Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
If you’re new to the program or missed the last few weeks, we’re going through Dave Hunt’s book A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy. And last week we discussed the critical differences between the Muslim god Allah and the God of the Bible. And, Dave, I quoted from the Roman Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council document that accepted Allah as the same God worshiped by Christians and Jews. And we explained why that could not be true.
Nevertheless, the document states that “Muslims,” (I’m quoting) “hold to the faith of Abraham.” In fact, Arab Muslims claim to be descendants of Abraham and Ishmael, which is disputable, and that Abraham and Ishmael built and worshiped at the Kaaba in Mecca. Now, Dave, what do all these claims—and what do we know about Abraham historically?
Dave: Well, the Bible tells us a great deal about Abraham. And at the beginning, Muhammad supported the Bible. He was trying to convert Jews and Christians to accept him as the great prophet of Allah. Well, they didn’t worship Allah. Allah was a pagan deity, as we explained last week, the chief idol in the Kaaba, and the Christians and the Jews did not go to the Kaaba. That was what the pagan Arabs did. Then when they would not accept him, then he turned against them—began to persecute and kill them. He eventually killed every Jew in the Arabian Peninsula except for those who escaped.
And then the Qur’an begins to contradict the Bible. Well, the Bible is very clear. If you turn to Genesis 17—and we don’t have time to read it; we have limited time in this section—of course, in chapter 16, we have the birth of Ishmael. Ishmael was not the son of promise; he’s the son of unbelief, disobedience, and that was not the son that God promised. But Sarah could not have a child, and so she said, “Why don’t you go into my maid, Hagar, and she’ll give you a child.”
So Abraham did, in disobedience of God, in unbelief, and that brought forth Ishmael, and the problems began and are still here today.
But in chapter 17, God renews His promise to Abraham; He says, “I’m going to give you a son by your wife, Sarah.”
And Abraham laughs. He says, “That’s not possible. You know…you gave a son, Ishmael. Ishmael’s a good boy. I love Ishmael. I’m happy with Ishmael. Isn’t that enough?”
So we have that very declaration by Abraham, and God says, “No, I am going to give you a son by your wife, Sarah.”
And let me read verse 19, Genesis:17:19: “God said, “Sarah, thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed, and thou shalt call his name Isaac, and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.”
So the God of the Bible is called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Never called the God of Abraham and Ishmael. Never called the God of Ishmael. He’s called the God of Israel 203 times. Now, God goes on in verse 20, says He’ll bless Ishmael, make him a great nation, and so forth. Verse 21: “But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.”
Well, then what do the Muslims do with that? Well, they say, “Yeah, the Bible was okay at first, but it got messed up.”
Well, we have manuscripts before Muhammad and after Muhammad, and there is no change in any of them. Furthermore, the Bible, as we’ve mentioned—40 different authors over a period of 1,600 years; most of them didn’t know one another, came from different times in history, different cultures. There is a continuity all through this Bible. It is so interwoven, interrelated, with hundreds and hundreds of prophecies, themes that run all the way through. You couldn’t possibly rewrite the Bible and change it around.
Whereas the Qur’an—we have to take Muhammad’s word for it. We just have one man. In the Bible, we have 39 witnesses for every author. And there are no prophecies in the Qur’an; there’s no corroborating evidence in the Qur’an like we have in the Bible.
Now, the Arabs, of course, insist upon this, and as you mentioned, it’s debatable as to how much of the blood of Ishmael is in the descendants today. You read the Bible, you find out that the descendants of Ishmael intermarried with those of Esau, the Edomites, with the Midianites, even with the Hittites—they were a nomadic people. Whereas the Jews, as God said in Genesis 15, they became slaves in a foreign country—turned out to be Egypt—for 400 years they were isolated. They could not intermarry. They became an identifiable ethnic group of people, and they were led en masse into the Promised Land.
Furthermore, Tom, we don’t have time, but we could quote many passages in the Qur’an, interestingly, where the Qur’an says that God gave that land—the Promised Land—to the Jews! That He led them across the Red Sea, that Pharaoh pursued them, and Allah says, “And I drowned Pharaoh and all of his hosts in the Red Sea. Go into the land which Allah has given you, and so forth. So you’ve got a pretty tough job for the Muslims now to claim that the land belongs to the descendants of Ishmael. Never is that indicated in the Bible, and, in fact, the Qur’an says the opposite.
I’m not saying that the Qur’an was inspired. I guess we dealt with that last week.
Dave: But Muhammad got these ideas from the Christians and the Jews, and at least he put them in the Qur’an, and there they are today.
Tom: Dave, it is rather confusing—in some ways you get the idea that Medina, Mecca, that area, is the Promised Land. Supposedly, Abraham and his son Ishmael—that’s where they’ journeyed, and, Dave, there’s a clear impression that that area, Saudi Arabia, is the Promised Land.
Dave: But of course, the Bible refutes that…
Tom: Of course…
Dave: …and so does the Qur’an. Abraham, we know, settled in Hebron. It says, clearly (there were no Palestinians there), it says “He came into the land of Canaan. The Canaanites were in the land.” We have that repeatedly. He settled in Hebron, which is part of Canaan. And this is where he lived for more than a hundred years. This is where Isaac continued. I think for over 300 years, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob—they all lived there. Then they went off to Egypt because of a famine. Well, Joseph was sold into Egypt by his jealous brothers. But he went there to preserve them, to prepare the way. And then they went off to Egypt for 400 years. Then they came back! And David was first crowned king in Hebron, established this kingdom that God promised, all the way up to the Euphrates River. And ruled the first seven years there.
Hebron, and the cave of Machpelah, which Abraham bought—I mean, see? There are too many details, Tom, in the Bible. You couldn’t possibly rearrange this.
And you once had a Bible that was right, and now you messed it up? No! It’s impossible. And Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah—they were all buried there. There is no Muslim that was ever buried there. And Ishmael is not the son—he’s not recognized. God says, “Take now, thy son Isaac, thine only son, offer him on the altar.” Strange altar, but this is what God asked him to do, and Ishmael was not offered there at all. He wasn’t even around.
Tom: Dave, I want to get back to Abraham, with regard to details, just as you mentioned. Now, you write in your book—this is A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy—you say, “After the birth of Isaac, we have one of the strangest stories in the Bible. This is the son of promise, yet God says, “Abraham, I want you to take Isaac and sacrifice him.”
Dave: Yeah. It says, “Your only son, Isaac.” He does not recognize Ishmael. Ishmael and his mother have been chased out. They’re hundreds of miles away now, in the wilderness of Paran, the Bible says. Does God want human sacrifice? No. But he’s going to sacrifice His Son one day, and He’s calling upon Abraham to sacrifice the very son that He’s promised him.
Now, Hebrews 11 tells us Abraham knew what was going to happen. “Well, God, this is the son you promised me! If you want me to kill him, I’m willing to do it. But you’re going to have to raise him from the dead because your integrity is tied to this.”
So, in fact, it says, “He received him back from the dead, as it were.” But then we have a tremendous lesson here—not only that we must give up our lives—we don’t love our lives. We’re bought by Christ, and we belong to Him. So you don’t hold onto things. We’ve said this before, Tom. It’s like the young man that says, “Oh, God, lead me to the wife you’ve chosen for me. But please let it be Joanne!” You know, if you’ve got in your mind what you want, how can God give you what He knows you need?
So now, He’s calling upon Abraham—the most prized possession: “Thy son, thine only son whom thou lovest,” He says, “and give him up.”
Well, Abraham says, “Okay, if that’s what you want, then I’m trusting you. You said that the promise was in him.”
Isaac is a marvelous picture of Christ—offered by the Father, and came back from the dead, but offered Himself. And Isaac—he was probably a pretty husky kid. He didn’t have to submit to this. On the way up the mountain, he says…
Tom: He was hauling the wood, wasn’t he?
Dave: Right. He says, “Well, Dad, here’s the wood and there’s the fire, but where’s the lamb?”
And Abraham said something prophetic—he said, “God will provided himself a lamb.”
And you know, as the arm is raised with the knife, and Abraham’s going to go through with this, and Isaac is submitting to it, the angel of the Lord stops him, and shows him a ram caught in the thicket by its horn.
Now that’s another powerful lesson. I mean, by his horn? Yes, that’s the seat of power for a ram. And Christ was the only One who had the power, who had the ability, to redeem us, to pay the penalty for our sins. And so, Christ, you could say, is “caught by his horns,” caught by who He really is, and by His love, and He comes to die for us.
Now, there is nothing like that in Islam. For instance…
Tom: There’s nothing like that in anything anywhere!
Dave: That’s right…
Tom: This is astounding!
Dave: That’s right. First of all, Allah, as we learned last week, does not have a son. He’s not a father, so he’s got no one to offer. In fact, it has been well said that Islam is a religion that demands that you give your son for Allah, whereas God gave His Son for us.
And what a picture we have of the Cross! And in Islam, of course, you hope that your good deeds will outweigh your bad. The only sure way of getting to Paradise is to die as a martyr in jihad. And this is the ambition of the little children in PLO territory! Because they believe Muhammad’s promise. But it’s a lie. It is not true. And they become murderers, actually…
Tom: Dave, not just the sacrifice—actually, a test of obedience for Abraham—not only is that unique, but the location is really fascinating!
Dave: Yes, it is! This is Mt. Moriah, and that is where God leads him. That becomes the heart of Jerusalem.
Tom: Now you call it Mt. Zion in your book. It it the same place?
Dave: Same thing. And later David purchases this from Ornan the Jebusite. It was a threshing floor—that’s another good illustration, and that becomes the site of the Temple. And this is where the Temple was built. Now, this is a holy site to the Jews. This is where God manifested His presence. And yet, it’s been taken over by the Muslims, just as Hebron has been taken over by the Muslims. No Arab was ever buried there. It belongs to the Jews. But they’ve taken it over. They’ve built a mosque. They forbid anyone else to be there. They’ve slaughtered Jews down through history who were living in Hebron, and they want to get rid of every Jew now.
And now, they’ve taken over the Temple site, and Arafat says, “Oh, there never was a Jewish temple here.” So you go up, and there’s the Dome of the Rock. You’ve been there, Tom. You stick your hand in a little hole, and you feel the “mouth,” this is the summit where Abraham offered Isaac, but this is where the Temple was placed.
Tom: Dave, a little aside here. Do Muslims believe that Abraham offered Ishmael?
Dave: Yeah. They do. That is what they say, that Abraham and Ishmael built the Kaaba. You couldn’t come up with a worse fraud than that, because Abraham built altars to the Lord. He never built a temple to pagan deities. And hundreds of pagan deities were eventually set up in the Kaaba.
Now, was that in opposition to Islam? Well, Muhammad eventually destroyed all of the idols. But he made journeys with his new Muslims. He journeyed to the Kaaba in Mecca. He allowed the pagan—after he took over Mecca—he allowed the pagan Arabs to continue to mingle with his new Muslims in the hajj. It was only later that he destroyed the idols. But Islam has kept all of the pagan ceremonies—all of the rituals associated with the hajj, with the Kaaba, that was practiced for centuries by pagan Arabs.
Now, we’ve got Abraham is involved in this sort of thing? Absolutely not! It is contrary to everything that the Bible teaches and that Abraham, stood for.
Tom: And I want to quote Surah 2:127—just, Dave, so people don’t think we’re making this stuff up—this is in the Qur’an. It says, “And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the house, that is the Kaaba, Abraham prayed, O Lord, accept from us this duty…” And again, that’s Surah 2:127. So you have him there, laying the foundations, building the Kaaba.
Dave: And the Qur’an also says that “It is a sacred duty imposed by Allah upon everyone to make this hajj [to make this pilgrimage].” But this was the pilgrimage that the pagan Arabs had made for centuries. So, what happened was Muhammad just took over. He did smash the idols, but he kept the name of the chief god—that was Allah—he kept all the rituals, he kept the Kaaba, he kept everything! He carried Arab paganism, associated with Mecca and the Kaaba, and so forth, he carried that over into Islam. I don’t think there would be one Muslim in a thousand today—probably in 10,100—who would know that this is what happened. They all think that Islam came down as a new religion from heaven that was revealed to Muhammad. No, Muhammad took it over, including Ramadan—that was practiced for centuries before Muhammad was even born.
