Is Umar Among the Prophets?

How Muhammad’s Companion Helped to Shape the Quran

Muhammad likened Umar ibn al-Khattab to a prophet, to a person who speaks with inspiration:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “Amongst the people preceding you there used to be ‘Muhaddithun’ (i.e. persons who can guess things that come true later on, as if those persons have been inspired by a divine power), and if there are any such persons amongst my followers, it is ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 675 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=56&translator=1&start=0&number=675)

And: 

‘Ali: So what is stopping you from asking ‘Umar to make du’a for you? Do you know, Ibn Qurt, that his du’a is never rejected and always reaches Allah and that Rasulullah said in his regard: “Were there to be another prophet after me it would have been ‘Umar.” Is he not that man whose decisions corresponded to that of the Quran until Rasulullah said, “Were punishment to fall from the sky to Earth, none would escape it except ‘Umar bin al-Khattab.”

Do you not know that Allah revealed clear verses about him? Is he not ascetic, pious and always engaged in worship? Does he not greatly resemble the prophet Nuh? Should he offer du’a on your behalf it would be answered. (Al-Imam al-Waqidi, The Islamic Conquest of Syria, A Translation of Futuhusham: The Inspiring History of the Sahabah’s Conquest of Syria, translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi [Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., London 2005], Part 3: Al-Yarmuk, pp. 287-288; bold and italic emphasis ours)

Amazingly, Umar even inspired Allah to inspire Muhammad!

Narrated Anas:

Umar said, “I agreed with Allah in three things,” or said, “My Lord agreed with me in three things. I said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Would that you took the station of Abraham as a place of prayer.’ I also said, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Good and bad persons visit you! Would that you ordered the Mothers of the believers to cover themselves with veils.’ So the Divine Verses of Al-Hijab (i.e. veiling of the women) were revealed. I came to know that the Prophet had blamed some of his wives so I entered upon them and said, ‘You should either stop (troubling the Prophet) or else Allah will give His Apostle better wives than you.’ When I came to one of his wives, she said to me, ‘O ‘Umar! Does Allah’s Apostle haven’t[sic] what he could advise his wives with, that you try to advise them?’” Thereupon Allah revealed:–

“It may be, if he divorced you (all) his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you Muslims (who submit to Allah)…” (66.5) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 10 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=0&number=10)

The agreements (of the views of) ‘Umar (with subsequent confirmatory revelations of Qur’an)

Some of them make them amount to more than twenty.

Ibn Mardawayh narrated that Mujahid said: ‘Umar used to hold a view and the Qur’an would be revealed with (confirmation of) it.

Ibn ‘Asakir narrated that ‘Ali said: In the Qur’an THERE ARE SOME OF THE VIEWS OF ‘UMAR.

He narrated from Ibn ‘Umar as a marfu’ [hadith]: When people said one thing and ‘Umar said another, the Qur’an would be revealed with the like of what ‘Umar said.

The two Shaykhs narrated that ‘Umar said: I agreed with my Lord in three things; I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, if only we were to take the Station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer,’ and there was revealed ‘… and take the Station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer.’ (Qur’a 2:125). I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, both good and bad people come to visit your wives; if only you would order them to wear hijabs,’ and the ayah of the hijab was revealed. The wives of the Prophet, united in jealousy, and so I said, ‘Perhaps his Lord, if he divorces you, will give him in exchange wives better than you, …’ and it was revealed just like that (WITH EXACTLY THE SAME WORDS, see Qur’an 66:5).

Muslims narrated that ‘Umar said, ‘I agreed with my Lord in three things: in the hijab, in the prisoners at Badr, and in the Station of Ibrahim.’ In this hadith is a fourth instance.

In at-Tahdhib of an-Nawawi, ‘The Qur’an was revealed in agreement with him on the prisoners at Badr, on the hijab, on the Station of Ibrahim and on the prohibition of wine.’ He added a fifth instance and its hadith is in the Sunan and the Mustadrak of al-Hakim that he said, ‘O Allah, make clear to us about wine with an explanation which relieves us from all doubt.’ Then Allah revealed its prohibition.

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated in his tafsir that Anas said: ‘Umar said, ‘I was in agreement with my Lord in four things: this ayah was revealed, “And certainly We have created man from an extraction of clay,” (Qur’an 23:12) and when it was revealed I said, “So blessed be Allah the best of creators,” and then it was revealed, “So blessed be Allah the best of creators.”‘ (Qur’an 95:8). Here he mentioned a sixth instance. The hadith has another chain of transmission from Ibn ‘Abbas which I have narrated in at-Tafsir al-Musnad.

Then I saw in the book Fada’il al-Imamayn of Abu ‘Abdullah ash-Shaybani that he said, ”Umar agreed with his Lord in TWENTY-ONE SITUATIONS,’ and he mentioned these six (aforementioned). He augmented as a seventh the story of ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy. He said, ‘When ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy died, the Messenger of Allah was invited to perform the funeral prayer over him so he stood up for that. I rose up until I stood up close to his chest and said, “Messenger of Allah, is it over the enemy of Allah, Ibn Ubayy, who said one day such-and-such?” Then, by Allah, it wasn’t very long until it was revealed, “And do not pray over one of them ever …” (Qur’an 9:84) to the conclusion of the ayah.’

  1. They ask you about wine …’ (Qur’an 2:219) to the end of the ayah.
  2. O you who believe, do not approach prayer …’ (Qur’an 4:43) to the end of the ayah. I say that the two of them, along with the ayah from Al-Ma’idah, are one instance, and the three are in the preceding hadith.
  3. When the Messenger of Allah increased in seeking forgiveness for a people, ‘Umar said, ‘It is equal to them.’ Then Allah revealed, ‘It is equal to them whether you seek forgiveness for them …’ (Qur’an 63:2) to the end of the ayah. I say that this hadith has been narrated by at-Tabarani from Ibn ‘Abbas.
  4. When he sought the advice of the Companions about the expedition to Badr, ‘Umar was in favour of the expedition and so it was revealed, ‘Just as your Lord brought you out of your house by the truth …’ (Qur’an 8:5) to the end of the ayah.
  5. When he sought the advice of the Companions with respect to the story of the slander (of ‘A’isha) ‘Umar said, ‘Who married you to her, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘Allah.’ He said, ‘Do you think that your Lord would conceal a defect of hers from you? Glory be to You, this is huge slander!‘ (Qur’an 24:16). Then the revelation came down just like that.
  6. His story in the fast when he made love to his wife after waking from sleep (before the pre-dawn meal) – and that was forbidden in the beginning of Islam – and so it was revealed, ‘It is permitted to you on the night of the fast …’ (Qur’an 2:187) to the end of the ayah. I say that Ahmad narrated it in his Musnad.
  7. His words, Exalted is He, ‘Whoever is an enemy to Jibril …’ (Qur’an 2:97) to the end of the ayah. I say that Ibn Jarir and others narrated it from many different narrators the best of which is from ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Layla that: A Jew met ‘Umar and said, ‘Jibril, whom your companion mentions, is an enemy to us.’ So ‘Umar said, ‘Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Jibril, Mika’il, then truly Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers.’ SO IT WAS REVEALED ON THE TONGUE OF ‘UMAR
  8. His words, Exalted is He, ‘Then no! By your Lord, they do not believe …’ (Qur’an 4:65) to the end of the ayah. I say that its story has been narrated by Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Mardawayh from Abu’l-Aswad. He said: Two men brought a dispute to the Prophet and he gave judgment between them. The One who had judgment given against him said, ‘Let us go to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab,’ and so the two of them went to him. The man said. ‘The Messenger of Allah gave judgment in my favour against this man and he said, “Let us go to ‘Umar.” ‘Umar said, ‘Is it like that?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ So ‘Umar said, ‘Stay where you are until I come out to you.’ Then he came out to them wrapping his sword in his garment and struck the one who had said, ‘Let us go to ‘Umar,’ and killed him. The other returned and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, ‘Umar killed–by Allah!–my companion.’ So he said, ‘I wouldn’t have thought that ‘Umar would have ventured to kill a believer.’ Then Allah revealed, ‘Then no! By your Lord they do not believe …’ to the end of the ayah. He declared, there was to be no retaliation or compensation for the blood of the man and declared ‘Umar free from any wrong in his killing. There is another connected text that supports this story which I have related in at-Tafsir al-Musnad.
  9. Seeking permission to enter. That was because his servant entered his room when he was sleeping and he said, ‘O Allah, forbid entrance.’ Then the ayah of seeking permission to enter was revealed.
  10. His saying about the Jews, ‘They are confounded people.’
  11. His words, exalted is He, ‘Many of the first ones and many of the latter ones.’ (Qur’an 56:39-40). I say that Ibn ‘Asakir narrated it in his Tarikh from Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah and that it is in the Asbab an-Nuzul.
  12. The lifting (abrogation) of the recitation of, ‘The older man and the older woman when they commit adultery …’ to the end of the ayah.
  13. His words on the Day of Uhud when Abu Sufyan said, ‘Is so-and-so among the people?’ (‘Umar said) “We will not answer him,’ and the Prophet agreed with him. I say that Ahmad narrated its story in his Musnad.

He said: And one joins to this what ‘Uthman ibn Sa’id ad-Darimi narrated in his book ar-Radd ‘ala’l-Jahmiyyah by way of Ibn Shihab from Salim ibn ‘Abdullah that Ka’b al-Ahbar said, ‘Woe to the king of the earth from the King of heaven.’ Then ‘Umar said, ‘Except for whoever takes himself to account.’ Ka’b said, ‘By the One in Whose hand is my soul it is in the Tawrah. You have carried it on (the words of the verse) consecutively.’ Then ‘Umar fell prostrate.

Then I have seen in al-Kamil of Ibn ‘Adi by the route of ‘Abdullah ibn Nafi’–and he is weak–from his father from ‘Umar that Bilal used to say, when he called the adhan, ‘I witness that there is no god but Allah. Come to prayer.’ Then ‘Umar said to him, ‘Say after it, “I witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”’ The Prophet said, ‘Say as ‘Umar said.’ (The History of the Khalifahs who took the right way: A Translation of the Chapters on al-Khulafa’ ar-Rashidun from Tarikh al-Khulafa’ of Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti, translated by Abdassamad Clarke [Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., London, UK: 3rd revised edition, 1995], pp. 123-127 http://ia600303.us.archive.org/0/items/TheHistoryOfTheKhalifahsWhoTookTheRightWayByJalaluddinAs-suyuti/TheHistoryOfTheKhalifahs.pdf; capital and underline emphasis ours)

 

 

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Allah and Satan: Who Misleads Whom?

A Further Example of the Quran’s Incoherent Structure 

There is a specific passage in the Quran which at first glance seems to be a record of the statements made by Satan to Allah; at least this is how many of the Quranic translators have understood it. Yet upon closer inspection the words may not be Satan’s, but may just as well be Allah’s words directed at Satan.

Here is the citation in question:

They invoke in HIS stead only females; they pray to none else than Satan, a rebel Whom Allah cursed, and HE said (wa qala): Surely I will take of Thy bondmen an appointed portion, And surely I will lead them astray, and surely I will arouse desires in them, and surely I will command them and they will cut the cattle’ ears, and surely I will command them and they will change Allah’s creation. Whoso chooseth Satan for a patron (alsh-shaytana waliyyan) instead of Allah is verily a loser and his loss is manifest. He promiseth them and stirreth up desires in them, and Satan promiseth them only to beguile. S. 4:117-120

Calling this a rather baffling passage would be putting it mildly.

The structure of the sentence is such that one is hard pressed to tell whether the “HE said” (wa qala) refers to Allah, who has just been mentioned, and his subsequent response to Satan who led people to invoke others besides Allah, or whether Satan is meant by these words.

The author(s) of the Quran wrote this passage in such a way that one can make a case that it is actually Allah addressing Satan, telling the adversary that he will mislead his servants, stir up wicked desires in them, command them to change his creation, and that he will make promises to them much like Satan makes promises.

