This is a continuation of our response to Bravos defense of Muhammads bewitchment.
Bravo on Jesus and Satan
Bravo turns his attention to the Lord Jesus in order to justify Muhammads possession. Apparently realizing that he couldnt defend his position regarding Muhammads bewitchment, Bravo now seeks to attack the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Bravos criticism of the Deity of Christ is nothing more than a red herring and is totally irrelevant to the issue at hand. Let us assume that Bravo is correct regarding Jesus not being God, in what way does this solve the problem of Muhammad having been bewitched? To try and prove that Jesus isnt God has no logical connection to the issue of whether Muhammad was a prophet and whether he came under the power of Satan.
But since Bravo introduced this smokescreen we are only too glad to expose it for what it is. Bravo begins:
The temptations of Christ by Satan.
Jesus (P) is considered a god by many Christians. James tells us that God can never be tempted and that He does not tempt:
For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:13-17
However we read in the gospels that Jesus (P) was indeed tempted. Therefore he could not have been a god. Since he was tempted, never mind he did not succumb, that proves according to James, that Jesus (P) had evil desires and could therefore be dragged away and enticed.
Satan tempted Sam's god For forty Days:
"And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan." (Mark, 1:12-13)
Sam's god was tempted continuously:
"And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season." (Luke, 4:13)
Like sinners, this god-man was tempted in all things:
"But (he) was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews, 4:15)
It is true Jesus (P) did not succumb to the temptation, yet like any human being he was nevertheless open to be tempted and was tempted for a considerable period. Yet true God can never be tempted by temptation for ANY period of time.
Rev. Wainwright writes:
That Jesus was in conflict with the powers of evil was apparent from the outset of his ministry, when he was tempted in the wilderness (or desert) by Satan, otherwise known as the devil.
[Rev. Arthur W. Wainwright, "A Guide to the New Testament", pp. 36. London. The FP WORTH PRESS. 1965 ]
Bravo somehow erroneously assumes that just because Jesus was tempted he therefore cannot be God. His appeal to James 1:13 only provides further evidence that he does not understand either the Holy Bible or the Quran.
First, James 1:13 is not denying that God can be tempted in any sense, but is simply stating that there is nothing within God's nature and essence that would cause him to be tempted by sin. In other words, the text is not denying that fallen creatures can tempt God, but that there is nothing within God that would cause him to fall prey to these attempts. The Scriptures clearly teach that many have tried to tempt God, albeit quite unsuccessfully:
"Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the LORD, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, Give us water, that we may drink. So Moses said to them, "Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the LORD?" Exodus 17:1-2 NKJV
"Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;" Numbers 14:22 KJV
"On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD , and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, Where have you come from? Satan answered the LORD, From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it. Then the LORD said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." Job 2:1-3
"Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years." Hebrews 3:8-9 KJV
Therefore, Jesus being tempted no more proves that he is not God than Yahweh being tempted proves that he is not God as well.
In fact, if one reads James in context one will see that James had no problem in affirming the Deity of the Lord Jesus:
"James, a servant of God AND OF the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings." James 1:1
"My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory." James 2:1
James says that he is the slave of God AND OF the Lord Jesus, and calls Jesus the Lord of glory. The title, "Lord of glory", indicates that James believed that Jesus is Yahweh since the OT speaks of the glory of Yahweh, that Yahweh is the one who is glorious:
Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah Psalm 24:7-10
"And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst." Zechariah 2:5
James wasnt the only one who identified Jesus as the Lord of glory:
"None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." 1 Corinthians 2:8
Hence, Bravos criticism only shows that he doesnt understand the Holy Bible since none of the NT authors had a problem with Jesus being tempted. They also had no problem with Christ being both God and man at the same time.
Second, Jesus wasn't only God but also fully and truly human. As man, Christ could experience the same general temptations that all men experience, but with one HUGE difference. He never acted upon these external temptations but remained completely sinless, just as the passages that Bravo himself presented demonstrate. (Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26-27; 1 Peter 1:18-19, 2:22, 3:18; 1 John 2:1, 3:5)
This is why Bravo must admit:
It is true Jesus (P) DID NOT SUCCUMB TO THE TEMPTATION,
Jesus is quite unlike Muhammad, since the latter not only succumbed to temptations but also became subjected to sorcery. Bravo is only helping to demonstrate how infinitely greater the Lord Jesus is to Muhammad.
Third, Bravo doesnt seem to realize that Jesus was specifically tempted in order to defeat Satan and do what neither Adam nor Israel could do. Note the text carefully:
"Then Jesus WAS LED BY THE SPIRIT into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread. But he answered, It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."" Matthew 4:1-4
The text says that it was the Spirit who drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tested, showing that it was Gods will for Christ to confront the enemy precisely at a time when he was physically weak. The Lord Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, and for good reason. That particular context has to do with God driving his people into the wilderness in order to test them and to teach them to learn to depend completely on God:
"The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in them wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the LORD your God disciplines you." Deuteronomy 8:1-5
Thus, Jesus, by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, was showing that he came to do what Israel couldnt do. He came to overcome the Adversary and prevail over his trials by completely trusting in the providence of his Father.
Fourth, Bravo again provides evidence that he doesnt read his sources carefully. He cites Rev. Wainwright, but fails to see how the Reverend actually refutes him:
That Jesus WAS IN CONFLICT WITH THE POWERS OF EVIL was apparent from the outset of his ministry, when he was tempted in the wilderness (or desert) by Satan, otherwise known as the devil. (Bold and italic emphasis ours)
The reverend says nothing about Jesus succumbing to the powers of evil but simply affirms the obvious: the sinless Son of God had come to prevail against the powers of darkness. And he did so perfectly, unlike Muhammad. We will have more to say about Jesus overcoming the Devil a little later.
Finally, since Bravo has decided to throw out red herrings, which is an obvious indication that he has nothing worthwhile to say in response, we will follow suit in throwing out some red herrings of our own. The Quran says about Allah:
And when We would destroy a township We send commandment to its folk who live at ease, and afterward they commit abomination therein, and so the Word (of doom) hath effect for it, and we annihilate it with complete annihilation. S. 17:16 Pickthall
Allah sends commands with the intention of destroying the people, not saving them. In other words, Allah has already decided beforehand that he will destroy the town and will do so by sending them commands that they will not perform.
According to Egyptian Christian writer and scholar, Dr. Labib Mikhail, the text actually implies that Allah is commanding the people to commit evil in order to destroy them:
I have to mention, as one who mastered the Arabic as my first language and who has read the different versions of the Koran, that some of who translated the Koran into English were not honest; they tried to deceive the English speaking reader. Here are a few examples of their deception.
(4) In Surat Al-Isra we read this Arabic verse in the Koran, where Allah is saying:
Wa eza aradna an nohlika kariatan amarna motrifiha fafasako feha fahaqa Alliah alkowl fadamarnaha (Surat Al-Isra 17:16)
The correct translation of this verse should be:
And when we (Allah) decide to destroy a village, we send a definite command to those who lead a life of luxury in it to commit lewdness, and thus the word of torment is justified against them. Then we destroy it with complete destruction.
This means that when Allah wants to destroy a village that he will command the elite of that town to commit gross sins. Then after that he will punish them because they obeyed his commands. (Mikhail, Islam, Muhammad and the Koran: A Documented Analysis [Blessed Hope Ministry, Springfield VA; Second edition, Revised and Expanded 2002; online edition], pp. 111, 112-113)
Allah did something similar to the Jews:
Ask them concerning the town standing close by the sea. Behold! they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath. For on the day of their Sabbath their fish did come to them, openly holding up their heads, but on the day they had no Sabbath, they came not: thus did We make a trial of them, for they were given to transgression. S. 7:163 Pickthall
The passage says that the fish would only come out on the Sabbath Day, obviously because Allah prevented the fish from coming out on any other day. Thus, Allah was goading the Israelites into breaking the Sabbath. Think about this for a moment. Allah knew that these particular Israelites were prone to sinning, so instead of trying to help them overcome their evil inclinations Allah makes it so that they end up transgressing his commands. Instead of making the fish come out on all the other days, Allah deliberately has them come out only on the Sabbath!
Since James says that God cannot tempt people with evil this therefore provides additional proof that Muhammad's Allah isnt god.
Bravo then writes:
Furthermore, this "god" was weak and thus needed to be strengthened by an angel:
"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him." (Luke, 22:43)
A little later he also writes:
Jesus (P) (in the New Testament) is overcome with doubt and fear in the garden, and on the cross, during the Passion story as related in the gospels. For example we read:
"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him." (Luke, 22:43)
Again, how does angels ministering to Christ justify Muhammads demon possession?
Second, contrary to Bravos blasphemies, Christ wasnt "overcome with doubt and fear" either in the garden or on the cross. Christ was anguished over the fact that he was about to experience what he had never experienced before. Christ was about to sever his intimate and eternal communion with the very Person whom he has infinitely and perfectly loved, namely his Father. The Father was also about to sever his communion with the very object of his infinite love, his very hearts desire, his Son, in order that the Son might take upon himself the full fury of God on behalf of the elect:
"He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." Matthew 17:5
"No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in THE BOSOM OF THE FATHER, he hath declared him." John 1:18 KJV
"but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here." John 14:31
"Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world." John 17:24
"And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, My Father, if it be possible, let this CUP pass from me; nevertheless, NOT AS I WILL, but as you will." Matthew 26:39
The cup that Jesus was speaking of was the cup of Gods wrath:
"And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into THE CUP OF HIS ANGER, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. Revelation 14:9-11
Because Gods wrath was poured on the Son, believers in Christ will never have to experience Gods righteous anger:
"and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." 1 Thessalonians 1:10
"For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Thessalonians 5:9
Therefore, Christs anguish was over having to temporarily sever his intimate communion with his beloved Father, not over any fears or doubts. But we understand why Bravo cant relate to this, since his non-existent deity hasnt done anything remotely similar to what the true God has done for his people out of his infinite love for them.
