Thursday, January 27, 2011

Speedy's Media: Sources of the Qur'an

Speedy's Media: Sources of the Qur'an
Acknowledgment: This article is in it's entirety written, published and owned by Speedy Media.

Middle East scholars have demonstrated beyond all doubt that every ritual and belief in Islam can be traced back to pre-Islamic Arabian culture. In other words Muhammad did not preach anything new. Everything he taught had been believed and practiced in Arabia long before he was ever born.

Jewish Sources of the Qur'an

Many of the stories in the Quran come from the Jewish Talmud, the Midrash, and many apocryphal works that already been written in 200 CE.

This was pointed out by Abraham Geiger in 1833, and further documented by another Jewish scholar, Dr. Abraham Katsh, of New York University, in 1954 (The Concise Dictionary of Islam, p. 229; Jomier, The Bible and the Quran -- Henry Regency Co., Chicago, 1959, 59ff; Sell, Studies, pp. 163ff.; Guillaume, Islam, p. 13).

1. The source of Sura 3:35-37 is the fanciful book called The Protevangelion's James the Lesser.

2. The source of Sura 87:19 is the Testament of Abraham.

3. The source of Sura 27:17-44 is the Second Targum of Esther.

4. The fantastic tale that God made a man "die for a hundred years" with no ill effects on his food, drink, or donkey was a Jewish fable (Sura 2:259ff.).

5. The idea that Moses was resurrected and other material came from the Jewish Talmud (Sura 2:55, 56, 67).

6. The story in Sura 5:30,31 can also be found in pre-Islamic works from Pirke Rabbi Eleazer, the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziah and the
Targum of Jerusalem.

7. The tale of Abraham being delivered from Nimrod's fire came from the Midrash Rabbah (see Suras 21:51-71; 29:16, 17; 37:97,98).
It must be also pointed out that Nimrod and Abraham did not live at the same time. Muhammad was always mixing people together in the Quran
who did not live at the same time.

8. The non-biblical details of the visit of the Queen of Sheba (Saba) in Sura 27:20-44 came from the Second Targum of the Book of Esther.

9. The source of Sura 2:102 is no doubt the Midrash Yalkut (chapter 44).

10. The story found in Sura 7:171 of God lifting up Mount Sinai and holding it over the heads of the Jews as a threat to squash them if they
rejected the law came from the Jewish book Abodah Sarah.

11. The story of the making of the golden calf in the wilderness, in which the image jumped out of the fire fully formed and actually mooed
(Suras 7:148; 20:88), came from Pirke Rabbi Eleazer.

12, The seven heavens and hells described in the Quran came from the Zohar and the Hagigah.

13. Muhammad utilized the Testament of Abraham to teach that a scale or balance will be used on the day of judgment to weigh good and bad
deeds in order to determine whether one goes to heaven or hell (Suras 42:17; 101:6-9).

Sabean Sources of the Qur'an

Muhammad incorporated parts of the religion of the Sabeans of Arabia into Islam (Encyclopedia off Islam (ed. Eliade), pp. 303ff.; International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, pp. 1:219ff.).

He adopted such pagan rituals as:

1. Worshiping at Kabah
2. Praying five times a day towards Mecca (Muhammad chose five of the same times the Sabeans prayed).
3. Fasting for part of a day for an entire month.
4. The Crescent Moon Symbol- The symbol of the worship of the moon god in Arabian culture and elsewhere throughout the Middle East was the crescent moon.
5. Allah - The Quraysh tribe into which Muhammad was born was particularly devoted to Allah, the moon god, and especially to Allah's three daughters who were viewed as intercessors between the people and Allah.
6. Astral Religions - In Arabia, the sun god was viewed as a female goddess and the moon as the male god. As has been pointed out by many scholars such as Alfred Guilluame, the moon god was called by various names, one of which was Allah! (Islam, p. 7).

Allah, the moon god, was married to the sun goddess. Together they produced three goddesses who were called "the daughters of Allah." These three goddesses were called Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat.

