Jesus was much more than a Prophet or a man concerning what He and others said about Him as going beyond the limitations of humanity.
So lastly my question to you is that if the Bible is reliable then you must seriously consider these verses as authenticating Jesus divinity and not just simply dismiss it because it does not fit within your religious worldview as wrongfully trying to deny that the bible  even make such claims. Otherwise you might find yourself to be no different than the faults attributed to these  religious bigots of Jesus day who rejected Jesus as their Messiah as well as coming up short with a mere human Messiah apart from believing and trusting in  the biblical witness and testimony of Jesus as the divine Word; John 1, Mt 7:24-27.

 

 

How to know God

Muslim Resources of Jesus

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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007

Permission granted by David Woods for excerpts taken from the article on “ Muhammad and the Messiah” in the Christian Research Journal Vol.35/No.5/2012

Ritual cleansing and purification

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

When you look at many of the major world religions they have some sort of cleansing ritual associated with normal life events such as with childbirth and death including their normal day to day actives of human experience as with menstruation, flatulence, sleep, sexual contact, unconsciousness, emission of blood, semen, vomit, and disease, etc.
Some of these purification rites involve ablutions such as are practiced among the Bahai Faith while others prefer their bodies to be completely immersed in water.
For the Jews this ritual involves such acts as hand washing and the Mikvah while Muslims have the Ghusl and Wudu. Hindus bathe in the holy river Ganges and practice  Achamana and Punyahavachanam. The Shintoist performs Misogi and the Native American Indian has their Sweat Lodge.
Though these religions have a vast array of differences in their world views there are some similarities or familiarities as involving some form of water which for them carries a real sense in which a person consciously discerns their uncleanness with an innate awareness that they are in some significant way defiled therefore in need of cleansing as symbolized by these actions with the use of this universal solvent as an agent of purification.
This self awareness as found in some religious expressions becomes a behavioral attitude towards having a mindful sense of a transcendent reality with a methodological approach according to the old adage of cleanliness is next to godliness. However to say that there is a correlation to this physicality or materialism as applying it as an effectual agent as dealing with divine disfavor and dissatisfaction or as an opportune to sanitize ones, so called, divine essence proves to be counterproductive  as constantly needing to repeat the same activities over and over again with an endless cycle of washings which intuitively seems to lack a complete sense or sufficient effect to sustainably cleanse. These reactions towards a need for sanctification and holiness seem to fail in creating a stockpile of merit as they are short lived as being negated with the brevity of time as they perpetually rewash themselves again and again as being subjected to their frequent immorality and imperfection as human beings. Thus it appears this need for repetitiveness to be thoroughly cleansed can’t be entirely removed in the ultimate sense as leaving some aspects of their being unclean and in need of someone else who is capable to reach the unreachable part of their self identity as eliminating the defilement of their human hearts.
Anyway there are some real practical benefits of hygiene when it comes to bathing and washing but to make a direct association between the internal and external facets of an individual through these habitual mannerisms of superficial skin deep treatments, which may be sincere and outwardly appear to be a form of wisdom, yet are unable to penetrate beyond the surface level as connecting the physical realm to that of the immaterial and immortal soul  as contributing towards an individuals spiritual well being.
Rabbi Yeshua put it this way as addressing His fellow Jews concerning such practices

Matthew 15:1-2,11, 17-20
15 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”
11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
Apart from human filth the other aspect of this matter may deal with the significant sense and understanding of a deeper realization to remove the impurity of guilt and shame left behind from their moral failures. This reminds of the Shakespearean play in which Lady Macbeth shouts “Out, damned spot” concerning her role in the death of King Duncan as a need to remove the sin stained bloodshed from upon her hands.
In some respect by performing these rituals it becomes an indirect way through their actions to openly confess as recognizing their state of immorality and therefore washing becomes a way of responding according to their human ability and self effort to somehow mysteriously do the job as sufficiently dealing with their moral failures with this compulsive drive to be made clean. Again, I believe this fails to demonstrate an efficacy regardless of their awareness, desire, piety and zeal in performing these rites as the sufficient means to reconcile or ratify  these matters through the limited and dependent abilities of human factors as a somewhat penitent act to offset as to appease, gain favor and acceptance by these various methodologies. Even if all this were somehow possible then when would  it ever be enough to absolve their status or state of uncleanliness and to what degree of scrubbing can sufficiently eradicate the tattooing that has indelibly left its mark upon the heart which has pigmented the spirit and soul with death from both its past and future actions.
Conclusively there is a real conscious sense which is inherent within all mankind that we have violated the standard of a holy God as indicative with an impending sense of a future judgment for those who fail to resolve this substantial conflict.

