There are more than 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, coming from a variety of ethnic and educational backgrounds. Many of these Muslims claim that there is strong evidence supporting Muhammad and the Qur’an, as well as strong evidence against Christianity.
Answering Muslims is a Christian apologetics website dedicated to responding to the questions, objections, and arguments of Muslims. The site is run by Christian debaters, lecturers, and writers who have a special interest in Islam.
Since one of the most common Muslim arguments is that Islamic morality and law would benefit Western nations, we also report relevant current events concerning the impact of Sharia on various cultures.
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against YHWH and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; Adonai holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: YHWH said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve YHWH with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.It is often understood that verse 7-9 is King David speaking. But observe who the speaker is in verse 5-6. It says "Then he [i.e. Adonai referred to in verse 4] will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying 'As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.'" There is no indication in the text that the speaker changes between verse 6 and 7 from Adonai to David (note that the quotation marks are not in the original Hebrew text). In verse 7a, we read, "I will tell of the decree: YWHW said to me..." Thus, here we see a conversation taking place between Yahweh and Adonai. This should remind us of another Psalm which reports a conversation that we see taking place between Yahweh and Adonai -- Psalm 110, a Psalm which speaks of the divine-human Messiah (yes, I am aware that Psalm 110:1 says Adoni instead of Adonai, but see my article here on why this doesn't put a dent in the argument for interpreting the individual at Yahweh's right hand as Adonai).
Psalm 2:9a: "You shall break them with a rod of iron."
Psalm 110:2: YHWH sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!
Psalm 2:9b-12: "...and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the YHWH with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.As you can see, there are striking parallels between those two texts. This suggests that there is a unity between Psalm 2 and Psalm 110. Given that Psalm 110:5 identifies the one seated at Yahweh's right hand (and the one to whom Yahweh speaks) as Adonai, the most natural interpretation of Psalm 2 is also that Yahweh is speaking to Adonai. Note that, although Yahweh and Adonai are equivalent titles that denote absolute deity, Scripture sometimes uses two different titles of deity in order to distinguish between persons of the Triune godhead (we saw this previously when I discussed Deuteronomy 32, where the titles of "the Most High" and "YHWH" are used).
Psalm 110:5b-6 he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. 6 He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.The individual spoken of here in Psalm 2, therefore, is going to receive the nations as his heritage. But what do we read in Psalm 82:8?
Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!Thus, the one who judges the earth with a rod of iron and who inherits all the nations according to Psalm 2 is the individual to whom Yahweh is speaking. But according to Psalm 82, it is God who will fulfill this role. Thus, again, we see reason for understanding Psalm 2 to refer to a divine Messiah.
“All things have been handed over to me by my Father.”And Jesus' words in Matthew 28:19:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”The references to God receiving the nations as his inheritance also connects with Deuteronomy 32:8-9:
8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. 9 But the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.I discussed the full significance of this text in a previous blog post.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it...14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.John begins his gospel by asserting Jesus' identity as being the very essence of God incarnate. The transliteration of the Greek of verse 1 reads, "En arche en ho logos kai ho Logos en pros ton Theon kai Theos en ho Logos." You will notice that the noun "Theos" for God at the end of verse 1 lacks a definite article "ho" ("the") but precedes the verb "en" ("was"). In Greek grammar, this renders it a qualitative. Thus, John 1:1 is most accurately translated, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and all that God was the Word also was." Moreover, this divine Word has existed from eternity past. "In the beginning was the word" indicates that in the beginning (as far back as you want to push it) the Word already was in existence. And yet even although the Word is the very essence of deity, "He was in the beginning with God" (verse 2). In other words, in some other sense the divine Logos was distinct from God. This is what Trinitarians believe with respect to the Son's relationship to the Father -- the Son is in very essence deity (possessing all of that which makes God God) and yet in some other sense He is distinct from God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth...He [John the Baptist] said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”Compare these verses to the words of Isaiah 40:3-5:
3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”Thus, not only does John the Baptist identify Himself with the voice crying out in the wilderness from Isaiah 40:3, but John the Apostle also alludes to Isaiah 40:5. But instead of saying that we have beheld the glory of Yahweh (as per Isaiah), he says, "...and we have seen his [Christ's] glory..." There can thus be no question that John is representing Jesus to be God Himself. John 1:14 literally says that the Word became flesh and tabernacled in the midst of us. Just as the very presence of God dwelt within the tabernacle of ancient Israel in the wilderness, so also now in the body of Christ, God dwells in the midst of His people. Just as the tabernacle is where the Hebrews could meet their God, so also Christ is where God's people meet their God. As the Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 2:9, "For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily..."
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.Here, he identifies Jesus as the monogenes Theos, meaning God the one and only. This monogenes Theos, he tells us, who is at the Father's side, has exegeted or explained to us the nature and essence of the unseen God. I shall have more to say about the significance of this later in this article.
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.Here, Jesus is identified as the commander and host of the Lord's armies. In fact, He is portrayed as treading the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty, the exact same picture as we see of the Lord Himself in Isaiah 63:2-6:
2 Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? 3 “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. 4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. 5 I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. 6 I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”Revelation 19 thus clearly contains yet another allusion to Christ's deity. There is also an allusion in verse 15 to Psalm 2:9, where we read that He will rule the nations with a rod of iron -- but I shall have more to say in a future article about the Messianic significance of Psalm 2. For now, I want to home in on the reference in verse 13 to His title as The Word of God, and explore its connection to Jesus as the commander of the Lord's armies.
