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What Did The Disciples of The Apostles Teach?

What Did The Disciples of The Apostles Teach?

What did the apostles of Jesus go around teaching and preaching after Jesus ascended to heaven?

Peter preached for around 35 years, and was martyred around 68 AD.
John preached for more than 60 years, before he died in exile in Patmos.

Well, we have the writings of the New Testament as a record of their testimony about what their Master Jesus taught and preached and how they carried on the mission He gave them, with John closing the writing of the New Testament at the end of the 1st century.
However, there are skeptics who refuse to accept their writings. They say it has been changed or manipulated.

What about the DISCIPLES of the apostles? What did the followers of Peter, John and the rest of the apostles of Jesus Christ learn from them? Did they receive the same message we Christians have today? Or did the message get lost somewhere?

Let’s find out.

Let’s go to those who knew the apostles of Jesus Christ personally and see what THEY wrote and taught. We have a ton of resources. In this article, we will look at just one.

In 107 AD, Ignatius of Antioch, was one of the last bishops alive who had known the apostles personally. Ignatius, together with Polycarp, were disciples of John, the apostle of Jesus Christ.

Under Emperor Trajan, Ignatius was arrested, and in chains was taken 1500 miles over land and sea to Rome to be executed. During this arduous final journey on earth, he wrote seven letters to various churches and one to his old friend Polycarp and passed it through believers who had gathered in various cities, ports and towns to bid him farewell for the last time as he passed through.

His letters have survived to this day and are an important testimony to the way in which the teaching of the apostles was remembered and taught and passed on.
The letters witness to a common apostolic source of teaching as understood and lived, probably only a decade or so after the death of the last apostle, John.

 

What do you think the letters say?

First, what did Ignatius believe about Jesus? Was He divine or just a man?

SIXTEEN times in his 7 letters, Ignatius explicitly refers to Jesus as God.

Here are some excerpts:

“To you, then, sincerest greetings in Jesus Christ, our God, for you cleave to his every commandment–observing not only their letter but their spirit–being permanently filled with God’s grace and purged of every stain alien to it.”

 

“You have been granted light both by the will of Him who willed all that is, and by virtue of your believing in Jesus Christ, our God, and of loving him.”

“Christ is the invisible, Time­less one, incapable by nature of suffering, who becomes visible and capable of suffering through his human birth in time.”

 

ignatiusdivine

Do you see that 200 years BEFORE the Council of Nicaea, Ignatius teaches that Christ is eternal, above time and all creation, and IS GOD, in the full sense of the term.

One of the CORE teachings of the gospel is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Did Ignatius believe this?

“That is whom I am looking for–the One who died for us. That is whom I want–the One who rose for us.”

 

“Make no mistake, my brothers: adulterers will not inherit God’s Kingdom. If, then, those who act carnally suffer death, how much more shall those who by wicked teaching corrupt God’s faith for which Jesus Christ was crucified. Such a vile creature will go to the unquenchable fire along with anyone who listens to him.”

 

“In one faith and in union with Christ, who was descended from David according to the flesh and is Son of man and Son of God.” – St Ignatius of Antioch

 

Keep in mind that these letters were written while on his way to his execution in the Coliseum of Rome, where he will be devoured by lions.  There is no reason for Ignatius to make things up or lie in his writings.

You can get an understanding of early Christian teachings from the 1st century, including his thoughts and emotions as he marches to his death, first-hand from Ignatius, disciple of John, the apostle of Jesus Christ.
You can read the full text to two of his letters here:
Ignatius’ letter to the Ephesian church:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.vi.ii.iii.i.html

Ignatius’ letter to the Roman church:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.vi.ii.iii.iv.html

 

Besides the letters of Ignatius of Antioch, we also have the letters of others who have become known to us today as the ‘Apostolic Fathers’, the successors of the apostles.

For example:
i. Clement (the third successor to Peter as Bishop of Rome)
ii. Polycarp (disciple of John the apostle for nearly 20 years, according to Eusebius)
iii. Irenaeus (trained and discipled by Polycarp)

“Christ is our savior; for through his grace we are righteous, not by works; for our sins, he has even taken death upon himself, has become the servant of us all, and through his death for us our hope and the pledge of our righteousness. The heaviest sin is unbelief in Christ; his blood will be demanded of unbelievers; for to those to whom the death of Christ, which obtains the forgiveness of sins, does not prove a ground of justification, it proves a ground of condemnation. ” – Polycarp, (69AD – 155 AD)

 

 

Who Did Jacob Wrestle With?

Who Did Jacob Wrestle With?

There is a very weird account in the Bible in Genesis 32, where it says that Jacob wrestled with Someone.

What does this strange story mean?

Who was Jacob?

If you read about his life, you will see that Jacob was a cunning, devious man who lived most of his life cheating, fighting, struggling against everyone, just so that he would get his way.

God had actually promised to bless him but Jacob could not grasp God’s assurance. Instead he schemed and struggled to grasp for the “blessings” himself.

He deceived his own aged and blind father, Isaac. He deceived his older brother, Esau, on at least two occasions and then, fearing for his life, Jacob fled from him. He went far, far away, got married and later, he deceived his father-in-law and fled from him.

In fact, the name Jacob means “supplanter”, meaning one who wrongfuly or illegally takes something. A name that aptly describes his character. His whole life, Jacob’s life was characterized by struggling with people to cheat them and run away.

In Genesis 32, Jacob is finally about to come face to face with his long estranged brother, Esau. More than twenty years earlier, when Jacob ran away, Esau had vowed to kill him someday.

Now there was nowhere else to run anymore. No more room to struggle and deceive. He was sure his brother was going to kill him when they see each other in the morning.

That night, he sits alone, by a river, perhaps crying to God for help. He was like a drowning man and he could not save himself. Only God can do that. And God, in His great mercy comes to meet him. In the form of a Man!

Will the “struggler” stop struggling and finally quietly submit to the Savior and allow himself to be rescued and blessed on God’s terms?
But Jacob was a stubborn man. Instead of submitting, he now struggles with God!

Of course, God could have destroyed him with one word. However, God was still patiently teaching him like a father works with his son, disciplining him.

You, who are sons, have you ever wrestled with your dad in bed when you were a kid? Doesn’t dad always allow you to win? You were not aware, were you, that he could have crushed your little skull with one bash against the wall? No, he allows you to prevail over him in loving affection, bonding, relationship, even as you thump your little fists on his strong body.

But poor Jacob was like a stubborn little, refusing to learn. He kept struggling, wrestling, fighting.  Can a drowning man who is struggling be rescued?

When the Lifeguard comes, you have to stop struggling and give in to your rescuer and allow him to pull you to safety. He cannot help you if you keep fighting him!

Aren’t we like that? We “wrestle” against God in our rebellion, in our disobedience, in our sin, thinking we are strong enough and that we can work things out our way instead of His will.  don’t we sometimes push Him away when He comes near lovingly wanting to help.

In the end, the Lifeguard may have to knock you out cold so that you stop fighting in the water and submit to his rescue. And this is what He finally did to Jacob.

“He TOUCHED Jacob’s hip and it was dislocated out of its socket.” Just one touch. Then Jacob stopped struggling. He could not even stand up.

Now, with his handicap and weakness exposed, he finally submits and asks to be blessed; something that God had always wanted to to do for him from the beginning. All he had needed to do was learn to trust God and submit to Him in faith instead of fighting or deceiving or running away.

God does bless him. God gives him a new name, Israel. He is no longer Jacob, the deceiver. He is now Israel, the prince.

In a sense, Jacob is reborn as a new man with a new identity after his night encounter with God.

What happens next when he meets Esau in the morning?
Does Esau kill him? Or does Jacob continue struggling with Esau?
Maybe they re-unite and embrace as long lost brothers?

It’s all there in the Bible. Go ahead and read it.

Which Jesus Do You Follow?

Which Jesus Do You Follow?

There are many “versions” of Jesus that have been invented.

1. Jesus fled to Japan and settled in a remote hill village to grow garlic. He married a girl named Miyuko, had 3 children and died at the age of 106. (It was his younger brother Isukiri who was crucified.) Today, you can visit Jesus’ grave in Shingo, Northern Japan.

2. Jesus was educated by yogis in India, Nepal and the Himalayas.

3. Jesus went to Egypt and lived there to a ripe old age before he died there.

4. In Hindu writings, Jesus was in Kashmir, India, during the reign of King Shalivahan and met him in Srinagar. When the king asked him who he was, Jesus replied that he was Yusashaphat.

5. In Mahayana Buddhism, Jesus was in Tibet as Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. He had small circular makings on his hands and soles of his feet, the crucifixion markings, interpreted as the Buddhist wheel of life.

6. In Roman paganism, Jesus survived the crucifixion and travelled under an alias. He was known as Apollonius of Tyana.

7.  Jesus walked among various American Indian tribes. He was called “Pale Great Healer”.

8. In 7th century Arabia, over 600 years after the crucifixion, thousands of miles away, a story began circulating that some unknown person was made to resemble Jesus and took his place on the cross.

 

There are dozens more legends about Jesus. All of them cannot be true.

The only true and reliable record of Jesus’ life was written by those who were with Jesus, his closest friends, who spent years with Him ~ John, Peter and others.

If you want to know the real Jesus, His story is in the Bible.

Here is how Mark, Peter’s amanuensis (scribe), begins his writing:

“THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS THE MESSIAH…” Mark 1:1

Read it.

Are Bible Versions Always Being Revised?

Are Bible Versions Always Being Revised?

Are there many versions of the Bible?

Yes.

There is a Korean version. There is an Indonesian version, Swedish version, Portuguese version, Hindi version, Arabic version  and over 2500 other versions!

Different versions do not mean different messages.  Versions means that the same message is communicated in different languages.  A woman in Japan can read the Bible in her own language just as a man in Nigeria can read the Bible in his own language. The message of the Bible is not limited by or bound by any human language.

“What about King James Version, New International Version etc? These are all in English.”
Yes, but they are different versions of English translations.

Different words may be used, but the same message is communicated in all Bibles.

“Why the need for so many?”
Because there are different methods of translating. Some translations are word-for-word; while some use a thought-for-thought style.

Think about the English translations of the Quran. You have Sahih International, Pickthall, Muhsin Khan, Yusuf Ali, etc. Are these different VERSIONS of the Quran? Or are they different versions of translations?

The 1611 KJV uses old archaic English, even words that are now obsolete, or words that have changed in meaning in our modern usage of language. Newer translations like NIV or NLT, use updated contemporary modern English.

Muslims get confused because they think that Bibles are being “revised” or “updated” to change the content.

That is untrue. The message is not revised. It is the usage of words that are revised or updated for clarity and understanding.

Let’s look at one example:
Did you notice the image above this article. It is a verses taken from Psalm 22:16

“For dogges haue compassed me; the assembly of the wicked haue inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feete.”

This is a prophecy by David in 1000 BC about the Messiah.

But just look at the verse. It is in old English.  dogges? haue? inclosed? feete?

A revision helps update the language from old to current.

In English Standard Version, this verse reads:
For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet.

Do you see? The message is intact but the words are updated to help with clearer understanding of Scriptures.

The original message is eternal and remains the same in every language version of the Bible.

Has The Bible Been Corrupted?

Has The Bible Been Corrupted?

Has the Bible been corrupted?

Yes.

Here are some of the versions of the corrupted “Bible” in existence today:

1. THE QURAN
It takes the names and prophets and events of the Bible and distorts and changes them into a disjointed, incoherent mess. So you are left with stories in the Quran that have a beginning and no ending and stories that have endings but no beginnings and completely incompatible with the earlier revelations which it claims to confirm and honor.

2. THE BOOK OF MORMONS
A man named Joseph Smith claimed an angel visited him and gave him the final revelation for a new religion and the final book superseding all earlier revelations. According to this corrupted version, Jesus got married and had children.

3. THE NEW WORLD BIBLE (Jehovah Witnesses)
In this corrupted version, it teaches there is no hell and Jesus is actually an angel called Michael.  One of their Watchtower publications claim that Satan helped in Creation

4. The CLEAR WORD BIBLE (Seventh Day Adventist)
This corrupted version also drastically re-writes many Biblical teachings for example: when one dies, he doesn’t exist anymore, he simply disappears. Jesus is an uncreated angel.

There are many other corrupted versions of the Bible in addition to the above.

But wait….
Does an UNCORRUPTED version of the original Bible still exist?

YES.

The original Bible is intact. In fact, it is because of the existence of the original Bible that we can know what corruptions have been made to it by the impostors as shown in the examples above.

Jesus said: “…Scripture cannot be broken…” John 10:35

And here they are, the corrupters, who insist Scripture HAS been broken and present their own new versions of corrupted “scriptures.”
You can bring all your corrupted versions but…sorry…it is written, and forever stays written…

“The word of the Lord remains forever. And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.” 1 Ptr 1:25

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of INCORRUPTIBLE, by the Word of God, which LIVES and ABIDES for ever. 1 Ptr 1:23

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Matt 5:18

Remains forever. Incorruptible. Lives and Abides Forever. Endures forever. Not an iota, not a dot will pass from the Law.

Are There Grave Defects In The Bible?

Are There Grave Defects In The Bible?

Are there grave defects in the Bible?

In the preface of the Revised Standard Version (1971), one line reads, “…Yet the King James Version has grave defects….”

Muslim have latched on to this and claim this is evidence that the Bible has grave defects.

When asked what the grave defects are, no Muslim has an answer because they have never even read the preface in full! You can read it here yourself.

First of all, it says the King James Version (KJV) has grave defects.  KJV is only a TRANSLATION that was made less than 500 years ago! The Bible is around 2000 – 3500 years old.

The man-made translation of 1611 has grave defects does not mean the Bible in the original language has grave defects! That’s like saying if there are defects in the in the English translations of the Quran, e.g. Pickthall or Yusuf Ali, this means that the Arabic Quran has defects. Does that make any sense?  Of course not. That is ridiculous.

What are the “grave defects” of the KJV anyway?

If you actually read the preface in it’s entirety, you will learn that…

“A major reason for revision of the King James Version, which is valid for both the Old Testament and the New Testament, is the change since 1611 in English usage. Many forms of expression have become archaic, while still generally intelligible—the use of thou, thee, thy, thine and the verb endings -est and -edst, the verb endings -eth and -th, it came to pass that, whosoever, whatsoever, insomuch that, because that, for that, unto, howbeit, peradventure, holden, aforetime, must needs, would fain, behooved, to you-ward, etc.”

This simply means that many words used in KJV are old English that are no longer used because language is dynamic.

“Other words are obsolete and no longer understood by the common reader. The greatest problem, however, is presented by the English words which are still in constant use but now convey a different meaning from that which they had in 1611 and in the King James Version.

These words were once accurate translations of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures; but now, having changed in meaning, they have become misleading. They no longer say what the King James translators meant them to say.

Thus, the King James Version uses the word “let” in the sense of “hinder,” “prevent” to mean “precede,” “allow” in the sense of “approve,” “communicate” for “share,” “conversation” for “conduct,” “comprehend” for “overcome,” “ghost” for “spirit,” “wealth” for “well-being,” “allege” for “prove,” “demand” for “ask,” “take no thought” for “be not anxious,” etc.”

This simply means that many words used in KJV now carry a different meaning. Even in our everyday use of language, we see this is true.
I remember 30 years ago if someone said, “I’m gay”, it simply meant he was just happy.  Now it has taken on completely different connotations! Many people today don’t even realize that the word “gay” was completely non-sexual originally!

