Jesus Christ did not write or dictate the gospel, his language was Aramaic, the scribes whose real identity is not sure, wrote it later in Greek. The oldest surviving copies of several books in the New Testament were made over 100 years after the original text was written. There may have been very significant changes to the text during that interval, but in the absence of manuscripts we don’t know what they were (unless we rely on internal evidence). There’s no reason to think that the copyists of the first 100 years were any more shy about making changes than the copyists of the next 300 years.
[This is continuation of series of articles from the discussion started previously [Details <here>]
Textual criticism of Bible is the field of study that attempts to discover what the original version of the Bible said. This is especially important for Christians who believe that the New Testament was inspired by God. Some passages were added or altered by human scribes, have been discovered and some stripped away some retained with footnotes. Those changes also tell us something about the early church leaders, many of them did not see the New Testament as an immutable document delivered from God, but as a text that could be changed to bring it in line with official church doctrine. One such list of such passages is given later.
The changes that we know about show that even if the original books of the New Testament were inspired by God, they were not miraculously preserved. That job fell to humans who introduced thousands of unintentional and intentional changes. So, even if one can come to terms with the changes listed, there is strong possibility that there are many more changes that we will never discover. And if the scribes were willing to make changes, then the Gospel authors probably were, too. In fact, we can see that Matthew and Luke took passages from Mark and made changes to them. Bible scholar , Bart Ehrman and his book ‘Misquoting Jesus’ has given authentic details.[Excepts given here].
Muslims believe in Bible which was true word of God. The Holy Bible, is revered, yet it contains the words attributed to God, people with insight can explore and find them. The corruption of Bible by scribes is mentioned in Bible:
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes made it a lie” [Jeremiah 8:8]
“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write misfortune which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from justice, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! [Isaiah 10:1-2]
The sixty-six different books of the Bible were composed by many different writers, in three different languages, under different circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests, tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at various periods during the long period spread over 1600 years. No original manuscripts exist. There is probably not one book which survives in anything like its original form. There are hundreds of differences between the oldest manuscripts of any one book. These differences indicate that numerous additions and alterations were made to the originals by various copyists and editors. The earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures from the original Hebrew is known as Septuagint. Presumably this translation was made for the use of the Jewish community in Egypt when Greek was the lingua franca. The Pentateuch was translated near the middle of the 3rd century BC; the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures were translated in the 2nd century BC. The name Septuagint was derived from a legend that 72 translators worked on the project. Its influence was far-reaching. The Septuagint rather than the original Hebrew Bible was the main basis for the Old Latin, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic, and some Arabic translations of the Bible.
None of the present books of the Bible have reached through the manuscript of its author. The available manuscripts date from several centuries after the original books were written. The books of New Testament lack conformity, there are more than 5000 manuscripts, written during different periods by different authors mostly unknown. There have been revisions and re translations all along the history.
Is Bible the word of GOD?
No credible Biblical scholar on this earth will claim that the New Testament or Gospels were written by Jesus himself or the books of Old Testament were written by the prophets. They all agree that the four Gospels were written after the departure of Jesus Christ by his followers. So, if the authors of the Gospels were people other than Jesus, then did they have Jesus or the Holy Spirit in them guiding their hands and dictating to them word for word what to write? As it happens, once again the answer is no. Who says so? The majority of today’s credible Christian scholars do:
Dr. W Graham Scroggie of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, a prestigious Christian evangelical mission, says:
“..Yes, the Bible is human, although some out of zeal which is not according to knowledge, have denied this. Those books have passed through the minds of men, are written in the language of men, were penned by the hands of men and bear in their style the characteristics of men….”
“It is Human, Yet Divine,” W Graham Scroggie, p. 17
Another Christian scholar, Kenneth Cragg, the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, says:
“…Not so the New testament…There is condensation and editing; there is choice reproduction and witness. The Gospels have come through the mind of the church behind the authors. They represent experience and history…” “The Call of the Minaret,” Kenneth Cragg, p 277
Read in the Bible the words of the author of Gospel by “Luke”:
“It seemed good to me (Luke) also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, (Luke 1:3)”
If you consider the Bible the word of GOD, well, it is quite obvious that Luke decided to write his Gospel because he wanted to please the president or the leader at that time Theophilus. This however has several problems:
It compromises GOD because there is a bigger purpose than GOD to write the Gospel,
It shows that Luke wouldn’t have written his Gospel if it wasn’t for that leader, and
Luke was not inspired when he wrote his Gospel because he said that he decided to write it after he had full understanding of it, which means that he wrote it with his own human words and thoughts and not GOD’s.
The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why? is a book by Bart D. Ehrman, a word class New Testament scholar at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The book introduces lay readers to the textual alterations of the Bible. These textual variants resulted from intentional or accidental manuscript changes during the scriptorium era. The book made it to The New York Times best seller list. He summarizes the history of textual criticism, from the works of Desiderius Erasmus to the present. The book describes an early Christian environment in which the books that would later compose the New Testament were copied by hand, mostly by Christian amateurs. Ehrman concludes that various early scribes altered the New Testament texts in order to de-emphasize the role of women in the early church, to unify and harmonize the different portrayals of Jesus in the four gospels, and to oppose certain heresies and support the evolution of basic Christian doctrines like divinity of Jesus, Trinity, vicarious atonement, not yet adopted by early Christians.
When Bart Ehrman first began to study the texts of the Bible in their original languages he was startled to discover the multitude of mistakes and intentional alterations that had been made by earlier translators. Ehrman tells the story behind the mistakes and changes that ancient scribes made to the New Testament and shows the great impact they had upon the Bible we use today. He frames his account with personal reflections on how his study of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his once ultra conservative views of the Bible.
Since the advent of the printing press and the accurate reproduction of texts, most people have assumed that when they read the New Testament they are reading an exact copy of Jesus’s words or Saint Paul’s writings. And yet, for almost fifteen hundred years these manuscripts were hand copied by scribes who were deeply influenced by the cultural, theological, and political disputes of their day. Both mistakes and intentional changes abound in the surviving manuscripts , making the original words difficult to reconstruct.
For the first time, Ehrman reveals where and why these changes were made and how scholars go about reconstructing the original words of the New Testament as closely as possible. Ehrman makes the provocative case that many of our cherished biblical stories and widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine. The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why? Here are excerpts:-
The ancient manuscripts of the New Testament and the differences found in them are scocking, the way scribes who copied scripture and sometimes changed it. The born again Christians believe that:
The Bible is the inerrant word of God. It contains no mistakes. It is inspired completely and in its very words — “verbal, plenary inspiration.”
There are obvious problem, however, with the claim that the Bible was verbally inspired — down to its very words.
It is well known that there we don’t actually have the original writings of the New Testament. What we have are copies of these writings, made years later — in most cases, many years later. Moreover, none of these copies is completely accurate, since the scribes who produced them inadvertently and/or intentionally changed them in places. All scribes did this. So rather than actually having the inspired words of the autographs (i.e., the originals) of the Bible, what we have are the error-ridden copies of the autographs.
One of the most pressing of all tasks before a researcher therefore, was to ascertain what the originals of the Bible said, given the circumstances that (1) they were inspired and (2) we don’t have them.
The compelling problem is that the words of scripture themselves that God had inspired. Surely we have to know what those words were if we want to know how he had communicated to us, since the very words were his words, and having some other words (those inadvertently or intentionally created by scribes) didn’t help us much if we wanted to know His words.
The Originals in Greek and Hebrew:
The original writers are unknown but script have been attributed to some names, who wrote it in Greek, where as the original language of Jesus was Aramaic. Presently the New Testament is from translations of ancient Greek writing. The full meaning and nuance of the Greek text of the New Testament could be grasped only when it is read and studied in the original language (the same thing applies to the Old Testament, in Hebrew).
This started making me question my understanding of scripture as the verbally inspired word of God. If the full meaning of the words of scripture can be grasped only by studying them in Greek (and Hebrew), doesn’t this mean that most Christians, who don’t read ancient languages, will never have complete access to what God wants them to know?
And doesn’t this make the doctrine of inspiration a doctrine only for the scholarly elite, who have the intellectual skills and leisure to learn the languages and study the texts by reading them in the original?
What good does it do to say that the words are inspired by God if most people have absolutely no access to these words, but only to more or less clumsy renderings of these words into a language, such as English, that has nothing to do with the original words?’
I kept reverting to my basic question: how does it help us to say that the Bible is the inerrant word of God if in fact we don’t have the words that God inerrantly inspired, but only the words copied by the scribes — sometimes correctly but sometimes (many times!) incorrectly?
What good is it to say that the autographs (i.e., the originals) were inspired?
We don’t have the originals! We have only error-ridden copies, and the vast majority of these are centuries removed from the originals and different from them, evidently, in thousands of ways.
But my study of English literature, philosophy, and history — not to mention Greek — had widened my horizons significantly, and my passion was now for knowledge, knowledge of all kinds, sacred and secular.
If learning the “truth” meant no longer being able to identify with the born-again Christians I knew in high school, so be it. I was intent on pursuing my quest for truth wherever it might take me, trusting that any truth I learned was no less true for being unexpected or difficult to fit into the pigeonholes provided by my evangelical background.
Erroneous Conflicting Verses Making Scripture Doubtful:
In depth studies led to question some of the foundational aspects of my commitment to the Bible as the inerrant word of God. Here is an example:
A passage in Mark 2, where Old Testament passage that Jesus is citing (1 Sam. 21:1-6), it turns out that David did this not when Abiathar was the high priest, but, in fact, when Abiathar’s father Ahimelech was. In other words, this is one of those passages that have been pointed to in order to show that the Bible is not inerrant at all but contains mistakes. On the paper the professor wrote: “Maybe Mark just made a mistake.” I started thinking about it, considering all the work I had put into the paper, realizing that I had had to do some pretty fancy exegetical footwork to get around the problem, and that my solution was in fact a bit of a stretch. I finally concluded, “Hmm . . . maybe Mark did make a mistake.”
Once I made that admission, the floodgates opened. For if there could be one little, picayune mistake in Mark 2.
Maybe there could be mistakes in other places as well.
Maybe, when Jesus says later in Mark 4 that the mustard !seed is “the smallest of all seeds on the earth,” maybe I don’t need to come up with a fancy explanation for how the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds when I know full well it isn’t.
And maybe these “mistakes” apply to bigger issues. Maybe when Mark says that Jesus was crucified the day after the Passover meal was eaten (Mark 14:12; 15:25) and John says he died the day before it was eaten (John 19: 14)
Maybe that is a genuine difference. Or when Luke indicates in his account of Jesus’s birth that Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth just over a month after they had come to Bethlehem (and performed the rites of purification; Luke 2:39), whereas Matthew indicates they instead fled to Egypt (Matt. 2:19-22). Maybe that is a difference.
