Jesus the Messiah


#1

Muslims,
It is my understanding that where the Qur’an doesn’t address a topic, the Old Testament applies. It is also my understanding that the Qur’an does not define what being “the Messiah” means, but nevertheless declares Jesus to be the Messiah:

*Qur’an 003.045 *
When the angels said: O Marium, surely Allah gives you good news with a Word from Him (of one) whose name is the '. Messiah, Isa son of Marium, worthy of regard in this world and the hereafter and of those who are made near (to Allah).

As the Qur’an does not define what being he Messiah means, should we not look to the Old Testament? There are a great many prophesies in the Old Testament about the Messiah, and I wonder what the Muslim interpretation is of these verses.

It is with that question that I post the next post…


#2

[list]
*]Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:21-23)
*]A descendant of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18; Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16)
*]Of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:23, 33; Hebrews 7:14)
*]Of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Matthew 1:1)
*]Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7)
*]Taken to Egypt (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15)
*]Herod´s killing of the infants (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18)
*]Anointed by the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; Matthew 3:16-17)
*]Heralded by the messenger of the Lord (John the Baptist) (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1; Matthew 3:1-3)
*]Would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 9:35)
*]Would preach good news (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:14-21)
*]Would minister in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:12-16)
*]Would cleanse the Temple (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 21:12-13)
*]Would first present Himself as King 173,880 days from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25; Matthew 21:4-11)
*]Would enter Jerusalem as a king on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:4-9)
*]Would be rejected by Jews (Psalm 118:22; I Peter 2:7)
*]**Die a humiliating death **(Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) involving:

  • rejection (Isaiah 53:3; John 1:10-11; 7:5,48)
  • betrayal by a friend (Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:3-4; John 13:18)
  • sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:14-15)
  • silence before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14)
  • being mocked (Psalm 22: 7-8; Matthew 27:31)
  • beaten (Isaiah 52:14; Matthew 27:26)
  • spit upon (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:30)
  • piercing His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16; Matthew 27:31)
  • being crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
  • praying for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34)
  • piercing His side (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
  • given gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21, Matthew 27:34, Luke 23:36)
  • no broken bones (Psalm 34:20; John 19:32-36)
  • buried in a rich man´s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)
  • casting lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24)
    *]Would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10; Mark 16:6; Acts 2:31)
    *]Ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68:18; Acts 1:9)
    *]Would sit down at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3)
    [/list]

#3

[quote=RyanL]It is my understanding that where the Qur’an doesn’t address a topic, the Old Testament applies.
[/quote]

Hey Ryan,

If your understanding is that where the Qur’an is silent on an issue, Muslims take either the New Testament or the Old Testament, if they fill in detail, as acceptable, then no, that is not true.

It is also my understanding that the Qur’an does not define what being “the Messiah” means, but nevertheless declares Jesus to be the Messiah

This is true.

As the Qur’an does not define what being he Messiah means, should we not look to the Old Testament?

There’s no reason to, from the Muslim perspective, unless solely from one’s desire for edification. The Qur’an makes it clear that the Messiah is the last of God’s messengers sent specifically to Israel, and that his message is both confirmed and superseeded by the message of Muhammad (PBUH) who was both the capstone and seal of God’s messengers, and whose message was for the entire world.

There are a great many prophesies in the Old Testament about the Messiah, and I wonder what the Muslim interpretation is of these verses.

In the first, you must understand that Muslims believe the Bible to be corrupt, and thus only take from it what agrees with the Qur’an, and leave what doesn’t. In the second, most Muslims would disagree with Christians about their analysis of some of the Old Testament verses that are claimed to prophecy Jesus (PBUH). And we must understand two other things: 1. prophecy fullfillment is a matter of subjective interpretation, not an objective truth, and 2. Christians are not un-biased in this matter.

In fact, many translations of the Bible, such as the NIV, deliberately skew the translation (adding capitalization, among other things) of Old Testament verses to make them appear Christological. Thus, for unsuspecting Christians, reading such verses become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Secondly, many Christological interpretations given by Christians (including some of the Gospel authors in their works) of Old Testament verses are just plain wrong. For instance, take the example you cited in your post of Micah 5:2 and its alleged fulfillment in Matthew 2. The problem is that Micah 5:2 is not talking about the actual town of Bethlehem, but is actually referencing Bethlehem Ephrathah, an Israelite tribe, out of which a leader arises who defeats the Assyrians. Did Jesus (PBUH) do that? Even the all-star and mother of all alleged Old Testament “prophecies” of Jesus (PBUH), Isaiah 53, is not beyond reproach. Not only is Isaiah 53 totally in the past tense, but there are also verses of it which clearly contradict Jesus’ life as portrayed in the Gospels.