Did you know that in the 1611 KJV, the letter “f’ in the text, is really our letter “s”?

That means a sentence that might read as thus: “The disciples saw the storm and were so afraid.”
would have been written like this in the 1611 KJV: “The difciplef faw the ftorm and were fo afraid.”

Why? Because that was how “s” was written in old English; like an “f”!

Were there grave defects?

“The difciplef faw the ftorm and were fo afraid.”

YES THERE WERE GRAVE DEFECTS!

Hence the need to produce a more accurate translation where the archaic “Thou” is translated as “You”, “Thine” as “Your” and “The difciplef faw the ftorm and were fo afraid” as  “The disciples saw the storm and were so afraid.”

But these revisions do not revise the writings in the original  language! It is the translations that are revised to make it more accurate and more easily understood by English speakers.

“The Revised Standard Version Bible seeks to preserve all that is best in the English Bible as it has been known and used through the years. It is intended for use in public and private worship, not merely for reading and instruction. We have resisted the temptation to use phrases that are merely current usage, and have sought to put the message of the Bible in simple, enduring words that are worthy to stand in the great Tyndale-King James tradition. We are glad to say, with the King James translators: “Truly (good Christian Reader) we never thought from the beginning, that we should need to make a new Translation, nor yet to make of a bad one a good one … but to make a good one better.”

 

 

Does Jeremiah 8:8 Say The Bible Is Corrupt?

Does Jeremiah 8:8 Say The Bible Is Corrupt?

All Muslims have been trained to use the following verse to “prove” that the Bible is corrupt.

Jeremiah 8:8
How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie.

Are Muslims right?

First of all, IF the Bible is corrupt how can we trust a verse from the SAME corrupt book that alleges it is corrupt?
Does it make sense?
It is like a liar telling you, “Hey, I am a liar. Believe me.” Is the liar lying or is he speaking the truth? How can you ever accept anything the liar says?

Now let’s look at the verse.
Who are scribes?

In Israel, scribes are the official interpreters of the Old Testament. Their duties included TEACHING and INTERPRETATION.
The scribes were not writers or authors of scripture.

The scriptures had already been written. The scriptures was already in existence for hundreds of years!

The scribes were not writing any new scriptures! It was already written!

What the scribes were writing were their false interpretations (tafseer) of the scriptures and they were teaching those falsehood to the people.

This is what is being condemning in Jeremiah 8:8, where the pen of the scribes writing their false interpretations and thus the scribes were teaching lies. They were not re-writing or changing any scriptures!
Here is more proof that scribes are teachers.

“And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was TEACHING them as one who had authority, and not as
their SCRIBES”. Matt 7:28-29

Jesus was teaching scriptures unlike the scribes. And note that He was teaching from what was already written and he was interpreting them accurately.

No wonder Jesus condemned the scribes.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. (Matthew 23:13)

What was He condemning them for? For corrupting the already written Scriptures?
No. He was condemning them because despite being religious leaders, they were TEACHING the people wrong things and leading them away from the kingdom of heaven!

In Jeremiah’s time too, there were deceptive and evil scribes who were doing that.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is what Jeremiah 8:8 is all about.

As you can see, it is the Muslim “scribes” today who are misinterpreting and teaching falsehood to every Muslim.

By the way, here is another verse that Muslims should learn.

Nehemiah 8:8

“They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.”

Nehemiah lived AFTER Jeremiah.

If during the time of Jeremiah, the Book of the Law was changed or corrupted, how can it still be intact at the time of Nehemiah and being read clearly and being understood clearly?

What about during the time of Jesus? Did Jesus lament that the Book of the Law had been changed or corrupted?

Matthew 5:18
“For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law…”

Did John the Apostle write the Gospel of John?

Did John the Apostle write the Gospel of John?

Let’s investigate this together like detectives using scriptural evidences, shall we?

First of all we know that the author referred to himself as, “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
John 20:24 “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who WROTE THEM DOWN.”

So what we need to do is track down this “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

Let’s begin.

