Chapter 1: Christianity's Solid Foundation
Before speaking about Christianity’s solid foundation, I would like first to emphasize that true religion is a personal experience. It is a spiritual relationship between the individual and God. This spiritual experience demands a divine miracle and will never be achieved by mere intellectual knowledge or good deeds. The Bible calls that experience the new birth.
Moreover, I would like to say that this book is written out of pure love for our Muslim friends, and to share with them the truth concerning Jesus Christ, for I believe wholeheartedly that the incarnated Son of God, who was crucified on Calvary’s cross, is the only way to eternal life. He said,
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6 - NKJ).
And what Jesus said we should believe because Jesus cannot lie.
AN ISSUE OF DESTINY
The issue of the truth concerning Jesus Christ is the most controversial issue between Islam and Christianity. Islam says that Jesus Christ is a mere human being and a mere prophet. Christianity believes that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God, and God’s last messenger to the world, who was incarnated in a human body. This fact is of vital importance, because on that particular belief hangs the eternal destiny of every human being.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).
Now, the question is, "What is the basis for the Christian’s belief that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God and God’s Last Messenger to the world?"
An authentic source and solid foundation of divine revelation is imperative. This authentic source is the Bible, which was given throughout history by divine inspiration to the prophets and the apostles of God.
The Bible was written in a period of 1500 years by forty different writers but with amazing unity among its sixty-six inspired books. It is the story of the plan of God for man, from his fall and deterioration to his redemption and glorification.
The late Robert Chapman of England wrote the following statement concerning the Bible:
This book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, test the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its sacred contents (The Bible Has the Answer, page 31).
The Bible is like a piece of gold. It carries in itself the proof of its purity.
There are many internal and external proofs of the inspiration of the Bible.
FIRST: THE PROPHETIC PROOF
There are many prophecies in the Bible which were fulfilled to the letter. Prophecies concerning the rise and fall of the Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire and the Roman Empire are all mentioned in the Book of Daniel, Chapter 2.
Another prophecy is the one concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, which was uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, we read:
Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation (Luke 19:41-44 - NKJ)
Concerning the destruction of the temple, we read:
Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down"
(Matthew 24:1,2 - NKJ)
These prophecies were fulfilled to the letter when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in the year 70 AD.
The return of the Jewish people to their homeland after 2500 years of dispersion was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah:
Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep Him as a shepherd does His flock" (Jeremiah 31:10).And again by the prophet Isaiah, in Chapter 11:11:And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people which shall be left from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea, and He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcast of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
God permitted two world wars to gather back the people of Israel to their homeland. In the first World War, George Belford gave England’s promise to the Jewish people to make Palestine their homeland. The land was prepared for the people, but the people were not prepared to go. In the second World War, Hitler’s genocide of the Jewish people persuaded them to return to their land. This return is the second return mentioned in Isaiah 11:11.
We should remember that a remnant of the Jewish people came back to Israel in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra, during the reign of King Cyrus of Persia. That first return was designed so that Jesus Christ would be born in Bethlehem of Judea according to Micah 5:2. The second return mentioned in Isaiah 11:11 and in other prophetic utterances serves to pave the way for the second coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ: "And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which faces Jerusalem on the east" (Zechariah 14:4).
This is a solid proof of the divine origin of the Bible, for only God who inspired the Bible by His Spirit knows the end from the beginning.
The prophet Isaiah recorded the words,
I am the LORD: That is my name: and my Glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them (Isaiah 42:8,9).
All the prophecies mentioned in the Bible concerning nations were fulfilled to the letter, and the unfulfilled prophecies will certainly come to pass. No similar prophecies appear in the Quran.
SECOND: THE SCIENTIFIC PROOF
There are many scientific discoveries which were recorded in the Bible hundreds of years before scientists discovered them.
1. The discovery that the planet earth is a circle.
Hundreds of years before Copernicus and Galileo discovered that the planet earth is a sphere, the prophet Isaiah declared : "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth" (Isaiah40:22), while the Quran, which came almost 1300 years after Isaiah, says that the planet earth is flat.
These are the words of the Quran, "Do they not consider... how the earth has been flattened out?"
(Surat Al-Ghashiyah 88:20 - T.B. Irving - The First American Version).
