The Bible and the Book of Mormon

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Before I begin my talk on Islam I wish to point out several things. 1) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints respect the faiths of all religions. 2) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that every religion has some truths within its doctrines. 3) Every religion teaches that we should love God and have respect for our fellow men.

Having said this. Let me explain why I am writing about the history of and the doctrinal teachings of Islam. The first reason is because there are similarities between our church and Islam. For example, both of them came into existence because of a book that was brought forth by an angel. For Mormons it was the angel Moroni. For Muslims it is the angel Gabriel, who is the same one who appeared to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

The second reason why I've decided to write this article is because Muslims teach that Jesus was just a prophet, even though they accept and believe in the Old and the New Testament which testifies that Jesus is the Messiah, and the Savior of the world.

The third reason why I am writing this is because Islam teaches that after the death of Muhammad there can not be any more prophets. More than that, they teach that Muhammad was the greatest prophets of all, even greater than the prophet Jesus.

It was Jesus who taught that we would be able to judge people by their fruits. I have to admit, that part of what has led me to write this article is because of the many acts of terrorism which have been carried out in the name of Islam. Having said this, I want to qualify my statement by saying we shouldn't judge a religion by the actions of a few fanatics who commit crimes in the name of their God. However, we can judge a religion   by the doctrines they teach. Nevertheless, I have to admit that my interest in delving more deeply into the Muslim religion was a result of  WTC attack. I find it very similar to the crusades where Christians, in the name of their God, fought another kind of "holy war" against Muslims. I understand that these latest terrorist attacks cannot be held against the leaders of the Islamic religion but are the results of fanatics. 

I have read the Koran twice and I've found some very interesting passages, and also, in my opinion, some rather blasphemous verses. By blasphemous I don't mean that they were offensive, but because they deprived Jesus of His divine relationship with God, the Father, and His unique mission of salvation. But before we look at these issues, let me first present the historical background of Islam. The source of my information comes from the "The Book of Religions" by Jostein Gaarder, Victor Hellern, Henry Notaker, and Editor Neri Pozzam, entitled  "WHAT DOES ISLAM MEAN?"

Islam was born in the Arabian peninsula and even now it is still strongly connected to the Arab culture, even though a minority of  today's  Muslims are Arabs. One of the reasons for this is because the sacred text of Muslim, the Koran, is written in Arabic. Islam is spread out in large regions of Asia and Africa and one-seventh of the world's population is Muslim. In fact, it is the second largest religion in the world, after Christianity.

The Arabic word "Islam" means "to submit." What this religion teaches is that we are to submit ourselves to the will of God in every area of life, whether it is social, cultural or religious. It is only by doing this that someone can be considered a Muslim, (which is another Arabic word with the same root as Islam). The interpretation of the law contained in the Koran is fundamental to this religion. In fact in the countries where Islam is the state religion, it is the judges who provide the religious leadership.

Before the time of Muhammad, the tribes which roamed the Arabian peninsula were heathen and divided. When Muhammad had his vision or experience with the angel Gabriel, he was forty years old. According to him, at that time he was illiterate. When Gabriel asked him to read the book which was presented to him, he answered, "I am not able to read." From this it seems apparent that he also never read the Bible. Gabriel told him, "Read in the name of your Lord! Who created mankind from a drop of blood...."

The word "read" in Arabic has the same root of "Koran" which means "reading." The Koran is a collection of revelations which Muhammad received. For the followers of Muhammad, this book is considered as sacred text because it is based on "divine" inspiration just like the Jews and Christians believe about the Bible. These "divine" revelations found in the Koran were put into writing for the first time after the death of Muhammad. The 114 chapters which make up the Koran, are not put in chronological order but by their length, from the longest revelation to the shortest, with the first chapter being the only exception.

It wasn't until after Muhammad had received his revelations from the angel Gabriel that he began to preach its doctrines to others. When he told people he was a prophet, they thought it was merely a ruse he had invented to help increase the political power of Mecca. Besides that, the local authorities were hostile to Muhammad's idea that there was just one God because they worshipped many gods. As a result, in Mecca, there was violent opposition to his teaching. After the death of his wife and his uncle in 622 AD, Muhammad left Mecca and went to the city of  Medina where he was received by its people. Although Muhammad had broken his ties with his own community and family, he felt more like Abraham when left he his country because God had told him to do so.

After the death of Muhammad his followers were in conflict over how to proceed. In the beginning, the Muslims were split into several groups, each with their own leader. Three of these leaders were among Muhammad's first disciples. The fourth leader was a man by the name of Ali, who was a cousin of Muhammad and was also his son-in-law because he married Muhammad's daughter Fatima. Many said that Ali was the natural successor of Muhammad and his denomination (as we call it - or "party" as they call it) was known as SHI' AT ALI. Today it is called the SHI'A party and is found mostly in Iran. But Ali had his enemies within the Muslim world who eventually were successful in killing him. This division of Islam came about, not because of a difference in doctrine, but because of the desire for power. The SHI'A believed that the leader should be a descendant of the prophet, Muhammad, while the Sunniti party believed that the leadership should go to whoever had the most power.

After the death of Ali' the capital city of the Muslim world was Damascus but eventually the seat of power was transferred to Baghdad where it stayed for about 500 years. After that, when the religious leader was also the leader of Turkey, the capital city of the Muslim world became Istanbul where it remained for more than a century. However, after 1924 the Muslim religion no longer had a supreme ruler as it once did.

The profession of faith is quite simple and very clear: There is no other God but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet. The Arabic word for "God" is "Allah."   Islam teaches that Allah gave His words to mankind by His prophet Muhammad. Although they believe that God had sent prophets before the time of Muhammad, such as   Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus, they believe that Muhammad was the last and greatest prophet of all. In the beginning Muhammad considered himself to be a prophet in the tradition of the Jews and Christians, but after a while he had a change of mind. The Jews disagreed with his interpretation of the historical parts of the Old Testament, and he felt his ideas were right. In his mind, since his revelations were the word of God, therefore it was the Jews who were in error. To create an historical base to his new religion, Muhammad went back to the story of Abraham and Ishmael, from whom the Arabic people are descendant. Muhammad said that Abraham and Ishmael had rebuilt the sanctuary Ka'ba, that Adam made in the very beginning, but was destroyed in the flood. According to Muhammad the Jews and the Christians had changed the correct knowledge of Abraham. When Muhammad first went to Medina, he introduced the practice of praying toward Jerusalem, but after his argument with the Jews regarding the Old Testament he changed his mind and taught his disciples to pray toward Mecca. Another change he made was that instead of observing the Sabbath day on Saturday, as the Jews did, or on Sunday, as the Christians did, he taught people to observed Friday as the Sabbath day. When it came to the teaching of Christianity, Muhammad disagreed with them on the idea of the Trinity. As far as he was concerned, this concept was a form of polytheism.

To someone of the Muslim faith, the Koran is the word of God in a pure and literal sense. To illustrate what I mean, in Christianity we believe that Jesus, "the word [of God], became flesh" and lived among us. As such, God's revelation to man came through and by Jesus Himself. However, in Islam, Muhammad is only the means through which God's revelation came to man. As such, the true revelation of God is not found in the man Muhammad, but is contained in the Koran. In Christianity we consider the man Jesus to be "the word of God," but in Islam the word of God is found in a book. Therefore it is not correct to compare Jesus to Muhammad and the Bible with the Koran. It is more correct to say that Jesus is the parallel to the Koran.

Also, offering a sacrifice has a different meaning in Islam. In Islam an animal is killed as a sacrifice, but it is done to remind a Muslim of the principle of obedience, just as Abraham showed his obedience to God by offering up his own son, which they say was Ishmael, not Isaac.

Concerning the position of women, there are two different verses in the Koran which seem to contradict themselves. One reads, "Men are absolute leaders of women, because of the preference which Allah gives to them" (Chapter 4, 34) However, another verse reads that women must have the same rights of men (Chapter 2, 228). There are different laws which define the relationship of men and women in different social situations., and in marriage there are several laws which protect women. For example, women can only have just one man, but men can practice polygamy. Today polygamy is forbidden in Turkey and Tunisia. Divorce is possible but only men can decide it. Then there are other rules and conditions which make it impossible to divorce a spouse at anytime. According to Muhammad, divorce is something which the law allows but that God is not in favor of. Man has the right to spank and beat his wife if she is disobedient "admonish those you think they could be disobedient, leave them alone in their beds, beat them up." (chapter 4).

All these things are mentioned in the book I referred to earlier, rather than from my own experience. However, I will express my own opinion from what I have read in the Koran concerning its doctrine. I had read the Koran eight years ago and I am reading it again in order to gain a better comprehension of it. I want to say from the outset that my understanding of their doctrines comes from the viewpoint of a Christian and a belief in the Bible as the word of God.

Concerning the Bible, both the Koran and Muhammad affirmed that Moses and Abraham were prophets and they received the Law from God and that the law was true. The Koran also affirms that Jesus was a great prophet sent by God. Therefore, they believe that even the New Testament was inspired of God. Nevertheless, both Muhammad and the Koran have a different view than Christians concerning some of the most important historical and doctrinal facts contained in the Bible.

