Thursday, December 23, 2010

How December 25th Became Christmas

I will be taking a break for the next two weeks from the Tithing series. It will crank back up in 2011 with a review of the Malachi curse, tithing in the New Testament, how giving replaced tithing in the early church, and lastly I will deal with objections from those that support Christian tithing.

I saw this article on the Apologetics315 blog, and thought that I too would share it. Being raised a Jehovah's Witness, I never celebrated Christmas. During that time I was subjected to year after year of silly and sad arguments about the impropriety of Christians taking over a pagan festival (I won't call them holidays, since nothing holy was done during their celebration).

With no further delay the article I reference was originally posted on the Biblical Archeology Review website. I hope that you will be blessed as much as I was.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is Tithing for Christians? Part Three

Tithing and the Mosaic Law
Now we are getting into the meat. Tithing is fully developed in the pages of the Law God gave to Moses. In the pages of the law we will find that there were two tithes for two specific purposes. Neither of which is applied by tithing proponents today. In fact, tithing proponents promote tithing based on a faulty understanding of the Mosaic tithe. This faulty understanding is not limited to Pentecostals and Word-Faith adherents, but has also been taught by some highly respected pastors and Bible teachers. In this post we will examine what the purposes of the tithe were under the Mosaic Law. The reason we go to the Mosaic Law is that the Law made tithing mandatory, and that the Law gives us the passage of full mention regarding the tithe. The tithe must be understood in light of the Mosaic law, and it is this lack of understanding that plagues modern evangelicals today in their misunderstanding of the tithe.
Vacation Pay?
The first misconception that is commonly tossed about concerning the tithe is that it was a way for the nation of Israel to support the Levites. Rather it was designed to support the Israelites during their celebration of the Festival of Tabernacles (Exodus 23:16; 34:22). As one studies the tithe in the Law, one finds that the tithe was on a three-year cycle. In two of the three years, the tithe was consumed by the tither and his household. The tithe was enjoyed during the family’s trip to Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles. The third year tithe was the only tithe that was to be given away. This understanding of the Mosaic Law tithe is confirmed by modern Jewish scholarship. The ma’aser ri’shan, or first tithe was given to the Levites. The ma’ser shani, or second tithe, was consumed in Jerusalem. These tithes were not simultaneous. This is important because there are pastors who have and are teaching this misconception (more on this in a future post). In modern vernacular the primaray purpose of the tithe was “vacation pay.” Deuteronomy 12:5-19 gives us the details of the proper use of the tithe during the Festival of Tabernacles. According to Scripture, the tithe was to be brought to Jerusalem and consumed by the tither and all in his house as well as shared with the Levites and the poor.

Deuteronomy 14:22-27 gives us an even clearer picture of the use of the tithe. It addresses the issue of Israelites that live too far away from Jerusalem to transport their tithe of the harvest to Jerusalem. According to verse 26, they were to sell the tithe of their crops, go to Jerusalem, and buy whatever their hearts desire (this is so important that it is stated twice)! They are then to consume the goods purchased with the money from the tithe of their crops in the presence of the Lord, and rejoice! The Israelites were not just to consume their tithe alone, but they were mandated to share their tithe with local Levites, widows, orphans and strangers (verse 27).
The Festival of Tabernacles (Booths)
Essentially, this feast served two purposes. First, it was to commemorate the 40 years between their exodus from slavery in Egypt and their entrance into the Promised Land which Israel wandered in the desert. The Israelites were to make booths out of the foliage of the beautiful trees of creation. It was done in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar (which corresponds to our September/October) at the end of the harvest. It also served as a time of relaxation, rejoicing and enjoyment of all the hard work that went into the harvest (Deuteronomy 16:14-15). The Israelites were given the opportunity to indulge themselves in whatever their heart’s delighted in. As I have mentioned before no one was left out of the celebration.

This feast was another way in which Yahweh distinguished the worship of Himself from those that worshipped false gods in the nations surrounding them. Those feasts, usually dedicated to the fertility gods and goddesses were marked by greed, drunkenness and immorality. As I have mentioned before this was how the Israelites were to use their tithe during two years of the three-year cycle mandated by the Mosaic Law.
The Third Year Tithe
According to Deuteronomy 14:28-29, the entire third year tithe was not taken to Jerusalem and consumed by the family, but was left at the city gate. This tithe was to be consumed by the Levite, widow, orphan, and those that had no harvest. This law was repeated in Deuteronomy 26:12-13. Verse 13 calls this portion “the sacred portion”, in other words, this tithe belonged to the Lord. This tithe was significant because it was designated for those that looked after the spiritual lives of the Israelites. Yahweh had graciously seen to the needs of those that looked to Him for their sustenance.
This is important because God promised the Levites sustenance (Numbers 18:20). God also promises to care for the widow and orphan (Psalm 146:9). Therefore only they that looked to God as their sustenance could partake of “the sacred portion.”
The Sacred Portion

The reason why the Levites only received one-third of the nation of Israel’s tithe is because they, as a tribe, represented, at best, 1/30th of Israel’s population. Therefore if the Levite’s received an annual tithe they would receive an unfair portion of Israel’s inheritance. Further, this tithe was also subject to a further tithe. The Levites were to pay tithe to the priests that were working in the temple of Yahweh. Interestingly, it is this tithe that is subject to the curse in Malachi chapter three, but that is for another post.

The other purpose of this third year tithe was to benefit the widow, orphan and alien resident in Israel, i.e., people without an inheritance. This tithe, however, was never to be the main source of substance for these people. Their share of “the sacred portion” was to supplement them so that they too had a time of abundance. The Law made two ways of support for those without a provider. One way was gleaning at harvest time (Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 24:19-22). We see Ruth and Naomi make use of this provision to provide for themselves (Ruth 2:2, 23). This provision, however, was temporary, and also demonstrated that those without support were not to sit around and get hand outs, but were to put forth some sort of effort to support themselves. The permanent measure laid out in the Mosaic Law was the kinsman redeemer (Ruth 3:1-2, 9 & 13). Yahweh loving provided a way through which relationships could be formed and inheritance reincorporated back into a household (Psalm 68:5-6).
In summary, there were two separate tithes mandated by the Mosiac Law. The first was as a provision to Israelites as the celebrated the Festival of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. During this feast, the tithe was to be consumed by the tither and his household as well as shared with the Levites, widows, orphans and those with no harvest. This was done for two years. The second tithe or “sacred portion” was taken to the city gates where it was consumed by the Levites, widows, orphans, and aliens. The purpose of this tithe was to insure that these people had a time of abundance.
It is important to repeat that the main purpose of the tithe was not to support the Levites, but for the enjoyment of those that worked for their harvest. This element of tithing is something that is consistently ignored by tithing proponents. I firmly believe that most tithing proponents are not motivated by greed, but are simply parroting traditions that they have learned. Sadly, these tithing proponents have made giving to the church an obligation rather than a joy. It is my hope and prayer that those who continue to promote tithing would look at scripture and make the appropriate changes in their fund-raising activities.

