Answers to Muslims Objections about the Bible - Part 2

Q1: Did Judas kiss Jesus the night of his arrest?
(a) Yes (Matthew 26:48-50). (b) No. Judas could not get close enough to Jesus to kiss him (John 18:3-12).

A: Yes, Judas kissed Jesus. John 18:3-12 does not say Judas did not kiss Jesus or could not get close enough. Remember Jesus came forward in John 18:4


Q2: What did Jesus say about Peter’s denial?
(a) "The cock will not crow till you have denied me three times" (John
13:38).

(b) "Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times" (Mark
14:30). When the cock crowed once, the three denials were not yet complete
(see Mark 14:72). Therefore prediction (a) failed.

A: Matthew 26:34, Luke 22:34, and John 13:38 say that before the cock/rooster crowed (an unnamed number of times) Peter would deny Jesus 3 times. Mark 14:30 says that before the cock crowed 2 times, Peter would deny Jesus 3 times.

1. The first denial is in Matthew 26:70, Mark 14:68, and Luke 22:57.

2. The second denial is in Matthew 26:72, Mark 14:70, and Luke 22:58

3. The third denial is in Matthew 26:74, Mark 14:71, and Luke 22:60.

The cock crowed a second time in Matthew 26:75, Mark 14:72, and Luke 22:60. Scripture does not specify if the cock crowed both times after Peter denied the third time, or if the cock crowed once earlier, and the second time after Peter's third denial. In any case, it does not really matter.


Q3: Did Jesus bear his own cross? (a) Yes (John 19:17). (b) No (Matthew 27:31-32).
A: Yes, Jesus bore his own cross much of the way. However, Jesus could not bear it all the way, so Simon of Cyrene bore it part of the way (Matthew 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26)


Q4: Did Jesus die before the curtain of the temple was torn? (a) Yes (Matthew 27:50-51; Mark 15:37-3. (b) No. After the curtain was torn, then Jesus crying with a loud voice,
said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he
breathed his last (Luke 23:45-46).
A: Matthew 27:50-51



Q5: Where was Jesus at the sixth hour on the day of the crucifixion? (a) On the cross (Mark 15:23). (b) In Pilate’s court (John 19:14).
A: Mark used the Jewish day which began at 6:00 am., so Jesus was on the cross at 12 p.m. John, writing primarily to Gentile readers, used the Roman day in John 1:39; 4:6; 19:14), which started at midnight, and Jesus was still in Pilate’s court at 6:00 am. SeeEncyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.363-364 and When Critics Ask p.376 for more info.


Q6: The gospels say that two thieves were crucified along with Jesus. Did both thieves mock Jesus? (a) Yes (Mark 15:32). (b) No. One of them mocked Jesus, the other defended Jesus (Luke 23:43).
A: Both thieves initially mocked Jesus. However, the thief on the right later defended him.


Q7: Did Jesus ascend to Paradise the same day of the crucifixion?
(a) Yes. He said to the thief who defended him, "Today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).
(b) No. He said to Mary Magdalene two days later, "I have not yet ascended to the Father" (John 20:17).
A: You have to understand Christian theology to answer this. Paradise and Heaven are different places. Apocryphal literature shows that the audience Jesus spoke to, the Jews, understood there to be two compartments in the afterlife: prison and paradise. Paradise, also called Abraham’s bosom in Luke 16:22, is where the godly people went prior to Jesus’ time until Jesus rose from the dead. After Jesus descended and declared victory over Satan, He ascended to heaven leading captives [of death] in His train (Ephesians 4:8), and all the people who followed God in times prior to Jesus went to Heaven with Jesus.


Q8: What was the exact wording on the cross?

(a) "This is Jesus the King of the Jews" (Matthew 27:37).

(b) "The King of the Jews" (Mark 15:26)

(c) "This is the King of the Jews" (Luke 23:3).
(d) "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews" (John 19:19).
A: John 19:20 gives us the answer by saying the sign was written in three languages: Latin, Hebrew, and Greek. The gospel writers said:

Matthew 27:37 says “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.

Mark 15:26 The king of the Jews.

Luke 23:38. This is the king of the Jews.

John 19:19 “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”

Ancient writers often paraphrased their words. What we have here is accurate, but not precise. So for example, if one writer said “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews” and another said “the king of the Jews”, both could be recording the same statement. The first writer simply recorded more of the statement than the second one.

Papias, a disciple of John the Apostle, records that Matthew was originally written in the language of the Hebrews (Aramaic?) and then translated into Greek. The other writers wrote in Greek. Thus there is a translation between the sayings and what the Gospel writers wrote.

Regardless of the differences of the three signs, Mark seems to simply record what is common among all of them.


Q9: Was Jesus crucified on the daytime before the Passover meal or the daytime after?
(a) After (Mark 14:12-17) [also Matthew 26:17].
(b) Before. Before the feast of the Passover (John 13:1) Judas went out at
night (John 13:30). The other disciples thought he was going out to buy
supplies to prepare for the Passover meal (John 13:29). When Jesus was
arrested, the Jews did not enter Pilate’s judgment hall because they wanted
to stay clean to eat the Passover (John 18:28). When the judgment was
pronounced against Jesus, it was about the sixth hour on the day of
Preparation for the Passover (John 19:14).
A: It was before the Sabbath when the Passover was usually celebrated, but after the Last Supper, which was a Passover meal a day early. Four points to the answer.

1. All four gospels agree Jesus was crucified on a Friday just before the real Passover started (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:%4; John 18:28).

2. The Last Supper was the day before Passover on Friday. It was actually a Passover meal (Mark 15:16-17; Luke 22:15). However, either a) Jesus was celebrating the Passover unusually early because He would be “unavailable” the next day, or b) many other Jews also celebrated the Passover early so that there would be enough rooms for everyone. Either way, Jesus “eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” In Luke 22:15

3. The term “the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread” in Mark 14:12

The NIV Study Bible p.1522 says, “”the first day of the Feast of Unleavened bead.” Ordinarily this would mean the 15th of Nisan, the day after Passover (see note on v.1). However, the added phrase “When it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb,” makes it clear that the 14th of Nisan is meant because Passover lambs were killed on that day (Ex 12:6). The entire eight-day celebration was sometimes referred to as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and there is evidence that the 14thof Nisan may have been loosely referred to as the “First day of Unleavened Bread.”

4. Here are the Bible verses that show Jesus was crucified on Friday.

Matthew 27:62 says it was the Day after Preparation Day [i.e. the Sabbath] when a guard was assigned to the tomb. Matthew 28:1 says the day after that was “after the Sabbath”.

Mark 15:42 and Luke 23:54 both say that when Jesus died it was the Preparation Day before the Sabbath. In other words, it was before sundown Friday.

John 13:1 does not prove the point here. While I actually agree with the questioner that John 13:1 0+ hours before the Last Supper and 24+ hours before the Passover, someone else could interpret John 13:1 to be 0+ hours before the Passover.

John 13:29-30 is not relevant here because it does not specify which feast, and the feat of unleavened bread lasted a week.

John 18:28 The night of Jesus arrest was the night before the Passover, because the Jews wanted to stay ceremonially clean until the Passover. If they had gone in, they would have considered themselves ceremonially unclean until the next nightfall. This means the arrest had to be Thursday night, not Friday night or Wednesday night.

John 19:14 says the crucifixion was the day of preparation (paraskeue) for the Passover. The day of preparation for the Passover is sundown Thursday night to sundown Friday night. i.e. includes most of Friday. As a side note, the Modern Greek word for Friday isparaskeue.

   See When Critics Ask p.375, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.448-449, and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.375 for more on why Jesus was crucified on a Friday.


Q10: Did Jesus pray to The Father to prevent the crucifixion?
(a) Yes. (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42).
(b) No. (John 12:27).
A: Jesus did not pray to stop the crucifixion. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; but let thy will, not mine be done. After praying earnestly, Jesus realized the cup would not pass from Him, and as John 12:27 shows, Jesus realized He came for this very hour.


Q11: In the gospels which say that Jesus prayed [if possible] to avoid the cross, how many times did He move away from his disciples to pray?
(a) Three (Matthew 26:36-46 and Mark 14:32-42).
(b) One. No opening is left for another two times. (Luke 22:39-46).
A: Jesus moved away to pray three times, and upon returning, Jesus found them sleeping all three times as Matthew 26:36-46 and Mark 14:32-42 say. There is not problem with Luke, as it either records just the third time he prayed (and the third time they slept), or telescopes them together, with either of the three times Jesus went out and the last time they slept.


Q12: Matthew and Mark agree that Jesus went away and prayed three times. What were the words of the second prayer?
(a) Mark does not give the words but he says that the words were the same as the first prayer (Mark 14:39).
(b) Matthew gives us the words, and we can see that they are not the same as in the first (Matthew 26:42).
A: While the gospel writers paraphrased and did not record every word, Mark is correct; the two times are the same in meaning.

First time praying:

Matthew 26:39 the first time says, “My Father, if it is possible may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Mark 14:35-36 says, “Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass fro him, ‘Abba, Father’, he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’”

Second time praying:

Matthew 26:42 “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
Mark 14:39 says “Once more he went away and prayed the same thing.”

One or more of the times praying:

Luke 22:42,44 says, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup form me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’” (44) And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly,…”

Consider how long it would take to say one of these verses: perhaps 5 seconds. Do you really think Jesus withdrew a short distance, prayed for five seconds, and returned, to find all disciples asleep. - obviously not. The Gospel writers wrote such that objective non-Muslim readers would assume it was a summary of a longer period of time.

Muslim readers might assume differently, because for orthodox Muslims prayer is a very different thing than in Christianity. Once after having a Bible study with a Muslim I prayed, and at after the end of the prayer the Muslim looked at me strange. He said, “It sounded like that prayer was not written down.” I said, “of course not, I was praying what was on my heart to God.” He explained to me that they only pray prayers that are written down. Prayer to most (but not all) Muslims is a mechanical dictation of memorized prayers. The Muslim hadiths have a lot to say about prayer. The Bukhari hadiths have 433 pages (815 hadiths) on prayer, Sahih Muslim has 263 pages (1505 hadiths) on prayer, and the Fiqh-us-Sunnah has 288 pages on prayer. They have everything on the times, mechanics, body motions, when prayer is forbidden etc.. Yet no where in these dry pages is anything about praying to tell God how you feel or what you desire.


Q13: What did the centurion say when Jesus dies?
(a) "Certainly this man was innocent" [or this man was a righteous man]. (Luke 23:47).
(b) "Truly this man was the Son of God" (Mark 15:39; Matthew 27:54).
A: The centurion probably said both, and he could have said those two phrases in either order. However I personally favor him saying Luke prior to Him realizing Jesus was the Son of God.


Q14: When Jesus said "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" in what language did he speak?
(a) Hebrew: the words are "Eli, Eli . . . " (Matthew 27:46).
(b) Aramaic: the words are "Eloi, Eloi . . . " (Mark 15:34).
A: Mark, written in Greek, records the words in Aramaic, so it was probably Aramaic. Matthew was originally written in Hebrew according to Papias. However, Matthew was translated into Greek, but the Hebrew “Eli, Eli…” was left.


Q15: According to the gospels, what were the last words of Jesus before he died?
(a) "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" (Luke 23:46).
(b) "It is finished" (John 19:30).
A: It is finished is the last words John recorded, though nothing precludes Him saying something else between that and the final bowing of His head. Luke 23:46a says Jesus spoke right before dying, so it probably is the last phrase. However, the language of both would allow for either way.

 

Note: the previous questions were nitpicky and insignificant. For the last three questions, it is nice to finally see some meatier, significant ones.


Q16: Where is the justice in punishing us for Adam's sin? The Bible itself says that children will not be punished for the parents' sins (Deuteronomy 24:16). Furthermore, if God really created Adam not knowing either good or evil (Genesis 3:22), how could such a harsh and enduring punishment as death for Adam and all his descendants possibly be just? Our secular courts are more just than God when they show mercy on people who cannot distinguish between right and wrong, such as children and the mentally handicapped. And why isn't this doctrine of original sin found anywhere in the Bible except in Paul's writings?
A: This is really two questions in one: justice for Adam’s descendants, and justice for Adam.

I. Justice for Adam’s descendants

We are not punished for Adam’s sin, but our own. We bear the consequences of Adam’s sin, including a sinful nature and death, but everyone dies for their own sin, not another’s (Ezekiel 18). By the way, even Mohammed in the hadiths and early Muslim history teaches somewhat similar.

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

The is an additional doctrine about women though: Eve was originally intelligent, Allah made her stupid after the fall of Adam and Eve. al-Tabari vol.1 p.280,281

II. Justice for Adam

Adam did not know about being sinful, resisting the natural urge to do evil, or evil in general. Adam and Eve were simply given a straightforward choice: obey or disobey. Likewise, with the consequences of our disobedience, we cannot plead it was unfair because we did not know all of the consequences if we disobeyed. God gives us choices, and we can obey or disobey.


Q17: Where is the justice in punishing Jesus for our sins? If our courts of law were to accept the punishment of someone else in the place of the criminal, we would not say that justice has been done, but that injustice has been added to injustice. Would the church have me believe that two wrongs make a right?
A: This question is really two questions: justice of Jesus, and justice for our disobedience.

Justice for Jesus: The question hits on the point precisely. There is no justice for Jesus in this. Jesus did not deserve to die for our sins, He did not have to volunteer to die, and Jesus was put to death by men unjustly, and had all the sins of the world placed on Him unjustly [to Him]. Yet Jesus Himself chose this. Hebrews 12:2 says , “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Being crucified was not fun or a joy by any stretch of the imagination, but Jesus did that for the joyous outcome of saving us.

Justice for our disobedience: Do you think God should call the guilty innocent, or say some disobedience to Him does not matter? Imagine you live in a country where everyone else is a different race. You are arrested for a crime you are actually guilty of, such as theft. You come before a judge on the day that he hears all the theft cases. Every case before you, even the thieves who were caught red-handed, are freely pardoned by the judge. When your case comes up, you have to pay a large fine and are thrown in jail for a long time. What would you think: racism?, everybody else bribed the judge? Or the judge acted justly? - Probably not the third choice. God is just, and He punishes sin justly. If God merely winked at the sins of some people, and threw other people into Hell for the same sins, how would that be just? For a just God to punish some sins, He has to punish all sins. Here is a second example: a teenager was caught speeding, and went before the judge. The judge pronounced her guilty; then the judge went out from behind the bench, took off his robes, took out his wallet, and paid the fine. You see, the judge was the girl’s father. The judge would not have been just to call the guilty innocent or pardon her without paying the fine. Likewise, Jesus satisfied the demands of God’s justice by paying the fine for us. Jesus died for us, but because He was sinlessly perfect, death had no hold on Him, and He rose on the third day.


Q18: How can sacrificing Jesus on behalf of the sinner atone for another's sin? This would be like killing my child to reconcile for the misbehavior of my neighbor's child. I have the capacity simply to forgive and forget without demanding compensation for small offenses. Why can't God do this? Does he simply want blood?
A: First an example, then God’s precept on compensation, and finally the blood issue.

An Example: Try this some time. Invite two twins over to play with your child. Let’s say the twins break furniture and hurt your child, and they are equally guilty. Tell one twin they are never invited in your house again, and tell the other one that is OK, they can keep on playing. Then see how much respect the twins, as well as your child have for your authority. Is this what you ask God to do?

Compensation: No rebellion or disobedience is small against a being as great as God. Yes God can forgive, but God set up “the system” where He taught there had to be compensation for every sin. We can argue with God that He should have set up His universe more they way we would like, but that is like an rat arguing with a homeowner that his house needs to be more “rodent-friendly”. God drilled this truth into the Jews, from the time of Moses till the time of Christ. Islam has generally been totally blind to the foremost importance of all the sacrifices in the Old Testament. We have the Dead Sea scrolls and other manuscripts showing this from before the time of Christ, and Christ confirmed the Torah before him. The Torah has a tremendous amount of detail on the need for sacrifices and how to do them, so denying this is separating between God’s messengers. Anyway, Jesus volunteered for the ultimate sacrifice, to satisfy the demands of justice for compensation for all sins against the Holy God. Now, for those who accept the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice, God does not demand compensation.

Blood: As Cain would ask, why blood, and not something else, like fruits and vegetables? Why not money, or even chopping off hands? God said that a creature’s life is in its blood (Leviticus 17:11,14), and the bloody Old Testament sacrifices were a prelude to Christ’s great sacrifice. Beyond that, scripture does not say. Scripture is very clear though, that it had to be blood. You might want to be disrespectful and tell God He should have told Moses and the Israelites something else, but the fact is, the All-Knowing does not care for our suggestions. We have to agree the evidence is overwhelming that God chose blood, and we can either accept or reject His word.

Here are verses in the Torah showing it had to be blood, followed the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts from the time of Christ or before that have these verses.

Sacrificial Blood Verses

Early Scroll

Dates

Genesis 4:3-5

4QGenb (=4Q2)

50-68 A.D. or possibly later

Exodus 12:7

4QpaleoGen-Exodl (=4Q11), 4QpaleoExodm (=4Q22)

uncertain,

200-175 B.C.

Exodus 12:13,22

4QpaleoExodm (=4Q22), 4QExodc (=4Q16)

200-175 B.C.,

uncertain

Exodus 12:23

4QExodc (=4Q16)

uncertain

Exodus 24:6, 8

4QpaleoGen-Exodl (=4Q11)

uncertain

Exodus 29:12, 16, 21

not preserved prior to Christ

-

Exodus 29:20

4QpaleoExodm (=4Q22)

200-175 B.C.

Exodus 30:10

4QpaleoExodm (=4Q22)

200-175 B.C.

Leviticus 1:5

4QLevc (=4Q25)

uncertain

Leviticus 1:11

4QLevb (=4Q24); pap4QLXXLevb

uncertain

Leviticus 1:15

4QLevb (=4Q24); 4QExod-Levf(+4Q17)

uncertain; ?

Leviticus 3:2,8

4QLeve (=4Q26a)

 

Leviticus 3:13

pap4QLXXLevb; 4QLevc

?; uncertain

Leviticus 4:5

MasLeva (Masada)

before 73 A.D.

Leviticus 4:6, 7

pap4QLXXLevb; MasLeva(Masada)

?; before 73 A.D.

Leviticus 4:16, 17

not preserved prior to Christ

-

Leviticus 4:18

pap4QLXXLevb

 

Leviticus 4:25

11QpaleoLeva

 

Leviticus 4:30, 34

not preserved prior to Christ

-

Leviticus 5:9

pap4QLXXLevb

 

Leviticus 6:30; 7:2, 14

not preserved prior to Christ

-

Leviticus 8:15, 19, 23, 24, 30

not preserved prior to Christ

-

Leviticus 9:9, 12

MasaLevb (Masada)

before 73 A.D.

Leviticus 14:6, 14

not preserved prior to Christ

-

Leviticus 14:17

4QpaleoLeva

 

Leviticus 14:25, 28, 51

4QLev-Numa (=4Q23)

uncertain

Leviticus 14:52

11QpaleoLeva; 4QLev-Numa

c.200 B.C.; uncertain

Leviticus 16:14

not preserved prior to Christ

-

Leviticus 16:15, 18, 19, 27

4QLev-Numa (=4Q23)

uncertain

Leviticus 17:11

QpaleoLeva; 4QLevd (=4Q26)

 

Leviticus 17:6

4QLevd (=4Q26)

uncertain

Leviticus 17:12, 13, 14

not preserved prior to Christ

-

Numbers 18:17

not preserved prior to Christ

-

Numbers 19:4

4QNumb (=4Q27)

30 B.C. - 20 A.D.

Numbers 19:5

4QNumb (=4Q27); 5/6HevNuma(Nahal Hever)

30 B.C. - 20 A.D.; probably 1st century A.D.

Numbers 35:33

4QNumb (=4Q27)

30 B.C. - 20 A.D.

Deuteronomy 12:23, 27

not preserved prior to Christ

-

Muslims generally think the Torah has been corrupted. But if even a few of these, from before the time of Jesus, were confirmed by Jesus, then it is true that God requires blood for sin.

All Bible quotes are from the NIV unless specified otherwise.