(Continued from page 374)
Old Testament - 'God's Holy War'!
Miracles and Islamic Conquests?
We will consider the Old Testament record of 'God's Holy War' in more detail in another place but, for now, consider the difference between the Qur'an and the Old Testament which obviously has some commands to kill others. No honest Christian can deny that. But no honest orthodox (definition: 'straight, correct, right') Christian could ever justify killing their unbelieving neighbours today using these Old Testament texts or any New Testament text. None! Why? Because the Old Testament message was to present a very specific function of God's chosen people, Israel, and the major message of 'be separate' - and therefore they were definitely told: 'do not intermingle or inter-marry' etc. The nations around Israel were so corrupt that God knew they would certainly corrupt His chosen people, therefore He warned them to stay separate - and even used Israel as an instrument of punishment and destruction against these demon-worshipping nations of Canaan through the use of the sword and to ensure Israel stayed separate. Israel was never commanded to take over the entire world and kill all who resisted (as Allah commanded Muhammad), but was given a specific land because of the extreme evil and demonization of its people. Israel was never commanded to "convert" anyone, much less with the sword, but to kill them all because God deemed that necessary and just.
God promised the land of Canaan to Israel but delayed giving to them because the people were not yet evil enough to justify their destruction, as we find clearly stated: "The iniquity of the Amorites [i.e. Canaanites] is not yet full" (Genesis 15:16). Deuteronomy 2:31-37 pertains to the destruction of the Amorites and we can see that God was with them in this:
31 "And the Lord said to me, 'See, I have begun to give Sihon and his land over to you. Begin to possess it, that you may inherit his land.' 32 Then Sihon and all his people came out against us to fight at Jahaz. 33 And the Lord our God delivered him over to us; so we defeated him, his sons, and all his people. 34 We took all his cities at that time, and we utterly destroyed the men, women, and little ones of every city; we left none remaining. 35 We took only the livestock as plunder for ourselves, with the spoil of the cities which we took. 36 From Aroer, which is on the bank of the River Arnon, and from the city that is in the ravine, as far as Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us; the Lord our God delivered all to us. 37 Only you did not go near the land of the people of Ammon - anywhere along the River Jabbok, or to the cities of the mountains, or wherever the Lord our God had forbidden us.
Even though women and children were killed (perhaps 'kind-hearted' Muhammad would have sold these into slavery) this was the will of God (as stated earlier, in another place we will look at the result of king Saul's disobedience in such matters). Notice that verse 37 brings up another point: they were not to attack people 'wherever the Lord our God had forbidden us.' The Bible makes it clear when Israel were disobedient and ignored God's command about warfare - they lost the battle! Straight after the triumph at Jericho, when the walls of fell down as God commanded (Joshua 6) and they 'utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword' (6v21), they were defeated at Ai (Joshua 7) when one man and his family disobeyed and took plunder that was 'banned' by God:
10 So the Lord said to Joshua: "Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you. 13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: "There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you." 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes shall come according to families; and the family which the Lord takes shall come by households; and the household which the Lord takes shall come man by man. 15 Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.'" 16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 He brought the clan of Judah, and he took the family of the Zarhites; and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 Then he brought his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Now Joshua said to Achan, "My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me." 20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, "Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 21When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it." 22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it. 23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. 24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day." So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. 26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor (Achor means 'Trouble') to this day.
This pattern was repeated by other unfaithful people, such as king Saul (1 Samuel 13-16) who lost his kingdom because of his repeated disobedience. Also notice that God proved He was with Israel in these battles by the supernatural help He gave them, e.g. the fall of the walls of Jericho, or the destruction of the coalition of five Amorite kings (Joshua 10):
5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they and all their armies, and camped before Gibeon and made war against it. 6 And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, "Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us." 7 So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valor. 8 And the Lord said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you." 9 Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. 10 So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword. 12 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: "Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon." 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. 14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.
The 'Lord fought for Israel' - even causing the 'sun [to stand] still, and the moon [to stop]' and 'the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them ... [so] There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword'. If you read Joshua 9 you find that the Gibeonites came under the the protection of God because they cunningly deceived Israel in this way:
1 And it came to pass when all the kings who were on this side of the Jordan, in the hills and in the lowland and in all the coasts of the Great Sea toward Lebanon - the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite - heard about it, 2 that they gathered together to fight with Joshua and Israel with one accord. 3 But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, 5 old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy. 6 And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us." 7 Then the men of Israel said to the Hivites, "Perhaps you dwell among us; so how can we make a covenant with you?" 8 But they said to Joshua, "We are your servants." And Joshua said to them, "Who are you, and where do you come from?" 9 So they said to him: "From a very far country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God; for we have heard of His fame, and all that He did in Egypt, 10 and all that He did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan - to Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth. 11 Therefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us, saying, 'Take provisions with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say to them, "We are your servants; now therefore, make a covenant with us."' 12 This bread of ours we took hot for our provision from our houses on the day we departed to come to you. But now look, it is dry and mouldy. 13And these wineskins which we filled were new, and see, they are torn; and these our garments and our sandals have become old because of the very long journey." 14 Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord. 15 So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore to them. 16 And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours who dwelt near them. 17 Then the children of Israel journeyed and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath Jearim. 18 But the children of Israel did not attack them, because the rulers of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel. And all the congregation complained against the rulers. 19 Then all the rulers said to all the congregation, "We have sworn to them by the Lord God of Israel; now therefore, we may not touch them. 20 This we will do to them: We will let them live, lest wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them." 21 And the rulers said to them, "Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for all the congregation, as the rulers had promised them." 22 Then Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them, saying, "Why have you deceived us, saying, 'We are very far from you,' when you dwell near us? 23 Now therefore, you are cursed, and none of you shall be freed from being slaves - woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God." 24 So they answered Joshua and said, "Because your servants were clearly told that the Lord your God commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you; therefore we were very much afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 25 And now, here we are, in your hands; do with us as it seems good and right to do to us." 26 So he did to them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, so that they did not kill them. 27 And that day Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, in the place which He would choose, even to this day.
the Gibeonites had 'heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai ... that the Lord your God commanded His servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you';
Israel was deceived because 'they did not ask counsel of the Lord.'
Israel had to honour their covenant because they feared God's 'wrath be upon us because of the oath which we swore to them';
the Gibeonites suffered only the punishment that they were 'cursed ... none of you shall be freed from being slaves - woodcutters and water carriers';
And Chapter 10:6 tells us how 'the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, "Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us." 10:8 tells us 'the Lord said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you' - so, despite the Israelites foolishly making this covenant without 'ask[ing] counsel of the Lord', the God of Israel honoured the covenant and performed two miracles which prove He was with them - despite their foolishness which would come back to haunt them over many years - and to this day!
We mention this for these reasons:
the God of Israel showed mercy, even to evil people who He knew would prove a thorn in the flesh to Israel, because He is a covenant keeping God (Exodus 34:10: 'Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you …";
if you read on to Chapter 11 you will find how God led Israel further and they took Southern, then Northern, Palestine - and this is why artefacts of Israel's long occupation of the area is massively supported by archaeological finds - despite the proven deceptions being practiced by the Palestinian Authorities on the Temple Mount in our day (e.g. we know the diggings from their illegal excavations of this ancient site have been smuggled out of Jerusalem in trucks and dumped on rubbish tips which archaeologists have found and sifted to retrieve yet more evidences of Israel's long history in Jerusalem);
Notice this huge difference between Muhammad's conquests with the sword and the vital occurrences revealed time and time again in the Old Testament accounts:
Exodus 34:10: '… Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
God had promised that He would 'drive out' these evil nations by 'wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.' so the many miraculous defeats of the enermy, such as the fall of the walls of Jericho and the hailstones that destroyed the Amorite kings, were witnessed by the surrounding nations;
The Gibeonites gave the miraculous crushing of the enemies of Israel as the reason they cunningly deceived Israel into breaking this part of God's instruction:
Exodus 34:12 'Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you.'
And how Israel has lived to regret their disobedience in this matter!
Anyone reading the Qur'an alone will discover scant and dubious evidence that 'Allah' ever miraculously delivered the armies of Muhammad (e.g. Sura 105 - The Elephant [Al-Fíl]):
105.1 Hast thou not seen how thy Lord dealt with the owners of the Elephant ? 105.2 Did He not bring their stratagem to naught, 105.3 And send against them swarms of flying creatures, 105.4 Which pelted them with stones of baked clay, 105.5 And made them like green crops devoured (by cattle) ?
Indeed, they will not easily discover that Muhammad led his followers into 66 battles, let alone the defeat inflicted by the Meccan army headed by Uhud (Muhammad had predicted victory but was struck in the mouth by a sword, lost several teeth, and almost died).
How did this defeat occur when the Qur'an prophesied that Muslims would be victorious at home and abroad (e.g. Sura 30:1-5 - The Romans [Ar-Rüm]):
30.1 Alif. Lam. Mim. 30.2 The Romans have been defeated 30.3 In the nearer land, and they, after their defeat will be victorious 30.4 Within ten years - Allah's is the command in the former case and in the latter - and in that day believers will rejoice 30.5 In Allah's help to victory. He helpeth to victory whom He will. He is the Mighty, the Merciful. 30.6 It is a promise of Allah. Allah faileth not His promise, but most of mankind know not.
This hardly convinces anyone that the book is of divine origin for, unlike the Christian Bible which makes very precise predictions many hundreds of years in advance [e.g. precisely predicting that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and that He would be pierced for man's sins (Zechariah 12:10)] the prediction that Muslims would be militarily victorious is unimpressive, especially considering Muhammad's massive army!
The victories also fail to pass the 'prophetic test' since little time passed between the prediction and fulfilment and, in any war between two protagonists, there is usually only one winner - and in those days it was most likely to be the leader with the largest force! Conversely, Gideon's Army defies this fact and clearly points to another source of the victory!
Any claims to the miraculous in Muhammad's work have been added posthumously - by his own admission he never performed a single miracle (when asked why he did not perform miracles as the other prophets did, he responded that the Qur'an was his miracle - Sura 29:48-50):
29.48 And thou (O Muhammad) wast not a reader of any scripture before it, nor didst thou write it with thy right hand, for then might those have doubted, who follow falsehood. 29.49 But it is clear revelations in the hearts of those who have been given knowledge, and none deny Our revelations save wrong-doers. 29.50 And they say: Why are not portents sent down upon him from his Lord ? Say: Portents are with Allah only, and I am but a plain warner.
Yet we find his followers guilty of the most obvious hagiography in their attempts to make him look like, at least, a feeble impression of the Lord Jesus Christ when they add invented miracles to the known historical life of their 'prophet';
(Continued on page 376)