By the Bible’s own standard of false prophets, the Old Testament includes false prophets. Your response?
[Editor’s note: This question is part of a series which are a believer passing along criticisms of Christianity from his Muslim friend]
That this person is being disingenuous is so obvious it makes me sad. Now, it is true that proving part of Daniel or of Ezekiel is inspired does not prove another part is inspired. But it certainly is evidence that the whole thing is inspired. It is not proof, but it is good evidence. Of course, I cannot literally prove every single verse is inspired. But the fulfillment of prophecy is evidence (not proof but evidence) of the entire thing being inspired. The hypocricy here is that this gentleman knows that there is NO fulfilled prophecy in the Qur’an, so by this measure, the Qur’an not only has no proof, but not even any evidence for being inspired. By this measure, even the prophecy that he is admitting in his answer to be true shows that the evidence for the inspiration of the Bible is much greater than that for the Qur’an. Notice that he concedes that these prophecies are indeed fulfilled in history.
He then says that if we do not have 6th century manuscripts then it is not inspired. Again, nonsense! The question is whether the original is inspired. It is the original that is inspired. He is demanding that we have the original, otherwise Jeremiah is not inspired. By that measure, then the Qur’an is definitely not inspired because we do not have the original of the Qur’an either. Our oldest manuscripts are more than one hundred years after the original Qur’an was written. If we apply this unreasonable standard, then neither the Old Testament, nor the Qur’an is inspired. But, of course, this is a silly standard. The question is two-fold. Was the original inspired, and is the currently accepted text from a later manuscript a faithful representative of the original. In neither case (Old Testament, nor Qur’an) do we have the original. This does not disprove that the original was inspired. Were the manuscripts copied faithfully, the evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls is that they were. By the way, the evidence for the accuracy of the Qur’an are similar to that for the New Testament.
The second criticism is perhaps even more disingenuous. Look at what he does with Jeremiah 23:30. He cuts the quote off right before the words that show his argument is bogus. “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me.” This guy stops the quote at “words,” but conveniently does not complete the quote “supposedly from me.” This is so dishonest, and proves he is not genuine in his criticism. What God is saying in the Jeremiah passage is that God is against the supposed prophets who quote from one another words that were not from him. If they were to quote actual prophecy–actual words from God, presumably God would not have a problem with that!!! The problem here is that these false prophets copy one another, and falsely claim it is from God. The problem is their false claim to speak for God, not the copying.
Then, let us look at the situations. It is true that Isaiah 2:2-4 is very similar (not exact, but very similar) to Micah 4:1-3. So, what is the problem if God gives the same words to Micah as he gives to Isaiah? If these words are from God (they are, as evidence from fulfilled prophecies in both Isaiah and Micah show), then these men are not copying false prophets, they are declaring words that God gave them. This has absolutely no relationship to the criticism in Jeremiah 23:30.
On Isaiah 36-39, these are not prophecy. These are historical narrative that ended up in Isaiah. It is fairly likely that these chapters were not even written by Isaiah. If the editor who put Isaiah in its final form chose to use historical narrative that is also found in 2 Kings 18-20 to explain the prophecies in the book, what is wrong with that? First of all, this is not even prophecy, it is historical narrative. Second of all, what is wrong with using the correct historical narrative in 2 Kings 18-20 to explain what is happening in the prophecy in Isaiah? Given that this is, obviously, historical narrative and not prophecy, why does this gentleman include this example?
About Jeremiah 48:44, this is a very short section. So short that the similarity may even just be coincidence, but, as in the first example, if Jeremiah recorded words that God gave him, and if God used the same words he had used earlier, this has no relationship to the complaint in Jeremiah 23:30.
To summarize, this is just another example of a man who has NO RESPECT for God’s inspired words in the Old Testament–the Injil of the Qur’an which Muhammad himself told his people was from God. In order to do his dirty work of falsely claiming errors in the Old Testament, he reads the Old Testament for only one purpose, which is to find “dirt.” How sad is that! Yet, in all his attempts he does a rather poor job, as these examples represent. His claims above are completely refuted by the evidence. My suggestion: stop listening to this disrespectful and slightly dishonest man.
Oops! I forgot to answer the third question. This one answers itself. The misinterpretation of this gentleman is so obvious, it is downright embarrassing. Just read Ezekiel 13:10. The “peace” that the false prophets are talking about is peace with God. The problem here is not war in the physical sense. It is war in the spiritual sense. There is no peace with God due to idolatry. These false prophets are declaring that everything is OK, when the people are in sin. This prophecy has nothing to do with peace versus warfare between nations. It is about spiritual peace. Now, let’s go to Jeremiah 33 and Ezekiel 37 and ask a very simple question. What is the prophet/What is God talking about in these passages? Here, God says to his people that he will make a covenant of peace with the people (Ezekiel 37:25-28). He will make a new covenant and God’s sanctuary will be with his people. He says, “My servant David (an obvious reference to the Messiah–to Jesus) will be their prince. Jeremiah 33:14-17 is talking about the same thing. “I will cause a Branch of righteousness to sprout up from David.” This is a prophecy that a descendant of David (Jesus is a descendant of David), will be the Messiah and he will bring peace and righteousness. In the context, the passage is talking about spiritual peace between humans and God and righteousness through the Messiah. Well, this is exactly what Jesus did. Through his death on the cross he created peace between man and God. Jesus is famously known as the prince of peace. Jesus was a pacifist who preached peace between people and between people and God. He brought peace to all mankind who would accept his message. If only all would accept Jesus’ message. Obviously, Jesus fulfilled these passages!!!! Jesus is a king. Jesus is the king of kings. Jesus is the prince of peace. Your friend is absolutely and obviously wrong in his claim that Jesus did not fulfill these passages.