Jesus and the Historical Method – Part 1

In this eight-part series, Pastor Brian Chilton will investigate how Jesus stands up to the historical scrutiny afforded to any person of antiquity.

This week, he will examine the issue of area of multiple, independent sources. You can see the original article here.

FYI, Muslims might grant many of the things he discusses in this article. When it comes to the historical crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, though, they will reject that. They might even grant you the historical records are accurate, but that’s because SOMEBODY ELSE DIED in Jesus’ place.

The Quran “assures” Muslims in Surah 4:157 that nobody killed Jesus nor they crucified Him, but that another was made to resemble Jesus. Who did this? Allah did. They will say it was because Allah loved Jesus and did not want Jesus to suffer or whatever… but Muslims are convinced Jesus did not die on the cross.

I have even heard Muslim apologist Shabir Ally on a debate go as far as grant the fact that Jesus might have been crucified, but he did not die on the cross. He either survived the crucifixion OR Allah raised Jesus to Himself putting somebody else in Jesus’ place.

It’s really interesting how my friends used to tell me I believe blindly in Christianity. That I was silly to accept things just by faith alone with no evidence (of course, Islam had tons of evidence according to them).

Well… the more I think about it, there is no real evidence for Jesus NOT dying by crucifixion, other than a book written six hundred years after Jesus died.

This is a slap on the face of any serious historian. Historians do not accept a historical testimony at face value. A Historian will not accept what the Quran says just because the Quran says it. It is cute to believe it if you’re Muslim, but if you are not – if you are objective – you will have to go to where the evidence points you. 

The historian’s job is much like that of a detective. A detective assesses a crime scene. In doing so, the detective looks for eyewitnesses. One person may have seen the crime from one area. Another may have seen the crime from another angle. The more eyewitnesses, the more certain the detective can be that the event took place in a particular fashion. The same is true for the historian.

As it relates to Jesus, one must ask whether there are multiple independent testimonies relating Jesus. The answer is… YES!!


Gary Habermas’ 12 Minimal Facts Approach will helps us validate key events of the life of Jesus. Those facts are:

  1. Jesus died by Roman crucifixion.
  2. He was buried, most likely in a private tomb.
  3. Soon afterward, the disciples were discouraged, bereaved, and despondent, having lost hope.
  4. Jesus’ tomb was found empty very soon after his interment.
  5. The disciples had experiences that they believed were actual appearances of the risen Jesus.
  6. Due to these experiences, the disciples’ lives were thoroughly transformed, even being willing to die for this belief.
  7. The proclamation of the resurrection took place very early, at the beginning of church history.
  8. The disciples’ public testimony and preaching of the resurrection took place in the city of Jerusalem, where Jesus had been crucified and buried shortly before.
  9. The Gospel message centered on the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  10. Sunday was the primary day for gathering and worshipping.
  11. James, the brother of Jesus and former skeptic, was converted when, he believed, he saw the risen Jesus.
  12. Just a few years later, Saul of Tarsus (Paul) became a Christian believer due to an experience that he believed was an appearance of the risen Jesus.”[1]

The Sources

  1. Information independent in Matthew’s Gospel (c. A.D. 55-60).

While there is information shared between Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Matthew provides information only found in his gospel pertaining to the life of Jesus. From external and internal evidence, Brian believes the Apostle Matthew recorded the information in the Gospel that bears his name.[2]

The following is found exclusively in Matthew: angel appears to Joseph (Matt. 1:18-25); visitation of the Wise Men (2:1-12); escape to Egypt (2:13-18); return to Nazareth (2:19-23); much of the Beatitudes (3:1-5:42; 6:1-34; 7:7-14); Jesus’ promise for rest for the soul (11:20-30); leaders ask for a miracle (12:38-45); the Parable of the Weeds (13:24-30); various parables (13:33-52); Jesus heals the blind and mute (9:27-34); Jesus urges to pray for workers (9:35-38); preparation for persecution (10:16-42); Peter finds coin in fish’s mouth (17:24-27); further teachings of Jesus (18:10-35); Parables of the Workers (20:1-16); Parable of the Two Sons (21:28-32); Parable of the Wedding Feast (22:1-14); condemnation of religious leaders and grievance over Jerusalem (23:13-39); further parables of Jesus (25:1-46); Judas kills himself (27:3-10); guards posted at Jesus’ tomb (27:62-66); Jesus appears to the women (28:8-10); and the leaders bribe guards (28:11-15).

The preceding information is found only in Matthew. Thus, Matthew serves as an independent source.

  1. The Gospel of Mark (c. A.D. 50-55).

Scholars generally agree that Mark was most likely completed first. This does not hold universal agreement as others hold that Matthew was completed first. Nevertheless, it is generally agreed that Mark reports information that he received from Simon Peter. Thus, Mark provides the information of an eyewitness—that of Simon Peter.

  1. Information independent to Luke’s Gospel (c. A.D. 60).

Luke serves as a historian recording information found in a variety of sources. Since it is impossible to know all the sources that Luke used, historians generally lump together the information found only in Luke’s Gospel. In fact, Luke contains a vast amount of information found only in his Gospel including: 1:5-80; 2:1-40; 2:41-52; 3:19-20; 4:16-30; 5:1-11; 7:11-17; 7:36-8:3; 10:1-18:14; 19:1-27; 23:6-12; and 24:44-49.

The preceding information is found only in Luke. Thus, Luke serves as an independent source.

  1. Shared information used by Matthew and Luke, popularly called “Q” (c. 30-50).

Matthew and Luke share information that is exclusive to them. Scholars have called this information “Q” from the German word quelle which means source. The shared information from the Beatitudes serves as an example of Q. Not every scholar concedes that Q is a source. If Luke merely borrowed from Matthew, then this common source would be invalidated. However, as it stands now, Q could be another independent source for the life of Jesus.

  1. The Gospel of John (c. A.D. 85-90).

Internally and externally it appears that the Apostle John wrote or dictated the information found in the Gospel attributed to him. If so, John provides independent information relating to the life and message of Jesus of Nazareth. John, writing in a different style than the other Gospels, writes in a theological fashion. But John’s theological language should not hide the historical information that is provided.

John provides independent, eyewitness testimony that is extremely valuable.

Of course, Muslims will say that John has made Jesus into a God, and since it is the last Gospel that was written, you can see an evolution from Mark to Matthew and Luke, and finally John.

It is very interesting though, that Muslims will use the Gospel of John to point a supposed prophecy of Muhammad in it. When Jesus says He will send the Holy Spirit to guide us and comfort us – a messenger – that is supposed to be Muhammad.

So what is it then? Is John reliable or not? If Muslims do not trust the information given by John, how can they claim Muhammad is in there? Double standards, that’s all.

  1. Pre-Pauline material (creeds, hymns, formulations) (c. A.D. 30-35).

Scholars, nearly universally, agree that Paul records and reports ancient creeds (statements of faith), hymns, and formulations (oral traditions reporting events). These oral traditions “played a large role in the Greco-Roman world, since only a small minority, perhaps less than 10 percent could read and write.”[3]

One of the most important of these formulations includes 1 Corinthians 15:3-7. Others include 1 Corinthians 11:26; Acts 2:22-36; Romans 4:25; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:8; 1 Timothy 2:6; and (while not written by Paul) 1 Peter 3:18.[4] One could argue that each of these formulations serve as independent sources.

