2:106 of the Qur’an reads:
Such of Our revelations as
We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring (in place) one better or the
like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is Able to do all things?” (from The
Glorious Qur’an translation)
edition of the Qur’an, The Holy Qur’an,
translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Surah 2:106 reads slightly differently:
None of our revelations
Do We abrogate
Or cause to be forgotten,
But We substitute
Something better or similar:
Knowest thou not that God
Hath power over all things?
the renderings differ, the meaning is obvious; earlier verses received by
Muhammad were replaced by later verses. And abrogation, the replacing of
doctrines, is of great interest.
early Muhammad received from Gabriel the message that the Jews and Christians,
people of the Book as they were known, and who shared a similar origin with
Muslims, were not counted as disbelievers.
from The Glorious Qur’an:
Those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those
who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabaeans
– whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right – surely their
reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall
the Ali translation:
Those who believe (in the Qur’an)
And those who follow the Jewish
And the Christians and the Sabians,
Any who believe in God
And the Last day,
And work righteousness,
Shall have their reward
With their Lord: on them
Shall be no fear, nor shall they
the differences in the two editions of the Qur’an, it is plain that the Jews
and Christians—People of the Book—were not counted as disbelievers by Muhammad.
things changed, due to any number of reasons, but mostly because of opposition
to Muhammad’s preaching from both Jews and Christians. Thus was born the
concept of abrogation, that is, the later truths replaced or superseded the
many examples of abrogation in the Qur’an. One is the oft-quoted axiom that
there is no compulsion in religion. The first sentence of Surah 2:256 reads:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion.” But this was abrogated or changed
such that Islam would later be required to be forced upon disbelievers. It is
interesting to note that Islam means submission, and originally it was by
choice not compulsion. That changed with the opposition Muhammad received, even
in Mecca, and especially so in Medina. It became normative that disbelievers
would either be forced to convert or pay taxes to their Muslim overlords. If
not, only death remained as an option. This is clearly stated in Surah 47:4
(The Ali translation):
Therefore, when ye meet
The Unbelievers (in fight),
Smite at their necks;
At length, when ye have
Thoroughly subdued them,
Bind a bond
Firmly (on them): thereafter
(Is the time for) either
Generosity or ransom:
From The Glorious Qur’an is Surah 5:33:
The only reward of those who
make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land
will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on
alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be
their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful
course, there are the Satanic Verses (about which Salmon Rushdie wrote), where
Muhammad at first conceded that a particular Arab tribe’s god and goddesses
would be honored, but later on, after receiving significant negative reaction
from Muslim faithful, Muhammad reversed course and condemned the worship of the
pagan deities. At one point Muhammad had compromised with a pagan Arab tribe,
the Quraish, regarding their deities, Al Lat, Al Uzza, and Manat, and had said
that he had received from Allah that these idols could be worshipped. While
this news thrilled the Quraish, the Muslim faithful were quite unhappy about
it. In time, the verses acknowledging the efficacy of the gods and goddess of
the Quraish tribe were abrogated. Passages to look to on this matter are:
Surahs 17:19–20, 22:52–53, and 53:19–20.
do not deny the practice of abrogation, but rather uphold it.
also see their religion as superseding or replacing Judaism and Christianity,
as an intentional and natural progression ordained by Allah. Islam, Muslims
believe, is the culmination of what is revealed in the Scripture, meaning the
Old and New Testaments. Certainly, Christians claim the Old Testament to be
inspired by the Creator God, while official Judaism rejects the New Testament
in terms of it being revealed by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
not the only religion to regard their revelations to be the final message from
God. This approach has been copied by many over the years, including the
Mormons; in fact, Islam and Mormonism share an uncanny resemblance. In
Mormonism you have an angel giving the book of Mormon on golden plates that
present a new and improved truth that abrogates all that went before, especially
referring to Biblical Christianity.
hold that the New Testament does not make much sense apart from the Old
Testament. We see the prophecies of the Messiah sprinkled throughout the Hebrew
Scripture, starting with Genesis 3:15:
I will put enmity between you and the
and between your offspring and her
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.
Eve was a type extending on and pointing to Israel the nation, then Mary the
mother of Jesus, then the Church. These entities are the “woman” of Genesis
3:15, and it has been understood in this manner down through the centuries. The
offspring of the woman delivers a deathblow to Satan, the serpent, while the
serpent merely bruises the offspring’s heel. And that is how it worked out,
just as Genesis said. The Apostle John much later wrote, “The reason the Son of
God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8b).
there is Psalm 22 where King David describes a man dying on a cross, and he
wrote it around 1,000 years before the actual event took place. Not only that,
but history tells us that the Greeks did not use crucifixion as a means of
execution until many centuries after David wrote his Psalm. Then the Romans
picked it up from the Greeks some centuries later.