Romans 2:14-16
14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

Mankind has struggled to deal with this tension in forming or creating a delusional religious dialogue of ideologies as blazing a trail in finding a solution to navigate this journey towards enlightenment while the hostility of the deceived  anti-theistic psychopath just plainly denies the need to leave their personal abode as to venture out on a quest, which according to their belief, leads to no where as religion becomes an avenue by which weak willed persons have succumbed to the Freudian neurosis of fantasy as seeking a path to a make believe land.  So interestingly, either way, mankind has found a method to traverse or cope with this matter as to self manage this conscious appeal from the Creator.
In response to this crisis I would like to suggest a solution by means of the person and work of Christ who unlike other religious expressions isn’t about mankind trying to find, approach or reach out to God but rather it is about God pursuing mankind relationally with humanity reciprocating a trust response. Thus it isn’t according to the the strength, or for that matter weaknesses, of mankind’s personal abilities but rather cleanliness and purity has been graciously offered as a free gift resulting in fellowship and worship by which God, not us has made possible.
Titus 3:5
5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 2:8-9
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
1 John 1:7 
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
You may object in believing Christianity to being no different than any other form of religious expression with its cleansing sacrament of Water Baptism and in part I would have to agree with you as for some it is no more than a mere bath as going through the motions of identifying with the Church but who are in essence unclean as pseudo believers. True baptism, as a central tenet of the faith, primarily serves as an outward sign or symbol of the effectual and cleansing power of the perfect and precious life blood of Jesus which redemptively purifies all believers in judicially declaring them righteous as coinciding with the transference of the Holy Spirit as the personal change agent who through the process of regeneration brings about an inner transformation. Thus the act of water baptism is a witness or testimony to a reality that didn’t come by combining the elements of hydrogen and oxygen in order to benefit from a liquid but rather it was through the saving work of Christ and the living water of the Holy Spirit as the dynamo that inhabits a person as evidenced by a changed heart and life. It is God Himself that gives the good gift of salvation and the Holy Spirit which does not subsist through the plunging efforts of human baptizers and therefore water baptism becomes only a glimpse concerning this heavenly reality of the power of God in this womb like transaction as giving new birth to a person, not as being born of human will or origin such as with religious activities, but rather through the initiation of God as being born from above or born again through Christ and the Holy Spirit. This being born anew is not to be confused with the Hindu and Buddhist concept of rebirth, as it is the resultant work of Christ who imparts the Holy Spirit as contingent upon His initiative followed with a responsive act of faith or trust in His salvation.
The scriptures likens this reality based on future redemption of Israel according to the Hebraic prophet Ezekiel 36:25-27.

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Rabbi Yeshua said it this way during the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot in

John 7:37-39
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The ancient Jews at best had a temporal satisfaction in their ritualistic duties to God but as stated in Hebrews 10 these were only symbols not the reality  themselves as Christ’s offering for our cleansing was given once and for all as the perpetual sacrificial offering as the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of the world. To say that Jews don’t need a sacrifice today as the rituals of prayer, fasting and good deeds will suffice as being satisfactory is an act of violation and rebellion against the inscripturated word as denying the fulfillment of the Torah regarding, Leviticus 17:11.

11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

No matter how many Mitzvot you perform what surety is there that you have done enough or that your sins have been forgiven apart from the provisional sacrifice of God’s mercy and grace through the Messiah in Isaiah 53?
Likewise for my Muslim friends to deny the death of Jesus as some semblance of failure within the prophetic office entirely misses the point that this was God’s glorious plan to provide an Abrahamic type of  substitutionary atonement by means of the Messiah whose temporary disgrace and shame served as a joyous purpose and occasion as enduring the cross in leading many to glory, Hebrew 2:9-18; 12:2.

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2011/07/14/crucifixion-of-jesus-christ-and-islam/

In closing Jesus can give you living water which can completely and fully satisfy  and refresh your soul and even though the heavenly Father can lead you to this water He won’t make you drink of it. So finally I would encourage you my friend, like the Samaritan woman, to simply ask for this living water which is essential towards quenching your spiritual thirst apart from false religions, cults  and philosophies which will only leave you high and dry as only being thirsty once again.

John 4:10, 13-14
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this (well) water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Lastly Jesus invites you!
 
Mt 11:28-30
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
How to have a realtionship with God

www.jesusandjews.com/wordpress/

 

 

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007

Visions and Dreams of Jesus, Isa, Esa, Yeshu, Yeshua

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Hello, I was asked by a friend of mine in a Muslim country if I would share with them about the people whom I know that have had a dream or vision of Jesus. To begin with  I had a dream of God when I was a small child and I couldn’t have fabricated this dream as He appeared to me in a bright light which is consistent with the biblical description of God’s glory which was unbeknownst to me at the time. It left such a deep impression on me that I still remember it today and even though He did not say anything to me it was the  brilliance of His presence which communicated to me that He was worthy of worship and therefore I prostrated myself before Him. Also I have a couple of Jewish friends who had personal experiences with Jesus. One lady was a good friend of mine and she was very resistant to Christianity as she considered all religions valid.  She never took me seriously and at one point she even made the comment that her dad was good at debating Christians and that was the end of the conversation.  However right before she died she was in the hospital and claimed that she had several visitations from Jesus.  Now for a Jew to admit to having a close encounter with Jesus is a remarkable and miraculous event which I believe deeply changed her perception about Him as the Messiah. Another story is from a South African Jew who is now one of my pastors at the church that I attend. He too rejected the idea of Jesus as being the Messiah nonetheless he had several midday visions of Him during his visit to Jerusalem. He has now written a book about his experience which is called “My Jerusalem Encounter.” Finally some of the most interesting and surprising stories or testimonies have come from my Muslim friends who not only revere Jesus as a prophet but who have come to put their faith in Him as Lord. The first time I had spoken to somebody like this was after I noticed a Middle Eastern gentleman at an international church function in whom I latter bumped into at a grocery store. I confronted this Iranian man on how he became a believer and he said that he had a vision or dream of Jesus. Another man I know is a Palestinian friend that I met while in Israel and he said that even though he came from a Muslim background he somehow became a believer in Jesus. Latter he would be locked up in a prison for his faith and it was at that point that Jesus appeared to him and illuminated the entire cell. Other people I have visited with would include a lady from Pakistan who said that as a young girl Jesus appeared to her in a dream and offered her a drink of water and it was at this point that I explained to her that according to the biblical text that Jesus is the living water who gives life. Another lady who is Iranian sent me an email and said that upon finishing her morning prayers that she went back to bed only to be awakened as a green light filled the room with a man’s voice telling her “Stand up! Hi I am Maseeh (Messiah)” In response she claimed that she was too afraid to get out of bed and remained under the sheets mainly because of the presence of His holiness in  that she had not donned her Hijab or personal covering. In closing I have forgotten some of the details of all these stories and I wished I had recorded them at the time but nonetheless I am hearing more and more about these encounters which are real and life changing to such a point that these men and women were willing to be ostracized by their families and society which could even mean death for some of them. People don’t risk their lives for nothing and I believe that for either of these two groups to have had such a powerful and dynamic impact which didn’t come by the greatest personages of their ethnic faith, namely Moses and Muhammad, was a wakeup call for them to rethink the person and work of Jesus in challenging what they have been taught or instructed to believe about Him. Perhaps you question the validity of these reports but I simply request that you ask God or Jesus to make Himself  known to you in such a personal way so that you can believe and trust in Him as Lord and Savior. Lastly I watched a couple of videos on the 700 club which talked about some of these Muslims who are coming to faith.