I could sit here and tear through the list of alleged prophecies you provided, showing how each is untrue, or at least exaggerated, but I neither have time for that, nor do I think that is necessary, as the two examples I just gave you should suffice to carry the point home.


#4

Shenango,

You are wrong about your scriptural citations for several reasons, but I will not go into them if you have already set your mind to disbelieving.

That’s the thing about truth - if the hearer has hardened his heart and disbelieves, none but God can enlighten them.

That said, please clear up my misunderstandings of how Islam treats the Old Testament. I thought you believed it was a book from God (although not dictated like the Qur’an).

Could you please give me a list of verses/chapters from the Old Testament (or New) that are believed to have been corrupted, so that I won’t work from them? Also, how have these texts been corrupted? Was it the work of christians, who wanted to make Jesus God? Or was it simple grammatical translational errors, which could in all likelihood be neglected?

This should be fairly easy, as there has been roughly 1400 years of the Qur’an existing alongside the Old Testament. I just want to know what parts of the Old Testament you believe.

Peace be with you,
RyanL


#5

[quote=RyanL]I thought you believed it was a book from God (although not dictated like the Qur’an).
[/quote]

The Muslim view of the Old Testament is not black-and-white. This is the first and most important point to hammer home. Statements saying that the Old Testament is simply a book from God are too simplistic, and incredibly irresponsible on the part of Muslims, because things are much more complicated than that. Blanket statements such as these are unacceptable.

Could you please give me a list of verses/chapters from the Old Testament (or New) that are believed to have been corrupted, so that I won’t work from them?

No, I can’t, and not because I don’t want to. This is a complicated subject you simply cannot simplify as you’re trying to do. It just won’t work.

I can summarize by saying that Bible corruption, overall, in very general terms. happened because people were laying down to paper oral traditions, either of Jesus (PBUH), or ancient events (like the OT), which before this laying down had become mixed in with legends, other stories, or just plain evolved among people as is characteristic of oral tradition–as with a folktale that gets embellished over time. Thus, the Bible’s stories contain some truth, intertwined and mixed in with falsehood.

Thus, the Muslim view of the Bible (both the OT and the NT) is not black-and-white, but, to use a food analogy, more like a berry sundae, a swirl of dark parts and white parts, truth and falsehood all in the same container.

To give you an example, the Book of Exodus of the Bible relates the story of Moses’ exodus of the Jews out of Egypt. You want to know which parts of the Book of Exodus Muslims believe are corruptions, and which they can accept?

For instance, Exodus relates that in front of Pharoah, it was Aaron (PBUH), and not Moses (PBUH), who threw down his staff on the ground, upon which it seemed to transform into a snake. Muslims cannot accept this scenario, because the Qur’an states emphatically that it was Moses (PBUH), and not Aaron (PBUH) who threw down his staff and performed this miracle before Pharaoh. Therefore, Exodus 7:8-12 Muslims would call a corruption of the true story, and we cannot accept this episode as it is related in the Bible. From a Muslim standpoint, it is immaterial whether any ancient Exodus manuscript ever told the true story, and was merely corrupted (unintentionally or otherwise) by scribes, or if Exodus was written with this corrupt accounting of the story from the get-go.

The Exodus story goes on to relate that Moses (PBUH) ascended to Mount Sinai, upon which he spoke with God personally and was handed the stone tablets of the Law. Well guess what? The Qur’an also relates this story, and therefore Muslims can accept this account found in Exodus. This is no corruption.

But for instance, the Exodus narrative continues that Moses (PBUH), when he descended from the Mount, he smashed the tablets of the Law that God gave him in anger at seeing what the Israelites had done (fashioning the Golden Calf). This account Muslims would call a corruption of the true story, because the Qur’an relates that when Moses (PBUH) descended the Mount, he did so guarding the tablets carefully, and when he saw what the Israelites had done (worshipping the Golden Calf), he merely laid them down in a protected area and went off to condemn his people for their idolatry. After he was done, he picked them back up. But categorically Moses (PBUH) never smashed God’s tablets. This account in the Exodus, Muslims would call a corruption of the true story.

And while Muslims can accept that the Israelites worshipped the Golden Calf, they cannot accept that it was built by Aaron (PBUH), because the Qur’an says it was built by a wayward Samaritan.

Thus, this is what Muslims mean by Bible corruption. In the examples above, do you now see the intertwining swirl pattern (the “berry sundae”) that I described to you above? No Muslim will advocate throwing out the entire Book of Exodus, because it does contain some true accounting of the events it describes. But on the other hand, Muslims cannot accept it in full, or even chapter-by-chapter, because a corruption and a true accounting may be in the same chapter (and that is certainly the case in Exodus)!