Bravo continues to vent:
Jesus (P), this god of Sam, also needed developments in spirituality and wisdom as all human beings do:
"And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom." (Luke, 2:40)
Mental, physical and moral development of "god":
"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." (Luke, 2:52)
No wonder Satan had the power to tempt "god" in the first place. It is logical to suppose that one factor that permitted Satan to conduct his temptation assignment was the weakness of "god" in the early part of his career due to his lack of wisdom, stature and spiritual insights. Naturally such a subject would posses [sic] evil desires as it would not be possible, at this delicate and early stage, to completely eliminate or control them altogether. This then paved the way for Satan to do his business upon "god." Satan does not seem to be in a mood to give up and does not seem to be too much impressed by the strength of the defense put up by "god". He still feels he has a good chance to make Jesus (P) give in to temptation, "until an oppurtune [sic] time" Luke 4:13. This indicates that Satan was quite certain that Jesus (P), who is supposed to be a "god", still had weak points that could be targeted [sic], opened and explored with success in the future.
It bears repeating. Bravos red herrings do nothing more than prove over and over again that he cannot respond to the issues. This is why he has to change the subject from Muhammads bewitchment to Jesus humanity and temptations.
We already addressed the issue of Jesus being tempted by Satan so there is no need to repeat ourselves.
Furthermore, it is quite true that Jesus, because he is truly human and has a human mind, grew in stature and wisdom. But it does not follow from this that Christ was capable of imperfection, since his humanity was perfectly united to his Deity, without the two natures fusing into each other. Christ himself says that he could NEVER do anything on his own, but only what the Father showed him:
"So Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son CAN DO NOTHING of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel." John 5:19-20
Therefore, because Christ is fully divine and in perfect union with the Father, always doing only what he sees the Father doing, there was no way for his human consciousness to be mistaken or to have imperfect knowledge. Again, this is quite unlike Muhammad who not only had imperfect knowledge and committed many gross sins, but also couldnt do what God does.
Finally, the same Scriptures teach that even though as a man he grew, being also God in nature Christ never changed. Christs divine nature remained immutable:
"But of the Son he says ... You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end." Hebrews 1:8a, 10-12
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8
Hence, when speaking of Christ it isnt an either/or situation, but a both/and!
Bravo now proceeds to grossly misrepresent Marks Gospel:
Even more interesting is the fact that according to Mark, Jesus (P) own family thought he had gone crazy, "He is out of his mind" (3:21) and his townspeople neither understood nor trusted him. The disciples of Jesus (P) failed to understand who he was even though he supposedly gave them private instructions (4:10-20). Jesus (P) finally gets so annoyed and fed-up with their ignorance that he shouts, "Do you not yet understand?" (8:21).
Jesus' (P) miracles had little effect upon the Jewish leaders, who opposed him from the outset according to Mark. These Jewish scholars even claimed that Jesus (P) was possessed by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons, and thus carried out miracles through the power of the devil (3:22)!
Again, in what way does Jesus family making false accusations against him parallel Muhammads bewitchment? In what way does the disciples lack of understanding vindicate Muhammads demon possession? And how exactly is Jesus rebuke of the disciples identical with Muhammad falling under the spell of a Jewish sorcery?
Bravo didnt quote the context of the passages in question, and the reason is quite obvious. The contexts provide further evidence that Muhammad was a false prophet and actually vindicate the Deity of the Lord Jesus:
"for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, THEY FELL DOWN BEFORE HIM and cried out, YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD ... Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, He is out of his mind. And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons HE CASTS OUT THE DEMONS. And he called them to him and said to them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin - for they had said, He has an unclean spirit. Mark 3:10-11, 20-30
Notice that the people were accusing Jesus of being possessed BECAUSE OF HIS ABILITY TO CAST OUT EVIL SPIRITS! In other words, Jesus wasnt accused of being possessed because he was bewitched, or because he would fall to the ground or foam at the mouth etc. (more on this later).
"On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, Let us go across to the other side. And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Peace! Be still! And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith? And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, Who then is this, THAT EVEN WIND AND SEA OBEY HIM?" Mark 4:35-41
The answer to the disciples question is that Jesus is Yahweh God, the very One who sovereignly controls wind and sea.
"In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away. And his disciples answered him, How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place? And he asked them, How many loaves do you have? They said, Seven. And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha." Mark 8:1-10
"And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, Do you see anything? And he looked up and said, I see men, but they look like trees, walking. Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And he sent him to his home, saying, Do not even enter the village." Mark 8:22-26
Jesus miraculously fed 4,000 people and also healed a blind man. Muhammad, on the other hand, frowned on a blind man since he was too busy trying to win over a rich, Arab noble! (Cf. S. 80:1-10)
It is evident why Bravo would conveniently choose to ignore the context of these passages. These passages further undermine his attempt of defending Muhammads prophethood.
Bravo apparently doesnt realize that his criticism of the Lord Jesus is only doing more damage to his defense of Muhammads bewitchment. No greater evidence of this could be provided than what Bravo says next:
Retruning [sic] briefly to the story of Jesus (P) being tempted by the Satan, we note that an Angel was sent to "attend" to Jesus (P) according to the Matthew 4:11. Similarly, God sent an Angel to assist or attend Prophet Muhammed (P). Jesus (P), in the passages relating to his temptation, is cast after the type of a Prophet and not "god". It is not "god" who is being tested or tempted by satan, it is a prophet, a human being, who is being tempted. Hence both Prophets, Jesus (P) and Muhammed (P), received assistance from an angel sent by God. More importantly, they are both human.