13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.Interestingly, the commander of the Lord's armies speaking to Joshua, in Joshua 6, is identified as the Lord Himself (Joshua 6:1-2):
1 Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. 2 And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.””But there are other curious features about this commander of the Lord's armies. The first is that he appears in front of Joshua with his drawn sword in his hand. This reminds us of another occasion where the messenger/angel of Yahweh appears in the road with His drawn sword in hand. Turn over to Numbers 22:31:
"Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown."This suggests that the commander of the Lord's armies from Joshua 5 is in fact the same individual as the messenger/angel of Yahweh figure. Remember, the Hebrew word malak can be translated either "angel" or "messenger", and thus the title, the malak Yahweh can be translated "the messenger of Yahweh". From this point on in this article I will be speaking of this individual as "the messenger of Yahweh" (to distinguish Him from celestial creatures).
Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.Compare the command to Moses to remove his sandals from his feet, for the place where he is standing is holy ground, with the parallel command to Joshua in Joshua 5:5. But here in Exodus 3, again we see that it is the messenger of Yahweh who has appeared to him in the burning bush. This, then, corroborates further that the commander of the Lord's armies is in fact the messenger of Yahweh.
10 In the breeding season of the flock I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream that the goats that mated with the flock were striped, spotted, and mottled. 11 Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am!’ 12 And he said, ‘Lift up your eyes and see, all the goats that mate with the flock are striped, spotted, and mottled, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now arise, go out from this land and return to the land of your kindred.’”Thus, here the messenger of Yahweh identifies Himself as the God of Bethel from Genesis 28. This gets rather interesting when we turn to Genesis 35:1, and find that God, when speaking to Jacob about God's appearance to him at Bethel, switches to the third person:
God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”Is this just coincidence that God switches from speaking in the first person to the third person when describing the appearance of God to him at Bethel in Genesis 28? I don't think so. This is not an isolated occasion. Consider, for example, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 18:1-2, we read,
And the Lord appeared to him [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him.In verse 22, we read,
So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord.At this point, Abraham intercedes with the Lord over the fate of the people of Sodom.
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening…
Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven.Thus, we read that Yahweh rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Yahweh out of heaven. This suggests that there are two distinct individual persons who bear the title of Yahweh -- there is a Yahweh on earth and a Yahweh in heaven. This is consistent with the messenger of Yahweh Himself being in very essence Yahweh and yet in another sense distinct from Yahweh.
14 And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands (for Manasseh was the firstborn). 15 And he blessed Joseph and said, “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day, 16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys; and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”Thus, the angel/messenger who has redeemed Jacob from all evil (an allusion to the messenger of Yahweh who appeared on various occasions to Jacob) is taken as a parallelism for God Himself. Thus, again, we see that the messenger of Yahweh is in very essence deity.
20 “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. 22 “But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.Thus, God says of this angel that God's very name is in Him. Moreover, He has the ability to forgive and withhold forgiveness of sins -- an exclusive prerogative of deity.
7 I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. 8 For he said, “Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.” And he became their Savior. 9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.Check out my previous article here, where I show an interesting connection between this text and Isaiah 53. For even more discussion on the identity and nature of the messenger of Yahweh, please see another previous article of mine here.
7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, son of Iddo, saying, 8 “I saw in the night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse! He was standing among the myrtle trees in the glen, and behind him were red, sorrel, and white horses. 9 Then I said, ‘What are these, my lord?’ The angel who talked with me said to me, ‘I will show you what they are.’ 10 So the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered, ‘These are they whom the Lord has sent to patrol the earth.’ 11 And they answered the angel of the Lord who was standing among the myrtle trees, and said, ‘We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth remains at rest.’ 12 Then the angel of the Lord said, ‘O Lord of hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which you have been angry these seventy years?’ 13 And the Lord answered gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me.Here, we see the messenger of Yahweh interceding on behalf of God's people, and in fact he is answered with gracious and comforting words from the Lord -- so great is the extent he has for God's people. Again, in this text, the messenger of the Lord is identified as the commander of the Lord's armies, to whom the other horsemen report -- this again connects the messenger of Yahweh to the commander of the Lord's armies in Joshua 5, and therefore in turn with Jesus in Revelation 19. I shall have more to say about the significance of this shortly. Myrtle trees, by the way, are elsewhere associated with Messianic blessing -- e.g. see Isaiah 55:13).
Thus, here we see Joshua, representing Israel, standing in filthy garments (a symbol for Israel's sin). The messenger of Yahweh instructs that his filthy clothes be removed, and then declares that he (i.e. the messenger of Yahweh) has taken away his iniquity. But this is something that only Yahweh has the authority to say.
19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. 20 And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.This action typifies the sacrifice of Christ who, being God incarnate, was made a sacrifice unto the Father. The ascension of the messenger of Yahweh in the flame which rises from the burnt offering on the alter carries much symbolic significance and undoubtedly represents the coming sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin.
Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.Thus, we learn that the Messiah is given the title of "the messenger of the covenant." Jesus in fact applies this text to himself in Matthew 11:10/Luke 7:27. As already noted previously, it is the same word for messenger (malak) used here that is used elsewhere in relation to the angel/messenger of Yahweh. But who is the messenger of the covenant? To find out, we turn to Judges 2:1:
Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you.Thus, the angel/messenger who delivered the covenant is the angel/messenger of Yahweh. We can thus see that the Messiah will be this angel of the covenant.
13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.Now, the Son of Man Himself can be identified as a fully divine person (for some of my reasons why, see my previous articles on this subject here and here). The Son of Man here can also be given the title of the prince of princes. How do I know this? Turn with me to Daniel 8:10-11,25:
10 It [the little horn] grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. 11 It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown...25 By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.The little horn here is Antiochus Epiphanes, and the host of heaven is God's heavenly council (1 Kings 22:19-22). The reference to "the stars that it threw down to the ground" is also an allusion to the members of God's council (see its parallel usage in Isaiah 14:12-15).
36 “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. 37 He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all.Piecing these clues together, it appears likely that the prince of the host and the prince of princes is in fact the same individual, who is also identified as being the God of gods. Both are opposed by the little horn, and so it seems quite probable that these are in fact the same person, who is given multiple titles. And yet the prince of the host seems to be the same individual as the commander of the host from Joshua 5. Thus, the prince of princes can be identified as the messenger of Yahweh.