www1.cbn.com/video/a-journey-from-islam

www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/insideisrael/2012/June/Dreams-Visions-Moving-Muslims-to-Christ/

morethandreams.org/

 

 

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A happy and content Muslim

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

I have talked with many people from various religious backgrounds as stating that they too are happy and fulfilled in what they are doing. Thus a person can be content and sincere yet sincerely wrong as these different religions can’t all be right even though to them it may feel or seem right.

Personally I couldn’t be happy as a Muslim in never really knowing whether I did enough or was good enough to make it to Paradise as faithfully reciting the creed, praying five times daily, giving alms, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and if able making the pilgrimage to Mecca. This must be so troublesome for some Muslims who see a jihadist martyrdom as the only real solution to resolve this tension which seems to be a dismal and fatalistic approach to faith and life.

From a biblical perspective this kind of heavenly salvation is not attained by personal merit and devotion as there is no one who is without sin and because of this I am not able to trust in my own righteousness which may look good in my own eyes but are filthy rags in the sight of God. In our finitude we are not able to comprehensively or exhaustibly measure ourselves and when placed on the heavenly scales we are nothing in comparison to a Holy God thus salvation doesn’t come by trusting ourselves and our works or deeds but rather it is simply received through the person and providential work of Christ as a merciful gift.

 

Romans 3:23

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

 

Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Mt 11:28-29 Jesus said,

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

 

How to know God

Muslim Resources of Jesus

Islam and Jesus

 

 

 

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)

Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,

a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

All rights reserved.

ESV Text Edition: 2007

 

Permission granted by David Woods for excerpts taken from the article on “ Muhammad and the Messiah” in the Christian Research Journal Vol.35/No.5/2012

An Islamic view that the Bible has been corrupted

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

The need to authenticate the biblical literature is at the forefront of Christian thought and concern as well and I have previously written two posts about this subject; one from a literary standpoint and the other with a view of historicity by which I use secondary (extra-biblical) sources to substantiate its claims.
jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2010/02/03/is-the-bible-reliable/
jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2014/01/19/does-archaeology-disprove-the-bible/
In addition to the other points that I have already made in these blogs I think there are a few other factors that should be considered when questioning the integrity of the Bible such as the biblical warnings that God would judge anyone who would tamper or mishandle His word or sacred script, Deuteronomy 4:2, Revelation 22:18, along with the fact that it goes against the ethical standards of Christianity to deceive, lie or bear false witness. So when considering someones actions from a psychological and spiritual perspective it would be unthinkable that someone who was an authentic believer would dare to modify the text.
This whole conspiracy theory lacks credibility in another way as well as it doesn’t make sense for others to edit it and not remove the seemingly contradictions or paradoxical statements which might make the biblical text look unfavorable or suspect.
Also for two different religious groups namely the Jews as the guardians of the Old Testament or Tanakh and the Gentiles as the predominate holders of the New Testament, to change both of their scriptures seems unlikely especially as they share an identical or  common text together. Even the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran, which predates the oldest Masoretic Text by about 1000 years, shows scriptural integrity.
Anyway I understand that it necessary for some opposing groups to make such claims about the corruption of the Bible otherwise they could not exist as a competitive worldview and therefore it seems reasonable for there be a motivation to having a biased approach towards the scriptural data as being predisposed to proving it wrong rather than right. After all this seems apparent when asking them about who corrupted the bible, when did they change it, and what exactly was changed. At this juncture there is no appropriate response for these allegations as lacking the evidence to adequately answer these three questions.
I don’t even think that a strong case can be made from the Quran on rejecting the biblical scriptures as they are confirmed as the word of God in Sura 2:87, 3:3, 4:163, 5:46-47, 5:68, 10:94.
Moreover the Koran seems to signify that God’s word can never be altered or changed 6:114-115, 6:34, 10:64.
So for the Quran to state that the Gospels, Torah, and Psalms are the “Word of God” which can’t be altered I believe my Muslims friends don’t have an authoritative argument from their holy and noble book to question the Bible. Furthermore to say that God’s word as revealed in the Torah, Psalms,and Gospels was changed would likewise potentially apply to the Quran itself if it really were God’s word.
Actually the Quran’s inference to the unalterability of God’s word seems reasonable enough as how could a sovereign and omnipotent God not be able to sustain His word at all times?
Lastly if the bible is correct as the Qur’an claims it to be at the time of Muhammad then this poses a problem for the Muslim who alleges that it has been changed as there is a collaboration of scriptural evidence combined with the sayings of the early church fathers that predate Islam thus authenticating the bible that we have today showing that it has not been significantly altered over the millennium. Thus from a Muslim perspective to say that the Bible has been corrupted is a rejection of Muhammad’s prophetic office as contradicting the claims of the Qur’an which support the inspiration, preservation, and authority of the christian scriptures.

 

 

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Permission granted by David Woods for excerpts taken from the article on “ Muhammad and the Messiah” in the Christian Research Journal Vol.35/No.5/2012

Paganism and Islam

Monday, December 30th, 2013

I have previously written about the pre-islamic influences of polytheism and idolatry upon Islam in these following articles

The Crescent Moon and Star of Islam

Is the Ka’ba sacred? 

Another one of these famous accounts regarding paganism within Islam is referred to as the “Satanic Verses” which supposedly Muhammad recited following Sura 53:19-20 which is historically recorded in early Islamic sources taken from such credible individuals as Ibn Sa’d and al-Tabari with their biographies on Muhammad. Anyway this episode was purportedly an accommodation to the Meccan inhabitants as recognizing the legitimacy and effective intercession of their goddesses or female deities known as Allāt, al-’Uzzā and Manāt, otherwise referred to as the 3 daughters of Allah, in order to help convert his kinsmen and neighbors to Islam but was latter removed and regarded as a temptation from Satan by which Gabriel chastised Muhammad for adulterating the revelation leading to the Quranic verses of 22:52,53 along with the following renouncement of these pseudo gods in 53:21,22.

In summary I think these narratives show the duplicity of this movement much like what happened when Muhammad temporarily facilitated the Jews of Medina by praying north towards Jerusalem while turning his back on Mecca in which he latter recanted as the Jews rejected his message followed by him violently driving them out of Medina.

In closing this whole matter conflicts with Islam’s central tenet of faith in its firm proclamation of the “shahada” as a creedal formula concerning the oneness of God and the legitimacy of Muhammad’s role as a true prophet along with the doctrine of “isma” as having divine protection to keep Muhammad from making mistakes which in this case failed to be a perfect dictation from Gabriel as falsifying the spoken words of Allah. It likewise follows that it is reasonable to doubt Muhammad’s other revelations as well, as perhaps being a personal fabrication or a satanic inspiration.

In conclusion this may be an embarrassment or unflattering representation of Muhammad as a beloved and respected prophet but it should be taken seriously apart from ad hoc statements from Muslim apologists as seeing this occasion as simply a test or as a complete denial  of the literature all together.

 

 
How to know God

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Honesty in Islam

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Truthfulness is a virtue that is compromised in Islamic practice by using such concepts as Takkiya “cover up” and Abrogation.

The idea of Takkiya allows for lying and deceiving others in order to forward Islam or preserve its good name.

It permits the suspension as the need arises of almost any of the religious requirements or its doctrines including a total denial of faith when fearing any kind of threat or injury and is sanctioned according to Sura 16:106

Also this includes the taking of oaths and is used as a tool among Muslim debaters when defending their faith as a means to hide and deny certain parts of the Quran in order to justify and advance the cause of Islam.

Furthermore I suspect that these deceptive practices are why some of my Muslim friends mostly misunderstand basic Christian doctrine.

In addition to this there is the doctrine of abrogation which was a method of convenience in replacing older revelations with newer ones and yet if the Koran is a perfect carbon copy of the eternal word then how can it be revised when it is supposed to be a word for word dictation. Additionally these abrogated verses are often quoted causing obscurity and evasiveness in a maneuver that is also a part of Takkiya. Therefore a person can conveniently use both sides of the argument when it is to their advantage.

So anyway if these practices are employed then how can a sincere Muslim worshipper be reassured that they are being told the truth? Also how can they be confident that Christianity is really a falsehood? If the Koranic verses can be twisted and misapplied then how is this any different then what the Christians and Jews are being blamed for in the mishandling of the bible which is known as “Tahrif”. Ironically the Suras originally confirmed the scriptures but latter abrogated them in spite of the fact that the passages in the bible didn’t change between the initial and final rulings on this matter. Thus they were either right or wrong from the onset as there was no way of them being altered since there are thousands of corroborating biblical manuscripts that predate Islamic times which in turn correlates with our modern translations. This would also include the pre-islamic writings of the ancient church fathers which utilized these scriptural references which could almost independently and entirely replicate these biblical passages long before Islam arrived on the scene. Not only that but how likely would it be for Christians and Jews who are primarily exclusive groups to cooperate in changing the Tanakh or the Old Testament and yet today the scriptures are essentially the same between both groups. I have written a post about this at

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2010/02/03/is-the-bible-reliable/

Lastly if you still affirm this belief then who specifically changed the scriptures and which ones were changed and when was it done? Moreover what evidence do you have outside of Islamic thought which accurately corresponds to this view?

So in conclusion the concept of Takkiya “cover up” and Abrogation are accommodations  which falsely represent God and true religion in resorting to eventing methodologies to support a misaligned belief system.

Finally are you willing to entrust your soul or commit yourself  to a world view that practices this type of duplicity?

 

 

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Beyond Opinion, Sam Soloman Ch.4, Copyright 2007, published in Nashville Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and Islam

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

When dealing with the death of Jesus this isn’t just about the conflicting differences between the Bible and the Quran but this is also a matter of taking into consideration all the other secondary sources which are secular in nature and who are either reporting on the basis of a historical or a hostile view when elaborating about the crucifixion of Christ and therefore they are not sympathetic towards reconciling themselves with Christian doctrine. These sources include the likes of such contemporaries as Mara Bar-Serapion, Jewish Talmud, Thallus, Cornelius Tacitus, and Flavius Josephus which represented both Roman and Jewish authorship.

Also the crucifixion didn’t happen in a corner and for the enemies of Christ this wouldn’t have been a haphazard event of mistaken identity as they accompanied the corpse of Christ to the point of even guarding the tomb. They weren’t worried about His death as they were more concerned about His alleged resurrection and the body being stolen.

From a New Testament perspective it would have been complicated for this scenario to be an act of deception as this would of involved not only the main event but everything leading up to the crucifixion on through to the resurrection appearances of Christ.

Actually Jesus death didn’t begin at the cross but it was inaugurated at the scourging and this was after all the trials from both the Roman and Jewish sectors. So during this whole time they had an up close encounter with Christ which left no doubt to His identity.

The life and ministry of Christ was witnessed by many prior to His public execution and there were all types of people represented at this hanging. This would include the Roman soldiers, religious Jews and then the follower’s of Jesus perhaps even the Apostle John.

