The “Allah” Controversy
A controversy highlighting issues
among Muslims, Christians & Jews
By Mel Copeland
A moderate view of Islam
The Organization of Islamic Conference, (oic-oci.org) who has 56 member nations, has been an active source of reconciliation with other faiths and the West. Dr. Hassan Hathout in the OIC "Faces of Islam.pdf” posted an article, "The chaff and the wheat about Islam," from which we quote .
"In 1076, Pope Gregory VII wrote to the Muslim ruler Al-Nasir, “We believe in and confess one God, admittedly in a different way,” and emphasized the shared Abrahamic faith. In 1095, Pope Urban II characterized Muslims as godless people, infidels, dogs, chaff for eternal fire, etc… He was known as “Urban the Blessed” and was the one who called for the first Crusade.
In 1965, Pope Paul VI mentioned in his Nostra Etate, “Upon Muslims too the Church, looks with esteem, they adore the One God, our God, the God of Abraham with whom the Islamic faith is happy to associate itself and worship Him by prayers and almsgiving.” He also emphasized that although Muslims do not believe the sonhood of Jesus to God, they believe that he was the prophet and messenger of God and was supported by miracles. Muslims also love and respect his mother, the Virgin Mary.
The late Pope John Paul II commented on the conclusion of the second millennium by saying that Christians had things to atone for in that millennium, citing the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the Holocaust.
If the aforementioned conflicting views about Islam were expressed by Popes (supposedly infallible), then it must be that those views were in fact situational, although each exerted its influence on Christendom throughout history. It was not only Popes who regarded Islam so variably. Whereas Dante puts Muhammad in the deepest pits of hellfire, others grade him as number one of the hundred persons who positively influenced human history, and the British playwrite George Bernard Shaw expressed humanity's need of a person like Muhammad, who would have had the ability to solve its problems while sipping a cup of coffee.
These are but a few sporadic examples of what the minds of the people in the West are continually exposed to. It seems that unbridled human nature, however, has more affinity to cling to bad news and views rather than to look at them analytically or exert effort to verify them. Even in modern times when means of verification have become easy, a lie has a better chance to be believed by the masses if the proper technique is used. The examples are plenty and dramatic even in the highest circles. It is a pity that we pontificate to our children during their early years about the value of truth and honesty only to see them reverse direction as they grow up to be big politicians, business tycoons, and leaders. The media often lose their impartiality and their great efforts to reveal the truth are marred by situations where they actually deny or conceal it. It is sad to see the art of lying become such a sophisticated science, targeting even their own people. The Crusades in particular seem to have left such a permanent impression on the Western mind that the word “crusade” has been established in common use with positive connotations, whether by top politicians or by religious preachers.
Then came the tragic events of 9/11 that shocked America and the whole world. All Americans including Muslim Americans were angered and saddened by the heinousness of the attack and the loss of innocent lives (including some three hundred Muslim victims). Although it was a crime perpetrated by a band of criminals who were
Muslims, voices were raised incriminating all Muslims, including American Muslims. By and by, the accusations expanded to include Islam itself, the Prophet of Islam, and even the God of Islam. One has to admit, however, that on the whole, the American people have scored very high on the scales of tolerance and humaneness. I imagine that if 9/11 had happened anywhere other than America, rivers of blood would have flown and massacres would have been committed.
The image of Islam in America has naturally suffered and with the selectivity of reporting by word or by picture from or about the Muslims in their countries, the image is naturally getting worse. On the other hand, one should realize that ordinary Americans have their excuse in thinking negatively about Islam, on account of what they read and watch. This negative image of Islam is lent support by the actions of those Muslims who exhibit criminal, atrocious, and disgusting behavior while claiming that they do it in the name of Islam.
Any honest attempt to portray what Islam really is can only be successful if the reader can cast aside the curtains upon curtains of preconceived ideas. Preconceived ideas unfortunately tend to block the flow of new ideas.
Muslims are part of the sector of humanity that believes that God is. God is infinite in all of His descriptions and power. Muslims do not entertain the question what was before him or who comes after him, for this would mean that He is finite. Muslims cannot understand infinity because we ourselves are finite. This is not religious jargon, but infinity is indeed a scientific fact that we teach in our math classes and refer to by a special signal (OO ). It follows therefore that God is One whether you are Muslim,
Christian, Jewish, an agnostic, or an unbeliever. God is given various names in various languages such as: Allah in Arabic, Yahweh in Hebrew, Dieu in French, Theos in Greek, etc…The English language has no name and uses the word God with a capital G. God is also beyond gender and our reference to God as “He” is a matter of linguistic usage, but not of gender. God created the universe, including our planet Earth. All atoms follow atomic laws. They combine to form molecules following chemical laws. Molecular complexity advances to the stage where nucleic acids can split and each half replenishes itself into a new molecule, actually signifying Life along its long course to higher animals. Biologically, we humans are the head of the animal kingdom, and yet many of us would be offended to be called an animal. The reason is that, although we share biology with animals, it is not our biology that makes us human beings, but another factor that is not derived from the earth. This factor is what we call the Spirit and is breathed into us from God Himself. It is this element that makes us eligible to identify good and evil and to have the willpower to observe God's do's and don't's even in the face of temptation. As humanity grew and life became more and more complex, humans were reminded by a long chain of messengers and prophets along human history. They reminded people that they are under continuous surveillance (by angels) and that if they can manage to get away with their sins during life, there will be a life after death where detailed reports are available and responsibilities are assigned. There has been a long chain of messengers (three hundred according to biblical sources) ending in what we call the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism (Moses), Christianity (Jesus), and Islam (Muhammad). Muslims don't see them as alternatives but as a continuum. Even without reciprocity, the Quran (to Muslims, God's very word) addresses Muslims saying, “The same religion God enjoined on you as the one He recommended to Noah, and this Quran we revealed to you, and that which we recommended to Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, that you should uphold the faith and break-not your unity therein” (Quran 13:42).
Islam calls Jews and Christians the “People of the Book,” since they are the recipients of the Torah and the Bible. The Quran describes Jesus as the messenger of God, His Word that He bestows on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him. Also in the Quran, the angels tell Mary, “God has chosen you, purified you, and chosen you over the women of all nations” (Quran 3:42).
As for the Jews, I will simply make one reference to the late Mr. Aba Eban, former foreign secretary of Israel, historian, and philosopher, who, in his epic book My People (also made into a television series), wrote, “Over their history, my people were treated with justice only twice: under the Muslims in Spain and recently in the United States of America. It was never under Muslim rule that the Jews met the repeated pogroms they suffered in Europe, concluded by Hitler's Holocaust.”
In the middle ages, when Ferdinand and Isabella expelled the Jews from Spain (as collateral damage with Muslims), many of them went to Muslim lands. They were generously welcomed, and the Muslim Sultan mocked the Spanish monarchs by saying, “They impoverished their country and enriched mine.” It was not until the Palestinian issue that the relations soured, and we hope some solution agreeable to both Palestinians and Israelis will be reached at long last. Looking at Jerusalem through
Jewish, Christian, or Muslim eyes, it is obvious that God meant it to be a converging lens of the three faiths and not a divergent one. Finding a solution to restore peace to the land of peace should be the concern of all three communities. However, it should not be a Versailles-like peace, because this would only be the prelude to further conflict.
It is quite obvious to me that in America and the West as a whole, Islam is very much talked about and very little understood. To facilitate the matter to the western reader, I would liken Islam to a building composed of the foundation and three stories. The foundation is belief in and love of God, heeding Him all the time. The first floor is that of worship (prayers, fasting, almsgiving, and pilgrimage to Mecca if affordable). The second floor is human relations and interaction with the environment. The third floor is a constitution (legal system) that is pliable to suit new times and situations. There is no clergy system in Islam (only scholarship), hence the conflict between church and state does not arise. The three floors are interconnected; the system is inclusive and takes care not to enforce on non-Muslim citizens anything that runs against their respective religions. It is the second floor that is important to us all and is practically the same as in Christianity, Judaism, and all other members of humanity who believe in goodness and human decency.
Readers will ask why the problems of terrorism and the negative actions committed by Muslim perpetrators arise. We say that such phenomena are not confined to Islam and we invite the reader to widen his or her field of vision and consider the history of followers of the other religions, both in the past and in our present day. A study of terrorism in both the past and the present shows it to include Muslims, Christians, Jews, and practically human beings of all creeds and breeds. Yet the press often attaches the title “Islamic” only when the perpetrators are Muslims, omitting such characterization in other cases.
Terrorism is a real and potentially devastating problem in our modern times. It is a pity to see the handling of the problem entirely relegated to politicians and their allies of the military-industrial complex, exactly what the late US President Eisenhower warned us against. It is also sad to note that our national budgets allocate far more for inflicting death than do they for educating and protecting life. The problem of terrorism should be handled in a scientific way. An international committee should systematically study all aspects of the problem and elucidate its predisposing factors, exciting factors, and early symptoms.
Preventive management is certainly more valuable than therapeutic treatment. The aim of enlightened statesmanship is to turn your enemy into a friend and not just to kill him. This approach is an axial theme that should be adopted by all people of all nations and of all religions. The United States was founded on the idea of “Out of Many: One” and this should be its guiding light within and without its borders. The United States, physically and morally, should never allow itself to live behind an Iron Curtain. It should never ever allow itself to be tempted by the idea of “the survival of the fittest, ”otherwise it will lose itself even if it wins its battles." [Dr. Hassan Hathout is a professor at the Islamic Center of Southern California, and a former professor in the School of Medicine at Kuwait University.]
A Comment on Dr. Hassan Hathout's article:
His quote of the Quran 13:42:
““The same religion God enjoined on you as the one He recommended to Noah, and this Quran we revealed to you, and that which we recommended to Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, that you should uphold the faith and break-not your unity therein...”
The quote confirms the verses listed that confirm the Bible in chapter 4 above and the conclusion that the God of the Bible and Allah must be the same person* and that the Koran requires keeping the faith in the religion (sic Old Testament & Gospel of Christ: the Bible). However Dr. Hathout repeats a common expression of Islamic scholars, that “the Koran describes Jesus as the messenger of God..His Word that He bestows on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him.” We point out that according to the Koran Jesus is recognized as the Messiah:
The IMRANS 3:45 The angels said to Mary: "Allah bids you rejoice in a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary.
The Messiah is a very special character in the Bible, and to appreciate how much more of a messenger or prophet he is expected to be we need to read the plethora of verses that relate to him, under such names (besides Messiah; Gr. Christ; Engl. Anointed One). Recently two conferences were conducted, one in Turkey and the other in Saudi Arabia, to promote moderate Islamic views. See articles:
Maravot News 04.01.10 Extremists must repent: Muslim scholars
Maravot News 3.31.10 article 03.31.10 Muslim scholars recast jihadists' favorite fatwa
* Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General Of The Organization Of The Islamic Conference (OIC), sent their Invitation to a New Partnership, to President Obama, January 21, 2009, that included the following comment: "...Many myths about Islam, fostered by extremists in both the West and East, have proliferated in the last decade, and a new word — "Islamophobia” — has even entered the world's lexicon to describe anti-Muslim acts of prejudice and violence. Despite these pernicious myths, you will find that Islam is a religion of peace. Tolerance is its benchmark and borne of the very nature of Islam. Nor is Islam an exclusive religion. It is an integral part of the history of world religions. It continues and confirms the previous scriptures. Along with Christianity and Judaism, Islam emanates from the same part of the world, comes from the same God, and holds to the same Prophets, mainly Abraham. It has been tested over fourteen hundred years, and shown itself to be a religion of compassion, mercy, justice, and equality. Extremists in any faith or tradition are rare, though they often command disproportionate attention. But the often overlooked truth is Islam is also the religion of moderation. It celebrates diversity and acknowledges and venerates a wide array of religions. Islam, in fact, abhors extremism and fanaticism and calls for treading the path of the “middle way” in favor of tolerance and reconciliation. It exhorts Muslims to be morally responsive to the truth and to goodness, and to be alert to all that is false, evil or destructive..." (See Appendix A for an extension of this precept to Imams.)
Some names of the Messiah, his characteristics and time(s)
(from Hidden Pavilions4.html, pages 142-191, Appendix A)
The Word, Branch, Shepherd, Judge/ King Messiah, Redeemer, Messiah ben Joseph, Messiah of Israel, Son of David, Servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified (Isa. 49.2); Prophet like unto thee [Moses] (Exodus 19.18);
Lam. Rab. 1:51, p36, and Lam. 1:16: What is the name of King Messiah? R. Abba bar Kahana said: "Lord [Adonai] is his name, for it is written, I will raise unto David a Righteous shoot...in his days Judah shall be saved...And this is the name whereby He shall be called: The Lord is our Righteousness (Jer. 23:5-6)." For R. Levi said: "Happy is the country whose name is like the name of its king and the name of whose king is like the name of its God..." R. Y'hoshu'a said: "Shoot [Tzemah] is his name, for it is written, Behold a man whose name is Shoot and who shall shoot up out of his place and build the temple of the Lord (Zech. 6:12)." R. Yudan in the name of R. Aybo said "Menahem [comforter] is his name, for it is written, Because the Comforter is far from me (Lam. 1:16)." In the house of R. Shela they said: "Shiloh is the name of the Messiah, for it is written, Until Shiloh will come (Gen. 49.10), and the word is spelled Shela." In the house of R. Hanina they said: "Hanina is his name, for it is written, For I will show you no favor [hanina] (Jer. 15:13)." In the house of R. Yannai they said: "Yinnon is his name, for it is written May his name be continued [yinnon] as long as the sun (Ps. 72:17)." R. Biva of Srungaya said: "Nehira [light] is his name, for it is written, And the light [nehora] dwelleth with him (Dan.2:22), and it is spelled nehira." R Y'huda ben R. Shimion said in the name of R. Shimuel ben R. Yitshaq: "This king Messiah, if he is of those who are alive, his name is David, and if he is of those who have died, his name is David." R. Tanhuma said: "I shall tell you the reason: [It is written] He giveth great salvation to His King, and showeth mercy to His Anointed (Ps. 18:51). [Thereafter] it is not written 'and to David,' but to His Anointed to David and his seed..' "
Mid. Mishie, ed. Buber: Rav Huna said: "The Messiah is called by seven names and they are: Yinnon, Tzidquenu [Our Justice], Tzeman [shoot] Menahem [Comforter], David, Shiloh, and Elijah."
S. Buber's note : The Messiah is called by eight names: Yinon, Tzemah, Pele [Miracle], Yo'etz [Counselor], Mashiah [Messiah], El [God], Gibbor [hero], and Avi 'Ad Shalom [Eternal Father of Peace].
Pereq Shalom: R. Yoyse the Galilean said: "The name of the Messiah is Peace, for it is said, Everlasting Father, Prince Peace (Isa. 9.5)..." R. Yose the Galilean said: "Great is peace, for in the hour in which King Messiah is revealed to Israel, he begins with peace, for it is said, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings who announceth peace [Isa. 52.7]."
B. Sanh 98.b: Rav Yπhuda said: "Rav said that the Holy One, blessed be He, will in the future raise for them [for Israel] another David, for it is said, They shall serve the Lord their God and David their king whom I will raise up unto them (Jer. 30.9). It does not say 'raised up,' but 'will raise up.' "
Rav Papa said to Abbaye: "But it is written, And David my servant shall be their prince forever" (Ezek. 37:25). He answered: "They will be like Caesar and vice-Caesar."
Ezekiel 34.12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that He is among his sheep that are scattered…and I will set up one shepherd over them and shall feed them, even my Servant David…then the heathen that are left around about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places…therefore…in that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely shalt thou not know it?” :
Ezekiel 36.24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Ezekiel 36.25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
Ezekiel 36.26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36.27 And I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Ezekiel 36.28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
Ezekiel 36.31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loath yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
Ezekiel 36.32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
Ezekiel 36.36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and land that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.
Ezekiel 37.21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
Ezekiel 37.22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:
Ezekiel 37.24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
Ezekiel 37.25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant... and my servant David shall be their prince forever.
Ezekiel 37.26 Moreover I will make a Covenant of Peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midstof them for evermore.
Ezekiel 37.27 My Tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God and they shall be my people.
Ezekiel 37.28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
Daniel 12.1 And at that time (referring to the King, great flatterer and deceiver who places the Abomination of Desolation and the tabernacles of his palace between the seas) shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Daniel 12.2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Zechariah 12.8 …In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the House of David shall be as God, as the Angel of the Lord before them.
Isaiah 42.1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Isaiah 42.2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
Isaiah 42.3 A bruised read shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth
Isaiah 42.4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judtgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his Law;
Isaiah 4.2 In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel’
Isaiah 4.3 And it shall come to pass that He that is left in Zion, and He that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called Holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 4.4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst there of by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
Isaiah 4.5 And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense.
Isaiah 4.6 And there shall be a Tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and rain.
Isaiah 32.1 Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.
Isaiah 32.2 And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.
Isaiah 33.10 Now will I rise, saith the Lord; now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself.
Isaiah 33.17 Thine eyes shall see the King in His Beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.
Isaiah. 41.28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them and there was no counsellor, that, when I asekd of them, could answer a word.
Isaiah 49.4 Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.
Isaiah 49.5 And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his Servant, to bring Jacob again to Him, though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.
Isaiah 49.6 And he said, it is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a Light to the Gentiiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
Isaiah 49.7 Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.
Isaiah 49.8 Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of Salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.
Leviticus Rabbah XIII:V.6g: I have trodden the winepress alone.
Genesis 49:10 The Scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.
Ezekiel 36.23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
Malachi 4.2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings;
Daniel 7.13 …and behold, One like the Son of Man came with the Clouds of Heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, …and there was given him dominion, and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
Jeremiah. 23.6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called: the Lord our Righteousness;
Isaiah 33.17 Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off;
Isaiah 33.18 Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? Where is the receiver? Where is he that counted the towers?
Zephaniah 3.8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
Zephaniah 3.9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.
Zephaniah 3.19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.
Zephaniah 3.20 At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.
I Kings 8.41 Moreover, concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake...When he shall come and pray to this house: hear thou in Heaven thy dwelling place and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for...
Micah 4.3 And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nations shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
Isaiah 59.15 Yea, Truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
Isaiah 59.16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore, his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
Isaiah 59.19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun,..
Zohar: Then Human beings will perceive wondrous, precious wisdom never known by them before; all these are destined to alight on King Messiah so that he may judge the world.
Isaiah 11.1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His Roots:
Isaiah 11.2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of Wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of the Lord.
Isaiah 11.3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.
Isaiah 11.4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the Rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips will he slay the wicked.
Bavli CCVIIIB: Even with such anger may the all merciful rage against us, so long as he redeems us.
Isaiah 62.7 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
Zechariah 12.2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
Zechariah 12.3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered against it.
Zechariah 12.8 In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and He that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the Angel of the Lord before them.
Zechariah 12.9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zechariah 12.10 And I will pour upon the House of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Zechariah 13.5 But He shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
Zechariah 13.6 And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Isaiah 45.23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Bavli,xlvii.8, - Reverting to Bar Qappara’s statement: The Messiah, as it is written, “and the Spirt of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge of the fear of the Lord, and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord (Isa. 11.2-3)
Genesis Rabbah XCVIII:IX 1.j: " 'He washes his garments in wine': for he will link together words of Torah."
Zohar: And he will shine like the Zohar of the sky. Which sky? the sky of Moses.
Isaiah 28.2 Behold, the Lord hath a Mighty and Strong one..
Isaiah 28.9 Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
Isaiah 28.10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with Stammering lips and Another Tongue will He speak to this people.
Isaiah 28.12 To whom He said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest: and this the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
Isaiah 28.13 But the Word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
Psalm 118.17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
Psalm 118.18 The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
Psalm 118.19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and praise the Lord.
Zohar: The Shekhina is the opening to the Divine..
All these are destined to alight upon king Messiah
So that He may judge the world,
As it is written: He shall judge the poor with righteousness.
Psalm 37.6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Psalm 37.30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
Dead Sea Scrolls, Community Rule: He shall measure out all knowledge discovered throughout the ages, together with the precept of the age. He shall be a man zealous for the precept whose time is for the day of revenge. He shall perform the will of God in all his deeds, and in all his dominion as he has commanded. He shall freely delight in all that befalls him and nothing shall please him save God's will. He shall delight in all the words of His Mouth and shall desire nothing except his command. He shall watch always for the judgment of God, and shall bless his maker and declare his mercies in all that befalls.
Zohar: Then Human beings will perceive wondrous, precious wisdom never known by them before; all these are destined to alight on king Messiah so that he may judge the world.
Dead Sea Scrolls, Jubilee & Melkizedek: This is the day of Peace and Salvation concerning which God spoke through Isaiah the prophet, who said, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who proclaims peace, who brings good news, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion: Your Elohim reigns (Isaiah 52.7). Its interpretation: the mountains are the prophets..and the messenger is the Anointed One [Messiah / Christ] of the spirit, concerning whom Daniel said, Until an Anointed One, a prince (Daniel 9.25)..And he who brings good news, who proclaims salvation: it is concerning him that it is written..To comfort all who mourn, to grant to those who mourn in Zion (Isaiah 61.2,3). To comfort those who mourn: its interpretation, to make them understand all the ages of time..In truth..will turn away from Satan...by the judgments of God, as it is written concerning him, who says to Zion: your Elohim reigns. Zion is..., those who uphold the Covenant, who turn from walking in the way of the people. And your Elohim is Melkizedek, who will save them from the hand of Satan.
Habakkuk 3.4 His brightness was as the Light; He had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.
Enoch 46.4 And when the Lord shall send a great light, then there will be judgment for the just and the unjust...
Micah 7.16 The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf.
Dead Sea Scrolls, The War Rule ...This is the day appointed by Him for the defeat and overthrow of the Prince of the Kingdom of Wickedness, and He will send eternal succor to the company of His redeemed by the might of the princely Angel of the kingdom of Michael. With everlasting light he will enlighten with joy the Children of Israel; peace and blessing shall be with the company of God. He will raise up the Kingdom of Michael in the midst of the gods, and the realm of Israel in the midst of all flesh. Righteousness shall rejoice on high, and all the children of His truth shall be jubilant in eternal knowledge.
Malachi 3.1 Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.
Zechariah 6.12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and He shall build the Temple of the Lord.
Zechariah 6.13 Even He shall build the Temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and He shall be a priest upon his throne: and the Counsel of peace shall be between them both.
Zechariah 6.15 And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.
Zechariah 4.14 Then said he, These are the Two Annointed Ones [Messiahs] that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.
Zechariah 11.4 Thus saith the Lord my God, Feed the flock of slaughter.
Zechariah 11.5 Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the Lord; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not!
Zechariah 11.7 And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me Two Staves: the one I called Beauty and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.
1 Enoch 48 There I saw the fountain of goodness
Which was inexhaustible.
Around it were many fountains of Wisdom
All the thirsty drank from them
And were filled with Wisdom.
And they lived with the good, the Holy, and the Elect.
In that hour in which the Son of Man was named,
In the presence of the Lord of Spirits,
And his name is Head of Days,
Ere the sun and the signs were created,
Ere the stars of heaven were made,
His name was named before the Lord of Spirits.
He will be a staff to the good to stay themselves and not fall,
He will be the light of the Gentiles
And the Hope of those who are troubled of heart.
Psalm 110.1 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Psalm 110.4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
Psalm 110.5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
Psalm 110.6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
Enoch 44.3 Blessed is the man who does not direct his heart with malice against any man, and helps the injured and condemned, and raises the broken down, and shall do charity to the needy, because on the day of the great Judgment every weight, every measure and every makeweight will be as in the market, that is to say they are hung on scales and stand in the market, and every one shall learn his own measure, and according to his measure shall take his reward.
Enoch 58.7 And as every soul of man is according to number, similarly beasts will not perish, nor all souls of beasts which the Lord created, till the great judgment, and they will accuse men, if he feed them ill.
Enoch 66.8 Blessed are the just who shall escape the great judgment, for they shall shine forth more than the sun sevenfold.
Jeremiah 23.20 The anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have executed, and till He have performed the thoughts of His heart; in the Latter Days ye shall consider it perfectly.
Isaiah 9.2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
Isaiah 9.5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
Isaiah 9.6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9.7 Of the increase of His government and peace, there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth ever for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.
Psalm 9.15 The Heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
These are just a few names of the Messiah, a servant and judge, savior, vested with great knowledge, etc., who appears among the scattered children of Israel and is involved with their restoration and redemption. Before the redemption is the scattering of Israel which is seen with this figure:
Isaiah 7.13 And he said, hear ye now, O house of David, is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
Isaiah 7.14 Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” [Immanuel means "God with us"]
Isaiah 7.23 It shall come to pass in that day…with arrows and with bows shall men come thither, because all of the land shall become briers and thorns.
This is the verse that has been attributed in the Gospels as signifying the birth of Jesus. The Virgin described is “alma” which is really an unmarried girl, or maiden, not necessarily a virgin — "betula" is the Hebrew word for "virgin." When she and her son are seen the children of Israel are scattered.
Malachi 4.2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall (This could refer to the scattering of Israel).
Zechariah 12.10 And I will pour upon the House of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son…
Isaiah 52.14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men;
Isaiah 52.15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider…By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many..
Isaiah 53.1 Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord Revealed?
Isaiah 53.2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness: And when We shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
Isaiah 53.3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.
Isaiah 53.4 Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isaiah 53.5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53.6 All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53.7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not his mouth.
Exodus 23.20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
23.21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him.
Clearly the Messiah is a complex creature associated with the Spirit of God. Christians identify the Messiah (Christ Jesus) as God in the flesh based upon this verse and others:
Psalm 2.7 “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day I have begotten thee.”
Through the Council of Nicea held by the Emperor Constantine, Christian theologians resolved problems associated with the scriptures relating to God, the Holy Spirit, and the Son in terms of the Holy Trinity (The agreement is called the Nicene Creed). Muslims and Jews do not accept the idea that God is not one being. As Maimonedes said, “God is not multiple.” A more detailed inquiry into the Messiah is in our work, "The Son of Man."
Bringing Christian scholars
into the conversation
On March 12 we posted on Maravot News a portion of an article in nytimes.com. Its title highlights the discussion at hand:
“A Christian overture to Muslims has its critiques.” January was an ugly month in Malaysia. At least 10 churches were firebombed or vandalized, as was a Sikh temple. Severed boars’ heads — particularly offensive to Muslims, who are not supposed to eat pork — were found on the grounds of two mosques. The cause of this inter-religious strife was a court battle over whether non-Muslims may use the Arabic word "Allah" to refer to God. The reports from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital, described events that we imagine could never happen in the United States, where the First Amendment is supposed to guard against such conflict. But we have fights over religious language, too, even if the violence rarely rises above name-calling.
On Feb. 3, Ergun Caner, the president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, in Lynchburg, Va., focused attention on a Southern Baptist controversy when he called Jerry Rankin, the president of the denomination's International Mission Board, a liar. Dr. Caner has since apologized for his language, but he still maintains that the "Camel Method," a strategy Dr. Rankin endorses for preaching Christianity to Muslims, is deceitful. Instead of talking about the Jesus of the New Testament, missionaries using the Camel Method point Muslims to the Koran, where in the third chapter, or sura, an infant named Isa — Arabic for Jesus — is born. Missionaries have found that by starting with the Koran's Jesus story, they can make inroads with Muslims who reject the Bible out of hand. But according to Dr. Caner, whose attack on Dr. Rankin came in a weekly Southern Baptist podcast, the idea that the Koran can contain the seeds of Christian faith is "an absolute, fundamental deception.".
...The danger, critics of the Camel Method say, is twofold: exploitation of Muslim culture and infidelity to the Christian message. According to Dr. Caner, missionaries who say the Koran can be a “bridge” to Christianity risk obscuring real differences between the two traditions. For example, the missionary board recommends that in some cases missionaries use "Allah" to refer to God. As Dr. Garrison explains it, "there is only one God, the God who created the heavens and earth,” so talking about the Christian God as “Allah" is not misleading. But Allah is also the specific god of the Koran, who says things the New Testament God would not. And the Isa of the Koran, while based on the Jesus of the New Testament, is quite different. "You can ask any Muslim," said Dr. Caner, a Turkish-American from a Muslim family who became a Christian in high school. " 'Do you think that the Allah of the Koran had a son?' The most important sura in the entire Koran, sura 112, the pre-eminent chapter of the Koran, says explicitly, 'Allah does not beget, nor is he begotten.' " [See full story in nytimes.com]
Comments to the Christian arguments:
Reconciliation with Muslims can only be achieved by acknowledging that the Koran claims to confirm the Bible. (Old Testament and Gospel[s]). The Koran refers to the Jewish Scriptures, Torah and Gospel (of Jesus). We don’t know what specific documents were considered by Mohammed as he was writing the Koran, as the Jewish Scriptures could also include the Talmud and other Midrash documents. The Gospel which the Koran references could have been considered one book, including the Gospels of Mark, Mathew, Luke and John. The epistles of Paul were probably not part of the Koran’s references, since Paul abrogated the Jewish Scriptures (He categorized them as “The Old Testament,” and with the disciple Barnabas argued that the scriptures were “old and passed away.'”) They explained the Old Testament scriptures as not really relevant, now that Christ is here, calling them “types and shadows of things to come.”
This argument was posed so to free new converts from the Gentile, who worshipped generally the Greek / pagan gods, such as Adonis, Mithra, Zeus, Hera, Athena, etc. and in the vicinity of Epheseus Artemis and probably Cybele and Attis. Converting them to Judaism to conform to the early Church, led by the apostles Peter and James, posed problems. Jews had to be circumcised, for instance; and circumcising adults posed difficulties. Also, the population had pork as a major part of their diet. They would be asked to give up pork. Shellfish were also banned, and the Greek populations lived upon the sea.
Paul concluded that his best hope for finding converts would be to go into the synagogues in Asia and Greece and try to convert the Jews to Jesus too. But this also posed a problem, since he had been given his “apostleship” based upon converting the Gentile (heathen, pagans, etc.). He was told to stay out of the synagogues, leaving the ministry to the Jews to the Apostolic Church in Jerusalem. James made this ruling:
Acts 15.17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles (nonJews), upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
Acts 15.18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
Acts 15.19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God;”
Acts 15.20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
Acts 15.21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.
Paul’s commission was repeated again through letters sent through Judas and Silas to the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15.22-31). The commission required that Paul preach the new “law” to the Gentile only and to stay out of the synagogues. However In Acts17.17 we are told: “Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.” This presented another problem, since the Jews in the synagogues complained to the church in Jerusalem that Paul and his disciples were telling the Jews to abstain from the Law of Moses. Paul was called back to Jerusalem to answer to this charge:
Acts 21.21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.
Acts 21.23. Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;
Acts 21.24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads; and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.
Acts 21.25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.
Paul was then brought before King Agrippa over these charges and others. Paul concluded his defense:
Acts 26.21 For thee causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
Acts 26.22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
Acts 26.23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
King Agrippa concluded:
Acts 26.32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.
Paul was shipped off to Rome where he was imprisoned and later put to death.
It is clear from the conversation in Acts that the early church composed of Jews practiced Judaism as required by the Law of Moses. They would also not have referred to the Jewish Scriptures as the Old Testament. They would have referred to the Gospels as separate documents, with the possible addition of the book of Revelation and possibly the Apocrypha.
The early Apostolic Church made exception for the new Gentile converts, who need not adhere to the restrictions of the Law. The argument actually came to a head when Peter was called to a feast and sat midst some Gentiles, apparently partaking of Gentile fare forbidden to Jews. At the least he sat with the Gentiles which would have been forbidden as well, for he would have been expected to sit only at a table of Jews, apart from the Gentiles. Paul called him out on this, suggesting that he was a hypocrite. (See Galatians 2.14) This led to the amendments made on behalf of the Gentile church.
Regardless of the historic details mentioned above, the fact remains that Paul's Gentile Church survived and the early Apostolic Christian Church of Jerusalem ceded its authority to a new leadership in Rome under the title of the Papacy. A disciple of St. Peter, Clement, became the the third Bishop of Rome, after possibly Linus the 2nd Bishop following St. Peter. One of Clement's epistles appeal to Mark (possibly the son of Peter) suggesting that he bring his gospel from Alexandria to Rome. By his time in the 1st century A.D. the Bible was beginning to take shape, no doubt including the epistles of Paul and Clement’s.
Mohammed in the 7th century referred to Jewish Scriptures and the Gospel. We can assume that the stack of scriptures collected were associated with the Jewish branch of the Church, which would be a curiosity. I can’t imagine him referring to the epistles of Paul among the Jewish Scriptures.
In any event, when attempting to reconcile Muslims with Christians we must consider the fact that there were two Christian churches in the early days of the Apostles. One church “the Pauline,” applied to the Gentiles and the other the Christianized Jews. The Christianized Jews seem to be the ones that influenced Mohammed. In participating in the discussions in reconciling with Muslims we need to keep in mind that there should not be too many differences between them and the early Apostolic Church and the Jews.
The foundations of all conversations should begin with an agreement on tolerance of each other’s understanding of the scriptures, willing to look at them from different points of view, recognizing — God being infinite and man finite — man cannot separate that which is infinite from the finite, but God can.
The Holy Ghost
First mention of the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit of God is in the books of Moses. He (God is masculine and also plural, as in El and Elohim) confronts Moses on Mount Sinai through a burning bush and as a cloud. After that and building the Tabernacle He was seen atop the Mercy Seat of the Tabernacle (a spectacular tent with wooden sides — 22.5 ‘ x 45’ by 15’ high — and a court made up of pillars and hangings) as a cloud or smoke by day and fire by night. The cloud would occasionally lift up and hover over the roof of the Tabernacle; and when it set off across the desert the people would pack up the Tabernacle and its court and their tents and belongings and follow the cloud. Carrying the Tabernacle and its court’s parts across the desert would have required a number of wagons — quite an unreasonable burden we think — such as the following. One might get out a pen and paper and calculate the number of wagons and cattle needed to pull such a load:
Parts List of the Tabernacle of Moses
(From http://www.maravot.com/Tabernacle-Moses.html )
10 bronze pillars 7 feet high
6 bronze pillars 22.5 feet high
4 bronze pillars 30 feet high
60 hangings made of linen at least 7.5 feet by 7 ‘ wide
6 hangings made of linen, comprising a roll about 5-7 feet wide x 135 feet
4 hangings made of linen, comprising a roll about 7 feet wide by 120 feet
420 silver hooks for the fabrics of the court, assuming each of the pillars secured their hangings with six hooks each;
58 gold coverd boards plus 2 doors, each 15 feet high x ~2 feet wide;
116 gold tenons for the bottom of the boards
116 silver sockets placed in the ground to receive the boards and their tenons
29 gold rings holding the 58 boards
1 center gold ring for the ceiling
29 gold covered bars covering the width of the ceiling
6 gold covered bars covering the length of the ceiling
1 linen covering embroidered with cherubim, 42 feet by 60 feet, in 10 panels about 6 feet wide.
1 rams skin covering died red, 42 feet by 60 feet, in ten panels about 6 feet wide
1 badger skin covering, 45 feet x 60 feet, in eleven panels about 6 feet wide
1 gold plate (~27” by 36” x 2” thick) with its ends formed into cherubims facing each other
1 chest, called the ark of the covenant with its contents: two stone tablets consisting of the Ten Commandments; a sample of the manna from heaven
spare parts: gold and silver to repair weathered or worn wooden boards and bars and tenons
spare parts: silver to replace broken hooks and sockets
Extra linen to wrap all Tabernacle parts to protect them from wear in transit
The cloud or holy smoke that led the Tabernacle and its congregation around the desert for 40 years was called the Shekinah (a feminine form), also called the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. From ancient times until now Jews have the tradition of conducting marriage ceremonies beneath a canopy, over which the Shekinah is believed to appear. Thus, when they marry, they are before witnesses of the Congregation and God’s Holy Spirit, the Shekinah.
This discussion necessarily turns to the Holy Ghost that is reputed to have appeared to the Virgin Mary, informing her of the divine son she was carrying, and in the gospels and Christian tradition she is reported to have been impregnated by the Holy Spirit (who in the tale is a He). This switch of the Holy Spirit (Shekinah) from feminine to masculine is interesting, and it is doubtful that the one who recorded the story was aware that the Holy Spirit in Jewish scripture and tradition is feminine. This would have occurred in the Gentile Church who also began referring to the Jews in a derogatory way leading to teachings that “the Jews are condemned of God” for having killed the Messiah. Note the following teachings, among others:
1 Thessalonians 2.14 For ye, brethren, became followers fo the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus; for ye also have suffered the things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews;
1 Thessalonians 2.15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men;
! Thessalonians 2.16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always; for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
St. Ignatius (99-135 A.D.) Epistle to the Philadelphians 2.6...if any one shall preach the Jewish law unto you, hearken not unto him..
Epistle to the Magnesians 3.8 Wherefore being become his disciples, let us learn to live according to the rules of Christianity; for whosoever is called by any other name besides this, he is not of God.
3.9 Lay aside therefore the old and sour and evil leaven; and be ye changed into the new leaven, which is Jesus Christ.
3.10 Be ye salted in him, lest any one among you should be corrupted; for by your savour ye shall be judged.
3.11 It is absurd to name Jesus Christ, and to Judaize. For the Christian religion did not embrace the Jewish, but the Jewish the Christian; that so every tongue that believed might be gathered together unto God.
Origen (185-253 A.D.) First Principles 2.11.2....And to speak briefly, they desire that all things which they look for in the promises should correspond in every detail with the course of this life, that is, that what exists now should exist again. Such are the thoughts of men who believe indeed in Christ, but because they understand the divine scriptures in a Judaistic sense, extract from them nothing that is worthy of the divine promises.
The Jews who murdered Christ are further vilified as damned of God because of their denial of Christ. St. Ambrose (c. 340-397 A.D.), ordained Bishop of Milan 1 December 373 A.D., though not then baptized, wrote the following defense of a synagogue which was burned down:
Letter # 40 to Emperor Theodosiaus Augustus 8.0...You have the offender before you, confessing his guilt. I declare that I set fire to the synagogue, at least that I instructed them to do it, that there might be no place in which Christ is denied.
14.0 The burning of a single building, I submit, does not warrant so great a disturbance as the severe punishment of the whole people, and the less so when it was a synagogue that was burnt, a place of unbelief, a home of impiety, a refuge of insanity,
7.0 What could a fire take from those scheming Jews? These are tricks of the Jews, trying to bring a false charge.
19.0 One can imagine how far they will go with their false charges, when they accused even Christ on false evidence. If they can lie with regard to God, there will be no limit to their calumnies. They will accuse anyone they please of causing sedition, they will aim even at people they do not know. What they want is to see row upon row of Christians in chains, the faithful with their necks under the yoke, the servants of God confined in dark prisons, beheaded with the axe, given to the flames, or sent to the mines to prolong their pains.
26.0..It is a serious thing to hazard your faith for the sake of the Jews..Who is to avenge the synagogue? Christ, whom they slew, whom they denied? Will God the Father avenge those who do not even accept the Father, in that they did not accept the Son? [Merged with the above came the idea that destroying the flesh of the damned is justified. This comes through Paul: I Corinthians 5.5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.]
St. Jerome (c. 347-420 A.D.), letter #14, to Heliodorus 8.0..But, as I have before hinted, the case of monks is different from that to the clergy. The clergy feed the sheep; I am fed by them...I may not sit in the presence of a presbyter; he, if I sin, may deliver me to Satan, for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved.
St. Augustine (c. 354-430 A.D.), Confessions, 12.14 How hateful to me are the enemies of your Scripture! How I wish that you would slay them with your two-edged sword, so that there should be none to oppose your word! Gladly would I have them die to themselves and live to you!
Martin Luther’s Tract (1543 A.D.) What shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of the Jews? ..Let me give you my honest advice:
(To set fire to their synagogues) or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn..This is to be done in honor of the Lord.
(2) I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed..
(3) I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.
(4) I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb..
(5) I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews..
(6) I advise ..that all silver and gold be taken from them..
(7) I recommend putting a flail, an ax, an hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hand of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow..
Hitler took Luther at his word and came up with what is now remembered as the Final Solution: the holocaust [meaning burnt offering] which consumed 6 million Jews. Had Paul done as the Apostolic Council judged, the holocaust and all of the previous victims persecuted because they honored the Law of Moses could not have been put on his account.
Somehow the idea that the Jews are condemned of God filtered into Islamic teachings to the extent that Iran’s leadership, among others, make comments similar to the damning comments noted above. And to correct the speech of Ali Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad it is appropriate to make note of some errors among venerated Christian scholars. Though brilliant, writers such as Origin and Jerome did make some assumptions that originated with the Apostle Paul that would have been better off unsaid. We can leave this part of the discussion on Jesus’s opinion on bearing the truth: that it is not hidden under a rock and (John 18.37) "For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice."
The Chosen People
The Apostle Paul had to deal with a part of the Jewish Scriptures that suggest that the Children of Israel are the Chosen People of God and thus everyone else that turns to Him is somewhat of a second class citizen. In ministering to his Gentile Church Paul resolved this issue through the precept that the Jewish Scriptures are now an Old Testament and therefore old and passed away, types and shadows of things to come. This would at first hand remove the idea that the Chosen People of God are only the Children of Israel (sic. The Jews). To complete the argument Paul came up with the idea of engrafting, how the new Gentile Church are grafted into the Tree or branch, the Chosen People of God. (See Romans 11.16 ff) James perhaps laid the foundation for the engrafting thesis:
James1.18 Of his own will began he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Paul’s thesis begins with the assumption that Christ replaces the Law of Moses:
Galatians 5.2 Behold, I Paul say unto you that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
Galatians 5.3 For I testifiy again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debter to do the whole law.
Galatians 5.4 Christ is of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Galatians 5.5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Galatians 5.6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Galatians 5.14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this ; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Galatians 5.26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 5.27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Galatians 5.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 5.29 And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Galatians 2.16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ…for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
St. James objected to this conclusion:
James 2.26, For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
St. James and St. Peter took exception to many of Paul's teachings, as we shall see. However, the foundation of the early Christian church has to do with the belief that through Jesus Christ God fulfilled Ezekiel 36.26 ...A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you...
Romans 8.14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Romans 8.10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Romans 8.11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Ephesians 3.6 That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.
Ephesians 4.30 And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Ephesians 5.5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
II Timothy 2.8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.
II Timothy 2.9 Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bonds, but the word of God is not bound.
II Timothy 2.10 Therefore I endure all things for the elects' sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
II Timothy 2.11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him.
II Timothy 2.12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us.
I Peter 1.23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.
I Peter 2.9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;
I Peter 2.10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
I Peter 2.12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
I Peter 5.4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
I John 5.6..And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
I John 5.7 For there are three that bear record in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.
The basic teaching among the epistles is that being in communion with Christ you become one with him (involving partaking of certain works, such as baptism and celebration of the mass — wine being the blood of Jesus; bread being his body — understanding that with faith in Jesus you are saved by Grace, etc., but James the head of the Apostolic Church admonished the congregation that faith without works is death. The teachings also urged purity of spirit to be one with Christ until he comes again. The gospel of Luke 21 discusses the Second Coming of Christ, among other verses. This period is referred to as the Last Days, or Day of Resurrection, described in Daniel, etc.
Daniel 12.2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
The Koran builds its arguments around the day of resurrection and judgment. Mohammed is told that every nation is sent an apostle and he is sent as an apostle to the Arabs, that his only duty is to give warning:
Koran, The Creator 35:25: Your only duty is to give warning. We have sent you with the truth to proclaim good news and to warn your people; for there is no nation that has not been warned by an apostle. If they disbelieve you, know that those who have gone before them also disbelieved. Their apostles came to them with veritable signs, with scriptures, and with the light-giving book. But in the end I smote the unbelievers: and how terrible was My Punishment!...What We have revealed to you in the Book is the truth confirming previous scriptures. Allah knows and observes His servants.
Koran, The Cow 2:116: The Jews say the Christians are misguided, and the Christians say it is the Jews who are misguided. Yet they both read the Scriptures. And the pagans say the same of both. Allah will judge their disputes on the Day of Resurrection.
While Jesus offered a prayer, called the Lord’s Prayer, that asks the faithful to pray for a kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, Paul introduced some confusion as to the merits of this prayer by saying in I Thessalonians that in the coming of Christ:
I Thessalonians 4. 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
This picture (called the rapture) of Jesus coming in the clouds and taking all of the faithful back up to heaven leaves his thesis in the lurch of time, where promises of the coming of the Redeemer, redemption, judgment (Last Days) seem to no longer apply. In contrast the Apostolic Church (St. James and St. Peter) looked for the Second Coming of Christ and the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, as prophesied by Christ and the Old Testament prophets. One description of that kingdom anticipated a new heavens and a new earth.
II Peter 3.13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. [See also Revelation 21.1 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea."]
Mohammed may have had access to some of the Apocryphal works as part of the Jewish Scriptures. One was The Testament of the Patriarchs. This verse is of interest, since in relates an early Jewish-Christian point of view:
Testament of Joseph 1.38 For I know that ye shall sin, and be delivered into the hands of your enemies; and your land shall be made desolate, and your holy places destroyed, and ye shall be scattered unto the four corners of the earth.
And ye shall be set at naught in the dispersion vanishing away as water.
Until the Most High shall visit the earth, coming Himself as Man, with men eating and drinking, and breaking the head of the dragon in the water.
He shall save Israel and all the Gentiles, God speaking in the person of man.
Testament of Joseph 2.6 For all these things they gave us for an inheritance, saying: Keep the commandments of God, until the Lord shall reveal His Salvation to all Gentiles.
And then shall ye see Enoch, Noah, and Shem, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, rising on the right hand in gladness.
Then shall we also rise, each one over our tribe, worshipping the King of Heaven, who appeared upon earth in the form of a man in humility.
And as many as believe on Him on the earth shall rejoice with Him.
Then also all men shall rise, some unto glory and some unto shame.
And the Lord shall judge Israel first, for their unrighteousness; for when he appeared as God in the flesh to deliver them they believed Him not.
And then shall He judge all the Gentiles, as Many as believed Him not when he appeared upon earth.
And He shall convict Israel through the Chosen Ones of the Gentiles.
Here we can see a Christian slant to the prophesy, where the Gentiles become a vehicle of convicting Israel. This may come from:
Isaiah. 61.6 But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD; men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.
Isaiah 61.7 For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion; therefore in their land they shall posess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
Isaiah 61.8 For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Isaiah 61.9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed.
Isaiah 61.10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61.11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Isaiah 61.1 For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
Isaiah 62.1 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteouness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.
Isaiah 62.4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzebah and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
Psalm 102.16 When the Lord shall build up Zion He shall appear in His Glory.
Psalm 89.35-49 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His Seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me..
Psalm 98 The Lord hath made known His Salvation: His Righteousness hath He openly shewed in the sight of the Heathen. He hath remembered His Mercy and His Truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the Salvation of our God...Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for He cometh to Judge the earth: with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity.
Zechariah 12.9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Zechariah 12.10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Zephaniah 1.15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.
Zephaniah 2.3 Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.
Zephaniah 2.8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy."
Zephaniah 3.9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.
Zephaniah 3.20 In that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.
Isaiah 28.5 In that day shall the Lord of Hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people.
Isaiah 52.8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
Ezekiel 36.24 For I will take you from among the Heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your land.
Ezekiel 36.25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
Ezekiel 36.26 And a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Jeremiah 23.20 The anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have executed, and till He have performed the thoughts of His heart; in the Latter Days ye shall consider it perfectly.
Jeremiah 25.35 And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape.
Isaiah 4.2 In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excdellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
Isaiah 4.3 And it shall come to pass that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called Holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 4.4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the Spirit of Judgment, and by the Spirit of burning.
Isaiah 4.5 And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a Cloud and Smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense.
Isaiah 4.6 And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.
Isaiah 5.26 And He will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and behold, they shall come with speed swiftly.
Amos 9.11 In that day will I raise up the Tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.
Amos 9.13 Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that the Plowman shall overtake the reaper.
The prophesies of Israel's scattering and redemption and the Messiah(s) come from the original commandments God gave to Moses, including:
Deuteronomy 4.1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.
Deuteronomy 4.2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Deuteronomy 4.31 (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
The idea here is that the word of God is an eternal word and the covenant he makes with Israel is likewise inviolable. God views the children of Israel as a people through whom he can redeem all men to him; however, just as he has established them as a peculiar people to him, he also made them enter the Holy Land beneath Mount Gerzim, where the leaders were prompted to shout the blessings of the Lord, and Mount Ebal, where other leaders were placed to shout the curses of the Lord (Deuteronomy 27-29).
Deuteronomy 7.6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
Deuteronomy 30.6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Deuteronomy 30.7 And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemeis, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
In all this we must keep in mind the saying of Jesus Christ, that to whom much is given more is required, and:
Amos 3.1 Hear the word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,
Amos 3.2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
Amos 3.3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
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