For instance, notice this part of the sentence once again:

Allah cursed him AND SAID (LaAAanahu Allahu WA qala), “I will take an appointed portion of your slaves.” S. 4:118

In this verse we have a conjunction which ties two verbs together. The structure of the Arabic shows that the words “AND SAID” refer to Allah since he is the one who also “cursed.” Therefore, seeing that the wa is used to connect the words which immediately precede it with what follows right afterwards it is difficult to argue that the first verb in the statement, “Allah cursed him AND said,” refers to Allah whereas the second verb refers to Satan.

Hence, it is quite awkward and difficult to maintain that there are two persons in view when the grammar clearly ascribes the action of both verbs to one and the same entity that has already been mentioned, namely Allah.

If, however, some other word(s) was/were used besides the wa qala then it would be possible to say that Satan may be speaking. For example, the author(s) could have written the passage in the following manner if s/he/they wanted to clearly express the fact that the words that immediately follow after “and said” (wa qala) were spoken by Satan instead of Allah:

“Allah cursed him since he said. . .”

LaAAanahu Allahu Iz qala

S/he/they could have also written it this way,

 “Allah cursed him because he said. . .”

LaAAanahu Allahu Li annahu qala

But sadly for the Muslims, this is not what the author(s) wrote.

There is additional evidence from the context that Allah is actually speaking to Satan, and not the other way around:

“And most certainly I will lead them astray and excite in them vain desires, and bid them so that they shall slit the ears of the cattle, and most certainly I will bid them so that they shall alter Allah’s creation; and whoever takes the Shaitan for a guardian rather than Allah he indeed shall suffer a manifest loss. He gives them promises and excites vain desires in them; and the Shaitan does not promise them but to deceive.” S. 4:119-120 Hilali-Khan

Notice the words in bold carefully. Are we to actually believe that Satan is supposed to be speaking here and is actually referring to himself in the third person much like Allah does? And doesn’t v. 120 make the case that Allah is the one talking all throughout the context since it is clearly Allah who is warning the people that Satan’s promises are false? Does it make any sense to assume that it is actually Satan who is telling people that his promises are lies?

There is also the problem of Satan already knowing in advance that Allah has appointed a portion of mankind to him:

Allah has cursed him; and he said: Most certainly I will take of Thy servants an appointed portion: S. 4:118 Shakir

How did Satan know that Allah has allotted a certain number of human beings to him when Allah never told him anything about this? Does this mean that Satan is also omniscient?

For these reasons it seems that it is Allah, rather than Satan, that is speaking throughout the entire context of Q. 4:117-120.

A Muslim may wish to argue that Satan must be speaking here on the grounds that Allah doesn’t mislead or arouse sinful desires in people, or that Allah doesn’t deceive anyone.

The problem with this assertion is that, according to the Quran, Allah does in fact mislead and cause people to act wickedly:

What aileth you that ye are become two parties regarding the hypocrites, when Allah cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they earned? Seek ye to guide him whom Allah hath sent astray? He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him thou (O Muhammad) canst not find a road. S. 4:88

Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides God, lest they out of spite revile God in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord, and We shall then tell them the truth of all that they did. S. 6:108 Y. Ali

And We never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make (the message) clear for them. Then Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Wise. S. 14:4

And when We would destroy a township We send commandment to its folk who live at ease, and afterward they commit abomination therein, and so the Word (of doom) hath effect for it, and we annihilate it with complete annihilation. S. 17:16

Lo! as for those who believe not in the Hereafter, We have made their works fairseeming unto them so that they are all astray. S. 27:4

The Quran further says that Allah also deceives people:

Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for As-Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little. S. 4:142 Hilali-Khan

It even asserts that Allah actually breathes wickedness into the soul of a person:

By a Soul and Him who balanced it, And BREATHED INTO IT ITS WICKEDNESS and its piety, S. 91:7-8 Rodwell

Here is how Muhammad explained the above verses according to the hadith:

Abu al-Aswad reported that ‘Imran b Husain asked him: What is your view, what the people do today in the world, and strive for, is it something decreed for them or preordained for them or will their fate in the Hereafter be determined by the fact that their Prophets brought them teaching which they did not act upon? I said: Of course, it is something which is predetermined for them and preordained for them. He (further) said: Then, would it not be an injustice (to punish them)? I felt greatly disturbed because of that, and said: Everything is created by Allah and lies in His Power. He would not be questioned as to what He does, but they would be questioned; thereupon he said to me: May Allah have mercy upon you, I did not mean to ask you but for testing your intelligence. Two men of the tribe of Muzaina came to Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Allah’s Messenger, what is your opinion that the people do in the world and strive for, is something decreed for them; something preordained for them and will their fate in the Hereafter be determined by the fact that their Prophets brought them teachings which they did not act upon, and thus they became deserving of punishment? Thereupon, he said: Of course, it happens as it is decreed by destiny and preordained for them, and this view is confirmed by this verse of the Book of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious: “Consider the soul and Him Who made it perfect, THEN BREATHED INTO ITS SIN and its piety” (xci. 8). (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6406)

The following narratives provide further substantiation that Allah is personally responsible for causing people to have evil desires and for carrying out their wicked intentions:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:
I did not see anything so resembling minor sins as what Abu Huraira said from the Prophet, who said, “Allah has written for the son of Adam his inevitable share of adultery whether he is aware of it or not: The adultery of the eye is the looking (at something which is sinful to look at), and the adultery of the tongue is to utter (what it is unlawful to utter), and the innerself wishes and longs for (adultery) and the private parts turn that into reality or refrain from submitting to the temptation.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 77, Number 609)

Verily Allah has fixed the very portion of adultery which a man will indulge in, and which he OF NECESSITY MUST COMMIT (or there would be no escape from it). (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6421; see also Number 6422)

The Muslim may further reason that the citation cannot be quoting Allah since it mentions him in the third person and speaks of “Thy bondmen”, an obvious reference to the slaves of Allah.

Neither one of these points proves helpful in establishing the Muslim case since the Quran often has Allah speaking in the third person:

And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers. (And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ. S. 3:54-55

And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah? he saith: Be glorified! It was not mine to utter that to which I had no right. If I used to say it, then Thou knewest it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy Mind. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Knower of Things Hidden? S. 5:116

Moreover, the Quran implies that Satan also has servants since it refers to his hosts, his followers, his friends etc.

Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil (awliyaa alsh-shaytani). Lo! the devil’s strategy is ever weak. S. 4:76 – cf. 18:50

He said: Go forth from hence, degraded, banished. As for such of them as follow thee, surely I will fill hell with all of you. S. 7:18 – cf. 17:63; 38:85

And the hosts of Iblis, together. S. 26:95

The devil hath engrossed them and so hath caused them to forget remembrance of Allah. They are the devil’s party. Lo! is it not the devil’s party who will be the losers? S. 58:19 – cf. 35:6

What the above examples demonstrate is that there is absolutely nothing within the context of Q. 4:117-120 which rules out the fact that Allah is the one that is actually speaking at this point. (We obviously don’t believe that Muhammad’s Allah is god or that the Quran is God’s word. We are simply assuming this for argument’s sake). In fact, all of the grammatical and contextual evidence strongly supports that it is indeed Allah who is talking all throughout the passage rather than Satan.

At the very least, one must accept that Q. 4:117-120 is ambiguous since the text could refer back to either Allah or Satan. The Quran doesn’t help clarify this issue since it portrays Allah as having various characteristics in common with Satan, making it possible that it is Allah talking in this specific passage.

This leaves the Muslims in one of two predicaments:

  • A Muslim must believe and accept that Allah is a deceiver, a liar, who produces evil in the hearts of people and causes them to sin.
  • Or a Muslim must admit that the Quran is far from being eloquent and a literary masterpiece since the author(s) of the Quran failed to communicate his/her/their point clearly and eloquently. S/he/they wanted to say one thing but ended up saying something completely different since the author(s) intended to quote Satan at this point but ended up placing these words into the mouth of Allah, and in so doing s/he/they made Allah look and sound like Satan!

Unless noted otherwise all quotations taken from the M. M. Pickthall version of the Quran.

Further Reading

Allah as a Deceiver http://answeringislam.net/Shamoun/allah_deceiver.htm

Does Allah or Satan Entice People to Sin? http://answeringislam.net/Quran/Contra/alluring_to_sin.html

Does Allah Command Evil and Abomination or Doesn’t He? http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/command_evil.htm

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Mutee’a Al Fadi (http://answeringislam.net/authors/alfadi.htm) for his valuable insights and suggestions which were extremely helpful in making our argument much more forceful than what it initially was.

 

 

 

 

 

The Quran Testifies – Satan is a lot like Allah!

The Quran claims that there is no one that is like Allah, none that are comparable to him.

(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). S. 42:11 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

And there is none like unto Him. S. 112:4 Y. Ali

Shockingly, however, there is one specific individual that is a lot like Allah according to the Muslim Scripture. We say shockingly because that someone happens to be the Devil himself!

In this article, we are going to list some of the many characteristics and functions which the Islamic deity shares in common with Satan. A comparison of the Arabic text of these passages will confirm that the very same exact qualities and abilities are ascribed to both Allah and the Devil.(1)

 

  1. The Proud/Arrogant One

Satan

And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam they did obeisance, but Iblis (did it not). He refused and he was proud, and he was one of the unbelievers. S. 2:34 Shakir

(Allah) said: “(O Iblis) get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.” S. 7:13 Hilali-Khan

Allah hates the Proud and sends them to hell

Assuredly Allah knoweth that which they keep hidden and that which they proclaim. Lo! He loveth not the proud… So enter the gates of hell, to dwell therein for ever. Woeful indeed will be the lodging of the arrogant. S. 16:23, 29 Pickthall

And on the day of resurrection you shall see those who lied against Allah; their faces shall be blackened. Is there not in hell an abode for the proud? S. 39:60 Shakir

Allah

It is Allah, except Whom there is no God; the King, the Pure, the Giver of Peace, the Bestower of Safety, the Protector, the Most Honourable, the Compeller, the Proud; Purity is to Allah from all what they ascribe as partners (to Him)! S. 59:23 Faridul Haque http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/59/st13.htm#23

Interestingly, the Arabic word for “the Proud”, Al-Mutakabbir, happens to be one of the ninety-names of Allah:

Al-Mutakabbir: The Supremely Great

Everything which is not Him is insignificant; He is the Great in Majesty or Most Excellent of beings, who has rights which no other possesses, the Possessor of power and excellence the like of which no other has; He who acts are good, exceeding the good acts of any other; the Majestic; He who disdains having the attributes of created beings; He who magnifies Himself against the proud among His creatures.

Al-Mutakabbir is one of the Ninety-Nine Names. (Aisha Bewley, Divine Names: http://bewley.virtualave.net/names.html)

Now this puts Muslims in a dilemma since this basically means that Allah must not love himself, and has no choice but to punish himself in hell if he is going to be consistent. Note how this logically works out:

  1. Allah hates all the proud and casts them into hell.
  2. Allah is proud, in fact the most proud of them all.
  3. Therefore, Allah must hate himself and will eventually cast himself into hell.

 

  1. The Seducer/Perverter 

Satan

Recite to them the history of him to whom we vouchsafed our signs, and who departed from them, so that Satan followed him, and he became one of the seduced. S. 7:175 Rodwell

[Eblis] said, by thy might [do I swear], I will surely seduce them all, S. 38:82 Rodwell

Allah sends all seducers/perverts to hell

Verily [as to] my servants, thou shalt have no power over them; but [over] those only who shall be seduced, and who shall follow thee. And hell is surely denounced unto them all: S. 15:42-43 Sale

But they were succeeded by an evil posterity who neglected the prayer, and followed [their base] appetites. So they will soon encounter [the reward of] perversity, S. 19:59 Ali Quli Qara’i

And hell will appear plainly to the erring. And it will be said unto them: Where is (all) that ye used to worship Instead of Allah? Can they help you or help themselves? Then will they be hurled therein, they and the seducers And the hosts of Iblis, together. S. 26:91-95 Pickthall

And those against whom the sentence is due shall say, ‘Our Lord! these are those whom we have seduced; we seduced them as we were seduced ourselves: but we clear ourselves to thee;- they, did not worship us!’ S. 28:63 Palmer

So our Lord’s Word is realised against us; we are tasting it. Therefore we perverted you, and we ourselves were perverts.’ So all of them on that day are sharers in the chastisement. S. 37:31-33 Arberry 

Allah

[The devil] said, because thou hast depraved me, I will lay wait for [men] in thy strait way; S. 7:16 Sale

And my sincere counsel will not profit you, if I desire to counsel you sincerely, if God desires to pervert you; He is your Lord, and unto Him you shall be returned.’ S. 11:34 Arberry

Said he, ‘My Lord, for Thy perverting me I shall deck all fair to them in the earth, and I shall pervert them, all together, S. 15:39 Arberry

Just as we saw with the previous name/characteristic, the Quran’s teaching at this point again places Muslims in a dilemma. Since Allah assigns all seducers/perverters to fiery torment, this again means that he must also punish himself in hell as well. Note again the logic behind this argument:

  1. Allah sends all seducers/perverts to hell.
  2. Allah seduces and perverts people.
  3. Therefore, Allah has to cast himself into hell if he is to be true to himself and faithful to his own laws.

 

  1. The Schemer/Beguiler

Satan

Those who believe fight in the cause of God, and those who reject Faith Fight in the cause of Evil: So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan. S. 4:76 Y. Ali

Allah 

and I respite them — assuredly My guile is sure. S. 7:183 Arberry

First, he searched the baggage of others. Then came to his brother and produced it (peg) from his baggage! Thus, We played a trick on them, and found an excuse for Yusuf. The law of the king did not allow Yusuf to keep his brother! We elevate in status, whomever We please! And over all those with knowledge, there is the One Who is the all-Knowing!” S. 12:76 Dr. Munir Munshey http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/12/st41.htm#76

“… In that way We devised a cunning scheme for Yusuf…” Aisha Bewley

So leave Me with him who cries lies to this discourse! We will draw them on little by little whence they know not; and I shall respite them — assuredly My guile is sure. S. 68:44-45 Arberry

surely it is a decisive word; it is no merriment. They are devising guile, and I am devising guile. Arberry

 

  1. The Deceiver/Conniver 

Satan

Amazingly, the Quran never employs the specific Arabic words meaning deceiver/conniver, e.g., makara and khada, for Satan. 

Allah

Shockingly, even though it never uses these particular terms in reference to Satan the Quran does, however, repeatedly employ them in respect to the Muslim deity!

Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive God, but He deceives them; and when they rise up to pray, they rise up lazily to be seen of men, and do not remember God, except a few; S. 4:142 Palmer

And they deceived a deception, and we deceived a deception. And they did not feel. S. 27:50 The Generous Qur’an (GQ)

In fact, the Islamic scripture even goes as far as to describe Allah as the best deceiver/conniver of them all!

And they deceived, and Allah deceived. And Allah is the best deceiver. S. 3:54 GQ – cf. Q. 8:30

What makes this all the more shocking is that the Muslim scripture not only emphatically proclaims that all deception belongs to Allah,

And indeed, those before them deceived, so to Allah [belongs] all the deception. He knows what every soul earns, and the infidels will know to whom is the reward of the final home. S. 13:42 GQ

It further emphasizes that the only ones who think that they can ever be safe or secure from Allah’s deception are the unbelievers!

Are they secure from the deception of Allah? So no one can be secure from the deception of Allah except the losing people. S. 7:99 GQ

This means that the believers know better than to ever trust Allah enough to feel secure from his ever deceiving and misleading them. This brings us to our next point.

 

  1. The Misleader/The one who leads people astray

Satan

And he entered the city at a time of carelessness of its folk, and he found therein two men fighting, one of his own caste, and the other of his enemies; and he who was of his caste asked him for help against him who was of his enemies. So Moses struck him with his fist and killed him. He said: This is of the devil’s doing. Lo! he is an enemy, a mere misleader. S. 28:15 Pickthall

Allah

Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites? Allah has cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they have earned. Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him any way (of guidance). S. 4:88 Hilali-Khan

And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islam, and whomsoever He wills to send astray, He makes his breast closed and constricted, as if he is climbing up to the sky. Thus Allah puts the wrath on those who believe not. S. 6:125 Hilali-Khan

And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of his people, in order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. Then Allah misleads whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. S. 14:4 Hilali-Khan

If you (O Muhammad) covet for their guidance then verily Allah guides not those whom He makes to go astray (or none can guide him whom Allah sends astray). And they will have no helpers. S. 16:37 Hilali-Khan

 

  1. The Tempter/Enticer 

Satan

Children of Adam! Let not Satan tempt you as he brought your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their garments to show them their shameful parts. Surely he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you see them not. We have made the Satans the friends of those who do not believe. S. 7:27 Arberry

Said, “Get out of here! Hell is the just recompense, a plentiful penalty for both _ you and those of them who follow you. Tempt and allure them _ anyone among them you can _ with your sly talk. Raid them with your horses and men, bamboozle a share in their wealth and children, and hold out (false) promises for them.” Surely Shaitan’s promise is nothing but an illusion. S. 17:63-64 Munshey http://islamawakened.com/quran/17/st41.htm 

Allah

Do you not notice? WE SEND the Shaitans upon the disbelievers, and they continually incite and instigate them. S. 19:83 Munshey http://islamawakened.com/quran/19/st41.htm#83

That HE MAY MAKE that which the devil proposeth a temptation for those in whose hearts is a disease, and those whose hearts are hardened – Lo! the evil-doers are in open schism – S. 22:53 Pickthall

indeed ate food and walked in the markets. And We have made some of you to be a temptation for (some) others. “Will you (endure) patiently?” And your Lord has been Ever-Beholding. S. 25:20 Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/25/st21.htm#20

 

  1. The one who makes people filthy and unclean 

Satan

Oh you who believe! The liquor (and all intoxicants), the games of chance, idols (and shrines), and all divining devices _ (lots, cards, dices, crystal balls) _ are the filthy handiwork of Shaitan, stay away from them, so that you may succeed. In fact, by means of intoxicants and gambling, Shaitan seeks to sow hatred and hostility among you, and seeks to keep you from the remembrance of Allah and the ‘salat’. So, will you quit (these vices) now? S. 5:90-91 Munshey http://islamawakened.com/quran/5/st41.htm

Allah

Allah unlocks and exposes to Islam the heart of the one whom He wishes to guide. (Conversely) He constricts and squeezes the heart of the one whom He wishes to mislead _ squeezes it so hard, he feels as if he was surging up in the sky. Thus, Allah lobs filth upon those who do not believe! S. 6:125 http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/6/st41.htm#125

No soul can believe except with Allah’s permission! And He hurls filth upon those who refuse to think and pay attention! S. 10:100 Munshey http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/10/st41.htm#100

 

  1. The one who commands people to commit indecencies/lewdness 

Satan

Satan threatens you with poverty and enjoins upon you what is foul, whereas ALLAH promises you forgiveness from Himself and bounty. And ALLAH is Bountiful, All-Knowing. S. 2:268 Sher Ali

O ye who believe! Follow not the footsteps of the devil. Unto whomsoever followeth the footsteps of the devil, lo! he commandeth filthiness and wrong. Had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy unto you, not one of you would ever have grown pure. But Allah causeth whom He will to grow. And Allah is Hearer, Knower. S. 24:21 Pickthall 

Allah

And WE DECREED for the Children of Israel in the Scripture: Ye verily will work corruption in the earth twice, and ye will become great tyrants. S. 17:4 Pickthall

And when We desire to destroy a city, We command its men who live at ease, and they commit ungodliness therein, then the Word is realized against it, and We destroy it utterly. S. 17:16 Arberry

 

  1. The one who makes evil deeds seem fair and enticing

Satan

When the suffering reached them from us, why then did they not learn humility? On the contrary their hearts became hardened, and Satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them. S. 6:43 Y. Ali

By Allah, We verily sent messengers unto the nations before thee, but the devil made their deeds fairseeming unto them. So he is their patron this day, and theirs will be a painful doom. S. 16:63 Pickthall 

Allah

As to those who believe not in the Hereafter, We have made their deeds pleasing in their eyes; and so they wander about in distraction. S. 27:4 Y. Ali

Is he, then, to whom the evil of his deeds made fairseeming, so that he considers it as good (equal to one who is rightly guided)? Verily, Allah sends astray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills. So destroy not yourself (O Muhammad) in sorrow for them. Truly, Allah is the All-Knower of what they do! S. 35:8 Hilali-Khan

 

  1. The Wrathful/He who brings wrath

Satan

When sleep covers you, it is assurance from him, and he sent down water from the heaven on you to purify you by it and cause the wrath of Satan to pass from you, and that he might tie on your heart and strengthen by it the feet. S. 8:11 GQ

Allah

But those who did wrong changed the word which had been told them for another saying, and We sent down upon the evil-doers wrath from heaven for their evil-doing. S. 2:59 Pickthall

He said: “Punishment and wrath have already come upon you from your Lord: dispute ye with me over names which ye have devised – ye and your fathers,- without authority from God? then wait: I am amongst you, also waiting.” S. 7:71 Y. Ali

But those of them who did wrong changed the word which had been told them for another saying, and We sent down upon them wrath from heaven for their wrongdoing. S. 7:162 Pickthall

 

  1. He who causes people to forget

Satan

When you come across people who speak with scorn about Our revelations, turn away from them until they move on to another topic. If Satan should make you forget, then, when you have remembered, do not sit with those who are doing wrong. S. 6:68 Abdel Haleem http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/6/st3.htm#68

Allah

Any revelation We cause to be superseded or forgotten, We replace with something better or similar. Do you [Prophet] not know that God has power over everything? S. 2:106 Abdel Haleem http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/2/st3.htm#106

We shall make thee read (O Muhammad) so that thou shalt not forget Save that which Allah willeth. Lo! He knoweth the disclosed and that which still is hidden; 87:6-7 Pickthall

12. The one who inspires men

 Satan/Devils

And eat not of that whereon Allah’s name hath not been mentioned, for lo! it is abomination. Lo! the devils do inspire their minions to dispute with you. But if ye obey them, ye will be in truth idolaters. S. 6:121 Pickthall

We have sent no messenger or apostle before you with whose recitations Satan did not tamper. Yet God abrogates what Satan interpolates; then He confirms His revelations, for God is all-knowing and all-wise. S. 22:52 Ahmed Ali http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/22/st5.htm#52

Here is how another version translates this verse:

We have sent no apostle, or prophet, before thee, but, when he read, Satan suggested some error in his reading. But God shall make void that which Satan hath suggested: Then shall God confirm his signs; for God is knowing and wise. Sale

Allah

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

Concluding Remarks

 

The striking, in fact shocking, similarities between Allah and the Devil leave Muslims with one of the following options. Either Satan desires to mimic the Islamic deity in an attempt to get people to think that he is actually Allah himself. Or Allah is simply the Devil masquerading as the true God of Abraham. This means that the Satan which the Quran warns Muslims of is nothing other than a counterfeit, a decoy which the arch-enemy of God set up in order to dupe Muslims into thinking that he and the Allah who inspired Muhammad could not possibly be one and the same individual. After all, how could the Muslim deity be Satan when the Quran goes out of its way to condemn him as a foe that Muslims must avoid at all costs?

As far as the Holy Bible is concerned, there can be doubt whatsoever that the true source of Muhammad’s revelations was not the God revealed in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, the Quran plainly denies that Muhammad’s deity is a father to anyone,

And they say: The Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son. Assuredly ye utter a disastrous thing Whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall in ruins, That ye ascribe unto the Beneficent a son, When it is not meet for (the Majesty of) the Beneficent that He should choose a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but cometh unto the Beneficent as a slave. S. 19:88-93 Pickthall

And curses anyone who would claim that Christ is the Son of Allah:

And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they! S. 9:30 Pickthall

As such, this identifies Muhammad one of the antichrists that the God-breathed Scriptures warns true believers about,

“Little children, it is the last hour. As you have heard that the antichrist will come, even now there are many antichrists. By this we know that it is the last hour…  Who is a liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? Whoever denies the Father and the Son is the antichrist. No one who denies the Son has the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father.” 1 John 2:18, 22-23

Which in turn makes the spirit that spoke to and through Muhammad the spirit of antichrist, e.g., the Devil himself.

