A response to 6.1

Three distinct prophecies

In this section Al-Kadhi uses one verse from the gospel of John as the cornerstone of his argument. Firstly he points out that before Jesus, Elijah must come first (Mark 9:12) this is supported by Old Testament prophecy from Malachi 4:5. Al-Kadhi then goes on correctly to confirm that John the Baptist was Elijah the one to come before Jesus.

He then uses John 1:19-21 to ‘refute’ this:

From these verses, he draws three conclusions:

1) That John the Baptist is not Elijah
2) That there is a sequence i.e. Elijah >> The Christ >> The Prophet
3) He seems to infer that Jesus cannot be The Prophet

In response we can draw three points from Al-Kadhi's exegesis.

1. The logic of Al-Kadhi's reasoning

Here we see a classic case of taking one part and throwing away the other, whilst Al-Kadhi is quite happy to accept the verse on the pretext of points 2 & 3, he falls silent on the first. From his final comments on his paper, we do not know whether indeed John the Baptist was Elijah or whether he was not. So Al Kahdi (like so many other Muslim apologists before him), suggests that these verses somehow suggest a chronological sequence of three separate prophets that are being prophesied here, namely:-

John the Baptist >>>> Jesus the Messiah >>>> The Prophet Muhammad

This argument falls down when using this verse to support Al-Kadhi's theory, because John the Baptist answers ‘no’ to being Elijah. Therefore Al-Kadhi's and many Muslim Apologist's theories on this verse suggesting a chronological succession of the prophets holds no water. We shall see later on why John the Baptist said no to being Elijah.

2. Because the Bible says so

Despite the patchiness of his argument, Al-Kadhi appeals to the reader by arguing the fact that these words are written in the Bible and should be directly interpreted, without any regard to the context of the verse within the chapter.

In verses 19-21, we have to remember WHO IS ACTUALLY ASKING THE QUESTIONS? In this case it was the Jewish Rabbis and Levitical Priests. Now we must remember the words spoken by them are their words and their interpretation of how things were meant to happen at the time of the coming of the Messiah, and as a consequence does not mean that their observations must be correct, and does not even suggest that their words are words of prophecy, we would only assume words of prophecy to come from a prophet, none of these men ever claimed or were recorded as being prophets.

Al-Kadhi assumes that this interpretation should be taken literally when he argues that this ‘is what the Bible says’.

This line of reasoning ‘because it says so’, is simply not logical, to prove the point, let us take for example the following verse from the book of Psalms

Using Al-Kadhi's reasoning we could take the direct meaning and ignore the speaker of the words and categorically state that ‘the Bible says there is no God’, based on the evidence, ‘the Bible says so’. The result is of course ridiculous and does not make sense, if we read the verse in context with regards to who is speaking (the fool) we can therefore reason the opposite that the Bible in fact says that there is a God, but it is fools who deny this.

3. The final hole in the argument

Up to now, we have just been considering the major flaws in considering Al-Kadhi's theory in the three distinct prophecies expounded by this verse. Now we have to put all the pieces together into context to find out what this verse, in context with the rest of the chapter means, and how do John the Baptist (Yahaya), Christ Jesus (Isa al Masih) and Muhammad bear in relation to this chapter from John.

Let us consider the verse again in the light of the fact, that it was representatives of the Sanhedrin who were asking the questions, in verse 20 John confirms to them that he is not the Messiah. They then go on to ask whether John is Elijah, John denies this which seems very strange if we assume that Elijah in this context means the one to come before the Messiah, because after answering this question in verse 23 John makes it quite clear that he is the one who is to announce the coming of the Messiah.

So the question we need to ask in keeping in context of the chapter is if the role of Elijah was not to be the one who announces the coming of the Messiah, then what did the Jews mean by Elijah? Rather than understanding that Elijah was to be the one who announces the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5) the Jews interpreted Elijah as the prophet Elijah, as mentioned in the Old Testament (Al Taurat), who had come back from the dead, this was not an uncommon misinterpretation amongst the Jews for when Jesus asked the Apostles as to who the people though he was it is recorded them as believing that he among other things was Elijah come back from the dead (Luke 9:8, Mark 8:28, Matthew 16:14), Jesus confirms this when he speaks of John the Baptist (Yahaya)

Finally the people ask if John was ‘the Prophet’, alluded to here by Al-Kadhi and so many other Muslim apologists as being Muhummad, the Prophet of Islam, but if we put this question into a context of Biblical prophecy we know that the Bible speaks of only one Messiah who is to be the prophet to come like unto Moses in Deuteronomy 18:18

So in fact the title of the Prophet can only be applied to the Messiah who indeed is confirmed in the Bible as being the Messiah[1], later on in the same next chapter of the Gospel of John Andrew and Simon upon meeting Jesus exclaim to Peter

Jesus is also confirmed as being the Prophet after performing the miracle of feeding the 5,000 people, when the people claim

So in concluding we find not three prophecies but reference to one, which is confirmed by the Bible to be Jesus the Messiah (Isa-al-Masih), a misunderstanding of who Elijah was and absolutely no prophecy pertaining to Muhummad.

[1] See Section 6.7 to see that Deuteronomy 18:18 can only refer to Jesus Christ (Isa al Masih) and not Muhammad as alluded to by Al-Kadhi.

The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
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