Continued in Part II…


#6

In some sense, what you are really asking for is an Islam-annotated Bible, and that I cannot give you. Such is a massive undertaking, and which could only be done on a verse-by-verse basis (if even that!). To my knowledge, no such thing exists, but perhaps in the future, as dialogue between Muslims and Christians continues to accelerate in the West, perhaps we will see such a thing introduced in the future (I am actually not that far from thinking of working on one myself!).

The general precept you should take away from all this with regard to this is that Muslims can accept only the parts of the Bible that fully agree with the Qur’an. What disagrees with the Qur’an, Muslims can and must reject. What is not found in the Qur’an but in the Bible may be considered a sort of gray area that Muslims should neither deny nor accept.

Was it the work of christians, who wanted to make Jesus God?

It is true that much of the New Testament seems to have been written by Christians with a blind agenda of making Jesus (PBUH) out to be God, by portraying the events of his life in such a manner. Matthew believed Jesus (PBUH) was the Son of God, so he misappropriated Hosea 11:1 as a prophecy and claimed that Jesus (PBUH) fulfilled it by making up a story saying the baby Jesus (PBUH) was taken to Egypt, though Hosea 11 is really talking about the House of Israel being God’s “son”, and not Jesus (PBUH), and it’s not even a prophecy to begin with!

Likewise, I no longer have any doubt that other Gospel authors tore through the Old Testament, looking for anything under the stars that could possibly be interpreted to tell a story about Jesus (PBUH), including many parts of Isaiah 53 (though the writers clearly ignored the parts of that poem that contradict Jesus’ life in the Gospels).

But as with the Old, the story of New Testament corruption is not a monolith. While there are certain details of Jesus’ life that the Gospel authors themselves almost certainly made up on their own (see above ^^), other parts of the Gospels are clearly the result of laying down to paper oral traditions of Jesus (PBUH) that had been spread among people and greatly embellished over several decades with much legend and Greek pagan myth. A discerning Muslim reader of the Gospels can still find some of the Muslim Jesus (PBUH) present in them (such as in Matthew 19:17, or Matthew 26:39), which represent the authentic tradition of Jesus (PBUH). And a careful enough person can even tell you exactly where this authentic tradition has been overlaid with pagan myth and legend.

Or was it simple grammatical translational errors, which could in all likelihood be neglected?

The Bible also contains much textual corruption, such as the addition or deletion of verses, such as John 7:53-8:11, Mark 16:9-20 and 1 John 5:7, many disputed and missing verses, and thousands of variant wordings. Certainly all this is true, and you will often hear Muslims cast Bible corruption in such terms, that is,scribes changing the letter of the Bible’s text with their own hands. However, as you said, most such corruption is not really relevant from a doctrinal standpoint, and may be ignored for debate purposes. I scorn Muslims who use such arguments about Bible corruption.

I hope all this will help you to understand.


#7

Continued from Part I…

In some sense, what you are really asking for is an Islam-annotated Bible, and that I cannot give you. Such is a massive undertaking, and which could only be done on a verse-by-verse basis (if even that!). To my knowledge, no such thing exists, but perhaps in the future, as dialogue between Muslims and Christians continues to accelerate in the West, perhaps we will see such a thing introduced in the future (I am actually not that far from thinking of working on one myself!).

The general precept you should take away from all this with regard to this is that Muslims can accept only the parts of the Bible that fully agree with the Qur’an. What disagrees with the Qur’an, Muslims can and must reject. What is not found in the Qur’an but in the Bible may be considered a sort of gray area that Muslims should neither deny nor accept.

Was it the work of christians, who wanted to make Jesus God?

It is true that much of the New Testament seems to have been written by Christians with a blind agenda of making Jesus (PBUH) out to be God, by portraying the events of his life in such a manner. Matthew believed Jesus (PBUH) was the Son of God, so he misappropriated Hosea 11:1 as a prophecy and claimed that Jesus (PBUH) fulfilled it by making up a story saying the baby Jesus (PBUH) was taken to Egypt, though Hosea 11 is really talking about the House of Israel being God’s “son”, and not Jesus (PBUH), and it’s not even a prophecy to begin with!

Likewise, I no longer have any doubt that other Gospel authors tore through the Old Testament, looking for anything under the stars that could possibly be interpreted to tell a story about Jesus (PBUH), including many parts of Isaiah 53 (though the writers clearly ignored the parts of that poem that contradict Jesus’ life in the Gospels).