Psalm begins with words Jesus spoke while on the cross: “My God, my God, why
have you forsaken me?” This forsakenness is the subject of Jesus’ prayer in
Gethsemane (see Mark 14:32–42). In verses 16 to 18 of Psalm 22 we find,
For dogs encompass me, a
company of evil doers encircles me, they have pierced my hands and feet – I can
count all my bones – they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments
among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
more from this Psalm that makes it clear David is depicting a man dying on a
eighth century before Christ, the prophet Isaiah described the suffering
servant of Israel who dies for sin as an atoning sacrifice to the holy God of
Israel. Following are just a few verses from Isaiah, but the whole of the
chapter, even parts of chapters 52 and 54, could be presented as well. Here is
But he was wounded for our
transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement
that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep
have gone astray; we have turned every on to his own way; and the LORD has laid
on him the iniquity of us all.
of Isaiah 53 describes exactly what happened after Jesus’ death on the cross:
“And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.” Jesus
died as a criminal yet was buried in a rich man’s grave, that of one of the
members of the elite Sanhedrin, Joseph of Arimathea.
did more than speak of the suffering servant of Israel; he prophesied that the
Messiah would be born of a virgin. The key verse is Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the
Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a
son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Two key points are made in the verse.
One, a virgin would conceive and give birth—“offspring”—(remember Genesis 3:15
and the offspring of the woman). And two, the child would be God. Immanuel
means “God with us.” There it is, the child is actually God become flesh. Here
is how the Apostle John put it: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”
(John 1:14a). We note that in verse one of chapter one of John’s Gospel he makes
it clear that the “Word” is God.
prophet Micah, long centuries before Jesus’ day, described His birthplace. “But
you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me, one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose
origin is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5–2). And that is just where
Jesus was born—Bethlehem. Almost hidden in the prophecy is the idea that the
one born is from ancient days, meaning one with a long history.
Daniel’s prophecy that actually describes the period of time when the Son of
Man would appear. And also the prophet Malachi stating that there would be a
forerunner announcing the coming of the Messiah, one crying in the wilderness
to prepare the way for the arrival of that long promised Messiah. And it would
be fulfilled when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to be baptized in the
Jordan River. John cried out, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin
of the world” (John 1:29).
is that everything about Jesus, from who He is, what He did, when He did it,
and what it meant was all outlined centuries before the events took place in
is utterly different from progressive revelation. In the Qur’an, changes in policy
and understanding forced Gabriel, Allah, Muhammad, or someone, to change their
mind. The Jews and Christians would be tolerated for only a few short years,
until suddenly not tolerated anymore.
revelation is God beginning at one point and moving throughout history toward
the end goal, His ultimate intention, which is to bring those made in His
image, those whom He called to be His chosen people, to once again have perfect
fellowship with Him in paradise.
difference between Islam and Biblical Christianity could not be greater.
Two More Little Things:
depend on getting lots of points by performing rites and rituals so that they
have a chance of going to paradise when they die. Stated another way, Islam is
works-based. It all depends on what one does. The sure way to get to paradise
is to die in violent jihad or maybe to build a mosque. In any case, it is chancy
since Allah is a deceiver and might just lead one astray. Interestingly, one of
the 99 names of Allah is Deceiver.
heaven to be with Jesus forever depends on the grace of God that is freely
given to lost sinners like me. I cannot earn it, achieve it, or work so very
hard, even die a martyr—no, nothing at all I do will make it happen, as it all
depends on God’s love. “For God so loved the world, the he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John
3:16). And even the “believes” part is a gift, as Paul points out in Ephesians
2:8–9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your
own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one my
have to mention a second major difference between Islam and Christianity that
involves the fundamental goals of the two religious systems.
intends, as commanded by Allah in the Qur’an, to dominate the world. The state
and the religion will be one under Shar’ia Law—this is the Muslim worldview.
This is why Muslims claim Islam is the “religion of peace.” Because, when Islam
dominates, all enemies will be subdued, and there will be peace. This will be
accomplished by whatever means necessary and is the reason for the horrors
perpetrated by Muslims who take the Qur’an seriously.
has one goal this side of the return of Messiah Jesus, and that is summed up by
Jesus Himself in Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has
come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and
Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
there have been times when Christendom got it wrong and allied itself with
military and political power—and forced conversions, as if such a thing were
possible, Biblical Christianity is evangelical. True Christianity has always
had its evangelicals from day one. By evangelical I mean all those, regardless
of what group they belong to, who go about presenting the gospel of Jesus.
Christians are to present the message of Christ, and the Holy Spirit does the
rest. It is as Paul says in Romans 10:17: “So faith comes from hearing, and
hearing through the word of Christ.” Jesus, both who He is and what He did on
the cross, is offered, simply preached, and those whom God has called will be
convicted of their sin, the Holy Spirit will reveal Jesus as the Savior, and
the miracle of conversion will take place.
contrasts between Islam and Christianity are nearly endless, but this essay at
least points out some of the more dramatic ones.
exact process by which Muhammad received the recitations from Allah that
eventually became the Qur’an, through the angel Gabriel, is unclear. Allah did
not appear to Muhammad nor did Muhammad hear directly from Allah. The
intermediary, Gabriel, was either physically present, or Muhammad heard the
angel’s voice, or Muhammad’s mind was “impressed” and such impressions were
passed on to others. This last idea is more probable, since it appears that
Muhammad would enter a trance state to receive the revelations from Gabriel.
is no nation or tribe known today as the Sabaeans. Little is know of their
“Smite at their necks” came to mean beheading.