Related Articles

Allah’s Pride http://www.answeringislam.net/Shamoun/allahs_pride.htm

Allah – The Greatest Deceiver of them Allah http://www.answeringislam.net/Shamoun/allah_best_deceiver.htm

Allah as a Deceiver http://www.answeringislam.net/Shamoun/allah_deceiver.htm

Who is really Muhammad’s Allah?

Allah and Satan: Who Misleads Whom?

Endnotes 

(1) The list was adapted from the presentation made by Christian apologist Usama Dakdok http://www.thestraightway.org/ in a recent debate he had on the subject, “Allah is Satan, Jesus is God” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJVykCzD1sA.

 

Does God Swear By His Creation or Doesn’t He?

Addressing a Supposed Biblical Discrepancy

According to the following Muslim article http://www.answering-christianity.com/no_swearing_by_creation.htm, the Holy Bible allegedly contradicts itself concerning whether Yahweh swears only by himself or also by his creation.

The article cites the following NT passage,

“so that you may not be lazy, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could vow by no one greater, He vowed by Himself, saying, ‘Surely I will bless you, and surely I will multiply you.’” Hebrews 6:12-14

And seeks to pit it against this next verse from the OT which has Yahweh swearing by the Pride of Jacob:

“The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.” Amos 8:7

The article claims that this is a “clear contradiction, which proves that the Bible is corrupt,” since the inspired book of Hebrews plainly teaches “that God Almighty wouldn’t swear on anything other than Himself, because there is none Greater than Him.”

To call this desperate would be to put it mildly. The supposed contradiction only exists in the mind of the author, who is trying so desperately to find an error in order to justify the fact of his god swearing by his creation, unlike the true God of the Holy Bible:

Allah’s Oaths http://www.answeringislam.net/Shamoun/allahs_oaths.htm

Revisiting the Identity of the pre-Islamic Allah at Mecca: Addendum http://www.answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/preislamic_allah_add.html

The problem with this supposed error is that a careful reading of the context shows that “”the pride of Jacob” is simply another way of referring to Yahweh, which means that God is actually swearing by himself.

The Holy Bible is replete with examples of God referring to himself with names or titles in relation to his people Israel.(1)

For instance, Yahweh is called “the Fear of Isaac,”

“If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, surely you would have sent me away empty now. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands and rebuked you last night.’ … ‘The God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, and the God of their father, judge between us.’ Then Jacob vowed by the Fear of his father Isaac.” Genesis 31:42, 53

“The Holy One of Israel,”

“For the Lord is our shield of defense, and the Holy One of Israel is our king.” Psalm 89:18

“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He shall be called the God of the whole earth.” Isaiah 54:5

“The Redeemer of Israel,”

“Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to the despised one, to the one whom the nation abhors, to the servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord who is faithful and the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.” Isaiah 49:7

“The Rock of Israel,”

“But his bow remained firm. His arms were agile because of the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, because of the God of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings from heaven above, blessings from the deep that lies beneath, the blessings of the breasts and the womb.” Genesis 49:24-25

“The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: He who rules over man justly, who rules in the fear of God,” 2 Samuel 23:2-3

As well as “the Glory of Israel,”

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” Isaiah 15:29 New International Version (NIV)

It should therefore come as no surprise that God would choose to refer to himself as “the Pride of Jacob,” especially since just two chapters earlier in the same book of Amos God swears by himself that he shall destroy Jacob’s pride:

The Lord God hath sworn by Himself, an oracle of the Lord the God of Hosts: I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his palaces, so I will deliver up the city with all that is in it.” Amos 6:8

In this particular context, the pride of Jacob refers to Israel’s wealth, more specifically to all of its palaces which gave the covenant community the false sense of safety and prosperity. By later identifying himself as Jacob’s Pride, God was basically telling his people that they should not trust in their palaces and/or riches for security, but rather their trust and pride should be in the Lord their God. God’s point to them was that it is he, not their riches or strong fortresses, who happens to be the only true Pride that Jacob has ever had, and their boasting and glorying should therefore be in him alone:

“You shall fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and you shall rejoice in the Lord, and shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:16

“Surely, one shall say, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’ Men shall come to him, and all who are incensed at Him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified and shall glory.” Isaiah 45:24-25

“The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the Lord shall be an everlasting light to you and your God for your glory.” Isaiah 60:19

Nor is this the only place in Amos where God swears by himself:

The Lord God has sworn by His holiness: Indeed the days are coming upon you when they will take you away with hooks, the last one of you with fishhooks.” Amos 4:2

In this text God swears by his own holiness, which provides further support for the fact that, just as in the case of both here and 6:8, Yahweh again swears by himself in 8:7. Yet, in this case, he chose to employ a different epithet to describe himself in relation to his covenant people.

That God is swearing by himself in all these verses from Amos is further seen from the fact that the context of all these texts is one of impending judgment and destruction. Note, for instance, the immediate context of 8:7:

The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: ‘I will never forget anything they have done. Will not the land tremble for this, and all who live in it mourn? The whole land will rise like the Nile; it will be stirred up and then sink like the river of Egypt. In that day, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your religious festivals into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.” Amos 8:7-10 NIV

The NIV rendering makes it explicitly clear that it is Yahweh who is the Pride of Jacob, which confirms that God is not swearing by someone or something else. Rather, Yahweh is actually swearing by himself since he happens to be the true Pride of Jacob.(2)

Another line of evidence, which confirms that Yahweh is none other than Jacob’s Pride by whom he swears, is that the Hebrew root for “Pride” in Amos 8:7, i.e., gaown, is used to describe Yahweh in several OT passages, some of which include the following:

“Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. In the greatness of Your excellence, You overthrow those who rise up against You. You send out Your wrath; it consumes them like stubble.” Exodus 15:6-7

“Enter into the rock,and hide in the dust from the fear of the Lord and from the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of Hosts shall be upon everything that is proud and lofty, and upon everything that is lifted up, and it shall be brought low; and it will be upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, and upon all the high towers, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant sloops. The loftiness of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day;18the idols He shall utterly abolish. They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the fear of the Lord, and from the glory of His majesty, when He shall arise to shake the earth mightily. In that day a man shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to the moles and to the bats, to enter the caverns of the rocks, and into the clefts of the cliffs, from the terror of the Lord, and from the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily. Cease regarding man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for why should he be esteemed?” Isaiah 2:10-22

“They lift up their voices; they sing for the majesty of the Lord; they cry aloud from the west. Therefore glorify the Lord in the east, even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea. From the uttermost part of the earth we hear songs, that is, ‘Glory to the Righteous One.’ But I say, ‘Woe to me! Woe to me! Alas for me! The treacherous deal treacherously; indeed, the treacherous deal very treacherously.’” Isaiah 24:14-16

“He will stand and shepherd in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; then they will live securely, because now He will be great until the ends of the earth;” Micah 5:2-4

In each case, the underlined words are the English rendering of the Hebrew word gaown.

All of these factors provide conclusive evidence that Yahweh in Amos 8:7 wasn’t swearing by something or someone else, but was rather swearing by himself, since he truly is Jacob’s Pride.

So much for the alleged contradiction.

Addendum

Select Commentaries

Here is a list of Bible scholars and theologians who all concur that the text of Amos 8:7 is describing the one true God as the Pride of Jacob.

  1. Jehovah Himself is the Excellency, the Pride and Boast of His people. (John Dummelow’s Commentary on the Bible: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/view.cgi?bk=29&ch=8)
  2. 7. The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, He Himself being Israel’s Pride and Glory, Surely I will never forget any of their works; for by leaving such sins unpunished, He would deny His glory in Israel. (The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/view.cgi?bk=29&ch=8)

By the excellency of Jacob – that is, by Himself who was its Glory, as Samuel calls Him “the Strength” 1 Samuel 15:29 or the Glory of Israel. Amos had before said, “God sware by His Holiness” and “by Himself” or “His soul.” Now, in like way, He pledges that Glory wherewith He was become the Glory of His people. He reminds them, who was the sole Source of their glory; not their calves, but Himself, their Creator; and that He would not forget their deeds. “I will not forget any,” literally, “all;” as David and Paul say, “all flesh,” all living men, “shall not be justified,” that is, none, no one, neither the whole nor any of its parts. Amos brings before the mind all their actions, and then says of all and each, the Lord will not forget them. God must cease to be God, if He did not do what He sware to do, punish the oppressors and defrauders of the poor. (Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/view.cgi?bk=29&ch=8; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Amos 8:7. The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob — That is, by himself; Surely I will never forget any of their works — God is said to remember men’s sins when he punishes them. We may learn by this passage, and many others in Scripture, that however slightly men may think of it, God takes particular notice of, and will certainly punish, all extortions and over-reachings in trade, and more particularly when they are used in regard of the poor. They shall have judgment without mercy, who have showed no mercy. It is to be wished that persons would always consider themselves as the fathers of the poor, when they deal with them; and rather give them measure pressed down and running over, than mete to them with a scanty hand. (Joseph Benson’s Commentary of the Old and New Testaments: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/view.cgi?bk=29&ch=8; bold and underline emphasis ours)

(8) By himself.—Literally, by His soul. Jehovah swears by His life or soul because He could swear by no greater—the eternal “I Am.” (Comp. the formula of Divine asseveration: “As I live, saith the Lord,” which derives illustration from the custom of swearing by the life of a monarch; Genesis 42:15-16.) With the eternal unchangeable being of the Supreme Monarch stands contrasted “the excellency of Jacob,” the false futile glory which Jehovah abhors. In Amos 8:7 the phrase is used for God Himself; not, however, in either passage God’s absolute perfection or objective glory, but the thoughts, sometimes wise, sometimes base, which men have entertained about Him. From the context we infer that the splendid shrine of Samaria, with its unacceptable offerings and calf-worship, is here meant. The reference to the coming destruction of buildings great and small (Amos 6:11) lends colour to this interpretation. (Comp. Amos 6:13.) (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/view.cgi?bk=29&ch=6; bold and underline emphasis ours)

God will remember their sin against them: He has sworn by the excellency of Jacob (Amos 8:7), by himself, for he can swear by no greater and who but he is the glory and magnificence of Jacob? He has sworn by those tokens of his presence with them, and his favour to them, which they had profaned and abused, and had done what they could to make them detestable to him for he is said (Amos 6:8) to abhor the excellency of Jacob. He swears in his wrath, swears by his own name, that name which was so well known and was so great in Israel. He swears, Surely I will never forget any of their works, but upon all occasions they shall be remembered against them, for more is implied than is expressed. I will never forget them is as much as to say, I will never forgive them and then it proclaims the case of these unjust unmerciful men to be miserable indeed, eternally miserable woe, and a thousand woes, to that man that is cut off by an oath of God from all benefit by pardoning mercy and those have reason to fear judgment without mercy that have shown no mercy. (Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/view.cgi?bk=29&ch=8; bold and underline emphasis ours)

By the excellency of Jacob; by himself, for God cannot swear by any greater, and he is called the excellency of Jacob, Psalms 47:4. (Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/view.cgi?bk=29&ch=8; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Such crimes as these, which sap the very foundations of social life, shall meet with vengeance. The Excellency of Jacob. This is a title of God himself, as in Hosea 5:5; Hosea 7:10, where it is rendered “pride.” Thus the Lord is said to swear by his holiness (Amos 4:2), by his soul. So here he swears by himself, who is the Glory and Pride of Israel; as truly as he is this, he will punish. The Vulgate treats the sentence differently, Juravit in superbium Jacob, i.e. “The Lord hath sworn against the pride of Jacob,” against the arrogancy with which they treat the poor, and trust in their riches, and deem themselves scours. So the Septuagint, ὀμνύει κύριος κατὰ τῆς ὑπερηφανίας ἰακώβ, I will never forget, so as to leave unpunished. Literally, if I forget, equivalent to a most decided denial, as Hebrews 4:8, Hebrews 4:5, etc. “Nec mirum est, si Deus jurare dicatur; quum dormientibus dormiat et vigilantibus vigilet; hisque qui sibi thesaurizaverunt iram in die irae dicatur irasci” (St. Jerome). (The Pulpit Commentaries: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/view.cgi?bk=29&ch=8; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Such wickedness as this would be severely punished by the Lord. Amos 8:7. “Jehovah hath sworn by the pride of Jacob, Verily I will not forget all their deeds for ever. Amos 8:8. Shall the earth not tremble for this, and every inhabitants upon it mourn? and all of it rises like the Nile, and heaves and sinks like the Nile of Egypt.” The pride of Jacob is Jehovah, as in Hosea 5:5 and Hosea 7:10. Jehovah swears by the pride of Jacob, as He does by His holiness in Amos 4:2, or by His soul in Amos 6:8, i.e., as He who is the pride and glory of Israel: i.e., as truly as He is so, will He and must He punish such acts as these. By overlooking such sins, or leaving them unpunished, He would deny His glory in Israel. שׁכח, to forget a sin, i.e., to leave it unpunished… (Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary: http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/view.cgi?bk=29&ch=8; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural citations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.

Endnotes

(1) Interestingly, the Muslim whom the author credits with coming up with this supposed contradiction was aware that “the Pride of Jacob” could be viewed as a title for Yahweh God himself. In anticipation of this response the Muslim then comes up with a really bad argument:

Sherif Re: Which is the correct way to translate the Qasams of God?

« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2016, 09:18:51 AM »

Salam Aleikum Brother, all was THANKS GOD. May God continue helping us in our reserchings [sic], Insha-Al-lah, Amen. Brother, I want to make a clarification, it´s possible that somebady [sic] say to you that God is the “Glory of Jacob” in Amos 8:7, because in 1 Samuel 15:29 God is refering [sic] like the Glory of Israel. But, but, THERE IS NO PROBLEM! Because I read in hebrew [sic] the two words used to Glory, AND THOSE ARE DIFFERENT! For in 1 Samuel 15:29, the word used is: Nesah (That is the word to refer to God).

Here is the interlinear: http://biblehub.com/text/1_samuel/15-29.htm

But the word used in Amos 8:7 is very different, because the word used in that is: Gaown, which means arrogancy (http://biblehub.com/hebrew/1347.htm)

Here is the interlinear of Amos 8:7: http://biblehub.com/text/amos/8-7.htm

THANKS FOR ALL BROTHER, SALAM ALEIKUM (http://www.answering-christianity.com/blog/index.php?topic=1985.msg8325#msg8325)

The Muslim rebuttal is nothing more than a straw man since no informed Christian would argue that 1 Samuel 15:29 and Amos 8:7 employ the same Hebrew word. Rather, a Christian would appeal to 1 Samuel 15:29 to establish the fact that the Holy Bible attributes to God various names and characteristics to describe his relationship with Israel. This in turn would provide some evidence for taking the title “Pride of Jacob” as a reference to God himself. Apparently unable to refute this argument, the Muslim commenter chose to attack straw man instead.

(2) Ironically, the writer cited a variety of English translations of Amos 8:7, but didn’t bother to quote the NIV rendering of this passage. It is obvious why he didn’t, since he must have seen that this translation refutes his desperate attempt of pitting Amos 8:7 and Hebrews 6:12-14 against each other, in order to manufacture a biblical contradiction.

 

 

 

Who really is Muhammad’s Allah?

This is going to be a rather short post.

According to the Quran, Allah is the best of all deceivers,

But they were deceitful/deceptive (Wa’makaroo), and Allah was deceitful/deceptive (wa’makara Allahu), for Allah is the best of all deceivers (wa’Allahu khayru al-makireena)! S. 3:54 – cf. Q. 8:30; 27:50

Whom no one can outdo when it comes to deceiving and misleading others,

The hypocrites would deceive God, but He will deceive them! When they stand up for prayer, they stand carelessly, to be seen of men, and they remember God but little: S. 4:142 Rodwell

And when We make people taste of mercy after an affliction touches them, lo! they devise deception (makrun) against Our communication. Say: Allah is quicker to deceive (makran); surely Our apostles write down what you plan. S. 10:21

The Quran further attests that only the disbelievers are naïve enough to feel safe from Allah’s deceit and lies, since the believers know better than to trust Allah:

Are they then secure from Allah’s deception (makra Allahi)? None deemeth himself secure from Allah’s deception (makra Allahi) save folk that perish. S. 7:99

It even boasts that all deception and deceit belong entirely to Allah!

And verily, those before them did plot deception (makara), but all deception (al-makru) is Allah’s. He knows what every person earns, and the disbelievers will know who gets the good end. S. 13:42

Lest we be accused of perverting the meaning of the Arabic text, here are the definitions for makr/makara as given by the standard lexicons:

Miim-Kaf-Ra = To practice DECEIT OR GUILE or circumvention, practice evasion or elusion, to plot, to exercise art or craft or CUNNING, act with policy, practice stratagem.

makara vb. (1)

perf. act. 3:54, 3:54, 7:123, 13:42, 14:46, 16:26, 16:45, 27:50, 40:45, 71:22 impf. act. 6:123, 6:123, 6:124, 8:30, 8:30, 8:30, 10:21, 12:102, 16:127, 27:70, 35:10
n.vb. 7:99, 7:99, 7:123, 10:21, 10:21, 12:31, 13:33, 13:42, 14:46, 14:46, 14:46, 27:50, 27:50, 27:51, 34:33, 35:10, 35:43, 35:43, 71:22

pcple. act. 3:54, 8:30

LL, V7, p: 256 (Project Root List; capital emphasis ours)

He practised DECEIT, GUILE, or CIRCUMVENTION, desiring to do another A FOUL, AN ABOMINABLE, OR AN EVIL ACTION, clandestinely or without his knowing whence it proceeded. (Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon; capital emphasis ours)

makara u (makr) to DECEIVE, DELUDE, CHEAT, DUPE, GULL, DOUBLE-CROSS…

III to try TO DECEIVE…

makr cunning, craftiness, slyness, wiliness, double-dealing, DECEPTION, TRICKERY…

makr ruse, artifice, stratagem, wile, trick dodge

makkar and… makur cunning, sly, crafty, wily, shrewd, artful; sly, crafty person, IMPOSTER, SWINDLER

makir pl.… makara sly cunning, wily (Hans-Wehr, 4th edition, P.1076; capital emphasis ours)

Now the Holy Bible unveils the real identity of this being that is said to be the best of all deceivers, and who desires to mislead the whole world away from God’s truth through his deceit and trickery:

“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

“The great dragon was cast out, that ancient serpent called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe unto the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short.’” Revelation 12:9

The foregoing makes it very hard to deny that Muhammad’s Allah is actually the Devil himself masquerading as the God of Abraham for the purpose of deceiving countless numbers of Muslims and others into following a false prophet and antichrist, so as to prevent them from ever discovering the true message of who God is and how much he loves them:

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy. For I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve through HIS TRICKERY, so your minds might be led astray from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might submit to it readily enough… For such are false apostles and deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, 13-15

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not a gospel. But there are some who trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Although if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than the one we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so I say now again: If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than the one you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9

“Little children, it is the last hour. As you have heard that the antichrist will come, even now there are many antichrists. By this we know that it is the last hour… Who is a liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? Whoever denies the Father and the Son is the antichrist. No one who denies the Son has the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father.” 1 John 2:18, 22-23

“If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God which He has given concerning His Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has this witness in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he does not believe the testimony that God gave about His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life, and whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:9-13

Related Articles

Allah – The Greatest Deceiver of them All

Allah as a Deceiver

Does Yahweh Really Deceive?

Questions Regarding the Mass

The Roman Catholic Church believes that in the remembrance of the Lord’s Supper the bread and wine are transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ. Rome teaches that when the priest utters the words of consecration, the bread and wine are changed into the literal body and blood of Christ. The external appearances of bread and wine remain, but the elements are changed so that the substance is no longer that of bread and wine. This is known as transubstantiation.1

This Roman Catholic Doctrine on transubstantiation was officially dogmatized at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 A.D. The Council of Trent confirmed this teaching centuries later. Trent defined the following decrees in its thirteenth session that took place on October of 1551:

(Canon 1) If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ, but says that He is in it only as in a sign, or figure or force let him be anathema. (Bold emphasis ours)

(Canon 2) If anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular change of the whole substance of the bread into the body and the whole substance of the wine into the blood, the appearances only of bread and wine remaining, which change the Catholic Church most aptly calls transubstantiation, let him be anathema. (Bold emphasis ours)

(Canon 8) If anyone says that Christ received in the Eucharist is received spiritually only and not also sacramentally and really, let him be anathema. (Bold emphasis ours)

Eleven years later in the twenty-second session of Trent held in 1562 the following decree, “Doctrine Concerning of the Mass,” was issued. The decree’s second chapter states:

And inasmuch as in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass is contained and IMMOLATED in an unbloody manner the same Christ who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, the holy council teaches that this is truly PROPITIATORY and has this effect, that if we, contrite and penitent, with sincere heart and upright faith, with fear and reverence, draw nigh to God, we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid. For, appeased by this sacrifice, the Lord grants the grace and gift of penitence and pardons even the gravest crimes and sins. For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different. The fruits of that bloody sacrifice, it is well understood, are received most abundantly through this unbloody one, so far is the latter from derogating in any way from the former. Wherefore, according to the Apostles, it is rightly offered not only for the sins, punishments, satisfactions and other necessities of the faithful who are living, but also FOR THOSE DEPARTED IN CHRIST BUT NOT YET FULLY PURIFIED. (Bold and capital emphasis ours)

In other words, not only is the bread and wine transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ but the offering of the Eucharist is seen as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. In fact, Trent claims that Christ is being immolated (i.e. sacrificed) in an unbloody manner during the offering of the Mass. They justify this by claiming that the Eucharist is not a new sacrifice or a re-sacrifice of Christ, but rather the same sacrifice of Calvary repeated over and over again. According to this decree, it is not only the living that benefit from the atoning nature of the Mass but also those who have died in the Lord! This is due to the Catholic belief that those who die in a state of impurity must enter into purgatory for the purging of venial sins. Offering Mass on behalf of the departed can speed up this process of purgation. To say that these statements are incredulous would be a wild understatement.

In light of Rome’s view on the nature of the Mass, we ask the following questions.

Question 1

Why does Rome claim that in the Mass Christ’s sacrifice is repeated over and over again for the forgiveness of sins seeing that the Scriptures teach that Christ offered one sacrifice for all time? The Scriptures clearly teach that this sacrifice cannot be repeated again. Furthermore, the same Scriptures teach that Jesus’ one sacrifice makes perfect all that come to God through him and, as a result, there is no need for sacrifices anymore. In fact, the Holy Bible states that after Christ offered himself as a propitiation for sin, the Lord Jesus ascended to the right hand of God where he sits on God’s throne. The Lord Jesus will remain seated in heavenly glory until the time comes for God to make the enemies of Christ his footstool:

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin ONCE FOR ALL; but the life he lives, he lives to God.” Romans 6:9-10

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3

“Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save COMPLETELY those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need-one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices DAY AFTER DAY, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins ONCE FOR ALL when he offered himself. Hebrews 7:23-27

“The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.” Hebrews 8:1-2

“When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place ONCE FOR ALL by his own blood, HAVING OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.” Hebrews 9:11-15

“For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself AGAIN AND AGAIN, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared ONCE FOR ALL at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed ONCE to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:24-28

“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL. DAY AFTER DAY every priest stands and performs his religious duties; AGAIN AND AGAIN he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered FOR ALL TIME ONE SACRIFICE FOR SINS, HE SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by ONE SACRIFICE HE HAS MADE PERFECT FOREVER THOSE WHO ARE BEING MADE HOLY. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.’ Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, THERE IS NO LONGER ANY SACRIFICE FOR SIN.” Hebrews 10:10-18

For Christ died for sins ONCE FOR ALL, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18

Therefore, Rome’s claim that Christ is being offered continually as a sacrifice in an unbloody manner is contrary to the inspired Word of God.

Question 2

Why does the Roman Church insist on taking Jesus’ words “This is my body” and “This is my blood” literally? Didn’t the Lord Jesus employ figures of speech on the very night of the Last Supper when addressing his disciples? Several examples include:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:1-8

Should we assume that Jesus is a literal vine, his Father is a literal gardener, and that his disciples are literal branches that bear literal fruit?

Again:

“‘Though I have been speaking FIGURATIVELY, a time is coming when I will no longer use THIS KIND OF LANGUAGE but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.’ Then Jesus’ disciples said, ‘Now you are speaking clearly AND WITHOUT FIGURES OF SPEECH. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.’” John 16:25-30

Therefore, in light of Jesus’ own words where he plainly testifies to having used figurative language on the very night of his celebrating communion with his followers, Protestants are thoroughly justified in viewing the Lord’s Supper in a symbolic or purely spiritual sense.

Question 3

Why does Rome believe that Jesus’ words in John 6:50-58 on eating his flesh and drinking his blood refers to the partaking of communion? The context clearly defines what eating his flesh and drinking his blood means, namely through believing and trusting in him:

“Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.’ Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to BELIEVE in the one he has sent.’” John 6:26-29

“Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘from now on give us this bread.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who COMES TO ME will never go hungry, and he who BELIEVES IN ME will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that EVERYONE WHO LOOKS TO THE SON AND BELIEVES IN HIM shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’” John 6:32-40

“Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, ‘Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; THE FLESH COUNTS FOR NOTHING. The WORDS I have spoken to you ARE SPIRIT AND THEY ARE LIFE. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.’ From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’” John 6:61-69

Question 4

Since Rome believes that Jesus was speaking literally, how does it deal with the fact that Jesus actually ate from the same bread and drank from the same cup that Rome claims became his actual body and blood?

“Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make preparations for US to eat the Passover.’ ‘Where do you want us to prepare for it?’ they asked. He replied, ‘As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I MAY EAT THE PASSOVER with my disciples?” He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.’ They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired TO EAT THIS PASSOVER with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I WILL NOT EAT IT AGAIN until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.’” Luke 22:7-16

“Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them. ‘I tell you the truth, I WILL NOT DRINK AGAIN OF THE FRUIT OF THE VINE until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.’” Mark 14:23-25

“Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until THAT DAY when I drink it anew WITH YOU in my Father’s kingdom.’” Matthew 26:27-29

And here is what an apologist for Rome wrote concerning this issue:

“But the Lord was not yet arrested. After having spoken thus, the Lord rose from the place where He had made the Passover and had given His Body as food and His Blood as drink, and He went with His disciples to the place where He was to be arrested. But He ate of His own Body and drank of His own Blood, while he was pondering on the dead. With His own hands the Lord presented His own Body to be eaten, and before He was crucified He gave His Blood as drink; and He was taken at night on the fourteenth, and was judged until the sixth hour; and at the sixth hour they condemned Him and raised Him on the cross.”

Commentary: Here Aphraates sets aside the very thing that many critics of the Catholic doctrine have used to deny the Eucharist. He affirms that Christ actually held His own body, in the flesh, at the Last Supper. (Robert A. Sungenis, Not By Bread Alone: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for the Eucharistic Sacrifice [Queenship Publishing Company 2000], pp. 204-205; underline emphasis ours)

Why was Jesus eating his own flesh and drinking his own blood? What sins did Christ need to be forgiven of seeing that Rome believes that the Mass is a propitiation for sins? Does not the Scripture say that Jesus had no need of sacrifices for the forgiveness of any sins he committed seeing that he was sinless?2

“Such a high priest meets our need–one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. UNLIKE the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, FIRST FOR HIS OWN SINS, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Hebrews 7:26-27

Furthermore, these passages state that the Lord Jesus and glorified believers will celebrate his Second Coming by partaking in the Passover meal and drinking of the cup again. In light of Rome’s belief that the bread and the cup are the actual body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sin, why would glorified saints need to drink the blood of Jesus again seeing that they are forever made sinless? Please note the following passages:

The LORD within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame. ‘I have cut off nations; their strongholds are demolished. I have left their streets deserted, with no one passing through. Their cities are destroyed; no one will be left-no one at all. I said to the city, “Surely you will fear me and accept correction!” Then her dwelling would not be cut off, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did. Therefore wait for me,’ declares the LORD, ‘for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them-all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger. Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder. From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings. On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.’” Zephaniah 3:5-13

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” 1 Corinthians 15:42-55

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” Hebrews 12:22-24

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.’” Revelation 21:1-8

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” Revelation 22:12-15

Furthermore, does this mean that the bread and cup will actually transubstantiate into the body and blood of Christ even though Jesus will be physically present with the believers at this point?

In light of all these problems with Rome’s view, the only view that makes sense is that Jesus was speaking figuratively when referring to the bread and cup as his body and blood.

Question 5

Both the Old and New Testaments expressly forbid consuming blood:

“And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.” Genesis 9:1-5

“‘Moreover, if his offering is a goat, then he shall offer it before the Lord, and he shall lay his hand on its head and slay it before the tent of meeting, and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar. From it he shall present his offering as an offering by fire to the Lord, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys. The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar as food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the Lord’s. It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not eat any fat or ANY BLOOD.” Leviticus 3:12-17

“And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats ANY blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘No person among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.’ So when any man from the sons of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, in hunting catches a beast or a bird which may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, ‘You are not to eat the blood of ANY flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.” Leviticus 17:10-14

Only be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.” Deuteronomy 12:33

“After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, ‘Brethren, listen to me… Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled AND FROM BLOOD. For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.’ Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them to send to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas—Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren, and they sent this letter by them, ‘The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.’” Acts 15:13, 19-29

“But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.” Acts 21:25

Does the Roman Catholic church really expect us to believe that the Lord Jesus violated this prohibition by having his followers literally drink his blood? Furthermore, do they also want us to accept the fact that the Lord consume his own blood, and therefore personally violated one of the very commands that he, as God, revealed to his prophets and apostles? Moreover, isn’t it obvious from the passages in Leviticus that the blood which was shed for atonement was to be presented at the altar, and doesn’t this tie in perfectly with the testimony of Hebrews which states that Jesus entered the heavenly tabernacle in order to present his blood to the Father?

“And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year WITH BLOOD THAT IS NOT HIS OWN. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” Hebrews 9:22-28

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to THE SPRINKLED BLOOD, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” Hebrews 12:22-24

Since the inspired book of Hebrews clearly says that Jesus’ blood was presented (in fact, sprinkled) before the heavenly altar, why would Rome violate this teaching by saying that his blood was shed so that Christians could actually eat or drink from it?

Question 6

According to both Luke and Paul, Jesus states that the cup is actually the new covenant ratified in his blood:

“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’” Luke 22:20

“In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’” 1 Corinthians 11:25

Since Rome insists on taking Jesus’ words literally, does that now mean that the cup is actually transformed into the new covenant and therefore all that partake of it ingest the new covenant into their bodies?

Question 7

Rome insists on understanding the following passage as an argument for the Lord’s Supper being the actual body and blood of Christ:

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

That believers are actually participating in the blood and body of Christ is used as proof for transubstantiation. Yet when we read Paul in context a whole different picture emerges:

“Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” 1 Corinthians 10:18-22

Seeing that Paul also claimed that Israel partook in the altar and that pagans participated with demons when eating their sacrifices, should we now assume that the Israelites actually ingested the actual altar and that pagans were actually eating demons? If the Roman hermeneutic were to be accepted this would be the only logical conclusion.

Hence, we are again left with the conclusion that believers’ participation with the Lord Jesus is spiritual, not physical.

Question 8

If transubstantiation is true why does Paul still refer to the Eucharist as the bread and the cup? Notice what the inspired Apostle writes:

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 1 Corinthians 11:26-29

In fact, the Lord Jesus himself continued to refer to the cup as the fruit of the vine even after proclaiming that it was his blood:

“Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of THIS FRUIT OF THE VINE from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.’” Matthew 26:27-29

If transubstantiation were true this would mean that the bread and wine no longer remain as such. The external appearance of bread and wine remain, but the actual substance is completely changed. The fact that the Lord Jesus and Paul still referred to the Lord’s supper as bread and as the fruit of the vine clearly demonstrates that neither held to Rome’s view of transubstantiation.3

Question 9

The Chalcedonian Creed was adopted at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, held at Chalcedon, located in what is now Turkey, in 451 A.D., as a response to certain heretical views concerning the nature of Christ. It established the orthodox view that Christ has two natures (human and divine) that are perfectly united in a single divine Person. One of the aims of the Creed was to safeguard the distinction of the two natures within the one Person of the Lord Jesus Christ against those that mixed or compounded these natures together. Here is what it states:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

Roman Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants alike have adopted this Creed as accurately summing up the Holy Bible’s teaching on the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, seeing that the Roman Catholic Church ascribes to this Creed why then does Rome confuse and confound the two distinct natures of Christ? To claim that the bread and cup literally transform into the actual body and blood of Christ is to ascribe the quality of omnipresence to Jesus’ humanity. In other words, the only way for Christ to be physically present any time and place the Mass is celebrated is if his physical body was capable of being present everywhere. Yet this conclusion destroys and blurs the distinction between Jesus’ Divine and human natures. As God, Christ is personally (but not physically) present everywhere (Cf. Matthew 18:20; 28:20; John 14:21, 23; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:7-10; Colossians 3:11).

Yet as man with a glorified physical body he is not omnipresent. Rather, the man Christ is physically seated in heaven and will reappear physically, bodily at his Second Coming:

“After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’” Acts 1:9-11

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” Acts 3:19-21

“But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” Acts 7:55-56

“which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:20-21

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior FROM THERE, the Lord Jesus Christ,” Philippians 3:20

“so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:28

“… It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and IS AT God’s right hand-with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” 1 Peter 3:21-22

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” Revelation 1:7-8

In light of these biblical truths one cannot hold to Rome’s position on the Mass. Rome’s view destroys the distinction between Jesus’ Divine and human natures, falsely and indirectly attributing to Jesus’ human nature things that are only true in relation to his Divine nature.

Question 10

Why does the Roman Catholic Church insist that their interpretation of the Mass is consistent with the early Church’s view seeing that the Church Fathers were divided over the very nature of the Mass? To support this claim we provide some quotes from the Fathers themselves.

Responding to Catholic Apologist Timothy Staples’ assertion that all the Church Fathers believed that the Eucharist was the actual body and blood of Christ, protestant apologist Dr. James R. White writes:

At this point, Tim has a common assertion:

The Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist was a doctrine believed and taught unanimously by the Church since the time of Christ. And the Catholic “literal” sense was the only sense the early Christians understood.

Most Protestants are completely stumped when faced with such claims. And sadly, most Catholics really believe such sweeping, yet utterly untrue, statements. Mr. Staples has, in the past, claimed that every single early Church Father agreed with the Roman interpretation of Matthew 16:18 and the “rock” as well: a claim so transparently false it almost takes one’s breath away. This statement likewise partakes of the same kind of historical inaccuracy. Given that Tim has made a universal statement, a single counter example is all that is needed. When Augustine commented on this passage he wrote:

“He that comes unto Me: this is the same as when He says, And he that believes on Me: and what He meant by, shall never hunger, the same we are to understand by, shall never thirst. By both is signified that eternal fulness, where is no lack.”

There is no literality in Augustine’s understanding. Note his further comments on the passage:

Let them then who eat, eat on, and them that drink, drink; let them hunger and thirst; eat Life, drink Life. That eating, is to be refreshed; but you are in such wise refreshed, as that that whereby you are refreshed, does not fail. That drinking, what is it but to live? Eat Life, drink Life; you will have life, and the Life is Entire. But then this shall be, that is, the Body and Blood of Christ shall be each man’s Life; if what is taken in the Sacrament visibly is in truth itself eaten spiritually, drunk spiritually. For we have heard the Lord Himself saying, It is the Spirit that gives life, but the flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and Life.”

Here are a few more just for the fun of it:

Augustine (Faustus 6.5): “while we consider it no longer a duty to offer sacrifices, we recognize sacrifices as part of the mysteries of Revelation, by which the things prophesied were foreshadowed. For they were our examples, and in many and various ways they all pointed to the one sacrifice which we now commemorate. Now that this sacrifice has been revealed, and has been offered in due time, sacrifice is no longer binding as an act of worship, while it retains its symbolical authority.”

Augustine (Faustus 20.18, 20): “The Hebrews, again, in their animal sacrifices, which they offered to God in many varied forms, suitably to the significance of the institution, typified the sacrifice offered by Christ. This sacrifice is also commemorated by Christians, in the sacred offering and participation of the body and blood of Christ. . . . Before the coming of Christ, the flesh and blood of this sacrifice were foreshadowed in the animals slain; in the passion of Christ the types were fulfilled by the true sacrifice; after the ascension of Christ, this sacrifice is commemorated in the sacrament.

Where is the literality? It is not there, which is why there were debates a thousand years after Christ concerning this very issue: and Augustine was one of the chief Fathers cited by those who opposed the absurdly literal interpretation that lead to transubstantiation. Note the words of church historian Philip Schaff:

In both cases the conflict was between a materialistic and a spiritualistic conception of the sacrament and its effect. The one was based on a literal, the other on a figurative interpretation of the words of institution, and of the mysterious discourse in the sixth chapter of St. John. The contending parties agreed in the belief that Christ is present in the eucharist as the bread of life to believers; but they differed widely in their conception of the mode of that presence: the one held that Christ was literally and corporeally present and communicated to all communicants through the mouth; the other, that he was spiritually present and spiritually communicated to believers through faith. The transubstantiationists (if we may coin this term) believed that the eucharistic body of Christ was identical with his historical body, and was miraculously created by the priestly consecration of the elements in every sacrifice of the mass; their opponents denied this identity, and regarded the eucharistic body as a symbolical exhibition of his real body once sacrificed on the cross and now glorified in heaven, yet present to the believer with its life-giving virtue and saving power.

We find both these views among the ancient fathers. The realistic and mystical view fell in more easily with the excessive supernaturalism and superstitious piety of the middle age, and triumphed at last both in the Greek and Latin churches; for there is no material difference between them on this dogma.703 The spiritual theory was backed by the all-powerful authority of St. Augustin in the West, and ably advocated by Ratramnus and Berengar…

Speaking of Radbertus’ and his promotion of a transubstantiation-like concept, Schaff notes:

His opponents appealed chiefly to St. Augustin, who made a distinction between the historical and the eucharistic body of Christ, and between a false material and a true spiritual fruition of his body and blood. In a letter to the monk Frudegard, who quoted several passages of Augustin, Radbert tried to explain them in his sense. For no divine of the Latin church dared openly to contradict the authority of the great African teacher.

It seems historians do not share Tim’s viewpoint, and for good reason. We could cite from Tertullian and Theodoret and many others, but the most embarrassing for the Roman apologist who makes such claims has to be these words from Pope Gelasius of Rome in his work against Eutyches and Nestorius:

The sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which we receive, is a divine thing, because by it we are made partakers of the divine-nature. Yet the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease. And assuredly the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the performance of the mysteries.

Of course, it is easier to make universal claims about history that are inaccurate than it is to provide a meaningful and truthful response. Most don’t carry around notes with quotations from patristic sources so as to be ready for such claims. How one handles such a claim in a situation such as a family reunion will depend on the circumstances. A basic, “Such claims go far beyond the facts” might be appropriate. (Truths of the Bible or Untruths of Roman Tradition? James White Responds to Tim Staples’ Article, “How to Explain the Eucharist” in the September, 1997 issue of Catholic Digest: http://vintage.aomin.org/MarkandTim.htm; bold emphasis ours)

Protestant author William Webster concurs with Dr. White’s claims. Seeing that Webster has a lengthy discussion on the Father’s different views on the Mass, we will limit our quotes to those Fathers that denied either transubstantiation or consubstantiation, holding instead to a symbolic or spiritual view of the Eucharist:

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that when the priest utters the words of consecration, the bread and wine are changed into the literal body and blood of Christ. He is then offered to God on the altar as a propitiatory sacrifice for sin. The Council of Trent explicitly states that ‘in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the mass, that same Christ is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner who once offered himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross’. There are thus two aspects of the Roman doctrine: transubstantiation, which guarantees the ‘real presence’ of Christ; and the mass, in which Christ, thus present bodily, is re-offered to God as a sacrifice. This, however, is not the only view which has been expressed in a consistent way throughout the history of the Church. From the beginning of the Church the Fathers generally expressed their belief in the Real Presence in the eucharist, in that they identified the elements with the body and blood of Christ, and also referred to the eucharist as a sacrifice, but there was a considerable difference of opinion among the Fathers on the precise nature of these things, reflected in the fact that the ancient Church produced no official dogma of the Lord’s supper. Interpretation of the meaning of the eucharist in the writings of the Fathers must be done with great caution for it is very easy to take a preconceived theology of the eucharist and read it back into their comments and teachings.

What I believe an objective analysis will reveal is that the views of the Fathers are very consistent with the differing views represented by the Roman Catholic Church and those of the Protestant Reformers. Some of the Fathers taught that the elements are symbols of the body and blood of Christ and that his presence is spiritual, while others maintained that the elements changed into Christ’s body and blood and that his presence is physical. The following examples of the first four centuries reveal this diversity of opinion.

The Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, as it is sometimes called, is included in the collection of works known as the Apostolic Fathers, and is one of the oldest documents from the immediate post-apostolic age that we possess. It is an early manual of Church discipline dated from between the late first century and 140 A.D., and it simply refers to the Lord’s supper as spiritual food and drink. There is no indication that the elements are transformed in anyway

Tertullian (155/160-240/250 A.D.) spoke of the bread and wine as symbols or figures which represent the body and blood of Christ. He specifically stated that these were not the literal body and blood of the Lord. When Christ said ‘This is my body,’ Tertullian maintained that Jesus was speaking figuratively and that he consecrated the wine ‘in memory of his blood’ (Against Marcion 3.19). Some theologians have claimed that the ancient usage of the words ‘figure’ and ‘represent’ suggested that the symbols in some mysterious way became what they symbolized. But Tertullian used the word ‘represent’ in a number of other places where the word carries a figurative meaning… His interpretation of John 6 similarly indicates that when he spoke of the bread and wine as figures of Christ’s body and blood, that is exactly what he meant. He says that Christ spoke in spiritual terms when referring to the eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood and did not mean this literally. He holds that the eating of the flesh of Christ and the drinking of his blood means appropriating him by faith: ‘He likewise called His flesh by the same appellation; because, too, the Word had become flesh, we ought therefore to desire Him in order that we may have life and to devour Him with the ear, and to ruminate on Him with the understanding, and to digest Him by faith.’ Clearly he did not teach the concept of transubstantiation.

Clement of Alexandria (150-211/216 A.D.) also called the bread and wine symbols of the body and blood of Christ, and taught that the communicant received not the physical but the spiritual life of Christ. Origen (185-235/254 A.D.), likewise, speaks in distinctively spiritual and allegorical terms when referring to the eucharist.

Eusebius of Caesarea (263-340 A.D.) identified the elements with the body and blood of Christ but, much like Tertullian, saw the elements as being symbolic or representative of spiritual realities. He specifically states that the bread and wine are symbols of the Lord’s body and blood and that Christ’s words in John 6 are to be understood spiritually and figuratively as opposed to a physical and literal sense… there was a continuing representation by many Fathers of the eucharistic elements as figures or symbols of the Lord’s body and blood, although they also believed the Lord was spiritually present in the sacraments. Pope Gelasius I (492-496 A.D.), for example, believed that the bread and wine in substance at consecration did not cease to be bread and wine, a view shared by Eusebius, Theodoret, Serapion, Jerome, Athanasius, Ambrosiaster, Macarius of Egypt, and Eustathius of Antioch.

However, the theological giant who provided the most comprehensive and influential defense of the symbolic interpretation of the Lord’s Supper was Augustine. He gave very clear instructions and principles for determining when a passage of Scripture should be interpreted literally and when figuratively. Passages of Scripture must always be interpreted in the light of the entire revelation of Scripture, he concluded, and he used John 6 as a specific example of a passage that should be interpreted figuratively.

Augustine argued that the sacraments, including the eucharist, are signs and figures which represent or symbolize spiritual realities. He made a distinction between the physical, historical body of Christ and the sacramental presence, maintaining that Christ’s physical body could not literally be present in the sacrament of the eucharist because he is physically at the right hand of God in heaven, and will be there until he returns. But Christ is spiritually with his people. Augustine viewed the eucharist in spiritual terms and he interpreted the true meaning of eating and drinking as being faith: ‘To believe on Him is to eat the living bread. He that believes eats, he is sated invisibly, because invisibly he is born again.’

These views of Augustine are obviously in direct opposition to those of the Council of Trent. In fact, teachings such as his on the eucharist were anathematized by that Council. This highlights once again the lack of patristic consensus on the teaching of this major doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church… (Webster, The Church of Rome at the Bar of History [The Banner of Truth Trust PO Box 621, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013, reprint 1996], pp. 117-121 bold emphasis ours)

Webster quotes directly from the Fathers themselves, a sampling of which are included here. These patristic quotes can be found in his book, pp. 191-195:

Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-211/216 A.D.)

The Scripture, accordingly, has named wine the symbol of the sacred blood.

Cyprian (200/210-258 A.D.)

But when the blood of grapes is mentioned, what else is shewn than the wine of the Cup of the Blood of the Lord? … I marvel much whence this practice has arisen, that in some places, contrary to Evangelical and Apostolic discipline, water is offered in the Cup of the Lord, which alone cannot represent the Blood of Christ… For that waters signify peoples, Holy Scripture declares in Revelations, saying, The waters which thou sawest, on which the whore sitteth, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. This too we perceive is contained in the Mystery of the Cup. For because Christ loves us all in that He bore our sins also, we see that in the water the people are intended, but that in the wine is shewn the blood of Christ. But in the Cup water is mingled with wine, His people are united to Christ, and the multitude of believers are united and conjoined with Him in Whom they believe.

Eusebius (263-340 A.D.)

For by means of the wine, which was the symbol… of His blood, He cleanses from their former sins those who are baptised into His death and have believed on His blood, ‘Take, drink this is My blood poured out for you for the remission of sins; do this for My memorial’; and that the words, ‘His teeth whiter than milk’ signify brightness and purity of the mystic food. For again He gave to His disciples the symbols… of the divine dispensation, bidding them make the image… of His own body.

Athanasius (295-375 A.D.)

Here also He has used both terms about Himself, namely the flesh and spirit; and He distinguished the spirit from what relates to the flesh in order that they might believe not only in what was visible in Him but also in hat was invisible, and might thereby learn that what He says is not fleshly but spiritual. For how many would the body suffice, for eating, that it should become the food for the whole world? But for this reason He made mention of the ascension of the Son of Man into heaven, in order that He might draw them away from the bodily notion, and that from henceforth they might learn that the aforesaid flesh was heavenly eating from above and spiritual food given by Him. For, He says, what I have spoken unto you is spirit and life, as much as to say, That which is manifested, and is given for the salvation of the world, is the flesh which I wear. But this and its blood shall be given to you by Me spiritually as food, so that this may be imparted… spiritually to each one, and may become to all a preservative for resurrection to eternal life.

Augustine (354-430 A.D.)

  1. Augustine teaches that the Sacraments, including the eucharist, are signs and figures which represent or symbolize spiritual realities:

He committed and delivered to His disciples the figure of His Body and Blood.

