Jesus Christ: The Living Bread From Heaven

Another way in which John’s Gospel affirms Christ’s divine prehuman existence is in its contrasting Jesus as the true living bread from heaven with the manna which Jehovah rained down upon the Israelites during the Exodus:

“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, you seek Me not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for that food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For God the Father has set His seal on Him.’ Then they asked Him, ‘What shall we do that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’ Therefore they said to Him, ‘What sign do You show then, that we may see and believe You? What work will You perform? Our fathers ate manna in the desert. As it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”’ Then Jesus said, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread FROM HEAVEN, but My Father 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.’ Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me shall never hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst. But I told you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and he who comes to Me I will never cast out. FOR I CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who has sent Me, that of all whom He has given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.’ The Jews then murmured about Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread which came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus therefore answered them, ‘Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.’” John 6:26-44

The reason why such a contrast is important is that the Hebrew Scriptures expressly affirm that the manna was not taken from the earth, but was actual bread that physically came down from God’s heavenly abode:

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Indeed, I will rain bread FROM HEAVEN for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain amount every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall come to pass that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it will be twice as much as they gather daily.’ So Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, ‘At evening, you shall know that the LORD has brought you out from the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because He hears your murmurings against the LORD. And what are we that you murmur against us?’ Then Moses said, “This will happen when the LORD gives you meat to eat in the evening and bread in the morning to satisfy, for the LORD hears your murmurings which you murmur against Him. And what are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.’… When the layer of dew evaporated, on the surface of the wilderness there lay a small flaky thing, as fine as the frost on the ground. When the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, ‘What is it? (man hu)’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.’… The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed and was white, and its taste was like wafers made with honey. Then Moses said, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded, “Fill an omer of it to be kept for your generations to come, so that they may see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.”’ Moses said to Aaron, ‘Take a pot and put an omer full of manna in it, and place it before the LORD, to be kept for generations to come.’ As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the testimony, to be kept.” Exodus 16:4-8, 14-15, 31-34

“You gave them bread FROM HEAVEN for their hunger and brought water out of the rock for them for their thirst. You told them to enter in order to possess the land which You had sworn to give them.” Nehemiah 9:15

Yet He had commanded the skies above AND OPENED THE DOORS OF HEAVEN, and He rained down manna upon them to eat and gave them the grain OF HEAVEN. Man ate THE FOOD OF MIGHTY ANGELS; He sent them bread in abundance. He caused an east wind to blow in the heavens, and by His power He brought out a south wind. He rained meat on them as dust, and winged birds as the sand of the sea; and He let them fall in the midst of their camp all around their habitations. So they ate and were satisfied, for He gave them their own desire;” Psalm 78:23-29

“The people asked, and He brought quail, and satisfied them with abundant bread OF HEAVEN.” Psalm 105:40

This is why the Israelites didn’t know what it was, and why they even named it man hu, which literally means “what is it?” (https://biblehub.com/hebrew/4478.htm). Here, again, is the verse in question:

“When the people of Isra’el saw it, they asked each other, “Man hu? [What is it?]” because they didn’t know what it was. Moshe answered them, “It is the bread which Adonai has given you to eat.” Exodus 16:15 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

“And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.” Authorized King James Version (AKJV)

And when the Bnei Yisroel saw it, they said one to another, Mahn hu (What is it?) For they knew not mah hu (what [is] this). And Moshe said unto them, This is the lechem which Hashem hath given you to eat. Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)

Therefore, one cannot simply dismiss this as metaphorical language, denoting that this bread that the Israelites ate was given by God, as opposed to having been literally sent down from God’s heavenly abode, where he visibly appears seated on his throne in the presence of the host of heaven:

And he said, ‘Hear, therefore, the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside Him on His right hand and on His left. The LORD said, “Who will persuade Ahab so that he will go up and die at Ramoth Gilead?” And one said this, and another said that. Then a spirit came forth and stood before the Lord and said, “I will persuade him.” The LORD said to him, “How?” And he said, ‘I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And He said, “You will be successful and persuade him. Go forth, and do so.” Now therefore, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all your prophets here, and He has spoken evil concerning you!’” 1 Kings 22:19-23

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. One cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.’ The posts of the door moved at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar in his hand. And he laid it on my mouth, and said, ‘This has touched your lips, and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.’” Isaiah 6:1-7

“I watched until the thrones were cast down and the Ancient of Days was seated, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool. His throne was like the fiery flame, and its wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came out from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9-10

In a similar fashion, Jesus himself actually, personally, literally came down out from the Father’s presence in heaven and entered into this world by becoming a flesh and blood human being through his virginal conception and birth from his blessed mother by the power of the Holy Spirit (cf. Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-35; 2:1-7).

This is brought out more clearly in the following passage:

“‘I have told you these things in proverbs. But the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in proverbs, for I will speak to you PLAINLY about the Father. On that day you will ask in My name. I am not saying to you that I shall ask the Father on your behalf. For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world. As I said, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.’ His disciples said to Him, ‘Yes! Now You are speaking PLAINLY and with NO FIGURE OF SPEECH. Now we know that You know everything and do not need anyone to question You. By this we believe THAT YOU CAME FROM GOD.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe? Listen, the hour is coming. Yes, it has now come that you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with Me. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.’” John 16:25-33

Christ expressly states that he is no longer communicating in a figurative manner, but plainly about his coming from the Father to enter into the world and his leaving the world to go to the Father. As a result of his speaking plainly, the disciples finally realize that he knows all things and are now convinced that he did indeed come from God. 

Moreover, just as Jesus’ going to the Father was actual, personal, literal, etc., so his coming down from the Father in heaven to enter into the world must also have been actual, personal, literal. In other words, if Jesus’ ascension to the Father was an actual personal ascent, then his descending from heaven must have also been an actual personal descent. The only difference is that Jesus descended from heaven as a Spirit to become flesh, and then returned to heaven in that very flesh body that he took on, a physical body that became immortal by his resurrection from the dead:

“Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ Then the Jews said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will YOU raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking concerning the temple of His body. Therefore, when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them. And they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.” John 2:19-22

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I received this command from My Father.” John 10:17-18

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called The Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail prints in His hands, and put my finger in the nail prints, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe.’ After eight days His disciples were again inside with the doors shut, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came and stood among them, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand here and place it in My side. Do not be faithless, but believing.’ Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have yet believed.’” John 20:24-29

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death has no further dominion over Him. For the death He died, He died to sin once for all, but the life He lives, He lives to God.” Romans 6:8-10

“who becomes a priest not by a law pertaining to ancestry, but by the power of an endless life… And the former priests were numerous because they were hindered from serving because of death. But He, because He lives forever, has an everlasting priesthood. Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, because He at all times lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, for He is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and is higher than the heavens.” Hebrews 7:16, 23-26

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though I were dead. Then He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, though I was dead. Look! I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.’” Revelation 1:17-18

One cannot take one part of the verse literally while allegorizing the other part. If the ascension was a personal one, then the descent from the Father’s heavenly presence must have been personal as well, and not merely a plan in God’s mind which became a reality when Christ was created in his mother’s womb.

A Unitarian Objection Refuted

One way in which unitarian heretics seek to deny Jesus’ personal prehuman existence in heaven is to cite the following texts, which speak of the Son of Man descending or returning to heaven: 

No one has ascended to heaven except He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man who is in heaven. John 3:13

“Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before?” John 6:62

The unitarian argues that Jesus couldn’t have literally been a Son of Man in heaven since this title refers to Christ’s humanity which he took from his blessed virgin mother. Therefore, one shouldn’t take statements where Jesus is said to have come down from heaven literally.

The problem with this assertion is that it erroneously assumes that our Lord was claiming to have already been the Son of Man while in heaven, as opposed to his merely speaking retrospectively.

In other words, Christ wasn’t saying that he already was the Son of Man before he came down from heaven. Rather, the reason why the Lord identified himself in this manner is because those with whom he was speaking saw a man standing before them. And since the Jews were seeing a flesh and blood human being before their eyes, it only makes sense that Jesus would refer to himself by the identity he had now assumed by having become flesh.

As such, the point of Jesus wasn’t that he existed as a human being while in heaven, but was simply stating that the Person whom the Jews saw standing before them as a man had come down from heaven and would return there.

It would be similar to saying that king David killed Goliath, even though he wasn’t a king at that time. Or that the Apostle Paul persecuted the church of Christ, despite the fact that he wasn’t even a believer when he did so, and therefore hadn’t even been commissioned as an apostle yet.

The fact is that the plain statements of John’s Gospel proclaim that the Person of Christ eternally existed with God the Father and was with him in heaven before he came down to the earth:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (pros ton Theon), and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God (pros ton Theon). All things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that was created. In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. The light shines in darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it… The true Light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not know Him… The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-5, 9-10, 14

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved… He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.” John 3:16-17, 31

“He said to them, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins… I am telling what I have seen with My Father, and you are doing what you have seen with your father.’… Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and proceeded into the world. I did not come of My own authority, but He sent Me… Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day. He saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old. Have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.’ Then they took up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. Going through their midst, He passed by.” John 8:23-24, 38, 42, 56-59

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He came from God and was going to God (pros ton Theon),” John 13:3

“And now, O Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory which I had with You before the world existed… For I have given them the words which You gave Me. They have received them and certainly know that I came from You, and they have believed that You sent Me… Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may see My glory which You have given Me. For You loved Me before the creation of the world.” John 17:5, 8, 24

No amount of hermeneutical gymnastics will ever be able to refute these clear, emphatic inspired declarations to the eternal prehuman existence and essential Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son.

Further Reading 

Jesus Christ: The God of the Patriarchs and Prophets (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/17/jesus-christ-the-god-of-the-patriarchs-and-prophets/)

 

 

Jesus Christ: The God of the Patriarchs and Prophets

In this post, I am going to revisit the Old Testament (OT) texts that speak of Jehovah God visibly appearing to the OT saints in order to show that this was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ since he is the One who reveals the Father to mankind.

The God Whom Abraham and Isaiah Saw

The God-breathed Scriptures testify that Jehovah appeared visibly to Abraham:

The LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ So he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.” Genesis 12:7

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, ‘I am Almighty God. Walk before Me and be blameless.’… Then He stopped talking with Abraham, and God went up from him.” Genesis 17:1, 22

“Then God spoke to Moses, and said to him, “I am the LORD, and I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by My name, The LORD I was not known to them.’” Exodus 6:2-3

“He said, ‘Brothers and fathers, listen! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran,” Acts 7:2

These same writings proclaim that Jehovah also showed himself to Isaiah:

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. One cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.’ The posts of the door moved at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts.’… Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me.’ He said, “Go, and tell this people: “Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn and be healed.”’” Isaiah 6:1-5, 8-10

And yet according to the inspired NT writings, God has never been seen at any time apart from the revelation of the Son. I.e., a person cannot see God and know him as he truly is apart from and unless the Son makes God known to an individual:

“No one has seen God AT ANY TIME. The only Son (ho monogenes hyios), who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” John 1:18

Note the various renderings of this text:

No one has EVER seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God (monogenes theos) and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” New International Version (NIV)

“No one has EVER seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” English Standard Version (ESV)

The following verses make the same point:

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.” John 6:44-46

“All things are delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son, except the Father. And no one knows the Father, except the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.” Matthew 11:27 – Cf. Luke 10:22

Therefore, since no one can see God apart from the Son making him known this means that when Abraham and Isaiah saw Jehovah God, they were actually seeing the Lord Jesus Christ in his prehuman existence.(1)

In fact, this is precisely what John’s Gospel states!

For instance, Christ told the Jews that they were not truly the children of Abraham because they sought to kill him, something that the patriarch did not try to do:

“‘I know that you are Abraham’s seed. But you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I am telling what I have seen with My Father, and you are doing what you have seen with your father.’ They answered Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You are doing the works of your father.’ Then they said to Him, ‘We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father: God.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and proceeded into the world. I did not come of My own authority, but He sent Me.’” John 8:37-42

The implication of our Lord’s words is that he and Abraham saw one another and that the latter’s reaction upon seeing the Lord wasn’t one of hatred or hostility, unlike the Jews with whom Jesus was addressing. Christ is obviously speaking of his prehuman existence, to the time before he became a man, a point brought out from his claiming to have come forth from God to enter into the world in order to reveal the things he had seen and heard from the Father.

That Jesus is claiming to have actually met Abraham is made explicitly clear by what he goes on to say to these same Jews:

“‘Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps My word, he shall never see death.’ Then the Jews said to Him, ‘Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham and the prophets died, and You say, “If a man keeps My word, he shall never taste death.” Are You greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets are dead! Who do You make Yourself out to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say that He is your God. Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. If I say, “I do not know Him,” I shall be a liar like you. But I know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day. He saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old. Have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.’ Then they took up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. Going through their midst, He passed by.” John 8:51-59

Unlike the Jews who wanted to kill him, Abraham rejoiced when he saw Christ. The Lord then goes on to explain how he could have possibly seen Abraham in light of the fact that the latter had been dead for virtually two thousand years and Jesus didn’t even look like he was even fifty years old.

Christ’s answer is, unlike Abraham who came into being, he simply is, meaning eternal and timeless, and therefore has always existed, a point made explicit by the following translations:

Jesus replied, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, before Abraham was born, [a]I Am.”(A)

Footnotes:

a John 8:58 I.e. I Am the One who is—the Lord, Heb Yahweh.

Cross references:

A John 8:58 : Ex 3:14 Amplified Bible (AMP)

“Jesus answered, ‘I tell you for certain that even before Abraham was, I was, and I am.’” Contemporary English Version (CEV)

“Jesus said to them, ‘For sure, I tell you, before Abraham was born, I was and am and always will be!’” New Life Version (NLV)

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am![a]

Footnotes:

a 8:58 Or before Abraham was even born, I have always been alive; Greek reads before Abraham was, I am. See Exod 3:14. New Living Translation (NLV)

“Jesus answered, `I tell you the truth. I already was before Abraham was born.’” Worldwide English New Testament (WE)

This simply confirms that the God whom Abraham saw, the God who spoke with him, was none other than the Lord Jesus in his prehuman existence.

Abraham wasn’t the only OT saint to have seen the prehuman Christ:

“Though HE had done so many signs before them, yet they did not believe in HIM. This fulfilled the word spoken by Isaiah the prophet: ‘Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?’ Therefore they could not believe. For Isaiah said again: ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes and perceive with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ Isaiah said this when he saw HIS glory and spoke of Him.” John 12:37-41

John quotes Isaiah 6:10 to show that this was the time when Isaiah beheld the glory of Christ when the prophet saw Jehovah seated on a throne, a point made emphatically clear by the following translations and versions:

“Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he made this prediction, for he had seen a vision of the Messiah’s glory.” Living Bible (TLB)

“Isaiah said these things because he saw Christ’s glory and spoke of him.”  MOUNCE

“Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.” NIV

“Isaiah said this because he had seen Yeshua’s glory and had spoken about him.” Names of God Bible (NOG)

“This is what Isaiah said when he saw the shining-greatness of Jesus and spoke of Him.” New Life Version (NLV)

“Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory.” New Living Translation (NLT)

g. Isaiah’s vision in the Temple, Is. 6:4, interpreted as a prophetic vision of Christ’s glory. The Jerusalem Bible (JB, p. 139 http://mullumbimbycatholic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Jerusalem_Bible_Readers_Edition.pdf)

tn Grk “his”; the referent (Christ) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The referent supplied here is “Christ” rather than “Jesus” because it involves what Isaiah saw. It is clear that the author presents Isaiah AS HAVING SEEN THE PREINCARNATE GLORY OF CHRIST, which was the very revelation of the Father (see John 1:18; John 14:9).

sn Because he saw Christ’s glory. The glory which Isaiah saw in Isa 6:3 was the glory of Yahweh (typically rendered as “Lord” in the OT). Here John speaks of the prophet seeing the glory of Christ since in the next clause and spoke about him, “him” can hardly refer to Yahweh, but must refer to Christ. On the basis of statements like 1:14 in the prologue, the author probably put no great distinction between the two. Since the author presents Jesus as fully God (cf. John 1:1), it presents no problem to him to take words originally spoken by Isaiah of Yahweh himself and apply them to Jesus. New English Translation (NET https://netbible.org/bible/John+12; capital and underline emphasis mine)

Ver. 41. “This did Isaiah say, when he saw his glory and spoke of him.” John justifies in this verse the application which he has just made to Jesus Christ of the vision of Is. vi. The Adonai whom Isaiah beheld at that moment was the divine being who is incarnated in Jesus. Herein also John and Paul meet together; comp. 1 Cor. x. 4, where Paul calls the one who guided Israel from the midst of the cloud Christ.  Some interpreters have tried to refer the pronoun autou, of him, not to Christ, but to God. But the last words: and spoke of him, would be useless in this sense and this remark would be aimless in the context. The Alexandrian reading, “because he saw,” instead of “when he saw him,” is adopted by Tischendorf, Weiss, Keil, etc. But it does not appear to me acceptable. Its only reasonable sense would be: “because he really saw his glory and spoke of Him so long beforehand (a thing which seems impossible).” But this reflection would be very coldly apologetic and quite useless for readers who were accustomed to hear the prophecies quoted. It is much more easy to understand how the conjunction hote, which is quite rarely used, may have been replaced by hoti, which appears in every line, than how the reverse could have taken place. The ancient Latin and Syriac versions are agreed in supporting the received text. The sense of the latter is simple and perfectly suitable. “It was of Christ, who manifested Himself to him as Adonai, that Isaiah spoke when he uttered such words.” John proves that he has the right to apply this passage here. (Frederic Louis Godet, Commentary on the Gospel of John with an Historical and Critical Introduction, translated from the third French edition with a preface introductory suggestions, and additional notes by Timothy Dwight President of Yale [Funk and Wagnals Publishers, New York 1886], Volume 2, pp. 235-236: http://books.google.com/books?id=zx8WAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false; bold emphasis mine)

Now pay attention to the English rendering of the Greek version of Isaiah, commonly referred to as the Septuagint (LXX):

“And it came to pass in the year in which king Ozias died, [that] I saw the Lord (eidon ton Kyrion) sitting on a high and exalted throne, and the house was full of his glory (tes doxes autou)… And one cried to the other, and they said, Holy, holy, holy [is the] Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory (tes doxes autou)… And I said, Woe is me, for I am pricked to the heart; for being a man, and having unclean lips, I dwell in the midst of a people having unclean lips; and I have seen with mine eyes the King, the Lord of hosts (kai ton Basilea Kyrion sabaoth eidon tois ophthalmois mou).” Isaiah 6:1, 3, 5

Compare this with the Greek of John 12:41:

“Isaiah said this when he saw His glory (eiden ten doxan autou) and spoke of Him.”

The Greek of both is virtually identical. In fact, there is no other place in Isaiah which refers to the prophet seeing glory and speaking of it apart from Isaiah’s vision of Jehovah. This simply reinforces the fact that according to John, the glory of Jehovah which Isaiah beheld was that of the Lord Jesus Christ in his prehuman existence.   

And It isn’t simply the Greek that shows that John is identifying Jesus as the Jehovah that Isaiah saw. The Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Targumim, does so as well:

In the year in which King Uzziah was smitten with the leprosy the prophet said, I saw THE GLORY of the Lord sitting upon His throne, high, and lifted up unto the highest heavens, and the temple was filled with the brightness of His glory… And one cried unto another and they were saying, Holy in the highest and exalted heavens is the house of His Shekinah, holy upon the earth is the work of His might, holy for ever, world without end, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of the brightness of His glory… Then said I, Woe is me, for I have sinned, for I am a guilty man to reprove, and I dwell in the midst of a people polluted with sin: for mine eyes have seen THE GLORY of the Shekinah of the King of the worlds, the Lord of hosts… And I heard the voice OF THE WORD of the Lord, which said, Whom shall I send to prophesy? and who will go to teach? Then said I, Here am I, send me. (The Chaldee Paraphrase on the Prophet Isaiah by Jonathan b. Uzziel, translated by Rev. C. W. H. Pauli [London Society House, 1871], pp. 20-21 https://books.google.com/books?id=_boCAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false; capital and underline emphasis mine)

Astonishingly, not only does the Targum confirm that the prophet saw the very glory of Jehovah but it also connects Isaiah’s commissioning with the Word of the Lord. I.e., it is the Word of the Lord who personally appointed Isaiah to speak on behalf of the Godhead.

In another place, the Targum interprets Isaiah 6:1 in reference to the prophet actually seeing the Word of the Lord seated on God’s heavenly throne!

“But the custom of (other) nations is to carry their gods upon their shoulders, that they may seem to be nigh them; but they cannot hear with their ears, (be they nigh or) be they afar off; but the Word of the Lord sitteth upon His throne high and lifted up, and HEARETH our prayer what time we pray BEFORE HIM and make our petitions.” (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, Deuteronomy 4:7 http://targum.info/pj/pjdt3-7.htm; capital and underline emphasis mine)

And the following Targum on the Psalms basically states the same thing:

But as for the word of the Lord, HIS seat is in the highest heaven forever; he has established his throne for judgment. Psalm 9:8 (The Psalms Targum: An English Translation, Edward M. Cook 2001 http://targum.info/pss/ps1.htm; capital and underline emphasis mine)

And who was this Word whose glory Isaiah beheld and who sits enthroned alongside of Jehovah?

The inspired Apostle tells us:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-5, 9-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

It was none other than the Lord Jesus, the eternal Word of the Father who became a flesh and blood human being in order to reveal God to mankind and save the world from its sins!

Unless noted otherwise, biblical citations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV).

Further Reading

Who Did Abraham See? (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/07/who-did-abraham-see/)

Jesus Christ: The God Whose Glory Isaiah Beheld (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/28/jesus-christ-the-god-whose-glory-isaiah-beheld/)

Endnotes

(1) The Hebrew Bible testifies that Jehovah appeared visibly more than once:

“Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel, and under His feet there was something like a paved work of sapphire stone as clear as the sky itself. He did not lay His hand upon the nobles of the children of Israel. Also they saw God, and they ate and they drank.” Exodus 24:9-11

“And he said, ‘Hear, therefore, the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside Him on His right hand and on His left. The LORD said, “Who will persuade Ahab so that he will go up and die at Ramoth Gilead?” And one said this, and another said that. Then a spirit came forth and stood before the LORD and said, “I will persuade him.” The LORD said to him, “How?” And he said, “I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” And He said, “You will be successful and persuade him. Go forth, and do so.” Now therefore, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all your prophets here, and He has spoken evil concerning you!’” 1 Kings 22:19-23

“Above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone. And on the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man on it high up. Then I saw as glowing metal, as the appearance of fire all around within it, from the appearance of His loins and upward; and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was a brightness around Him. As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud on a day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice of one speaking. Then He said to me: Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you! When He spoke to me, the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet. Then I heard Him speaking to me. And He said to me: Son of man, I send you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me. They and their fathers have transgressed against Me even to this very day. And as for the impudent and obstinate children, I am sending you to them. And you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ As for them, whether they listen or not (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.” Ezekiel 1:26-28, 2:1-5

I saw the Lord standing upon the altar, and He said: Strike the capitals so that the thresholds shake; break them off onto the heads of all of them. Those who remain I will slay with the sword. Not one of them will get away; not one fugitive will survive.” Amos 9:1

In light of John’s inspired statement, this means that on all of these occasions it was the Lord Jesus who appeared to the OT saints as Jehovah God since no one can see or comprehend God the Father apart from the Son’s revelation of him.

Further Reading 

Jesus Christ: The Living Bread From Heaven (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/19/jesus-christ-the-living-bread-from-heaven/)

 

 

Muhammad the Sinful Transgressor Revisited

It is no secret that the Quran labels Muhammad a sinner whose deity needed to forgive him:

Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of Allah is true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin (lithanbika), and hymn the praise of thy Lord at fall of night and in the early hours. S. 40:55 Pickthall

So know (O Muhammad) that there is no God save Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy sin (lithanbika) and for believing men and believing women. Allah knoweth (both) your place of turmoil and your place of rest. S. 47:19 Pickthall

Lo! We have given thee (O Muhammad) a signal victory, That Allah may forgive thee of thy sin (min thanbika) that which is past and that which is to come, and may perfect His favour unto thee, and may guide thee on a right path, S. 48:1-2 Pickthall

Embarrassed by this fact, certain Muhammadans claim that Muhammad was asked to seek forgiveness for some minor mistakes he had made, not for any major heinous sins.

The problem with this assertion is that the word used here to describe Muhammad’s sins, thanb, is used elsewhere in the context of transgressions that are expressly said to be evil, so much so that Allah ended up destroying folks for committing them:

See they not how many a generation We destroyed before them, whom We had established in the earth more firmly than We have established you, and We shed on them abundant showers from the sky, and made the rivers flow beneath them. Yet we destroyed them for their sins (bithunoobihim), and created after them another generation. S. 6:6 Pickthall

And so judge (you O Muhammad) between them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you (O Muhammad) far away from some of that which Allah has sent down to you. And if they turn away, then know that Allah’s Will is to punish them for some sins (thunoobihim) of theirs. And truly, most of men are Fasiqun (rebellious and disobedient to Allah). S. 5:49 Hilali-Khan

And (there are) others who have acknowledged their sins (bithunoobihim), they have mixed a deed that was righteous with another that was evil. Perhaps Allah will turn unto them in forgiveness. Surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. S. 9:102 Pickthall

Have they not travelled in the land to see the nature of the consequence for those who disbelieved before them? They were mightier than these in power and (in the) traces (which they left behind them) in the earth. Yet Allah seized them for their sins (bithunoobihim), and they had no protector from Allah. S. 40:21 Pickthall

For those who reject their Lord (and Cherisher) is the Penalty of Hell: and evil is (such), Destination. When they are cast therein, they will hear the (terrible) drawing in of its breath even as it blazes forth, Almost bursting with fury: Every time a Group is cast therein, its Keepers will ask, “Did no Warner come to you?” They will say: “Yes indeed; a Warner did come to us, but we rejected him and said, ‘God never sent down any (Message): ye are nothing but an egregious delusion!’” They will further say: “Had we but listened or used our intelligence, we should not (now) be among the Companions of the Blazing Fire!” They will then confess their sins (bithanbihim): but far will be (Forgiveness) from the Companions of the Blazing Fire! S. 67:6-11 Yusuf Ali

In fact, this is the term that the Quran employs in reference to the sins of Pharaoh and his people, which resulted in Allah drowning them:   

Like Pharaoh’s folk and those who were before them, they disbelieved Our revelations and so Allah seized them for their sins (bithunoobihim). And Allah is severe in punishment. S. 3:11 Pickthall

(Their way is) as the way of Pharaoh’s folk and those before them; they disbelieved the revelations of Allah, and Allah took them in their sins (bithunoobihim). Lo! Allah is Strong, severe in punishment… (Their way is) as the way of Pharaoh’s folk and those before them; they denied the revelations of their Lord, so We destroyed them in their sins (bithunoobihim). And We drowned the folk of Pharaoh. All were evil-doers. S. 8:52, 54 Pickthall

It is even used in relation to the sexual advances of al-Aziz’s wife who tempted Joseph to commit adultery with her,

And he of Egypt who purchased him said unto his wife: Receive him honourably. Perchance he may prove useful to us or we may adopt him as a son. Thus we established Joseph in the land that We might teach him the interpretation of events. And Allah was predominant in His career, but most of mankind know not. And when he reached his prime We gave him wisdom and knowledge. Thus We reward the good. And she, in whose house he was, asked of him an evil act. She bolted the doors and said: Come! He said: I seek refuge in Allah! Lo! he is my lord, who hath treated me honourably. Lo! wrong-doers never prosper. She verily desired him, and he would have desired her if it had not been that he saw the argument of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might ward off from him evil and lewdness. Lo! he was of Our chosen slaves. And they raced with one another to the door, and she tore his shirt from behind, and they met her lord and master at the door. She said: What shall be his reward, who wisheth evil to thy folk, save prison or a painful doom? (Joseph) said: She it was who asked of me an evil act. And a witness of her own folk testified: If his shirt is torn from before, then she speaketh truth and he is of the liars. And if his shirt is torn from behind, then she hath lied and he is of the truthful. So when he saw his shirt torn from behind, he said: Lo! this is of the guile of you women. Lo! the guile of you is very great. O Joseph! Turn away from this, and thou, (O woman), ask forgiveness for thy sin (lithanbiki). Lo! thou art of the faulty. S. 12:21-29 Pickthall

As well for the crime committed by the disbelievers who killed Allah’s she-camel:

And the messenger of Allah said: It is the she-camel of Allah, so let her drink! But they denied him, and they hamstrung her, so Allah doomed them for their sin (bithanbihim) and rased (their dwellings). S. 91:13-14 Pickthall

Another way in which Muhammadans try to get around the plain statements of their respective scripture to their prophet’s sinfulness is to argue that the word normally translated as “forgive” (ghafir), can also be rendered as guard or protect so that the Quran is actually stating that Muhammad sought to be protected or guarded against sins!

This explanation is easily refuted by the following passage:

Those who sustain the Throne (of God) and those around it Sing Glory and Praise to their Lord; believe in Him; and implore Forgiveness for those who believe: “Our Lord! Thy Reach is over all things, in Mercy and Knowledge. Forgive (faighfir), then, those who turn in Repentance, and follow Thy Path; and preserve them (waqihim) from the Penalty of the Blazing Fire! S. 40:7 Yusuf Ali

Here we have two words used in the same context that mean forgive and preserve or guard respectively. If the Quran really meant that Muhammad was to seek protection from his sins then it could have employed the word waqa, which is the very one used in the above text which Ali translated as “preserve them.”

The fact is that Muhammad was a wicked, immoral sinner whose transgressions included prostituting women under the guise of temporary marriage.

According to the Muslim expositors, the following passage:

O you who believe! Make not unlawful the Taiyibat (all that is good as regards foods, things, deeds, beliefs, persons, etc.) which Allah has made lawful to you, and transgress not. Verily, Allah does not like the transgressors. S. 5:87 Hilali-Khan

Was “revealed” to condone the practice of marrying women for a short period of time:

Narrated Abdullah:
We used to participate in the holy wars carried on by the Prophet and we had no women (wives) with us. So we said (to the Prophet). “Shall we castrate ourselves?” But the Prophet forbade us to do that and thenceforth he allowed us to marry a woman (temporarily) by giving her even a garment, and then he recited: “O you who believe! Do not make unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 139)

Narrated Abdullah:
We used to participate in the holy battles led by Allah’s Apostle and we had nothing (no wives) with us. So we said, “Shall we get ourselves castrated?” He forbade us that and then allowed us to marry women with a temporary contract and recited to us: — ‘O you who believe! Make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, but commit no transgression.’ (5.87) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 13o)

Pay attention to the fact that, instead of teaching his men abstinence and self-control, Muhammad actually goes ahead and encourages his band of murdering thugs to find women to have sex with!

Sadly, there were instances in which women actually got pregnant through such unions:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab from Urwa ibn az-Zubayr that Khawla ibn Hakim came to Umar ibn al-Khattab and said, “Rabia ibn Umayya made a temporary marriage with a woman and she is pregnant by him.” Umar ibn al-Khattab went out in dismay dragging his cloak, saying, “This temporary marriage, had I come across it, I would have ordered stoning and done away with it!” (Malik’s Muwatta, Book 28, Number 28.18.42)

Certain traditions claim that Muhammad abrogated this form of prostitution:

Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah and Salama bin Al-Akwa’: While we were in an army, Allah’s Apostle came to us and said, “You have been allowed to do the Mut’a (marriage), so do it.” Salama bin Al-Akwa’ said: Allah’s Apostle’s said, “If a man and a woman agree (to marry temporarily), their marriage should last for three nights, and if they like to continue, they can do so; and if they want to separate, they can do so.” I do not know whether that was only for us or for all the people in general. Abu Abdullah (Al-Bukhari) said: ‘Ali made it clear that the Prophet said, “The Mut’a marriage has been cancelled (made unlawful).” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 52)

However, there are other narrations which claim that Muslims continued to observe temporary marriages until the caliphate of Umar b. al-Khattab:

Ibn Uraij reported: ‘Ati’ reported that Jabir b. Abdullah came to perform ‘Umra, and we came to his abode, and the people asked him about different things, and then they made a mention of temporary marriage, whereupon he said: Yes, we had been benefiting ourselves by this temporary marriage during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet and during the time of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3248)

Even sadder, and more shamefully, is the fact that the Shiite sect of Islam continues to observe this practice till this day. They even attempt to use the Sunni sources themselves to establish that this morally repugnant form of prostitution is still permissible since Muhammad and his followers never abrogated it! For the details and arguments, we recommend the following online booklet.

Suffice it to say, such a practice is nothing more than prostitution and it is an outright insult to even label this filth as marriage.

Muhammad was also guilty of taking women captive whom he and his followers raped, even women who were married and whose husbands had also been taken captive! 

For instance, the following verse permits Muslim men (which includes Muhammad himself) to sleep with married women whom they have taken captive:

Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath God ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property, – desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and God is All-knowing, All-wise. S. 4:24 Y. Ali

Tragically, this did not remain a mere abstraction but was readily put into practice by Muhammad’s sexually craved jihadists:

Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa’id al Khadri: O Abu Sa’id, did you hear Allah’s Messenger mentioning al-‘azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah’s Messenger on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for themSo we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing ‘azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger, and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3371)

And:

Abu Said al-Khudri said: The apostle of Allah sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Quranic verse, ‘And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess’. That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period.

Grade: Sahih (Al-Albani) (Sunan Abu Dawud, Volume 2, Number 2150 https://sunnah.com/abudawud/12/110)

Hence, Muhammad and his deity condoned and encouraged men to practically rape their female captives whether they were married or not.

This proves that Muhammad was an adulterer, murderer, rapist, and a whoremonger, sins that are by no means minor mistakes!

Contrast this with the Lord Jesus, whom both the Quran and God’s Word, the Holy Bible, describes as being absolutely holy and sinless:

He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. S. 19:19 Pickthall

“His grave was assigned with the wicked, yet with the rich in his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth… He shall see of the anguish of his soul and be satisfied. By his knowledge My righteous servant shall justify the many, for he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:9, 11

“And he cried out, ‘Leave us alone! What do You have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.’” Mark 1:24

“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ The angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called the Son of God.’” Luke 1:34-35

“When the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God and said, ‘Certainly, this was a righteous Man.’” Luke 23:47

“He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory. But He who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:18

“He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him… Which of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe Me?” John 8:29, 46

“The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Creator of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:13-15

“Which of the prophets have your fathers not persecuted? They have even killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you have now become the betrayers and murderers,” Acts 7:52

“Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Just One and to hear His voice,’” Acts 22:14

“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was in every sense tempted like we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15

“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, for He is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and is higher than the heavens.” Hebrews 7:26

“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14

“For you know that you were not redeemed from your vain way of life inherited from your fathers with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19

“For to this you were called, because Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.’ When He was reviled, He did not revile back; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but He entrusted Himself to Him who judges righteously. He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. ‘By His wounds you were healed.’ For you were as sheep going astray, but now have been returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21-25

“For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18 in all

“My little children, I am writing these things to you, so that you do not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One.” 1 John 2:1

“Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure… You know that He was revealed to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin… Little children, let no one deceive you. The one who does righteousness is righteous, just as Christ is righteousWhoever practices sin is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was revealed, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:3, 5, 7-8

All scriptural quotations taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.

Further Reading

Evidence that Muhammad was a Sinful Transgressor (https://answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/mhd_transgressor.html)

 

Aramaic Paraphrase of Isaiah 52:13-53:12

In this post, I will be citing the English translation of the Aramaic paraphrase of the Hebrew Bible known as the Targumim, particularly the Aramaic version of Isaiah 52:13-53:12. I do this for the express purpose of showing that even this Jewish paraphrase attributes this prophecy to the Messiah.

The following is taken from The Chaldee Paraphrase on the Prophet Isaiah by Jonathan b. Uzziel, translated by Rev. C. W. H. Pauli, published by London Society House, 1871, pp. 181-185 (https://books.google.com/books?id=_boCAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false). All capital emphasis mine:

13 Behold, my servant THE MESSIAH shall prosper, He shall be exalted and extolled, and He shall be very strong.

14 As the house of Israel anxiously hoped5 for Him many days, (which was poor6 among the nations ; their appearance and their brightness being worse than that of the sons of men:)

15 Thus shall He scatter7 many nations ; before Him kings shall keep silence : they shall put their hands upon their mouths, for that which had not been told them shall they see : and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Chapter LIII.

1 Who hath believed this our report? and to whom is now1 the power of the arm of the Lord revealed?

2 The righteous shall be great before Him, behold, like branches that bud; and like a tree which sends forth its roots by the streams of water, thus shall the generation of the just multiply in the land, which hath need of Him.2

3 His visage shall not be the visage of a common person, neither His fear the fear of a plebeian;3but a holy brightness shall be His brightness, that every one who seeth Him shall contemplate Him.4

4 Although He shall be in contempt; yet He shall cut off the glory of all the wicked,5 they shall be weak and wretched. Lo, we are in contempt and not esteemed, as a man of pain and appointed to sickness, and as if He had removed the face of His Shekinah from us.

5 Therefore He shall pray for our sins, and our iniquities FOR HIS SAKE shall be forgiven us; for we are considered crushed, smitten of the Lord, and afflicted.

6 He shall build the house of the sanctuary,6 which has been profaned on account of our sins ; He was delivered over on account of our iniquities, and through His doctrine peace shall be multiplied upon us, and through the teaching of His words our sins shall be forgiven us.7

7 All we like sheep have been scattered, every one of us has turned to his own way; it pleased the Lord8 to forgive the sins of all of us FOR HIS SAKE.

8 He shall pray and He shall be answered, yea, before He shall open His mouth, He shall be heard; He shall deliver over the mighty of the nations as a lamb to the slaughter, and like a sheep before her shearers is dumb, none shall in His presence open his mouth, or speak a word.

9 He shall gather our captives9 from affliction and pain, and who shall be able to narrate the wonderful works which shall be done for us in His days ? He shall remove the rule of the nations from the land of Israel, the sins which my people have committed 10 have come upon them.

10 And He shall deliver the wicked into hell, and the riches of treasures which they got by violence unto the death of Abaddon,11 that they who commit sin shall not remain, and that they should not speak folly12 with their mouth.

11 And it was the pleasure of the Lord to refine and to purify the remnant of His people, in order to cleanse their souls from sin, that they might see THE KINGDOM OF THEIR MESSIAH, that their sons and daughters might multiply, and prolong their days, and those that keep13 the law of the Lord shall prosper through His pleasure.

12 He shall deliver their souls from the servitude of the nations, they shall see the vengeance upon their enemies; they shall be satisfied with the spoil of their kings. By His wisdom He shall justify the righteous, in order to make many to keep u the law, and He shall pray for their sins.

13 Therefore I will divide to Him the spoil of many people, and the treasures of strong fortifications; He shall divide the spoil; BECAUSE HE HAS DELIVERED HIS LIFE UNTO DEATH, and He shall make the rebellious to keep15 the law; He shall pray for the sins of many, and as for the transgressors, each shall be pardoned FOR HIS SAKE.

Here’s another English rendering of the Targum:

52:13 Behold, My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high.

52:13. Behold my servant MESSIAH shall prosper; he shall be high, and increase, and be exceeding strong:  

 

52:14 According as many were appalled at thee—so marred was his visage unlike that of a man, and his form unlike that of the sons of men—

52:14. as the house of Israel looked to him during many days, because their countenance was darkened among the peoples, and their complexion beyond the sons of men,  

 

52:15 So shall he startle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they perceive.

52:15. so will he scatter many peoples; at him kings shall be silent, and put their hands upon their mouth, because that which was not told them have they seen, and that which they had not heard they have observed.  

 

53:1 ‘Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the LORD been revealed?

53:1. Who hath believed this our glad tidings? and the strength of the mighty arm of the Lord, upon whom as thus hath it been revealed?

 

53:2 For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him.

53:2. The righteous will grow up before him, yeah, like blooming shoots, and like a tree which sends forth its roots to streams of water will they increase – a holy generation in the land that was in need of him; his countenance no profane countenance, and the terror at him not the terror at an ordinary man; his complexion shall be a holy complexion, and all who see him will look wistfully upon him.  

 

53:3 He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

53:3. Then he will become despised, and will cut off the glory of all the kingdoms; they will be prostrate and mourning, like a man of pains and like one destined for sicknesses; and as though the presence of the Shekhinah had been withdrawn from us, they will be despised, and esteemed not.  

 

53:4 Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

53:4. Then for our sins he will pray, and our iniquities will FOR HIS SAKE be forgiven, although we were accounted stricken, smitten from before the Lord, and afflicted.  

 

53:5 But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed.

53:5. But he will build up the Holy Place, which has been polluted for our sins, and delivered to the enemy for our iniquities; and by his instruction peace shall be increased upon us, and by devotion to his words, our sins will be forgiven us.  

 

53:6 All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all.

53:6. All we like sheep had been scattered, we had each wandered off on his own way; but it was the Lord’s good pleasure to forgive the sins of all of us FOR HIS SAKE.  

 

53:7 He was oppressed, though he humbled himself and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth.

53:7. He prayed, and he was answered, and ere even he had opened his mouth he was accepted; the mighty of the peoples he will deliver up like a sheep to the slaughter and like a lamb dumb before her shearers; there shall be none before him opening his mouth or saying a word.

 

53:8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and with his generation who did reason? for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due.

53:8. Out of chastisements and punishment he will bring our captives near; the wondrous things done to us in his days who shall be able to tell? For he will cause the dominion of the Gentiles to pass away from the land of Israel and transfer to them the sins which my people have committed.  

 

53:9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.’

53:9. He will deliver the wicked into Gehinnom, and those that are rich in possessions into the death of utter destruction, in order that those who commit sin may not be established, nor speak deceits with their mouth.  

 

53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of the LORD might prosper by his hand:

53:10. But it is the Lord’s good pleasure to try and to purify the remnant of his people, so as to cleanse their souls from sin; these shall look on THE KINGDOM OF THEIR MESSIAH, their sons and their daughters shall be multiplied, they shall prolong their days, and those who perform the Law of the Lord shall prosper in his good pleasure.  

 

53:11 Of the travail of his soul he shall see to the full, even My servant, who by his knowledge did justify the Righteous One to the many, and their iniquities he did bear.

53:11. From the subjection of the nations he will deliver their souls, they shall look upon the punishment of those that hate them, and be satisfied with the spoil of their kings; by his wisdom he will hold the guiltless free from guilt, in order to bring many into subjection to the law; AND FOR THEIR SINS HE WILL INTERCEDE.  

 

53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty; because he bared his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

53:12. Then will I divide for him the spoil of many peoples, and the possessions of strong cities shall he divide as prey, BECAUSE HE DELIVERED UP HIS SOUL TO DEATH, and made the rebellious subject to the Law: HE SHALL INTERCEDE FOR MANY SINS, and the rebellious FOR HIS SAKE shall be forgiven. (Nakdimon, Targum Jonathan on Isaiah 53 https://sites.google.com/site/nakdimonspage/targum-jonathan-on-isaiah-53; capital emphasis mine)

 

More of the Incomplete Quran Exposed: Who or What Is Ahmad?

This is a continuation of my series documenting that the Quran is an incoherent, unintelligible, jumbled piece of literature:

The Incompleteness and Incoherence of the Quran (https://answeringislam.net/Quran/Incoherence/index.html).

The Incomplete Quran Revisited: The Story of Ishmael (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/11/the-incomplete-quran-revisited-the-story-of-ishmael/).

As I have shown in the previous segments, the Quran repeatedly styles itself a clear book that provides a full exposition of everything:

It is He Who has set the stars for you, so that you may guide your course with their help through the darkness of the land and the sea. We have (indeed) explained IN DETAIL Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, Revelations, etc.) for people who know. It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and has given you a place of residing (on the earth or in your mother’s wombs) and a place of storage [in the earth (in your graves) or in your father’s loins]. Indeed, We have EXPLAINED IN DETAIL Our revelations (this Qur’an) for people who understand. S. 6:97-98 Hilali-Khan

Say (O Muhammad): “Who has forbidden the adoration with clothes given by Allah, which He has produced for his slaves, and At-Taiyibat [all kinds of Halal (lawful) things] of food?” Say: “They are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) exclusively for them (believers) on the Day of Resurrection (the disbelievers will not share them).” Thus We explain the Ayat (Islamic laws) IN DETAIL for people who have knowledge. S. 7:32 Hilali-Khan

Certainly, We have brought to them a Book (the Qur’an) which We have explained IN DETAIL WITH KNOWLEDGE, – a guidance and a mercy to a people who believe. S. 7:52 Hilali-Khan

One day We shall raise from all Peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book EXPLAINING ALL THINGS, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims. S. 16:89 Y. Ali

With the foregoing in perspective, I have a few challenges concerning the following text:

And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of God (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of an Apostle to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad (ahmadu).” But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, “this is evident sorcery!” S. 61:6 Y. Ali

  • Prove from the Quran alone that Ahmad is the same person as Muhammad.

The name Muhammad appears only four times in the Quran:

Muhammad (muhammadun) is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dieth or is slain, ye will turn back on your heels? He who turneth back on his heels doth no hurt to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful. S. 3:144 Pickthall

Muhammad (muhammadun) is not the father of any man among you, but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets; and Allah is ever Aware of all things. S. 33:40 Pickthall

And those who believe and do good works and believe in that which is revealed unto Muhammad (muhammadin) – and it is the truth from their Lord – He riddeth them of their ill-deeds and improveth their state. S. 47:2 Pickthall

Muhammad (muhammadun) is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. Thou (O Muhammad) seest them bowing and falling prostrate (in worship), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) acceptance. The mark of them is on their foreheads from the traces of prostration. Such is their likeness in the Torah and their likeness in the Gospel – like as sown corn that sendeth forth its shoot and strengtheneth it and riseth firm upon its stalk, delighting the sowers – that He may enrage the disbelievers with (the sight of) them. Allah hath promised, unto such of them as believe and do good works, forgiveness and immense reward. S. 48:29 Pickthall

There is nothing within the Islamic scripture that explicitly connects Muhammad with Ahmad, showing that they are one and the same individual.

  • Prove that Ahmad is a proper name as opposed to being a descriptive noun or adjective.

Not all Muslim translations take Ahmad to be a proper name since they view it as an adjective which singles out a specific quality or aspect of the individual in question:

And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming that which was (revealed) before me in the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, whose name is the Praised One. Yet when he hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic. Pickthall

“… whose name will be even more praised (Ahmad)…” Rashad Khalifa

“… whose name will be ‘most acclaimed.’…” (The Monotheist Group, 2013 Edition https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/61/st58.htm)

“… whose name will be ‘most acclaimed.’…” Quran: Reformist Translation (QRT http://www.studyquran.org/resources/Quran_Reformist_Translation.pdf)

Note carefully what the translations of the QRT state:

061:006 The word ahmad is an adjective meaning “most acclaimed” or “most celebrated.” Traditional sources consider it a proper name for Muhammad. THIS CONTRADICTS HISTORICAL FACTS. The name of the prophet that came after Jesus was Muhammad, which is used in the Quran four times. Centuries after the departure of Muhammad, Muhammad-worshipers fabricated 99 names, including Ahmad, for Muhammad, in order to compete with the attributes of God. They could not accept one God having so many beautiful attributes, with their second god having only one attribute, Muhammad. They included many divine attributes, such as, “The First, The Last, The Judge..” in their list for Muhammad. Furthermore, we do not find the word Ahmad in the Bible… Furthermore, we would see many people among his supporters and later Christians giving the name Ahmad to their sons, hoping that their sons would fulfill the prophecy. But, we do not even see a single Christian named Ahmad. Therefore, the Aramaic or Hebrew equivalent of this word did not become a name. However, the name Muhammad sharing the same root and similar meaning with the word ahmad is instructive. (Ibid., p. 354; capital and underline emphasis mine) 

  • Prove that the original Quran, the one first written down and recited by Muhammad even contained the name Ahmad.

The ahadith claim that Ubayy Ibn Kab was one of the four men that Muhammad personally singled out to teach the Quran:

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:

Allah’s Apostle neither talked in an insulting manner nor did he ever speak evil intentionally. He used to say, “The most beloved to me amongst you is the one who has the best character and manners.” He added, “Learn the Qur’an from (any of these) four persons: ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud, Salim the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa, Ubai bin Ka’b, and Mu’adh bin Jabal.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 104 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=57&translator=1&start=0&number=104)

Ubayy was even said to have been the best reciter of the Quran:

4719. It is related from Ibn ‘Abbas that ‘Umar said, “Ubayy was the one of us WITH THE BEST RECITATION, yet we leave some of the words of Ubayy. Ubayy said, ‘I took it from the mouth of the Messenger of Allah and will not leave it for anything.’ Allah Almighty says, ‘Whenever We abrogate an ayat or cause it to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or equal to it.’ (2:106)” (Aisha Bewley, Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 69. Book of the Virtues of the Qur’an, VIII: The reciters among the Companions of the Prophet*; capital and underline emphasis mine)

And yet, there are sources which confirm that Ubayy’s reading of  Q. 61:6 did not contain the name Ahmad:

Yet what is interesting is that Ubayy b. Kab, one of the secretaries of Muhammad and who kept a personal codex of the Qur’an, tells us that Surah 61:6 reads:

O children of Israel, I am God’s messenger to you, and I announce to you a prophet whose community will be the last community and by which God will put the seal on the prophets and messengers. (quoted by Abdul-Haqq, Sharing Your Faith With Muslims, p. 51) (Response to Misha’al Al-Kadhi: The Dead Sea Scrolls And Islam?, “Response to Chapter 7 The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Gospel of Barnabas” https://answering-islam.org/Responses/Al-Kadhi/r07.html)

In fact, no evidence exists that the name Ahmad was even in use before the year 125 AH (747 AD):

An immediate difficulty presents itself here to the Muslims. The prophet to come is named Ahmad, not Muhammad, and although the two names come from the same root letters (hmd) and therefore have the same basic meaning (“one who is praised”), they are not ultimately the same. The actual difficulty is well defined in this quote:

Whenever Allah has addressed Muhammad in the Qur’an, his proper name has always been clearly specified. He was never called by any other name. Certainly never by the name Ahmed. (Deshmukh, The Gospel and Islam, p. 217).

Another writer makes the same point, stating that Surah 61.6 appears to be a faint allusion to the promise of a Comforter in John’s Gospel:

But why does he name that Messenger to come, Ahmad? That was not Muhammad’s name. Apart from this passage there is no tradition that this was ever his name. (MacDonald, Aspects of Islam, p. 215).

Before returning to John’s Gospel let us briefly consider this issue. Muslim writers on this subject customarily gloss over the distinction (e.g. Durrani, Muhammad the Biblical Prophet, p. 39), but it has led to some analysis in Western writings. Much of this has centred on the following three traditions attributed to different Muslim sources:

Verily there was a Christian of Maris who recited the Gospel; he said that the description of the Prophet in the Gospel purported to mean that he would be in the progeny of Ismail and his name would be Ahmad . . . Aminah was commanded (by God) during her pregnancy with the Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, to give him the name Ahmad . . . The Apostle of Allah, may Allah bless him, said: I have been named Ahmad. (Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. 1, p. 113-114).

A well-known scholar suggests that the very nature of these traditions leads to the possibility that the prophecy in Surah 61.6 was not originally taken to be a direct prophecy to Muhammad by name:

The fact that Ibn Sa’d thinks it worth including three traditions to the effect that the Prophet’s name was Ahmad is an indication that this had not always been obvious; there are no similar traditions about his name being Muhammad. (Watt, “His Name is Ahmad”, The Muslim World, Vol. 43, p. 112).

It is highly questionable whether Muhammad was ever called Ahmad. The tradition that his mother was actually commanded to give him this name has a forced element about it, for traditions about annunciations of his birth and manifestations on the occasion are generally regarded as spurious and as inventions by later traditionists who sought to create a nativity narrative around Muhammad similar to those about Jesus in the New Testament. There is a very good reason to doubt whether Muhammad was ever given the name Ahmad:

As soon as one starts to inquire into the use of the name “Ahmad” in the early centuries of Islam, a striking fact emerges. Muslim children were practically never called Ahmad before about the year 125 A. H. Indeed, the point may be put even more strongly: it is impossible to prove that any Muslim child was called Ahmad after the Prophet before about the year 125. On the other hand, there are many instances prior to this date of boys called Muhammad after the Prophet; some of these had apparently received that name during the Prophet’s lifetime. … Biographical dictionaries such as the Tabaqat of Ibn Sa’d contain many Muhammads who died before 200 A. H. but hardly any Ahmads. (Watt, “His Name Shall be Ahmad”, op. cit., p. 110).

This anomaly has led some writers to suggest that the name Ahmad, or indeed the whole prophecy in Surah 61.6, is a later interpolation, though this is unlikely for the reason given in the following quotation:

On the other hand some western commentators have suggested that the words ‘whose name is Ahmad’ (ismu-hu ahmadu) were interpolated into the Qur’an to prove that Jesus prophesied the coming of Muhammad by name. But if this were so it would be difficult to understand why the name Muhammad had not been interpolated, since it was much more obvious. (Parrinder, Jesus in the Qur’an, p. 98).

Another Christian writer, however, states that there is some reason to believe it may have been an interpolation: “This appears plausible in view of Ubayy b. Kab’s different version of 61.6 and the silence of Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Hisham as to the word ‘Ahmad'” (Abdul Haqq, Sharing Your Faith with a Muslim, p. 51). Instead of a prophecy to Ahmad by name Ubayy b. Kab’s variant reading of Surah 61.6 makes Jesus announce a prophet who would be the seal from among the prophets and messengers of Allah (Jeffery, Materials for the History of the Text of the Qur’an, p. 170). It seems likely, however, that the word ahmadu in Surah 61.6 “could perhaps be secured by a simpler supposition, namely, that for the first century or so of Islam the word ahmadu was regarded not as a proper name but as a simple adjective” (Watt, “His Name Shall be Ahmad, The Muslim World, Vol. 43, p. 113). (John Gilchrist, The Christian Witness to the Muslim, 9. Miscellaneous Muslim Objections to the Gospel B. Prophecies To Muhammad In The Bible https://www.answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Vol2/9b.html#p370; bold emphasis mine)

So much for the Quran’s oft-repeated assertion that it is a clear book that provides a detailed explanation of everything.

 

Are the “Messianic Prophecies” in the Past Tense, So Not About a Future Messiah at All?

The following is taken from the Jews for Jesus website: https://jewsforjesus.org/answers/are-the-messianic-prophecies-in-the-past-tense-so-not-about-a-future-messiah-at-all/.

Hebrew Tenses

Sometimes it is claimed that the messianic prophecies cited by Christians are in the past tense. Therefore, it is said, they cannot refer to a future, coming Messiah.

This is an invalid argument. There is no such thing as “tense” in biblical Hebrew. (Modern Hebrew, on the other hand, does have tenses.) Biblical Hebrew is not a “tense” language. Modern grammarians recognize that it is an “aspectual” language. This means that the same form of a verb can be translated as either past, present, or future depending on the context and various grammatical cues. The most well known grammatical cue is the “vav-consecutive” that makes an imperfective verb to refer to the past.

Therefore it is wrong to say that Isaiah 53 or other prophecies are in the “past tense.” Biblical Hebrew has no tenses. There are many examples of what is wrongly called the “past tense” form (properly called “the perfective” or “perfect”) being used for future time.

This fact was recognized by the medieval commentators as well as by modern grammarians, as shown by the following citations.

Medieval Jewish grammarian and commentator David Kimchi on the prophets’ use of the perfect for future events:

“The matter is as clear as though it had already passed.”

David Kimchi, Sefer Mikhlol. Cited in Waltke, Bruce K. and O’Connor, Michael Patrick. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990), p. 464 n. 45. They reference Leslie McCall, The Enigma of the Hebrew Verbal System: Solutions From Ewald to the Present (Sheffield: Almond, 1982), p. 8.

Rabbi Isaac ben Yedaiah (13th century)

[The rabbis] of blessed memory followed, in these words of theirs, in the paths of the prophets who speak of something which will happen in the future in the language of the past. Since they saw in prophetic vision that which was to occur in the future, they spoke about it in the past tense and testified firmly that it had happened, to teach the certainty of his [God’s] words – may he be blessed – and his positive promise that can never change and his beneficent message that will not be altered.

Saperstein, Marc. “The Works of R. Isaac b. Yedaiah.” Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1977, pp. 481–82. Cited in Daggers of Faith by Robert Chazan, Berkeley: UC Press, 1989, p. 87.

From the standard grammar of Biblical Hebrew, Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (section 106n, pp. 312–313):

More particularly the uses of the perfect may be distinguished as follows: – …To express facts which are undoubtedly imminent, and, therefore in the imagination of the speaker, already accomplished (perfectum confidentiae), e.g., Nu. 17:27, behold, we perish ,we are undone, we are all undone. Gn. 30:13Is. 6:5 (I am undone), Pr. 4:2…. This use of the perfect occurs most frequently in prophetic language (perfectum propheticum). The prophet so transports himself in imagination into the future that he describes the future event as if it had been already seen or heard by him, e.g. Is. 5:13 therefore my people are gone into captivity; 9:1ff.,10:28,11:9…; 19:7, Jb. 5:202 Ch. 20:37. Not infrequently the imperfect interchanges with such perfects either in the parallel member or further on in the narrative.

David (“Fortress of David,” 18th-century commentary by David Altschuler) on Jeremiah 31:32:

“I will place – lit. I placed. This is the prophetic past. I will incline their hearts to keep the Torah.”

Cited in Rosenberg, A. J. Jeremiah: A New English Translation. New York: The Judaica Press, 1985, vol. 2, p. 255.

