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"Please choose your address Sohail"

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: Lactantius Jr

Submitted by Lactantius Jr. (United Kingdom), Apr 5, 2007 at 15:04

To Sohail

In my response to you, I make no attempt to deal with any other than your objections as a Muslim, to the Glorious Gospel of the ever-living God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and your denial of the unchanged, unchanging Word of God, the Bible, leaving it to others to respond to your comments about Jews and Judaism.

You are wrong in saying "the Qur'an only supports the Torah," the first 5 books of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, that is, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, it supports the whole Bible, and this is documented in Samuel Green's online article, "What Does The Qur'an Say About The Jewish And Christian Scriptures?"

http://www.answering-islam.org.uk/Green/onbible.htm

In seeking to deny the authority of the Bible (Greek Biblios ‘the books,' there being 66 books in the Bible, 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament), you deny the massive Qur'anic testimony to the Bible, along with Muhammad's testimony to it. Analysis of both the Qur'an and the earliest records of Islam, show that Muhammad and the first Muslims, believed that the previous Scriptures remained in an uncorrupted form, and were available during the time of Muhammad. Those same Scriptures are those we now have available, and in alleging "The torah and Gospel the Quran mentions is not the torah and Gospel which you have," you deny the historical record Sohail, and you must either produce your evidence in so denying it, or apologise and withdraw your baseless allegation. As a Muslim, your denial is more surprising than your denial of the historical record, and I ask you Sohail, why, if the Bible is good enough for Allah and for Muhammad, it isn't good enough for you? And believing as a Muslim that you will one day stand before Allah, how will you face him with the accusation that he couldn't preserve what he describes in the Qur'an as his unchangeable word? Surah 6:115;6:34;10:64;18:27;and 50:29, the Qur'an repeatedly saying it confirms the previous Scriptures, for example, Surah 2:285;2:97; 3:3; 4:44,47,51,136,162-164; 5:15;46;68-69; 6:91-92,154; 10:37; 11:17;16:43;17:2;20:133;21:7;23:49;26:196;32:23;35:31 41:45;46:10-12;54:43;57:25&27; and 87:18-19 all confirm, rather than repudiate or "complete" the Torah and Gospels, with the texts often being referred to as "inspired," and these Qur'anic quotes may be referred to using the online Qur'an browser at http://www.quranbrowser.com/

which may be used to confirm that even Muhammad himself at one point, is exhorted to test the truthfullness of his own message, against the contents of the previous Divine revelations to Jews and Christians:-

"If thou wert in doubt as to what we have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee, the truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord, so be in no wise of those in doubt."

Surah 10:94

Central to your posting (and others I have previously responded to), is the identity of Jesus Christ, who is He? Here are the clear words of Scripture:-

"And he was shown to be the Son of God when He was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 1:4

"We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Titus 2:13

Easter Sunday 8th.April, is being joyfully celebrated by Jesus' followers as Resurrection Sunday, the day He did death to death by rising from the dead, as He said He would, the New Testament Scriptures promising Jesus' followers:-

"And God will raise us from the dead by His power, just as He raised our Lord from the dead."

1 Corinthians 6:14

In seeking to deny these glorious truths, you have previously referred to the ‘Gospel of Barnabas' ("GOB") to which I responded in my postings at the time, showing it to be a demonstrable medieval forgery, which also contradicts the Qur'an, and now here you are, quoting yet another spurious "Gospel," the ‘Gospel of Peter' ("GOP") wrongly thinking it suits your purpose in doing so, because you wrongly say, it denies the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. It does not, and whilst the GOP does not deny the Lord Jesus Christ's crucifixion, GOP and other spurious "Gospels" are shown for what they are in numerous print and Internet publications, and for those interested enough and persistent enough to seek out the truth, I refer to a book and Internet publications by Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University:-

"Hidden Gospels: How The Search For Jesus Lost Its Way"

Available from Amazon Books http://tinyurl.com/35vq6d

Online, Philip Jenkins has published (for example):-

"Hidden Gospels"

http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/hiddengospel.htm

"How Gnostic Jesus Became the Christ of Scholars"

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/135/story_13528_1.html

"All Gospels Are Not Created Equal"

http://afgen.com/judas.html

and the Wesley Center for Applied Theology, of Northwest Nazarene University , review the GOP and other noncanonical "Gospels" at:-

http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/noncanon/gospels.htm

"Why Do You Call me Good? Only God Is Good"

Let's look very carefully Sohail, at your "simple as that" "best understanding" of Mark 10:18

"As he was starting out on a trip, a man came running up to Jesus, knelt down, and asked, ‘Good Teacher, what should I do to get eternal life?' ‘Why do you call Me good?' Jesus asked. "Only God is truly good."

Mark 10:17-18

"Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question: ‘Good teacher, what should I do to get eternal life?' Why do you call Me good?' Jesus asked him. ‘Only God is truly good.'"

Luke 18:18-19

Sometimes it is very important to know WHICH WORD to stress in a sentence. The following sentence with only 7 words in it, has 3 very different "plain meanings," depending on which of the

7 words is stressed:

"I never said she stole my wallet"

What is the meaning of this sentence? Did you think:-

"I NEVER said she stole my wallet" or
"I never said SHE stole my wallet" or
"I never said she stole my WALLET" ...

which mean totally different things. The problem is that in a written document, we don't have the intonation anymore, but then, we usually don't have "just one sentence" either, and the context will make clear what is the right intonation (and meaning) of a phrase, even if there are several possible meanings when taken in isolation.

So after this introduction for the proper "setting of the stage", lets go to the contentious text itself, remembering that a text (a source of information or authority) taken out of context (the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage, can throw light on its meaning) is a pretext (a purpose or motive alleged, or an appearance assumed, in order to cloak the real intention or state of affairs).

Muslims such as you Sohail, quote Mark 10:17-18 and Luke 18:18-19 so often, alleging that Jesus is denying His divinity, that I think a detailed explanation of this specific misunderstanding is in order.

I have the impression, that when Muslims read this statement by Jesus, they stress it [in disregard of context] as: "Why do you call ME good?" as if Jesus is shocked, and emphatically denies His goodness, and is utterly opposed to such a statement. I want to show in the following that Jesus is not denying His goodness, but questioning this man's motives by asking him "*WHY* do you call Me good?" because this man is "altogether too obsequious and effusive in his approach," and "before you address Me with such a title, you had better think soberly about what the implications are, and especially what they are for you."

Let's look at what the Bible really says, before we jump to conclusions too quickly. This event as recorded by Mark, chapter 10 :13-22 reads:-

"One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could touch them and bless them, but the disciples told them not to bother Him. But when Jesus saw what was happening, He was very displeased with His disciples. He said to them, ‘Let the children come to Me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.' Then He took the children into His arms and placed His hands on their heads and blessed them. As he was starting out on a trip, a man came running up to Jesus, knelt down, and asked, ‘Good Teacher, what should I do to get eternal life?' Why do you call Me good?' Jesus asked. ‘Only God is truly good. But as for your question, you know the commandments: Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not testify falsely. Do not cheat. Honour your father and mother.' Teacher,' the man replied, ‘I've obeyed all these commandments since I was a child.' Jesus felt genuine love for this man as He looked at him. ‘You lack only one thing,' He told him. ‘Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me.' At this, the man's face fell, and he went sadly away because he had many possessions."

Firstly, we have to observe that this man is "praising Jesus highly" but then goes on to NOT obey what Jesus tells him he should do to inherit the eternal life that he desires.

Some quick remarks about the context. Jesus has just taught the people that to enter the kingdom of God (= get eternal life), we need to accept it as a gift, just like the children who have no inhibitions in accepting gifts. Jesus tells us that we have to "unlearn" our adult behaviour of "having to earn everything" because we cannot earn God's favour and grace, but have to accept it as a free gift of love. And the next we read is that this man comes up and asks "what MUST I DO to inherit eternal life". This shows (being human doings rather than human beings), how much this is entrenched in our nature and how hard it is to accept the pure grace (unconditional, unearned, undeserved, unending love of God). God's grace is without pre-conditions but not without consequences. Whoever has tasted of God's grace, in thankfulness, will then strive to live a life which is pleasing to God.

We can only guess at why exactly this man is praising Jesus so highly when he approaches Him. Maybe he thought if he praises Jesus first, he might get a more favourable answer from him? One that is "easier to fulfill"? Isn't that a common approach of many people towards those who are (perceived to be) in authority on a certain issue? But Jesus looks through these smoke screens and goes right to the core problem. Jesus isn't swayed by this man's attempt to win His favour the wrong way. This doesn't mean that this man was a total hypocrite - just trying to manipulate a bit in his own favour. Jesus won't let him do so.

I think there are several indications that this man was very serious with his quest. He was a very religious man and had diligently observed the commandments of God. When Jesus gives him a short list of them, he responds that he has obeyed all these from his childhood to the present day. He was indeed a devout and committed believer. We should also observe that Jesus lists the second tablet of the Ten Commandments, which deal with our relationship with our fellow men -- the examination into the relationship of this inquirer with the first tablet (about our relationship with God) will come later.

But in all his diligent observance of God's law, there still was an insecurity whether that was "enough" to get him eternal life. This didn't let him rest in peace. He wanted to make sure that God would in the end accept him in the last judgment and grant him eternal life. This man had his priorities right at least on this part. He was concerned with this most important question of what do we have to do in this life to be in the right place after it is over, and we have to face the judgment of God."It is appointed for all men to die once, and then comes the judgement." Hebrews 8:12

And Jesus acknowledges the right and good desire of this man, we read that He looked at him and "He loved him". He sees that this man wants more and is serious about it, he knows this "religious observance of commandments" isn't "it" yet ` [otherwise he wouldn't have asked in this 'self humiliating way' of falling down before Jesus in front of a whole crowd]. Jesus sees the true desire of this man, and because of His love to him He tells him [after reviewing some basics = some of the Ten Commandments] what he needs for eternal life.

Jesus says: Give away what you have to the poor. Then you will have a treasure in heaven. And then FOLLOW ME.

This answer of Jesus cuts right through to the core of his problem. He was rich and his wealth and the security that comes with wealth, was too important for him to give up. He wanted eternal life, and he would have made great efforts to do many good deeds with his wealth and his abilities, no question about that. But giving it up completely? Trusting ONLY God and having his security in God only? This was too much for him. He did get the answer that he needed. But it was also the answer that exposed his true heart. His wealth and position was more important than God. And he went away sad. At another time Jesus said: You cannot serve two masters. Either God or money.

"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

Matthew 6:24

And Jesus' command revealed that though this man had kept all the "outward commandments of behaviour", he was guilty of breaking the first commandment "I am the Lord your God, you shall have NO other gods before me" Exodus 20:2-3. Nothing is allowed to take priority over God. For the man asking Jesus "what must I do?" it was money, security, position, ...

Yes, God is the source of all goodness and truth. [But God in the creation account pronounces His creation to be "very good" - a goodness derived from the one who made it. And there are many people called "good" in the Bible. Jesus has no problem with that at all. But Jesus points to the source of all goodness - and He doesn't say that He has nothing to do with this source.]

Jesus peels away the man's attempt to 'manipulate' in his favour. And He says to him, "don't use divine attributes for Me IF you are not willing to follow what I am going to tell you". Jesus does then make this clear to the rich young man, by showing him WHO [what] really is his 'god'. Jesus with this question "WHY do you call me good -- only God is good" and his exposure of the man's true heart makes clear that this statement has to be read as "Only call me "good" [meaning: (from) God], if you are prepared to fully submit to what I will tell you".

And though this does explain the statement, to fully understand the dynamic of this incident, we have to look even more carefully. There is much more. No ‘mere' prophet has ever talked in this "presumptious" way.

"How can I get eternal life?" is the question. "Follow ME!" is the answer that Jesus gives.

Do you see what He is claiming? He does NOT say, these are the teachings that God has given Me. Follow these rules and you will get to heaven. Neither did he just say, "follow God, submit to God", but he said "Follow ME!".

Jesus talks to this man as if it is in His hand to give eternal life. Follow Jesus and you have eternal life. And that by the way is a constant topic in the teaching of Jesus. And it is completely against the tradition of Jewish teachers, who are approached and chosen by their students. But none of the disciples chose Jesus. It is always Jesus Who comes up to them and "claims them" and commands them to follow Him.

"You didn't choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My Name."

John 15:16

Do I read into the text that Jesus connects "obtaining eternal life" with "following Him"? I don't think so. This is a constant theme of Jesus' teaching:

I AM the resurrection and the life, who believes in ME will live (eternally), even though he dies (physically); and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die (spiritually). -- John 11:25-26

I will give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. -- John 10:28

In the Gospel of John alone there are 16 passages connecting the very words "eternal life" with faith in Jesus. And not only with the faith in Jesus, but that it is Jesus Himself who is GIVING this eternal life. Indeed Jesus several times says: I AM the LIFE. I can't understand how Muslims such as you Sohail, can read this and conclude that Jesus never claimed to be God. Half His preaching is blasphemous if he was NOT God. Jesus didn't say "I show you the way". He said "I AM the WAY"
Jesus didn't say "I tell you about the truth". He said "I AM the TRUTH," Jesus didn't say "Following my words might give you a chance at eternal life". He said "I AM the LIFE". -- John 14:6

Jesus said: Follow me. [dozens of times]

Back to the text in Mark chapter 10, the next 5 verses (23-27) being:-

"Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, ‘How hard it is for rich people to get into the Kingdom of God!' This amazed them. But Jesus said again, ‘Dear children, it is very hard to get into the Kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!' The disciples were astounded. ‘Then who in the world can be saved?' they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.' "

There is a lot in this text which I don't go into right now, but it was the understanding of the disciples, that wealth is the visible blessing of God, and so they are astonished that Jesus says it is hard for rich people to get to heaven. They ask, if not even those on whom God's favour already rests, who then? Jesus says, humanly it is impossible. NO MAN can enter heaven out of his own power. Jesus goes back to the teaching He was giving just before this man came up to him. Like the children we have to receive it as a gift from God. With MAN it is impossible [out of his own righteousness and good deeds], but God makes it possible [by His grace]. It isn't free of cost though. It does cost a hefty price to get to heaven. In fact, the cost is so high that no man can pay it. Therefore it is impossible with man. God has to pay, so that we can come in for free. What is the price for entering heaven? Let us read on, it is all in the next 4 verses (28-31) of text.

"Then Peter began to mention all that he and the other disciples had left behind. ‘We've given up everything to follow You,' he said. And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for My sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property--with persecutions. And in the world to come they will have eternal life. But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then, and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then.' "

Leaving our idols to follow Jesus, results in receiving eternal life. How? How is this price paid that offers us heaven and eternal life which we can't possibly earn on our own? Just read on, it is all there:-

"They were now on the way to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with dread and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to Him in Jerusalem. When we get to Jerusalem,' He told them, ‘the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence Him to die and hand Him over to the Romans. They will mock Him, spit on Him, beat Him with their whips, and kill Him, but after three days He will rise again."

Mark 10:32-34

and in Mark 10:45 we read:-

"For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give My life as a ransom for many."

Jesus' death on the cross is the price. There He will pay the price for our sin and ransom us from hell. Jesus, AGAIN predicts His death and resurrection and also says WHY it is going to happen.

Jesus didn't die? Why does He talk about it then all the time? Jesus never said He was God? Really?

The evidence is all over the place. Even in the very passages which Muslims such as you Sohail, think strengthen their case against the deity of Christ. If you look closer and read it carefully, even those who do not believe it should be able to see it. I am quite confident that you can give me nearly any chapter of the Gospels Sohail, and I can show you Jesus' explicit or implicit claim to be God.["I am the resurrection and the life" is explicit in my eyes, while Jesus' comparison of His body with the Temple of God [God's dwelling place] is an implicit claim.]

In denying the Qur'anic witness to the unique sinlessness of the Lord Jesus Christ, you slanderously malign Him, claiming "Jesus did sin, he lied about the last day………" How dare you say this Sohail? Please explain exactly what you mean.

Jesus did indeed die for everybody's sins, but not everybody will accept what He has done for them, Scripture saying:- "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

Notice carefully Sohail, eternal life is a gift, not an imposition, not something forced onto an unwilling person, there won't be any prisoners in heaven, nobody will be held there against their will, only people who want to be there, entry being secured by what God gives freely to the repentant sinner, free to them, but paid for at great expense by Him, that's Grace Sohail, God's Riches At Christ's Expense

Summary and Conclusion:

The statement/question by Jesus "Why do you call Me good? Only God is good" does ask the rich young man for his motivation in praising Jesus. And it admonishes him not to attribute to Him a quality which he is ultimately not willing to accept and act upon in obedience. Jesus does not reject that this attribute is appropriate for Him, but more than just "any praise" Jesus desires that the praise that is offered to Him is true and genuine. Furthermore, this passage contains some clear statements that link eternal life with our relationship to Jesus. These claims would be blasphemous if indeed Jesus were just a man like any other prophet. Only God is the giver of life. So, this very passage contains a quite strong (implicit) claim to divine status.

By taking such statements out of their immediate and overall contexts, the impression is given that the Lord Jesus is actually denying He is God, since he denies that He is good in the sense that God is good. In the first place, Jesus didn't say "I am not good, only God is good", but simply poses a question to the man to think more deeply about the implications of his words. The implication being that if Jesus is good, and only God is good, then Jesus is God. Again, note the logic behind this:

  1. God alone is (absolutely) good.
  2. Jesus is (absolutely) good.
  3. Therefore, Jesus is God.

If the man truly believed this, then he must be willing to abandon everything for Christ. This is precisely what Jesus demanded: "And looking at him, Jesus felt love for him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, FOLLOW ME.'"

Mark 10:21

Jesus demands a devotion that is to be given solely to God. This is clearly seen in light of the fact that Jesus' demand was made right after the man had indicated his observance to the last six commands of the Ten Commandments. These commands were given to govern a person's relationship with others. The first four commandments govern a person's devotion to God. The man's trouble was that he loved money more than God, and hence his money became an idol. He had to be willing to die to his idolatry by giving it up in order to devote himself completely to the pure worship of God. Yet, amazingly, Jesus never asked the man to follow the first four commandments, or to follow God completely, but directed the man to follow Him. The reason being, is that to wholeheartedly follow the Lord Jesus is to fulfill one's obligation to God. Thus, Jesus was implicitly claiming to be God since He was clearly saying that to follow Him is to follow God, to obey Him is to obey God, to love Him is to love God. Therefore Jesus is God!

Why do we call Him good? Because He is - AND He is the Lord God.

You condemn yourself from your own mouth Sohail, and say you are "proud" in being an antiChrist, quoting from 2 John 1:7 you stand condemned Sohail, here is what the Apostle John records in his Gospel:-

"God loved the people of this world so much that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent Him to save them! No one who has faith in God's Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn't have faith in Him has already been condemned for not having faith in God's only Son.

John 3:16-18

You're going to live forever Sohail, choose your address!!

With kind regards and best wishes

Lactantius Jr.

Submitting....

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