But as with the Old, the story of New Testament corruption is not a monolith. While there are certain details of Jesus’ life that the Gospel authors themselves almost certainly made up on their own (see above ^^), other parts of the Gospels are clearly the result of laying down to paper oral traditions of Jesus (PBUH) that had been spread among people and greatly embellished over several decades with much legend and Greek pagan myth. A discerning Muslim reader of the Gospels can still find some of the Muslim Jesus (PBUH) present in them (such as in Matthew 19:17, or Matthew 26:39), which represent the authentic tradition of Jesus (PBUH). And a careful enough person can even tell you exactly where this authentic tradition has been overlaid with pagan myth and legend.

Or was it simple grammatical translational errors, which could in all likelihood be neglected?

The Bible also contains much textual corruption, such as the addition or deletion of verses, such as John 7:53-8:11, Mark 16:9-20 and 1 John 5:7, many disputed and missing verses, and thousands of variant wordings. Certainly all this is true, and you will often hear Muslims cast Bible corruption in such terms, that is,scribes changing the letter of the Bible’s text with their own hands. However, as you said, most such corruption is not really relevant from a doctrinal standpoint, and may be ignored for debate purposes. I scorn Muslims who use such arguments about Bible corruption.

I hope all this will help you to understand.


#8

Shenango,

Thank you for the time it must have taken to write this. It does indeed clear up many things for me - or at least, I think it does. If I am not mistaken, there is actually no credibility given to the bible. There is credibility given only to the Qur’an, and in as much as the bible happens to mirror the Qur’an, that same truth is creditted to the bible. Much as a liar, the bible resembles truth but it is not true. This is why there is a “gray area”, is it not? Why, then, are Jews and Christians called “people of the book”? If ours is a pack of lies, why give us a fairly honorable title?

As I now understand it, your assertion is that the oral traditions of the Jews were corrupted over time (like the “telephone game”), and so we can’t trust their accounts. This applies even to the books written by the authors themselves. The New Testiment, on the other hand, was written by christians intent on making Jesus God. These people who walked and talked with Jesus daily for years managed to completely corrupt His message, even though for the last several years He had been teaching them daily (which really says a lot for Jesus’ teaching skills!). These “apostles” were so stupid that they completely misunderstood what Jesus said about Himself, and they believed their erronious interpretations so vehemently that the vast majority of them were willingly martyred for their beliefs rather than renounce their faith. Oh, and they all misunderstood Jesus in exactly the same way. These same simpletons were, in fact, so dumb that they managed to start an expansive movement with highly advanced theology, such that within three centuries they managed to overturn the most powerful empire the world has ever known. The followers of this pack of ne’er do wells currently number nearly 2 billion, and this is two millinium after their overly simple minds passed into the next world.

Doesn’t that sound a bit odd?

Peace be with you,
RyanL


#9

[quote=Shenango]Matthew believed Jesus (PBUH) was the Son of God, so he misappropriated Hosea 11:1 as a prophecy and claimed that Jesus (PBUH) fulfilled it by making up a story saying the baby Jesus (PBUH) was taken to Egypt, though Hosea 11 is really talking about the House of Israel being God’s “son”, and not Jesus (PBUH), and it’s not even a prophecy to begin with!

Likewise, I no longer have any doubt that other Gospel authors tore through the Old Testament, looking for anything under the stars that could possibly be interpreted to tell a story about Jesus (PBUH)
[/quote]

It’s clear that you know a lot about the context of the Old Testament texts used by Christians as indications of Jesus’ role as the Messiah. It’s great that you’re here to discuss things like this with us.

It used to be thought that the Gospel authors tore through the Old Testament and took texts out of context, but a careful reading of the context of the quoted texts shows that the Gospel authors really did care about context. For example, Hosea 11:1 is cited by Matthew because part of his aim is to show that Jesus is the New Israel. He draws parallels between the 40 years the Israelites spent in the desert and the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert. Where Israel failed its test of divine sonship by complaining and testing God, Jesus succeeded.

You mentioned earlier a verse about Bethlehem and Jesus crushing the Assyrians. Obviously Jesus did not rise up and crush the Assyrians. But if you look at the message behind the passage, it foretells of a universal king who will defeat the greatest enemies of Israel. From a Christian perspective, Jesus is the universal King who defeated Satan, sin, and death, the greatest enemies of Israel and of all mankind.

For more information on the context of Old Testament citations, focusing on the gospel of Matthew, this link might be useful:

salvationhistory.com/Online/Advanced/OTinNTMatt.cfm

It has a lot of information because these were originally posted as part of an online class, but you can access them for free without registering, and they might help you understand the way Christians see the relationship between the Old and the New Testaments.


#10

bump


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