Or when Paul says that after he converted on the way to Damascus he did not go to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before him (Gal. 1:16-17), whereas the book of Acts says that that was the first thing he did after leaving Damascus (Acts 9:26) — Maybe that is a difference.
This kind of realization coincided with the problems I was encountering the more closely I studied the surviving Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. It is one thing to say that the originals were inspired, but the reality is that we don’t have the originals — so saying they were inspired doesn’t help me much, unless I can reconstruct the originals. Moreover, the vast majority of Christians for the entire history of the church have not had access to the originals, making their inspiration something of a moot point.
What we have now as Bible?
Not only do we not have the originals, we don’t have the first copies of the originals. We don’t even have copies of the copies of the originals, or copies of the copies of the copies of the originals. What we have are copies made later — much later. In most instances, they are copies made many centuries later. And these copies all differ from one another, in many thousands of places.
These copies differ from one another in so many places that we don’t even know how many differences there are. Possibly it is easiest to put it in comparative terms: there are more differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament. If one wants to insist that God inspired the very words of scripture, what would be the point if we don’t have the very words of scripture?
In some places, as we will see, we simply cannot be sure that we have reconstructed the original text accurately. It’s a bit hard to know what the words of the Bible mean if we don’t even know what the words are!
This became a problem for my view of inspiration, for I came to realize that it would have been no more difficult for God to preserve the words of scripture than it would have been for him to inspire them in the first place. If He wanted His people to have His words, surely he would have given them to them (and possibly even given them the words in a language they could understand, rather than Greek and Hebrew). The fact that we don’t have the words surely must show, I reasoned, that he did not preserve them for us. And if he didn’t perform that miracle, there seemed to be no reason to think that he performed the earlier miracle of inspiring those words.
Why Bible is Not Inspired word of God but a Human work?
In short, my study of the Greek New Testament, and my investigations into the manuscripts that contain it, led to a radical rethinking of my understanding of what the Bible is. This was a seismic change for me. Before this — starting with my born again experience in high school, through my fundamentalist days, and on through my evangelical days at Wheaton (Christian college)— my faith had been based completely on a certain view of the Bible as the fully inspired, inerrant word of God. Now I no longer saw the Bible that way. The Bible began to appear to me as a very human book. Just as human scribes had copied, and changed, the texts of scripture, so too had human authors originally written the texts of scripture. This was a human book from beginning to end. It was written by different human authors at different times and in different places to address different needs.
Many of these authors no doubt felt they were inspired by God to say what they did, but they had their own perspectives, their own beliefs, their own views, their own needs, their own desires, their own understandings, their own theologies; and these perspectives, beliefs, views, needs, desires, understandings, and theologies informed everything they said. In all these ways they differed from one another:
Among other things, this meant that Mark did not say the same thing that Luke said because he didn’t mean the same thing as Luke.
John is different from Matthew — not the same.
Paul is different from Acts.
And James is different from Paul.
Each author is a human author and needs to be read for what he (assuming they were all men) has to say, not assuming that what he says is the same, or conformable to, or consistent with what every other author has to say.
“The Bible, at the end of the day, is a very human book”
This was a new perspective for me, and obviously not the view I had when I was an evangelical Christian — nor is it the view of most evangelicals today.
Reasons of Changing Text:
Nonetheless, changes came to be made in the early Christian texts. Scribes would sometimes — lots of times — make accidental mistakes, by misspelling a word, leaving out a line, or simply bungling the sentences they were supposed to be copying; and on occasion they changed the text deliberately, making a “correction” to the text, which in fact turned out to be an alteration of what the text’s author had originally written.
One of the factors contributing to scribes’ alterations of their texts was their own historical context. Christian scribes of the second and third centuries were involved with the debates and disputes of their day, and occasionally these disputes affected the reproduction of the texts over which the debates raged. That is, scribes occasionally altered their texts to make them say what they were already believed to mean.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, since we can probably assume that most scribes who changed their texts often did so either semi consciously or with good intent. The reality, though, is that once they altered their texts, the words of the texts quite literally became different words, and these altered words necessarily affected the interpretations of the words by later readers.
Among the reasons for these alterations were the theological disputes of the second and third centuries, as scribes sometimes modified their texts in light of the adoptionistic, docetic, and separationist Christologies that were vying for attention in the period.
Social Conflicts: Other historical factors were also at work, factors relating less to theological controversy and more to social conflicts of the day, conflicts involving such things as:
The role of women in early Christian churches.
The Christian opposition to Jews.
Christian defense against attacks by pagan opponents.
These and other social conflicts affected the early scribes who reproduced the texts of scripture in the centuries before the copying of texts became the province of professional scribes.
Jesus- The first-century Palestinian Jew:
The one thing that nearly all scholars agree upon, however, is that no matter how one understands the major thrust of Jesus’s mission, he must be situated in his own context as a first-century Palestinian Jew, who kept Jewish customs, preached to his Jewish compatriots, and taught his Jewish disciples the true meaning of the Jewish law:
Matthew, for example, seems to presuppose that even though it is the death and resurrection of Jesus that brings salvation, his followers will naturally keep the Law, just as Jesus himself did (see Matt. 5:17-20).
Eventually, though, it became widely held that Christians were distinct from Jews, that following the Jewish law could have no bearing on salvation, and that joining the Jewish people would mean identifying with the people who had rejected their own messiah, who had, in fact, rejected their own God.
As we move into the second century we find that Christianity and Judaism had become two distinct religions, which nonetheless had a lot to say to each other.
By the second century, though, when Christian scribes were reproducing the texts that eventually became part of the New Testament, most Christians were former pagans, non-Jews who had converted to the faith and who understood that even though this religion was based, ultimately, on faith in the Jewish God as described in the Jewish Bible, it was nonetheless completely anti-Jewish in its orientation.
Once readers put a text in other words, however, they have changed the words. This is not optional when reading; it is not something you can choose not to do when you peruse a text. The only way to make sense of a text is to read it, and the only way to read it is by putting it in other words, and the only way to put it in other words is by having other words to put it into, and the only way you have other words to put it into is that you have a life, and the only way to have a life is by being filled with desires, longings, needs, wants, beliefs, perspectives, worldviews, opinions, likes, dislikes — and all the other things that make human beings human. And so to read a text is, necessarily, to change a text.
That’s what the scribes of the New Testament did. They read the texts available to them and they put them in other words. Sometimes, however, they literally put them in other words.
On the one hand, when they did this, they did what all of us do every time we read a text, but on the other, they did something very different from the rest of us. For when we put a text in other words in our minds, we don’t actually change the physical words on the page, whereas the scribes sometimes did precisely that, changing the words so that the words later readers would have before them were different words, which then had to be put into yet other words to be understood.
In that respect, the scribes changed scripture in ways that we do not. In a more basic sense, though, they changed scripture the way we all change scripture, every time we read it. For they, like we, were trying to understand what the authors wrote while also trying to see how the words of the authors’ texts might have significance for them, and how they might help them make sense of their own situations and their own lives.
Hal Lindsey’s “Apocalyptic blueprint for our future”, was a popular book in 70’s. Lindsey believed that the Bible was absolutely inerrant in its very words, to the extent that you could read the New Testament and know not only how God wanted you to live and what he wanted you to believe, but also what God himself was planning to do in the future and how he was going to do it. The world was heading for an apocalyptic crisis of catastrophic proportions, and the inerrant words of scripture could be read to show what, how, and when it would all happen.
I was particularly struck by the “when.” Lindsey pointed to Jesus’s parable of the fig tree as an indication of when we could expect the future Armageddon. Jesus’s disciples want to know when the “end” will come, and Jesus replies:
“From the fig tree learn this parable. When its branch becomes tender and it puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also you, when you see all these things you know that he [the Son of Man] is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place.” (Matt. 24:32-34).
What does this parable mean?
Lindsey, thinking that it is an inerrant word from God himself, unpacks its message by pointing out that in the Bible the “fig tree” is often used as an image of the nation of Israel.
What would it mean for it to put forth its leaves? It would mean that the nation, after lying dormant for a season (the winter), would come back to life. And when did Israel come back to life?
In 1948, when Israel once again became a sovereign nation. Jesus indicates that the end will come within the very generation that this was to occur. And how long is a generation in the Bible? Forty years.
Hence the divinely inspired teaching, straight from the lips of Jesus: the end of the world will come sometime before 1988, forty years after the reemergence of Israel.
This message proved completely compelling to us. It may seem odd now — given the circumstance that 1988 has come and gone, with no Armageddon — but, on the other hand, there are millions of Christians who still believe that the Bible can be read literally as completely inspired in its predictions of what is soon to happen to bring history as we know it to a close. Witness the current craze for the Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins series Left Behind, another apocalyptic vision of our future based on a literalistic reading of the Bible, a series that has sold more than sixty million copies in our own day.
[Note: The Zionist Christians have become a tool to support Israel, they have control over media and US ruling elite. The fabrication and twisting of Bible continues. The present situation in Al Quds and Middle East is well known, the details were published in DJ in January, March and April 2018 issues, summary below]
The Zionist Jews well understood that they could not achieve their goals without active support of the powerful and the largest religious community of the world, the Christians. Hence it must have been their desire to get theological & political support from Christians, which was not possible without corrupting the Bible to Invent favourable doctrines through the Christians at the forefront. Any solo effort by Jews would have been rejected outrightly with backlash against Jews.
It is found that the Christian animosity towards Jews due to theological and other differences stretched over two millennia, mysteriously started to crumble in 19th century, when Christian scholar John Nelson Darby (1900-1882) retranslated New Testament in 1867, introducing changes and footnotes, the basis for new doctrine of “Dispensationalism”. Thus introducing the heresy of “Christian Zionism”, which ultimately helped in establishment of state of Israel in 1948 by dislodging the original inhabitants the Palestinians. This concocted false ideology continues to be perpetual support to Israel for its existence and expansion:
2nd Timothy 4:3-4. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
Darby is accused of corrupting the Bible and introducing theosophical / occult vocabulary and doctrines.