Contemporary Jewish commentator Nahum Sarna on Exodus 12:17, “for on this very day I brought your ranks out of the land of Egypt.”:

This is an example of the “prophetic perfect.” The future is described as having already occurred because God’s will inherently and ineluctably possesses the power of realization so that the time factor is inconsequential.

Exodus: The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1991), p. 59.

From the recent textbook of Biblical Hebrew, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Sec. 30.5.1.e, pp. 489–490):

Referring to absolute future time, a perfective form may be persistent or accidental. A persistent (future) perfective represents a single situation extending from the present into the future.

Until when will you refuse to humble yourself before me?

Exod 10:3

With an accidental perfective a speaker vividly and dramatically represents a future situation both as complete and as independent.

And concerning Ishmael… I will bless him.

Gen. 17:20

Women will call me happy.

Gen. 30:13

We will die. We are lost, we are all lost.

Num. 17:27

This use is especially frequent in prophetic address (hence it is also called the “prophetic perfect” or “perfective of confidence”).

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob

Num. 24:17.

In the past he humbled… in the future he will honor… The people walking in darkness will see a great light.

Isa. 8:23–9:1

Waltke and O’Connor [full reference given above], pp. 489–490.

The Incomplete Quran Revisited: The Story of Ishmael

The Quran repeatedly claims to be a clear scripture that provides a fully detailed explanation of everything:

This Quran could not possibly be authored by other than GOD. It confirms all previous messages, and provides a fully detailed scripture. It is infallible, for it comes from the Lord of the universe. S. 10:37 Rashad Khalifa

Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding. It (the Qur’an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of the Allah’s existing Books [the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel) and other Scriptures of Allah] and a detailed explanation of everything and a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe. S. 12:111 Hilali-Khan

One day We shall raise from all Peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves: and We shall bring thee as a witness against these (thy people): and We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims. S. 16:89 Abdullah Yusuf Ali

A Book whereof the Verses are explained in detail; A Qur’an in Arabic for people who know. S. 41:3 Hilali-Khan

In light of this, I present some questions concerning Ishmael for Muslims to answer using only their so-called sacred book.

  • Prove that Ishmael’s mother was someone other than the mother of Isaac. In fact, show us where the Quran is even aware that Abraham had more than one wife, or that he fathered eight sons from three different women.
  • Prove from the Quran that Ishmael and his mother settled in Mecca in Arabia.
  • Prove from the Quran that the house of worship that Abraham and Ishmael supposedly built is the Kabah in Mecca.

Though the Islamic scripture records a fictional tale of Abraham and Ishmael constructing a house of worship, it fails to mention when and where this mythical building was built:

And remember that Abraham was tried by his Lord with certain commands, which he fulfilled: He said: “I will make thee an Imam to the Nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from my offspring!” He answered: “But My Promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.” Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer; and We covenanted with Abraham and Isma’il, that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or use it as a retreat, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). And remember Abraham said: “My Lord, make this a City of Peace, and feed its people with fruits, – such of them as believe in God and the Last Day.” He said: “(Yea), and such as reject Faith, – for a while will I grant them their pleasure, but will soon drive them to the torment of Fire, – an evil destination (indeed)!” And remember Abraham and Isma’il raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing. Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. Our Lord! send amongst them an Apostle of their own, who shall rehearse Thy Signs to them and instruct them in scripture and wisdom, and sanctify them: For Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” S. 2:124-129 

  • Prove from the Quran that Muhammad was a physical descendant of Ishmael or Abraham.
  • Prove that Ishmael married an Arab woman.

As far as God’s Word, the Holy Bible, is concerned Ishmael never settled in Mecca in Arabia, and never married an Arab. He rather married an Egyptian woman and settled in the wilderness of Paran:

“So the child grew and was weaned. Then Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking. Therefore she said to Abraham, ‘Throw out this slave woman and her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son, Isaac.’ This matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight because of his son. But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be upset concerning the boy and your slave wife. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to what she says, for in Isaac your descendants will be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the slave woman, because he is your offspring.’ So Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and sent her away with the child. So she departed and wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she placed the child under one of the shrubs. Then she went and sat down across from him at a distance of out a bowshot, for she said to herself, “Let me not see the death of the child.’ She sat across from him, and lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the boy’s voice. Then the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Arise, pick up the boy and hold him in your hands, for I will make him a great nation.’ Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy; and he grew and lived in the wilderness and became an archer. He lived in the Wilderness of Paran, and his mother found a wife for him out of the land of Egypt.” Genesis 21:8-21

Note that neither the wilderness of Beersheba nor Paran are in Mecca or even Medina:

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Well of the oath, or well of seven, a well dug by Abraham, and so named because he and Abimelech here entered into a compact (Genesis 21:31). On re-opening it, Isaac gave it the same name (Genesis 26:31-33). It was a favourite place of abode of both of these patriarchs (21:3322:1, 19; 26:3328:10). It is mentioned among the “cities” given to the tribe of Simeon (Joshua 19:21 Chronicles 4:28). From Dan to Beersheba, a distance of about 144 miles (Judges 20:11 Chronicles 21:22 Samuel 24:2), became the usual way of designating the whole Promised Land, and passed into a proverb. After the return from the Captivity the phrase is narrowed into “from Beersheba unto the valley of Hinnom” (Nehemiah 11:30). The kingdom of the ten tribes extended from Beersheba to Mount Ephraim (2 Chronicles 19:4). The name is not found in the New Testament. It is still called by the Arabs Bir es-Seba, i.e., “well of the seven”, where there are to the present day two principal wells and five smaller ones. It is nearly midway between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

BEERSHEBA

be-er-she’-ba (be’er shebha`; Bersabee): Allotted originally to Simeon (Joshua 19:2), one of “the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah” (Joshua 15:28).

1. The Meaning of the Name:

The most probable meaning of Beersheba is the “well of seven.” “Seven wells” is improbable on etymological grounds; the numeral should in that case be first. In Genesis 21:31 Abraham and Abimelech took an oath of witness that the former had dug the well and seven ewe lambs were offered in sacrifice, “Wherefore he called that place Beer-sheba; because there they sware both of them.” Here the name is ascribed to the Hebrew root shabha`, “to swear,” but this same root is connected with the idea of seven, seven victims being offered and to take an oath, meaning “to come under the influence of seven.”

Another account is given (Genesis 26:23-33), where Isaac takes an oath and just afterward, “the same day Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged (dug), and said unto him, We have found water. And he called it Shibah: therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba unto this day.”

2. A Sacred Shrine: Beersheba was a sacred shrine. “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God” Genesis (Genesis 21:33). Theophanies occurred there to Hagar (Genesis 21:17), to Isaac (Genesis 26:24), to Jacob (Genesis 46:2), and to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5). By Amos (Amos 5:5) it is classed with Bethel and Gilgal as one of the rival shrines to the pure worship of Yahweh, and in another place (Amos 8:14) he writes “They shall fall, and never rise up again,” who sware, “As the way (i.e. cult) of Beersheba liveth.” The two unworthy sons of Samuel were Judges in Beersheba (1 Samuel 8:2) and Zibiah, mother of King Jehoash, was born there (2 Kings 12:1 2 Chronicles 24:1).

3. Its Position:

Geographically Beersheba marked the southern limit of Judah, though theoretically this extended to the “river of Egypt” (Genesis 15:18)-the modern Wady el`Avish-60 miles farther south. It was the extreme border of the cultivated land. From Dan to Beersheba (2 Samuel 17:11, etc.) or from Beersheba to Dan (1 Chronicles 21:2 2 Chronicles 30:5) were the proverbial expressions, though necessarily altered through the changed conditions in later years to “from Geba to Beer-sheba” (2 Kings 23:8) or “from Beer-sheba to the hill-country of Ephraim” (2 Chronicles 19:4). (Biblehub.com https://biblehub.com/topical/b/beersheba.htm)

Smith’s Bible Dictionary

“Paran, Elparan ” means peace of caverns

Paran, Elparan : a desert or wilderness, bounded on the north by Palestine, on the east by the valley of Arabah, on the south by the desert of Sinai, and on the west by the wilderness of Etham, which separated it from the Gulf of Suez and Egypt. The first notice of Paran is in connection with the invasion of the confederate kings. (Genesis 14:6) The detailed itinerary of the children of Israel in (Numbers 33:1) … does not mention Paran because it was the name of a wide region; but the many stations in Paran are recorded, chs. 17-36. and probably all the eighteen stations were mentioned between Hazeroth and Kadesh were in Paran. Through this very wide wilderness, from pasture to pasture as do modern Arab tribes, the Israelites wandered in irregular lines of march. This region through which the Israelites journeyed so long is now called by the name it has borne for ages —Bedu et-Tih , “the wilderness of wandering.” (“Bible Geography,” Whitney.) “Mount” Paran occurs only in two poetic passages, (33:2); Habb 3:3 It probably denotes the northwestern member of the Sinaitic mountain group which lies adjacent to the Wady Teiran . (It is probably the ridge or series of ridges lying on the northeastern part of the desert of Paran, not far from Kadesh. —ED.) (Christianity.com https://www.christianity.com/bible/dictionary.php?dict=sbd&id=3322)

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Abounding in foliage, or abounding in caverns, (Genesis 21:21), a desert tract forming the north-eastern division of the peninsula of Sinai, lying between the `Arabah on the east and the wilderness of Shur on the west. It is intersected in a north-western direction by the Wady el-`Arish. It bears the modern name of Badiet et-Tih, i.e., “the desert of the wanderings.” This district, through which the children of Israel wandered, lay three days’ march from Sinai (Numbers 10:12, 33). From Kadesh, in this wilderness, spies (q.v.) were sent to spy the land (13:3, 26). Here, long afterwards, David found refuge from Saul (1 Samuel 25:1, 4).

