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Disarming Armageddon

Beneath the three major world religions (Christianity, Islam, & Judaism) is the apocalyptic premise that the world is rushing headlong towards a global showdown of epic proportions. Each of these religions advocates being the true representation of God’s will for the future. Such differences seem to be irreconcilable.

There are contradictions between these religions that leave the causal observer bewildered. Judaism has long taught that a heroic, perhaps even divine King would come and restore Israel to a place of prominence. Islam disagrees with Judaism as through whom God’s blessings and promises followed. Judaism teaches that Abraham’s faith was tested when he almost sacrificed his first-born son Isaac (by his real wife Sarah). Whereas Islam teaches that Abraham attempted to sacrifice Ishmael, Abraham’s first-born son by his wife’s servant, Hagar. This contradiction between Judaism & Islam is the starkest and leaves adherents of both systems diametrically opposed as they are today.

The difference and the remarkable fact is that Christianity teaches that neither of these distinctions matters. Whether Abraham attempted to sacrifice Isaac or Ishmael is really beside the point. (Obviously Christianity would follow the Judaic teaching about Isaac, but it is still beside the point) For, it is in the teachings of Christ that we can have reconciliation between these apparent contradictions.

It is then interesting to see what John the Baptist had to say to those who relied on being descendants of Abraham:

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.Mt 3:9

Further, Jesus said:

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.John 8:58

And add to that, the words of Paul:

That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.Gal 3:14

So you can see, it is beside the point really by whom you have descended physically and genetically, but rather if you display the type of faith displayed by Abraham you then show yourself approved.

Why was it important that we took a moment to speak about the differences between the Abrahamic stories of each religion? A clear understanding of these differences will allow us to understand why the three major world religions are heading for a cataclysmic showdown.

But does it have to end up in a showdown? The secular world may wonder why all the different religions can’t just agree to disagree and get along. Well, the problem doesn’t end simply at which son Abraham’s lineage follows or even if people can become “sons of Abraham” spiritually. The ultimate problem comes with each religions’ teaching on the so-called “end times”.

Each religion seems to paint a scenario where there will be a great battle between good and evil, and that finally goodness and justice will prevail. The rub comes from each religions’ depiction of who the “good” are and who the “evil” are – or at least the adherents understanding of these distinctions.

In Judaism it seems all non-Jews are ultimately the evil, whereas in Islam all non-Muslims are evil and in Christianity it may be seen that all non-Christians are evil. Thus, with this kind of arrangement the world is bound to be at militaristic odds even if NONE of these religions are correct. Perhaps this is one reason religious ecumenicalists make the attempt to paint all the religions as simply different expressions of the same God. But any god that contradicts itself between different people groups is hardly a god to be trusted.

So, how do we disarm Armageddon before it occurs? Maybe some people (I’m sure some from each of the religions) would say Armageddon is certain as it is part of the plan, so don’t even try to stop it. In fact, some people are even trying to hasten it. For instance, there are Christian organizations that are specifically assisting in transporting people to Israel because these organizations believe that once the appropriate amount of people populate Israel, then Jesus will return – these organizations neglect to tell the people they help transport that in their understanding of biblical future, most of these people in Israel will be destroyed by the so-called Armageddon. Next you have adherents of Judaism that are in the process of rebuilding a central temple where they believe the Messiah will come and rule (even some Christians believe this). And then you have the Muslims, such as the likes of Osama Bin Laden that are attempting to bring about a scenario where the “Mahdi” (an end times “messiah”) and Jesus come to finish off all the unbelievers.

Again we come to Christianity and its so-called end times’ scenario. Now, most Christians would say Jesus will come back at the end of time but a closer reading of the Bible shows that Jesus and His disciples never taught such a scenario, but rather that Jesus would return at the end of the age. Perhaps someone will ask, “What is the difference?” But we should note that an “age” is a specifically defined time period such as even in science they define ages in terms like: “Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age”. To what age were Jesus and His disciples referring? Any Christian should know that Jesus and His disciples spoke often of the “end of the old covenant age” and the “coming of the new covenant age”. So, the question for any Christian would be, which age are we in now? Some Christian teachers try to slip in a parenthetical or gap age they like to call the “Church Age”. But the Bible speaks of no such age and it would do injustice to Jesus’ and His disciples’ constant teaching of the nearness of that coming age, for they used phrases like soon, about to be, at hand, shortly, and within this generation.