His doctrines are found in Cyrus Ingerson Scofield’s Old Scofield Study Bible—1909 and 1917 and are the foundation for other dispensational works. . C.I Scofield (1843-1921, an American theologian, minister, and writer whose annotated Bible popularized futurism and dispensationalism among fundamentalists) like John Hagee today, had known connections with Zionism Jews, which is a major conflict of interest. Hagee is the President and CEO of John Hagee Ministries, which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in the United States on ten television networks. He is shown on networks around the globe, including The Inspiration Network (INSP), Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), and Inspiration Now TV John Hagee Ministries is in Canada on the Miracle Channel and CTS and can be seen in places including Africa, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.Hagee is the founder and National Chairman of the Christian-Zionist organization Christians United for Israel, incorporated on February 7, 2006. Hagee is a strong supporter of Israel. He has been highly critical of Islam and Catholicism. The San Antonio B’nai B’rith Council awarded Hagee with its “Humanitarian of the Year” award. It was the first time this award was given to a non-Jew. Hagee was presented with the Zionist Organization of America’s Israel Award by U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. This award was given by the Jewish Community of Dallas, Texas. He was presented with the ZOA Service Award by Texas Governor Mark White.
Dispensationalism, The root of Christian Zionism
The dispensationalism is a theological system that emphasizes the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy, recognizes a distinction between Israel and the Church, and organizes the Bible into different dispensations or administrations. Dispensationalism is a form of premillennialism, which asserts that the world will experience a period of worsening tribulations until Christ comes.
Dispensationalism is considered as a heresy. Outside of Protestantism, however, other Christian branches (e.g., Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, or Roman Catholicism) have not embraced any form of dispensationalism being misunderstanding/ misinterpretation of Bible.
Dispensationalism laid the theological groundwork for luring the churches to unquestionably support modern-day manmade Israel. The Bible teaches that God will restore true Israel, not man. Likewise, the Jews today have taken matters into their own hands, forcing Palestinians from their homes at gunpoint in 1948 and seizing their possessions for their own, but God has refused to bless the Jews. There is nothing but continual war, bombings and killing in Palestine! The Bible plainly teaches that this would happen.
Luke 21:24, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
The theology of dispensationalism, became the root of Christian Zionism. Darby added several unique features to Way’s teachings including the doctrine of “Rapture” whereby “born-again Christians” would be literally removed from history and transferred to heaven prior to Jesus’ return. Like many other Christians, dispensationalists believe that Christ’s return is foretold in Old and New Testament prophecies and that the return of Jews to Palestine is a key event in the preordained process that will lead to the Second Coming.
Christian Zionism is grounded on an interpretation of the Bible that supports the ingathering of all Jews to Israel and their exclusive claim to the whole land of Palestine based on the gift of the Land to Abraham and the Jewish people as the “chosen people”.
As Don Wagner points out “Christian Zionists and premillennial dispensationalists have a pessimistic view of history and wait in eager anticipation for the unfolding of a series of wars and tragedies pointing to the return of Jesus. The establishment of the state of Israel, the rebuilding of the Third Temple, the rise of the Antichrist and the buildup of armies poised to attack Israel, are among the signs leading to the final battle and Jesus’ return. Leading Christian Zionists in Bible prophecy seek to interpret political developments according to the prophetic schedule of events that should uphold accordingly”
Dispensationalist Christianity, an interpretative or narrative framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible, teaches that Christianity did not replace Judaism, but that it restored elements of it. In their view Christianity did not come into existence to replace Judaism, but to restore it.
This view has surpassed replacement theology as the dominant form of Christian thought regarding Israel in America. The dispensationalist view of the Bible is that the Old Testament is foreshadowing for what will occur in the New Testament and, at the end, Jesus returns to reign on Earth after an epic battle between good and evil. Israel plays a central role in the dispensationalist view of the end of the world. That is why 1948 and 1967 mark milestones in Christian Zionist history.
Darby’s system provides for two tracks of salvation–one for Jews, and one for Gentiles. This had been the cause of another of the Brethren’s internal battles, centering on B. W. Newton (1807-1899), who regarded this idea as a ‘full fledged heresy. It’s all man-made junk theology!!! Dispensationalism is a fable. Zionism is a fable
The Christian Zionist believe that: The Jews are God’s chosen people. Israel is a special nation that has a special place in God’s heart. He will defend this nation, so Evangelical Christians stand with Israel, they say: “We believe in the promise of Genesis 12:3 regarding the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. We believe that this is an eternal covenant between God and the seed of Abraham to which God is faithful”.
Conditional Covenant :
This promise is with Abraham, to his seed which is conditional upon obedience to God, which is ignored by dispensionists:
Genesis 12:1-3: “Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”…”
Deuteronomy;28:1-2 “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. Also evident through more verses Genesis 17:8, 14, Exodus 19:5, Numbers 14:30,Deuteronomy 4:25-26.
The other salient aspect of dispensationalism are:
Two Tracks of Salvation
Darby’s system provides for two tracks of salvation–one for Jews, and one for Gentiles. This had been the cause of another of the Brethren’s internal battles, centering on B. W. Newton (1807-1899), who regarded this idea as a ‘full fledged heresy.’ Newton’s voice would be echoed in our own era by modern theologian Bernard Ramm who wrote, ‘The sharp division of the church and Israel, each going its own unique course through history into eternity is a remarkable piece of theological heresy.’ Perhaps Darby had taken Rom. 11:26, ‘And so all Israel will be saved,’ out of its context–a passage intended to get Gentiles in Rome who had been treating Jews as second class citizens to understand through the olive tree allegory that God’s glorious plan (the ‘mystery’ of Rom. 11:25) provided salvation for both Jews and Gentiles through Christ Jesus. Some of the Roman house churches were working at cross purposes with God by their treatment of the Christians of Jewish ancestry, and Paul wanted them to accept the Jews into their churches with the same love that they had for non-Jewish Christians (Rom 15:7).
A “particular interpretation of Christ’s return … was developed by John Nelson Darby (1800-1882).” Darby saw a second coming of Christ, which he “believed would precede the time of troubles, or ‘tribulation,’ mentioned in several New Testament passages, [which] he called the ‘secret rapture.’ It would be perceptible only to the true Christians, both living and dead, who would be united with Christ and protected from the tribulation. This rapture could occur at any time, Darby felt, a belief which added a sense of immediacy to his message. The prophecies relating to non-Christians, such as the binding of Satan and the Battle of Armageddon, would occur later. Christ would come a third time and conclude the history of the world. Furthermore, Darby believed that no denomination could encompass all of the present and past Christians who would be caught up in the secret rapture; hence, he believed that the true church was a spiritual entity, not a physically perceptible structure. Finally, like many other nineteenth-century millenarians and nonmillenarians, Darby divided the history of the world into a series of eras, or ‘dispensations.'”
John Nelson Darby spread his beliefs while visiting the United States and Canada 1862-1877. “He was a very appealing speaker and also intolerant to criticism. At first he tried to win members of existing Protestant congregations to his sect, but met with little success. He then spread his end-times message to influential clergymen and laymen in churches in major cities without insisting they leave their denominations.”
“The foundation of the Darbyite message was that when evil is seen in society, Christians are to rejoice because that is a sign of the imminent return of Christ.” The “very foundation of the Darbyite philosophy was a belief that all manifestations of the decay or degeneration of civilization were but further signs of the imminent return of Christ to ‘rapture’ His saints.“
Darby’s “system eventually became known as ‘dispensationalism,’ although it is more properly described as ‘seven age dispensationalism’ to distinguish it from the biblical ‘two age dispensationalism’ that recognizes two ‘ages'” (Mt. 12:32, Gal. 1:4, Heb. 6:5).
“Darby divided the Bible into seven periods of time (dispensations) and eight ages. The present ‘age’ is not among them, it being unforeseen by Daniel and the rest of the Old Testament prophets and which is a great parenthesis inserted between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel. Advocates vary on whether the ‘secret rapture‘ is to occur in the beginning, middle, or end of the 70th week.”
This resulted in acceptance of Jews as chosen people of God with a separate plan in His scheme. Ultimately it resulted in to Christian Zionism and establishment of state of Israel in Palestine in 1948, at mass expulsion of native Palestinians, colonization, genocide, human right violations, apartheid, injustice and oppression of Palestinians is a permanent threat to world peace.
Non Biblical Doctrine:
Dispensationalism is a hotbed of false doctrine and confusion in the churches today. Dispensationalism is a fable. It is about as “deeper life,” a dead sort of formalism, as you can get! We’ve got deeper life theologians all across America, deader than a corpse with rigor mortis, who never build a hotdog stand for God, never win a soul to Christ, and do absolutely nothing to preach the Gospel to the poor. Instead of Standing On The Promises, they are Sitting On The Premises!
It’s all man-made junk theology!!! Dispensationalism is a fable. Zionism is a fable
The “Times of the Gentiles” will end at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! This event happens after the 7-year Tribulation period. There is no Biblical basis for divine protection for secular Israel at this present time. This goes totally contrary to 99% of what’s being taught in today’s Zionist churches. The culprit is Mr. Scofield’s Dispensationalism heresy as propagated in the Scofield Reference Bible. Let’s stick with Jesus Reference Bible. John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
Dispensationalism may be fascinating as a work of art, but as a revelation it rests on a foundation of sand. The entire system of dispensational teaching is modernistic in the strictest sense; it is modernism, moreover of a very pernicious sort, such that it must have a Bible of its own (i.e., the Scofield Reference Bible) for the propaganda of its peculiar doctrines since they are not in the Word of God.
In connection with the Scofield Bible it has been said; “It is a matter of great concern to many Christians that a book should exist, and be offered for sale, wherein corrupt words of mortal men are printed and set as positive statements in the midst of the Holy Word of God Almighty. Is not this an affront before God Himself? ‘Let God be true and every man a liar’ (Romans 3:4)”
Israel, A Secular State:
None of this happened in 1948 when Israel was made a secular state! Of the estimated 12 million Jews in the world today, 37% of them live in Israel.
These are not the “faithful remnant” which Dr. Ironside spoke of. The vile and promiscuous Huffington Post (Jewish owned) refers to Tel Aviv, Israel as “A Gay Paradise” for homosexual tourists worldwide. Less than 2.5% of Israel’s citizens profess faith in Jesus Christ. Notice carefully that all of the things which Dr. Ironside says, clearly DID NOT HAPPEN IN 1948 WHEN PRESENT-DAY ISRAEL WAS FORMED!!!
1948 was not the end of the Church age! Dr. Ironside clearly teaches that only saved Jews and Gentiles are UNITED in Jesus Christ! (Galatians 3:26-29).
Modern Israel is a cesspool of homosexuality, atheism, ungodly reprobates, arrogant pride, idolatry, blasphemers and non-Christians.