Also there were people dialoguing with Jesus during His trial and crucifixion which would have been very difficult or impossible for there to be some type of cosmic deception in blinding the eyes of those who intimately knew Him. Additionally it would be contrary to the nature of God to lie by somehow hiding the truth by fabricating a falsehood to manipulate people into being tricked or fooled into thinking that Judas was somehow Jesus.

The very words spoken during the trial and crucifixion are not consistent with that of Judas as this individual claimed to be the Messiah. This person also used such verbiage as “today you will be with me in paradise” or “forgive them for they know not what they do” and “why God have you forsaken me”. These statements were made by the innocent party not by the one who was doing the forsaking or betraying.

We also understand that there was physical evidence after the resurrection in which Jesus revealed His wounds and so for this whole ordeal to be some kind of conspiracy theory it is just not consistent within the testimony of the new covenant literature along with the evidence from all these other external sources that I have mentioned as well. Even the Old Testament concurs with this theme and can be considered as a complimentary text which couldn’t have been tampered or altered by Christians as the Jews had secured these writings prior to the advent of Christianity. Amazingly when a secular Jew unsuspectingly hears the Old Testament scripture for the first time such as with Isaiah chapter 52:13-53:12 and Psalms chapter 22 they sometimes make an association between the crucifixion of Jesus and this suffering servant. At this point they often object and infer that you have read something to them from the Christian bible not even realizing that these passages came right from their own scriptures. Not only that but these verses contain details of His flagellation and crucifixion which could not of been fabricated especially since this form of execution wasn’t even developed until long after these words were prophetically spoken. Anyway I am sending you a link to these biblical passages in English so you can reference them.

Isaiah
Psalms

Lastly even the skeptics of today may contest certain aspects of the biblical message but the crucifixion is generally accepted and perhaps there are those who probably think that somehow He deserved this consequence as being a revolutionary.

Finally the message of Jesus prior to His Passion also confirmed His demise in which He told of His impending death prior to its fulfillment even to the embarrassment and amazement of the disciples who denied this outcome. The reason why they initially had these expectations was because the Jews of that time were under the oppression of foreign rule and for them the Messiah was to be their deliverer instead of Him undergoing a brutal death. So why would the disciples portray themselves in less than a  favorable light regarding  these comments made by  Christ regarding His death and  what would their motivation be to make up a story which depicted their hero as dieing by the hands of the enemy? From a human perspective this looks like a form of weakness and defeat rather than a victory for their Messiah. It would appear to have been better for them to go along with the understanding of the Koran and have Jesus leaving unscathed and reappearing at the end of the age to restore all things.

Essentially they did not have the foresight in deciphering some of these Old Covenant scriptures and even today the Jewish people are blind sighted to these texts even though many Jews have come to faith through these very scriptures which I have made reference to.

In hindsight to this matter it is much clearer to see this whole matter after the fact regarding this suffering/death motif as it properly fits into the divine plan of God’s eternal purpose and therefore negating any kind of vain or meaningless interpretation.

If you were to do a survey of biblical doctrine this matter would neatly align itself within the context of the biblical worldview of redemption which actually begun before the foundation of the world climaxing with the sacrificial death of Christ alongside of His resurrection and ascension. This is what is termed as the scarlet thread of redemption which weaves itself throughout the fabric of history in dealing with a sacrificial system of atonement.

The nature of the sacrificial system combines both the justice and the mercy of God by which sin and guilt is dealt with. This ceremonial law appropriated a covenant breaker in that this offender was allowed a provisional ransom in the form of offerings and animal sacrifice. In the book of Leviticus it says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Therefore this animal served as an innocent and substitutionary offering in that its life blood was exchanged on behalf of the guilty party as a life for life transaction.

This whole drama is what has set the stage for what the New Testament book of Hebrews says about Christ who was the reality of these Old Testament shadows as the fulfillment in being the Lamb of God who was sacrificed once and for all in making His work completely efficacious in reconciling us unto God and giving us peace.

The reason Christ came to earth was to represent mankind and because He was without sin He could only do what you and I could not in being a pure and innocent offering as He willfully took the punishment for sin that was rightfully ours. In comparison to Christ’s righteousness we come up short in that we have all sinned and therefore if we contrast ourselves to each other then perhaps we might have a leg to stand on but when we compare ourselves to a holy and righteous God then this confidence is easily shattered. We are not distinguishing between apples here as when we judge between ourselves and others and therefore as we stand before the judgment seat of God we will be humbly aware that we are God’s creation and like a bad tree we have produced the sweetening putrefaction of rotting fruit. God is the author and perfector of all things and anything less than that is a violation of His character. So what kind of assurance should any of us have before God when we are left to our own insufficient righteousness? We are left naked and bare before Him and ever thought and action is exposed and therefore it is no wonder how our very minds condemn us when we fail to live up to the basic moral laws of life.

That’s why we need a Savior because we can’t save ourselves from the justice of God which demands perfection and yet the God of the bible is also described as a God of love and this love is extended to us by making a provision for our sins according to His mercy.

Also God is not under any kind of compulsion to do this as He would be perfectly just to let us suffer His wrath and judgment. However the good news is that not only are we saved from God but we are saved by God through the life, death and subsequent resurrection of Christ.  God provides a solution of which we would have otherwise perished in being condemned but now instead of being alienated from God  we can be confident and reassured so that when we pass from this life to the next we aren’t left to gamble by rolling the dice of eternity.

Perhaps all of this love, mercy, and sacrifice stuff doesn’t make sense to you and maybe your are wondering how God can allow this inequality to happen in that at the same time we are both the beneficiary and the perpetrator to this bloody transaction and yet without this allowance  then how would any of us be spared?

Also the bible supports the notion of God’s transcendence in which it describes His thoughts are not our thoughts nor are our ways His ways. We reason differently in that we think that God shouldn’t act this way and yet it is His prerogative and without it what hope would we have? Also this is not a contradiction or a compromise to His character and nature as He is providing justice by receiving this salvific work of Christ in recompense for our sin. Jesus had the right to lay down his life and to have it taken up. He willfully forfeited  His life for His sheep and even though we were once His enemies Christ died for us and consequently that is why it is referred to as amazing grace.

When you contemplate all of this we can’t even fathom this kind of response and at best we can only relate to the sacrificial love of a parent or a spouse but how much more perfect is the God who created these imperfect beings and therefore I am comforted to know that His infinite love is far greater than that of any finite creature. My friend God didn’t create life to provide fuel for the fire of hell and the bible says it was initially prepared for the devil and his angels and yet how can we escape such judgment if we neglect this gratuitous act of grace by rejecting the provisional source of salvation?

Respectfully, my challenge to you is how do you deal with your guilt? Also have you ever wondered or considered if you have done enough good deeds to earn or merit paradise? Can you know for sure that your life is really acceptable to Allah?

In conclusion God’s love has not abandoned or left us helpless or hopeless as He has lavished poured out His love on us by giving us Jesus who is our confidence for everlasting life.

Finally Jesus is giving you an invitation in which He has shouldered the burden of sin releasing us from this debt of transgression and delivering us from the rigors of religious expectations through an intimate knowledge and personal relationship with Him.

Mt 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

 

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Is The Bible Reliable

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Upon writing this post I wanted to deal with the uniqueness of the bible which I believe gives credence to the reality of the text which ultimately points towards divine authorship.

To study further on this subject I would recommend a book that I read a long time ago called “A Ready Defense” by Josh McDowell who was an atheist turned Christian. His quest was similar to that of Lee Strobel’s who is a well known author for his “case” series of books.

When closely examining the bible it is like a jewel that is multifaceted with a beauty that makes this gem unique among other literary “gem”res.

I know that this is the same claim that others have also made by advancing their various religious world views but in the final analysis the bible as compared to these other scripts sets a precedence which places it in a class of its own.

Every group wants to claim originality, uniqueness, genuineness, and authority as it relates to some supreme or divine origin regarding their sacred text and based on what I have seen so far in regard to these books seems to be questionable based upon the shortcomings and contradictions of their varied positions of belief.

Again I understand this is the same criticism that has been leveled against the biblical text as well and the skeptic is quick to point out all sorts of problems but some are not always able to be specific in their critique.

Also I know there are difficulties within the bible that are hard to decipher but that is not enough evidence to discard its content as rubbish and poppycock.

Some of these conflicts have resulted due to the vastness and complexity of the scriptures which encompasses 1500 years of writing with 40 different authors who wrote on 3 different continents in 3 different languages. This has led to various nuances which at times may be almost impossible at points to complete rectify or reconcile due to the diversity of language and  culture.

Some things in the bible are a paradigm shift to our concept of experience such as its miraculous and metaphysical contents but this does not disapprove the bible either but rather it just leaves us with a bit of a  mystery that is not normative to our sense perception.

As regarding biblical content there are other things that just lack a fuller view of explanation and insight of which the authors didn’t leave us with nor thought it necessary to answer. As we try to fill in the blanks this often times leaves us with a misunderstanding which attributes much to the seemingly contradictions and misapplications to the contextual view which can lead towards heretical forms of teaching or belief.

The bible isn’t always an easy piece of literature to handle or piece together and it is like an onion in that every time you read through it you find another layer of understanding that was overlooked in the first disclosure. Yet just because something cannot not be fully understood doesn’t mean that is can’t be trusted. Even science has these limitations as they are just now beginning to probe into the deeper mysteries of the universe and yet the universe to us is both real and believable.

Also we can’t treat the bible like an exhaustive manual which explains every last little detail and it appears to be the Almighty’s prerogative to avoid an extensive explanation of all the complexities that interest inquiring minds. From a biblical view point there tends to be a concentration on the relevant or central points and subjects rather than always answering the questions of “why”. It’s not like we could fully fathom or understand everything anyway and at points it might be like trying to teach the theorems of nuclear science to a new born. This reminds me of Job who questioned God in his finitude which in turn God answered Job back in His infinitude leaving Job speechless.

As humans we don’t even fully understand the ancient technologies or achievements of men such as the building of the pyramids which are undeniably monumental in their presence and yet now we expect to fully comprehend the complexities of an eternal and omnipotent God?

Also some of the difficulties in the bible apply more directly to that particular point in history which would have made it more significant in relevance towards the contemporaries of that particular generation.

So maybe our ability to discern fully is diminished through this aspect of time and space and one thing that has helped in narrowing the gap of biblical doctrine has been the technological advances of archaeology and their recovery of the evidence which has helped to clarify instead of contradict the biblical text. It’s just a matter of time for some things to come into a clearer view as we unearth the next pile of dirt.

Archaeologists have uncovered habitations that were once thought to be non existent such as the Hittite civilization and they also have found historical proof for the things in the bible that at one time were put in the categorical box of mythology.

Our limitations to discern or understand can also become distorted resulting in a corrupt understanding of the text and fallibility may be on behalf of the interpreter which results in a misapplication to the scriptures but one thing is certain is that these assertions may apply to peoples perception but that does not necessitate an application to the book that is under others scrutiny.

Anyway I really don’t have enough time in this one post to write on such a voluminous work that has copious amount of scholarship dedicated to this subject. Hopefully this will serve your interest in prompting a desire for you to more fully research these claims in unlocking this heavy but accessible door as you enter into the discovery of biblical truth.

One thing that biblical literature has going for itself is that there is more manuscript evidence for the bible than any other piece of ancient literature. There are about 25,000 manuscripts in various languages that date back as early as 125 A.D for the New Testament and as far back as 200 B.C for the Old. This massive amount of manuscript helps when trying to reconstruct authenticity by analyzing possible discrepancies due to scribal fluctuations and these reconstructive efforts of scholars and linguists have resulted in more of a purified text. Most of these variances that are found are minor such as spelling errors and therefore are non consequential towards the integrity of the text.

Unfortunately we do not have the originals or the autographs but still there is only about a 100 year old time lapse between the New Testament autograph and the oldest surviving copies which is quite small considering that most of the other literature that we have from antiquity is between 400 to 1000 years removed from its original source.

Also regarding the preservation and authentication of the New Testament text is that much of it can be completely reconstructed from the quotes of the early church fathers between 97 AD to 180 AD except for 11 verses. In addition to this the lectionaries between 300-1100 AD also confirm the content for the entire New Testament.

Another thing to consider is that when there is a longer period of time between the sources there tends to be a better possibility to embellish the literature content of a document which can evolve into mythical proportions due to the inclusion of oral traditions. We discovered this when we played the game of telephone as kids. So I believe given the relatively short period of time between these manuscript sources helps to authenticate the reliability of the biblical text.

One of the main reasons why there was difficulty in the preservation and survival of these original autographs was due to the inferiority of the parchment which was largely papyrus. Animal skins were not widely used until centuries after the completion of the New Testament so in conclusion this trail of vast manuscripts has turned out to be a blessing in piecing together the textual evidence of this script without the benefits of Gutenberg’s Press.

In moving on to the Old Testament text it was passed down to us by the Massoretes. These copyists or scribes were meticulous on how they counted the number of letters, words, and lines in keeping with the accuracy of the sacred text. This kind of detail can be attributed to the consistency we see with the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947 which were written about 1000 years before this Masoretic text (895AD). When I was in Jerusalem I was able to see the Isaiah scroll on display at the Shrine of the Book museum.

Anyway in addition to this there is yet another copy of the Old Testament called the Septuagint which is written in Greek with the oldest copy dating back to about the second century AD which is still another piece of the puzzle to this ancient work of literature.

Now regarding the New Testament the original manuscripts were written between 45 and 95 A.D. Fortunately these documents can be ascribed to there various times based on the historical significance of well know people, places, and events. In addition to this I think one key element in determining the age of these documents is the fact that the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.  and since this is such a catastrophic event of which is not even mentioned in such significant historical books  as Acts or the gospel narratives then it becomes understandable why these books predate this particular event in history.

Also before the New Testament could be accepted as canon it had to be validated and  proven to have  an origin that would require it to be of either a first hand witness or someone closely associated with these witnesses in order to find acceptance within the  New Testament community of believers.

Nearly all the New Testament was written by the Apostles with the bulk of literature being attributed to the Apostle Paul. Others that had written books were closely associated with the Apostles such as John Mark who was a close associate with the Apostle Peter and Luke who was under the influence of Paul and there was also Jacob(James) and Judah(Jude) who were the half brother’s of Jesus. We have no reason to question the authenticity of these apostolic authors based on the dates and the acceptance of these scriptures by the followers of the early church.

Even Polycarp in 108 AD, who was a disciple of the Apostle John, mentions 15 of these NT books, not to say that the others didn’t exist, but finally through various church councils leading up to the council of Carthage in 397 AD the canon of the New Testament was determined to be closed and was fully affirmed and accepted officially even though it had already been approved within the community of saints prior to these councilor meetings. In addition to this the Jewish council of Jamnia had already determined their canon of scripture prior to this in 90 A.D by officially codifying the Old Testament text.

One of the reasons for the council was due to a reactionary response as a need to preserve biblical orthodoxy which was under attack by the various cults and heresies that were being circulated at this juncture in history. Also within these councils, which would include Jamnia, the various apocryphal literature’s were rejected as inspirational even though it was allowed within the Septuagint and later included within various Orthodox and Catholic bibles.

The early church was hypersensitive towards authentication and was very narrow concerning the inclusion of circulated texts. The church wanted to avoid the synchronization of controversial texts which is unlike some religions like Hinduism which have incorporated a synthesis of various contradictory tribal traditions as a unified text.

So the bible didn’t just come together haphazardly by the mixing and matching of mythological narratives such as what you might find in some of the ancient pagan cultures that ascribe the  events of the creation and the flood accounts as the work of  the polytheistic gods. Nor does it lend itself to the mishandling of information but rather the authors had a preoccupation for accuracy. Just read the account of the gospel of Dr. Luke who writes with the intent of precision as outlined in the introductory statement of his gospel account in Luke 1:1-4 which is described as being prepared in an orderly and precise fashion.

Though the bible may contain super-nature material it is written with the backdrop of historical narrative which is unique and separate from other mythological literature. If God is who the bible claims Him to be then the variables of His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence are clearly within the range of the data that the biblical account supports.

There have also been challenges raised against the gospel accounts which can be seen by the discrepancies of inclusion and exclusion. The bible teaches inspiration with a confluence of both a divine and human element unlike Islam which teaches that the Quran was originated as a divine copy that was communicated by dictation like a stenographer.

The writers of the gospels were individuals who wrote based on their guided perceptions of the same events as it related to their distinct personalities and experience much like interviewing a spectator at a sporting event to get their reaction to the game. Not everybody is going to say the same thing because of a different vantage point in their communication of factual information and even if there is corroboration like you have in the Synoptic gospels there are still allowances for individuality. Of course this is only acceptable as long as it is not contradictory in nature.

If the church wanted to remove any perceived inconsistencies as a means to help eliminate the supposed contradictions then they would have had plenty of time to do this by now but because these somewhat controversial scriptures remain helps to prove is originality.

If we question the biblical literature then we must likewise question the historical literature of antiquity as well as all other literature even from the contemporary sources. We can’t just simply rank or categorize religion under the titles of superstition, fiction, and myth just because it pertains to religious ideologies.

We must also scrutinize what is to be considered as the standardized text book materials such as what is found in the scientific (philosophical) realms which base much of their conclusive evidence on the theory and hypothesis of their scientific methods. Yet are we religiously treating these books as sacred without challenging them by accepting the science fiction notion of such things as macroevolution which has never been proven.

