Continuing from Part I
Continuing from Part I
Ibn Anwar also tries to prove that the reading found in the KJV, “As it is written in the prophets,” is not original but a scribal alteration. It seems that later scribes who were far removed from the time of Christ and who, much like Ibn Anwar, were ignorant of Jewish exegetical practices wrongly assumed that someone had mistakenly corrupted the original reading of Mark since they may have reasoned that Mark could not have attributed all of these quotes to Isaiah. They decided to “restore” the original reading by changing “in Isaiah” to “in the prophets.”
Ibn Anwar then argues that even if “in the prophets” was in fact the original reading this still would pose a problem since Exodus 23:20 is not part of the writings of the Prophets but found in the Law of Moses. Ibn Anwar reasons that since the Jewish canon differentiates between the Law of Moses (called the Torah) from the Prophetic writings (called the Nevi’im) Mark would have still been mistaken.
Here, Ibn Anwar is overstating his case and is stretching it quite a bit since he erroneously assumes that, (a) Mark is only quoting from Exodus 23:20, and that (b) Moses’ writings cannot be classified along with the Prophets.
The fact is that NT scholars believe that Mark has actually combined Exodus 23:20 and Malachi 3:1 together since both passages speak of God sending his messenger/angel.
“As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ‘Behold, I send my messenger (angel) before your face, who will prepare your way,’” Mark 1:2
“Behold, I will send my messenger (angel), and he shall prepare the way before my face: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, he shall come, says the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:1
“Behold, I send an Angel (messenger) before your face, to keep you in the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20
“And, behold, I send my angel (messenger) before your face, that he may keep you in the way, that he may bring you into the land which I have prepared for you.” LXX
It is evident that Mark has replaced Malachi’s “my face” with the words taken from the Greek version of the Exodus text, namely “your face,” in order to connect this with God sending a messenger ahead of Jesus. The Lord Jesus himself quotes Malachi in the same way:
“This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.'” Luke 7:27 – cf. Matthew 11:10
And, as some of the commentators which we cited earlier noted, the rabbis themselves combined Exodus 23:20 and Malachi 3:1 together due to their similarity in wording. Therefore, Mark was indeed quoting from the Prophets even though he added words from the writings of Moses to one of the Prophetic quotes.
Secondly, the NT employs the word “Prophets” in reference to all of the OT writings, including Moses:
“Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’ Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.’” Acts 3:17-26
That Peter’s reference to all the Prophets predicting that the Christ would suffer also includes Moses is clear not only from the immediate context which actually cites Moses’ writings but from the following reference as well:
“‘To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.’ And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.’ But Paul said, ‘I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.’ And Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?’ And Paul said, ‘Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.’” Acts 26:22-29
Even though Paul distinguishes Moses from the Prophets the fact that the Apostle says that the former announced the sufferings of Christ affirms that Moses was one of the Prophets whom Peter said predicted the death of Christ.
It is also clear that when Paul asks Agrippa whether he believes in the Prophets the blessed Apostle had Moses in mind as well since he had just referred to him earlier in their conversation.
Here are some further examples from Paul where Moses is grouped with the Prophets:
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:” Romans 1:1-7
“Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.” Romans 16:25-27
We know that when Paul refers to the Prophets here he also has the Law of Moses in mind since this is what he says elsewhere:
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” Romans 3:21-31
According to the inspired Apostle, Moses was one of the Prophets who announced beforehand the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and his glorious Gospel.
Thus, Ibn Anwar is wrong on both counts.
It is also vitally important to mention that the NT authors used the word “Law” for writings other than those of Moses’.
“Jesus answered them ‘Has it not been written in your LAW, I said you are gods?’” John 10:34
Jesus cites Psalm 82:6 and calls it the Law.
“The crowd spoke up, ‘We have heard from the LAW that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, “The Son of Man must be lifted up?” Who is this Son of Man?’” John 12:34
There is no reference in Moses’ writings that the Christ remains forever. The only places one finds such indications are Psalm 110:1,4, Isaiah 9:6-7 and Daniel 7:13-14. The Jews were evidently using “Law” to refer to the OT in general.
“But this is to fulfill what is written in their LAW: ‘They hated me without reason.’” John 15:25
Paul does something similar in Romans 3:10-19 where he refers to what is written in the Law but then cites Psalms 5:9, 10:7, 36:1, 14:1-3, 51:4, 53:1-3, 59:7-8, 140:3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20.
He does it another time in the following passage:
“In the LAW it is written: ‘Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me,’ says the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 14:21
Here the blessed Apostle calls Isaiah 28:11-12 the Law. This should sufficiently demonstrate that the term Law was and is used in a broader sense to refer to the entire Hebrew Bible.
Third, Ibn Anwar selectively appeals to the Jewish tradition of dividing the OT into three sections consisting of Law, Prophets and the Writings when it is convenient for him to do so, but doesn’t bother to inform his readers that according to this same tradition the Prophetic writings were divided into earlier and latter Prophets and that Isaiah headed off the latter Prophets which also included Malachi! Therefore, it would have been thoroughly appropriate for Mark to quote passages from the writings of the Prophets by mentioning the name of the first book that headed off that specific part of the OT since his audience would have known from what was written that Mark was referring to that particular section and not just to the book of Isaiah.
