The Shi‘ahs have founded arguments in support of their own ideas upon a few passages in the Old Testament. Although the Sunnis do not agree with them in this, yet it may be worth while to consider their arguments, because they really have as solid or as unstable a foundation as those which we have already dealt with.

18. The Shi‘ahs say that Gen. xvii. 20, "Twelve princes shall he beget," is a prophecy of the twelve Imams, whom they hold to be the legitimate successors of Muhammad. In answer to this we need do nothing but refer to Gen. xxv. 13-16, where we are told that the promise was fulfilled in the twelve sons born to Ishmael, whose names are there given, and who are distinctly called "twelve princes" in the end of ver. 16.

19. They also hold that Jer. xlvi. 10, "The Lord, the LORD of Hosts, hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates," is a prophecy of the murder of Husain at Karbala, believing that in some way his death was a sacrifice for sin and an atonement. But the second verse of this very same chapter states that the reference is to "the army of Pharaoh-neco king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah", 606 B.C. It can hardly be supposed by any Muslim that the slaughter of a host of Egyptians, who were then heathens, was an atonement for sin. The word rendered "sacrifice" also means "slaughter" (as is evident from such passages as Isa. xxxiv. 6-8; Ezek. xxxix. 17-21; Zeph. i. 7, 8). Besides all this, Karbala could in no sense be said by Jeremiah to be "in the north country".

We now pass to the New Testament, in order to consider with due care and attention the passages in it which Muslims claim as prophecies relating to Muhammad.

I. Matt. iii. 2, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." These words of John the Baptist, repeated by


Jesus (Matt. iv. 17), are said by Muslims to be a prediction of the establishment of the power of Islam (see also Matt. xiii. 31, 32), the Qur'an being the Law of the Kingdom. But, in order to understand what is meant by "The Kingdom of Heaven", or, as it is also called, "The Kingdom of God," we must consider all the passages in the New Testament in which the words occur. One of these is Matt. xii. 28, where Christ says, "If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, then is the Kingdom of God come upon you." In Mark ix. 1, Christ tells His disciples that some of those who stood there should not taste of death till they saw the Kingdom of God come with power. In some verses this Kingdom is spoken of as already established in Christ's lifetime, in others to be established after His death. It was begun before He was crucified, but its perfection is to be when He comes again to judge the world (Dan. vii. 13, 14; Rev. xi. 15). Meanwhile it is spreading daily through the preaching of the Gospel and the invitation being given to all men to enter it (Matt. xxviii. 18-20). It is not a kingdom of this world (John xviii. 36); it does not come with worldly pomp and show (Luke xvii. 20); it belongs to the humble-minded (Matt. v. 3), not to the proud; men can enter it only through a new, spiritual birth (John iii. 3, 5); it is not possible for the wicked to be in it (I Cor. vi. 9, 10; Gal. v. 21; Eph. v. 5). Hence it can hardly be identified with the dominion founded by Muhammad and his successors.

2. Matt. xvii. 11. Some Muslims take the words "Elias (Elijah) indeed cometh" here as a prediction of Muhammad's advent. But Christ goes on to say, "Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they listed" (ver. 12). The next verse adds, "Then understood the disciples that He spake unto them of John the Baptist" (ver. 13). Of course John the Baptist was not Elijah in person, for transmigration of souls (تناسُخ) is not taught in the Bible; therefore he answered as he did (John i. 21)