Mar 26, 2017

The Authenticity of the Bible Compared to the Koran

The Bible has been under attack from the secular world for a very long time. The attacks have only grown stronger with the passing of time. The enemies of the Bible are so convinced of its error, they seek to ban it from all public places.

One of the most repeated attacks against the Bible is the notion that it is just a collection of stories that have evolved over time. The claim is that a group of unknown writers got together and wrote down a series of legendary tales; as the Bible was copied, the narrative changed with each translation.

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls should have silenced these critics. With the 1940s discovery, we suddenly had biblical text going back as far as 200 B.C., that perfectly matched modern Old Testament passages.

There is even bonus evidence of the Bible’s authenticity. In 1979, two tiny silver scrolls were found in a tomb from the 7th century B.C. that were inscribed with portions of the well-known prophylactic Priestly Blessing from the book of Numbers. The scrolls show that some of the material found in the Five Books of Moses existed in the First Temple period.

The more recent establishment of the Muslim faith should give the Koran a much easier track record. Since Muhammad’s death was in 632 A.D., there should be better records of his revelations. As it turns out, the Koran’s documentation trail is incredibly vague.

The prophet Muhammad did not write any part of the Koran. The teachings of Islam were first based on oral tradition. Over time, bits and pieces of Muhammad’s sayings were written down on the Bronze Age version of Post-It notes. For example, one Quranic verse was inscribed on the shoulder blade of a camel while others were written on stones. Because Islam’s teachings were so disorganized, a decision was made to compile all their sources into one document.

Over a twenty-year period, a series of people had a free hand in creating their version of the Koran. According to Islamic tradition, the standardization of the text of the Koran was seamless. In reality, there were conflicting accounts of Muhammad’s words, meaning there is more than one Koran. History also shows that on one occasion, a man named Uthman decided for himself what was correct, and then had all other records destroyed.

The Koran also has a problem with some glaring errors. There are numerous scientific and historical errors in the Koran. In several passages, Muhammad claimed that the sun and the moon orbit each other. He also said there was a time when the moon split into two.

The Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese and Indians were all avid astronomers. They would have likely recorded this event:

“The moon has split and the hour has drawn closer.” —The Quran, 54:1

“That the Meccan people requested Allah’s apostle to show them a miracle, and so he showed them the splitting of the moon.”  —Sahih Bukhari 4:56:83

In 1972, during the restoration of the Great Mosque of Sana’a, in Yemen, laborers found old parchment and paper documents—damaged books and individual pages of Arabic text. In this mash was the oldest Koran in existence; dated to around 700 A.D.

A team of German scholars pried apart the pages and made several shocking discoveries. The Yemeni Koran was written in a kind of shorthand that allowed an individual word to have up to thirty different means. In light of this discovery, suicide bombers that expected to get “72 wide-eyed virgins,” may in fact receive “a modest bunch of grapes.” The pages also show signs of embellishment where versions were clearly written over even earlier, washed-off versions.

Since the early 1980s more than 15,000 sheets of the Yemeni Korans have painstakingly been flattened, cleaned, treated, sorted, and assembled. Yemeni authorities have been reluctant to allow the documents to be seen by the public. It is very telling that the Dead Sea Scrolls have their own museum for public view, while the Islamic world’s version is kept under lock and key.

If someone found a Bible that was based on variable text, the academic world would question its reliability. If a biblical manuscript had been found where the text was disjointed and rewritten (as discovered with the content of the Koran), the entire Bible would be conclusively declared a work of fiction.

The Koran doesn’t need authenticity. It gets by on a cult of mythology. It’s not what the Koran says, it’s what Muslim’s believe it says. They boldly claim that Islam is the “religion of peace” and if you say otherwise—they will kill you.

Muslims will boast that Arabic is used so eloquently in the Quran that it must have been created by a god. In Fact, the Koran is so special, a person needs to learn Arabic in order to fully understand the “holy” text. The problems of the Yemeni Korans can be dismissed because they were uncovered by Western scholars who had a “Christian mindset.”