Eastern Religious Sources

Muhammad derived some of his ideas from Eastern religions such as Zoroastrianism and Hinduism. All of these things were in existence long before Muhammad was born.

The Quran records the following things which are ascribed to Muhammad but in reality were previously known stories now attributed to him for the first time (Sell, Studies, pp. 219ff.).

1. The story of a flying trip through seven heavens.
2. The Houries of paradise.
3. Azazil and other spirits coming up from Hades.
4. The "light" of Muhammad.
5. The bridge of Sirat.
6. Paradise with its wine, women, and song (from the Persians).
7. The king of death.
8. The peacock story. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Relationship or Religion?

True and genuine biblical Christianity is not a religion but rather a close and personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. There are many religious people out there that think they have to add to the grace of God by their works. They are trying to please God by their works. The problem with all religions is that man is trying to reach God on their own merits.  Christianity teaches the opposite, God has reached down to man. The religious people are trying desperately to please God with their righteous works and deeds. It is not the righteousness of man that God accepts, it is the righteousness of Christ which is imputed by God to every genuine believer.  True Christians do not stand on their own righteousness, they stand on the righteousness which is in Christ.  Our own righteousness are filthy rags before God. "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away." Isaiah 64:6.  Salvation is believing in Christ alone, not any church, denomination etc.  Jesus had to deal with religious people in His days i.e. the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees were the conservatives and the Sadducess were the liberals of the day.  They were doing all the outward religious practices, the looked and acted holy and people thought of them as the most spiritual people.  Jesus confronted them on many occasions about their religious behaviors and teachings. The religious people thought that they obeyed the law of Moses perfectly. They thought that they have kept the Ten  commandments perfectly.  Jesus showed them otherwise. In the sermon on the mount in the gospel of Matthew especially chapter five, we find how Jesus looked at the law.  It was not the outward obedience and fulfillment of the letter of the law as the religious leadership believed and taught, but it was an issue of the heart.  Here is one example, "you shall not commit adultery".  The religious leader would have boasted, "we never slept with a woman besides our wives, thus we never broke that law." Here is what Jesus said concerning adultery: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Mat 5:27, 28.  Clearly Jesus showed His authority over the law when He said, "but I say to you." He raised the law up a notch, showing them that it was not the letter, but that the law was written upon every man's heart.  It was a matter of the heart, the law was a school master to drive man back to God. Jesus also said: "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. "These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man." Mat 15:18-20. Personally,  I don't care how religious or good some may think they are, or how spiritual,  if the heart is not right, nothing else matters. How does God view man's heart? "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 17:9, 10.  People that are portraying themselves as more spiritual or claim to have more knowledge, often border on self-righteousness.  The bottom line is that religion, certain rituals, church membership, titles, affiliations or head knowledge that will and cannot save a person. Salvation is in Christ alone through faith. Genuine faith is demonstrated in good works, bearing fruit,  we are not saved by working for our salvation.  Salvation is a true gift of God and the person that believes and has received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior is justified before God. Christianity has no room for religion.  Justification by God is a one time deal and cannot be improved on or changed. Sanctification is a life long process in which God changes the believer more and more into the image of Christ. It is Christ that has justified us the believers before God and it is God that works in the lives of every believer until they are face to face with Him.  "..being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;…" Phl 1:6

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Jesus wept"