Religion has been attributed as the opiate of the masses but what about the cyanide of the sciences and philosophies in spite of the teleological and cosmological arguments of which science has stumbled over in resolving and has had to shift their position from time to time in order to accommodate there faith which remains in a continued state of flux. Upon closer observation if the skeptic would remove the shutter over their instruments they may come to discover the Creator staring back at them through the lens of the microscope and telescope.

The bible was meant to be complimentary to the texts of human academia and is not to be antithetical to the precepts of life as it appears within the libraries of knowledge. However some want to create a special section that separates it from the rest of the collection of library books by attributing it to a form of  mysticism or some type of the pre-scientific beliefs of ancient tribal civilizations who were ignorant and misinformed.

Lastly this post does not answer every question to all the objections but it does show at this point that the bible is a reliable source of ancient literature. Yet what really makes this piece of work unique is the content which has it origins in a divine being.

I believe that requires something of the nature which is considered special revelation such as the fulfillment of prophecy or scientific facts that were unknown to these ancient civilizations.

A person could give the criticism that biblical prophecy is like an arrow that has been shot with the bible serving as the target which we have conveniently moved in order to achieve the bulls eye of fulfillment.

Yet there are some things of which can not be adequately refuted because of the historical nature of secondary or non biblical sources which are independent of the biblical sources.

One of these sources comes to us through the historical and archeological finds that have helped to substantiate and give credibility to the biblical text.

The scriptures themselves have made some wise towards the receiving of salvation and we see this as a response to some Jews who have come to believe in Jesus as the Messiah just from reading the Tanakh or the Old Testament scriptures. To most Jews the New Testament is an inferior secondary text but when they see an alignment between the historical crucifixion and the New Testament record then sometimes the light of revelation illuminates their mind to connect to Jesus as the supreme messianic figure in fulfillment of the Old Testament.

The Jewish community is not sympathetic towards Jesus even though we share a common belief in God and a holy book. One of the chapters that some of the religious Jews avoid is Isaiah 53 due to its prophetic significance as related to Jesus. Many times when uninformed Jews hear this segment of the scripture for the first time some immediately associate this passage with Jesus and their initial response is that we don’t believe in the New Testament without realizing that they have just heard a passage from their Hebrew scriptures.

Another prophecy, which is found in Psalms 22, depicts the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus which describes this form of capital punishment that was non existent at this point in history and wasn’t developed until later by the Persians before finally being adopted by the Romans.

Again this is another one of those scriptures that some Jews upon hearing for the first time have immediately seen as a correlation between Jesus and His death. Actually this was one of the key scriptures in which my Jewish wife came to believe in Jesus herself.

In considering the evidence of the prophetic I would like to refer to a couple of instances that would be recognized as unique outside of the resource of the bible and would be considered unmistakingly and undeniably valid without the influence of a religious text alone telling us what happened which would include the possibility of adding something after the fact.

To begin with we know that the Old Testament predates the New Testament and that is not in dispute here because of the dating of the Septuagint and the Dead Sea scrolls and therefore this text was not the invention of Christianity. The Jewish community had this text long before the advent of the new covenant era and the Jews wouldn’t even think about it as being an extension of the biblical narrative.

Yet the religious  Jews find some real problems with some of these Old Testament scriptures and they either avoid reading them or claim them to be closed or to difficult to understand especially when it comes to the possibility of seeing Jesus as the fulfillment of the text.

One thing I have discussed extensively in another blog is the seventy weeks of Daniel which deals with a historic timetable of dating which can not be fabricated or altered which specifically points to the time of Jesus followed by the destruction of the temple.

jesusandjews.com/wordpress/2009/06/19/jesus-the-messiah/

Also another bit of evidence and one of the greatest miracles of this modern era is the reestablishment of the State of Israel and the continued proliferation of the Jewish people against all the odds of a complete assimilation and annihilation which helps in confirming the prophetic significance of Genesis 13:14, 15 which was given as an ancient promise to Abraham concerning his offspring as inhabiting the land of Israel forever. This prophecy was given about 2000 BC and it still good for 2010 AD and beyond.

The historical rebirth of Israel in 1948 was a divine miracle which records the preservation of Israel amidst the oppositional forces of exile and the Diaspora which resulted in the inquisition, crusades, pogroms, and even the nazi Holocaust and yet they have still survived and retained their ethnic and national identity as a distinct people and therefore did not fully integrate unlike other people groups in the history of the world that had lost their homeland. The Jews may have been temporarily displaced but only to return. God was putting them on display as if to show the world his glory and greatness according to his promises which are without repentance.

In addition to this just to hear of the miraculous stories which took place among the Jewish people as they fought to retain their land is enough to make a believer out of you. To see God’s hand in protecting them from the invading armies of the surrounding Arab nations when they were out numbered and out armed was like a story right out of the bible much like David and Goliath.

There have been many great civilization come and go but Gods word will not fail. A good production to view concerning this reenactment is the movie “Against all Odds”.

In regards to science many have thought that the bible is incompatible with the advancements of the modern scientific age and yet we know that there are many well known scientists working in their respective disciplines which minimally have a theistic view as well as a portion of them clinging to the Judeo Christian faith. Here is a link that gives a partial list of these people

www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-scientists.html

In conclusion this may not prove to you ever thing that you question regarding the biblical text or the God of the bible but it should cause you to hunger enough to want to investigate the buffet of God’s word as means to satisfy the hunger pangs of our human reality. Our problem is that we have a pallet that is not culinaried towards having an appetite towards our creator. Yet the bible calls to us to taste and see that the Lord is good.
How to know God

Atheist and Agnostic Resources

English Articles on Atheism and Agnosticism

 

 

 

 

AMG’s Encyclopedia of Bible Facts, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Reprinted by permission. “Josh McDowell A Ready Defense, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Copyright 1993, Thomas Nelson Inc. Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved.”