It may feel as if we have gotten off on another side note here but we have not. It is just as important to understand the true biblical teaching about the so-called end times, as it is to understand the teaching about who are Abraham’s true sons – sons by and of faith.

If we are to really disarm Armageddon we must continue to point out first to Christians that the Bible doesn’t teach a future end times but rather Jesus and His disciples spoke of an end of the age which did indeed come soon after Jesus left and then returned to earth as eternal King. The next step in dialogue with adherents of Judaism and Islam may be that neither Isaac nor Ishmael was in focus when it comes to the true sons of Abraham. Perhaps in this way, enough of them will end their centuries-long family feud so as to keep them from artificially bringing about an Armageddon that the Bible never intended to be played out as they assume.

In Christ,

Roderick

originally posted: http://thekingdomcome.com/disarming_armageddon

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Re: Disarming Armageddon

The following logic is what is contributing to the alarming conversion rate among Christians to Islam. Jews, Christians and Muslims have a common father, Prophet Abraham, the patriarch of monotheism. For example, Abraham married Sarah and it is through her Jewish children over generations that the following prophets came: Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus. Abraham also married Hagar and it is through her children over generations that the following prophets came: Ishmael and Prophet Muhammad.

Now one might think that is absurd.

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Let me make my case. by quoting Moses and Jeremiah.

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Moses predicted the corruption of his people and his books …

Deuteronomy 31:24-29 (Darby Translation)

24 And it came to pass, when Moses had ended writing the words of this law in a book, until their conclusion,
25 that Moses commanded the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, saying,
26 Take this book of the law, and put it at the side of the ark of the covenant of Jehovah your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee;
27 for I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck. Lo, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against Jehovah; and how much more after my death!
28 Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and take heaven and earth to witness against them.
29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and will turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and mischief will befall you at the end of days; because ye do evil in the sight of Jehovah, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

…and many centuries later Jeremiah confirms it explicitly and angry mode.

Jeremiah 8:7-9 (Darby Translation)

7 Even a stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times, and the turtle-dove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of Jehovah. 8 How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of Jehovah is with us? Behold, certainly the lying pen of the scribes hath made it falsehood.
9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: behold, they have rejected Jehovah’s word; and what wisdom is in them?

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Now I would to present my case by Abdul

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Legitimacy of Hagar and Ishmael:

Many Christians and Jews mistakenly believe that Abraham’s descendants through Ishmael (Muhammad and his ancestors) were excluded from God’s promise and covenant with Abraham (pbuh) because Ishmael’s mother Hagar was not a legitimate wife of Abraham, thus, her son Ishmael (the father of the Arabs) was not a legitimate son of Abraham. Therefore, they conclude that Ishmael(pbuh) and his descendants were not included in God’s covenant with the sons of Abraham (pbuh) and that this covenant was exclusive to Abraham’s second son, Isaac, the father of the Jews.

In what follows we will disprove each of these claims, in addition to showing evidence of human tampering with the text of the Biblical verses. The story of Ishmael according to the Bible is as follows: Abraham married Sarah (pbut). Sarah was a barren woman and bore him no children (Genesis 16:1). God then made a great promise to Abraham even before any children were born to him. Genesis 12:2-3: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Not long after, Sarah gave Abraham her handmaid, Hagar, to be his wife according to the legal Jewish custom of polygamous marriages (customary in the Bible among Israelites and even their prophets). Genesis 16:3: “And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife..”

In Genesis 16 we are told that after Hagar (pbuh) became pregnant with Ishmael, Sarah (pbuh) felt that Hagar despised her, so she dealt with her harshly until she was forced to escape from this harsh treatment “And when Sarai dealt harshly with her, she fled from her face” Genesis 16:6. The angel of God then appeared before Hagar and told her to return to Sarah and submit herself to her will and that “the Lord has heard thy affliction” and would reward her with a son called “Ishmael” (God hears) and would multiply her seed exceedingly. Hagar willingly bowed to the command of her Lord and returned and submitted herself to Sarah. In A Dictionary of Biblical tradition in English literature, we read: “The Jewish Haggadah identifies Ishmael as one of the six men who were given a name by God before their birth (Ginzberg, LJ 1.239).”