  1. Non-Christian Sources.

Various non-Christians noted certain attributes pertaining to the life of Jesus. The following ten sources serve, in varying degrees, as sources relating to the life of Jesus.

  • Roman historian Tacitus (Annals 15:44)
  • Jewish historian Josephus (Antiquities 18:3)
  • The Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a)
  • Roman satirist Lucian of Samosata (The Death of Peregrine 11-13)
  • Mara Bar-Serapion
  • Thallus (from a Julius Africanus fragment) trying to understand what caused the darkness when Jesus died.
  • Acts of Pilate (from Justin Martyr, First Apology 35)
  • Gnostic works such as Gospel of Truth (20:11-14, 25-29)
  • The Gospel of Thomas (45:1-16)
  • The Treatise on Resurrection (46:14-21).[5]

While these sources do not hold the historical veracity as do the canonical Gospels, they do serve as independent sources for Jesus. Some of these sources are even hostile towards Jesus.

Pastor Brian will evaluate some of these sources in a future article.

  1. Clement of Rome (c. A.D. 90-95).

Clement of Rome wrote towards the end of the first century. While he records later than most on this list, he provides information as an independent source, relating material which is not quoted from the New Testament. Examples of Clement of Rome’s statements pertaining to the death of Jesus include:

Let us look steadfastly [sic] to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world” (Clement of Rome, Corinthians 7).[6]

Let us reverence the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was given for us; let us esteem those who have the rule over us; let us honor [sic] the aged among us; let us train up the young men in the fear of God; let us direct our wives to that which is good” (Clement of Rome, Corinthians 21).[7]

Love admits of no schisms: love gives rise to no seditions: love does all things in harmony. By love have all the elect of God been made perfect; without love nothing is well-pleasing to God. In love has the Lord taken us to Himself. On account of the Love he bore us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood for us by the will of God; His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our souls”(Clement of Rome, Corinthians 49).[8]

Conclusion

What does the preceding tell us? It should tell us that great independent information exists for the historical Jesus. While some of the sources listed do not hold the weight that others do, that is beside the point. We are looking for various sources that tell us about the life of Jesus.

Jesus passes the first historical test. But what about the test of enemy attestation?

Pastor Brian will examine this issue in his next Apologetics post.


 

Bibliography

 Clement of Rome. “The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.” In The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. Volume 1. The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885.

Habermas, Gary R. The Risen Jesus & Future Hope. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

Licona, Michael R. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove; Nottingham, UK: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2010.

[1] Gary R. Habermas, The Risen Jesus & Future Hope (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), 9-10.

[2] Space will not allow me to provide the reasons in this article.

[3] Michael R. Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach (Downers Grove; Nottingham, UK: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2010), 220.

[4] Habermas, The Risen Jesus & Future Hope, 39, 65n.

[5] Taken from Habermas, The Risen Jesus & Future Hope, 39, 67n.

[6] Clement of Rome, “The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians,” in The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 1, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 7.

[7] Clement of Rome, “The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians,” in The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 1, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 11.

[8] Clement of Rome, “The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians,” in The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 1, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 18.

Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

For one reason or another, I’ve been delaying writing a post about the nature of God, both in Christianity and Islam. It seems relevant now due to the recent news regarding Wheaton College.  Everybody is talking about it on social media, and people have their own opinion on whether or not the teacher should have been suspended.

I personally think she incurred in deep theological contradictions. This issue, of course, goes deeper than wanting to hold hands with every Muslim around the world singing kumbaya. An assertion like this offensive to both authentic Muslims and authentic Christians.

This article is a combination of a lecture given by Keith Small and Andy Bannister, as well as my own insights on how we can use the role of Christian apologetics in further dialogue with Muslims. There are plenty of resources about Apologetics and Islam at www.bethinking.org. You should also check other links in which I refer you to other websites.

God and Muslims

Talking about God with Muslims can be extremely confusing because in so many ways we can seem to be talking about the same BEING. Most of the time we find ourselves coming into direct conflict with them, even though we are using the same words. We find different assumptions underlying our different views of God – concerning His character, His nature, and His actions towards humanity. The discussion can derail really, really quickly.

Here’s the thing. Muslims DO think they worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They DO think they worship the God of the Jews and the Christians.They really do think because that’s what the Quran teaches.

We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. [speaking to Christians and Jews]. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.

– Surah 29:46

You see, there is this open claim in the Quran that Allah is the same God that the Jews and the Christians worship. Now, before we continue, it would be important to know that Christians in Muslim countries, for example, DO refer to God as Allah. They also DO make the distinction between the different persons in the Trinity.

Allah is just the arabic word for God – THE GOD. That is why I personally do not have a problem with those names. However, for the purposes of this article, I will refer to the god of the Quran as Allah, and I will refer to the God of Jews and Christians as YHWH.

Throughout the whole Quran,  you can read  that God is one. God is one. It is almost as if the author of the Quran wanted to make that point more than clear – that God is only one.

Surah Al-Fatiha (Chapter 1)

In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Reckoning.
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.
Amen.

In context, those who have received grace are the Muslims – those who follow Muhammad. The ones who have the wrath are the Jews, and the ones who are misguided are the Christians. When you think about the five obligatory prayers a day (Salat) and the cycles within them, a devout Muslim ends up asking Allah not to let him become like a Jew or a Christian. He prays this at least twenty times a day.

Besides Chapter 1, Chapter 112 is also a good example of another prescribed prayer that Muslims might recite several times a day. This Surah is basically addressed at the Christians. Allah is one, and he has no son.

Sura Al-Ikhlas (Chapter 112)

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the
Compassionate
Say: ‘He is God, the One,
God the Eternal and Besought of all,
Neither begetting nor begot, Nor is there
anything comparable or equal to Him.

That is why for a Muslim, the sole idea of the Divinity of Christ is indeed a great blasphemy. This is key in understanding the issue behind whether or not Muslims and Christians worship the same god.

The unforgivable sin (shirk) for Muslims is associating partners with Allah. In the Muslim mind, a Christian – who sees God as a Trinity – is a polytheist. They understand the Trinity as being three gods. The Quran addresses the Trinity as Allah, Jesus and Mary.  The fact that the author of the Quran had no real knowledge of Christian doctrine does not help either.

The Muslim thinks that our Christian beliefs about Jesus being God is a lie that we have invented. We have exceeded our limit in doing that. Allah calls for Christians to stop saying Three since Allah is but one God. There are not three Allahs. Again, the author of the Quran had no understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity.

O People of the Scripture [Christians], do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son.

I encourage you to watch these videos by James White. There are some many things out there about people wanting to give an opinion about these issues… and opinions are great. I am giving mine. But in the dialogue with Muslims, I believe, you really need to understand  where they are coming from.

James White on Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?

James White on Wael Ibrahim’s misunderstanding of the Trinity – Part 1

James White on Wael Ibrahim’s misunderstanding of the Trinity – Part 2

If people do not argue, they usually fight. We, as followers of Jesus, should not fight with Muslims. We have the responsibility of explaining them – when the opportunity arises – that many of the misconceptions they have about our faith are not grounded in reality, but in a lack of understanding of our doctrines mainly by the author of the Quran and Muhammad.

ARE ALLAH AND YHWH COMPATIBLE?

Colin Chapman in his book Cross and Crescent sites seven areas of general similarity. He would use these to talk to a Muslim about the God of the Bible. This can be very useful if you have a Muslim who is willing to listen. My Muslims listened a lot – they were great about that. They would always say, of course, that I was wrong because the Bible as it is today has been corrupted.

But is it corrupted? 

You see, if the Bible (Hebrew Bible and New Testament) is NOT corrupted, then Islam is false. So these areas of similarity can be great to use if you would like to encourage a Muslim to read the Bible for himself. That can lead them on a path about the reliability of our Scriptures (Textual Criticism, Read Sea Scrolls, etc.)

So Muslims and Christians agree on these areas.

  1. God creates
  2. God is one
  3. God rules
  4. God reveals
  5. God loves
  6. God judges
  7. God forgives

The issue here is that even though we agree on these similarities, we differ on the HOW God does these things. That’s where the real difference between Allah and YHWH comes. Let’s explore these points. I encourage you to read the Quran so you might be able to grasp these differences better.

1. GOD CREATES

According to the Quran, Allah creates with just his word. BE, and it is.

In the Bible, YHWH creates with His Word and His Spirit – The Trinity is involved right away.

2. GOD IS ONE

Allah is a very numerical oneness. The Quran really never describes what that oneness (Doctrine of Tawheed) looks like. The Quran describes what Tawheed IS NOT – associating partners with Allah.

YHWH is One – yes – but He is a Trinity. One BEING, but three persons. The Trinity explains why we can be made out of complex molecules, and cells and yet we are still one essence. I encourage you to read The Forgotten Trinity by James White.

This might not make sense to many of you, but it resonated with me greatly. I majored in Chemistry, Biology and Pharmacy. When I read the testimony of Nabeel Qureshi in his book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, I was amazed at how God can really speak into anybody’s life. Do you want to know what made Nabeel start giving the Trinity a chance? Organic Chemistry.

Technically, a molecule with resonance is every one of its structures at every point in time, yet no single one of its structures at any point in time. It’s all the structures ALL the time, never just ONE of them.

A molecule of nitrate is all three resonance structures all the time and never just one of them. The tree are separate but all the same, and they are one. They are three in one. If there are things in this world that can be explained like this – though incomprehensibly so – then why cannot God?

– Nabeel Qureshi

3. GOD RULES

Allah rules as a dictator in the Quran – absolute, unquestioning rule. He rules over everything and also through angels.

YHWH rules cooperatively. The Trinity rules in complete harmony.

 4. GOD REVEALS

Allah gives revelation through nature (a lot of Muslims are using intelligent design as an apologetic) and he reveals through prophets. What Allah reveals is just his will – but he never reveals himself.

YHWH reveals through nature, prophets, but specially through the incarnation of Christ. YHWH not only reveals His will, but He also reveals Himself. This is a concept that is embodied through Genesis 1 to Revelation. YHWH loves His people and wants to live with them, dwell with them. He wants a relationship with His people. YHWH has revealed Himself to the fullest in the person of Jesus Christ.

5. GOD LOVES

Allah bestows his favor and loves only those who love him. He loves only those who repent and turn to him. He DOES NOT love those who reject Muhammad.

YHWH loves sacrificially. Allah does not put Himself out to love, but YHWH does at huge cost to Himself. YHWH loves everyone, even the ones who reject Him. Over and over He would always forgive Israel. He punished them, but the Israelites are His people. YHWH is their Husband. He gave them promises that He has to keep. Through the Jewish nation all nations in the world will blessed. Through Messiah, all the Gentiles would come into a relationship with YHWH.

YHWH in the New Testament shows His infinite love for all people by dying in our behalf. Jesus is YHWH in the flesh. He loved us first. He came to this earth not to condemn the world, but to sabe the world through Jesus.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him [Jesus]!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his [Jesus’] life!

Romans 5:8-10

 

6. GOD JUDGES AND FORGIVES

Allah judges capriciously. He doesn’t judge according to a standard. The chief attributes of Allah are his power and his sovereignty, and even his love is submitted to those. Allah is under no obligation to forgive or purify anyone, he doesn’t commit himself to save any individual. You can visit the sources here.

Likewise, Allah also forgives capriciously. Allah just forgives. No need for atonement like YHWH or the Cross. Allah forgives just like that. But since there is no standard on how Allah judges or forgives, you just never know where you stand with him on the Day of Judgement.

Whoever Allah guides – he is the [rightly] guided; and whoever He sends astray – it is those who are the losers. And We have certainly created for Hell many of the jinn and mankind

– Surah 7:178-179

Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi,’ one hundred times a day,will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.

Sahih al-Bukhari

Whoever says, ‘La ilaha illal-lah wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahu-l-mulk wa lahul- hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shai’in qadir,’ one hundred times will get the same reward as given for manumitting ten slaves; and one hundred good deeds will be written in his accounts, and one hundred sins will be deducted from his accounts

Sahih al-Bukhari

Whoever Allah sends astray – there is no guide for him. And He leaves them in their transgression, wandering blindly.

-Surah 7:189

By Allah! I would not feel safe from the deception of Allah, even if I had one foot in paradise.

– Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s companion

YHWH judges with perfect justice and He judges everyone. He forgives through they system of atonement (a Jewish concept) that provides legal basis for His judgement. Those who believe in Jesus’ atonement in the cross are the ones who receive the forgiveness. YHWH’s forgiveness is available to all, but you have the responsibility to receive it.

This is the confusion that Muslims have. They do not understand that Jesus’ death has the power for the forgiveness of their sins, because they believe Jesus was only a man. This is stressed out throughout the Quran and the Sunnah – that nobody should pay for your sins. This is fair, of course, no man should be responsible for your sins. All men sin.

If Jesus were solely man, atonement through Him would make no sense to a Christian either. Muslims assume this because they are Unitarian. They do not have a proper understanding of the Trinity so they cannot understand that Jesus is more than a man. Jesus is God. Jesus was also fully man, and as man, He never sinned. The Creator of the universe is sacrificing Himself for you to have a relationship with Him. He loves you that much. But for the Muslim mind, this is blasphemy. Allah cannot lower himself like that. Allah cannot make himself a man because it takes away from his majesty.

I don’t think any Muslim would deny that if God Himself wanted to become a man He is powerful enough to do it. If a Muslim denies this, they are actually denying God’s omnipotence. I guess Muslims put God into a box. They make assumptions about what God can and cannot do based on their own presuppositions about Allah’s oneness.

For example, Muslims ask, “If Jesus is God and He died on the cross, then who was in heaven ruling the universe when God died?”  This presents a problem for them because they are thinking oneness in number. This is not a problem for the Trinitarian Christian.

I would ask a Muslim another question, though. If God is Unitarian, then how would you explain the accounts in the Quran when Musa (Moses) talks to God in the burning bush? According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir (exegesis – commentary of the Quran), God talks to Moses from within the bush. But if God is in the bush, and Allah is only one, then who is in heaven ruling the world?  Even for the Muslims, Tawheed presents a problem.

