Muslim Apologetics Free Course, Lesson 001
RESPONDING TO MUSLIM ARGUMENTS TO THE BELIEFS OF CHRISTIANITY
This short document responds to Muslim criticisms against the biblical teachings. The response is not exhaustive. Ahmad Deedat who died recently in South Africa was one of the strong defender of Islam and launched criticisms which I responded in this document.
His criticisms outlined here have been written a book mentioned below and secondly, some of the criticisms were spoken to Swaggart in the debate which was recorded in the video.
1. THE USE OF DIFFERENT NAMES IN THE BIBLICAL GENEALOGY
In several texts of the Bible Jesus is called as the Son of David (Matt. 20:30-31; 21:9). The meaning of the word “son” in English is not the same with the Bible’s definition. Many of the people who think “son” has the English definition have serious difficulties to understand the term when it is applied to Jesus.
Son in the Hebrew definition means a descendant. For example, Daniel calls Belshazzar as the son of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 5:2). Historical sources say Belshazzar was the son of Nabonidus not Nebuchadnezzar. “But “son” and “father” had an even broader usage in ancient times, referring to a line of authority, not necessarily a bloodline. The most notable example of that happening in biblical times involved Jehu, king of Israel, who was known in Assyrian records as “Jehu, son of Omri.” Both Jehu and Omri were kings of Israel, but there was no blood tie between them” (Thompson 1991:231).
The term “father” used in Matthew 1 relating to Joseph and God do not have the same meanings. Ahmed Deedat in his book entitled “A Comparative of religion booklets” (pp. 168- 169 compares two genealogies of Jesus. He says, “Matthew and Luke are over-zelous in making David the king, the prime ancestor of Jesus, because of the false notion that Jesus was to sit on “THRONE OF HIS FATHER DAVID” (Acts 2:30). The Gospels belie this prophecy, for they tell us that instead of Jesus sitting on his father’s David’s throne, it was Pontious Pilatem a Roman Governor, a pagan who sat on that very throne and condemn its rightful (?) heir (Jesus) to death.” Pilate was a governor; he was not a king. Jesus was announced as king by the angels not a governor (Luke 2:11). There is no scripture which says Jesus was destined according to prophecy to be a governor of Israel. Jesus did not come to sit on the throne of the governor but a king.
At this juncture it is necessary to point out that the Bible describes three major offices of Jesus in His Ministry. He is described as king (2 Sam. 7:14), Prophet (Deut. 18:15-16) and the servant (Isa. 42; 50 and 53; Mark 10:45). Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world (Matt. 26:64). Many passages in the NT show how Jesus fulfilled the servant role which included the priestly role to die for sinful mankind. He had come to serve not to be Lord (Mark 10:45). He taught God’s word as the fulfillment of the prophetic role.
The kingly has two major aspects which are to destroy the kingdom of the devil. In His first sermon He said the kingdom of God had come (Matt. 4:17). He described this kingdom that it was His duty to destroy the kingdom of the devil not Rome. The destruction of the devil’s kingdom was demonstrated firstly by the healing ministry and lastly, by the death on the cross (John 12:27-32). This is the very reason Jesus said before He died that it was finished (John 19:30). What had finished was the destruction of the devil’s kingdom.
The first genealogy of Jesus is Matthew 1:6-16 and the second 1 is Luke 3:23-31. The names which appear on the two passages are different. Deedat challenged Jimmy Swaggart in the debate recorded in the video that one of the two authors is a liar. To respond to this debate I begin by asking whether the two authors had the same theme which they address in their books? The authors selected names which had to do with the themes they addressed in their books.
Secondly, names mentioned in the books do not refer to direct names of their fathers. There are many names which have been omitted by both of them on their lists. Matthew has 13 names on his list while as Luke has 23 names. Luke used a list which connects to his theme in the book that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Matthew uses names in his list to connect Jesus as the king of Israel. Matthew mentions David and Abraham first on his genealogy list because they were both given a promise of the seed or king (2 Sam. 7:16; Gen. 17:6). The two purposes distinguish the choice of names used on the genealogical list (Thompson 1991:230).
Thirdly, most of the Jews had two names one in Hebrew while the other was in Greek. Peter had one name in Greek, the second Simon as a transliteration from Simeon and lastly he had a Latin name Cephas (Gal. 2:9, 11, 14). Joseph was also called Barnabas (Acts 4: 36). Saul was a Hebrew name while as the second name Paul was a Latin name. They chose to write the name they preferred and this automatically made names to differ on the genealogical list.