Next time on the Jude3blog, Tithing and the Malachi Curse.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Is Tithing for Christians? Part Two

The Tithes of Abraham and Jacob

One of the key arguments of tithe proponents that the tithe is applicable to Christians is the fact that the tithe was instituted prior to the Mosiac Law. There are a number of issues with this stance that we will address in this post. Before we review them, however, let’s look at the two pre-Mosaic Law texts that tithing proponents use to back their assertion that the tithe is obligatory on Christians.

Genesis 14:20 is the first verse tithing proponents rush to in order to establish their claim that tithing is a Christian command. It reads, “And he (Abraham) gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of all.” The main argument tithing proponents make is that this incident predates the Mosaic Law by 400-plus years, and is therefore apart from the Mosaic Law. The idea is that only those institutions started prior to the delivery of the Mosaic Law are obligatory on Christians. There is a huge problem with this line of reasoning, and that deals with circumcision. Do tithing proponents also promote the idea that circumcision is obligatory on Christians because it was instituted prior to the Mosaic Law, as found in Genesis 17:9-14)? Do tithing proponents advocate the sacrifice of animals, after all, were not animal sacrifices instituted prior to the Law (Genesis 12:8; 22:7)? Do these tithing proponents advocate the taking of concubines (Genesis 25:6)? The answer is a resounding, “No!” However, this is the logical progression of the sort of thinking that makes these arguments.

Some tithing proponents will say that Christians are to follow Abraham’s example of living a Godly life. This is an argument that has a huge amount of scriptural evidence to look at. In the New Testament there are 66 references to Abraham. In these references, Christians are only required to follow Abraham’s example of trust in God (Romans 4:11, 16; Galatians 3:6-10). There are no examples of scriptural promptings to follow Abraham’s example of tithing than there is to follow Abraham’s example of circumcision, animal sacrifices or the taking of concubines. It is clear that tithing proponents are guilty of cherry picking scripture that appear to justify their pet doctrine, but ignore those scriptures that demonstrate their error.

Further, this account of Abraham’s tithe does not tell us the purpose of the tithe, nor does it tell us of its frequency. It appears, from scripture, that this was a one-time gift from the spoils of war. Secondly, we have the Holy Spirit inspired commentary on this event in Hebrews 7:1-8 that appears to shed light on the significance of this event. In Hebrews there is no mention of this being a regular activity, and therefore it is appropriate to infer that this was a one time event. Third, if the tithe was a single incident, then it should follow that any future tithes are one-time gifts based on an increase of the givers wealth.

Since we are addressing Hebrews chapter seven, let’s look at the superiority of Melchizedek. Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek appears to be a response to Melchizedek’s serving of bread and wine. Based on this service the writer of Hebrews, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us that Melchizedek was superior to Abraham. Now since every Christian is a member of a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), and being in Christ who is forever in the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:6), then every believer should be receiving tithes. Tithing proponents need to explain why Christians are paying tithes rather then receiving tithes, as Melchizedek did.

One last point regarding Abraham’s tithe is that it appears to be an offering of first fruits, as opposed to a tithe. The amount that Abraham gave to Melchizedek (ten percent) appears to be an amount chosen by Abraham in order to show his gratefulness to God for victory in battle. In the Mosaic Law there were tithes and first fruit offerings. These are two separate offerings given for different reasons and given by different people. We will address these details in a future post, and we will not go further on this post.

Jacob's Tithe

The second incident that tithing proponents turn to is the account of Jacob’s tithe as found in Genesis 28:22, “…of all that Thou dost give me I will surely give a tenth to Thee.” On first glance it appears that Jacob is instituting a more systematic approach to tithing than his grandfather Abraham. A more careful study of this passage appears to indicate something else.

This tithe was voluntary, as was Abraham’s, but was based on the condition that God help Jacob as he fled from Esau (Genesis 28:20-21). How was Jacob’s tithe given? Was it offered directly to God in the form of a burnt offering? Did Jacob give it to a servant of Yahweh, like Melchizedek? Was it given to the poor in the name of Yahweh, or was it disposed of in some other way?

If this tithe was a thanksgiving offering, then one-third of the offering was burnt, one-third was consumed by a priest, and the remaining third was consumed by the person making the offering.

As we have seen in Abraham’s account, Jacob’s account is too scant of detail to base systematic tithing. Further, both of these accounts rely heavily on false premises that when taken to their logical conclusion advocate circumcision, animal sacrifices, and the taking of concubines. We see that when the Holy Spirit has interpreted Abraham’s encounter with Melchizedek in the book of Hebrews it is Melchizedek that is superior to Abraham. Lastly, it appears that these tithes are not a systematic payment of income back to God, but are one-time events of thanksgiving offerings to God for divine aid in some prior event. Therefore, it appears that using these passages to promote systematic tithing is the result of forcing passages into a preconceived notion.

Next time on the Jude3blog: Tithing and the Mosaic Law.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is Tithing for Christians? Part One

The research I have done on tithing has been the most painstaking I have ever done. The reason is that so many that may read this blog are associated with churches that fervently teach the tithe. Because of this I believe I will receive a reaction similar to someone who has been poked in the eye. Regardless of people’s reaction, the truth must go forward. So why tackle the topic of tithing? Because it is the duty of an apologist to not only defend the church from outside attack, but to occasionally get dirty and scrape off some of the barnacles that have adhered themselves to the ship. Let me explain, the church is like a ship traveling the ocean. The ocean is the world of ideas. These ideas sometimes attach themselves to the ship, like barnacles. These barnacles, if they accumulate in too great a number, can actually sink the ship. Therefore, it is necessary for the ship to go into dry dock, and some poor soul is given the horrid job of scraping the barnacles off the hull of the ship. The barnacles live in sea water, and once they are removed from the water they begin to die. This makes their removal easier, but it is a smelly and bloody job. It is also a thankless job. The person, who does the job, does so not do it for vain glory, but with the knowledge that the ship is safe from doom.

The reason that the apologist must tackle controversial issues is because too many pastors, in the ambition of a $1,000,000 budget and a 1,000 member church won’t touch these controversial subjects. Even worse, in order to get a $1,000,000 budget, pastors have concocted the idea of enforced giving through tithing. Therefore it is necessary to ask the question whether tithing is for Christians.

We will be looking first at the idea of monetary prosperity, and whether or not this idea is taught in the Bible. The reason why I start there is because this is where so many pastors who teaching tithing begin. Why do they start there? Because tithing has been linked to the prosperity gospel, in that, tithing is the main avenue for God to bless your financial life. Therefore we will be taking an in depth look at 3rd John verse 2.

Then we will be looking at the incidents of tithing in the Old Testament starting with Abraham’s tithe to Melchizidek, Jacob’s tithe to God, the tithes, yes plural, described in the Mosiac Law and the purposes for the tithe, the condemnation of tithing in Amos, the robbing of God and the curse found in Malachi, and who was robbing from God in Nehemiah.

We will learn about the punishing tithe found in 1st Samuel.