Regarding atonement through blood and sacrifices is not a concept that the first Christians came up with. The very first generation of Christians were all Jewish! Atonement does not go against the Hebrew Bible or against the teachings of the Torah. Jesus actually came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. Jesus was the perfect sacrificial atonement. And whoever sets up against Israel and God’s love for the Jewish people is standing on very thin ice.

If Jesus is not the Messiah of the Jewish people, then He is not the Savior of the Gentiles. Orthodox Christianity is very Jewish.

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest [talking about Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy

Hebrews 10:11-14


More thoughts on Allah and YHWH

One of the names of Allah is the JUST. The Quran never says this. Allah commands justice. Muslims think Allah is the best of judges. The problem is that when these concepts are applied, they seem to be arbitrary.

Allah doesn’t have to be fair. His mercy and his judgement are subjected to his sovereignty. One of the names of Allah is the Holy. In the Bible, though, HOLINESS has two components. First, YHWH is exalted above us – greater than us. Second, YHWH has absolute, moral purity. 

This is why YHWH demands payment for every single sin. Allah just forgives as if he can sweep sins under the carpet without punishing sin. But YHWH’s holiness is so great that every single act that goes against His character demands to be punished.

YHWH is the fairest of judges and the most merciful of judges. The fairest of judges HAS to punish every single sin. Every act of rebellion against the Creator of the Universe has to be addressed. In the other hand, the most merciful of judges will always forgive. Only YHWH is able to meet these two criteria.

In the atonement of Jesus, YHWH is judging sin – He is still being JUST – and at the same time He forgives – He is MERCIFUL.

Allah cannot do these two things. Muslims think he can. They say Allah can forgive freely because he is so merciful. But what do you with the sin? If Allah forgives like that, then Allah is not the fairest of judges. Besides that, if Allah makes you pay and atone for your own sins (good deeds vs bad deeds) then Allah is not the most merciful.

A Muslim who tries to explain this concepts of JUSTICE and MERCY, thinking that Allah can indeed just forgive and pretend that nothing really happened, has no understanding of the gravity of sin, and how devastating sin is. Either that, or Allah is not that Holy. Not as holy as YHWH anyway.

A Muslim may understand the concept of outer purity or ceremonial cleanliness – as they do practice ceremonial washing before prayer – but they have no understanding whatsoever of moral inner cleanliness or purity. As long as they don’t act on it, they do not understand why anger can be equated with murder, or lust can be equated as adultery. This is something I discussed often with my friends, and they did realize that the standard that Jesus demanded for me as a Christians was impossible to meet.

“DUH! That’s why I  need a Savior”, I would say. Then again, I do not know if they really understood that this was the standard God demanded of every single human being if they ever want to have direct access to their Creator.


Philosophical implications of Allah as Unitarian

1 John 2:29 tells us that God is righteous, and 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. With YHWH these two traits are exercised fully in balance.

Allah cannot do this. Love IS NOT one of the seven eternal attributes of Allah in Islamic theology. YHWH IS LOVE. Allah focuses on power and might.  One of Allah’s 99 names is The Loving. It can also be translated as The Affectionate, but it is only one name – you have like fifteen or twenty that have to do with power. Allah is only loving and merciful to those who repent.

If you read the Quran, you’ll see very quickly that power to overwhelm, to destroy, to terrify, to condemn to hell is the main emphasis of the book. Allah loves those who love him, and he hates those who reject him and his prophet.

Even tough Allah is The Loving or The Merciful or The Forgiving, Allah has a philosophical problem.  All these adjectives need both a subject and an object. If these atributes are eternal as Muslims claim them to be, then Allah becomes contingent upon his creation. Allah becomes subject to existing only if he creates. Allah in the Quran had to create, otherwise he cannot be loving, or forgiving or merciful. Allah’s eternal attributes become otherwise because he couldn’t be who he was without his own creation.

The Trinity has never faced this problem. YHWH is not only loving. YHWH himself IS love. From eternity past, YHWH has always existed in harmony between three persons so He didn’t need to create anything. He was perfect, complete and fulfilled. Creation is an act of grace. Love changed from the horizontal (Godhead) to the vertical (human beings). The expression of love changed, but YHWH never changed.

Allah is not personal. YHWH is personal. Now, look at reality. What model explains human reality? It is very difficult to see that which is personal come from what is impersonal. The Christian concept of God explains reality. If we are indeed created in YHWH’s image, it is hardly a surprise that we, humans, need and want to be in relationship with other human beings.

Theology precedes anthropology. The God you have will directly influence the society you build. Is it any wonder why Islam produces societies that are subjected only to the power of the state?

On the other hand, Muslims also affirm the eternality of the Quran. Orthodox Islam affirms that the Quran is the eternal word of Allah. The Quran is uncreated. It has existed – for all time.

Now, think about this… Doesn’t the presence of another eternal entity existing alongside Allah for all time begins to attack the doctrine of the oneness of Allah? 

There is a real tension there. And there are schools of thought in Islam that would call heresy on those who think one way or another. If the Quran is uncreated, then you have two eternal beings from eternity past, and you end up contradicting the Quran on the Oneness of Allah.

But if the Quran is created, that means that at some point in time, Allah was without His eternal Word – and how can that be? In this case, you end up also contradicting the Quran itself. More info here.


What do I think?

Goodness… many things. I love these issues. Call me weird, my husband is sick of me talking about it – which is why I don’t talk to him about it anymore.

My experience is short, and I haven’t read all the sources there are to read regarding Islamic texts. But understanding the claims of the Quran, and having a deep understanding of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, I think that Muhammad might have wanted to compromise with both Jews and Christians. He might have actually thought he was a prophet in the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

You see, tough, the prophets only come through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You ask any Muslim, and they would tell you Muhammad came from Ishmael, not Isaac. The prophets were to be Israelites, not Ishmaelites. Still, there are many other reasons as to why the Jews would reject the prophethood of Muhammad, but we’ll leave those for another time.

Let’s say Allah revealed the Quran.

The Quran says that Jesus is the Messiah. But the Jews in Muhammad’s time rejected this. In Jewish thought, Jesus was a blasphemer. Jesus died by crucifixion. History agrees with this. In the Jewish mind, even today, the Messiah cannot die – let alone by crucifixion. So the Jews rejected Muhammad. Not all of them, but some. So what do I know? Maybe Muhammad tried to appeal to the Jews by saying that Jesus was the Messiah and Allah did not let Jesus die on the cross.

Now, the Christians… Muhammad said that Jesus was the Messiah, and the Christians liked that. But the Quran also said that Jesus never die on the cross, and that Jesus was only a man. This goes against Christian doctrine even before the New Testament was put together. The deity of Christ is not something that Paul invented – Christians already knew that even before Paul wrote the letters. It is very clear, now that we have the manuscripts and we can see them all, that nothing has ever been corrupted in the text. So of course some Christians converted to Islam, but other Christians had to reject Muhammad as a false prophet – just as the Jews.

This is how I picture it in my mind…

In today’s world (except from photos and videos), people can read about the Holocaust. Let’s say the Holocaust happened a year ago. People wrote about the Holocaust because they lived it, they saw it, they experienced it. People were eyewitnesses to it. Now imagine this. This is the era of technology so things don’t get lost that easily. But just imagine for one minute that there are no computers or anything to store information. We only have paper – low quality paper.