Dr. Ironside teaches that the restoration of Israel will be the restoration of THE FAITHFUL REMNANT! That didn’t happen in 1948, nor has it yet! And no new covenant between God and that faithful remnant has happened as of yet (that new covenant is the Gospel). Present-day Israel is still in unbelief. The “faithful remnant,” at the close of the Tribulation period, will believe the Gospel.
Clearly, manmade present-day Israel is a satanic counterfeit, and not the restoration of the true nation of Israel. So Dr. Harry Ironside WAS NOT A ZIONIST!!! Princeton University defines “Zionism” as, “A policy for establishing and developing a national homeland for Jews in Palestine.” This is man’s policy, not God’s. God’s policy is the inspired Word of God, His promise (i.e., to restore the true nation of Israel), in His time (i.e., when Jesus Christ returns after the 7-year Tribulation period). Today’s Zionists worship the wicked man made 1948 state of Israel. Dr. J. Vernon McGee has it 100% correct concerning Israel today! Present-day Israel is not the fulfillment of Bible prophecy! God will honor His kingdom promises to the patriarch (Abraham), but not until the Jesus Christ returns to the earth.
Speeding Up Second Coming of Christ – Not Commanded by God:
Zionist Christians favor and support Israel in the attempt to facilitate the second coming of Christ. It is worth noting at this point that Dispensationalist theologian John S. Feinberg has cautioned against trying to speed the Messiah’s return through support of Israel. Some are so excited about things to come, that they unfortunately think they can somehow bring them to pass sooner, rather than later—at least they want to try. Any human effort won’t make the end-times come any sooner than God has planned. Unless you happen to be the Anti-Christ, there is probably little you can do to make these events happen, and no one can move God’s sovereign timetable one moment faster or slower than he wants.
Supporting Israeli hostilities toward the Palestinians:
“God blesses those who bless Israel” is quoted frequently. The original text does not say that God will bless those who bless Israel, but rather those who bless Abraham, to whom God is speaking (Genesis 12:1-3). However not everything Israel currently does blesses God. Israel as a nation is hardly seeking the blessing of the Palestinians. “Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham”(Galatians 3:7) Moreover, Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom God also blesses (Genesis 17:19-21, Genesis 21:13, 17-18).
Exodus 23:22 : “But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”
Exodus 23:25-26 : “But you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst. “There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.
Exodus 15:26: And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.”
Palestinians Genetic Relationship with the Jewish people:
A number of pre-Mandatory Zionists, from Ahad Ha’am and Ber Borochov to David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Ben Zvi thought of the Palestinian peasant population as descended from the ancient biblical Hebrews, but this belief was disowned when its ideological implications became problematic. Ahad Ha’am believed that:
“The Moslems [of Palestine] are the ancient residents of the land … who became Christians on the rise of Christianity and became Moslems on the arrival of Islam.“
Israel Belkind, the founder of the Bilu movement also asserted that the Palestinian Arabs were the blood brothers of the Jews. Ber Borochov, one of the key ideological architects of Marxist Zionism, claimed as early as 1905 that, “The Fellahin in Eretz-Israel are the descendants of remnants of the Hebrew agricultural community,” believing them to be descendants of the ancient Hebrew- residents ‘together with a small admixture of Arab blood'”. He further believed that the Palestinian peasantry would embrace Zionism and that the lack of a crystallized national consciousness among Palestinian Arabs would result in their likely assimilation into the new Hebrew nationalism, and that Arabs and Jews would unite in class struggle.David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Ben Zvi, later becoming Israel’s first Prime Minister and second President, respectively, suggested in a 1918 paper written in Yiddish that Palestinian peasants and their mode of life were living historical testimonies to Israelite practices in the biblical period. Tamari notes that “the ideological implications of this claim became very problematic and were soon withdrawn from circulation.” Salim Tamari notes the paradoxes produced by the search for “nativist” roots among these Zionist figures, particularly the Canaanist followers of Yonatan Ratosh, who sought to replace the “old” diasporic Jewish identity with a nationalism that embraced the existing residents of Palestine.
In his book on the Palestinians, The Arabs in Eretz-Israel, Belkind advanced the idea that the dispersion of Jews out of the Land of Israel after the destruction of the Second Temple by the Roman emperor Titus is a “historic error” that must be corrected. While it dispersed much of the land’s Jewish community around the world, those “workers of the land that remained attached to their land,” stayed behind and were eventually converted to Christianity and then Islam. He therefore, proposed that this historical wrong be corrected, by embracing the Palestinians as their own and proposed the opening of Hebrew schools for Palestinian Arab Muslims to teach them Arabic, Hebrew and universal culture. Tsvi Misinai, an Israeli researcher, entrepreneur and proponent of a controversial alternative solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, asserts that nearly 90% of all Palestinians living within Israel and the occupied territories (including Israel’s Arab citizens and Negev Bedouin) are descended from the Jewish Israelite peasantry that remained on the land, after the others, mostly city dwellers, were exiled or left. This stall the Zionist Jewish claim that the Holy Land belongs to them.
The Bible- A Realistic View
It is a radical shift from reading the Bible as an inerrant blueprint for our faith, life, and future to seeing it as a very human book, with very human points of view, many of which differ from one another and none of which provides the inerrant guide to how we should live. This is the shift in my own thinking that I ended up making, and to which I am now fully committed.
Many Christians, of course, have never held this literalistic view of the Bible in the first place, and for them such a view might seem completely one-sided and un-nuanced (not to mention bizarre and unrelated to matters of faith).
There are, however, plenty of people around who still see the Bible this way. Occasionally I see a bumper sticker that reads: “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it. ” My response is always:
What if God didn’t say it?
What if the book you take as giving you God’s words instead contains human words?
What if the Bible doesn’t give a foolproof answer to the questions of the modern age — abortion, women’s rights, gay rights, religious supremacy, Western-style democracy, and the like?
What if we have to figure out how to live and what to believe on our own, without setting up the Bible as a false idol — or an oracle that gives us a direct line of communication with the Almighty?
There are clear reasons for thinking that, in fact, the Bible is not this kind of inerrant guide to our lives: among other things, as I’ve been pointing out, in many places we (as scholars, or just regular readers) don’t even know what the original words of the Bible actually were.
My personal theology changed radically with this realization, taking me down roads quite different from the ones I had traversed in my late teens and early twenties.
The Manuscripts of the New Testament
It is written based on my thirty years of thinking about the subject, and from the perspective that I now have, having gone through such radical transformations of my own views of the Bible. It is written for anyone who might be interested in seeing how we got our New Testament, seeing how in some instances we don’t even know what the words of the original writers were, seeing in what interesting ways these words occasionally got changed, and seeing how we might, through the application of some rather rigorous methods of analysis, reconstruct what those original words actually were. In many ways, then, this is a very personal book for me, the end result of a long journey. Maybe, for others, it can be part of a journey of their own.
One of the things that made Judaism unique among the religions of the Roman Empire was that these instructions, along with the other ancestral traditions, were written down in sacred books. For modern people intimately familiar with any of the major contemporary Western religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), it may be hard to imagine, but books played virtually no role in the polytheistic religions of the ancient Western world.
Jews and their written texts
These brief facts about Jews and their written texts are important because they set the backdrop for Christianity, which was also, from the very beginning, a “bookish” religion. Christianity began, of course, with Jesus, who was himself a Jewish rabbi (teacher) who accepted the authority of the Torah, and possibly other sacred Jewish books, and taught his interpretation of those books to his disciples. Like other rabbis of his day, Jesus maintained that God’s will could be found in the sacred texts, especially the Law of Moses. He read these scriptures, studied these scriptures, interpreted these scriptures, adhered to these scriptures, and taught these scriptures. His followers were, from the beginning, Jews who placed a high premium on the books of their tradition. And so, already, at the start of Christianity, adherents of this new religion, the followers of Jesus, were unusual in the Roman Empire: like the Jews before them, but unlike nearly everyone else, they located sacred authority in sacred books. Christianity at its beginning was a religion of the book.
Early Christian Letters
The first thing to notice is that many different kinds of writing were significant for the burgeoning Christian communities of the first century after Jesus Christ. The earliest evidence we have for Christian communities comes from letters that Christian leaders wrote. The apostle Paul is our earliest and best example. Paul established churches throughout the eastern Mediterranean, principally in urban centers, evidently by convincing pagans (i.e., adherents of any of the empire’s polytheistic religions) that the Jewish God was the only one to be worshiped, and that Jesus was his Son, who had died for the sins of the world and was returning soon for judgment on the earth (see 1 Thess. 1:9-10). It is not clear how much Paul used scripture (i.e., the writings of the Jewish Bible) in trying to persuade his potential converts of the truth of his message; but in one of his key summaries of his preaching he indicates that what he preached was that “Christ died, in accordance with the scriptures . . . and that he was raised, in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
We can get a sense of how important these letters were at the earliest stages of the Christian movement from the very first Christian writing we have, Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, usually dated to about 49 C.E., some twenty years after Jesus and some twenty years before any of the Gospel accounts of his life.
Paul ends the letter by saying, “Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss; I strongly adjure you in the name of the Lord that you have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters” (1 Thess. 5:26-27). This was not a casual letter to be read simply by anyone who was mildly interested; the apostle insists that it be read, and that it be accepted as an authoritative statement by him, the founder of the community.
A number of these letters came to be included in the New Testament. In fact, the New Testament is largely made up of letters written by Paul and other Christian leaders to Christian communities (e.g., the Corinthians, the Galatians) and individuals (e.g., Philemon). Moreover, the letters that survive — there are twenty-one in the New Testament — are only a fraction of those written. Just with respect to Paul, we can assume that he wrote many more letters than the ones attributed to him in the New Testament. On occasion, he mentions other letters that no longer survive; in 1 Cor. 5:9, for example, he mentions a letter that he had earlier written the Corinthians (sometime before First Corinthians). And he mentions another letter that some of the Corinthians had sent him (1 Cor. 7:1). Elsewhere he refers to letters that his opponents had (2 Cor. 3:1). None of these letters survives.
Christians, of course, were concerned to know more about the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of their Lord; and so numerous Gospels were written, which recorded the traditions associated with the life of Jesus. Four such Gospels became most widely used — those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament — but many others were written.
We still have some of the others: for example, Gospels allegedly by Jesus’s disciple Philip, his brother Judas Thomas, and his female companion Mary Magdalene. Other Gospels, including some of the very earliest, have been lost. We know this, for example, from the Gospel of Luke, whose author indicates that in writing his account he consulted “many” predecessors (Luke 1:1), which obviously no longer survive. One of these earlier accounts may have been the source that scholars have designated Q, which was probably a written account, principally of Jesus’s sayings, used by both Luke and Matthew for many of their distinctive teachings of Jesus (e.g., the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes).
