Tom: 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 are a new listener to our program, particularly in this segment, we’ve been going through Dave Hunt’s book In Defense of the Faith.
Dave: Let them know there are several segments, Tom.
Tom: There are. I think Gary gave them some idea about that. But In Defense of the Faith—Dave, before we began recording we were talking about when this book came out, 1995-96.
Dave: Ninety-six, I think. I have a poor memory, Tom. I looked at it and, yeah, ‘96.
Tom: Ninety-six. The book is actually a compilation of questions that you’ve received over your many years of ministry, and they’re tough questions. We’ve gotten letters to that effect. As a matter of fact, the letter that we’re going to deal with in that segment where we answer questions (other questions from our listeners), somebody points that out, that we haven’t dodged some of the tough questions. And we don’t want to, because if we are dealing with God’s Word—the name of the program is Search the Scriptures Daily. If we don’t have God’s word, then we just have man’s opinion and we’ve got speculation and so on and what’s the point? There is no point.
But over the many years of ministry, Dave, you have catalogued tough questions, and they’re presented in Dave’s book In Defense of the Faith, which we recommend if you would like to follow along. We’re almost through the book, Dave, but still it’s a terrific book and it’s a great resource for questions that people have about the Bible, about the Christian faith and I think Dave does a good job in answering these questions.
Dave: Actually, Tom, I could write a number of books of this nature, but most of them—I have many questions and I have not been as regular or as well organized in keeping track of them, I must confess that. My wife could tell you I’m very poorly organized. Well, you know, you claim that you’ve got to have a rope tied around you to walk into my study…
Tom: Well, Dave, let me share this with our listeners. You used to live in Northridge, California, okay? How many years ago did they have a tremor, earthquake, and the place was hit pretty hard. Well, previous to that, when you were living there (you left before the earthquake), but I used to think, going into your study with books on the walls, with piles stacked everywhere, that it would be a good thing to have a rope tied around your waist so if we hit a tremor somebody could just pull my body right out of there!
Dave: Very good, okay. Anyway, I have many questions. For example, I’ll tell you one place where questions come from. I do enjoy the Q and A sessions at conferences. There may be a number of speakers, and they address questions to each speaker. You never have time to get through these questions, so I actually have stacks of these questions that I’ve saved that we haven’t gotten to. Now, we deal with some of them in The Berean Call—we have a Q and A section there—but we have more current questions that we deal with there.
But anyway, these are—but, Tom, these questions in this book are mainly from antagonists to the Christian faith.
Tom: Right. And they’re classic questions. They’re important things that maybe people from time to time have wrestled with or have had doubts about, and it’s just good to get into God’s Word, and that’s really all we want to do. We’re not saying, “Take Dave Hunt’s word for this, or T. A. McMahon’s word for what we’re saying.” But as the program title encourages, Search the Scriptures Daily to see if what we’re saying is true, because God’s Word is the last word, the final word, the absolute word, the absolute truth with regard to all of these issues.
Now, we mentioned your book was printed in 1996, and you have the next question—the reason I bring that up is the next question deals with something that maybe you’d think Dave just thought up the question over the last year-and-a-half because of what has gone on in this country. I’m speaking about 9/11, about the attack by Islamic terrorists on the World Trade Center.
But anyway, let me get right into the question and you’ll see how appropriate it is.
Dave: Let’s say by Islamic fundamentalists.
Tom: Okay. The question is, “Christians claim that Christ ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives and will return to that location in a Second Coming,” and of course, in the last few weeks we’ve been dealing with the second coming, the Rapture and so on. But here is another aspect of it. The questioner goes on: “The Muslims similarly claim that Mohammed ascended to heaven from Jerusalem. How can Christians be so sure that Christ ascended to heaven from Jerusalem and will return there, and deny that the same thing could have happened to Mohammed? There are more than a billion Muslims who believe in Mohammed’s ascension. Isn’t that enough?”
Dave: Well, Tom, there are no reasons for believing in Mohammed’s ascension. First of all, the Quran doesn’t say anything about it.
Tom: And numbers—I just want to interject this—numbers are meaningless if you’ve got an erroneous idea, if you have a false concept of something.