1. Firstly, we know the DISCIPLE whom Jesus loved was one of the apostles. Agreed? That’s easy.

2. Who were the apostles?

Matthew 10 tells us:
Simon Peter & his brother Andrew
James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
Philip and Bartholomew
Thomas and Matthew the tax collector
James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot

So now we know it must be one of these 12. So far so good?

3. The disciple whom Jesus loved was an eyewitness and was with Jesus. He was at the Last Supper of Jesus. he heard, saw and touched Jesus and was sitting next to Jesus!
“One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.” John 13:23

4. This same disciple was also at the cross and Jesus entrusted to him to take care of his mother.
“Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby.” John 19:26

Let’s recap what we have so far.
The disciple that Jesus loved, who is the author of the gospel,  was one of the 12 apostles and was an eyewitness of Jesus.

Let’s move on…

5. In John 21:2, it says Peter went fishing with 6 other disciples; these names are given Nathanael, Thomas, James, John & 2 others.
We know that the disciple whom Jesus loved was one of them because he is mentioned in John 21:7.
Now we know that the disciple is one of these.
You want to take a guess?

6. Can we narrow it down? Sure. Throughout the gospels, we can see that there were 3 disciples who were the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples and his
most trusted – Peter, James & John. (Matt 17:1, Mark 5:37, Luke 8:51)
It is therefore most likely one of these 3.
7. Maybe it is Peter?
It cant be Peter because in John 21:20
“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them.”

8. So now we can conclude it is either James or John, the sons of Zebedee!

9. But James was martyred by Herod in 44 AD. He could not have written this gospel which most scholars have dated at around 90-95 AD.
10. That only leaves John the son of Zebedee, as the disciple whom Jesus loved!

In John 21:22, Jesus answers Peter’s question he asked about the disciple whom Jesus loved.

And then, the next verse identifies that this disciple is the writer: “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and WHO WROTE THEM DOWN. We know that his testimony is true.”
Meaning that the disciple whom Jesus loved was the one who wrote this gospel.
You may ask why didn’t he just identify himself? None of the gospel writers named themselves because the gospel was not about them. It was all about Jesus.
The writer of the gospel of John was so enamored with the love of Christ for him that he was moved to refer to himself only as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Humble to not even give his own name.

There are external evidences as well.

Early church fathers like Irenaeus and Tertullian identified John as the author.

Irenaeus makes a general statement of the origins of the four gospels including the Gospel of John in his Against Heresies (3.1.1).

“Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.”

Who was Irenaeus? Ireneaues lived around 150 AD.
Irenaues learnt from Polycarp.
Who was Polycarp?
Polycarp was a direct disciple of John!

Learn more: http://jesusevidences.com/originntgospels/authorshippublicationgospeljohn.php

Ishmael In The Bible

Ishmael In The Bible

A Muslim told me that he believes there is a conspiracy in the Bible to suppress the name Ishmael in favor of Isaac.

Did you know that, in fact, Abraham also had other sons?  The Bible even names them!  Why should the Bible tell us even more more names if only to suppress them if there was a conspiracy to promote Isaac?  The fact is the Bible says it as it is. Good or bad.

Isaac had two sons.  Jacob and Esau.  Jacob rises to prominence while Esau’s name fades away. Is there also a conspiracy to suppress Esau too?

We know Abraham loved Ishmael. The Bible says it.  But he was not the chosen one.

Here is the point. In the Bible, it is all about the line of the Messiah.

In the larger scheme of the Bible, Ishmael and Esau were inconsequential in the line of the Messiah. They existed, they were someone’s son and brother but were not chosen to be in the line of Messiah.
Isaac or Ishmael? The Messiah can only come through one of them. Jacob or Esau? The Messiah can only come through one of them. That’s how God intended
it.

Did you know Isaac actually preferred Esau, the older son, over Jacob? But that doesn’t matter. It’s God’s plan that matters. He chose Isaac.