What is interesting is that even groups of “false teachers” wrote tractates against “false teachers,” so that the group that established once and for all what Christians were to believe (those responsible, for example, for the creeds that have come down to us today) are sometimes polemicized against by Christians who take the positions eventually decreed as false. This we have learned by relatively recent discoveries of “heretical” literature, in which the so-called heretics maintain that their views are correct and those of the “orthodox” church leaders are false.
The Theological Context of the Transmission of the Texts
We know a good deal about Christianity during the second and third centuries — the time, say, between the completion of the writing of the New Testament books and the conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine to the religion, which, as we have seen, changed everything.These two centuries were particularly rich in theological diversity among the early Christians. In fact, the theological diversity was so extensive that groups calling themselves Christian adhered to beliefs and practices that most Christians today would insist were not Christian at all.
Early Christians believed in One, Two Gods and Many gods:
In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed that there was only one God, the Creator of all there is. Other people who called themselves Christian, however, insisted that:
There were two different gods — one of the Old Testament (a God of wrath) and one of the New Testament (a God of love and mercy).
These were not simply two different facets of the same God: they were actually two different gods. Strikingly, the groups that made these claims — including the followers of Marcion, whom we have already met — insisted that their views were the true teachings of Jesus and his apostles.
Other groups, for example, of Gnostic Christians, insisted that there were not just two gods, but twelve.
Others said thirty.
Others still said 365.
All these groups claimed to be Christian, insisting that their views were true and had been taught by Jesus and his followers.
Son of God, Multiple Views:
Some of these groups insisted that Jesus Christ was the one Son of God who:
Was both completely human and completely divine;
Other groups insisted that Christ was completely human and not at all divine;
Others maintained that he was completely divine and not at all human; and yet others asserted that…
Jesus Christ was two things — a divine being (Christ) and a human being (Jesus).
Some of these groups believed that Christ’s death brought about the salvation of the world; others maintained that ,
Christ’s death had nothing to do with the salvation of this world; yet other groups insisted that
Christ had never actually died.
Where was New Testament?
Why didn’t these other groups simply read their New Testaments to see that their views were wrong? It is because there was no New Testament. To be sure, all the books of the New Testament had been written by this time, but there were lots of other books as well, also claiming to be by Jesus’s own apostles — other gospels, acts, epistles, and apocalypses having very different perspectives from those found in the books that eventually came to be called the New Testament.
Finally The Winner Group decided The Christian creed:
Each and every one of these viewpoints — and many others besides — were topics of constant discussion, dialogue, and debate in the early centuries of the church, while Christians of various persuasions tried to convince others of the truth of their own claims. Only one group eventually “won out” in these debates. It was this group that decided what the Christian creeds would be: the creeds would affirm that there is only one God, the Creator; that Jesus his Son is both human and divine; and that salvation came by his death and resurrection. This was also the group that decided which books would be included in the canon of scripture.By the end of the fourth century, most Christians agreed that the canon was to include the four Gospels, Acts, the letters of Paul, and a group of other letters such as 1 John and 1 Peter, along with the Apocalypse of John.
Christians from the congregations had been themselves,copying these texts. These Christians were intimately aware of and even involved in the debates over the identity of God, the status of the Jewish scriptures, the nature of Christ, and the effects of his death. The group that established itself as “orthodox” (meaning that it held what it considered to be the “right belief) then determined what future Christian generations would believe and read as scripture.
What should we call the “orthodox” views before they became the majority opinion of all Christians? Possibly it is best to call them protoorthodox. That is to say, they represented the views of the “orthodox” Christians before this group had won its disputes by the early fourth century or so.
Effects of Theological Differences in Reproduction of Texts:
Did these disputes affect the scribes as they reproduced their scriptures? Yes they did. To make the point, I will restrict myself to just one aspect of the ongoing theological disputes in the second and third centuries, the question over the nature of Christ:
Was he human?
Was he divine?
Was he both?
If he was both, was he;
Two separate beings, one divine and one human? Or
Was he one being who was simultaneously human and divine?
These are questions that were eventually resolved in the creeds that were formulated and then handed down even till today, creeds that insist that there is “one Lord Jesus Christ” who is both fully God and fully man”. Before these determinations came to be made, there were widespread disagreements, and these disputes affected the texts of scripture.
Antiadoptionistic Alterations of The Text:
Early Christian Adoptionists: We know of a number of Christian groups from the second and third centuries that had an “adoptionistic” view of Christ. This view is called adoptionist because its adherents maintained that: Jesus was not divine but a full flesh-and-blood human being whom God had “adopted” to be his son, usually at his baptism.
According to the Ebionites, then, Jesus did not preexist; he was not born of a virgin; he was not himself divine. He was a special, righteous man, whom God had chosen and placed in a special relationship to himself.
In 1 Tim. 3:16, where most later manuscripts speak of Christ as “God made manifest in the flesh,” this early manuscript originally spoke, instead, of “Christ “who was made manifest in the flesh.” The change is very slight in Greek — it is the difference between a theta and an omicron, which look very much alike (0E and OE). A later scribe had altered the original reading, so that it no longer read “who” but “God” (made manifest in the flesh). In other words, this later corrector changed the text in such a way as to stress Christ’s divinity.
Other antiadoptionistic changes took place in the manuscripts that record Jesus’s early life in the Gospel of Luke. In one place we are told that when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the Temple and the holy man Simeon blessed him, “his father and mother were marveling at what was said to him” (Luke 2:33). His father? How could the text call Joseph Jesus’s father if Jesus had been born of a virgin? Not surprisingly, a large number of scribes changed the text to eliminate the potential problem, by saying “Joseph and his mother were marveling. …” Now the text could not be used by an adoptionist Christian in support of the claim that Joseph was the child’s father.
The difficulty with this line of thinking — as persuasive as it is at first glance — is that it overlooks how Luke generally uses designations of Jesus throughout his work (including not just the Gospel but also the second volume of his writing, the book of Acts).
Consider, for example, what Luke says about Jesus as the “Messiah” (which is the Hebrew word for the Greek term Christ). According to Luke 2:11, Jesus was born as the Christ, but in one of the speeches in Acts, Jesus is said to have become the Christ at his baptism (Acts 10:37-38); in another passage Luke states that Jesus became the Christ at his resurrection (Acts 2:38). How can all these things be true? It appears that for Luke, it was important to emphasize the key moments of Jesus’s existence, and to stress these as vital for Jesus’s identity (e.g., as Christ).
The same applies to Luke’s understanding of Jesus as the “Lord.” He is said to have been born the Lord in Luke 2:11; and he is called the Lord while living, in Luke 10: 1; but Acts 2:38 indicates that he became the Lord at his resurrection.
We will conclude this part of the discussion by looking at one other such change. Like 1 Tim. 3:16, this one involves a text in which a scribe has made an alteration to affirm in very strong terms that Jesus is to be understood completely as God. The text occurs in the Gospel of John, a Gospel that more than any of the others that made it into the New Testament already goes a long way toward identifying Jesus himself as divine (see, e.g., John 8:58; 10:30; 20:28). This identification is made in a particularly striking way in a passage in which the original text is hotly disputed.
Unique Son: There are other reasons for thinking that the latter reading is, in fact, the correct one. The Gospel of John uses this phrase “the unique Son” (sometimes mistranslated as “only begotten Son”) on several other occasions (see John 3:16,18); nowhere else does it speak of Christ as “the unique God.” Moreover, what would it even mean to call Christ that? The term unique in Greek means “one of a kind.” There can be only one who is one of a kind. The term unique God must refer to God the Father himself — otherwise he is not unique. But if the term refers to the Father, how can it be used of the Son? Given the fact that the more common (and understandable) phrase in the Gospel of John is “the unique Son,” it appears that that was the text originally written in John 1:18. This itself is still a highly exalted view of Christ — he is the “unique Son who is in the bosom of the Father.” And he is the one who explains God to everyone else. It appears, though, that some scribes — probably located in Alexandria — were not content even with this exalted view of Christ, and so they made it even more exalted, by transforming the text. Now Christ is not merely God’s unique Son, he is the unique God himself!This too, then, appears to be an antiadoptionistic change of the text made by proto-orthodox scribes of the second century.
Faith and Works:
As we have seen, Marcion appears to have taken his cues from the apostle Paul, whom he considered to be the one true follower of Jesus. In some of his letters Paul differentiates between the Law and the gospel, insisting that a person is made right with God by faith in Christ (the gospel), not by performing the works of the Jewish law.
For Marcion, this contrast between the gospel of Christ and the Law of Moses was absolute, so much so that the God who gave the Law obviously could not be the one who gave the salvation of Christ. They were, in other words, two different gods. The God of the Old Testament was the one who created this world, chose Israel to be his people, and gave them his harsh Law. When they break his Law (as they all do), he punishes them with death. Jesus came from a greater God, sent to save people from the wrathful God of the Jews. Since he did not belong to this other God, who created the material world, Jesus himself obviously could not be part of this material world. That means, then, that he could not actually have been born, that he did not have a material body, that he did not really bleed, that he did not really die. All these things were an appearance. But since Jesus appeared to die — an apparently perfect sacrifice — the God of the Jews accepted this death as payment for sins. Anyone who believes in it will be saved from this God.
Justin and his proto-orthodox colleagues understood that the verses (Luke 22:43-44) showed in graphic form that Jesus did not merely “appear” to be human: he really was human, in every way. It seems likely, then, that since, as we have seen, these verses were not originally part of the Gospel of Luke, they were added for an antidocetic purpose, because they portrayed so well the real humanity of Jesus.
“Institution” of the Lord’s Supper:
There are the familiar words of the “institution” of the Lord’s Supper, known in a very similar form also from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1 1:23-25). Despite the fact that they are familiar, there are good reasons for thinking that these verses were not originally in Luke’s Gospel but were added to stress that it was Jesus’s broken body and shed blood that brought salvation “for you.” For one thing, it is hard to explain why a scribe would have omitted the versesif they were original to Luke (there is no homoeoteleuton, for example, that would explain an omission), especially since they make such clear and smooth sense when they are added. In fact, when the verses are taken away, most people find that the text sounds a bit truncated. The unfamiliarity of the truncated version (without the verses) may have been what led scribes to add the verses.