The simple reason why the world hates the Bible and gives the Koran a free pass is because the Word of God is true. The realization of this reality should give comfort to all believers in Christ.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5 ESV).


Rumors of War Realities

Jesus sat with His immediate disciples upon the Mount of Olives just before His crucifixion. He answered the question that most troubled them, following His declaration that the Jewish temple would be completely destroyed, with not a stone left standing.

Their question–offered in wide-eyed amazement, no doubt–was: “When shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).

Jesus then said that  there would first come deceivers and great deception, even people declaring themselves to be Christ. Another thing that would signal the end of the world (the age) would, He said, be wars and rumors of war.

So, rumors of war is a major signal, given by God, Himself, that the end of human history is on the verge of reaching its conclusion. We do note that the Lord next said:  “See that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

The disciples surrounding Him at the moment of His prophecy about the wrap-up of human history were to understand that the “end” was still future, and we know that the future in this instance has extended nearly 2000 years to this point. The end, as we know, is not yet…

But there is now, in these portentous times, more than enough rumblings upon the volatile geopolitical horizon to cause the diplomats of the world to be “troubled.” Nuclear weaponry and its imposition into the present-day mix of the possibility of war-making is something of which the disciples could know nothing.

Diplomats, and the rest of us as well, however, have seen what such weaponry can wreak, since “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” did their war-concluding work on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945.

Possibility of war is much more than mere “rumors” these days. We have the historical experience, prophesied by Christ many centuries ago, to confirm that in this present hour upon planet earth there is reason to “be troubled.”

Wars down through the last two millennia have run their courses, with hundreds of millions dead in their aftermaths. Nuclear war will, if initiated, make all the conflicts of the past pale by comparison. Thus, it is incumbent upon the so-called “peacemakers” to put a bridle on the vicious jaws of tyrants who seek nuclear weapons in order to rein in their megalomania.

We have for years heard about Iran seeking such weapons. Attempts to rein in the Ayatollahs’ nuclear weapons ambitions have been tepid. Iran has basically been given a practically unencumbered pathway to developing not only nuclear bombs, but the means to deliver them anywhere in the world.

Russia has been complicit in helping Iran get its way, with little resistance from the Obama administration or anyone else So, the rumors of a future war loom mightily, if the new president doesn’t deal effectively in the matter.

Now we are facing another building crisis involving a major rumor of future nuclear war. Our other chief antagonist, China, is acting in much the same way in dealing with their proxy state, the North Koreans, as the Russians are in dealing with the Iranians. These matters constitute rumors of war of infinite magnitude. It has been left by previous administrations–particularly the most recent previous–for the new president to deal with these potentially deadly situations.

American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson a week or so ago, while visiting South Korea, refused to rule out a preemptive strike against North Korea’s nuclear facilities. The ongoing fallout has China pushing back against such an eventuality, making veiled and not-so-veiled threats. It is not a lovely picture of international, diplomatic tranquility we see developing, to say the least.

Yet, there is comfort in all of this rumors of war business, I can happily report, based not upon my word, but upon the Word of God. Jesus’ words “but the end is not yet,” still apply to our time upon this much-bedeviled sphere.

As a matter of fact, Jesus said life would be pretty much as usual right up until the time He next catastrophically intervenes into the affairs of mankind. It is God, Himself, who is holding back all the evil of the world (read 2 Thessalonians 2) until that moment of intervention Jesus spoke of as recorded in Matthew 24:36-42 and Luke 17:26-30.

When the Church (all born-again believers, according to Romans 10:9-10) goes to be with Christ when He calls us to “come up hither” (Revelation 4:1-2) as detailed by Paul the apostle in 1 Corinthians 4:51-55 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, then the red horse of war, according to Revelation 6, will gallop forth.

That’s a  long, rambling sentence, I realize, but well worth your taking apart and analyzing from the pages of your Bible. It is a matter of great comfort to read and study such promises. Such comfort–to those who know Christ for salvation–more than neutralizes the troubling, even terrifying rumors of war we now face.