Answers to Muslims Objections about the Bible - Part 1
Q1: Why do the two genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke [apparently] disagree? If someone is declared to be the son of God, surely his credentials must be
impeccable, mustn't they? Two variant genealogies [allegedly] cast suspicion on the true origin of this man, don't they?
A: Jesus had both a biological mother, Mary, and a legal (but not biological) father, Joseph. Matthew records Jesus’ genealogy of "law" (i.e. his adopted father, Joseph, and Luke records the genealogy of "nature", i.e. biological genealogy of Mary. According to Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History book 6 chapter 31, Julius Africanus, (200-245 A.D.) was one who reconciled this alleged contradiction in his Letter to Aristides. For a longer explanation, consultEusebius’ Ecclesiastical History Book 1 chapter 7 The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.97-98, Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.170-171, and When Critics Ask p.385-386.
As for Jesus’ credentials, you miss a key point here. In the Jews eyes Jesus did NOT have impeccable credentials, but not due to genealogy. They thought he was illegitimate, because they would not accept that He was born of a virgin. Not only that, but who would imagine a King and Messiah being born of such a poor family, in a stable of all things. Those who really wanted to follow Jesus would do so because of Him and His message, not because it was politically correct or popular.
Q2: Why does the genealogy in Matthew 1 show that Jesus [non-biologically] descended through a cursed line? (see Matthew 1:11-12 + Jeremiah 22:28-30 and 1 Chronicles 3:16 + Jeremiah 36:30 versus Luke 1:32. . Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and his father Jehoiakim were both cursed by God himself, who said that neither of these men would have any descendent on the throne of David. How could Jesus possibly be the Messiah, destined to rule forever on the throne of David, if he descended through either of these men?
A: Luke, with the genealogy of Mary shows that Jesus was NOT biologically descended from Jeconiah and Jehoiakim, because Mary’s ancestors diverged from the kingly line. Jesus was legally (not biologically) form Jeconiah and Jehoiakim through Joseph. The quote in Luke 1:32 simply says Jesus would sit on David’s throne. Looking back, we can see that David and Solomon were given slightly different promises. Only Joseph was descended from Solomon, and both Joseph and Mary were descended from David.
Q3: If the genealogy in Luke is that of Mary and not Joseph, then why does it list Joseph in the line rather than Mary? Why is no other genealogy of a woman recorded anywhere else in scripture? And if this is Mary's genealogy, then Jesus descended through Nathan, not Solomon, making the prophecies in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and 1 Chronicles 22:10 false.
A: In Jewish culture they typically did not record the genealogies of women, since for legal purposes they inherited from the father. The genealogy in Luke too records only fathers, recording the father of Mary (Heli), not the mother. That was it says "as was supposed" the son of Joseph. By the way, the Greek phrase for "as was supposed", (wz enomi zeto) is in the early Greek manuscript p4, dated probably c.150-175 A.D according to The Text of the earliest Greek Manuscripts p.43.
2 Samuel 7:12-16 and 1 Chronicles 22:10 refer to Solomon reigning after David, though of course Jesus was a "son" of Solomon legally through Joseph. It was Solomon who built God’s temple, not Jesus. As to someone from David’s own body [descendant] who would rule for ever, remember that special promise was given to David, NOT Solomon.
Q4: If, using the genealogy in Luke, Jesus' claim to descent from David, of the tribe of Judah, is through Mary rather than Joseph then how can it be that Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, was descended from the house of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi (Luke 1:5)?
A: That is because people have two parents. Elizabeth and Mary need not be cousins on their fathers’ side but their mothers’. You must be search very hard to see problems in the Bible to overlook this simple point.
Q5: How can it be that Jesus [allegedly] contradicts the Old Testament (1 Samuel 21-22), [allegedly] saying that Abiathar gave David the showbread instead of Ahimelech, and saying that David had men with him, when he was actually alone (Mark 2:25-26)? Does the church expect me to rely upon the teachings of a "son of God" who is demonstrably mistaken about what God’s Word says?
A: I agree it is hard to rely on what people think are the teachings of the Bible when people say false things about it. Let’s fix up the error in this question before we answer it. Mark 2:25-26 never said who gave David the showbread. Both Abiathar and Ahimelech were alive then, though Abiathar's father Ahimelech was killed shortly thereafter. David was alone when he was with Ahimelech; Mark 2:25-26 merely says David gave some of the bread to his companions, who were probably camped close by.
Q6: Why does Jesus quote a non-existent verse of Old Testament scripture (John 7:3? Is it possible that he considered other non-canonical writings also to be God's Word?
A: Jesus did not quote any non-existent verse of the Old Testament. Actually in John 7:3 it is Jesus’ brothers who are speaking, and they are not quoting anything either. Perhaps you meant some other verse. Jesus validated the scripture that came before Him. Specifically He did this in Luke 11:51; 24:27,44; and Matthew 23:35. He defended Himself against Satan by quoting God’s word as "It is written…" in Matthew 4:4,7,10, Luke 4:4,8,12. Jesus stated that scripture cannot be broken in John 10:35, and scripture was "the commands of God" in Mark 4:8-9. His entire life was spent quoting, living, and fulfilling scripture as all the gospels show.
Jesus rebuked the Sadducees, who only accepted the Torah (Law) as the Word of God. Matt 22:29 says, Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God." Jesus said the following people wrote their books:
Moses in Mark 10:3,5; Luke 20:37
David in Matt 22:43-5; Mark 12:36-7; Luke 20:42-4
Isaiah in Matthew 15:7
Daniel in Matthew 24:15
Jesus was silent on any need for correcting, adding to, or taking away from the scripture that was accepted in Judea at that time. The Old Testament that was good enough for Jesus is good enough for me.
Q7: Why would Jesus deliberately obscure the gospel by speaking in parables so that people would not understand, turn, and be forgiven (Mark 4:11-12)? Did he not come that all men might be saved?
A: Jesus was referring to Isaiah 6:9,10. Jesus spoke in parables to be merciful! Here are four points to the answer.
1) God wants all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 17:23).
2) But some have chosen to reject God’s word and there are consequences for that in this life. These kind of people become hardened in their hearing, hardening their hearts. (Exodus 8:15,32; 9:17,34;Pr28:14; Romans 1:18-20; Hebrews 3:12-15;Zc7:12)
3) For people who reject God, it is better for them not to know truth than to know the truth and turn their backs on it, according to 2 Peter 2:20-22.
4) A parable is appropriate because those who want to follow God can be guided to know its meaning, and a parable will be not be understood by those who do not want to follow God.
If someone has already rejected the truth they know of God, God is not obligated to give them more truth.
Q8: Why was Jesus in the tomb for only two and a half days at the most, when he said he would be there three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40)? Surely the son of God would say precisely what he means, wouldn't he?
A: Since Luke 24:21 says that the day of resurrection was the third day. Jesus died Friday afternoon, and rose Sunday around dawn. After three days was a known Hebrew idiom meaning part or all of three days. Here are three examples of the "three-day idiom". Since English rendering differ, all these quotes are taken from Green's Literal translation.
1. Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles 10:5 told the people "three days return to me". Yet in 2 Chronicles 10:12, the people returned "on the third day, as the king commanded".
2. In referring to Christ's death and resurrection, Jesus himself said in Matthew 12:40 says "three days and three nights", Mark 8:31 says "the third day he will rise up", Mark 14:58 says "through three days", John 2:19 says "in three days", and Luke 24:21 says "This third day comes today".
3. In Esther 4:16 Esther says to fast for her, "for three days, night and day" and she would do the same. Yet Esther 5:1 says it happened "on the third day" Esther had a banquet, so this is an equivalent time.
In summary, we have proven this Hebrew idiom can mean within three days, and this expression was recognizable from the time of Rehoboam to the time of Jesus. See 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.192, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.380-381, and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.176-177 for more info.
Q9: Why would Jesus prophesy that his kingdom would come in glory before some of those listening to him died, but the kingdom still has not come (Matthew 16:18, Matthew 10:23, Mark 9:1, Luke 21:31-32)? Surely the son of God could not have spoken a false prophecy, could he?
A: No, these verses refer to different things. Here is the meaning of each verse.
Matthew 10:23 says they will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. Christians witnessing for Christ have not gone through all the towns of Israel yet. By the way, in Israel today there is a law against converting people from Judaism to Christianity.
Mark 9:1 says some there will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God present with power. Many of the listeners were witnesses of Jesus after His resurrection. Jesus appeared to over 500 people in 1 Corinthians 15:6.
Luke 21:31-31 says that when you see the signs in Luke 21 happening, know that this "generation" will not pass away until all these things take place. This refers to the end times. The Greek word "generation" can mean race of people as well as a generation.
Matthew 16:18 "upon this rock I will build my church" refers to Christ calling Peter "rock/pebble", and building Christ’s church on the "rock/boulder" of the confession Peter gave.
Q10: Why was Jesus disrespectful of his mother? (see Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 8:19-21, John 2:4) In John 2:4, Jesus uses the same words with his mother that demons use when they meet Jesus. (Compare John 2:4 with Matthew 8:29, Mark 5:7, Luke 4:34, and Luke 8:28 in literal translation ). Surely the son of God knew that Mary had the blessing of the Father, didn't he, not to mention that the son of God would never be rude?
A: Jesus was not disrespectful of His mother, and we should not be either. However, if God commands us to do something or not do something, God’s command is a higher priority than our parents. Likewise in Matthew 12:46-50, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 8:19-21, Jesus’ mother and brothers were outside when Jesus was speaking. When Jesus was told, He did God’s will and finished speaking. Jesus said that those closest in God’s family were not the people biologically closest to Jesus, but those who did God’s will.
In John 2:4 Jesus was telling His mother that His time was not yet come.
Perhaps the questioner did not understand. In Matthew 8:29; Mark 5:7; Luke 4:34; it is the demons, not Jesus, who are speaking. It Luke 8:28 it is the demon-possessed man who is speaking. I looked in Green’s literal translation, I did not see anything relevant to the question.
Q11: Why did Jesus lie to his brothers about going to Jerusalem (John 7:8-10)? Did God the Father send a lying spirit, as he did in 1 Kings? Like Father, like Son? (The "yet" inserted in some modern translations is not found in the earliest extant manuscripts. This is an example of modern emendation of holy scripture. The more honest translations, like the King James Version, print "yet" in italics, indicating that the word has been added in translation. The New American Standard Bible does not insert the word, remaining true to the critical Greek text. But the New International Version inserts "yet" in normal typeset, relegating the explanation of its dubious character to a footnote, where many uncritical readers will miss
A: You mention three points which I will take in a different order.
a) Did Jesus in the Bible lie?
b) Did Jesus lie like God in the Bible lied?
c) Are translations of Holy books dishonest in their translation?
I want to first answer each part relating to the Bible, and then contrast this with Allah in the Qur’an and hadiths, and comparison of honesty in translating the Qur’an.
Christianity-A) Jesus did not lie, because Jesus did NOT say He was never going to Jerusalem ever again, but that He was not going to Jerusalem at that time, and so he was not going with them. Later He did not. "Yet" after not IS in the earliest Greek manuscripts, but we will deal with that later.
Islam-A) In the Qur’an Sura 3:54 Allah is called the best of schemers/deceivers. The Arabic word is the one used for a deceiver or liar, though it can also mean schemer. The Iraqi information minister quoted this verse of the Qur’an, and the way he gave out information showed how he interpreted it. Islam teaches that God deceives (not just schemes but deceives) His very own people in at least two ways. In the end time judgment Allah will ask the Jews [who allegedly worshipped Ezra as the son of God] what they want, and they will ask for a drink. Allah will present Hell to them appearing as a mirage, tell them to drink, and by Allah’s lie they will be fooled into going to the mirage and falling down into Hell. The same will be for Christians. Then Allah will appear to His own people (both obedient and mischievous) in a deceiving shape. Then the prophet will say they will be able to recognize Allah by his "shin" (i.e. the lower leg bone). So Allah will uncover His shin, and then they will see that it is Allah. You can read all of this inBukhari 9:532 p.396.
Christianity-B) God does not lie (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29, Hebrews 6:18). In 1 Kings God did not lie, but He had a lying demon put lies in the mouths of false prophets. God allows evil, and He even uses evil people and evil demons for His purposes.
Islam-B) Islam teaches that Allah allows his faithful followers to be deceived, and misled into practicing "shirk" (or idolatry and joining partners with God). They teach that Jesus did not really die on the cross; someone else died instead. Now I do not see a problem with God fooling the evil Romans and Jewish authorities. But I see a big problem with Islam’s thesis that Allah let all of the followers of Jesus be deceived. So for almost 600 years Allah let all Christians believe that Jesus really died when Allah did a supernatural miracle to fool them, and never told anybody. Furthermore, the Old Testament from before the time to Christ and the Gospels all teach that God is a Father. Now if that were wrong, that could not be such a serious sin as the Qur’an says to believe that, because Allah allowed all who wanted to follow Him believe that for centuries. Either there was one big lie prior to Mohammed, or else Mohammed invented a big lie. It has to be one or the other.
Christianity-C) I hope you did not get this question from a web site, because this question is using a lie to make a strong accusation. "Not yet" (oupo in Greek, Strong’s 3768) is in the earliest extant Greek manuscripts, notably p66 and p75. Rather than just taking the word of Aland et al. I looked it up and it is clearly in both. There are no gaps or holes in the manuscripts here.
"Not yet" is found in p66, p75, Vaticanus, Byzantine Lectionary, some Syriac, Sahidic Coptic, and later manuscripts.
"Not (ouk in Greek) is present in Sinaiticus, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Bohairic Coptic, some Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic, Georgian, Diatessaron, Chrysostom, and later manuscripts.
So there is much evidence for both views, and the NIV actually handles this the best by putting yet in the text and putting in a footnote.
Islam-C) Yusuf ‘Ali put in a few manuscript variations in the Qur’an in his translation. I understand that they later burned His Qur’anic translation in Saudi Arabia. The latest I have seen from Saudi Arabia has not manuscript variations whatsoever. So on one hand you can (incorrectly) criticize the NIV because it mentions something is a manuscript variation. On the other hand, you do not criticize total lack of manuscript variations for the Qur’an. For example, ‘Ubai’s copy of the Qur’an did not contain some suras that are in the Qur’an today. The Muslims scholar Baidawi mentions variants on Suras 3:100; 6:91; 19:35; 28:48; 33:6 and others.
Should Sura 33:6 says "The prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers." as ‘Uthman’s standardized text reads?
Or should it say "The prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and he is a father to them, and his wives are their mothers." As the text of ‘Ubai b. Ka’b reads?
You can read more of this in The Qur’an and the Bible by William F. Campbell p.123.
Q11: Why did Jesus say the ruler's daughter was not dead? (Matthew 9:18-25; Luke 8:41-56) Either Jesus lied, or he performed no miracle, but the context clearly shows that it was understood to be a miracle.
A: There are two possibilities. First Jesus could have been using a metaphor. Even in the Qur’an it says that Allah disdains not to use metaphors in Sura 2:26. However, there is a simpler explanation. Jesus never said she was dead, it was Jairus and the people who said she was dead. Either she was actually in a regular coma, or some other way in which her spirit had not left the body.
Q12: Why was the doctrine of the Trinity [allegedly] unknown to the church until the fourth century? Why was the doctrine [allegedly] established by vote instead of by revelation? Why was the membership of the voting council [allegedly] loaded with Athanasians? Why was belief in this [allegedly] then-new doctrine made a condition for membership in the church? Why were Arians exiled and executed?
A: It seems common for people to make up false things about the Trinity. The doctrines of the Trinity are in both the Bible and early Christian writings. Even in the actual word "Trinity" has framed a lie as a question and is off by over a hundred years. hundreds of years. The first reference to the Trinity is by:
bishop Theophilus of Antioch (168-181/188 A.D.) in his Letter to Autolycus 2:15.
Here are other references that use the word "Trinity"
Tertullian (200-220 A.D.) was the second we have record of using the term "Trinity", in his letter Against Praxeus.
Novatian (210-280 A.D.) from Rome wrote a 32-chapter book, Treatise on the Trinity.
Clement of Alexandria (wrote 193-217/220 A.D.) also spoke of "the Holy Trinity" in Stromata5:14.
Origen (230-254 A.D.) mentions the Trinity in de Principiis Book 1 3:7.
There are many, many more early references showing that people believed Jesus was God and other key aspects of the trinity. Here is a partial listing.
Statements and Beliefs
Ignatius: disciple of John the Apostle died 107/116 A.D.
17 places: Letter to Polycarp chapter 3Ephesians 7
"Jesus is God"
Diognetus 130 A.D.
Christ sent as King, God, man, and savior
Justin Martyr: 110/114-165 A.D.
Dialogue with Trypho ch. 55-56,59,61-64,66,74-78
"Deserving to be worshipped as God and Christ." Erred in thinking a time before Christ existed.
Theophilus of Antioch 115-181 A.D.
To Autolycus 2:22
what else is this voice [in the Garden of Eden] but the Word of God, who is also His Son? (He was the first to use the term Trinity
Tertullian 200-220/240 A.D.
Entire book Against Praxeus
Second to use the term Trinity.
Irenaeus: disciple of John the Apostle. 120-202 A.D.
Against Heresies 3:19:2
"Jesus is Himself in His own right, ...God, & Lord, ..."
Clement of Alexandria 153-220 A.D.
"the Holy Trinity" Hymn in praise of Jesus: "Lord of all time and space; Jesus Savior of our race;"
Hippolytus disciple of Irenaeus 225-236 A.D.
Against the Heresy of One Noetus
"Son of God who, being God became man."
Origen of Alexandria 184-254 A.D.
de Principis 1.3.8
"the power of the Trinity is one and the same."
Novatian 210-280 A.D.
Treatise on the Trinity
Athanasius died 296-373
Sermon on Luke 10:22
United without confusion, distinguished without separation, Indivisible without degrees
Basil of Cappadocia 357-379 A.D.
Letter 8 to the Caesareans,On the Spirit
The Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God. Discusses Arian controversy
Gregory of Nyssa 335-394 A.D.
On Not Three Gods,Against Eunomius
nature of the Father & Son is the same
Hilary 353-368 A.D.
Wrote a book on The Trinity
Ambrose of Milan 340-397 A.D.
On the Christian Faith
Holy, Holy, Holy in Rev 4:8 referred to the Trinity.
John Chrysostom 370-407 A.D.
Homily 3 on John 1:1
Word’s eternity as a person; uncreated
Augustine of Hippo 354-430 A.D.
Book: On the Trinity
Did not accept any difference in rank
Nestorius: Council of Ephesus 431 A.D.
His belief that Jesus was God was never criticized
Cyril of Alexandria 431-444 A.D.
Nestorius’ main opponent at the Council of Ephesus
Started emphasis on Mary the mother of God. (unfortunately)
Patrick of Ireland 389-461 A.D.
did not write much
famous cloverleaf analogy
Arians were exiled, but I am not aware of any Arians that were executed.
Since the questioner tells falsehoods, it is not unreasonable to see that he has told lies about the other parts. One wonders if he has read the records of the Nicene Council [as I have]. Many, perhaps most of the people there were not clear about the nature of the controversy at the beginning. No substantial conclusions were reached until an Arian clearly elucidated the Arian doctrine. Then the action of Christians was a foregone conclusion.
The doctrine of the Trinity was established by revelation: it was by past revelation, already revealed in the New Testament.
Now let’s look at Islam and what they had instead of councils to settle their differences.
The Battle of the Camel: A’isha, wife of Mohammed and her two generals, both promised paradise by Mohammed, unsuccessfully fought against ‘Ali. The two generals [apparently] gained martyrdom [because Mohammed promised them paradise], fighting against the caliph.
The Battle of Siffin: Mu’awiya and his army from Syria fought ‘Ali’s army.
‘Ali wiped out the Khairjites, who had formerly supported him prior to Siffin.
The Mu’tzalites were violently persecuted, in part because they taught that the Qur’an was created.
The Sufi’s were often persecuted and killed.
Or does perhaps the questioner think a council should not settle things by consensus or vote, but by killing of the opposition in traditional Muslim style.
Q13: Why is Jesus so similar to the other suffering saviors of mythology? Why don't Christians believe any of the other virgin births and savior stories recorded in ancient literature? How is it that the ritual of Christian communion [allegedly] existed in the prior pagan ceremonies of eating the body and drinking the blood of their gods? How is it that the Christian ritual of baptism also existed in the prior pagan cults? Weren't the very defining doctrines of Christianity actually assimilated from the endemic pagan cults? Likewise, why are Easter, Christmas, the Lenten season, rogation days, and others, derived from pagan holidays. Didn't Christianity have any legitimate calendar of commemorations of its own?
A: Let’s first look at this question applied to Christianity and then to Islam. While Satan can provide counterfeits, the fact is the prophecy of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53 preceded all Roman, most Greek, and all Norse literature. Why do Muslims believe the Qur’an when it says Jesus was born of a virgin, and why do agree with the Qur’an that says Jesus is the Messiah?
Q14: If Father and Son are co-equal persons, why did Jesus pray to the Father? (Matthew 11:25). Can God pray to God?
A: This is a good question and there are two issues here: submission and communication.
Submission: Before coming to earth, Jesus voluntarily emptied Himself (Philippians 2:6-8), becoming like us (Hebrews 2:17)
On earth, Jesus submitted to God the Father (Hebrews 5:7)
As He was leaving, Jesus asked the Father to restore to Him the glory He had before the world began (John 17:5).