"Jesus wept." (John 11:35) That is the shortest verse in the entire Bible, yet those two words are so profound and powerful. Why did Jesus weep? Might it be because Jesus seeing Martha and Mary in such a grief and anguish over the loss of their beloved brother Lazarus? Jesus already knew that He would raise Lazarus in just a few moments, but He still wept. I believe that Jesus felt compassion, seeing the grief death causes to those who have lost a loved one. Death is not natural and came into the world because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Their sin caused first of all spiritual death i.e. eternal separation from God, and secondly physical death. When God made Adam and Eve, He made them perfect, they were sinless and in communion with him. They had a relationship that was close and intimate, and I believe that they would have lived forever in eternity with God, if it were not for that one act of disobedience. Just think about it, one sin and they were banished from the garden. God gave them the world and they forfeited it to Satan by their disobedience and listening to the deceiver rather than God. Sin brought forth death and with it dire consequences, the first murder, Cain killing his brother Abel. I can just imagine how Adam and Eve must have felt seeing the death of Abel by his brother as a result of their sin. And as we know things got worse from there, being separated from God, people lived after the flesh and the works of the flesh are evident even today: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like (Gal 5:19-21). I think that at the time of Jesus, people had lost hope and Jesus seeing this wept out of compassion for them. People were lost and felt helpless. Jesus came for that very reason, to reconcile mankind to God, to die for the sin of the world and overcome death so that those who believe will have eternal life with God. Jesus loved Martha and Mary and He raised Lazarus from the dead, not only for their benefit but for ours also. Jesus demonstrated His power even over death. "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25, 26. We may all die physically, but the spirit of the believers will be with Jesus at the moment of death. Mankind is lost and it is by the mercy and grace of God, that He has send His only begotten Son to die in our place. When Jesus saw the anguish and pain in the faces of Martha and Mary, He wept for a moment, but knowing full-well that He a few days later would lay down His life for them. Jesus loves us so much that He became sin for us and willingly went to the cross and faced the wrath of God which was reserved for us. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves, He paid the price and appeased and reconciled us to God the Father. "For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous." Romans 5:17-19. That is glorious news in which we as believers can rejoice in. Believers in Jesus Christ are justified before God and the righteousness of Christ was imputed onto them. We as believers have nothing to fear, death can not hold us and Satan has no more power over our lives (unless we let him). Just as Jesus wept over the condition of man, so should we have the heart of God for our fellow man, the once that are lost and without hope. Seeing the condition of the world should bring us to tears, weeping as Jesus did. It should make us wanting to share the gospel the good news about Jesus and the salvation through Him. Do we have the compassion Jesus had for the lost? Are we we willing to share with our friends and neighbors about the coming judgment, or are we just plainly satisfied with our own salvation? I hope that we all have a heart for the lost and are eager to share the gospel of truth with them. I hope that we all have the heart of God, the compassion, the mercy, the love that He demonstrated for us by going to the cross. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Friday, January 14, 2011

Judging others

It seems to me that some Christians are quick to attack and judge various ministries and servants of God. Let me say this up front , I strongly believe that we as believers need to speak out against false teachers, heresies, etc. The Bible even exhorts us to expose these false ministers and teachers and those who contradict the word of God and teach others to follow their example. But I see people on social networks and blogs criticizing true servants of God, like for example, Billy Graham. They are quick to point out that Billy Graham said this or he said that. Billy Graham has been a faithful minister and follower of Jesus Christ from his early days as an evangelist. Today in his nineties, he still proclaims Christ when appearing on TV or in public. His son Franklin Graham, carries on the ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and Samaritan Purse. Franklin has been raised by Godly parents and the evidence is shown in their faithful ministry and the compassion and love for the less fortunate and needy of the world. Their love for Christ is evident, exemplified by their world wide ministry that bears fruit and helps people all over the world in places like Haiti, after the devastating earth quake. None of this would have been possible without Billy Graham and the groundwork he laid. God has blessed his ministry and who are those who criticize him? They point to something that he may have said in an interview or on TV like the Larry King show, something that they may not agree with. Even if at times Billy may have said something that appeared to be compromising to some, I feel they have no grounds to persecute him as bad Christian. How many times have we said something that didn't come out the way we meant it, or was misunderstood or taken out of context? Some Christians find fault in almost anybody else but themselves, which to me borders on self-righteousness. Who are we to judge another servant of God? Who are we to judge another believer in Christ Jesus? If we judge, do we not do those very things Jesus told us not to do?