We will also look at the nine instances in which tithing is mentioned in the New Testament, and whether or not the paying of tithes is made obligatory to followers of Christ.

We will learn what constitutes Christian giving and to whom monetary gifts should be given.

Lastly, we will look at some arguments on behalf of tithing.

That is the skeleton that we will attempt to flesh out for you in this series. It is my hope that you will read this series with an open mind, and allow your beliefs to be changed by sound Scriptural teaching.

I pray that as your idea of Christian giving as embodied by tithing is challenged, that you will not resort to the tactics of a former pastor of mine. Many years ago this former pastor brought many of key leaders to hear Jim Bakker, the failed televangelist of the 1980s, preach at this non-denominational denomination’s “mother church” soon after Mr. Bakker was released from prison. Mr. Bakker delivered a scathing, but biblical indictment of the prosperity gospel (which tithing is married to), and pretty much shot down everything my former pastor taught about prosperity. Sadly, my former pastor attacked Mr. Bakker rather than deal with the arguments that Mr. Bakker presented. If you wish to attack me as a person, I will tell you that I am a failed man. I ask, however, that if you see something wrong with my exegesis then by all means go after it, and I will gladly listen to your views.

Prosperity and Third John Verse Two
John wrote, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2, NKJV). Nearly every sermon I have heard on tithing or finances began with this verse. The reason is the church I belonged to for a number of years had Word-Faith tendencies. This is a key verse in the Word-Faith movement that is used to show that God wants his followers wealthy and healthy. However, is this meaning what the author intended his audience to understand? Secondly, how would the author’s audience understood this greeting?

The Greek word translated “prosper” in English is a word that is found four times in the New Testament, twice, here in 3rd John, once in Romans, and once in 1st Corinthians. In Romans 1:10, Paul uses the word in reference to being able to successfully visit the church in Rome. In 1 Corinthians 16:2, Paul is speaking of the proportion in which the Corinthian Christians should give to the relief fund that Paul was collecting for the Christians in Jerusalem. Here in 3rd John, the author is using an idiomatic expression of the time to express his best wishes to his readers.

Where the mental gymnastics come in is when the pastor begins to move from health and wealth to tithing. Tithing is the key to prosperity, and that comes from Malachi chapter three. That discussion, however, is for a later post. What most pastors do in attempting to construct the hoops they will be taking their congregation through is relate the prosperity in 3 John with the curse in Malachi.

There are many more instances of mental gymnastics that tithing adherents perform to justify the tithe. What most pastors demonstrate, however, is their adherence to human tradition, at best, or utter ignorance of the topic altogether, at worst. We will demonstrate this in future posts.

Next time on the Jude3blog we will be looking at the tithe of Abraham and Jacob.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The "Meaning" of the 12 Days of Christmas

Many years ago I discovered a book that claimed to have the meaning of each of the 12 days in the Christmas carol, The 12 Days of Christmas. I no longer have the book so I cannot refer to it directly. The meaning of the 12 days as listed in the book, however, have always stuck with me. I have attempted to determine whether or not these are historically accurate, but I have not been able to get that verification. With this in mind, do not take this as any sort of truth, but rather as a way of applying a deeper meaning to a Christmas carol that, on the surface, celebrates greed.

From what I have seen, this Christmas carol is of French origin. The first written English version of this carol dates back to 1780. The twelve days refer to the 12 days between Christmas Day (December 25) and Epiphany (Jan. 6), the day which traditionally is held as the day when the three Magi visited Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus. It is also held that this song was birthed during a time of persecution in France in which Catholics were persecuted by Protestants. This is a historical inaccuracy as it was the French Protestants (Huguenots) that were persecuted by French Catholics. This carol was said to have been a "secret code" to teach children a catechism of belief. Again, this is not historically verifiable. That being said, I see no reason why Christians can take something that is not overtly Christian and give it Christian meaning. We see this with churches holding "Harvest Night" on Halloween.

So enough history. What can be said about the gifts given during the 12 days of Christmas? The partridge in a pear tree is said to mean Jesus on the cross. This is a clear Roman Catholic reference to the crucifix as Protestants do not have crucifixes in their churches but empty crosses. There are reasons for the Roman Catholic crucifix, but that is a subject for another post.

The two turtle doves is said to refer to the Old and New Testaments.

The three French hens is said to refer to either the Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, or the three Christian virtues faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

The four calling birds (actually colly birds or blackbirds) is said to refer to the four Gospels.

The five golden rings is said to refer to the first five books of the Bible (The Pentateuch, or the Torah).

The six geese a-laying is said to refer to the six days of creation.

The seven swans a-swimming is said to refer to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2-3).

The eight maids a-milking is said to refer to the eight Beatitudes as given by Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-10).

The nine ladies dancing is said to refer to the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

The ten lords a-leaping is said to refer to the Ten Commandments.

The eleven pipers piping is said to refer to the eleven faithful apostles.

Lastly, the twelve drummers drumming is said to refer to the twelve points of the Apostles' Creed.

I did discover that there is a song entitled "A New Dial" which nearly mirrors the above.

What are they that are but one?
We have one God alone
In heaven above sits on His throne.

What are they which are but two?
Two testaments, the old and new,
We do acknowledge to be true.

What are they which are but three?
Three persons in the Trinity
Which make one God in unity.

What are they which are but four
Four sweet Evangelists there are,
Christ's birth, life, death which do declare.

What are they which are but five?
Five senses, like five kings, maintain
In every man a several reign.

What are they which are but six?
Six days to labor is not wrong,
For God himself did work so long.

What are they which are but seven?
Seven liberal arts hath God sent down
With divine skill man's soul to crown.

What are they which are but eight?
Eight Beatitudes are there given
Use them right and go to heaven.

What are they which are but nine?
Nine Muses, like the heaven's nine spheres,
With sacred tunes entice our ears.

What are they which are but ten?
Ten statutes God to Moses gave
Which, kept or broke, do spill or save.

What are they which are but eleven?
Eleven thousand virgins did partake
And suffered death for Jesus' sake.

What are they which are but twelve?
Twelve are attending on God's son;
Twelve make our creed. The Dial's done.
As a humorous aside, the United States bank, PNC Financial Services, publishes its "Christmas Price Index" which tracks the cost of the items listed in the carol The Twelve Days of Christmas. While the Christmas Price Index for 2010 has not been released, the 2009 Index listed the cost of the twelve items listed at $21,465.56.

Again, regardless of whether there is a historic meaning to this carol is not important. What is important is that this song can be used to teach our children some important Christian ideas during a season which is more and more losing those Christian roots in our increasingly secular society. If you use this carol to teach these truths to your children or have in the past, I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is Christmas Pagan?

I have linked to an article on the Stand To Reason website and written by Greg Koukl entitled, Is Christmas Pagan? I hope that you will read it and use it when confronted by well-meaning Christians who attempt to impose their conscience on you. Enjoy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Six Lies of Islam, Part Seven: Are Arabs the Descendants of Ishmael?

This series on the six lies of Islam is drawing to a close. In this final post in the series, we will examine the Muslim claim that the Arabs are descendants of Ishmael. The reason why this claim is so important is that it is the claim that Arabs use in order to lay claim to the land of Israel. I have even heard this claim parroted from pastors behind a pulpit. Israel has been deeded to the descendants of Abraham, but does that deed come through the line of Isaac or Ishmael? This question is the source of much strife in Israel and the Middle East. Since this is a claim based on biblical grounds, then we must look to the bible to settle it. It is important that Christians also understand this issue, as we do not want to give away what God has promised to the Jews in opposition to what is written in the bible.

When we look closely at the Muslim claim that Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, we see three assumptions. First, that all Arabs are descendants of Ishmael. Second, that Ishmael and his descendants were included in the covenant that God made with Abraham. Lastly, that since the Abrahamic covenant included the land of Israel; the Arabs have a legitimate claim to the land. So what are the facts regarding the Arab claim to be Ishmael’s progeny? We will look at ten historical facts in this post and see whether the claim is legitimate.

First, according to the Torah, Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees and headed west to a land that is now called Israel (Genesis 12). While in the land he did not take up permanent residency, but rather lived in tents as a sojourner in the land. It was in Israel that God cut a covenant with Abraham and promised him and his offspring this land. It was in Israel that Abraham fathered Isaac, Ishmael and many other sons and daughters. Of these children only Isaac was chosen by God to be Abraham’s heir. Lastly, it was Isaac that was taken to Mt. Moriah were he was to be offered as a sacrifice to God.

Second, the Torah (the older revelation) consistently contradicts the Qur’an (the newer revelation) at every single point. According to the Quran (Surah 2:119-121), Abraham and Ishmael did not live in tents in Israel, but in the Arabian city of Mecca. While living here Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaaba, and placed the black stone inside it. It was Abraham who initiated the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, marching around the Kaaba, throwing stones at the devil, etc. Lastly, Abraham took Ishmael to Mt. Mina as an offering to Allah.

Ishmael had 12 sons who intermarried with the local population in northern Arabia and produced several nomadic tribes that became known as “Ishmaelites” (Genesis 12:11-16).

Genesis 16:12 prophesied that Ishmael and his family would live “to the east of his brothers.” We see later in Genesis 25:18 that they settled “from Havilah to Shur which is east as one goes toward Assyria.” This is a broad section east of Egypt in northern Arabia.

Assyrian records show that the Ishmaelites were though of as a distinct tribe. We do find, however, that the Ishmaelites intermarried and were eventually absorbed into the Midianites and other tribes. We see strong biblical evidence of this as Ishmaelites are called Midianites in Genesis 37:25-28 and 39:1, and where Midianites are called Ishmaelites in Judges 8:22-24; cf. 7:1.

According to the table of nations in Genesis chapter 10, we see that Arabia was already populated by the descendants of Cush and Shem (Genesis 10:7) long before either Abraham or Ishmael were born. The cities and temples that have been unearthed by archeologists is evidence of this fact.

If the Arab people did descend from Ishmael (as claimed by Mohammad) what happened to the aforementioned original Arabs? If they just disappeared, who did Ishmael marry, since no Arabs existed prior to Ishmael? If there were no Arabs, then who built Mecca? Since Ishmael lived in Mecca, it had to be in existence prior to his birth. It is clear from the evidence that the Arab people existed before Ishmael, and continued on to be a people that have no link to Ishmael.

We see from the biblical record that the descendants of Ishmael were scattered throughout northern Arabia, and that they were later absorbed into the Midianite tribe. We find nothing in the historical or archeological record that evidences the Ishmaelites moving further south to Mecca and displacing the ancient Arabs. There are even modern Arab scholars who state that prior to Muhammad, Qahtan was said to be the father of the Arabs, not Ishmael.

Genesis 18:18-21 tells us that only Isaac and his descendants were given the Abrahamic covenant. Ishmael and the other children of Abraham were specifically excluded by God from having any part of this covenant that God made with Abraham.

Since Ishmael and the other descendants of Abraham were specifically excluded from the Abrahamic covenant, none of them have any legitimate claim to the land of Israel. Only the Jews have any legitimate claim to the land of Israel.

Based on these ten facts, it is clear that the three Arab assumptions to being descendants of Ishmael, having a stake in the Abrahamic covenant, and therefore a claim to the land of Israel are false.

Muslims further claim that Islam gives them a right to claim the land of Israel as their own. This claim rests on the following two assumptions: All Arabs are descendants of Ishmael and Mohammad went to Jerusalem. The first claim has already been dealt with and demonstrated to be patently false, and their claim to the land of Israel is either spurious, or fraudulent. The second, however, is interesting in that it rests on a claim of a supernatural event.

According to the Qur’an and Hadith, Muhammad had a dream in which he traveled through the sky visiting the seven heavens, met great people (like Jesus), and visited the temple in Jerusalem. Since it was only a dream, we know that he never visited Jerusalem. Further, Mohammad lived in the 7th century A.D. and we know the historical fact that the Jerusalem temple had been destroyed, so it is historically impossible for Muhammad to have literally done this, unless he was also able to time travel into the past. Therefore, the Al-Aqsa mosque that dominates the temple mount in Jerusalem was built on a hoax and the lie that Muhammad stood there.

Lastly, there is not one Surah in the Qur’an that teaches that Ishmael is the father of the Arab race. Since this is not taught in the Qur’an, it cannot be a true Muslim doctrine.

We have further documentation from both Arab and western sources that further give credence to our claim that the Arabs are not descendants of Ishmael:

“Arabian literature has its own version of prehistoric times, but it is entirely legendary.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 2:176)

"The pure Arabs are those who claim to be descended from Joktan or Qahtan,  whom the present Arabs regard as their principle founder...The ‘Arabu ‘ l- Musta’ribah, the mixed Arabs, claim to be descended from Ishmael. They boast as much as the Jews of being reckoned the children of Abraham. This circumstance will account for the preference with which they uniformly regard this branch of their pedigree, and for the many romantic legends they have grafted upon it. ..The Arabs, in their version of Ishmael’s history, have mixed a great deal of romance with the narrative of Scripture.” (A Dictionary of Islam, pgs. 18-19)

“Muhammad was not informed about the family of Abraham.” (Encyclopedia of Islam) I: 184. See also pages 544-546.

“There is a prevalent notion that the Arabs, both of the south and north, are descended from Ishmael; and the passage in Gen. xvi.12, “he (Ishmael) shall dwell in the presence of al l his brethren,” is often cited as if it were a prediction of that national independence which, upon the whole, the Arabs have maintained more than any other people. But this supposition is founded on a misconception of the original Hebrew, which runs literally, “he shall before the faces of all his brethren,” i.e., (according to the idiom above explained, in which “before the face” denotes the east), the habitation of his posterity shall be “to the east” of the settlements of Abraham’s’ other descendants...These prophecies found their accomplishment in the fact of the sons of Ishmael being located, generally speaking to the east of the other descendants of Abraham, whether of Sarah or of Keturah. But the idea of the southern Arabs being of the posterity of Ishmael is entirely without foundation, and seems to have originated in the tradition invented by Arab vanity that they, as well as the Jews, are of the seed of Abraham--a vanity which, besides disfiguring and falsifying the whole history of the patriarch and his son Ishmael, has transferred the scene of it from Palestine to Mecca.” (McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, (Vol. I:339)

In the Qur’an, “Gen. 21.17-21...are identified with Mecca.” (The Concise  Encyclopedia of Islam, p. 193). It also states that the Southern Arabs come from Qahtan, not Ishmael (p. 48).