A sacrifice, therefore, is the visible sacrament or sacred sign of an invisible sacrifice… for that which in common speech is called sacrifice is only the symbol of the true sacrifice

  1. Secondly, because Christ is physically in heaven Augustine interprets the discourse in John 6 of eating Christ’s flesh and drinking his blood figuratively. If a person partakes of the sacrament but does not abide in Christ, he does not eat the flesh of Christ or drink his blood:

… Who is the Bread of the kingdom of God, but He who saith, ‘I am the living Bread which came down from heaven? Do not get thy mouth ready, but thine heart. On this occasion it was that the parable of this supper was set forth. Lo, we believe in Christ, we receive Him with faith. In receiving Him we know what to think of. We receive but little, and we are nourished in heart. It is not then what is seen, but what is believed that feeds us. Therefore we too have not sought for that outward sense.

This is then to eat the meat, not that which perisheth, but that which endureth unto eternal life. To what purpose dost thou make ready teeth and stomach? Believe, and thou hast eaten already

‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,’ says Christ, ‘and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.’ This seems to enjoin a crime or a vice; it is therefore a figure, enjoining that we should have a share in the sufferings of our Lord, and that we should retain a sweet and profitable memory of the fact that His flesh was wounded and crucified for us. (Bold emphasis ours)

In light of the divergent views of the early Church over the nature of the Eucharist, how then can Rome infallibly pronounce God’s curse upon all who disagree with their view? Does this also mean that all these Church fathers are also under the anathema of God for holding to a view other than the Roman Catholic Church?

This concludes our questions. May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ use this article to bring believers to a fuller and more accurate understanding of his Person and work of salvation. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. We love you forever.

Endnotes

1 There are several other views held by different Church denominations on the nature of the Eucharist. The Lutheran view is that Christ is actually present in, with, and under the bread and wine. Christ is believed to be physically conjoined with the bread and wine. This view is known as consubstantiation. The Reformed view is that Christ is spiritually present at the Lord’s Supper and that the supper is a means in which grace is communicated or given. There is believed to be a dynamic presence of Jesus in the elements that is made effective in the believer as he partakes of the Supper. This partaking of Christ is not an actual physical eating and drinking of Jesus’ body and blood. Rather, it is an inner communion with the Person of Christ. Another view, which is the one we share, is that the bread and wine are symbols and reminders of Jesus’ death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 11:24-25), his Second Coming (1 Corinthians 11:26), our union together as the one body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:17), and a reminder of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 11:26).

2 A Roman Catholic may cite the example of Jesus being baptized by John, which was a baptism for repentance from sins (cf. Mark 1:4; Matthew 3:6, 11; Luke 3:3; Acts 19:4), in order to justify Jesus’ eating his own flesh and blood even though he was absolutely sinless. There are a couple of problems with this argument. First, the purpose of Jesus’ baptism was to give his seal of approval to John’s ministry, i.e. Christ was confirming that John had been sent by God to do what he did:

“Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’ But Jesus answering said to him, ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him.” Matthew 3:13-15

This was unlike the religious leaders who refused to be baptized by him, thereby calling into question God’s will and wisdom in sending the Baptist to prepare the people’s hearts for the coming of Christ by having them confess their sins, and therefore acknowledge their need of the Savior:

“When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John. ‘To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.” For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, “He has a demon!” The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, “Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.’” Luke 7:29-35

Secondly, being from the priestly tribe of Levi (cf. Luke 1:5-25), John was preparing Jesus for his priestly role since the OT required that a person had to be 30 years old (even though in some cases a person could be twenty-five years old), had to be washed in water, and had to be anointed with oil which was symbolic of being anointed by God’s Spirit (cf. Exodus 29:1-9, 44-46; Numbers 4:3, 34-37, 43). According to the NT, Jesus was 30 when John baptized him in water, which was also the time when he was anointed by the Holy Spirit who descended upon him in the form of a dove:

“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’ When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli,” Luke 3:21-23

“The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)—you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:36

Yet in respect to the Lord’s Supper, there was no need for Jesus to eat it if it were his literal body and blood since he didn’t need to partake of it in order to give it his approval or to be set apart by it for his sacrificial work. As such, the appeal to Jesus’ baptism to justify Rome’s view of the Eucharist is simply fallacious to say the least.

3 Some Roman Catholic Apologists use 1 Corinthians 11:30-34 as a basis for believing in transubstantiation:

That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.”

It is claimed that for the Eucharist to be merely a symbol would not result in the illness and death of believers who were partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. This supposedly establishes Rome’s view that the Lord’s Supper is the actual body and blood of Christ and to eat of it in an unworthy manner is to incur God’s wrath.

Yet this logic misses the point completely since to partake of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner leads to sinning against what that Supper points to, namely the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is the offense committed against what the Lord’s Supper represents that resulted in God’s judgment upon believers.

Furthermore, does Rome really believe that all who come to the Mass partake of Christ in a worthy manner? If not, then how does Rome prevent one from sinning against the actual body and blood of Christ if indeed Rome’s view of the Mass is correct?

An Articulation of Sola Scriptura – Appendices

Appendix A: 

1 Corinthians 4:6 and the Sufficiency of Scriptures

In 1 Corinthians 4:6 Paul commanded the Corinthian believers to imitate his example, and that of Apollos, by not going beyond what is written, which is simply another way of saying that believers must adhere to the principle of Sola Scriptura. Seeing how important this particular text is we have decided to include various translations of it here.

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. NIV

And these things, brethren, I did transfer to myself and to Apollos because of you, that in us ye may learn not to think above that which hath been written, that ye may not be puffed up one for one against the other, Young’s Literal Translation

And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. KJV

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. NKJV

Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not [to go] beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other. ASV

Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. NASB

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. ESV

and Apollos because of you, brothers and sisters, so that through us you may learn “not to go beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of the one against the other. NET

I have applied all this to myself and Apol’los for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. RSV

I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so that you may learn through us the meaning of the saying, “Nothing beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of one against another. NRSV

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the saying: “Nothing beyond what is written.” The purpose is that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over another. Holman Christian Standard

But, these things, brethren, have I transferred unto myself and Apollos, for your sakes, that, in us, ye might learn the lesson – Not beyond the things that are written…! that ye do not puff yourselves up, individually, for this one against that. The J.B. Rotherham Emphasized Bible

But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes: that in us you may learn that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written. Douay-Rheims

Now these [things], brothers [and sisters], I transformed [fig., applied] to myself and to Apollos for your* sakes, so that in us you* shall learn not to be thinking beyond what has been written, so that you* shall not become conceited one on behalf of one against the other. Analytical-Literal Translation (ALT)

Now I have applied all this [about parties and factions] to myself and Apollos for your sakes, brethren, so that from what I have said of us [as illustrations], you may learn [to think of men in accordance with Scripture and] not to go beyond that which is written, that none of you may be puffed up and inflated with pride and boast in favor of one [minister and teacher] against another. Amplified Bible

Now I have applied these things, brothers, to myself and to Apollos as an illustration for your benefit, so that you might learn to “follow the written message.” [Note: This is thought to have been a common way of referring, in that day, to the importance of adhering to Old Testament Scripture]. New Testament: An Understandable Version

And, brothers, I transferred these things to myself and Apollos because of you, that in us you may learn not to think above what has been written, that you not be puffed up one over the other. Literal Translation of the Holy Bible

And these [things], brothers, I have applied to myself and Apollo on your account, in order that you learn among you the [thing] not above what is written, in order that you not be being puffed up above the other against the other. The New Testament: A Faithful Translation

Brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself as examples so you could learn through us the meaning of the saying, “Follow only what is written in the Scriptures.” Then you will not be more proud of one person than another. New Century Version
Now in what I have said here, brothers, I have used myself and Apollos as examples to teach you not to go beyond what the Tanakh says, proudly taking the side of one leader against another. The Complete Jewish Bible

Brothers and sisters, I have applied this to Apollos and myself for your sake. You should learn from us not to go beyond what is written in Scripture. Then you won’t arrogantly place one of us in opposition to the other. GOD’S WORD I have applied all this to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that you can learn how the saying, ‘Nothing beyond what is written’ is true of us: no individual among you must become filled with his own importance and make comparisons, to another’s detriment. New Jerusalem Bible

Now brothers, I have applied these things to myself and to Apollos on your account, so that from us you might learn not to be more than what was written, so that none would be puffed up about one person, against another. A Non-Ecclesiastical New Testament

Now these things, brothers, I have transferred in figure to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us the matter of not going beyond what has been written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one, against the other. The Recovery Version New Testament

These and, brethren, I figuratively applied to myself and Apollos on account of you, that by us you may learn that not above what is written to think, so that no one on behalf of the one you may be puffed up against the other. Emphatic Diaglott

Now, brothers, these things I have transferred so as to apply to myself and A·pol´los for YOUR good, that in our case YOU may learn the [rule]: “Do not go beyond the things that are written,” in order that YOU may not be puffed up individually in favor of the one against the other. NWT (The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of the Jehovah’s Witnesses Bible) 

I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, so that you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written, 2 so that none of you will be inflated with pride in favor of one person over against another. New American Bible Revised Edition

The footnote for the above translation states:

2 [6] That you may learn from us not to go beyond what is written: the words “to go” are not in the Greek, but have here been added as the minimum necessary to elicit sense from this difficult passage. It probably means that the Corinthians should avoid the false wisdom of vain speculation, contenting themselves with Paul’s proclamation of the cross, which is the fulfillment of God’s promises in the Old Testament (what is written). Inflated with pride: literally, “puffed up,” i.e., arrogant, filled with a sense of self-importance. The term is particularly Pauline, found in the New Testament only in 1 Cor 4:6, 18-19; 5:2; 8:1; 13:4; Col 2:18 (cf the related noun at 2 Cor 12:20). It sometimes occurs in conjunction with the theme of “boasting,” as in 1 Cor 4:6-7 here. (http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/1corinthians/1corinthians4.htm#foot2; bold emphasis ours)

Just to be clear here, the Apostle wasn’t warning the Corinthians against accepting traditions which he and others preached orally. Rather, the point he is making in this verse is that anything which contradicts what is written must be rejected, since all teaching that is related to the faith must conform and perfectly agree with God’s written Word. Hence, not going beyond what is written simply means that no teaching or tradition can conflict with the inspired Scriptures.

Appendix B

The Bible on Itself

We conclude our short discussion by presenting a list of passages that highlight some of the many qualities of God’s Word. We are quite aware that many of these passages do not refer exclusively to God’s written Word. Nonetheless, these descriptions equally apply to the Holy Bible since it is indeed the very revealed and inscripturated Word of God. All citations taken from the English Standard Version:

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;” Psalm 19:7-8

“Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” Psalm 119:89

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

“I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.” Psalm 138:2
“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6

“And when they say to you, ‘Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,’ should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.” Isaiah 8:19-20

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

“For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’ For the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:8-9

“Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

“But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.” Luke 16:17

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24

“If he called them gods to whom the word of God came–and Scripture cannot be broken-” John 10:35

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” John 12:47-48

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” John 15:3

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

“that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,” Ephesians 5:26

“and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Ephesians 6:17

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

“Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” James 1:18

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” 1 Peter 1:22-23

“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19

Recommended Reading

The following books are essential reading:

  1. David T. King, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume I: A Biblical Defense of the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura, Christian Resources, Inc., October 2001, ISBN 1893531023.
  2. William Webster, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume II: An Historical Defense of the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura, Christian Resources, Inc., October 2001, ISBN 1893531031.
  3. William Webster, David T. King, Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume III: The Writings of the Church Fathers Affirming the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura, Christian Resources, Inc., October 2001, ISBN 1893531058.
  4. Sola Scriptura! The Protestant Position on the Bible by Don Kistler, general editor, Soli Deo Gloria Pubns, June 2003, ISBN: 1573580287.

The first 3 books can be ordered from here: http://christiantruth.com/store_books

The last one can be purchased at this web site: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/store/