As Messianic Jewish NT commentator David H. Stern explains:
2-3 It is written in the prophet Yesha‘yahu. Only the last two lines quoted are from Isaiah; the first two are from Malachi. The scroll of the Prophets begins with Isaiah, and it was common to refer to a scroll by its first book; but see Mt 27:9 N. (Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary [Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc; 1st edition, October 1992], p. 87)
Nor does he take into consideration the Jewish tradition when it comes to determining the canon of the OT! Elsewhere Ibn Anwar tries to cast doubt on the canon of the Holy Bible by appealing to the varying number of OT books that are found among certain Christian denominations, i.e. the 46 OT books of the Roman Catholic Church, the 50 of the Greek Orthodox Church etc.
Since Ibn Anwar refers to the Jewish tradition of classifying and separating the OT books into three sections we would expect that he would also appeal to this very same tradition to determine the extent of the OT canon. After all, even the Quran says that Allah entrusted the Israelites with his revealed Book and prophethood:
But why do they (the Jews) come to thee for decision, WHEN THEY HAVE THE TAURAT IN WHICH IS THE COMMAND OF GOD. Surely We revealed the Taurat in which IS guidance and light; WITH IT THE PROPHETS WHO SUBMITTED THEMSELVES (to Allah) JUDGED (matters) FOR THOSE WHO WERE JEWS, and the masters of Divine knowledge and the doctors, BECAUSE THEY WERE ENTRUSTED WITH THE PROTECTION OF THE BOOK OF ALLAH, and they were witnesses thereof; therefore fear not the people and fear Me, and do not take a small price for My communications; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the unbelievers. We ordained therein for them (the Jews): ‘Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal.’ But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it IS an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to JUDGE by what God has revealed, they are wrong-doers. S. 5:43-45
We gave Moses the Book, and made it a Guide to the Children of Israel, (commanding): ‘Take not other than Me as Disposer of (your) affairs.’ O ye that are sprung from those whom We carried (in the Ark) with Noah! Verily he was a devotee most grateful. And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Book, that twice would they do mischief on the earth and be elated with mighty arrogance (and twice would they be punished)! S. 17:2-4
We did aforetime give Moses the Guidance, and We gave the Book in INHERITANCE to the Children of Israel,- A Guide and a Reminder to men of understanding. S. 40:53-54
We did aforetime grant to the Children of Israel THE BOOK, the Power of Command, AND PROPHETHOOD; We gave them, for Sustenance, things good and pure; and We favored them above the nations. And We granted them Clear Signs in affairs (of Religion): it was only after knowledge had been granted to them that they fell into schisms, through insolent envy among themselves. Verily thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Judgment as to those matters in which they set up differences. S. 45:16-17
The similitude of those who were entrusted with the Taurát, but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is that of a donkey which carries huge tomes (but understands them not). Evil is the similitude of people who falsify the Signs of Allah: and Allah guides not people who do wrong. Say: ‘O ye of Jewry! If ye think that ye are friends to Allah, to the exclusion of (other) men, then express your desire for Death, if ye are truthful!’ S. 62:5-6
The Quran also encourages people to ask the Children of Israel about their history, especially regarding the Exodus:
And certainly We gave Moses nine clear signs; SO ASK THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. When he came to them, Pharaoh said to him: Most surely I deem you, O Moses, to be a man deprived of reason. S. 17:101
This means that Ibn Anwar would have to accept the fact that the Apocryphal books which certain Churches deem canonical are not part of the OT canon since the Jews have never recognized them as such.
For more on the issue of the canon and to see how this argument can be turned more forcefully against the canon of the Quran we recommend the following articles and rebuttals:
However, seeing that consistency is not one of Ibn Anwar’s strengths (nor are honest or integrity), it doesn’t surprise us that he only appeals to Jewish tradition whenever it suits his purpose but totally discards it when it refutes his shallow argumentation and/or exposes Muhammad as a false prophet.
We conclude with a friendly reminder to Ibn Anwar. Those who live in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones… In light of the numerous examples of false attributions in the Quran and hadith literature, e.g. the presence of Haman and a Samaritan at the time of Moses, the story of Gideon being mixed up with Saul, Muhammad being taken on a journey to a non-existent Temple in Jerusalem etc. (1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6), is Ibn Anwar willing to do the same thing with his Islamic sources that he recommends be done with the Holy Bible? After all, if the alleged false attribution of a quote has the implication that the book belongs in the trash bin, what does that mean for the Muslim scripture and ahadith when books, persons and their stories are misplaced, i.e. misattributed? Will Ibn Anwar be comfortable flushing the Quran and Muhammad’s sunna down the toilet? If he is going to be consistent then he should have absolutely no problems doing so, in fact he should actually be eager to get rid of such trash.
So much for Ibn Anwar’s objections.
For more information on this topic, as well as other related issues, and to also see how these very same criticisms of the Holy Bible can be turned against the Quran we recommend the following rebuttals and articles: