A friend suggested I investigate Muslim claims that Muhammad is the prophet promised in the Bible. The argument orients around the Greek word Parqaleeta, translated as comforter in:
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Muslims claim is that Parqaleeta (Comforter) means “one whom people praise exceedingly”, which is the very same meaning as the name Muhammed.
Muslims claim that Muhammad is the prophet spoken of by Moses in:
Deuteronomy 18:18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.
They note that the prophet would be from among the brethren of the Israelites being addressed. i.e. not a descendant, but rather their cousins, the descendants of Ishmael who fathered the Arabs.
Muhammad himself claims to be the prophet foretold by Moses and Jesus:
Quran 61:5 And [mention, O Muhammad], when Moses said to his people, “O my people, why do you harm me while you certainly know that I am the messenger of Allah to you?” And when they deviated, Allah caused their hearts to deviate. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people. 6And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.”
In http://revjohnkc.blogspot.com/2010/08/paraclete-in-johns-gospel.html, “revJohn” explains how Paraclete is the comforter/helper/Holy Spirit according to general Christian understanding. “Mohamed Ajmal” jumps in with the Muslim understanding of this. He quotes “…‘Parqaleeta’. In the words of the Dictionary of the Bible (Ed. J. Mackenzie)…”, for which I found no Google hits apart from a few Muslim claims.
Now, this is a sensitive topic, over which many religious wars have been fought. I know very little of the Quran and Islam. I’ve never had a deep conversation with any Muslim. This is the first time that I write anything significant regarding Islam, so please forgive me if I misrepresent anything, and kindly point this out so I can improve on future messages. I can only speak from my knowledge of the Bible and Christianity. Although I’ve never attended theological training, I have studied the Bible extensively since my youth. I enjoy investigating various claims against the Bible and continue to find the Bible withstands every claim against it.
For a Christian to discuss theology with a Muslim, we must accept that we’re coming from a basis of mutual distrust and heresy. So, let’s start with agreeing that we’ll disagree, with religious fervour, and that’s ok. At least we’re talking. Through this, we can at least gain a better understanding of each other. Let’s also give each other reasonable attention, without jumping in to squash the other’s heresy before we’ve understood what they have to say. After all, if our side is the truth, it will withstand even the most severe scrutiny.
As I understand it, the message of the Quran is based on the angel Gabriel appearing to Muhammed in a secret place, essentially saying, “Throughout history, Allah (God) has revealed himself to all peoples, through the great prophets such as Buddah, the Hindu Vadas, Moses, other Biblical prophets and Jesus. However, while these received God’s perfect revelation, this has become corrupt over time. Now I’m appearing to you, Muhammed, who will be the last prophet (well sort of).” Muslims recognize that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, but claim that he never died on the cross, and certainly did not resurrect. The Quran goes on to “correct” much of the corruption that has happened to the Bible.
I agree that the revelation of God was given in ancient times and has been corrupted. I believe God’s revelation began with Adam, but with every generation of people rejecting God, they have made up their own stories, which became pagan practices and religions.
In contrast, I believe the revelation in the Bible was probably handed down and built upon in writing since Adam, through Methuselah, Shem, Jacob/Israel, Levi, Amram, Moses, each knowing their predecessor personally. Moses collated this into Genesis and wrote the next four books of the Bible. This has been faithfully copied with religious fear, that God might strike one dead if they made a mistake. Further revelations were added with the Prophets, then Jesus and the early apostles to form the Bible we have today.
200 years ago, the oldest copies of Biblical text dated back to around 1000AD. Then, people claimed that the Bible has been so corrupted through translations of translations and Chinese whispers that it’s useless. In 1948, we started digging up the Dead Sea Scrolls, which dated before Christ. These are essentially identical to the 1000AD manuscripts we were using, thus proving that Christianity has not corrupted the Old Testament. This fact exposes claims of Biblical corruption and casts great suspicion on further claims of the Old Testament being corrupted.
I personally don’t read Hebrew or Greek, so I’m dependent on translations. I intend to learn Hebrew so I can understand the word plays and ambiguities of names carrying meaning. But for now, I often compare different translations to really understand what a verse means. I typically use KJV, NKJV, NIV, Amplified and God’s Word. I also read German – an old Luther version and a modern one, and struggle with Portuguese – again an ancient version and a modern one. I find these translations to be very consistent.
For Muslims to claim the Bible has corrupted over time, sets a dangerous precedent for their own religious text. I understand the earliest known quotes from the New Testament date around 50AD, before the writing of the Revelation of John, which was written around 95AD. The earliest manuscripts of New Testament books date to around 130AD. The oldest Quran manuscripts date similarly in time since their authorship.
Further to this, the death and resurrection of Jesus have withstood academic scrutiny, although many choose to ignore this inconvenient fact. The legal argument is, “How could a bunch of peasants (the disciples) develop such an elaborate conspiracy, and none of them crack, even under torturous death.” Then there are millions who testify to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives today, including my own instantaneous and complete healing from depression.
The Bible is built upon prophecy and fulfilment. The gospels carry a mantra of “and so it was written”, whereby Jesus fulfilled dozens of prophecies. Likewise, in recent history, we see dozens of prophecies fulfilled with the return of Israel to their ancient land. In contrast, Islam makes a few claims of fulfilled prophecy, such as investigated here.
It’s very important to scrutinize the context in which quotes appear. Often when we have a theory, we want to make the evidence fit our theory. We must be aware of this natural bias and be open that we might be ignoring other important bits of evidence, that contradict our theory. By evidence, in this case, I’m particularly focussed on the Bible, as is appropriate when talking about biblical claims.