Tom: Now, Dave, one of the things that you lay out in this chapter, which I think is so important. When we talk about the religions of the world, whether it be Islam, or Judaism as it’s practiced today, or Roman Catholicism—that’s the faith that I grew up in—it really has to do with human works…
Dave: That’s right…
Tom: …as opposed to divine achievement—something that only God could do. And I think you make a really strong point that Islam certainly is that.
Dave: Of course. Yeah, the “last day,” which cannot come until every Jew is destroyed on this earth—this is what Muhammad said; this is why they have such a hatred for Jews and determination to wipe them out—when that day finally arrives, the good deeds are weighed against the bad to see if you make it to Paradise. And you know, we’ve talked about that before—there’s not a court of law on this earth that would go by that rule. Your good deeds outweigh your bad? I saved the lives of two people but I only killed one person—murdered one person? Well, that’s good deeds outweighing bad. It doesn’t work. It’s only in Christianity. And Christianity begins back there with Adam, with Abraham, with Noah, with David. It’s consistent all through the Old Testament. These sacrifices were a picture of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. The penalty had to be paid.
Tom, forgive me using the illustration again, but if I’m a judge and my only son stands in front of me—he’s been found guilty by the jury of many crimes—I have to mete out the sentence required by the law. Instead, I just let him go free? You can’t do that! The law has spoken. There is a penalty that must be paid. And if I, as the judge, let him go, then I’m guilty of his crimes as well—I’m a partner in his crime.
Now, God himself, although He loves us, He can’t just forgive us. The penalty has to be paid, and this is what we…this was the picture in the Temple, which has been destroyed, replaced by the Dome of the Rock, which has nothing to do with forgiveness of sins. There’s no forgiveness of sins in Islam. There’s no way that you can be forgiven by Allah on a righteous basis.
Tom: Dave, there’s so many details, as you said earlier, in the Scripture that point out that only God could do this. Even the building of an altar—this couldn’t be put together by stones carved or shaped by humans. That was an indication that God had to do this, and only He could do it. You know, earlier I mentioned the Roman Catholic Church. You have a quote in here from…well, it’s the Post-Conciliar Document signed by Pope Paul VI—you know, this is a Vatican II document. It says, “From the most ancient times in the Church, good works are also offered to God for the salvation of sinners, particularly the works which human weakness finds hard. Indeed, the prayers and the good works of holy people were regarded as of such great value that it could be asserted that the penitent was washed, cleansed, and redeemed with the help of the entire Christian people.” That’s human effort. That doesn’t cut it.
Dave: Well, Tom, it’s in contradiction to the Bible, contradiction to common sense. There’s no way that doing good deeds in the future could make up for having broken the law in the past. It simply won’t work. And it’s a denial that Christ paid the full penalty for our sins. It’s a denial that Christ had to come. It’s a denial that there is no other way. In the Garden, remember? We’ve mentioned it many times. Christ is weeping, He’s sweating as it were drops of blood, He’s in such agony, and He says, “Father, if man can be saved any other way, don’t make me go through with this.”
“No,” the Father says, “there’s no other way. You’ve got to pay the penalty.”
And now we have the Catholic Church say, “Well, but He didn’t quite pay enough. So we’re going to add our good works and prayers to Mary and you’ve got to suffer in Purgatory, and so forth…” It’s a denial of everything Jesus accomplished on the Cross.
Tom: So that’s a perversion of biblical Christianity, but Islam has no sense of this whatsoever.
Tom: I mean, what? What could they have?
Dave: Well, it’s paganism. An appeasement. You hope you’re going to appease the gods, by this or that. But you can’t trust Allah. And we’ve given documentation for that. You can’t trust Allah. You don’t know what he’s going to do. He could change his mind. Even in the Qur’an he changes his mind.
But the God of the Bible, you can trust Him. He says, “I, the Lord, change not.” And He promises eternal life through the sacrifice of His Son. And Christ says, “I give my sheep eternal life; they’ll never perish.”
Now, you can take your pick of all the religions in the world by, as you say, Tom, self-effort, rituals, sacraments—or are we going to accept the payment that Christ made for our sins upon the Cross? It’s that simple.
Tom: It’s our only hope.