Bravos last statement regarding Jesus and Muhammad receiving assistance is perhaps the greatest argument against Muhammads prophethood that Bravo could have provided. For that we would like to personally thank him for making our job easier.
Please remember that Jesus, unlike Muhammad, didnt need an angel to help him overcome and run off the Devil. The text clearly shows that the angels only came after Jesus had already defeated the enemy:
"And he said to him, All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, BE GONE, Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve." THEN THE DEVIL LEFT HIM, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him." Matthew 4:9-11
Besides all this, Jesus never fell under the power of a magician or a sorcerer.
Muhammad, on the other hand, wasnt able to successfully resist enchantment and his angels came only when it was already too late. Muhammad was already suffering the harmful effects of magic when his helpers decided to show up!
Bravo proceeds with more false analogies, trying to compare Muhammads experiences with Gods true spokespersons:
Time and again, prophets are depicted as falling victim to human weakness. If Moses (P) and Jesus (P) could exhibit weakness in the face of an enemy, surely Prophet Muhammad (P) could also be attacked. And make no mistake... an attack of pride is no different from an attack by a demon. Such attacks, including lust, are "demonified" by Jews by ascribing them to the Yetzer Ha-Ra' - the Evil Inclination.
But all these prophets, in their own unique ways, triumphed. Moses (P) saw the Land, and knew that his mission was successful. Jesus (P) was saved and not harmed by the enemies, and Prophet Muhammed (P) was given a new revelation!
There is only ONE who is superhuman, and not subject to discomfort at the hands of God or Man - GOD HIMSELF! All other entities are either left to their own devices, to succumb or not, or, if they are prophets, they may expect divine assistance and emerge victorious, in one way or another.
The readers should notice Bravos false analogy since there is a HUGE difference between pride and demon possession. There is a world of difference between exhibiting weakness as a result of ones sinful nature to a person falling under bewitchment.
Second, Moses was quite unlike Muhammad for several reasons. Moses was a true prophet. Muhammad was not. Moses never thought that he was demon possessed, nor did he question whether the entity that appeared to him for the first time was God. Muhammad initially believed he was demon possessed and wasnt convinced when the entity identified himself as angel "Gabriel". Moses didnt succumb to sorcery. Muhammad did.
Third, Jesus had no "evil inclination" which he struggled with. In fact, Christ claimed to be absolutely sinless and to be in perfect union with the Father:
"The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood." John 7:18
"And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I ALWAYS do the things that are pleasing to him ... Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?" John 8:29, 46
As a result of this, the Father is always pleased to give the Son whatever he desires:
"So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you ... So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you ALWAYS hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." John 11:20-22, 41-42
The Lord Jesus also said that Satan had absolutely no control over him:
"I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. HE HAS NO CLAIM ON ME," John 14:30
In fact, Christ came to destroy Satans power and to set Gods elect free from the bondage of the evil one:
"For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:3-4
"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." Hebrews 2:14-15
"Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:8
This is unlike Muhammad who fell under the bondage of a sorcerer and who had to candidly admit:
Abdullah b. Mas'ud reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: There is none amongst you with whom is not an attaché from amongst the jinn (devil). They (the Companions) said: Allah's Messenger, with you too? Thereupon he said: Yes, but Allah helps me against him and so I am safe from his hand and he does not command me but for good. (Sahih Muslim, Book 039, Number 6757)
A'isha the wife of Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), reported that one day Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) came out of her (apartment) during the night and she felt jealous. Then he came and he saw me (in what agitated state of mind) I was. He said: A'isha, what has happened to you? Do you feel jealous? Thereupon she said: How can it be (that a woman like me) should not feel jealous in regard to a husband like you? Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: It was your devil who had come to you, and she said: Allah's Messenger, is there along with me a devil? He said: Yes. I said: Is a devil attached to everyone? He said: Yes. I (Aisha) again said: Allah's Messenger, is it with you also? He said: Yes, but my Lord has helped me against him and as such I am absolutely safe from his mischief. (Sahih Muslim, Book 039, Number 6759)
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Do not visit women whose husbands are away from home, for the Devil circulates in you like your blood. He was asked if this applied to him also and said, "To me also, but Allah has helped me against him so that I may be safe." Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Tirmidhi, Number 931; ALIM CD-ROM Version)
It seems that Allah didnt provide enough help for Muhammad since the latter eventually succumbed to Satans devices, namely sorcery. And as anyone reading the life of Muhammad clearly knows that Muhammads Devil did anything but command him to do good!
Thus, Muhammad was in no way like the Lord Jesus, the latter being infinitely greater, nor was he anything like Moses.
And we do agree with Bravo that there is in fact only ONE who is superhuman, namely God. And the Lord Jesus exhibited all the attributes and qualities of God, and proved that he was God in the flesh with power by his resurrection from the dead. This is the reason why Jesus can personally guarantee that he will be with all his followers to assist and protect them even till the end of time:
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
"teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20
"Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict." Luke 21:14-15
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
"For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" 1 John 5:4-5
Therefore, Jesus is that very superhuman entity that Bravo needs to accept and worship.
Bravo may seek to attack the Trinity and the Incarnation of Christ on the grounds that these doctrines are illogical. Just in case he does, the following articles do a great job of defending and demonstrating the logical coherence of both the Trinity and the Incarnation:
This last one is actually written by a former Muslim turned atheist!
Bravos Misunderstanding of Numbers 23:33 and Luke 10:17-20
According to the missionarys [sic] understanding, there is one verse in the Jewish Bible and one in the New Testament that allegedly "teach" that Prophets of God cannot be harmed with sorcery. I am rather glad he brought these verses to our attention as that gives me an oppurtunity [sic] to yet again expose in detail his blatant misreading and gross misuse of passages, this time his own book
We will deal with these verses one by one. Let us begin with Numbers 23:23:
"There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, 'See what God has done!'"
First of all, a better translation would not be "against", but "in". Still, for arguments sake, let us take it to mean "against" even though a perfectly valid translation uses "in" (Leeser, for example), not "against".
Nothing in this verse suggests that the Israelites nor the Prophets are immune to sorcery. It means (using "against") that there must be no sorcery or divination practised against the entire nation. And therefore Balaam is forbidden to use sorcery against them, as Balak requested. Even if you choose to translate this verse with "against", the verse says nothing about permanent immunity of individuals or prophets. In short, this verse has simply nothing to do with Prophets being immune or not to magic!
Also, note that God accepts the efficacy of sorcery and divination in Israel. If not, He would have let Balaam go ahead and use his dark powers against Israel, knowing that it would not work. But He made sure that Balaam did not use these powers. Therefore, God is validating sorcery and divination as effective weapons, but they could not be practised against the entire nation, as it would destroy His People.
Bravos appeal to the Leesers Bible for the translation "in" as opposed to "against" indicates that Bravo doesnt know how to do exegesis. First off, the very fact that of all the translations out there Bravo had to choose the Leeser translation shows just how far he will try to go to avoid the obvious. All the major translations render the Hebrew as "against", i.e. NIV, RSV, NRSV, NASB, NET, NAB, KJV, NKJV, YLT, CEV, Darby.
Besides, words must be defined and understood within their respective contexts. As the NET Bible translators state:
50tn Or "in Jacob." BUT GIVEN THE CONTEXT the meaning "against" IS PREFERABLE. The words describe two techniques of consulting God; the first has to do with observing omens in general ("enchantments"), and the second with casting lots or arrows of the like ("divinations" [Ezek 21:26]). See Snaith, Numbers, 295-96. (http://netbible.bible.org/num23_notes.htm#2350; bold emphasis ours)
So we now turn to the context of Numbers 23:23:
"Then the people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. And Moab said to the elders of Midian, This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field. So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the people of Amaw, to call him, saying, Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed. So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand. And they came to Balaam and gave him Balak's message. And he said to them, Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the LORD speaks to me." So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. And God came to Balaam and said, Who are these men with you? And Balaam said to God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, "Behold, a people has come out of Egypt, and it covers the face of the earth. Now come, curse them for me. Perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out." God said to Balaam, You shall not go with them. YOU SHALL NOT CURSE THE PEOPLE, FOR THEY ARE BLESSED. So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, Go to your own land, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you. So the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak and said, Balaam refuses to come with us." Numbers 22:1-14
"And Balaam said to Balak, Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams. Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam offered on each altar a bull and a ram. And Balaam said to Balak, Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the LORD will come to meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you. And he went to a bare height, and God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram. And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth and said, Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak. And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. And Balaam took up his discourse and said, From Aram Balak has brought me, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains: "Come, curse Jacob for me, and come, denounce Israel!' HOW CAN I CURSE WHOM GOD HAS NOT CURSED? HOW CAN I DENOUNCE WHOM THE LORD HAS NOT DENOUNCED? For from the top of the crags I see him, from the hills I behold him; behold, a people dwelling alone, and not counting itself among the nations! Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his! And Balak said to Balaam, What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT BLESS THEM. And he answered and said, Must I not take care to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth? And Balak said to him, Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there. And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Balaam said to Balak, Stand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the LORD over there. And the LORD met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak. And he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, What has the LORD spoken? And Balaam took up his discourse and said, Rise, Balak, and hear; give ear to me, O son of Zippor: God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Behold, I received a command to bless: he has blessed, AND I CANNOT REVOKE THEM. He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob, nor has he seen trouble in Israel. The LORD their God is with them, and the shout of a king is among them. God brings them out of Egypt and is for them like the horns of the wild ox. For there is no enchantment AGAINST Jacob, no divination AGAINST Israel; now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel, "What has God wrought!" Behold, a people! As a lioness it rises up and as a lion it lifts itself; it does not lie down until it has devoured the prey and drunk the blood of the slain. And Balak said to Balaam, Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all. But Balaam answered Balak, Did I not tell you, "All that the LORD says, that I must do"?" Numbers 23:1-27
"When Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his discourse and said, The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, the oracle of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you. And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times. Therefore now flee to your own place. I said, 'I will certainly honor you,' but the LORD has held you back from honor." And Balaam said to Balak, Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, "If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the LORD, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the LORD speaks, that will I speak"? Then Balaam rose and went back to his place. And Balak also went his way." Numbers 24:1-4, 9b-13, 25
We can see from the context why most translators render the Hebrew as "against." Balaam was summoned by Balak to use sorcery and divination AGAINST Israel, not merely IN Israel.