God isn’t called the God of Abraham and Lot and Ishmael and Isaac and Esau and Jacob (though He is). He is called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, signifying the specific, direct Messianic line.

Jacob had 12 sons. The Messiah can only come through one of them. There is no plot to suppress anyone else. Everyone had a role but the Messiah came through the line of Judah son of Jacob, as did King David. That is why titles for Messiah include “Lion of Judah” and “Son of David”.

The OT does not just tell us the story of Israel but more importantly, anticipates the coming Messiah. That is why names and genealogies are so important in the Bible. History and prophecies of the OT, everything points to the Messiah.

Jesus said this precisely in Luke 24.
“He (Jesus) said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (v.44)
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (v.27)

There are hundreds of prophecies…e.g.
700 years before Messiah was born, Isaiah prophesied He would be born of a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14)
500 years before Messiah was born, Micah prophesied He would be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2)
1000 years before Messiah was born, David prophesied the kind of death he would suffer. (Psalms 22)

And Jesus FULFILLED them all.
The OT, over 1500 years in the making, anticipates the coming Messiah. In fact, that is how the OT ends in Malachi, with God saying: “I will come to you.”

400 years later, the NT opens with Matthew reciting some genealogy. Boring…??

But wait a minute. Do you realize what Matthew is actually saying.
He was essentially saying, “L I S T E N….THIS.IS.IT! THE ONE WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR IS FINALLY HERE!”

Do you see it? Do you understand why we believe there can be no other “new” message or “messenger” to a people a thousand miles away especially through someone who is not even in the line of Messiah. Messiah is the final and ultimate one. There is no room for anyone else. It is all completed and fulfilled.

Do you see that in the big picture, Ishmael is inconsequential.

By the way, the NT ends the same way the OT ends. In anticipation of His coming. Again.
“Yes, I am coming soon.” (Revelation 22:20)
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” Genesis 16:12
Muslims say that the Bible insults Ishmael here by calling him a “wild donkey”. That is inaccurate.

To a 21st century mind, it might sound like an insult.  However, I do not think there is such an intention here if you understand the context correctly.
The Bible is simply attributing characteristics of the animal to him.  Positive traits, as well as negative.

One of Jacob’s son, Issachar, is called “a strong donkey” by Jacob. (Gen 49:14)
Was Jacob insulting his son? Are the descendants of Issachar accusing the Bible of insulting them? No.

Here “strong donkey” emphasizes the strength of his descendants, it also indicates that like a donkey, a beast of burden, they will be forced to work for others. So you see, positive as well as negative traits.

In the same chapter, Issachar’s brother, Benjamin is called “a ravenous wolf”. An insult?
The image of a wolf reveals that the descendants of Benjamin will be aggressive warriors. This prophecy came to pass as shown by verses like 1 Chronicles 8:40

Naphtali is likened to a doe. Dan is likened to a snake. Joseph like a lion’s cub. (Read it all in Genesis 49).

The Bible is not calling them animals or that they look like or smell like animals but conveying both the positive and negative attributes.

So in Genesis 16:12, Ishmael is likened to a “wild donkey”.  What does it mean?
It is saying Ishmael and his descendants will become strongly independent. Not servile toward others. That’s positive.
But there’s also a negative. He will live a life of hostility toward others because of his character.
Do you see that in his descendants today?

 

 

 

Variants In Scriptures

Variants In Scriptures

Muslims have been taught from young that the Bible is corrupt while the Quran has been perfectly preserved.

As evidence that the Bible cannot be from God, they like to point out verses like the variant ending of Mark or the passage in John 8.

The truth is, there are very few variant readings, only about twenty, all in the NT. These are all well-known, not hidden, and have been well-researched and documented and do not prove the muslim case. None of them affects the teaching of the Bible as a whole or its overall authenticity.

“We do not believe a book has to be perfectly intact to be the authentic Word of God but rather that, if it [the message] has been protected and handed down in its original form with only a few copyist errors, negligence variant readings and one or two uncertain passages, its overall integrity cannot be challenged.” None of the variants remotely contradict anything taught in the Bible.