Based on the evidence our conclusion is as follows: The Arabs are not the descendants. Even if they were the descendants of Ishmael, they would still have no claim to the Abrahamic covenant as God had specifically excluded Ishmael from that covenant. Isaac and his descendants are the only rightful heirs to the Abrahamic covenant. Since Arabs are neither the descendants of Isaac nor Ishmael they have no rightful claim to any land in Israel. Further, non-Arabian Muslims have no claim to Israel because Muhammad never went to Jerusalem, except in a dream. The only people who descend from Isaac have the rightful claim to the land of Israel; these people are the Jews, and the Jews alone.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Six Lies of Islam, Part Six: Is the Qur'an a True Revelation?

As we have learned so far, Islam is a religion based on lies. It is a lie that Islam is a religion of peace, as untold amounts of blood has been shed in the name of Allah. “Wait a second,” you may ask, “isn’t Christian history just as bloody as Islam’s?” That’s a fair question, and it must be answered by the founders of the two religions. Mohammad encouraged his followers to kill, rape, and pillage those who did not convert to Islam. Not only did he teach this, but he was actively involved in these horrid actions. On the other hand, Jesus taught his disciples to love their enemies. He taught them that His kingdom was not to be spread by the sword. This leads me to ask, which of the two founders’ followers are consistently or inconsistently following the teachings and examples of the religions’ founders?

Also Islam is not a religion of love, as Judaism and Christianity are. I say this because Jesus, the founder of Christianity, said that the two greatest laws of Judaism are to love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Islam has no such law.

We have learned that Allah is nothing more than the ancient Arab moon god Al-Ilah, the chief deity of the ancient Arab pantheon. Archeology has demonstrated that the worship of the moon god (in various names) was quite common in the ancient Middle East. Further, the Qur’an makes no effort to describe who Allah is, which indicates that the pre-Muslim Arabs already knew who he was. We know this because Allah is a contraction of Al-Ilah, and based on the fact that people who lived prior to Islam’s genesis had Allah in their names (Abdullah, was Mohammad’s father; his name means “servant of Allah”).

In our last post, we learned that Mohammad was not a true prophet of God. This we know based on the many spurious prophecies he made that have been recorded in the Qur’an and the Hadiths (Islamic collections of traditional teachings, similar to the Mishnah or Talmud in Judaism). Further, we noted that not only was Mohammad a false prophet, but that he was a child molester. He married Aisha when she was six years old, and consummated the marriage when she was nine (Mohammad was 51 and 54 when these despicable acts took place).

The Qur’an’s Quirky Math

Now, we will look at the Quran in order to determine whether or not it is a true revelation from God. Muslims believe that the Qur’an is a perfect, inerrant, and God given book. This is a very substantial claim, and must be investigated. When a person does this, however, one finds that the Qur’an contains some very serious errors. One of which is found almost immediately in the Qur’an with Surah four.

According to Yusef Ali’s English translation we find the following, which lays out the many of the inheritance laws which were supposedly revealed by Allah to Mohammad:

"Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children's (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females: if only daughters, two or more, their share is two-thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is a half. For parents, a sixth share of the inheritance to each, if the deceased left children; if no children, and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers (or sisters) the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies and debts. Ye know not whether your parents or your children are nearest to you in benefit. These are settled portions ordained by Allah: and Allah is All-Knowing, All-wise." (4:11)

"In what your wives leave, your share is a half, if they leave no child; but if they leave a child, ye get a fourth; after payment of legacies and debts. In what ye leave, their share is a fourth, if ye leave no child; but if ye leave a child, they get an eighth; after payment of legacies and debts. If the man or woman whose inheritance is in question, has left neither ascendants nor descendants, but has left a brother or a sister, each one of the two gets a sixth; but if more than two, they share in a third; after payment of legacies and debts; so that no loss is caused (to any one). Thus is it ordained by Allah; and Allah is All- Knowing, Most Forbearing." (4:12)

The problem with this Arabic algebra is that is doesn’t add up. If a man dies and leaves behind two daughters, his wife, and widowed mother the inheritance is divided as follows: The two daughters get two-thirds, the wife gets one-eighth, and the widowed mother gets one-sixth. If we add up the fractions, 16/24ths (daughters’), 3/24ths (wife) and 4/24ths (mother) we get 23/24ths! There is no information where the last 1/24th goes!

Even more interesting is what if the man left four daughters, two parents and a wife? The shares would be divided as follows: The daughters get two-thirds, the parents get one-third, and the wife gets one-eighth. This adds up to nine-eighths! Where did the wife’s share magically appear from? It is clear that the Qur’an contains errors, and as such can not be proclaimed as inerrant.

The Qur’an’s “Perfect” Arabic

There is a claim among Muslims that the Arabic in found within the text of the Qur’an is absolutely pure. This is pointed to as evidence that the Quran was given directly from Allah. This statement is understood n the sense that the Qur’an was written in the Qurayshi dialect of Arabic (the dialect of Mecca and its surroundings) and as such is free from any foreign influences. It is also understood that the language in the Qur’an would be perfect in its grammar and poeticity. The primary Muslim proof text for this statement is Surah 16:103, “We know indeed that they say, ‘It is a man that teaches him.’ The tongue of him they wickedly point to is notably foreign, while this is Arabic, pure and clear" (16:103, Yusuf Ali translation).

It has been demonstrated, however, that the there are a large number of words used in the Qur’an that are derived from Syriac, the liturgical language of the Eastern Christian churches around the time of Mohammad, and even used today. This Syriac influence can be traced back to Mohammad’s time in the Arab caravans prior to becoming the prophet of Allah. Further there are a number of Syriac religious terms that are found in the Qur’an. Not only are Syriac religious terms found in the Qur’an, but non-religious words that are uncommon in Arabic but very common in Syriac. In addition to Syriac, the Qur’anic vocabulary consists of words from Ethiopic, Persian, and Greek. (A. Mingana, "Syraic Influence on the Style of the Koran", Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 11 (1927))

Further, Anis Shorrosh, a Palestinian Christian and native speaker of Arabic, has detailed a number of foreign words (excluding foreign names) which exist in the Qur’anic text. Shorrosh points out that the foreign words have perfectly interchangeable Arabic words that could have been used (A. Shorrosh, Islam Revealed: A Christian Arab's View of Islam).

It is clear, from both Western and Arab scholars alike, that there is a great number of foreign words in a Qur’an that was allegedly revealed in perfect Arabic. It is important to note that these are not words that entered into Arabic prior to Mohammad’s birth and thus became a part of the Arabic vocabulary. Instead the existence of these words indicates that Mohammad was influenced by outside vocabulary and used this vocabulary when composing the Qur’an. It is interesting to note that the languages mentioned above had strong economic, cultural, religious and military influence in the Arab peninsula. Therefore it would be surprising that Mohammad would not be influenced by them (especially based on the Christian and Jewish stories related in the Qur’an).

Lastly, it is a known fact that there are places within the Qur’an that the Arabic is imperfect. Rafiqul-Haqq and Newton have demonstrated that there are errors in the Arabic grammar contained within the Qur’an and have provided corrected readings based on accepted rules of Classical Arabic grammar.

In review, Muslims claim that the Qur’an contains no errors. As we have demonstrated, Surah 4 has errors. Therefore the Qur’an is not inerrant, and the Muslims claim to divine authorship must be rejected. Secondly, Muslims claim that the Arabic is free of all foreign influence. As we have seen this is not the case. Lastly, Muslims claim that the Arabic contained within the Qur’an is grammatically perfect. It has been demonstrated that this is not the case.

It is clear form the above examination, which is not exhaustive in the least, that the Muslim claim of Qur’anic inerrancy and perfect must be dismissed as fantasy. Rather than believe the lie that the Qur’an as a true revelation of God, it must be considered the religious rants of an illiterate Arabic trader who suffered from epileptic seizures during which he claimed to hear voices, and simply recited what he heard from the voices in his head.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Foolish Gospel: Good People Go to Hell and Bad People Go to Heaven

Over the past few days I have been having a conversation with a a person on the bus. She asked what I do in my church, and I told her that at this point in time, due to my work schedule, I am unable to serve the church. I did tell her, however, that I taught Sunday school to the children in the church I used to attend. She asked if I taught them the Bible stories, and I said sometimes, but mostly I focused on teaching them the gospel. Since these children ranged in age between 10 and 12 years-old they already had an idea of right and wrong. I went on to tell her that based on this, they needed to hear the gospel.

She asked me what my view of the gospel was, and I responded that it was not my view, rather it was Jesus' view. I then told her Jesus' parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee found in Luke 18:9-14. I explained to her what a tax collector at that time did. They purchased a franchise from the Roman government to collect the taxes. As long as they collected the appropriate amount of taxes for the Romans they could also levy additional charges on the people. Many viewed tax collectors as thieves because of this. In Jesus' day, however, Jews who collected taxes from other Jews were not only viewed as thieves, but also as traitors since they were working for the oppressive Roman government. Essentially, the tax collectors were viewed as bad men by the people of their day.

On the other hand, Jesus spoke of a Pharisee in this parable. The Pharisees were the conservative religious Jews of the day. They not only observed all 613 of the laws found in the Pentateuch, but also built a fence around those laws with their own legal traditions. The Pharisees made a great show of prayer, fasting and tithing. These men, because of their piety were viewed as good men by the people of the day.

Jesus contrasted the prayers of these two men in Luke 18. The Pharisee said, "God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get." On the other hand, the tax collector bowed his head and beating his breast prayed, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" Jesus told his followers that only the tax collector left the temple justified (declared righteous). Therefore, based on Jesus own words, good people go to hell and bad people go to heaven. This completely discombobulated my co-worker. She absolutely could not understand how good people would go to hell. I explained to her that it is not based on what you have done that condemns you to hell, but on what and whom you trust as an offering to quench the anger that God has towards you as a sinner.

My acquaintance dismissed the entire conversation and told me that I had issues, and that it is "stupid" to teach that good people go to hell when everyone knows that the opposite is true. Then our conversation was over as my stop came up. As I walked away, I smiled to myself as 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 popped into my mind. The gospel is so counter-intuitive to religion. Religion says that there are certain things that you must due to be acceptable to God. So many acts of charity, so many prayers that must be offered, so many days of fasting, etc., and in this way you become good and acceptable to God. The Christian gospel, however, never teaches us that Christians have to do anything. It teaches us that all we have to do is trust in the work of Jesus on Calvary's cross, and once that is done we are not good to God, but we are viewed by God as being just like Jesus! Praise God for the foolish gospel, for without it we would still be dead in or sin.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Is Muhammad a True Prophet?

So far in this series we have determined that Islam is not a religion of peace because of its bloody history in spreading its message. We have determined that Islam is not a religion of love, because love is not the overarching theme of Islam as it is in the both the Old and New Testaments. We have seen that the Allah of Islam is not the same as the God of Old and New Testaments because the Qur’an makes no attempt to introduce Allah to its readers. We have also seen that the historical and archeological evidence demonstrates that Allah is in fact the pagan Arabic moon god Al-Ilah. These are truths that are being deliberately covered up by not only Muslims, but also politically correct liberals that do not wish to offend any group (unless that group is Christian).

It is the job of the Christian to expose the lies of the enemy (2 Cor. 10:3-5). This is one of the two aspects of apologetics. First, we expose the lies of the enemy, and then we use these lies as a springboard to plant the seeds of the gospel. Note that I said “to plant the seeds of the gospel,” by this I mean that we are not looking for another convert in which we notch in our “gospel gun”, so to speak, but that we are placing seeds in an unbeliever’s heart that God will water and cause to grow according to His providence. We will, however, address how to present the gospel to Muslims in a later post.

Muhammad's Holy Mole

In today’s post, we will be examining whether or not Muhammad is a true prophet. What we will look at in this post is how the Qur’an and Hadith (the Islamic equivalent of the Jewish Talmud) Muhammad was marked as a true prophet, some of Muhammad’s prophecies and miracles, and lastly how does the bible define a true or false prophet, and whether or not Muhammad fits into the biblical definition of one or the other.

According to the Qur’an, Muhammad was marked with “the Seal of the Prophets” (Surah 33:40). What was this “Seal”? This “Seal” was later defined by the Hadiths as a hairy mole between Muhammad’s shoulders that was about the size of a partridge egg (Bukhari Vol. 1, No. 189; Bukhari Vol. 4, No. 741; Muslim Vol. 4, No. 5790-5793).

In Bukhari’s Hadith, a story is related about a man that came to Muhammad with three questions in order to test whether or not Muhammad was indeed a true prophet. These questions were, “What is the first sign of the hour (i.e., the end of the world)?” “What will be the first meal taken by the people in Paradise?” “Why does a child resemble its father and why does it resemble its maternal uncle?” Muhammad, once he heard these questions, stated that the angel Gabriel came down and directly gave him the answers which were, “The first sign of the Hour will be a fire that will bring together  the people from the East to the West; the first meal of the people in Paradise will be extralobe of fish liver. As for the resemblance of the child to its parents; if the man has his sexual climax first, the child will resemble him, and if the mother climaxes first, the child will look like her” (Bukhari Vol. 4, No. 546).

Muhammad's Odd Teachings

According to the bible, not only did prophets proclaim messages from Yahweh to the people of Israel, but they also performed miracles. According to Muslim tradition, however, the greatest miracle that Allah gave to Muhammad was the Qur’an (Bukhari, Vol. 6, Book 61, No. 504). Based on this testimony, it is possible to judge the veracity and authenticity of Muhammad’s message based on the Qur’an. When a person looks at the evidences found in the Qur’an , the Qur’an is the best evidence that it did not originate from God. What follows are just a few examples of issues within the Qur’an.

According to Surah 17:1 in the Qur’an, Allah took Muhammad on a journey to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. The problem here is that the Al-Aqsa mosque was built in 691 A.D. some twenty years after this surah was given by Muhammad. In attempting to rectify the error, Muslim scholars changed the story and said that Allah took Muhammad to the temple in Jerusalem. This change, however, only makes the problem worse, as the second temple in Jerusalem as destroyed by the Roman legions under Titus Vespasian in 70 A.D.

In the Qur'an, Surah 65:12 claims that there are seven earths. This idea is further elaborated on in various Hadiths and Muslim historical works (Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 54, No. 417, 418 &420; Vol. 3, Book 43, Nos. 632-634; Al-Tirmidhi, No. 1513 CD ROM Ed.; History of Al-Tabari-General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, Volume 1, trans. Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press, Albany 1989], pp. 207-208; Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 10 (Surat At-Tagabun to the end of the Qur’an), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; first edition, September 2000], pp. 55-56).

Other oddities that Muhammad taught were that Satan lived in the nose (Bukhari Vol. 4, No. 516; Muslim Vol. 1, No. 462). If a fly fell into your food, don’t worry and eat the food, because although poison was contained in one of the fly’s wings the antidote was in the other (Bukhari Vol. 4, Nos. 537 & 673). In Surah 18:86 Muhammad taught that the when the sun set, it actually descended into a pool of murky water. Muhammad ordered the drinking of camel urine (Bukhari Vol. 1, No. 234). Muhammad taught that if a Muslim fell asleep during prayers Satan was urinating in his ears (Bukhari Vol. 2, No. 245). He taught that if you eat garlic or onions prior to prayers Allah will not hear your prayers (Bukhari Vol. 1, No. 812; Vol. 3, No. 362).

Muhammad, Islam and Slavery

Aside from some of the above teachings, there was the personal life of Muhammad. One finds within the pages of the Qur’an not one bit of intolerance towards slavery. Now, one can make the same claim about the Bible, except that the Bible makes various laws regarding the sexual exploitation of slaves. The Qur’an on the other hand gives slave owners full freedom to exploit their slaves sexually. It has been a dirty little secret that Islam, since the days of Muhammad, has been involved in the trade of black slaves. While many African-American Muslims rightly decry the evils of the white man in the slave trade, they are blind to the part in which Islam has had a great hand in selling slaves to the west.

Further, Islam was had no abolitionist movement associated with it. Christians, however, led the fight for the freedom of black slaves in both England and the United States. There are documented cases of abuse by Muslims of their slaves, however there is absolutely no contrition for these abuses as one finds in the west. The Turks took over 3 million Hungarians into slavery between the 1500s and 1600s, as well as massacred millions of Armenian Christians in the early part of the 20th century. Between 1619 and 1620, 200,000 Indian Hindus were captured and sold in Iranian slave markets. African slaves were often castrated by their Muslim masters. This is why there are very few people of African descent living in the Islamic countries. The Muslims sold 400,000 slaves to America.

The absence of any guilt for slavery among Muslims might actually be indicative of an explicit tolerance for slavery in Islam. In fact, the view of many Muslims is that they were doing their slaves a favor by rescuing them from their homes and relegating them to a life of demeaning servitude or sexual exploitation. Caliphs, the Islamic equivalent of popes, maintained harems of hundreds and sometimes thousands of young girls and women captured from lands as far away as Europe and consigned them to sexual slavery.

Muhammad's Child Bride

As if all this was not enough, there is one more piece of information that Muslims have tried to keep from the prying eyes of those interested in the life of Muhammad. This is the fact that Muhammad was a child molester. When Muhammad was 54 he married a six year old girl named Aisha (Muslim Book 8, No. 3310). Three years later Muhammad consummated the marriage with her (Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 62, No. 64 & 88). This is not just an incident that is recorded in two Hadiths, but is recorded over and over again, and sometimes the testimony comes from Aisha herself.

There are Muslim apologists who are claiming that Aisha was 16 or 18 when Muhammad married her and eventually had relations with her. However, the Hadiths do not bear this out. Aisha said that she never remembered her parents believing in any religion other than Islam (Bukhari Vol. 5, Book 58, No. 245). Further, Sahih Muslim says that Aisha took her dolls with her when she went to the home of Muhammad (Book 8, No. 3311). It is even noted that Muhammad would join Aisha in playing with her dolls (Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 73, No. 151). As if this is not enough, it said in another Hadith that Aisha was playing on a swing when they took her to be with Muhammad (Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 41, Nos. 4915-4917). This does not sound like the actions of a 16, 17 or 18 year old, does it?

Muhammad was a man of questionable teachings and even worse, the dastardly actions of slavery and child molestation. Compare the life and teachings of Muhammad with the life and teachings of Jesus, and one finds a striking difference. These differences need to be brought out to our Muslim friends, and the truth of the gospel needs to be shared with them.

Next post: Is the Qur’an a true revelation from God?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Always Remember the Fifth of November

On November 5, 1605, a group of Roman Catholics attempted to blow up the Protestant controlled Parliament in England. The plot, however, was foiled due to the providence of God. Guy Fawlkes was caught and ultimately was "persuaded" to expose his co-conspirators. In his confession, he related the full details of the plot, which included the assassination of James the First. This was the same James who a year earlier had authorized the translation and publication of the Bible into English which was later published in 1611.

Not being particularly studious of English history, I never knew about this date until the motion picture V for Vendetta came out in 2006. I merely looked at the movie as a sci-fi morality tale in which the liberal producers where attempting to portray then President George W. Bush as the megalomaniac Chancellor Adam Sutler (portrayed by John Hurt).

What was interesting to me, was that the producers portrayed Guy Fawlkes as a hero attempting to "free" the English people from the tyranny of an unjust Parliament. I guess that truth is stranger than fiction based on what the reality of the gunpowder conspiracy. It's too bad that the producers of V for Vendetta choose to rewrite history by making Guy Fawlkes a freedom fighter, rather than a Romanist who was attempting to return England back to the control of Pope.

It is clear, as one looks at history, that God had His hand in events. Imagine if the gunpowder plot had succeeded, and England was returned to the Pope? Would the American colonies be founded, and ultimately forming the United States of America if they were Roman Catholic? Would England have remained a world player after the decapitation of the English government that the gunpowder plot had as its aim? Would Protestantism had succeeded without the economic and political power of England?