If it is true that God can not teach both truth and also lie, then it is important for us to determine which book contains the truth and which does not contain the truth. Although I feel that Muhammad had good intentions, I also feel that, like Eve, he was beguiled, or deceived in the beginning by some being claiming to be an angel from God, as Paul warned us about in Galatians.

Scriptures are important but without the Holy Ghost to guide us they can divide us more than unite us, especially over doctrine. Scriptures were given by the inspiration of God and they can only be understood by the power of the Holy Ghost.  It is interesting to note that since Muhammad told Gabriel that he could not read, that means he had never read the Bible. Perhaps somebody had read it to him but that is not the same as being able to study it.  The point I wish to make is that we are suppose to believe that an angel appeared to a person who had no knowledge concerning the Law or the ancient prophets of God and yet gave him the clearest understanding of the Law and he became the greatest of all prophets.  Although this might have happened, I find it a rather curious claim. We will assume, for the sake of this discussion, that Muhammad was naturally pure in heart and therefore worthy to receive a visit from an angel of God, but even if that did happen, his teachings would have to agree with all the other prophets of God as recorded in both the Old and New testament. However, it is clear that his writings and those of the Bible differ sharply in numerous places.

But there is another problem. The history of Islam is clear on the point that before the death of Muhammad, there were no written collections of his revelations. In fact, during his life he continued to receive new revelations, which added to the ones he had already been given. All of this leaves us to wonder if most of the Koran was written as they were originally deliver to Muhammad. During the first part of his ministry, the sermons of Muhammad were kept mostly in the memory of his followers. It is only reasonable to assume that his disciples only became aware of the importance of writing down these revelations at a later time, which means that a large number of them, especially the older ones, would be lost. When the disciples did feel it their duty to put in writing these revelations, they used anything at their disposal, such as bones, leaves of Palm, stones, etc.

How the Koran came to us
Between 610 and 632 AD Muhammad received his revelations from Gabriel. His followers at first memorized these revelations, and later, as I have already mentioned, they wrote them down on anything that was available. Because of this, instead of there being just one book, there were numerous collections with different readings and traditions attributed to Muhammad. One tradition says that when Muhammad had a revelation he gave it as soon as he could in a meeting of men and then afterwards in a meeting for women. We know that Muhammad asked his followers to memorize his revelations, because of what the tradition says, but the history of the first writing of the Koran is unclear and confused.

It seems that after his death people discovered some papers where on was written some chapters of the Koran. However, these couldn't have been written by Muhammad because he didn't know how to write. Therefore, we are not sure who wrote these chapters. According to tradition, Abubakr, one of the leaders, called Zayd Ibn Thabit, who was the scribe of Muhammad and gave him the task of gathering all the various wirings together and copied them on paper. Rather than rely on his memory, he asked the followers of Muhammad to bring him the copies which they possessed which had been approved by Muhammad. In this way he was able to determine what the correct wording was for each of the verses.

Analysis of some verse of the Koran
Chapter 2 verses 4 and 5 states that the message which was given to Muhammad was the same as that which was given to the prophets of God in ancient times. Furthermore, these same revelations were give to Moses as scripture, which then became God's law to mankind.

Since God had delivered the law to Moses, who then gave it to the children of Israel, it seems clear that they were the chosen people of God. .However, Israel was not a descendant of Ishmael. Yet the Bible clearly states that the chosen people were from the seed of Isaac. In chapter 4, verse 83 it confirms that the Bible is God's word. Furthermore, in verse 87 of chapter 4 it states that God revealed the law to Moses and that after him God revealed it to other prophets. Yet all of these people were of the lineage of Isaac, not Ishmael.

The Bible states that the Sabbath day was to be the seventh day of the week, which is Saturday. Yet, according to the Koran, it states that the day we should rest from our labors is Friday, however, it doesn't provide any explanation why that day is more important than all the others or why it was changed from the seventh day.

Also, according to the Koran, it states that Ishmael and his seed are the chosen people, but the Bible declares this blessing was given to Isaac. Furthermore, the Koran states that tithing is 2.5% of a person's increase, rather than 10% as the Bible states. The Koran also teaches that Jesus is not the Son of God, but, instead was merely just of the many prophets whom God sent to man. Because of that, they do not believe that Jesus died on the cross to atone for our sins, but claim he died by natural causes. That also means they deny His resurrection from the grave All of this leads me to conclude that the Koran, rather than confirming the words of the prophets as found in the Old and New testament, actually contradicts them.

