13.5. The Claim of prophecies about Mohammed in the Bible
The fifth and final point which we shall look at concerns Muslim interpretations of certain Biblical passages which they have taken to mean something quite different to the Christian understanding. These passages are claimed to refer to Mohammed, based on a Qur’anic verse in which Jesus said to the Israelites:
The name Ahmad has the same root letters in Arabic as Mohammed, and thus it is taken to refer to Mohammed. As a result, Muslims in general believe there must be prophecies about Mohammed in the Bible. Some think that Jews and Christians have removed them while some think they are still there if you just decrypt the text. There are hundreds of books about this, suggesting Bible verses which actually refer to Mohammed.
Some of the alleged prophecies verge on the absurd. Take for example Jesus’s words in John 14:30:
Some Muslim scholars see this as a prophecy about Mohammed, saying “ruler of this world” is a title befitting to Mohammed. Of course Muslims don’t see the absurdity of this as they don’t know that this title is used in the Bible for Satan!
Most of those alleged prophecies are not aimed at believing Christians who are familiar with the Bible. They are written for Muslims or for nominal Christians who know nothing about the Bible. All the so-called prophecies use the same methods of misreading Biblical text (whether deliberately or unknowingly), or of picking and choosing verses or even words and twisting them to make it mean what they want it to mean. An example of this is Deuteronomy 18:18 when God says to Moses:
Muslims say that “among their brothers” refers to an Arab because Arabs ‒ as descendants of Ishmael the brother of Isaac ‒ are brothers. Therefore such a prophet cannot be Israelite but must be Arab. There is one problem with this way of reasoning: Israel is called so because they are descendants of the person Israel (Jacob), not because of Isaac. Isaac was thus Israel’s founder’s father, not their founder, and Ishmael was the half brother of their founder’s father and therefore not a direct ancestor of the Israelites. If “among their brothers” didn’t mean Israelite, then it would make more sense to go with the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Isaac, a much closer relationship than the Arabs.
We also have to ask Muslims why they believe the alleged prophecies if they believe the Bible to be corrupted. Why should we believe the prophecies of a corrupt book? If they believe them, then why should they reject the rest? At this point Muslims usually claim the Bible is not totally corrupted but only partially, and the change is only in those parts that disagree with Islam. Again, that is an absurd claim with no support. Wouldn’t it be easier if Christians did exactly what some Jews did? Leave the prophecies there and say that they don’t mean what we think they mean? After all, Jews haven’t removed Isaiah 53 from their Bible; rather they explain it away or try to give it a different meaning. Furthermore, what exactly is the motivation of both Jews and Christians for denying the prophecies about Mohammed? Logically they should have a reason. Are we supposed to believe there are some people who changed prophecies about someone who will come hundreds or thousands ‒ in case of Old Testament prophecies ‒ of years later, and by doing so they received the curse of God and lost their eternal life, with their descendants also either losing their life or becoming slaves or at best second class citizens? So they lost both this life and the life to come for what reason? They lost their eternal life, and they lost all the privileges they could have had if they became Muslims ‒ does that make any sense? We must not tire of helping Muslims to critically think about what they are claiming and what Islam teaches about this life and the life to come, in the hope that God may grant them repentance into the knowledge of Christ.