How do we know a revelation or prophet is true?


First there is the matter of truth. Christianity provides witness to the death and Resurrection of Christ, denied by others. Jesus Christ is the author of Truth.

Gospel of St. John:

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews, who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed.
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33 They answered him: We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man: how sayest thou: you shall be free?
34 Jesus answered them: Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin.
35 Now the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth for ever.
36 If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
37 I know that you are the children of Abraham: but you seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

I am an eastern Catholic (Byzantine Greek Catholic) which takes a mystical approach however used within a rational framework.


There were many Prophets prior to Isa ibn Maryam (A), were there not? So what was the criteria for true prophecy then?


It was the same, God must be the source, so generally the person must be holy, and then later it is observed to be fulfilled. Such were the prophesies that Joseph son of Jacob made (Genesis 41). The plan of salvation for mankind was not revealed until the second person of the Holy Trinity, assumed a human nature in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.


So you agree with the requirement of good character? If so, your view is not in agreement with the Bible. Here is one example:


I said generally. In the prior post you can read the details that even the unholy can receive a prophesy.


Just to clarify, I heavily disagree that Prophet Sulayman (A) was unholy at all, and believe the Biblical account of his apostasy to be untrue. But there is the problem, can you really trust someone who is unholy to have received prophecy?


All prophesy is from God, and will be observed only in the future. So sometimes it is not always known who speaks a prophesy.


Also, as you can read in one of my links, this topic was discussed in Augustine’s Contra Faustus. Faustus, being a Manichaen, objects to the men of God in the Old Testament on account of their supposed immorality, he says that either they were not men of God at all, or the narratives written about them, mentioning their immorality, are all false. When Augustine came to answering the question of Prophet Sulayman (A) commiting apostasy (God forbid), he simply answered that scripture criticises Sulayman (A) more than Faustus does, and went on to reiterate the Biblical narrative. Augustine however, missed the point, if Sulayman (A) couldn’t even save himself, then how could Augustine believe that Sulayman (A) was a trustworthy instrument in salvation history?


See my new post above.


Christians do not believe that a person can save himself.


Neither do Muslims, this is metaphorically speaking. In this context, I mean saving himself from falling away from God. Salvation history in Christianity of course, is about reconciliation with God.


How do we know? We have not been left orphans. The Church rules on it.


It requires grace of God to be justified and the justified may fall away through free will, as did Adam and Eve, per Christian belief. In the Old Testament we see repeated falling away from the One True God into idolatry and other sins, and yet God never abandons mankind.


I didn’t ask how he couldn’t save himself from falling away from God. The point is, according to the Bible he couldn’t save himself from falling away from God. Yet, he is considered to be an inspired author of Scripture, AND he is considered to be an instrument in salvation history. My question is in regards to him being an instrument in salvation history, if according to your scriptures, he couldn’t even save himself from falling away from God.


I totally agree! For example: Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead. Unanimous witness of the apostles to the death! It is absurd to assert that they misunderstood, when a mass number of people witnessed this one man doing something, and their testimonies of this man’s action are in agreement!

Good point! I’m going to use that the next time someone I’m conversing with challenges the historicity of the Resurrection! Or the truth of Sacred Scripture. Good stuff. Thank you!


I’m not sure if your post was an argument against Islam’s denial of the Crucifixion (the argument is not unfamiliar to Muslim theologians), albeit in satirical form. If so, then whether someone was put on the cross with the intention of killing Prophet Isa ibn Maryam (A), is not a historical issue in Islam.


Sorry! No, it was not meant as a comment against anyone’s arguments. I was actually thanking you for giving me an excellent response to use when people dispute the historicity of Christ’s death and Ressurection or even the truth contained in Christian Scripture. I loved the wording of your argument. I hope I did not give you any offense in what I said. I have recently been in dialog with a man who claims that Jesus was crucified, but did not die. He revived in the tomb before it was closed and sort of wandered out into Asian territory and learned about pantheism and came back and changed his message. The story was preposterous for the very explanation you just gave.


Wait. Why would the crucifixion of Christ not be “a historical issue in Islam”? If Jesus being born of Mary is historical, then why would the facts of his death not be a matter for historical consideration? I realize that Islam denies the Ressurection of Jesus Christ. But still these issues are historical because they happened at a particular time and in a particular place. Therefor: historical.


I’m saying that Islam doesn’t deny the historicity of someone being placed in the cross with the intention to kill Prophet Isa ibn Maryam (A). Islam simply denies that it was truly Isa ibn Maryam (A) who was killed or crucified, what exactly happened is not clear. There are some traditions which give interpretations to the Qur’anic verses in question, but they are not mutawatir (mass transmitted) traditions, so regardless of whether they have good chains of narrators, they do not impart certainty (especially because they conflict with each other). The point is, in Islam we believe that the enemies of Isa ibn Maryam (A) didn’t triumph over him, that he ascended into the Heavens, and God will send him again to fulfill his purpose as the Messiah and establish God’s rule on earth.


First, it is not for us to question who God chooses to be His prophet. That would limit God. He can choose as a messenger whomsoever He chooses. The writings of these prophets are not sacred because they were such holy men, they are sacred because they record the Word of God.

Yes. You can trust that Solomon received prophesy. Even those of us that hold that he did worship false idols in disobedience to God. Not because he was a great guy, but because God chose him. Just like I don’t believe Jesus died to redeem me because I am such a wonderful specimen of humanity, but because He is merciful and forgiving and most of all, because He chose to do it. Who are we to argue with what God chooses to do?

Would you say that God could not choose a messenger who was flawed?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit