Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ijaz Ahmad vs. the Prophet Zechariah - Part II

In a previous post replying to Ijaz Ahmad, I demonstrated that Zechariah’s overall theology is generally supportive of my thesis that the Angel of the Lord is the distinctive title for a second divine person in the Godhead in so far as the book of Zechariah teaches that there are two divine persons. In this post I will show not only that Zechariah teaches that there is a second divine person, but that the Angel of the Lord in particular is identified as Yahweh.

The first passage that can be mentioned is found in Zechariah 3, which presents a courtroom scene in heaven. The passage reads:
1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “ Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by. 
And the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.
Here an interpreting angel shows Zechariah what took place between three named figures and several who are not named: the Angel of the Lord, Satan, Joshua the high priest, and those who are told to remove Joshua’s filthy garments and replace them with clean clothes and also a clean turban.

While a clear distinction is drawn between the Angel and Yahweh, as is evident when the Angel refers to the Lord in the third person:
The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!...” (v. 2)
And when the Angel prefaces His statement with the prophetic refrain:
“Thus says the Lord of hosts…” (v. 6)
Nevertheless the Angel in this same vision is also identified as Yahweh. Verse 2 reads in full:
The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
So it is not simply that the Angel speaks about the Lord in the third person, but that it is as the Lord that He does so. Both the one who speaks, i.e. the Angel, and the one about whom He speaks, i.e. the one called on to rebuke Satan, are Yahweh.

This accounts for why the Angel is cast in the role of heavenly judge, the one who presides over the whole affair. Note, in this courtroom scene everyone is standing before the Angel, and it is before the Angel that Satan accuses Joshua:
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. (v. 1) 
He spoke and said to those who were standing before him… (v. 4)
As commentator Eugene H. Merrill rightly observes:
The setting of the vision is quite clear. Joshua is standing in a tribunal, where he is being accused of unfitness for the priestly ministry. The judge is the messenger (or angel) of YHWH. The implied definite article [based on the construction in Hebrew – AR] makes it virtually certain that this being is the same as the messenger of YHWH in 1:11, 12. There he was distinguished from YHWH Himself (v. 12), but here he is identified with Him (v. 2).6 This [i.e. that the Messenger is being identified with YHWH – AR] appears even more likely inasmuch as Satan is accusing Joshua before the messenger, a notion that finds NO SUPPORT ELSEWHERE in the Bible. The adversary ALWAYS argues his case BEFORE GOD, not a representative of God, as the very similar scene in the prologue of Job establishes beyond doubt. (Merrill, An Exegetical Commentary: Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi [Chicago: Moody Press, 1994]), pp. 131-132. 
6. This is so obviously true, and problematic, that most modern scholars following the Syriac…, emend “YHWH” to “Angel of YHWH.” See, e.g. H. G. Mitchell, A Commentary on Haggai and Zechariah, ICC (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1912), 143. Such special pleading is oblivious to the witness of the OT to the interchangeability of YHWH and the Angel of YHWH.
Shortly after saying the above, Merrill goes on:
A possible objection to the identification of the messenger with YHWH in our passage is that the messenger appears to quote YHWH in vv. 6-7, thus differentiating himself from YHWH. However, this is not a serious problem at all, for a careful reading of Angel of YHWH passages makes it clear that the messenger, though distinguished from YHWH, often speaks as YHWH (cf. Gen. 16:7-13; 21:17; 22:11-12; 15-16; 31:11-13; Judg. 6:11-24; 13:15-20). That is, the messenger of YHWH is YHWH as He discloses Himself to human beings. (Merrill, ibid.), p. 132
What is said above about the Angel/Yahweh is similar to what we see in another courtroom scene, where once again Satan appears to accuse a godly man, and once again it is before Yahweh that He does so:
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” 12 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord. (Job 1:6-12)
Another passage relevant to the above is found in 1 Kings, where once again it is the Lord who presides as heavenly judge:
Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the Lord. I saw the Lord SITTING ON HIS THRONE, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. (1 Kings 22:19; cf. 2 Chronicles 18:18)
These passages about the Lord presiding over the heavenly council evince the deity of the Angel who is called Yahweh and who is seen in Zechariah 3 doing this exact thing. Anyone who heard or read the words of this later prophet who was familiar with the previous Scriptures would have recognized the equation that Zechariah makes when he speaks of the Angel of the Lord the same way the Scriptures spoke of Yahweh. Of course those acquainted with what had already been revealed up to the time of Zechariah would not have been stumbled by this, for the Angel is repeatedly identified as Yahweh throughout Israel’s history.

That the Angel is Lord also accounts for why He exercises the exclusively divine prerogative of forgiving sin in this passage, which is symbolically enacted under the Angel’s/Lord’s direction by the removal of Joshua’s filthy garments and Joshua being outfitted with festal robes for God’s service, an utterly gracious act that results in the Lord of Hosts promising Joshua, as high priest, free access among those who stand in God’s court:
He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again He said to him, “See, I HAVE TAKEN YOUR INQUITY AWAY from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” (v. 4)
We see that the Angel of the Lord has the power to exercise this divine prerogative elsewhere as well, and once again He is identified as the one who bears the very name of God.
20  “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. 21 Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgression, for my name is in him. (Exodus 23:20-21)
In fact, the Lord in the very next chapter of Exodus refers to the Angel as Yahweh:
1 Then He said to Moses, “Come UP TO the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and WORSHIP from afar. Moses alone shall come NEAR TO the Lord, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.” (Exodus 24:1-2)
This was well understood by ancient Jews, as the later efforts of the Talmudic rabbis to suppress this teaching among Jews demonstrates. For example, the Babylonian Talmud records the following conversation between Rav Idi and a min, i.e. a “heretic.”
Rav Nahman said: A person who knows how to answer the minim as Rav Idi, let him answer, and if not, let him not answer. 
A certain min said to Ravi Idi: “It is written, ‘And to Moses he said, come up unto the LORD [Exod. 24:1].’ It should have said, ‘Come up to me’!” 
He [Rav Idi] said to him: “This was Metatron, whose name is like the name of his master, as it is written, ‘for My name is in him’ [Exod. 23:21].” 
“But if so, we should worship him!” 
“It is written, ‘Do not rebel against him’ [Exod. 23:21] — Do not confuse him with me!” 
“If so, then why does it say ‘He will not forgive your sins’”? 
“We have sworn that we would not even receive him as a guide, for it is written ‘If Your face goes not [do not bring us up from here]’ [Exod. 33:15].” (Babylonian Talmud, 38b) 
Orthodox Jewish scholar Daniel Boyarin offers the following penetrating analysis of this portion of the Talmud:
God has been addressing the Jewish people as a whole (in Exodus chapter 23), informing them that he will send his angel before them and instructing them how to behave with respect to this angel. He then turns to Moses and tells him to come up to YKWK (the Tetragrammaton), implying quite strongly that “YKWK” of whom he speaks is not the same “YKWK” who is the speaker of the verse: Two YKWKs. This is, in fact, precisely the sort of argument that a Justin Martyr would have produced from Scripture to argue for a “second person” (the Logos). And so the minim conclude that there is a second power in heaven. Rav Idi, in refuting them, turns back to the previous chapter and remarks that verse 21 there explicitly says that “My name is in him [that is in the angel].” Metatron, that angel, therefore, could be called by the name “YKWK,” and it is to him that Moses is being instructed to ascend. What this amounts to is claiming that there are not two divine powers in heaven but only God and an angel whom he has named as God as well. 
At this point, the min responds by saying that if Metatron is indeed called by the ineffable name, then we ought to worship him as well; in other words, that Rav Idi’s own answer can be turned against him. To this, Rav Idi retorts that the verse also says “Do not rebel against him,” which by a typical midrashic sleight of hand can be read as “Do not substitute him,” that is, even though Metatron is called by God’s name, do not pray to him. Al tamer bo [Do not rebel against him] has been read as Al tamireni bo: Don’t substitute him for me. The very verse in which Israel is enjoined to obey the second YKWK has been turned by a pun into its exact opposite. The min says if that is what is meant, then why does it continue in the verse and say that he, Metatron, will not forgive sins? The min is arguing that if the people are being warned not to rebel against Metatron, because he is as powerful as God, then it makes sense to tell them that he will not forgive their sins if they do rebel, but if he is not God at all, then it is otiose to tell them that he will not forgive sins. Only if he has the power to redeem sins does it make sense to declare that he will not rebel [sic; forgive?] their sins if they rebel against him. (Of course, the rabbinic reading is: Don’t confuse him with me for he cannot redeem sins but only I can. The “heretical” reading, I’m afraid, is much stronger and more adequate to the language) … 
I would suggest, moreover, that, in typical midrashic fashion, another verse lies underneath this comment of the min. Joshua 24:19 reads: “It will be very difficult for you [lit. you will not be able to] worship YKWK, for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your sins and your iniquities.” In other words, the logic would run: if there it remarks of YKWK that he will not forgive sins and iniquities, then if the same language is being used here, ought it not indicate that the divine figure being spoken of has the same attributes as YKWK? Moreover, if there the context is one of worshipping YKWK, then here too worship of Metatron, the second Lord or lesser Yahu [as the Talmud calls him – AR], would seem to be implicated as well. The comparison is rendered even stronger when we notice that exactly the same context is involved in both the Exodus and the Joshua verse, namely the expulsion of the Canaanites from the land of Israel and the warnings to the people of Israel to be worthy of this benefit and to worship YKWK, or their sin will not be forgiven at all. It certainly seems as if this verse in Exodus can be read as equating Metatron to YKWK and therefore demanding worship for both figures.To this answer comes that “we” the Jews, through our leader Moses, already have declared that we do not even want him, Metatron, to be our guide in the desert, as the cited verse says: “If your face goes before us not.” In other words, the angelic regent was of such non importance that, far from considering him worthy of being worshipped, Moses would not even accept him as a guide. 
In this, as in many other cases of such hermeneutical encounters, the min certainly seems to have the upper hand to begin with, for there are many scriptural texts that plausibly can be read as supporting the notion of an angelic vice-regent with many of the powers of God, or even the notion of a virtual second God. Indeed, more than anything else, this very scriptural background may have given the greatest impetus to the various second-God theologies of Jews, including Logos, Memra, Sophia, Metatron, Son of Man, Son of God, and Christ. Rav Idi, the clever Midrashist, exploits all the tricks in his bag in order to discredit the min’s quite straightforward interpretation of the verses in question: “Behold I send before you an angel, to watch over you on the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Be careful before him and obedient to him. Do not disobey him, for he will not forgive your sins, for My name is in him.” Although, to be sure, the second of these two verses presents difficulties, at the very least it would seem that this — fairly straightforward — translation does imply that this angel has the power to command and to remit sins (which he will not employ), as God has delegated to him something of divine power. Just as in the Joshua verse, we are told that God … “is a jealous God; He will not forgive your sins and your iniquities,” so here, Metatron is such a divine being too. The min quite reasonably suggests that one ought to pray to such a divine being, Metatron, on Rav Idi’s showing. 
In order to escape this seeming ineluctable conclusion, Rav Idi proposes to read the verse as if saying, “Be careful before him and obedient to him. Do not confuse him with me, for he will not forgive your sins, for my name is in him.” Aside from the fact that this translation renders the verse considerably less coherent in its logic, it also makes this angel seem absolutely insignificant, hardly worthy of mention, to which Rav Idi answers (and this is his brilliant move) that indeed that is so. The Israelites have already registered their rejection of any interest in this insignificant angel when they insisted that God Himself must go before them and no other, thus dramatizing the rejection of the Son of Man theology, a rejection that the Rabbis themselves perform. (Boyarin, The Genealogy of Rabbinic Judaism; or, the Death and Resurrection of the Son of Man, p. 2-5)
To this rather unflattering look at one example of how the Rabbis sought to counter the Biblical evidence that many Jews at one time believed, it should be added that Rav Idi’s so-called “brilliant move,” one that rests on a manipulation of the Hebrew text that “renders the verse considerably less coherent in its logic,” involves a colossal mistake, or perhaps another example of exegetical sleight of hand. This is because it wasn’t the name-bearing Angel that the Israelites rejected by saying they wanted God’s very presence/face to go before them. The promise that the Angel would go before them is given in Exodus 23, and no such complaint as Rav Idi mentions occurs at the time when this is announced. It is only after the incident of the golden-calf (Exodus 32), when God says He will not in fact go with them as previously announced (Exodus 33), which can only refer back to Exodus 23, that God says He will not accompany them but will send what is evidently an ordinary angel instead. For Moses this punishment is too severe, so he intercedes with God and beseeches Him to go up with them. Moses would rather die than for God not to go before them Himself. At the intercession of Moses, the Lord relents and renews the promise that He will go with them.

In other words, if the sin of the golden-calf led to a change from the name-bearing Angel going before them to simply an angel rather than God Himself going before them, something Moses found intolerable, then it is evident that the Angel is God. So in the sweep of the entire narrative the Angel is shown to be the very presence or face of God.

And this is exactly how the prophet Isaiah presents the matter when reflecting back on the Lord’s prior dealings with His people, for in the following passage he refers to the Angel of the Exodus, the one who saved them, as “the Angel of His presence/face”:

I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, the praises of the Lord,According to all that the Lord has granted us,And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,Which He has granted them according to His compassionAnd according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses.For He said, “Surely, they are My people,Sons who will not deal falsely.”So He became their Savior.In all their affliction He was afflicted,And the angel of His presence saved them;In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them,And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.10 But they rebelledAnd grieved His Holy Spirit;Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy,He fought against them.11 Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses.Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of   His flock?Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them,12 Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses,Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name,13 Who led them through the depths?Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble;14 As the cattle which go down into the valley,The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest.So You led Your people,To make for Yourself a glorious name. (Isaiah 63:7-14)
A final passage in Zechariah that will be mentioned here relevant to the deity of the Angel of the Lord is the following, where the Lord declares:
“In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem. The Lord also will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not be magnified above Judah. In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord before them. And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (Zechariah 12:6-9)
In the above passage the Lord says that a day is coming when the weak will become strong. The way the prophet says this is striking: He says that the feeble of Jerusalem “will be like David,” and the house of David “will be like God, like the angel of the Lord before them.” What is so striking about this is that the statement “will be like God” is set in apposition to “like the Angel of the Lord before them.” An appositional statement is one where one statement follows another, with the latter serving as the explanatory equivalent of the first. In other words, according to Zechariah 12:9, “to be like God” is the equivalent of and means precisely to be “like the Angel of the Lord.”

When Zechariah says the house of David would be “like the Angel of the Lord before them,” the final words recall those of the Exodus, where God promises that the Angel who bears His name would go “before you,” i.e. Israel.

This means for all my opponents appeal to Zechariah one in an effort to deny the deity of the Angel, it is clearly out of touch with what Zechariah in fact taught. Zechariah was not a unitarian, and that’s why Muslims are only giving lip-service when they say they believe in all the prophets and all the previous books. In fact they don’t, and the testimony of Zechariah is only the tip of the Old Testament ice-berg that demonstrates this to be the case.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Robert Spencer vs. David Wood: Did Muhammad Exist?

After Robert agreed to debate me, I began sending him taunts about my inevitable victory, including this promise from Ivan Drago, this debate prediction from Clubber Lang, and numerous references to old gorillas being overthrown and forced into exile by young gorillas. Alas, old gorillas only live to become old gorillas by knowing how to fight!

In cased you missed our Marvel Team-Up against Anjem Choudary and Omar Bakri, here it is:

Another Peaceful Death Threat from a Peaceful Follower of the Religion of Peace

Wow! I'm honored to be threatened alongside Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller!

For more death threats from Abdul Hakim, click here.

Ijaz Ahmad vs. the Prophet Zechariah!

In my recent debate with Ijaz Ahmad he made much of the fact that the Angel of the Lord in Zechariah 1:12 intercedes with the Lord for Jerusalem, something that presupposes that the two are distinct. According to Ijaz, this shows not only that a distinction obtains between the two, but that the distinction is ontological in nature, i.e. it demonstrates that the former alone is Lord and the latter is not. Although I did point out that the Angel of the Lord is also identified as Lord in His own right in Zechariah 3, and thus that “the Angel of the Lord” is the distinctive title by which this second person who is Yahweh is distinguished from the first, the title being most appropriate since He is evidently the heavenly Mediator and Messenger between God and His people, a fact that follows naturally from Zechariah1, I think much more could be and needs to be said than I communicated during the debate. Since this was the passage on which Ijaz drew most of his thunder, and since most people I have talked to were unimpressed with his other arguments against the deity of the Angel, particularly his failure to grapple with the lexical and scholarly evidence I provided for the fact that the word angel (mal’ak) is not restricted in meaning or use to created spirits – something that brought on the bizarre charge from Ijaz that I was the one guilty of playing word games and being unscholarly, a lapse on his part that was aggravated by the fact that he didn’t bring a single scholarly source forward to justify his repeated misuse of the term, or even for anything else that he mentioned – I will take some time to fill out my all too brief comments in the debate on Zechariah 1 as part of the fulfillment of my agreement with Ijaz to discuss this issue further, and in order to make the matter clear for Christians who were/are interested in having me address this.

One of the first things to note is how the view I contended for comports with the overall theology of Zechariah, who many times over in the book that bears his name indicates that there are at least two persons who share the name, nature, attributes and perform the works of Yahweh. While I will seek to show in a follow up post that the second person identified as Yahweh in Zechariah is the Angel of the Lord, it should be observed that even apart from being able to make this equation the following evidence is proof in its own right for a distinction of persons in the Godhead in the Old Testament, which is all-important. That is to say, the following passages that speak of two persons as Yahweh prove that the Old Testament teaches that God is not a solitary person and in this sense He is not like any other conscious agent in existence – including schizophrenics, a straw-man trumped up by my opponent that applies to Modalists who believe the persons of the Trinity are actually only one person who banters back and forth between different alter egos, rather than to Trinitarianism, which teaches that God subsists in three actual persons – He being uniquely multi-personal, and thus unlike anything or anyone.

The first of many examples for Zechariah’s overall “binitarianism” presents itself in Zechariah 2:6-12, which reads as follows:
“Ho there! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the Lord, “for I have dispersed you as the four winds of the heavens,” declares the Lord. “Ho, Zion! Escape, you who are living with the daughter of Babylon.” For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After  glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye. For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me. 10  Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the Lord. 11 “ Many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. 12 The Lord will possess Judah as His portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”
In this passage Zechariah speaks the words of the Lord [Heb. Yahweh], making a clear distinction between himself as the purveyor of these words, and the Lord with whom they originate. Before demonstrating the obvious fact that the above passage presents two persons as Yahweh, let the following be noted here: while Zechariah’s actions here in speaking for the Lord are in a measure consistent with what the Angel of the Lord does in Zechariah one, which is to be expected since the Angel is a distinct person who can speak to and for Yahweh, the prophet does not also refer to himself as the Lord or in any way indicate that he shares the Lord’s name, nature, attributes or prerogatives, something the Angel of the Lord does elsewhere in Zechariah, and times without number elsewhere in the Old Testament. In other words, Zechariah is not only personally distinguished from Yahweh, but he is nowhere put ontologically on a par with Yahweh as a co-sharer in His name and attributes, a fact that flies in the face of Ijaz’s appeal to the idea that an agent who speaks for God is by virtue of this called by the name of the one who sent Him. This is not true of the Angel of the Lord who is both distinguished from one called Yahweh and who is simultaneously identified as Yahweh by nature, as we will eventually see.

In any event, in the above verses the Lord who says things like the following in the first person: “I have dispersed you” (v. 6), “I will wave my hand over them” (v. 9), “I am coming” (v. 10), “I will dwell in your midst” (v. 10), and who refers to the daughter of Zion, i.e. the people of Jerusalem, as “My people” (v. 11); is the same Lord who also refers to the Lord in the third person, saying: “After glory He has sent Me” (v. 8), “he who touches you touches the apple of His eye” (v. 8), “then you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me” (v. 9), “many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day” (v. 11), “you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me to you” (v. 11), and “The Lord will possess Judah as His portion” (v. 12).

Any attempt to say that the Lord is simply referring to Himself in the third person here, which would otherwise be grammatically possible, is negated by the fact that the Lord who refers to Himself in the first person says that He has been SENT by the Lord that He refers to in the third person:
“After glory has He sent Me against the nations that plunder you…” (v. 8) 
“Then you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me.” (v. 9) 
“…you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me to you.” (v. 11)
Note in particular that it is Yahweh who speaks in verse 8, but the verb that follows in the next clause, selahani, i.e. “sent me,” indicates that Yahweh is the one being sent and that He is being sent by Yahweh. It is Yahweh who is speaking according to verse 8, but the pronominal suffix in Hebrew in verse 9, “He has sent Me,” also refers to someone called Yahweh. Thus the one who is sent and the one by whom He is sent are identified as Yahweh.

This is why interpreters who have no room in their thinking for Yahweh as multi-personal can only suggest in the end that the passage must be emended, which is just to say that the text has to be changed in order to make it comport with unitarianism. But this tells us more about such interpreters who are inclined to do this sort of thing than it does about the text. Or, better yet, we may say it tells us a lot about the text – namely, that it is unavoidably binitarian, i.e. it presents two persons as Yahweh, one of whom sends the other, for if there were any viable way around this on exegetical grounds, or even through some eisegetical feat or sleight of hand, then such interpreters would not throw up their hands in exasperation and say that the text has to be changed to reflect their assumptions. Even those who are given to suggesting that Old Testament texts should be emended or changed when they do not align with their thinking only do so only as a last measure, i.e. when all else fails. Hence, the very suggestion in this place that the text ought to be emended shows they are at their wits end.

Any attempt to monkey with the quotations and suggest that it is the prophet who is saying that he was sent is likewise negated by what the sent one is said to do, which is something that the prophet decidedly would not and could not do, i.e. punish the nations that have come against Jerusalem:
“After glory has He sent Me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.” (v. 8) 
“For behold, I will wave My hand over them so that they will be plunder for their slaves. Then you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me.” (v. 9)
In addition to the above, the Lord who is speaking promises that He would dwell in the midst of His people, and that this would be proof that the Lord has sent Him:
“Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent Me to you.” (v. 11) 
That the Lord, the sent/coming one, the one who will come against the nations, the one who says He will wave His hand over them so that they will be plundered, also says He will dwell in the midst of His people, and that this would be the sign that the Lord of Hosts has sent Him (“Me”), once again makes it clear that this one is Yahweh, for what the sent/coming one says He would do is nothing other than the chief blessing and primary goal of the covenant between God and His people, i.e. that He would dwell in their midst. While this is stated many times over in the Old Testament, verse 5 in the immediate context tells us just what is meant:
“For I,” declares the Lord, “will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her MIDST.” 
What we see in the above passage, which teaches that the Lord sent the Lord after glory, and to defend His people, and to dwell in their midst, is just the sort of thing we see throughout the prophets. Repeatedly we are told that the Lord is going to come, and we are no less certainly told that His coming is in accordance with His having been SENT or being employed BY or acting FROM the Lord.

Two primary passages, and several supportive ones, shall suffice to illustrate the point.

First, there is the example of something Moses says in Genesis 19. After Genesis 18 tells us that the Lord appeared on earth with two angels to Abraham just prior to Sodom’s destruction, we read:
23 By the time Lot reached Zoar, the sun had risen over the land. 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah —FROM the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land. (Genesis 19:23-25)
Significantly, the distinction drawn here between the Lord who rained down burning Sulfur and the Lord FROM whom He rained is perpetuated several times over by the prophets:
“Behold, I am going to stir up the Medes against them, who will not value silver or take pleasure in gold. And their bows will mow down the young men, they will not even have compassion on the fruit of the womb, nor will their eye pity children. And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans' pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” (Isaiah 13:17-19) 
“As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors,” declares the LORD, “No man will live there, nor will any son of man reside in it.” (Jeremiah 50:40) 
I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, and I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD. “I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the LORD. (Amos 4:10-11)

Just as Moses clearly says that the Lord judged Sodom and Gomorrah by raining burning Sulfur FROM the Lord out of the heavens, so the prophets present God/the Lord saying that He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah BY God.

For more on this passage, see my four part article:

The “Heavenly” and “Earthly” Yahweh: A Trinitarian Interpretation of Genesis 19:24 – [Part 1, 2, 3a, 3b]

Second, there is the example of Hosea, through whom the Lord said:
6…And the LORD said to him, “Name her Lo-Rummah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them BY the Lord their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen.” (Hosea 1:6-7) 
Here the Lord clearly distinguishes between Himself and the means He says He will NOT employ or use – bow, sword, battle, horses, horsemen. By the same token, the Lord also distinguishes between Himself and the means He says He WILL use, but incredibly the distinction is between Himself as Yahweh who will deliver the house of Judah and Yahweh their God whom He said He would employ or use to do so.

To return to the prophet Zechariah, we later read something highly interesting about this person who is called Yahweh who is sent to destroy those who come against Jerusalem:
And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. 11 In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself and their wives by themselves; 14 all the families that remain, every family by itself and their wives by themselves.” (Zechariah 12:9-14)
In the above passage the Lord says that the people will “look on Me whom they have pierced,” and tells us that the house of David and Jerusalem’s inhabitants will mourn for Him, i.e. Yahweh, the pierced one, as one mourns for an only son or firstborn. Somehow Yahweh, who is going to destroy Jerusalem’s enemies, would be pierced and be the object of mourning. Whereas Zechariah 2 tells us that He would be sent by Yahweh, both Zechariah 2 and 12 tell us that He is Yahweh. Thus the latter passage reinforces the first in terms of identifying the one who is to come as Yahweh, and the latter further identifies Him as the one who would be pierced.

A third passage in Zechariah of some significance is found in Zechariah 13 and is closely related to the passage in Zechariah 12. For just as Yahweh said in 12:10 that He would be pierced, so in Zechariah 13 we are told not only that false prophets, by the Lord’s decree, will come to such a fate, i.e. they would be pierced through, but even the Shepherd of Yahweh would experience a terrible fate, no doubt the piercing mentioned in 12:10, and back of it would be the Lord’s own sword. Most significantly for present purposes is the fact that “the Shepherd,” –indeed, “My Shepherd,” – is identified by Yahweh not only as one distinct from Himself, but as “My Associate.”  
1 In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. And if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you have spoken falsely in the name of the Lord’; and his father and mother who gave birth to him will pierce him through when he prophesies. Also it will come about in that day that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive; but he will say, ‘I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth.’ And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’ 
“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
And against the man, My Associate,” Declares the Lord of hosts.“ Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones. “It will come about in all the land,”
Declares the Lord, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. “And I will bring the third part through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”
Note well that the passage calls the Shepherd both “the man,” geber, and “My Associate,” amiti, both together indicating that this is no ordinary man but a man who is also equal with God, which presupposes that this one is contemplated as partaking of two natures, humanity and deity.

So strong is this term that some post-Christian Talmudic Jews, recognizing the implications of what the text actually says, have said that it should not be taken as it stands in the text, which is literally “the man who is my equal,” but as “the man who thinks he is my equal.” This is just another example that those with a unitarian bias simply will not bide or submit to the text but will instead regiment or seek to bring the text into line with their thinking. 

Messianic Jewish Scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s comments are appropriate here:
“ZECHARIAH 13:7 is a one verse summary of the whole of Zechariah chapter 11. The Shepherd of verse 13:7 is the Good Shepherd of 11:4-14. This verse again states that Messiah will be a God-Man. The humanity of the Messiah is obvious: “…and against the man…” The words which follow are never adequately translated into English and so the divinity of Messiah is not made obvious. What is translated as “my associate” is, in the Hebrew, “my equal.” The verse should really read, “and against the man, my equal,” and of course in order to be equal with God, Messiah must actually be God. This may not be obvious in English translations, but is very close to the original Hebrew. 
This verse also emphasizes the violent nature of Messiah’s death and again states that His death will be the cause of the dispersion of Israel. The shepherd was struck in 30 A.D. when Jesus was crucified, and the sheep were scattered in 70 A.D. when Israel was dispersed. These are the words applied to Jesus’ disciples in Matthew 26:31-32 but the primary reference here is to the dispersion of 70 A.D. In verse 7b, even the little ones, the innocent common people, are to suffer because of the rejection of Messiah, the Good Shepherd, by the leaders of Israel.” (Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology (Ariel Ministries, 1998), p. 74)
For more on this passage, see the following series by Sam Shamoun:

The OT Prophets Testify that the Messiah Is Equal to God the Father [Part 1, 2]

If the second person in all of these passages from Zechariah who is called Yahweh and also Yahweh’s Associate or equal is in fact the Angel of Yahweh, a possibility that is every bit consistent since the second person called Yahweh in Zechariah 2:6-13 is SENT, which is what the noun Mal’ak itself means, and since He also plays an instrumental role in Israel’s deliverance, etc., then we have clear evidence that the Angel of the Lord is Yahweh. In any event we do have explicit evidence that the overall theology of Zechariah is at least Binitarian in character.  

In the next post on this issue I will look directly at what Zechariah explicitly says about the Angel of Yahweh and show that He is in fact identified as Yahweh, and show that He not only is sent by Yahweh, intercedes with Yahweh, etc., but is even said to do what only Yahweh can do.

Robert Spencer and Michael Coren on Speaking the Truth about Islam

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Anthony Rogers vs. Ijaz Ahmad: "Does the Old Testament Teach That the Angel of the Lord Is a Distinct Divine Person in the Godhead?"

Al-Qaida Leader Sakhr al-Taifi Killed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The second highest al-Qaida leader in Afghanistan was killed in a weekend airstrike in the country's volatile east near the border with Pakistan, NATO-led forces said on Tuesday.

Saudi Sakhr al-Taifi, also known as Musthaq and Nasim, was responsible for commanding foreign insurgents and directing attacks against coalition and Afghan forces, NATO said in a statement.

He frequently traveled between Afghanistan and Pakistan, carrying out commands from senior al-Qaida leadership, supplying weapons and equipment to insurgents and transporting insurgent fighters into Afghanistan, the statement said.

He was killed on Sunday in the Watahpur district of Kunar province after being identified with another al-Qaida militant.

No civilians were harmed and no civilian property was damaged, the statement said. (Source)

Russian Radio Host Sergey Aslanyan Attacked with Knife over Comments about Muhammad

Of course, if a Russian radio host had attacked a Muslim for anti-Jewish or anti-Christian comments, this story would be international news. But since it was a Muslim attacking a non-Muslim over a perceived criticism of Muhammad, no one will pay much attention.
MOSCOW--A radio host has been hospitalized after being cut 15 times by an unidentified criminal. Two weeks ago the journalist ventured to criticize the founder of Islam, the Prophet Mohammed, on air.

Sergey Aslanyan, 46, was brought to Moscow’s hospital with numerous non-penetrating knife wounds to the chest, neck and arm.

According to the police report, on late Monday evening an unknown man called to Aslanyan’s flat over the building intercom and called him outside for a talk. When the journalist stepped out of the entranceway he was knocked over the head with a heavy object, after which the assailant brought the knife into play.

Aslanyan claimed that the attacker was shouting “you are Allah's enemy!” while slashing at the victim. Police say the abuser was a slim man of about 30, while according to some witnesses there were several attackers.

As of now the journalist is conscious and his condition is stable. His relatives and friends are free to visit him in his flat, which is guarded by police. Investigators say they do not have a primary lead, but hope to identify the perpetrator using porch surveillance camera data.

Still, Izvestia newspaper made a guess that the attack could be linked to recent statements made by the journalist in a radio show. While discussing religion in general he made some “from zero to hero” remarks towards the Prophet Mohammed.

“The Prophet Mohammed, as we know, was not a religious figure. He was a businessman, but after getting considerable financial support built plans as to how to get to the top,” Aslanyan disclosed. He also said that the Prophet “rewrote the Bible” so that “now everyone would know the Prophet Mohammed was not a market shopkeeper, but an outstanding political figure.”

According to Aslanyan, the idea of Islam was a “business project from the very beginning,” and turned out to be successful due to “handsome financing.” Besides that, the journalist, who was an external expert at this radio show, speculated that the Prophet had some sort of sexual disorder.

Reportedly, the journalist later apologized on air for the harsh statements he had made, but that did not change public opinion much. (Read more.)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Debate Reminder

Just a reminder to everyone interested in my upcoming debate with Ijaz Ahmad --who has affectionately dubbed me a "popular Islamaphobe author," which is surely mistaken since I am hardly famous-- it will take place tomorrow, Lord willing, May 27th, at 6pm (PST). The debate will be hosted in the Answering Christianity room on Paltalk. Aside from learning the truth of the proposition being debated, we will also see if Muslims have more confidence now in their ability to rationally confront Christianity than they did during Keith Thompson's debate with Sami Zaatari, on which occasion Keith was repeatedly dotted (i.e. muted) and interrupted.

For those who didn't catch the announcement before, we will be debating the following proposition: The Old Testament Teaches that the Angel of the Lord [Lit. Heb. The Messenger of Yahweh] is a Distinct Divine Person in the Godhead.

****Special note for Ijaz: You might want to ask your co-religionists over at MDI not to work at cross-purposes with you. Just today muslim convert Dr. Laurence Brown acknowledged that the Old Testament, quite contrary to contemporary Jewish fancy, teaches that it was God who humbled Himself, appeared in the form of a man, and wrestled with Jacob.
The Old Testament teaches that Jacob wrestled with God. In fact, the Old Testament records that Jacob not only wrestled with God, but that Jacob prevailed (Genesis 32:24-30). Now, bear in mind, we’re talking about a tiny blob of protoplasm wrestling the Creator of a universe 240,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles in diameter, containing over a billion galaxies of which ours—the Milky Way Galaxy—is just one (and a small one, at that), and prevailing? I’m sorry, but someone was a couple pages short of a codex when they scribed that passage. The point is, however, that this passage leaves us in a quandary. We either have to question the Jewish concept of God or accept their explanation that “God” does not mean “God” in the above verses, but rather it means either an angel or a man (which, in essence, means the Old Testament is not to be trusted). In fact, this textual difficulty has become so problematic that more recent Bibles have tried to cover it up by changing the translation from “God” to “man.” What they cannot change, however, is the foundational scripture from which the Jewish Bible is translated, and this continues to read “God.”
No doubt it is intolerable for Muslims to hear that God would do something that sounds so Christ-like, but there it is. And in the Torah to boot. What was Moses thinking? I thought "all the prophets were Muslims"?

Muslims can pretend of course that the OT was corrupted at this point and that it is not what Moses originally wrote, but given Dr. Brown's acknowledgement that contemporary Jews find such a view just as intolerable as Muslims, and presumably he holds the popular view that ancient Jews were also at one with Muslims on this issue, we have to ask if the unargued idea that the Jews corrupted the "foundational scripture" to read "God" wrestled with Jacob only to later falsely translate it as a "man" wrestled with Jacob is even feasible. Only someone who is a few pages short of a codex would argue such a thing.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part. Here is what the Old Testament prophet Hosea said about God wrestling with Jacob:
"The LORD also brings a charge against Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his deeds He will recompense him. He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and in his strength he struggled with God. Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed; he wept, and sought favor from Him. He found Him in Bethel, and there He spoke to us--that is, the LORD God of hosts. The Lord is His memorable name. So you, by the help of your God, return; observe mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually." (Hosea 12:2-6)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Debate Is Set!

My debate with Robert Spencer on Muhammad's existence is set for this Monday, 8:00 P.M., on ABN. For our last debate, Robert and I teamed up against Anjem Choudary and Sheikh Omar Bakri (click here to watch the debate), and we showed that two Muslim apologists couldn't defend the existence of their prophet. However, Choudary and Bakri relied on a backwards, archaic, absurd methodology ("The Qur'an says it, so it must be true!"). Can a more sophisticated argument show that Muhammad existed? Only one way to find out.

If you haven't read Robert's new book yet, you can purchase the book here.

Sam and David on "Jesus or Muhammad" This Friday and Saturday

Be sure to tune in to ABN this Friday and Saturday at 10:00 P.M. (Eastern Standard Time) for live episodes of "Jesus or Muhammad." If you don't get ABN via satellite, you can watch it by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pakistani Doctor Shakil Afridi Sentenced to 33 Years in Prison for Helping U.S. Locate Osama bin Laden

Hmmm. It almost sounds as if Pakistan didn't want the U.S. to find bin Laden. I wonder why.

On an even more horrifying note, Dr. Afridi's identity and role were disclosed by the Obama Administration. Instead of getting him out of Pakistan and protecting him, the U.S. government basically handed him over on a silver platter.

FoxNews--GOP Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, expressed concern Wednesday about the extent of the Obama administration’s efforts to protect the Pakistan doctor who was sent to prison in Pakistan for treason after helping to find Usama bin Laden.

"This has been handled very poorly right from the time of the raid," King told Fox News.

Dr. Shakil Afridi ran a vaccination program for the CIA to collect DNA and verify bin Laden's presence at the compound in the town of Abbottabad where U.S. commandos killed the Al Qaeda chief in a May 2011 raid.

The operation outraged Pakistani officials, who portrayed it as an act of treachery by a supposed ally.

King, R-N.Y., said administration officials talked about the doctor and his DNA sampling.

"They put him out there," said King, who made clear he didn't know the exact details about what, if anything, the administration may have done to get the doctor out of Pakistan or otherwise protect him. "I'm focused on that they disclosed his identity."

The doctor was sentenced to 33 years in prison on Wednesday for conspiring against the state -- a verdict officials said is likely to further strain the country's relationship with Washington. (Read more.)

Nicolai Sennels and Michael Coren on the Psychological Differences between Muslims and Westerners

Another Westerner who believes that facts are more important than political correctness.

Sennels wrote an article about his findings in New English Review:
NEW ENGLISH REVIEW--February 27th 2008. On a cold and windy Wednesday (for cyclists like myself), I took a deep breath, grabbed the microphone and did something that changed my life. In front of the Copenhagen Mayor’s Integration and Social Services Office there were gathered several journalists, a faithful Muslim musician from the famous MTV-band ‘Outlandish,’ dozens of Imams and Muslim spokesmen and a couple of hundred social workers with Muslim and Danish backgrounds. I began to say what everybody already knew, but, what nobody either wanted or dared to say: that those who are referred to as foreign criminals, religious extremists, or terrorists in the making and who are the cause of lawless parallel societies (what the conference "Diversity and Safety in the City" was about) are all Muslim. I argued that we should stop talking about "criminal foreigners" and start using the more precise term, "criminal Muslims." As a psychologist, having had more than a hundred Muslim clients, I told them that politicians and professional social workers need to understand the cultural and religious backgrounds of criminal foreigners. That is, if we want to come up with, at least, somewhat effective and targeted plans on how to reduce the social unrest, anti-democratic religious movements, the violent and anti-social forces among foreigners.

I was met with strong criticism from all sides and no support at all!

Just as most soldiers in the front lines die in the first attack, many of those who attacked political correctness have experienced negative professional or social consequences. I was no exception. The Mayor of Social Services was clear. I should either refrain from using stigmatizing expressions or find myself another job. Actually I was trying to stop the so-called stigmatization of all the non-Muslim immigrants by focusing on the one group that creates all the problems. But you can't fight City Hall. Our biggest national newspapers and radio news programs got hold of the story and the mayor was strongly criticized by the media experts on free speech and by the Danish blog-sphere. For about a month there was not a day when my name was not in one or more newspapers and the fighters for free speech took another round. I was no longer an anonymous psychologist. My name was known by everybody who read newspapers in Denmark and especially Islam-critical blogs on the internet put me in the spotlight.

Instead of keeping my mouth shut, I decided to write a book about my experiences with Muslims based on hundreds of therapy sessions. The whole circus that had happened concerning my case had already shown the necessity of breaking the taboos around criminal Muslims. Further, a serious discussion about the relationship between the Muslim culture and criminal, antisocial behavior is, indeed, very much needed. I managed to negotiate a deal that gave me four months severance pay. I am probably the first psychologist in Copenhagen who was offered $20,000 dollars for quitting his job voluntarily. I guess they just wanted to get rid of me, ASAP. I found a well-paying job as a Military psychologist doing psychological screening of soldiers returning from the war in Afghanistan. I also started writing my book, in which I describe a psychological profile of the Muslim culture. The title of the book is Among Criminal Muslims: A Psychologist's Experiences from the Copenhagen Municipality. (Free Press Society, 2009).

After having consulted with 150 young Muslim clients in therapy and 100 Danish clients (who, on average, shared the same age and social background as their Muslim inmates), my findings were that the Muslims’ cultural and religious experiences played a central role in their psychological development and criminal behavior. "Criminal foreigners" is not just a generalizing and imprecise term. It is unfair to non-Muslim foreigners and generally misleading.

Discussing psychological characteristics of the Muslim culture is important. Denmark has foreigners from all over the world and according to official statistics from Danmarks Statistik all non-Muslim groups of immigrants are less criminal than the ethnic Danes. Even after adjusting, according to educational and economic levels, all Muslim groups are more criminal than any other ethnic group. Seven out of 10, in the youth prison where I worked, were Muslim. (Continue reading.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Qur'an in Context 1: "Fight Those Who Do Not Believe" (Surah 9:29)

Here are the Qur'an, Hadith, and Tafsir passage cited in the video:

Qur’an 9:28—O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque. And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.

Qur’an 9:29—Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Qur’an 9:30—The Jews call Uzair a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (In this) they but imitate what the Unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!

Qur’an 9:31—They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ, the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One God: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).

Qur’an 9:32—Fain would they extinguish Allah’s Light with their mouths, but Allah will not allow but that His Light should be perfected, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).

Qur’an 9:33—It is He Who hath sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to prevail it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it).

Qur’an 5:51—O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other.

Qur’an 9:73—O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them.

Qur’an 9:111—Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain.

Qur’an 9:123—O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.

Qur’an 47:35—Be not weary and fainthearted, crying for peace, when ye should be uppermost.

Qur’an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.

Sahih Muslim 30—Muhammad said: “I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.”

Sahih Muslim 4366—Muhammad said: “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslims.”

Sunan An-Nasa’i 3099—The Prophet said: “Whoever dies without having fought or having thought of fighting, he dies on one of the branches of hypocrisy.”

Sunan Ibn Majah 2763—The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever meets Allah with no mark on him (as a result of fighting) in His cause, he will meet Him with a deficiency.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 6922—Allah’s Messenger said, “If anyone changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”

Qur’an 6:114—Shall I seek for a judge other than Allah, when He it is Who has sent down to you the Book fully explained?

Qur’an 11:1—This is a Book, whose verses have been made firm and free from imperfection and then they have been expounded in detail.

Qur’an 12:1—These are verses of the clear Book.

Qur’an 16:89—And We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things ...

Qur’an 27:1—These are verses of the Qur'an—a book that makes (things) clear.

Qur’an 41:3—A Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail ...

Qur’an 57:9—He it is who sends down clear communications upon His servant, that he may bring you forth from utter darkness into light.

Ibn Kathir, The Battles of the Prophet, pp. 183-4—Allah, Most High, ordered the believers to prohibit the disbelievers from entering or coming near the sacred Mosque. On that, Quraish thought that this would reduce their profits from trade. Therefore, Allah, Most High, compensated them and ordered them to fight the people of the Book until they embrace Islam or pay the Jizyah. Allah says, “O ye who believe! Truly the pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the sacred Mosque. And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” Therefore, the Messenger of Allah decided to fight the Romans in order to call them to Islam.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir (on Qur’an 9:30)—Fighting the Jews and Christians is legislated because they are idolaters and disbelievers. Allah the Exalted encourages the believers to fight the polytheists, disbelieving Jews and Christians, who uttered this terrible statement and utter lies against Allah, the Exalted. As for the Jews, they claimed that Uzayr was the son of God, Allah is free of what they attribute to Him. As for the misguidance of Christians over Isa, it is obvious.

Qur'an 2:106—“Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?”

Sahih al-Bukhari 4364—The last complete Surah which was revealed (to the Prophet) was Bara’a ...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Muslim Persecution of Christians: April 2012

Raymond Ibrahim has been tracking the worldwide persecution of Christians by Muslims. Here's the intro for his April update.
GATESTONE INSTITUTE--As Easter, one of the highest Christian holidays, comes in April, Christian persecution in Muslim nations—from sheer violence to oppressive laws—was rampant: In Nigeria, where jihadis have expressed their desire to expunge all traces of Christianity, a church was bombed during Easter Sunday, killing some 50 worshippers; in Turkey, a pastor was beaten by Muslims immediately following Easter service and threatened with death unless he converted to Islam; and in Iran, Easter Sunday saw 12 Christians stand trial as "apostates."

The persecution of Christians has come to regions not normally associated with it. As in Nigeria, Muslim militants are now also running amok in Timbuktu, Mali—beheading a Christian leader and threatening other Christians with similar treatment. Sharia law has been imposed, churches are being destroyed, and Christians are fleeing Timbuktu in mass.

Categorized by theme, April's assemblage of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed in alphabetical order by country, not severity. (Continue reading at Gatestone.)

Wafa Sultan vs. Omar Bakri on Human Rights Under Sharia

Here are some subtitled clips from an Arabic debate on ABN. When I debate Muslims in the West, my opponents usually try to argue that Islam promotes Western values, while I show from their sources that the opposite is true. In this debate, however, Sheikh Omar Bakri admits much of what Islam's critics strive to demonstrate.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Muslim Commenter Sinks to New Low

Actually, I shouldn't say that he sank to a new low. I should say that he's living according to the example set by his prophet and his prophet's companions.

"Rambo John" is a Muslim who spends quite a bit of time defending Islam over at the Muslim Debate Initiative's "Blogging Theology" page. Yesterday, Rambo John sent Sam Shamoun a private message:
your wife is sexy
does she have the holy ghost in her?
tell your wife to call me 07772342197
In just three lines, this devout Muslim apologist manages (1) to admit he's been lusting after Sam's wife, (2) to engage in the lowest form of personal attack against Sam, (3) to request an adulterous relationship with a Christian woman, and (4) to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. It seems Muslims are forced to behave this way by their inability to refute Sam's arguments.

Of course, our Muslim readers, and even many non-Muslim readers, are thinking to themselves, "But David, surely this man's actions have nothing to do with Islam. Islam encourages noble behavior, not childish insults against other people's beliefs."

Wrong. Consider the following passage. A man points out two alternatives for Muhammad. If Muhammad is victorious over the Quraysh, he will be remembered as the man who slaughtered his own tribesmen. If the Quraysh are victorious over him, Muhammad's followers will abandon him. Pay close attention to Abu Bakr's response:
Urwah went to the Prophet and began speaking to him. The Prophet spoke as he had spoken to Budayl. Then Urwah said: "Muhammad, tell me: if you extirpate [i.e. exterminate] your tribesmen, have you ever heard of any of the Arabs who destroyed his own race before you? And if the contrary comes to pass, by God I see both prominent people and rabble who are likely to flee and leave you." Abu Bakr said, "Go suck the clitoris of al-Lat! Would we flee and leave him?" (History of al-Tabari, Volume 8, p. 76)
Al-Lat was a goddess worshipped by Urwah (yes, this is the same al-Lat praised by Muhammad in the infamous "Satanic Verses"). Notice that Abu Bakr responds to Urwah's reasonable comment with an extraordinarily offensive insult against Urwah's religious beliefs.

This is exactly the sort of response we would expect from Muhammad's companions, since Muhammad himself encouraged his followers to use vulgar insults:
Ubayy b. Ka‘b told that he heard God’s messenger say, “If anyone proudly asserts his descent in the manner of the pre-Islamic people, tell him to bite his father’s penis, and do not use a euphemism.” (Mishkat Al Masabih)
Fortunately, most Muslims live far better lives than their prophet or his companions. But some Muslims (regrettably) continue to follow Muhammad's example.

***UPDATE*** Devout Muslim apologist Rambo John saw my post and sent Sam some additional messages. While it's horrifying to read such repulsive words, it's good to see that some Muslims are giving us a glimpse of Islam's true teachings. (WARNING! These messages contain extremely offensive language.)

1st New Message:
hey scum bag, POST this on woods blog also, jesus the LIAR AND FRAUD and lawless jew said that ot predicted his murder. but here is a SUPRISE for u and jesus, THE OT DOES NOT PREDICT the s hit that jesus said.

fukin fat chicken sh it , i never see you post in places where people would screw, blue and tatoo your fat christian as s, why are u a fukin chicken, i gave u my mobile phone number , contact me u mo fo, tell your wife to contact me, i would like to tell her that she needs me more than she needs jezuz and christianity lol
2nd New Message:
u know u pathetic shamoun, you expose my words for all to see, but how much do you EXPOSE your sins u dirty cockroach? how much do you reveal about the church whore u gaze at to your dirty ass pastor? u like a fukin SLUT on jerey springer REVEAL what is SECRET to the public, but how much did matthew, mark luke and john reveal WHAT is destructive to christian faith? naaa, when it comes to christians, you dirty mo fo's keep you crimes a secret, right? lol.

you're wife aswell shamoun, how much does she reveal about how she likes me and wants me for enjoyment? you wife didn't tell u that did she? do you want to see your wifes text messages ? lol

the deciples made jesus proud, they left him for dead lol.
Of course, Muslims can't condemn Rambo John's insults and foul language, because to condemn his words would be to condemn Muhammad and his companions!

Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller on CBN's "Stakelbeck on Terror"

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Upcoming Debate!

On May 27th at 6:00pm PST I will be debating Ijaz Ahmad (aka “CallingChristians”). My opponent turned down the invitation to do it on ABN, so it will take place in the Answering Christianity room on Paltalk.  As some of you know and others might suspect, the Muslim rooms on PT (not to mention some other Muslim forums) do not have a sterling reputation for conducting things on the up and up, and that is putting it mildly. However, having secured the agreement of a Muslim who has a pretty good track record as judged by our past interactions, a Muslim who has agreed to play a principal role in how the debate is conducted, I have agreed to do it in that forum. If I am red-dotted (i.e. muted) or if the debate is called because they don’t like what I am saying, so be it. Worse happens when Christians proclaim the Word of Christ in Muslim lands (and sometimes even in America).

For those who don't use Paltalk or for whatever reason are not able to listen to the debate live but are still interested in hearing it, it will be recorded and Lord willing I will eventually put it on the blog.

We will be debating the following proposition: The Old Testament Teaches That the Angel of the Lord is a Distinct Divine Person in the Godhead.

I will be arguing in the affirmative. Ijaz will represent the negative.

Although our debate will be on what the Old Testament teaches in this regard, the relevance of this to what is taught in the New Testament is huge. As E. W. Hengstenberg once said somewhere: what the Old Testament teaches on this issue is the proemium of what we find said about Jesus in the Gospels and to what has been believed, taught and confessed in the church regarding Jesus throughout the ages.

With regard to Christ, the law and the prophets and the evangelists have proclaimed that He was born of a virgin, that He suffered upon a beam of wood, and that He appeared from the dead; that He also ascended to the heavens, and was glorified by the Father, and is the Eternal King; that He is the perfect Intelligence, the Word of God, who was begotten before the light; that He was the Founder of the universe, along with it (light), and the Maker of man; that He is All in all: Patriarch among the patriarchs; Law in the laws; Chief Priest among priests; Ruler among kings; the Prophet among prophets; the Angel among angels; the Man among men; Son in the Father; God in God; King to all eternity. For it is He who sailed [in the ark] along with Noah, and who guided Abraham; who was bound along with Isaac, and was a Wanderer with Jacob; the Shepherd of those who are saved, and the Bridegroom of the Church; the Chief also of the cherubim, the Prince of the angelic powers; God of God; Son of the Father; Jesus Christ; King for ever and ever. Amen.” (Irenaeus, Fragments, LIII)