Dave: Furthermore, to be a Muslim you are converted—well, some of them are converted, because they were raised in a Muslim family. But they live in a Muslim country where if you abandon Islam, if you deny it, if you even question it, you could be killed—some of them you definitely would be. So when you are threatening someone with death, what they say they believe, that’s no criteria! You would be afraid not to believe it.
Okay, so the fact that, well, there is probably 1.3 billion now that believe this, that’s no basis…
Tom: Dave, can I back up a little bit? Because what you just said with regard to what goes on in Islamic countries about what they are forced to believe—let me quote from the Quran. This is Surah 4:89: “They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve [talking about infidels] that ye may be upon a level with them. So choose not friends from them until they forsake their homes in the way of Allah. If they turn back to enmity, then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them.” So I think that’s pretty straight forward. You disbelieve, it can be the death penalty.
Dave: Well, it is for sure in a Muslim country, Saudi Arabia for example, and this is because Mohammed said, “Whoever relinquishes his faith, kill him.” And in the Wars of Apostasy, when former Muslims—I mean, Muslims by the thousands tried to abandon Islam after the death of Mohammed, they were slaughtered by the tens of thousands (some historians say 70,000). So the point I’m trying to make is if you are testifying to something under threat of death, if you don’t say that this is true they will kill you—you are forced to say it or they will kill you—how can you rely upon that? You can’t rely upon that. And furthermore, there are no witnesses, there are no prophecies, it isn’t even recorded in the Quran.
Now, in contrast…
Tom: Well, Dave, again referring to the Quran, it says there is no compulsion in religion. What about that?
Dave: That’s a statement that was made, a supposed revelation by Mohammed when he was in Mecca. Well, he had a handful of followers. He was in no position to compel anybody to do anything, although the Muslim will often point that out. This is Surah 2:256. But there are so many other verses in the Quran that talk about compulsion, that talk about using force.
Tom: So there either is a direct contradiction here, or it has to be understood in the way so it conforms. And there—as you said, there are more verses that deal with coercion…
Dave: More than a hundred of them. No, the Muslim imam would say, “That verse is applicable when we do not have the force, when we do not have the power such as in America today. But once we do have that power, then we enforce those verses in the Quran,” and that’s exactly what Mohammed did.
Okay, but I’m trying to get to a contrast here, Tom. In contrast to the Muslims who, under threat of death, must testify that this is the truth, we have the witnesses—no witnesses for Mohammed’s ascension. We have witnesses to the resurrection of Christ and His ascension who were threatened with death if they said it was true, and they still said it was true. They died testifying to facts. They said He did ascend, He did rise from the dead. “You can kill us if you want to, we cannot deny the truth.” Now there’s one huge difference.
We have prophecies proving that Christ is the Messiah, proving that He would tell the truth. We have prophecies for what He did. He did miracles! Mohammed did no miracles, not one miracle. In fact, they challenged him to do some miracles, and he said he couldn’t do them. Mohammed said, “I’m not even sure where I’m going when I die.”
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” So we have big differences.
But an important point is—this is Surah 17:1 in the Quran—it talks about al-Aqsa, the Far Place of Worship…
Tom: I have it here, let me read it. This is Surah 17:1, as you mentioned. It says, “Glorified be He Who carried His servant by night from the Inviolable Place of Worship to the Far distant place of worship the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, that We might show him of Our tokens! Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer.”
Dave: Okay, Tom, so the Far Place of Worship—al-Aqsa is the word in the Arabic, that’s why they call it the al-Aqsa Mosque, all right? But it doesn’t say that this is Jerusalem. It doesn’t say this is where they have the Dome of the Rock. And if it were, if they had thought so when they built the Dome of the Rock, they would have put that verse—there are many verses from the Quran, as you know, inscribed in Arabic, beautifully inscribed. Surah 17:1 is conspicuous by its absence. It’s not one of them. Now, if this had been the al-Aqsa, if this was the Far Place of Worship, if this was what that meant, above all they would have had Surah 17:1, a very vague description of some kind of a mysterious journey.