Parqaleeta is described in Strong’s Bible dictionary as Strongs G3875: “an intercessor, consoler:–advocate, comforter”. I found no reliable source that this means “one whom people praise exceedingly” as claimed.
John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
So, the Parqaleeta will live with us always, and is the Spirit of truth, which dwells with us. Jesus won’t leave us without his Parqaleeta. Through him he will come to us. Christians talk of the Holy Spirit living in our hearts, often synonymously with Jesus or God living in our hearts. The Trinity is the “we” that God made humans in the image of. Three persons, who are so intimately related, it’s hard to separate – this image plays out in that “God is one like my mother and father are one” as written by Gad the Seer (King David’s friend) in his extra-biblical writings.
Christians see the Parqaleeta fulfilled with the Holy Spirit, who lives with us and empowers us to face all kinds of trouble, including the torturous deaths that most of the apostles endured. He truly is the comforter. The Holy Spirit can only be received by those who believe in him. Whereas anyone can receive the Quran, which is a book like the Bible. However, one can argue that only a believer can understand the Bible, as a Muslim could argue similarly regarding the Quran.
While my argument may not disprove the claim, the Muslim claim is at least ambiguous. We should therefore look to other clearer claims.
Deuteronomy 18:15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a
Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16according
to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly,
saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see
this great fire anymore, lest I die.’
17“And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.
Muslims have a valid point that Jesus is not like Moses. Whereas Muhammed, like Moses, was born naturally, married, had kids and died. However, in verse 15, the Prophet will be raised up from the midst of the Israelites, so the later abbreviated “among their brethren” can’t be inferred as from their Arabian cousins, but rather a brother Israelite, as Jesus is.
Jesus was similar to Moses in that he brought a covenant between God and people. Moses’ covenant was with the law of Mt Sanai, Jesus’ covenant was the resolution of Moses’ law, fulfilling the requirement for a sacrifice to be made to absolve sin. Moses led his people out of slavery to the Egyptians, Jesus led people out of slavery to sin and religious works.
The Bible is bound together by prophecy, from the curse of the serpent in Eden to the New Heavens and Earth on the last page. The gospels refer to dozens of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, and many more aren’t mentioned in the New Testament. Some of these prophecies are obscure, but others are extensive and specific. To claim that Muhammad is prophesied in the Bible, and that he is more important than Jesus, requires a greater prophetic fulfilment than Jesus.
Daniel 9 prophesies that from the command to rebuild Jerusalem, which later happened around 445BC, there’d be 483 360-day years until the “Messiah would be cut off, but not for himself”, which was around the date Jesus was crucified.
Psalm 22 begins with “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”, which Jesus quoted during his crucifixion. This song describes the scene at Jesus’ crucifixion, in similar detail to the gospel accounts.
So, these vague claims of Muhammad fulfilling prophecies of The Prophet or the Parqaleeta totally fall short of expectations of biblical prophecy.
Significant biblical revelation is very public. After God plagued Egypt, the Egyptians begged Moses to take the Israelites away before they all die. When God gave the ten commandments in Exodus 20, he thundered these to the millions present. Moses later ascended My Sanai to receive a hard-copy, which God himself inscribed on stone.
Thousands of people witnessed Jesus’ death and resurrection. The gospels and New Testament writings encourage people to talk with these witnesses, most of who were still alive.
As is common with post-Christian religions, I understand that Muhammad had a private revelation from Gabriel while in a cave – nothing so public as biblical revelations of God. These beginnings of Islam lack the public witness of the two biblical covenants. Sure, Muhammad conquered many lands, but so did many others such as Napoleon, Hitler and Stalin.
End Times (Eschatology)
Although I don’t see Muhammad fulfilling significant bible prophecy, I have come across a strange convergence between Christian and Islamic eschatology. Both speak of a powerful ruler who will come to bring peace to the world at a time when there is great chaos. He will be supported by a great prophet, who will perform many miraculous signs, which will convince the world that he is God.
I understand the Islam claims this great prophet will be Jesus, who will convince the Christians that Muhammad was right and will make them follow Allah.
Daniel warns of a coming world ruler, who will somewhat restore the Roman empire, and will enforce a peace treaty between Israel and the world for seven years. Revelation builds upon this with much detail of this Antichrist and his false prophet. They will break the covenant with Israel after 3.5 years, but at the end of the seven years, Jesus will return with the resurrected Christians to finally conquer evil and establish his global kingdom based in Israel. This will last 1000 years until this spacetime is replaced with a perfect one and those who have rejected Jesus will enter eternal punishment.
One ex-Muslim commentator expressed how when he read the Bible, he found out that who he’d believed was the good guy was described as the bad guy.
I don’t think the antichrist will be Muslim, but will use prophecies from all religions to prove his deity and rightful receipt of worship, adoration and service.
Context is everything
Having examined the scriptures claiming to point to Muhammad, I find that the context does not support such claims. When Muslims claim that Islam is a religion of peace, they prove this by quoting:
“whoever kills a soul … it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.”
This comes from
Quran 5:32 Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.
33 Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,
Now that’s a rather strange proof that Islam is a religion of peace. I’m sure that many would understand from this, that I’m such a person who wages war against Allah – by daring to deny Muhammad’s claim to fulfilling biblical prophecy.
If you’re a Muslim, I must congratulate you for bearing with my heretical views. This is not an easy read. I hear there are many stories of Muslims encountering Jesus in dreams. Please don’t take my word as truth. Please critically review everything – my words and those of imams, priests and pastors. No one has a perfect revelation of God.
May I simply ask you, that you pray to Allah to show you the truth.
I pray that the God of Abraham would richly bless you and show you his glorious mercy, which has been poured out since creation.