When Abraham reached ninety-nine years of age, Ishmael was thirteen years old and remained the only son of Abraham. Now, God promises to establish his covenant with all of Abraham’s “seed” Without ANY Exception: “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God..” In Genesis 17:7-8. God now informs Abraham that his covenant shall be given through circumcision, so Abraham immediately circumcises himself and Ishmael, the father of the Arabs (Genesis 17:23), thus establishing God’s covenant with Ishmael.

The significance of circumcision was also noted by Biblical scholars as being not merely an external act: “This was His own sign and seal that Israel was a chosen people. Through it a man’s life was linked with great fellowship whose dignity was it’s high consciousness that it must fulfill the purpose of God” (Interpreter’s Bible, p. 613). To this day, all Muslims practice circumcision. The “sign and seal” of the Abrahamic covenant.

We notice that God’s covenant was promised to be with Abraham’s “seed.” But if weread Genesis 21:13 we will find that Ishmael is Abraham’s “seed”: “And also of the sonof the bondwoman……he is thy seed.” The same arguments can be made for God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15:18 “the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.”

As we can see, this covenant was intended to be of the same generality as God’s covenants with Noah (Genesis 9:8-17), and David (2 Samuel 7; 23:5). God’s covenant was intended to be a covenant with those who are obedient to Him and follow his command, not a covenant that makes a certain group of people genetically superior and closer to God even from before their birth, such that they are his “chosen children,” and God’s prophethood and message can only come from their lineage.

When Abraham reached one hundred years of age, God blessed him with a second son, Isaac (Genesis 21:5). Isaac was born to him through his first wife, Sarah. The Bible tells us that because of Sarah’s jealousy that Ishmael may inherit with her own son Isaac (Genesis 21:10), she had Abraham cast out Hagar and Ishmael and send them to the wilderness of “Paran” (genesis 21:21). We are told that she was particularly angry with what she considered to be a mockery on the part of Ishmael towards her own son Isaac. This incident is alleged to have occurred after Isaac was weaned (remember this) as narrated in Genesis 21:8. Sarah now allegedly ordered Abraham to cast Hagar and Ishmael out, (apparently, in Abraham’s tribe, children who mock their brothers and sisters are to be thrown out in the nearest desert along with their mothers) Abraham obeyed Sarah and cast the “bondwoman” and her son in the desert and was blessed by God who told him to “hearken unto her voice.” Abraham gave Hagar provisions and water and put her child “Ishmael” upon her shoulder and left them in the wilderness of Beer Sheba in Southern Palestine. When they ran out of water, an angel appeared and conveyed to her the words of God: “Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.” God then showed her a well of water and they drank. Ishmael dwelt in the wilderness of “Paran” and begat twelve sons one of whom was called “Kedar.” As mentioned in 6.5, the Arabic form of the word Paran is Faran or Pharan. It means two refugees. It appears that the place took the name from Hager and Ishmael, who came there as two refugees.

The Muslims have a very similar narration of the same sequence of events in their Qur’an. However, in the Qur’an, the details differ from the narration of the Old Testament. Muslims are taught in the Qur’an and the Sunnah that Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, and Ishmael (pbut) were, all five, very decent and pious people. Muslims believe that the prophet Abraham (pbuh) received a revelation from God to take Hagar and her BABY, Ishmael, to a barren desert in Northern Arabia (Paran), more specifically to the future location of Makkah, and to leave them there. When Abraham began to leave, Hagar called out to him “where are you leaving us?” After repeating the question three times she asked him “Did God command you to do this?” Abraham answered “yes.” So Hagar said: “Then He will not forsake us.” When Hagar and her baby ran out of water she began to fear for her baby’s life and took to running back and forth between the two hills of “Al-Safa” and “Al-Marwa” in search of water. During this time God sent an angel who caused water to gush out of the earth for them. This became the water of the well of “Zamzam” which the pilgrims of Makkah drink from today. Once water was found in this place the Bedouins began to settle there and it became the city of Makkah. Centuries later, Muhammad (pbuh), the prophet of Islam, was born to the descendants of Ishmael. The rights of hastening between the two hills of “Al-Safa” and “Al-Marwa” have been preserved in the Muslim’s yearly pilgrimage to Makkah even to this day. The major differences in these two narrations, the Biblical and the Qur’anic, are in the OT claim that Hagar was (originally) left in Beer Sheba and not Paran as stated by the Muslims, and that this occurred when Ishmael was not a baby, but a full grown teenager.

