I thank you for taking your time out of the day to answer questions that I have. I am learning about Islam and while researching I came across an article about the prophesying of Muhammad in the New Testament. This was just one of the examples presented:   John 14:16  “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” (American Standard Version)  In this verse, Jesus promises that another “Comforter” will appear, and thus, we must discuss some issues concerning this “Comforter.”  Here is the claim of the Muslim apologist which I want you to respond to, please.

The Greek word paravklhtoß, ho parakletos, has been translated as ‘Comforter.’  Parakletos more precisely means ‘one who pleads another’s cause, an intercessor.’  The ho parakletos is a person in the Greek language, not an incorporeal entity.  In the Greek language, every noun possesses gender; that is, it is masculine, feminine or neutral.  In the Gospel of John, Chapters 14, 15 and 16 the ho parakletos is actually a person.  All pronouns in Greek must agree in gender with the word to which they refer and the pronoun “he” is used when referring to the parakletos.  The NT uses the word pneuma, which means “breath” or “spirit,” the Greek equivalent of ruah [editor: an Arabic word for spirit], the Hebrew word for “spirit” used in the OT.  Pneuma is a grammatically neutral word and is always represented by the pronoun “it.”


A standard apologetic in Islam is to claim that the parakletos in John 14:16 is a prophecy of Muhammed.  Never mind how outrageous that this obviously is, given the context of the passage.  In context, Jesus is comforting the apostles about something which would happen to them personally, and therefore could not happen nearly six hundred years later!!!! It is difficult to come up with words to describe how outrageous this claim that Jesus is prophesying the coming of Muhammed in John 14:16.  For example, in John 14:17, Jesus says about this parakletos, that “he lives with you, and will be in you.”  Muhammed lived with the apostles and would live in them?  Really?  Also, in John 16:5-15, a continuation of Jesus’ discussion of the parakletos, he calls the Comforter “the Spirit” (v. 15), equating the Comforter with the Holy Spirit.  Add to this the fact that Jesus told his apostles that the one he was sending would come very soon–that they should wait in Jerusalem for him to come. This, of course, is exactly what happened on Pentecost (Acts 2).  Besides, Jesus told the apostles that the Comforter would be with them forever (John 14:6).  It is well known that Muhammed is no longer with us.  He has died and been buried.

This little article is skipping the most important part of the Muslim argument with respect to John 14:6.  Most Muslim apologists claim that the word parakletos is a copying error.  They claim that, in fact, the original Greek was actually periklytos which can be translated as “praised one.”  Well, this obviously would be convenient for the Muslims, as Muhammed is, of course, called the praised one.  The problem with this argument is that there is literally absolutely zero evidence to support this claim.  There is not a single manuscript which supports this reading.   It is really obvious that this is what is called an ad hoc hypothesis (literally to this; ie an explanation created to support a preconceived conclusion, rather than one created to explain actual data).  The only possible reason to believe that the original of John 14:16 was paraklytos is because someone has predetermined that this is a prophecy of Muhammed.

The point that this Islamic apologist is trying to make is that this must be a prophecy of Muhammed rather than the Holy Spirit because as everyone knows, the Holy Spirit is an “incorporeal entity.”   This, too, is obviously a bogus apologetic, as no Christian (other than the Jehovah Witness and a few other heterodox groups) would agree that the New Testament teaches that the Holy Spirit is an “incorporeal entity.”  We agree that he is not corporeal.  In other words, we agree that he does not have a physical body, but the Holy Spirit is no mere entity.  He is a person, as is shown by a great number of passages, including John 14:16, by the way.  The Holy Spirit is a person and is addressed as such on several occasions in the New Testament.  So much for this argument.

I will agree that the New Testament uses the word pneuma for the Holy Spirit, as the word Spirit is, literally, pneuma.  True, but, as I already pointed out, John 16:5-15 calls this comforter “the Spirit”  (the pneuma).  In other words, John himself tells us that the Comforter is the Holy Spirit, which trumps any argument based on the gender of the word pneuma.

This argument is fantastically poor hermeneutics of Jesus’ prediction of his sending the Comforter—the Holy Spirit—to his apostles and to us.   The idea that the Comforter is Muhammed is so obviously false that it should be an embarrassment to any Muslim who is willing to have a serious conversation about this passage.

John Oakes

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