People need to copy the records that we have available about the Holocaust. All the world – for whatever reason – needs to know about the Holocaust, why it happened and what it accomplished. So people begin copying the eyewitnesses accounts. People begin transcribing them like crazy, not only in English, but in many different languages.

Are you following me?

So these records end up being in circulation for many, many years. Centuries, actually. Within a century from now, people will still have copies of those original eyewitness accounts. The originals might be lost – it was low quality paper – but we have plenty of copies. Two centuries from now, still going strong.

We can actually compare all the copies, and the basic description of the Holocaust still remains the same. Sure, there are differences in spellings and words that might be weird, but the account of the Holocaust – when it happened, how it happened, why it happened, who was involved, where it happened – is still intact.

Three centuries, the same. Four centuries, the same. Five centuries, same. Now, we may not have the originals in five centuries, nor the copies from a century from now. Maybe we will lose them, and we will always be looking for them. But the oldest one that we will have in our possession two thousand years from now will be two hundred years after the Holocaust. That’s pretty good if you consider that we have only seven copies from Plato written one thousand years after the original. Nobody questions Plato.

And thousands of years down the road, people will continue to copy our records of the Holocaust. One day, we will end up having more than 22,000 pieces of paper with which we can reconstruct the original eyewitness accounts. HOmer’s Iliad has 647 – and nobody questions Homer’s authorship.

We cared so much about preserving those records because the Holocaust changed History.

But then something will happen. About six hundred years from now, in the middle of a civilization that had never heard about the Holocaust, someone will come and will say that God gave him a message through an angel. And the message is basically this: You people are wrong. The Holocaust never happened like that. I will tell you exactly how it happened.

And a lot of people will believe that man, and his own version of the Holocaust. People who love this man will look back on the actual records that we preserved, and they will see that they contradict the man’s version of the Holocaust. But they will love that man so much, that in blind faith, they will begin allegations against our own records. The records we so carefully tried to preserve – the actual eyewitnesses accounts of the Holocaust – will be charged with corruption of the text.

And many people, unfortunately, will end up believing in the new version of the Holocaust that this man will give them. They will believe it only in faith, even tough the evidence says otherwise. In my own mind, that’s what Muhammad did.

You see, the Christian who recognizes ALL these issues is in a better position to explain to the Muslim about our faith, and about the text of the Bible. It is the responsibility of every Christian to show love to Muslims. Eventually, though, conversations will happen, and questions – deep theological questions – will arise.

The Christian has to be prepared to meet the challenge not only of understanding why Islam (the new version of the Holocaust) differs from Judaism and Christianity (the original version of the Holocaust). Not only that, but what it actually brings in the present life of a person. Muslims can have peace with God. They do not have it. They might think they do, but in reality,  they do not know where they stand with God.

The Christian needs to learn how to make a strong case for Christianity. 

It might be too much information, too difficult to grasp at the beginning, or intimidating, but God’s timings are prefect. If you only give God your heart, He will do amazing things through you. The first time I learned about Islam was seven years ago, and I cried because I was so confused about it. How come this Allah was the same God that I worshipped?

Little by little I began learning more and more about this. I am not an expert, but if I can learn, everybody can.

This post was so long… I’m sorry for that 😦

In short, do we – Muslims and Christians – worship the same God? No. I don’t think we do. But we have the opportunity of reaching out to our Muslim friends, and introduce them to who God really is 🙂

You might want to read Nabeel Qureshi’s opinion on the Wheaton’s College controversy.

Deuteronomy 18 in Muslim apologetics

I was listening to a radio show the other day that had nothing to do with Muslim apologetics, but the issue of Deuteronomy 18 as an alleged prediction  in the Bible about Muhammad’s coming came up.

The caller was wondering if indeed we could call Muhammad a true prophet based on an incident recorded in historical early Muslim sources. You might have heard about it, these are the so called Satanic verses.

These events were not made up by Jews or Christians. These incidents were recorded in an astounding display of honesty and integrity by early Muslim historians. I just thought it would be a good idea to refer you to a wonderful article written by David Wood, in which he, very reasonably and logically, deals with all the background for it.

It is not uncommon for Muslims to claim that Muhammad was prophesied in the Bible (see Quran 7:57). After reading the article, tough, you may realize that claim actually destroys their case.

If you have Muslims in your life who you are dialoguing with about these issues, I think this article could be very helpful 🙂

Click here for the article

What is The Gospel?

I had the opportunity to go to a Missions Conference this past weekend. It was truly awesome. I learned many things, and definitely felt the call of God for my life – which is something that I had probably known for the past seven years. I had never been to a conference, tough 🙂

Ever since I became a Christian, I have enjoyed talking to others about God and how much God loves them. At times, I guess, my family and friends have thought that I am crazy, brain-washed or just a “lost cause”.

But that is what happens when something radical is observed in your life. I was the worst of sinners. I know that is how Paul describes himself… and maybe he was, but I also killed a baby in my womb. And I have a history of sexual immorality that does not make me proud. I had a history… of so many things. But I am not that person anymore. I have no other explanation for the radical change in my life that the fact that I gave my life to follow Christ almost eight years ago.

I would like to encourage you to read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

I understand it might be too long to post it so I won’t, but I will definitely talk about it – even if it’s little by little.

One [Jesus] has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.

I no longer live for myself, but for the One who died for me. He died for my sake and for everybody’s sake. But you have to believe – you have to trust in His Death and Resurrection. You have to trust that His death takes your sins away. It doesn’t cover them – it wipes them away.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.

It is Christ’s death what actually made me have peace with God. It is trusting that God is good, and that He actually wanted to be reconciled with me what made me follow Christ. If you owe someone a huge amount of money, and He himself hands you a ton of cash to pay Him back – wouldn’t you take the money? Wouldn’t you say “Thank you for paying yourself what I actually owe You?”  Why would you be proud and try to pay off a debt that you know you will never be able to repay? God forgave me everything that I rightfully owed Him.

Do you see how I cannot longer live for myself? Do you see how I cannot do anything but to live for Him who died for me?

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come… in Christ God entrusted to us the message of reconciliation.

I am not the woman I was when I was 20 – thank God. And I am not the woman I was when I was 24. My life was radically changed when I trusted Jesus as my Savior. And at times, I forget that God has a purpose for my life, but He never forgets. At times, I don’t trust Him, but He has proven Himself faithful to me. If Jesus died to reconcile me with God… now He trusts me to reconcile the world to Him.

We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He [God] made Him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God.

Paul implored the Corinthians, I implore you – make peace with God. What is it that you feel you are going to loose? What is it that you feel you will have to give up? If you don’t believe in God, of course, I cannot convince you. I would argue, tough, that the evidence for God is huge. But if you do believe that this life is not all there is, then, what are you waiting for?

Salvation is a free gift from God. Why wouldn’t you take it? Is it because the cost of following Jesus is too much for you? You know, I get it. In all honesty, i never consider the cost of following Him. This Following-Jesus- thing sounded great at the beginning, but then it became hard. It became hard to stop thinking about me all the time, and let the Spirit of God control my anger… It was hard to hold back my tongue, and to be patient, and kind. And you know what? I still mess up… But God knew that, and He still choose to die for me. He still died for you. But you have to make a choice: Will you choose to be reconciled with God through Jesus?