Paran, Mount

Probably the hilly region or upland wilderness on the north of the desert of Paran forming the southern boundary of the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 33:2Habakkuk 3:3).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

PARAN, EL-PARAN

pa’-ran, (pa’ran, ‘el-pa’ran; Pharan):

(1) El-paran (Genesis 14:6) was the point farthest South reached by the kings. Septuagint renders ‘el by terebinthos, and reads, “unto the terebinth of Paran.” The evidence is slender, but it is not unreasonable to suppose that this is the place elsewhere (Deuteronomy 2:8 1 Kings 9:26, etc.) called Elath or Eloth (‘el with feminine termination), a seaport town which gave its name to the Aelanitic Gulf (modern Gulf of `Aqaba), not far from the wilderness of Paran (2).

(2) Many places named in the narrative of the wanderings lay within the Wilderness of Paran (Numbers 10:12Numbers 13:21Numbers 27:14; compare 13:3, 16, etc.). It is identified with the high limestone plateau of Ettih, stretching from the Southwest of the Dead Sea to Sinai along the west side of the Arabah. This wilderness offered hospitality to Ishmael when driven from his father’s tent (Genesis 21:21). Hither also came David when bereaved of Samuel’s protection (1 Samuel 25:1).

(3) Mount Paran (Deuteronomy 33:2 Habakkuk 3:3) may be either Jebel Maqrah, 29 miles South of `Ain Kadis (Kadesh-barnea), and 130 miles North of Sinai (Palmer, Desert of the Exodus, 510); or the higher and more imposing range of mountains West of the Gulf of `Aqaba. This is the more probable if El-paran is rightly identified with Elath.

(4) Some place named Paran would seem to be referred to in Deuteronomy 1:1; but no trace of such a city has yet been found. Paran in 1 Kings 11:18 doubtless refers to the district West of the Arabah.

W. Ewing (Biblehub.com https://biblehub.com/topical/p/paran.htm)

Now, this raises a serious problem for Muhammadans since their so-called sacred text goes out of its way to confirm the textual veracity and incorruptible of the very Torah, which the Jews and Christians of Muhammad’s day possessed:

O Children of Israel! call to mind the (special) favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfil your covenant with Me as I fulfil My Covenant with you, and fear none but Me. And believe in what I reveal, confirming the revelation which is WITH YOU, and be not the first to reject Faith therein, nor sell My Signs for a small price; and fear Me, and Me alone. And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is). And be steadfast in prayer; practise regular charity; and bow down your heads with those who bow down (in worship). Do ye enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (To practise it) yourselves, and yet ye study the Scripture? Will ye not understand? S. 2:40-44 A. Yusuf Ali

And when there comes to them a Book from God, confirming what is WITH THEM, – although from of old they had prayed for victory against those without Faith, – when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognised, they refuse to believe in it but the curse of God is on those without Faith. S. 2:89 Y. Ali

When it is said to them, “Believe in what God Hath sent down,” they say, “We believe in what was sent down to us:” yet they reject all besides, even if it be Truth confirming what is WITH THEM. Say: “Why then have ye slain the prophets of God in times gone by, if ye did indeed believe?” S. 2:91 Y. Ali

And when there came to them an apostle from God, confirming what was WITH THEM, a party of the people of the Book threw away the Book of God behind their backs, as if (it had been something) they did not know! S. 2:101 Y. Ali

O ye People of the Book! believe in what We have (now) revealed, confirming what was (already) WITH YOU, before We change the face and fame of some (of you) beyond all recognition, and turn them hindwards, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers, for the decision of God Must be carried out. S. 4:47 Y. Ali

No one could have composed this Quran besides God. This confirms THE EXISTING BOOK (the Bible) and explains itself. There is no doubt that it is from the Lord of the Universe. S. 10:37 (Muhammad Sarwar https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/10/st23.htm)

Here is another rendering of the foregoing passage:

“… rather (it is) a verification and confirmation to what IS IN ITS TWO HANDS (walakin tasdeeqa allathee bayna yadayhi) and details to Al-Kitab [the word ‘Qur’an’ means some thing which is read by emitting words. When Allah’s Book is subjected to Qir’atit confirms what is available in the written copies of the scripture already available anywhere in the world, and it also contains details to all the verdicts available in the Book]…” (Dr. Kamal Omar https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/10/st48.htm)

And:

Definitely, in their incidents is a lesson for men of understanding. (This Al-Kitâb) is not (a collection of) forged and concocted HadeesRather it is a confirmation to what IS IN ITS BOTH HANDS (i.e., already there [walakin tasdeeqa allathee bayna yadayhi]) and details to all things and Hudah and Rahmah for the nation who Believe. S. 12:111 (Omar https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/12/st48.htm)

Note the following translation of the above verse:

“… It (the Qur’an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of the Allah’s EXISTING BOOKS [the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel) and other Scriptures of Allah]…” Hilali-Khan

There’s more:

And before this, was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: And this Book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue; to admonish the unjust, and as Glad Tidings to those who do right. S. 46:12 Y. Ali

They addressed (their nation thus): “O our nation! Verily we, we have listened to the Book, made to descend after Musa, being one that is a confirmation to that what is between its two hands (i.e., what had been already there as Allah’s Scripture). It guides towards the truth and towards the permanent Path. S. 46:30 (Omar https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/46/st48.htm)

The Islamic scripture further attests that no one can ever change any of the words of Allah:

And certainly apostles before you were rejected, but they were patient on being rejected and persecuted until Our help came to them; and there is none to change the words of Allah, and certainly there has come to you some information about the apostles. S. 6:34 Shakir

Shall I seek other than Allah for judge, when He it is Who hath revealed unto you (this) Scripture, fully explained? Those unto whom We gave the Scripture (aforetime) know that it is revealed from thy Lord in truth. So be not thou (O Muhammad) of the waverers. Perfected is the Word of thy Lord in truth and justice. There is naught that can change His words. He is the Hearer, the Knower. S. 6:114-115 Pickthall

Theirs are good tidings in the life of the world and in the Hereafter – There is no changing the Words of Allah – that is the Supreme Triumph. S. 10:64 Pickthall

And recite that which hath been revealed unto thee of the Scripture of thy Lord. There is none who can change His words, and thou wilt find no refuge beside Him. S. 18:27 Pickthall

Renowned Muslim scholar Ibn Taymiyya’s premiere student noted that a group of scholars Quran appealed to Q. 6:115 to prove that the Torah is incorruptible since it is Allah’s word:

On the other side, another party of hadith and fiqh scholars said: these changes took place during its interpretation and not during the process of its revelation. This is the view OF ABI ABDULLAH MUHAMMAD BIN ISHMAEL AL-BUKHARI who said in his hadith collection:

NO ONE CAN CORRUPT THE TEXT BY REMOVING ANY OF ALLAH’S WORDS FROM HIS BOOKS, but they corrupted it by misinterpreting it.

Al-Razi ALSO AGREES WITH THIS OPINION. In his commentary he said:

There is a difference of opinions regarding this matter among some of the respectable scholars. Some of these scholars said: the manuscript copies of the Torah were distributed everywhere and no one knows the exact number of these copies except Allah. It is impossible to have a conspiracy to change or alter the word of God in all of these copies without missing any copy. Such a conspiracy will not be logical or possible. And when Allah told his messenger (Muhammad) to ask the Jews to bring their Torah and read it concerning the stoning command they were not able to change this command from their copies, that is why they covered up the stoning verse while they were reading it to the prophet. It was then when Abdullah Ibn Salam requested that they remove their hand so that the verse became clear. If they have changed or altered the Torah then this verse would have been one of the important verses to be altered by the Jews.

Also, whenever the prophet would ask them (the Jews) concerning the prophecies about him in the Torah they were not able to remove them either, and they would respond by stating that they are not about him and they are still waiting for the prophet in their Torah.

Abu Dawud narrated in his collection that Ibn Umar said:

A group of Jewish people invited the messenger of Allah to a house. When he came, they asked him: O Abu Qassim, one of our men committed adultery with a woman, what is your judgment against him? So they placed a pillow and asked the messenger of Allah to set on it. Then the messenger of Allah proceeded to say: BRING ME THE TORAH. When they brought it, he removed the pillow from underneath him AND PLACED THE TORAH ON IT and said: I BELIEVE IN YOU AND IN THE ONE WHO REVEALED YOU, then said: bring me one of you who have the most knowledge. So they brought him a young man who told him the story of the stoning.

The scholars said: if the Torah was corrupted HE WOULD NOT HAVE PLACED IT ON THE PILLOW AND HE WOULD NOT HAVE SAID: I believe in you and in the one who revealed you.

This group of scholars also said: Allah said:

“And the word of your Lord has been accomplished truly and justly; there is none who can change His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.” (Q. 6:115)

And the Torah is Allah’s word. (Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Ighathat Al Lahfan, Volume 2, p. 351; capital emphasis ours)

Pay close attention to the fact that Muhammad is reported to have affirmed the very copy of the Torah, which the Jews handed him, as the uncorrupt revelation of his god, testifying that he believed in its absolute authority without a single word about it’s being corrupted.

Moreover, the reasoning which these Muslim scholars employed to affirm the incorruptibility of the Torah is sound, since both their premises and the conclusion they drew from them are logically valid:

1. None can change or corrupt the words of Allah.
2. Books such as the Torah and the Gospel are the words of Allah.
3. Therefore, none can change or corrupt the text of any of Allah’s Books such as the Torah and the Gospel.

Hence, since the Torah that existed during Muhammad’s lifetime is identical to the Torah we currently possess, this means that the Quran is essentially confirming the Scriptures in our possession. This, in turn, proves that the Islamic tradition, which has Ishmael settling in Mecca and marrying an Arab woman, or that Muhammad was of the physical seed of Ishmael, are purely mythical since these tales contradict the explicit teaching of the Torah.

Further Reading

Is The Quran God’s Word? Pt. 1 (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/is-the-quran-gods-word-pt-1/), Pt. 2 (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/04/is-the-quran-gods-word-pt-2/)