Jesus and Muhammad in Bible Prophecy
Bible prophecy was important to Jesus (Luke 24:27), so it should be to us too.
On the night Jesus was betrayed, he understood that he was about to be numbered with transgressors. That is, he was going to be falsely arrested like a criminal.
"For it is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching fulfillment." (Luke 22:37)
Two truths are found in this one verse.
First, Jesus quotes from the prophet Isaiah (53:12), using the formula "it is written" (cf. Mark 6:7, 14:27; John 6:45). He could have used a number of other formulas: "Is it not written?" (Mark 11:17; John 10:34); "haven't you read the Scripture?" (Mark 12:10); "all this took place to fulfill" (Matthew 1:22, 21:4; "and so was fulfilled" (Matthew 2:15, 2:23, 13:35); "to fulfill what was said" or "spoken" (Matthew 4:14, 8:17, 12:17). Jesus and the New Testament authors knew their Bible well, and they were marking or keeping track of the events in Jesus' life and passages in the Old Testament.
The second truth flows out of the first. Jesus sees himself as fulfilling the Old Testament. This is a remarkable belief, if you think about it. Which average Jew or even pious Rabbi or Pharisee in first-century Israel walked around the countryside believing that the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) was fulfilled in him? It may be true that when you (the reader) study the Old Testament, you can relate to a passage. Psalm 23, for example, speaks of trials and the Shepherd's comfort and guidance. But does any reader actually believe that the entire flow of the Old Testament is fulfilled in him or her, in detail? Jesus believed this about himself. Thus, either he was wrong and insane, or he was right and sane. The Table (below) answers these alternatives.
In light of this historical context in first-century Israel and this Scriptural interpretation, it may surprise the readers that Muslims claim that Muhammad is mentioned or prophesied in the Bible. Though this is an improbable occurrence in the first place, let's take their claim seriously and investigate it. Is there any passage that might refer to him clearly and unambiguously?
Our analysis begins with Muhammad and then proceeds to Jesus.
However, if the reader would like to omit the discussion on Muhammad, he or she may go to the fuller article that looks only at Jesus and Messianic prophecies, here.