Communication: Even in Heaven, there is complete communication between the Father, Son, and Spirit. God can communicate with God, since God is a tri-personal being.
Q15: How can there be an eternal Son when the Bible speaks of the begotten Son, clearly indicating that the Son had a beginning? (John 3:16; Hebrews 1:5-6). That's why the word "Begotten" was omitted from any new version dated after 1971!!!
A: I am not sure what the questioner is talking about. I am not sure the questioner knows what he is talking about. One of the two most popular adult Bibles today is the New King James Bible (New Testament copyright 1979). It has begotten for both verses.
Jay P. Green’s Interlinear Translation of the Bible (original copyright 1976) has the word begotten in both places.
It is true that other translation say "only" son, but that still means "uniquely-begotten" or as the Wuest translation says, or one-and-only.
It sounds like the questioner is thinking that if the Son came from the Father, then the son had to have a beginning point where He was created. May I remind the Muslim reader that almost all Muslims (Mut’zalites and a few others excepted) that Muslims believe the Qur’an was uncreated, yet the Qur’an came from Allah.
Q16: If Jesus is on the throne, how can He sit on the right hand of God? (Mark 16:19). Does He sit or stand on the right hand of God? (Acts 7:55). Or is He in the Father's bosom? (John 1:1)
A: In Christianity He can be at the right hand of God in a roughly similar way as in Islam Allah can have a throne, - both are metaphors. Since Sura 2:26 says Allah disdains not to use the similitude of things, do you think God ever used similtudes when He gave the Torah and gospels?
Q17: Who raised Jesus from the dead? Did the Father (Ephesians 1:20), or Jesus (John 2:19-21), or the Spirit? (Romans 8:11).
A: That is an easy one: they all participated.
Q18: If Son and Holy Ghost are co-equal persons in the Godhead, why is blasphemy of the Holy Ghost unforgivable but blasphemy of the Son is not? (Luke 12:10).
A: Equal does not mean identical or not-distinct. The three are equal in nature and other ways, but differ in role and rank. The Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity that works in people’s hearts to bring them to salvation. If they deliberately and finally reject the Holy Spirit there is no hope. If they die rejecting the real Jesus they go to Hell too, but if they reject Jesus, the Holy Spirit can work in them to change their heart and mind.
Q19: If the Holy Ghost is a co-equal member of the Trinity, why does the Bible always speak of Him being sent from the Father or from Jesus? (John 14:26; 15:26).
A: They are equal in nature but differ in role and rank. Jesus was sent by the Father too. The Father was never sent by anyone. There is no restriction we can place on God on what role each member of the Trinity is somehow "forced" to have. Rather, we can simply learn what the Bible tells us about how the parts of the Trinity work together.
Q20: According to Matthew, Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great (Matthew 2:1). According to Luke, Jesus was born during the first census in Israel, while Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:2). This is impossible because Herod died in March of 4 BC and the census took place in 6 and 7 AD, about 10 years after Herod's death.
A: No there were multiple censuses. First we will discuss the censuses, and then Quirinius.
The censuses: Josephus mentions a census by "Cyrenius" about 6/7 A.D. (Antiquities of the Jews 17.13:5 written about 93-94 A.D.).
According to the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.319,414 Papyrus Oxyrynchus 225 (in Milligan,Greek Papyri p.44-47) says that a census was taken every 14 years. Suetonius and Tacitus show that Augustus had three censuses for example, the second of which was 8-4 B.C.
Quirinius: An inscription shows that Quirinius was governor of Syria starting in 6 A.D. (which is too late for Jesus’ birth). However, this was Quirinius’ second time as a governor. The first time was between 12 and 6 B.C., when he led a campaign against the Homanadensians in Anatolia. However, we do not know which province Quirinius was governor of the first time. There are two views:
Sir William Ramsay advocates that Quirinius was governor of Syria the first time. (Syria is adjacent to the mountains of Anatolia). While we have a complete record of the governors of Syria during this time and Quirinius is not mentioned until 6 A.D., Quirinius might have been a special, additional governor for this military campaign.
F.F. Bruce advocates that Quirinius was governor of probably Galatia. Galatia is in Anatolia. In his The New Testament Documents : Are They Reliable?, (IVP) p.86-87 F.F. Bruce mentions that many grammarians translate Luke 2:2 as "before" Quirinius was governor of Syria, not "while".
Tertullian (200-240 A.D.) in Against Marcion 4:19 says that the name "Quirinius" was substituted for "Saturninus". Historically, we know that Saturninus was governor of Syria from 8 to 6 B.C.
As a side note, there is much about the ancient world we cannot prove. For example, Damascus coins are silent about Roman occupation of Damascus between 34 to 62 A.D. Yet, we are certain that the Romans ruled Damascus then.
See The New Testament Documents : Are They Reliable? by F.F. Bruce (p.86-87) for a discussion of all these views, and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.365-366 and When Critics Ask p.383-385 for more info.
Q21: John baptized for repentance (Matthew 3:11). Since Jesus was supposedly without sin, he had nothing to repent of. The fact that he was baptized by John has always been [actually never been] an embarrassment to the church. The gospels offer no explanation for Jesus' baptism, apart from the [allegedly] meaningless explanation given in Matthew 3:14-15 "to fulfill all righteousness." Other passages, which indicate that Jesus did not consider himself sinless, are also [allegedly] an embarrassment to the church (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19).
A: First let’s talk about Christianity, and then in Islam the embarrassment of the "sinless" prophet who had to repeatedly ask for forgiveness and cleansing for his sin.
When one dismisses part of scripture as "meaningless" and then says there is no meaning, perhaps it is simply that one does not wish to understand the meaning.
Jesus was baptized as an example for us, and as an identification with us. If the questioner can understand why Jesus was present at the last supper, when partaking the bread and wine signified the remembrance the Jesus’ body and blood, then the questioner might understand why Jesus was baptized.
Let’s ask a simple question: did Allah grant of deny Mohammed’s repeated request? When Mohammed prayed to have his sins forgiven, when Mohammed prayed to be cleansed, and when Mohammed was fearful of the torment of the grave [not Hell but the grave] did Allah tell Mohammed "stop misleading these people. I cannot forgive your sins because you have none to forgive". Did Allah say, "Yes I forgive you of your wicked sins", or did Allah not say anything? See Sura 40:55; 48:1-2; Bukhari 1:711 p.398; 1:7,19,781; 6:3; 8:319, 8:407 prior.
Did Mohammed lie here? Mohammed prayed, "I wronged myself and make a confession of my sin. Forgive all my sins,…" Bukhari, 1:7,19,711, 781; 6:3; 8:319, and 8:407 prior also mention Mohammed’s sins. Specific things mentioned in the Bukhari 1:234 8:794, 795 include cutting off people’s limbs, burning out their eyes, and making them die of thirst. See Bukhari 9:117; 6:198 prior, as well as Fiqh us-Sunnah v.1 p.133.
Mohammed prayed for Allah to forgive his past and future sins. Bukhari 8:407 p.269. Mohammed was forgiven of his past and future sins. Abu Dawud 3:4945 p.1380
Bukhari 9:532 (p.400) says that Jesus in heaven said Mohammed’s past and future sins were forgiven by Allah. Does a Muslim think Jesus lied here, because Allah did not need to forgive anything?
Bukhari 6:236 p.201 says that Mohammed’s sins were forgiven in Heaven, but conspicuously absent is any mention was made of forgiveness of any sin of Jesus. He never had to ask forgiveness for sin, while Mohammed did.
Mohammed trembled at the thought of his torment in the grave. Sahih Muslim 1:1214 p.290. Perhaps Mohammed’s followers should too. See also Sunan Nasa’i 2:1479 p.281-282.
Q22: In Matthew, Mark and Luke the last supper takes place on the first day of the Passover [actually not but the Feast of Unleavened Bread] (Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, Luke 22:7). In John's gospel it [allegedly] takes place a day earlier and Jesus is crucified on the first day of the Passover [actually not but the Day of Preparation of the Passover] (John 19:14).
A: Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, and Luke 22:7 do NOT say the first day of the Passover, the rather the first day of the Feast of Unleavened bread. That was Thursday, the day the Passover was killed, not Friday when the Passover was eaten. Jesus was not crucified on the Day of Passover, rather John 19:14 says he was on the cross on the Preparation Day of the Passover. As to the last supper and the crucifixion, when does a day start? For the Jews it started with sundown, and the Last supper and crucifixion are on the same day.
Q23: When did David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem? Before defeating the Philistines or after? (a) After (2 Samuel 5 and 6). (b) Before (1 Chronicles 13 and 14).
A: The ark had two stages of its journey, and the real issue is whether the first stage was before fighting the Philistines, after, at the same time, or not specified. There is no problem once you realize the passages do not have to be in chronological order. Unless a passage transitions with "then" or "afterwards" or something similar, they can be at the same time or in either order.
First stage of the journey: David brought the ark from Kiriath Jearim, but after Uzza was killed he left the ark in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. (1 Chronicles 13; 2 Samuel 6:1-11)
Fighting: The Philistines mobilized against David and fought at Baal Perazim and then valley of Rephaim. (1 Chronicles 14; 2 Samuel 5:20-25
Second stage of the journey: David brought the ark from the house of Obed-Edom to Jerusalem 1 Chronicles 15:1-29; 2 Samuel 6:12-18
2 Samuel 6:1 has the word "again" in it, but the "again" does not necessarily mean after the fighting. There also is not time-order word in 1 Chronicles.
Q24: What was the name of King Abijah’s mother? (a) Michaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah (2 Chronicles 13:2). (b) Maachah, daughter of Absalom (2 Chronicles 11:20). But Absalom had only one daughter whose name was Tamar
A: While 2 Chronicles 11:20 does not specifically say this Absalom was the same as the son of David, it most likely was the same person.
735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.137 says that the Hebrew word for daughter, bet, can mean descendant, and Maacah might have been Absalom's granddaughter. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.245 also mentions that Genesis 46:15 is an example where the "sons of Leah" mean the descendants of Leah.
There are at least three simple possible solutions not involving any copyist errors.
Absalom->Uriel->Maacah Absalom had a son, Uriel who lived in Gibeah, who had a daughter Maacah.
Uriel->daughter+Absalom->Maacah Uriel who lived in Gibeah had a daughter who married Absalom. They had a daughter named Maacah.
Absalom->daughter+Uriel->Maacah Absalom had a daughter, who married Uriel who lived in Gibeah, and they had a daughter named Maacah.
Q25: Did Joshua and the Israelites capture Jerusalem? (a) Yes (Joshua 10:23, 40). (b) No (Joshua 15:63).
A: It is not enough to read the Bible; you have to read it carefully. It is an error to claim Joshua 10:23,40 says they captured Jerusalem. The Israelites defeated the armies in a battle, they captured five Canaanite kings from a cave, and they subdued the land, but there is no verse in Joshua that claims they captured Jerusalem.
Q26: Who was the father of Joseph, husband of Mary? (a) Jacob (Matthew 1:16). (b) Heli (Luke 3:23).
A: Jacob was the father of Joseph, and Heli was the closest biological ancestor, the father of Mary. Luke 3:23 says that Jesus was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph. This is in the Greek, and the questioner already asked as similar question in Question 3.
Q27: Jesus descended from which son of David? (a) Solomon (Matthew 1:6). (b) Nathan (Luke 3:31).
A: Biologically Jesus was descended from Nathan. Legally, Jesus had the right of Davidic line as the legal (not biological) son of Joseph, descendant of Solomon.
Q28: Who was the father of Shealtiel? (a) Jechoniah [Jeconiah] (Matthew 1:12). (b) Neri (Luke 3:27).
A: These were multiple people named Shealtiel and Zerubbabel.
In Matthew 1:12 it goes Josiah (grandfather)->Jeconiah->Shealtiel->Zerubbabel->Abiud->Eliakim
Luke 3:26-27 goes Melchi->Neri->Shealtiel->Zerubbabel->Rhesa->Joannas->Judah->Joseph
In 1 Chronicles 3:15-17 the genealogy goes Josiah->Jehoiakim->Jeconiah->Shealtiel and Pedaiah. Shealtiel has no children mentioned, but the next in the royal line is Pedaiah’s son Zerubabel.
The genealogies of Mary and Joseph were the same until David, and then diverged. There is no similarity in either ancestor or descendant after that. Perhaps the Shealtiel and Zerubabel in Luke were named in honor of the governors mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:15-17 and Matthew 1:12. Not also that Luke 3:26-27 mentions Judah and Joseph, but these were different people than Judah Jacob’s son, Joseph Jacob’s son, and Joseph Mary’s husband.
Q29: Which son of Zerubbabel was an ancestor of Jesus Christ? (a) Abiud (Matthew 1:13). (b) Rhesa (Luke 3:27). But the seven sons of Zerubbabel are as follows: i. Meshullam, ii. Hananiah, iii. Hashubah, iv. Ohel, v. Berechiah, vi. Hasadiah, viii. Jushabhesed (1 Chronicles 3:19, 20). The names Abiud and Rhesa do not fit in anywhere.
A: Both because as the previous answer shows, there were two men named Zerubbabel, so Rhesa should not be expected to appear in 1 Chronicles 3:19,20, since the sons in 1 Chronicles 3:19 were the sons of the governor Zerubbabel. The name Abiud should match, so it could be either a scribal error in the Greek, or a scribal error in the Hebrew. Looking at the Dead Sea scrolls should show us which it is, except the only part of 1 Chronicles preserved in the Dead Sea scrolls is 1 Chronicles 7:24.
Q30: Who was the father of Uzziah? (a) Joram (Matthew 1). (b) Amaziah (2 Chronicles 26:1).
A: Matthew did not include every generation but skipped some, which he could do since "father" also means ancestor in Greek and Hebrew. 2 Chronicles 22:1; 22:11; 24:27; and 26:1 show the genealogy goes Jehoram/Joram->Ahaziah->Joash->Amaziah->Uzziah. Again, father and mean ancestor, and Joram was the forefather of Uzziah.
Q31: Who as the father of Jechoniah? (a) Josiah (Matthew 1:11). (b) Jehoiakim (1 Chronicles 3:16
A: The word "father" often means ancestor, just as the word son often means descendant, such as Jesus the son of David. 1 Chronicles shows us that the good king Josiah was the grandfather of Jeconiah, and the evil Jehoiakim was his father.
Q32: How many generations were there from the Babylonian exile until Christ?
(a) Matthew says fourteen (Matthew 1:17).
(b) But a careful count of the generations reveals only thirteen (see Matthew 1:12-16).
A: There are three sets of 14 names, but they are not additive, as the first list is Abraham up through and including David, and the second list is including David to the exile. Now we might have a problem if Matthew had claimed there were 42 generations, but Matthew never said the sum was 42. Matthew presumably mentioned in passing three sets of 14 names as a memory device.
Q33: Who was the father of Shelah? (a) Cainan (Luke 3:35-36). (b) Arphaxad (Genesis 11:12).
A: The is almost the same answer as that to Q31. Father can mean ancestor and son can be descendent.
Arphaxad was the father/ancestor of Shelah in Genesis 10:24.
Luke shows that Shelah was a son/descendent of Cainan, who was a son/descendent of Arphaxad.
Q34: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on how many animals?
(a) One - a colt (Mark 11:7; cf. Luke 19:35). "And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it."
(b) Two - a colt and an ass (Matthew 21:7). "They brought the ass and the colt and put their garments on them and he sat thereon."
A: There were two animals present, a donkey and her colt/offspring as Matthew 21:2-6 says. Both Mark 11:7 and Luke 19:35 say Jesus sat on the colt/offspring. As an aside, the first person known to have answered this alleged contradiction is Justin Martyr in Dialogue with Trypho the Jew chapter 53, written about 138-165 A.D.. )
Q35: How did Simon Peter find out that Jesus was the Christ? (a) By a revelation from heaven (Matthew 16:17). (b) His brother Andrew told him (John 1:41).
A: Peter heard that Jesus was the Christ on the (little) authority of his Andrew in John 1:41, but it was only later in Matthew 16:17 that Peter knew for sure Jesus was the Christ from the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
Q36: Did Jesus allow his disciples to keep a staff on their journey? (a) Yes (Mark 6.) (b) No (Matthew 10:9; Luke 9:3).
A: Jesus could have given different directions for different journeys. On the other hand, it could likely just be a scribal error, where the copies we have of Mark substituted "only" instead of "not". In Greek the difference between "only" and "not" is the addition of the two-letter Greek word ei.
Q37: Did Herod think that Jesus was John the Baptist? (a) Yes (Matthew 14:2; Mark 6:16). (b) No (Luke 9:9)
A: Herod was perplexed according to Luke 9:7, so he did not know what to think. Luke 9:7-9 says, "Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, ‘I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?’ And he tried to see him."
In Matthew 14:2 Herod says to his attendants, "This is John the Baptist; he was risen from the dead!". Mark 6:16 says similar: "John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!" Bear in mind that punctuation was not present in the Greek. What is shown here as an exclamation point could have been a question mark.
Q38: Did John the Baptist recognize Jesus before his baptism? (a) Yes (Matthew 3:13-14). (b) No (John 1:32, 33).
A: Remember, John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins, so John already knew Jesus. However the spirit confirmed that Jesus was the Messiah during baptism, at the very moment when Jesus came up out of the water (Matthew 3:13-14). John would not have seen the confirmation unless He had seen the spirit alight on Jesus as a dove. John 1:32,33 is not recording when John saw the Spirit alight on Jesus. Rather, it is recording John telling others that he had seen the Spirit alight on Jesus as a dove. Since the gospel of John does not specify when Jesus was baptized, so it is false to say John says this was after His baptism.
Q39: Did John the Baptist recognize Jesus after his baptism? (a) Yes (John 1:32, 33). (b) [allegedly] No (Matthew 11:2).
A: Matthew 11:2 does not say John no longer recognized Jesus. Rather John was in a period of doubt, and was challenging Jesus to prove to the world who He was.
Q40: According to the Gospel of John, what did Jesus say about bearing his own witness? (a) "If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true" (John 5:31).
(b) "Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true" (John 8:14).
A: In John 5:31 Jesus meant that if someone, including himself, was the only witness to himself, the testimony would not be considered valid in an impartial court of law. It is absurd to think Jesus is saying He refuses to claim He is the Messiah or the Son of God.
Likewise in John 8:14 Jesus says that while he is a witness, he is not the only witness for Him; the Father is a witness for Him also. This witness was confirmed by Jesus’ miracles.
Q41: When Jesus entered Jerusalem did he cleanse the temple that same day?
(a) Yes (Matthew 21:12).
(b) No. He went into the temple and looked around, but since it was very late he did nothing. Instead, he went to Bethany to spend the night and returned the next morning to cleanse the temple (Mark 11:1-17).
A: Jesus went to Jerusalem with the Triumphal entry, then spent the night. The next day Jesus entered Jerusalem again, and then drove the moneychangers out of the Temple. Matthew 21:11-12 omits the time spending the night and re-entering Jerusalem, but omitting details is not an error.
Q42: The Gospels say that Jesus cursed a fig tree. Did the tree wither at once?
(a) Yes. (Matthew 21:19).
(b) No. It withered overnight (Mark 11:20).
(Till now I didn't understand why Jesus cursed the fig tree in the middle
of the spring?????)
A: Mark 13:28-29 shows that the fig tree represented the Jewish nation, and no fruit represents the lack of acceptance most of the Jews would have towards Jesus.
Jesus likely cursed the fig tree twice. He cursed it in the morning one day [Monday or Tuesday] in Mark 11:12-14, and then the next day in Matthew 21:18-19a. While it does not say when the dying process started, It was withered immediately after being cursed a second time in Matthew 21:19b-22. (also Mark 11:20-25). That is what happened to the Jews. The nation was under a curse for rejecting Jesus at Calvary, but you did not see any immediate results. After that though was a period of agitation against the Romans and Jewish persecution of the church. Later the Jews rebelled against the Romans and Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D.
The fig tree was cursed because it was a sign of the people of Israel, but there is more information here. Hard Sayings of the Bible p.441-442, taking information from an article called "The Barren Fig Tree" by W.M. Christie, provides more details. It says that toward the end of the month of March leaves begin to appear on fig trees, and small knobs called taqsh in Palestinian Arabic, the size of green almonds, grow. These drop off, as they are not real figs, but peasants still eat these when they are hungry. However, if the fig leaves appear with no taqsh, then there will be no figs.
Q43: When Paul was on the road to Damascus he saw a light and heard a voice. Did those who were with him hear the voice? (a) Yes (Acts 9:7). (b) No (Acts 22:9).
A: In Acts 9:7 the men with Saul/Paul heard only a sound/voice (Acts 9:7). However, unlike Acts 22:9, they did not hear His voice speaking to Saul/Paul. People can hear an audible sound but not understand any words.
Q44: When Paul saw the light he fell to the ground. Did his traveling companions also fall to the ground? (a) Yes (Acts 26:14). (b) No (Acts 9:7).
A: People can fall to the ground, and then get back up and stand speechless.
Q45: Did the voice spell out on the spot what Paul’s duties were to be? (a) Yes (Acts 26:16-18.
(b) No. The voice commanded Paul to go into the city of Damascus and there he will be told what he must do. (Acts 9:7; 22:10).
A: There is no conflict between these verses: First here are the verses mentioned.
Acts 9:7 "The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone."
In Acts 26:16-18 Jesus is speaking to Saul. "Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
Acts 22:10 "Get up’, the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.’
Acts 26:16-18 is such a broad outline of who Saul of Tarsus will be. There are no details on what Saul is to do, except that somehow he will open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light. No, it would take not only learning in Damascus, but seven years of learning in Arabia before Paul would know exactly what to do and how to do it.
Q46: What did Judas do with the blood money he received for betraying Jesus?
(a) He bought a field (Acts 1:1)
(b) He threw all of it into the temple and went away. The priests could not put the blood money into the temple treasury, so they used it to buy a field to bury strangers (Matthew 27:5).
A: Both though the first is indirectly. Judas threw the money into the temple. The priests used the money to buy the field in Judas’ name.
Q47: How did Judas die?
(a) After he threw the money into the temple he went away and hanged himself (Matthew 27:5).
(b) After he bought the field with the price of his evil deed he fell headlong and burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:1).
A: Permit me to ask a gruesome question. After a person hangs himself, and if nobody takes down the body, and no animals take it away as it is suspended from a tree, what happens to the body. Do you think it stays intact forever? -of course not.
It is also possible that Judas tried to hang himself over a cliff, but he failed because the rope broke.
Q48: Why is the field called "Field of Blood"?
(a) [Allegedly] because the priests bought it with the blood money (Matthew 27:7-8).
(b) Because of the bloody death of Judas therein (Acts 1:19).
A: There is no conflict with the two passages.
Matthew 27:7-8 does not say it was for the sole reason that the priests bought it with blood money. Matthew 27 says, a) Judas hanged himself, b) it was bought with blood money, and c) it was a place to bury foreigners.
Acts 1:19 only says the people of Jerusalem heard about a) Judas dying, b) it was bought with blood money, and so they called it the field of blood.
Q49: Did Herod want to kill John the Baptist? (a) Yes (Matthew 14:5).
(b) No. It was Herodias, the wife of Herod who wanted to kill him.
But Herod [feared John and] knew that he was a righteous man and kept him safe (Mark 6:20).
A: Herod was double-minded here. Herod wanted John killed, but Herod did not want to appear to be the one who wanted him killed. Herod may have feared John for two reasons. If Herod had simply had a capriciously-looking execution, the people who not have respected Herod at all. But also after Herod had put John in prison to have him killed, Herod might have had second thoughts. If John really was a prophet, how would Herod stand before God? Herodias solved all of Herod’s problems and hesitation though, by having her daughter make Herod promise to kill John the Baptist. That is, at least Herodias solved Herod’s problems in this life.
Q50: Who was the tenth disciple of Jesus in the list of twelve?
a) Thaddaeus (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19).
(b) Judas son of James is the corresponding name in Luke’s gospel (Luke 6:12-16).
A: Thaddaeus is the same as Judas the son of James in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13, similar to Peter and Simon being the same person. Perhaps after the crucifixion Thaddaeus did not what to be called Judas, because of potential confusion with Judas Iscariot. Judas is a Hebrew name. Some Greek manuscripts say Thaddaeus, some say "Lebbaeus", and some says "Lebbaeus called/surnamed Thaddaeus" Asimov's Guide to the Bible p.908 says "Lebbaeus" is the Greek form of "Levi".
Q51: When Jesus entered Capernaum he healed the slave of a centurion. Did the centurion come personally to request Jesus for this? (a) Yes (Matthew 8:5).
(b) No. He sent some elders of the Jews and his friends (Luke 7:3, 6).
A: The centurion sent the Jewish intermediaries; Matthew probably skipped the detail of the intermediaries because Matthew did not want to blur the fact that Jesus was helping a non-Jew, according to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.8 p.200. The NIV Study Bible p.1453 adds that likewise when Pilate flogged Jesus in Matthew 27:26, Matthew is NOT saying Pilate personally flogged Jesus, but had Jesus flogged.
Q52: Apart from Jesus did anyone else ascend to heaven? (a) No (John 3:13).
(b) Yes. "And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings 2:11).
A: This answer requires a thorough understanding of Christian theology. After the lives of Old Testament believers on earth were over, they went to live with God in Paradise, also called Abraham’s bosom in Luke 16:22. However, no one went to the Heaven where Jesus now is until Jesus died and rose again. That is why Jesus told the thief on his right, "today you will be with me in Paradise."
Q53: To whom did the Midianites sell Joseph? (a) "To the Ishmaelites" (Genesis 37:2). (b) "To Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh" (Genesis 37:36).
A: The answer should be obvious. The Jacob’s other sons did not travel down to Egypt, where Potiphar lived, at this time. They sold Joseph directly to the Ishmaelites, who sold him to Potiphar. The Ishmaelites did not want Joseph as a slave; they were merely the transporters who traded him to Potiphar.
Q54: Who brought Joseph to Egypt?
(a) The Ishmaelites bought Joseph and then "took Joseph to Egypt" (Genesis 37:25,27).
(b) "The Midianites had sold him in Egypt" (Genesis 37:36).
(c) Joseph said to his brothers "I am your brother, Joseph, whom you
sold into Egypt" (Genesis 45:4).
A: While either "Midianites" or "Ishmaelites" could be a scribal error, there is another explanation. The Midianites and Ishmaelites were not separated from each other, and the two terms were used interchangeably. Even today Arabs came from cousins of the Canaanites living in Bahrain and other Semitic and Hamitic peoples, and other ancestors not descended from Ishmael. When Arabs say they came from Ishmael, there is some truth to that too, because these peoples all intermarried. Also, Abraham had seven other sons through Keturah, and some of these were Midian, Sheba, and Dedan.
As for c) Joseph’s brothers sold him to Egypt indirectly, through the Arab traders.
Q55: Who killed Goliath? (a) David (1 Samuel 17:23, 50). (b) Elhanan (2 Samuel 21:19).
A: Our preserved versions of 2 Samuel 21:19 apparently have a copyist error, where they left out the phrase "Lahmi the brother of"
1 Chronicles 20:5 says that Elhanan killed Lahmi, the brother of Goliath.
This copyist error is easy to trace, according to Hard Sayings of the Bible p.212-213, which gives a full Hebrew analysis.
Q56: Who killed Saul? (a) "Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. . . . Thus Saul
died..." (1 Samuel 31:4-6). (b) An Amalekite slew him (2 Samuel 1:1-16).
A: Saul killed himself. 2 Samuel 1:1-16 does not say an Amalekite killed Saul. Rather, it shows an Amalekite claimed that he killed Saul to David. The Amalekite lied, expecting a reward, but David had him executed instead.
Q57: Why does the Old Testament [allegedly] teach that there is no Hell, while the New Testament teaches that there is? The idea of "progressive revelation" does not explain the conflicts in the biblical texts.
A: The Old Testament does teach Hell, though not as clearly.
"Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit." Isaiah 14:15
"Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Isaiah 33:14
The pit: Job 33:24; Psalm 30:9
Ezekiel 32:18-31 is a long description of those in the pit. It says of Pharaoh, already in the pit, that he shall see the others there and be comforted over his multitude.
Isaiah 66:24 says the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched for those who fought against God.
Finally, how long will Hell last? The fire God has kindled against those who hate Him will burn forever. (Jeremiah 17:4)
Q58: Why does most of the Old Testament teach that there is no afterlife (see Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, for example), while later Old Testament writings and the New Testament do?
A: It does not teach an afterlife in the grave like Islam does, but it does teach there is an afterlife.
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt." Dan 12:2
"But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me." Ps 49:15
"The way of life winds upward for the wise, That he may turn away from hell [Sheol] below" Proverbs 15:24
Job 19:26-27 - "and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God. Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart years within me!"
There is a place for those in the afterlife, Job 26:6; Psalm 139:8
In 2 Samuel 12:23 When David said he would go to his dead son, but his son will not come back to him, David assumed the son still existed but was not annihilated.
David said He will dwell in the House of the Lord forever in Psalm 23:6
David prophesied God would not leave his [the Holy One’s] soul in Sheol in Psalm 16:10.
Even though the righteous servant would be killed, he would see his posterity in Isaiah 53:10-11:
(quotes are from the NKJV)
Though the Old Testament is not as clear as the New Testament, absent in both the Old Testament and New is another concept, torment of people who are still in their decomposing bodies in the graveyard, according to Muslim theology. Apologies for the length of the following section, but this is necessarily to adequately establish this in Muslim theology.
The torment of the grave is a fact. Sunan Nasa’i 2:1311 p.199
People are first in the grave. Then they go to Heaven or Hell. Ibn-i-Majah 5:4268 p.500,501
All Muslims except martyrs are tried in their graves. Sunan Nasa’i 2:2057 p.533;Bukhari 1:184 p.126
There is some torment for Muslims in their graves. Sunan Nasa’i 2:2066 p.536
The bodies of the prophets are alive in their graves, and they can hear. Abu Dawud vol.1 footnote 514 p.269
One night Mohammed saw that Moses was praying in his grave. Sunan Nasa’i 2:1637 p.1640
Muslims in their graves hear the sound of people walking. Sunan Nasa’i 2:2054-2055 p.531-532
Unbelievers are punished in their graves if their families weep over them. Sunan Nasa’i2:1851-1862 p.477-451
Mohammed heard two dead people being tormented in their graves. Sunan Nasa’i2:2072A, 2:2072B p.539
A Jewish woman died, and Mohammed said her relatives’ lamenting was tormenting her in her grave. Ibn-i-Majah 2:1595 p.446
The Jews are being tortured in their graves. Sunan Nasa’i 2:2063 p.535
A Jewess allegedly said people were tortured in the grave due to soiling themselves with urine. Sunan Nasa’i 2:1348 p.217
A person was tortured in their grave for soiling themselves with urine. Bukhari 1:215,217 p.141,142; Ibn-i-Majah 1:347-349 p.198-199
A Jew who forbade the other Jews to cut themselves where urine fell was punished in the grave. Abu Dawud 1:22 p.6
Mohammed putting a fresh twig on a grave can benefit the unbelieving dead Sahih Muslimvol.1 no.575,576 and footnote 496 p.171-172
Even Mohammed sought refuge from the torment of the grave. Sunan Nasa’i 2:2065 p.535; 2:2069 p.537; 2:2071 p.538
"…she had heard the Prophet seeking refuge with Allah from the punishment in the grave."Bukhari 2:458 p.258.
A Jewess told either Mohammed or a Muslim man they would be put to trial in the grave.Sunan Nasa’i 2:2068 p.537
A Jewish woman told Mohammed "May Allah protect you from the torment of the grave. After that, Mohammed prayed for refuge from the torment of the grave. Sunan Nasa’i2:1479 p.281-282
Mohammed trembled at the thought of his torment in the grave. Sahih Muslim 1:1214 p.290
May Allah protect you from the torment of the grave. Sahih Muslim 2:1973 p.428
At Banu al-Najjar the Muslims took over the land and dug up the graves of unbelievers looking for treasure. Abu Dawud 1:454 p.118
Polytheist graves were dug up and the site used for a mosque. Sunan Nasa’i vol.1 no.705 p.444-445
Alleged miracle of Mohammed telling which grave to dig up to get treasure. Also, it is OK for Muslims to dig up the graves of non-Muslims if they will get some benefit by it. Abu Dawud 2:3082 and footnote 2556 p.878
Q59: Why does the church say that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), when many biblical passages flatly contradict this? See Genesis 11:9; Exodus 14:24 and 23:27; Deuteronomy 7:23 and 28:20,28; Joshua 10:10.