This past weekend, I felt so happy that I had decided to go to the conference. I was completely exhausted after spending my Friday night – and literally all Saturday – talking about Jesus. We were actually joking about having a Jesus overload. There was so much information and even theology given – it blew my mind.

I actually bought a book of one of the speakers – Jackson Wu. His lecture impressed me so much. It was something that I had never listened to before. He basically said that if Jesus did not die then God is a liar. 

God gave a promise to Abraham. God told Abraham that though him all nations would be blessed. Abraham always believed and he was declared righteous because of this. All through Israel’s history, the LORD (YHWH) always saved His people, and it was not because they deserved it, but because of God’s name sake. It was always because of God’s sake – because God promised to bless them.  

So if you fast forward to all the events in the history of Israel – the slavery in Egypt, the exile in Babylon… all until the moment God Himself enters history in the person of Jesus… God has always been in the business of keeping His promises and saving His people – all the nations. So if Jesus (God in the flesh) does not die, then God cannot keep His promise.

Of course, there are a thousand objections if you have other worldview, like if you’re a Jew or a Muslim or whatever. But then, that is a discussion that might have no end until Messiah comes (which at least is something that Jews, Christians and Muslims can partially agree on). Of course, Muslims and Christians would rather say until Messiah comes back.  Again, this is not an apologetic post.

In my life, there have always been two Bible passages that make my heart beat faster, and I have always known that is definitely something God has purposed for my life:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:1,2,5

What exactly does that mean? I don’t know. I don’t think I have been called to be a Pastor. I am of the idea of male leadership in the Church, but I also agree that there were a lot of women that did very important things in the years of the Church in Acts.

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:1,13-16

I know what this means. It has always been obvious to me or maybe not. I don’t know. But I want to go.

Salvation comes when somebody listens to the good news about God wanting to be reconciled with them. They only have to take action – Repent from their wrong doings, and Trust in the name of Christ.

But how are they gonna call in the name of the Lord Jesus, if they don’t know about Him first? And how will they know if nobody tells them? Somebody has to go and tell them! Somebody has to be sent… I know the Lord Jesus. I wanna go and tell them.

What does that look in my life? I have no idea. I think I will figure that out with my pastors. I am definitely telling my computer right now, ha!

That Romans chapter has so much meat. In Romans 10:13, Paul quotes directly from the Prophet Joel 2:32, “Everyone who calls in the name of the LORD shall be saved”. This is in the mind of Paul, along with other Christians, understood as events described for when the Messiah comes. In the Hebrew Bible, this is a Messianic prophecy. Do you see how LORD is uppercase? That LORD means YHWH.

It is YHWH who saves. But Paul is applying the ability to save to Jesus Himself. People need to hear about Christ in order to be saved. How can Jesus save unless He is more than a mere human being? You see? Jesus is YHWH in the mind of Paul.

But if you think that Paul made up the divinity of Christ, then how can you explain away Acts 2:21, where Peter ends up quoting Joel 2:32 also? This is within the context of believing in Jesus as both Lord and Christ for the forgiveness of sins (verses 36-38). In Peter’s mind the name who saves is Jesus. This points to Jesus’ deity – for who can forgive sins but God?

I will end with my deepest thoughts.

During the conference, it was really humbling to see many people walking forward when an African missionary asked them to respond to God’s call in their lives. I saw people responding to the call of being pastors, and leaders. I saw people answering the call of becoming missionaries. And I cried when people responded to the call of going to places where they know they might die.

You see, these people don’t feel like dying. They do not want to kill or be killed. They don’t gain anything by going to these places – they have everything. They have peace with God already. They have salvation already. They have been reconciled with God. And that is exactly the reason they are going. They want to reconcile others with God.

They want to go because there are people who don’t know about Jesus. And they actually want to tell them – even if it costs them their lives.

You can watch this beautiful video about what the GOSPEL is all about.

YOU were Jesus’ destination when He left heaven 🙂

Judah – Part 3

Extremely long post

I think I have shared so many things lately, that I got sidetracked about Judah. But as I write, I am only trying to connect the dots. In one of my previous posts, I talked about my Muslim friend doing Istikhara on my behalf. I also mentioned the fact that in my own prayer time, God had guided me to the same account in both my Bible and my Quran.  I think you deserve to know what happened.

Not only that, I have to remain truthful to my word. In my very first post, I said that one of my goals was to explain what it meant to be a born-again person. One’s faith has to be palpable on an every-day basis, otherwise, our faith might as well be dead. If I cannot walk my faith in a practical, tangible way – as a woman, mother and wife – then what exactly am I striving for? This is a biblical truth found in James 2:18. You cannot separate your faith (belief) from the way you act (deed).

Discipleship in Christ is about responding to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to examine your thoughts, words and actions and compare them with the Word of God. We have to walk the talk. Salvation is a gift from God. It is free. But that is only the beginning of the Christian life. Discipleship is looking at the Bible as a mirror, and asking yourself how much you actually resemble your Savior. Christ-likeness is the goal of the Christian life. It almost sounds impossible, but that is the standard. We will never look like Him, we are broken. Our hope is that one day we will.


Decisions, decisions


I cannot denny that I feel flattered when very close friends of mine tell me my faith is growing. Apparently they see things I see not. I personally have not felt strong in the Lord Jesus Christ for the past 9 months of my life. But I’ll tell you what, I have held on to Him for dear life. I have cried for Him, with Him and because of Him. I have cried myself to sleep not knowing who God really is. Who misled me into believing Jesus as Savior?

When I have looked into Muslim apologetics, I have found that Jesus never died. The Swoon Theory has Jesus passing out on the cross, but He did not die. He recovered later. The Legend Theory claims the crucifixion never happened. The Natural Death Theory argues Jesus died a natural death many years after. The substitution theory makes God a deceiver. God Himself made someone look like Jesus who was then crucified in the place of Christ.

God’s deception started right at the cross. But why would a great, loving God do that? Didn’t God know that a great movement called Christianity would emerge from all this? Why didn’t God stop it right on its tracks?


Was my God a deceiver like some Christian apologists claim Allah is? Or did Allah made someone else appear like Jesus in order to test us? After all, we are put in this life to be tested according to Islamic view.


I have had many answers to my prayers, but those answers came when I would read my Bible. My Muslims told me I was biased. They said I had to let go of Christ if I really wanted Allah to show me the right path. Without knowing, they were almost suggesting me to commit “Christian shirk”. The worst of the worst – rejecting the Holy Spirit. Their words came from a good place and a good heart. They love me. I know they love me.

I also know they are Muslims, but maybe I was biased. So I began asking God for answers while reading only my Quran. By no means I am an expert. I have only read sixteen juz-un out of thirty (53% of Quran content). I am sure I will still learn from the remaining fourteen parts. But believe me, after nine months of reading and thinking about it,  I know what Islam teaches.

Islam can get very complicated, but it is fairly simple. You submit to God. Then you follow the beautiful example of the life of Mohammad. Lā ʾilāha ʾillā-llāh, Muḥammadur rasūlu-llāh. I even know how to pronounce that. I have actually uttered those words after my Muslimah showed me how. You pray five times a day. You fast during Ramadan. You give charity. You try to go to Makkah. You do good deeds. And by all means, you stop entertaining the pure thought of Jesus (PBUH) dying on the cross for your sins.

You do that, and you will be okay. You hope you will go to Heaven. In šāʾ Allāh. But you don’t really know.


You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound, as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?

– C.S. Lewis


So what? What was I supposed to do with all this knowledge in my head? I knew Christianity and I knew Islam. I was accountable to God for what I knew now. I was tired – my brain was tired, my soul was tired. I had asked God for wisdom, for discernment, but I was going one way, and then the other. I literally felt tossed by the waves of my own unbelief. And I almost gave up on Jesus.

God has showed me a great deal of things lately. The greatest, I believe, is that He loves me enough to give me free will. After Allah showed my Muslimah that I was heedlessly running towards Jesus, we talked about it. Through her Muslim eyes, that meant that I was not really looking for the truth. I was only looking for ways to justify Jesus as Savior. She never said this, of course, but I know enough Quran to understand that this heedlessness would land me in hell fire. Forever.


QURAN AND BIBLE – SIDE BY SIDE


Doesn’t Allah love me?, I thought. I know He does – Muslim or not – so I asked God one last chance. He had shown me many things before, but I pleaded with Him. I said that Moses got away with all his excuses for not wanting to go to Egypt. I reminded God – as if He needs my reminders – that Gideon was a mess asking for many signs. God showed him those signs, but then Gideon would question God again.

I knew that I had to make up my mind once and for all. What else was I looking for? I knew enough Islam. I knew enough Christianity. After a year of living in India, and all my knowledge, I had to make a choice. I was tired of learning for the sake of learning.


God, Allah, Jesus… whoever you are, I am up for grabs. Whoever God you are, you have to tell me right now. Show yourself to me. Answer me. You know I love you. Jesus, if you are God, show me. God, if Mohammad is your messenger, show me. I am afraid.  If you tell me Islam is the right path, I will give you my Shahada right now. I will start wearing my hijab right away, and I will wear it until the day I die. Jesus, if you are who the Bible says you are, I promise you, I will proclaim your glory and your praises to the top of my lungs until the day I die.


I would say it was the most sincere prayer I have prayed in the fear of God.  I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I had to keep my word either way. And I knew these two books were put to the test. Quran and Bible were together, and both would show me the path to take.

This might be a hard pill to swallow for many, but I believe God prompted me to open my Bible in page 83, and read the second paragraph. This was a very specific command. It is not my intent for you to think that somehow I am special becasue God led me this way. I do believe, though, that God can lead anybody in many ways. God speaks to our hearts. He speaks through His Word, through His people, and through our circumstances.


Then OUR father said, ‘Go back and buy a little more food.’ But we said, ‘We cannot go down. Only if OUR youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot see the man’s face unless OUR youngest brother is with us.’

– Genesis 44:26-26


These two paragraphs meant literally my life for me. This is Judah speaking. This is the same Judah who married a Canaanite. The same Judah who fornicated with her daughter-in-law, who he believed to be a prostitute. These are the accounts that make Muslims say the whole thing is corrupted. This is pornography in their eyes. I think this is beauty. The Bible narrates the lives of real people with real struggles. I still don’t understand why Islam wants to portray the prophets of God as sinless. If only Muslims read about David and Bathsheba

But concerning Judah, this is the same Judah who convinced his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery, and to tell Jacob that Joseph was dead. I invite you to read The Skeleton in Judah’s Closet. Do not stop there. Continue with all the commentaries until The Final Test.

But in page 83, I saw a different Judah. A Judah that attempts to paint an accurate picture of the pitiful condition of their father by reporting his words as spoken to his sons (verses 27-29). Jacob’s beloved wife, he had said, had borne him only two sons. When the oldest went out from him (Joseph) and did not return, he was forced to conclude that this son had died, a victim of wild beasts. To take the only other second son (Benjamin), and not return with him would break his heart. Not only would he enter his grave in sorrow, but he also implied that his death would even be hastened by his grief.

At this point, Judah has no idea that he is speaking to Joseph himself.

Judah stands up for himself and his brothers and pleads for mercy.  This could have had him killed (verse 34). But Judah had promised his father to bring Benjamin back (Genesis 43:9). Judah has the chance now to keep this promise. He showed great courage and responsibility when he offered himself to stay in the place of Benjamin.


Thank you, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF)


I wish I could tell you I figured all this out on my own, but I am not that smart. This year I had the privilege of studying the Torah in detail. Once a week, for thirty long weeks, I had to go to class, and deal with my children if they cried. I also had Torah-reading homework. So these two single verses might mean nothing for a Muslim who has never read the Torah.

But for me, these two verses meant everything. God brought all my knowledge of His Word to my mind in the span of less than 3 seconds. In forty-two generations, I went from Judah to King David, and from King David to Jesus.

God was no joke. I had asked, and now it was Quran’s turn. I felt moved to fold a page, and insert it in the middle of the Quran. I had no idea what to expect, but when I opened it, I was reading exactly the same account.


They said, “We will attempt to dissuade HIS father from [keeping] him, and indeed, we will do [it].”

Quran 12:61


The more I read, the more obvious it was portrayed that in the Quran narrative the brothers really never cared about Joseph or Benjamin (note 1721 – Yusuf Ali’s Commentary). The brothers kept on hating them. They believe Benjamin to be evil, and they call Joseph a thief (note 1747). The sons are cruel and heartless against Jacob as he deals with the pain of having lost Benjamin and Joseph (note 1759). The brothers do repent when they are faced with the reality of who Joseph is. Before that, tough, there is not a single sign of regeneration (note 1767).

This might not make much sense to you, but I knew what I had prayed for. Sure, maybe both narratives have a happy ending, but God was giving me the opportunity to choose a path.

1. Torah-Brothers. Self-sacrifice. Character changed. Ready to suffer for other’s sake.

2. Quran-Brothers. Selfish until confronted with the truth. Full of hate until they had no other option.

It was a no-brainer for me. I chose the way of Christ. I chose to give away my life for the sake of others. I am not trying to convince you that I made the right choice, but I am satisfied with the answer I received from God. I asked God to show me something, and He showed me enough for me to decide that Jesus will be my Good Shepherd.

Will the Jews agree? Probably not. Will the Muslims agree? Probably not. We will never agree on anything until the day we die. Apologetics are amazing, and I love that kind of stuff, but I need a break. My husband needs a break, and my children need a break.

I know the path that I have chosen. Most of all, I am owning my decisions. If my decision of following Jesus lands me in hell, so be it. I am at peace knowing that I will have no excuse on Judgement Day. I’m taking full responsibility for my choice.


Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’

Immediately the father of the child cried out and, said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:23-25


My faith-life will never look the same after India. Every day, I am asking God to help my unbelief. Rich Nathan seems to think this is the posture of the Christians until the day we die. And that’s okay. I feel I’m crawling to find my way again. I might not know much, but I’m following Jesus. And if that makes no sense at all to you, that’s totally fine. I can always keep looking for the truth. I can always be looking for counter-arguments for Islam or for Christianity. But it all comes down to faith at some point. It all comes down to a PERSONAL DECISION.

This has been a bumpy ride for me. It almost feels like I’m playing hide and seek with my Creator. He seems to hide and then BAM! God screams PEEK-A-BOO right on my face. And then He hides again. And on and off, we go. He likes surprising me. And if you have no idea what I am talking about, that’s totally fine, too. I believe, tough, that someone, somewhere, relates to me right now.

