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18. Bible and Qur'an Series
(A response to Ahmad Deedat's Booklet:What the Bible says about Muhummed)

2. A Prophet From Among Their Brethren

Muslims allege that the expression “their brethren” in Deuteronomy 18:18 means the brethren of the Israelites, hence the Ishmaelites. In this case, however, if we are truly to discover the real identity of the prophet who would be like Moses, we must consider the expression in its context.

God said, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren.” Of whom is God speaking when he speaks of “them” and “their”? When we go back to the first two verses of Deuteronomy 18 we find the answer:

The Levitical priests, that is, all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion or inheritance with Israel ... they shall have no inheritance among their brethren. (Deuteronomy 18:1-2)

It is abundantly clear from these two verses that “they” refers to the tribe of Levi and that “their brethren” refers to the remaining eleven tribes of Israel. This is an inescapable fact. No honest method of interpretation or consistent method of exposition can possibly allow that Deuteronomy 18:18 refers to anyone else than the tribe of Levi and the remaining tribes of Israel. Let us briefly examine the only possible exposition of the prophecy that can lead to a correct interpretation and identification of “their brethren”. We need only accentuate the relevant words from Deuteronomy 18:1-2 to discover the only possible conclusion that can be drawn. The text reads: “The tribe of Levi shall have no inheritance with ISRAEL. They shall have no inheritance among THEIR BRETHREN.”

Therefore the only logical interpretation of Deuteronomy 18:18 can be: “I will raise up for them (that is, the tribe of Levi) a prophet like you from among their brethren (that is, one of the other tribes of Israel)”. Indeed throughout the Old Testament one often finds the expression “their brethren” meaning the remaining tribes of Israel as distinct from the tribe specifically referred to. Let us consider this verse as an example:

But the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brethren, the children of Israel. (Judges 20:13)

Here “their brethren” is specifically stated to be the other tribes of Israel as distinct from the tribe of Benjamin. In Deuteronomy 18:18, therefore, “their brethren” clearly means the brethren in Israel of the tribe of Levi. Again in Numbers 8:26 the tribe of Levi is commanded to minister to “their brethren”, that is, the remaining tribes of Israel. In 2 Kings 24:12 the tribe of Judah is distinguished from “their brethren”, once again the remaining tribes of Israel. (Further scriptures proving the point are Judges 21:22, 2 Samuel 2:26, 2 Kings 23:9, 1 Chronicles 12:32, 2 Chronicles 28:15, Nehemiah 5:1 and others).

Indeed in Deuteronomy 17:15 we read that Moses on one occasion said to the Israelites “One from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother”. Only an Israelite could be appointed king of Israel - “one from among your brethren” - no foreigner, be he Ishmaelite, Edomite or whoever he may be, could be made King of Israel because he was not one of “their brethren”, that is, a member of one of the tribes of Israel.

At this stage, therefore, we have a fatal objection to the theory that Muhammad is foretold in Deuteronomy 18:18. He was an Ishmaelite and accordingly is automatically disqualified from being the prophet whose coming was foretold in that verse. The prophet was obviously to come from one of the tribes of Israel other than the tribe of Levi. God said he would raise up a prophet for the Levites like Moses from among “their brethren”, that is, from one of the other tribes of Israel. As we intend to prove that Jesus was the prophet whose coming was foretold, it will be appropriate to mention at this stage that he was descended from the tribe of Judah (Matthew 1:2, Hebrews 7:14). He is therefore ably qualified to be the prophet who would be raised up from among the brethren of the Levites.

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