A: While the Greek word in 1 Corinthians 14:33 does not have the same range of meaning as the Old Testament word, there is a much simpler explanation. You have to look at the context of the verse, which at a minimum, means reading a couple of verses before and after the verses in question. 1 Corinthians 14:33 is speaking of church assemblies of believers. This is not applicable to those who defied God at the tower of Babel, the Egyptian army pursuing Moses, and the enemies of the Israelites.
Q60: Was God known by the name Yahweh prior to Moses (Exodus 6:3), or was he not (Genesis 4:26, 5:29, 9:24, 22:14, 27:20, 27:27, 28:20-21)?
A: First an observation that is not a part of the answer, and then the answer. On one hand, Since Moses wrote Genesis in his time, not Jacob’s, Moses could use whatever name he wished. For example, people correctly write that Columbus discovered America, even though Columbus did not know the name "America." See When Critics Ask p.68-69 for more info. This alone explains all but 53 places, which are direct quotes or similar.
The answer is that Exodus 6:3 does not say they were not known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Second, (This eliminates 5 of the 53 passages.)
Exodus does not say they were unaware of God’s divine name. It only says, "I appeared … but by my name Yahweh I never made myself known to them." While God spoke or appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at least (8, 1, 6) 15 times, God never appeared to these men in a special way associated with His divine name as God appeared to Moses. In fact, when Jacob asked for a name after wrestling in Genesis 32:29, Jacob pointedly was not answered.
Q61: Was the Law given by Yahweh perfect (Psalm 19:7), or wasn't it (Hebrews 8:6-?
A: David said the law of God was perfect because it was good and what God wanted. Hebrews 8:6- does NOT say there was anything lacking in what the law said to do (and not do). Rather, Hebrews shows the law was lacking in power to change the heart of the person. It was good that the priests offered sacrifices, but the powerlessness of the law was symbolized by them having to offer the sacrifices over and over again.
Q62: Why can't the six accounts of the resurrection [allegedly] be reconciled? (see
Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, Acts 1:3-12, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. ) Paul says that without the resurrection, the Christian faith is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:14). How could the biblical accounts possibly disagree on such an important narrative?
A: They do not need to be "reconciled" because they fit together just fine.
A: Here is a sequence for these 25 events. Numbers refers to events that must have in order, and letters such as a,b,c refer to events that could happen in any order. The bold words indicate markers of time, order, and location.
After Jesus Rose from the Dead: Mt 28, Mk 16, Lk 24, Jn 20-21
¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾
R1a. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, the other Mary [the mother of James], Salome, and the women start to travel to the tomb. Mt 281b; Mk 16:1-3; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1
R2a. There was an earthquake as the angel hurled away the stone. The guards became like dead men. Mt 28:2-4
R2b. The angel hurled away the stone. Mk 16:4; Lk 24:2
R1b. No body found, and two "men" speak to the women. Lk 24:3-8; Jn 20:2
R3. The morning that Jesus rose, an angel appears to the women and tells them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee. Mt 28:5-7; Mk 16:5-8
R4a. While the women were hurrying back, Jesus also appears to the women and tells them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee. Mt 28:8-10
R4b1. When the women returned from the tomb, the disciples do not believe the women. Lk 24:9-11
R4b2. Peter and John run to the tomb, John gets there first. Lk 24:12; Jn 20:3-9
R4b3. Then the disciples return to their homes [in Jerusalem]. Jn 20:10
R4c. The guards tell the priests; priests bribe them. Mt 28:11-15
R4d. As Mary wept, two men, and then Jesus, appear to Mary Magdalene. Mk 16:9-11; Jn 20:11-18
R5. The same day on the road to Emmaus, Jesus appears to two disciples (not of the eleven disciples). He stays with them until evening. Mk 16:12; Lk 24:13-29
R6. Immediately the two disciples rushed back to Jerusalem (7 miles away) and tells the 11 disciples. Mk 16:13; Lk 24:33-35
R7. In Jerusalem, the evening of the same day that Jesus rose, while the two are talking to the disciples, Jesus appears, 1st time, to ten disciples. Jn 20:19-23
R8. Other disciples tell Thomas they have seen Jesus. Jn 20:25
R9. Eight days later, Jesus appears, 2nd time, to the eleven disciples including Thomas. Mk 16:14; Jn 20:19,26-31
R10. Jesus appears to them (3rd time), by the Sea of Tiberias [Galilee]. They catch 153 fish. Mt 28:19-20; Jn 21:1-14.
R11. Three times, Jesus asks Peter if Peter loves Him. Jn 21:15-23
R12. In Galilee Jesus appears to the disciples and gives great commission. Mt 28:16-20; Mk 16:15-18
R13. They return to Jerusalem, either staying there or at Bethany, a suburb.
R14. While they are eating, Jesus commands them to remain in Jerusalem until they received power from on high. (Lk 24:49; Acts 1:4). They obey this command. Lk 24:52
R15. Jesus leads them to Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem on slope of the Mount of Olives. Lk 24:50
R16. Forty days after the resurrection (Acts 1:3), Jesus ascends to Heaven in the clouds. Mk 16:19; Lk 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11
R17a1. Returning to Jerusalem, the apostles remain in the temple. Lk 24:52-53
R17b. The 11 apostles choose Matthias to replace Judas. Acts 1:15-26
R18. In Jerusalem on Pentecost (50 days after the Passover), the apostles are filled with the Holy Spirit. Acts 2
R19. After this, the apostles travel freely. Mk 16:20
Q63: Why were the disciples surprised by Jesus' resurrection after Jesus had told them repeatedly to expect it? (see Matthew 16:21, 17:22-23, 20:17-19, Mark 9:31, 10:34, Luke 9:22, 18:33. ). An angel even reminded the women that Jesus had told them of his impending resurrection (Luke 24:6-7). How is it that the women remembered his words (Luke 24, but the disciples didn't (John 20:9, Luke 24:12)? Even Jesus's enemies remembered that he had foretold that he would rise again (Matthew 27:63).
A: If I were a disciple who had been told, I definitely would still not be nonchalant to see Jesus rise from the dead. Wouldn’t you be amazed too?
Q64: Why does Jesus [allegedly] teach salvation by works in the synoptic gospels, but John portrays him teaching salvation by faith?
A: Luke does the exact OPPOSITE of teaching salvation by works in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. Matthew not only teaches it is God’s generosity, not our work in Matthew 20:1-16 (parable of the workers in the vineyard). Jesus also does something more subtle in Matthew. In Matthew 5-6 Jesus says if you were going to live perfectly, this is what you must do. After the disciples ask "who, then can be saved", does Jesus show salvation through God’s forgiveness. Matthew teaches salvation by grace in Matthew 9:12; 18:23-35, etc. Since "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many", that cannot be salvation for those who deserve it, since Jesus has to ransom us.
As in the next answer, John 14:15-24 teaches the those who really love God will obey Him. However, neither John nor the other gospels say that our obedience or works are a source or cause of our salvation.
Q65: Why does John not teach in his gospel that it is necessary to repent of our sins, since he states that his gospel was written specifically for the purpose of showing people how to be saved (John 20:31)?
A: Even more than the other gospels, the Gospel of John teaches that if you really love God you will obey Him. He who does not love God will not obey Him. (John 14:15-24). Different writers could use different words to get the point across.
Q66: Why is the nature and practice of the two sacraments - baptism and the
Lord's Supper - left ambiguous in the Bible, and a cause of discord among
A: I suppose it is sort of like when I read Muslim commentators says female circumcision, times of prayer, conditions for divorce, being topics of debate among schools of Sunni Islam because they are undefined in the Qur’an.
Baptism is clear once you understand the meaning behind it. Baptism occurs when a person is a part of the family of God. Some people think a person is a part of the family of God by birth to human parents. Others (including myself) say it is evidenced when people believe. Those in the first category have an inherent contradiction though. They have to distinguish between those who believe and are a part of God’s family, the invisible church, and those who do not believe and are in some strange way a part of God’s family, the invisible church. The Lord’s Supper is done in remembrance of Jesus and His sacrifice, according to Jesus. The Catholic Church also taught that the bread and wine actually become the body and blood (and Lutheranism has carried this belief over in modified form). By not understanding Jesus’ metaphor, they have to believe at the original Last Supper Jesus had two different bodies in the same room at the same time. Thus it is clear to those who do not have extra presuppositions.
Q67: Why did the writers of the New Testament feel free to misquote and misinterpret the Old Testament and conflate verses? (see Matthew 3:3 versus Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 12:17-21 versus Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 13:35 versus Psalm 78:1-3; Acts 2:16-21 versus Joel 2:28-32; Acts 7:43 versus Amos 5:25-27; Romans 3:4 versus Psalm 51:4; Romans 9:33 versus Isaiah 28:16 and 8:14; Romans 10:6-8 versus Deuteronomy 30:12-14; Romans 11:9-10 versus Psalm 69:22-23; Romans 11:26-27 versus Isaiah 59:20-21; 1 Corinthians 2:9 versus Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 3:20 versus Psalm 94:11; 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 versus Isaiah 25:8 and Hosea 13:14. ).
A: Paraphrasing is not misquoting. Sometimes it might have been their practice to string verses together and just reference the most well-known source. This was not just their practice, but a "Midrashic" practice of the Jews. Matthew’s gospel was probably written to primarily a Jewish audience, and Matthew was using their literary styles that they would be comfortable with. Other writers used Jewish literary styles to a lesser extent, and of course Paul was trained as a Pharisee.
Q68: Why did the gospel writers use the Septuagint, an inferior translation of the Old Testament? (Matthew 3:3; Luke 4:17-21; Acts 7:43; Acts 15:17; Romans 10:11) Did the Holy Spirit fail to inspire them with the more accurate Hebrew text, the one accepted today?
A: The Dead Sea scrolls have shown that sometimes the Septuagint was closer to the ancient text than the Massoretic text, though the Massoretic text was closer in a majority of cases. The rest of the books were written in Greek, and the writers often used the Greek Septuagint. However, it is the meaning that is important, not the exact words. By the way, we do not blindly accept the Massoretic text today. Even though it is pretty good, we would give greater weight to the Dead Sea scrolls. It is just that in most cases there is no significant difference.
Q69: Why did Matthew and Peter take Old Testament passages out of context to make them into prophecies, when they were never indicated to be prophetic by the Old Testament author (Acts 1:20 versus Psalm 69:25, for example)?