"Judge not, that you be not judged. "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? "Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Mat 7:1-5

"Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37

How many people have come to the Lord through ministries like Billy Graham's and others? How many have received the love of Christ and the forgiveness that He gives to those who believe?  The Billy Graham crusades have brought thousand upon thousands to Christ. How many have come to Christ by those who love to criticize and judge others? How many have they led to the Lord? I think we all need to reflect sometimes on ourselves. Judging comes very easily to us, it is our human nature. I catch myself from time to time engaging in criticism or judgment, which leads nowhere. We as believers should have love for one another and if some are found in error, we should gently correct them. None of us is perfect, none of us is sinless but we should all be of the same mind and spirit. Those who frequently love to judge others are divisive and cause strive among other believers. The are critical of others, not looking at themselves, they have a spirit of contention and not of love. Therefore, let us not judge one another. Let us walk in love and if some believers are caught up with false teachers or live in a compromised state, let us gently exhort them and show them their error in love,  found in the infallible word of God.

"Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand." Romans 14:4

"But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." So then each of us shall give account of himself to God." Romans 14:-12 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Simply teach the word Simply

I have been involved for quite some time now using social networks and other internet sites to post Christian oriented videos, writing from a biblical perspective. I have made many friends (some enemies) and met some very interesting people. It is a blessing to see so many people using the internet and various sites to promote and proclaim the gospel. The whole world is within reach, people from all over the world are just a few mouse clicks away. There are many people out there that are lost and seeking for the truth.  Many have questions about the Christian faith, what we believe and why we believe and how to live the Christian life. Questions like, why is Jesus the only way to salvation and to heaven, and  why do Christians believe that the Bible is the infallible and true word of God? What is the difference between Jesus or Muhammad, Buddha, Krishna and other spiritual philosophies?  What is the difference between Christianity and Islam or any other religion, do we not all believe in the same God? Are there not many path that lead to everlasting life and eternity besides Jesus?  These and many other questions are asked every day by people that are truly seeking. What a great opportunity for us as believers to share our faith with them. I believe that if we study the word of God and present the gospel in it's purest form, that many will see that the gospel is very simple. God has made salvation available for those who want it and there are no ladders to climb, nirvana's to reach or fences to break down. The difference between Christianity and other religions is that in religion man is trying to reach up to God. All religions are man centered. Christianity is quite the opposite, God reaches down to fallen man and that is much easier for me to comprehend than working for my salvation and proofing myself to God, never knowing if I will ever be good enough. Christians are not perfect or better people than anybody else, Christians are sinners that have been forgiven because they have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Heaven is not full of good people, heaven is full of forgiven people. God by His mercy and His grace has reconciled us to Him through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and shed blood on the cross. The gospel means good news and we as Christians have good news to share: God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16.  That is the good news, Jesus who knew no sin was made sin for us. Unfortunately, there are those on the same internet sites that are proclaiming to be Christians, complicating the word of God. They have perverted the gospel, twisted the truth and compromised the word of God. They are false teachers, they are wolves in sheep's clothing, drawing people into their destructive heresies. They are misleading many onto the broad road that leads to destruction, missing the narrow gate. They pose as wise men, fulfilling their desires of the flesh and prey on the weak. Followers and disciples of Christ have an obligation to warn those who are being led astray and to rebuke those who teach the way of Balaam. The internet can be used for the furthering of the kingdom in a mighty way, but as we all know it also can be used to destroy and kill. Satan is not sleeping, he is never resting, neither should we. He knows his time is coming to an end and he is trying to keep as many as possible away from the truth. This is where I think we as true and genuine believers can make a difference. We may not be perfect, but we can be honest and share the truth so that many can be saved and find the true and simple way which is only through Jesus Christ. God is not the author of confusion and if we proclaim and teach the word for what it is and not make it into what it is not, chance are that people will listen. Simply teach the word simply. The gospel is foolishness to the world. The gospel is simple, lets us keep it simple and explain the gospel in a simple unadulterated way. Let us have the heart of God, loving one another and care for each other. Let us proclaim the truth to the world as God desires it, Simply.