2. The discovery that the planet earth is hanging on nothing.
Neil Armstrong, the astronaut who went to the moon, was asked, "What is the most magnificent thing you have seen in your way to the moon?" He replied, "The most magnificent thing I have seen in my space journey is that the planet earth is hanging on nothing." What this astronaut declared had been uttered by Job thousands of years before.
He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing (Job 26:7).
3. The discovery of the effect of the moon.
People know the effect of the sun on them, but they doubt the effect of the moon.
In 1959 psychologists declared that the moon has a great effect on man’s behavior, and there are cases of insanity called "moon’s insanity."
The Bible talked about the effect of the moon thousands of years ago.
The psalmist says:
The LORD is thy Keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night" (Psalm 121:5,6).
4. The discovery of the crushing of the atom and atomic energy.
When Dalton presented his atomic theory, saying that the atom has neutrons, electrons and protons, and claiming that if we can crush the atom, we can destroy the universe, scientists stood in wonder. Hundreds of years before Dalton’s atomic theory the apostle Peter, who was a fisherman, wrote by the Holy Spirit the following words concerning the crushing of the atoms:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements (atoms) will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10 - NKJ).
5. The scientific discovery of the science of meteorology concerning the water cycle.
That discovery was mentioned thousands of years ago in Ecclesiastes 1:7:
All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
6. The scientific discovery of the importance of the blood.
This discovery was mentioned in the Book of Leviticus 17:11,
For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
7. The scientific discovery concerning genetics.
That discovery was mentioned in the Book of Genesis thousands of years before it was discovered:
And God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth": and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:11,12).
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth (Genesis 5:3).
8. The scientific discovery concerning the effect of thunderstorms in mixing oxygen and nitrogen to fertilize the plants through rain.
In 1902 Charles Bradky and Jesse Lovejoy succeeded in duplicating one of the natural processes of nitrogen compound production by passing air through a powerful electric arc.
Thousands of years before those two scientists’ experiment, the Bible told us of the electric effect of thunderstorms to mix nitrogen with rain to fertilize the desolate wasteland:
Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? (Job 38:25-27 - NIV)
The accuracy of the scientific facts mentioned in the Bible is a strong proof of its divine origin.
THIRD: THE MORAL PROOF
No one can invent the moral code written in the Bible. It is beyond the human ability to be conformed with that code apart from the grace of God.
Who can practically apply the command of God:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:4,5).
Who can love God with all his or her heart, his or her soul, his or her might?
Who can apply God’s command:
If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him thou shalt surely help with him (Exodus 23:4,5).
Who can practically apply the words of Jesus Christ when He said,
You have heard that it was said "Do not commit adultery." But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27,28)
Another command given by Jesus is this:
Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:44 - NKJ).
Concerning marriage, we read what Jesus said:
The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?" And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:3-6).Again we read:Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband (I Corinthians 7:2 - NKJ).
The Bible principle concerning marriage is one woman for one man. From the beginning God created one woman "Eve" for the man Adam. Polygamy is not God’s command. God set the standard of how the husband should deal with his wife and how the wife should deal with her husband.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25 - NKJ)
Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered (I Peter 3:7 - NKJ)
Husbands, love your wives, and do not be bitter toward them (Colossians 3:19 - NKJ).
... and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Ephesians 5:33 - NKJ).
According to God’s commands, there is no wife beating.
Now read the following words which describe true love. You will come to the conclusion that these beautiful words could only come from God, whose name is "LOVE."
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (I Corinthians 13:1-13 - NKJ)
This high moral code is evidence that these words came from the true God and not an invention of man because man cannot invent a code beyond his ability.
I advise you to read the Bible for yourself and discover the high ethical commands given by God to control human behavior; you will be absolutely convinced that the Bible is the true Word of God.
FOURTH: THE MESSIANIC PROOF
I mean by that the testimony of the Bible concerning Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and the corroboration of the Old Testament by Jesus Christ. No corroboration is as compelling as that of Jesus Christ. He spoke clearly about the inspiration of the Old Testament. In Matthew 22:41-49, He mentioned the words of David in Psalm 110:1 as pronounced by the Holy Spirit. He confirmed the authenticity of the Book of Daniel in Matthew 24:15. He used the words of Deuteronomy 8:3 when He was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-4). He said to the Jews:
Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are which testify of Me. Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you - Moses, in whom you trust.
For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me (John 5:39,45,46).
In Deuteronomy Moses wrote about Jesus, not Muhammad, as some Muslim scholars claim. Here is the prophecy of Moses:
The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear... And the LORD said to me...I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him (Deuteronomy 18:15,17,18).
This prophecy is absolutely about Jesus, not Muhammad, for the following reasons:
(a) The promised prophet must be raised up for the Jews, not for the Arabs.
(b) The promised prophet must be from the midst of Israel.
(c) The promised prophet must be from among their brethren, not a foreigner. God commanded the Jewish people concerning choosing a king, saying,
When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me, you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother (Deuteronomy 17:14,15 - NKJ).
The conditions for choosing a king must be applied to the coming prophet.
(d) The promised prophet must be like Moses.
The only one who was like Moses is Jesus.
- Moses was rescued from drowning in his childhood by Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:6-10). Jesus was rescued from death in His childhood by going to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15).
- Moses "was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds" (Acts 7:22). Muhammad was illiterate (Surat Al-Araf 7:157). We read concerning Jesus, "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).
- Moses was a miracle worker. Muhammad did not perform one miracle. Jesus performed many miracles:
- Moses was an Israelite, Muhammad was an Arab, Jesus was an Israelite.
- Jesus testified that Moses wrote about him (John 5:45,46); Peter declared that the prophecy of Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 was concerning Jesus; Stephen declared that Moses’ prophecy was about Jesus (Acts 7:37). I will mention only the words of the apostle Peter:
And many other signs [miracles] truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:30,31).
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you... Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities (Acts 3:22,26).
By these words, the case is closed; any claim that Muhammad is the prophet like Moses is invalid.
Now, we come to the prophecies which were recorded by the Old Testament prophets concerning Jesus Christ. These accurate prophecies challenge the mind and lead any sincere truth seeker to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Last Messenger of God, and the Savior of those who believe in Him.
All the details of Jesus’ incarnated life from His birth to His crucifixion, to His ascension, to His second coming, were foretold in a great number of prophecies in the Old Testament, hundreds of years before His birth.
I will mention a few of the Old Testament prophecies concerning Jesus Christ.
1. His virgin birth was foretold in Isaiah 7:14.
Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.
Matthew recorded the fulfillment of this prophecy in the following words:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:18-23).
2. His place of birth was foretold in Micah 5:2.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel: whose going forth have been from old, from everlasting.
Note that the one who is to be born in Bethlehem is "Everlasting." His birth is not his beginning. He was with the Father from eternity. He is also to be ruler in Israel, and that part of this prophecy shall be fulfilled when He comes again.
Moreover, there were two villages named "Bethlehem," one was allotted to the children of Zebulun:
The third lot came out for the children of Zebulun... Included were Kattah, Nahallal.. and Bethlehem (Joshua 19:10,15).
This Bethlehem is situated six miles west of Nazareth.
The other Bethlehem is situated six miles south of Jerusalem, and is called Bethlehem of Ephratah and it was on the borders of Judah, thus it was called Bethlehem of Judaea. The prophecy of the prophet Micah was so accurate that it mentioned Bethlehem Ephratah or Judaea.
Matthew recorded the fulfillment of this prophecy:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. (Matthew 2:1-2).
3. His death by crucifixion was foretold in Psalm 22:16.
In Psalm 22:16 King David said,
They pierced my hands and my feet.
Here we must note that King David died a dignified death on his bed in his palace, but the One who died on the cross and whose hands and feet were pierced was Jesus Christ.
The apostle John, who was a witness to the whole drama of the crucifixion, said:
Then (Pilate the governor) delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst (John 19:16-18).
4. His sufferings and His place of burial were foretold in Isaiah 53.
Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah described His sufferings in these graphic words:
Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from Judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall proper in His hand. He shall see the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:1-12 - NKJ).
In that chapter Isaiah prophesied about His place of burial:
And they made His grave with the wicked - but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth (Isaiah 53:9 -NKJ)
It is of great interest to see how this prophecy was fulfilled.
According to Roman law Jesus was to be buried with the wicked as a crucified criminal, but God fulfilled his word and that is what Matthew says:
Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed (Matthew 27:57-60 - NKJ).
5. His resurrection was foretold in Psalm 16:9,10.
King David recorded:Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption (Psalm 16:9,10 - NKJ).
On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter applied this prophecy to the resurrection of Jesus, when he said to the Jews:
Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth... Him being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him: "I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh will also rest in hope, because you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in your presence." Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on His throne, he foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses (Acts 2:22-32 - NKJV).
6. His ascension was foretold in Psalm 68:18)
King David recorded in Psalm 69:18:
Thou hast ascended on high...
Luke recorded the fulfillment of that prophecy saying:
And He (Jesus) led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven (Luke 24:50,51).
The Quran also mentioned the ascension of Jesus in Surat
When Allah said: O Jesus! Lo I am gathering thee and causing thee to ascend unto me, and am cleansing thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the day of resurrection (Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall - English translation of the Quran).
We have to remember that the Quran declares that Jesus ascended to God Himself.
After His resurrection Jesus met with His disciples and said to them:
These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning me. And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. And He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day (Luke 24:44-46 - NKJ).
Jesus Christ put His stamp of authenticity on the books of the Old Testament, when He showed His disciples what Moses, the prophets and the writers of the Psalms wrote concerning Him: He showed them that His crucifixion was a "must," and that His resurrection is the evidence of His deity, as we read in the letter to the Romans:
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:1-4).
7. His second coming was foretold in Zechariah:
...and I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn (Zechariah 12:10)
... and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee (Zechariah 14:5)
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives...(Zechariah 14:4).
This Messianic proof is a very solid proof of the authenticity of the Bible. No wild imagination can write these prophecies and fulfill them. These prophecies were God-inspired.
FIFTH: THE QURANIC PROOF
The Quranic proof is an external proof of the inspiration of the Bible. And before I quote the Quran to prove the authenticity of both the Old and the New Testament, I would like to state that I am using the Quran because our Muslim friends believe in it. Another fact should be emphasized, the fact that we have ancient copies of the entire Bible which are called the Codices. These Codices go back to the year 350 AD. I will mention some of these codices:
- The Codex Vaticanus (325-350 AD) is kept at the Vatican Library in Rome.
- The Codex Sinaiticus (350 AD) is kept in the British Museum.
- The Codex Alexandrinus (400 AD) is kept in the British Museum.
- The Codex Ephraemi (400 AD) is kept in the French Library.
- The Codex Bezac (450 AD) is kept in the Cambridge Library.
These ancient Codices were in existence before the Quran which came after 600 AD. What the Quran states in its verses is a proof that these codices are inspired by God.
The Quran states explicitly that the Old and the New Testaments to which I referred, and which were in the hands of many Jews and Christians in the days of Muhammad, are the inspired Word of God.
In Surat Al-Maidah 5:43,44 we read:
How can they choose you as a judge when they have the Torah, which contains God’s judgment?... We have sent down the Torah containing guidance and light (T.B. Irving - The First American Version of the Quran).
It is clear from this Quranic verse that it was not necessary for the Jews to go to Muhammad for judgment, because they have the Torah which came down from heaven, and contained all the needed guidance and light. There was no place for Muhammad.
Again in Surat Al-Maidah 5:46,47 we read:
And had Jesus the son of Mary follow in their footsteps in order to confirm what had come before him from the Torah and we gave him the Gospel which contains guidance and light, to confirm what he already had in the Old Testament, and as guidance and lesson for those who do their duty. Let the people of the Gospel judge by what God has sent in it. Those who do not judge by what God has sent down are perverse (T.B. Irving - The First American Version of the Quran)
According to this Quranic verse, Jesus confirmed the Torah, which He actually did on many occasions as we stated before. He proclaimed the Gospel. More importantly, the people of the Gospel - the Christians - should judge by the Gospel. They are not in need of the Quran. The Quran says, "Those who do not judge by what God has sent down in the Gospel are perverse."
It is clear from these Quranic verses that the Torah and the Gospel were sent down from God.
What is the Gospel?
A Muslim friend said to me, "The Quran mentions only one Gospel which was given to Jesus Christ, but in the New Testament there are four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. How do you explain that?"
First of all let me say that the word "Gospel" is the translation of the Greek word "Evangelion" which means the Good News or the Joyful News.
The Good News which was given to Jesus is that God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to "demonstrate His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
The apostle Paul defines the Gospel in the following words:
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you... that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once (I Corinthians 15:1-6 - NKJ).
In this passage we see that the death of Jesus Christ was to fulfill the Scriptures, and that His burial and resurrection were also to fulfill the Scriptures. The crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were not a man made story. It was a Biblical and historical reality, foretold in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament.