A: Acts 1:20 refers to one who betrayed and persecuted God’s chosen one. Psalm 69:25 can be a general reference to all who persecute God’s people. So Psalm 69:25 can apply to many who persecute God’s people.
Q70: Why did Mark [allegedly] misreference an Old Testament prophet (Mark 1:2)? (see
This misreference is found in the critical text, but not in the Textus Receptus, illustrating that the early church was willing to emend the holy scriptures to remove difficulties. ). How can we rely on Mark to explain Old Testament prophecies to us if he is even mistaken about the source?
A: On one hand, Mark 1:2-3 is actually from two prophets, Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3, and only the more prominent prophet is mentioned, and it is from Isaiah.
On the other hand, this is not a "Textus Receptus" issue, because though many early manuscripts mention Isaiah by name others do not. In particular, the Byzantine family of manuscripts, as well as Alexandrinus, original Bohairic Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and others do not have Isaiah mentioned.
Q71: Why does Jude quote the non-canonical Book of Enoch as prophecy (Jude
14-15)? Did the Holy Spirit fail to inspire Jude with the fact that the Book of Enoch would not be accepted into the canon?
A: Jude did not say he was quoting the Book of Enoch; rather he said he was quoting the man Enoch. The Book of Enoch is a mixture of truth and error. It is also a composite book, with at least five parts put together. This quote is from the first and oldest part of the book. If Enoch did actually say this, having this quote in a composite book does not take away the truth of the prophecy.
Q72: Why does Matthew 2:23 quote a non-existent Old Testament prophecy? Was Matthew using non-canonical writings, too?
A: Matthew says "And he will be called a Nazarene". The Old Testament (like the Qur’an) was originally written without consonants, and the words "Nazarene" and "branch" are identical in Hebrew without the vowels. Jesus was prophesied as the branch in the Old Testament in Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:5; and probably Zechariah 6:12. Zechariah 3:8 is also very interesting.
Q73: Why does Matthew attribute a quote about the potter's field to Jeremiah, when Jeremiah has no such passage, and the closest one in the Old Testament is Zechariah (Matthew 27:9-10; Zechariah 11:12)?
A: First what the verses say and then a couple of answers.
Matthew 27:9-10 says a) 30 pieces of silver, b) set by the people of Israel, c) used the silver to buy the potter’s field, d) as the Lord commanded me.
Zech 11:12-13 mentions a) 30 pieces of silver), b) set by those who paid him, c) thrown to the potter. There is no mention of field, or as the Lord commanded him.
Jeremiah 32:6-8 mentions buying the field, as the Lord commanded him.
Christians have at least four answers.
Copyist error for Zechariah - It might have been a scribal error for Zechariah. (John Calvin thought this.) In fact, though Calvin would not have known this in his time, some Greek manuscripts do say Zechariah instead of Jeremiah, and in some neither name appears.
Translation error: Papias, a disciple of John the Apostle, records that Matthew originally wrote his gospel in Hebrew. If this is true, and it was translated into Greek, this detail might have been changed then.
An unrecorded prophecy of Jeremiah. Zechariah 1:4 itself quotes Jeremiah 18:11. Zechariah 7:7 mentions he is saying words from former prophets. Difficulties in the Bible p.139 mentions this.
A testimonia chain: One Midrashic practice was to quote different prophecies and relate them together. Not only could this be what is termed a "testimonia chain", it is not unprecedented, as Mark 1:1 likely also is a testimonia chain.
Q74: Why wasn't Tyre destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar as prophesied by Ezekiel
(Ezekiel 26)? When it was destroyed by Alexander the Great, why didn't it remain desolate as prophesied by Ezekiel?(see Ezekiel 26:14, 27:36, 28:19; Wallace B. Fleming, The History of Tyre, Columbia University Press, 1915, p.
A: The mainland city of Tyre was completely demolished by Nebuchadnezzar. However, in the 13 year siege, the people of Tyre and rebuilt the city on an island across from the mainland. That is why the paradox occurred that even though Nebuchadnezzar would conquer the city, Ezekiel 29:17-18 says Nebuchadnezzar would get no reward from the plunder.
The island city was destroyed by Alexander the Great later, and the city was never rebuilt. Fishnets were spread on it, and in fact even later the island disappeared, being replaced by a peninsula whose basis was the causeway Alexander had built.
Q75: How can it be that Isaiah prophesied a temporary destruction of Tyre, while Ezekiel prophesied a permanent destruction (Ezekiel 26:14,21; 27:36; 28:19 versus Isaiah 23:13-1?
A: Because there was more than one destruction of Tyre, and ultimately there were two locations of Tyre. In Isaiah it was prophesied (and fulfilled) that the
Temporary destruction of the mainland city of Tyre under Nebuchadnezzar. Note the details of Isaiah 28:19.
Ezekiel 26:3-14 is has a chiastic structures, with some exceptions. In a perfect chiasm, each thought is put in parallel in symmetric form. The changes in pronouns in the Hebrew are important here.
Ezek 26:3 Many nations will come against Tyre
..Ezek 26:4 They will destroy Tyre's walls and towers.
….Ezek 26:4,5 I [God] will make Tyre a bare rock, a place to spread fishnets.
……Ezek 26:6 Her mainland settlements will be sacked.
……..Ezek 26:7 Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, will come against Tyre
……Ezek 26:8 He [Nebuchadnezzar] will sack your mainland settlements.
..Ezek 26:8,9 He will demolish the walls and towers
..Ezek 26:10,11 His horses will enter Tyre's gates and kill some of the people.
Ezek 26:12 They will plunder the wealth and loot. They will break down your walls and throw the rubble into the sea.
Ezek 26:13 I [God] will put an end to their songs.
….Ezek 26:14 I [God] will make Tyre bare rock, a place to spread fishnets.
As a side note, the Septuagint preserved the pronouns correctly until verse 12. Thereafter, it used "he" where it should have used "they" two times and "I" [God] one time.
2. What was prophesied:
There are three parts to the prophecy: many nations (they), God (I), and Nebuchadnezzar (he).
Many nations will come, loot Tyre, destroy Tyre's walls, and throw the rubble into the sea.
God will make Tyre a bare rock, a place to spread fishnets, and end their songs (Tyrian culture).
Nebuchadnezzar will come, sack the mainland city, and destroy the walls and towers, and kill some of the people.
3. What was not prophesied:
It never mentions that Nebuchadnezzar will do anything to the island, or which nation God will use to make the island a place for spreading fishnets. It was the many nations "they" that got the plunder, while Nebuchadnezzar only got the mainland settlements.
4. What happened:
The Assyrians, prior to Ezekiel's prophecy, unsuccessfully tried to capture the mainland city in 726/724 B.C. for five years. They tried again, and failed in 664 B.C.
Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon besieged Tyre for 13 years from 586/585 to 573 B.C. They successfully demolished the mainland city. However the Tyrians in Old Tyre moved to the pre-existing New Tyre on the island (700-750 meters wide) across from the Mainland city. The Tyrian fleet kept the Babylonians from attacking the island city.
Alexander the Macedonian captured the mainland city, and he used the rubble to build a 200 foot (60 meter) wide causeway (artificial land-bridge) half a mile long (600-750 meters) connecting to the island city, and after seven months, he captured the island city in 332 B.C. TheEncyclopedia Britannica mentions that in capturing Tyre he used ships from many nations: Sidon, Cyprus, Rhodes, Mallus, Soli, Lycia, and of course, Macedonia. Alexander's army killed 8,000 people at first, 2,000 crucified later, and enslaved the remaining 30,000. (The Anchor Bible Dictionary vol. 6 p.687 says 6,000 were killed at first, 2,000 crucified later, 30,000 sold into slavery, and 15,000 rescued by the Sidonians.
See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.276-278 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.1279 for more on the he/they showing the two-phase destruction. 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.187 reminds us that the time element of the two-phase was not specified. See also When Critics Ask p.287 for more info.
Q76: Why wasn't there a 40-year period in Egypt's history when the whole land was devoid of people and animals, as prophesied in Ezekiel 29:11-12?
A: Ezekiel 29:11-12 only said the Egypt from Migdol to Aswan opposite Elephantine Island and (bordering Cush) would be desolate for 40 years. Migdol is probably in the Nile Delta. We do not have documents from Egypt from the period of the Babylonian conquest (568 B.C.) until after the Persians conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. Generally the Persians allowed exiled peoples to return to their lands. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.6 p.891-892.
Q77: When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, why did God lie about what the outcome would be (Genesis 2:17),( Some modern translations soften Yahweh's statement that Adam would die "in that day," and so disguise the problem.) while the serpent told the truth (Genesis 3:5,22)?
A: When did the sentence and death process start? It started in that day, when they ate of the forbidden fruit. By the way, orthodox Sunni Muslim theology also says that Adam and Eve did not die on that day, but their sin had long term effects on them and their children.
"What turned ye out from the Paradise was the sin of your father Adam." Sahih Muslim1:380 p.132
Original sin based on Adam, mentioning worshipping others besides Allah and murder.Bukhari 4:551-552 p.347-348
Adam shared responsibility for every soul that is wrongfully killed. al-Tabari vol.1 p.315
Eve was originally intelligent, Allah made her stupid after the fall. al-Tabari vol.1 p.280,281
On the other hand, in heaven Adam argued with Moses that he was not to blame for the fall of man, because God had foreordained. So in heaven Adam was blaming God!Bukhari 8:611 p.399; 9:606 p.448-4499; Sahih Muslim 4:6411,6412 p.1396; Ibn-i-Majah 1:80 p.47-48; Abu Dawud 3:4684-4686 p.1317-1318
Adam disobeyed God and ate from the tree. Bukhari 6:236 p.199; al-Tabari vol.1 p.275
Adam’s repentance was accepted though. Sunan Nasa’i 2:1433 p.259
Q78: Why wasn't Lot condemned for giving his daughters to be abused by the men of Sodom (Genesis 19:8 The Bible actually calls him righteous (2 Peter 2:7)!
A: Lot had lived in Sodom for a long time, and Lot probably knew there was no way the men would want his daughters (who were already married to people from Sodom). Lot was probably trying to stall them. However, that still does not justify his offer. I believe he was a desperate man then, and his feeling of desperation caused him to sin instead of trusting God then. Lot was not sinless, but he in general lived a righteous life, and I believe he repented and was forgiven of this.
The Bible does not condone Lot’s action here; it merely records it. If the Bible were merely "propaganda", you would expect it to record every positive thing and never mention anything negative. However, the Bible is not propaganda, but God’s true word, and it honestly talks about people’s lives, warts and all.
Q79: How can Christians say that the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion is based on Judeo-Christian ethics when Deuteronomy 13:6-10 and 17:2-7 flatly contradict this?
A: You might have a valid point here. Deuteronomy 13:6-10 and 17:2-7 were under the theocracy of the Old Testament. The New Testament shows no compulsion, but it is not accurate to say this particular guarantee is a Judeo-Christian ethic.