More importantly, notice Balaams words very carefully. As long as Gods blessing remained on his people no one, no nation, could ever curse or bewitch them. The only time Israel could ever fall under the power of sorcery or divination is if they turned away from Gods commandments. God warned Israel that if they did turn away from following his law then God would take away his divine protection and abandon them. But as long as God was pleased with them, no power of Satan could ever harm them:
"And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. The LORD will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you. And the LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. The LORD will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. The LORD will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish. And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The LORD will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed." Deuteronomy 28:1-23
We will also have more to say about this a little later when discussing David.
Therefore, even if we accept the translation "in" this still doesnt solve the dilemma for Bravo since the point remains. And what is the point? The following paraphrase does a fine job of highlighting the point:
No magic spells CAN BIND Jacob, no incantations can hold back Israel. People will look at Jacob and Israel and say, "What a great thing has God done!" The Message Bible
Here is another translation which makes the point more clearly:
There is no magic charm, no witchcraft, That can be used AGAINST the nation of Israel. Now people will say about Israel, "Look what God has done!' Good News Bible
The true God Yahweh could stop Balaam even before he could ever cast a curse on Israel. God even made Balaam bless Israel, demonstrating his sovereign power in protecting his servants from the power of sorcerers. In fact, the story of God's sovereignly thwarting Balaam's attempt to curse the covenant community is celebrated throughout Scripture:
"No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the LORD forever, because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. But the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the LORD your God TURNED THE CURSE INTO A BLESSING FOR YOU, because the LORD your God LOVED YOU." Deuteronomy 23:3-5
"Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel. And he sent and invited Balaam the son of Beor to curse you, but I would not listen to Balaam. Indeed, he blessed you. SO I DELIVERED YOU OUT OF HIS HAND." Joshua 24:9-10
"On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them - yet our God turned the curse into a blessing." Nehemiah 13:1-2
But what about Muhammads case? Unlike Jacob, magic spells and witchcraft were able to bind Muhammad and were used quite successfully against him! Allah couldnt foil the plans of the Jews who successfully bewitched Muhammad.
Let us assume that Bravo is correct that Muhammad was a true prophet of God. In light of the warnings to Israel, the only reason God would remove his protection and allow Muhammad to fall under the power of a sorcerer is if the latter had committed a great sin against God. Would Bravo be comfortable with such a conclusion? But again this assumes that Muhammad was a true prophet, whereas all the evidence shows that he was not.
The preceding data shows that if Bravo had simply read the surrounding contexts he would have seen that, even though "against" is the more accurate rendering of the Hebrew, his preference for "in" does nothing to undermine our arguments.
But of course there WAS sorcery and divination in Israel, and against Israelites. See Ex 22:18, Deut. 18:10-14. If sorcery and divination could not work against individual Israelites, God would have not prohibited it! The only reason God forbids it is because it existed, and was dangerous to His people. Sorcery and magic are generally used against one's neighbours, one's personal enemies, one's countrymen, as it has been used through the ages, and at present. God was establishing rules for the community, and sorcery is generally used WITHIN a community, not BETWEEN communities. This is what God forbids, to no great effect, in the law books of the Old Testament.
Bravo has confused the issue of Israel being bewitched with Israel practicing divination and sorcery! If it hasnt already become obvious to the reader that Bravo is desperately seeking some time of rational defense for his prophets bewitchment, then his constant misuse of passages, specifically those mentioned above, should make it evident.
Bravo tries to take a stab at refuting my exegesis of Luke 10:17-20
Huh? Jesus (P) seems to have sent out 72 (or 70, depending on which version of this "perfect" book you read!) missionaries and to have made them impervious to harm, and invested them with power to heal the sick by ejecting demons. What does this have to do with "true prophets" being immune to magic? As far as we can tell, this is a tale about 72 (or 70?) specific people, whom Jesus (P) has protected specifically so they could go out and preach in hostile territory. There is no way this can be construed to mean that "all true prophets are immune to magic"! That is just an incredible stretch.
In this pericope, Jesus (P) tells these 72 (70?) disciples to heal the sick (10:9). This means to eject the demons from them, which had caused the sickness, as Jesus (P) himself did for so many. When they said "even the demons submit to us in your name", they did not mean demons who were attacking them, they meant the demons they had ejected to heal the sick.
He seems to think that the so-called words of Jesus (P) in his book the New Testament assure eternal protection to Christians, or "true prophets", not just the 72 (70?) disciples (they were not prophets) referred to in his verse.
"NOTHING WILL HARM YOU", there is nothing in that verse that refers to magic directed against the disciples. The verse says, "nothing will harm you". Jesus (P) refers to snakes and scorpions, agents of PHYSICAL harm, not sorcery (as if it mattered to our argument.). The demons in that verse are the demons driven out of the sick people. Maybe the missionary should read up on Christian history to find out if "nothing" ever-harmed devout, believing Christians! If Christians take the words of the New Testament as comforting truth, they would be advised to watch their backs if they think "nothing" will harm them!