Luke on Death for Atonement differs with Mark and Paul:
Moreover, it should be noted that the verses, as familiar as they are, do not represent Luke’s own understanding of the death of Jesus. For it is a striking feature of Luke’s portrayal of Jesus’s death — this may sound strange at first — that he never, anywhere else, indicates that the death itself is what brings salvation from sin. Nowhere in Luke’s entire two-volume work (Luke and Acts), is Jesus’s death said to be “for you.” In fact, on the two occasions in which Luke’s source (Mark) indicates that it was by Jesus’s death that salvation came (Mark 10:45; 15 39), Luke changed the wording of the text (or eliminated it). Luke, in other words, has a different understanding of the way in which Jesus’s death leads to salvation than does Mark (and Paul, and other early Christian writers).
It is easy to see Luke’s own distinctive view by considering what he has to say in the book of Acts, where the apostles give a number of speeches in order to convert others to the faith. In none of these speeches, though, do the apostles indicate that Jesus’s death brings atonement for sins (e.g., in chapters 3,4,13). It is not that Jesus’s death is unimportant. It is extremely important for Luke — but not as an atonement. Instead, Jesus’s death is what makes people realize their guilt before God (since he died even though he was innocent). Once people recognize their guilt, they turn to God in repentance, and then he forgives their sins. Jesus’s death for Luke, in other words, drives people to repentance, and it is this repentance that brings salvation. But not according to these disputed verses that are missing from some of our early witnesses: here Jesus’s death is portrayed as an atonement “for you.”
Another verse that appears to have been added to Luke’s Gospel by proto-orthodox scribes is Luke 24:12, which occurs just after Jesus has been raised from the dead. Some of Jesus’s women followers go to the tomb, find that he is not there, and are told that he has been raised. They go back to tell the disciples, who refuse to believe them because it strikes them as a “silly tale.” Then, in many manuscripts, occurs the account of 24:12: “But Peter, rising up, ran to the tomb, and stooping down he saw the linen cloths alone, and he returned home marveling at what had happened.”
And it happened that while he was blessing them, he was removed from them; and they returned into Jerusalem with great joy. (Luke 24:51-52) . In part, this is an intriguing variant because the same author, Luke, in his second volume, the book of Acts, again narrates Jesus’s ascension into heaven, but explicitly states that it took place “forty days” after the resurrection (Acts 1:1-11). This makes it difficult to believe that Luke wrote the phrase in question in Luke 24:51 — since surely he would not think Jesus ascended to heaven on the day of his resurrection if he indicates at the beginning of his second volume that he ascended forty days later.
The controversies over separationist Christologies played some role in the transmission of the texts that were to become the New Testament. We have seen one instance already in a variant we considered in chapter 5, Hebrews 2:9, in which Jesus was said, in the original text of the letter, to have died “apart from God.” In that discussion, we saw that most scribes had accepted the variant reading, which indicated that Christ died “by the grace of God,” even though that was not the text that the author originally wrote. But we did not consider at any length the question of why scribes might have found the original text potentially dangerous and therefore worth modifying. Now, with this brief background to Gnostic understandings of Christ, the change makes better sense. For according to separationist Christologies, Christ really did die “apart from God,” in that it was at his cross that the divine element that had indwelt him removed itself, so that Jesus died alone. Aware that the text could be used to support such a view, Christian scribes made a simple but profound change. Now rather than indicating that his death came apart from God, the text affirmed that Christ’s death was “by the grace of God.” This, then, is an anti-separationist alteration.
The reasons of changes of text of Bible cited by scholars can be summarised:
Errors Arising from Faulty Eyesight, Hearing:This maybe of any one of different natures. For example, a scribe with such a problem, found it difficult to distinguish between Greek letters that resemble one another; this was especially the case where the previous copyist had not written with care.
Changes Involving Spelling and Grammar:The scribe may, with a motive of correction, change or alter the spelling of a word or the sequence of words in a sentence. Harmonistic Corruptions: Since the monks normally knew portions of the Scriptures by heart, they tended to make changes in the text to harmonize discordant parallels or quotations.
Clearing up Historical and Geographical Difficulties: The scribes who were aware of a particular historical or geographical reference being made in the text and found that reference to be incorrect in some way, tended to correct such reference. Conflation of Readings: When the same passage was given differently in different manuscripts most scribes incorporated both readings in the new copy which they were writing.
Addition of Natural Complements and Similar Adjuncts: Where the scribe thought a phrase to be missing a few words that, in his opinion, should have been there, he added such words as he thought were obviously missing and were meant to be there.
Addition of Other Details: Some scribes had the tendency of adding details to some event that was referred to in the text.
Alterations made because of Doctrinal Considerations: When the words of the manuscript which was used as a source differed from or negated the doctrine to which the scribe ascribed himself, he was tempted to alter the words in a way that prevented the particular doctrine from losing its ground.
Alteration of Texts, Some Examples from Bible:
Despite all the revisions, the Bible is still full of contradictions, violence, obscenities and interpolations; many volumes are required to explain them; only some examples are mentioned here;
Entire Chapter John 21 is Later Addition
John 21 is the twenty-first chapter of the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It contains an account of the resurrection appearance in Galilee, which the text describes as the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples. In the course of this chapter, there is a miraculous catch of 153 fish, the confirmation of Peter’s love for Jesus, a foretelling of Peter’s death in old age, and a comment about the beloved disciple’s future. Some New Testament historians assert that it was not part of the original text of the Gospel of John.
Expunged- 1 John 5:7
The only verses in the whole Bible that explicitly ties God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in one “Triune” being is the verse of 1 John 5:7
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”[1 John 5:7]
This is the type of clear, decisive, and to-the-point verse I have been asking for. However, as I would later find out, this verse is now universally recognized as being a later “insertion” of the Church and all recent versions of the Bible, such as the Revised Standard Version the New Revised Standard Version, the New American Standard Bible, the New English Bible, the Phillips Modern English Bible …etc. have all unceremoniously expunged this verse from their pages. Why is this? The scripture translator Benjamin Wilson gives the following explanation for this action in his “Emphatic Diaglott.” Mr. Wilson says:
“This text concerning the heavenly witness is not contained in any Greek manuscript which was written earlier than the fifteenth century. It is not cited by any of the ecclesiastical writers; not by any of early Latin fathers even when the subjects upon which they treated would naturally have lead them to appeal to it’s authority. It is therefore evidently spurious.”
The story about the stoning of the adulteress in the Gospel of John, verses 7:53-8:11.
This is the well-known story of a woman who is about to be stoned because of the charge of adultery. When questioned about her punishment, Jesus utters the famous words “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.
When Christian scholars study the manuscript tradition, that is, the ancient documents from which the modern New Testament is derived, they conclude that the entire story was inserted hundreds of years after Jesus. This is due to the fact that it does not exist in any manuscripts before the 5th century, and the vast majority of those prior to the 8th century lack it 1. Here is a footnote regarding this story from the New International Version of the Bible:
The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53—8:11. A few manuscripts include these verses, wholly or in part, after John 7:36, John 21:25, Luke 21:38 or Luke 24:53.
Mark 16:9-20 Added Later not found in Earliest Greek Script:
Mark 16 is the final chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It begins with the discovery of the empty tomb by Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome. There they encounter a young man dressed in white who announces the Resurrection of Jesus (16:1-6). The two oldest manuscripts of Mark 16 (from the 300s) then conclude with verse 8, which ends with the women fleeing from the empty tomb, and saying “nothing to anyone, because they were too frightened.”
This makes it doubtful that Jesus changed his stance for prophet for Israelites (Matthew 15:24, 10:6, 15:23, Acts 3:26, Romans 15:8) to the prophet for whole world?
Mark 16:15 : And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:15, a later insertion in scripture is supported by Matthew 28:19 which is also considered dubious!
Matthew 15:24 : “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” [Matthew 15:24 is not a dubious verse, also supported by Matthew 10:6, Matthew 15:23, Acts 3:26, Romans 15:8].
The Council of Trent, reacting to Protestant criticism, defined the Canon of Trent which is the Roman Catholic biblical canon. The Decretum de Canonicis Scripturis, issued in 1546 at the fourth session of the Council, affirms that Jesus commanded that the gospel was “to be preached by His Apostles to every creature” — a statement clearly based on Mark 16:15. Hence the pillar of Christian faith, that the Message of Jesus , Gospel is for the whole world not just Jews is based upon Mark 16:15, a fake , later insertion, corruption of scripture to justify Church doctrines, departure from original teachings of Jesus at Matthew 15:24.
Many scholars take Mark 16:8 as the original ending and believe that the longer ending (16:9-20) was a later addition. In this 12-verse passage, the author refers to Jesus’ appearances to Mary Magdalene, two disciples, and then the Eleven (the Twelve Apostles excluding Judas). The text concludes with the Great Commission, declaring that believers that have been baptized will be saved while non believers will be condemned, and pictures Jesus taken to Heaven and sitting at the Right Hand of God.
The majority of scholars believe that verses 9-20 were not part of the original text, and were an addition by later Christians. Because of patristic evidence from the late 100s for the existence of copies of Mark with 16:9-20, it is contended by some scholars that this passage must have been written and attached no later than the early 2nd century. However, as the oldest copies of Mark, dating from the 4th century, do not include verses 9-20, textual evidence tends to support a relatively late insertion of the Great Commission – from the 4th century or later. A reading of Mark 16:9-20, a fabricated story is an open evidence of corruption of Gospel and baseless doctrines of Christianity:
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes made it a lie” [Jeremiah 8:8]
“who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who confounds the wise and turns their knowledge into nonsense,”[Isaiah 44:25]
“Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools”[Romans 1:22 ]
“He thwarts the schemes of the crafty, so that their hands find no success”.[Job 5:12]
“He catches the wise in their craftiness, and sweeps away the plans of the cunning”. [Job 5:13 ]
“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write misfortune which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from justice, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! [Isaiah 10:1-2]
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? [1 Corinthians 1:20]
There are many such stories about Jesus which are taken as Gospel truth by Christians but in actual fact are later additions. It’s important to mention that these issues with the Biblical narrative have been raised not to upset or offend the reader. While such stories may contain beautiful lessons and morals, we have to evaluate them on the basis of whether they are true teachings of Jesus.
Despite all the revisions, the Bible is still full of contradictions, violence, obscenities and interpolations; many volumes are required to explain them; only few examples are mentioned here;
God dwells in light (1 Timothy;6:16); God dwells in darkness (1 Kings;8:12, Psalms;18:11). God is all powerful (Jeremiah;32:27,17, Matthew;19:26); Godis not all powerful (Judges;1:19). God is not author of evil (Psalms;19:7-8, Deuteronomy;32:4); God is the author of evil (Ezekiel;20:25, Lamentations; 3:38, Jeremiah;18:11, Amos;3:6). God is peaceful (Romans;15:33, 1 Corinthians ;14:33), God is warlike (Exodus;15:3, Isaiah;51:15). God cannot lie (Numbers;23:19, Hebrews;6:18), God lies (Jeremiah;4:10, 2 Thessalonians;2:11, 1 Kings;22:23, Ezekiel;14:9). Heaven, no man hath ascended (John;3:13) contradicted by 2Kings;2:11, Elijah ascended, and Genesis;5:24 Enoch ascended. Judas (treacherous disciple of Jesus) hanged himself (Matthew;27:5), he did not hang himself but died other way (Acts;1:18). Mission of Jesus was to implement the Law of Moses (Matthew;5:17-19), Law superseded by Christian dispensations (Luke;16:16, Ephesians;2:15, Romans;7:6). Man is Not justified by faith alone (James;2:21,24, Romans;2:13), man is justified by faith alone (Romans;3:20, Galatians;2:16, 3:11-12). Jesus lost “None” of his disciples (John;18:9) contradicted by, he lost only “One” (John;17:12). All are sinners (2 Chronicles;6:36) contradicted by: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin” (1 John;3:9).
Unscientific Narratives & Contradictions in Bible:
The Biblical narrative of Creation is unscientific, replete with contradictions: On the first day, God created light, then separated light and darkness (Genesis;1:3-5) where as the sun (which separates night and day) wasn’t created until the fourth day (Genesis;1:14-19); trees were created before man was created.(Genesis;1:11-12,26-27), Man was created before trees were created.(Genesis;2:4-9); birds were created before man was created.(Genesis;1:20-21, 26-27), man was created before birds were created.(Genesis;2:7, 19). God was pleased with his creation (Genesis;1:31), God was not pleased with his creation (Genesis;6:5-6).
Contradictions in the history and statistics, which are glaring:
The story of flood at Genesis 6-9 contradicts with Genesis 7:2-3. The “Lord” tempted David (2 Samuel;24:1) or “Satan provoked David (I Chronicles;21:1), David’s fight with Goliath differs with one another (1 Samuel;17:56, 16:18-23 & 16:18-19). The number 700 or 7000? “Horsemen” or “Footmen”?(2 Samuel;10:18) viz (1 Chronicles;19:18). Solomon had 2000 baths or 3000 baths?(1 Kings ;7-26 viz 2 Chronicles;4:5). Solomon had 4000 stalls of horses or 40000? (2 Chronicles;9:25 viz 1 Kings;4:26). Did Saul enquire of the Lord or didn’t he? (1 Samuels;28:6 viz 1 Chronicles;10:13-14).
A Summary: Alterations and Corruption of Text in New Testament:
There is a long list debating the authenticity of many verses, some are listed here. It’s worthwhile to go through each of these verses and think about the implications of each verse that was added for specific purpose in support and justification for concocted doctrines:
Bart Ehrman, points out that the King James Version includes verses in some places that are almost certainly not “original” – that is, passages that were not written by the original authors but were added by later scribes. He chose three of the most outstanding and famous examples: the explicit reference to the Trinity in 1 John 5:7-8; the story of the woman taken in adultery in John 7:53-8:11; and Jesus’ resurrection appearance in the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel, Mark 16:9-20.
Entire Chapter John 21 is Later Addition
1 John 5:7 – There are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. [Trinity]
Luke 22:20: And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[Footnote; NRSV [a] Luke 22:20 Other ancient authorities lack, in whole or in part, verses 19b-20 (which is given . . . in my blood)
John 8:7 – Let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.
John 8:11 – Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.
Matthew 6:13: “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
Matthew 17:21: “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Luke 22:44 – In his anguish Jesus began to pray more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.
Luke 22:20 – And in the same way after supper Jesus took the cup and said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
Mark 16:15 : And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:17 – These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons and they will speak with new tongues.
Mark 16:18 – And they will take up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any poison it will not harm
John 5:4 – For an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool and disturbed the waters; and whoever was the first to step in when the water was disturbed was healed of whatever disease he had.
Luke 24:12 – But Peter rose up and ran to the tomb, and stooping down to look in, he saw the linen clothes by themselves. And he went away to his own home, marveling at what had happened.
Luke 24:51 – And when Jesus blessed them he departed from them and he was taken up into heaven.
“How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes made it a lie” [Jeremiah 8:8]
These few example out of hundreds of variations and contradictions are enough to conclude that the Bible in present form is not all word of God, however it may contain some thing from God in human words. Qur’an is fully authentic as it has been meticulously preserved by being committed to memory by masses of people in addition to its preservation in writing from the very beginning. The Quran is criteria (Furqan) to judge right from wrong, so the Biblical teachings can be checked through Quran, those conform be accepted and contractions rejected being fabrication and corruption.
Quran is the last book of guidance from the God for humanity, it is complete and without any doubt:
“This is the Book; there is no doubt in it. It is a guide for those who are mindful of God”(Quran;2:2).
The Quran available today is exactly the same as it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) (during 610 to 632 C.E). The Holy Qur’an was written and compiled in the present order by the Holy Prophet under the direct guidance of the Almighty himself. The Holy Qur’an itself testifies to the fact:
“[O Prophet!] do not move your tongue swiftly to acquire this [Qur’an]. Verily, upon Us is its collection and recital. So when We have recited it, follow this recital [of Ours]. Then upon Us is to explain it [wherever need be]. (Quran;75:16-19)
This verse indicates that:
Revelation of the Holy Qur’an would be completed in due course gradually,
It would be compiled under the direct guidance of the Almighty,
The reading (sounds) of the text would also be taught by the Almighty to be followed later.
This promised final recitation was done during the last year of the life of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) when he recited the whole of the Holy Qur’an with the Archangel Gabriel (Holy Spirit). Complete history of its preservation and compilation and is available in full detail. A brief overview through light on the elaborate arrangements, process involved and the efforts put in by the companions and Caliphs in preservation of Quran.
Allah has taken responsibility to guard it against any corruption:
“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian”(Quran;15:9)
Compilation and Preservation:
The companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) played an important role in the compilation of the Quran. Among Arabs memorization was the primary means of preservation, but Quran was also committed to writing under direct supervision of Prophet (pbuh). During the 23 years of Muhammad’s time as a prophet, the verses of the Quran were memorized as they were revealed, and about 42 scribes wrote the verses on different materials such as paper, cloth, bone fragments and leather.
During the time of Caliph Abu Bakr, when 70 people who knew the Quran by heart (qari), were martyred in the Battle of Yamama, Umar ibn al-Khattab was much concerned and requested Caliph Abu Bakr to compile the Quran into form of a book. After some hesitation Abu Bakr was convinced, he formed a committee under the leadership of Zaid ibn Thabit, one of the leading scribes. This committee of 12 people, including famous companions such as Uthman ibn Affan, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Talha ibn Ubaydullah, Abdullah ibn Masood, Ubayy ibn Kab, Khalid ibn al-Walid, Hudhaifah and Saleem, collected all the materials on which verses from the Quran were written. In addition, the verses memorized by the companions were heard as well. Each of them was asked to show two witnesses for the verse they read.
Saeed ibn al-Aas, who was renowned for the beauty of his handwriting, wrote them down on gazelle skin. The writing used was the Arabic script of the time, which was already old and used commonly at that time in Hejaz. The copy of the Quran was recited to the companions at a general meeting. There was no objection. So, a book called “mushaf” emerged, which means written verses. A large number of companions agreed that every letter of the Quran was in the right place. Then this mushaf was sent to Umar ibn al-Khattab. After his death, this Muhsif (document) passed on to Hazrat Hafsah, the daughter of Umar and a wife of Prophet Muhammad.
A difference of dialect was observed in the recitation of the Quran in the Armenia battles between Muslims from Damascus and Iraq during the period of the third caliph, Uthman. Hudhaifah, one of the companions, went before the caliph on his way back from an expedition and asked him to prevent this.
In 647 C.E (25 Hijra), the 3rd Caliph Uthman appointed a committee comprising Abdullah ibn al-Zubair, Saeed ibn al-Aas and Abd al-Rahman ibn Harith under the leadership of Zaid ibn Thabit. All of them, except for Zaid, were from Quraysh. Uthman said that the dialect of Quraysh should be preferred if they were to fall into conflict with Zaid regarding the dialect, since Muhammad was from the Quraysh tribe. The Quran had been revealed in seven dialects of the Arabic language of the time. The committee brought the original mushaf from Hazrat Hafsah (r.a). The verses were written in the Quraysh dialect. The surahs were arranged in rows, separated from each other regarding their length and alignment with each other. The old copies were destroyed to prevent future conflicts. From the new copy, some mushafs were also written on parchment and sent to different places in the Caliphate. Some are still available in museums at Tashkent, Russia and Turkey.
The copy that stayed with the caliph was called al-Mushaf al-Imam (the head mushaf). There is no difference between the mushafs recited around the world today since they were all copied from original copies. Since then, countless Muslims have memorized the Quran. In the month of Ramadan, the entire Quran is recited in the Taraweeh prayer at the Kaaba and millions of Mosques in every village and town in the Muslims world. Same Quran is recited in Indonesia, China, Russia, London, New York, Morocco, Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and elsewhere.
Quran explains Quran:
Quran explains Quran, a summary of extracts (meanings) from holy verses:
Revealed by God (Quran;3:60)
Book with the truth, verifying (truth present in) old Scriptures and a guardian over it (Quran;5:48)
God revealed Quran and will protect it (Quran;15:9)
Free from any ambiguity (Quran;18:1-2)
Neglected nothing in the Book” (Quran; 6:38)
Falsehood cannot approach it (Quran;41:42)
Book in truth and [also] the balance.(Quran;42:17)
Nobody, not even Prophet can change Quran (Quran;10:15)
Messenger conveyed all what was revealed of this Book from Lord. There is nothing that could alter His words(Quran;18;27, 6:19)
Allah’s Words never change.(10:64) [And changeless are His Laws (33:62), (35:43), (48:23) (17:77)]
Delivered the messages of the Lord (72:28, 5:67)
Verses of established meaning, further explained in detail (Quran;11:1)
The most beautiful Message in a consistent Book wherein is reiteration.(Quran;39:23)
Healing and a mercy to the believers, and it adds only to the perdition of the unjust. (Quran;17:82)
Book of God, without any doubt, guidance for those who fear God(Quran;2:2)
Bring mankind out of darknesses into the light (Quran;14:1)
“This book to provide explanations for everything, and guidance, and mercy, and good news for the Muslims”(Quran;16:89)
Judge in Differences
The Criterion to judge right and wrong (Quran;25:1)
Book with truth, to judge between people in that in which they differed (Quran;2:213)
In clear Arabic, easy to understand (Quran;12:2)
Study the Quran, as it should be studied (Quran;2:121)
Ponder over its verses, and that those endowed with understanding may be mindful.(Quran;38:29)
Do they not then think deeply in the Quran, or are their hearts locked up?(Quran;47:24)
Those concealing revelations of Quran are cursed by Allah (Quran;2:159)
Who conceal in the scripture, for a cheap material gain, incur painful retribution.(Quran;2:174)
Deniers and Rejectors:
Woe unto every fabricating impostor, the one who hears GOD’s revelations but ignores arrogantly, Grievous punishment awaits (Quran;45:7-8)
Those who dispute Ayas have turned away from the right path (Quran;40:69)
Those who deny the revelations, will suffer a dreadful doom.(Quran;45:11)
Who disbelieved in Quran, are doomed (Quran;90:19)
And none but the Zalimun (polytheists, wrongdoers) deny Ayat (Quran;29:49)
And be not like those who said, We hear, and they did not obey (Quran;8:21)
Great Jihad (strenuous effort) against disbelievers with this Quran (Quran;25:52).