Q80: How can being mauled by a bear possibly be a just punishment for name-calling (2 Kings 2:23-24)? Doesn't this contradict God's own edict of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth?"
A: No, Elisha did not contradict God’s edit, because Elisha did not kill anybody. It was God who killed the gang of youths who confronted the prophet, not Elisha. God judges people’s hearts and gives life and kills as He wishes. Since you mentioned murder, you might want look at the story of al-Khidr/Khadr in Sura 18:63-82. He is the murderer who was wiser than Moses, also mentioned in Bukhari 1:124 p.92 and Abu Dawud 3:4688-4690 p.1319.
Q81: Why do Moses, Ezra, Jesus, and Paul all disagree on marriage and divorce? Moses allowed divorce, Jesus disallowed it and also allowed it, Paul allowed it, and Ezra actually commanded it to appease God (Ezra 10). How is an honest Christian supposed to know what to do in this area?
A: Let me ask a very similar question in terms Muslims understand, and then answer the question pertaining to the Bible. Why did Mohammed disagree with Mohammed on temporary marriage (mu’tah)? Mohammed allowed temporary marriage, meaning a marriage that would automatically be ended after a particular time, such as a week, month, etc. Then Mohammed (in apparently a not very clear way), prohibited temporary marriage at Khaibar. (Bukhari 5:527 p.372; 7:50,52 p.36,37; Ibn-i-Majah 3:1961,1963 p.180,182). This apparently was not very clear because Shi’ites and some Sunnis still believe temporary marriage is OK today.
As for the Bible, why ask questions Jesus has already answered? Jesus forbade divorce (except for grounds of infidelity), and Jesus said this was changed from the Old Testament. The reason it was allowed in the Old Testament was because people’s hearts were hard (Matthew 19:7-9). Ezra commanded the Jewish men to divorce pagan women they were never to have been married to in the first place. Simply put, when Jesus abrogates and adds something to the Old Testament, honest Christians follow Jesus.
If divorce is a concern of yours, perhaps you could explain the following:
A man in Islam can divorce his wife for any reason. Bukhari 3:859 (p.534) says a man can divorce for "something unpleasant about his wife, such as old age or the like."
‘Umar commanded his son ‘Abd Allah to divorce his wife, but he refused because he loved her. So ‘Umar went to Mohammed, and Mohammed ordered him to divorce her. Abu Dawud3:5119 p.1422
Mohammed ordered his adopted son Zaid to divorce Zainab, and then Mohammed married Zainab. Zaid had no choice, because Mohammed recited Sura 33:36-38. Muslims believe the Qur’an is uncreated and inscribed on a tablet in heaven, but Sura 33:36-38 mentions Zaid by name saying he was not to have any choice in divorcing Zainab. Later Zainab bint Jahsh "used to boast before the other wives of the Prophet and used to say, ‘Allah married me (to the Prophet) in the Heavens.’" Bukhari 9:517 p.382. Also 9:516,518 p.381-383.
‘Umar said Mohammed divorced Hafsah (revocable divorce) and then took her back. Abu Dawud 2:2276 p.619
A man must divorce his wife, if his father commands it. Ibn-i-Majah 3:2088-2089 p.259-260
Two Muslim men were good friends, so one man asked the other which wife he should divorce so that the other could marry her. Bukhari 5:125 p.82
A man had a wife for many years, who bore him many children. He intended to "exchange her" (Majah’s choice of words) but he kept here when she agreed to give up her turn with him. Ibn-i-Majah 3:1914 p.188.
Q82: Why does the Bible teach that the sky is a solid dome of transparent material with water above it? (The water poured through the "windows of heaven" to cause Noah's flood, and then presumably poured off the edge of the disk-shaped earth into the abyss.)
A: It does not. Why do you falsely say the Bible is a solid dome of transparent material? At the time of Noah’s flood, (which you apparently deny though it is in the Qur’an too), God somehow had a great deal of water down to the earth.
Q83: Why does the Bible teach that goats will have striped offspring if they see stripes when they drink at the watering trough, when this has been discredited by modern genetics?
A: The Bible teaches that God can do miracles. Even though Jacob the schemer thought this would work naturally, God made Jacob prosperous supernaturally.
Q84: Why does the Bible record scientifically impossible events as factual? For example, the creation narrative, Noah's deluge, a solid dome over the sky, Earth supported by a foundation. Why has the evangelical church produced "Creation Science" explanations that are complete nonsense? Why is it that none of the more rational reconciliations of science and the Bible survives scrutiny?
A: First I will through this question back at Muslims, and then give an answer for both Muslims and Christians. If you are a Muslim who believes Noah’s flood was a myth, then you should publicly acknowledge that the Qur’an is not all true; it has myths too. The Qur’an specifically teaches Noah’s deluge (not just Noah) in Suras 7:64; 10:71-73; 11:44; 19:58 (those carried with Noah); 21:76-77; 23:27; 26:105-120; 29:14 (950yrs); 54:9-17
The Qur’an says the world was made in eight days (Sura 41:9-12) So how would a Muslim answer that? Ignoring problem of sequence, they would answer that a day here is a long period of time. Well, the Bible (not just Christians) says the same thing. All Christians do not necessary believe the earth was only 1,000’s of years old, especially since Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 show that a 1,000 years with the Lord is as a day or a watch in the night.
Q85: How can the doctrine of the Trinity possibly be true? Any attempt to make sense of it leads to contradictions. If it is so important, why isn't it clearly taught in the Bible? Why shouldn't an objective student of the doctrine conclude that it was created by the church to hide biblical inconsistencies about the nature of Christ behind a shroud of mystery?
A: The doctrine of the Trinity is true, and it is not contradictory.
God is Almighty, and nothing restricts God from having two, three, four, or five parts. It is not respectful to ask how God has to be to fit our opinion; rather let’s only ask, how has God revealed Himself.
God has revealed Himself as one inseparable God, with three distinct parts. If something as simple as a mountain can have three peaks and one base, how can we presupposed having three parts is impossible for the Almighty God.
There can be a "pluralness" to the One God without there being separate gods. Even in the Qur’an, when Allah speaks, the word "we" (Nahnu), and "I" is used.
The Trinity has not perfect analogy to anything on earth, but that should not be unexpected. Here is the clear Biblical evidence for the Trinity.
There is a threeness in Scripture: Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; Ephesians 2:18; Revelation 4:8; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 15:26.
There is only One God. Deuteronomy 4:35-39; 6:4; Isaiah 43: 10-2; 44:6,8; 45:5-6,14,21; 46:9; 1 Timothy 1:17;6:15-16.
Three distinct persons: Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:1;6:38;14:31;15:26; 16:28; 17:5; Acts 5:31-32; Mark 10:38-40
Jesus is God. John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:6-9; John 9:38; 2 Corinthians 11:3; John 20:28-29; Revelation 5:8-9;22:20
The Spirit is God. Romans 8:9-16; Luke 1:35; 1 John 4:12-16; 1 Corinthians 3:16 vs. 1 Corinthians 6:19; Acts 5:4;
They are equal in nature, glory, and honor. John 5:18; 5:23; Colossians 2:9-10; (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:8 vs. Revelation 1:17-18; 22:13)
They differ in role and rank. 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 15:25-28; Matthew 12:18; Ephesians 1:3,17; John 1:33; 14:16,26,28; Romans 8:26-27.
By the way, Jesus being in the Trinity does not mean Jesus is one-third God, any more than the height of a table is one-third of the table.
Q86: Why does the church say God did not create evil, when he himself claims that he did in Isaiah 45:7, Lamentations 3:38, and Amos 3:6? (Despite the renderings in the modern translations, this is the same Hebrew word translated "evil" in numerous other passages. However, even with the modern renderings, how can the Christian explain God’s taking credit for "calamity" (NASB) or "woe" (NRSV) or "disaster" (NIV)?
A: First let me throw the question back at Muslims, and then I will give an answer that satisfies Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Why would Mohammed let Muslims do "evil" in
Bukhari 3:56 p.35; 4:534 p.337; 6:454,456 p.426,427-428. "We ran to kill it [a snake] but it escaped quickly. The Prophet said, ‘It has escaped your evil and you too have escaped its evil." If Allah created everything, why would He [allegedly] create the evil eye.
"The evil eye is a fact." Bukhari 7:636 p.427, 7:827 p.538.
The answer is in two parts:
a) The word evil, whether in Hebrew, Arabic, or modern languages has two meanings: moral evil, and physical calamity. God in the Bible does not do moral evil, and Mohammed was not letting Muslims do what he considered moral evil either. God did directly cause "physical evil" of disaster, and the Muslims were trying to do "physical evil" to the snake.
b) Analogies to moral evil are a shadow, a hole, or other deficiency. These things do not have independent existence, but parasitic existence. A shadow does not have any weight, matter, energy, or spirit, yet it still exists; plants die in the shadows. God created everything. God created light, but a shadow parasitically exists where the light does not reach. God only created the light, He did not directly create the darkness, but there is no other creator who created the darkness either. Darkness was created as a byproduct of creating the light, where the light does not reach. God created everything good; He is not the author of evil. But there was no other creator who created evil. Rather evil was created as a byproduct of creating the good, where the good was blocked, twisted, and perverted.
Q87: Why does the church worship on Sunday, when the seventh day was established forever? There is no biblical support for Sunday worship; it is a tradition of the Catholic Church which Protestants accept.
A: There is both Biblical support for freedom of days and the practice of meeting on Sunday and the example of the early church.
Hebrews 4:11 indicates we have a different and better rest today. We should devote every day of the week to being in God’s rest.
In Colossians 2:16, Paul chastises the Colossians for continuing to keep the Sabbath day. Romans 14:5 speaks, without disapproval, of Christians who take all days alike.
In 1 Corinthians 16:2 they stored up collections on Sunday.
Examples of the followers of the apostles
First Apology of Justin Martyr (wrote about 138-165 A.D.) chapter 68.
Letter of Barnabas (100 A.D.)
Ignatius disciple of John the Apostle (110-117 A.D.)
Apostolic Constitutions (2nd century)
Dionysius of Corinth (175 A.D.)
Melitio of Sardis (175 A.D.)
Clement of Alexandria (183-217 A.D.)
Bardesanes (180 A.D.)
Tertullian’s Apologeticus (200 A.D.)
However, let me give a second, complementary answer that relates to Islam.
Why did Mohammed have Muslims worship on Friday and not the Sabbath. You cannot say Mohammed was ignorant of this, of that it was the Jews and not God who started the Sabbath, because Mohammed affirmed that Allah gave the Jews Saturday, the Christians Sunday, and the Muslims Friday. Sunan Nasa’i 2:1371 p.232. When you can answer how Muslims could claim to worship God though breaking the law of the Sabbath, then you can understand how Christians can claim to worship God, since the law of the Sabbath was abrogated.
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