Jesus taught that we should love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. However, the Koran says just the opposite. In verses 178-179 it states that men of faith should apply the law of an eye for an eye. In verses 190-194  it says that we should fight to the death in preserving the path which God has shown us.  It further states that we should fight against those who fight us, and counsels the faithful to kill everyone who fight against them. However, it also adds that if the enemies of God stop their hostilities, then we are to stop fighting against them because God will forgive them because He is a God of mercy. But if they are stubborn and will not stop their hostilities, then we should fight them until there is no more rebellion against God's ways. Under the law of an eye for eye, we are required to treat people the same way they treat us.

In chapter 3 verse 67  it states that Abraham was not a Hebrew. Instead it says he was a Muslim. It seems that Muhammad can arbitrarily decide someone's lineage. The Bible clearly states that Abraham was a Hebrew. He was from the seed of Eber, and his name is even from the Hebrew language. 

Verse 84 states that they believe in what God revealed to Abraham (which was part of the law) and who then passed this knowledge onto Ishmael (although we don't have any record of it). It also states that they believe what God told Jacob and his children, including Moses and Jesus.

Verse 85 states that all who believe in another religion other than what Muhammad taught won't go to heaven. However, although they claim to accept the Bible, there is no mention about the "Islam" religion in it. In fact, Paul taught that the Law of Moses was a schoolteacher to bring us to Christ.

Chapter 4 verse 157-158 asks the question: Have they killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, prophet of God? No they didn't kill him. They didn't crucify him, because somebody else took his place. This other person had the same likeness of him. He who is discussing this is in doubt; he is just guessing. In reality they didn't kill him. God saved him.

In my opinion this is a blasphemous statement, at least for Christians, because it not only deprives Jesus of the  atonement which He offered for the sins of the world and the reality of His resurrection, but it makes Him a coward and a liar. According to this verse, Jesus allowed another person, who resembled him, to take his place, while he was hiding. And yet they still claim that He was a prophet of God. What man of God would behave like that?

Also, if we consider this incident from another perspective, we could ask, Who was the person who gave his life for Jesus? I would gladly give my life for Jesus if I believed He was my Savior, but I can't imagine someone giving their life for a false prophet who tried to convince people that he was the Messiah when he wasn't. More than this, it would have required all the apostles to be in on this lie, because they were the ones who testified to the world that Jesus had been resurrected. If this didn't really happen, as the Koran claim, then they too are all liars. Yet, each of them gave their life rather than renounce their testimony. Perhaps someone who is mentally incompetent might go to their death to perpetrate a hoax, but not twelve men (including the man who supposedly died on the cross in place of Jesus).

Muhammad claimed that Jesus was a prophet of God, yet the whole gospel which Jesus preached was based on the atonement which He made on the cross and His resurrection from the grave. Without these events, the message which Jesus taught and His disciples proclaimed to the world is useless. Either Jesus was a prophet of God or He was a liar. That means, either He is the Son of God and the Savior of all of mankind, as He claimed, or He is a phony, a charlatan, an imposter, and a fraud. And if that's the case, He couldn't be a prophet of God. So either way, Muhammad has got it wrong about Jesus.

Maybe Muhammad didn't understand this point, having never read the Bible, that the whole thing, the whole Gospel is base on the atonement, foreseen from the very beginning (foreordained before of the foundation of the world) and His personal resurrection, without them the Gospel is useless and would change prophesies in lies.

The Bible tells us that the apostles personally witnessed the resurrected Jesus. But besides them, He was seen by 500 people. The apostle Paul also saw the risen Savior. According to the Bible, all of these men endured terrible persecutions. In the book of Revelation, the apostle John saw the resurrected Jesus Christ in all of His divine glory. If none of this is true, how can Muhammad say that the New Testament is God's word? It is obvious to me that Muhammad knew nothing about these scriptures when he made such a statement.

According to chapter 5 verse 155, the law that was given to Moses was PERFECT SCRIPTURE. If that is true, that means that the commandment to keep the Sabbath on the seventh day is likewise a perfect law. Yet, as I have already pointed out, Muhammad changed the Sabbath to Friday without giving any reason for doing so. If the law Moses received was perfect then there can be no justification for changing it, yet that is exactly what Muhammad did.

As we have already seen, the Koran allows the husband to beat his wife. Yet, the Bible tells us to love our wives just like Jesus loved the Church and gave His life for it. Again, how can Muhammad say that the Bible and the Koran are both the word of God when they say opposite things?