Quran is memorized by millions of ordinary Muslims and scholars all around the world of all age groups. Recited five times a day in obligatory prayers (Salah). Muslims recite Quran daily and during Ramadan complete Quran is recited in congregation of Taraweeh in all Masjids. Quran is part of Muslim life, the most read book in world. If all books get vanished, millions of Quran copies can be reproduced all around in every village and town by Hufaz who have memorized Quran. During last 1400 years not a word can be changed. Its unique book in contents, quality and preservation. Humanity is invited to read Quran, the final well preserved pure message of guidance.
Corruption of Bible, Muslim View:
It should be borne in mind that Muslims do believe that the Torah was revealed to Moses, and the Gospel was revealed to Jesus. But it is pretty obvious from these books as they appear in the Bible today that neither of the two books are the same ones which were revealed to these Prophets of God or even dictated by them. They are more of a historian’s account of the lives and teachings of Moses and Jesus respectively than books revealed to them. Moreover:
The books that comprise the Bible are not the ones given by the respective prophets to whom they are ascribed.
These books do not meet the criteria of unbroken and dependable chains of transmission, and
A number of intentional and unintentional changes have occurred in the text of these books.
“Therefore woe be unto those who write the Book with their hands and then say, “This is from Allah,” that they may purchase a small gain therewith. Woe unto them for that their hands have written, and woe unto them for that they earn thereby.”(Quran;2:79)
Muslims do not believe that the books that now constitute the New Testament were written by Jesus Christy (fact even accepted by Christian scholars) whereas, the basis of Christianity is ascribed to him. Even if these books were ascribed to Jesus Christ, the Muslims have never been provided with unbroken and dependable chains of transmission of these books from one generation to the next. The case of the Torah is no different. Lastly, even experts on the text of the Bible believe that it has not remained safe from intentional and/or unintentional changes in the text. Consequently, in the situation, as it stands, Muslims have no option but to believe that the books of the Bible as we have them today do not truly reflect the true teachings of the Prophets to whom they are ascribed.
Hence the Muslims, while believing in all the previous prophets and ‘original scriptures’ adhere to Quran, the final preserved revelations, ‘The Last Testament’ available for the guidance of humanity which abrogated all the previous scriptures. God says:
“God accepted a Covenant from the Children of Israel and appointed twelve chieftains from among them and said: “I am with you; if you establish Prayers (Salah) pay Alms (Zakah), believe in My Messengers, support them and give a generous loan to Allah (spend in charity), I will certainly forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens beneath which the rivers flow. However, if any one of you, after this, violates this Covenant, he will indeed go astray from the Right Way. Even after that, they broke their covenant; as a result, We laid on them Our curse and hardened their hearts. They tempered with words out of their context and neglected much of what they were enjoined. You will always find most of them deceitful except for a few of them. Yet forgive them and overlook their misdeeds. Allah loves those who are kind to others. Likewise We also made a Covenant with those who call themselves Christians, but they too have neglected much of what they were enjoined. As a result, We stirred among them enmity and hatred, which will last till the Day of Resurrection and soon God will inform them all of what they have done. O followers of Bible (People of the Book i.e. the Jews and Christians)! Now Our Messenger (Muhammad) has come to you to reveal much of what you have concealed from the Holy Books and to pass over much which is no longer necessary. There has come to you from God a new Light and a clear Book (Quran), with which God will guide to the ways of peace all those who seek His good pleasure and bring them out of the depth of darkness into the light of His grace and guide them to the Right Way.” (Quran;5:12-15).
The advent of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had been foretold to the previous messengers in Bible. However out of jealousy and corruption of scripture, effort was made to change, corrupt the words and meanings, but with careful analysis scholars have been able to bring out the truth:
“Behold! Allah took the Covenant of the prophets, saying: “I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you a messenger, confirming what is with you; do ye believe In Him and render Him help.” Allah said: “Do ye agree, and take This My Covenant As binding on you?” They said: “We agree.” He said: “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.”(Quran;3:81).
Certain passages in the Bible have been interpreted by Islamic scholars as prophetic references to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), such as Deuteronomy 18:15–22. Verse 15 says: “…a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me;…”. According to Islamic tradition, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a descendant of Ishmael (pbuh) and therefore traced his descent back to Abraham (pbuh), like the Israelites. Mention of Parakletos (English translation commonly “Comforter”) in John 14:16, 15:26, 16:7 and 18:36 are prophetic references to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) but deliberately concealed, misinterpreted by Christian scholars, who interpret Parakletos as the Holy Spirit, which is not correct as Holy Spirit according to Bible is already present in the Gospel of Luke in (1–2) prior to the birth of Jesus. In Luke 1:15, John the Baptist was said to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” prior to birth, and the Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary in Luke 1:35. In Luke 3:16 John the Baptist stated that Jesus baptized not with water but with the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus during his baptism in the Jordan River. Similarly, the Spirit of truth mentioned in John 16:12–14 is also a prophetic reference to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Some other related verses are : Genesis;49:10,Deuteronomy, 18:18, Deuteronomy;33:2, Psalm;45, Psalm;110:1, Isaiah;29:12, Isaiah, 40,, 42, 54, Daniel;7, Habakkuk, 3:3. From Bible it may be found that the prophet after Jesus Christ would be:
Not from Children of Israel but from progeny of Ishmael.
A rider upon a camel, God’s servant (Abduho), God’s Elect (Mustafa).
Inhabitant of the villages of Prince Kedar, son of Ishmael.
His religion will be known as Shiloh(means; Peace-Islam).
His light will shine from Faran.
The scepter (A staff held by a sovereign as an emblem of authority or Ruling power or authority; sovereignty) of Judah will pass on to him.
God will put his words in his mouth, having power like sword.
He shall not fail and shall not break, he will have similarities with Moses.
He shall be known as Comforter, Ahmad, or Advocate .
This was Thomas Jefferson’s attempt to extract an authentic Jesus from the Gospel accounts. Thomas Jefferson [US President;1801–1809] was frustrated. It was not the burdens of office that bothered him. It was his Bible. Jefferson was convinced that the authentic words of Jesus written in the New Testament had been contaminated. Early Christians, overly eager to make their religion appealing to the pagans, had obscured the words of Jesus with the philosophy of the ancient Greeks and the teachings of Plato. These “Platonists” had thoroughly muddled Jesus’ original message. Jefferson assured his friend and rival, John Adams, that the authentic words of Jesus were still there. The task, as he put it, was one of abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separate from that as the diamond from the dung hill.
With the confidence and optimistic energy characteristic of the Enlightenment, Jefferson proceeded to dig out the diamonds. Candles burning late at night, his quill pen scratching “too hastily” as he later admitted, Jefferson composed a short monograph titled The Philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth. The subtitle explains that the work is “extracted from the account of his life and the doctrines as given by Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.” In it, Jefferson presented what he understood was the true message of Jesus.
Jefferson set aside his New Testament research, returning to it again in the summer of 1820. This time, he completed a more ambitious work, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually from the Gospels in Greek, Latin, French and English. The text of the New Testament appears in four parallel columns in four languages. Jefferson omitted the words that he thought were inauthentic and retained those he believed were original. The resulting work is commonly known as the “Jefferson Bible.”
Who was the Jesus that Jefferson found?
He was not the familiar figure of the New Testament. In Jefferson’s Bible, there is no account of the beginning and the end of the Gospel story. There is no story of the annunciation, the virgin birth or the appearance of the angels to the shepherds. The resurrection is not even mentioned.
Jefferson discovered a Jesus who was a great Teacher of Common Sense. Jefferson abandoned “orthodox” Christianity after his review of New Testament teachings. In 1803 he asserted, “I am Christian, in the only sense in which [Jesus] wished any one to be.” Jefferson later defined being a Christian as one who followed the simple teachings of Jesus. He titled the work The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, known today as the Jefferson Bible. Peterson states Jefferson was a ‘theist’ “whose God was the Creator of the universe … all the evidences of nature testified to His perfection; and man could rely on the harmony and beneficence of His work.
His message was the morality of absolute love and service. Its authenticity was not dependent upon the dogma of the Trinity or other claims. Jefferson saw Jesus as a man of a benevolent heart, (and an) enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions of divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition by being gibbeted according to the Roman law. In short, Mr. Jefferson’s Jesus, modeled on the ideals of the Enlightenment thinkers of his day, bore a striking resemblance to Jefferson himself.
One needs not to be a genius to deduce that; all above, points towards none but, Prophecies of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The details will be given in next DJ issue.
People who sincerely want to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the way of God, should themselves read the Gospels (disregarding dubious, disputed, controversial verses, later additions, as Thomas Jefferson did) and Quran. While reading Gospels the original Greek, lexicon and word by word translation be compared with other translations. Seek help from God for guidance, Only God can guide the truth seeker:
“Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; all day long I wait for You. [Psalm 25:4-6]
“The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth”.[Isaiah 26:7]
“Guide us to the straight path: the path of those You have blessed; not of those who have incurred Your wrath, nor of those who have gone astray.” (Quran;1:6-7)
“God has ordained for you the same religion which He enjoined on Noah, and which We have revealed to you, and which We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus, so that you should remain steadfast in religion and not become divided in it. What you call upon the polytheists to do is hard for them; God chooses for Himself whoever He pleases and guides towards Himself those who turn to Him.”[Quran;42:13]
“And say: ‘The truth is from your Lord.’ Then whosoever wills, let him believe; and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve.”[Quran:18:29]
God will show you the right path leading to salvation.