I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.Thus, the Son of Man must thus occupy the very highest office of authority. Therefore, he must be the prince of the host, which means he is the commander of the Lord's armies and thereby the messenger of Yahweh.
There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”Consider, moreover, Zechariah 4:1-10:
And the angel who talked with me came again and woke me, like a man who is awakened out of his sleep. 2 And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. 3 And there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left.” 4 And I said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?” 5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” I said, “No, my lord.” 6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” 8 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 10 For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.In verse 8, we read that the word of the Lord comes to Zechariah with a message. In verse 9b, we read that the conclusion of what is said by the word of the Lord is "Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you." Thus, here we see that the word of the Lord is identified as a personal agent who has been sent with a message to Zechariah. In verse 1 of the same chapter, we learn that it was the messenger of Yahweh who had been speaking to Zechariah. This at least suggests that the word of the Lord and the messenger of Yahweh may be one and the same person.
Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name."According to this text, it was the word of the Lord who named Jacob Israel. But then turn over to 2 Kings 17:34:
To this day they do according to the former manner. They do not fear the Lord, and they do not follow the statutes or the rules or the law or the commandment that the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel.According to this text, it was the Lord Himself who named Jacob Israel.
4 He strove with the angel and prevailed; he wept and sought his favor. He met God at Bethel, and there God spoke with us— 5 the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord is his memorial name: 6 “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”Thus, in this text, we learn that the man with whom Jacob strove in Genesis 32 -- the man who named him Israel -- is in fact the messenger of Yahweh Himself. By putting these texts together, we learn that the messenger of Yahweh is in fact the word of God Himself.
And Abram said to Sara, Behold, thy handmaid is under thy authority: do to her what is right in thine eyes. And Sara afflicted her, and she escaped from before her. And the Angel of the Lord found her at the fountain of waters in the desert; at the fountain of waters which is in the way to Chagra. [JERUSALEM. Chalitza.] And He said, Hagar, handmaid of Sara, whence comest thou, and whither does thou go? And she said, From before Sara my mistress I have escaped. And the Angel of the Lord said to her, Return to thy mistress, and be subject under her hand. And the Angel of the Lord said to her, Multiplying I will multiply thy sons, and they shall not be numbered for multitude. And the Angel of the Lord said to her, Behold, thou art with child, and thou wilt bear a son, and thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because thy affliction is revealed before the Lord. And he shall be like the wild ass among men: his hands shall take vengeance of his adversaries, and the hands of his adversaries be put forth to do him evil; and in the presence of all his brethren shall he be commingled, (yitharbeb, Arabized,) and shall dwell. And she gave thanks before the Lord whose Word spake to her, and thus said, Thou art He who livest and art eternal; who seest, but art not seen! · for she said, For, behold, here is revealed the glory of the Shekina of the Lord after a vision. (JERUSALEM. And Hagar gave thanks, and prayed in the Name of the Word of the Lord, who had been manifested to her, saying, Blessed be Thou, Eloha, the Living One of all Ages, who hast looked upon my affliction. For she said, Behold, Thou art manifested also unto me, even as Thou wast manifested to Sara my mistress.] Wherefore she called the well, The Well at which the Living and Eternal One was revealed; and, behold, it is situate between Rekam and Chalutsa. And Hagar bare Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son whom Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was the son of eighty-six years when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.Thus, here, the Word of God who appeared and spoke to Hagar is explicitly identified as none other than the messenger of Yahweh.
15 Thy almighty word leapt down from heaven from thy royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction. 16 With a sharp sword carrying thy unfeigned commandment, and he stood and filled all things with death, and standing on the earth reached even to heaven.Notice the striking parallel between this text and the portrayal of Jesus in Revelation 19.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.This relates to John 1:3, in which we read that,
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.In fact, the word translated breath in Psalm 33:6, is ruach, which means “spirit”. Thus, in Psalm 33:6 the whole Triune nature of God -- and the role of each member of the Trinity in creation -- comes into focus.
You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.Compare this to Amos 8:11-12:
11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. 12 They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.Thus, Jesus alludes to this text in Amos 8, thereby identifying Himself as the Word of God. Note also the context of these verses in Amos. Verses 9 and 10 speak of God's judgment:
9 “And on that day,” declares the Lord God, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. 10 I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.This imagery is also employed in the gospel of Luke 23:44-45, with the darkening of the sun at Jesus' crucifixion.
No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.No one has ever seen God? Of course, in Exodus 33:20, Moses is told by God that "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live." But throughout the Old Testament, people do see God, which creates a kind of tension, one with which the ancients themselves often grappled. Often, upon a manifestation of the messenger of Yahweh, people in the Old Testament marvel at the fact they have been allowed to see God face-to-face and yet their life is spared. This is the reaction of Jacob in Genesis 32:30; of Gideon in Judges 6:22-23; of Manoah and his wife in Judges 13:22; of Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5, and many other Old Testament saints (see my previous article here for further discussion of this). How can this be? The distinction between the seen and unseen Yahweh, I would argue, can only be understood through the lens of the Triune nature of God.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.John 1:18, and Matthew 11:27/Luke 10:22, again are drawing on the Old Testament. Turn over to 1 Samuel 3:6-7,21:
6 And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him...21 And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.Thus, we learn that God revealed himself to Samuel by the person of the word of the Lord which was sent to him.
5 When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”Compare this to the parallel account in Luke 7:2-8:
2 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. 3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”Which is it, then? Did the centurion come to Jesus himself or did he send representatives? This is simply a literary device which is common in ancient literature. To do something via a representative or intermediary may be spoken of as one having done the task himself. Consider, for example, John 19:1, in which we read that "Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him." It was not literally Pilate who did the scourging, but rather the Roman soldiers carried it out at the instruction of Pilate.
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John.It wasn't Jesus who was doing the baptizing, but rather his disciples, which is clarified in verse 2:
...(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples).Returning, then, to our texts in 2 Samuel 24:1 / 1 Chronicles 21:1, God used Satan to incite David to number his warriors, in order to expose what was already in David's heart. Thus, this example does not represent a real contradiction at all.
So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.The census itself, then, appears to have taken close to a year. And we also read in 2 Samuel 21:1 that there had already been a three year famine in the land. Thus, if we assume that God combined the initial three years of famine with another three years of famine, plus the intervening year that the census was conducted, we end up with a famine totaling about seven years. This seems to me to be one very plausible solution here.
A possible solution may be found along these lines. So far as Israel (i.e., the tribes north of Judah) is concerned, the 1 Chronicles figure includes all the available men of fighting age, whether battle seasoned or not. But from 2 Samuel 24 we learn that Joab’s report gave a subtotal of “mighty men” (‘ish hayil), i.e., battle-seasoned troops, consisting of 800,000 veterans. But in addition there may have been 300,000 more men of military age who served in the reserves but had not yet been involved in field combat. These two contingents would make up a total of 1,100,000 men—as 1 Chronicles reports them, with employing the term ‘ish hayil.We are not, however, given any information on how exactly these respective figures were obtained, and thus it is difficult to say much with certainty.
So far as Judah was concerned, 2 Samuel 24 gives the round figure of 500,000, which was 30,000 more than the corresponding item in 1 Chronicles 21. Now it should be observed that 1 Chronicles 21:6 makes it clear that Joab did not complete the numbering, for he did not get around to a census of the tribe of Benjamin (nor that of Levi, either) before David came under conviction about completing the census at all. Joab was glad to desist when he saw the king’s change of heart. The procedure for conducting the census had been to start with the Transjordanian tribes (2 Samuel 24:5) and then shift to the northernmost tribe of Dan and work southward back toward Jerusalem (v. 7). This meant that the numbering of Benjamin would have come last. Hence Benjamin was not included with the total for Israel or that for Judah, either. But in the case of 2 Samuel 24, the figure for Judah included the already known figure of 30,000 troops mustered by Benjamin (which lay immediately adjacent to Jerusalem itself). Hence the total of 500,000 included the Benjamite contingent. Observe that after the division of the united kingdom into North and South following the death of Solomon in 930 B.C., most of the Benjamites remained loyal to the dynasty of David and constituted (along with Simeon to the south) the kingdom of Judah. Hence it was reasonable to include Benjamin with Judah and Simeon in the subtotal figure of 500,000—even though Joab may not have itemized it in the first report he gave to David.Again, the lack of information on how exactly the respective figures were obtained makes it hard to say very much with certainty.
16 In the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, began to reign. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 18 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.
5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem...20 He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one's regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
And these were the chief officers of King Solomon, 250, who exercised authority over the people.
These were the chief officers who were over Solomon's work: 550 who had charge of the people who carried on the work.
For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?When we examine the text of Deuteronomy 32:15-22, we find that it is laced through 1 Corinthians 10:
15 “But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation. 16 They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger. 17 They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded. 18 You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth. 19 “The Lord saw it and spurned them, because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters. 20 And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness. 21 They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. 22 For a fire is kindled by my anger, and it burns to the depths of Sheol, devours the earth and its increase, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:4 identified Christ as the spiritual Rock that followed them. Deuteronomy 32 identifies God as "the Rock of his salvation" (verse 15) and "the Rock that bore you" (verse 18). Verse 16 also tells us that the Hebrews stirred God, i.e. the Rock, to jealousy with strange gods, whereas 1 Corinthians 10:9,22 says "We must not put Christ to the test...Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy?" Deuteronomy 32:17 says "They sacrificed to demons that were no gods", and 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 says, "No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons."
He made him ride on the high places of the land, and he ate the produce of the field, and he suckled him with honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.The other rock in view throughout this text, however, is the spiritual rock. And unlike the physical flinty rock, the spiritual rock followed the children of Israel.
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.Thus, we see in 1 Corinthians 10 a positive affirmation of Christ's deity. We also see in 1 Corinthians 10 that it was Christ who was tempted and provoked by the peoples' idolatry, whereas in Deuteronomy 32 it was the Lord God who was tempted and provoked. There can therefore be no question that Paul believes Jesus to be the God of Israel.
Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them,We thus learn that it was the angel of God who was in the cloud. Plenty of texts in the Old Testament reveal that the angel/messenger of the Lord is God Himself. I have discussed this topic briefly before (here and here), but I will have more to say about this in future articles. In brief, though, the angel/messenger of the Lord is a fully divine person who participates in the titles and prerogatives of deity (yet in another sense being distinct from God) and is prophesied in the Old Testament to be the Messiah Himself.
And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God's angels worship him.”Thus, again, we see that Christ is affirmed to be the Lord God Himself.
8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. 9 But the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.Liberal critics like to suggest that this passage lends support to their notion that the God of Israel was inspired from the Canaanite Baal myth (Baal was the son of the Most High God El). The liberal critics are thinking along the right lines -- but passages like this are best understood through Trinitarian lenses. When we interpret it in view of the revelation of the Trinity, the text makes perfect sense. Here we see Yahweh receiving an allotted heritage (his people) from the Most High. Like a number of other texts in the Scriptures, this one uses two titles of deity ("Most High" and Yahweh) to distinguish between two divine persons of the Triune God. In Luke 2:32, Mary is told by the angel Gabriel that "He [Jesus] will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High."
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.What is especially interesting about Deuteronomy 32:39 is the way in which it is interpreted in the Aramaic Targum of Pseudo Jonathan:
When the Word of the Lord shall reveal Himself to redeem His people, He will say to all the nations: "Behold now, that I am He who is, and was, and will be..."John of course understands Jesus to be the divine Logos or Memra (John 1:1,14). I shall have more to say about this and its connection to the Old Testament in future articles. It is striking then that the Targum of Pseudo Jonathan speaks of the Word of the Lord appearing to redeem his people and saying "Behold now, that I am He who is, and was, and will be..." A look at the three "I AM" sayings in John 8 reveals the past, present and future tenses of the three statements:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”There can be no doubt that Revelation 1:8 refers to Christ, because the previous verse Revelation 1:7 says,
Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.It is true that Revelation 1:4 also speaks of the father as he "who is and who was and who is to come." But this does not present a concern, since the title of Alpha and Omega is similarly applied both to the Father (Revelation 21:6) and to the Son (Revelation 22:12-13).
So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.This also resembles what we read in Deuteronomy 32:20, where the Lord God says that he will hide his face in judgment against Israel:
I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation,Finally, there is of course an allusion to Deuteronomy 32 in John 10:28:
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.Jesus here again echoes the words of Deuteronomy 32:39:
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.Again, we see Jesus taking an Old Testament text which applies to Yahweh and claiming it for Himself, thus representing Himself to be the God of Israel.
11 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.17 “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? 20 “Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, 22 I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. 23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken.Compare these words from Ezekiel with the words of our Lord Jesus in John 10:1-11,14-16. Again, pay particular attention to the underlined words in bold font:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly...14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.The parallels between these texts are striking. The words of Ezekiel 34:17,20 -- where God says He will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats, between fat sheep and lean sheep -- can also be compared to Jesus' statements in Matthew 25:31-34:
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.We also see the imagery of Ezekiel 34 employed in Jesus' statement in Luke 19:9-10: "For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost." Jesus tells the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:24 that He had been sent to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Jesus also says to Simon Peter in John 21:15,16 to “Feed #cen-ESV-26902X" data-link="(#cen-esv-26902x"="" title="See cross-reference X">X)">my lambs” and "Tend my sheep"
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.This text alludes to Psalm 95:7-8, in which God Himself says (in reference to Israel's rebellion in the wilderness):
7For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice,8 do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness...The text is also an allusion to Deuteronomy 32:39:
“‘See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.That Jesus claims the titles and prerogatives of the God of Israel in these texts is undeniable.
23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken.This is a curious statement. First we were told that God Himself would shepherd his flock, and then we are told that God will set up one shepherd who will feed them and be their shepherd -- and that shepherd will be His servant David. The only problem is that David was long dead by the time Ezekiel penned those words. How, then, can David be shepherd over God's flock? When we read the Old Testament as a whole, we realize that it makes perfect sense. There is a special blessing reserved for the house of David, one which has previously not been hitherto enjoyed. The Messiah Himself is one day to sit on David's throne and administer justice on the earth. He can truly be said to be the second David. One such text that springs to mind is Amos 9:11-12:
11 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, 12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.Words to the same effect can be found in many Messianic passages. Thus, we learn from Ezekiel 34 that the one shepherd of the sheep of Israel is both God and Messiah. Thus, again we see that the Messiah must be a divine person.
7“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,”declares the Lord of hosts.“Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones.Jesus interprets this text as a reference to Himself (Matthew 26:31, Mark 14:27). Here, we see that God is going to pour out his wrath (spoken metaphorically as his "sword") against His shepherd -- who is identified as "the man (geber) who stands next to me (amiti)." Who is the shepherd who is to be struck with God's wrath? Key to understanding this is the Hebrew word amiti, which is translated here as "stands next to me." The word appears nine other times in the Hebrew Bible, all of which are in Leviticus (Leviticus 6:2; 18:20; 19:11,15,17; 24:19; 25:14-15,17). In all of those instances, the word is used as a synonym for a fellow brother or a blood relative, or to one living nearest to another. Thus, the word refers to someone who belongs to the same genus -- or, who is of the same essence. This means that Yahweh and the shepherd, the man who stands next to him, are of the same category of being -- and yet this individual who shares His essence is both God and man.
“My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the Lord of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like his majestic steed in battle.Here again we see the contrast between the wicked shepherds and the good shepherd, the Lord Himself, who "cares for His flock, the house of Judah".
7 So I became the shepherd of the flock doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep traders. And I took two staffs, one I named Favor, the other I named Union. And I tended the sheep. 8 In one month I destroyed the three shepherds. But I became impatient with them, and they also detested me. 9 So I said, “I will not be your shepherd. What is to die, let it die. What is to be destroyed, let it be destroyed. And let those who are left devour the flesh of one another.” 10 And I took my staff Favor, and I broke it, annulling the covenant that I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep traders, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. 12 Then I said to them, “If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” And they weighed out as my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Then the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter. 14 Then I broke my second staff Union, annulling the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.Here, God identifies Himself as the good shepherd, as the thirty pieces of silver is said to be the "lordly price at which I [i.e. the Lord Himself] was priced by them." The Lord was worth no more to the people of Israel than the price of a common slave.
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.Again, this speaks of the good shepherd who was rejected by the people. This text dovetails with what we read in the very next chapter, with the shepherd being struck in Zechariah 13:7. Thus, the character of the shepherd who is stuck is consistent with the picture given previously by Zechariah of the Lord Himself.
Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.This text again is applied to Jesus in John 19:36-37:
For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled ... “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”If my interpretation of the shepherd of Zechariah 13:7 being a divine-human person is correct, then it is especially interesting that we read in Zechariah 14:9 that,
...the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.The Hebrew word used here for "one" is echad, which allows for a composite or compound unity (e.g. as in Genesis 2:24 and various other instances). This is very consistent with what we might expect in view of the Triune nature of God -- although there are two divine persons in view in Zechariah 13:7, they are essentially one in substance or essence.
24 Therefore the Lord declares, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: “Ah, I will get relief from my enemies and avenge myself on my foes. 25 I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy. 26 And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”Here, the meaning is obviously that God will interpose in favor of Israel. Which meaning is to be preferred, then, in the case of Zechariah 13:7? Some commentators suggest the latter interpretation. For example, the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary state that "The hand of Jehovah was laid in wrath on the Shepherd that His hand might be turned in grace upon the little ones."
8 In the whole land, declares the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. 9 And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”Another possible way of reading it is that the little ones are those on whom God turns his hand of protection and delivers, because this is the small portion of Israel that remains faithful to Christ and thus remains alive in the end. The elect remnant of Israel will thus see the Lord Jesus Christ, their Messiah, and they will call upon Him as their Savior, Redeemer, and Lord.
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.Here, we see that Israel's king, who is to come and establish peace on the earth, is to be a human who rides on a donkey (to ride on the back of a donkey, he must be physical). But Zechariah also tells us something else that is very important in relation to Israel's coming king. Turn over to Zechariah 14:1-9:
Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. 5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. 6 On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. 7 And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. 8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. 9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.This refers to a time yet future when all nations will be gathered for battle against Jerusalem, but God Himself will intervene against Israel's enemies. Verse 4 states something very intriguing: the feet of Yahweh will stand upon the Mount of Olives. For Yahweh's feet to stand upon the mount of olives, He must join to Himself a physical body -- for a non-material being has no feet. It seems that this allusion is intended to be taken literally rather than metaphorically, since the feet touching the mount of olives is responsible for the mountain literally being split in two from east to west. Thus, here we see a picture of Yahweh himself clothed with a physical body. Verse 9 further tells us that in that day "the Lord will be king over all the earth." Thus, the king of Zechariah 9:9-10, whom we read of coming to Jerusalem with salvation, physically mounted upon a donkey, appears to be Yahweh Himself. Here we thus see a foreshadow of the incarnation where, in the person of Christ, God will take upon Himself human flesh.
11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.The connection between verse 13 and Zechariah 14:5 should be obvious enough. The conclusion, then, that Paul affirmed Jesus to be Yahweh, is thus inescapable.
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away.Notice that verse 12 indicates that Jesus' ascension into heaven took place at the mount of olives, and the angels in verse 11 told the disciples that Jesus will come back in the same way in which they saw him go into heaven. Thus, when Jesus returns, his feet will again touch the mount of olives. Thus, the book of Acts makes Jesus out to be Yahweh, connecting Him with Zechariah 14:4.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.In context, the "my people" of verses 8 is clearly the Hebrews. How, then, can national Israel be "cut off out of the land of the living" and "stricken for the transgression of my people [i.e. Israel]" if Israel herself has done no violence and there be no deceit in her mouth? Moreover, Isaiah is quite explicit elsewhere, such as in Isaiah 6:5, where he exclaims concerning his own guilt before God:
“Woe is me! For I am lost; for 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!”It seems unlikely that Isaiah 53 speaks of a righteous remnant if this is how even Isaiah felt about his own standing before God. Moreover, he says in Isaiah 64:6,
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.A further reason to think that this text is not personifying the nation of Israel is that God uses the nations to smite Israel for Israel's sins -- and Israel's smiting does not bring healing to the other nations. Rather, God then turns His hand in judgment against them for overdoing the punishment and for their haughtiness and arrogance (see Jeremiah 30 & 31, Zechariah 1, and Isaiah 10 & 29).
Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.This is the very same exaltation language that is used exclusively of Yahweh elsewhere in the book of Isaiah. Consider, for example, Isaiah 6:1:
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up.Or consider Isaiah 33:5,10:
The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high…“Now I will arise,” says the Lord, “now I will lift myself up; now I will be exalted."Or Isaiah 57:15:
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”In case any readers were wondering whether this exaltation language of being "high and lifted up" can be applied to anyone who is not Yahweh, Isaiah 2:11-17 sets the record straight:
11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. 12 For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low; 13 against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; 14 against all the lofty mountains, and against all the uplifted hills; 15 against every high tower, and against every fortified wall; 16 against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft. 17 And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.Thus, we see, that the language that Isaiah 52:13 applies to the suffering servant can only be used of a divine person.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.Thus, we read that the servant will justify many and make intercession for sinners. But here is the thing. We read in Isaiah 45:24-25 that Israel will be justified in Yahweh alone.
24 “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. 25 In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.”We further read in Isaiah 59:16 that,
He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him.Thus, there was nobody found worthy enough to intercede or bring about salvation -- so Yahweh did it Himself using His very own arm.
Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.Wait a minute... God's arm rules for him? This language seems to at least be implicit that the arm that rules for Yahweh is in fact a person. Further evidence to corroborate this suggestion is found in Isaiah 51:9-11:
9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? 10 Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over? 11 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.Read through the text of Isaiah 51 for yourself. The whole passage has Yahweh speaking all the way through. And yet in these three verses Yahweh speaks to and even invokes His own arm, treating His arm as a person, representing the very embodiment of His power -- and yet this person participates in His very own essence.
I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me.We go on to read in verses 7-10:
7 I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. 8 For he said, “Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.” And he became their Savior. 9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.Here, the whole Trinity comes into view. The Holy Spirit is alluded to in verse 10, and identified even as a person who was grieved by the Hebrew rebellion in the wilderness. In verse 9 we are told that "the angel of His presence saved them." This alludes back to Exodus 23:20-21, in which we read,
20 “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him.Thus, this angel has the ability to forgive and withhold forgiveness of sins (an exclusive prerogative of deity), and He is no ordinary angel since God's very name is in Him. In future posts, I will show that the angel of the Lord (that this relates to) is not only God Himself and yet in a sense distinct from God (in a manner akin to how we Trinitarians believe Christ is God and yet somehow distinct from God), but that the Hebrew Old Testament prophecies that the angel of the Lord will be the Messiah. The Hebrew word translated "angel" in our Bibles is Malak, which can also be translated "messenger" (so it does not necessarily only refer to a celestial creature). Thus, the malak Yahweh can be rendered "the messenger of Yahweh".
