Sunday, January 26, 2014

Muhammad in the Bible: A Thorough Refutation of Paul Bilal Williams' Case for Islamic Relevance

The following article is a guest post written by Nakdimon. To read other articles from him, see his personal page on Answering Islam. Also, be sure to check out his Youtube page here.

I’ve had my share of tough arguments against the Messianic claims of the Lord Yeshua when dealing with Jewish anti-missionaries during my apologetic work to the Jewish people. I have sometimes been challenged to my core. In the end they sharpened me, pushed me to learn Hebrew, lots of Jewish tradition and the Lord has helped me to deal with their objections which taught me to be true to myself, steer clear of deluding myself in dealing with their objections and knock their arguments down by arguing consistently. Then I came in contact with Islam. And one thing has always fascinated me from the beginning when dealing with Muslims: Their incredible inability to use equal weights and measures and almost compulsive and openly shameless utilization of double standards in their apologetic methodologies. I have seldom come across such blatant stubbornness and complete disdain for fair evaluation of any data than when I see Muslims handle the Bible as some self-help tool to desperately try to prove their messenger is foretold in our inspired Scriptures. For on the one hand they will appeal to the Bible to try to demonstrate that their prophet is clearly foretold in our Scriptures and we therefore have no reason to doubt his prophet hood, nor reject his message. But on the other hand they have no problem repudiating the very Bible as being hopelessly corrupted and not to be trusted when it completely destroys any foundation they hope to have for their messenger being a foretold figure In the Scriptures or any particular aspect of his message. Muslims time and again like to claim that the Quran is a miracle given to their prophet Muhammad yet it is this very miracle that places Muslims in this insurmountable dilemma as the Quran appeals to the Scriptures that we have as supposedly foretelling the coming of a prophet from the Arabian Peninsula. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that Muslims are in desperation mode, trying to find something, anything, that may look like a prophecy pointing to their dearest messenger.

Enter Paul Bilal Williams, the supposed former Christian turned Muslim. Claiming to be familiar with the Scriptures that he claimed he once have claimed his own, he has decided to comb through the Bible with his finest comb trying to do what the Quran forces him to do. The only problem is that the author(s) of the Quran never bothered to tell him exactly where to look. And thus Muslims like Paul Williams are left to flip the coin or spit in the air and wait to see where the wind carries their drivel in order to be able to “determine” where those prophecies are hidden: For they must be somewhere, or else the Quran ceases to be this miracle they keep claiming it supposedly is. Like a true challenger believing he has a shot at the belt, in his article, Paul boldly comes out swinging with his hands taped, his gloves on and his mouth piece in place trying to lay the foundation of his (or better said, the Quran’s) claims to establish the relevance of Muhammad, guesstimating it was being put firmly in place in the Book of Genesis, when God made the covenant with Abraham and his offspring. Paul Williams (from now on being mentioned as PW) starts with the following claim:

Before getting into the evidence for Muhammad in the Bible, we need to first address an issue that some Christians have. Perhaps the biggest stumbling block to accepting Muhammad, from a scriptural point of view, is the idea that only Isaac was included in God’s covenant to the exclusion of Ishmael. Until this misconception is addressed there is little point in moving forward as Ishmael represents the foundation for the emergence of an Arabian prophet.

This is the misconception – the Old Testament seems to explicitly state that although God blessed Abraham with regards to both his sons, Isaac and Ishmael, God’s special promise (or ‘covenant’ in Old Testament terminology) is explicitly stated as only applying to Isaac, to the exclusion of Ishmael. This is the key passage from the Old Testament which seems to promote this idea:

And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” [Genesis 17:20-21]

So as we see, the foundational stumbling block to any claim that Muhammad can make to prophet hood hinges on the covenant that God made with Abraham. This misconception needs to be cleared or else, says PW himself, there simply “little point in moving forward” and refer to any other place in the Scriptures to point to Muhammad being a prophet. On the flipside: What if there is no misconception at all and Ishmael was not at all even relevant to God’s Covenant with Abraham to begin with? If that Is the case, this would undercut PW’s entire case, from beginning to end, for any claim that he makes for Muhammad’s prophetic claims as such a foundation simply does not exist. And if the foundation is not there, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. Although I think the biggest stumbling block is that Muslims have no evidence at all that Muhammad is from Ishmael to begin with. But all that you can find in this article. So…let’s dig in!

Having cited Genesis 17:20-21 as the key passage on which his entire claim hinges PW claims:

Taken at face value, the above passage does seem to be a problem. However, when we inspect the original Hebrew for this passage, a very different picture emerges. First though, we need to understand some basic Hebrew grammar.

The letter Vav is the sixth letter in the Hebrew alphabet. In Hebrew the names of the letters of the alphabet have meaning. The word “vav” means a “hook”,“spear”, or “tent peg”, therefore the name and shape of the letter are directly connected to this meaning:

This letter has a special property – when it is added to the beginning of a sentence or word, it creates the meaning “and”. The Hebrew prefix vav is defined by Langenscheidt’s Hebrew Dictionary as a conjunction, meaning “and, and therefore, also, then, yet”.

How does this affect the covenant with Isaac in the Old Testament? Quite dramatically in fact, because when we consider that Genesis 17:21 begins with the letter vav, it turns out that there’s nothing exclusive about the covenant at all, if we translate the verse in its proper way with “and” instead of “but”:

“And my covenant will I establish with Isaac”

…which has a vastly different meaning than:

“But my covenant will I establish with Isaac”

Moreover, when we factor in the meaning of the name of the letter vav, “hook”, it turns out that the subject of the verse that precedes the vav, Ishmael in Genesis 17:20, is ‘hooked’ or ‘joined’ to the subject of the verse that follows it, Isaac. In other words, the concept following the vav is just as important as the one preceding it, so both Ishmael and Isaac are considered important in light of the covenant.

A nice little word game he being played by PW, but things are a little different as he would like to have them. In order to expose PW’s nonsense, let’s consider the Covenant that God made with Abraham. Muslims always like to start at Genesis 17 to stake their claim on God’s covenant with Abraham. However, the groundwork for the Covenant between God and Abraham started way before Genesis 17. Let’s back up to Genesis 12 that lays the foundation of everything that happens in years later in Genesis 17. Since PW used the KJV for his article I will likewise use that translation in this paper:

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him. (Genesis 12:1-7)

Here we see God’s initial promise to Abraham as he calls Abraham to depart from his family and makes specific promises to him. I would like to point your attention to the seed that is being mentioned, because this seed will be appointed as sole heir of God’s covenant with Abraham. After this God appears to Abraham a second time in Genesis 15 and makes the following promise:

… I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. …And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that THY SEED shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day THE LORD MADE A COVENANT WITH ABRAM, SAYING, UNTO THY SEED HAVE I GIVEN THIS LAND, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites. (Gen 15:7-10, 13-21)

As the story of the life of Abraham unfolds it becomes more and more clear who this specific seed is that God is talking about in reference to the Covenant he makes with Abraham, as God gives more and more details. As is abundantly clear by now, God refers to that specific seed that would go into a land that is not theirs for four hundred years, be afflicted by the people of that land, treated as their slaves and the people of that strange land would be judged by God and he would lead that seed of Abraham out of that strange land over into that land he promised Abraham, from the river of Egypt unto the great river Euphrates. It should slowly be creeping to the consciousness of every Muslim that even bothered to read the Biblical record in its full context, that this can only be talking about ONE people and ONE people only: The Children of Israel. In light of all of this, NOW we turn to Genesis 17 to see what God says about the Covenant, sealing it with circumcision. To give you the feeling of the words of God to Abraham, let’s read the full context of those words:

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. (Gen 17:1-21)

This chapter, together with the previous chapters discussed above, makes it perfectly clear that God’s Covenant with Abraham is made with Abraham and his seed, specifically the seed that would inherit the land and would dwell as oppressed slaves in a strange land. This Covenant was first ratified with the blood of animals in Genesis 15 and then sealed it in Genesis 17 with the blood of Abraham’s own body (where have we seen that before: Ex 24:6-8 and Matthew 26:28). Note also that whenever God speaks about establishing the Covenant, he always mentions Isaac (Isaac), never Ishmael. Not only does God mention Isaac as the one he will establish the Covenant with, but also his seed after him. Note how this is said of both Abraham in verse 7 and Isaac in verse 19, NEVER of Ishmael, anywhere in the Scriptures! To add insult to injury, let’s look at Genesis 21 and further open the Islamic wound inflicted by the clear and consistent testimony of the very Bible it’s proponents appeal to in order to try prove their messenger and his claims to prophet hood are at all relevant:

And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him...And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, CAST OUT THIS BONDWOMAN AND HER SON: FOR THE SON OF THIS BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE HEIR WITH MY SON, EVEN WITH ISAAC. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; IN ALL THAT SARAH HATH SAID UNTO THEE, HEARKEN UNTO HER VOICE; FOR IN ISAAC SHALL THY SEED BE CALLED. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. (Genesis 21:1-4, 8-13)

Once again the testimony of the Scriptures is clear and it’s almost inconceivable how anyone can read it and come to any other conclusion than that God’s Covenant with Abraham is limited only, perpetuated solely and is established exclusively through none other than Isaac! God is specific and I don’t know how much clearer it could have been stated. Sarah has told Abraham to throw Hagar and Ishmael out for a specific reason: So that it would be clear that Ishmael would NOT inherit anything what God gave Abraham. God then told Abraham he not only concurred with Sarah, but even doubled down on Sarah’s words. All Ishmael and Hagar would get is a bag of water, some bread and off they were. That is not to say that God wasn’t merciful to Ishmael and didn’t bless him, as he promised Abraham to make him a great (read: numerous) nation of twelve princes. But that’s about as far as God’s dealing with Ishmael goes: God promised Ishmael a great nation of twelve princes in Genesis 17:20. This was fulfilled in Genesis 25:13-16. But other than that, Ishmael is totally irrelevant. Fact is that God tells Abraham to cast Ishmael out for the sole purpose that he will NOT be the heir to God’s promises to Abraham with the words: “Everything Sarah told you, listen to her voice (Hebr. Shema b’qolah), BECAUSE (Hebr. Kee) in Isaac seed will be called unto you”.

But let’s not stop there as we are on a roll and have the inevitable momentum going. As if God could not have been any clearer, the icing on the cake is served in  Genesis 22:

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, THINE ONLY SON ISAAC, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.  And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him…And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, THINE ONLY SON from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, THINE ONLY SON: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:1-3, 9-18)

This chapter in particular is a sore for Muslims and hard to come to terms with as a similar story is mentioned in their Quran. But the problem is that the Quran, as is its habit of being unclear in spite of its numerous claims of being a clear book that is self-explanatory, never tells its readers who the child is that Abraham is told to offer as a sacrifice. The Bible, however, does tell us who it was and to the shock, surprise and chagrin of Muslims, who maintain that Abraham was told to offer Ishmael, the Bible says it was Isaac that was laid on the altar. But to not despair. As I already said on the outset of this article, Muslims have already crafted a device for this stiff-necked and re-occurring problem: the corruption of the Biblical text. The very Biblical text from which they toil so hard to find any reference to Muhammad. So basically Muslims will tell us “oh People of the Book, we have proof form your untrustworthy Scriptures. So sit back and watch us pull, tare and rip apart your Holy Book as we plunder what we think we can use, while we repudiate everything else from it that destroys our case” and think this will persuade any thinking believer. But I digress…

As the Scriptures clearly teach, the Covenant that God made with Abraham was made with him and his seed, specifically with the offspring that would live in a strange land, oppressed by the indigenous people, God would judge that people and bring Abraham’s seed out of that land, would bring them back into the land that Abraham sojourned in and give that land to them for an eternal inheritance. God tells Abraham to cast Ishmael out so that he wouldn’t inherit any of the promises of the Covenant that God made with Abraham and adds to that that, as far as the Covenant goes, only in Isaac will Abraham’s seed be called. Therefore, when we read in Genesis 22:2, verse 12 and verse 16, after Ishmael is long gone, that Isaac is Abraham’s only son, Muslims often cry “See, that is a contradiction!” because Ishmael was older than Isaac. Do we really have to point out that, with calling Isaac the “only son” of Abraham, God simply emphasizes that as far as God’s Covenant with Abraham goes, Isaac is the only one that matters? God repeats the grounds of the Covenant he made with Abraham in verse 16-18. Note the language God used to bless Abraham and look at how God repeats this same language through Isaac and then consider that NONE of these words are ever uttered in regard to Ishmael:

And the Lord appeared unto him [Isaac], and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED; (Genesis 26:2-4)

Also note how these promises are repeated to Jacob:

And he [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.  And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: AND IN THEE AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED. (Genesis 28)

Give all this, one would think it should be obvious that the Covenant that God made with Abraham has no bearing on Ishmael, but is perpetuated through Isaac and Israel and the children of Israel. Obviously, people like PW would have to discard the overwhelming testimony of the Scriptures that clearly lays out the grounds for the Covenant God made with Abraham and nitpick about the meaning of a “waw”, from which he wants to make certain claims, that is buried somewhere under the mountain of evidence that covers it, while that very mountain testifies to the contrary of his claims.

What, then, do we make of PW’s complaint that the waw in verse 21 is poorly translated with an obvious bias towards the supposed Islamic patriarch Ishmael? None! As the “waw” at the beginning of a word or sentence has the meaning ” and, and therefore, also, then, yet”, as PW himself said. Thus the following reading applies:

And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. Yet my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.

Case pretty much closed, isn’t it? Nothing is “hooked”, nothing is “joined” and nothing is “tent pegged”. Given all the above, the foundation for everything PW goes on to argue for next has no basis whatsoever. Per his very own admission, “there is little point in moving forward as Ishmael represents the foundation for the emergence of an Arabian prophet. Therefore, as Ishmael’s irrelevance regarding the Covenant God made with Abraham is established, PW’s whole case collapses and, per his own admission, nothing he goes on to say has any merit.

But, alas, that won’t keep PW from trying to make a case for his prophet and try to make his religion relevant. He goes on to say the following:

We are now going to demonstrate an inconsistency on the part of the Bible translators. Let’s take a look at another passage in the Old Testament:

AND Yahweh passed by before him, AND He proclaimed, ‘Yahweh, Yahweh God, being compassionate AND gracious, slow of anger AND abounding in loyal love AND faithfulness. Keeping mercy for thousands, taking away iniquity AND transgressions AND sins; AND He will never leave (The guilty) unpunished, visiting the iniquity on sons AND sons of sons to the third AND to the fourth (generation). [Exodus 34:6-7]

Here is the original Hebrew for the above passage:

Notice that ten times in two verses we find vav being correctly translated as “and”. So it seems that in other places of the Old Testament the correct translation is applied, but only in Genesis 17:21 do they choose to translate it as “but”.

How amusing it is to see those that, judging by their apologetic methods, seem to have a patent on inconsistency go on to accuse others of being inconsistent, while knowing little about the very thing they accuse others of being inconsistent about. According to PW, because the “waw” in Exodus 34 is translated as “and” in all cases, the translators are supposedly being “inconsistent” and mistranslate it as “but” in Genesis 17:21. But we have already seen that according to PW’s own source the “waw” can bear the meaning “yet”, which is another way of saying “but”. Hence, where is the inconsistency PW so passionately clamors about?

Not only that, Genesis 17:21 is not the only place that the KJV translators have translated the “waw” with “but”. All one has to do is look a few verses before PW’s contended passage and we see the exact same thing in verse 5:

Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, BUT thy name shall be Abraham (WEhayah sheemkha Abraham); for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee.

And examples like these can be multiplied:

…'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; BUT (OOmay-ets) of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it (Gen 2:16-17)

And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; BUT (OOl’Adam) for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. (Gen 2:20)

…And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering; BUT (WE’el-Qain)  unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect (Gen 4:4-5)

BUT Noah (WE-Noach) found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (Gen 6:8)

And on and on and on…you get the point. Again, PW’s claim of “inconsistency” of the mean translators has no ground whatsoever. Just because a word has multiple meanings doesn’t mean that there is any inconsistency when the translators apply one of the meanings that you may not like because it destroys your case. And that is exactly what it does! The meaning is determined by the context and given the immediate context of in Genesis 17:21 AND overall context of Genesis 12-22 is the establishment of God’s Covenant with Abraham’s and his specific offspring through his son Isaac to the exclusion of Ishmael , the only appropriate translation of the “waw” that PW built his entire case on is “but”. The translators have chosen correctly and PW is in error. Therefore, in PW’s own words, this passage remains “a problem” for the Muslim apologist and won’t go away any time soon.

But INCRECIBLY enough, PW goes on with the following claim:

In summary, once we properly translate Genesis 17:20-21 then Ishmael is by no means excluded from God’s covenant. In fact it turns out that he is very much part of it when we weigh up all the promises that God made regarding Abraham and Ishmael:

And then he starts quoting some verses from Genesis again. Now we have read all the passages in their proper context, including the devastating and humiliating exit of Ishmael in Genesis 21 and still PW tries to make his case based on…Genesis 21! As said, read in context both the passages say that the covenant is established with Isaac and Ishmael is excluded from it. PW even tries to appeal to Abraham’s words in Genesis 17:18 and makes the following claim:

Now some Christians may claim that Ishmael was only blessed in the physical sense, i.e. by having a large number of descendants. However this is not the case, as Abraham made the following prayer on behalf of Ishmael:

Abraham prayed that Ishmael may live before thee [Genesis 17:18]

What did Abraham mean by this? Living does not just mean being in a state of existence, i.e. not dead, but can also have spiritual meaning:

The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God. [Psalm 69:32]

Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgements, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD. [Ezekiel 18:9]

Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul. [Ezekiel 3:21]

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. [Isaiah 55:3]

Note that in the verses above, ‘living’ relates to seeking God, keeping God’s Law, being just, righteousness and, quite importantly for our discussion of Ishmael, is linked to an everlasting covenant. So Abraham prayed that Ishmael would be blessed in the truest sense of ‘living’, i.e. spiritually.

If all else fails, just claim that the meaning is spiritual. Abraham didn’t at all plea for Ishmael’s life and thus all PW’s citations of Scripture are irrelevant. PW totally foregoes the fact that Abraham doesn’t at all ask God for Ishmael to live, but specifically to “live before the Lord”!  What does this mean? The Hebrew expression “lephanai” or “before the Lord” and all its variants, whether to live before God or walk before God, has a lot of meanings, but what Abraham means here is, as the context shows, that Ishmael could live in service of the Lord. That is exactly how the chapter starts:

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him: 'I am God Almighty; walk before Me (lephanai), and be thou wholehearted. (Gen 17:1)

This chapter starts with Abraham being chosen by God to walk before God and do it wholeheartedly. The rest of the passage demands Abraham’s total devotion, together with his whole household. Also God says that the Covenant will be perpetuated through Isaac. Thus when Abraham pleas with God asking him to include Ishmael in the Covenant, God turns him down, but still blesses Ishmael and make him a great nation, because God promised Abraham many descendants. PW wants to dispute this and quotes all kinds of passages that are totally irrelevant, because God goes on to explain what he meant when he said he would make Ishmael a great nation:

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

It is very clear that God promises Ishmael many descendants. Combine that with God’s diss in Genesis 21:12 and it’s pretty much a wrap. PW’s entire foundation for an Arabian prophet has been demolished by the very Scriptures that he thought would provide a solid foundation for him to make the case. Next time we will watch how PW continues to build his case on thin air.


Paul Williams has now declaimed authorship of the article that this one is a response to. He has also said that he does not necessarily agree with its contents but only posted it in order to stimulate debate. As far as I can tell no one else discerned that it was written by another Muslim until this refutation from Nakdimon went public and PW issued his "clarification." My recommendation for PW in the future is that he clearly indicates authorship before the post becomes a point of embarrassment, otherwise it ends up looking more than a little bit suspicious. It is really very easy to do. For example, just look at the beginning of this blog post where I made it clear that Nakdimon is responsible for this response. Also, in contrast to PW, I absolutely stand behind this refutation. I posted it because it is sound and not simply to "stimulate debate" without telling anyone that was my motive. 

For part 2, go here.


Anthony Rogers said...

I can't help but notice that PW has now done an about face on yet another issue: when arguing against a point I made from the Greek text on Mark 6:50, he complained that the translation committees of various translations do not translate it the way I was arguing for. In other words, the Greek didn't matter, it is the English that is uppermost. Now when it comes to Genesis 17:21 he wants to argue that the original language is what matters (even though he got even that wrong in light of the context). PW is amazingly inconsistent. How do people make it through life thinking and reasoning in such an arbitrary way?

Radical Moderate said...


Answering Judaism said...

I have to say, Nakdimon did a pretty good job. Thanks for posting Anthony.

Sam said...

The same Genesis records the fulfillment of God's promise concerning Ishmael:

"Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham: and these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah: these are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, BY THEIR TOWNS, AND BY THEIR CASTLES; TWELVE PRINCES ACCORDING TO THEIR NATIONS. And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people. And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren." Genesis 25:12-18

Now contrast this with the promise God made:

"And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; TWELVE PRINCES SHALL HE BEGET, and I will make him a great nation." Genesis 17:20

As we can see, it has absolutely nothing to do with the false prophet Muhammad whom the Holy Bible condemns as a wicked antichrist.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I cannot take any credit for writing this article. I merely re-posted it to stimulate discussion and debate. I do not necessarily agree with all its arguments. NB at the end of the article I provide a link to its source:

TPaul said...