In other words, these variants do not prove that the Bible, as a whole, has been so dramatically changed that it no longer contains what was originally written.

On the other hand, Islam teaches that every word and every letter of the quran has been perfectly preserved. This means, EVEN IF THERE IS ONE SINGLE
VARIANT, the Quran falls and Islam collapses.

Here is where Christians and Muslims differ. While Christians are aware of the variants in their book, Muslims are unaware of the variants in theirs.

Why?

Historians such as Ibn Abi Dawud who compiled a record of Quranic variants which he titled “Kitab al-Masahif (Book of the Manuscripts)”, and Muhammad
Abu Jafar at-Tabari, author of the monumental work on the Qur’an titled “Jami al-Bayan fii Tafsir al-Qur’an” (A Comprehensive Compilation for a Commentary of the Qur’an), preserved a record of all the known variants between the various texts.

At-Tabari’s extensive records, show that there were literally hundreds of variant readings between the early manuscripts. Arthur Jeffery, who compiled a catalogue of the different readings mainly from Ibn Abi Dawud’s and at-Tabari’s works, listed them over no less than 362 PAGES of variants in his book “Materials for the History of the Text of the Qur’an”. His book also contains the whole text of Ibn Abi Dawud’s “Kitab al-Masahif”.

They make the number of Biblical variants seem negligible in comparison and, once again, it has to be remembered that the Bible is centuries older than the Qur’an, five times its length, and was compiled by numerous authors over a two-thousand year period. The variants of the Bible fill half a page. The variants of the quran fills 362 pages!

The few variants of the Bible are easily accounted for and of such little importance that they in no way affect the integrity of the book as a whole. The scriptures, in their entirety, have been preserved for us virtually unaltered. On the other hand, consider the Qur’an where every manuscript transcribed by Muhammad’s own companions, like Ibn Masud and Ubayy bin Ka’b was burnt and destroyed.

The Bible has only been burnt by its enemies in history.  But in Islamic history, Uthman, the 3rd caliph burnt every other manuscript of the Qur’an other than the one he conveniently had at hand. This was long after Muhammad had died and after the lifetime of the first two caliphs of of the religion.

Codices that had been widely recognised as authoritative texts in the various provinces were burnt in favour of a manuscript that Hafsah had simply kept under her bed!

One of the teachers whom Muhammad commanded the Muslims to learn quran from was Salim.
In fact, he was the first to collect the Qur’an into a mushaf  (a manuscript or written codex) — As Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii `Ulum al-Qur’an, Vol.1 p.135).
sadly, he died in the Battle of Yamama, leaving behind his precious manuscripts. Where is this first mushaf of the Quran?
Gone up in smoke, thanks to Uthman.

The quran’s original textual integrity is far more questionable than that of the Bible – even though the Bible is five times the length of the Qur’an and was compiled over a much longer period many centuries earlier.

In conclusion, the major reason why Muslims do not believe in the Bible’s integrity is that they have no choice but to do so if they are to sustain their confidence in the Quran.

How many of you Muslims are honest to want to see the evidence of the variants of the quran?

Let none of you say “I have acquired the whole of the Qur’an”. How does he know what all of it is when much of the Qur’an has disappeared? Rather let him say “I have acquired what has survived.” (As-Suyuti, Al Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur’an).

Abu Musa al-Ashari, a close companion of Muhammad and one of the earliest authorities of the Qur’an, is recorded as teaching the Qur’an-reciters (qurra) in Basra: “We used to recite a surah which resembled in length and severity to (Surah) Bara’at. I have, however, forgotten it….” (Sahih Muslim, Vol.2, p.501)

– adapted from John Gilchrist-

“Many (of the passages) of the Qur’an that were sent down were known by those who died on the day of Yamama … but they were not known (by those who) survived them, nor were they written down, nor had Abu Bakr, Umar or Uthman (by that time) collected the Qur’an, nor were they found with even one (person) after them.” — Ibn Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Masahif, p.23