Or maybe the missionary will argue that Jesus (P) meant that only those disciples would come to no harm. In that case, he has done our work for us!
Let us cite the passage once again in order to show why Bravo hasnt adequately dealt with its rather clear implications:
"The seventy-two returned with joy and said, 'Lord, even the DEMONS submit to us in your name. He replied, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY; NOTHING WILL HARM YOU. However, do not rejoice THAT THE SPIRITS SUBMIT TO YOU, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:17-20
Bravo erroneously assumes that the reference to snakes and scorpions must mean that physical harm is in view. On the contrary, snakes and scorpions are symbolic references to Satan and his demons, as the context itself shows. Note the words "demons", "the enemy" and "the spirits", which are all clear allusions to Satan and his demons. Other biblical references further support this. For instance, contrast the Lord Jesus statement that the disciples will trample on snakes and scorpions with the following passages:
"The LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Genesis 3:14-15
The serpent, whose head the womans offspring will crush, is Satan:
"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." Romans 16:20
"And the great dragon was thrown down, THAT ANCIENT SERPENT, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world-he was thrown down to the earth, and HIS ANGELS were thrown down with him." Revelation 12:9
"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, THAT ANCIENT SERPENT, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while." Revelation 20:1-3
It is therefore rather evident from these passages that Jesus statement regarding his followers trampling on snakes and scorpions refers to the Apostles destroying Satan and his kingdom through their proclamation of the Gospel. This is precisely why Christ spoke about seeing the Devil fall like lightning since the Lords advent marked the destruction of Satans kingdom.
But assuming for arguments sake that Bravos erroneous exegesis is correct, this only provides further proof that Christs Apostles were superior to both Muhammad and his companions. Muhammad and his companions succumbed to poison and snake bites:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
A Jewess brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. She was brought to the Prophet and he was asked, "Shall we kill her?" He said, "No." I continued to see the effect of the poison on the palate of the mouth of Allah's Apostle. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Number 786)
From The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein (State University of New York Press [SUNY], Albany, 1997), Volume 8, p. 124:
... The messenger of God said during the illness from which he died - the mother of Bishr had come in to visit him - "Umm Bishr, at this very moment I feel my aorta being severed because of the food I ate with your son at Khaybar." The Muslims believed that in addition to the honor of prophethood that God had granted him the Messenger of God died as a martyr.
Umm Bishr was the mother of the man who also ate of the poisoned meat and died as a result.
Finally, a jinn kills one of Muhammads companions!
Abu as-Sa'ib, the freed slaved of Hisham b. Zuhra, said that he visited Abu Sa'id Khudri in his house, (and he further) said: I found him saying his prayer, so I sat down waiting for him to finish his prayer when I heard a stir in the bundles (of wood) lying in a comer of the house. I looked towards it and found a snake. I jumped up in order to kill it, but he (Abu Sa'id Khudri) made a gesture that I should sit down. So I sat down and as he finished (the prayer) he pointed to a room in the house and said: Do you see this room? I said: Yes. He said: There was a young man amongst us who had been newly wedded. We went with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) (to participate in the Battle) of Trench when a young man in the midday used to seek permission from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) to return to his family. One day he sought permission from him and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) (after granting him the permission) said to him: Carry your weapons with you for I fear the tribe of Quraiza (may harm you). The man carried the weapons and then came back and found his wife standing between the two doors. He bent towards her smitten by jealousy and made a dash towards her with a spear in order to stab her. She said: Keep your spear away and enter the house until you see that which has made me come out. He entered and found a big snake coiled on the bedding. He darted with the spear and pierced it and then went out having fixed it in the house, but the snake quivered and attacked him and no one knew which of them died first, the snake or the young man. We came to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and made a mention to him and said: Supplicate to Allah that that (man) may be brought back to life. Thereupon he said: Ask forgiveness for your companion and then said: There are in Medina jinns who have accepted Islam, so when you see any one of them, pronounce a warning to it for three days, and if they appear before you after that, then kill it for that is a devil. (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5557)
Now contrast this with the beloved Apostle Paul:
"When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live. He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god. Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured." Acts 28:3-9
We thus see once again how Muhammad was quite unlike the Lord Jesus. Muhammad couldnt grant his companions any authority to successfully trample on either snakes or scorpions!
Bravo further assumes that there is nothing in the passage about magic being ineffective against the disciples. Now it is our turn to say, HUH? Even though Jesus says that the disciples will overcome ALL THE POWER of the enemy? So isnt magic part of the enemys power? You bet!
In speaking of the fall of Babylon, John wrote:
"Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more; and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth." Revelation 18:21-24
According to Revelation there is a Beast who reigns over Babylon:
"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk. And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations. And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind and hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb WILL CONQUER THEM, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful." Revelation 17:1-14
Revelation identifies this Beast as the antichrist, the very one whom Satan possesses and empowers (Cf. Revelation 13).
