BLOG POST

by Phillip Vanwinkle
FEBRUARY 26, 2016

Answering Common Muslim Claims: "Muhammad is Prophesied About in the Bible" (#2)

When discussing with Muslims about the prophecies concerning Muhammad in the Bible, the first passage they bring up is Deuteronomy 18. They appeal to the Old Testament discussion of Moses to affirm that he prophesied about Muhammad. You can read about this idea in the previous blog post on this topic: Answering Common Muslim Claims: "Muhammad Is Prophesied About in the Bible"

However, Muslims claim that both the Old and New Testament (the Law and Gospel) tell of Muhammad.

Those who follow the messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find mentioned in their own (scriptures),- in the law and the Gospel;- for he commands them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good (and pure) and prohibits them from what is bad (and impure); He releases them from their heavy burdens and from the yokes that are upon them. So it is those who believe in him, honour him, help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him,- it is they who will prosper. (Quran 7:157, Yusuf Ali)

The most important passages to Muslims concerning supposed prophecies about Muhammad in the New Testament are found in the 14th and the 16th chapters of John. In this blog post, we will discuss these passages and the context surrounding these verses, to find out if it is the case that Jesus prophesied about Muhammad.

Contextual Implications

John 13 through 17 describe events that happened in a few hours on one night, the night before Jesus would be taken and put upon the cross. So already this will present some problems for the Islamic faith, since it teaches that Jesus never died.

The whole context of these chapters is dealing with the fact of Jesus' death, and He claims that unless He dies first, he cannot send the comforter (parakletos). (We will discuss who the Comforter is presently.)

To understand John chapters 13-17, they must be read and understood to have taken place all in a span of a few hours. It is not like many books in the Bible, where long periods of time might divide chapters. These chapters are all happening on one occasion. And, contextually, these chapters are a discussion between Jesus and his apostles (except for chapter 17, which is Jesus' prayer to His Father).

Jesus is telling his apostles that He will be leaving them. He will die, and will no longer be with them in the flesh (John 13:36-38). He then begins to offer them comfort, and assure them that He will go back to the Father. He tells them that they should not lose heart, but continue teaching truth.

Let not your heart be troubled, He instructs them. They were so afraid that they would be alone, so He is comforting them (14:1). He then says, I go to prepare a place for you, and will come again to receive you unto myself… (14:3). Again, He is going to Heaven (14:2), and will bring them to be with Him one day.

He tells them that they know how to get to Heaven, and when Thomas asks how, Jesus says, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (14:6) Thus He assured His apostles that they could be confident that He was who He said He was, and that the only way anyone can come to God is by Jesus.

After Philip asks to be shown the Father, Jesus said that since they had seen Him, they had seen the Father too (14:9), and He explains that the work He has been doing was also the Father’s work (14:11-12).

He then tells the apostles that if they ask anything by His own authority, He would do it (14:13). We must keep in mind that these verses are being spoken to His selected apostles, and only apply to them. We do not have this same promise today, because we are not His specially chosen apostles.

Here is a summary of what we have looked at so far:

Jesus says, "I will go away"—He will go away from the apostles, and go to the Father. He assures them that His work and His Father’s are the same. He says that to see Him is to see the Father. And He instructs them to keep following His instructions (14:15).

Now we come to one of the main verses that is used to say that Muhammad was prophesied by Jesus:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (14:16-17)

The comforter, they claim, is Muhammad.

Notice a few things about this passage:

  1. This comforter would be given to the Apostles
  2. He would be with them forever.
  3. The world cannot "receive" him (take him by force) because…
  4. The world cannot see him.
  5. The apostles already knew him; he was already dwelling with them in their midst.

It is my belief that the “Spirit of truth" in verse 17 is not Muhammad, but the Holy Spirit. I believe that the comforter of vs. 16 is the Holy Spirit, and not Muhammad.

Let us put these two options side by side and compare them:

Muhammad

The Holy Spirit

Given to the Apostles

Given to the Apostles

The World Could Not Take Him

The World Could Not Take Him

The World cannot see him

The World cannot see him

Already known by the apostles

Already known by the apostles

So, let us ask some questions and make some observations:

Question: Was Muhammad given specifically to the apostles to comfort them, in the loss of Jesus? No! He would not enter this world for another 600 years.

Question: Was the Holy Spirit given specifically to the apostles to comfort them, in the loss of Jesus? Yes, read the book of Acts (specifically Acts 2).

The world could not "receive” Him (Greek lambano – which may mean to “take by force” [see Matt. 5:40]). The implication that Jesus makes is this: "The world will take Me and put Me on the cross, and I will go back to the Father, but be of good cheer for the world will not be able to lambano him (take by force).

Why? Why will the world not be able to take the parakletos by force? Because the world is not able to see Him.

Question: Was Muhammad an invisible person? Could the world see him? Yes they could. Could people take him by force? Yes indeed, that was a possibility.

Question: Was the Holy Spirit capable of being captured and killed? No! Why? Because He is Spirit and is unseen.

Question: Had Muhammad already shown himself to the apostles? No! He never did…ever!

Question: Had the Holy Spirit already made Himself known to the Apostles? Yes! They had seen the Spirit’s power displayed throughout the life of Jesus.

So, in the end analysis of this verse, it appears that the parakletos which would be sent was not Muhammad, but rather was the Holy Spirit.

Jesus then says:

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. (14:18-19)

He is going to die, but His resurrection will prove to them that He is alive forevermore. And because of His resurrection, the Apostles too are reassured that they will be raised one day. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (14:20)

Chapter 15 is a full discussion on who Jesus is. Unfortunately for sake of space in this article, we will pass over this chapter in order to focus on the topic at hand, which brings us to chapter 16 of John, where Jesus is again discussing His death and His resurrection back to the Father.

But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. (16:5-6)

Again, they are sad that Jesus will be leaving, but notice his comforting message:

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (16:7)

This is exactly consistent with what they had experienced before:

...for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:39)

He then discusses this comforter, which in Greek is "parakletos."

The purpose of the “Parakletos”

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me... (16:8-9)

Notice: He says He will reprove the world—and that is exactly what He did (Acts 2:22-24).

He then says that He would tell them other things, but now it is too much for them to bear (16:12). But notice verse 13:

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Another purpose of the parakletos was to guide the apostles into all truth, and to bring to their mind what Jesus had taught.

The word parakletos is the combination of two Greek words: para, which means "beside" or "alongside;" and kletos, which means "called."

So, this parakletos would be "called alongside" the apostles. But why? Notice Mark 13:

But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. (Mark 13:9-11; cf. Luke 21:12 ff)

When we read the book of Acts, we see that this is exactly what happened. The rulers called the apostles into question on many occasions, and they, by inspiration of the parakletos, answered precisely as God would have them answer.

So, first, the parakletos (Comforter) was to reprove the world for disbelief in the fact that Jesus is God.

Second, He was to miraculously guide the apostles into all truth.

Third, He would glorify Jesus by showing the people that Jesus is God, and that all He does is of the Father. (16:14-15)

He finally ends by discussing the fact that He will be raised from the dead, and that even though He would go out of their midst for a while, they would see Him again (16:16 ff).

Let us put Muhammad and the Holy Spirit side by side again to see which possibility is most consistent with the context of the scripture:

Muhammad

The Holy Spirit

Reprove for disbelief in Jesus

Reprove for disbelief in Jesus

Guide the apostles miraculously

Guide the apostles Miraculously

Glorify Jesus as God

Glorify Jesus as God

Question: Did Muhammad reprove the world because they did not believe that Jesus is God? No! To the contrary, he continued to teach that Jesus was not God.

Question: Did Muhammad miraculously guide the apostles into truth and show them things to come? No!

Question: Did Muhammad glorify Jesus as God? No!

If you read the New Testament, time and again you will see inspired men doing all of these by power of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus had sent them to do.

The final thing that will be noticed here is this: Jesus claimed that he would send the parakletos. That is, that the comforter would be the messenger of Jesus.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (John 16:7)

He said the same a few verses later:

He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (John 16:14-15)

Question: Did Muhammad ever claim to be sent from Jesus? Did He claim that his message came from Allah, or Jesus? These verses claim that Jesus would be the One to send him, and that whatever this parakletos was to show, it would be from Jesus.

So, the only logical, scriptural conclusion that we may reach is that this passage is discussing the Holy Spirit. Although this is not a discussion on proving beyond any doubt that the parakletos is the Holy Spirit, I think it will be obvious to logically thinking people.

However, even without confirming that the Holy Spirit is being discussed here, it is absolutely clear that Jesus is not discussing Muhammad in these passages.


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