Paul, I wish you'd show the same kind of integrity about all of Islam. Since you wash your hands off of writing the article now that it has been thoroughly refuted, are you going to explain what you think of God's rejection of Ishmael, and how the alleged prophet of Islam fits into the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately Islam requires lies and fabrications in order to hold water. Even you know this to be a fact, yet you cling on to it and constantly defend these lies. Come back to Christ. Salvation cannot come to humankind through any other but Jesus and definitely not through Mohammed, whose lifestyle contradicts the holiness of God almighty. Jesus beckons thou to come home. Listen tho his voice.

Radical Moderate said...

Everyone give Nakdimon a big round of applause, since he has completly destroyed Paul Williams and the Muslim who wrote the article. Here is what is now on Paul Williams blog.

First Paul WIlliams is posting over and over again in the comment section

"Unfortunately I cannot take any credit for writing this article. I merely re-posted it to stimulate discussion and debate. I do not necessarily agree with all its arguments. NB at the end of the article I provide a link to its source:"

Secondly the actual writer of the article has now backed away from Ishmael being included in the covenant with Isaac.

Paul Williams has reposted the article with the following from the author...

"I just want to let you know that I have made a modification to the article in light of recent responses by Christians. I have removed the section on Ishmael and the covenant pending further research....I’m letting you know this because you are getting a lot of flak for it at the moment, people seem to think you wrote the article,"

What is funny is that he acknowledges the part he removed is...

"I still think that I have to address the covenant in some capacity as it is a stumbling block for a lot of Christians, but I will only add it back into the article after thorough research insha’Allah."

Now here is the funny part, if Ishmael is not included in the covenant then what he says is the "main point I wanted to make, namely that Isaiah 42 is related to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)." is as NULL and void as their god. Since Ishmael is not part of the covenant then Isa 42 can not be about Mohamed.

Again congratulations Nakdimon.

Radical Moderate said...

Oh wow Paul Williams even came out of his lair to post on this blog that he did not write the article.

Answering Judaism said...

It's not the first time Nakdimon has dealt with this Ishmael stuff, he has done video rebuttals to a Muslim called Tudung Senduk.

You can find them here:

Just go to his youtube account and you can find them there.

taomeano said...

Paul Williams thanks for being honest and stating that you did not write the article. The refutation to the article was so thorough that only an intellectually dishonest person will not see the clearest proof that God's covenant was with Isaac and not with Ishmael.

Paul Williams you may have converted to Islam because you thought that was the truth but as you can see Islam is not the truth and the truth is not in a denomination either, it is only found in Jesus Christ. If you are sincere in going after the truth, Jesus will regenerate you again and give you a new life in Him.

You live in the west so do not be afraid to leave Islam. You tried Islam but it is not the truth so come back to Jesus Christ. I hope you will hear His voice and heed His call.

Anthony Rogers said...

In light of Williams' comment I have added an update at the end of this post.

Radical Moderate said...

Poor Paul Williams. He posts an article thinking it backs up his false prophet. Other Muslims on his blog spend a great deal of time trying to defend the foolish notion that Ishmael is part of the covenant. And then the author showing more integrity then Paul Williams or his Muslim condre decides to pull the rug right out from under their feet.

He now has moderation turned on to stop the bleeding.

taomeano said...

This refutation of Ishmael being a part of the Abrahamic covenant is so thorough and scholarly that I think it deserves a pulitzer prize.

This refutation alone should be a college course for would be apologists and of course it totally destroys Islam as a religion.

It demonstrates the sorry state of Islamic arguments and proves without a shadow of doubt that Islam is built on a pack of lies.

Tom said...

Did the muslim refer to Isaiah to find muhammad?
Sorry guys, am I missing something here, Is Isaiah referred/listed as a prophet in the koran for them to look for muhmmad?

Thank you brothers for continously shining the Light of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

classical_hero said...

Don't forget that for legal purposes, once Isaac was born he became the first born son and Ishmael was relegated from that position and now wasn't considered any legal right to be called Abraham's son. The problem is that nowadays people are viewing the Bible through what they know from a Western POV, which is totally foreign to the ancients back then. They would have no problems calling Isaac and Abraham's only son, since that is how they would have thought of him, since he was the son born by his wife and not handmaiden.

Ola said...

its really sad how scriptures can be misinterpreted.its simple.well done!