These passages show that the source of all sorcery is Satan. Since Bravo holds the Quran to be authoritative, here is what it says:
And follow that which the devils falsely related against the kingdom of Solomon. Solomon disbelieved not; but the devils disbelieved, teaching mankind magic and that which was revealed to the two angels in Babel, Harut and Marut. Nor did they (the two angels) teach it to anyone till they had said: We are only a temptation, therefore disbelieve not (in the guidance of Allah). And from these two (angles) people learn that by which they cause division between man and wife; but they injure thereby no-one save by Allah's leave. And they learn that which harmeth them and profiteth them not. And surely they do know that he who trafficketh therein will have no (happy) portion in the Hereafter; and surely evil is the price for which they sell their souls, if they but knew. S. 2:102 Pickthall
The Holy Bible also says that sorcerers wont enter the kingdom:
"The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." Revelation 21:7-8
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." Revelation 22:14-15
Since Jesus said that his followers will overcome ALL, not just some, of Satans power, this means that no magic or sorcery can ever affect a true servant of Christ. This is so logically obvious that there really is no debate about this, unless you are Johnny Bravo. It seems that we need to also put this in the form of a syllogism in order to insure that Bravo doesnt miss it this time:
In fact, let us see what happens when a magician confronts the true followers of the risen Lord:
"So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain MAGICIAN, a Jewish FALSE PROPHET named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, YOU SON OF THE DEVIL, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time. Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord. Acts 13:4-12
Magicians had no affect on the Apostles since they had the living, sovereign Spirit of God protecting them and also empowering them to render all magic useless. BUT (and here is a fact which Bravo has not been able to deal with) MAGIC DID AFFECT Muhammad! Muhammad was clearly not on the level of the Apostles of Christ.
Bravo proceeds to introduce another red herring:
True prophets are not guaranteed supernatural protection. In the very same book, we read:
"Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute. Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the alter and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all." Luke 11:47-51
In any case, Sam does not seem to be able to understand his own books, as demonstrated, so that is a moot point. If we were to follow his "logic", rather the lack of it, then a number of Prophets and various godly people mentioned within the Bible would have to be labelled "false prophets" and "evil" men.
Bravo seems to think that just because God permitted his servants to be killed as martyrs this then somehow shows that Satan can possess and enslave true believers much like he possessed Muhammad. Bravo also presumes that when the Lord Jesus said that no power of the enemy would HARM his followers, that the word harm here also includes martyrdom. This again shows that Bravo doesnt understand context. As we saw above, the context of Luke 10:17-20 shows that the Lord Jesus wasnt referring to martyrdom, or even to death, but to ALL supernatural phenomena entailing things such as demon possession, enchantment etc. This is evident from 10:20:
"Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
In other words, there is no connection between God allowing his servants to be martyred and with Satan possessing, enslaving, and/or bewitching true believers. For instance, we showed earlier that the Lord Jesus was completely sinless and that Satan had no power over him. At the same time, the Lord Jesus said that he came to die for sinners:
"From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." Matthew 16:21
"For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father." John 10:17-18
Therefore, the statement that Satan cannot possess true believers, or that his power cannot bind or harm them, has no logical bearing on God permitting true believers to die as martyrs for the faith. In fact, their martyrdom is actually further proof that Satan has no power over true believers:
"And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world--he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have CONQUERED HIM by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, FOR THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIVES EVEN UNTO DEATH." Revelation 12:9-11
True believers chose to die rather than submit to Satans lies demonstrating that Satan had no power over the minds of Gods elect. Satan cannot possess the souls of true believers nor enslave their minds to his lies and deception, just as Scripture plainly says:
"And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name HAS NOT been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain." Revelation 13:5-8
"The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names HAVE NOT been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come." Revelation 17:8
Note carefully that those whose names are written in the Lambs book of life will never marvel at the beast (i.e. the antichrist) nor worship him. The sovereign God protects his elect from deception and from perishing.
So what Bravo thought was an argument supporting his position actually serves to further refute him! Again, we truly do appreciate all of Bravos efforts in helping us further solidify our case against Islam.
It is clear in light of the preceding data that it is Bravo, not us, who hasnt carefully understood Gods true Word, the Holy Bible. This is why he has been reduced to committing one logical fallacy after another. But this fact remains: no matter how Bravo seeks to interpret the Holy Scriptures, he will never be able to avoid the conclusion that Muhammad was not a true prophet of God and wasnt in the same league as the Apostles of our risen Lord.
CHALLENGE TO BRAVO
We would like to once again repeat the challenge we issued to Bravo in the first part of our response. Since you seek to deny that Luke 10:17-20 shows that Christs true followers cannot be affected by magic, please produce just one biblical passage showing a true believer succumbing to magic or sorcery. We have shown that Muhammad was bewitched and possessed, so it shouldnt be hard for you to do likewise. In fact, since you believe Paul is a false Apostle please provide a verse where Paul was bewitched like your prophet. Produce a verse where Paul started hallucinating that he was having sex with women as a result of being bewitched.
We will say more about the believers protection from Satan and demon possession in the next part.
Continue with Part 3.
Responses to Bismikaallahuma
Examining Muhammad's Claim to Prophethood
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page