The Gospel was given in four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The four books were in reality one gospel in different settings, but their focal point was the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Matthew is the Gospel of Jesus the King.
The Gospel of Mark is the Gospel of Jesus the Servant.
The Gospel of Luke is the Gospel of Jesus the Perfect Man.
The Gospel of John is the Gospel of Jesus the Son of God.
But the four Gospels concentrated on one issue, the crucifixion, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The four Gospels are in reality one Gospel.
Let us go back to the Quran. In Surat Al-Maidah 6:68 we read:
Say: "People of the book, you will not make any point until you keep up the Torah and the Gospel" (T.B. Irving - The First American Version of the Quran).
It is clear from this Quranic verse that the Quran does not supersede the Torah or the Gospel, because if the Quran superseded them, why is it that the people of the book will not make any point or have any guidance until they keep up the Torah and the Gospel?
There came a time in the life of Muhammad when he doubted the revelations he received. Allah commanded him to ask those who read the Scriptures that were before him, the Torah and the Gospel, that is the whole Bible.
And if thou [Muhammad] art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture [that was before thee],verily the truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers (Surat Yunus 10:94,95).
This verse declares that the Quran does not supersede the Torah and the Gospel. Muhammad had to ask those who read the Bible before him to be sure of the revelations he received.
The verses I mentioned from the Quran are explicit in confirming the authenticity of the Bible.
Then we read in Surat Al-Hijir 9:15:
Lo! We even We, reveal the reminder [that is the Word of God] and Lo! we verily are its guardian. (Muhammad Pickthall - Translation of the Quran).Again in Surat Yunus 10:64:There is no way to alter God’s Word.
It is very clear from these verses that Allah promised to guard His word. There is no way to alter it.
Now read the following words:
If God is immutable, unchangeable, and most certainly He is, then this principle must be applied to all His books. He cannot guard one of His books and leave the other to be tampered with. No one would trust a God who guards some of His Word and leaves some to be tampered with. The conclusion is, since the Bible is the Word of God, then it is guarded and kept pure throughout history by the power of God. We have no choice but to accept it as such without any dispute, and receive it as a solid foundation to prove the deity of Jesus Christ and that He is God’s Last Messenger.
SIXTH: THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROOF
We can say with complete confidence that there is not one archaeological discovery which upsets the Bible record.
Some critics of the nineteenth century asserted that Moses could not have written the first five books of the Bible, as writing was unknown in his day. But in 1902 archaeologists discovered the famous stele of Hammurabi, who was known by the name Amraphe, King of Shinar in Genesis 14:1, a black stone monument on which is engraved the code of laws known as the laws of Hammurabi; this engraved stone was in existence about 1750 BC, hundreds of years before Moses.
Sir Charles Marston wrote, "As one goes over the ancient cuneiform writings, some before Abraham, the engraved seals from Babylonia, Assyria and other early civilizations, a remarkable trend of evidence is revealed... We derive the impression that the stories of the Creation, the Fall of man, the Death of Abel, as described in Genesis, were then matters of current knowledge."
Recent excavations on the site of Samaria show the actual ruins of the ivory house of King Ahab mentioned in I Kings 22:39.
In brief, the archaeological discoveries show that all the historical events mentioned in the Bible are true.
Certainly the rocks and antiquities declare the truthfulness of the Bible.
SEVENTH: THE EXPERIENTIAL PROOF
Anywhere the Bible is preached and accepted, by genuine faith, it changes lives. Homes are secured. Children are raised in the fear of God. The crime rate drops.
Many years ago, my wife and I went to England to attend the Keswick Convention. We realized that there were no policemen in the village. When we asked a friend who used to attend that convention to explain this, she replied, "during the convention, people sense the presence of Christ. In fact, they leave their homes unlocked. No burglary was reported to the police for many, many years." To test this statement, my wife and I decided to go to a few homes to see if their doors truly were unlocked. We opened the first door, noting that the cabinets were full of silver plates and precious china. We opened the door to another house to discover the same reality. Then to the third. And we came to the conclusion that because of the effect of the Word of God and the presence of Christ during the Keswick weeks, there were no crimes committed.
The Word of God has the power of regenerating the sinful individual, as the apostle Peter says, "Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible through the word of God, which lives and abides forever" (I Peter 1:23).