This Old Testament narration can be found to contain obvious modifications from the following analysis: According to the Bible, Abraham was eighty six years old when Ishmael was born (Genesis 16:16). He was one hundred years old when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5). This makes Ishmael fourteen years older than Isaac. The above expulsion of Ishmael and his mother is alleged to have occurred after Isaac was weaned (Genesis 21:8). Muslims wean their children after two years. Biblical scholars tell us that babies were weaned about the age of three. This makes Ishmael at least seventeen years old at the time of the alleged mockery and expulsion. The profile of Ishmael in Genesis 21:14-19 however, is one of a small baby and not that of a full grown teenager of seventeen years.  Let us study it.

1)       According to the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible which was compiled from manuscripts even more ancient than those of the King James Version of the Bible, the verse of Genesis 21:14 reads “..putting [it] on her shoulder, along with the child.”

1.        Did Abraham put a seventeen year old boy on Hagar’s shoulder?? It would be more logical where Ishmael must have been a baby at the time as mentioned in the Quran.

2)       In Genesis 21:15 we read “and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.” Did Hagar “cast” a seventeen year old teenager under a shrub?? This too is consistent with a baby and not a full-grown teenager.

3)       We read in Genesis 21:16 that Hagar sat far away from Ishmael so as not to see him die before her own eyes. Is this the profile of a full-grown teenager who should, more appropriately be worried about his mother or of a helpless baby??

4)       In Genesis 21:17 we read the angel’s command to Hagar: “Arise, lift up the lad.” Who would be more capable of lifting the other up, Hagar or her seventeen year old teenage son? This too is the profile of a little baby.

5)       Throughout this story we are drawn a picture of Hagar doing this, and Hagar doing that, and Hagar worrying, and Hagar weeping, and so on while Ishmael sits where he was “cast,” under the shrub. Would a full grown teenager of seventeen sit under a shrub and wait for his mother and himself to die while his mother looked for water for him, or would he have her sit in the shade while he went in search of water?

6)       Even the angel did not address both of them but only Hagar, the only one who would understand. Once again the profile of a baby and not a seventeen year old teenager.

7)       Ishmael is always referred to as “the child” and “the lad” in the story. Do people usually refer to seventeen year old teenagers as “child” and “lad”?

8)       In Genesis 21:20 we read that after this incident, “God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.” Is this a profile of a fully developed teenager or a child who is growing up, learning, and developing?

The above analysis clearly exhibits evidence of human modification to the text of this story. The claim that Ishmael mocked Isaac and that this had anything to do with Hagar’s journey is an obvious fabrication since Isaac was not even born yet when this story occurred (Ishmael was still a baby). The reason for Hagar’s journey was not Sarah’s jealousy, Ishmael’s mockery, or the racial superiority of Sarah. It was only the command of God, pure and simple. In an effort to keep all prophets of God Israelites, even God himself is alleged to have submitted to, and even blessed the alleged jealous whims of Sarah. Further, if such elaborate additions to the story could be introduced into the text, then how much simpler to change the original journey to Paran to become a journey to Beer Sheba.

The Interpreter’s Bible compares the texts of Genesis 21:14-19 with Genesis 16:1-16 and draws the following conclusion: “The inclusion in Genesis of both stories so nearly alike and yet sufficiently different to be inconsistent, is one of the many instances of the reluctance of the compilers to sacrifice any of the traditions which has become established in Israel” (emphasis added).

As damaging and conclusive as this proof of the modification of the Old Testament is, still, it pales to insignificance before the infinitely more devastating proof of this same fact to be found in chapter 2.3.

Some people will now jump up and say: well then, the verses stating Abraham’s age must be the ones which have been (unintentionally) modified. The problem with this is that first of all, these numbers were spelled out in letters and not written using numerals.

Second, the transmitters of the Old Testament (the Jews) claim that every word and every letter was faithfully counted and preserved and thus, they can confidently claim that it would be impossible for unintentional errors to creep in.

If we are to believe that the most God-fearing people of the time of Abraham (pbuh) were in the habit of throwing children and their mothers out in the desert and cutting off their inheritance if they mocked their younger brothers and that this was God’s justice, then either:

1.        The ages are wrong, and Ishmael was not a teenager at the time but a small child, and thus, an unreasoning child and his mother are abandoned in a desert, and his inheritance cut off, because of this innocent child’s mockery of his younger brother, and because his step mother is jealous of his inheritance with her own son. Or,

2.        The ages are correct, and Ishmael was a full-grown teenager when he and his mother were thrown out in the desert and this totally contradicts the language of the above verses.

We also notice that even in the New Revised Standard version of the Bible, Genesis 16:16 and 21:5 state the same ages mentioned above. Is this not proof of the Qur’an’s claim that the previous books of God were changed by the hands of the unscrupulous few?

It now becomes evident that sometime after God sent down the Old Testament, someone decided that they did not want the Arab descendants of Ishmael to be included in God’s covenant with Abraham. They wanted it exclusive to the Jews. Therefore, the Old Testament was “corrected” in order to show that God’s intent was that His covenant be with the Jews only.

Now that we see that the original covenant of God was with all of the children of Abraham (pbuh) without exception, then we are left with another question:

The Bibledescribes in great detail the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham through Isaac which was fulfilled in Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, and Jesus (pbut). But what of his promise to Abraham through Ishmael? God does not renege on his promises, so how was it fulfilled? The Bible is, for the most part, silent about the promise to the Ishmaelites.

Why? Because just as Jesus (pbuh), during the time of the Old Testament had not yet come and there were only prophesies of his coming containing unmistakable signs but no detailed stories of his life, in the same manner, both the Old and New Testament contain unmistakable prophesies of Muhammad (pbuh) but no in-depth analyses and stories. The

Interpreter’s Bible admits that the Ishmaelites and other descendants of Abraham were “somehow participating in the Abrahamic covenant” (page 616). The coming of Muhammad (pbuh), the descendant of Ishmael, is the fulfillment of this promise.

Some people will claim that even though Ishmael was Abraham’s “seed,” still, “seed” is a lesser designation than “son,” and only Isaac was Abraham’s “son.” However, the Bible also bears witness to the fact that Ishmael was Abraham’s “son”: Genesis 17:23: “And Abraham took Ishmael his son.” Not only that, but the Bible tells us that Ishmael remained the legitimate son of Abraham until even after his death, Genesis 25:8-9: “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full [of years]; and was gathered to his people. And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah”

So was Ishmael a lesser “son” than Isaac because Isaac’s mother was Abraham’s wife while Hagar was not? Once again, let us read the Bible: Genesis 16:3: “And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid….and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife..” So the Bible also bears witness that Hagar was Abraham’s legitimate wife.

Once the legitimacy of Hagar as Abraham’s wife and Ishmael as his son has been established, now the objection of many becomes that Isaac was a better and truer son of Abraham because he was the son of the free woman not a bondwoman. However, this claim is not supported by the law of the Old Testament. According to this law, the first born son was to have double portions of honor, and even inheritance, and this right could not be affected by the status of his mother. Deuteronomy 21:15-17 “If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, [both] the beloved and the hated; and [if] the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit [that] which he hath, [that] he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, [which is indeed] the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated [for] the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he [is] the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn [is] his.” In the same Interpreter’s Bible we read the following comment on the above verses: “However, the law of the first-born had ancient sanction, and so long as it was accepted justice demanded that mere favoritism not be allowed to deprive the eldest son of his rights” (emphasis added). Abraham was eighty six years old (Genesis 16:16) when Ishmael was born and was one hundred years old (Genesis 21:5), when he was blessed with a second son, Isaac (pbuh). So Isaac was fourteen years younger than his older brother Ishmael, the first-born son of Abraham.

It should further be noted here that a similar occurrence is narrated in the Old Testament regarding a slave girl named Ruth and a landowner named Boaz (Ruth, chapters 3 and 4). Ruth, a widowed slave girl, was married to Boaz and gave him a son named Obed. Obed went on to become the founder of the royal line of Jews who, according to the Old and New Testament, were the ancestors of both King David and Jesus Christ peace be upon them both (for example Matthew 1:5-16). Not only that, but according to the same Old Testament, Ruth was a Moabitess (Ruth 2:2). Moabite women, according to the Old Testament, were women used to lure Israelite men into immorality and the worship of the pagan god Baal (for a related story, please read chapter 5.2).

So, if a slave woman of a nation of such ill repute among the Jews as the Moabites is given legitimacy among the Jews and can even go on to become the ancestor and mother of their greatest prophets and leaders and indeed Jesus Christ (pbuh) himself, then why is a whole branch of prophet Abraham’s children cast off simply because their mother too was a slave girl?

Jacob M. Myers, a professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary and a contributor to Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, is a well recognized leading expert on the Old Testament. In his book Invitation to The Old Testament (pp. 26) he states the following regarding the Nuzi laws of marriage of Abraham’s (pbuh) time: “Archaeological discoveries help us to fill in the details of the biblical narrative and to explain many of the otherwise obscure references and strange customs that were commonplace in Abraham’s world and time…… A Nuzi marriage contract provides that a childless wife may take a woman of the country and marry her to her husband to obtain progeny But she may not drive out the offspring even if she later has children of her own.

The child born of the handmaid has the same status as the one born to the wife. That is why, when Sarah wanted to drive out Hagar and Ishmael, it was quite objectionable to Abraham -because of the legal custom of the religion from which he came, he was reluctant to do so. It required a special divine dispensation to act contrary to that custom.” We have already seen how the “special divine dispensation” was a forgery.

Further, while Ishmael was the first begotten son of Abraham, we notice that Obed was the tenth grandson of Abraham (The Old and New Testament genealogies differ in the actual names). So, if Obed is given such legitimacy in the Old Testament as being a legitimate father in their most royal line, even though he is the son of a bondwoman, then Ishamel’s claim to this legitimacy is much older and more pronounced. Once Ishmael has been proven to be a legitimate son of Abraham and not only equal to Isaac, but according to the law of the Jews, deserving of double the portion of honor and inheritance allotted to Isaac, then the final objection becomes that Isaac was specifically chosen to be the child of promise. In A Dictionary of Biblical tradition in English literature, we read: “St. Augustine, in De civitate Dei (15.2), equates Ishmael “born in the course of nature,” with the flesh and Isaac, “born in fulfillment of a promise” with the spirit. For Augustine, Ishmael exists outside the realm of God’s grace; for this reason, and because of their enforced wanderings in the desert, he associates Ishmael and Hagar with Cain.”

As we have already seen, God’s covenant was with the “seed” of Abraham (pbuh), among who was Ishmael. Secondly, there are many verses which specifically single out Ishmael for God’s blessing. After the birth of Ishmael and before the birth of Isaac, God repeats his promise to Abraham to bless all the earth through his progeny. Genesis 17:4: “As for me, behold, my covenant [is] with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.” Also, in Genesis 21:13,18 we read: “And also of the son of the bondwoman (Hagar) will I make a nation, because he [is] thy seed. ……… I will make him a great nation.” So, not only is Ishmael a legitimate son of Abraham, but God almighty promised to bless Ishmael’s descendants just as he would in the future promise to bless Isaac’s descendants. Not only that, but God’s covenant of circumcision with Abraham was fulfilled in Ishmael long before the birth of Isaac.

In the Interpreter’s Bible we read: “Many Israelites did not want a God who would be equally the God of all nations on the Earth. They did not want one who would be impartial Holiness. They wanted a God who would be partial to them. So we read in Deuteronomy of the demands for a complete extermination of all non-Israelite people of Palestine (Deuteronomy 7:2) and as to the carrying out of that injunction read the harsh sentences of Deuteronomy 20:10-17.” Is it possible, in light of the overwhelming evidence beginning to come to light of the modification of the Old Testament, that the transmitters of this book (Genesis) made certain modifications to favor their own people?  Sound impossible? We have already seen the evidence.

Such verses as Genesis 17:21 and Genesis 21:21 do not exclude Ishmael from God’s covenant as some claim. The example of this is one who says: “I love my parents” and then a few days later says “I love my mother.” Does this mean that he does not love his father? Since God had already consecrated his covenant between Abraham and his son Ishmael before the birth of Isaac, and Abraham had already circumcised Ishmael so that he might receive God’s covenant, therefore, it was necessary for him to reaffirm that Isaac was not left out of this covenant even though it was established after the birth of Ishmael and before his own birth.

Many people point to the verse of Genesis 22:2 as proof that Isaac was the only legitimate son of Abraham. We read: “And he (God) said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” What is going on here? On the one hand we have verses such as Genesis 16:15, Genesis 17:23, Genesis 17:25, Genesis 17:26, and Genesis 25:9…etc. which clearly confirm the fact that not only was Ishmael the first born son of Abraham and a legitimate son, but he remained so until the day Abraham died and was buried. On the other hand we have Genesis 22:2 which claims that Isaac, Abraham’s second son is the only son of Abraham. To understand this we need to go back to the Qur’anic version of this story. In the Qur’an we are told that Abraham was deprived children until his old age whereupon he was given Ishmael, his first born son. Up until this point the Qur’an and the Old Testament are in agreement. It stands to reason that after having been deprived an heir for so long Abraham would become extremely attached to his only begotten son Ishmael. For all he knew then he very likely might not be blessed with any more children before his death. We are now told in the Qur’an that Allah (God) almighty decided to test Abraham’s faith. He therefore decided to set up a test for Abraham in the one thing which he held most dear to his heart in all of this world: His only son. God almighty showed Abraham a vision wherein he sacrificed his only son Ishmael to God. Upon awakening, Abraham realized that this was no regular dream but a vision and command from God almighty. When Ishmael reached the age of striving, Abraham went to him and asked his opinion on this matter. This was not an attempt by Abraham to escape the command of God, but only an attempt to better prepare his son. Ishmael replied to his father: “O my father, Do as you are commanded. You shall by Allah’s will find me to be among the patient.”

We are told that the devil then came to Abraham, Hagar, and Ishmael in turn trying to convince each one to disobey the command of Allah. Each one in turn did not respond to him and cast stones at him till they drove him away. This act is also preserved to this day in the Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah in the symbolic act of stoning the three pillars called the “jamarat.”

Abraham took his son Ishmael and placed him on the ground facing down so that he would not have to look at him. Just when he was about to sacrifice Ishmael God sent an angel to Abraham to stop him and to provide him with a ram as an alternate sacrifice in place of his son as a reward for his sincere intentions. He then further rewarded Abraham with Isaac, a great and pious prophet as a second son. This story can be found in the

Qur’an in Al-Safat(37): 100-113: Abraham prayed: “My Lord! grant me (a son) of the righteous. So We gave him tidings of a gentle son(Ishmael). And when he was old enough to strive with him, he said: O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you. So look, what do you think? He said: O my father! Do that which you are commanded. Allah willing, you shall find me of the steadfast. Then, when they had both surrendered (to Allah), and he had placed him upon his forehead, We called unto him: O Abraham: You have (already) fulfilled the vision. Lo! thus do We reward the good. Lo! that verily was a clear test. Then We ransomed him with a tremendous victim. And We left for him among the later folk (the salutation):‘Peace be unto Abraham!’ Thus do We reward the good. Lo! he is one of Our believing slaves. And We gave him tidings of the birth of Isaac, a Prophet of the righteous. And We blessed him and Isaac. And of their seed are some who do good, and some who plainly wrong themselves. And We verily gave grace unto Moses and Aaron, And saved them and their people from the great distress, And helped them so that they became the victors. And We gave them the clear Scripture And showed them the right path. And We left for them, among the later folk (the salutation): ‘Peace be unto Moses and Aaron!’ Lo! thus do We reward the good. Lo! they are two of our believing slaves.”

We notice that the major difference in the Qur’anic verses the Biblical versions is that the Qur’an claims that it was Ishmael (The father of the Arabs) who was to be sacrificed, while the Old Testament claims that Isaac (The father of the Jews) was the one to be sacrificed. However, if we study the verse of Genesis 22:2 we will find the words “thy son, thine only [son].” Isaac was never Abraham’s only son. As we have seen, Ishmael was born before Isaac and remained (according to the testimony of the Bible) the legitimate son of Abraham until AFTER his death. As we have already proven, the story of God’s command to cast out Ishmael and his mother is a fabrication. The only son of Abraham who was ever Abraham’s “only” son was Ishmael. This was during the fourteen year period after the birth of Ishmael but before the birth of Isaac. Notice how by changing this one word from “Ishmael” to “Isaac” an entire branch of Abraham’s descendants (The Arabs) are conveniently excluded from God’s covenant and it becomes exclusive to the Jews? Once Ishmael is reinstated as the one mentioned in Genesis 22:2 then the stories in the Bible begin to make sense once again.

In Encyclopedia Judica Jerusalem, volume 9, under the heading “Ishmael,” we read: “It is related that a renowned traditionalist of Jewish origin, from Qurayza tribe and another Jewish scholar who converted to Islam, told Caliph Omar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (717-20) that the Jews were well informed that Ismail (Ishmael) was the one who was bound, but they concealed this out of jealousy.”

Verily, those who conceal that which Allah has sent down of the Book and purchase a small gain therewith, they eat into their bellies nothing but fire. Allah will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and theirs will be a painful torment.” The Qur’an, Al-Baqarah(2):174

 

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