These are questions that can be pondered, but ultimately the answer is that history is His Story. The hearts of kings are like streams in the hands of God that He bends as He wills (Proverbs 21:1). I, for one, am thankful that God is in control over every aspect of His creation, including the hearts of men. That power keeps men from being as evil as they can.

So what should be remembered on the fifth of November? Should it be the foiling of the gunpowder conspiracy and Guy Fawlkes the Romanist who was attempting to end the reign of the most powerful Protestant nation on the earth at that time? No, what should be remembered is that God is in control, and will bring His truth to bear on an unbelieving earth.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is Allah the Same God as the God of the Bible?

In today’s pluralistic society it is quite popular for those that insist on peace at all costs to claim that the god of Islam is the same God of Judaism and Christianity. When asked by ABC News’ Charles Gibson if Muslims worshiped the same God as Jews and Christians, the President Bush said, “I think we do. We have different routes of getting to the Almighty."Bush continued, "But I want you to understand, I want your listeners to understand, I don't get to get decide who goes to heaven. The Almighty God decides who goes to heaven and I am on my personal walk." In other words, God is playing a divine game of musical chairs. God is parading around His throne, and whenever someone shouts, “Allah!” He sits; when someone shouts, “Yahweh” He sits; “Krishna”, “Vishnu”, “Brahma”, “Zeus”, “Thor”, whatever god you can think of, He sits, listens and responds accordingly. This pluralistic view of God, however, is self-contradictory. The reason is that all of these religions claim that their view of God is true, and all the others are false. Based on this view either only one is true and rest are false, or they are all false. So this conclusion leads us to the question as to whether or not the god of Muslims, Allah, is the God of Judaism and Christianity.

Based on research, it appears that the Qur’an talks about the Allah of Islam being the same as the God of the bible. Note what is written in Surah 29:14, “And dispute ye not with the People of the Book except with means better (than mere disputation) unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say "We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam).” This issue is further muddied by the fact that Coptic (Egyptian) Christians use the name, “Allah” in reference to God. Do the historical and archeological evidences back up the claim of the Qur’an, the Coptic Church, and modern Arabic bible translators?

Archeologists have uncovered evidence of moon god worship throughout the Middle East. From Turkey in the north to Egypt in the south the worship of the moon good was widespread. The ancient Sumerians documented on their famed clay tablets the worship of the moon god. Based on this evidence it is no wonder why we find a great irritation in the Old Testament about the worship of the moon god (Deut. 4:19;17:3; 2 Kings. 21:3,5; 23:5; Jer. 8:2; 19:13; Zeph. 1:5, etc.). This moon god went by many names, but in Arabia he was known as Al-Ilah.

The archeological evidence is clear that the worship of the moon god, Al-Ilah, and his three daughters (Al-Lat, Al-Uzza and Manat) was commonplace. These four deities are often represented together along with the crescent moon. The crescent moon is a symbol that can be found on Islamic flags and on Islamic mosques. There have also been found numerous inscriptions to the moon god Sin. However, it is important to point out that his title was “Al-Ilah”, which is translated “the deity,” meaning that he was the chief or high god among the Arabic pantheon. This title was eventually shorted to Allah in pre-Islamic times. These pagan Arabs even used the name Allah in the names they gave their children. In fact, Muhammad’s father is named, Abdullah, or “servant of Allah”! So it is clear that Allah was a known deity in pre-Islamic Arabia.

The next question that rises from a reading of the Qur’an is, “If Allah is a new god, then why is Allah never defined in the Qur’an?” The answer is simple. The pre-Islamic Arabs already knew who Allah was. As we have already established, Muhammad was already worshiping the pantheon of Arabic gods, of which Allah was the greatest. What Muhammad did was take the worship of the chief Arabic god one step further and take him from being the greatest god to being the only god. What Muhammad was telling these pre-Islamic Arabs was that taking the greatest god in the Arabic pantheon to the only god, was not that big of a step. All Muhammad was saying was, “Look, I am not taking away the chief god, but only his daughters and the rest of the gods.”

This attitude is seen in the fact that the first part of the Shahadah, or Islamic creed that one recites in order to become a Muslim is not, “Allahu kabir” (God is great), but “Allahu ackbar” (God is greater). Why would Muhammad insist that Allah is “the greatest” except in a polytheistic context? Could it be that the Arabic is differentiating between the greater and the lesser? It is the opinion of this author and other scholars that this is the case because the pre-Islamic Arabs never accused Muhammad of preaching an Allah that was different from the Allah that they knew. Based on this and the archeological evidence we now know that Allah was indeed the ancient Arabic moon god. It is clear that Muhammad was attempting to have his cake and eat it too. To the Arabs he was preaching the greatest god of the Arab pantheon. To the Jews and Christians, he was preaching the God of the Old and New Testaments. However, the Jews and the Christians knew better and rejected Allah as the true god, and Muhammad as a true prophet. As a result, Muhammad declared a war on Jews and Christians that has been fought continually since the 7th century A.D. to today.

The fact that Islam and its god Allah did not originate from the Bible, but from the pagan Sabeans, was pointed out by Al-Kindi, one of the earliest Christian apologists against Islam. Muslims do not worship the God of the Bible. Instead they worship the pre-Islamic moon god and his daughters Al-Uzza, Al-Lat and Manat. Islam was proved itself to be a separate and antagonistic religion that sprung from idolatry. Islam is not the child of Judaism and Christianity as Christianity is the child of Judaism. The pre-Islamic Arabs worshipped the moon god as a supreme deity much like the ancient Greeks worshipped Zeus as a supreme deity. However, this is not monotheism. While the moon god was the supreme god in the Arabic pantheon, there was still worship of other gods. Further, we now have actual idols of the moon god, and it is no longer possible for Muslim apologists to avoid the fact that Allah was indeed a pagan god from pre-Islamic times. This is why the symbol of Islam is the crescent moon. This is why the crescent moon sits atop mosques and minarets. This is why the crescent moon is prominent on the flags of Islamic nations. More importantly, this is why the Muslim fast of Ramadan begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon in the night sky!

Further, even the actions of modern Muslims at the Kaaba in Mecca are direct reflections on the pre-Islamic worship of the moon god. These pagan Arabs prayed facing Mecca several times a day. They made a pilgrimage to Mecca. They ran around the temple of the moon god (the Kaaba) several times. They kissed the black stone, which is a meteorite that they believed fell off the moon. They killed an animal as a sacrifice to the moon god. They threw stones at the devil. They fasted for a month and the fast started and finished on the crescent moon. They were required to give alms to the poor, and many other things. All of these actions are done by modern Muslims. Therefore, it is clear that the claims of modern Muslim apologists that Islam is an offshoot of biblical religion thoroughly refuted by the overwhelming archeological and historical evidence.

It is clear that Islam is nothing more than the revival of the ancient moon god cult of pagan Arabs. It has taken its symbols, rites, ceremonies, and even the name of its god from the ancient pagan worship of the Arab moon god. As such, it is clear that Allah is not the God of Judaism and Christianity, and must be rejected as the false pagan god he is.

Next time: Is Mohammad a true prophet?