In chapter 61 verse 6 Jesus, the son of Mary, announced: "Children of Israel, verily I am a prophet of God. I came to confirm what was revealed before me in the Old Testament, I came to bring the good news that a prophet will come after me: his name will be Muhammad." Yet the Bible makes no mention of this. Instead, it states that Jesus proclaimed that after He had gone, the Holy Ghost would come to teach and remind people all the things He taught them. Some Muslims say that when Jesus was speaking about the Holy Ghost, in reality, He was speaking about Muhammad. However, the Bible contradicts such a claim, because Peter explained that the scriptures came from the Holy Ghost. For the Muslims to be correct in their interpretations, we would have to say that Muhammad is the author of the entire New Testament. Furthermore, Paul explained that it is by the Holy Ghost that prophets spoke through men to reveal the things of God. If we are to follow the logic of Muslims, we would have to say that it was Muhammad who spoke through the prophets, even though all of this happened more than 600 years before he was born!

If we read John 16:7-14
It is clear that the Holy Ghost would have glorified Jesus and would have given His words and teachings, well I would say that to think that Muhammad was the Holy Ghost, it is just a minestrone without any sense
Why the Muslim believe this "Dogma"?  Simple, because an unknown author (think about it) of the Barnabas' Gospel (think about it) made a change of wovels in the Greek text of the John's Gospel. Practically, according to this unknown author Jesus would have announced the coming of the PERIKLUTOS ( A SUPER PRAISED) and not a PARAKLETOS (Lawyer) and so the Muslim accept the Bible, but are taking a clue from a book which is not included in the Bible, so what is clear in the Bible should be trow away just because the unknown author of the Gospel of Barnaba, probably made a mistake in copying the text.  Anyway according to the Bible they still would be short of a second witness because the law of the Bible WANTS  at least two KNOWN WITNESSES.

Now that we have looked at what the Koran says, let's look at the doctrines which the Bible teaches.

In Isaiah  29:18 we read about a book  that is prophesied to come forth in the last days. Then, in verse 11-12, it says that this book is given to one who is unlearned, but he cannot read it because it is sealed. Upon a casual glance at this verse, it might appear that God could have been referring to the Koran, which Muhammad could not read because he was unlearned and illiterate. But this verse doesn't say that the person who will be given this book couldn't read it because he was unlearned. Instead, he couldn't read it because it was SEALED. Joseph Smith didn't have much formal education, and was therefore unlearned, but he could read. Yet, when he received the Book of Mormon, a large portion of it was physically sealed. But even the part which was unsealed, was written in a language that he didn't understand. On the other hand, the book which Muhammad was given which he could not read was not because it was sealed, but because he didn't know how to read. Furthermore, that book did not result in the Koran.

In Ezekiel 37:16-20 we read of two sticks that were written upon. One was to represent the 'stick of Judah" and the other one represented the stick of Joseph. Leaving aside the disputes of what this prophecy means, it is clear that these two sticks (books) come from Joseph and Judah, who are two sons of Jacob (or Israel) who came from Isaac, not Ishmael.

According to what Mormons believe, the Book of Mormon is a written record of those who were a branch of Joseph, a remnant of the house of Israel. In Ezekiel 12:16 we read this about the impending destruction of Jerusalem: "But I will leave a few men of them from the sword, from the famine, and pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the heathen wither they come: and they shall know that I am the Lord."

Lehi lived in Jerusalem where he too prophesied of the coming destruction of that great city. Then, being warned of God in a dream, he fled with his family, thereby being saved "from the sword, from the famine and pestilence".  But the prophecy of Ezekiel also declared that those who were saved would "declare all their abominations among the heathen." The question we need to ask ourselves is: if they were going to declare all their abominations among the heathen, then where are these declarations of theirs?

In Ezekiel 14:22-23 we read, "Yet behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters. Behold they shall come forth unto you and ye shall see their way and their doings..." As we ponder this prophecy, we need to ask ourselves, How can others see their ways and their doings without some sort of a written record? As a follow-up question we could ask, What is the purpose of this record? The remainder of the above verse gives the answer: "...and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem even concerning all that I have brought upon it and they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it. Saith the Lord God." The Book of Mormon easily fulfills these words of Ezekiel.

In Isaiah 43:9,19,21-22 we read, "Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: Who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, it is true..... Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers, in the desert. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. But thou hast not called upon me,O Jacob, but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel."

As for the Church of Jesus Christ of the latter day saints, Muhammad's claim that he was the last prophet and that the Koran is the last and ultimate revelation from God is viewed as an attack upon the Book of Mormon  and upon their view that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

An interesting and very intriguing problem arises from the fact that the angel Gabriel who grave the revelations to Muhammad was the same angle who revealed to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Yet, how  could Gabriel say that Jesus was to be the promised Savior, if Jesus sent another person to die in his place and then convinced His disciples to lie about it?

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