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1Cr 1:18

"For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." 1Cr 1:21

"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD." 1Cr 1:25-31

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Christian Dilemma

"Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…Phl 1:27

"Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." Phl 2:1, 2

When Paul made these statement to the Church in Philippi, division and false teaching had already crept into the churches. Paul exhorted the believers to be like minded and to be of one spirit and of one mind. Just as in the past, we see much division in the body of Christ today. We have denominations that vary in doctrine i.e. teachings. Some are so liberal that they deny the inerrancy of the scriptures. Pastors today preach a seeker friendly message from the pulpit in order not to offend anybody. Many are driven by the prosperity gospel, thinking God is a ATM machine and others have embraced the "green gospel".  Paul and the other apostles had to deal with a lot of false teachers, deceivers and heretics. Looking at Christianity today around the world, the picture is not much different. Some churches have completely departed from the faith, denying sin, denying the deity of Christ His blood sacrifice on the cross and they do not want to talk about hell at all. The goal is to make people comfortable and cozy by preaching a watered down gospel, which really is no gospel at all. I have heard someone say that if John Wesley, who founded the Methodist church, would preach a sermon today,  he would be kicked out of his own church. There are so many divisions within the church today that it can get very confusing to the unbelievers who may be seeking God and instead are getting bombarded with different doctrines. How is it that if we all read the same book, come up with so many different opinions, views and teachings? Are we not suppose to have the same Holy Spirit living within us and teachings us all the same truth? How is it that some that call themselves Christians come up with false teachings, taking scriptures and twisting them to fit their own theology? Could it be that many that claim to be Christians never really study the Bible and rather listen with itching ears what others teach? They follow men rather than the word of God. They call themselves Calvinist, Armenians, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and the list goes on and on. Every one of them claims to have the truth, but obviously are not of the same mind and spirit as Paul exhorted us to be. The Bible is the infallible word of God and the absolute truth, by which we must abide. It is the responsibility of every believer to study the Bible and to know the word, so that they would not listen to false teachings or getting trapped into legalism.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2Timothy 2:15

Paul is making it very clear, we as believers need to study the word with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth and if we do we will not listen to false doctrine. We who know the word will not be lead astray from the truth and we will have the knowledge to defend the truth against those who are contrary to the teaching of the Bible.  The Roman Catholic Church kept the people in darkness for over 1100 years, telling the people that they can not understand the Bible and that they need to be taught by the priest, rather than reading and learning for themselves. Until today, most Roman Catholics don't know the Bible. Many believers in other denominational churches are in the same boat, because they are not getting encouraged by their pastors to read and study the Bible. I believe that knowing the word of God, by studying and attending a Bible believing and teaching church is crucial to every believer. If not, many that confess to be Christian can easily be drawn into false teachings and liberal views and there is a  danger to fall into the hands of a cult or legalistic oriented church. These false fellowships are all over the place and many are drawn to these movements like the Toronto blessings, the Holy laughter movement, the emergent church headed by Brian McLaren and Rob Bell and the many seeker friendly, make me feel good churches. The Christian dilemma is that we look divided, striving with one another and are not of the same mind and spirit. To the outsider, the churches do appear to be divided and striving against each other. That is not what the Bible teaches. We as believers are the body with Christ being the head of His church. We are to follow Christ and His teachings and not the teachings of men. Do we trust and believe in Men or do we put our faith and trust solely in Christ Jesus? 

"For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?" 1Cr 1:11-13

Just as in Paul's days, today we have many that follow certain men and their teachings rather than being one and all in Christ. Christ is all sufficient and we do not need anybody to lead us into the truth. God has given us His truth and it is not hidden or in secret for some select people. God wants us to know the truth and it is revealed in His word. Christians, I exhort you to read and study God's word, the word of truth.

"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32