Furthermore, Jerusalem was never a place of worship for the Muslims, and there was no Mosque there. No Muslims journeyed there to worship, so this couldn’t possibly…
Tom: How many times in the Quran is Jerusalem mentioned?
Dave: Zero! Eight hundred and eleven times in the Bible—big difference! So it just doesn’t stack up. We have no…look we have no witnesses, we have no witness from the Quran that we can be certain of. In fact, what they say in the Quran testifies to this: it’s contradictory, because it’s not al-Aqsa. Jerusalem was never the Far Place of Worship. In fact, this idea didn’t come up—I think it was originated or dreamed up by Haj Amin al-Husseini in the 1920’s. He was the grand mufti of Jerusalem.
Tom: Wasn’t he related to Arafat?
Dave: The grand-uncle of Arafat who changed his name to hide his identity. Haj Amin al-Husseini, was a terrorist, a murderer of Jews, and I think he came up with this idea in order to make some claim to Jerusalem that they could enforce against the Jews.
But as far as the resurrection of Christ is concerned, we have at least 11 witnesses, men, all of them who died testifying to the truth of this. They weren’t threatened with death unless they testified to it, they were threatened with death if they did testify to it. They were killed for testifying that Jesus is the Messiah, but they went to their death saying, “He did raise the dead, He did rise from the dead, He did heal the sick, He did walk on water, He did open the eyes of the blind, He did ascend to the heavens. We saw it, we cannot deny it.”
Okay, now this is a very powerful testimony, because no one is fool enough to die for what he knows is a lie. On the other hand, not too many people are brave enough to die in opposition to what they know is a lie, and this is the situation with Muslims. They are stuck. They have to testify to this.
So, I see no reason why I should believe this vague statement from the Quran about a supposed ascension of Mohammed to heaven. There is no evidence for it even in the Quran and so forth, but they have built a whole mythology around this now. This was a magical horse with a face like a woman made up, painted up, and so forth, and he leaped from there to heaven… Well, it’s just mythology is all it could be.
And I’ll…look, any Muslims listening out there, you want to write to us, or anyone out there, give me a solid reason why I should believe this. Mohammed never did a miracle. Mohammed was a sinner—he acknowledged that in the Hadith. It’s acknowledged in the Quran, and the Quran says Jesus lived the sinless life. Now, why should I believe something about this magical journey to heaven? But I have every reason for believing what the Bible says about the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus. We have many more reasons that we don’t have time to go into.
Tom: But, Dave, that’s—I wanted to say it’s fascinating, but it’s actually frightening that now you have, on the Temple Mount, you have a mosque. You have the Dome of the Rock, and what you’re saying here is this is mythology, but look how it has affected the world today! I think in an earlier program you sort of alluded to something—how is this going to get resolved? You got some ideas about that?
Dave: Well, the Antichrist, we know for certain from prophecy—you have no prophecies in the Koran. We have hundreds, maybe thousands—I would say thousands of prophesies in the Bible both about Jesus Christ, where He would be born, the very day He would ride into Jerusalem, everything that would happen to Him, the betrayal, the crucifixion centuries before crucifixion was even known. We have prophecies about Israel—hundreds, maybe even thousands. The whole history of Israel laid out before us in the Bible, it has come true. What is happening in the Middle East today is a fulfillment of the prophecies!
Tom: The greatest proof confirming that God’s Word is just that: the very words of God.
Dave: Absolutely, but we have nothing like that in the Quran. Now, we…
Tom: Or any other supposedly sacred writings.
Dave: Absolutely. Not in the Hindu Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, you name it—sayings of Buddha, Confucius, and so forth. The Bible is absolutely unique in this.
So now, you’re saying, “Well what about this Dome of the Rock, and what about the rebuilding of the temple?” The Bible very definitely says the temple will be rebuilt. We know that. Second Thessalonians 2: 4, it says of the Antichrist, “He will sit in the temple of God, declaring that he is God.”
Daniel:9:27 says, “He will make a covenant. He will enforce it, in fact, on the many—the whole world.” I used to think why does it say many? Why doesn’t it just say Israel, because that’s what it’s about? No, because you can’t just do this with Israel. The UN has to be involved, the European Union, the Muslims, and so forth. The Antichrist alone will have the power; he will enforce his covenant. What will it involve? Obviously, it will involve the rebuilding of the temple and the beginning, once again, of the temple sacrifices, because it says, “In the midst of the week he will break the covenant, and he will cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease.” Well, you can’t cause something to cease that hasn’t begun.
Now, how will it come about? I don’t know, Tom, but I don’t think you’re going to have the temple sitting next to the Dome of the Rock. It could very well be that he will explain to them where the true al-Aqsa is, and he would have the power to—they would believe him and they might very well willingly move the Dome of the Rock. On the other hand, you’ve got such things going on up there now—you’ve got a bulge in the wall supporting it because they have excavated. They’re building the largest mosque in the world underground, and they are blaming the Jews now: “Oh, there’s a bulge in the wall, the temple mount is going to collapse.” I don’t know, it may collapse right out from under the al-Aqsa Mosque. I don’t know, not the Dome of the Rock.
But anyway, we know from prophecy that the temple will be rebuilt and the animal sacrifices will be resumed and that Antichrist will indeed sit in that temple. The Jews, of course, will think this must be the Messiah. You go to Israel today—well, the Messiah is going to rebuild the temple. He’s the one who’s going to bring peace. And Jesus said in John 5, “I am come in my Father’s name.” Now that was a word they didn’t know: “Our Father who art in heaven…” They didn’t understand that. “I am come in my Father’s name, and you received me not: another will come in his own name, him you will receive.” This is the Antichrist, he’s going to come in his own name, and he will be received by the Jews, probably the vast majority of them, until they realize that he has deceived them. They’ve rejected the true Messiah—they are going to accept the false Messiah.
Tom: Dave, talking about prophecy, this is the amazing thing. We’re going to offer a tape by Meno Kalisher, whose ministry is to Jews. He’s Israeli and he just goes by the Old Testament—not that he doesn’t love the New Testament, but all the proof is right there! As you mentioned, prophecy—you can put together almost an exact scenario of what took place on Calvary’s Hill from the Old Testament. The attitudes of the people, the details, right down to the Roman soldiers and what they did. It’s all laid out 800 years before Christ, 1,000 years before Christ. It’s just staggering.
Dave: Here we have another very important difference. The Bible tells us the modus operandi under which Paul operated: “He proved from the scriptures,” Acts 9, “that Jesus is the Messiah.”
I love, for example, Acts:18:28. This is about Apollos—it says, “He mightily convinced the Jews, publicly proving from the scriptures that Jesus is the Christ,” okay, what Meno Kalisher does. This was the way they preached the gospe,l and I believe we need to get back to it.
So they would go in the synagogue, open the Old Testament Scriptures, and say, “Now, look what your prophet said about the Messiah. You cannot deny it was all fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore, He’s the Messiah. Let’s…”
It says Paul reasoned with them out of the Scriptures. You can’t reason with a Muslim, and a Muslim doesn’t even want to reason with you! They’re doing it in Indonesia today, you know, Nigeria, and elsewhere: put a machete to your neck—you either confess there’s no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet, or off with your head! Now that’s not reasonable. But the Bible—we have reasons, we have prophecies, we have evidence, we have a basis for believing what we believe, and that’s how we want to preach the gospel is based upon the Scriptures, and so Paul would turn to the Old Testament. We need to do that today.
But the Muslim threatens you with death. That’s what the Twin Towers coming down was all about, that’s what terrorism is all about. “You either submit to Allah, or we’re going to kill you.” Now, which one are you going to follow? I want to go by the evidence, and I want to go by the God who loves us and who wants to reason with us, and who gave His Son to die for our sins to pay the penalty, and if we believe in Him, we receive the free gift of pardon and eternal life.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, I’m reminded—the name of the program: Search the Scriptures Daily. Paul, the apostle Paul, went into the synagogue in the Greek City of Berea, and those in there, what did they have? They didn’t have the New Testament. They were Jews, they had the Old Testament. And it says, “They searched the scriptures daily to see if these things were so,” what Paul was preaching to them about Jesus, about the Messiah, they checked it out according to the Scriptures. That’s our encouragement to all of our listeners.