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.Thus, we learn that the Messiah is given the title of "the messenger of the covenant." Jesus in fact applies this text to himself in Matthew 11:10/Luke 7:27. Note that it is the same word for messenger (malak) used here that is used elsewhere in relation to the angel/messenger of Yahweh. But who is the messenger of the covenant? To find out, we turn to Judges 2:1:
Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you.Thus, the angel/messenger who delivered the covenant is the angel/messenger of Yahweh. We can thus see that the Messiah will be this angel of the covenant. There is of course much more that can be said about this, but I will leave that for future blog posts. For now, we return to our text in Isaiah 63. We read in verses 11-12,
11 Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people. Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, 12 who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name.Again, verse 11 alludes to the Holy Spirit mentioned already in verse 10. But instead of speaking of the angel of His presence who went at the right hand of Moses, we are told that it was His glorious arm that went at the right hand of Moses (a parallelism for the angel of His presence mentioned in verse 9). Thus, we infer that the angel of His presence is the glorious arm of the Lord.
Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For HE grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.Here we see the arm of the Lord identified as the Messiah (the nearest antecedent to the "he" of verse 2 is the arm of the Lord -- and "he" is distinguished from "him"). Since we saw in Isaiah 63 that the arm of the Lord is the angel of the Lord, this text dovetails with passages like Malachi 3:1, where the Messiah is identified as the angel of the Lord. Indeed, supposing otherwise leads to an irreconcilable contradiction, since Isaiah 59:16 and 63:5 (as I showed above) tell us that no man was worthy enough to save, intercede or justify, since no one was righteous enough -- which is why God did it through his own arm. If it is not the servant who is the Arm of the Lord then that means that God empowered the servant to do what he did. But then why say that God found no one and so did it himself in His own arm, when God could have used His arm to empower anybody and everybody to do the work?
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— 3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist…10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.This text is undisputably speaking of the Messiah -- the descendant of David (and therefore of his father Jesse). This means that this text connects with Isaiah 9:6-7, which speak of a divine Messiah (who is afforded the title of "Mighty God", a title used elsewhere, e.g. in Isaiah 10:21 of Yahweh) reigning from David's throne. While the title Elohim is sometimes used of figures who are not God (e.g. Exodus 7:1), the title El (used in Isaiah 9:6) is never used in any sense other than that of absolute deity. The conclusion that Isaiah 11 is speaking of the same individual as Isaiah 9 is further supported by the statement that "with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth", which resembles what is said of the child born in Isaiah 9 (verse 7):
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.Thus, the Messiah spoken of in Isaiah 11 is the same individual as that spoken of in Isaiah 9:6-7. The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 11:10 for "root" (verse 1 uses the same word in the plural) is sheresh, the very same word used of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53:2: "For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground." We can further confirm the connection between Isaiah 53 and 9 & 11 by looking at Isaiah 42:2-7, which speaks of the same servant as that described in Isaiah 53:
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. 2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. 3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; 4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” 5 This is what God the Lord says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: 6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.Thus, like the Messiah of Isaiah 9 and 11, the servant is going to "bring justice to the nations" (verse 1) and "establish justice on the earth" (verse 4). Moreover, the servant is going to "open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." But that is exactly what we read of the divine child in Isaiah 9:1:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.Since Isaiah 42 refers to the same servant of Isaiah 53 and since Isaiah 42 connects with Isaiah 9 & 11, this in turn again connects Isaiah 53 with 9 & 11.
Anas ibn Malik said, “The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number.” I asked Anas, “Had the Prophet the strength for it?” Anas replied, “We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty.” [Another narrator said] that Anas had told him about nine wives only.#_edn1" name="_ednref1" title="" target="_blank">
The rationale behind these marriages is clear. Many were performed to rehabilitate divorced and widowed women, especially widows of companions who had been killed in the early battles … Some were done as an act of compassion toward a conquered foe.#_edn2" name="_ednref2" title="" target="_blank">
Then [Muhammad] emigrated to Medina and began spreading the word of Allah. Thereafter, he married eight women, all of them widows or divorcees, all old or middle-aged … He had married many of them in order to give them protection and safeguard their dignity. It was hoped that the Muslims would follow his example and provide protection to aged women, widows and their orphaned children … Thus do we see that each of these marriages had some solid reasons behind it; passion and lust were not among them.#_edn1" name="_ednref1" title="" target="_blank">
We say that the bent of thy Master’s life doth not answer to the boast that he “was sent a Mercy and Blessing to the human race.” On the contrary, his chief object and concern was to take beautiful women to wife; to attack surrounding tribes, slay and plunder them, and carry off their females for concubines. His chief delights were, by his own confession, sweet scents and women—strange proofs these of the prophetic claim!#_edn1" name="_ednref1" title="" target="_blank">
gratified the passion for fresh espousals, which was becoming a characteristic feature of his advancing years … The numerous marriages of Mahomet failed to confine his inclinations within the ample circuit of his harem. Rather its multiplied attractions weakened restraint, and stimulated desire after new and varied charms.#_edn2" name="_ednref2" title="" target="_blank">
Some critics of Islam … have reviled the Prophet as a self-indulgent libertine. They have accused him of character failings which are hardly compatible with being of average virtue, let alone with being a prophet and God’s last Messenger and the best model for all mankind to follow.#_edn3" name="_ednref3" title="" target="_blank">
With the solitary exception of A’ishah, the women whom the Rasool married were all elderly widows, homeless and friendless … As the war continued, the small community had neither the time nor the resources to provide home and subsistence to the widows and orphans.#_edn4" name="_ednref4" title="" target="_blank">
He had married many of them in order to give them protection and safeguard their dignity. It was hoped that the Muslims would follow his example and provide protection to aged women, widows and their orphaned children …#_edn5" name="_ednref5" title="" target="_blank">
… many were political marriages to cement alliances. Others were marriages to the widows of his companions who had fallen in combat and were in need of protection.#_edn6" name="_ednref6" title="" target="_blank">
A woman is married for four things: her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a loser.#_edn7" name="_ednref7" title="" target="_blank">
The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allah”; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah.” These are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before. May Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!According to this verse, when Christians call Jesus the Son of God, we’re imitating “those who disbelieved before.” We’re imitating the pagans.
Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.Jesus is to be called “Son of the Most High,” according to Gabriel, chief spokesman of the angels.
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”Martha and the Apostles and John the Baptist were all Jews. But even some of the Romans called Jesus the Son of God. When Jesus died by crucifixion, there was an earthquake, and the Roman centurion and those who were with him shouted, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
And get two witnesses out of your own men. And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses, so that if one of them (one of the two women) errs, the other can remind her.The Qur’an says that, if two men aren’t available as witnesses, then get a man and two women. Here we find the Islamic principle that the testimony of a woman is worth half the testimony of a man. Why is this? Muhammad explains in Sahih al-Bukhari, where he says that the testimony of a woman is only half as reliable as a man’s testimony because women are intellectually deficient. They’re stupid.
Your wives are a tilth for you; so go to your tilth when or how you will . . .We don’t use the word “tilth” much nowadays. A “tilth” is a patch of ground that you plow so you can sow your seed. The Qur’an says that women are a tilth that you approach whenever and however you want.
Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom you fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them.If your wife doesn’t obey you, you warn her, banish her to a separate bed, and beat her until she does what you say.
You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind . . .Well, what about Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims? Surah 98, Verse 6:
Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikun (those are idolaters) will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.Non-Muslims are the worst of creatures. Muslims are the best of peoples. The last thing we need in the 21st century is this kind of division. Here are the best people (the one’s who imitate Muhammad) and here are all the other people, and they’re the worst creatures in the world. They’re lower than cattle.
O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other.This doesn’t mean that Muslims are simply to avoid us. Muslims are commanded to actively persecute unbelievers. Surah 48, Verse 29 declares:
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.Those who are with Muhammad (i.e., Muslims) are severe against whom? Unbelievers. They’re merciful to whom? Only to their fellow Muslims.
O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.Muslims are specifically commanded to fight Jews and Christians (the “People of the Book”) in Surah 9, Verse 29. Allah commands his followers:
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.Notice that every criterion for fighting us in this verse has to do with our religious beliefs or practices. Muslims are commanded to fight us until we pay them not to fight us.
O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them.The word for “strive hard” here is a form of the word “jihad.” Muslims are commanded to wage jihad against hypocrites—Muslims who claim to follow Muhammad but aren’t really following him.
And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps [lamps are the stars], and We have made such lamps (as) missiles to drive away the Shayatin (devils), and have prepared for them the torment of the blazing Fire.Stars are missiles that drive away demons. How does this work? Surah 37, verses 6-10:
Verily! We have adorned the nearest heaven with the stars (for beauty). And to guard against every rebellious devil. They cannot listen to the higher group (angels) for they are pelted from every side. Outcast, and theirs is a constant (or painful) torment. Except such as snatch away something by stealing and they are pursued by a flaming fire of piercing brightness.Demons who sneak into heaven to steal some information are “pursued by a flaming fire of piercing brightness.” Muhammad explained in the Hadith that this refers to shooting stars. When you see a shooting star, it’s because Allah or the angels caught a demon trying to steal something and hurled a star at the demon.
And they ask you about Dhul-Qarnain. Say: “I shall recite to you something of his story.” Verily, We established him in the earth, and We gave him the means of everything. So he followed a way. Until, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in a spring of black muddy (or hot) water. And he found near it a people.Dhul-Qarnain was apparently Alexander the Great. But whoever he was, the Qur’an says that he traveled so far West, he found the place where the sun sets. The sun sets in a muddy or warm pool.
It was narrated that Abu Dharr said: “I was riding behind the Messenger of Allah while he was on a donkey, and the sun was setting. He said: ‘Do you know where this (sun) sets?’ I said: ‘Allah and his Messenger know best.’ He said: ‘It sets in a spring of water.’”Notice, this hadith doesn’t say anything about Dhul-Qarnain, so it’s not telling us about what he saw. This is Muhammad telling one of his companions where the sun goes when it sets, and Muhammad says that it sets in a pool. So the obvious meaning of the Qur’an is confirmed by Muhammad, and Muhammad and the Qur’an are simply wrong.
When they come to you to argue with you, the unbelievers say: These are nothing but fables of the men of old.So according to the Qur’an itself, pagans were telling Muhammad that the stories in the Qur’an were known fables. They were myths. They were fairy tales.
They [“they” here are the Jews] said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”—but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.Now there are multiple historical problems with this passage.
The Qur’an contains sentences which are incomplete and not fully intelligible without the aid of commentaries; foreign words, unfamiliar Arabic words, and words used with other than the normal meaning; adjectives and verbs inflected without observance of the concords of gender and number; illogically and ungrammatically applied pronouns which sometimes have no referent; and predicates which in rhymed passages are often remote from the subjects. These and other such aberrations in the language have given scope to critics who deny the Qur’an’s eloquence.So the main argument of the Qur’an fails miserably, and other arguments for Islam are even worse. This means that there’s no good evidence for Islam, but we have very good evidence for Christianity. And since Christians have proof for what we believe, this confirms our theology and our ethics whenever our theology and ethics disagree with Islam.