It almost feels like I am saying good-bye. I am.

Judah – Part 4 will be my lost post until further notice. My family needs me. I also feel God has something vey special in store for me, and I need to retreat. I need to recharge. I need to spend as much time with God as I possible can – without my brain overthinking Islam and Christianity.

Just God and me. Together. Hand in hand, like it was at the beginning. I want to fall in love again with the God who swept me off my feet with His Unfailing Love.

Don’t miss the last part of Judah 🙂

Judah – Part 1

I wish I could tell you I know everything that there is to know about the Bible. I have read the New Testament several times, and the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) at least once. But I don’t think that is enough. It will never be enough for me. Reading the whole Bible does not make anyone an expert on faith matters. It definitely does not mean someone has more understanding of spiritual things.

When it comes to revelation, I believe God is the only One who graciously gives it. You don’t have to be the pope, or a preacher, or a priest or an imam to relate to God. God gives wisdom generously to ALL without finding fault, if they ask for it. If you ask TRUTHFULLY, do not doubt when the answer comes. 


“This is not the word of God. It is corrupted Scripture. I read the book of Genesis last night, and it is a history book, not Scripture. Some of it should not even be mentioned, like Lot getting drunk and impregnating his daughters.”

– Ibrahim


Ibrahim’s comment reveals a significant divergence between the Quran and the Bible. As far as I understand, Muslims believe that every word in the Quran is an exact copy of a heavenly original. Christians do not believe that the New Testament is a replica of a Scripture in heaven, but rather that it is inspired by God. It is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. Even the Torah, which quotes many passages in God’s name, never asserts complete divinity. Of course the Bible has a human component, but that doesn’t make it less sacred.

There are plenty of literary styles within the whole Bible – both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. Knowing the context and understanding the style of a particular paragraph or book will help us to grasp much better what is being said. This is of utmost importance for me, as I would like to narrate what led me to make the decision to follow Jesus. In the words of Al Fadi, I am embracing Jesus as presented in the Bible even if He is a figment of my own imagination.


So what are some of the literary styles presented in the Bible?

In Psalm 91:4, we have a good example of POETRY.

God shall cover you with His feathers,

and under His wings you shall take refuge

You should not understand this verse literally. That would be a very dangerous thing. Are you seriously implying that God is an eagle? Of course not. Something very similar happens with Numbers 23:19, which is a perfect example of PROPHECY.

God is not a man, that He should lie;

nor a human being, that He should change his mind

Obviously this verse is by far one that Muslim and Jewish apologists use to deny the possibility that God became flesh in Jesus. But this passage in the Torah has to be read within the whole context of Numbers 23.

Balak, King of Moab, is trying to put a curse on the Jewish people by hiring a false prophet (Balaam). When Balaam tries to prophesy against Israel, he is not able to do it. Actually, he ends up blessing the nation. King Balak gets upset, and asks Balaam to curse them a second time. It is ONLY in this second prophecy that God is not a man makes sense.


Arise, Balak [King of Moab], and listen;
God is not human, that He should lie,
not a human being, that He should change his mind.
Does He speak and then not act?
Does He promise and not fulfill?
I have received a command to bless;
He has blessed, and I cannot change it.

No misfortune is seen in Jacob,
no misery observed in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them;
the shout of the King is among them.

There is no divination against Jacob,
no evil omens against Israel.

– Balaam.


In the context of PROPHECY, the false prophet Balak is telling King Balaam something like this, “Listen, Balak, God is not like you, human beings. He doesn’t lie like a human does, and He doesn’t change His mind like a human does. He has decided to bless Israel and He will continue to bless Israel.  So no matter how much you want me to curse them, I cannot do it because God will not let me”.

God is not done with Israel, you see. He loves them dearly.

You’d better not mess with Israel.

Another literary style used in the New Testament, for example, is EPISTLES. These are letters that were written for a particular church or individual by the apostle Paul, and often addressed several topics. These letters were written with a familiarity of the problems being discussed, and with an apostolic tone of authority. Examples of these are the letters to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, etc.

We also have GENEALOGIES in the Bible. They document family lineages. These lists of names cover many generations (sometimes even skipping generations) showing lines of descent over many centuries at times. Genesis 5, for example, provides us with the genealogy from Adam to Noah.

We also have PARABLES, which are stories used to illustrate a single point. I personally believe Jesus was the Rock Star of Parables. The Prodigal Son really speaks to my heart. It talks about a forgiving Father whose character remains constant throughout the story. The Father represents God. The younger son symbolizes the lost souls, and the elder brother represents those who are self-righteous – thinking their good deeds will be enough to please God. The meaning is so deep that entire books have been written about that parable alone. If you would like to read more into it, you can see a more detailed explanation here.

PROVERBS and WISDOM styles are short statements of truth for common and general rules of life (which have exceptions). Proverbs 20:9, for example, asks the rhetorical question,

Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? 

The answer , of course, is NO ONE.

HISTORICAL NARRATIVE is another literary style within the Bible. These are factual accounts written in prose of what happened at a certain time and place and involve people, nations, and events. The writers of these historical records often did not make judgments on what was happening. They only reported what actually occurred – both good and bad. When making judgments, historical narratives must be viewed and interpreted in the full light of Scripture. Examples of these are the Book of Joshua, the Book of Acts, etc.

Much of the first five books of the Bible (the Torah) is statutory in nature, written in LAW style. Old Testament laws are worth understanding as they show us what God required of His people. Although many of the laws are no longer applicable (such as priestly laws), they still teach us what God is like, and help us understand what He desires of us. Specially for me, as a Gentile, they are very important as I worship the God of the Jewish nation.

As I said before, I am not an expert in Bible matters, so there might be more literary styles that I am not aware of. Something is true though, God always communicated with His people through prophets. Jews, Muslims and Christians are always at odds with one prophet in particular: Jesus. Jews hold Jesus as a false prophet and a false Messiah. Muslims uphold him as an only-human prophet, but still THE Messiah.

Christians uphold Jesus not as a Messiah, but THE Messiah (There have been some fake messiahs in history, believe or not).

While it is true that Jesus prophesied the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 A.D., Jesus himself said that John the Baptist was the Elijah who was to come. After Elijah came, there would be no need for any more prophets. If the LAW and the Prophets prophesied until John, what do we do with Jesus? What do we do Muhammad?

According to the Prophet Malachi, when that Elijah came, the Messiah would follow shortly after. And the Messiah would bring reconciliation. Messiah would bring a new covenant between man and God, according to the Prophet Jeremiah. Not a covenant like the one God made with Israel – no more laws. God’s laws will be written in our hearts. And God would forgive our sins, and remember them no more.

How is that possible? What are these prophecies about? There are more prophecies about the role of Messiah, by the way.


On the way Jesus asked them, ‘Who do people say I am?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.

But what about you?, Jesus asked, ‘Who do you say I am?’


As you read the Hebrew Bible, The New Testament and the Quran, you will have to face the question that has intrigued millions of people for two thousand years. I understand the challenges of that. When you come to an answer – whatever that is- I pray that your answer is based on you reading about these matters, and seeking God with an open heart.

Who do YOU say Jesus is?